Hanoverians - C. J. B. Gaskoin

The Coming of the Georges

Sophia, Electress of Hanover


1. Father and Son

In September, 1714, seven weeks after Queen Anne died, the first king of a new royal House landed in England.

Sophia of Hanover, daughter of the Elizabeth Stuart who was once for a few months Queen of Bohemia, had been named by the Act of Settlement (1701) as successor to her cousin Anne. And ever after Sophia longed to outlive Anne, if only for one day, so that she might call herself Queen of England before she died. But she had been dead already some four months; so it was not to her but to her son George Lewis, now King George I, that the English crown descended.

George I was a foreigner by birth, connected with the old royal line only because his grandmother Elizabeth had been a daughter of James I. Nearly sixty persons, it was said, had a better title to the throne by descent. He was a foreigner, too, by breeding and education. The jealous Anne, indeed, had never allowed him to enter England. Thus he knew hardly more of English ways and English institutions than he knew of the English language, which was practically nothing at all. Further, having ruled Hanover for sixteen years with almost absolute power, he had had no training for the task of ruling England as a "constitutional king," that is, a king with limited power, strictly controlled by Parliament. And he knew that few, if any, of his new subjects felt even the slightest liking for him. Already, indeed, they were violently jealous of his foreign friends and interests. And, till the very moment of Anne's last illness, Bolingbroke had been working, with every hope of success, to put a different king upon the throne. Even now Bolingbroke still hoped, and George himself feared, and foreign statesmen quite expected, that "the fickle English" would soon send back their new ruler to his little German State.

Nor could George hope to win favour by his personal charms, for he had none. His face was plain, his expression lifeless, his bearing awkward, and his manners stiff. His habits were thrifty, even niggardly. His ignorance of English cut him off from most of his subjects. Few of his own ministers could talk to him in his own language. Walpole—the greatest of them all—had to discuss State affairs with him in Latin, which neither, perhaps, knew very well, and which, moreover, they pronounced in different ways!

As for his family, they hindered rather than helped his gaining popularity. His wife remained a prisoner in disgrace in Germany, and he was at variance with his son, who took her part.

Yet—unattractive, unromantic, and ungracious as George was—he had certain points not only excellent in themselves, but quite invaluable in his new position. He was courageous both in battle and in daily life. He was merciful to his enemies. He hated injustice and dishonesty. Above all, he had abundant sober common sense.

George II—king from 1727 to 1760—was in some ways more, and in others less, fortunate. Like George I, he hated his son and heir. But in this case the son, Frederick, Prince of Wales, was a worthless creature, even if he did not quite deserve his mother's description of him as "the greatest ass, and the greatest liar, and the greatest beast in the whole world." And, unlike George I, the king loved his wife, and owed more than tongue could tell to her faithful and sensible advice.

Again, though he too was a foreigner by birth, and much more at home in Hanoverian than in English business, yet he knew more than his father of the language and character and institutions of his English subjects. And, though he was short, and fidgety in his movements, his features were good and his expression lively—a great contrast to the dull plainness of his father's face.

On the other hand, he was spiteful and abusive. He was always sneering at everyone round him. And his manner, even to those he really loved, was harsh and rough. The very virtues of punctuality and exactness, too, which were his pride, became hateful and ridiculous, to such an absurd length did he carry them. And his carefulness of money was so extreme that the only present he ever gave his greatest minister was—a cracked diamond! Yet, like his father, he was brave, honest, loyal to his friends, moderate, and blessed with much common sense.

Both kings, moreover, had the wit to see that, however unwillingly, they must accept certain very important checks on their own power. These checks were due virtue partly to the various laws and customs of government in England which are called "the English Constitution," and partly to their personal ignorance of English politics. Both kings, too, though keenly interested in Hanover, placed their duty to England first. And both valued and trusted Robert Walpole, the one man in England who could make their throne secure, the man to whom, more even than to their own common sense or the folly of their Stuart rivals, the firm establishment of their dynasty within thirty years was due.

2. The Old Pretender

No greater contrast to the Georges can be imagined than the two "Pretenders," Old and Young, the son and grandson of James II. Common sense was never very common in the Stuart princes, even in their prosperous days. And certainly none was shown by the Old Pretender when he made his great attempt to seize the British crown.

There were obstacles enough in any case to a restoration of the Stuart line. There was the memory of bitter quarrels in the seventeenth century between Stuart kings and Parliament. There was the anger caused by the alliance of exiled Stuart princes with the national enemy, France. There was the dread that a restored Stuart king would leave unpaid the thousands who had lent money to the English Government for the great wars of 1688-1713, since these wars had been fought largely to keep his family off the throne.

But perhaps all this might have been got over if the question of religion had not barred the way. For this was the greatest obstacle of all. The Pretenders were Roman Catholics, like James II, and it was much to their credit that they would not change their religion even to win back the crown. But the English Parliament had twice solemnly declared—in the Bill of Rights (1688) and in the Act of Settlement (1701)—that no Roman Catholic should ever reign in England. And on this point most Englishmen were agreed, however they might differ in other matters. Even Anne herself at last gave up her brother's cause when she realized that he would never give up his religion.

Yet James not only remained a Roman Catholic himself, but led people to think that as king he would try to force all his subjects to be the same. Lastly, he chose the worst possible time for an ill-judged attempt to seize the crown by force. And in this attempt he disgusted all his friends by his lack of every quality that wins men's loyalty and love.

It was in 1715 that he came to seek his kingdom, and it was then a year too late. Driven from France by the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), he had fled to Lorraine, on the French border, and from that refuge had begged for aid from nearly every Government in Europe. But by the Treaty of Utrecht these very Governments had just recognized George I's right to the English crown, and they were hardly ready as yet to break their promises. The Emperor gave no help at all. The Pope and the King of Spain gave only money, no ships or men. Louis XIV of France did indeed promise aid, but he died in September, 1715, and the new ruler of France had very strong reasons for keeping the peace with England. And, though Charles XII of Sweden was actually paid by the Pretender for attacking Newcastle-on-Tyne, the attack was never made.

Thus abroad everything went wrong. Nor was the situation at home much more encouraging. George's troops in England were certainly few, his troops in Scotland very few indeed. Prominent men, too, like Bolingbroke and the popular Duke of Ormonde, knowing that George distrusted them, were working for James; and others, such as Marlborough, would join him if success seemed likely. But Ormonde, whose business it was to win over the army to the Pretender's cause, had suddenly to flee abroad, for the Government discovered and defeated his plot for a rising in the West, and his two later attempts to land in England were both failures. And, though Bolingbroke went to Paris and was made James's Secretary of State, he was never really trusted, and his advice was often disregarded.

When, too, on September 6th, James's standard was actually raised in Scotland, it was against the wishes of his best advisers, perhaps even against his own orders. And the man who raised it was little likely to carry it to victory, for he was only the Earl of Mar, a jealous, unreliable man, nicknamed "Bobbing John" because he had already changed from side to side so often. Under his guidance the Jacobites quickly lost every advantage which they at first enjoyed over King George's army under the Duke of Argyll. Mar began by wasting time in waiting for James at Perth, though he knew that Highlanders kept long inactive would always go home. Then, meeting Argyll's far smaller force at Sheriffmuir, on November 13th, he contented himself with a drawn battle when he might have won a great victory. The old song well describes the fight:

Some say that we won, and some say that they won,

And some say that none won at all, man!

For Mar routed Argyll's right wing, and Argyll did the same to Mar's right wing, and then Mar, by retreating, left Argyll all the advantages of a victory.

Meanwhile Thomas Forster, an M.P. for Northumberland, with the young Earl of Derwentwater and others, started a rebellion in the North of England. They joined a second Jacobite army in Scotland, and with it marched southwards into Lancashire.

Old and Young Pretenders


But everything went wrong. Five hundred Highlanders deserted, refusing even to cross the English border. In England itself only a few individuals, instead of many thousands, joined the invaders. Forster was made commander, not because he knew how to command, but because, being a Protestant, he might be more acceptable to Englishmen than a Roman Catholic general. And he was useless. He marched to Preston, and the militia fled before him; for they were armed only with pikes. But he took no proper steps to defend the town, and on the very day of Sheriffmuir he surrendered to an army which only his own stupidity had allowed to hem him in.

In Scotland more disasters followed, and now every day Mar's forces dwindled and Argyll's increased. The rebellion had obviously failed. Yet it was just at this point that the Pretender himself at last appeared! He landed at Peterhead on January 2, 1716; he found on every side disappointment and despair; and his own gloomy countenance only depressed still more the spirits of his followers. Soon Perth had to be abandoned, and it became plain that James's presence now merely hindered the Jacobites from making their peace with the Government. So on February 4th he sailed away again, and thus "the '15" came to an untimely end.

The rebels quickly dispersed, and George and his ministers showed great forbearance in punishing them. Few were executed: even those sentenced to death were often spared. But two lords, Kenmure and Derwentwater, were beheaded, and a third, Lord Nithsdale, was saved only by the bravery of his wife. He escaped disguised as a woman, in clothes which she herself had cleverly smuggled into his prison.

Meanwhile James became once more an exile on the Continent. Driven from France and Lorraine, he retired at last to Rome. There he married a Polish princess, whose jealous temper made the rest of his life a misery to him. And by her he became the father of the last two descendants of James II—Charles Edward, "the Young Pretender," and Henry, Cardinal of York. Charles Edward was as unlike the Georges as his father, but in his case it was the charm rather than the folly of the Stuart race that made the contrast. The story of his adventure in 1745, however, belongs to a later chapter.

Castle of St. Germains


3. Kings and Councillors

The most important figure in England for a generation after 1714 was neither stolid king nor stupid Pretender, neither a Hanoverian nor a Stuart prince, but Robert Walpole, the Norfolk squire whose great fame has earned for this period the title of "The Age of Walpole."

This importance of the minister rather than of the king had begun in Stuart days. Ever since the Restoration the management of national affairs had belonged far less than before to the king and far more to his ministers and Parliament.

Parliament, and especially the House of Commons, had indeed gained immense power. It met every year. It completely controlled taxation. It alone made laws. And it demanded that the king should be advised by men whose names it knew and on whose good conduct and ability it could rely.

It had not, indeed, been wholly successful on the last point. It had tried to make the king bring all important business to be discussed publicly in the large Privy Council which was supposed to advise him. It had even tried so to arrange matters that the advice given to the king by every councillor might be known. But it had failed. The Privy Council had lost all real power, and all important affairs were managed by a small body of councillors, chiefly ministers holding high office, called the Cabinet. And the Cabinet debated and voted secretly, so that not even the Commons could pry into its doings.

Knight of the Garter


Yet, as Parliament met constantly, and the king depended on the House of Commons for money, he had at any rate to choose ministers who by some means or other could manage to get on with it. The means, certainly, were often bad. Bribing of Members of Parliament with well-paid offices, pensions, and the like, had been growing steadily ever since 1660, and many voted for the Government only because of what they got from it. Yet such corruption had its limits. There were many things which bribes could not do. No ministers could safely act in a way really detested by the House of Commons, and no king could long employ ministers to whom the House was really hostile.

The change of dynasty in 1714 lessened still further the power of the Crown. The Jacobite plottings of Bolingbroke injured the whole Tory party, of which he was the head. The king inclined to think all Tories disloyal, and their enemies did their best to make him think so. Thus his choice of ministers was still further narrowed: not only must they be men agreeable to the Commons, but they must all be Whigs.

Again, George I, being ignorant of English, had to depend greatly on the knowledge and advice of his ministers, and gave up attending Cabinet meetings, since he understood nothing that was said there. So the king no longer shared in the discussions of the ministers, or helped to guide their decisions. The result was not merely to lessen the royal power; for, as some one had to preside in the Cabinet, and the king was not there, a chance was now given for a clever and powerful man to take the lead in all public matters, and make himself a "Prime," or chief, Minister. Thus the office of Prime Minister grew up. And the first Prime Minister was Walpole.

The Rise of Walpole

Robert Walpole


1. Robert Walpole

Robert Walpole was born in 1676. He was the fifth of nineteen children, but by the death of the eldest son he became heir to his father at the age of twenty-two. His father, another Robert Walpole, was a Norfolk squire and a Member of Parliament, with landed property worth over £2,000 a year. Robert the elder combined politics with farming and hunting, and taught his son to share in all his doings. And, when he was twenty-four, young Robert married the wealthy and beautiful grand-daughter of a Lord Mayor, and on his father's death, soon afterwards, succeeded both to his estate and to his seat in Parliament.

Under Anne he held more than one public office, and learned at least one lesson which he never forgot. The Whig Government in which he served prosecuted Dr. Sacheverell, a Tory clergyman, for preaching against the Revolution of 1688. The prosecution succeeded, but caused such a storm of popular fury that Walpole would never, to the end of his days, do anything against the Church of England.

Robert Walpole


When the Tories came into power, in Anne's last years, he would not join them: in fact, he led the opposition to their policy. So, to make him harmless, they imprisoned him in the Tower on a charge of corruption, which he considered baseless. But the chief result was that, when he came out, he opposed them more violently than ever. He attacked their doings both at home and abroad, particularly the Acts against Dissenters and the Treaty of Utrecht. And he was still opposing them when Anne died.

But the accession of George I brought back the Whigs to office; and Walpole now became Paymaster of the Forces, which meant wealth, and played a leading part in Parliament, which meant power, and was presently raised to be First Commissioner of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer, which meant a chief place in the Ministry. Owing to a squabble among the Whigs, he was, indeed, soon out of office again, and attacking the Government as hotly as ever. But in 1720 he rejoined it, and for the next twenty years he was really the leading statesman in England. Thus the Age of Walpole now really began.

Home of Walpole


In appearance and tastes Walpole was a thorough country squire. He was hale and hearty. His manner was frank, genial, even boisterous. His laughter was natural and jolly; so said friend and foes alike, though his foes added that his "everlasting half-smile" was also half a sneer. He loved field sports; he drank deeply; he hunted all his life, even when he had grown heavy and stout; and he used the language of the stable and the hunting-field in the Council Chamber and the Parliament Hall.

Yet he was neither uneducated nor without artistic tastes. He certainly spoke with a strong Norfolk accent; he considered authors (not without reason) "needy scribblers" who could be hired to defend any cause; and he despised musicians as "a pack of fiddlers." But his talk and his letters were sprinkled with Latin quotations as well as sporting phrases, and of pictures he was not only a keen but a judicious collector.

[Illustration] from The Hanoverians by C. J. B. Gaskoin


Yet again, he was a first-rate financier, extraordinarily clever at figures, and an excellent man of business. And, lastly, he had that comfortable temper which concerns itself far more with present facts than with future chances. So he had interests in common with both Tory squires and Whig merchants, and a temper specially suited both to his nation and to his age.

2. Sleeping Dogs

House of Commons


The Age of Walpole was not for England a time of stirring events, either at home or abroad. Rather it was a time of rest and preparation. It was a time of rest after the exhausting struggle with the France of Louis XIV, in the Netherlands and Spain, with which the Stuart period had closed. It was a time of preparation for that hardly less exhausting struggle with the France of Louis XV, in America and India, with which a new period was presently to open.

For various reasons the French Government just now did not want war; and, as Walpole was at least equally opposed to fighting, his rule was marked by almost uninterrupted peace. A Jacobite invasion and a commercial panic ushered it in; a commercial war, opening the way for a second Jacobite invasion, followed it; but in the interval there was rest and quiet. Peace, in fact, was the supreme object of Walpole's policy, for he saw that at the moment it was the one essential thing. The country required it, for it had just passed through the Revolution of 1688 and the long and wearing French war, and needed time to recover. The new dynasty, too, had reason to wish for it, for peace and prosperity, and the absence of heavy war taxes, might make its subjects willing to accept its rule, while war would certainly give its enemies opportunities for insurrection and invasion. So Walpole never meddled in European affairs if he could help it. He avoided at all costs a war with France, which would have meant a Jacobite rising supported by French arms. And he kept England, to the best of his power, steadily and peaceably minding her own business.

But this was not all. Peace meant the absence not only of war abroad but also of strife at home. And, if this was to be gained, no burning questions must be raised, no old wounds reopened, no old grievances revived: no class and no religious body of importance must be irritated. "Let sleeping dogs lie!" This famous phrase summed up the chief ideas of Walpole's policy at home and abroad.



Such a policy had, of course, its drawbacks. Few reforms can be made without arousing at least some opposition: many must cause for a time great popular excitement. And such reforms, speaking generally, Walpole's policy forbade him to attempt. He could make no change that might disturb the public peace: he must leave even undoubted evils alone till a more convenient season. So he dropped his plan of reforming the Customs system when the country grew excited. And—remembering Dr. Sacheverell—he never dared even to propose a repeal of the laws against Dissenters, though he fully admitted their injustice. Thus "Let sleeping dogs lie!" had to mean "Let ill alone!" as well as "Let well alone!" and so Walpole's rule was almost barren of reforming laws.

For this reason the Age of Walpole has earned a bad name in history. It has been abused as an age of low morals and widespread corruption; an age when high ideals and enthusiasms were scorned and admitted evils were contentedly accepted; an age in which the national character was degraded. And to some extent the charge is just. There was much corruption in the State, and against this Pitt and the "Patriots" presently protested. There was much sloth and half-heartedness in the Church, and against this John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, and other "Methodists," fought in the famous "Methodist Movement," which ended in establishing many new religious bodies outside the national church. And Walpole himself reformed neither Church nor State.

Only it must be remembered that Walpole did not create the abuses: he merely put up with them. He did not rejoice at political corruption, but—finding it the custom—he made use of it. He never said of men in general (as has been so often asserted) that "every man has his price," but he saw through and despised the hypocrites who pretended to be shocked at his bribery, and yet would have supported him if only he had bribed them largely enough. He was not even indifferent to the evils round him: only he thought that just then discord would be a greater evil still.

John Wesley and George Whitefield


3. Commerce and Quarrels

If Walpole's age had no very exciting events, it was none the less a time of progress and prosperity, especially in commerce. To commerce, indeed, the habit of minding one's own business is peculiarly useful, and the development of trade was one of the chief features of the period. Almost all the leading questions of the day were commercial. Walpole himself came to power through the commercial panic known as the South Sea Bubble. His most famous scheme, the unsuccessful Excise Bill, was meant to help commerce by reforming taxation. And the Spanish war which caused his downfall sprang from disputes as to the commercial rights of Englishmen in Spanish lands.

For England had now really begun her career as a great trading nation. Marlborough's wars themselves had been fought largely to secure for Englishmen the right of trading with the Spanish colonies in the New World, from which Spain wished to shut out every foreigner. And of the gains made at the peace none were more prized than this. Spain certainly granted as little as she possibly could. One English ship of 600 tons might go once a year to Panama, and for thirty years the English South Sea Company alone might import slaves into the Spanish colonies; but that was all.

Ships in Harbor


To Englishmen in the eighteenth century, however, as in the sixteenth, Spanish America seemed to hold boundless wealth, nor did they much care what means they used to snatch a share of it. The one ship at Panama had to do the work of ten—for, as fast as her cargo was unladed by day, she was filled up again from other ships under cover of night. And elsewhere English ships sailed and English traders pushed their wares without even the pretence of a treaty right to justify them, but with all the insolent daring of Elizabeth's "sea dogs."

The Spaniards tried in vain to enforce their laws by violence: they succeeded only in provoking Englishmen to a violent revenge. So, while English prisoners worked in irons on Spanish soil, Spaniards were sold as slaves in English colonies. Meanwhile the Governments at home—in Spain and England—were apparently either unwilling or unable, or both unwilling and unable, to control their subjects. The English Government, especially, knew too well the value of the smuggling trade with South America to do anything more towards checking it than was necessary to put off actual war.

4. The South Sea Bubble

But, long before these quarrels ended in war, the South Sea Company brought trouble of another kind upon the country. The directors or managers of this trading association started in 1720 a great scheme in connection with the National Debt. The scheme was not in itself absurd, but the directors greatly exaggerated the profits that could be made by it. Public opinion exaggerated them still more.

South Sea House


And presently the idea that money could be made so easily produced a wild fever of "speculation" throughout the country. Money was lent to any and every company formed for trading or other purposes, every lender hoping for quick and enormous gains. Thousands readily paid seven or eight times the real value of a share in the South Sea Company itself. And, in the general excitement, many men (some merely foolish, but more dishonest) invited the public to subscribe largely also to other companies, which were always failures and often simply frauds. Sometimes, reckoning on the mad gambling spirit that possessed the nation, they did not even trouble to hide the folly of their schemes. One man asked for £1,000,000 to make a "wheel for a perpetual motion." Another proposed to import jackasses from Spain, "as if," some one said, "we had not plainly jackasses enough already!" And a third actually obtained thousands of pounds without even stating his purpose.

Such madness could only be short-lived, and the end soon came—the nation recovered its senses. Those who had paid so highly for shares in "bubble" companies were thankful to get even a little of their money back. And all the weak points in the South Sea Company's own scheme were exposed. But—short as the "bubble" was—its bursting ruined hundreds. Some of the king's ministers were found to have been guilty of bribery and corruption in the matter, and therefore were disgraced.

And it was to meet this crisis—which he had always prophesied—that Walpole was called back to power. For he was "the man who had no equal for figures," the only statesman, indeed, that business men trusted. His settlement of the matter did not, of course, do away with all the suffering—the foolish and the unfortunate still had room to grumble; but probably all that was possible was done.

South Sea Bubble


The Rule of Walpole

Queen Caroline


1. Early Dangers

From 1721 to 1727 Walpole's power was never shaken. George I looked on him as a man who could "turn stones into gold," and resolved never to part with him while he was willing to serve. Yet he was not the only important minister. For three years Lord Cartaret looked after England's relations with foreign countries: then Walpole's own brother-in-law—Lord Townshend—seemed to hold the first place. "The firm," Walpole himself said, was "Townshend and Walpole," not yet "Walpole and Townshend."

And George I's death in 1727 threatened to destroy Walpole's power altogether. For George II, hating his father, also hated his father's ministers, and used to call Townshend "a choleric blockhead," the Duke of Newcastle "an impertinent fool," and Walpole himself "a rogue and rascal." Three things, however, saved the situation. The new minister could not even write the king's speech to Parliament without Walpole's help. Walpole himself pleased the new king by securing from Parliament a larger income for the Royal Family. Above all, the new queen, Caroline, who really guided her husband while seeming to obey him, believed that Walpole alone could govern England, and that his chief enemies were "the greatest liars and knaves in the kingdom."

So Walpole was once again, as Bolingbroke said, "the brazen image which the king had set up." And now he gradually turned out all those ministers who would not readily obey him. It was characteristic of him that he would never share power with others in any department of State business where he interfered at all. And as time went on he took one fresh department after another under his control, and overthrew every rival. Finally, in 1730, he quarrelled with Townshend, who managed foreign affairs, and Townshend's retirement left him practically supreme. But only three years later came the struggle over the famous Excise Bill.

2. The Greatest Struggle

The customs system in Walpole's days was both burdensome and wasteful. Enormous taxes had to be paid by merchants on the tea and coffee, wine and tobacco, which they brought into English ports. Thus trade was seriously hampered. Yet these taxes were constantly evaded. Bands of desperate smugglers, backed by the sympathy of all the country-side, took advantage of dark nights and rugged coasts to set the law at defiance, and brought the goods to land at places where there were no custom-houses to interfere with them. And, if the revenue officers tried to stop this and enforce the law, they ran great risk of injury to life or limb. Not unnaturally, they often preferred to accept a share of the smugglers' profits as a bribe to make them shut their eyes and hold their tongues. Thus, after all, the national Treasury gained but little.

There were two possible remedies. The taxes themselves might be lowered so much that smuggling to escape them would not be worth the risk of capture and punishment,—a plan which would mean, at first at any rate, a further loss to the Treasury. Or, the method of collecting the taxes might be altered: instead of "Customs," i.e. taxes paid at the port where the goods arrived, there might be an "Excise," i.e. a tax paid only when they were actually sold by the importers to buyers in the country, which would be far harder to escape. It was this second plan that Walpole adopted. He applied it successfully to tea and coffee, and afterwards to salt. Then he proposed to extend it to wine and tobacco. But here he met an unexpected difficulty.

For years his enemies had been increasing. Townshend, on leaving office, had retired quietly to Norfolk, and occupied himself with turnip growing and other useful agricultural experiments, which gained him the nickname of "Turnip Townshend."

But other ministers turned out by Walpole were less easily contented. They vowed revenge. They joined hands with Walpole's other enemies—with the Tories, with Bolingbroke (now back in England, but still kept out of his estates and out of Parliament by Walpole's influence), with William Pitt and the other young men who were always attacking Walpole's corruption. So the minister had to face a host of foes. They opposed him in Parliament. They reviled him in the Press, especially in their famous newspaper—The Craftsman—which perhaps first showed how great the influence of the Press might be. By speeches and pamphlets, by newspaper letters and caricatures, by every means they could think of, they tried to destroy his power and his reputation.

To these men the Excise scheme was a perfect godsend. For when the ordinary Englishman of Walpole's day heard the word "Excise" he thought at once of a despotic Government, fit only for slaves—or Frenchmen!—to endure, and of a host of meddling officials prying into every detail of his daily business. Walpole's scheme meant really neither one thing nor the other. But Englishmen, then, at any rate, could be worked up into such a state of excitement over a mere word that attempts to explain it would be simply useless.

[Illustration] from The Hanoverians by C. J. B. Gaskoin


Walpole's enemies well understood this, and they took full advantage of the people's ignorance. They represented Walpole's motives to be everything that they were not. They held him up to popular hatred as a tyrant and extortioner, seeking to destroy the liberties of England and enrich himself by wringing money out of his miserable fellow-countrymen.

Their plan succeeded to an extent which even now is hard to understand. It was not only that mobs gathered to threaten the ministers and assault Walpole, or that Walpole's effigy was burnt in countless bonfires. Even sober men joined in the campaign. The citizens of London actually asked to be heard in Parliament against the Bill, and their petition had so many signatures that a long train of coaches was needed to carry it to Westminster. And the feeling was almost as strong within as without the walls of Parliament. Many of Walpole's own followers, expecting his downfall and wishing to please his successors, deserted to the enemy. Further, not only the minister himself, but the king and queen who relied on his advice, were assailed with insults and abuse. Indeed, grave fears were felt that the struggle might actually overthrow the House of Hanover.

At last Walpole gave way. "This dance," he said—and the tears stood in his eyes—"it will no further go." He was still loyally supported by the king. He could still have carried the Bill through both Houses. But he could have enforced it only in the teeth of a popular resistance—only, perhaps, by the sword—and that his whole system of policy forbade. So the Bill was dropped.

3. The Fall of Walpole

The failure of the Excise Bill was Walpole's first great defeat, and his power survived it more than seven years; but in one sense it was the beginning of the end; at least, from this time onward the story of his rule is largely a story of misfortunes. True, it was in the very next year that he made his famous boast to the queen that, of the 50,000 men killed in Europe in the fighting as to who should be king of Poland, not one was an Englishman. And this proved that his power was still immense, for George II was always eager for war.

But even the revenge that Walpole took for his defeat over the Excise Bill strengthened his enemies. The Lord Steward—the famous Lord Chesterfield—and other ministers were dismissed for their opposition: even officers in the army lost their places. But the chief result was that Walpole's foes now included almost every leading politician of the day, except Walpole himself.

Philip Stanhope


And in 1737 they allied with Frederick, Prince of Wales, who, in the fashion of his family, opposed his father's ministers. This strengthened them greatly, not because the prince himself was great, or good, or even respectable, but because he was the Hanoverian heir-apparent. For, now that they were leagued with him, Walpole could no longer attack them with his favourite weapon, the damaging charge that they were secretly Jacobites.

Soon, too, they had an even greater stroke of luck. For now the queen died, and in her Walpole lost his best supporter. It was through her that for ten years he had induced the king to accept his advice, however unwillingly, in all important matters. George, indeed, with the loyalty that was his greatest virtue, still supported his minister even when he disagreed with him; but there was no one now to make things easy by persuading him that after all he did not really disagree.

And meanwhile the growing ill-feeling between Spain and England was forcing Walpole on, against all his convictions, towards a war. Both nations were tired of mere peaceful wranglings, and longing for a fight. In March, 1738, a certain Captain Jenkins showed to a Committee of the House of Commons an ear, cut off his head, so he said, out of mere spite, by a Spanish officer seven years before, and "Jenkins's Ear" became at once a war-cry throughout the country. Walpole could please no one. His efforts for peace were abused in England as mean-spirited and humiliating. His preparations for war were resented in Spain as threatening and insulting.

At last, in 1739, he yielded to both people and Parliament, both prince and king, both his enemies and, to a large extent, his friends, and declared war. But the war proved his ruin. Except for one slight success, it was marked throughout by mismanagement and disaster.

Walpole himself was ill. He put no heart into the fighting. Every one knew that he really disapproved of it. So he grew weaker and weaker, till at last he found that he could no longer reckon on the support of a majority in the Commons. Then, in 1742, he accepted the Earldom of Orford, resigned his offices, and brought "The Age of Walpole" to an end.

Bonnie Prince Charlie

Young Pretender


1. The Young Pretender

Some three years after Walpole's fall came the Jacobite rebellion which he had always expected to result from war. The Old Pretender was now living quietly at Rome, but his son Charles Edward was far better fitted to lead a romantic adventure. For he was young, gallant, and fascinating; ready to share in every hardship and danger; and light-hearted enough often to cheer the most melancholy comrade in the most unhappy plight. And in 1744 he came to Dunkirk to help in an invasion of England, for which France was to furnish money, ships, and men. But in the following February a violent storm shattered many of the French ships, just when the English admiral was going to attack them, and so brought the scheme to an untimely end.

To an end, that is, as far as France was concerned. But, though France would do no more, Charles still resolved at all costs to try his luck himself. So he went on raising money by pawning and borrowing, but telling his father nothing for fear of being forbidden to go; and at last, in June, 1745, he sailed for Scotland. An English frigate followed him suspiciously, but was fought and worsted by the French vessel that escorted him. Two others caused him brief alarm, but, helped by a mist, he escaped from them also. And—as he neared the Scottish coast—an eagle flew over his ship, and the sight of the "king of birds" was hailed with rapture as an omen of success.

Finally, after visiting the Hebrides, Charles landed at Moidart, on the west coast of Scotland. But his arrival without French troops, and with only seven friends—the "Seven Men of Moidart"—filled his Scottish supporters with dismay. For a time it was kept secret—and the prince disguised himself as a clergyman, in "a plain black coat, plain shirt, fair round wig, and plain hat." On August 19th, however, his standard was openly raised, and though some clans—especially the powerful Campbells, whose chief was the Duke of Argyll—were hostile, and others hesitated, many Highlanders began to gather round him. That same day Sir John Cope, commanding King George's troops in Scotland, marched out of Edinburgh to meet him. But, instead of fighting at once, Cope turned aside to Inverness to summon the Campbells and other loyal clans, and Charles meanwhile pushed on to Perth.

At Perth he found Lord George Murray, who had fought for the Old Pretender in the '15, and now became the chief soldier in the Jacobite army. But, though able and honest, Lord George was jealous of his colleagues; they were jealous of him; and Charles soon began, unjustly, to suspect him of disloyalty. So there were hot quarrels among the Jacobite leaders, which were not at all likely to help them to success.

On September 17th, however, Charles entered Edinburgh, and that night a ball in the ancient palace of Holyrood celebrated the return of the Stuart to the Scottish capital. If, in the upper classes, ladies welcomed him more eagerly than men, if many even of the lower classes were "stubbornly silent," at least there was no real resistance. Some dragoons had indeed been sent out with the town guard to stop his advance, but when they met his troops, they fled home so fast that the encounter was called not the "Battle" but the "Canter" of Coldbrigg! And, when Cope came back from Aberdeen, he was utterly defeated at Preston Pans, his cavalry and gunners flying in terror from the wild charge of the fierce Highlanders.

Charles, however, knew that the English Crown could be won only on English soil. For England, therefore, he started on October 1st, though, as in 1715, some of the Scots deserted in consequence, and many more complained. But meanwhile nearly 10,000 of King George's troops had gathered at Newcastle; thirteen regiments more were in the Midlands; and a third army was being formed at Finchley. In London, if George himself was unpopular, his cause at least had warm supporters among all sorts and conditions of men. The weavers mustered a thousand strong; the lawyers, under the Lord Chief Justice, formed a bodyguard for the Royal Family; the theatre managers undertook to raise a corps from among their own servants.

Charles, however, was steadily moving south—first to Carlisle, then to Manchester, then, on December 4th, to Derby. And Derby was near enough to London to cause a panic in the city on the "Black Friday" when the news was known. Yet the danger was probably exaggerated. Few Englishmen had joined Charles's army; the Welsh squires, supposed to be enthusiastic Jacobites, did nothing; Ireland remained undisturbed; in Scotland itself Glasgow and other towns declared for King George, and even attacked his enemies. France had, indeed, at last sent troops, but some of them were captured by the English fleet, and only a few reached Scotland safely. The Jacobites in London were unarmed, and Charles's own army was far smaller than the forces which now lay between him and Scotland under George's second son, the Duke of Cumberland. Indeed, had the Londoners but known it, Charles—rightly or wrongly, but certainly against his will—had actually begun his march north again on the day when they were wildly clamouring at the Bank for their money, to prevent its falling into his hands.

2. Retreat and Defeat

The Jacobite retreat, however, was made without disaster, though the disappointed Highlanders provoked attacks by plundering, and a weak garrison foolishly left at Carlisle was quickly captured. When crossing the Esk the men were in such high spirits that they dried their clothes by dancing reels in the wintry air. When they reached Glasgow so many fresh troops came in that at last their numbers were larger than ever. They blockaded Stirling, and—when George's soldiers attacked them at Falkirk on January 17, 1746,—though part of each army fled in haste, as at Sheriffmuir thirty years before, yet most of Charles's men stood firm; they remained masters of the field; and they captured many of the enemy's guns.

But on January 30th Cumberland—brutal but brave, able, and dogged—took up the command of the English troops at Edinburgh. Next day he started for Stirling; and on February 1st Charles—once more compelled by his followers—withdrew northwards. Cumberland followed but slowly, and halted for six weeks at Aberdeen, drilling his men in a new method of meeting a Highland charge, and preparing for the final struggle. Then, on April 8th, he set out again, attended by a fleet which sailed along the coast.

Colloden Moor


That day week was his birthday, and the Jacobites, camped on Culloden Moor, planned a night attack on his army, hoping to find the men all drinking deep in his honour. But the scheme failed. The Scottish rearguard moved slowly; the vanguard had to hang back; the day dawned long before the English camp could be reached. So, hungry and weary, disappointed and disgusted with one another, the Scots marched back again in the early morning, and scattered in search of food and rest. Thus when Cumberland advanced he caught them at a disadvantage. Some had wandered far away; others were faint with hunger; most were wearied by their night march.

In the battle, too, a blinding storm of snow and rain drove straight into their faces. Still, they fought with all their wonted fire and fury. The Macdonalds, indeed, sulking because they were refused the post of honour, did nothing. But the other Highlanders rushed upon the enemy and, in spite of Cumberland's new drill, pierced the first English line. Here, however, their success ended. The second line stayed their advance; the English in their turn charged; the Highlanders were broken; the French and the Lowlanders behind them fled; and the Jacobite army was scattered far and wide.

The clans, indeed, still dreamt of final triumph, but Charles himself despaired, and, bidding every one seek his own safety, fled for his life. Cumberland proceeded to crush the rebellion and punish the rebels with a grim brutality which earned him his nickname—"The Butcher." And Charles, for five months and more, was a hunted fugitive, with a price upon his head, in the isles and coasts of western Scotland.

3. Hiding and Exile

Flora MacDonald and Pretender


Now he sheltered in a cowshed, now in a cave, now in some faithful follower's home. Always he had to be ready at a moment's notice to quit his quarters and flee before the soldiers. For George's men were hunting for him high and low, and often were so near that he dared not even light a fire for fear of attracting their notice, but had to warm himself, as best he might, with his pipe.

His scanty baggage needed no baggage-train. "Four shirts, a cold hen, a lump of sugar, a bottle of whisky and one of brandy"—this is the list on one occasion, and he carried the whole himself, with "a bottle hanging at each side "slung on his belt, like the famous John Gilpin. As for food and drink, he took whatever came to hand—"a cold hen" or "a slice of cheese covered with oatmeal," washed down with brandy drunk straight from the bottle or from a shell, or (for one short period of luxury) with punch, mixed in an earthen pitcher, till, alas! the pitcher was broken.

And, for his clothing, he played the part now of one humble character, now of another. Once he pretended to be "Lewie Caw," a rough country lad. Once he was "Betty Burke, from Ireland"—a peasant woman in attendance on Flora Macdonald, the young Highland heroine who risked life and liberty and all she held dear to save him from capture. But this second disguise had soon to be dropped, for he looked but "a very odd muckle ill-shaken-up wife," and walked with great strides such as no real "Betty Burke" would ever have taken.

Yet, through it all, he kept up his own spirits and cheered despairing comrades. And, great as was the danger of sheltering him, cruelly as the English soldiers punished all who were even suspected of doing so, vast as would have been the reward of treachery, not a man or a woman or a child, however poor or miserable, could be induced to betray him. At last, on September 20th, he escaped on board a French vessel, and nine days later landed safely in Brittany.



In October he was received in state by the French king as Regent of Scotland in his father's name. "His dress had in it somewhat of uncommon elegance. His coat was rose-coloured velvet, embroidered in silver and lined with silver tissue: his waistcoat was a rich gold brocade, with a spangled fringe set on in scallops. The cockade in his hat and the buckles on his shoes were diamonds; the Georgewhich he wore at his bosom, and the order of St. Andrew which he wore also, tied by a piece of green ribbon to one of the buttons of his waistcoat, were prodigiously illustrated with large brilliants; in short, he glittered all over like the star which they tell you appeared at his nativity."

It was a wonderful contrast to Lewie Caw and Betty Burke; yet, for all this grandeur, "the star of Charles's Nativity" had really set for ever. He was safe and sound, but he lived on only to lose his good name through the fatal habit of dram-drinking, learned in his adventures, and die at last a drunken and degraded object of pity and contempt. And meanwhile in Scotland the rebellion was wiped out in the blood of his followers, and the Government made sure that it should never be repeated. The old family power which Highland chiefs used to hand down from father to son was abolished; the people of the Highlands were forbidden to carry arms; it was made a crime even to wear the national kilt. So, though "Bonnie Prince Charlie" is even now the chosen hero of Scottish songs, the old wild, picturesque, romantic, uncomfortable Scotland of the Stuart kings vanished for ever.

The Fight for Empire: The First Struggle

1. Rivals for Empire

Among the youthful enemies of Walpole who styled themselves "Patriots," and whom he scornfully called "The Boys," the most famous was William Pitt the Elder, afterwards Earl of Chatham; and the Age of Chatham followed quickly on the Age of Walpole.

It was a time of war and colonial conquest, as Walpole's had been a time of peace and commercial prosperity. It opened with the War of Jenkins's Ear, which became part of the War of the Austrian Succession, and in which Pitt appeared chiefly as a critic. Its greatest event was the Seven Years' War, in which his genius secured the triumph of his country in India and Canada. It ended with the War of American Independence, which undid half the work that he had done, and brought him, a broken and sorrowful man, to his grave.

All these wars, as far as England was concerned, were largely due to her growing rivalry with France for supremacy in both America and India. There were certainly other causes of quarrel, especially the increasing friendship between France and Spain, whose kings, both belonging to the Bourbon family, made "Family Compacts" which alarmed English statesmen not a little. But throughout the period the main question was always this, Should the leading power in Asia and in America be France or England?

As to this, the first war settled nothing; by the second, the French power in both quarters was practically crushed; in the third, France took her revenge on England by helping the American colonists to gain their independence, but failed to win back for herself what she had lost. Thus the history of these wars is really, from one point of view, the history for nearly half a century of the British Empire.

When George I became king, twelve English colonies fringed the Atlantic coast of what is now the United States. On the east the sea bounded all alike, but on the west there was generally no fixed frontier between the English settlements and the vast stretch of country which was still inhabited only by the Red Indian tribes.

These twelve colonies differed greatly in many ways. Some had been established by adventurers or traders, others by men fleeing from religious persecution or political tyranny at home. Others, like New York, had been conquered from the Dutch. And Georgia, a thirteenth colony, established in 1732, was founded by the kind-hearted General Oglethorpe as a refuge for needy debtors. Maryland was at first a Roman Catholic colony: Pennsylvania was a Quaker settlement. As to population, there were few foreigners of European descent in the north, but many elsewhere; while negroes were comparatively rare in the northern colonies, but actually outnumbered the whites in the far south. Again, in the nature of their commerce, of their social life, even of their Governments, the contrasts between the various colonies were no less striking.

These contrasts made it extremely difficult for the colonies to act together. Yet all had certain common interests. All were threatened occasionally by the savage attacks of the scalp-hunting Red Indians, who once occupied the whole continent, but had been driven back from the east coast by the white man. And all were threatened also by the less horrible but more constant danger of French attacks. For France, too, at this time, had North American colonies, which, indeed, flanked the English colonies on both sides. To the north, beyond the great lakes, and controlling the important St. Lawrence River, was the French province of Canada. To the south, at the mouth of another important river, the Mississippi, was the French province of Louisiana. And the land behind the English settlements and between the two French possessions, a vast area stretching westward through unknown tracts for a thousand miles from the Alleghany Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, was a prize on which English and French alike had set their hearts.

The English, holding the middle coast, claimed a right to push their frontiers westward as far as they felt inclined. The French, holding the mouth of the Mississippi, claimed a right to occupy the land all along its banks and up to the great lakes and the St. Lawrence. But the English had no mind that their thirteen colonies should remain for ever a mere line of coast settlements, surrounded on three sides by French and Spanish territory. And the French were equally unwilling to see Canada limited for ever to the size of the present province of Quebec, and cut off from Louisiana by a solid belt of English territory.

At first sight the English colonists, numbering over a million souls, seemed enormously stronger than the eighty thousand Frenchmen who were all that the two French colonies together could muster. But the French were more friendly with the Indians, more ready to intermarry with them, to learn their languages, to let them keep their ancient customs. And the French home Government had far more power than the Georges and their ministers over the people of the colonies, and therefore could more easily pursue a steady, vigorous policy.

Fort at Madras


In India the English power dated back to the reign of Elizabeth, for the famous East India Company was founded in 1600. It had jealous English rivals at home, and jealous foreign rivals—Dutch and Portuguese—in India. Yet it prospered, and long before 1714 possessed three important settlements. In the north-east there was Calcutta, in the south-east Madras, and on the west coast Bombay, which once belonged to Portugal, but was part of the dowry of Charles II's Portuguese wife. Each settlement had its own Governor and Council, and was independent of the others, but all were subject to the directors of the Company at home. At present the Company still aimed at trading with the natives rather than at governing them. And it was mainly in imitation of French rivals, and to check their triumphs, that it gradually changed its policy.

For a French East India Company was founded by Louis XIV, and it, too, had by this time three important settlements, each in the neighbourhood of one of the chief English posts, the most famous being Pondicherry, not far from Madras. Also it had the two islands of the Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean, which were invaluable to the fleets of any European State with possessions in India. And, when the vast Mogul Empire, to which most of India once belonged, broke up early in the eighteenth century, the French saw and seized an opportunity of increasing their power. For, guided especially by the brilliant Dupleix, Governor of Pondicherry, they interfered in disputes between native rulers quarrelling over the fragments of the Empire. And thus they gained for France both profit and power.

Such, then, was the condition of East and West when the Age of Chatham began, and England started on her fight for Empire.

2. A Fruitless Struggle

William Pitt, grandson of a Governor of Madras, was born in 1708. At twenty-three he entered the army, at twenty-seven he entered Parliament, at twenty-eight, for attacking Walpole in Parliament, he was turned out of the army. "We must muzzle this terrible cornet of horse," said the minister. But the "muzzling" was quite a failure. Pitt went on attacking Walpole till he fell, and then he attacked the new ministers. For, though friends and foes of Walpole alike now came into office, Pitt remained shut out, and yet he knew himself to be at least as able as any who were admitted. Also he disapproved at this time of England's taking any active share in European affairs, and especially of her being made to pay for the troops of Hanover, which he scornfully called "a despicable Electorate."

This naturally disgusted a Hanoverian king, and George II detested Pitt, and prevented his becoming Secretary-at-War even when the ministers wished it. Nor was it till the Jacobite dangers enabled them to force their wishes on the king that Pitt got even the lower post of Paymaster-General. But, when once in office, he took more pains to please his Royal master, while he delighted the nation by refusing the profits which other Paymasters had taken in addition to their salaries.

During the war of 1739-48, however, his power was still small, and the war itself did little credit to any one. In America the one great success—the capture of the strong French fortress of Louisburg, at the mouth of the St. Lawrence—was due chiefly to the colonists. In India, Madras was lost, and an attempt to take Pondicherry failed. In Europe, indeed, England and her allies won one glorious victory, and suffered one hardly less glorious defeat. At Dettingen, on the Main in Germany, in 1743, for the last time in history, an English king headed his own troops in battle. The English and Hanoverians, caught in a trap by the French, came out triumphant, owing partly to the mistakes of the enemy, but partly to their own steadiness and the cool courage of the king. Two years later, at Fontenoy, English infantry fought with heroic courage against overwhelming odds, and, though at last forced to retreat, inflicted almost as much loss on their foes as they themselves suffered. But, while nothing was gained by the victory of Dettingen, the defeat of Fontenoy encouraged the Young Pretender in his schemes of invasion.

Anson's Fleet


Even at sea, for some time, England did nothing noteworthy, except for Anson's famous voyage round the world in 1740-44. And that voyage proved successful only after great loss and suffering. Starting with eight vessels, Anson lost half his fleet and more than half his men within a year, through storm and sickness, and that before even beginning to harass Spanish America. And, though there he did what damage he could to the enemy he found no treasure ships, as Drake had done. So, two years after starting, he crossed the Pacific, to seek plunder in the Spanish Philippine Islands. There he landed in the Ladrones and refreshed his men.

And now an accident threatened to bring the whole expedition to a disastrous end. For one day, when Anson and most of his crew were ashore, his own ship—the Centurion—was carried out to sea by a storm, and with her seemed to go all hope of ever leaving the island. Anson, indeed, was not to be beaten. He hauled up on shore a ship which he had taken from the Spaniards. Finding her too small to hold all his men, he cut her in half and lengthened her. The work was hard. The ship's carpenters with their tools and the ship's smith with his forge were luckily all ashore, but the smith had no bellows to blow his fire. A clumsy bellows was made, however, out of roughly tanned ox-hides and the barrel of a musket, and at last the vessel was ready to sail. And then, lo and behold! the Centurion  suddenly reappeared, and all the toil and invention of three anxious weeks turned out to have been wasted.

But eventually, after refitting his ship with extreme difficulty at Canton, in China, Anson reaped the reward of all his labours. For near the Philippines he now met the Spanish galleon which every year carried the treasure of the islands home to Spain. And, though she was far larger, and better armed, and better manned than the Centurion, he took her with the loss of only three men, while nearly seventy of her crew were killed.

Admiral Anson


The treasure was worth almost a million and a half dollars, and Anson felt he could now return to England; so, having sold the galleon in China, he started on his long homeward voyage. Just at the end, in the English Channel itself, he narrowly escaped capture by a French fleet. But at last, in June, 1744, he anchored safely at Spithead, and thirty-two wagons carried up his spoils to London.

Yet, marvellous as his adventures were, they hardly influenced the war. And it was not till 1747 that Anson and Hawke, in two great fights, crushed the French navy and made England really once again Mistress of the Seas. Next year the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle stopped the fighting. But, as far as England was concerned, it left things much as they had been before the fighting began. She disgusted the Americans by giving back Louisburg to France. She astonished the Indians, who thought her the defeated power, by recovering Madras. Her quarrel with Spain she left unsettled. And that was all that resulted from nine years of war.

3. War in Disguise

From 1748 to 1756 England and France were in name at peace but in fact constantly at war. The ink on the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was hardly dry when fresh trouble began in America. France strengthened Louisburg: England replied by building the fortress of Halifax in Nova Scotia. The French in Canada stirred up discontent among their fellow-countrymen in Nova Scotia: England thereupon deported eight thousand of the French Nova Scotians, and scattered them among the English colonists to the south. The French Governor of Canada set up marks to show that the Ohio valley belonged to France, and turned out English settlers: the English Governor of Virginia sent George Washington—afterwards so famous as England's enemy—to warn the French that they must go. The Virginians began to build a fort on the Ohio; the French drove them back; Washington defeated the French; the French defeated and captured Washington; and the English fort was replaced by the French Fort Duquesne.

Then the home Governments stepped in, though professing that, as they were each only helping their own colonists, they were not really at war with one another. Early in 1755 England sent General Braddock with two regiments to help in capturing Fort Duquesne, and France sent troops to Canada. Braddock took Washington as his aide-de-camp, but his expedition failed disastrously. The colonists gave little help: the promised Indian forces never appeared. Only with the utmost difficulty did he get wagons for transport, and his army had actually to make the road by which it marched. And, when at last, with fourteen hundred of his best troops, he had nearly reached the fort, his army was surprised and destroyed by a force hardly half as large, and consisting for the greater part of Indians.

Braddock and his English troops were brave enough, but they were helpless. Burdened with the stiff and heavy equipment of the European soldier of that day, they were fighting in a dense American forest, and against an active, light-armed foe well hidden behind trees and shrubs. Yet they fought exactly as they would have done on an open battlefield in Europe, with an enemy equipped like themselves and drawn up full in view. Naturally their well-ordered volleys rang out in vain against foes whom they could not even see. And the enemy, safe under cover, picked them off, one by one, with unerring skill, till two-thirds of the officers and more than half of the men were dead or wounded. Braddock himself fell after four horses had been killed under him; Washington escaped almost by a miracle; and the remnant of the little army broke up and fled.

Meanwhile the peace of 1748 proved nearly as empty a form in India as in America. The only change there, indeed, was that French and English professed to be friendly while fighting on different sides in the native quarrels, and that, for a time, they agreed, if they met in battle, to shoot each other's allies rather than fire directly at one another. The brilliant Dupleix still led the French, but he had now to face a no less brilliant Englishman.

Robert Clive was born at Market Drayton (in Shropshire) in 1725, his father being both a country squire and a lawyer. At six he was already "out of measure addicted to fighting"; as a schoolboy he was a ringleader in every kind of daring mischief; and many a neighbour breathed more freely when in 1743 he went off to India as a "writer," or clerk, in the East India Company. To his adventurous temper, however, office work was an unbearable slavery, and presently in the war with France he found a way of escape from his detested occupation. Captured by the French when they took Madras, he fled, disguised as a native, and played a leading part in the rest of the war.

Soon after the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle a new Nawab, or chief ruler, set himself up in the province of the Carnatic in southern India, by the help of Dupleix. Next year, by the same help, a new Nizam began to rule in the Deccan, north of the Carnatic. And in each case Dupleix secured for France both land and influence. But Clive and his comrade Major Lawrence now showed that Englishmen also could play this game. Like their French rivals, they had few European soldiers; but they too drilled native troops to help them, and in themselves they were more than a match for any general who came against them.

In 1751 the French were besieging the last great stronghold in the Carnatic—Trichinopoly. Suddenly Clive seized the citadel of Arcot, the capital of the province, and so forced part of the French army to abandon the siege and attack him. Then for fifty days, with few Indians and fewer Englishmen, he held the broken-down fort against a host of foes, and when at last they marched away he caught them up and beat them. Next year, though elsewhere in India the French won victories, their army outside Trichinopoly surrendered, and the Nawab they had set up was killed.

Thus Clive had shown the Indians that Frenchmen were not invincible. Moreover, he had won the admiration and the faithful service of his own native troops. The French commanders quarrelled; the French Government called Dupleix home; and the French and English Companies agreed together to fight no more in native disputes.

But meanwhile, though still without declaring war, England and France had really begun to fight at sea. In June, 1755, Admiral Boscawen did what damage a dense fog permitted to a French fleet carrying troops to Canada, and before Christmas at least three hundred French merchant ships lay in English ports as prizes of the English navy.

The Fight for Empire: The Second Struggle

William Pitt, Elder


1. The Saviour of His Country

At last, in 1756, all pretence was cast aside, and the Seven Years' War began. England allied not with her old friend, Maria Theresa of Austria, but with her old enemy, Frederic the Great of Prussia; while France joined Austria.

The struggle opened disastrously for England. The French attacked Minorca, which she had gained in 1713. Its great port—Port Mahon—was besieged. Admiral Byng came to its relief. But he was sent too late and without proper support. Also he was faint-hearted: he let the French ships get away, and then in alarm hurried back to protect Gibraltar. And so Port Mahon was taken.

England was furious. Byng was burned in effigy in many places. With more justice, the Government was attacked on every side. So the ministers had Byng tried by a court martial, which sentenced him to death; the king refused to save him; and in 1757 he was shot. But shooting the admiral did not recover the island: moreover, the loss of Minorca was only one of many calamities. In Canada the brilliant French general, Montcalm, literally wiped out the English frontier post at Oswego. And even before this the prestige of England suffered a tremendous blow in India.

In April, 1756, Suraj-ad-Daulah, a weak and vicious youth, became Nawab, or chief ruler, of Bengal. He quickly quarrelled with the English at Calcutta, and marched against them with 30,000 men. The garrison included less than 300 Englishmen. It was deserted by its Governor, and on June 20th it surrendered. That night was made for ever famous by the hideous tragedy known as "The Black Hole of Calcutta." The English prisoners—numbering a hundred and forty-six, of whom one was a woman—were thrust into a single room, the prison cell of the fortress. The cell was only 20 feet square. The one window was small and near the ceiling. The atmosphere of the crowded room, in the full height of the burning Indian summer, was suffocating. Tortured with thirst, stifled by the heat, exhausted by the vain struggle for air and water, trampled under the feet of their stronger fellow-sufferers, scores of the victims died miserably in the hours of darkness. And, when at last the day dawned and the door was opened, only twenty-three wretched men crawled out alive.

Meanwhile the Government at home was in a hopeless state. Pitt alone had the confidence of the country, but in the corrupt manner of those days the chief Minister—the Duke of Newcastle, whom the country despised—controlled the House of Commons. Neither the Duke nor Pitt, therefore, found it possible to hold office without the other: yet they had long been enemies. So, in the middle of a great war, England was left for weeks without any Government at all. Then at last the only possible settlement was arranged: Pitt and Newcastle made peace and took office together, Newcastle to manage the king and Parliament, Pitt to manage the war.

Pitt was confident that he, and he alone, could save the nation. And he longed to restore a like self-confidence in his fellow-countrymen, and destroy the cautious spirit which had lately made admirals far more famous than Byng shrink from fighting any but a clearly weaker foe.

And this he did. He had many faults. He was imperious, quarrelsome, and arrogant. He tyrannized over his colleagues, threatening them with impeachment if they thwarted his policy. He was bombastic and theatrical in manner and in speech. But he did save England. Under his rule admirals and generals came to be chosen more often for their worth and less often merely for their birth. He himself planned out the campaigns they were to fight. He let them know that he expected them to win. He inspired them with his own magnificent courage. And he showed them, too, that success would benefit themselves as well as their country.

He changed the fierce valour of the Scottish Highlanders from a source of danger to a source of strength by raising Highland regiments for the British army. Others had done this among the loyal clans, but Pitt enlisted the very men who had rebelled only a dozen years before. And, acknowledging his own youthful errors, he now recognized the value of a war on the Continent, not for its own sake, but as distracting the attention of France from the struggle in America and India. England must still aim first and foremost at conquering the French possessions oversea, especially in America; but also English and Hanoverian troops and English money should help Frederic the Great of Prussia to fight the French in Europe. For France, if thus harassed—and alarmed at times by naval raids upon her coasts—could not put forth her full strength to meet Pitt's onslaught on her colonies. Thus, in his own words, he would "win America on the plains of Germany."

Success did not come at once. There were still some disasters to be faced. In 1757, the Austrians defeated Frederic of Prussia in a great battle; while their allies, the French, invaded Hanover, and compelled the Duke of Cumberland to surrender and agree to disband his army. In Germany, on the French coast, and in Canada English fleets and armies alike were unsuccessful.

2. The Turn of the Tide

The tide, however, was soon to turn. Already Clive had avenged the outrage at Calcutta. Bringing a small fleet and army from Madras, he recovered the place, and forced the Nawab into outward friendliness. And, when Suraj-ad-Daulah plotted with the French, Clive in turn plotted with Mir Jaffier, a rich Indian noble, and promised, in return for large payments, to make him Nawab in his master's place. It was now that Clive did the deed which for ever blotted his fair fame. A certain native refused help unless he was promised an enormous bribe. The man was worthless and grasping, but his aid was important, and Clive, who thought him a villain, resolved to deal with him according to his villainy. So a copy of the English treaty with Mir Jaffier was made, and a clause put into it promising the bribe demanded. But the treaty itself contained no such clause: the bribe was not mentioned. And, though Clive himself signed the false copy, he had another signature on it forged. He thought himself justified in using trickery against a villain, but the slur he cast on English honour has never been forgiven.

Fort Louisburg


For the time, however, everything was forgotten in the triumph of the English arms at Plassey (1757). For there, with little more than 3,000 men, including only 900 Europeans, Clive routed an army fifteen times as large. Suraj-ad-Daulah was captured and killed; Mir Jaffier reigned in his stead; and, when the Dutch in Bengal presumed to show some jealousy of their English rivals, they were promptly crushed.

The year after Plassey, Pitt's own triumphs began. In July, Louisburg—"the key of Canada"—was taken by General Amherst, whose second in command was the famous Brigadier James Wolfe. In August the English captured Fort Duquesne—"the key of the great West"; and, having at last gained final possession of this long-disputed post, they replaced the French fortress by a new one, fitly named, after the great minister, Pittsburg.

But the next year, 1759, was the famous "Year of Victories," when, it was said, news of some fresh triumph came so often that one had to ask each morning what victory had been gained for fear of missing one.

The French Government had at last determined to strike hard, and to strike home, by invading England herself. The very threat, it was hoped, would force Pitt to keep back every man he could for home defence, and stop his sending fleets and armies across the sea. So flat-bottomed boats to carry 50,000 Frenchmen were built, and battle-fleets to guard the boats gathered in the harbours of Toulon and Brest. But Pitt did not behave at all as the French Government expected. He set Boscawen, indeed, with fourteen ships to blockade the French at Toulon, and Hawke, with twenty-four, to watch the French at Brest; but he also sent a fleet to Canada and a squadron to the East Indies.

And, when the threatened invasion was delayed, England took the offensive herself. The Toulon fleet, slipping out of its harbour, was pursued by Boscawen, half of it destroyed, and most of the remainder shut up in a Spanish port. Then the French Government resolved to attack Scotland instead of England and send a second smaller force to Ireland. But Hawke still held the main French fleet a prisoner in Brest, and only when the November storms drove him away for a time did the enemy get out.

Edward Hawke


Scarcely had they cleared the harbour when Hawke reappeared. Furious at their escape, he pursued them in hot haste till they sought safety in Quiberon Bay, on the west coast of France. And there, on November 20th, he won the greatest naval victory in English history since the rout of the Armada. A storm was rising; the wind blew straight on shore; the bay was full of rocks and shoals. The French admiral could hardly believe that Hawke would risk his ships where there was scarcely room to move, and Hawke's own pilot warned him against the terrible danger.

But Hawke was resolute. At last, after all his weary watching, he had a chance of crushing the enemy, and ambition and patriotism alike determined him to seize it. So the pilot was thanked for his warning, but ordered to go on. Hawke caught the enemy before they got to shelter. And—while the roar of wind and waves mingled with the booming of the cannon—six of the French ships were wrecked or captured and the rest scattered in headlong flight.

So the threatened invasion of Scotland came to nothing. In Ireland, a little later, a small French force did actually land, but within five days it fled, and was promptly captured by three English frigates which chanced to be at hand. To all intents and purposes the French navy had now vanished as a fighting force: apart from vessels sunk or wrecked, and squadrons made useless by blockades, it had lost by capture in 1759 alone twenty-seven battleships and over thirty frigates.

Meanwhile, in Germany, the English infantry had once again covered themselves with glory. For at Minden they defeated a far stronger French force, and might have utterly routed it if the commander of the English cavalry, Lord George Sackville, had not, at the critical moment, shamefully refused to charge.

3. The Conquest of Canada

[Illustration] from The Hanoverians by C. J. B. Gaskoin


But the most famous of Pitt's triumphs was won in Canada. Here Amherst was Commander-in-Chief, but James Wolfe, now a Major-General, and assisted by a fleet, was set to take Quebec. A volunteer at thirteen, a sub-lieutenant of marines at fifteen, an adjutant of infantry at sixteen, a major at eighteen, a lieutenant-colonel at twenty-three, James Wolfe had fought at Dettingen, at Falkirk, and at Culloden. He had won the praise of the Duke of Cumberland. He had made George II himself wish that "if Wolfe were mad (as some said) he would bite some of the other generals," and infect them with his own courage. By sheer genius and hard work, with no advantages of wealth or influence, he had forced his way to the front rank, and gained the confidence of Pitt. And now, at the age of thirty-two, he went to win Canada finally for England, and to die himself in the very moment of victory.

His task was singularly hard. He had only half the force he required, and he had to capture a town of great importance, planted in a situation of great natural strength, high up on a spur of land jutting out into the St. Lawrence, and beyond reach of cannon-shot from the river. The enemy were enormously superior in numbers though inferior in quality; their fortifications were most elaborate; and they had in Montcalm a general of the finest type. Wolfe's fleet arrived just too late to prevent their receiving an important convoy of food and boats. His own journey up the river took three weeks, for the French had carefully removed everything that could guide his pilots.

And, even when he had reached Quebec, eleven more weeks passed before he could force Montcalm to fight a decisive battle. The French refused to leave their entrenchments. Their guns harassed the English camps. Their shallow boats fetched supplies in safety down the river where, above the town, the water was too shallow for the English warships. Their fireships twice floated down against the English fleet, which was saved only by the gallant sailors who rowed out to meet them and towed them away to a safe spot. Their allies—Indians and Canadians (often disguised as Indians)—attacked the English with all the savage cruelty of barbarous warfare. Wolfe's one attempt to force on a battle failed completely. Autumn, with its dangerous storms, threatened soon to drive him away. And in his disappointment and anxiety his health—never strong—broke down.



At last, however, he discovered the secret of success. Early in September he sent most of his troops up the river on Admiral Holmes's ships. But enough men remained in the camps below and opposite the town to prevent the enemy from seeing that he had changed his plans, and on the night of September 12th, to deceive them still further, the French positions were attacked all along the line. One admiral made a pretence of landing a few miles above Quebec; another assailed the French entrenchments below it; the English batteries across the river bombarded the town itself. Montcalm, uncertain at which of these points the real assault would be made, had to divide his forces so as to protect them all.

And then, at dead of night, just as the tide turned, a long line of English boats, laden with the soldiers from Holmes's ships, came floating slowly down the river in the darkness to a spot not two miles above the city, where no attack was expected and Wolfe had learned that the French guard was weak. In the leading boat was Wolfe himself, with his officers and twenty-four picked men who had volunteered to make the first attempt. Feeling strongly that he would not survive the battle, he had, before starting, settled the disposal of his property in the event of his death.

But fortune was favouring his plans. Just as his men began to enter the boats the air became clouded with a mist which hid their movements. The French sentinels who challenged them as they were drifting down the stream were expecting provision boats for their own army, and so were easily satisfied. Twice, at the last moment, an accidental conflict with friends, mistaken in the darkness for foes, was just avoided. And at last, unresisted and even unheard, Wolfe's advance guard clambered up the cliffs which the French had thought no troops could climb. The whole force followed, and presently, with some 4,000 men drawn up for battle, Wolfe looked down from the Heights of Abraham on Quebec and the French entrenchments, and knew that now at last Montcalm must fight.

In the battle that followed the English infantry, standing two deep, waited silently, making no answer to the galling fire of the advancing enemy, till only forty paces separated the two armies. Then, at Wolfe's word, a single volley rang out at once all down the line. A second followed as the smoke and echo of the first died away. And then, while the French wavered and began to turn and flee, the English charged, faster and faster still as they gained upon the foe. Montcalm, trying to rally his men in defeat, was wounded to the death: Wolfe, leading his to victory, had died already. Shot in three places, and carried out of the battle, he lived just long enough to know that all was well. "They run!" he heard some one exclaim. "Who run?" "The French, sir! they give way everywhere." "God be praised! I die content." "At 11," so runs the log-book of H.M.S. Lowestoft, "came on board the corpse of General Wolfe."

Next year the English garrison in Quebec—ill-lodged, ill-clothed, ill-fed, and defeated outside the city by a far superior force—was besieged, as Montcalm had been besieged by Wolfe, but under much worse conditions. But, just when matters looked their blackest, an English fleet appeared and raised the siege, and the leading vessel in that fleet was the Lowestoft. The French fell back on Montreal; Amherst brought three armies at once against them; and early in September, almost exactly a year after Wolfe's triumphant death, Montreal surrendered, and all Canada came under English rule.

In like manner the French power was destroyed in India also. The French general, though brave and able, ruined his own plans by quarrelling with his colleagues. The French admiral—who at first had larger forces than the English—was too cautious to make good use of them. Madras, though besieged, was not taken; sea fights were generally drawn battles; at last, in the battle of Wandewash, in January, 1760, the French army was decisively defeated; and next year Pondicherry surrendered.

Meanwhile several French West Indian islands were captured. And, on the news of a fresh "family compact " between the French and Spanish kings, England declared war on Spain; and Spanish possessions in their turn became the prey of English fleets.

But in February, 1763, the war was ended by the Treaty of Paris. England, Mistress of the Sea, secured supremacy in East and West alike. She retained her conquests from France in North America, and—though she restored her conquests in India—it was on condition that France should have no army there. She retained also some of her West Indian captures; she recovered Minorca; and she received Florida from Spain. But, though her enemies had thus ample reason to crave revenge, England returned to them much that she might have kept, and would, indeed, have kept had Pitt still been in power. Pitt, however, had retired in October, 1761, when his colleagues refused to attack Spain at a favourable moment; and now, for the first time for half a century, the most important person in the Government was the king.

The Fight for Empire: England and Her Colonies

1. George III and the Power of the Crown

Queen Charlotte


When George II died in 1760 his grandson, George III, succeeded, for Frederick, Prince of Wales, had been dead, unlamented, for nearly ten years. Now George III, unlike the last two kings, was born and bred in England. He cared far more, too, about England than about Hanover, which, indeed, he never saw; and he understood English politics. In his eagerness to prove himself no foreigner, he with his own hand added to the first speech to Parliament prepared for him by his ministers the famous words "I glory in the name of Britain."

George was thus an English king: he was, moreover, a king with an unquestioned title, for the Jacobite danger had now died away. Hence he saw no reason for leaving all power to the Whigs, as if, like the first two Georges, he could not do without them. Instead, he resolved to employ men of all parties, so long as they were loyal to the Crown. Further, he would recover for himself some at least of the powers which earlier kings had enjoyed.

He did not, indeed, mean to be a tyrant. He did not mean even to go back to the Stuart plan of governing benevolently but as "an absolute king," that is, by his own will and authority alone. He meant not only to rule well, but also to rule with Parliament. Only, he wanted to be like earlier sovereigns who had understood the English language and English affairs. He wanted to take the chief part in deciding policy, in guiding Parliament, and in all the business of government. He wanted not  to be treated like an ignorant and incapable foreigner, who must necessarily leave everything to his English ministers.

George III


At first sight the plan seemed sound and sensible. It was not illegal: the law books said much about the powers of the king and nothing at all about the powers of the Cabinet, which in fact rested not on law at all, but simply on custom and convenience. It was not likely to be unpopular: the sole rule of one party had already been attacked by the most popular man in England, William Pitt. Nor was it wrong: George was aiming not at gaining power for selfish ends, but at becoming the father of his people. He certainly freely used bribery and corruption to form a party of his own—"The King's Friends"—but even in this he did only what the Whigs themselves had done for fifty years, and what too many then thought unavoidable.

Yet there were two fatal flaws in George's plan. First, he was himself unfit to rule and guide a great country. He had, indeed, many virtues. He was brave, hardworking, and patriotic. He had also many sensible tastes. He loved country life and sports: he was so much interested in agriculture that he earned the nickname of "Farmer George." And by sheer hard work he gained a wide and valuable knowledge of government business.

But he was badly educated, obstinate, prejudiced, and in many ways stupid. He was angered by opposition, unable or unwilling to recognize greater ability in others, unforgiving to those who once offended him. Also he was liable, even in early days, to fits of violent excitement, and more and more, as time went on, these fits tended to become attacks of madness.

He mismanaged his own family. He and Queen Charlotte did indeed set their subjects an excellent example of virtuous home life, and their children grew up in a most respectable Court. But the very sternness of the discipline perhaps defeated its own ends: at any rate, most of the sons turned out badly in later years.

In the same way George mismanaged his Empire. In the American Rebellion, especially, he played the part of a stern father to the colonies with the most disastrous results. At home he was not, indeed, generally unpopular, for his dogged courage and bluff honesty were virtues which Englishmen admired, and his failings were such as many Englishmen shared. Even the stories of his simple-mindedness, especially the famous tale of his wondering how an apple could ever get inside a dumpling, made the people like him while they laughed at him. And when he was old, and blind, and ill, pity was added to the general feeling of affection and respect.

But in one way the very fact that he did not differ greatly from his people helped to make him unfit to lead them. For it showed that he was no greater than they in wisdom or virtue or ability. And none of his mistakes were worse than those in which (as in the American question) most of his subjects shared. Yet his jealousy of superior men made it certain that, while his system lasted, no man really fitted to be a national leader would be allowed in power.

Again, even if George had been far cleverer and wiser, his scheme could never have succeeded permanently. For it was now the law in England that "the king can do no wrong"—i.e.  that not the king himself, but some minister, must be punishable for every error of the Government. Therefore, naturally, ministers and not the king must decide what the Government should do. The king could not both enjoy power and escape responsibility.

After many struggles George did indeed secure power in 1770, and kept it for over ten years. Lord North, the head of the ministry from 1770 to 1782, was little more than his mouthpiece: George himself managed the whole business of Government, and every minister received orders directly from him. So the House of Commons had good ground for its famous resolution that "the power of the Crown had increased and was increasing."

But the Resolution added that this power "ought to be diminished," and that was soon accomplished: For, when the king's policy caused the loss of the American colonies, the king's system was overthrown. He had dictated the policy, and he had to pay the penalty. He was not, indeed, beheaded like Charles I, or even exiled like James II. But he was forced to put into office ministers whom he detested, and let them carry out a policy which he abhorred.

Presently, it is true, he turned them out, and once more chose his own Prime Minister. Yet even then his power was not restored. For the new Prime Minister was the younger Pitt, and he finally established the rule that the policy of the nation should be guided by the ministers and not the king. George might agree, or argue, or grumble, or even occasionally reject Pitt's proposals, but the proposals themselves were made by Pitt, and George's part was only the secondary one of criticising them. And in everything that Pitt considered essential his will prevailed.

Apart from this question, the reign of George III was remarkable mainly for three things—the revolt of the American colonies; the long struggle against France, from 1793 to 1815; and the "Industrial Revolution." Of these only the first falls within the Age of Chatham. The second was the chief event in the Age of Pitt. The third, beginning before Chatham rose to power and continuing long after his son was dead, belongs to neither Age, but must be treated by itself.

2. Mother and Children

Family of George III


The Seven Years' War brought great gains to England, but left behind it many difficulties. It left France and Spain thirsting for revenge, and building up their navies for this purpose, while England foolishly let hers decay. It left Frederic the Great of Prussia furious at what he considered England's "desertion" of him in 1763, and resolved never to ally with her again. It left the Powers of Northern Europe disgusted by the interference of the English navy with their trading ships in time of war, and determined to prevent such conduct for the future. Above all, it left England herself and her colonies intensely irritated against each other, and likely to become even more so.

The feeling between them was never, perhaps, very cordial. To begin with, they did not in the least understand one another. The distance between them was too great. In those days six weeks was thought a quick passage across the Atlantic: most travellers took far longer, even if they luckily found a ship ready to sail just when they wanted to start. Regular services of mail-boats or passenger ships did not exist: steamships and telegrams and telephones, of course, were not yet invented. Consequently, Englishmen and Americans knew little of each other, and saw less. Further, what little the English Government did hear of American affairs came chiefly from colonial Governors, who were far too often quarrelling with their subjects to represent them fairly.

So misunderstandings were only too likely to arise, and both English policy and American feeling were only too likely to provoke them. Few English statesmen realized that the colonies were, so to speak, no longer children, but grown-up people, with the same desire to manage their own affairs, and pay only taxes to which they themselves had consented, that Englishmen at home had shown for centuries. Perhaps the colonies were treated too much as if they existed only to benefit the Mother Country. At least, their trade was hampered by "Navigation Acts "expressly intended by Parliament to strengthen rather the British Empire as a whole than merely the thirteen colonies themselves.

The Americans, in turn, though still thinking of England as "the old home," were not greatly interested in her doings, especially after 1688. They disliked her interference with their trade. They were unnecessarily afraid that she might some day interfere with their religion. They often heartily disliked the Governors she set over them, and defied her attempts to dictate the methods by which these Governors should be paid. More and more they felt both able and desirous to do everything for themselves. And some at least of their leaders aimed, if not at actual separation from England, yet certainly at practical independence of her.

Two things, however, had long prevented an open quarrel. While France, from Canada and Louisiana, threatened the very existence of the colonies, they needed the might of England to defend them. And, while England winked at the smuggling which defeated her Navigation Laws, those laws were not worth fighting about. But in the first years of George III both these safeguards disappeared. The Seven Years' War destroyed the French power in America, and the English minister Grenville tried to enforce the Navigation Acts. Thus at the very same moment the value of the connection with England dwindled and its disadvantages increased.

Moreover the war itself had caused bad feeling. Englishmen thought the colonists gave far too little towards the cost of a struggle which, after all, was fought mainly for their sakes, and considered them therefore mean and unpatriotic. Americans replied that they had given all they could afford, or more, and that as a matter of fact the quarrel with France was England's and not theirs. Also they were furious at the haughtiness and the stupidity of many English officers.



Lastly, the enormous cost of the war intensified the long-cherished desire of English statesmen to lay upon the colonies themselves at least part of the burden of their defence and government. This desire itself was reasonable, but the difficulties in the way were great. It was impossible to make the colonies join in voting the money themselves. They were far too jealous and too different in character and interests to act together unless driven to do so by some great common danger. Yet they answered every suggestion that they should pay taxes voted in the English Parliament with the cry "No taxation without representation!" As they had no share in electing the House of Commons, they argued, it had no right to tax them. Yet the English Government, seeing nothing else to do, resolved to levy taxes. And the attempts to enforce them led first to rioting, then to war, and at last to a final separation.

[Illustration] from The Hanoverians by C. J. B. Gaskoin


The Fight for Empire: The American Rebellion

Ben Franklin


1. The Growth of the Quarrel

Grenville's "Stamp Act" (1765) required all legal documents in America to bear stamps bought from Government, and the payments made for the stamps were to go towards the cost of ruling the colonies. Grenville allowed the colonists a year to suggest any better way of raising the money. They suggested nothing. Only, when the Act came into force, they resisted it with violence. The great Irish orator, Edmund Burke, knew American feeling far better than most Englishmen. He admitted that the Act was legal, but insisted that it was foolish, since it would certainly be resisted, and the Government was not prepared to crush resistance by force.

So the next ministry repealed the Act. But, by the "Declaratory Act," it also asserted the right of Parliament to levy such taxes if it chose. This pleased nobody and settled nothing. For England failed to get the money in the way she had asked for it, and the colonists made no attempt to give it her in any other way. Yet she still maintained her legal right to tax them, and—just because they would not tax themselves—she naturally still wished to do so. Hence very soon the trouble began.

In 1767 the leading minister, Pitt (now Earl of Chatham), unfortunately fell ill. Thereupon Charles Townshend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, did what Chatham himself would never have done. He imposed a number of new "customs" on goods imported into America. Now, in the earlier quarrel, many Americans and their English friends had expressly recognized the right of Parliament to levy customs at American ports, and objected only to taxes of other kinds, such as the Stamp Duty. Indeed, as the colonists had always paid such customs as they did not escape by smuggling, they could hardly say now that customs were illegal.

Nevertheless, it was plain that Townshend's customs had precisely the same object as Grenville's Stamp Duty. They were intended to make Americans contribute as Parliament thought fit to the cost of their own government. And accordingly they were at once resisted. The colonists now refused to pay new taxes of any kind unless voted by a Parliament in which they were represented.

The Assembly of Massachusetts led the resistance; it was dissolved by the Governor; nevertheless, it continued to sit. Rioters attacked the customs officers in Boston. Troops were ordered into the city, whereupon the Assembly called on the citizens to arm themselves. Trouble between the citizens and the soldiers was constant, and at last, in a riot in 1770, three men were killed and five wounded. Some of the soldiers were at once tried for murder. They were tried fairly and were acquitted, but the so-called "Boston Massacre" was used unfairly to rouse resistance to the "tyranny "of England.

Edmund Burke


Meanwhile the English Government earned both the hatred and the contempt of the colonists. It would not use force; it actually repealed nearly all Townshend's duties, which, indeed, even his colleagues generally disliked; and North, who became chief minister in 1770, was willing to abandon the struggle altogether. But North was controlled by George III, and George III would never yield to rebels. So the tea duty was kept on just to show that England still could tax the colonies, and would tax them when she chose. The colonies, therefore, naturally considered the English Government an enemy, which did not crush them only because it dared not.

For three years the trouble continued. A personal matter increased it. Hutchinson, Governor of Massachusetts, wrote private letters to the English ministers, urging the severest measures. Benjamin Franklin, a famous American printer and writer, then in England, opened them, read them, and passed them on to other men, who made them public. Forthwith both worlds were in a flame. Americans, furious with Hutchinson for writing the letters, demanded his dismissal. Englishmen, furious with Franklin for reading and using them, insulted him until he became their fiercest and most formidable foe. The plain brown suit which he wore when George III's Council examined him on the question was put away with care that night. He never wore it again till, nine years later, he signed at Paris the Treaty by which George III recognized the independence of the United States.

Finally, a trifling incident brought the long quarrel to a head. In 1773—intending not to anger the colonists, but simply to help the East India Company—Lord North allowed it to ship tea straight from India to America instead of taking it first to England, as had hitherto been required. And on tea thus shipped he so reduced the customs that Americans would actually get their tea more cheaply than Englishmen at home. Only the reduced tax—a mere 3d. per lb.—would of course be levied in American ports by the authority of Parliament. And it was on this point that the American leaders fixed their whole attention. They said that by reducing the tax North was trying to bribe them into accepting the claim of Parliament. They were probably wrong, but they were none the less positive.

They resolved to prevent payment. Indeed, they went farther. The customs were not due till the tea was actually sold; but they would not allow it even to be landed. They bade all the merchants to whom it was sent decline to receive it. At Boston this demand was refused, a riot followed, and a merchant's house was destroyed. The Governor called on the Town Council to help him in keeping the peace. It was in vain. A popular meeting took to itself the powers of a Government and forbade the landing of the cargoes. Unfortunately, the law required that, having entered the harbour, they should be landed. Hutchinson would not override the law in order to prevent disaster. So on December 16, 1774, a mob of young men, disguised as Red Indians in war-paint and feathers, boarded the ships and threw the tea-chests into the harbour.

This "Boston Tea-party "was no mere sudden popular riot: it was a deliberate, violent defiance of the Government. No one now doubts that England had been foolish. She had shut her eyes and ears to the real grievances of the colonists. She had insisted on claims which she knew would be resisted and which she was not ready to make good by force. Yet no one now doubts that it was natural or even necessary for her to punish severely this last flagrant defiance of authority. Obedience to the law must be enforced, even if the law which caused the trouble was itself wisely repealed.

Yet it is commonly agreed that the methods of punishment chosen were disastrously mistaken. The offenders, after all, were only a part—the actual offenders only a very small part—of the inhabitants of a single colony, Massachusetts, and its capital, Boston. But England, in her wrath, struck far and wide. She closed the port of Boston and removed the government of Massachusetts to Salem, and thereby injured all the citizens alike, innocent as well as guilty. She withdrew the "charter" which gave political rights to Massachusetts, and thereby not only injured the whole colony, but roused in other colonies a fear of similar treatment. And she made it lawful to carry Americans oversea for trial in England, lest their fellow-countrymen should not try them honestly, and thereby threatened and insulted every inhabitant of every colony alike.

These measures did not pass through Parliament unchallenged. Men like Chatham and Burke and Fox defended the colonists for rejecting the tea tax, even if they could not approve of all their methods. Chatham urged Parliament to create an American Assembly and leave it to raise the necessary taxes. But the king and North did not see the greatness of the danger. They thought they were dealing with just a riotous outbreak in a single city: they never realized that behind it was the feeling of half America.

Events, however, soon opened their eyes. North offered not to tax any colony which of its own accord made a suitable grant of money. Not one replied. Twelve of the thirteen colonies—all except Georgia—sent representatives to a Congress, showing that in resisting the Government at least they could act together. "Loyalists," or American supporters of the English Government, in Massachusetts were tarred and feathered and otherwise brutally ill-treated. Troops were raised, arms collected, gunpowder stored. Slowly England and her colonies drifted towards civil war.

2. The Rebellion

War began in April, 1775. Some English troops sent to destroy a collection of military stores at Lexington were attacked by a colonial force as they returned, and suffered heavily. Presently General Howe brought more troops from England. A second American Congress—now including Georgia—raised an army to fight them. In June, to defend Boston, the English fought and won the battle of Bunker Hill, but again suffered far more than the enemy. And, though the colonists failed when they invaded Canada, where English policy had been wise and generous, in March, 1776, the English abandoned Boston.

Meanwhile, the Congress had sent the king a "Petition," attacking his policy, which George, considering the Congress an illegal body, refused even to receive. His Government threatened vigorous measures against the rebels, and sent to Germany for troops to fight them. And at last, in 1776, on July 4th, a day ever afterwards celebrated as "Independence Day," the thirteen colonies cast off the rule of George III by the "Declaration of Independence," and became the United States of America.

Washington Headquaraters


In the struggle which followed the Americans had great advantages. They fought in a land which they knew and for a cause which many of them had really at heart. They used methods suitable to the country. And—though their troops were hard to keep together, and often short both of provisions and of arms—yet all America was open to their commanders to secure fresh recruits and more supplies. Above all, though some generals were bad and others treacherous, the commander-in-chief was Washington. And Washington was the one man under whom the colonists might win. He had experience in war; he had wisdom and patience; he had the respect of every man who knew him; and he was devoted heart and soul to the cause for which he fought.

The English, on the other hand, were three thousand miles from home. They had to draw all supplies and reinforcements from a distance. They depended absolutely on retaining the command of the sea. They used methods of war learned in Europe, and quite unfitted for America. The English troops were brave, but unsuited to American warfare. The German troops were unsatisfactory, and as foreigners angered the colonists against English ministers who had hired foreign swords to kill men of their own blood. The Red Indian allies caused even greater anger, though in employing them England only imitated the Americans themselves. The English generals were often commonplace and slack. The English War Minister was the very man who had disgraced himself and spoiled the English victory at Minden. And the forces sent out at first were but small, because the English Government thought too lightly of its task: yet the country to be conquered was so huge that only an enormous army could succeed.

Scene of Saratoga


Nevertheless, so great were the difficulties of Washington, plagued as he was by the jealousy, suspicion, and half-heartedness of some Americans, that he more than once despaired of success. And so superior to her colonies, in strength and resources, was England that, had she acted with speed and decision, she must have, beaten them, whether or not they could have been long held by force, or would have been worth keeping on such terms.

Unfortunately, however, her ministers and generals, all the time that they waged war, were thinking how they might best arrange a peace. General Howe "went out with a sword in one hand and an olive-branch in the other," and naturally, therefore, neither fought nor negotiated to the best effect. He won victories, but never pressed the enemy hard: he urged peace, but his persuasions took the form of threats. For this wavering policy the great differences of opinion at home as to the justice of the war were partly answerable. Many held that it should never have been begun. North himself carried out the king's policy with great reluctance. Chatham and Burke ceaselessly attacked it. Fox and a few others actually rejoiced at every British defeat. So in Parliament, clearly, opinion was hopelessly divided, even if for some time most of the nation followed the king.

Gates Headquarters


But it was her old enemy France that dealt England the fatal blow. By the autumn of 1777 Howe, in spite of failures, had occupied New York and Philadelphia, and defeated Washington on the Brandywine River. Burgoyne, marching victoriously from Canada, was ordered to meet him, and join forces for a united effort. The plan was good, but when Burgoyne arrived he found no Howe awaiting him. Lord George Germaine, leaving his office early one day for his private pleasure, had omitted to write the proper instructions, and Howe had little idea what he was expected to do. So Burgoyne, surrounded by the enemy, cut off from Canada, unable even to feed his troops, surrendered to the American general, Gates, at Saratoga Springs, with nearly five thousand men.

3. The General War

George Washington


Saratoga was the turning-point of the war. This was not indeed chiefly because it ruined an English campaign which might have brought the struggle to an end, or even because it encouraged the colonists when Washington himself was almost in despair. The English won victories later which almost wiped out the shame of their disaster. The Americans spoilt their triumph by breaking the terms of surrender, and Washington's worst time—the winter at Valley Forge, 1777-78—was yet to come.

But the essential thing was that Saratoga decided France to aid the colonies. She had long thirsted for revenge on England. French sympathy, French money, French volunteers—even (secretly) cannon and arms from the French Government—had already gone out to the Americans. But only now did France become their open ally, binding them to accept from England nothing short of independence.

Then all the mischief done by the Seven Years' War became apparent. England was already fighting her colonists partly in consequence of the debt caused by that war. France, seeking revenge for her defeat in it, now aided them. Soon Spain joined the alliance. Next, the unfriendly conduct of Holland led England to declare war on her. Then Russia and other northern countries banded themselves together in the "Armed Neutrality" to resist by force England's claim to search their ships on the high seas. And still Frederic of Prussia—sulking at Berlin—would neither help England nor distract the attention of her enemies.

[Illustration] from The Hanoverians by C. J. B. Gaskoin


These events entirely changed the character of the war. England's undisputed mastery of the sea was gone. Her fleets, hitherto unopposed, had now to face three great navies. Moreover, they had now not only to support the British army in America, but also to defend British possessions throughout the world. Certainly, for various reasons, the French and Spanish fleets did far less than was expected. Possibly, if England had massed her ships at a few points for attacks on the enemy, instead of scattering them all over the globe, in a vain attempt to defend everything at once, she might still have won. Even as it was the action of France roused the patriotism of many Englishmen who had abhorred the war with the colonists, and Chatham died calling on his countrymen to resist the ancient enemy by land and sea. And by land and sea alike England still sometimes won a victory.

Nevertheless, the French navy carried thousands of French soldiers to America. When Lord Cornwallis was besieged in Yorktown it was French ships that brought American soldiers to the siege and beat off the English squadron which tried to aid him. And, when he could hold out no longer, it was again the arrival of a French and not an English fleet that caused the last and decisive disaster of the war. Cornwallis surrendered his army to the Americans; but his ships and sailors he surrendered to the French. The struggle in America was now practically over, and by the Peace of Paris in 1783 England recognized the independence of the United States.



Yet France and Spain had gained but little for themselves. Minorca, indeed, had fallen, but the garrison of Gibraltar, though suffering untold hardships in a three years' siege, would never yield. Twice an English fleet brought it relief, and then a third time the enemy closed in by land and sea. The English were outnumbered by more than four to one. On the land side three hundred guns were massed against them. In the harbour lay sixty men of war and eighty gunboats, while ten huge floating batteries, mounting a hundred and fifty cannon, belched forth their red-hot shot by day and night. But the heroic commandant, George Elliot, was nothing daunted. In one day he set fire to every floating battery, each in its turn blowing up with appalling loss. At last a third relieving fleet arrived, and the garrison was saved.

Admiral Rodney


A few months later Admiral Rodney won a brilliant victory over the French fleet in the West Indies (April, 1782), which prevented the allies from attacking Jamaica, and brought the naval war virtually to an end. It has been named the Battle of the Saints, because it was fought among islands named after various saints.

So at the Peace of Versailles, though England lost her thirteen colonies, she yielded little to her two ancient enemies. And, as far as profit was concerned, even the loss of the colonies soon seemed only a blessing in disguise, for her trade with them grew apace directly they were unhampered by her Navigation Acts.

George Washington


Pitt in Peace

1. After the War

The loss of the American colonies was a tremendous blow to England's reputation. Friends and foes alike thought that her sun was setting, and only decay and weakness lay before her. Few guessed that soon her rising trade and industry would make her wealthier and stronger than she had ever been. All saw her present failure and humiliation and her urgent need for reform both at home and in the remaining fragments of her Empire beyond the seas.

The king's plan of government had broken down, for it had brought disaster on the country. Parliament was shamefully corrupt, and, owing to the out-of-date methods of election, hardly a tenth of the people had any share in choosing its members. The system of taxation was both burdensome and wasteful, and condemned by the best thinkers on the subject, especially by the famous Glasgow professor, Adam Smith. Harsh and useless laws harassed Roman Catholics and Protestant Dissenters. The scenes provoked by the repeal of still harsher laws had lately proved the pitiable weakness of the Government; for in the "Gordon Riots" a brutal mob, shouting "No Popery!" and led by a crack-brained nobleman, had held London at its mercy till the unfailing courage of the king restored order. In Europe the government of Ireland, in Asia the government of India, in America the government of Canada, demanded sweeping changes.

Thus in every direction England needed to put her house in order For this two things were quite essential: first, peace and leisure; secondly, the appearance of a great reformer. For a time it seemed that England had secured both. For ten years she waged no war, and towards the close of that period the Prime Minister, in a famous speech, prophesied a further fifteen years of peace. And that Prime Minister, the younger William Pitt, was himself the reformer that the times required.

He came to power in a notable way. In 1783 North, but lately the king's obedient tool, joined hands with Charles James Fox, the arch-foe of the king's influence, to overthrow Lord Shelburne, the minister whom the king had just appointed. And thereupon George III found himself almost forced to accept a "Coalition Government" led by Fox and North. Now Fox had been the bitterest of all North's enemies; he had clamoured for the trial, even for the execution, of North and his colleagues; he had declared himself ready to be thought "the most infamous of mankind" if ever he made terms with them. Hence the new alliance could only disgust the country and enrage the king. Ordinary men saw in it a greedy snatch at power and profit by two unscrupulous men. The king saw also a dastardly plot to force on him the most detestable of all his subjects.

For Fox was not only the ancient enemy of North. He was the boon companion of the king's own son, the drinking and gambling Prince of Wales. He had led the bitterest attacks on the king's system of government, and the most outrageous rejoicings over the defeat of the king's troops in America. And but a few months since he had headed the ministers who resigned office rather than accept the leader whom the king had chosen.

Yet there seemed but one way of escaping the Coalition, and that was to set up against Fox his lifelong rival, the younger Pitt.

2. The Rivals

William Pitt, the Younger


Born in 1759—his father's famous "year of victories"—Pitt was ten years younger than Fox. Both were the sons and the idols of famous fathers. Both were great orators. Both spent their lives in politics. And both, as politicians, were reformers. But otherwise their careers and characters were full of contrasts.

Chatham despised wealth and worshipped power. Lord Holland, Fox's father, gave up the pursuit of power for the sake of those very profits of the Paymaster's Office which Chatham had scorned to take. Chatham trained his son from early boyhood to be an orator and a statesman. Holland taught his son every vice of a vicious society. And in each case the training bore its fruit.

Fox, indeed, was naturally of a noble character. He was profoundly generous—a passionate lover of liberty and justice, ready to sacrifice everything he possessed for the causes in which he believed. He had, moreover, a wonderful personal charm, which neither his vicious life, nor his coarse features, nor his clumsy figure, nor his slovenly dress could destroy. But he was noted for dissipation in a dissipated age. His gambling debts were enormous. And in politics his violence in word and deed—especially in attacking George III's government and defending American rebels and French Revolutionists—made ordinary Englishmen think him disloyal to his country and his king.

Charles James Fox


Pitt, on the other hand, lacked most of the genial graces of his rival. His manner was often reserved, stern, even haughty, though at times he could unbend. He did not charm, he awed, his followers. As a reformer he was cautious rather than enthusiastic. As an orator he never let himself be carried away by passion. He was intensely ambitious. He clung almost too eagerly to office. And once or twice he stooped to a revenge which the generous Fox would have found impossible.

But, apart from excessive drinking, for which his doctor must be chiefly blamed, he had but one vice—extravagance. He was as incorruptible, as contemptuous of wealth and titles, as Chatham himself; and as far as possible he swept corruption out of public life. Above all, he was so passionately devoted to his country that to many men in his generation Pitt seemed to mean England, and England Pitt.

3. "A Kingdom in a Schoolboy's Care"

A sickly child, copiously dosed with the port wine that caused his later gout, Pitt could not share the active pleasures of other boys. And the time and energy which they gave to games and sports he spent chiefly in study. So at fourteen he was already a scholar at Cambridge. At twenty-one he became a barrister. Shortly afterwards he entered Parliament.

Chatham was now dead, and his title had passed to Pitt's elder brother. But Chatham's mantle fell on Pitt himself, who, following in his father's footsteps, assailed North's ministry, now tottering to its fall. A little later he refused a place in a new ministry because he was not to be in the Cabinet. In the next Government he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, and when it fell the king turned to him to save him from the Coalition. Thus a youth of twenty-three was invited, almost entreated, by his sovereign to head the English Government.

Young as he was, however, he had the wisdom to refuse. Fox and North had a great majority in the Commons, and even in the country time was needed to rouse the public wrath against them. Pitt, too, had no mind to owe his power solely to the Crown—to be (like North in 1770–82) the mere mouthpiece of the king. He would wait till some mischance or blunder gave the enemy into his hand, and he could take office with the certainty of support not only from the king, but from both the Commons and the country.

So George had to admit Fox and North to power, and endure their rule for eight months with what patience he could command. But at last his chance came. Fox introduced a "Bill for the Better Government of India." It was not a bad Bill. On the contrary, it was a much-needed measure of reform, such as Pitt himself was soon to pass. But it enabled Fox and his supporters, whether in or out of office, practically to control for four years all the vast and valuable "patronage," or right of filling offices, in India. And it was easy to represent this as one last crowning proof of the greed and insolence of the Coalition, an impudent attempt to snatch the diadem from George III and place it on the head of Mr. Fox."

The king and Pitt saw and seized their opportunity. Pictures and pamphlets and speeches stirred up public feeling, and placed the Bill in the most odious light. George could not, indeed, defeat it in the Commons. But—with a directness that Queen Elizabeth herself might have envied—he stated that he "would regard not only as not his friend, but as his enemy," any peer who voted for it. So in the House of Lords it was rejected. Thereupon the ministry, with extreme violence, denounced the conduct of the king. The king, with extreme discourtesy, drove the ministers from his service. And Pitt—now twenty-four years old—took office at the head of a Cabinet full of noblemen as superior to him in age as they were inferior in ability.

His appointment seemed to amuse his enemies no less than it disgusted them. They jeered at the spectacle of "a kingdom trusted to a schoolboy's care." They prophesied his speedy downfall. They defeated his proposals. They denounced his conduct. They demanded his dismissal. But his courage and his confidence never failed. He refused the king's offer to dissolve Parliament and appeal at once to the country. He faced the storming opposition unflinchingly day by day, till its abusive violence and its insolence to the king roused the anger of the nation—till it began to lose supporters even in Parliament—till, indeed, the majority against him in the Commons sank to a majority of one.

Then he dissolved. And the answer of the country was unmistakable. It approved the firmness of the king. It condemned the violence of the Opposition. It welcomed the famous and familiar name of Pitt. It delighted in the courage, the self-confidence, the noble scorn of wealth, which already marked the new bearer of that name, as they had marked his father before him. And it cast out from their place in Parliament a hundred and sixty of Fox's followers—"Fox's Martyrs" they were called in jest—and sent Pitt back to rule not for the few days or weeks which Fox had foretold, but for a longer time than any Prime Minister before or since.

4. Nine Years of Peace

For nine years Pitt worked his hardest at the tasks to which his country had called him. He cleared off much of the debt due to the late war and arranged to pay off more and more each succeeding year. He began to put into practice some of the teaching of Adam Smith. He lowered the tea duties to discourage smuggling. He made the whole customs system simpler, cheaper, and more profitable to the State. He concluded a famous commercial treaty with France. He tried to give Ireland all the commercial privileges of Great Britain, though here he failed, largely through the jealousy of English manufacturers and merchants. He passed an Act for the Government of India which, whatever its defects, held its place for over seventy years. He passed another Act to improve the Government of Canada. He supported proposals to abolish slavery. He actually carried measures which lessened the grievances of Roman Catholics. And he made a third and last vain effort to induce the House of Commons to reform itself.

Adam Smith


Meanwhile England enjoyed peace and prosperity. Her debt diminished and her revenue grew: her manufactures developed and her trade increased. Nor was the Empire neglected. A Spanish attempt to seize Vancouver, which would have cut off Canada from the Pacific Ocean, was promptly checked. And even on the Continent the voice of England, raised in the interests of peace, was heard with a respect which few in 1783 would have believed possible.

Pitt's government was not, indeed, entirely beyond reproach. Convinced of his own value to his country, he was perhaps even too eager to remain in office, too lukewarm in supporting causes which might possibly endanger his power—Parliamentary Reform, Justice to Ireland, the Abolition of Slavery. And, convinced of the necessity of peace, he neglected disastrously the means of war—the navy and, far more, the army.

Yet he certainly worked wonders. He reformed the finances of the country. He increased her wealth. He purified her political life—abandoning every form of corruption: indeed, he was so careful not to seem to bribe his supporters that he disgusted many by never even inviting them to dinner. And he looked forward hopefully to many years of prosperous reform.

But his work was quickly tried by an unexpected test—a struggle with France almost as long as the fight against Louis XIV, and far more dangerous and exhausting. For before his task was half finished, and in spite of every effort to avoid it, he was forced into a war which ended only long after he and Fox alike had died, and their royal master had sunk into final madness; a war, too, which drove Pitt to give up, even to resist, the very plans of reform for which he himself had once fought.

Pitt in War: The French Revolution

1. Prophets of Good and Evil

Attack on the Bastille


In 1789 news reached England that the French nation had risen at last against the despotism of its kings, and was building up a constitutional government on the English plan. The tidings were not unwelcome. Englishmen had long thought the Frenchman in his wooden shoes the best example of miserable slavery. One of the greatest difficulties in Walpole's Excise scheme was that there was an Excise in France. "No Slavery! No Excise! No Wooden Shoes!" cried his opponents, and the cry was worth more than any sensible argument. So English friends of liberty—especially Fox and the famous poets, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey—rejoiced at the news that the slaves had at last determined to be free.

Further, England herself had had a revolution just a hundred years before, and Englishmen who believed that France was simply following their example were naturally flattered as well as interested. Some, too, sympathized doubly with the French Revolutionists because they themselves had grievances, such as being refused a share in the government because they were not landowners or did not belong to the National Church.

Such men even hoped in some ways to imitate the French. Societies like "The Corresponding Society" and "The Friends of the People" were established to push on reform in England, and sent messengers to express their friendliness to the National Assembly sitting in Paris. Meanwhile English statesmen like Pitt hoped that if the Bourbon kings of France became less powerful she would be less hostile to England, less ready to help the Bourbon kings of Spain in every quarrel. At least, they thought, a France busied with revolution at home could have no leisure for mischief-making abroad.

Outbreak of French Revolution


But presently the violent doings in France—the sweeping changes, the brutal massacres—roused first misgivings and then wild anger and alarm. And Burke, the champion of the American rebellion, himself led the attack on the French movement. His famous "Reflections on the French Revolution" appeared late in 1790. The French, he cried, were struggling not for liberty but for licence. If left alone they would destroy alike government and order, property and religion, first at home and then in other countries. This teaching was instantly and widely accepted. The King urged "every gentleman" to read the book. The Church, for the most part, echoed Burke's words. So did the majority of the upper classes. Merchants and manufacturers felt their commercial interests threatened. Even the great mass of shopkeepers and working men shared in the general alarm.

The answers to Burke's book increased rather than decreased its influence. For moderate replies made no impression, and violent replies only seemed to show how true were his warnings of the dangerous spirit that was abroad. And when the French began to slay their nobles, when they imprisoned, deposed, and finally executed their king, when London was filled with men of high birth, and once of great wealth, reduced to abject poverty and fleeing for their lives from their own countrymen, then Burke gained all the prestige of a successful prophet.

2. Panic and War

Louis XVI of France


The effect was immense. Enemies of reform in England became doubly hostile. Moderate reformers hung back. Extreme reformers were tempted to a violence in speech, if not in action, which only strengthened the ill-feeling against them. Suspicion filled the air. Secret committees of Parliament declared that conspiracies were hatching to overthrow the Government. Spies of the ministry watched and hunted for signs of evil. Exaggerated tales of treason and plot were busily circulated and readily believed. Burke himself hurled a dagger on to the floor of the House of Commons, crying that three thousand such weapons had been ordered from Birmingham by English revolutionaries. Even Pitt yielded to the panic.

He gave up all thought of Parliamentary reform, declaring that the time was now unsuitable. He passed harsh laws to control public meetings, to check the change freedom of the Press, to suppress sedition at home, to prevent communications with the revolutionaries abroad. Foreigners in the British Isles were placed under the closest observation. Many of George III's own subjects—not real traitors, but the mildest advocates of change—were brought to trial, and, in Scotland especially, punished with extreme severity.

French National Assembly


In all this Pitt was supported by the great bulk of the panic-stricken nation. Fox and his followers, indeed, still applauded the French, and denounced Pitt's doings as tyrannical. But Fox's followers were few, and growing ever fewer. Most of the Whigs presently joined Pitt, and some of their leaders even entered his Cabinet. But this was due not merely to the fear of possible revolution but also to the immediate danger caused by actual war with France.

Pitt had avoided war till it was thrust upon him. He said that England had no business to meddle with the domestic affairs of France. He knew that his reforms must cease if war broke out. So he would not give either money or men to either party in the struggle. Nor would he join the kings and emperors of Europe in the war by which they meant to save the lives of Louis XVI and his beautiful Queen, Marie Antoinette, but which in fact only hastened their destruction.

But presently the rising anger of King and Court and Church and Country became too strong for Pitt to stand against. France, too, by publicly offering to help any people which rose against its Government, declared herself the foe of every throne in Europe. And at last England found herself forced to choose between war and a breach of treaties that Pitt himself had made.

Marie Antoinette


Late in 1792 the French, hitherto, defeated the Austrians and Russians in Belgium. The victory roused in revolutionary France the same ambitions that her Bourbon kings had so long cherished and England had so long resisted. Belgium was occupied by French troops. A French invasion of Holland—the other part of the Netherlands—was planned. And the River Scheldt was declared to be, "by natural right," open to trade of every nation.

But England had always insisted that the Netherlands must be independent of France. Pitt himself had made a treaty promising help to Holland if she was attacked. And, whatever "natural right" might say, England was bound by other treaties to keep the Scheldt shut against the trade of all nations except the Dutch. Thus war could hardly be avoided. And day by day ill-feeling between France and England grew. The French envoy in London meddled in English politics. England refused to treat the French Republic as a lawful Government. The French executed their king. England dismissed the French envoy. And at last, on February 1, 1793, France declared war on both England and Holland.

3. Faithlessness and Failure



The war thus begun lasted till 1801. At first England joined with the other Powers in the "First Coalition," or alliance; then she was left to fight alone; then the "Second Coalition" was formed, but lasted even a shorter time than the first; and then came the Peace of Amiens, which was really simply a truce. In 1793 England and Austria, Russia, Prussia, Portugal, Spain, and certain smaller States agreed to restore the Bourbon family to the throne of France, and take for themselves some of her possessions. England was to supply troops and ships, but, above all, money to pay the armies of her allies.

The Coalition, however, failed completely. The chief continental Powers feared and suspected one another. Also, they were too busy plotting a partition of Poland to give proper attention to the war. Prussia soon made peace with France—Spain actually allied with her. And at last England was left alone.

She had not herself done very well. Her army, neglected during the ten years of peace, lacked numbers, equipment, and organization. But above all it lacked proper direction. Good generals and good troops were simply wasted through the incompetence of Pitt's War Minister.

The English forces, instead of being massed together for one great enterprise, were scattered in all directions. Some went to the Netherlands. Some helped French Royalists in raids upon the coasts of France. Some seized ports or islands in the Mediterranean. Some attacked the colonies of France and her allies.

Invasion of Holland


And almost every venture failed at last. The French conquered Holland. The Royalist raids ended in disaster. The captured places in the Mediterranean were all abandoned. Even victories in the West Indies were won only at a vast expense of blood and money. The very navy itself was unsatisfactory. Lord Howe, whom Nelson thought "the first and greatest sea officer that the world had produced," was old and worn, and his victory over the French on "The Glorious First of June" in 1794 was incomplete. And smaller men thought they had "done very well" if they just took a ship or two from an enemy of equal or even lesser strength.

In every way the war was bitterly disappointing. Englishmen—even Pitt—had expected a short struggle and an easy victory. How, indeed, could France, torn by internal strife, and almost bankrupt, resist a coalition of almost all the Powers of Europe? Yet, after four years of fighting, France seemed only stronger, the Coalition had vanished, and England herself was threatened with invasion.

Evactuation of Holland


Indeed, in 1797 England was in greater danger than she had known since the coming of the Armada two centuries before. She stood alone against a triumphant France, backed now by the fleets of Spain and Holland. A French expedition to Ireland early in the year failed more through bad weather than through the vigour of the English navy. A French expedition to Wales, in February, actually landed, though the troops were few and their courage small, and it was said that they were induced to surrender through taking Welsh peasant women in their scarlet cloaks for red-coated soldiers. And for months afterwards a Dutch fleet waited only for a good opportunity to make a much more important invasion of England itself.

4. The Darkest Hour



Meanwhile at home there was not only discontent but most serious danger. Disappointment and disgust with the war were widespread. Bad harvests, and the risks of capture at sea, made food supplies scanty and prices high. Money became so scarce that a special law was passed allowing the Bank of England to pay its debts in bank-notes instead of coin. Taxes were ruinously heavy; yet the Government had to ask for voluntary gifts as well to meet the cost of war. There were riots in England. Ireland was on the eve of a terrible rebellion. And, to crown all, most of the navy, on which England, thus distracted at home, depended for protection against danger from abroad, was suddenly rendered useless by mutiny.

Bad management and ill-treatment of the sailors were chiefly to blame. Pay in the navy was miserably low; food was bad; discipline was harsh and even brutal. In April the fleet at Spithead mutinied and demanded reforms. When these were granted the sailors at once returned to duty, but within a week there was a worse outbreak at the Nore, and most of the fleet that was watching the Dutch coast joined in it. Here some demands were made which could not be admitted; the spirit of the mutineers, too, was more dangerous than at Spithead; and it was only with much difficulty that mingled tact and firmness at last restored order and brought the chief offenders to justice.

Yet, in spite of all its troubles, 1797 is one of the most famous years in British annals. For in 1797 two great sea victories were won, and in the first of them the finest sailor known to history began his career of triumph.

It was on February 14th, St. Valentine's Day, that twenty-seven Spanish men-of-war fell in with fifteen English ships off Cape St. Vincent, on the south-west coast of Spain. The Spaniards were enormously superior in numbers, but the English at least as much so in quality. Further, the English admiral was no slack or half-hearted fighter, but the famous Sir John Jervis, who this day earned the title of Earl St. Vincent. And Jervis's second in command was Nelson.

With such a chief and such a lieutenant a desperate battle was a certainty. Jervis would never let the Spaniards slip past him to join the French at Brest. And neither he nor Nelson would rest content with "doing very well" if there was any chance of doing better.

So the long Spanish line was cut in two, and the British attack directed mainly on its rear. And while four ships were taken—two by Nelson—the rest were driven to shelter in Cadiz, there to be closely watched by British cruisers.

The second victory was won in the autumn, when the Dutch fleet at last came out of harbour. All through the Admiral Duncan had watched them, even when only one ship besides his own stuck to her post. By a daring trick he hid his weakness from his enemies, for every day he signalled to an imaginary fleet, which they naturally believed to be within hail of him, though out of sight of the shore.

And now, when the Dutch, with sixteen sail to his fifteen, at last appeared, he gave hot chase. They fled to shallow water, where his ships might only too easily run aground. But Duncan was no more ready to lose his prey through over-caution than Hawke had been in the storm at Quiberon Bay in 1759. He forced the foe to fight off Camperdown; he broke through their line and, like Jervis at St. Vincent, concentrated his attack on one part of it; and, after a tremendous struggle, he captured half their ships.

These victories kept up the spirit of the nation. And the very fact that England was now fighting for her own safety, rather than the cause of the Bourbons, enormously strengthened the hands of the English Government. Few Englishmen—whatever they had once thought about the justice of the war—could wish a French invasion to be successful. And next year the prospect brightened.

5. Nelson and the Nile

Horatio Nelson


The English fleet now reappeared in the Mediterranean. Napoleon Bonaparte, the commander of the "Army of England," had determined, before attempting to cross the Channel, to seize Egypt, and thence threaten the English power in India. Pitt heard of his preparations in the ports of France, but was uncertain of their object, and this Nelson was sent to discover.

But Nelson had few of the quick-sailing frigates which then—like cruisers nowadays—formed the eyes of a fleet. So he missed Napoleon's armada again and again. He reached Toulon when it had left. He passed it unconsciously in the Mediterranean, and reached Egypt just two days too soon. Then he imagined it must have gone to Syria, and, flying thither, he was away when Napoleon arrived, landed his troops, and defeated the Turkish armies.

But at last, on August 1st, Nelson, returning to Egypt, found a line of thirteen French ships riding quietly at anchor in Aboukir Bay. The night was coming on, and there seemed scarcely room to sail between the French fleet and the shore. But Nelson showed no hesitation. He divided his forces so as to pass down both sides of the enemy's line at once, and thus expose it to a double fire. And, though a wound disabled him before the battle ended, only two French battleships and two French frigates escaped immediate capture or destruction.

This "Battle of the Nile" shut Bonaparte up in Egypt. It also led Austria, Russia, Turkey, and Naples to join England in the Second Coalition. Once again the Allies agreed to restore the Bourbons and recover the lands which France had conquered. And for a time in Italy and Germany they carried all before them.

Battle of Alexandria


But once again, too, an English expedition to the Netherlands ended in failure. Nelson wasted time and lost honour at the corrupt Court of Naples. The English commanders in the Mediterranean grew slack. And, helped by this, Napoleon slipped back to France, overthrew the Government, made himself supreme ruler, with the title of First Consul (like the magistrates of Republican Rome), and then defeated the victorious Austrians.

The results were disastrous to England. The Second Coalition dissolved at once. Russia, Austria, and Naples made peace with France. And, at Napoleon's suggestion, the Northern Powers formed—as in 1780—an "Armed Neutrality" to resist the high-handed methods of England on the sea. England's only consolations were victories in Egypt, which the French were forced to leave, and the Battle of Copenhagen, on April 2, 1801.

At Copenhagen Sir Hyde Parker was in supreme command, but Nelson—now returned from Naples—fought and won the battle. His business was to take or destroy a Danish fleet protected by powerful batteries on shore. The water was shallow, and three of his ships ran aground.

The Danes fought with the utmost vigour. So great seemed the danger that, in the middle of the battle, Parker signalled to Nelson to retreat.

But Nelson, putting his telescope to his eye, declared that he could see no signal, and went on fighting. He spoke the truth—for the eye in question was his blind one. And he won a victory. The Danes surrendered their fleet. If Nelson had had his way the Russian fleet would have been captured also, but he was not allowed to attack it. Presently, however, the death of the Russian Emperor brought the Armed Neutrality to an end. And now, at last, England and France made peace at Amiens and it was hoped that the long and exhausting struggle was really over.

Hotel de Ville


Pitt in War: Napoleon

1. The Peace of Amiens

By the Peace of Amiens England gave up almost all her conquests. She abandoned Malta and other posts in the Mediterranean. She kept nothing in Africa. In Asia she kept only the Dutch Ceylon; in the West Indies only Trinidad. Further, she abandoned the Bourbons, and recognized the French Republic under its First Consul. And she recognized also many arrangements which Napoleon had made in Italy and Germany.

Yet it was soon clear that the peace could not last. The First Consul—the Emperor, as he soon became—refused a commercial treaty with England. He sent spies to her harbours and agents to Ireland. He plotted against her in India, and led her to believe that he meant to reoccupy Egypt. Further, he increased his power in Europe by acts which she thought dangerous breaches of the recent Treaty, and in reply to her complaints denied her right to interfere in continental matters.

[Illustration] from The Hanoverians by C. J. B. Gaskoin


England, though eager for a final peace, was unwilling merely to give France time to strengthen herself for another struggle, and at last refused to leave Malta, as she had promised at Amiens, unless Napoleon gave her satisfaction. So in May, 1803, war began again. This time, for over two years, England fought single-handed, while France soon allied with Spain. And till the battle of Trafalgar one aspect of the struggle stood out above all others—the French scheme of invading England.

2. The Invasion of England

An army of between one and two hundred thousand men gathered at Boulogne. Hundreds of flat-bottomed boats were built to carry it over. And in all the French and Spanish ports Napoleon's fleets waited and watched and plotted how to get out to sea, and there unite to sweep and keep the Channel clear of English ships just for the two, or possibly three, days that would be necessary for the crossing.

But Englishmen were no less busy. At home the coast was dotted with little towers—many of which still remain—manned by small garrisons and mounted with small guns. The great ports were strengthened.

The Thames was fortified. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers were enrolled, among them even Charles James Fox. And the old king himself prepared to lead his troops to battle.

Far more important, however, than all this was the watch that the English navy kept on the ports of France and Spain. For England's first business was to lock the enemies' fleets up in their own harbours; or—if they got out—to meet and beat them separately before they could join forces for their one great effort.

So Cornwallis, with the biggest English fleet, kept the biggest French fleet shut up at Brest; and Nelson, with a smaller force, watched the French ships at Toulon; and between these two points—at Rochefort and Ferrol and Cadiz and Carthagena—other English admirals mounted guard over other fleets of France or Spain.

The watch was long and wearisome, and could not always be maintained. The blockading fleets were exposed to every risk of wind and weather. Sometimes, as at Toulon, they were far from any friendly port where they could be refitted. And at any moment some accident might enable one or other of the imprisoned fleets to escape, and all would then depend on whether the blockading force could catch it and compel a battle.

Early in 1805 the small French squadron at Rochefort did get out and sailed to the West Indies. But through various mischances it returned too soon, having done but little damage, and was promptly blockaded once again. Far more serious was the escape of Admiral Villeneuve from Toulon. It happened when Nelson had to withdraw for a time to make repairs. His look-out ships failed to discover the direction that Villeneuve had taken, and Nelson, fearing for Egypt, hastened eastwards, only to find that no enemy was there.

Meanwhile a storm drove Villeneuve back to port, but once again he came out, and once again, too, Nelson—short, as usual, of frigates—could not learn his course. And this time Villeneuve cleared the Straits of Gibraltar, picked up six Spanish ships at Cadiz, and hastened off to the West Indies to join the Rochefort squadron, which, however, had already left. The Spaniards sailed slowly, and Villeneuve was in a fever of anxiety lest Nelson should catch him before he reached his destination. As it chanced, however, he had almost got there when his intentions were at last discovered. But the moment that Nelson learnt them he started off in hot pursuit. And the moment he was heard of in the West Indies his enemy fled again before him.

So back to Europe came Villeneuve, and back came Nelson after him. And Nelson warned his Government, meantime, by a swift-sailing frigate. So an English fleet met Villeneuve off Cape Finisterre, in North-west Spain. It numbered only fifteen ships to his twenty, yet—even in a dense fog—it took two prizes. Then Villeneuve fled to the safety of the Spanish ports, and soon the Spanish coast saw Nelson once again.

It was clear now that Napoleon's invasion schemes would never really come to anything. So his troops began to march away to Germany, where in a few weeks they did far more than in all the months when they had lain at Boulogne. But the crowning victory of Nelson—the greatest sea-fight in English history—was still to come.

3. Trafalgar



On October 19 Villeneuve left Cadiz with thirty-three ships, intending to make for the Mediterranean. Two days later he encountered Nelson with twenty-seven sail. And with Nelson, as second in command, was Collingwood, who had himself for a while imprisoned Villeneuve's whole force with only three ships, playing that game of signals to imaginary vessels which had served Duncan so well against the Dutch in 1797.

Nelson's mind was made up. He meant not only to defeat his foes, but if possible to destroy them utterly. His captains had known his plans for weeks past, and an indescribable excitement filled the fleet. Each man felt that at last the decisive moment was at hand. Each man believed that he would soon be led by the greatest sailor the world had ever seen to the greatest naval victory of modern times.

Nelson had not, indeed, ships enough to be sure of wiping out the whole Franco-Spanish fleet. Some had had to leave him: others, though expected, had not yet arrived. But he reckoned still on taking or sinking twenty of the enemy. He feared only that something might even now prevent a battle. So he kept most of his own fleet out of sight till Villeneuve had cleared the harbour, lest at the eleventh hour he should draw back and refuse to fight. Even then for two days he watched the French through his frigates before attacking. But at last, at half-past six in the morning on October 21st, he hoisted the signal for battle.

His fleet was formed in two irregular lines. On the right fifteen ships were led by Collingwood in the Royal Sovereign.  On the left ten followed Nelson's own flagship, the Victory.

The plan of attack was clear. Villeneuve was sailing northwards again, with his ships close together in a long line, nearly at right angles to the English advance, but with its ends bent outwards towards the foe. Collingwood, with his division, was to break through the French line and destroy its rear. Nelson would break through farther up and attack the centre. He would deal also with the leading ships, which, however, would need time to turn back and join in the fray. And every captain was to do his utmost to destroy every enemy he could see.

With these instructions the English ships began to move. The day was grey and cloudy. Morning mists shrouded the cliffs of Spain and almost hid Cape Trafalgar, from which the battle was to take its name. The sea was rolling in on the shore with a heavy swell, which showed that a great storm was coming. But as yet the winds were so light that even with every sail set the English took over five hours to get within gunshot of the enemy. The whole fleet was full of suppressed excitement, but Nelson himself was calm and confident, and Collingwood dogged and determined.

About eleven o'clock Nelson warned his captains to anchor when the storm came on. A little later he sent up his famous signal: "England expects that every man will do his duty." Then, as—with bands playing on every ship—the fleet drew near its foe, a final message from the admiral ordered the captains to engage at close quarters. And so the battle began.

The Royal Sovereign, leading her division by some distance, received a storm of shot and shell from Villeneuve's ships. But for all answer she headed straight for their line, though no opening appeared by which she could pass through it. At the last moment Collingwood turned from the French ship he had meant to fight to the larger Spanish one ahead of her, and, as the Royal Sovereign  sped on, the Frenchman, to avoid a collision, had to swing round and let her through. From the deck of Nelson's ship only the tops of her masts could be seen above a cloud of smoke and flame, but as she pierced the line her broadsides raked the enemy on either side before she turned to fling herself upon the mighty Santa Ana.

Her example was immediately followed by all Collingwood's division, and presently Nelson's ships, too, came into action. Steering as if to attack the French van, the Victory  suddenly turned, passed down the enemy's line, broke through it, firing as she went, and fell upon the Redoubtable. The ten ships behind her followed suit, and Villeneuve, in spite of his superior numbers, was hard pressed. His French, and still more his Spanish, crews were indeed disastrously incomplete, and neither officers nor men approached their English foes in seamanship. Yet if they lacked skill they had no lack of spirit, but fought with desperate and determined courage to the last.

About one o'clock, however, the Santa Ana  hauled down her flag, and before an hour had passed the Redoubtable  yielded to the Victory, and other vessels also surrendered. And, when the French van, joining at last in the fighting, had been beaten off, the battle gradually ceased. Nine French and nine Spanish ships had been taken, and of the rest eight more were shortly wrecked or captured. But many prizes were lost or had to be destroyed, and three were recovered by the French, so that the fighting strength of the English navy was not much increased. Nor was there much rejoicing in England when the victory was known.

Horatio Nelson


For the price paid for it seemed too heavy. That price was the death of Nelson. He had refused to cover the decorations on his coat, which betrayed his rank to the enemy's marksmen, or shift his flag from the Victory  to some ship less exposed to their fire. And he fell, mortally wounded, only a few minutes before the Redoubtable  surrendered. He lingered for two hours—long enough to learn of his triumph, but also to learn that Collingwood, brave as he was, had not made the triumph as complete as he himself would have done. And then he died.

There were still sea-fights from time to time, and once Napoleon even began again to prepare for an invasion of England; yet Trafalgar was really the last great event in the naval struggle. Henceforward England's supremacy at sea was indisputable.

But meanwhile Napoleon had triumphed once again in Europe. In 1805, for the third time, Austria, Russia, and England had formed a coalition, though Prussia stood aloof. But the very day before Trafalgar Napoleon was victorious at Ulm. Six weeks later he won a second victory at Austerlitz. Before the end of the year Austria made peace. And when Pitt died on January 23, 1806, it was with words of despair on his lips: "My country! how I leave my country!"

The Continental System

1. A War On Trade

Napoleon now began to make his brothers kings. Joseph became King of Naples, Louis King of Holland, and (when Prussia, daring to fight France single-handed, was crushed and despoiled), Jerome King of the new German kingdom of Westphalia. Finally, by the Treaty of Tilsit, in 1807, Napoleon made peace with the Czar of Russia, Alexander I, and agreed with him to compel Denmark, Sweden, and Portugal to join them against England. England thereupon demanded the custody of the Danish fleet, to prevent its being seized by France. Denmark refused, but was forced to yield by the bombardment of Copenhagen. And in Portugal, though a French army seized the capital, the king and queen were carried by a British fleet to the Portuguese colony of Brazil, in South America, beyond Napoleon's reach.

In spite of small successes, however, England was in the utmost danger. For Napoleon had now started his "Continental System"—an attempt to destroy her by ruining her commerce. He had forbidden the importation into France, or any country allied with her, of any goods from England or her colonies. He had declared all such goods in any country under his control liable to seizure, and all English merchants liable to imprisonment. One Power after another had accepted his System, and shut its ports against English trade. And when England, in her famous "Orders in Council," replied that the coasts of all such Powers were blockaded, i.e. that all neutral ships trading with them might be captured, Napoleon issued Decrees declaring the whole British Isles to be blockaded also, and all ships found trading with them to be the lawful prizes of his navy.

Thus he hoped at last to destroy England's power. He could not invade her, or defeat her navy, but he might perhaps cut off her trade. And then, unable to sell her own manufactures, or the produce of her colonies, she would grow poorer and poorer, and at last, becoming bankrupt, must yield to any terms that he might choose to make.

The results of the Continental System were very various. In the first place, since to be effective it must be universal, Napoleon was compelled, even against his will, to conquer and annex ever more and more, that France might really control all the coasts of Europe. It was largely this that caused the Spanish War, which drained his Empire of both money and men. It was because his brother Louis abdicated rather than force the System on his subjects that Holland was annexed to France. And it was to a great extent because Russia at last rejected the System that Napoleon started, in 1812, on his fatal march to Moscow.

Again, even where the Continental System was nominally accepted, it could never be carried out completely. Every soldier in Napoleon's armies would have had to become a customs officer if all the long coast-line of Europe had been strictly watched. Moreover, the continental demand for English manufactures and English colonial produce was too strong to be altogether resisted.



The work of her famous inventors had put England as an industrial country far ahead of every European rival, and the ceaseless struggles on the Continent made it impossible for foreigners even to attempt to compete with her. Thus many things must come from England if they were to be had at all. And—as she had seized nearly all the colonies of other countries—this was almost as true of colonial produce as of manufactured goods.

So Napoleon's own soldiers marched into Russia in boots and coats that came from Northampton and Manchester. He had, indeed, to grant licences expressly allowing traders to break the rules that he himself had set up. And when leave was not granted the rules were broken without it. Smuggling flourished on a gigantic scale and under the most curious disguises. At one place the French were puzzled by the extraordinary frequency of funerals, until, opening one of the hearses, they found inside no German corpse, but English bales of cloth. At another the inhabitants seemed to have been suddenly taken with a strange desire for cartloads of sand from the sea-shore, till it was discovered that the sand was only sprinkled over a load of sugar hailing not from the neighbouring beach but from some distant colony. And elsewhere dogs were used to carry smuggled goods inland, for not every customs officer would be sharp, or perhaps plucky, enough, to stop and search each passing dog.

Yet the great risks of capture at sea or seizure on shore made the cost of smuggled goods enormous. So the Continental System meant for France herself and her allies a constant rise of prices. And this, pressing very hardly on the poor, aroused half over Europe a bitter feeling against Napoleon as the cause of all the trouble.

Meanwhile, England both gained and lost under the System. She was Mistress of the Seas. Her warships made her Orders in Council a stern reality to neutral ships. Her Empire grew with the conquest of fresh colonies, doubly valuable now as markets for her manufactures, or of places like Heligoland, an island off the German coast, from which her goods might easily be smuggled abroad. Her merchant fleet, also, in spite of losses, grew ever larger; for neutrals withdrew more every year from the risks of a trade in which they could hardly avoid offending either England or Napoleon, and so exposing their ships and cargoes to seizure.

Yet, smuggle and conquer as she might, England could not make up altogether for the closing of continental ports to her manufacturers. Even if Napoleon's subjects did succeed in obtaining English goods, they could not buy as much in these days of high prices as in earlier and cheaper times. So the warehouses of many manufacturers were choked up with stock they could not sell; and if Spain and Portugal had not been opened to English trade in the nick of time the results might have been fatal. Even as it was both merchants and manufacturers found business dangerously risky.

Happily, Napoleon never took the one step that might have ruined England. She had already ceased to produce herself enough corn for her own people, and as yet the great corn-growing lands of America and Australia, which now supply her, were still uncultivated. So she depended largely on the corn that came from Baltic ports, and had Napoleon, for only six weeks, prevented its being exported, he might have starved her into submission. But, luckily for her, he not only allowed but actually encouraged the export of corn, provided that, to help French trade, some manufactures went with it. For, he thought, if England could not sell, the more she bought the better: it would empty her purse all the sooner. And thus she escaped the worst.

2. The War of 1812

English Man-of-War


In another direction, however, England had serious trouble. Among the Neutral States which suffered so severely from the Continental System and the English Orders in Council, the United States of America suffered most. For a time they even broke off all relations with both combatants, refusing to trade with either till they changed their policy. Napoleon, however, cleverly persuaded them that he had abandoned his System, and that England alone now caused their sufferings. Thus he helped to produce the war of 1812 between America and England.

But the Orders were only one out of many grounds of quarrel. The War of Independence had caused much bitterness on both sides. Later, Americans had plainly shown their sympathy with France. England had often pressed American citizens, as English subjects, for her fleets. Above all, her warships had stopped and searched American vessels even in American waters, and seized deserters from the Royal Navy. There was some excuse for England's action. She needed the help of every English subject in her tremendous struggle with Napoleon, and her laws made every man born within the Empire an English subject till his dying day. It was naturally irritating to find Englishmen refusing all service to their country on the plea that they had become American citizens. It was harder still to find them actually deserting from the Royal Navy to serve on American warships.

But English ways of doing things were harsh and offensive, and when H.M.S. Leopard  used force against the United States warship Chesapeake, to compel the surrender of deserters, America, in spite of the English Government's apology, was naturally furious. Thus—though England fought unwillingly, and bitterly resented being attacked by her own kinsmen in the crisis of her struggle with France—America entered on the strife with zest.

The war itself did untold mischief and no good. At sea several English ships, rashly challenging better-built, better-armed, and better-handled American vessels, were forced to surrender. For, puffed up by their triumph over France, officers and men alike had neglected their craft, and, in gunnery especially, were at first hopelessly inferior to their new enemy. Presently, indeed, H.M.S. Shannon  redeemed the name of England by forcing the famous Chesapeake  to surrender after a fight of only fifteen minutes, but even after that English victories were balanced by further losses.

Meanwhile by land—though most Canadians, French and English alike, were nobly loyal to the English flag—the forces were badly directed, and, as once before, the Government was too intent on making peace to fight with really good effect. The Americans, however, fared no better.

Finally, the Treaty of Ghent restored peace. The war had deprived England of all-important troops at a critical moment, dimmed her naval fame, injured her trade, and embittered more than ever her feelings towards America.

At the same time America had suffered far greater losses in proportion, while, perhaps, what successes she won injured the character of her people by fostering the natural arrogance of a young and rising nation.

And all this evil had served no good purpose, for the Orders in Council were recalled before the war began and England still claimed the Right of Search when it had ended.

The Peninsular War



1. The First Stage

Meanwhile a far greater and more fruitful war had been fought by English troops in Spain and Portugal under one of the greatest generals in English history, Arthur Wellesley, the famous Duke of Wellington.

When Pitt died, Fox, as Foreign Minister in a Cabinet nicknamed "All the Talents," because it contained the best men of every party, tried to make the peace with Napoleon which he had always urged on Pitt. But within the year he died a disappointed man, acknowledging that no satisfactory peace was possible.

Yet, if England did not make peace, she now altered her mode of making war. She ceased to be the paymaster of Coalitions, which were formed only with the greatest difficulty, but fell to pieces with the greatest ease, and which aimed at attacking and despoiling France. Instead, she simply held herself ready to help any nation which would struggle, not to attack France, but to defend itself from French attack.

Thus England allied herself with the one force which really threatened Napoleon's power—the force of national feeling. In 1792 France had fought for her own right to overthrow a despotic government at home. Now she was fighting to make her Emperor a despotic ruler abroad. And England was ready to uphold against her the right of other nations to cast off her foreign yoke.

The chance came in 1808. A year before, the weak King of Spain had allied with Napoleon to seize and divide Portugal, which was done with success, except that, thanks to the English fleet, the King of Portugal retained his colonies. Now, Napoleon forced first the Spanish king himself and then his worthless son to abdicate, and set on their throne his own brother Joseph, who was replaced as King of Naples by his brother-in-law Murat.

Thus far all seemed well. But Napoleon had forgotten the haughty patriotism of the Spanish nation. Little though the Spanish kings deserved the love of their people, their replacement by Joseph provoked popular insurrections throughout the country. Forthwith an English fleet and army aided the insurgents, and Wellesley—famous already for successes in India—won his first victory over the French on Portuguese soil.

The French army in Portugal was roughly handled, and might have been utterly routed had not Wellesley, unfortunately, been superseded by elderly and over-cautious officers, who agreed, by the Convention of Cintra, to let the British fleet transport it safely to France.

Now, however, Napoleon appeared in Spain, carried all before him as far as Madrid, and seemed to make his brother's throne secure. But Sir John Moore, commanding for England in the far north-west, devised a daring plan. Small though his army was, he threw himself on Napoleon's communications with France, so forcing him to abandon his Spanish campaign in order to save them.

The plan succeeded brilliantly. Napoleon was drawn away from Madrid to a swift pursuit of Moore, who thereupon retreated. Through bitter wintry weather pursuer and pursued pressed on by forced marches towards the coast. But the first French attack was foiled; Napoleon, foreseeing Moore's escape, returned to France, leaving a marshal in command; and in January, at the port of Corunna, Moore turned to bay, and in the very hour of his death secured by victory the safe embarkation of his men.

2. The Lines of Torres Vedras

Sir Thomas Picton


Then for four years (1809 to 1813) Wellesley once more held the chief command. Troops of three nations obeyed his orders. First came his own English army—small, indeed, but of first-class fighting quality, and gradually trained by its severe commander to the highest pitch of excellence. Next came Portuguese troops, under another English general, Beresford, which proved of unexpected value. Last were the Spaniards themselves. They were of little use, especially at first, for pitched battles. But for guerilla warfare they were invaluable. Fighting in small bodies, quickly scattering and as quickly reassembling, they kept the French in constant alarm. They threatened communications; they cut off supplies; they harassed every army on the march, killing stragglers and destroying isolated troops.

Wellesley's main idea was simple. He meant to establish a secure base in Portugal, and thence to push on gradually till every Frenchman was expelled from Spain. He took four years to do this, but in those four years he did much to determine the fate not only of England but of Europe.

The Peninsular War sapped the strength of France. It kept French generals and soldiers of the finest quality away from Napoleon's other campaigns. And it proved that French generals and soldiers were not invincible. For Wellesley never lost a battle: not one of Napoleon's marshals could ever beat him.

In 1809, marching into Spain, Wellesley won the decisive though costly victory of Talavera over Joseph and his generals, but had to fall back again to Portugal.

The year 1809 was, indeed, a disappointing one. First Austria fought single-handed against Napoleon, and was driven to accept a treaty which made him the son-in-law of the Austrian Emperor. Then England came too late to her aid, and in the famous expedition to Walcheren lost thousands of men through disease in a swampy, fever-haunted island. Lastly, Napoleon poured into Spain a stream of fresh troops, which overran all the south except Cadiz.

It remained only to clear the east coast of Spanish patriots, and then drive the English in Portugal into the sea. But, while Napoleon's generals triumphed in the south, Wellesley (now Viscount Wellington) was undermining all their plans for his destruction. Lisbon—the Portuguese capital—lies at the end of a peninsula; and here for many months thousands of labourers, directed by skilled engineers, had been making the famous "lines of Torres Vedras "—three huge earthworks stretching from sea to sea across the neck of the peninsula. The first was twenty-nine miles long, the second twenty-two, and each was strengthened by many forts and amply furnished with heavy guns. The third sheltered the mouth of the River Tagus, to cover the embarkation of Wellington's troops if they were forced to retire. But this was scarcely likely, since the lines were immensely strong and held by something like a hundred thousand men.

Moreover, Wellington arranged that, when the French approached, the Portuguese should abandon their homes, retiring to the great cities or the mountains, but first destroying all provisions, that the enemy might find only a desolated land.

So when the French marched triumphantly westward in the summer of 1810, capturing one strong place after another, they presently received a surprising shock. Wellington, it is true, fell back before them, halting only once to receive and defeat an attack; but in November, having reached the first line, the French could advance no farther. Throughout the winter of 1810—11 they remained helpless in a wasted country, harassed by the Portuguese, dying in numbers of hunger and disease. And in the spring they retreated, pursued by Wellington, and suffered a severe defeat.

3. Advance and Victory

Lord Beresord


Wellington now attempted to capture the two great fortresses, Badajoz and Ciudad Rodrigo, which barred the main roads into Spain. He failed, but took Almeida, another important place, and won the costly two days' battle of Fuentes d'Onoro, while Beresford triumphed at Albuera in one of the fiercest struggles of the war.

In 1812 Wellington stormed both the coveted fortresses, won the great victory of Salamanca, and occupied Madrid. Opposed by three French armies, he did, indeed, retire once more to Portugal, but for the last time. Portugal itself was now safe, southern Spain was cleared of the French, and in 1813 Wellington began his last campaign.

In this year, too, Napoleon was once again faced by a Coalition. Russia had foiled his great invasion; Prussia had risen at last against his tyranny; England once more had promised money and men. Presently Austria joined the league, with other, smaller Powers; and at last, in the three days' battle of Leipzig, Napoleon was utterly defeated. Henceforward his Empire was doomed, for he could not resist the huge forces of his enemies, and even the best terms that they offered him would deprive France of almost all her conquests.

No English troops fought at Leipzig; yet it was largely due to English troops that the battle was fought and won; for Austria made her all-important decision to join the Allies partly because, just in time, news came of a splendid English victory over the French in Spain.

Crossing the Portuguese frontier in the spring for the last time, Wellington had marched straight for the Pyrenees. Three times he pushed his left wing forward to overlap the right wing of the enemy, and three times the French fell back before him. Then at last, on June 21, they faced him at Vittoria; and here Wellington gained his last great Spanish triumph. Both armies suffered heavily, but the French lost not only more men than the English, but also all their guns and stores, all the plunder they had snatched from Spain, and a treasure of a million pounds.

In hasty disorder they pressed on towards France. Wellington besieged and finally captured the great frontier fortresses of Pampeluna and San Sebastian, defeating the splendid French attempt to save them in the desperate "Battles of the Pyrenees." He forced the foe back, still fighting hard at every step, through southern France, and at Toulouse, on April 10, 1814, he won the last great battle of the war.

That battle, though he did not know it, was unnecessary, for eight days earlier Napoleon had resigned his crown. During the early months of 1814 the vast armies of the Allies, advancing westwards, had pushed him slowly back towards Paris. In spite of one or two successes, his bold attempt to thwart them by cutting off their communications with Germany had broken down. His own marshals had begun to turn against him. And even the hope that by abdicating he might secure the throne for his little son had come to nothing. So now the Allies occupied Paris; Napoleon—deserted by his wife—retired, with the worthless title of "Emperor," to the little Isle of Elba, in the Mediterranean; and Louis XVIII, brother of the king executed twenty-one years before, ruled in France.

Castle of Fontainbleau



Wellington and Blucher


1. The Return of the Exile

Late in 1814 the representatives of the Powers met at Vienna to arrange a settlement of Europe. But the settlement was hard to make. The Powers not only quarrelled but almost came to blows. And Napoleon in his exile, hearing of their disputes and of the growing discontent of France with the rule of Louis XVIII, thought his chance had come.

So one March evening he escaped from Elba, unnoticed by the British warships, and—landing in France—by the mere magic of his name, without the firing of a shot, he upset the Bourbon throne and made Louis XVIII once more an exile.

Napoleon professed the most peaceable intentions. He would never attempt to reconquer his Empire. He asked only that France might keep the ruler she had chosen. But England and her allies dared not trust him. They declared him an outlaw and the enemy of Europe. They pledged themselves to raise vast armies and maintain them till he had been utterly overthrown. And they hoped that, having now only French troops at his command, he would never raise a force sufficient to withstand them.

But Austrian and Russian troops themselves had to come from distant lands, and for the time Napoleon had only two considerable forces to face. By mid-June the Prussian army on the Rhine and in the Netherlands, under Field-Marshal Blücher, numbered nearly 120,000 men, and the English in Belgium under Wellington about 30,000, while Hanoverians and other Germans, Belgians, and Dutch raised Wellington's command, including garrisons, to some 105,000. Blücher 's army, however, and still more Wellington's mixed multitude, included many raw and untrustworthy troops; many utterly untrained; many trained indeed, but as soldiers of Napoleon.

Napoleon's one chance was to defeat these armies before their allies arrived. He himself could spare only 120,000 men from the defence of France, but then they were all tried veterans. He could not hope to beat the united forces of Wellington and Blücher, but for the moment they were scattered along a line a hundred miles in length, and a sudden unexpected onslaught might crush each in turn before they could concentrate.

So he collected his troops on the frontier, when Wellington and Blücher thought him far away. He drove the Prussian advance-guard back at the point nearest to the English position. He himself defeated the main Prussian army at Ligny (June 16th), compelling it to retreat, while Marshal Ney fought against Wellington the drawn battle of Quatre Bras. And Wellington (though—partly through Ney's mistakes—he more than held his ground, in spite of being taken unawares) was forced by the Prussian retreat to fall back himself, on June 17th, to the hill-side of Mont St. Jean, not far from the village of Waterloo.

But meanwhile the French had lost sight of Blücher 's army, and believed most of it to be marching away from the scene of conflict, whereas really it was slowly but surely approaching Wellington's chosen battleground. Also Napoleon, with extraordinary slackness, had neglected to pursue either foe till it was too late. At nightfall on the 17th his main force was only gradually arriving before the English position—weary, drenched by thunder-storms, and without baggage or adequate food. And meanwhile the division pursuing Blücher was wandering far behind him, doubtful almost to the last where he had gone.

Early in the morning Wellington had sent to Blücher an offer to fight Napoleon at Mont St. Jean next day if a single Prussian army corps came to his assistance. But Blücher had been disabled by a fall from his horse at Ligny, and all day long Wellington waited vainly for a reply. At last, however, after midnight, it came. And it promised that one corps should march to his aid at daybreak, and others follow if they could be spared.

2. Waterloo: The Marshalling of the Hosts

Entrance to Hougomont


Thus reassured, the Duke prepared for battle. Sixty-seven thousand men were gathered on the ridge, but only 24,000 were British, while 14,000 were Dutch and Belgians, half-hearted and therefore unreliable. In front the ground sloped down to a valley, beyond which, on another low ridge, lay the enemy. For the most part this slope was open country, giving no cover to either attackers or attacked; but at three points in front of Wellington's position a farm with its outbuildings and enclosures formed a kind of stronghold, entrusted to specially chosen troops. Far to the right the farm of Hougomont was held by the English Guards; in the middle the King's German Legion occupied La Haye Sainte; and far to the left two smaller farms were manned by other German infantry.

Behind these Wellington drew up his first line—twelve brigades of infantry, of which half were English—on the crest of the hill, with the guns. To the left he placed part of his cavalry: the rest waited behind the centre. And in the rear of the right wing, hidden from the enemy by the sloping away of the ground behind the ridge, he massed most of the infantry reserve.

On the other side of the valley Napoleon, with his veteran army, some 74,000 strong, waited that hot Sunday morning till the June sun could dry the ground after the storms of the previous day, and the weary soldiers were rested enough to fight again. About 11 o'clock he formed the line for battle. He was determined to attack with his troops in heavy columns, while the English infantry, after its wont, stood in a "thin red line," only two ranks deep. He despised Wellington as a bad general. He despised the English as bad troops. He scorned the warning that in Spain the French column had always been beaten by the English line.

3. Waterloo: The Main Attack

Farm of La Haye Sainte


About 11:30 the French began to move. The battle opened with an assault on Hougomont, gallantly repelled by the English Guards. Meanwhile, eighty French guns prepared the way for an infantry attack on Wellington's main position, and about 1:30 the attack began. Four vast columns climbed the slope, braving the English musketry, and drove the Dutch and Belgians of Wellington's first line in disaster to the rear.

But two English infantry brigades now stopped the way. Hindered by their deep formation from using more than a fraction of their firing power, the French were held back by a force only a fifth as numerous. And, as they checked, two brigades of English cavalry, in a thundering charge—killing, wounding, capturing—hurled them in utter ruin down the hill. Mad with the joy of battle, the pursuers, indeed, halted only when they reached the enemy's lines, and the French cavalry, in overwhelming numbers, drove them back with heavy loss.

Wellington had gained a breathing space, but he long remained in the utmost danger. He had been promised Prussian aid that morning, and this alone had induced him to fight. Yet it was one o'clock before the first Prussians appeared in the far distance. Mistakes and cautious delays prevented their arrival on the actual battlefield till four. And even then they gave Wellington no direct help, but only forced Napoleon to detach against them some 14,000 men who might otherwise have assailed the Duke.



Meanwhile, after a second futile infantry assault on Hougomont and La Haye Sainte, the French cavalry came into action against Wellington's centre. To meet the new danger, English and Hanoverians forsook their lines and formed in hollow squares, within which stood the gunners. Then the struggle began. Charge followed charge in swift succession. First one side of the squares was assaulted, then another. Once and again the French horse thundered right through to the rear of the English position.

Time after time, indeed, the steady fire of the squares broke the French ranks, and Wellington's reserves of cavalry chased the shattered squadrons down the hill. But time after time, too, the onslaught was repeated. Fresh cavalry divisions joined the fray: the survivors of the earlier charges rallied and renewed the attack. The squares, riddled by cannon-shot whenever the cavalry relaxed its efforts, grew ever smaller. The trustworthy reserves were all used up, Wellington had almost reached the end of his resources.

Then Ney called on his infantry again, and more regiments, fresh to the battle, assailed Wellington's battered and decimated troops. Yet once more the fire of the thin red line triumphed, till at last at La Haye Sainte, where the French cannon had shattered the walls and the defenders had exhausted their ammunition, Ney thrust a wedge into the English line. Then indeed Wellington was in direst danger.

But two things saved him. Ney's wearied troops could do no more; yet Napoleon refused till too late to send forward his last reserves. And a fresh Prussian force, arriving at length on Wellington's far left, set free two English cavalry brigades to aid his hard-pressed centre.

4. Waterloo: The Final Struggle

Ruins of Hougomont


So, when, after seven o'clock, Ney led up the French Guards to a last assault, the English line had been reformed and strengthened to resist them. The French breasted the slope under a heavy fire from Wellington's guns, and broke, as it were, on the English front in three successive waves.

The first encounter on the right was short though fierce, and the assault was soon repulsed. In the centre Wellington's Guards were lying down, to avoid attracting attention, till the very moment of the attack, and it was now, tradition says, that his famous "Up, Guards, and at them!" was their signal for the fight. Springing to their feet, and firing one volley as they stood, they swept—still firing—towards the enemy, who forthwith broke and fled. And the third French division, coming up on the left, was shattered long before it reached the top by an English battalion, which swung round to fire upon its flank and then charged it with the bayonet.

So Napoleon's last effort failed, and Wellington, hurling his two remaining cavalry brigades down into the retreating masses of the foe, followed himself, with all his line, down the hill, and across the valley, and up the slope beyond it, till at the top his exhausted troops could move no farther, and left the Prussians to take up the pursuit.

5. St. Helena

Napoleon's Grave


Napoleon hastened to Paris, abdicated once again, proposed to fly to America, but—finding the coast too closely watched by English ships—finally surrendered to the captain of H.M.S. Bellerophon. The Bourbons would have executed him; the Prussians had meant to shoot him like a dog; the English Government itself had branded him as an outlaw. He claimed the rights of a guest, but to the Allies he was only an immensely dangerous prisoner. So a British man-of-war carried him out to the lonely island of St. Helena, off the African coast. And there, five years later, he died.

By the two Treaties of Paris made in 1814 and 1815 England returned many of her recent conquests. Every French colony, every Dutch possession in the East Indies, had been in her hands. Yet now she kept only places of peculiar importance, especially to her navy—in Europe, Heligoland and Malta, with a Protectorate over the Greek Ionian Islands; in Asia, the Dutch Ceylon; in Africa, the French Mauritius and the Dutch Cape of Good Hope; in the West Indies, half a dozen islands, chiefly French.

Her naval supremacy was now assured. Her prestige as the Power which alone had successfully withstood France single-handed, and whose wealth had built up every Coalition against her, was enormous. Her institutions, her methods of government, were extolled by half the civilized world. And her moderation in victory, and her eager efforts to abolish the cruel slave-trade, added something of moral grandeur to her triumph.



From Waterloo to Sevastopol

1. After Waterloo

[Illustration] from The Hanoverians by C. J. B. Gaskoin


When the long conflict with Napoleon ended, England expected, not unreasonably, a time of prosperity and peace. Yet the twenty years after Waterloo, more than all others in her recent history, were full of trouble, disorder, and distress. And for this the Napoleonic struggle itself was largely responsible.

The war was over, indeed, but the bill had still to be paid. The National Debt had risen from under £240,000,000 to over £860,000,000, and millions a year had to be levied in taxes simply to pay the interest on it.

And the peace itself ruined many people. In agriculture it threatened to lower the high price of corn, which had hitherto enabled the farmers to pay large rents and yet make a profit. For now, not being liable to capture at sea, foreign corn could come more freely, and with farmers instead of soldiers tramping through the fields of Europe there was more to come. Parliament met the danger by the Corn Law of 1815, which shut out foreign grain except when wheat was very dear. This, however, failed to save the farmers, but terribly injured the poor, especially in crowded manufacturing towns. For though wages were falling the price of food was kept up by law.

Trade and manufactures also suffered from the peace. Foreign manufacturers, like foreign farmers, could again compete with Englishmen, and so the foreign demand for English goods fell, especially as the Corn Law prevented England from taking in exchange the wheat which Europe would have sent her. Particular industries, too, such as gun-making, which had flourished during the trade war, found nearly all their business suddenly gone. And farmers and manufacturers alike, having less money and less work, began to dismiss their men, till the land teemed with unemployed, whose ranks were further swelled by thousands of soldiers and sailors whom the nation no longer needed.

Government workers


Meanwhile village life suffered from the effects of a well-meant but disastrous system of poor relief. For twenty years the magistrates of England—since wages were low and corn was dear—had made "allowances" to labourers out of the rates, raising their weekly income to an amount varying according to the size of their families. The results were appalling. Farmers, knowing that the rates would make good the difference, paid ever lower wages, or even dismissed their men and hired them again as cheap "pauper labourers" from the parish. Labourers, relying on large allowances, married early. The idle, since allowances were paid without regard to merit, were encouraged in idleness. And the clergy, small freeholders, and other ratepayers were half ruined by the ever-increasing rates.

In such conditions riots and conspiracies were to be expected. All saw that something was wrong: few understood either the causes or the cure. Some traced all the mischief to the machines which displaced human labour and thus caused unemployment. So, even during the war, machines were smashed by riotous gangs. Others blamed the system which gave no representation in Parliament to the poorer classes, especially in towns. So there was a constant clamouring for Parliamentary reform. A few held the reigning ministers themselves responsible. So the "Cato Street Conspirators," in 1820, plotted to murder the whole Cabinet at dinner, but were discovered and defeated.

[Illustration] from The Hanoverians by C. J. B. Gaskoin


Meanwhile the Government did little, except to pass the famous "Six Acts" of 1819—stern measures of repression which left the grievances untouched. It was itself in a difficult position. The fight with France had destroyed the old party divisions. It had made the Whigs a small body, discredited by Fox's violent support of the French Revolution. It had made the Tories a huge, unwieldy body, without common beliefs or aims, except resistance to Napoleon abroad and popular movements at home. For some years after Waterloo the Cabinet was divided against itself on half the questions of the day—Catholic Emancipation, Free Trade, even foreign policy.

The character of George IV—Prince Regent from 1810 to 1820, and then king till 1830—was a further trouble. It made the Crown detested. It made the worthless ministers still more unpopular, especially when they supported a Bill for divorcing George's much-wronged wife. And, so far as he possessed political power, it hindered all reforms.

In all the story of England under his rule there were, perhaps, only four bright spots. One was her refusal to let the Spanish colonies in America be forced back under the despotic monarchy of Spain. Another was her tardy assistance to the Greeks in their revolt against Turkish tyranny. The third was the reform of the Criminal Law, especially the abolition of the death penalty for scores of small offences, and the establishment of an excellent police force instead of the useless old night-watchmen. This was largely due to Robert Peel, whose name is still preserved in the nicknames—"Bobby "and "Peeler"—of the police whom he created.

The last was the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts and all laws against Roman Catholics, who were now excluded only from the throne and from three or four high political offices. This was the work of George IV's last ministry, in which Wellington was Prime Minister and Peel Home Secretary. Both really disliked Catholic Emancipation, but through fear of war in Ireland they yielded at last themselves and forced the king to yield also. A year later George IV died.

2. The Whigs and Reform

Reform Bill in Parliament


The short reign of William IV (1830–1837) contrasted strongly with his brother's dismal days. William himself, if rather undignified and eccentric, was kindly and well-meaning. And the reign was full of reforms made by the Whigs, who quickly overthrew Wellington and ruled England once more, after nearly fifty years of exile from office.

First came the famous Reform Bill of 1832, stoutly resisted by Wellington and the other Tory peers, till, to prevent a revolution, the king agreed to create, if necessary, enough peers to carry it through the House of Lords. And then the Whigs—nearly three to one in the first reformed Parliament—abolished abuse after abuse which had lived so long only because the French Revolution, as we have seen, had frightened away all reform.

They abolished slavery throughout the Empire, freeing existing slaves, but binding them to work a certain number of years for their old masters, who received £20,000,000 as partial compensation for their enormous losses by the change. They made a first effort towards national education by granting money to various societies engaged in building schools. They passed a Factory Act, abolishing some of the hardships suffered by children. And then, by the Poor Law of 1834, they rearranged the whole system of poor relief.

A Poor Law Board in London was created to watch over all the local authorities, and see that the Poor Law worked in the same way throughout the kingdom. The mischievous "allowances" vanished. The practice of maintaining idle able-bodied men at the expense of their neighbours was ended. Henceforth only the aged and infirm might receive "relief" in their own homes. Able-bodied men in poverty might indeed still get assistance, but only by labouring in workhouses; and life in workhouses, though healthy, was intentionally made so unattractive that no sober man would prefer it to honest paid work. Lastly, the Whigs abolished many abuses in the government of towns.

[Illustration] from The Hanoverians by C. J. B. Gaskoin


But the country was growing weary of reforms. It had no great affection for the Whig leaders. It was coming more and more to admire their great opponent, Sir Robert Peel. He was actually Prime Minister for a few months in 1834-35. But, failing to secure a majority in the Commons, he soon resigned. Hence, when William IV died in 1837, and his niece Princess Victoria succeeded, it was a Whig Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, that gave her fatherly instruction in her duties. Melbourne presently resigned of his own accord, and Peel was offered the Premiership. But as he could not induce the Queen to dismiss the Whig ladies at the Court and appoint instead the wives and daughters of Tories, so that her attendants might not prejudice her against her new ministers, he retired. And once more the Whigs ruled till, in 1841, a General Election gave Peel a large majority. Then, becoming Prime Minister, he quickly gained the respect, even the affection, of the Queen.

[Illustration] from The Hanoverians by C. J. B. Gaskoin


3. Sir Robert Peel

Robert Peel


Peel belonged by birth not to the aristocracy which had so long ruled England, but to those commercial classes which were now daily becoming more important in politics. His father—another Sir Robert—a wealthy manufacturer, secured the passing of the first Factory Act in 1802. He was a staunch Tory, and the younger Robert, trained in the Tory principles of Pitt, held office in three Tory ministries before forming a Government of his own.

But more than once Peel found himself forced by circumstances to examine his inherited opinions carefully, and, having examined them, to give them up.

These changes, which really showed his broad-mindedness and honesty, were declared by his enemies to prove his dishonesty and want of principle. And even his own followers often thought the same. His acceptance of Catholic Emancipation after years of opposition had already disgusted many: his acceptance of Free Trade was presently to disgust many more.

But meanwhile, under William IV, Peel had been turning the "Tory" into the "Conservative" party. Owing to the French Revolution a Tory had come to mean a man opposed to all changes, good or bad—a man whose only argument was that what had been good enough for his father was good enough for him. But this was not at all like the Toryism of Pitt in his early days, or of Peel himself, the reformer of the criminal law.

So Peel—accepting the Reform Act of 1832, and supporting the Poor Law Act of 1834—called himself not a Tory but a Conservative. And by a Conservative he meant not a man who denied the need of reform, but one who insisted that reformers must be cautious, and preserve uninjured the great national institutions in Church and State. The Conservative must differ from the Whig—now called a Liberal—because the Liberal thought first of reform and only afterwards of preservation. And he must differ still more from the extreme Liberal or Radical, whose very name announced his eagerness to pull evil things up by the roots.

Peel was supported not only by the old Tory classes—the squires and clergy—but by the shrewd and cautious middle class, which had received the vote in 1832. In some ways he held a stronger position than any Prime Minister before or since. He was undisputed master in his own Cabinet. He was free from all danger of such interference by the Crown as had baffled Pitt. And he firmly refused to be dictated to by his own party.

Parties, he said, were led too much by their tails, rather than their heads. But "heads see and tails are blind," and—conscious of his own superior knowledge and ability—he claimed the right to act always as he himself thought best for the country, whether or not his action agreed with old Conservative traditions. This claim to independence eventually destroyed his power, but first it enabled him to do great service to his country.

Peel's ministry was a time of peace in Europe. In the East a Chinese war secured Hong Kong; an Indian war secured the Punjab; and an Afghan war led only to disaster. At home something was done for factory workers and something for Ireland. But by far the most famous of Peel's measures were his great Free Trade Budgets. He found the nation's income less than its expenditure. He determined to put this right by immensely reducing the taxes on exports and imports, relying, like Pitt before him, on such a growth of trade in consequence as would make the lower duties far more profit-able than the old. And to supply the deficiency, meanwhile, he revived Pitt's plan of an income tax, though he fixed it at a lower rate, charged it only on incomes over £150, and hoped eventually to abolish it.

The result more than fulfilled his expectations. Every year trade grew and the revenue increased. So in 1845 he abolished, with great success, all export duties on British goods, and import duties on over four hundred articles. But he was preparing trouble for himself in his own party. The country gentlemen who sat behind him in the Commons were growing ever more uneasy. Deriving their wealth from agricultural rents, they resented the lowering of duties on foreign cattle and dairy produce; for it threatened their tenants—the farmers—with foreign competition and a fall in prices, which would mean in time a fall of rents. Already, for several years, Richard Cobden of Manchester, and the Quaker orator and manufacturer, John Bright of Birmingham, had been leading the Anti-Corn Law League in its demand for the repeal of the corn duties. And Peel, declaring that he wished "to make England a cheap place to live in," seemed dangerously like a Corn Law repealer. So a mutiny began.

The rebels were urged on by Benjamin Disraeli, who, though himself neither a country gentleman nor an Englishman by birth, was better able than any English squire to give effective voice to their feeling. He was a master of scorn and mockery, and no attacks on Peel were more damaging than the bitter taunts of this rebellious follower. 'The Prime Minister's Conservatism,' he declared, 'was a hypocrisy; he had betrayed alike his party and his nation; a thief in political life—he had "caught the Whig statesmen bathing, and walked away with their clothes"—for, though in name a Conservative, he was in policy a Whig.'

And presently the starvation of Irish peasants drove Peel to advance even faster than he wished along the course which he had chosen. He had indeed long known that sooner or later the Corn Laws must go, but he naturally shrank from once again leading the attack on an institution which he had long defended, as he had led it in the case of Catholic Emancipation. But the Irish famine of 1845 forced him to act at once. His colleagues resisted him, and he resigned. But the Liberals could not form a Government, so Peel became Prime Minister again, pledged to "Repeal," and, backed by the Opposition, carried it through Parliament.

But this triumph of his policy was the death-knell of his power. It was won by the help of opponents and in the teeth of many friends. And in the very hour of victory he fell. For the angry country gentlemen took a prompt revenge. The same night that his Repeal Act passed the Lords in 1846 his "Coercion Bill" for Ireland was thrown out in the Commons. The country gentlemen, in their turn, had voted with the Liberals. Three days later he resigned, never to return to office, and, after generously supporting his successors for some years as a private member of Parliament, he died in 1850 from the effects of a riding accident in Hyde Park.

4. Russell and Palmerston

For the next twenty years the Liberals ruled England almost continuously. Their chiefs were Lord John Russell, a member of the old Whig House of Bedford, and Lord Palmerston, an Irish peer famous mainly for his spirited defence of the rights—perhaps, occasionally, even of the wrongdoings—of English subjects abroad. Each in turn was Foreign Secretary while the other was Prime Minister. Neither wholly approved the other's policy. Russell, as Premier, backed by the Queen, condemned Palmerston's habit of acting independently in foreign affairs, and once, for so doing, even compelled him to resign. Palmerston, when he was supreme, refused the reforms at home which Russell wanted. Once a different Liberal leader had to be chosen because neither of these two would serve under the other. And three times, owing to Liberal quarrels, a Conservative ministry, headed by Lord Derby but guided by Disraeli, held office for a short space, though never possessing a majority in the Commons.

These twenty years were a stirring time in Europe. In France a Kingdom was overthrown in favour of a Republic, which presently became an Empire. In Germany Prussia fought her way to the headship of the German nation, her king soon after being elected German Emperor. In Italy the brilliant statesman Cavour and the heroic soldier Garibaldi overthrew the Bourbon tyrant in the south and the Austrian foreigner in the north, and built up an Italian nation. In the Austrian Empire, Hungary—in the Russian Empire, Poland—struggled like Italy, though vainly, for freedom and independence as a nation. And beyond the Atlantic—in the United States—North and South waged a terrible civil war over the question of slavery and the rights of individual States.

But for England it was at home almost a time of barrenness. National feeling in Ireland was partly responsible for a little Irish rising at the beginning of the period and the Fenian outrages at the end, but that was all. And, when in 1848, the champions of liberty set every throne on the Continent rocking, England saw only the absurd conclusion of the "Chartist Movement." For ten years Radicals had demanded a "People's Charter," intended to secure to all men equal representation in Parliament. And now a great army of London "Chartists" was to carry to Parliament a petition said to bear five million signatures.

But the zeal of the demonstrators was fatally damped, partly by Wellington, who guarded London with armed troops backed by two hundred thousand "special constables," and partly by the weather, which was miserably wet. And the great petition, taken to Westminster in three cabs, proved to contain not five but less than two million names, many even of these being fictitious. Thus "the People's Charter" died of ridicule, and later and more sober attempts at Parliamentary Reform failed also, though in time almost all the proposals of the Chartists became law.

Nor did England share actively in any of the many movements for national freedom abroad. Indeed, the only war she waged in Europe—the Crimean War with Russia in 1854-56—was fought to aid the tyrannical Sultan of Turkey. England feared that Russia would seize Constantinople and so control the eastern Mediterranean. She foolishly believed that Turkey would agree, without coercion, to rule her Christian subjects better. And so, allied with France, she joined the Sultan, and attacked Russia in the Crimea, a peninsula in the Black Sea.

The war, however, was thoroughly mismanaged. Three great battles were fought—at the Alma, Balaclava, and Inkerman. Each proved the bulldog courage of the English soldier, but none had any great results. Only, at Balaclava, three incidents occurred which rank among the most glorious memories of the British Army. First the 93rd Highlanders—an infantry regiment—standing alone in line, repelled, simply by their fire, a charge of Russian cavalry. Then the Heavy Brigade of cavalry, only three hundred strong, hurled itself against two or three thousand Russian horse, and cut its way triumphantly through. Lastly, the "gallant Six Hundred" of the Light Brigade made their magnificent charge into the "jaws of death," against a whole army.

Down a valley two miles long they galloped, under the double fire of enemies on either side, right on to the Russian batteries, whose shot and shell had torn their ranks as they came, and then they turned and galloped back again, leaving more than half their number dead or wounded on the ground. The famous comment of a French general summed up at once the moral splendour and the practical uselessness of the deed: "It is magnificent; but it is not war!"

For the rest, the siege of Sevastopol, the great Crimean fortress, taxed heavily the resources of both French and English. Throughout it was mismanaged. The Russians were allowed time to fortify a place originally very weak. The positions of the Allies were badly chosen. And the English troops, even more than the French, suffered frightful hardships.

The War Office, not expecting a winter campaign, had made no provision for it; and besides it had forgotten, in forty years of peace, how to clothe and feed an army. So, frozen and starved, the soldiers perished by hundreds in the trenches, or crowded the hospitals with the sick and dying. And the hospitals themselves were only scenes of misery and disorder till the heroic Florence Nightingale brought out her band of nurses, and began that work which opened a new chapter in the care of the sick and wounded in war.

And when at last Sevastopol fell, and peace was made, France and England gained nothing, and Russia accepted limitations on her power only till a good opportunity came to cast them off.

Great Exhibition


For English commerce and English colonies, however, this was a prosperous time. Gladstone, as Chancellor of the Exchequer in Liberal ministries, continued the Free Trade policy of Peel, reducing the number of imports still paying duty from 419 to 48. A wise commercial treaty was made with France. And meanwhile railways, steamships, and telegraphs had made communication between distant places ever easier. So England's trade and wealth increased by leaps and bounds, the more rapidly because other countries, especially America, were distracted from commerce by war.

In 1851 Queen Victoria's husband—the Prince Consort, her cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg, whom she had married in 1840—arranged a great Exhibition in London. The "Crystal Palace"—a huge building of glass and iron—was erected in Hyde Park, and there were shown specimens of natural products and manufactures from every quarter of the globe. All the nations were represented, and the Prince dreamed that now, perhaps, they would cease from war, and give themselves instead to friendly rivalry in industry and trade.

His hopes of peace were, indeed, dismally disappointed, for even before his death, only ten years later, three wars were waged in Europe. Yet the Exhibition did good work in fostering trade and showing its ever-increasing importance in national and international affairs. It showed, too, how fast the colonies were developing, for half the treasures in the Exhibition came from British lands. Canada and Australia were indeed gaining enormously in wealth, population, and liberty. More than three million emigrants left the Mother Country in some twenty years, and most of them settled in her colonies.

Again, the period was remarkable in the history of science. The great inventions by which, in the eighteenth century, the forces of nature were harnessed for the service of man, were continued. But further, men like Charles Lyell and Adam Sedgwick in geology, William Hooker in botany, Michael Faraday and John Tyndall in chemistry and physics, and many others in other branches of science, now earned fame by revealing much that had hitherto been Nature's secret as to the history of the earth and of the plants and animals upon it. Above all, in 1859, after many years of patient study, Charles Darwin published his famous Origin of Species, which, more than any other book ever written, changed the opinions of the scientific world on such subjects. And in the footsteps of Darwin followed an ever-growing band of disciples, who built on the foundations which he had laid.

Recent Times



1. Disraeli and Gladstone

At last—in 1865—the aged Palmerston died; next year Russell followed him to the grave; and a new chapter of English history began.

For many years the chief feature of Parliamentary debates was the struggle between two great statesmen, William Ewart Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli, afterwards known as the Earl of Beaconsfield.

These men differed completely in personal history, in character, in opinions, and in aims. Gladstone, sprung from a Scottish commercial family, entered the first "reformed" Parliament at twenty-three, after a distinguished career at Eton and Oxford, and within two years joined Peel's first ministry. But Disraeli, educated at home, the son of a Jewish man of letters, was a famous novelist long before he became a politician. Born five years before Gladstone, he entered Parliament five years after him. And there he was noted at first mainly for his bottle-green coats and waistcoats, large fancy trousers, and black ties, his long, black, well-oiled curls, and his fantastic tricks in speaking. His first speech was received with mocking laughter, and Peel refused him a place in the ministry of 1841.

Gladstone, again, started life as "the rising hope of the stern and unbending Tories." Then—when the country gentlemen rejected Peel—he became a "Peelite." Then, like other Peelites, he first allied with the Liberals and then joined their ranks. For close on thirty years, whether in or out of office, he was, indeed, the greatest force in Liberalism. And as old age overtook him, and he felt the night drawing on when no man can work, his eagerness for reform drove him ever nearer to the Radical section of his party.

But Disraeli began by supporting the Chartist petition in 1839. Then he offered to serve Peel. Then he guided the Protectionist revolt against Peel's policy. After Peel's fall he led the Conservative party for twenty years as Leader of the Opposition in the Commons, or Chancellor of the Exchequer in short-lived Conservative Governments. And meanwhile he strove—like Peel before him—to "educate his party." He dropped the now discredited Protection policy. He embraced the more popular cause of Parliamentary Reform. Indeed, in 1867, he passed the second Reform Act, which many Conservatives thought a "betrayal of the party" at least as great as Peel's.

Gladstone, a devout Churchman, though the political leader of the Nonconformists, was a man of brilliant intellect, immense earnestness, extraordinary personal influence, and boundless capacity for work. His policy—especially his avoidance of foreign troubles at almost any cost for the sake of economy and reform at home—has often been condemned. Lack of principle, even deliberate bad faith, has been charged against him, for he was subtle in thought and speech, and, like Peel, changed his opinions absolutely on more than one great question. Yet few even of his opponents really doubted that he fought always for what he believed, however mistakenly, to be right.

The great opponent of this terribly earnest man seemed, above all things, a mocker. His biting sarcasm, matched against Gladstone's fiery indignation, was like a delicate rapier matched against a ponderous battleaxe. He had, indeed, ideals of his own, but to most Englishmen, even to most Conservatives, he was always something of a mysterious stranger. Combining in a wonderful way shrewdness and romance, mockery and enthusiasm, he had little in common with the sober traditions of English parties.

Yet he was brilliantly fitted to lead the Conservative party at this period. For, with his vivid Eastern imagination, he gave clear shape and expression to the vague longings of his followers after a policy of "magnificent adventure." He was one of the first English "Imperialists." And he sought for England not so much peace and prosperity and wealth and liberty at home as glory and renown abroad—the strength and grandeur of a mighty Empire, an ever closer union between all the Queen's dominions, an ever stronger sense of common interest and mutual affection between the Mother Country and her Daughter States.

2. Rival Policies



So the chief triumphs of Gladstone and Disraeli were widely different. Gladstone worked for reform of Parliament in his Ballot Act and his famous Reform Act. He did something to make men's chances in life more equal by his Education Act and his abolition of "purchase" (that is, buying officers' ranks) in the army. Above all, he struggled to give "Justice to Ireland," beginning his first ministry by disestablishing the Irish Church, and finally breaking up his party in a vain endeavour to give Ireland "Home Rule."

But Disraeli, though passing certain useful reforming measures, especially in connection with education and the public health, was far more concerned with foreign and colonial affairs. The Liberals, he complained, had destroyed England's influence in Europe. They had made her yield in coward fashion to the threats of rivals. They had failed to grasp the importance of her Empire. They had stood by while Prussia crushed France, and Russia—in the confusion—renounced the promises she made after the Crimean War. They had meekly paid three million pounds to the United States for damage done to American commerce by ships built in English ports during the American Civil War. And they had thought the colonies troublesome possessions, not to be regretted if they chose to break away, as the American Colonies had done before them.

So Disraeli claimed for England a leading part in European affairs. He enforced the claim by threats of, war. And he strove to strengthen and increase the Empire. India was his especial care. He arranged the Indian tour of Edward VII, then Prince of Wales. He made the Queen Empress of India. He bought for England nearly half the shares of the new Suez Canal, joining the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, the shortest route from Europe to the East. And he took advantage of the bankruptcy of the Egyptian ruler, the Khedive, to set up, with France, a control of Egyptian finance which soon became a control of the Egyptian Government.

Fear of Russian designs on India, moreover, made him oppose the aims of Russia in Europe. So he refused to join her, with the other Powers, in threatening war on Turkey for her brutal treatment of Bulgarian rebels. And when Turkey, thus encouraged, persisted in cruelty, and Russia thereupon attacked her alone, England went to the verge of war. The danger was ended by the treaty of peace between the combatants, but it speedily returned—for Disraeli demanded, and Russia refused, a revision of the treaty by a Congress of the Powers. The army at home was now strengthened; and Indian troops were called to Malta.

But, happily, Russia made a secret agreement with England, and then allowed the Berlin Conference of 1878 to finish the settlement. England undertook to defend the Turkish dominions in Asia. She received in return an empty promise of reforms there, and, for herself, practical possession of Cyprus. And Disraeli, now Earl of Beaconsfield, returned exultingly to London, boasting that he had brought back "peace with honour."

This was his greatest triumph. Soon afterwards his jealousy of Russia caused an Afghan war, successful enough in itself, but followed by a massacre of Englishmen in Afghanistan which made another invasion necessary. In South Africa, the annexation of the Transvaal caused first a war with the powerful Zulu race, which opened disastrously, and then a quarrel with the Transvaal Boers themselves. In Egypt, a national movement against foreign interference began. In Ireland, disorder steadily increased. The adventurous policy of the Government, being no longer invariably successful, became unpopular. Gladstone attacked it as extravagant and un-Christian. Public opinion condemned it, as it seemed to associate England with the cruelties of the Turks. And in the General Election of 1880 Beaconsfield was utterly defeated.

3. England in Egypt

Gladstone now solved the problems of Afghanistan and South Africa after his own fashion, though not as Beaconsfield would have wished. But Russian hostility, and Irish disorder, and the Egyptian question, harassed him to the end, and the last two proved his undoing.

The nationalist movement in Egypt, under one Arabi Bey, which led to attacks on European residents, obliged England and France, as the controlling Powers, to step in. But France soon retired, and England had to restore order single-handed. So an English fleet bombarded Arabi's forts at Alexandria, and an English army crushed him in battle, and remained to garrison the country. Thus the English occupation of Egypt began.

England, indeed, claimed no sovereign rights. She honestly intended to withdraw as soon as possible. But meanwhile her troops preserved the peace; her statesmen reformed the government and finances; her engineers changed the face of the country, and caused the desert to blossom as the rose, by the great irrigation works which made the Nile a blessing instead of a curse to the Egyptian peasantry. And more and more it became impossible for English Governments to think of withdrawing from the country. They could not abandon to some hostile Power the control of the Suez Canal banks, or leave reforms half finished, or let the Egyptian peasants become again poor and miserable and oppressed. So at last the rights of England in Egypt were recognized by the other Powers. The Khedive, the vassal of the Sultan, remained, indeed, the nominal ruler. But an English Resident guided his policy, and English officers controlled alike the army and the civil service.

It was not, however, the occupation of Egypt, but the abandonment of the Egyptian Sudan to the south of it, that so damaged Gladstone's Government. For, however wise in itself, that abandonment led to a tragedy which filled all England with indignation.

Some twenty years before, English explorers had pierced through the unknown region of the Upper Nile to the great lakes in the south, which they named Victoria Nyanza and Albert Nyanza, after Queen Victoria and her husband. They found the natives there the prey of cruel slave-hunters. But a little later the Khedive asserted his authority over the country, and appointed two Englishmen in succession as Governors, with orders to suppress the slave-trade. The first was one of the explorers themselves, Sir Samuel Baker. The second was Charles Gordon, an officer of saintly life and long experience in China.

For five years—almost alone—Gordon fought the slave-traders, earning their hatred and the love of their victims. But the accession of a new and worthless Khedive ended his work. He returned to England; and the Sudan returned to misery under the now corrupt and cruel Egyptian rule.

Then, in 1882, there appeared a Mandi—that is, a conqueror claiming to be the man foretold by prophecy who would subdue the whole world to the Mahometan religion. This man gained many followers in the Sudan; for the inhabitants had little reason to fight for their Egyptian master. One after another the Egyptian garrisons fell. The Mandi advanced northwards. A wretched Egyptian army, commanded by an English officer, was misled by treacherous guides and cut to pieces in the desert. The Egyptian Government, unable even to keep order at home without British soldiers, could do no more. And Gladstone's ministry, loving economy and loathing war, would neither allow Turkish troops to enter Egypt nor send a force itself.

So the garrisons and other Egyptians in the Sudan, it was decided, must withdraw. And Gordon, the friend of the Sudanese natives, was sent out as the only man who could carry out the withdrawal peacefully. The choice seemed wise; yet it produced fresh difficulties. Gordon insisted on plans which the Government felt unable to accept, and when he reached the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, the inhabitants would not believe that he had come alone. An English army, they were sure, would follow him and protect them where they were; so they refused to leave. Thereupon Gordon, in spite of his instructions, declared that he would never desert them, and called on Gladstone to send a force to "smash the Mandi."

Thus the peace-loving English Government was driven, in spite of all its efforts, into war. But it delayed for weeks and months in the vain hope that war would prove unnecessary. It would not believe how great was Gordon's danger. And when at last an English expedition, admirably planned and equipped, marched up the Nile, it failed. The troops pushed on in two divisions, racing against time. Late in January, 1885, the first division reached Khartoum. But it was just too late.

For ten months Gordon had resisted the ever-growing forces of the Mandi. Week after week, month after month, he had mounted every night to the Palace roof to pray for an English army and watch and listen for the first signs of its coming. Long before the end he was cut off altogether from the outside world, and his only English comrade was murdered on his way north to hasten aid from Egypt.

Presently starvation stared the garrison in the face. The Mandi's followers pressed the siege ever closer. And at last, two days before the relieving army arrived, they burst into Khartoum. Gordon, armed with sword and pistol, would use neither. Where bloodshed could do no good, he would shed no blood. So he fell unresisting, and his head was borne in triumph to the Mandi's camp.

The news filled England with remorse and anger. Gladstone hastily promised to crush the Mandi in the following year. But by that time other matters occupied both the nation and the Government, and so for more than fifteen years the Mandi and his successor, the Khalifa, ruled and ravaged in the Sudan.

4. The End of a Great Reign

Victoria and Albert


In 1886, on the Irish question, Gladstone's ministry fell, and now the Conservatives and their allies, led first by Lord Salisbury and then by his nephew Mr. Arthur Balfour, ruled England for nearly twenty years.

In this period local government was greatly developed by the creation of County, District, and Parish Councils. Education, already compulsory for every child, was made free. Home Rule was for the time emphatically rejected. Peace was maintained, though England was exceedingly unpopular abroad. The Indian frontier was advanced; vast developments were made in Canada and Australia; and the English possessions in Africa were enormously increased.

In 1896 the reconquest of the Sudan was at last taken in hand. Led by General (afterwards Lord) Kitchener, English and Egyptian troops, fighting side by side, crushed the Khalifa's armies in battle after battle. Finally Khartoum itself was recovered, and a solemn service held in memory of Gordon in the place where he had died. Then the Sudan was formally taken under the joint rule of the English Crown and the Khedive. Meanwhile the English territories in East and South Africa grew ever larger, till in the South the rivalry of English and Dutch produced the South African War of 1899–1902 and the final suppression of Boer independence.

In the middle of this war, bowed down with age and toil and grief; Queen Victoria died. A girl of eighteen at her accession, she reigned more than sixty-three years—longer even than George III. For twenty-two years she enjoyed a singularly happy married life. But by the death of the Prince Consort the whole world was changed for her. Though never very popular, the Prince had done his duty nobly in a very difficult position. And not for an instant had he ever swerved from loyal devotion to his wife.

The Queen was inconsolable. Business of State, indeed, she never neglected. But for years she avoided, as far as possible, all public functions, causing thereby no little discontent. And still troubles came thick upon her. Two sons, a daughter, two sons-in-law, and three grandsons died in her lifetime, and more than once public affairs gave her terrible anxiety.

But in her later years her devotion to duty and ceaseless care for her subjects won back for her a double portion of her people's love—a love all the tenderer when tinged with pity for a lonely and sorrowful old age. And twice—in the Jubilee of 1887 and in the Diamond Jubilee ten years later—this love found vent in vast rejoicings, which hailed first the fiftieth and then the sixtieth anniversary of her accession.

It would not be easy to surpass the brilliance of the first Jubilee, when seventeen princes rode before the royal carriage in the procession to Westminster Abbey, the tall figure of the Queen's son-in-law, the Crown Prince of Germany, towering above all others in his splendid uniform. Yet perhaps the second Jubilee appealed still more to the heart of the Queen herself.

The little band of princes, indeed, was sadly thinned, for Death had taken his toll of them, claiming first the Crown Prince himself, when he had just become German Emperor. But though she mourned the loss of kinsmen—the breaking one after another of the ties of blood—she must have rejoiced at the new tokens of the devotion that her noble life had won throughout her dominions. For there, in the great procession that stretched for a mile and a half. through the streets of London, were the Prime Ministers of all the self-governing colonies, and troops from almost every possession of the Crown—a living, moving witness to the common love and loyalty which now bound the whole Empire together round the throne.

Three years and a half later—on January 22, 1901—the Queen died, and, borne by night across the Solent between dark lines of towering warships, thundering out their farewell salute, she was laid at last in peace at Windsor, where, nearly forty years before, her beloved husband had been buried.

5. Edward the Peacemaker

And now, for nine years, Edward VII reigned over "all the Britains." "Uncle Edward" the Germans called him, for their Emperor was his nephew, and the Russian Empress and the Spanish Queen were his nieces; while his brothers-in-law sat on the thrones of Greece and Denmark, and the Queen of Norway was his daughter. "Edward the Peacemaker" he was called when he had died; for—by his great experience, his wonderful tact, his personal popularity abroad, and his loyal use of all the opportunities of his position—he did much to end the isolation of England among the Powers of Europe.

Peace was made in South Africa before his Coronation. That same year England, for the first time in recent history, entered into an active alliance, her ally being "the England of the East," the island Power of Japan. Then an agreement with France settled many long-disputed points, and covert hostility between the two nations changed into hearty goodwill—the famous Entente Cordiale, which the King's popularity in Paris so greatly helped to establish. And this naturally led to a better understanding with France's ally, Russia.

Meanwhile the Conservative Government had at length fallen. It had lasted so long mainly because disputes as to the justice of the Boer War split up the Liberal party. And now the Conservatives themselves were divided into Tariff Reformers and Free Traders, and unable to follow any vigorous policy. So the Liberals, led first by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and then by Mr. Asquith, returned to power with an enormous majority. Abroad they continued Mr. Balfour's policy. In South Africa they treated the Boers with unparalleled generosity. At home they soon began vigorous social reforms, involving vast additional taxation, especially for the payment of Old Age Pensions to all men and women over seventy who were in need. A violent party conflict ensued over the new taxes and the general attitude of the House of Lords to Liberal measures, and in the middle of it Edward VII died, greatly lamented, and his son, George V, became king.

In this brief sketch there has been no room even to mention the greatest writers of each period. Yet the Age of Walpole was also the age of the poet Pope—cold, formal, brilliant as his times; and of political pamphleteers like Defoe, Swift, and Bolingbroke. The stirring Age of Chatham was the Age of Dr. Johnson, the great-hearted dictionary maker; Goldsmith, whose charming "Vicar of Wakefield" pictures the country parson at his best; Richardson, Fielding, Smollett, and Sterne, whose novels show the English life that Hogarth painted; Gibbon the historian; Chesterfield and Horace Walpole, whose letters describe the fashionable world that sat for portraits to Reynolds, Gainsborough, and Romney. And the Age of Pitt began a time unequalled since the days of Shakespeare, yet hardly greater than the early years of Victoria. For first came poets—Cowper, Burns, Southey, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, Byron; essayists—Lamb and Hazlitt; novelists—Jane Austen and Walter Scott, whose works are now known throughout the world. And then another flood of masterpieces poured forth from Tennyson, the two Brownings, Dickens, Thackeray, Charlotte Bronte, "George Eliot," Macaulay, Ruskin, Carlyle, and Meredith.

Economic Changes: The Agricultural Revolution

England's triumph over Napoleon was due not only to her courage and endurance, but also to the vast riches which enabled her, besides paying her own share of the cost of war, to send huge sums to her allies. For she was growing fast in population, in industry, in commerce, and in general wealth. When George III became king there were not seven million people in all England and Wales. When he died there were close upon twelve millions. In his reign, too, England's foreign trade doubled twice over.

Meanwhile, thanks to the "Agricultural Revolution," far more crops and cattle were being produced than ever before. Yet the "Industrial Revolution" had already begun its work of turning England from a land mainly agricultural into the greatest manufacturing country in the world, and filling her with great whirring machines, and busy factories, and huge, smoky towns.

1. Country Life in the Good Old Times

In the early eighteenth century one-third of the English nation was occupied in tilling the soil or raising sheep and cattle. Some towns were indeed of great importance: a few were already famous for their manufactures. Manchester was reckoned to contain thirty thousand cotton spinners. Sheffield and Birmingham were renowned for cutlery and other goods. There were noted ironworks in Sussex and Northumberland, and noted "potteries" in Staffordshire. Yet there was no such marking-off of town from country life as in present-day England: a manufacturer might often work in the fields; many a farmer and labourer occupied his leisure with manufacturing.

Nevertheless, much land now under plough was still uncultivated. Even in the south there were vast undrained bogs and uncleared forests, and in the far north, from Derbyshire to the Border, a great waste stretched over a hundred and fifty miles.

Communication between distant places, too, was slow and uncertain. Few roads, except the great high roads, deserved their name. Often mere cart-tracks alone connected village with village, and in more than one county church bells rang at night to guide the lonely traveller. So wheeled vehicles were rather rare in country places, and horses and mules were used more to carry loads than to drag them.

Nor were the high roads themselves by any means perfect. A famous traveller, indeed, declared, in 1770, that all but four roads in England were either "vile," or "execrable," or "execrably vile." And, even if he exaggerated, he had good cause for grumbling as he rode about the country. In one place the cart-ruts were fully four foot deep. Elsewhere wagons got so firmly stuck in the mud that it needed thirty or forty horses to drag them out. Throughout some districts the roads were drained by channels cut across them, which brought many a traveller headlong to the ground. Even good roads, moreover, were far from safe. Highway robberies were constant. Almost every day coaches were stopped and passengers stripped of all their wealth, or even killed; and that not only in remote country places, but in what are now the suburbs of London itself. As late as 1781 a lady going to dine at Twickenham had to give up her purse on the way. And so little surprised was she that she had filled the purse for the occasion with worthless coin!

Compared with this uncertainty of ever reaching the journey's end in safety, it was a small grievance that the journey itself should be slow and tedious. Yet sixteen days was a long time to spend on the way from London to Edinburgh, and it was something like a scandal that the London mail-bags—carried till 1784 by mounted postboys, and often robbed—should take three days to reach Bristol.

In these conditions villages and country towns were naturally occupied mainly with their own concerns. Every village, every large farmhouse almost, produced itself most of the necessaries of daily life. Bread was baked and beer brewed at home. The men made tools, and bowls, and baskets: the women spun and wove the clothes of the household. A carpenter and a smith were found in every village of any size, while travelling workmen visited more out-of-the-way spots.

Meanwhile the instruments and methods of farming were what they had been for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. More than half England was still cultivated on the old and wasteful "open field" plan. Instead of many separate fields, each hedged in and belonging entirely to a single cultivator, the "open field" village contained three great fields, which included nearly all the arable land in the parish.

Each field was split up into acre or half-acre strips, and a farm was simply a collection of these strips, scattered all over each of the three fields. Hence endless time was lost in moving from strip to strip, much space in making turf "balks" or boundaries to mark the strips off, and not a little temper in boundary quarrels between neighbours.

All the strips in a field, too, had to be treated alike. Every year one field was sown with wheat, and one with some inferior grain, and one lay fallow. And, after the crops were gathered in, the sheep and cattle of all the villagers grazed together over the stubble, watched by the village shepherd and herdsman, as they did at other times in the water meadows or on the open downs or commons. So no one could break away and try experiments of his own with either crops or cattle.

2. The Revolution

George III


Three centuries before, this system had been sometimes abandoned and the land enclosed. But the "enclosures" which caused such suffering in Tudor days were mainly rather enclosures of commons or of cultivated lands to form large sheep pastures. Under the Georges, however, especially George III, enclosing for agricultural purposes was practised on an enormous scale, and it went on, even faster, till well into the following century.

For agriculture was now the pet—and profitable—hobby of many leading men in England. Even in the age of Walpole the Prime Minister's brother-in-law had earned the name of "Turnip Townshend." At a later date the sheep shearings of the Duke of Bedford, or of "Coke of Norfolk" (afterwards Earl of Leicester), were landmarks in the English farmer's year. While Fox and Burke were fighting the king's influence in Parliament, they had yet a thought to spare for their own carrots and turnips: like the Walrus and the Carpenter, they talked of "cabbages and kings." And the king himself was "Farmer George"—a real worker, as well as a writer on his favourite subject. Even the Government caught the farming fever. A Board of Agriculture was set up, and its secretary, the famous Arthur Young, taught the new farming throughout the kingdom.

Arthur Young


The treatment of the soil, the choice of crops, the breeding of cattle, were all entirely changed. The great open fields were broken up. The parts assigned to each farmer were enclosed with hedges, and lay close together. The soil was scientifically manured. And the whole course of crops was altered—for the fallow year was given up and root crops (such as turnips) and grass were now grown alternately with wheat and other grain. Thus far more was got out of the land, and the heaviest crops came from soil once so poor that "two rabbits fought for every blade of grass" on it.

In like manner the breeding of cattle and sheep was greatly improved. Breeders, too, thought no longer only of good milking cows, and oxen strong for the plough, and sheep whose fleeces would give valuable wool. They tried also to produce good beef and mutton. The growth of the population encouraged all the farmers' efforts by increasing the demand for corn and meat. So more and more land was taken into cultivation, and better and better crops and beasts were raised, and landlords bound their tenants to practise the new farming on pain of forfeiting their farms.

James Brindley


Meanwhile the means of communication at last improved. Under George III a canal was built by James Brindley to carry the Duke of Bridwater's coals from Worsley to Manchester. This example was followed—well or badly—in every quarter. A network of canals spread over the country, and the cost and difficulty of carrying heavy goods grew ever less.

At last, too, especially when Parliament allowed "tolls" to be charged for keeping up turnpike roads, the roads themselves became better. The inventions of Telford and Macadam for making really good roads belonged, indeed, to the nineteenth century. But even in 1784 mail coaches—carrying an armed guard and a few passengers—began to take over the carriage of letters from the postboys. And soon the golden age of coaching opened, lasting till—in the early days of Queen Victoria—the railway drove the coach out of the field.

Economic Changes: The Industrial Revolution

George Stephenson


1. Many Inventions

Great as was the wealth which all these changes created, it was as nothing compared with the results of the Industrial Revolution which was proceeding at the same time. The main features of this Revolution were three.

First came the invention of machinery. To begin with, there were machines for making "textile fabrics," first of cotton, then of woollen and other stuffs. Next came machines and new processes for making iron and steel. And then followed a whole host of inventions—machines for manufacturing every kind of article, and machines for making other machines—an endless succession year after year.

Some of these machines did what human hands had done before, but much faster and more accurately. With Kay's famous "flying shuttle"—one of the first inventions in the cotton weaving trade—one weaver could do what had hitherto been the work of four. With Hargreaves' "spinning jenny" a child could spin as much as eight men without it. A century later the spindles used by a single worker were reckoned not by ones but by thousands; and what was true of spinning and weaving was true of countless other industries.

Other machines did what no man, and no number together, could do without mechanical help. They lifted weights that no human could raise. They dealt blows that not a thousand human arms together could strike. They poured out ceaseless streams of delicate and complicated work, so accurate that no one thing differed by a hair's breadth from another, though no unaided human skill could produce two alike.

2. Harnessing Nature

Water Mill


This strength and evenness in machine work was partly due to the second great feature of the Industrial Revolution—the use by man of natural forces—wind, water, steam, and electricity—to furnish "driving power" to his machines.

The idea itself, of course, was nothing new. Windmills and watermills had worked for centuries. Steam engines were known even in ancient Egypt. But wind, however great a power, was too fitful and uncertain to furnish an even and constant pressure. Water power was long used only for grinding corn. And, till the later eighteenth century, steam found no favour except for pumping engines, and was far too costly for general use. But now first water was employed to drive the new machines for spinning and weaving, and then steam replaced it for almost every purpose, and held sway till electricity in its turn came on the scene.

The effect upon the life of the nation was enormous. For one thing, the distribution of the population was entirely altered. For centuries the cloth and iron trades had centred in the east and south, and the most populous counties had lain south of the Trent. But when water-power became all-important the sluggish streams of southern England were deserted for the shorter but swifter rivers of the north.

Presently, indeed, steam replaced water, and steam could be produced at every time and place, so that the need for it did not tie manufacturers down to any particular spot. Yet other motives now caused them to congregate in the north and west. Lancashire, Cheshire, the West Riding of Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire, Worcestershire, Warwick-shire, Durham, and the neighbourhood of Cardiff, in South Wales, became the most thickly peopled districts. For now coal was the all-important thing. It was the cheapest means of producing steam. Also, thanks to recent discoveries, it could now be used for smelting iron, whereas for centuries smelters had had to use wood, and had therefore worked their ore chiefly where timber was plentiful, as in Sussex. And, to save carriage of both coal and iron, it was best to work them where they lay close together, as in the "Black Country," and Durham and South Wales, while manufacturers naturally gathered where coal was near at hand, and therefore cheap.

3. The Factory System

And now the third feature of the Industrial Revolution appeared in the rise of the Factory System, and the recasting of the whole industrial organization of the kingdom. When "power" replaced human muscles in driving machines, employers largely ceased to give their work out to men and women who bought or hired machines for use in their own homes. Instead, they gathered all the machines together in a single factory, or mill, where the "power" could be applied to all at once with the least trouble and expense. And thither the workers had to come, so that the man now came to the machine, not the machine to the man.

Thus the factory system grew up. All over the coal and iron fields great towns sprang into existence. The old "domestic," or home, system of industry and the combination of agriculture with manufacture disappeared for ever. Enormous businesses were built up, employing armies of workmen; the whole character of industry changed, becoming far more adventurous and speculative; year by year England sent more and more goods to seek markets all over the world; and the wealth of the nation, and the power and importance of the commercial classes, grew ever greater.

4. The Price of Progress

Yet neither the Agricultural nor the Industrial Revolution was wholly beneficial. The farmer's profits and the landlord's rents rose rapidly with the spread of the new farming, but the country labourer for many years lost more than he gained. His wages were still miserably low, and their value really fell when prices rose, since less could now be bought for any given sum. And too often an "encloser" laid hands on "common" land where his poor neighbours had long had the right to feed their sheep or pigs, or even on their own little plots.

The small farmers or yeomen, too, who a century before were thought the backbone of the English nation, often found themselves obliged to sell their land. Without enclosing they could not compete against their wealthier neighbours; yet often they could not afford the cost of the enclosure. Even the new farming itself often required an expenditure to start it which was beyond their means.

Yeomen and labourers alike, too, lost by the new separation of manufacture and agriculture. For, when factories took over the weaving and spinning that had been done so long in cottages and farms, few "bye," or secondary, industries remained to fill up idle hours or make amends for a bad farmer's year. So, too, the factory "hands," or workers, penned up in the smoke-stained streets of crowded towns, had neither space nor time to find health or profit or pleasure in gardening or farming. They also had now but one means of livelihood, and if it failed starvation stared them in the face.

Moreover, partly because manufacturers worked now not merely for neighbours, or customers whose needs were known, but for distant and uncertain markets, more stock was often produced than could be quickly sold, and then, at least for a time, the men were unemployed. And, for a time, too, with almost every new invention, some men and women found their occupation gone, when perhaps they were too old to learn another trade. Often, indeed, such sufferers, in despair, took to violence, and smashed the hated machines which seemed the cause of so much evil.

5. Industrial Slavery

Early factories


But the factory "hands" suffered not only from times of unemployment, but also from the conditions of their labour while they were employed. Many factories—often mere barns hastily altered for the purpose—were badly built, badly lighted, badly ventilated, and badly drained. The hours of work were terribly long and the wages were miserably low.

There were, of course, many kind masters, with healthy factories, large or small. Yet the Industrial Revolution certainly tended to make employers look on their "hands" simply as human machines, from which, as from the machines of steel and iron, the utmost profit must be wrung. Further, while the small master might grudge every penny spent upon his workers, the large owner often handed them over to the care of "overlookers," seeing but little of their life himself. And the overlookers, whose own earnings depended on the amount of work they could get out of their miserable charges, were strongly tempted to be harsh and brutal. Thus the lot of men was often terribly hard. Women endured not only hardship but bitter degradation. And worst of all were the sufferings of children.

Orphans and other pauper children were often taken as "apprentices" by millowners eager to find cheap labour, and these, perhaps, suffered most, for they had no one to care for them or save them from their tyrants. They were, to all intents and purposes, slaves. Indeed, there were regular agents who took them over from the "Guardians of the Poor," carried them to manufacturing towns, and kept them—often in dark cellars—till a bargain was struck with their new masters. And then they could be treated just as their masters chose. The undertaking to teach them a trade need never be carried out. They could be kept throughout the fourteen years or so of "apprenticeship" always at the same hard but unskilled labour. If they lived they could then be turned out into the world without a single qualification for earning their bread. And if they died they could be easily replaced, and no one would care to make awkward inquiries.

But children who were neither paupers nor orphans were also often forced into the same slavery. It might be through the pitiless greed of their relations—even in the old domestic industries children of four or five sometimes earned their daily bread. It might be through the wretched poverty of the whole family, which made every penny that could be earned important. And such children fared little better than the pauper apprentices.

So day after day—in winter even before sunrise—little slaves of seven or eight, sometimes of five or six, were hunted out of wretched beds in the apprentice houses, or forced to leave their homes, perhaps miles away, and—still half asleep—drag their weary limbs along the hated road to the factory. And then, for twelve or fourteen or sixteen hours, often for just a penny a day, all had to toil in stuffy, dusty, badly lighted, evil-smelling rooms, straining body and mind in the effort always to keep pace with the never-halting machines.

If they arrived a minute late, if for a moment they ceased to attend to their work, if something annoyed the over-looker, they might be beaten and kicked, picked up and shaken by the ears, hurled to the ground, tied up by their wrists to the roof, or tortured in a hundred other ways. Sometimes they were fed on food unfit for pigs: sometimes for many hours they had no food at all. If they tried to run away they might be flogged and kept in chains by day and night. It was only in death—and deaths were very frequent—that many of them found an escape.

In mines, meanwhile, children and women, scantily clothed and harnessed like horses, spent their days in reeking galleries underground, crawling on hands and knees, dragging heavy trucks of coal. And tiny girls, who could do nothing else, sat alone hour after hour in pitch darkness, opening and shutting doors for the trucks to pass through.

So a generation of children grew up who never knew what it was to play out in the sunshine and fresh air; who had no time to play at all; who, indeed, would have had no spirit or strength to play if they had had the time. Untaught, untrained, half-fed, half-clothed, dividing days and nights between exhausting toil and unrefreshing sleep, they grew up ignorant, stunted, often diseased and deformed in body, mind, and soul.

6. The Struggle for Reform

Factory workers


Yet for years little attempt was made to stop the evil, for many Englishmen were then so impressed by the mischief which Government interference with trade and industry had done in days gone by that they really thought such interference worse than any evil, and employers quite honestly believed that they would soon be ruined by foreign competition if, unlike foreign manufacturers, they were hampered by law in dealing with their workers.

Men, indeed, though only with extreme difficulty, could do something for themselves. They began to combine to protect their interests. They formed "Trade Unions" to demand better terms from their masters; they declared a "strike" (i.e. refused to work) if their demands were rejected; and in these and other ways—helped, too, by the unselfish labour of friends in Parliament and elsewhere—they slowly and painfully progressed.

They made mistakes; they sometimes acted wrongly; they often failed. But on the whole their cause was just, and in time they obtained Acts of Parliament, from Conservative and Liberal Governments alike, to check oppression, to lessen the risks of dangerous callings, to secure compensation if they were injured in their employer's service, and the like.

Women, however—and even more, children—could do little or nothing by their own strength. They had to depend almost entirely on generous champions like the first Sir Robert Peel, and the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, and Robert Owen, and others of equal merit though smaller fame. These men helped them from sheer pity, and shame for the national disgrace. And they had a terrible fight against prejudice, and ignorance, and selfishness, though they were aided by the growing fear that the abuses of the factory system would undermine the national health—that the factories might become, as it were, plague spots, spreading infection all round them.

A beginning of reform was made by Peel's Act of 1802, dealing with apprentices in "textile" factories. It limited the working day to twelve hours, and required some education, at least, to be given to the children. And in time it was followed by more general Acts affecting all children, and all factories, and mines, and shops, and even labour in the fields, where till quite recently there was much brutal treatment of children.

These Acts compelled employers to arrange reasonable hours, limited to the daytime, and proper meal-times, and opportunities for education, and healthy surroundings. They forbade altogether the employment of women underground, and any employment at all of children under eight. They required dangerous machinery to be fenced in to prevent accidents. And they created an army of Inspectors to see that these and scores of other rules were obeyed. Many such rules, moreover, applied to women and "young persons" as well as children, and even benefited also, directly or indirectly, the men themselves.

So—though trade and industry still grew, and manufacturers made ever larger fortunes—it was not, for the most part, by sacrificing the happiness, or health, or character of their workers. Evils, no doubt, remained, though less, perhaps, in the factories than among "home workers," slaving for starvation wages with no Factory Acts to protect them. But such evils were no longer considered matters with which neither the Government nor private people should concern themselves.

On the contrary, public opinion urged ever more strongly the duty of removing them, even if the profits of employers suffered. Men of every class and profession—clergy and politicians, men of business and men of science—agreed that every citizen ought so to act as to promote not the mere wealth but the general welfare of his country. And every year saw some new attempt, both by public and by private efforts, to carry out this maxim.

Ever since the Methodist Movement of the eighteenth century the spirit of mercy and kindness had been gaining ground. That movement had roused Churchmen as well as Nonconformists against the evils of the time, and when it was over other movements followed and kept the conscience of the nation alive. And so the work of John Howard and Elizabeth Fry for prison reform, and Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce for the abolition first of the slave trade and then of slavery, was followed by the labours of Charles Kingsley and "Christian Socialists" on behalf of oppressed workers and of Lord Shaftesbury in the cause not only of these but of dumb animals suffering from the cruelty or ignorance of human beings.

Government of England: The King and His Advisers



1. The Crown

When William IV came to the throne the main features of the English Government had long been settled. At its head stood the King, with his Privy Council; then came the Parliament of two Houses; and then the electorate, i.e.  the men by whose votes the House of Commons was chosen. But the most important organ, the body which really advised the King and guided the Parliament, was the Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister. Local Government of all kinds, including the administration of justice, the maintenance of order, and the care of the poor, rested largely in the country with the Justices of the Peace, and in towns with the Corporations and their Mayors.

But under William IV, Victoria, and Edward VII the control of the people over its own government increased enormously. The ancient struggle to secure power for Parliament rather than the King was now followed by a struggle to ensure that Parliament should itself represent the wishes of the nation. Further, the principle that every man should take part in choosing those who rule and tax him was applied not only to Parliament but also to the bodies that governed counties and towns.

The position of the King was only indirectly affected by this change. Legally it remained quite unaltered. He reigns by hereditary right—son following father, daughters succeeding only when there are no sons—subject to the conditions contained in the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement. He can "do no wrong"—that is, however he acts, he cannot be punished by any legal process. Only if—e.g. by becoming a Roman Catholic—he ceases to be King will he be subject to the law. Yet this does not enable him to do whatever he likes, for no official act of his has legal force unless countersigned by a minister, who has to answer for it.

Thus the King can do only what his Ministers advise. And these Ministers represent the political party which at the time is strongest in the House of Commons. Further, he must do whatever they advise: at least, he can refuse only if he is certain that their opponents will be ready to take office and able to get a new House of Commons elected which will support them.

Yet he has the right to give counsel, to criticize, to demand further consideration. And he may greatly influence his Ministers, if only because—if he reigns long—he has so much more experience than they. For Ministries come and Ministries go, but the King—so to speak—goes on for ever.

The kingship itself has a great value. It lends dignity to the Government. It links the twentieth century with the days of Elizabeth and Edward I, and even the distant times of William the Conqueror and Alfred, when the Crown was there, but Parliament as yet was not. It links the old Mother Country, too, with the young "Britains beyond the Seas," for, though each has its own Parliament and Ministers, one King reigns over all alike.

And this value of the office is enormously increased when the sovereign is worthy of the throne. The influence of the Crown was weakened by the character of George IV, but it revived when Victoria associated herself with everything good and pure and noble in the life of Englishmen at home, and Edward VII helped so wonderfully to do away with the unpopularity of Englishmen abroad.

2.The Cabinet and the Council

The Prime Minister is in many ways the most powerful man in the kingdom. There are four main points in this position.

First, he is the man appointed by the sovereign to form a Government. Generally, indeed, the sovereign has little choice, some one man being clearly marked out as the leader of the party in power; but more than once Queen Victoria had really to choose between two or three possible Premiers.

Secondly, he is the man whose decision is final in all disputes within the Cabinet: other Ministers must either accept it or resign.

Thirdly, he is the only man whose resignation necessarily dissolves the Cabinet, so that all other Ministers must resign too, even if they at once take office again under a new leader.

Lastly, he is an official unrecognized by the law: even his title of Prime Minister rests not on law, but on custom, though in Court functions and in social life he has a right—under an order of Edward VII—to rank among the highest subjects of the Crown.

The Cabinet also is unknown to the law, except as an informal meeting of some of the King's Privy Councillors. But its composition and its conduct are none the less determined by well-established rules. It consists of from fifteen to twenty leading members of the ministry. First there is the Prime Minister himself. Now that the mere work of generally supervising the Government is so immense, he is rarely also, like Gladstone or Salisbury, the head of a busy department, like the Exchequer or the Foreign Office. But he may hold the nominal post of Lord Privy Seal, if a peer, or First Lord of the Treasury, if a commoner. Next come other great Ministers—the Lord Chancellor, the head of the legal profession; the First Lord of the Admiralty and the Secretary of State for War, controlling the Navy and Army respectively; the Home Secretary; the Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs, the Colonies, and India; the Chancellor of the Exchequer; the President of the Local Government Board; and others.

The Cabinet decides all important questions of policy. It deals with matters in any department which the minister concerned cannot settle on his own responsibility. And it has an enormous influence over Parliament. It determines largely the subjects to be discussed and the time to be given to them. It determines, too, which Bills shall be pressed forward by the full strength of the Government, and which opposed, and which left for Parliament to deal with as it chooses.

The Cabinet debates in secret. It keeps, generally, no record of its discussions. And it is supposed to be of one mind. At any rate, the Cabinet as a whole and each individual member are mutually responsible for each other's policy. If any Minister disapproves the Cabinet's action, or does something himself which it will not support, he must resign.

The Privy Council—once the real adviser of the Crown—has now only formal duties. It includes all Cabinet Ministers, past and present, and many men distinguished in other fields than politics. But membership gives not political power, but social honour and distinction.

Government of England: The High Court of Parliament

1. The House of Lords

Aberdeen Cabinet


The High Court of Parliament, still the supreme legislature of the Empire, has changed enormously in many ways.

The House of Lords was immensely altered by the younger Pitt, whose lavish creations of peers not only greatly increased its numbers, but introduced many leaders of the business world into an assembly long confined almost entirely to the landed classes. And fresh additions have since raised the numbers of the House to something like six hundred.

Most members, except the Bishops, still sit by hereditary right, but Scotland since 1707, and Ireland since 1800, have sent a number of elected peers, and a few life peers—"Lords of Appeal"—now help the House when acting as the highest court of law.

The power of the House has dwindled as its numbers have grown. Two characteristics have often exposed it to attack, especially by opponents of the Conservative party. First, most of its members—except on rare occasions—take no part in its work. Secondly, the Lords are naturally inclined, as men of high social position and considerable wealth, to resist measures that seem to threaten the interests of the upper classes.

It has, indeed, long been recognized as their duty to accept a Bill passed by the Commons which represents the wishes of the nation. But opinions may easily differ as to whether any given Bill does represent them. In 1832 only William IV's threat to create peers induced the House of Lords to pass the Reform Bill. Nearly eighty years later the threat was used again in order so to alter the law that it should never more be necessary.

For in 1911 the Commons passed a "Parliament Bill," entirely changing the relations between the two Houses. It deprived the Lords of the right to throw out a Money Bill as they had thrown out the "Budget" of 1909. This in the main only turned a generally approved custom into a binding law. But the "Parliament Bill" also enacted that, if the Commons passed and the Lords rejected any  Bill twice under certain conditions, it should become law, with the King's consent, if the Commons alone passed it a third time.

So sweeping a change in the ancient Constitution was naturally violently resisted. But the Liberals and their Irish and Labour allies were supreme in the existing House of Commons. The Unionists, therefore, could not take office unless they won in a General Election, which for various reasons seemed unlikely. So the Liberals remained the official advisers of the King, who therefore agreed to create such peers as might be necessary to carry their Bill. Thereupon, as in 1832, most of the Opposition peers abstained from voting, and, by a small majority, the Bill became law.

2. The House of Commons in 1830

Opening Parliament


The House of Commons was composed in 1830 much as it had been composed four centuries before. As in early days, each county had two members, while many towns were represented separately, generally by two members also. The number of these towns had grown immensely, and members now came from Wales and Scotland and Ireland; but otherwise there was little change.

Nor had the electorate altered much. Under a statute just four hundred years old the county members were still chosen by the "forty-shilling freeholders," and by them alone. And the electorate in towns differed, as always, in different places. Sometimes it included nearly every householder; sometimes only the men who bought or inherited or gained by apprenticeship the "freedom of the borough"; often, only the governing body of the town—the Corporation and its officers.

The elections—lasting sometimes for many days—occurred at least every seven years under the Septennial Act of 1716. And, if the King agreed, Parliament might be dissolved before its seven years were over.

3. The Need for Reform

By 1830 the whole system was out of date. To give every county, large or small,. just two members had been well enough when Parliament was chiefly a convenience to the King, and the electors wished chiefly to pay as few members as possible. But when Parliament became the means for announcing and enforcing the wishes of the nation it was absurd to give, e.g., Yorkshire and Rutland an equal voice in its decisions. And the Industrial Revolution, which made the northern counties so much more populous than the southern, increased the absurdity.

The Industrial Revolution affected also the representation of towns. Originally the sheriff was told to send up members "from every city, borough, and market town" in his shire. But soon many towns, chiefly to avoid paying members of their own, managed on various pretexts to escape being represented. On the other hand, Edward VI, Mary, Elizabeth, and James I—perhaps because the Commons were becoming self-willed and the Crown wanted more members willing to support it—summoned members from many towns hitherto unrepresented, particularly in districts specially under royal control.

Some of these places were always small; other towns decayed in course of time; and so under the Georges scores of members represented "rotten boroughs," which deserved scarcely any influence. Yet new towns, or old unrepresented towns which became important in the Industrial Revolution, had next to no weight in Parliament, for the Crown now dared not summon new places, and Parliament itself did nothing.

So two members were chosen by the seven electors of Gatton, and two by the single voter at Cockermouth, and two by the owner of the uninhabited Old Sarum; but Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool, whose population even in 1825 was nearly four hundred thousand, had not a single member between them.

Moreover, the forty-shilling freeholders were but a small minority of the county population, and the borough voters often a still smaller minority of the townsmen. And many towns were "pocket boroughs"—that is, places controlled by some peer or other great landowner—so that the election was a mere pretence. It was calculated that 345 members were really nominated by individuals, not chosen by the people. And, while the "borough-monger" often sold his "seats" to the highest bidder, direct bribery of the electors themselves was constant, in towns and counties alike.

Walpole and the Pelhams and George III spent vast sums in buying seats and bribing voters to secure a satisfactory House of Commons. And, though the younger Pitt abolished bribery by the Government, it was still practised by the candidates themselves. Many a man was ruined by the enormous expenses of "treating" the voters. Further, many an elector too honest to be bribed voted against his conscience for fear of losing his cottage or his work. For voting was public, and every landlord or employer could learn how his men voted, and, if they disobeyed his wishes, turn them away.

4. Reform

At last, however, the Parliamentary reform proposed by the two Pitts, but long delayed by the French Revolution, was carried out, mainly in the Reform Acts of 1832, 1867, and 1884-85, and the Ballot Act of 1870.

Many boroughs lost their members altogether: others, with one county, Rutland, retained only one. But members were given to important towns hitherto unrepresented, and additional members to very large towns and the largest counties. Finally, the counties and most of the bigger boroughs were split up into "divisions" or "wards," each returning one member.

Further, the electorate was altogether changed. The Act of 1832 "enfranchised" (i.e. gave the vote to) the middle classes. In towns it set up, instead of many different qualifications, one general qualification for all places, viz. the occupation of a house, shop, warehouse, or the like—worth £10 a year—provided that the occupier lived within seven miles of the town.

In counties it still based the right to vote mainly on ownership of land. But it recognized other kinds of ownership than absolute freehold, and it allowed the vote to "occupiers" of land worth £50 a year, which enfranchised many tenant-farmers.

Disraeli's Reform Act, in 1867, went beyond the middle classes, giving the vote in towns to householders, and to lodgers if their rooms were worth—unfurnished—£10 a year. And in counties it greatly reduced the value of the land which voters must own or occupy.

But it was Gladstone's Act, in 1884, that enfranchised the agricultural labourer by giving the vote to householders and lodgers in counties as well as towns. This left no important class of men, except the tenants of poor lodgings, deliberately shut out from the franchise, though the strict rules as to registering claims to vote, in lists of voters made every year, practically disenfranchise many thousands. But women remained legally disqualified either to vote or to be elected to Parliament.

Meanwhile Gladstone's Ballot Act established secret voting, and many laws forbade "corrupt practices" at elections, so that threats and bribes became far rarer, if they were not altogether unknown. Again, all the voting for any one member had now to be done in a single day, and this, with other changes, made elections more decent and orderly. Scenes of drunken violence became less common, and dead cats, rotten eggs, and other unsavoury missiles less often served instead of arguments.

The Parliament Act of 1911 made five years, instead of seven, the longest period between two General Elections. In the same year the ancient payment of members was revived, with two differences: first, that now the nation and not the electors paid; secondly, that the payment was a fixed sum of £400 a year, not an allowance of 2s. or 4s. for each day of the session.

Even before this, the rule requiring a member to be a landowner was abolished, so that now the poorest man, if twenty-one years old, may be a candidate. Only he must not be a foreign subject, a convicted felon who has not served his sentence, a bankrupt, a lunatic or idiot, an English or Scottish peer, a clergyman in the Anglican or Roman Church, or a judge or other official disqualified by the law. To secure election, too, he must generally be supported by some great political party, and often by the "wobblers" in the constituency, i.e. men who vote not always for the same party, but for one side or the other as conscience or inclination dictates. And he must avoid all "treating"—direct or indirect—and keep his election expenses within the limit fixed by law: otherwise he may be punished, and if elected promptly unseated for "corrupt practices."

Government of England: Local Government

1. The Government of Towns

The reign of William IV saw reforms not only in Parliament but in Local Government. And first the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 swept away countless abuses in cities and towns.

For centuries these places had been ruled by small bodies of men, almost free from popular control. These bodies varied greatly in composition, but were each headed by a Mayor, elected every year. They held office till they died or resigned. They themselves very often filled up any vacancies in their own number. Even if there was an election it was generally a mere farce, and the electors themselves were usually only a tiny minority of the townsmen. Thus the municipal governments neither represented the people nor depended on their goodwill. Often, indeed, they abused their power, oppressing the townsfolk and dishonestly enriching themselves.

The Act of 1835 changed all this. It made the Municipal Corporations throughout the kingdom—except in London—similar in form, representative in character and (as far as law could do it) honest in conduct. In every town now all the ratepayers, male and female, elect a Town Council, one-third every year. The Councillors themselves choose a smaller body of Aldermen, one-sixth in each year, to sit with them in the Council. And Aldermen and Councillors together elect every year a Mayor.

The Mayor—in a few large cities he is a Lord Mayor—is generally unpaid. But he has great expenses in the way of public dinners, subscriptions to charities, and so forth. Hence he is ordinarily a wealthy man: and sometimes the Council secures the services of some rich and public-spirited neighbour, e.g. a great landowner in the county, instead of electing one of its own members.

While in office the Mayor—wearing his official chain and robes—presides in the Town Council. He presides over the town magistrates. He represents the town itself in all public functions. And under him the Council aided by permanent officers, such as the Treasurer, the Chief Constable, and, above all, the Town Clerk, a man learned in the law—deals with everything that concerns the welfare of the place.

It sees to the lighting and paving of the streets, the maintenance of order, the health and education of the inhabitants, and sometimes the supply of water and gas or electric light. Often it constructs and maintains great public works, such as tramways, markets, parks, baths and wash-houses, picture-galleries, museums, and libraries. And for all these purposes it levies every year "rates"—that is, local taxes—on the inhabitants, according to the value of their lands and houses.

2. The Government of Counties

No such abuses ever existed in the government of the shires by the Justices of the Peace as disgraced the town governments before 1835. Yet, towards the end of Queen Victoria's reign, a new system of county government was obviously needed.

The Justices themselves were overworked. Even under Elizabeth, it was said, the "stacks of statutes" they had to enforce—besides discharging their duties as judges—were enough to "break their backs." And, though they had now no longer to collect forced loans or ship-money, fix labourers' wages, or hunt for "popish" priests, many new duties had fallen to them.

Again, recent laws had set up various local authorities, Boards of Health, School Boards, Highway Boards, Burial Boards, and so forth, which made the county government complex and confusing.

Lastly, though the Justices worked with no reward beyond a certain dignity, and with a general excellence that astonished and delighted foreign observers, they were in no sense representative of the people. They ruled, and taxed, but they were neither chosen nor controlled by those who had to pay and obey. For they were appointed by the Crown, i.e.  really by the Lord Chancellor, generally by the advice of the Lord-Lieutenant of the county, and, unless dismissed for misbehaviour, they held office till death.

Hence the Local Government Acts of 1888 and 1894—one a Conservative, the other a Liberal, measure—transferred most of their duties, except the administration of justice, to popularly elected councils. And these councils took over also some work from other local authorities, so that the county government became somewhat simpler, its main features being as follows.

At the head stands the Lord-Lieutenant, representing the King, by whom he is appointed, and holding office till resignation or death. Next comes the High County officers Sheriff, an annual officer, unpaid, like the Lord-Lieutenant, and also appointed by the King. His duties are now chiefly connected with Parliamentary elections and the Assizes, and, as they involve a great deal of expense, only wealthy men are chosen for the post.

But the real chief authority is the County Council, consisting like a Town Council—of ordinary Councillors and Aldermen, but having a Chairman instead of a Mayor. Below the County Council come the District Councils "Urban" and "Rural," dividing the county between them, except where there is a town with a government of its own. And below these again come the Parish Councils, which are found in all parishes except those so small that they have only a parish meeting of all the ratepayers in the place.

Each of these bodies has its own special duties.

The County Council maintains the great high-roads. It controls schools receiving grants of public money. It maintains lunatic asylums. It licences theatres and music-halls. And, with the Justices, it manages the county police.

The District Council looks after the smaller roads, the administration of the Poor Law, and the public health. Urban District Councils control elementary education: in rural districts elementary and higher education alike are left to the County Council.

The Parish Council deals with little local matters—the maintenance of footpaths, the lighting of streets, the inspection of drainage and water supply. Sometimes it owns and manages libraries, allotments, drinking-fountains, and other public properties.

Every council appoints certain officials and raises certain rates, but the smaller bodies are partly controlled by the larger, and have much less freedom of action. And all are checked by the Local Government Board, whose President is a Cabinet Minister, and whose inspectors supervise especially financial doings, the levying of rates and the raising of loans. In like manner, though elementary education is the business of the councils, who build schools, appoint managers, and so forth, and raise rates to pay for them, the whole system is controlled (again through inspectors) by the President of the Board of Education (another Cabinet Minister), and vast grants of money are made to the schools from the national Exchequer.

Government of England: Justice, Defence, and Taxation

1. The Law Courts

Certain functions of government are purposely not entrusted to local and popularly elected bodies, but kept entirely in the hands of the central authority.

One of these is the administration of justice, and here the wisdom of the rule is plain. For the less a judge depends for his position on those who may have to be judged by him, the less likely he is to judge unjustly for fear of punishment or hope of reward. Hence, except where elected officers, such as Mayors, or Chairmen of County or District Councils, are magistrates by virtue of their posts, judicial officers, from the Lord Chancellor to the Justice of the Peace, are appointed by the Central Government. Yet Judges cannot be dismissed—even by the King—except for misconduct, unless both Houses of Parliament ask for their dismissal. Thus they are free from intimidation by the Government as well as by the people.

The highest court in the land is the House of Lords, which hears appeals from all parts of the United Kingdom. Then comes the Supreme Court of Judicature, in London, which deals with cases of all kinds. And from this court, several times a year, the Judges go out in pairs "on circuit," as under Henry II, to country towns all over England and Wales. The High Sheriff, in his coach with four horses, driven by a coachman in a powdered wig, and attended by footmen and javelin men and trumpeters, meets them in great state. All the criminal and civil cases awaiting trial in the county are brought before them in the court. And there appear the juries summoned to give every accused person the opportunity of having the question of his guilt or innocence decided not by a single government official, however upright and learned, but by twelve of his fellow citizens giving their "verdict" as jurymen.

Besides the Judges of the Supreme Court, there are many others of smaller dignity yet of great importance. The County Court Judges hear civil cases, especially actions for debt, throughout the kingdom. Recorders and Stipendiary Magistrates hear criminal cases in large towns. London has a great Central Criminal Court. And thousands of Justices of the Peace, in Petty and Quarter Sessions, settle countless small criminal cases, and prepare greater cases for trial by higher courts.

2. The Armed Forces of the Crown

Admirality board


Another duty reserved to itself by the Central Government is the control of the armed forces of the Crown.

Army and Navy alike are now manned by voluntary enlistment; although even in the Napoleonic wars sailors were "pressed," or seized by force, for service, and in almost every foreign country military service for some years is compulsory. The Navy—though containing far fewer ships than in Nelson's day—is a far stronger fighting force. For the "wooden walls of England" have given place to walls of steel, and sails to steam. So the modern man-of-war is infinitely larger and stronger and faster—and more expensive!—than its predecessors. And the torpedo-boat, the torpedo-boat destroyer, the submarine, and the naval airship are types of vessels unknown when Trafalgar was won.

The army, though nearly 170,000 strong, is very small compared with the huge forces of Continental Powers. For England relies chiefly on her navy: moreover, an army raised by voluntary enlistment is extremely costly. Yet, though small, it is of the finest fighting quality.

The Household Cavalry (Life Guards and Horse Guards) and the four regiments of Foot Guards (Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, and Irish) represent the oldest part of the army—the Guards of Charles II—and rank before all others. But there are besides nearly thirty cavalry, and more than twice as many infantry, regiments "of the line." The cavalry, called Dragoons, Hussars, and Lancers, are distinguished by numbers. Each infantry regiment takes its title from the county or smaller district where it has its headquarters, and from which it draws most of its men. And cavalry and infantry alike bear on their standards the names of battles and campaigns in which, from the Seven Years' War to the War in South Africa, they won renown.

In addition there are special corps for special services—Engineers, Artillery (Horse, Field, and Garrison), the Flying Corps, Transport and Medical Corps, and, last, the Marines, half soldiers and half sailors, whose business is to live on board ship but fight, when required, on land. The army (like the navy) has a Reserve. This contains many men who have been for some years "on active service," but also others who have had merely six months' military training, followed by a short course every succeeding year. The Reservists receive a small pay, and may be called on in war to fill gaps in the ranks of regiments going abroad, or supply the reinforcements as the war proceeds.

Last of all comes the Territorial Force—infantry and yeomanry—which has replaced the older Volunteers and Yeomanry. Its business is home defence, not foreign service, and, though, as in the Reserve, each man must be trained for a few days every year, a six months' training is required in this case only if war causes the force to be called out. It is supposed that a great war would allow time for this training to make the Territorials useful soldiers before the country could be invaded. The force in each county is managed by a "County Association," generally headed by the Lord-Lieutenant, which endeavours to obtain recruits, encourage good shooting, and provide training-grounds, and for these purposes receives money, under strict conditions, from the War Office.

The whole system of imperial defence is watched over not only by the First Lord of the Admiralty with his Admiralty Board, and the Secretary for War with his Army Council, but by the Defence Committee of the Cabinet. Here the Premier and the Ministers of the Departments concerned meet experienced officers of rank representing the Army, the Navy, the Colonies, and India, but unconnected with party politics.

And to this Committee Parliament and the nation look for assurance that the country is safe in peace and strong for war; that her army and her navy are well manned and armed, and fed and clothed, and cared for; that the harbours which serve as coaling-stations for her ships throughout the world are properly protected and equipped; that all possible information is obtained as to the strength and objects of all who may be her enemies; and that the best possible arrangements are made between the Mother Country and her colonies for mutual protection.

3. The Cost of Government

Last, but not least, comes the great question of money. To the ordinary man the most disagreeable of public duties is paying rates and taxes—one to the local authorities, the other to the central government. He does not, indeed, feel the burden of taxation so keenly when it takes the form of having to give, perhaps, a few extra pence for every pound of tea, or a few more shillings for every pound of tobacco or bottle of wine, as when he receives a point-blank demand for so many pounds or shillings on a certain day. He may, as a matter of fact, have to pay really more in the first case, but he notices it less, and therefore is less discontented. So all Governments raise much of their revenues by customs or excise, and in England an enormous sum is provided simply by taxes on tobacco and intoxicating drinks.

But—especially in a country with Free Trade, like England—the customs revenue is far too small to meet all the expenses of government. So there are income duties—perhaps 9d. or Is. or Is. 2d. for every pound of income that a man enjoys over £160 a year, the rate rising as his riches increase; land taxes and house duties, paid on the annual value of lands and houses; death and estate duties, paid when a man's property passes to others by his death, the rate here being especially high if the property is large and the new owners are not near relatives of the old; stamp duties, paid for stamps required to make legal documents binding; and licence duties, paid for certain privileges, such as the right to use a crest or coat of arms, or have men-servants, dogs, guns, carriages, or motor-cars.

These and other smaller taxes amount to a vast sum every year, and almost every year the amount increases. So there is often grumbling about the heavy burden and every Government would like to win popularity by remitting taxes. Yet it is rarely that any Government can do so, for, but for the taxes, and the profit which the Government makes out of the Post Office and out of the Crown Lands—which each sovereign in turn hands over for his life in exchange for a fixed income—there would be neither peace nor order, nor safety, nor convenience. The tax-collector is an unpopular man; but, if there was no tax-collector, there would also be no policeman, no judge, no soldier, no sailor; there would be no pensions for ex-servants of the Government or for poor and aged people; there would be, indeed, no Government and no King.


College Green, Dublin


1. Ireland in 1714-82

When George I came to the throne there was no "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland." The King of Great Britain was King of Ireland also, but the two realms were separate and distinct, for the Union set up by Oliver Cromwell with fire and sword ended when Charles II was restored. But Ireland, though thus separate from England, was under English rule, and English rule in Ireland was English rule at its worst.

Ireland had been for centuries the bane of English statesmen. The Irish, mainly Roman Catholic in religion and Celtic in blood, had little in common with English Protestants of Teutonic race. There were, indeed, Protestants in the north—in Presbyterian Ulster—and Englishmen in the east, especially in what used to be called "the English Pale." But few of the Protestants belonged to the Episcopal Church. And the English were often Roman Catholic, and not always too friendly to English rule.

Ireland was too near England to be safely left to her own devices. Yet Roman Catholics had been too often rebels to be readily trusted with a share in the government, even under English control. And Protestant Dissenters could hardly be allowed in Ireland rights that were refused to them in England.

So the Episcopal Church was made the Established Church in Ireland, and Protestant and Catholic alike had to pay tithes to its clergy. Roman Catholics might not sit in the Irish Parliament, or elect its members, or hold any public office. They were forbidden, too, to do many other things, such as buying land, or owning a valuable horse, or carrying arms, though these harsh rules were never fully enforced. Protestant Dissenters, also, were shut out of Parliament and the public service.

Thus, besides the bitter memories of the past, the cruel suppression of insurrections under Elizabeth and James I, the cruel "plantations" of English and Scots in the years that followed, the broken clauses of William III's Treaty of Limerick, most Irishmen had the present grievance of being excluded from all share in the government of their own country.

Nor was this all, for even those who might choose and sit in Parliament had little real power. The Irish revenues of the Crown made it almost independent in Ireland of grants from Parliament. It was hampered there by no Triennial or Septennial Act, no annual Mutiny Act, no Habeas Corpus Act, such as safe-guarded liberty in England. Moreover, no law could be even proposed in the Irish Parliament unless first approved by the King-in-Council, i.e.  practically, by the Cabinet. Yet the English Parliament could make a law which bound all Irishmen, though they had never even seen it. Further, the Irish Parliament itself was more unrepresentative, more controlled by great landowners, more open to bribery by the Government, than even the Parliament of Great Britain.

Lastly, the English Parliament used its powers to injure all Irishmen—Catholic and Protestant alike—by harsh restrictions on Irish trade. Irish competition was dreaded by English farmers and merchants, and therefore also by the Whig statesmen, who relied on these classes for taxes to pay the cost of their great wars. Irish taxes, too, belonged to the king, and a prosperous Ireland, with large revenues, might make him more independent of the English Parliament than any sound Whig could wish.

So the woollen and cotton and glass industries of Ireland were crushed; her agriculture was checked; her direct trade with the colonies was destroyed. Only her linen manufacture still flourished. And meanwhile the Irish peasants were in a miserable condition. Their landlords, often living in England on the profits of their estates, left them to the mercy of brutal agents, who extorted the highest rents such tenants could be forced to pay. The peasants themselves, idle and thriftless, brought up large families of children in wretched "cabins" or huts, and generation after generation lived in constant half-starvation, with the certainty of death from hunger if the potato crop—their chief food supply—should ever fail.

So Ireland was always poor and always discontented. And, if the harshest laws could not always be enforced, the chief result was to add to misery a spirit of lawlessness. The agents of the landlords, the bailiffs of the law courts, the tithe-collectors of the clergy, were often ducked and beaten. And when, presently, cattle-grazing became so profitable that farmers turned peasants out of their holdings to get their ground for pasture, and enclosed the common lands, the "Whiteboy" outrages began. Bands of men, wearing white shirts over their clothes, went about at night pulling down enclosures, wounding cattle, and beating, if not killing, unpopular landlords and tithe-gatherers. But this only provoked the English Government to fresh severities, and placed fresh difficulties in the way of those English statesmen who really wished, if only they could, to do Ireland justice.

2. "Grattan's Parliament" and the Union

The War of American Independence, however, seemed to give Ireland some chance of doing justice to herself. England had to withdraw her troops, and so could neither defend the Irish nor keep them in awe. A large force of Volunteers, therefore, guarded the island. But eighty thousand Irishmen in arms might fight as easily against as for an English Government that had no soldiers of its own in Ireland. So when the Volunteers, under Henry Grattan, demanded that the Irish Parliament should be independent of the English Privy Council, and the English Parliament should never make laws for Ireland, the demand was granted. For eighteen years, therefore, Ireland had a "free" Parliament, whose acts needed only the king's assent to make them law.

But it was still a Protestant Parliament, chosen by Protestants, to rule a country mainly Catholic. Also it was still corrupt and unreformed, and therefore in no way really representative even of the Protestant minority. So, while the Catholics demanded religious equality, Presbyterian Ulster demanded also Parliamentary reform. Pitt granted Catholics the vote, with certain other privileges, but withheld the right to sit in Parliament. He tried to give Ireland equal commercial rights with England, but was defeated, partly by the jealousy of English merchants.

When the war with France began, however, Irish discontent became a serious danger. The French Revolution itself was a tempting example to Irishmen, who had seen ten years before what the mere hint of force might win from England. Presently Catholic and Protestant joined in the "Society of United Irishmen" to secure Catholic Emancipation and Parliamentary Reform. And then the United Irishmen began to think of calling in French help, even of throwing off the English yoke altogether.

France was only too ready, for an invasion of Ireland was a favorite scheme with all her rulers. Faced by this danger, Pitt felt ever more inclined to recognize Catholic claims, and in 1795 sent over as Lord-Lieutenant a man most favourable to them, Lord Fitzwilliam. Unhappily, Fitzwilliam went to fast. He promised more than the Government was prepared to grant. He was therefore recalled. And his recall convinced the Roman Catholics that Pitt was no true friend.

A time of horror followed. Protestant "Peep of the Day Boys" and Catholic "Defenders" rivalled each other in brutal outrages. The Irish Government, fearing alike invasion and insurrection, had no troops to deal with either. Hence it relied on local forces—yeomanry and militia—lacking all true military discipline, but filled to overflowing with the brutal fury of religious hatred. Irish Protestants "kept in order" their miserable Catholic countrymen by torture and outrage. Irish Catholics, too, committed many atrocities, but they were soon rendered powerless by the seizure of their leaders. Their most formidable rising was crushed in June, 1798, at Vinegar Hill. Their French allies came too late and were easily defeated. And their few moments of triumph only gave an appearance of just vengeance to the renewed Protestant brutalities with which the rebellion ended.

The struggle left Ireland more miserable than ever; her poverty yet greater; her religious quarrels yet more bitter. And the problem of her government was almost hopeless. To leave the Catholic majority under a native Protestant Parliament, and to place the Protestant minority under a Catholic Parliament, seemed equally impossible. Pitt saw but one remedy—the inclusion of the island in a "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland" with a single Parliament at Westminster, where Irish Roman Catholics might sit, but where they would be restrained by the Protestant members for Great Britain. And with this must go equal trading privileges for all subjects of the United Kingdom, and State support in Ireland for Roman Catholic priests and Dissenting ministers as well as for the clergy of the Established Church.

Irish opinion, however, both in and out of Parliament was largely hostile to the scheme. Pitt soon found that he could carry it only by making Roman Catholics understand that it would bring them emancipation, and bribing the men who controlled the Irish Parliament to pack it with members who would vote for his Bill. His intentions were excellent, but his actions showed a fatal weakness. Catholic Emancipation was an essential part of his own plan; yet he went no farther than to say that without the Union it was impossible. Bribery and corruption he abhorred; yet under pressure of necessity he employed them on the largest scale.

So in January, 1801, a Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland met for the first time at Westminster. The Union was accomplished. The English and Irish Churches also were united, and Irish bishops, as well as Irish lay peers and Irish commoners, sat in the new assembly. Irishmen, too, enjoyed all the commercial rights of Englishmen. And the completeness of the Union was symbolized by a new national flag—the "Union Jack"—which combined the cross of St. Patrick with the crosses of St. Andrew and St. George.

Yet from the first the Union was a failure. For Pitt had failed to carry Catholic Emancipation. A treacherous colleague betrayed his plan to the King. George was easily persuaded that to allow emancipation would be to break his Coronation Oath to maintain the Protestant religion. He threatened to regard as his personal enemy any one who proposed it. Therefore, to prove his own good faith, Pitt resigned. But his resignation did not help the Catholics, and when he returned to office George's health was so bad that he felt bound to promise never to raise the question in his lifetime.

So the Union seemed to have been made by deceit as well as bribery. All the religious grievances of the Irish remained. Roman Catholics were still shut out from the public service. Roman Catholics and Dissenters alike had still to support the Established Church. And tithes and rackrents, low wages, scarcity of work, and a scanty and uncertain food supply still oppressed the wretched peasants. In return, violence and outrage never wholly ceased. And, above the petty wranglings over tithes and rents, a constant cry went up for two things—Catholic Emancipation and the Repeal of the Union.

3. Troubled Times: 1800–67

Dublin Castle


For twenty years, however, Ireland was distracted by the quarrels of her leaders, while England refused emancipation except under conditions which Irishmen would not accept. But the formation of the "Catholic Association" in 1823 opened a new epoch. It was the creation of Daniel O'Connell, an eloquent Irish barrister. It soon included nearly all Irish Roman Catholics. And since it bound its members to commit no outrages it freed the movement for emancipation from the damaging taint of association with crime.

The society was presently suppressed by the Government, but it had done its work. The English ministers realized the urgency of the question. The House of Commons was ready to accept emancipation even while the Lords rejected it. And, though—unlike some of their predecessors— Wellington and Peel were hostile, an event which happened in 1829 changed their attitude.

The Catholic Association, now revived, secured the election of O'Connell as Member for County Clare. This was perfectly legal, for the law did not forbid the election of a Roman Catholic. It did, however, require all members on entering Parliament to take an oath which no Roman Catholic could accept. Yet Wellington believed that to exclude O'Connell would mean civil war, for he could see no limit to the power of the Association over Irishmen.

So Catholic Emancipation was granted at last. But it was granted too late, and too plainly only from fear of violence, to make the Irish grateful. Grievances enough remained, moreover, quite apart from the Union, to keep them discontented. And every English Government had a twofold puzzle of the utmost difficulty—how to redress grievances with the least possible damage to landlords and tithe-owners, and how to suppress disorder and outrage with the least possible appearance of harshness or tyranny.

Meanwhile in Parliament O'Connell and his "tail" of followers tormented every ministry that was not strong enough to do without their votes. But the Whigs began reform by making landlords, who were generally English Churchmen, pay the tithes instead of tenants. And O'Connell, opposing violence, gradually lost influence over his more eager followers, and was finally discredited by his trial for treasonable language, even though he was acquitted.

But in 1845 the potato famine thrust Ireland once again into the foreground of English politics. Half the Irish people depended on the potato crop, and when it failed hundreds and thousands—men, women, and children—died of starvation, or of the fever that famine brings. Every eatable plant—almost every animal—was eagerly devoured, yet still the people starved. The Government did its best. First it employed men to make roads, that they might have money to buy food. Then it gave cooked food in place of wages. It bought corn and sent it to Ireland to be sold at reasonable prices.

But, even with the help of private charity, it could not prevent—it could only lessen—suffering. It seemed, indeed, in some ways to do harm rather than good: perpetual famine was threatened when men neglected ploughing and sowing, because they preferred labouring on the public works. And, when all was over, appalling damage was seen to have been done. The population had been increasing enormously for many years: a fourth, or more, had now suddenly vanished. Many had died of starvation. Many others had emigrated to Canada or Australia, or, in far greater numbers, to the United States.

The exiles in America, remembering ancient grudges against England at home, became a danger to her in their new country. They stirred up trouble in Ireland, and in America they fostered every dispute with England and opposed every attempt at friendship with her. And meanwhile at home Irish landlords caused fresh distress by turning out their tenants to form large estates, and leaving them to find other land, or emigrate, or starve, as best they might.

Yet, when in 1848 all Europe was shaken with insurrections, the only rising in Ireland was a petty movement, easily suppressed by the police after a "scuffle in a cabbage garden," and the next great Irish trouble did not come for twenty years. By that time the end of the American Civil War had left thousands of Irish-Americans trained to fight, and taught to hate England, free to plan attacks upon her. So the "Fenian Brotherhood" was formed, and the youth of Ireland joined it in thousands. Attempts at a rising in Ireland itself, however, were utter failures. In England the rescue of Fenian prisoners from the police at Manchester and a vain attempt to blow up Clerkenwell Prison, so as to let other prisoners escape, were the greatest achievements. And, as in these two cases many innocent people were killed or injured, public opinion only turned the more against the Irish.

4. The Home Rule Movement

Gladstone, however, gave new hope to Ireland. First he "disestablished and disendowed" the Church of Ireland; that is, he deprived it of State support and of much of its wealth. This removed one great grievance. Then he protected against landlords the interests of tenants who took the trouble to improve their land. Later, he created a Land Court to reduce all rents that seemed unfairly high.

But these measures did not satisfy the Irish. In Parliament their Members still clamoured for Home Rule—that is, for a separate Parliament in Dublin. And, led by the famous Charles Stewart Parnell, they tried to make themselves so objectionable at Westminster that the ministers would be thankful to get rid of them. For, by obstruction, i.e.  a deliberate wasting of the time of Parliament, they tried to make government impossible till their demands should be conceded.

And in Ireland itself an attempt was made to remove the landlords altogether, and give the peasants ownership of the land they tilled. Harsh landlords, who turned out tenants really unable and not merely unwilling to pay, were justly detested. But the Irish leaders aimed at destroying all landlords, good and bad. They formed a Land League. They forbade the payment of rent. They caused every man taking a farm from which the tenant had been "evicted" to be "boycotted," or cut off from all dealings with his neighbours, who were forced to refuse to supply or work for him. And in certain districts there were constant outrages and occasional murders.

Gladstone suppressed the League and imprisoned its leaders. The outrages only multiplied. Then he released the prisoners on their promising to stop the outrages and permit the payment of rent. But this "making terms with criminals" caused some of his colleagues to resign in disgust. And, before it could be seen how it would answer, the "Phœnix Park murders" drove the Government to coercion again.

Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. Burke, the new Chief Secretary for Ireland and his Under-Secretary, were stabbed in broad daylight in Dublin by members of a secret society. Thereupon a severe Crimes Act, to crush disorder in Ireland, was carried through Parliament, after furious scenes in the House of Commons. The Fenians attempted in revenge to blow up various public buildings in Great Britain, regardless of the probable death of numberless innocent persons. But this only made it harder than ever for English friends of Ireland to support the Irish cause.

Yet at last a great English statesman took up the policy of Home Rule. The Irish problem had baffled every Government. In Ireland concession and coercion had alike failed. In England the Irish Members had made themselves an intolerable nuisance, and could always turn the scale against any Government that had not an enormous majority in the Commons. So, as the one possible chance of making Ireland peaceful and loyal, and restoring order in the Parliament at Westminster, Gladstone introduced a Bill to establish a Parliament once more in Dublin.

But the measure was thrown out. Many of Gladstone's own followers opposed it. Presbyterian Ulster threatened civil war. And on a General Election the "Gladstonian Liberals" were utterly defeated, and the Conservative party came into power. So, instead of Home Rule, there was another Coercion Act to stop disorder in Ireland, and new rules for business in Parliament to stop "obstruction" at Westminster, and another Irish Land Act, well meant, but satisfactory to no one.

And though once again, at the age of eighty-three, Gladstone brought in a Home Rule Bill, it also was defeated. He pleaded for it in the full conviction that it alone would remedy Irish wrongs, and with the eagerness of a man conscious that his own time was short. But the Commons passed it only by a small majority; the Lords rejected it by more than ten to one; Gladstone's own successor in the leadership of the Liberal party declared that while English opinion remained clearly hostile Home Rule must be dropped; and the Unionist statesmen who presently ruled the country for ten years made the maintenance of the Union the very foundation of their policy.

Yet English feeling towards Ireland had grown more kindly. The reality of her grievances was now admitted. Millions were drawn from the English taxpayer by Conservative as well as Liberal Governments to improve her land system. Great efforts were made to develop her resources and to help the work of those reforming Irishmen who realized how much of her misfortune was due to her own sons. And at last—when the Liberals had returned to power, and Mr. Asquith had succeeded Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman as their leader—an English Prime Minister once again announced his intention to carry a measure of Home Rule.

Our Indian Empire

1. Clive and Warren Hastings

Warren Hastings


For a hundred years after Plassey the English possessions in India were still ruled by the East India Company, that is, by a trading body whose first aim was to make the highest possible profit out of a country supposed to be inexhaustibly rich. A government which thinks first of profits is likely to be bad, but the Governors whom the Directors sent out were happily often excellent. They realized their duties as well as their rights. They saw that millions of Indians, so far from being rich, were miserably poor. And they fought valiantly against oppression and corruption.

Clive, after his famous victories, ruled well and wisely. Especially, he forbade the Company's servants to trade themselves, or accept bribes and presents, lest they should neglect its interest; while he increased their pay, lest poverty should make them dishonest. But other difficulties remained, especially the uncertain division of powers between the Governors of the three Presidencies (each independent of the other), the Directors in England, and the British Government.

Just before the American Rebellion, however, the Governor of Bengal, always the chief man in India, became Governor-General of all the Company's possessions. Thus one strong man at Calcutta might guide affairs in all three provinces. And the first Governor-General—Warren Hastings—whatever else he may have been, was beyond all doubt a strong man.

Otherwise, indeed, English rule in India could hardly have survived the next ten years. For it was threatened from without by three great powers: the loose league of Mahratta chiefs in Western and Central India, whose marauding horsemen were the terror of all their neighbours; the new kingdom of Mysore in the south, built up by the great warrior Hyder Ali; and France, now helping the Americans in the far West, but helping also the enemies of England in the East, and fighting in Indian waters—and there alone—on equal terms with the English navy.

It was threatened also from within by disputes between the English authorities themselves.

Warren Hastings was never heartily supported either in England or in India. The Directors at home disapproved his methods. The other Governors in India dragged him into unwise and unjust wars, and so drove him to wring money out of native princes at the point of the sword to pay the cost. And his own councillors thwarted and insulted him at every opportunity. Only when two of them had died, and he himself had fought and wounded a third in a duel, was he really master in his own house.

Naturally, therefore, he was sometimes high-handed, and even unscrupulous. He lent English troops to one Indian prince to attack a tribe at peace with the Company. He demanded enormous sums for war expenses from another, and deposed him for refusing them. He forced the widowed Begums, or Queens, of Oudh to surrender a vast treasure, so that the new ruler might therewith pay his debts to the English, and by so doing he caused their servants to be harshly treated —even, perhaps, tortured. So, when he at last returned to England, he found himself impeached by the Commons before the House of Lords.

The trial lasted seven years. The greatest orators of the day denounced every mistake in Hastings's career. They painted in lurid colours his sternness, his immovable determination, his readiness in emergency to sweep away every scruple—all the characteristics which he shared with Charles I's minister, Strafford. They proved against him some deeds difficult, others perhaps impossible, to defend. And the end of the long trial found him poor, broken, and embittered.

Yet, after all, he was acquitted. Some of the charges against him were foolish. Others were exaggerated. All were urged by men who lacked a real knowledge of the facts. For, rightly as his accusers denounced the evils of English rule in India, they should have blamed for them the weakness of a system, not the wickedness of a man. Hastings had done strange things, but he had done them in times of extraordinary difficulty and danger. And in those times only his magnificent courage and patient endurance—his readiness to risk not only his life but even his good name for England's sake—had saved the English power in India. So the verdict of history echoes the verdict of the House of Lords—"Not guilty!"

2. Wellesley and Dalhousie

Lord Wellesley


In the seventy years after Hastings's return, though the Company still ruled India, the authority of the Crown was much increased. And, sometimes fast, sometimes slowly, the English possessions expanded. Just before the war with Revolutionary France, Lord Cornwallis broke the power of Tippoo, son of Hyder Ali, and took away half his kingdom. Five years later Lord Wellesley, the elder brother of Wellington, came out to settle the question of Mysore for good. For Tippoo was now intriguing with France, and vainly hoping to be helped by Bonaparte's best troops. So in 1799 he was defeated and killed; the Company annexed the greater part of his dominion; and soon after, most of southern India came under its direct rule.

But Wellesley's hope of subduing the Mahrattas of Central India also was disappointed. He attacked them: his brother Arthur defeated them in two famous battles. But the Government, now fighting Napoleon once more, was disinclined for distant enterprises. And the Directors hurriedly recalled the Governor-General who seemed to think so sadly little of trade and profit and so dangerously much of empire and power. Thus it was not till 1818 that the final conquest of the Mahrattas brought almost all India under English rule—partly as territory directly governed by the Company, partly as vassal States under its "suzerainty," or protection.

Even then two independent powers still remained: in the north-west, Scinde; in the north, the far more powerful Punjaub. Scinde, having shown a hostile temper, was annexed in 1843. But the Sikhs, the fine warlike race who ruled the Punjaub, did not wait to be attacked. In 1845 they set out to seize Delhi and conquer all India for themselves. They fought two wars; but, when a final peace was made, instead of India's bowing to their power, the Punjaub itself became English territory. Yet the Sikhs had fought well; British troops had lost heavily, and once or twice but narrowly escaped defeat; and this was remembered long after the war was over.

Lord Dalhousie, the Governor-General who annexed the Punjaub, also brought certain vassal States under direct English rule. For, when Indian princes died childless, he claimed their lands for the Company, ignoring the Indian custom which gave their adopted sons a right to succeed them. And in Oudh he actually deposed the reigning king for misgovernment, and annexed his realm. Thus ancient custom was flouted, and the rule of ancient royal houses blotted out. And the very improvements which Dalhousie introduced increased the general uneasiness. For the natives hated change and novelty, and suspected in railways and telegraphs some subtle sorcery of the restless white man.

Moreover, just then many things combined to undermine the loyalty of the Sepoys, or native soldiers of the Company. Many of them were subjects of the deposed King of Oudh. Some had lately been required to go oversea in various wars; and, to the Hindu, crossing the sea was a defilement. All had lately lost certain small but much prized privileges. The English officers, again, were less closely in touch with their men than of old. They shifted about more from corps to corps, and from military to civil posts. And, now that steamships and other inventions had brought England and India so much nearer together, they had more home interests, and were less absorbed in their Indian life.

British prestige, too, had suffered severely, not only in the Sikh Wars, but still more in a slightly earlier war in Afghanistan. An English general and all his army had been treacherously slaughtered by Afghans in the passes of the Himalayas. One officer alone had lived to tell the tale. And, though a prompt revenge was taken, things so fell out that England had eventually to recognize as the Ameer or ruler of Afghanistan the very man whom she had tried to overthrow.

So the Sepoys began to think that they could beat Englishmen. They knew, too, that owing to the Crimean War there were not just then so very many Englishmen left in India to beat. They welcomed a secret proposal to restore the old Mogul emperor at Delhi, and under his rule revive the native States that had been recently annexed. And finally they burst into mutiny under the influence of religious frenzy.

3. The Mutiny—and After

Just at this time, as it chanced, the Sepoys were being armed with the new "Enfield" rifle, the cartridges of which had to be first greased and then bitten off, one by one, by the soldiers as they were wanted. And a story was invented that the grease used was to be the fat of cows and swine. Now, according to their religions, Hindoos touching the cow and Mahometans touching the pig were defiled. So—the story ended—the new rifle was really meant to force the natives to disobey their own religions, and thus compel them to become Christians.

This ridiculous tale was, unhappily, readily believed. So two regiments mutinied at Calcutta. They were disbanded, and the danger seemed past. But early in May, 1857, there was trouble in the vast camp at Meerut, near Delhi, about the new cartridges, and some eighty Sepoys were sentenced to severe punishments. Thereupon the great mutiny began.

One Sunday, when the bells were ringing for evening church, the native soldiery suddenly broke into the prison, released their comrades, and—firing on their officers—marched off to Delhi. The Englishmen there were quickly massacred. The aged descendant of the Mogul emperors was placed, against his will, on the throne of his ancestors. And so in name the old empire was restored.

Meanwhile, mutinies broke out and Europeans were massacred throughout Oudh and in the adjoining provinces. A vast hostile tract cut off the English in the south and east from the main army in the Punjaub, under Sir John Lawrence. And for weeks and months—at Delhi, at Cawnpore, and at Lucknow—small English forces had to face an overwhelming enemy.

At Delhi a little army of Englishmen and loyal natives had seized the "Ridge" outside the walls, and proceeded to "besiege" the great city, defended as it was by a force at least ten times as numerous. One English general after another died; every battle reduced the number of the besiegers; half the survivors lay in the hospital through wounds or sickness. And meanwhile the enemy was daily reinforced. But in mid-September siege-guns arrived, the attack was renewed, the gates were battered in, and at last, after five days' tremendous fighting from street to street, the city was taken and the "emperor" captured and dethroned.

But meantime a horrible tragedy had occurred at Cawnpore, where Sir Hugh Wheeler, a veteran of seventy-five, was in command. The mutiny of his own Sepoys left him with only 240 European soldiers to protect over 800 people, including many women and children, against 4,000 rebels. Yet for more than three weeks he held out behind a rough entrenchment. Underground shelters gave some protection against shot and shell. Those who could not fight themselves loaded the muskets so that the soldiers might fire without ceasing. But red-hot shells set the crowded hospital on fire; sunstroke and thirst claimed many victims; and many more through venturing out of shelter to seek for water.

At last Wheeler surrendered; for Nana Sahib, the rebel chief, swore to provide boats and food for the safe departure of the English by the Ganges. The boats came, and the miserable survivors of the siege—most of them sick or wounded—crept down to the river-bank and began to embark. Then of a sudden a bugle sounded, and in an instant the hope of escape had vanished. The treacherous Nana's soldiers shot or cut to pieces almost every man. The wretched women and children were dragged back to Cawnpore, thrust into crowded rooms, subjected to every insult, and finally butchered in cold blood just when relief was as hand. And so, when General Havelock routed the Nana's troops and marched into Cawnpore, he found only the bloodstained floor of two rooms, strewn with the relics of once happy English nurseries, and, in the courtyard, a well—choked with the bodies of English women and children.

But in the Residency at Lucknow, some fifty miles off, a little English garrison still held out against a force ten times its size. The commander, Sir Henry Lawrence, had soon been killed, but his death-bed was cheered by the belief that in fifteen days at most Havelock would appear. That, however, was early in July, and July, and August, and half September passed, and still Havelock did not come. Urgent messages reached him, but first the swollen Ganges stopped his way, and then losses in battle compelled him to wait for reinforcements.

At last they came. They were led by Sir James Outram, who, as senior officer, had every right to take up the supreme command and gain the glory of relieving Lucknow. But Outram would not snatch from Havelock the reward of all his struggles, and, as they marched together towards Lucknow, he rode as a simple volunteer under the junior officer's command.

And now, on September 25, two thousand men fought their way through tens of thousands of the enemy, till they reached the Residency, in a scene of such wild rejoicing as no pen can picture. Yet the end had not come. The siege was not over. And the very increase in the garrison hastened the day when the food supply must fail.

But at last, late in November, another English army cut its way in through the still vastly larger forces of the enemy, and the hard-pressed garrison marched away in safety.

Then the English took the offensive. Sometimes they wreaked a terrible revenge, but the new Governor-General, by his mercy, earned the name of "Clemency Canning." And by May, 1859, the mutiny was over and the English rule over India once more undisputed.

But it was the rule now not of the East India Company, but of the Queen. For in 1858 Parliament abolished the Company, transferring its powers, its possessions, and its naval and military forces to the Crown, and the Governor-General became the Queen's Viceroy. Nearly twenty years later, in a brilliant Durbar, or State Assembly, at Delhi, the ancient seat of empire, Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India. After her death a yet more gorgeous Dunbar marked the proclamation of her son Edward VII, who had visited India as Prince of Wales. And, when he too died, a third Durbar was summoned to meet king George V himself, the first English Sovereign to appear as such in his Eastern dominions.

Meanwhile the history of India was, happily, in the main peaceful. There was a second Afghan war. Burmah was annexed, and its hordes of brigands crushed. And in the far north-west the English frontier was advanced in more than one war, small in themselves, yet great in the brave deeds they called forth. But for the most part the Viceroy and his Council in India, and the Secretary of State for India at home, studied more peaceful problems. They tried to increase the prosperity of India, and especially to prevent or lessen her frequent sufferings from famine. And they tried, too, to give the native races a share in their own government without endangering the English power, and the peace and prosperity which it alone secures.

The Britains Beyond the Seas

1. Canada

Dominion Parliament


When Wolfe had won Canada for England, it still remained a French country, though under English rule, and North's wise Quebec Act allowed the people to keep their Roman Catholic religion and their French law. But when the United States had extorted their independence, while many loyalists migrated to Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, or Prince Edward Island, about ten thousand came to Canada, and settled on the shores of Lake Ontario, receiving from the English Government free grants of land, with tools and food.

Thus Upper Canada, or Ontario, became chiefly English, Scottish, and Irish; while Quebec, or Lower Canada, was mainly French. So, to prevent quarrels, Pitt's Canada Act of 1791 made them separate provinces with separate governments. Free grants of land drew ever more Americans to Ontario, and after Waterloo distress at home drove many Englishmen to settle there also.

But presently quarrels began between French and English. The very separateness of their governments hindered friendly union. Yet circumstances forced them into constant contact: indeed, the produce of Ontario could reach the sea only through Quebec. French and English alike, too, constantly quarrelled with their Governors, desiring greater independence.

Hence rebellions broke out in both Canadas in 1837. They were easily crushed, but the English Government wisely resolved to remove the causes of discontent by abolishing the separation of the provinces and satisfying the longing for self-government.

So Lord Durham went out as High Commissioner, and planned the system of Government to which Canada traces much of her prosperity. Unhappily, though generous and far-sighted, he was impetuous and rash, and he was soon recalled, to die in England a disappointed man.

But his famous Report  speedily bore fruit. Even before he died Upper and Lower Canada were reunited. And soon, not only in Canada, but in all large, well-established English colonies, peopled by white men, governors were forbidden to set up their own will, as in former times, against the will of the colonists. Henceforward, a governor must imitate the sovereign whom he represented. He must not rule, however wisely, as he himself thought best. He must follow the advice of ministers, chosen by him from the strongest party in the Lower House of the colonial Parliament. And only in very serious difficulties would the Home Government itself interfere.

But the union of the provinces failed to secure that combination of unity with local liberty which each desired: also it gave Ontario less influence than its growing population seemed to demand. Hence discontent began again, and continued until an unexpected remedy was found in the British North America Act of 1867. Under this Act the two Canadas, with Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, became a single Federation—something like the United States. This federated Dominion of Canada is ruled by a Governor-General with a Privy Council, a Cabinet, and two Houses of Parliament. But each province has also its own Lieutenant-Governor and Parliament.

The new Dominion rapidly developed. Thousands of immigrants—Englishmen, Americans, Europeans of every race—swelled its population year by year. Vast forests were felled; vast corn-lands opened up. Explorers and settlers pushed ever farther west. Railways spread right across the continent. Goldfields were found in the Klondyke districts of the far west. And, as the country was developed, new provinces were added to the Dominion—British Columbia and Vancouver Island, Manitoba, and the vast North-West Territories, where once the Hudson Bay Company ruled and fought and traded and struggled with rivals, like the old East India Company elsewhere in days gone by. And at last Newfoundland alone—in all British North America—remained outside the frontiers of Canada.

2. Australia and New Zealand

Not long before England lost her American colonies, James Cook, a runaway apprentice who had become a captain in the Royal Navy, laid the foundation of a new and far larger English dominion. Twice he sailed with a small ship right across the world to the two islands of New Zealand and the great continent of Australia, then almost unknown, and wholly unoccupied, by white men.

He himself, indeed, formed no colony there, though he hoisted the English flag over many small islands which he discovered in the Pacific, and on one of which he met his death. But his voyages opened up a new world of adventure to daring Englishmen. And, though the American Rebellion might seem unlikely to make the English Government in love with the idea of colonies, yet it raised a difficult question to which the founding of a new colony seemed the easiest answer.

For, before 1776, prisoners serving long sentences had often been transported to America to save the overcrowding of English prisons. And now this was no longer possible. But Australia might be made to fill the gap. So the east coast of New South Wales (as Cook called the part of Australia which he visited first) became a "penal settlement," or home for convicts. A governor was appointed, and in 1788, over seven hundred convicts landed in Botany Bay, and the capital of the settlement was fixed at Sydney.

The little colony led for many years a stormy life. Convicts—guarded and ruled by soldiers—were not ideal settlers. The home Government gave little help. Once actual starvation threatened the entire community. One governor was too weak to crush disorder. Another was so despotic that the commander of the troops deposed and imprisoned him. And, even when free settlers came out from England, and order was restored, bond and free alike lived under a stern and almost military discipline, which recalled the ways of the old Puritans.

But gradually things grew better. More free settlers arrived. New towns were founded. The whole coast was explored. A settlement was made in Van Diemen's Land, or Tasmania. Small posts were set up elsewhere to prevent French annexations. In 1829 a new colony, Western Australia, with a capital at Perth, was established with its own governor, and, for a time, with a wholly free population.

Meanwhile, the importation of sheep from the Cape had started one great Australian industry—sheep-rearing. And presently the colonial Governments began to assist free settlers to come out from England. After this progress was rapid. South Australia, Victoria, and Queensland, with their capitals, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Brisbane, were founded one after the other, the last two being for a time dependent on New South Wales.

Lastly—partly by conquest, partly by purchase from the native Maori chiefs—New Zealand was secured for England just in time to prevent its becoming a French possession.

Each of these colonies passed through a period of depression and disaster. In New Zealand disputes with the Maoris, for which the colonists were largely to blame, started a "Maori War," which dragged on for nine years. In Australia, town and country interests clashed, and the goldfields were for a time the scene of great disorders. In Tasmania, the settlers struggled with the blacks. And everywhere alike there were commercial troubles.

Nevertheless an immense advance was made. The abolition of convict settlements changed the character of one colony after another. In spite of droughts and disease, and the scarcity of shepherds when the supply of convicts ceased, the wool trade grew ever larger. Then cattle-breeding was tried, and presently a vast frozen-meat export trade sprang up. Above all, gold discoveries attracted immigrants in tens of thousands, so that the population doubled twice over in the twenty years 1850-70.

And increased population and prosperity brought increased political liberty. Free colonists could claim rights with which convicts could never be trusted. And slowly—South Australia leading, and Western Australia, as in other matters, coming last—the colonies rose to the dignity of self-governing States, subject indeed to the English Crown, but very rarely interfered with by the Imperial Government.

Meanwhile from time to time a federation of all Australasia, on the Canadian plan, was discussed. It was foreshadowed by occasional meetings of colonial representatives, by suggestions of a commercial union, by the actual creation of a Federal Council to deal with important questions of common interest. And in 1900 the five Australian States, with Tasmania, united in the Commonwealth of Australia, with a Governor-General, Council, Parliament, and High Court of Justice of its own. Each, State kept a separate Government, as in Canada, for its home affairs. But matters of general importance—military and commercial questions, the control of immigration, railways, posts and telegraphs, etc.—were assigned to the central authority, whose powers are likely to increase as a national Australian sentiment develops.

New Zealand alone remained outside the Commonwealth. Lying far away and looking to England rather than to Australia for defence, she feared to lose more by sacrificing independence than she would gain by union. So the Dominion of New Zealand is still a separate unit of the Empire, and claims to rank next in importance to Canada, Australia, and South Africa.

3. South Africa

When Holland ceded the Cape of Good Hope to England in 1815, it was but a small settlement of Dutch farmers, greatly outnumbered by the black natives, the Kaffirs. But presently five thousand Englishmen came out, and the colony began to grow, new towns springing up here and there along the coast.

The Dutch, or Boers, however, disliked English government. They loved the ancient customs of their forefathers. They hated new inventions. They were disgusted by Government interference with their treatment of Kaffir slaves. They were still more disgusted by the abolition of slavery in 1835—which indeed ruined many farmers, English as well as Dutch, since far too little money was granted to make up for the loss of slaves.

So, like the Israelites fleeing from Egypt, the Boers left Cape Colony, and journeyed, as it were, into the wilderness, away from the Englishmen and all their ways. Travelling in great wagons with long teams of oxen, they wandered on through lands unseen before by any white men, except a few adventurous hunters. Some, after bitter quarrels with the natives, settled south of the River Vaal, in the present Orange Free State. Others pushed eastwards through the Drakenberg Mountains into the fertile country of Natal, though there the first comers were massacred by the fierce Zulu tribes. And others, crossing the Vaal, settled on the farther side—in the Trans-Vaal.

But again and again the English power followed in their track and set up its rule over them once more. First Natal was declared a British colony. Then the Orange River district was annexed, and a Boer attempt to regain independence was crushed. For a time, indeed, England shirked the task of protecting the Boers against their native neighbours, and, drawing back, allowed the Transvaal and the Orange Free State to become independent Dutch Republics. But soon she advanced once more. She took the Basutos, dwelling between Cape Colony and Natal, under her protection. She annexed Griqualand West when the discovery of priceless diamond mines drew thousands of miners there from every quarter of the globe. And, when the powerful Zulu king, Cetewayo, threatened the Dutch of the Transvaal, she declared their land once again British territory, so to remain "as long as the sun should shine."

Thus the defence of the Transvaal against the Zulus fell to English soldiers. The Zulu War of 1879–80 began badly, with the slaughter of over a thousand men out of thirteen hundred caught in an unfortified camp by a force ten times their number.

But a Zulu raid into Natal was stopped by the heroic defence of Rorke's Drift, the only point where the invaders could cross the River Tugela. For here, behind a rampart of biscuit-boxes and bags of food, two English officers and about a hundred men held at bay an overwhelming Zulu force all through the night, until the main English army appeared. And at last the Zulus were defeated, their king captured, and their country annexed to the Cape.

But meanwhile the Transvaal Boers had regained their independence. First they asked for it, and were refused. Then, taking up arms, they defeated the English in three small engagements. The last and most famous was the battle of Majuba Hill. Here the heroic bravery of the Boers, and the foolish self-confidence of the English, brought disaster on the English force. Yet reinforcements speedily arrived, and soon the tide of victory must have turned.

But Gladstone had already offered terms which the Boers now accepted, and, rightly or wrongly, he would not withdraw them in order to restore English prestige. So the Transvaal became once more independent, except for certain rights which England still claimed, but which were very vaguely defined.

Yet after this the English power in South Africa grew even faster than before. For, when the Germans settled on the south-west coast and the Boers attempted to enlarge the Transvaal in one direction after another, it was feared that British South Africa might be quite cut off from the interior of the continent, which would have ruined its prosperity. On the other hand, certain Englishmen—especially the famous Cecil Rhodes—dreamed of an English empire in Africa stretching from Cairo to the Cape—Egypt and the Sudan, British East Africa, and the southern colonies being the three links in the chain.

So in 1895 all the eastern coast up to the Portuguese possessions was annexed, and thus the Boer Republics were cut off from the sea. And meanwhile Rhodes, guiding the South African "Chartered Company," paved the way for English dominion in one sphere after another, till British Bechuanaland and the region called, after him, Rhodesia joined Cape Colony with British Central Africa, and the solid block of English territory, from the Cape to the land beyond the River Zambesi, was broken only by the Transvaal and the Free State.

And at last, in 1899, another Boer War began. The discovery of gold-mines in the Transvaal had brought in thousands of English and other miners, who soon far outnumbered the Dutch farmers. The Boers—disgusted at the intrusion, and fearing to lose control over their own country—refused to these "Outlanders," or foreigners, all political rights. The Outlanders, taxed without being represented in the assembly that taxed them, appealed to the "suzerain" Power, England, to interfere. Long and difficult negotiations followed. The Boers clung to their independence: many Englishmen, on the other hand, longed to make the English "suzerainty" something more than a mere name.

At Christmas, 1895, the world was startled by the "Jameson Raid"—a wild attempt by certain members of the Chartered Company to overthrow the Boer supremacy by an invasion, which they hoped would encourage the Outlanders to revolt. The Raid failed miserably; and the English Government had to punish its leaders. But the relations between Boer and Briton grew more and more strained.

The Boers secretly armed. When all was ready, and before the English troops in South Africa could be adequately reinforced, they presented an ultimatum, or final demand; and, failing to receive an answer at the appointed time, invaded Natal.

The Orange Free State allied with the Transvaal. The feeling of Europe was all in favour of the Boers—for England, never very popular abroad, looked like a big man fighting a small boy.

In reality, however, she had a far weaker position than the Boers when the war began. Her forces on the spot were smaller, her preparations far less complete; and she had to defend a long frontier against an attack which might come from any quarter.

The Boers, too, were first-rate marksmen and clever fighters, who knew the country far better than their opponents. Soon English forces were besieged at three points—Ladysmith, Kimberley, and Mafeking. Nor did the first reinforcements from England turn the scale. In December, the "black week" in December, 1899, news came of three British reverses, one after another.

But Boers had done foolishly in devoting their strength to sieges instead of pressing on to rouse the Dutch population through all the British colonies. For the garrisons resisted magnificently, and early in 1900 Lord Roberts came out as Commander-in-Chief with large forces, and Lord Kitchener as his Chief of Staff. Then the tide turned. Kimberley on the west, Ladysmith on the east, was relieved. A large Boer force was surrounded and compelled to surrender at Paardeberg. And then the relief of Mafeking, and the occupation of the two capitals—Bloemfontein and Pretoria—brought the great events of the war to an end, and Dutch the Republics were again annexed.

Guerilla warfare dragged on for two years more, but in June, 1902, the last Boers surrendered.

And then an unexampled thing happened. Within five years of the peace both the Orange River and the Transvaal colonies received self-government, and in 1909 both were united, with Cape Colony and Natal, in the Union of South Africa. Thus Boer and Briton, friend and foe, joined together in a single State. For the Union was note merely—like the Dominion of Canada, or the Commonwealth of Australia—a Federation, leaving to each separate State a Government of its own. On the contrary, one Governor-General represented the Crown in all four colonies. One Council, one Cabinet, one Parliament of two Houses, stood for all alike. And the head of the first ministry of the Union—the official adviser of the Governor who represented the King, was a brave Boer soldier, who had led his countrymen in their last struggle for independence, General Botha.

At the coronation of George V the Prime Ministers of all the great Dominions in the Empire were summoned to attend. There were the representatives of Canada and Newfoundland, of the Australian States, and of New Zealand. The sight of them reminded Englishmen how, in the darkest hour of 1899, these "Britains beyond the Seas" had of their own accord come to the aid of the old Mother Country, and sent their sons to do her yeoman service in the long and dreary South African campaigns. But there also was the Boer Premier of South Africa itself. And his presence showed, by the finest object-lesson in history, how generosity in the victor and wisdom in the vanquished might sweep aside the memory of the longest and bitterest struggles, and change the fiercest foemen into the firmest friends.

Summary of Chief Dates—Hanoverian Period

I. Hanoverian Sovereigns

1714-1727 George I
1727-1760 George II
1760-1820 George III
1820-1830 George IV
1830-1837 William IV
1837-1901 Victoria
1901-1910.Edward VII
1910- George V

II. Chief Events

1716. First Jacobite Rising
1720. South Sea Bubble
1742. Fall of Walpole
1739-1748.The War of Jenkins's Ear (and the Austrian Succession)
1740-1744.Anson's Voyage
1745-1746.Second Jacobite Rising
1748. Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle
1756-1763.The Seven Years' War.
1757. Victory of Plassey.
1759. Victories of Minden and Quiberon Bay.
1759 Capture of Quebec
1765-1783.Quarrel with the American Colonies.
1776. Declaration of Independence.
1777. Saratoga Springs.
1781. Surrender of Yorktown
1783-1801.Pitt's First Ministry
1793-1802.War with France.
1794. The Glorious First of June.
1797. Battles of St. Vincent and Camperdown.
1798. Battle of the Nile.
1801. Battle of Copenhagen
1801. Union of Ireland with Great Britain
1802. Peace of Amiens
1805. Battle of Trafalgar
1815. Battles of Quatre Bras and Waterloo
1829. Catholic Emancipation
1832. The First Reform Act
1833. Abolition of Slavery
1846. Repeal of the Corn Laws
1848. The Chartist Movement
1854-1856.Crimean War
1857-1859.Indian Mutiny
1867. Second Reform Act
1867 Formation of the Dominion of Canada
1882. Occupation of Egypt
1884. Third Reform Bill
1899-1902. South African War
1900. Formation of the Commonwealth of Australia
1909. Foundation of the Union of South Africa
1911. The Parliament Act

Questions and Composition Exercises

The Age of Walpole

The Coming of the Georges

(1) How was it that George (I) of Hanover became King of England? What was he like when he became king?
(2) Who were the Pretenders? Say what were the chief obstacles to the restoration of the Stuart line.
(3) Give the meaning of (a) Cabinet; (b) Prime Minister.

The Rise of Walpole

(1) Give an account of the "Rise of Walpole" under these heads: (a) Early life; (b) Character and tastes; (c) "Sleeping dogs"; (d) Walpole and the South Sea Bubble.

The Rule of Walpole

(1) What is meant by (a) Customs; (b) Excise? What had Walpole to do with these?
(2) What do you know of (a) "Turnip Townshend"; (b) "Jenkins's Ear"?

Bonnie Prince Charlie

Tell the story of "Bonnie Prince Charlie," as if you had been one of his companions.

The Age of Chatham

The First Struggle

(1) "The Age of Chatham was an Age of War": (a) Name the chief wars; (b) Who were the "rivals for Empire," and where? (2) Write notes on (a) The French in America; (b) East India Company; (c) Anson's famous voyage.

The Second Struggle

(1) Who was called the "Saviour of his country," and how did he earn the title?
(2) Tell the story of the "Year of Victories," 1759, especially of British deeds in India and Canada.

England and Her Colonies

(1) (a) What do you know of "Farmer George"? (b) What is meant by "the king can do no wrong"?
(2) Show how the English and the Americans misunderstood each other. What did the Americans mean by the cry "No taxation without representation"?

The American Rebellion

(1) Describe briefly the American Rebellion, using headings like the following: (a) Growth of the quarrel (1765-1775); (b) the "Declaration of Independence"; (c) the war.
(2) How came the English to take Gibraltar? Give the date.

The Age of Pitt

Pitt in Peace

(1) Give some account of the "kingdom in the schoolboy's care."

The French Revolution

(1) Say what is meant by the "French Revolution," and how it affected England.
(2) "The Darkest Hour" (1797)—why? Was it all dark?
(3) Tell briefly the story of the great naval victories of (a) St. Vincent; (b) the Nile; (c) Copenhagen.


(1) What was the "Great Army for the invasion of England"?
(2) What happened at Waterloo (1815)?

Essays for "The Struggle for Empire" (1756 To 1815)

Read your questions, answers, and notes on the preceding Chapters. Then write an Essay on "The Struggle for Empire" under these headings: (a) The winning of India; (b) The winning of Canada; (c) The loss of the American Colonies; (d) The struggle against Napoleon. (Take care to do justice to Chatham and Pitt as well as to Clive, Wolfe, Nelson, Wellington, etc.)

The Victorian Age

From Waterloo to Sevastopol

(1) Write brief notes on (a) "Paying the War Bill"; (b) Corn Laws; (c) Catholic Emancipation (what does this mean?) (d) End of Slavery; (e) The old and new Poor Law; (f) Peel, Cobden, Bright, Disraeli, Florence Nightingale; (g) Chartists; (h) Great Exhibition (1851).
(2) Write an Essay on the "Age of Reform (Waterloo to Sevastopol)," using the above as headings.

Recent Times

(1) Write an account of Disraeli, or Gladstone, or Gordon, or the last years of Queen Victoria's reign.
(2) Summarize the events of the reign of Edward the Peace-maker.

Modern England and the Empire

The Agricultural Revolution

(1) Describe the "Agricultural Revolution," showing what great changes it made.
(2) Write notes on (a) the roads; (b) coaches; (c) "open fields" and "enclosures"; (d) the famous farmers; (e) canals and turnpikes.

The Industrial Revolution

(1) Write an Essay on the great economic changes called the Industrial Revolution. Use these headings: (a) The new machines; (b) From South to North; (c) The rise of the Factory; (d) The fate of the labourer and of the yeoman; (e) Factory evils; (f) Factory Acts; (g) Trade Unions.

The King and his Advisors

(1) What is the relation of the King to the Government of England?

The High Court of Parliament

(1) Write notes on (a) Prime Minister; (b) Cabinet; (c) Privy Council; (d) Parliament Act of 1911.
(2) Compare the House of Commons before and after 1832.
(3) Write notes on the three Reform Acts and the Ballot Act.

Local Governments

(1) How were towns governed before and after 1835?
(2) Describe the "Local Government Acts," or the work of County Councils.

Justice, Defence and Taxation

(1) Give some account of our Law Courts.
(2) Compare English ships now and in the days of Nelson.
(3) Describe the different branches of our Army, including the Territorial Force.
(4) What is meant by "indirect taxes"? Give some examples.
(5) Make a list of the "direct taxes."
(6) For what purposes are (a) rates and (b) taxes used?


(1) Explain carefully what makes the "Irish problem" difficult.
(2) Write notes on (a) Grattan's Parliament; (b) the United Kingdom.
(3) Sketch the history of Ireland from 1800 onwards.

Our Indian Empire

(1) Explain the connection with India of a) Clive, (b) Warren Hastings, (c) Wellesley, (d) Dalhousie.
(2) Describe the siege of Delhi, or the defence of Cawnpore, or the siege of Lucknow, as if you had taken part.

The Britains Beyond The Sea

(1) Write notes on (a) Lord Durham's Report; (b) the making of the Dominion of Canada.
(2) Sketch briefly the history of our Australian Colonies up to the making of the Commonwealth.
(3) What were (a) the "Great Trek"; (b) the Cape to Cairo scheme; (c) "Outlanders"; (d) the "black week"?
(4) Give the chief stages in the history of British South Africa up to the formation of the Union.