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Princesses Alice and Helena went to Balmoral; and there the prince enjoyed his favourite pastime of deer-stalking. On the return to Windsor in October, the Queen began to be anxious about her husband. One of the last letters of the prince was to his daughter the Crown Princess of Prussia, on her twenty-first birthday, and it shows the noble spirit which animated his whole career. ‘May your life, which has begun beautifully, expand still further to the good of others and the contentment of your own mind! True inward happiness is to be sought only in the internal consciousness of effort systematically devoted to good and useful ends. Success, indeed, depends upon the blessing which the Most High sees meet to vouchsafe to our endeavours. May this success not fail you, and may your outward life leave you unhurt by the storms to which the sad heart so often looks forward with a shrinking dread.’

In conversation with the Queen, he seemed to have a presentiment that he had not long to live. ‘I do not cling to life; you do, but I set no store by it. If I knew that those I love were well cared for, I should be quite ready to die to-morrow…. I am sure, if I had a severe illness, I should give up at once. I should not struggle for life.’

The fatigue and exposure which he underwent on a visit to Sandhurst to inspect the buildings for the Staff College and Royal Military Hospital, there is no doubt, injured his delicate health. Next Sunday he was full of rheumatic pains; he had already suffered greatly from rheumatism during the previous fortnight. One of his last services to his country was to write a memorandum in connection with the _Trent_ complications; which suggestions were adopted by British ministers and forwarded to the United States. He attended church on Sunday, 1st December, but looked very ill. Dr Jenner was sent for, and for the next few days he grew worse, with symptoms of gastric or low fever.

Another account says: ‘The anxious Queen, still bowed down by the remembrance of the recent death of her mother, the Duchess of Kent, went through her state duties as one “in a dreadful dream.” Sunday, the 8th, saw the prince in a more dangerous condition. Of this day one of the Queen’s household, in a letter written shortly afterwards, says: “The last Sunday Prince Albert passed on earth was a very blessed one for Princess Alice to look back upon. He was very weak and very ill, and she spent the afternoon alone with him while the others were at church. He begged to have the sofa drawn to the window that he might see the sky and the clouds sailing past. He then asked her to play to him, and she went through several of his favourite hymns and chorales. After she had played some time she looked round and saw him lying back, his hands folded as if in prayer, and his eyes shut. He lay so long without moving that she thought he had fallen asleep. Presently he looked up and smiled. She said, ‘Were you asleep, dear papa?’ ‘Oh no!’ he answered; ‘only I have such sweet thoughts.’ During his illness his hands were often folded in prayer; and when he did not speak, his serene face showed that the ‘sweet thoughts’ were with him to the end.”

‘On the afternoon of Saturday, the 14th of December, it was evident that the end was near. “_Gutes Frauchen_” (“Good little wife”) were his last loving words to the Queen as he kissed her and then rested his head upon her shoulder. A little while afterwards the Queen bent over him and said, “_Es ist kleins Frauchen_” (“It is little wife”); the prince evidently knew her, although he could not speak, and bowed his head in response. Without apparent suffering he quietly sank to rest, and towards eleven o’clock it was seen that the soul had left its earthly tabernacle. The well-known hymn beginning–

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee,

had been the favourite of Prince Albert in his last illness. His physician expressed one day the hope that he would be better in a few days; but the prince replied, “No, I shall not recover, but I am not taken by surprise; _ I am not afraid, I trust I am prepared _.”

‘When the end came’ (we quote the beautiful words of the biographer) ‘in the solemn hush of that mournful chamber there was such grief as has rarely hallowed any death-bed. A great light, which had blessed the world, and which the mourners had but yesterday hoped might long bless it, was waning fast away. A husband, a father, a friend, a master, endeared by every quality by which man in such relations can win the love of his fellow-men, was passing into the silent land, and his loving glance, his wise counsels, his firm, manly thought should be known among them no more. The castle clock chimed the third quarter after ten. Calm and peaceful grew the beloved form; the features settled into the beauty of a perfectly serene repose; two or three long but gentle breaths were drawn; and that great soul had fled to seek a nobler scope for its aspirations in the world within the veil, for which it had often yearned, where there is rest for the weary, and where the “spirits of the just are made perfect.”‘

The funeral took place on the 23d December, at Frogmore, and the Prince of Wales was the chief mourner. The words on the coffin were as follow: ‘Here lies the most illustrious and exalted Albert, Prince-Consort, Duke of Saxony, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Knight of the most noble Order of the Garter, the most beloved husband of the most august and potent Queen Victoria. He died on the 14th day of December 1861, in the forty-third year of his age.’

A Prince indeed,
Beyond all titles, and a household name, Hereafter, through all time, Albert the Good.

On that sad Christmas which followed the prince’s death the usual festivities were omitted in the royal household, and the nation mourned in unison with the Queen for the great and good departed.

It has been well said by a distinguished writer that it was only ‘since his death, and chiefly since the Queen’s own generous and tender impulse prompted her to make the nation the confidant of her own great love and happiness, that the Prince-Consort has had full justice…. Perhaps, if truth were told, he was too uniformly noble, too high above all soil and fault, to win the fickle popular admiration, which is more caught by picturesque irregularity than by the higher perfections of a wholly worthy life.’

CHAPTER VIII.

The Queen in Mourning–Death of Princess Alice–Illness of Prince of Wales–The Family of the Queen–Opening of Indian Exhibition and Imperial Institute–Jubilee–Jubilee Statue–Death of Duke of Clarence–Address to the Nation on the marriage of Princess May.

Henceforth the great Queen was ‘written widow,’ and while striving nobly in her loneliness to fulfil those public functions, in which she had hitherto been so faithfully companioned, she shrank at first from courtly pageantry and from the gay whirl of London life, and lived chiefly in the quiet homes which she had always loved best, at Osborne and Balmoral. When she has come out among her people, it has chiefly been for the sake of some public benefit for the poor and the suffering.

At times there have been murmurs against the Queen for failing in her widowhood to maintain the gaieties and extravagances of an open court in the capital of her dominions. It was said that ‘trade was bad therefore,’ and times of depression and want of employment were attributed to this cause. The nation is growing wiser. It is seen that true prosperity does not consist merely in the quick circulation of money–above all, certainly not in the transference of wealth gained from the tillers of the soil to the classes which minister solely to vanity and luxury.

A few months after her father’s death, the Princess Alice married her betrothed, Prince Louis, and since her own death (on the same day of the year as her father’s) in the year 1878, we have had an opportunity of looking into the royal household from the point of view of a daughter and a sister. The Prince-Consort’s death-bed made a very close tie between the Queen and the Princess Alice, who herself had a full share of womanly sorrow in her comparatively short life, and the tone of perfect self-abnegation which pervades her letters is very touching. On that fatal 14th December 1878, the first of the Queen’s children was taken from her. The Princess Alice fell a victim to her kind-hearted care while nursing those of her family ill with diphtheria. Her last inquiries were about poor and sick people in her little capital. And the day before she died, she expressed to Sir William Jenner her regret that she should cause her mother so much anxiety. The Queen in a letter thanked her subjects for their sympathy with her loss of a dear child, who was ‘a bright example of loving tenderness, courageous devotion, and self-sacrifice to duty.’

In 1863, on the 10th of March, the Prince of Wales married the Princess Alexandra of Denmark, and in 1871, when the fatal date, the 14th of December came round, he lay at the point of death, suffering precisely as his father had done. But his life was spared, and in the following spring, accompanied by the Queen and by his young wife, and in the presence of all the power, the genius, and the rank of the realm, he made solemn thanksgiving in St Paul’s Cathedral.

On the 3rd November 1871, Mr H. M. Stanley, a young newspaper correspondent, succeeded in finding Dr Livingstone. This was but the beginning of greater enterprises, for, catching the noble enthusiasm which characterised Livingstone, Stanley afterwards crossed the Dark Continent, and revealed the head-waters of the Congo. Again he plunged into Africa and succoured Emin Pasha, whose death was announced in the autumn of 1893.

To Mr Stanley, Lord Granville, then Foreign Secretary, sent the present of a gold snuff-box set with diamonds, and the following letter: ‘Sir–I have great satisfaction in conveying to you, by command of the Queen, Her Majesty’s high appreciation of the prudence and zeal which you have displayed in opening a communication with Dr Livingstone, relieving Her Majesty from the anxiety which, in common with her subjects, she had felt in regard to the fate of that distinguished traveller. The Queen desires me to express her thanks for the service you have thus rendered, together with Her Majesty’s congratulations on your having so successfully carried out the mission which you so fearlessly undertook.’

The most notable events of the year 1873 were the death of the Emperor Napoleon III. in his exile at Chiselhurst, and the visit of the Shah of Persia, who was received by Her Majesty in state at Windsor. The Prince of Wales made almost a royal tour through India in 1875-76, and early in the following year witnessed the proclamation of the Queen as Empress of India.

In 1886 the Queen opened the Colonial and Indian Exhibition at Kensington, the results of which, financially and otherwise, were highly satisfactory. On 21st June 1887, Her Majesty completed the fiftieth year of her reign, and the occasion was made one of rejoicing not only in Britain, but in all parts of our world-wide empire. In every town and village of the kingdom, by high and low, rich and poor, tribute was paid, in one way or other, to a reign which, above all others, has been distinguished for the splendour of its achievements in arts, science, and literature, as well as for its great commercial progress. One notable feature was the release of 23,307 prisoners in India. The Jubilee presents were exhibited in St James’s Palace, and afterwards in Bethnal Green Museum, and attracted large crowds of sight-seers. The Jubilee celebrations were brought to a close by a naval review in the presence of the Queen at Spithead. The fleet assembled numbered 135 war-vessels, with 20,200 officers and men, and 500 guns.

Early in 1887 a movement was set afoot in order to found in London an Imperial Institute as a permanent memorial of the Queen’s Jubilee. Her Majesty laid the foundation stone on July 4, 1887, and it was formally opened in 1893. A movement was also commenced having for its object the receiving of contributions towards a personal Jubilee offering to the Queen, from the women and girls of all classes, grades, and ages throughout the United Kingdom. A leaflet was written for general distribution, which ran as follows: ‘The women and girls of the United Kingdom, of all ages, ranks, classes, beliefs, and opinions, are asked to join in one common offering to their Queen, in token of loyalty, affection, and reverence, towards the only female sovereign in history who, for fifty years, has borne the toils and troubles of public life, known the sorrows that fall to all women, and as wife, mother, widow, and ruler held up a bright and spotless example to her own and all other nations. Contributions to range from one penny to one pound. The nature of the offering will be decided by the Queen herself, and the names of all contributors will be presented to Her Majesty.’ The Queen selected as this women’s Jubilee gift a replica of Baron Marochetti’s Glasgow statue of Prince Albert, to be placed in Windsor Great Park, opposite the statue of herself in Windsor.

The amount reached £75,000; nearly 3,000,000 had subscribed, and the statue was unveiled by the Queen, May 12, 1890. The surplus was devoted to founding an institution for promoting the education and maintenance of nurses for the sick poor in their own homes.

In connection with the Jubilee the Queen addressed the following letter to her people:

WINDSOR CASTLE, _June_ 24, 1887.

I am anxious to express to my people my warm thanks for the kind, and more than kind, reception I met with on going to and returning from Westminster Abbey, with all my children and grandchildren.

The enthusiastic reception I met with then, as well as on all these eventful days, in London, as well as in Windsor, on the occasion of my Jubilee, has touched me most deeply. It has shown that the labour and anxiety of fifty long years, twenty-two of which I spent in unclouded happiness shared and cheered by my beloved husband, while an equal number were full of sorrows and trials, borne without his sheltering arm and wise help, have been appreciated by my people.

This feeling and the sense of duty towards my dear country and subjects, who are so inseparably bound up with my life, will encourage me in my task, often a very difficult and arduous one, during the remainder of my life.

The wonderful order preserved on this occasion, and the good behaviour of the enormous multitudes assembled, merits my highest admiration.

That God may protect and abundantly bless my country is my fervent prayer.

VICTORIA, R. & I.

[Illustration: Windsor Castle.]

When a Jubilee Memorial Statue of the Queen, presented by the tenantry and servants on Her Majesty’s estates, was unveiled by the Prince of Wales at Balmoral, the Queen in her reply said, she was ‘deeply touched at the grateful terms in which you have alluded to my long residence among you. The great devotion shown to me and mine, and the sympathy I have met with while here, have ever added to the joys and lightened the sorrows of my life.’

In the Jubilee year the Queen did not grudge to traverse the great east end of London, that she might grace with her presence the opening of ‘the People’s Palace.’ But we have not space to notice one half of the public functions performed by the Queen.

On June 28, 1893, a Jubilee statue of the Queen, executed by Princess Louise, was unveiled at Broad Walk, Kensington. The statue, of white marble, represents the Queen in a sitting position, wearing her crown and coronation robes, whilst the right hand holds the sceptre. The windows of Kensington Palace–indeed the room in which Her Majesty received the news of her accession to the throne–command a view of the memorial, which faces the round pond. The likeness is a good one of Her Majesty in her youth. The pedestal bears the following inscription:

‘VICTORIA R., 1837.

‘In front of the Palace where she was born, and where she lived till her accession, her loyal subjects of Kensington placed this statue, the work of her daughter, to commemorate fifty years of her reign.’

Sir A. Borthwick read an address to the Queen on behalf of the inhabitants of Kensington, in which they heartily welcomed her to the scene of her birth and early years, and of the accession to the throne, ‘whence by God’s blessing she had so gloriously directed the destinies of her people and of that world-wide empire which, under the imperial sway, had made such vast progress in extent and wealth as well as in development of science, art, and culture.’ The statue representing Her Majesty at the date of accession would, they trusted, ever be cherished, not for its artistic merit only, and as being the handiwork of Her Majesty’s beloved daughter, Princess Louise, who had so skilfully traced the lineaments of a sovereign most illustrious of her line, but also as the only statue representing the Queen at that early date.

The Queen, in reply, said: ‘I thank you sincerely for your loyal address, and for the kind wish to commemorate my jubilee by the erection of a statue of myself on the spot where I was born and lived till my accession. It gives me great pleasure to be here on this occasion in my dear old home, and to witness the unveiling of this fine statue so admirably designed and executed by my daughter.’

All the Queen’s children are now married. The Princess Helena became Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. The Princess Louise has gone somewhat out of the usual course of British princesses and in 1871 married the Marquis of Lorne, Duke of Argyll since 1900. Him the Queen described on her visit to Inveraray in 1847 as ‘a dear, white, fat, fair little fellow, with reddish hair but very delicate features.’ The Princess Beatrice, of whom we all think as the daughter who stayed at home with her mother, became the wife of Prince Henry of Battenberg, without altogether surrendering her filial position and duties. A daughter born October 24, 1887, was baptised at Balmoral, the first royal christening which had taken place in Scotland for three hundred years.

Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, married the favourite child and only daughter of the late Emperor of Russia, and sister of the Czar. On the death of Duke Ernst of Coburg-Gotha, brother of the Prince-Consort, he succeeded to the ducal throne on August 24, 1893, as Duke Alfred of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. He died in 1900. Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, wedded the daughter of Prince Charles, ‘the Red Prince’ of Prussia; and Leopold, Duke of Albany, took for his wife Princess Helena of Waldeck. Prince Leopold had had a somewhat suffering life from his childhood, and he died suddenly while abroad, on March 28, 1884, leaving behind his young wife and two little children, one of whom was born after his death.

On July 27, 1889, Princess Louise, eldest daughter of the Prince of Wales, was married to the Duke of Fife. Preparations were being made to celebrate another marriage, that of the Duke of Clarence and Avondale, eldest son of the Prince of Wales, to Princess Victoria Mary (May) of Teck, in January 1892; but to the sorrow of all, he was stricken down with influenza accompanied by pneumonia on January 10th, and died on the 14th. The Queen addressed a pathetic letter to the nation in return for public sympathy, which was much more than a mere note of thanks and acknowledgement.

OSBORNE, _January_ 26, 1892.

I must once again give expression to my deep sense of the loyalty and affectionate sympathy evinced by my subjects in every part of my empire on an occasion more sad and tragical than any but one which has befallen me and mine, as well as the nation. The overwhelming misfortune of my clearly loved grandson having been thus suddenly cut off in the flower of his age, full of promise for the future, amiable and gentle, and endearing himself to all, renders it hard for his sorely stricken parents, his dear young bride, and his fond grandmother to bow in submission to the inscrutable decrees of Providence.

The sympathy of millions, which has been so touchingly and visibly expressed, is deeply gratifying at such a time, and I wish, both in my own name and that of my children, to express, from my heart, my warm gratitude to _all_.

These testimonies of sympathy with us, and appreciation of my dear grandson, whom I loved as a son, and whose devotion to me was as great as that of a son, will be a help and consolation to me and mine in our affliction.

My bereavements during the last thirty years of my reign have indeed been heavy. Though the labours, anxieties, and responsibilities inseparable from my position have been great, yet it is my earnest prayer that God may continue to give me health and strength to work for the good and happiness of my dear country and empire while life lasts.

VICTORIA, R.I.

On July 6, 1893, the Duke of York was united in marriage to the Princess May, amidst great national rejoicing. Three years later occurred the death of Prince Henry of Battenberg, husband of Princess Beatrice, when returning from the Ashanti Expedition. On 22d July 1896 Princess Maud, daughter of the Prince of Wales, married Prince Charles, son of Frederick, Crown Prince of Denmark. The Queen was present on the occasion of the marriage, which took place in the Chapel Royal, Buckingham Palace. The visit of the Emperor and Empress of Russia to Balmoral in the autumn was a memorable occasion, marked by great festivity and rejoicing.

During 1896 the Queen received an immense number of congratulatory messages on entering upon the sixtieth year of her reign; and on 23d September she exceeded the limit attained by any previous English sovereign. Many proposals were made to publicly mark this happy event. One scheme, supported by the Prince of Wales, had for its object the freeing of certain London hospitals of debt; but at the Queen’s personal request the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee was reserved until the completion of the sixtieth year of her reign in June 1897.

CHAPTER IX.

The Queen as an Artist and Author–In her Holiday Haunts–Side-lights on the Queen–Norman Macleod–The Queen’s appreciation of Tennyson, Dickens, and Livingstone–Letter to Mr Peabody–The Queen’s Drawing-room–Her pet Animals–A Model Mistress–Mr Jeaffreson’s Tribute–Baron Stockmar–A golden Reign.

The Prince-Consort, as we have seen, was accomplished in music and painting, and knew much about many subjects. The Queen is not only an author, but an artist, and takes a great interest in art. To an exhibition under the auspices of the Royal Anglo-Australian Society of Artists, the Queen contributed five water-colour drawings, and a set of proof-etchings by the Prince-Consort. The subjects were the Duke of Connaught at the age of three; the princesses Alice and Victoria of Hesse (1875); portraits of the Princess Royal, now Dowager Empress of Germany, and Prince Alfred. In advanced life, too, the Queen began to study Hindustani.

In her _Leaves from Her Journal_ (1869) and _More Leaves_ (1884), and letters printed in the Life of the Prince-Consort, the Queen took the public into her confidence, and afforded a glimpse of the simplicity and purity of the court in our era. In the extracts from her Journals (1842-82), we have homely records of visits and holiday excursions, with descriptions of picturesque scenery, simply and faithfully set down, the writer expressing with directness the feelings of the moment.

Deprived by her high rank of friends–as we understand them in ordinary life–Her Majesty seems to have borne an affection for her husband and her offspring even above the common. With her devotion to the late Prince-Consort we are all acquainted; but her books show us that it was an attachment by no means owing any of its intensity to regret. While he yet lived and gladdened her with the sunshine of his presence, there are no words she can use too strong to express her love and admiration for him; and it is easy to see, before it happened, how desolate his loss would leave her. Then the Prince of Wales was always ‘Bertie,’ and the Princess Royal ‘Vicky,’ and the family circle generally a group as loving and united–without a trace of courtly stiffness–as was to be found round any hearth in Britain.

What the Prince-Consort wrote of domestic servants, seems to have also been the feeling of the Queen: ‘Whose heart would fail to sympathise with those who minister to us in sickness, receive us upon our first appearance in the world, and even extend their cares to our mortal remains–who lie under our roof, form our household, and are part of our family?’

There is no one, in ever so menial position, about her person, who is not mentioned with kindness and particularity. A footnote annexed to the humble name almost always contains a short biography of the individual, whether wardrobe-maid, groom, or gillie. Thus of her trusty attendant John Brown (1826-83) she writes: ‘The same who, in 1858, became my regular attendant out of doors everywhere in the Highlands; who commenced as gillie in 1849, and was selected by Albert and me to go with my carriage. In 1851 he entered our service permanently, and began in that year leading my pony, and advanced step by step by his good conduct and intelligence. His attention, care, and faithfulness cannot be exceeded; and the state of my health, which of late years has been sorely tried and weakened, renders such qualifications most valuable, and indeed most needful in a constant attendant upon all occasions. He has since, most deservedly, been promoted to be an upper servant, and my permanent personal attendant (December 1865). He has all the independence and elevated feelings peculiar to the Highland race, and is singularly straightforward, simple-minded, kind-hearted, and disinterested; always ready to oblige, and of a discretion rarely to be met with. He is now in his fortieth year. His father was a small farmer, who lived at the Bush on the opposite side to Balmoral. He is the second of nine brothers–three of whom have died–two are in Australia and New Zealand, two are living in the neighbourhood of Balmoral; and the youngest, Archie (Archibald), is valet to our son Leopold, and is an excellent, trustworthy young man.’ The Queen had that memory for old faces almost peculiar to her royal house, and no sooner did she set foot in the new garden which was being made at Dalkeith, than she recognised Mackintosh there, ‘who was formerly gardener at Claremont.’

One very pleasing trait about Her Majesty was that, although, as a matter of course, all persons vied in doing her pleasure, she never took any act of respect or kindliness towards her for granted. She made frequent mention of the courteous civilities shown her, just as though she had been in the habit of meeting with the reverse of such conduct. At Dalkeith (the Duke of Buccleuch’s, who was her host on more than one occasion), ‘everybody was very kind and civil, and full of inquiries as to our voyage;’ and ‘the Roseberies’ (at Dalmeny, where she lunched) ‘were all civility and attention.’

In her books a healthy interest is shown in all that concerns the welfare of the people. The Queen and the Prince-Consort came to Scotland in 1842 in the _Royal George_ yacht, and, tired and giddy, drove to Dalkeith Palace, where they were guests of the Duke of Buccleuch. The Queen tasted real Scotch fare at breakfast, oatmeal porridge and ‘Finnan haddies.’ She saw the sights of Edinburgh, and in driving through the Highlands afterwards, had a reception from Lord Breadalbane at Taymouth Castle.

The descriptions of her stay at Lord Breadalbane’s, and at Lord Glenlyon’s in Blair-Athole, are very graphic. ‘At a quarter to six, we reached Taymouth. At the gate a guard of Highlanders, Lord Breadalbane’s men, met us. Taymouth lies in a valley surrounded by very high, wooded hills; it is most beautiful. The house is a kind of castle, built of granite. The _coup-d’oeil_ was indescribable. There were a number of Lord Breadalbane’s Highlanders, all in the Campbell tartan, drawn up in front of the house, with Lord Breadalbane himself, in a Highland dress, at their head, a few of Sir Neil Menzies’s men (in the Menzies red and white tartan), a number of pipers playing, and a company of the 92d Highlanders, also in kilts. The firing of the guns, the cheering of the great crowd, the picturesqueness of the dresses, the beauty of the surrounding country, with its rich background of wooded hills, altogether formed one of the finest scenes imaginable. It seemed as if a great chieftain in olden feudal times was receiving his sovereign. It was princely and romantic. Lord and Lady Breadalbane took us up-stairs, the hall and stairs being lined with Highlanders. The Gothic staircase is of stone, and very fine; the whole of the house is newly and exquisitely furnished. The drawing-room, especially, is splendid. Thence you go into a passage and a library, which adjoins our private apartments. They showed us two sets of apartments, and we chose those which are on the right hand of the corridor or anteroom to the library. At eight we dined. Staying in the house, besides ourselves, are the Buccleuchs and the two Ministers, the Duchess of Sutherland and Lady Elizabeth Leveson Gower, the Abercorns, Roxburghes, Kinnoulls, Lord Lauderdale, Sir Anthony Maitland, Lord Lorne, the Fox Maules, Belhavens, Mr and Mrs William Russell, Sir J. and Lady Elizabeth and the Misses Pringle, and two Messrs Baillie, brothers of Lady Breadalbane. The dining-room is a fine room in Gothic style, and has never been dined in till this day. Our apartments also are inhabited for the first time. After dinner, the grounds were most splendidly illuminated–a whole chain of lamps along the railings, and on the ground was written in lamps: “Welcome Victoria–Albert.” A small fort, which is up in the woods, was illuminated, and bonfires were burning on the tops of the hills. I never saw anything so fairy-like. There were some pretty fireworks, and the whole ended by the Highlanders dancing reels, which they do to perfection, to the sound of the pipes, by torchlight in front of the house. It had a wild and very gay effect.’

[Illustration: Pass of Killiecrankie–‘The Queen’s View’]

Her Majesty drove about daily, enjoying the magnificent scenery, or by the banks of Tay, to see Lord Breadalbane’s American buffaloes; while Prince Albert had sport–nineteen roe-deer on the first day, besides hares, pheasants, grouse, and a capercailzie, all which trophies were spread out before the house. Three hundred Highlanders ‘beat’ for him, while, whenever the Queen (accompanied by the Duchess of Norfolk) walked in the grounds, two of the Highland guard followed with drawn swords. They arrived at a lodge, where ‘a fat, good-humoured little woman, about forty, cut some flowers for each of us, and the Duchess gave her some money, saying: “From Her Majesty.” I never saw any one more surprised than she was; she, however, came up to me, and said very warmly that my people were delighted to see me in Scotland.’ At a later date the Queen revisited Taymouth, where once–‘Albert and I were then only twenty-three!’–she passed such happy days. ‘I was very thankful to have seen it again,’ says she, with quiet pathos. ‘It seemed unaltered.’

This visit to Scotland was attended with happy results, and made a favourable impression upon both. ‘The country,’ wrote Prince Albert,’ is full of beauty, of a severe and grand character; perfect for sport of all kinds, and the air remarkably pure and light in comparison with what we have here. The people are more natural, and marked by that honesty and sympathy which always distinguish the inhabitants of mountainous countries who live far away from towns.’

On the occasion of a visit to Blair-Athole, the Queen wrote of the Pass of Killiecrankie, that it was ‘quite magnificent; the road winds along it, and you look down a great height, all wooded on both sides; the Garry rolling below.’ On another occasion she wrote: ‘We took a delightful walk of two hours. Immediately near the house, the scenery is very wild, which is most enjoyable. The moment you step out of the house, you see those splendid hills all round. We went to the left through some neglected pleasure-grounds, and then through the wood, along a steep winding path overhanging the rapid stream. These Scotch streams, full of stones, and clear as glass, are most beautiful; the peeps between the trees, the depth of the shadows, the mossy stones, mixed with slate, &c., which cover the banks, are lovely; at every turn you have a picture. We were up high, but could not get to the top; Albert in such delight; it is a happiness to see him, he is in such spirits. We came back by a higher drive, and then went to the factor’s house, still higher up, where Lord and Lady Glenlyon are living, having given Blair up to us. We walked on to a cornfield, where a number of women were cutting and reaping the oats (“shearing,” as they call it in Scotland), with a splendid view of the hills before us, so rural and romantic, so unlike our daily Windsor walk (delightful as that is); and this change does such good: as Albert observes, it refreshes one for a long time. We then went into the kitchen-garden, and to a walk from which there is a magnificent view. This mixture of great wildness and art is perfection.

‘At a little before four o’clock, Albert drove me out in the pony-phaeton till nearly six–such a drive! Really to be able to sit in one’s pony-carriage, and to see such wild, beautiful scenery as we did, the furthest point being only five miles from the house, is an immense delight. We drove along Glen Tilt, through a wood overhanging the river Tilt, which joins the Garry, and as we left the wood we came upon such a lovely view–Ben-y-Gloe straight before us–and under these high hills the river Tilt gushing and winding over stones and slates, and the hills and mountains skirted at the bottom with beautiful trees; the whole lit up by the sun; and the air so pure and fine; but no description can at all do it justice, or give an idea of what this drive was.’ The royal pair mount their ponies, and with only one attendant, a gillie, delight in getting above the world and out of it: ‘Not a house, not a creature near us, but the pretty Highland sheep, with their horns and black faces, up at the top of Tulloch, surrounded by beautiful mountains.’

The charms of natural scenery, greatly as they were appreciated, required now and then to be relieved by a little excitement, and the Queen and Prince hit upon an ingenious plan of procuring this. They would issue forth from Balmoral in hired carriages, with horses to match, and would drive to some Highland town, and dine and dress at its inn, under assumed names. It was no doubt great fun to Her Majesty to put up with the accommodation of a third-rate provincial inn, where ‘a ringleted woman did everything’ in the way of waiting at table, and where in place of soup there was mutton-broth with vegetables, ‘which I did not much relish.’

On one of these expeditions, Her Majesty was so unfortunate as to hit upon the inn at Dalwhinnie as a place of sojourn. ‘We went up-stairs: the inn was much larger than at Fettercairn, but not nearly so nice and cheerful; there was a drawing-room and a dining-room; and we had a very good-sized bedroom. Albert had a dressing-room of equal size. Mary Andrews (who was very useful and efficient) and Lady Churchill’s maid had a room together, every one being in the house; but unfortunately there was hardly anything to eat, and there was only tea, and two miserable starved Highland chickens, without any potatoes! No pudding, and no _fun_; no little maid (the two there not wishing to come in), nor our two people–who were wet and drying our and their things–to wait on us! It was not a nice supper; and the evening was wet. As it was late, we soon retired to rest. Mary and Maxted (Lady Churchill’s maid) had been dining below with Grant, Brown, and Stewart (who came the same as last time, with the maids) in the “commercial room” at the foot of the stairs. They had only the remnants of our two starved chickens!’

The ascent of the hill of Tulloch on a pony, the Queen wrote, was ‘the most delightful, the most romantic ride and walk I ever had.’ The quiet, the liberty, the Highlanders, and the hills were all thoroughly enjoyed by the Queen, and when she returned to the Lowlands it made her sad to see the country becoming ‘flatter and flatter,’ while the English coast appeared ‘terribly flat.’ Again the Queen and Prince-Consort were in the West Highlands in 1847, but had dreadful weather at Ardverikie, on Loch Laggan.

Not even Osborne, Windsor, or Buckingham Palace proved happier residences than their holiday home at Balmoral. The fine air of the north of Scotland had been so beneficial to the royal family, that they were advised to purchase a house in Aberdeenshire.

The Queen and prince took up their autumn residence at Balmoral in September 1848. A few years later, the house was much improved and enlarged from designs by the Prince-Consort. It was soothing to retire thither after a year of the bustle of London. ‘It was so calm and so solitary, it did one good as one gazed around; and the pure mountain air was most refreshing. All seemed to breathe freedom and peace, and to make one forget the world and its sad turmoils.’ Mr Greville, as clerk of the Council, saw the circle there in 1849, and thought the Queen and prince appeared to great advantage, living in simplicity and ease. ‘The Queen is running in and out of the house all day long, and often goes about alone, walks into the cottages, and sits down and chats with the old women…. I was greatly struck with the prince. I saw at once that he is very intelligent and highly cultivated; and, moreover, that he has a thoughtful mind, and thinks of subjects worth thinking about. He seems very much at his ease, very gay, pleasant, and without the least stiffness or air of dignity.’ The Queen was in Ireland in 1849, and had a splendid reception.

The Queen took possession of the new castle at Balmoral in the autumn of 1855, and a year later she wrote that ‘every year my heart becomes more fixed in this dear paradise, and so much more so now, that all has become my dear Albert’s own creation, own work, own building, own laying out, as at Osborne; and his great taste, and the impress of his dear hand, have been stamped everywhere.’

After building the cairn on the top of Craig Gowan, to commemorate their taking possession of Balmoral, the Queen wrote: ‘May God bless this place, and allow us yet to see it and enjoy it many a long year.’

In the north country, too, she met with little adventures, which doubtless helped to rally her courage and spirits–a carriage accident, when there was ‘a moment during which I had time to reflect whether I should be killed or not, and to think there were, still things I had not settled and wanted to do;’ subsequently sitting in the cold on the road-side, recalling ‘what my beloved one had always said to me, namely, to make the best of what could not be altered.’ What a thoroughly loving, clinging woman’s heart the ‘Queen-Empress’ shows when’ she feels tired, sad, and bewildered’ because ‘for the first time in her life she was alone in a strange house, without either mother or husband.’

Some interesting glimpses of the Queen are given in the biography of the late Dr Norman Macleod. This popular divine was asked to preach before the Queen in Crathie Church in 1854–the church that stood till 1893, when the Queen laid the foundation stone of a new one. He preached an old sermon without a note, never looking once at the royal seat, but solely at the congregation. The Sunday at Balmoral was perfect in its peace and beauty. In his sermon he tried to show what true life is, a finding rest through the yoke of God’s service instead of the service of self, and by the cross of self-denial instead of self-gratification. ‘In the evening,’ writes Dr Macleod in his Journal, ‘after daundering in a green field with a path through it which led to the high-road, and while sitting on a block of granite, full of quiet thoughts, mentally reposing in the midst of the beautiful scenery, I was aroused from my reverie by some one asking me if I was the clergyman who had preached that day. I was soon in the presence of the Queen and prince; when Her Majesty came forward and said, with a sweet, kind, and smiling face: “We wish to thank you for your sermon.” She then asked me how my father was–what was the name of my parish, &c.; and so, after bowing and smiling, they both continued their quiet evening walk alone. And thus God blessed me, and I thanked His name.’ The Queen in her Journal remarked that she had never heard a finer sermon, and that the allusions in the prayer to herself and the children gave her a ‘lump in the throat.’

Dr Macleod was again at Balmoral in 1862 and 1866. Of this visit in May 1862, made after the Queen’s bereavement, he reported to his wife that ‘all has passed well–that is to say, God enabled me to speak in private and in public to the Queen, in such a way as seemed to me to be truth, the truth in God’s sight–that which I believed she needed, though I felt it would be very trying to her spirit to receive it. And what fills me with deepest thanksgiving is, that she has received it, and written to me such a kind, tender letter of thanks for it, which shall be treasured in my heart while I live.

[Illustration: Balmoral Castle.]

‘Prince Alfred sent for me last night to see him before going away. Thank God, I spoke fully and frankly to him–we were alone–of his difficulties, temptations, and of his father’s example; what the nation expected of him; how, if he did God’s will, good and able men would rally round him; how, if he became selfish, a selfish set of flatterers would truckle to him and ruin him, while caring only for themselves. He thanked me for all I said, and wished me to travel with him to-day to Aberdeen, but the Queen wishes to see me again.’

In his Journal of May 14, he wrote: ‘After dinner I was summoned unexpectedly to the Queen’s room. She was alone. She met me, and with an unutterably sad expression which filled my eyes with tears, at once began to speak about the prince. It is impossible for me to recall distinctly the sequence or substance of that long conversation. She spoke of his excellences–his love, his cheerfulness, how he was everything to her; how all now on earth seemed dead to her. She said she never shut her eyes to trials, but liked to look them in the face; how she would never shrink from duty, but that all was at present done mechanically; that her highest ideas of purity and love were obtained from him, and that God could not be displeased with her love. But there was nothing morbid in her grief. I spoke freely to her about all I felt regarding him–the love of the nation and their sympathy; and took every opportunity of bringing before her the reality of God’s love and sympathy, her noble calling as a queen, the value of her life to the nation, the blessedness of prayer.’

On the Monday following the Sabbath services, Dr Macleod had a long interview with the Queen. ‘She was very much more like her old self,’ he writes, ‘cheerful, and full of talk about persons and things. She, of course, spoke of the prince. She said that he always believed he was to die soon, and that he often told her that he had never any fear of death…. The more I learned about the Prince-Consort, the more I agree with what the Queen said to me about him, “that he really did not seem to comprehend a selfish character, or what selfishness was.”‘

It was Dr Macleod’s feeling that the Queen had a reasoning, searching mind, anxious to get at the root and the reality of things, and abhorring all shams, whether in word or deed. In October 1866, he records: ‘After dinner, the Queen invited me to her room, where I found the Princess Helena and Marchioness of Ely. The Queen sat down to spin at a nice Scotch wheel, while I read Robert Burns to her: “Tam o’ Shanter,” and “A man’s a man for a’ that,” her favourite. The Prince and Princess of Hesse sent for me to see their children. The eldest, Victoria, whom I saw at Darmstadt, is a most sweet child; the youngest, Elizabeth, a round, fat ball of loving good-nature. I gave her a real hobble, such as I give Polly. I suppose the little thing never got anything like it, for she screamed and kicked with a perfect _furore_ of delight, would go from me to neither father nor mother nor nurse, to their great merriment, but buried her chubby face in my cheek, until I gave her another right good hobble. They are such dear children. The Prince of Wales sent a message asking me to go and see him…. All seem to be very happy. We had a great deal of pleasant talk in the garden. Dear, good General Grey drove me home.’

In a letter written in 1867, he expresses himself thus:

‘I had a long interview with the Queen. With my last breath I will uphold the excellence and nobleness of her character. It was really grand to hear her talk on moral courage, and on living for duty.’ The Queen, on hearing of Dr Macleod’s death, wrote: ‘How I loved to talk to him, to ask his advice, to speak to him of my sorrows, my anxieties! … How dreadful to lose that dear, kind, loving, large-hearted friend! I cried very bitterly, for this is a terrible loss to me.’

Both the Queen and Prince-Consort have had a hearty appreciation of literary men of eminence and all public benefactors. We have already noted their appreciation of Tennyson.

The Queen, after a long interview with Charles Dickens, presented him with a copy of her _Leaves_, and wrote on it that it was a gift ‘from one of the humblest of writers to one of the greatest.’

In December 1850, Dr Livingstone wrote to his parents: ‘The Royal Geographical Society have awarded twenty-five guineas for the discovery of the lake (‘Ngami). It is from the Queen.’ Before this he had written: ‘I wonder you do not go to see the Queen. I was as disloyal as others when in England, for though I might have seen her in London I never went. Do you ever pray for her?’ In 1858 Livingstone was honoured by the Queen with a private interview. An account says, ‘She sent for Livingstone, who attended Her Majesty at the palace, without ceremony, in his black coat and blue trousers, and his cap surrounded with a stripe of gold lace…. The Queen conversed with him affably for half-an-hour on the subject of his travels. Dr Livingstone told Her Majesty that he would now be able to say to the natives that he had seen his chief, his not having done so before having been a constant subject of surprise to the children of the African wilderness. He mentioned to Her Majesty also that the people were in the habit of inquiring whether his chief was wealthy; and that when he assured them she was very wealthy, they would ask how many cows she had got, a question at which the Queen laughed heartily.’

But the Queen had plenty of live-stock too. From an account in the _Idler_ of the Queen’s pet animals, we learn that they consist almost entirely of dogs, horses, and donkeys. The following is a list of some of the royal pets: Flora and Alma, two horses fourteen hands high, presented to the Queen by Victor Emmanuel. Jenny, a white donkey, twenty-five years of age, which has been with the Queen since it was a foal. Tewfik, a white Egyptian ass, bought in Cairo by Lord Wolseley. Two Shetland ponies–one, The Skewbald, three feet six inches high; another, a dark brown mare like a miniature cart-horse. The royal herd of fifty cows in milk, chiefly shorthorns and Jerseys. An enormous bison named Jack, obtained in exchange for a Canadian bison from the Zoological Gardens. A cream-coloured pony called Sanger, presented to the Queen by the circus proprietor. A Zulu cow bred from the herd of Cetewayo’s brother. A strong handsome donkey called Jacquot, with a white nose and knotted tail. This donkey draws the Queen’s chair (a little four-wheeled carriage with rubber tyres and a low step), and has accompanied her to Florence. A gray donkey, the son of the Egyptian Tewfik, carries the Queen’s grandchildren. Jessie, the Queen’s favourite riding mare, which is twenty-seven years old. A gray Arab, presented to Her Majesty by the Thakore of Morvi. The stables contain eighteen harness horses, most of them gray, and twelve brougham horses ranging from dark brown to light chestnut. Four brown ponies, fourteen hands high, bred from a pony called Beatrice, which Princess Beatrice used to ride. The Royal Mews cover an extent of four acres, and accommodate as many as one hundred horses. The carriage-house contains the post-chaise in which the Queen and the Prince-Consort travelled through Germany seven years after their marriage. The carriages of the household weigh about 15 cwt. each. The royal kennels contain fifty-five dogs.

George Peabody, who had given in all about half a million of money towards building industrial homes in London, having declined many honours, was asked what gift, if any, he would accept. His reply was: ‘A letter from the Queen of England, which I may carry across the Atlantic and deposit as a memorial of one of her most faithful sons.’ The following letter was accordingly received from Her Majesty:

WINDSOR CASTLE, _March_ 28, 1866.

The Queen hears that Mr Peabody intends shortly to return to America; and she would be sorry that he should leave England without being assured by herself how deeply she appreciates the noble act, of more than princely munificence, by which he has sought to relieve the wants of her poorer subjects residing in London. It is an act, as the Queen believes, wholly without parallel; and which will carry its best reward in the consciousness of having contributed so largely to the assistance of those who can little help themselves.

The Queen would not, however, have been satisfied without giving Mr Peabody some public mark of her sense of his munificence; and she would gladly have conferred upon him either a baronetcy or the Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, but that she understands Mr Peabody to feel himself debarred from accepting such distinctions.

It only remains, therefore, for the Queen to give Mr Peabody this assurance of her personal feelings; which she would further wish to mark by asking him to accept a miniature portrait of herself, which she will desire to have painted for him, and which, when finished, can either be sent to him in America, or given to him on the return which she rejoices to hear he meditates to the country that owes him so much.

To this letter Mr Peabody replied:

THE PALACE HOTEL, BUCKINGHAM GATE,

LONDON, _April_ 3, 1866.

MADAM–I feel sensibly my inability to express in adequate terms the gratification with which I have read the letter which your Majesty has done me the high honour of transmitting by the hands of Earl Russell.

On the occasion which has attracted your Majesty’s attention, of setting apart a portion of my property to ameliorate the condition and augment the comforts of the poor of London, I have been actuated by a deep sense of gratitude to God, who has blessed me with prosperity, and of attachment to this great country, where, under your Majesty’s benign rule, I have received so much personal kindness, and enjoyed so many years of happiness. Next to the approval of my own conscience, I shall always prize the assurance which your Majesty’s letter conveys to me of the approbation of the Queen of England, whose whole life has attested that her exalted station has in no degree diminished her sympathy with the humblest of her subjects. The portrait which your Majesty is graciously pleased to bestow on me I shall value as the most gracious heirloom that I can leave in the land of my birth; where, together with the letter which your Majesty has addressed to me, it will ever be regarded as an evidence of the kindly feeling of the Queen of the United Kingdom toward a citizen of the United States.

I have the honour to be

Your Majesty’s most obedient servant,

GEORGE PEABODY.

This miniature of the Queen is mounted in an elaborate and massive chased gold frame, surmounted by the royal crown; is a half-length, fourteen inches long and ten wide, done in enamel, by Tilb, a London artist, and is the largest miniature of the kind ever attempted in England. It has been deposited, along with the gold box containing the freedom of the city of London, in a vault in the Institute at Peabody; also the gold box from the Fishmongers’ Association, London; a book of autographs; a presentation copy of the Queen’s first published book, with her autograph; and a cane which belonged to Benjamin Franklin.

We have only tried to draw within a small canvas a portrait of her as ‘mother, wife, and queen.’ She has herself told the story of her happy days in her Highland home, to which we have already alluded; nor has she shrunk from letting her people see her when she went there after all was changed, when the view was so fine, the day so bright–and the heather so beautifully pink–but no pleasure, no joy! all dead!’ But she found help and sympathy among her beloved Scottish peasantry, with whom she could form human friendships, unchilled by politics and unchecked by court jealousies. They could win her into the sunshine even on the sacred anniversaries. One of them said to her, ‘I thought you would like to be here (a bright and favoured spot) on his birthday.’ The good Christian man ‘being of opinion,’ writes the Queen, ‘that this beloved day, and even the 14th of December, must not be looked upon as a day of mourning.’ ‘That’s not the light to look at it,’ said he. The Queen found ‘true and strong faith in these good simple people.’ It is pleasant, to note that by-and-by she kept the prince’s birthday by giving souvenirs to her children, servants, and friends.

She who years before, during a short separation from her dear husband, had written, ‘All the numerous children are as nothing to me when he is away–it seems as if the whole life of the house and home were gone,’ could enter into the spirit of Dr Norman Macleod’s pathetic story of the old woman who, having lost husband and children, was asked how she had been able to bear her sorrows, and replied, ‘Ah, when _he_ went awa’, it made a great hole, and all the others went through it.’

As we have already said, the Queen was a genuine ruler, and while at Windsor she had not only a regular array of papers and despatches to go through, but many court ceremonies. In the morning there was a drive before breakfast, and after that meal she read her private letters and newspapers. One of the ladies-in-waiting had previously gone over the newspapers and marked the paragraphs which seemed of most interest to the Queen. Afterwards came the examination of the boxes of papers and despatches, of which there might be twenty or thirty, which sometimes occupied about three hours. The contents were then sorted, and sent to be dealt with by her secretary, Sir Henry Ponsonby.

When the Queen was robed for a state occasion, such as a Drawing-room, she was sometimes adorned with jewellery worth. £150,000. At other times she wore scarcely any. Drawing-rooms, when ladies were presented and had the honour of kissing the Queen’s hand, were held about two o’clock. At a royal dinner-party the Queen arrived last. Having walked round and spoken to her guests, she then preceded them into the royal dining-room, and seated herself with one of her children on either side. She was always punctual. It was polite to allow her to start the conversation; after that, she liked to hear her guests talking. Her own talk was always agreeable, and she was fond of humour and a hearty laugh.

The Queen showed herself a model mistress, and also showed an example of industry. At the Chicago Exhibition in 1893 were napkins made from flax spun by Her Majesty, and a straw hat plaited by her. There was, too, a noble human grace about her acts of beneficence. For instance, in erecting an almshouse for poor old women in the Isle of Wight, she retained one tiny room, exactly like the rest, for her own use. It is, we believe, untrue that she ever read in cottages. Her diary is full of references to those who served her, even in the humblest capacities. She attended the funeral service for the father of her faithful servant, John Brown; and when the latter died, she wrote that her loss was irreparable, as he deservedly possessed her entire confidence. Interested in the country people around Balmoral, Her Majesty paid visits to old women, and gave them petticoats. On August 26, 1869, she called on old Mrs Grant, gave her a shawl and pair of socks, ‘and found the poor old soul in bed, looking very weak and very ill, but bowing her head and thanking me in her usual way. I took her hand and held it.’ She abounded in practical sympathy with all their joys and sorrows. One of the lodge-keepers in Windsor Forest remarked that ‘a wonderful good woman to her servants is the Queen.’ Her Majesty had come several times to see her husband when down with rheumatic fever, and the princesses often brought her oranges and jellies with their own hands. She trained her children to live in the same spirit: nearly all of the Princess Alice’s letters home contained references to domestic friends and messages to be conveyed to them. She wrote in 1865 to the Queen: ‘From you I have inherited an ardent and sympathising spirit, and feel the pain of those I love, as though it were my own.’

She was always full of kindly consideration for others. Many stories are told of the gracious methods taken by her to efface the pain caused by blunders or awkwardness at review, levee, or drawing-room. Mr Jeaffreson has written: ‘Living in history as the most sagacious and enlightened sovereign of her epoch, Her Majesty will also stand before posterity as the finest type of feminine excellence given to human nature in the nineteenth century; even as her husband will stand before posterity as the brightest example of princely worth given to the age that is drawing to a close. Regarded with admiration throughout all time as a beneficent queen and splendid empress, she will also be honoured reverentially by the coming centuries as a supremely good and noble woman.’

Nor did the Queen lack for friends upon another level. The old Duke of Wellington, the Iron Duke, the victor of Waterloo, is said to have loved her fondly. If any stranger had seen them together, ‘he would have imagined he beheld a fond father and an affectionate daughter laughingly chatting.’ She herself recorded her great regard for Dr Norman Macleod, as we have noted, Lady Jane Churchill, and several others. But the devotion which she and the Prince-Consort ever showed to the Baron Stockmar rises to the height of ideal friendship. Stockmar had been the private physician of Leopold, King of the Belgians, in his earlier days, and in the course of events became the trusted adviser of the young Prince Albert. To him the Queen and the prince wrote as only dutiful children might write to the most affectionate and wisest of parents. They sought his advice and followed it. They reared their children to do him honour. What this friend was, may be gathered from what shrewd people thought of him. Lord Palmerston, no partial critic, declared, ‘I have come in my life across only one absolutely disinterested man, and that is–Stockmar.’ Subtle aphorisms on the conduct of life may be culled, almost at random, from his letters to the royal pair. We can take but one, which, read in conjunction with the lives he influenced, is deeply significant:

‘Were I now to be asked,’ he wrote as he drew near his seventieth year, ‘by any young man just entering into life, “What is the chief good for which it behoves a man to strive?” my only answer would be “Love and Friendship.” Were he to ask me, “What is a man’s most priceless possession?” I must answer, “The consciousness of having loved and sought the truth–of having yearned for the truth for its own sake! All else is either mere vanity or a sick man’s dream.”‘

John Bright once said of the Queen, that she was ‘the most perfectly truthful person I ever met.’ No former monarch has so thoroughly comprehended the great truth, that the powers of the crown are held in trust for the people, and are the means and not the end of government. This enlightened policy has entitled her to the glorious distinction of having been the most constitutional monarch Britain has ever seen.

In 1897 the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria was celebrated, representatives from all parts of the empire and from many foreign countries taking part in a magnificent procession to and from St Paul’s Cathedral.

The already aged Queen continued to reign for only a few years longer. The new century had hardly dawned when she was stricken down by the hand of death. After a brief illness she passed away at Osborne on 22d January 1901, amidst an outburst of sorrow from the whole civilised world. Next day the Prince of Wales was proclaimed as King Edward VII. On Saturday, 2d February, amid a splendid naval and military pageant, the body of the Queen was borne to St George’s Chapel, Windsor, and on Monday buried in the Frogmore Mausoleum beside Prince Albert.

CHAPTER X.

Summary of Public Events, 1856-93–Civil War in America–Extension of the Franchise–Disestablishment of Irish Church-Education Act of 1870–Wars in China and Abyssinia–Purchase of Suez Canal Shares–Wars in Afghanistan, Zululand, and Egypt–Home Rule Bill–Growth of the Empire and National Progress.

We now continue our summary of public affairs. The Crimean War had been finished, and the mutiny had broken out, whilst Lord Palmerston was prime-minister. In 1858 he was obliged to resign his post; but he returned to office next year, and this he held till his death in 1865. Under him there was quiet both in home and in foreign affairs, and we managed to keep from being mixed up with the great wars which raged abroad.

Seldom has a premier been better liked than Lord Palmerston. Nominally a Whig, but at heart an old-fashioned Tory, he was first and foremost an Englishman, ever jealous for Britain’s credit and security. He was not gifted with burning eloquence or biting sarcasm; but his vigour, straightforwardness, good sense, and kindliness endeared him even to his adversaries. Honestly indifferent to domestic reform, but a finished master of foreign politics, he was of all men the man to guide the nation through the ten coming years, which at home were a season of calm and reaction, but troubled and threatening abroad.

Besides the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny, we had another war with China, as unjust as the opium war of sixteen years before, and quite as successful. In 1856, the Canton authorities seized the crew of a Chinese pirate which carried a British flag. Under strong pressure from British officials, Commissioner Yeh surrendered the crew, but refused all apology, whereupon Canton was bombarded. A twelvemonth later, it was stormed by the British and French allied forces; Yeh was captured, and sent off to die at Calcutta; and in June 1858 a treaty was signed, throwing open all China to British subjects. In a third war (1859-60), to enforce the terms of that treaty, Pekin surrendered, and its vast Summer Palace was sacked and destroyed.

In January 1858, an attempt on the life of the Emperor Napoleon was made by Orsini, an Italian refugee, who had hatched his plot and procured his bomb-shells in England. Lord Palmerston therefore introduced a bill, removing conspiracy to murder from the class of misdemeanour to that of felony. The defeat of that bill, as a truckling to France, brought in the second Derby administration, which lasted sixteen months, and in which a professed Jew was first admitted to parliament, in the person of Baron Rothschild. Another Jew, by race but not by creed, Mr Disraeli, was at the time the leader of the House of Commons. His new Reform Bill satisfied nobody; its rejection was followed by a dissolution; and Lord Palmerston returned to office, June 1859.

Sardinia had aided France against Russia, and France was now aiding Sardinia to expel the Austrians from Italy. The campaign was short and successful; but rejoice as we might for the cause of Italian unity, the French emperor’s activity suggested his future invasion of Britain; and to this period belongs the development, if not the beginning, of our Volunteer army, which, from 150,000 in 1860, increased to upwards of 200,000 in twenty-five years. Still, a commercial treaty with France, on free-trade lines, was negotiated between Louis Napoleon and Mr Cobden; and Mr Gladstone carried it through parliament in the face of strong opposition. Lord John Russell again introduced a Reform Bill, but the apathy of Lord Palmerston, and the pressure of other business, led to its quiet withdrawal. The rejection by the Lords of a bill to abolish the duty on paper seemed likely at one time to lead to a collision between the two Houses. Ultimately the Commons contented themselves with a protest against this unwonted stretch of authority, and the paper-duty was removed in 1861.

From 1861 to 1865, a civil war raged in America, between the slave-holding Southern States (the Confederates) and the abolitionist Northern States (the Federals). At first, British feeling was strongly in favour of the Northerners; but it changed before long, partly in consequence of their seizure of two Confederate envoys on a British mail-steamer, the _Trent_, and of the interruption of our cotton trade, which caused a cotton famine and great distress in Lancashire. With the war itself, and the final hard-won triumph of the North, we had no immediate connection; but the Southern cause was promoted by five privateers being built in England. These armed cruisers were not professedly built for the Southerners, but under false pretences were actually equipped for war against Northern commerce. One of them, the _Alabama_, was not merely built in a British dockyard, but manned for the most part by a British crew. In her two years’ cruise she burned sixty-five Federal merchantmen. The Federal government protested at the time; but it was not till 1872 that the Alabama question was peacefully settled by arbitration in a conference at Geneva, and we had to pay three millions sterling in satisfaction of the American claims.

Other events during the Palmerston administration were a tedious native rebellion in New Zealand (1860-65); the marriage of the Prince of Wales to the Princess Alexandra of Denmark (1863); the cession of the Ionian Isles to Greece (1864); and on the Continent there was the Schleswig-Holstein War (1864), in which, beset by both Prussia and Austria, Denmark looked, but looked vainly, for succour from Britain.

As the Reform Bill of 1832 excluded the great bulk of the working classes from the franchise, it was felt by many that it could not be a final measure; and no long time had passed before agitation for further reform had commenced.

In the year 1854 the veteran Lord John Russell once more brought the subject before the House of Commons; but the attention of the country was fixed on the war with Russia, and it was not thought a good time to deal with the question of reform. Again, in 1859, the cabinet of Earl Derby brought forward a scheme; but it also failed. In the year 1866, Earl Russell was once more at the head of affairs; and it seemed at one time that the aged statesman would succeed in giving the country a second Reform Bill. After many debates, however, Lord Russell’s scheme was rejected, and he resigned.

The Earl of Derby next became premier, with Mr Disraeli as leader of the House of Commons. These statesmen succeeded at length in finding a way for settling the vexed question; and the result was a measure which greatly extended the franchise. The new bill gave the privilege of voting to all householders in boroughs who paid poor-rates, without regard to the amount of rent. A lodger qualification of £10 a year was also introduced. In the counties all who paid a rent of not less than £12 were entitled to a vote. Generally speaking, it may be said that previous to 1832 the upper classes controlled the representation; the first Reform Bill gave the franchise to the middle classes; while the second conferred it on a large section of the working classes.

Such was the Reform Bill of 1867, which made important changes in our system of election. One of the most pleasing features of this and other reforms which we have effected, is the fact that they have been brought about in a peaceful way. While in France and most other European countries, changes in government have frequently been accompanied by revolution and civil war, we have been able to improve our laws without disturbance and without bloodshed.

After the passing of this important act, Mr Gladstone came into power with a large Liberal majority. He had long been one of the foremost orators and debaters of the party. Originally a Conservative, he had become a freetrader with Sir Robert Peel, and for the next few years was a prominent member of the Peelite party. During Lord Palmerston’s second administration, he made a most successful Chancellor of the Exchequer. For some years he had represented Oxford University as a Conservative; but at the general election of 1865, he lost his seat owing to the liberal tendencies he had lately shown. Henceforward he became one of the most decided Liberals; and after the retirement of Earl Russell in 1866, he became the leader of that party.

[Illustration: William Ewart Gladstone. (From a Photograph by R. W. Thomas.)]

Under him many reforms were carried. The Protestant Episcopal Church of Ireland, whose adherents formed only a small minority of the population, was disestablished. Thus at one blow a very important element of the religious difficulty, which had caused so much trouble in Ireland, was removed. A measure was also passed, giving the Irish tenant a greater interest in the soil which he cultivated.

Of all the great measures for the benefit of the working classes which have been passed during the present century, none deserves a higher place than the Education Bill of 1870. A great change for the better had been made in the condition of the people. Their food had been cheapened; the conditions under which they performed their daily toil in the factory or the mine had been improved; and their comforts greatly increased. In all these respects their lot compared favourably with that of other nations. But in education the English were still far behind some of their neighbours, and especially the Germans.

For thirty or forty years before the passing of the Education Act, a great deal had been done by voluntary effort towards supplying the educational needs of the people in England. The National Society, and the British and Foreign Society, by building schools and training teachers, had done much for the children of our native land. Parliament also had lent its aid, by voting an annual grant towards the expenses of the existing schools.

But the population was increasing so rapidly that, in spite of these efforts, there was still a great lack of schools. After all that had been done, it was calculated that there yet remained two-thirds of the juvenile population of the country for whom no provision had been made. An inquiry into the condition of education in some of the large towns showed sad results. In Birmingham, out of a population of 83,000 children of school age, only 26,000 were under instruction; Leeds showed a proportion of 58,000 to 19,000; and so on with other towns.

These figures startled men of all parties; and it was felt that not a moment more ought to be lost in providing for the educational needs which had been shown to exist. Accordingly, Mr Forster, the Vice-president of the Council, a statesman whose name will be honourably handed down in connection with this great question, brought in his famous scheme for grappling with the difficulty. Like all great measures, it was noted for its simplicity.

It laid down, in the first place, the great principle that ‘there should be efficient school provision in every district of England where it was wanted; and that every child in the country should have the means of education placed within its reach.’ To carry this principle into effect, it appointed boards of management, or school boards, to be elected at intervals of three years by the ratepayers themselves.

The chief duties of these boards were defined to be, the erection of schools in all places where sufficient provision did not already exist; and the framing of bylaws, by which they might compel attendance at school in cases where the parents showed themselves indifferent to the welfare of their children. These were the main features of the bill, which passed through parliament, and speedily became the law of the land.

Since the passing of the Education Act, the results achieved by it in England have been most gratifying. The number of children attending school has largely increased; the quality of the instruction has been greatly improved; and in districts which were formerly neglected, excellent school buildings have been erected and fitted up.

By means of the excellent education provided in her parish schools Scotland had long held a foremost place among the nations of the world. Yet it was felt that even there the system of education needed improvement. Accordingly, in 1872, school boards were established and other changes in education were made in Scotland.

There were other minor but still important changes in other departments. It was provided that the right to hold the position of commissioned or higher officers in the army should be given by open examination, and not be bought as hitherto. All students, without distinction as to religious creed, were admitted to the privileges of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Voters were protected in the exercise of their rights by the introduction of the _Ballot_, or system of secret voting. The country now seemed to be tired of reform for a time, and the Gladstone ministry was overthrown.

During the period of which we treat, though we had no great war, we had a number of small conflicts. The series of quarrels with China may be said to have terminated with our conquest of Pekin in 1860. In 1869 the conduct of King John of Abyssinia, in unlawfully imprisoning English subjects, compelled us to send an expedition to rescue them, which it successfully accomplished; and in 1873 we were obliged to send another expedition against King Koffee of Ashanti, on the West African coast, who attacked our allies. This expedition was also a complete success, as we forced our foes to agree to a peace advantageous for us.

In addition may be recorded the successful laying of the Atlantic cable (1866), after nine years of vain endeavour; the passing of an act (1867), under which British North America is all, except Newfoundland, now federally united in the vast Dominion of Canada, with a constitution like that of the mother-country; and the purchase by government of the telegraph system (1868).

On the fall of the Gladstone ministry in 1874, a Conservative one, under Mr Disraeli (afterwards Lord Beaconsfield), came into power, and for some years managed the national affairs.

During these years, several important measures affecting the foreign affairs of our empire were carried out. We purchased a large number of shares in the French company which owns the Suez Canal. British ships going to India pass through that canal, and therefore it was considered by our rulers that it would be for our advantage to have a good deal to do with the management of the company. In India, since the suppression of the Mutiny, and abolition of the East India Company, the Queen had the direct rule. She was in 1876 declared Empress of that country.

In 1877, Russia went to war with Turkey on questions connected with the treatment of the Christian subjects of the Sultan. Our government was opposed to many things in the conduct of the Russians in the matter, and at one time it seemed very likely that a war between us and them would take place. All matters in dispute, however, were arranged in a satisfactory manner at a Congress held at Berlin in 1878.

Then came another Afghan war, its object being the exclusion of Russian influence from Cabul, and such an extension of our Indian frontier as should henceforth render impossible the exclusion of British influence. In September 1878 the Ameer, Shere Ali, Dost Mohammed’s son and successor, refused admission to a British envoy: his refusal was treated as an insolent challenge, and our peaceful mission became a hostile invasion. There was some sharp fighting in the passes; but Jellalabad was ours by the end of December, and Candahar very soon afterwards. Shere Ali died early in 1879; and his son, Yakoob Khan, the new Ameer, in May signed the treaty of Gandamak, conceding the ‘scientific frontier’ and all our other demands. Every one was saying how well and easily the affair had been managed, when tidings reached us of a great calamity–the murder, on 3d September, at Cabul, of our envoy, Sir Louis Cavagnari, with almost all his small escort. The treaty, of course, became so much wastepaper; but no time was lost in avenging the outrage, for after more fighting, Cabul was occupied by General Roberts in the second week of October. The war went on in a desultory fashion, till in July 1880 we recognised a new Ameer in Abdurrahman, heretofore a Russian pensioner, and a grandson of Dost Mohammed. That same month a British brigade was cut to pieces near Candahar; but, starting from Cabul at the head of 10,000 picked troops, General Roberts in twenty-three days marched 318 miles, relieved Candahar’s garrison, and won the battle of Mazra. Already our forces had begun to withdraw from the country, and Candahar was evacuated in 1881. A peaceful British mission was undertaken in the autumn of 1893, when various matters regarding the frontier of Afghanistan were dealt with.

[Illustration: Earl Roberts. (From a Photograph by Poole, Waterford.)]

In 1877 we annexed the Dutch Transvaal Republic; the republic was restored under British suzerainty. In 1879 we invaded the Zulus’ territory. On 11th January Lord Chelmsford crossed the Natal frontier; on the 22d the Zulus surrounded his camp, and all but annihilated its garrison. The heroic defence of Rorke’s Drift, by 80 against 4000, saved Natal from a Zulu invasion; but it was not till July that the campaign was ended by the victory of Ulundi. The saddest event in all the war was the death of the French Prince Imperial, who was serving with the British forces. He was out with a small reconnoitring party, which was surprised by a band of Zulus; his escort mounted and fled; and he was found next morning dead, his body gashed with eighteen assegai wounds. The Zulu king, Cetewayo, was captured in August, and sent a prisoner to Cape Town. Zululand was divided amongst twelve chieftains; but in 1883, after a visit to England, Cetewayo was reinstated in the central part of his kingdom. It was not so easy to set him up again; in 1884 he died a fugitive, overthrown by one of his rivals.

Two very notable men passed away in 1881–Thomas Carlyle, author of _The French Revolution_, and Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield. Born in 1804, Disraeli entered parliament in 1837, the year of the Queen’s accession. His first speech, though clever enough, was greeted with shouts of laughter, till, losing patience, he cried, almost shouted: ‘I have begun several things many times, and have often succeeded at last; ay, and though I sit down now, the time will come when you will hear me.’ In nine years that time did come. From the hour of his onslaught on Sir Robert Peel in the Corn-Law debate of 22d January 1846, be became the leader of the Tory party.

Since the making of the Suez Canal opened a new route to India, we have had a fresh interest in Egypt. In 1882, Egypt was disturbed by troubles which attracted great attention in this country. Through a rising under Arabi Pasha the government was upset, and at Alexandria riots took place, in which Europeans were murdered. Then followed the bombardment of Alexandria by the British fleet. Our forces under Sir Garnet Wolseley defeated the Egyptian army at Tel-el-Kebir, and occupied Cairo, the capital of the country.

Arabi Pasha was banished for life, and the authority of the Khedive was restored under British control. We thus maintained peace and order in Egypt; but a great revolt took place in the provinces of the Soudan, which had been conquered by Egypt. An Egyptian army commanded by General Hicks was almost entirely destroyed by the natives under a religious leader called the Mahdi.

In these circumstances it was decided to send General Gordon to withdraw the Egyptian garrisons from the Soudan, and to give up that vast country to its native rulers. Gordon made his way to Khartoum, but he found the native revolt more formidable than he expected. He was besieged in that city, and refusing to leave the people to their fate, heroically defended it against great odds for nearly a year. An expedition sent under Wolseley to release him did not arrive till Khartoum had fallen and Gordon was slain (1885).

After being defeated in several battles, the forces of the Mahdi were taught that, however brave, they were no match for our troops. When it was determined to reconquer the Soudan the duty was entrusted to Sir Herbert Kitchener, who routed the Khalifa at Omdurman in 1898.

During recent years there have also been troubles on our Indian frontier. In 1886 we annexed Burma, which had suffered much misery under a cruel tyrant. But the greatest danger to India lies on the north-western border, where Russia has been making rapid progress. The conquest of Merv by the Russians brought their dominion close to that of our allies, the Afghans, and it became necessary to establish a fixed boundary between them.

While this was being done, the Russians came into collision with the Afghans at Penjdeh, and in 1885 inflicted a defeat upon them. As a result of this quarrel, it seemed possible at one time that we might go to war with Russia. We came, however, to an agreement with that power, and as we now have a more settled boundary, we may hope to avoid further conflict on the question. But for many years we have been busy in fortifying our north-western frontier, that we may be ready to defend India against invasion.

We have lately seen a vast extension of our empire in Africa. And though the love of gold has been the great motive in our advance into the Dark Continent, our rule is sure to prove a benefit to the native peoples. Vast tracts of land rich in mineral wealth, and well adapted both for pasture and cultivation, have been brought under the sway of Britain. Commerce has been stimulated, and mission stations have been established on almost every lake and river. From Dr Livingstone’s advent in Africa in 1841 dates the modern interest in South Africa. He passed away in 1873. But the explorations of Stanley, Baker, Burton, and the operations of the chartered companies in Uganda and Mashonaland have all helped to make the Dark Continent more familiar to the public.

At the general election in the spring of 1880, the Liberals had a large majority, and Mr Gladstone again became prime-minister. In accordance with the expectation of the country, he proceeded to make some important changes.

It was complained by many that the agricultural labourers had no share in electing members of parliament. A bill was therefore introduced in 1884 to extend to the counties the privilege of voting, which, in 1867, had been granted to householders and lodgers in towns. This bill passed the House of Commons, but the House of Lords refused to pass it, because it was not accompanied by a measure for the better distribution of seats.

[Illustration: The Funeral Procession of Queen Victoria. (From a Photograph by Dorrett & Martin.)]

Parliament again met in the autumn; and as the bill was a second time carried through the House of Commons, there was for a time the prospect of a contest between the two Houses. To prevent such a result, the leaders of both parties met in consultation, and it was agreed that the bill should be allowed to pass on condition that there should be a better distribution of seats. The main provision of the Redistribution Act, as it was called, was to take the right of electing members from all towns with a population under 15,000, and to merge them in the country districts in which they were situated.

In home affairs the Irish question has, during many years, claimed more attention than any other. For some time there had been a great fall in the prices of agricultural produce, and consequently the farmers in Ireland had a difficulty in finding the money to pay their rents. Then followed evictions, which the peasantry resisted by violence. Parliament passed several measures, partly to give relief to the peasantry under the hard times which had fallen upon them, partly with a view to making the law stronger for the suppression of outrages. As these laws did not always meet the approval of the Irish and their leaders in parliament, scenes of violence frequently occurred. The worst act in the unhappy struggle–the murder of Lord Frederick Cavendish and of Mr Burke, in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, in 1882–was the work of a secret society, and received the condemnation of the Irish leaders. For many years there had been growing in Ireland a party which demanded Home Rule–that is, that Ireland should manage her domestic affairs by a parliament of her own at Dublin. At the general election in 1885, 86 members out of 103 returned for Ireland were in favour of Home Rule. In 1886 Mr Gladstone introduced a bill to grant Home Rule to Ireland; but, as many of the Liberals refused to follow him in this change of policy, he was defeated in the House of Commons.

In an appeal to the country, he was likewise defeated, and the Marquis of Salisbury became prime-minister, with the support of a combination of Conservatives and Liberal Unionists. The government of Lord Salisbury lasted for six years. It carried several useful measures, among which may be mentioned free education, and the act for establishing county councils both in England and Scotland. At the general election of 1892, Mr Gladstone had a majority; for the fourth time he undertook the duties of premiership, and in 1893 for the second time brought a Home Rule Bill into parliament, which was rejected by the House of Lords on September 8th.

Owing to increasing infirmities of age, Mr Gladstone resigned early in 1894, and was succeeded by Lord Rosebery, who carried on the government of the country until defeated in July 1895. Lord Salisbury now formed his third administration, and had to deal with embarrassing situations in connection with the Armenian massacres; the Jameson raid on the Transvaal (1896), which led to a prolonged inquiry in London; a boundary line dispute with Venezuela, which led up to a proposed arbitration treaty with the United States; the Cretan insurrection, and the Greco-Turkish war. There were native wars in West Africa and Rhodesia, while a railway was commenced from Mombasa on the coast, inland to the British Protectorate of Uganda. At the general election in 1900 Lord Salisbury was again returned to power by a large majority.

Meanwhile, Britain had lost one of its greatest men. Early in the year 1898 it became known that Mr Gladstone was stricken by a mortal disease. Party feeling was at once laid aside, and the whole nation, as it were, watched with deepest sympathy by the bedside of the dying statesman. After a lingering and painful illness, borne with heroic fortitude and gentle patience, he passed away on the 19th of May. Nine days later he was buried in Westminster Abbey, the last resting-place of so many of England’s illustrious dead.

The government had to deal with the long and troublesome Boer war in South Africa, 1899-1901. To save it from trouble at the hands of the natives, the Transvaal had been annexed by Britain in 1877. In 1880, however, the Boers rose in revolt, and defeated a number of British troops at Majuba Hill. After this the country was granted independence in internal affairs.

Owing to the discovery of gold, thousands of settlers were attracted to the Transvaal, and the injustice done to these Uitlanders, as the new-comers were called, led in time to serious trouble. The Uitlanders complained that though they were the majority in the country, and were made to pay by far the greater part of the taxes, they were denied nearly all political rights. At the close of the year 1895 Dr Jameson made a most unwise raid into the Transvaal, in support of a proposed rising of the Uitlanders to obtain political rights. He was surrounded by the Boers and obliged to surrender.

British settlers in the Transvaal were now treated worse than before. Negotiations were carried on between the British government and the Boers, but were suddenly broken off by the latter, who demanded that no more British soldiers should be sent to South Africa. This demand being refused, the Boers, supported by their brethren of the Orange Free State, declared war against Britain, and invaded Natal and Cape Colony in October 1899.

Ladysmith, in the north of Natal, was invested by the Boers, the British army there being under the command of General Sir George White. The Boers also besieged Kimberley, an important town, containing valuable diamond-mines, in the north-west of Cape Colony. Farther north a small British garrison was hemmed in at Mafeking, a little town near the Transvaal border.

Lord Methuen, with a British column, was sent to the relief of Kimberley, and Sir Redvers Buller, with a strong army, set out to relieve Ladysmith; but both these generals sustained reverses, the former at Magersfontein, and the latter at the Tugela River.

Towards the end of December, Lord Roberts, with Lord Kitchener as chief of his staff, was sent out to the Cape as Commander-in-Chief. On the 15th of February, Kimberley was relieved; and shortly afterwards the Boer general Cronje, with his entire army of upwards of four thousand men, surrendered to Lord Roberts at Paardeberg.

After several gallant attempts, General Buller finally succeeded in relieving Ladysmith, which had been besieged by the Boers for four mouths. Bloemfontein, the capital of the Free State, was next captured by Lord Roberts; and on the 17th of May, Mafeking was relieved. The brave little garrison of this town, under their able and dauntless leader, Baden-Powell, had endured the greatest privations, and during a siege of seven months had maintained the most marvellously gallant defence of modern times.

Before the end of May, Johannesburg surrendered to Lord Roberts; and on the 5th of June he hoisted the British flag in Pretoria, the capital of the Transvaal. About the same time the Orange Free State was annexed to Great Britain under the name of the Orange River Colony; and on the 1st of September the Transvaal was declared British territory.

The most striking feature of this war was the loyalty and enthusiasm displayed by the colonies in the cause of the mother-country. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand vied with each other in sending volunteers to fight for and uphold the rights of their fellow-colonists in South Africa, thus giving to the world such an evidence of the unity of the British Empire as it had never before seen. Volunteers from the mother-country, too, rallied round their nation’s flag in great numbers, and nobly went forth to maintain her cause on the field of battle.

The progress of the nation during the reign of Queen Victoria was marvellous. At the commencement of that period the railway system was only in its infancy. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the country is covered from end to end with a complete network of railways; a journey which, in the old times of stagecoaches, took two or three weeks, being now accomplished in a few hours. The perfection of the railway system has afforded facilities for a wonderfully complete system of postage–the mails being carried to all parts of the kingdom in one night. The rapidity of conveyance is only rivalled by the cheapness to the public.

The penny postage scheme adopted in 1839, and since further improved, has conferred untold benefits upon the people. Even more wonderful than the railway is the electric telegraph system, which has, so to speak, annihilated distance. By its means a short message can be sent from one end of the kingdom to the other in a few minutes, at the cost of sixpence. Even the ocean forms no barrier to the operations of this marvellous agency. By means of submarine cables Britain is linked with far-distant lands, and is at once made acquainted with everything that happens there.

Owing to the wonderful progress of invention, and the general use of steam-power, enormous strides have been made in all branches of industry. By means of the improvements introduced into our agricultural operations, the farmer is enabled to get through his sowing and reaping more quickly; by the employment of machinery, all branches of our manufactures have been brought to a wonderful state of perfection, and much of the labour formerly done by hand is now executed by steam-power. In commerce, the old system of navigation by means of sailing-vessels is rapidly giving place to the marine engine, and magnificent steamers now traverse the ocean in all directions with the greatest regularity. Amongst great engineering triumphs have been the erection of the Forth Bridge, which was formally declared open for passenger traffic, on 4th March 1890, by the Prince of Wales; the cutting of the Manchester Ship Canal, and the building of such greyhounds of the Atlantic as the _Majestic_ and _Teutonic_, the _Campania_ and _Lucania_, which have crossed the Atlantic in about five and a half days.

It is to be deeply lamented that the art of war has, with the aid of invention, flourished not less than the arts of peace. Modern invention has made a total change in military and naval warfare. The artillery and small-arms of to-day are as superior, both in range and precision, to those used on the field of Waterloo, as the ‘brown Bess’ of that time was superior to the ‘bows and bills’ of the middle ages. The old line-of-battle ships ‘which Nelson led to victory’ have given place to huge iron-plated monsters, moved by steam, and carrying such heavy guns, that one such ship would have proved a match for the united fleets of Britain and France at Trafalgar.

In matters which are more directly concerned with the welfare of the people, the country made remarkable advances during the reign of Queen Victoria. Political freedom was given to the masses, and many wise laws were passed for improving their social condition. Education became more widely diffused, and a cheap press brought information on all subjects within the reach of the humblest. Our literature was enriched by the contributions of a host of brilliant writers–Macaulay and Carlyle, the historians; Dickens, Thackeray, Lytton, and George Eliot, the novelists, and the poets Tennyson and Browning. But if we have no names of quite equal eminence now living amongst us, we have still a splendid array of talent in all departments of literature, and the production of books, periodicals, and newspapers never was more abundant.

The blessings of progress were not confined to Britain alone. The magnificent colonies of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa abundantly shared in them.

The population of the country had more than doubled during that period. The chief increase took place in the metropolis, the manufacturing towns of the north, the great mining districts, the chief seaports, and fashionable watering-places. London had increased enormously in size, and at the close of the reign contained as many inhabitants, perhaps, as the whole of England in the time of Elizabeth.