George Spencer Hulbert John Lord.

Beacon Lights of History: European statesmen. European leaders online

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Battle of Balaklava ..*.... .187

« The Light Brigade " 187

** The Heavy Brigade " • .•.•.•..,.. 188

Battle of Inkerman •••••••• 188

Horrors of the siege 190

General disasters « • 191

Florence Nightingale ^ 192

Sardinia joins the allies • . • » • • • • • • • .198

Assault of Sebastopol . • . • • • . • • • • • • IH

Death of Lord Raglan • • . • 194

Treaty of Paris *..*., 195

Indecisive results of the war ••.•••«••• 196

The Eastern Question •««..«..•••• 196

LOUIS NAPOLEON.

The Second Empire.

Fortunes and adventures of Louis Napoleon 203

The political agitations of 1848 . .,• • 205

Louis Napoleon, President o^ the French llepublic . . . 206

His Ministers , . « 207

The Coup d'fitat . 209'

Usurpation of Louis Napoleon » • . • 210i

His tools i. . . ; . 211

His enemies t, . . . .218

Hostility of the leading statesmen of France « • • . .^218:
Character of Louis Napoleon ,•«..« .^ i .. 215

The Crimean War . / . . 219

Alliance of France and England •••••;... 221

Lord Palmerston « . .222

Subility of the Empire • • • • • ...... • ^ : 284

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16 COltTBNTS.

PpQBperity of France -.*••* ^ 226

Poblic. Works ..^ •1.,,,. 227

Splendid saccesses of Napoleon ITL .^.i**^. 282

War with. Austria - «•-*•,•*.... 283^

Peace of VilUirFranca • • . . • . '. * . . ■• - , 283

teprovements of Parifl .i*... 284

Haussmann «.«•«•«. 234

Mei^ican War • 285

Archduke Maxmilian . . . .. « •• • • •• 285

Humiliations and shifts of Louis Napoleon .•««.. 237

War with Grermany 289

Indecision and incapacity of Louis Napoleon .. * • • . 241

Battle of Worth , . . • 242

Marshal Bazaine «..-...'. 242

9ravelotte - .242

Battle of Sedan 243

Fall of Napoleon HI. ..,...'. 244

Calamities of France 1 245

PRINCE BISMARCK.

Tble Gerj^ AN Empire. ,,

Humiliation of Prussia •••.••. 251'

Her great deliverers •«..•••••>«.«• 253

Baron von Stein *..'... 26S

His financial genius ... * » 254

His intense hatred of Napoleon .••.««..* 255

His great reforms . . . * * » ♦ . •. . !!.#.;. 256

Disgrace of Stein ..-..«..•«.%.•• 257

Prince Hardenberg . . 257

Baron von Humboldt . » . * . 258

ScharnhoFst w • . . 259

N«w nulitary organizatioB • • • • • ^ ^ j» * * • • ^<^.

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QO^<rf:KT8. 17

fl Paos

Frederick William. lU. .. . . . . . •.,.>?,,. 2.61

Germaji Confederation ... . ,. ,. . .»•).(... 262'

Diet of Frankfort .. . .. . . .• .. . , , ^ . . ,. 268^

Reactipn of Uberal sentiqients .. « , . ; ^ 264{

Influence of JMetternich . . . . . • • . . ,.{.,. 265
Fruderick; William ly. . , . . . . , ^ .; „ , . , 266

Rise of Bismarck 268

Early days 270

Politician . . . .' '. . . 271

His unpopularity ................ 272

Diplomatist at the Diet of Frankfort 275

Ambassador at St. Petersburg 279

Death of Frederick William IV. . . . * 279

Bismarck, Prime Minister . . ■ .•.'■. 280

Increase of the army . ....•.....»«• 281

The Schleswig-Holstein Question . . • •■ . « ^ . 282

Treaty of Vienna, 1864 •. 284

War between Austria and Fnwsia . . « . # * > • .^ 286

Count^ von Moltke . . . , 287

Battle of Sadowa • • . . 288

Great increase of Prussian territory and population « « . 280

New German Constitution .......«.*. 291

War clouds — France and Ltueembourg ....... 292

Conference at London . . . ..-.•. . . . ^ * 294

King William at Paris . . ,- . . . 295

Preparations and pretext for war with France . . % . 297

Mobilization of- German troops . . . . • . - • • . 298

King William at Mayence t • . 299

Battle of Gravelotte ♦.'*«. 299

Fall of Louis Napoleon at Sedan . . . . « . • . . • BOD

Biege -and surrender of Paris . # . . 300

King William crowned Emperor of Germany . • . • . 801

Labors of Bismarck ....'....'..••. 802

His character ; » .'« « . • *• ^ 90$



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16 CONTENTS.

Pam

Quarrel with the Catholics ^ . . . 905

Socialism in Germany . • . • ; • . 807

Bismarck's domestic policy 309

Bismarck's famous speech, 1888 810

Death of Emperor William 818

Retirement of Bismarck •. 813



WILLIAM EWART GLADSTONE.

The Enfranchisement of the Pesoitle.

Precocity of Gladstone . . ... . . 81 V

Life at Oxford 319

Enters Parliament . . ., ... 320

Negro Emancipation , • 32|

Under-Secretary for the Coloniee . . . • . : . , . . 32?

Ultrar Conservative principles ..... .... . . , . , 322

His eloquence as member of Pariiament • • 324

His marriage ..... . ^26

Essay on Church and State 327

Parliamentary leader ...».•» 329

Represents Oxford 331

Letter on the Government of Naples •»«.•••• 332

Benjamin Disraeli 334

Gladstone Chancellor of the Exchequer ...*••. 336

Opposes the Crimean War . . * • • » 337

Great abilities as finance minister . • « 338-343

Conversion to Free Trade 339

** Studies on Homer " 341

His mistake about the American War «••....• 347

Defeat at Oxford 349

Irish Questions .350

Rivalry between Gladstone and Disraeli „ . • • • • • 852

Crkd^ne, Prime Minister • • &H



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CONTENTS, 19

Paos

His great popularity 355

Disestablishment of Irish Church 357

Irish Land Bill .... - 360

Radical army changes 362

Settlement of the Alabama claims 863

Irish University Bill 365

FsU of Gladstone's Ministry 367

Influence of Gladstone in retirement 368

Disraeli as Prime Minister 369

Return of Gladstone to power . 372

His second administration 373

Parliamentary defeat of Gladstone . . 373

The Irish Question . . . . « 374

Death •••• > >• .9o^« > »«*376



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WILLIAM IV.

1765-1837.
ENGLISH REFORMS.



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BEACON LIGHTS
OF history/



WILLIAM ly.



ENGLISH REFORMS

ON the death of George IV. in 1830, a new pa
litical ^:a dawned on ]£ngland His brother,
William lY., who succeeded him, was not his equal
in natural ability, but was more respectable in his
character and more liberal in his views. With
William IV. began the undisputed ascendency of the
House at Commons in national affairs. Before his
day» no prime minister could govern against the will
of the sovereign. After George IV., as in France
under Louis Philippe, '* the kiug reigned, but did not
govern." The chief of the ascendent political party
was the real ruler.

When William IV. ascended the throne the Tories
were still in power, and were hostile to reform. But
the agitations and discontents of the latter days of
George IV. had made the ministry unpopular. Great
political reformers had arisen, like Lords Grdy, Althorp;
and Kussell, and great orators like Henry Brougham

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and Macaulay, i^M dejn^ndei | l^taBjg^ )n the national
policy. The social evils which stared everybody in
the face were a natienalr disgrace ; they made the
boasted liberty of the English a mockery. There was
an unparalleled di3tress' 'Wong the laboring classes,
especially in the mining and manufacturing districts.
The price of labor had diminished, while the price of
bread had increag^d. So. wretched was the condition
of the poor that there were constant riots and insur-
rections^ especially: in -large txDiwns. in war times
unskilled jbboreua eamfed froto twei^e to fifteen shil-
lings a wieek, and mechinics twenty *fiv« slifllings; but
in the stagnation of business *vhic^ followed peace,
wag^s sirffered a greatireducticb, iand^ ttioui*;aiid3 c6uld
ftad no work at-alll .The disbauiing of tliel immense
armies thkt had been' necessary cjo cdmbal iS^apoleon
threw out of employ pethaps half a toillion 6*' men,
who . became vagabonds, bfeggalB, and paupfers. 'The
agricultural olass^s i dipt aot 'Sitffer' its niuch as opem-
tivses iii milis^ sincei they gdt ^' Iligh pride fo^' their
grain ; but the more remunerative agri<>ultui* e befcame
to laiidkiDdsy the' motej misermble /^trere! tho^s/e laborers
who paidi alii thfey could earn to save^ th^mielvea from
absolute ^tarvatibn. . No foreign ^ain -could be im^
ported uatil wheat /bad arisen to: eighty shillings a
"qu4rt6r;**-r-* which unjust kw^iided ita the'enrich-

' ' / ; • • . U ;A.'qiaiiei? of 4 groB& Uu, ''•■■"'•

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ENGLISH REFORMS. 23

:^ent of lahdUowners, and ta.a 'correi^iicaiding poverty
among tiie laboring ckfasea. In addition tolthe/bigb
price iffbich the people paid for biead,f they were
taxed Eeavily upon everything imported^ upon.eveiy-
tiling confined, upon the necesaities and conveniences
of life AS'WJell as its luxuries^ f-^ on tea, on oofifee, ojei
sugar, on paper, on glaas^ oa hbraes, on carriages, on
knedicines, -t- sine© money had to be raised to pay the
iatereit on the national debt and to provide for
the support of the goyemment, including pensions,
sinecures, and general extrahragance..

In the poverty which enormous • taxes and low wages
together produced, th^re were not. only <iegradation and
squalid misery in England ^t thiti time, but violence
and crima . ' And there was also ^reat injustice in
ihe laws which pimished crime- There were two
hundred and twenty-three ofipemoes punishable with
death. ' If a starving peasept killed a hare, ,he was
summwily hanged. Catholicfl Vfere persecuted for
thcfir opinions; Jews were digqualift^ frpm holding
office. Only men of oomfcoljable mec^ns wexe allowed
to vote. The universities were closed against Dis-
senters* No man stood ^ny chance of political pre-
ferment unless .he was rich or wa3 allied ]«vith the
aristocracy, who con ttoUed the Hpu^e of Compaons.
The nobles and squires not . merely owned most of
the landed property of the realtiJi but by their " rottep

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28 WILLIAM IV.

boroughs^' could send whom they {deaaed to Parlia-
ment. In consequence the House of Comtaons did
not represent the nation/ but only the privileged
classes. It was as aristocratic as the House of Lords.

In the period of repose which succeeded the excite-
ments of war the people began to see their own politi*
cal insignificance, and to agitate for reforms. A few
noble-minded and able statesmen of the more liberal
party, if any political party could be called liberal,
lifted up their voices in Parlisunent for a redress of
scandalous evils; but the eloquence which distin-
guished them was a mere protest. They were in a
hopeless minority ; nothing could be done to remove
or ameliorate public evils so long as the majority of
the House of Commons were opposed to reform. It is
obvious that the only thing the reformers could do,
whether in or out of Parliament, was to agitate, to. dis-
cuss, to hold public meetings, to write political tracts,
to change public opinion, to bring such a pressure to
bear on political aspirants as to insure an election
of members to the House of Commons who were f avx>r-
able to reform. For seven years this agitation had
been going on during the later years- of the reign of
George IV. It was seen and felt by everybody that
glaring public evils could not be removed until there
should be a reform in Parliament itself, ^-^ which
meant an extension of the electoral suffrage, by

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ENGLISH REFORMS. ' 2*

which more liberal and popular membera might be
elected.

On the accession of the new king, there was of
course a new election of members to the House of
Commons. In consequence of the agitations of re-
formers, public opinion had been changed^ and a set
of men were returned to Parliament pledged to reform.
The old Tory chieftains no longer controlled the House
of Commons, but Whig leaders like Brougham, Ma-
caulay, Althorp, and Lcard John Eussell, — men elected
on the issue of reform^ and identified with the agita
tions in its favor.

The old Tory ministers who had ruled the country
for fifty years went out of office, and the Whigs came
into power under the premiership of Lord Grey. Al-
though he was pledged to parliamentary reform, his
cabinet was ccnnposed entirely of noblemen, with only
one exception. There was no greater aristocrat in
all England than this leader of reform, — a cold,
reticent, proud man. Lord Eussell was also an
aristocrat, being a brother of the Duke of Bedford ;
60 was Althorp, the son and heir of Earl Spencer.
The only man in the new cabinet of fearless liber-
ality of views, the idol of the people, a man of real
genius and power, was Brougham; but after be was
made Lord Chancellor, the presiding officer of the
Chamber of Peers, he could no longer be relied upon



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30 WILLIAM IV.

as the mouthpiece of the people, as he had been for
years in the House of Commons. It would almost
seem that the new ministry thought more and cared
more for the dominion of the Whigs than they did for
a redress of the evils under which the nation groaned.
But the Whigs were pledged to parliamentary reform,
and therefore were returned to Parliament. More at
least was expected of them by the middle classes, who
formed the electoral body, than of the Tories, who
were hostile to all reforms, — men like Wellington and
Eldon, both political bigots, great as were their talents
and services. In politics the Tories resembled the
extreme Right in the French Chamber of Deputies, —
the ultra-conservatives, who sustained the throne of
Charles X. The Whigs bore more resemblance to the
Centre of the Chamber of Deputies, led by such men
as Guizot, Broglie, and Thiers, favorable to a constitu-
tional monarchy, but by no means radicals and demo-
crats like Louis Blanc, Ledru RoUin, and Lamartine.
The Whigs, at the best, were as yet inclined only
to such measures as would appease popular tumults,
create an intelligent support to the throne, and favor
necessary reform. It was, with them, a choice between
revolution and a fairer representation of the nation
in Parliameiii. It may be reasonably doubted whether
there were a dozen men in the House of Commons that
assembled at the beginning of the reign of William IV



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ENGLISH REFORMS. 31

who were'flemocrats, or even men of popular sympa*
thies. What the majority conceded was from fear,
rather than from a sense of justice. The great Whig
leaders of the reform movement probably did not
fully foresee the logical consequences of the Eeform
Bill which was introduced, and the change which
on its enactment would take place in the English
Constitution.

Even as it was, the struggle was tremendous. It was
an epoch in English history. The question absorbed
all other interests and filled all men's minds. It was
whether the House of Commons should represent the
privileged and well-to-do middle classes or the na-
tion, — at least a larger part of the nation ; not the
people generally, but those who ought to be repre-
sented, — those who paid considerable taxes to support
the government; large towns, as well as obscure hamlets
owned by the aristocracy. The popular agitation was
so violent that experienced statesmen feared a revolu-
tion which would endanger the throne itself. Hence
Lord Grey and his associates determined to carry the
Reform Bill at any cost, whatever might be the opposi-
tion, as the only thing to be done if the nation would
escape the perils of revolution.

Lord John Eussell was selected by the government
to introduce the bill into the House of Commons. He
was not regarded as the ablest of the Whig statesmeri



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^2 WILLIAM IV.

Who had promised reform. His person was not com-
manding, and his voice was thin and feeble ; but he was
influential among the aristocracy as being a brother
of the Duke of Bedford, head of a most illustrious
house, and he had no enemies among the popular
elements. Eussell had not the eloquence and power
and learning of Brougham; but he had great weight
of character, tact, moderation, and parliamentary ex-
perience. The great hero of reform, Henry Brougham,
was, as we have said, no longer in the House of
Commons; but even had he been there he Was too
impetuous, uncertain, and eccentric to be trusted
with the management of the bill. Knowing this^ his
party had elevated him to the woolsack. He would
have preferred the office of the Master of the Rolls, a
permanent judicial dignity, with a seat in the House
of Commons ; but to this the king would not consent
indeed, it was the king himself who suggested the lord
chancellorship for Brougham.

Lord Russell was, then, the most prominent advocate
of the bill which marked the administration of Lord
Grey. It was a great occasion, March 1, 1831, when
he unfolded his plan ot reform to a full and anxious
assembly of aristocratic legislators. There was scarcely
an unoccupied seat in the House. At six rfclock he
arose, and in a low and humble manner invoked reason
and justice in behalf of an enlarged representation.



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ENGLISH REFOMMS. 33

He proposed to give the right of franchise to all house-
holders who paid £10 a year in rates/and who qualified
to serve on juries. He also proposed to disfranchise
the numerous *' rotten boroughs" which were in the
gift of noblemen and great landed proprietors,^ — bor-
oughs which had an insignificant number of voters ; by
which m'easure one hundred and sixty-eight parlia-
mentary vacancies would occur. These vacancies were
to be partially filled by sending two members each
from sevfen large towns, and one member each from
twenty smaller towns which were not represented in
Parliament. Lord Eussell further proposed to send
two members each from four districts of the me-
tropolis, which had a large population, and two addi-
tional members each from twenty -six counties; these
together would add ninety-four members from towns
and counties which had a large population. To
obviate the great expenses to which candidates were
Exposed in bringing voters to the polls (amounting
x> £150,000 in Yorkshire alone), the bill provided
that the poll should be taken in different districts,
and should be closed in two days in the towns, and
i.n three days in the counties. The general result of
the bill would be to increase the number of electors
five hundred thousand, — making nine hundred thou-
sand in all. We see how far this was from universal
Bufirage, giving less than a million of voters in a popv



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34 WILLIAM TV.

lation of twenty-five millions. Yet even so moder-
ate and reasonable an enlargement of the franchise
created astonishment, and was regarded by the op-
ponents as subversive of the British Constitution;
and not without reason, since it threw political power
into the hands of the middle classes instead of into
those of the aristocracy.

Lord Russeirs motion was, of course, bitterly opposed
by the Tories. The first man who arose to speak
against it was Sir H. Inglis, member of the university
of Oxford, — a fine classical scholar, an accomplished
gentleman, and an honest man. He maintained that
the proposed alteration in the representation of the
country was nothing less than revolution. He eulo-
gized the system of rotten boroughs, since it favored
the return to Parliament of young men of great abili-
ties, who without the patronage of nobles would fail
in popular elections; and he cited the cases of Pitt,
Fox, Burke, Canning, Perceval, and others who rep-
resented Appleby, Old Sarum, Wendover, and other
places almost without inhabitants. Sir Charles Weth-
eyell, Mr. Croker, and Sir Eobert Peel, substantially
took the same view ; Lord Althorp, Mr. Hume, O'Con-
nell, and others supported the government. Amid
intense excitement, for everybody saw the momentous
issues at stake, leave was at length granted to Lord
John Russell to bring in his bill No less than



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ENGLISH REFORMS. 36

seventy-one persons in the course of seven nights
spoke for or against the measure. The Press, headed
by the "Times," rendered great assistance to the
reform cause, while public meetings were everywhere
held and petitions sent to Parliament in favor of the
measure. The voice of the nation spoke in earnest
and decided tones.

On the 21st of March, 1831, Lord John Russell
moved the second reading of the bill ; but the majority
for it was so small that ministers were compelled to
make modifications. After a stormy debate there was
a majority of seventy-eight against the government.
The ministers, undaunted, at once induced the king to
dissolve Parliament, and an appeal was made to the
nation. A general election followed, which sent up
an overwhelming majority of Liberal members, while
many of the leading members of the last Parliament
lost their places. On the 21st of June the new Par-
liament was opened by the king in person. He was
received with the wildest enthusiasm by the populace,
as he proceeded in state to the House of Lords in his
gilded carriage, drawn by eight cream-colored horses.
On the 24th of June Lord John Eussell again intro-
duced his bill, this time in a bold, manly, and decisive
manner, in striking contrast with the almost suppliant
tone which he assumed before. On the 4th of July
the question of the second reading was brought for-



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36 WILLIAM IV.

ward. The discussion was carried on for three niglits,
and on division tiie great majority of one hundred and
thirty-«ix was with the government. The only hope
of the oi^sition was now in deky ; and factious divi
sions were madfe on every point possible as the bill
went through the committee. The opposition was
most vexatious. Praed made twenty -two speeches
against the bill, Sugden eighteen, Pelham twenty-eight.
Peel forty -eight, Croker fifty-seven, and Wetherell
fifty-eight. Of course the greater part of these
speeches were inexpressibly wearisome, and ministers
were condemned to sit and listen to the stale argu-
ments, which were all that the opposition could make.
Never before in a legislative body was there such an
amount of quibbling and higgling, and •'speaking
against time ; " and it was not till September 19 that
the third reading came on, the obstructions in com-
mittee having been so formidable and annoying. On
the 22d of September the bill finally passed in the
House of Commons by a majority of one hundred and
six, after three months of stormy debate.

Bub the parliamentary battles were only partially
fought; victory in the end was certain, but was not
yet obtained. It was necessary that the bill should
pass the House of Lords, where the opposition was
overwhelming.

On the very evening of September 22 the bill was



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ENGLISH REFORMS, 37

carried to the Lords, and Lords Althorp and Eussell,
with one hundred other members of the Commons,
entered the Upper House with their message. The
Lord Chancellor Brougham advanced to the bar with
the usual formalities, stnd received the bill from the
hands of Lord John Russell. He then resumed his
seat on the woolsack, and communicated to the as-
sembled peers the nature of Uie message. Eail Ghrey
moved that the bill be read a first time, and the xssofo
was agreed to. On the 3d of October the premier
addressed the House in support of the bill, — a mea-
sure which he had taken up in his youth, not so much
from sympathy with the people as from conviction of
its imi)erative necessity. There was great majesty in
the manner of the patrician minister as he addressed
his peers ; his eye sparkled with intelligence^ and his
noble brow betokened resolution and firmness, while
his voice quivered with emotion. Less rhetorical than
his great colleague the Lord Chancellor, bis speech
riveted attention. For forty-five years the aged peej
had advocated parliamentary reform, and his voice had
been heard in unison with that of JFox before the
French Revolution had broken out. Lord WharncliflTe,
one of the most moderate and candid of his opponents,
followed. Lord Melbourne, courteous and inoffensive,
supported the bill, because, as he said, he dreaded the
^consequences of a refusal of concession to the demands



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33 WILLIAM IV.

of the people, rather than because he loved reform,
'wrhich he had previously opposed. The Duke of Wel-
lington of course uttered his warning protest, and was



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