Elizabeth Wormeley Latimer.

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By a. C. McClurg and COo

A. D. 1894


In respect to my " France in the Nineteenth Century,"
and " Russia and Turkey " in the same period, I have some-
times been reminded by reviewers — most kind to the
books, however, as readable, amusing, and instructive —
that I was not an historian working up new material for a
definite result.

I readily accept this opinion ; I have no desire to arro-
gate to myself the high title of an historian, though, to a
certain extent, all history must be compilation. My aim has
been to throw flashes of light on events which during my
lifetime have interested the public ; to amuse, and now and
then instruct, the " general reader." Had I called my work
"Historical Gossip," as I at first intended, my aim and
scope in writing it might have been better understood.

Throughout "France in the Nineteenth Century" there
are many little personal reminiscences of my life in Paris
from 1839 to 1842, and again in 1847 and 1848. I dis-
guised these in the third person, not wishing to thrust my
personality upon my readers. In the present volume I have
done otherwise, and have made use of family and personal
reminiscences as far as they would serve.

My grandfather, Captain James Wormeley, being in 1775
a student at William and Mary College in Virginia, was dis-
appointed in a love affair, and ran away to England. There,
by the influence of Bishop Porteus, — then Bishop of Ches-
ter, and afterwards Bishop of London, — he obtained a cap-
taincy in the Stafford Regiment, at that time serving as the
king's body-guard at Windsor. He remained with his regi-
ment till 1 785, when peace had ended our Revolutionary



War. His regiment was disbanded, and he returned to
Virginia with his wife, — the lady for whose sake he had
left his friends and home.

Twelve years later he was importuned to return to his old
regiment; his wife had died, and he pined for association
with his old comrades. Taking his only son, my father,
Ralph Randolph Wormeley, he went back to England, and
placed his boy in the British navy. There my father rose
rapidly. He served all through the wars of Napoleon in
the Mediterranean, under Sir Robert Calder, Lord St. Vin-
cent, Lord Exmouth, Sir Charles Cotton, and Lord CoUing-
wood. He was made a post-captain in 1815, and became a
rear-admiral in 1849, — j"st fifty years after he had entered
the navy. He was one of four American-born English
admirals in this century; Sir Isaac Coffin, Sir Benjamin
Hallowell, and Sir Jahleel Brenton being the others.

In 1820 my father sought a wife in New England, Miss
Carohne Preble, niece of Commodore Edward Preble, one
of the founders of the American navy. Their children were
all brought up with heads and hearts full of American tra-

This little explanation seemed necessary to make clear to
the reader a few things in my narrative, which I hope may
be as kindly received as its predecessors.

E. W. L.

Howard County, Maryland^
September, 1894.



I. The Year 1822.— The Family of George III. 9
II. George IV. — Mrs. Fitzherbert. — Princess

Charlotte 45

III. Lord Castlereagh. — Mr. Canning. — The

Duke of Wellington 73

IV. The Reform Bill. — Lord Althorp. — Lord

Brougham. — William Cobbett ... 94
V. The Accession and Coronation of Queen

Victoria. — Lord Melbourne .... 124
VI. Marriage of Queen Victoria.— O'Connell

and Ireland 145

VII. The Cabul Massacre .167

VIII. Ten Years,— 1 841-185 1 200

IX. The Great Exhibition. — Sir Robert Peel.
— The Duke of Wellington. — Baron

Stockmar 227

X. The Indian Mutiny 254

XI. The Indian Mutiny {Continued) 284

XII. Death of the Prince Consort 317

XIII. Lord Beaconsfield 343

XIV. The Second Cabul Massacre 373

XV. Mr. Gladstone 387

XVI. Queen Victoria's Jubilee and Her Family 411







THE Marquis of Londonderry, better known to the
world by his title of Lord Castlereagh, had been
prominent in English politics for twenty-five years. He
had persistently opposed all liberal advancement, all
progressive opinions. He was succeeded in his office of
Foreign Secretary by Mr. Canning, under whose guiding
influence the cabinet of Lord Liverpool seemed to adopt,
in foreign affairs at least, an entirely different policy.

I was born in the summer of 1822, exactly as it were on
the summit of the Great Political Divide, the old policy of
repression going out, and the new policy of progress com-
ing in, which has prevailed in England from 1822 up to
this time.

I came into a world governed on High Tory princi-
ples, but with all kinds of radicalism, and sympathy for the
late French Revolution, seething beneath the surface of

Poor George IH. had died in 1820, after nine years
of hopeless insanity, during which the Prince of Wales
had been Prince Regent of his kingdoms. Mr. Pitt, who
had been Prime Minister at the beginning of the century,
resigned office in 1801, but returned to it in 1804, when,


but for the opposition of the King, his old rival, Mr. Fox,
would have formed part of his ministry. Pitt died in Jan-
uary, 1806, and was succeeded by the ministry of All the
Talents, in which Mr. Fox was Foreign Secretary. Mr.
Fox on coming into office was forced to adopt his prede-
cessor's policy, and to continue the war with Napoleon
Bonaparte. He died, however, in 1806. A few months
later, Mr. Canning became Foreign Secretary. In 1809,
having unhappily quarrelled with Lord Castlereagh, then
Minister of War in the same cabinet, whom he accused
of tardiness in supporting English generals in the Pen-
insular War, a celebrated duel took place, after which
both combatants resigned their cabinet positions. Lord
Castlereagh resumed office shortly after, but Canning, re-
fusing to serve in the same ministry, would only accept,
six years later, the office of President of the Board of
Control. This he resigned in 1820, at the time of the
Queen's trial ; but on Lord Castlereagh's death, in August,
1822, he was again made Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and
at once committed England to a liberal and enlightened
foreign policy. " No," he said, when invited by the Holy
Alliance to crush the movement for constitutional govern-
ment in Spain, " England can't help at that game. We '11
maintain the parcelling out of Europe by the Treaty of
Vienna, though we don't half like it ; but we hold every
nation to be free to do as it likes within its own boun-
daries, and when we please we will resist any attack on
this freedom.'*

In France, in 1822, the close of Louis XVIII. 's life
was made uneasy by the persistent efforts of the emigre
nobility to restore the old regime in France. Prussia, but
for the assistance she had afforded the Allied Powers in
their struggle with Napoleon, would have been but of small
account in the family of nations. Italy, which had favored
Napoleon, was punished by being placed, directly or indi-
rectly, under the dominion of the Austrians. Russia was
under the Emperor Alexander, who was restrained by a
conscientious adherence to what he considered the prin-


ciples of the Holy Alliance from taking advantage of an
opportunity offered him of acquiring supreme influence, if
not absolute dominion, in Constantinople as the champion
and protector of the revolted Greeks. Spain, under a weak
and hated sovereign, King Ferdinand, was incurring the
enmity of the Powers who composed the Holy Alliance, by
making frantic efforts to secure a constitution, and, a year
later (1823), was to be invaded by French troops, in order
to check her tendencies towards liberalism.

England when I was born had made very little material
progress since the age of Queen Elizabeth. It prided itself,
indeed, on its macadamized roads, its canal-boats, and its
fast stage-coaches, and steamboats were beginning to be
used on Scotch and English rivers; but in 1822 the steam-
boats in Great Britain numbered only a hundred and twenty-
three, and these dared not venture on the rough waters of
the ocean.

Large cities were beginning to be lighted with gas. The
discovery of its illuminating powers was very recent, and
the smell was too offensive to allow of its introduction into
private houses. Boston, one of the earliest American cities
to introduce it into its streets, did not adopt it till 1828.

In 1822 Ohio represented our Far West. A quarter of
a century earlier, Indians had tortured white men to death
on the banks of the Miami River.

Gutta-percha was a substance not yet applied to common
uses. India-rubber overshoes were made for sale by Indians,
who ran the sap into rough clay moulds. Stationers kept
rubber shoes in those days to cut up for school children
who wanted to buy little bits of India-rubber to obliterate
pencil- marks. Elastic was not; china buttons were not.
Shirt-buttons looked like Queen Mab's chariot- wheels, tiny
constructions made of thread and wire. Our nurse lighted
our nursery fire with tinder-box, flint, and steel. Innocu-
lation had but recently given place to vaccination; and
many faces pitted all over from small-pox might be met in
any city in half-an-hour's walk through the streets. In
common surgical practice there were no alleviations to pain.


In the summer of 1815 my father crossed the ocean on a
ship that had on board the New York dentist, Dr. Parmlee,
who had been to Paris to learn how to make artificial teeth.
Before that time, if any man (like General Washington)
wanted a new set of teeth, he had to reconcile himself to
adopting those of a dead man.

On the other hand, there were giants on the earth in
those days in statesmanship and literature. Sir Walter Scott
was bravely producing Waverley novels as fast as pen could
write them, in his grand struggle against debt, prompted by
his keen dread of mercantile dishonor. Byron in 1822 was
in Venice, and had just published " Cain," as a defiance to
steady-going humanity; Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey,
Lamb, Campbell, De Quincy, and Professor Wilson were
in their noontide glory.

On the Continent, great authors had not yet shown them-
selves. The turbid waters of revolution had hardly subsided
enough to let them rise. Goethe, indeed, was living, though,
as a writer, he belongs rather to the last years of the eight-
eenth century. Although America had Washington Irving,
her literature was as yet only an annex to that of the mother-
country. She raised little cotton ; she hardly manufactured
any cotton cloth; she printed none. Power-looms had,
even in England, not entirely superseded the ancient hand-
looms, on which weavers in their own cottages wove their
webs. Workmen were bitterly opposed to the introduction
of machinery, not foreseeing that the increase of produc-
tion would give employment to hundreds where one would
have got a living under the old system. How far large
factories, with their armies of working-men and working-
women, would be conducive" to morality, breaking as they
do into the home life of the working- classes, was a matter
that in those days did not trouble the public conscience
at all.

Postage was a very heavy tax on those who could least
afford to pay for letters; for the better class of society
people in England avoided postage, through their ac-
quaintance with peers or members of Parliament ; and the


franking privilege afforded those gentlemen a cheap and
easy way of gratifying constituents, and bestowing favors
upon friends.

In 1822, High Churchism, as we know it now, or as it
was in the days of Laud, was out of date ki England.
Wesley and his followers, half a century earlier, had run
a furrow, as it were, over English soil, whence had started
new Hfe into the English Church, called Evangelicalism.
The clergy were divided into high and dry divines of
the old solid school, and the zealous, enthusiastic, rash,
and somewhat contracted Evangelicals, who claimed a
monoply of " Gospel teaching." Among the lay leaders
of the Evangelical party were Zachary Macaulay (father
of the statesman, poet, and historian). Lord Ashley,
of whom I shall have more to say hereafter, and Mr.

Bishops in England always wore wigs, as well as knee-
breeches, black silk stockings, shovel hats, and the episco-
pal apron ; and when a young bishop with a fine head of
hair was persuaded by his wife to request the Prince Regent's
permission to appear at court without his wig, many persons
— especially the Duke of Cumberland — predicted from
such an innovation the downfall of the Church, — much
as the Court Chamberlain of Louis XVI. predicted the over-
throw of monarchy when he saw shoe-strings instead of
buckles in M. Roland's shoes.

There was no system of government education at that
time in England. The education of the poor was the work
of private charity. There was a Poor Law, which obliged
ratepayers to support paupers; and sometimes the poor-
rate became so grievous that it swallowed up the profits of
the farmer and made him poor. He had to pay, besides
tithes and church-rates (the latter for keeping church prop-
erty in order) , window tax for every window, taxes on his
horses if above the size of ponies, taxes on his cart-wheels,
taxes on malt, taxes on silver plate, if he had any, taxes on
hair-powder, if he wore it, taxes on property, if he inherited
it, and taxes on every bill he paid, for no receipt for any sum


above £,10 was legally valid, unless it were written upon
stamped paper.

Sydney Smith's celebrated denunciation of taxation at
that period (which my father made me learn by heart when
I was seven years old) was no exaggeration.

" We have," he says, " taxes upon every article that enters
into the mouth, or covers the back, or is placed under the foot ;
taxes upon everything which it is pleasant to feel, smell, or
taste ; taxes on everything in the earth, or in the waters under
the earth; on everything that comes from abroad or that is
grown at home ; taxes on the raw material ; taxes on every
value that is added to it by the industry of man ; taxes on the
sauce which pampers man's appetite, and on the drug which
restores him to health ; on the ermine which covers the judge,
and the rope that hangs the criminal ; on the poor man's salt,
and the rich man's spice ; on the brass nails of the coffin, and
the ribbons of the bride; — on bed and board — couchant or
levant — we must pay. The schoolboy whips his taxed top;
the beardless youth manages a taxed horse, with a taxed bridle,
on a taxed road; and the dying Englishman, pouring his medi-
cine, which has paid seven per cent, into a spoon which has paid
fifteen per cent, flings himself back upon his chintz bed, which
has paid twenty-two per cent, and expires in the arms of an
apothecary who has paid a license of one hundred pounds for
the privilege of presiding at his death-bed. His whole prop-
erty is then taxed from two to twenty per cent. Besides the
probate, large fees are demanded for burying him in the chan-
cel ; his virtues are handed down to posterity on taxed marble,
and he is gathered to his fathers to be taxed no more."

This excessive taxation was mainly the result of the vast
efforts made by England in her wars with Napoleon. Many
persons believed (like Lord Holland) that Napoleon might
probably have been quiet, had he been let alone, and con-
sidered the wars against him as undertaken solely in the
interest of kings and of the aristocracy. As time develops
more and more the inner history of Napoleon's career, it
may be doubted whether he ever could or would have
adopted the motto of his nephew, "The Empire is peace,"
for more than a few years at a time. There was deep
discontent in England from 1818 to 1822, which Lord


Castlereagh put down with a firm hand. His domestic
government was stern, rigid, and persecuting. His foreign
policy appeared to countenance every encroachment on
the rights of nations attempted by the sovereigns of Europe.
He shot himself in August, 1822, and popular hatred dis-
turbed his funeral ceremonies as he was laid to his last rest
in Westminster Abbey.

In our own day we sometimes talk of being tired of
Dickens's maudlin sympathies and sentimentalities ; but to
estimate what the world was before the days of Dickens we
must look back to the state of public sentiment upon the
subjects on which he wrote, in my earlier days.

Towards the close of the last century a son of Lord Mon-
tagu had been stolen, sold to a sweep-master, and used as a
chimney-sweep. Being sent to sweep the chimneys in his
father's house, he entered his mother's chamber, and recog-
nized his surroundings. This led to his being restored to
his family ; and in grateful remembrance of his deUverance
from suffering he gave, as long as he lived, an annual feast
to all the London chimney-sweeps upon the ist of May.
On his death, Mr. James White (Charles Lamb's friend)
undertook to continue the festival ; but it was the sole gala
day in the year for these unhappy boys. Such horrors
as they suffered do not exist now, either in chimneys, or in
factories, or workhouses, or Yorkshire schools; and this
is largely because Dickens has turned the full light of pub-
lic sympathy upon the world's dark places of cruelty.

Sydney Smith says, —

"An excellent and well-managed dinner is a most pleasing
occurrence, and a geat triumph of civilized life. It is not only
the descending morsel and the enveloping sauce, but the rank,
wealth, beauty, and wit which savors the meats, the learned
management of light and heat, the silent and rapid services of
the attendants, the smiling, sedulous host proffering gusts and
relishes, the exotic bottles, the embossed plate, the pleasant
remarks, the handsome dresses, the cunning artifices in fruit
and farina; — the hour of dinner, in short, includes everything
of sensual and intellectual gratification which a great nation
glories in producing. In the midst of all this, who knows that


the kitchen chimney caught fire half-an-hour before dinner, and
that a poor little wretch of six or seven years old was sent up
in the midst of the flames to put it out ! There is a positive
prohibition of sending boys up a chimney in a blaze; but what
matter Acts of Parliament where the pleasures of genteel people
are concerned ? — or what is a toasted child, compared to the ago-
nies of the mistress of the house with a deranged dinner ? "

He adds further : —

" When these boys outgrow the power of going up a chim-
ney, they are fit for nothing else. The miseries that they have
suffered lead to nothing ; they are not only enormous, but
unprofitable. Having suffered in infancy every misery that can
be suffered, they are then cast out to rob and thieve, and are
given up to the law."

I have spoken only of the chimney-sweeps, but the mis-
eries suHfered by young children in mines and factories were
as great, if not so brutal ; and in this connection I may say
a few words about a great and good man who came into
Parliament at this period. He was born Lord Ashley, he
became the Earl of Shaftesbury. He by no means belonged
to a pious or exemplary family. His religious impressions
were taken from a good old nurse who died when he was
seven years old. " The recollection of what she said and
did and taught," he has remarked, " even to a prayer that I
now constantly use, is as vivid as in the old days when I
heard her. I must trace, under God, very much, perhaps
all, of the duties of my later life to her precepts and her

The "duties" he thus speaks of were undertaken to pro-
mote love to God and goodwill towards men, especially
towards little children. I have heard him speak upon such
subjects at public meetings in Exeter Hall. He was a tall,
fair-haired, slender, eager-looking man, careless in dress,
but fervent in spirit. The House of Commons from 1822
to 1826 was full of great orators, — Canning, who died in
1827; Brougham, versatile, brilHant, and omniscient; Peel,
the great debater ; Huskisson, the master of facts ; Wilber-
force, with all the eloquence of conviction and persuasion.


What Wilberforce had done towards emancipating blacks,
Lord Ashley set himself to do for factory children.

Factories in 1822 were a new invention. Up to the last
quarter of the eighteenth century, hnen, stockings, and
woollen cloth had been, as I have said, woven in hand-
looms by weavers who, like Silas Marner, dwelt in their
own cottages. Their webs of linen were laid to bleach
upon the grass, or spread upon the hedges. The pun-
ishment was death for the Autolycus who filched them in
the gloaming.

Edward Cartwright about 1785 invented the power-loom.
This led almost immediately to great industry in the manu-
facture of cotton cloth. Factories were estabhshed, modern
competition began; and when hard times arrived, manu-
facturers, anxious to produce cheap goods, threw men out
of employment, and took on women, and children of tender
age, to tend their looms. Then, too, in the year 1825 there
came in England a " commercial crisis." Banks suspended
payment in all directions, and as the notes of country banks
circulated almost exclusively in the communities around
them, ruin was wide- spread in many country towns.

The great reform with which Lord Ashley's name is asso-
ciated was his protest against employing child-labor in the
mills. So great was the new demand for this cheap labor
that London guardians of the poor were willing to supply
small pauper boys and girls out of their workhouses to mill-
owners, and despatched them by the bargeful to manufac-
turing towns. These friendless creatures, overworked and
ill-treated, died rapidly, or became lifelong cripples.

" The factories were filled with women and children working
long weary hours in a polluted atmosphere, standing all day
on their feet at their monotonous labor. Under this cheap labor
system a curious inversion of the rules of Hfe took place. Wo-
men and children superseded men in the factories, and the
domestic concerns of the family were attended to by shiftless
men, or, mother, and father too, lived on the killing labor of
their little children, to the utter destruction of parental affection,
and of the last remnants of self-respect."



Heartbreaking stories were published, in what are called
Blue Books, — /. <f ., reports of Parliamentary Commissions,
— ■ about children so weary from their work that the most
inhuman devices were resorted to by their mothers to
rouse them in the mornings.

Southey, under date of 1833, wrote of Lord Ashley and
the child-labor system ; —

"The slave trade is nothing to it. . . . Once more I say,
* Cry aloud, and spare not.' These are not times to be silent.
Lord Ashley has taken up the Factory Question with all his
heart, and with a deep religious sense of duty. If we are to be
saved, it will be — I do not say by such men, but for the sake
of such men as he is."

I will not dwell on Lord Ashley's further efforts on behalf
of children made to work in coal-mines. In South Stafford-
shire, according to his speech in Parliament, it was common
for children to begin work at seven years old. "In the
West Riding of Yorkshire," he said, " it is not unusual for
infants even of five years old to be sent to the pits. Near
Oldham, children are worked as low as four years old, and
in the small collieries towards the hills, some are so young
that they are brought to work in their bed-gowns." This
"work" was dragging sledge-tubs, on all fours, through
tunnels too low and narrow to admit grown persons. The
child had a girdle fixed about its waist, to which the sledge-
tub was made fast by a chain.

Online LibraryElizabeth Wormeley LatimerEngland in the nineteenth century → online text (page 1 of 39)