The Project Gutenberg eBook, Famous Men and Great Events of the Nineteenth Century, by Charles Morris

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Title: Famous Men and Great Events of the Nineteenth Century

Author: Charles Morris

Release Date: May 23, 2014 [eBook #45733]
HTML version most recently updated: June 21, 2014

Language: English

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Transcriber’s Note

The many illustrations have been moved to fall on paragraph breaks. As a result, on occasion, the pagination will be locally disrupted. Between the Introduction and Chapter I there are two full-page illustrations, but the pagination skips four pages. On the other hand the illustrations between pp. 94 and 95 were not included in the pagination. The occasional blank pages have been omitted. In any case, the page numbers provided here reflect those which were printed.

Footnotes were relocated from the end of page to the end of the text and linked for easy reference.

Please see the transcriber’s notes at the end of this text for a more complete account of any other textual issues and their resolution.



The above symbolic picture, after the master painting of Paul Sinibaldi, explains the secret of the wonderful progress of the past 100 years. The genius of Industry stands in the centre. To her right sits Chemistry; to the left the geniuses of Electricity with the battery, the telephone, the electric light; there also are the geniuses of Navigation with the propeller, and of Literature and Art, all bringing their products to Industry who passes them through the hands of Labor in the foreground to be fashioned for the use of mankind.


Famous Men And Great Events
of the Nineteenth Century

Embracing Descriptions of the Decisive Battles of the Century and the Great Soldiers Who Fought Them; the Rise and Fall of Nations; the Changes in the Map of the World, and the Causes Which Contributed to Political and Social Revolutions; Discoverers and Discoveries; Explorers of the Tropics and Arctics; Inventors and Their Inventions; the Growth of Literature, Science and Art; the Progress of Religion, Morals and Benevolence in All Civilized Nations.


Author of “The Aryan Race,” “Civilization, Its History, Etc.,” “The Greater Republic,” Etc.

Embellished With Nearly 100 Full-Page Half-Tone Engravings, Illustrating the Greatest Events of the Century, and 100 Portraits of the Most Famous Men in the World.

Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1899, by
in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



A Bird’s-eye View—Tyranny and Oppression in the Eighteenth Century—Government and the Rights of Man in 1900—Prisons and Punishment in 1900—The Factory System and Oppression of the Workingman—Suffrage and Human Freedom—Criminal Law and Prison Discipline in 1800—The Era of Wonderful Inventions—The Fate of the Horse and the Sail—Education, Discovery and Commerce23
The Threshold of the Century 
The Age We Live in and its Great Events—True History and the Things Which Make It—Two of the World’s Greatest Events—The Feudal System and Its Abuses—The Climax of Feudalism in France—The States General is Convened—The Fall of the Bastille—King and Queen Under the Guillotine—The Reign of Terror—The Wars of the French Revolution—Napoleon in Italy and Egypt—England as a Centre of Industry and Commerce—The Condition of the German States—Dissension in Italy and Decay in Spain—The Partition of Poland by the Robber Nations—Russia and Turkey33
Napoleon Bonaparte; The Man of Destiny 
A Remarkable and Wonderful Career—The Enemies and Friends of France—Movements of the Armies in Germany and Italy—Napoleon Crosses the Alps at St. Bernard Pass—The Situation in Italy—The Famous Field of Marengo—A Great Battle Lost and Won—The Result of the Victory of Marengo—Napoleon Returns to France—Moreau and the Great Battle of Hohenlinden—The Peace of Luneville—The Peace of Amiens—The Punishment of the Conspirators and the Assassination of the Duke d’Enghien—Napoleon Crowned Emperor of the French—The Great Works Devised By the New Emperor44
Europe in the Grasp of the Iron Hand 
Great Preparations for the Invasion of England—Rapid March on Austria—The Surrender of General Mack—The Eve Before Austerlitz—The Dreadful Lake Horror—Treaty of Peace With Austria—Prussian Armies in the Field—Defeat of the Prussians at Jena and Auerstadt—Napoleon Divides the Spoils of Victory—The Frightful Struggle at Eylau—The Cost of Victory—The Total Defeat of the Russians—The Emperors at Tilsit and the Fate of Prussia—The Pope a Captive at Fontainebleau—Andreas Hofer and the War in Tyrol—Napoleon Marches Upon Austria—The Battle of Eckmuhl and the Capture of Ratisbon—The Campaign in Italy—The Great Struggle of Essling and Aspern—Napoleon Forced to His First Retreat—The Second Crossing of the Danube—The Victory at Wagram—The Peace of Vienna—The Divorce of Josephine and Marriage of Maria Louisa57
The Decline and Fall of Napoleon’s Empire 
The Causes of the Rise and Decline of Napoleon’s Power—Aims and Intrigues in Portugal and Spain—Spain’s Brilliant Victory and King Joseph’s Flight—The Heroic Defence of Saragossa—Wellington’s Career in Portugal and Spain—The Invasion of Russia by the Grand Army—Smolensk Captured and in Flames—The Battle of Borodino—The Grand Army in the Old Russian Capital—The Burning of the Great City of Moscow—The Grand Army Begins its Retreat—The Dreadful Crossing of the Beresina—Europe in Arms Against Napoleon—The Battle of Dresden, Napoleon’s Last Great Victory—The Fatal Meeting of the Armies at Leipzig—The Break-up of Napoleon’s Empire—The War in France and the Abdication of the Emperor—Napoleon Returns From Elba—The Terrible Defeat at Waterloo—Napoleon Meets His Fate83
Nelson and Wellington, the Champions of England 
England and France on Land and Sea—Nelson Discovers the French Fleet in Aboukir Bay—The Glorious Battle of the Nile—The Fleet Sails for Copenhagen—The Danish Line of Defence—The Attack on the Danish Fleet—How Nelson Answered the Signal to Cease Action—Nelson in Chase of the French Fleet—The Allied Fleet Leaves Cadiz—Off Cape Trafalgar—The “Victory” and Her Brilliant Fight—The Great Battle and its Sad Disaster—Victory for England and Death for Her Famous Admiral—The British in Portugal—The Death of Sir John Moore—The Gallant Crossing of the Douro—The Victory at Talavera and the Victor’s Reward—Wellington’s Impregnable Lines at Torres Vedras—The Siege and Capture of the Portuguese Fortresses—Wellington Wins at Salamanca and Enters Madrid—Vittoria and the Pyrenees—The Gathering of the Forces at Brussels—The Battlefield of Waterloo—The Desperate Charges of the French—Blücher’s Prussians and the Charge of Napoleon’s Old Guard101
From the Napoleonic Wars to the Revolution 1830
A Quarter Century of Revolution—Europe After Napoleon’s Fall—The Work of the Congress—Italy, France and Spain—The Rights of Man—The Holy Alliance—Revolution in Spain and Naples—Metternich and His Congresses—How Order Was Restored in Spain—The Revolution in Greece—The Powers Come to the Rescue of Greece—The Spirit of Revolution—Charles X. and His Attempt at Despotism—The Revolution in Paris—Louis Phillippe Chosen as King—Effect in Europe of the Revolution—The Belgian Uprising and its Result—The Movements in Germany—The Condition of Poland—The Revolt of the Poles—A Fatal Lack of Unity—The Fate of Poland116
Bolivar, the Liberator of Spanish America 
How Spain Treated Her Colonies—The Oppression of the People—Bolivar the Revolutionary Leader—An Attempt at Assassination—Bolivar Returns to Venezuela—The Savage Cruelty of the Spaniards—The Methods of General Morillo—Paez the Guerilla and His Exploits—British Soldiers Join the Insurgents—Bolivar’s Plan to Invade New Granada—The Crossing of the Andes—The Terror of the Mountains—Bolivar’s Methods of Fighting—The Victory at Boyaca—Bolivar and the Peruvians—The Freeing of the Other Colonies128
Great Britain as a World Empire 
Napoleonic Wars’ Influence—Great Awakening in Commerce— Developments of the Arts—Growth of the Sciences—A Nation Noted for Patriotism—National Pride—Conscious Strength— Political Changes and Their Influence—Great Statesmen of England141
The Great Reform Bill and the Corn Laws 
Causes of Unrest—Demands of the People—The Struggle for Reform in 1830—The Corn Laws—Free Trade in Great Britain—Cobden the Apostle of Free Trade—Other Promoters of Reform—England’s Enlarged Commerce147
Turkey the “Sick Man” of Europe
The Sultan’s Empire in 1800—Revolts in Her Dependencies—Greece Gains Her Freedom—The Sympathy of the Christian World—Russian Threats—The Crimean War and its Heroes—The War of 1877—The Armenian Massacres—The Nations Warn off Russia—War in Crete and Greece in 1897—The Tottering Nation of to-day—The “Sick Man”156
The European Revolution of 1848
Corrupt Courts and Rulers—The Spirit of Liberty Among the People—Bourbonism—Revolutionary Outbreak in France—Spreads to Other Countries—The Struggle in Italy—In Germany—The Revolt in Hungary—The Career of Kossuth the Patriot, Statesman and Orator—His Visit to America—Defeat of the Patriots by Austria and Hungary—General Haynau the Cruel Tyrant—Later History of Hungary167
Louis Napoleon and the Second French Empire 
The Power of a Great Name—The French People Love the Name Napoleon—Louis Napoleon’s Personality—Elected President—The Tricks of His Illustrious Ancestor Imitated—Makes Himself Emperor—The War With Austria—Sends an Army to Mexico—Attempt to Establish an Empire in America—Maximilian Made Emperor in the New World—His Sad Fate—War With Germany—Louis Napoleon Dethroned178
Garibaldi and the Unification of Italy 
The Many Little States of Italy—Secret Movements for Union—Mazzini the Revolutionist—Tyranny of Austria and Naples—War in Sardinia—Victor Emanuel and Count Cavour—Garibaldi in Arms—The French in Rome—Fall of the Papal City—Rise of the New Italy—Naval War With Austria194
Bismarck and the New Empire of Germany 
The State of Prussia—Sudden Rise to Power—Bismarck Prime Minister—War With Denmark—With Austria—With France—Metz and Sedan—Von Moltke—The Fall of Paris—William I. Crowned Emperor—United Germany—Bismarck and the Young Kaiser—Peculiarities of William II.—Germany of To-Day207
Gladstone the Apostle of Liberalism in England 
Sterling Character of the Man—His Steady Progress to Power—Becomes Prime Minister—Home and Foreign Affairs Under His Administration—His Long Contest With Disraeli—Early Conservatism Later Liberalism—Home Rule Champion—Result of Gladstone’s Labors243
Ireland the Downtrodden 
Ancient Ireland—English Domination—Oppression—Patriotic Struggles Against English Rule—Robert Emmet and His Sad Fate—Daniel O’Connell—Grattan, Curran and Other Patriots—The Fenians—Gladstone’s Work for Ireland—Parnell, the Irish Leader in Parliament—Ireland of the Present259
England and Her Indian Empire 
Why England Went to India—Lord Clive and the East India Company—Sir Arthur Wellesley—Trouble With the Natives—Subjugation of Indian States—The Great Mutiny—Havelock—Relief of Lucknow—Repulse From Afghanistan—Conquest of Burmah—Queen Victoria Crowned Empress of India—What English Rule Has Done for the Orient—A Vast Country Teeming With Population—Its Resources and Its Prospects268
Thiers, Gambetta and the Rise of the New French Republic 
French Instability of Character—Modern Statesmen of France—Thiers—MacMahon—Gambetta—The New Republic—Leaders in Politics—Dangerous Powers of the Army—Moral and Religious Decline—Law and Justice—The Dreyfus Case as an Index to France’s National Character and the Perils Which Beset the Republic277
Paul Kruger and South Africa 
Review of the Boers—Their Establishment in Cape Colony—The Rise and Progress of the Transvaal Republic—Diamond Mines and Gold Discoveries—England’s Aggressiveness—The Career of Cecil Rhodes—Attempt to Overthrow the Republic—The Zulus and Neighboring Peoples—The Uitlanders—Political Struggle of England and Paul Kruger—Chamberlain’s Demands—The Boers’ Firm Stand—War of 1899295
The Rise of Japan and the Decline of China 
Former Cloud of Mystery Surrounding These Two Nations—Ancient Civilizations—Closed Territory to the Outside World—Their Ignorance of Other Nations—The Breaking Down of the Walls in the Nineteenth Century—Japan’s Sudden Rise to Power—Aptness to Learn—The Yankees of the East—Conditions of Conservatism Holds on in China—Li Hung Chang Rises into Prominence—The Corean Trouble—War Between China and Japan—The Battle of Yalu River—Admiral Ito’s Victory—Japanese Army Invades the Celestial Empire—China Surrenders—European Nations Demand Open Commerce—Threatened Partition309
The Era of Colonies 
Commerce the Promoter of Colonization—England’s Wise Policy—The Growth of Her Colonies Under Liberal Treatment—India—Australia—Africa—Colonies of France and Germany—Partition of Africa—Progress of Russia in Asia—Aggressiveness of the Czar’s Government—The United States Becomes a Colonizing Power—The Colonial Powers and Their Colonies at the Close of the Century323
How the United States Entered the Century 
A Newly Formed Country—Washington, the National Capital—Peace With France—Nations of State Sovereignty—State Legislatures and the National Congress—The Influence of Washington—The Supreme Court and its Powers—Population of Less Than Four Millions—No City of 50,000 Inhabitants in America—Sparsely Settled Country—Savages—Trouble With Algiers—War Declared by Tripoli—Thomas Jefferson Elected President343
Expansion of the United States From Dwarf to Giant 
Ohio Admitted in 1802—Louisiana Purchased From French 1803—Admission of the States—Florida Transferred to the United States 1819—The First Railway in 1826—Indians Cede Their Illinois Lands in 1830—Invention of Telegraph 1832—Fremont’s Expeditions to the Pacific Slope—Conquest of Mexico—Our Domain Established From Ocean to Ocean 1848—The Purchase of Alaska From Russia 1867—Rapid Internal Growth—Cities Spring up on the Plains—A Marvelous Era of Peace—Through the Spanish-American War Comes the Acquisition of First Tropical Territory—From East to West America’s Domain Reaches Half-way Around the World—Three Cities Each With Over 1,000,000 Inhabitants351
The Development of Democratic Institutions In America 
Colonization and its Results—Religious Influences—Popular Rights—Limitations—Colonial Legislatures—The Money Question—Taxation—Confederation—The Franchise—Property Qualifications—Growth of Western Ideas—Contrast Between Institutions at the Beginning and Close of the Century361
America’s Answer to British Doctrine of Right of Search 
Why the War of 1812 Was Fought—The Principles Involved—Impressing American Sailors—Insults and Outrages Resented—The “Chesapeake” and “Leopard”—Injury to Commerce—Blockades—Embargo as Retaliation—Naval Glory—Failure of Canadian Campaign—“Constitution” and the “Guerriere”—The “Wasp” and the “Frolic”—Other Sea Duels—Privateers—Perry’s Great Victory—Land Operations—The “Shannon” and the “Chesapeake”—Lundy’s Lane and Plattsburg—The Burning of Washington—Baltimore Saved—Jackson’s Victory at New Orleans—Treaty of Peace369
The United States Sustains Its Dignity Abroad 
First Foreign Difficulty—The Barbary States—Buying Peace—Uncle Sam Aroused—Thrashes the Algerian Pirates—A Splendid Victory—King Bomba Brought to Terms—Austria and the Koszta Case—Captain Ingraham—His Bravery—“Deliver or I’ll Sink You”—Austria Yields—The Paraguayan Trouble—Lopez Comes to Terms—The Chilian Imbroglio—Balmaceda—The Insult to the United States—American Seamen Attacked—Matta’s Impudent Letter—Backdown—Peace—All’s Well That Ends Well, Etc.382
Webster and Clay—The Preservation of the Union
The Great Questions in American Politics in the First Half of the Century—The Great Orators to Which They Gave Rise—Daniel Webster—Henry Clay—John C. Calhoun —Clay’s Compromise Measure on the Tariff Question—On Slavery Extension—Webster and Calhoun and the Tariff Question—Webster’s Reply to Hayne—The Union Must and Shall be Preserved398
The Annexation of Texas and the War With Mexico 
Texas as a Province of Mexico—Rebellion and War—The Alamo Massacre—Rout of Mexicans at San Jacinto—Freedom of Mexico—Annexation to the United States—The War With Mexico—Taylor and Buena Vista—Scott and Vera Cruz—Advance on and Capture of Mexico—Results of the War413
The Negro In America and the Slavery Conflict 
The Negro in America—The First Cargo—Beginning of the Slave Traffic—As a Laborer—Increase in Numbers—Slavery; its Different Character in Different States—Political Disturbances—Agitation and Agitators—John Brown—War and How it Emancipated the Slave—The Free Negro—His Rapid Progress425
Abraham Lincoln and the Work of Emancipation 
Lincoln’s Increasing Fame—Comparison With Washington—The Slave Auction at New Orleans—“If I Ever Get a Chance to Hit Slavery, I Will Hit it Hard”—The Young Politician—Elected Representative to Congress—His Opposition to Slavery—His Famous Debates With Douglas—The Cooper Institute Speech—The Campaign of 1860—The Surprise of Lincoln’s Nomination—His Triumphant Election—Threats of Secession—Firing on Sumter—The Dark Days of the War—The Emancipation Question—The Great Proclamation—End of the War—The Great Tragedy—The Beauty and Greatness of His Character436
Grant and Lee and The Civil War 
Grant a Man for the Occasion—Lincoln’s Opinion—“Wherever Grant is Things Move”—“Unconditional Surrender”—“Not a Retreating Man”—Lee a Man of Acknowledged Greatness—His Devotion to Virginia—Great Influence—Simplicity of Habits—Shares the Fare of His Soldiers—Lee’s Superior Skill—Gratitude and Affection of the South—Great Influence in Restoring Good Feeling—The War—Secession Not Exclusively a Southern Idea—An Irrepressible Conflict—Coming Events—Lincoln—A Nation in Arms— Sumter—Anderson—McClellan—Victory and Defeat—“Monitor” and “Merrimac”—Antietam—Shiloh—Buell—Grant—George H. Thomas—Rosecrans—Porter—Sherman—Sheridan—Lee— Gettysburg—A Great Fight—Sherman’s March—The Confederates Weakening—More Victories—Appomattox—Lee’s Surrender—From War to Peace449
The Indian in the Nineteenth Century 
Our Relations and Obligations to the Indian—Conflict between Two Civilizations—Indian Bureau—Government Policy—Treaties—Reservation Plan—Removals Under It—Indian Wars—Plan of Concentration—Disturbance and Fighting—Plan of Education and Absorption—Its Commencement—Present Condition of Indians—Nature of Education and Results—Land in Severalty Law—Missionary Effort—Necessity and Duty of Absorption468
The Development of the American Navy 
The Origin of the American Navy—Sights on Guns and What They Did—Opening Japan—Port Royal—Passing the Forts—The “Monitor” and “Merrimac”—In Mobile Bay—The “Kearsarge” and the “Alabama”—Naval Architecture Revolutionized—The Samoan Hurricane—Building a New Navy—Great Ships of the Spanish American War—The Modern Floating Iron Fortresses—New “Alabama” and “Kearsarge”482
America’s Conflict With Spain 
A War of Humanity—Bombardment of Matanzas—Dewey’s Wonderful Victory at Manila—Disaster to the “Winslow” at Cardenas Bay—The First American Loss of Life—Bombardment of San Juan, Porto Rico—The Elusive Spanish Fleet—Bottled-up in Santiago Harbor—Lieutenant Hobson’s Daring Exploit—Second Bombardment of Santiago and Arrival of the Army—Gallant Work of the Rough Riders and the Regulars—Battles of San Juan and El Caney—Destruction of Cervera’s Fleet—General Shafter Reinforced in Front of Santiago—Surrender of the City—General Miles in Porto Rico—An Easy Conquest—Conquest of the Philippines—Peace Negotiations and Signing of the Protocol—Its Terms—Members of the National Peace Commission—Return of the Troops from Cuba and Porto Rico—The Peace Commission in Paris—Conclusion of its Work—Terms of the Treaty—Ratified by the Senate496
The Dominion of Canada 
The Area and Population of Canada—Canada’s Early History—Upper and Lower Canada—The War of 1812—John Strachan and the Family Compact—A Religious Quarrel—French Supremacy in Lower Canada—The Revolt of 1837—Mackenzie’s Rebellion—Growth of Population and Industry—Organization of the Dominion of Canada—The Riel Revolts—The Canadian Pacific Railway—The Fishery Difficulties—The Fur-Seal Question—The Gold of the Klondike—A Boundary Question—An International Commission—The Questions at Issue—The Failure of the Commission—Commerce of Canada with the United States—Railway Progress in Canada—Manufacturing Enterprise—Yield of Precious Metals—Extent and Resources of the Dominion—The Character of the Canadian Population509
Livingstone, Stanley, Peary, Nansen and other Great Discoverers and Explorers 
Ignorance of the Earth’s Surface at the Beginning of the Century—Notable Fields of Nineteenth Century Travel—Famous African Travelers—Dr. Livingstone’s Missionary Labors—Discovery of Lake Ngami—Livingstone’s Journey from the Zambesi to the West Coast—The Great Victoria Falls—First Crossing of the Continent—Livingstone discovers Lake Nyassa—Stanley in Search of Livingstone—Other African Travelers—Stanley’s Journeys—Stanley Rescues Emin Pasha—The Exploration of the Arctic Zone—The Greely Party—The Fatal “Jeanette” Expedition—Expeditions of Professor Nordenskjöld—Peary Crosses North Greenland—Nansen and his Enterprise—Andrée’s Fatal Balloon Venture523
Robert Fulton, George Stephenson, and the Triumphs of Invention
Anglo-Saxon Activity in Invention—James Watt and the Steam Engine—Labor-Saving Machinery of the Eighteenth Century—The Steamboat and the Locomotive—The First Steamboat Trip up the Hudson—Development of Ocean Steamers—George Stephenson and the Locomotive—First American Railroads—Development of the Railroad—Great Railroad Bridges—The Electric Steel Railway—The Bicycle and the Automobile—Marvels in Iron and Woodworking—Progress in Illumination and Heating—Howe and the Sewing Machine—Vulcanization of Rubber—Morse and the Telegraph—The Inventions of Edison—Marconi and Wireless Telegraphy—Increase of Working Power of the Farmer—The American Reapers and Mowers—Commerce of the United States535
The Evolution in Industry and the Revolt Against Capital 
Mediæval Industry—Cause of Revolution in the Labor System—Present Aspect of the Labor Question—The Trade Union—The International Workingmen’s Association—The System of the Strike—Arbitration and Profit Sharing—Experiments and Theories in Economies—Co-operative Associations—The Theories of Socialism and Anarchism—Secular Communistic Experiments—Development of Socialism—Growth of the Socialist Party—The Development of the Trust—An Industrial Revolution554
Charles Darwin and the Development of Science 
Scientific Activity of the Nineteenth Century—Wallace’s “Wonderful Century”—Useful and Scientific Steps of Progress—Foster’s Views of Recent Progress—Discoveries in Astronomy—The Spectroscope—The Advance of Chemistry—Light and its Phenomena—Heat as a Mode of Motion—Applications of Electricity—The Principles of Magnetism—Progress in Geology—The Nebular and Meteoric Hypotheses—Biological Sciences—Discoveries in Physiology—Pasteur and His Discoveries—Koch and the Comma Bacillus—The Science of Hygiene—Darwin and Natural Selection569
Literature and Art in the Nineteenth Century 
Literary Giants of Former Times—The Standing of the Fine Arts in the Past and the Present—Early American Writers—The Poets of the United States—American Novelists—American Historians and Orators—The Poets of Great Britain—British Novelists and Historians—Other British Writers—French Novelists and Historians—German Poets and Novelists—The Literature of Russia—The Authors of Sweden, Norway and Denmark—Writers of Italy—Other Celebrated Authors—The Novel and its Development—The Text-Book and Progress of Education—Wide-spread use of Books and Newspapers591
The American Church and the Spirit of Human Brotherhood 
Division of Labor—American Type of Christianity—Distinguishing Feature of American Life—The Sunday-school System—The Value of Religion in Politics—Missionary Activity—New Religious Movements—The Movement in Ethics—Child Labor in Factories—Prevention of Cruelty to Animals—Prison Reform—Public Executions—The Spirit of Sympathy—The Growth of Charity—An Advanced Spirit of Benevolence605
The Dawn of the Twentieth Century 
The Century’s Wonderful Stages—Progress in Education—The Education of Women—Occupation and Suffrage for Women—Peace Proposition of the Emperor of Russia—The Peace Conference at The Hague—Progress in Science—Political Evolution—Territorial Progress of the Nations—Probable Future of English Speech—A Telephone Newspaper—Among the Dull-Minded Peoples—Limitations to Progress—Probable Lines of Future Activity—Industry in the Twentieth Century—The King, the Priest and the Cash Box—The New Psychology617


Progress of the Nineteenth CenturyFrontispiece
Duke of Chartres at the Battle of Jemappes21
Battle of Chateau-Gontier22
Death of Marat31
Last Victims of the Reign of Terror32
Marie Antoinette Led to Execution37
The Battle of Rivoli38
Napoleon Crossing the Alps47
Napoleon and the Mummy of Pharaoh48
Napoleon Bonaparte53
The Meeting of Two Sovereign54
The Death of Admiral Nelson59
Murat at the Battle of Jena60
The Battle of Eylau69
The Battle of Friedland70
The Order to Charge at Friedland79
Napoleon and the Queen of Prussia at Tilsit80
Marshal Ney Retreating from Russia89
General Blücher’s Fall at Ligny90
The Battle of Dresden, August 26 and 27, 181394
Famous English Novelists95
The Eve of Waterloo99
Wellington at Waterloo Giving the Word to Advance100
Retreat of Napoleon from Waterloo109
The Remnant of an Army110
Illustrious Leaders of England’s Navy and Army119
James Watt, the Father of the Steam Engine120
Great English Historians and Prose Writers129
Famous Popes of the Century130
Great English Statesmen (Plate I)139
Britain’s Sovereign and Heir Apparent to the Throne140
Popular Writers of Fiction In England149
Great English Statesmen (Plate II)150
Potentates of the East159
Landing in the Crimea and the Battle of Alma160
The Congress at Berlin, June 13, 1878169
The Wounding of General Bosquet170
The Battle of Champigny179
Noble Sons of Poland and Hungary180
Noted French Authors189
Napoleon III. at the Battle of Solferino190
Great Italian Patriots199
The Zouaves Charging the Barricades at Mentana200
Noted German Emperors209
Renowned Sons of Germany210
The Storming of Garsbergschlosschen219
Crown Prince Frederick at the Battle of Froschwiller220
Present Kings of Four Countries229
Great Men of Modern France230
Russia’s Royal Family and Her Literary Leader257
Four Champions of Ireland’s Cause258
Dreyfus, His Accusers and Defenders281
The Dreyfus Trial282
The Bombardment of Alexandria291
Battle Between England and the Zulus, South Africa292
The Battle of Majuba Hill, South Africa301
Two Opponents in the Transvaal War302
Typical American Novelists307
Two Powerful Men of the Orient308
Four American Presidents409
Great American Orators and Statesmen410
The Battle of Resaca de la Palma419
Great American Historians and Biographers420
Great Men of the Civil War in America445
The Attack on Fort Donelson446
General Lee’s Invasion of the North455
The Sinking of the Alabama, etc.456
The Surrender of General Lee465
The Electoral Commission Which Decided Upon Election of President Hayes466
Prominent American Political Leaders475
Noted American Journalists and Magazine Contributors476
The U.S. Battleship “Oregon”483
In the War-Room at Washington484
Leading Commanders of the American Navy, Spanish-American War487
Leading Commanders of the American Army488
Prominent Spaniards in 1898497
Popular Heroes of the Spanish-American War498
The Surrender of Santiago501
United States Peace Commissioners of the Spanish-American War502
Illustrious Sons of Canada521
Great Explorers in the Tropics and Arctics522
Inventors of the Locomotive and the Electric Telegraph539
Edison Perfecting the First Phonograph540
The Hero of the Strike, Coal Creek, Tenn.557
Illustrious Men of Science in the Nineteenth Century575
Pasteur in His Laboratory576
Great Poets of England589
Great American Poets590
Count Tolstoi at Literary Work603
New Congressional Library at Washington, D. C.604
Famous Cardinals of the Century615
Noted Preachers and Writers of Religious Classics616
Greater New York629
Delegates to the Universal Peace Conference at The Hague, 1899630
Key to above631


Abbott, Lyman476
Adams, John Quincy409
Agassiz, Louis575
Aguinaldo, Emilio308
Albert Edward, (Prince of Wales)140
Austin, Alfred589
Balfour, A. J.150
Bancroft, George420
Barrie, James M.149
Beecher, Henry Ward410
Besant, Walter149
Bismarck, Karl Otto Von 210
Black, William149
Blaine, James G.475
Blanco, Ramon497
Bright, John139
Browning, Robert589
Bryan, William Jennings475
Bryant, William Cullen590
Bryce, James150
Caine, T. Hall149
Carlyle, Thomas129
Cervera, (Admiral)497
Chamberlain, Joseph302
Christian IX, (King of Denmark)229
Clay, Henry410
Cleveland, Grover475
Cooper, James Fenimore307
Dana, Charles A.476
Darwin, Charles575
Davis, Cushman K.502
Davis, Richard Harding476
Davitt, Michael258
Day, William R.502
DeLesseps, Ferdinand230
Depew, Chauncey M.410
Dewey, George487
Dickens, Charles95
Disraeli, Benjamin139
Dreyfus, (Captain), Alfred281
Doyle, A. Conan149
Drummond, Henry616
Dumas, Alexander189
DuMaurier, George149
Eggleston, Edward307
Emerson, Ralph Waldo590
Esterhazy, Count Ferdinand W.281
Everett, Edward410
Farrar, Frederick W., (Canon)616
Francis Joseph, (Emperor of Austria)229
Froude, Richard H.129
Frye, William P.502
Gambetta, Leon230
Garibaldi, Guiseppe199
Gibbon, Edward129
Gladstone, William Ewart139
Gough, John B.410
Grady, Henry W.410
Grant, Ulysses S.445
Gray, George502
Greeley, Horace476
Hale, Edward Everett307
Halstead, Murat476
Hawthorne, Nathaniel307
Hawthorne, Julian476
Healy, T. M.258
Henry, Patrick410
Henry, Lieutenant-Colonel281
Hobson, Richmond Pearson498
Holmes, Oliver Wendell590
Howells, William Dean307
Hugo, Victor189
Humbert, (King of Italy)229
Humboldt, F. H. Alexander von575
Huxley, Thomas H.575
Jackson, Andrew409
Jefferson, Thomas409
Kipling, Rudyard149
Kosciusko, Thaddeus180
Kossuth, Louis180
Kruger, Paul302
Labori, Maitre281
Laurier, Sir Wilfrid521
Lee, Robert E.445
Lee, Fitzhugh488
Leo XIII., (Pope)130
Li Hung Chang308
Lincoln, Abraham445
Livingstone, David522
Longfellow, Henry W.590
Loubet (President of France)230
Lowell, James Russell590
Lytton, (Lord) Bulwer95
McCarthy, Justin150
Macaulay, Thomas B.129
MacDonald, Sir John A.521
MacDonald, George149
McKinley, William475
McMaster, John B.420
Manning, Henry Edward (Cardinal)615
Mercier, (General of French Army)281
Merritt, Wesley488
Miles, Nelson A.488
Moltke, H. Karl B. von210
Morley, John150
Morse, Samuel F. B.539
Motley, John L.420
Nansen, (Dr.) Frithiof522
Napoleon Bonaparte53
Nelson, (Lord) Horatio119
Newman, John Henry (Cardinal)615
Nicholas II. and Family, (Czar of Russia)257
O’Brien, William258
Oscar II., (King of Sweden and Norway)229
Otis, Elwell S.498
Parnell, Charles Stewart258
Parton, James420
Pasteur, Louis, in his Laboratory576
Peary, Lieutenant R. E.522
Phillips, Wendell410
Pitt, William, (Earl of Chatham)139
Pius IX., (Pope)130
Prescott, William H.420
Reid, Whitelaw476
Rios, Montero497
Roosevelt, Theodore498
Ruskin, John129
Sagasta, Praxedes Mateo497
Sampson, William T.487
Schley, Winfield Scott487
Scott, Sir Walter95
Shafter, William R.488
Shah of Persia150
Shaw, Albert W.476
Shelley, Percy B.589
Sherman, William T.445
Spurgeon, Charles H.616
Stanley, Henry M.522
Stephenson, George539
Stevenson, Robert Louis149
Sultan of Turkey159
Taylor, Zachary409
Tennyson, Alfred589
Thackeray, William Makepeace95
Thiers, Louis Adolphe230
Thompson, Hon. J. S. D.521
Tolstoi, Count Lyof Nikolaievitch603
Trollope, Anthony95
Tupper, Sir Charles521
Victor Emmanuel (King of Italy)199
Victoria (Queen of England)140
Wallace, General Lew307
Watson, John (Ian Maclaren)616
Watson, John Crittenden487
Watt, James120
Watterson, Henry W.476
Webster, Daniel410
Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, (Duke)119
Wheeler, Joseph498
Whittier, John G.590
William I., Emperor of Germany209
William II., Emperor of Germany209
Wordsworth, William589
(from the original painting by A. Le Dres)

At Jemappes, in November, 1792, a battle was fought between the French and Austrians. The Duke of Chartres was Chief Lieutenant under General Dumouriez and commanded the centre of attack. In 1830 the Duke was made King of France, and on account of his peaceful reign was known as the “Citizen’s King.” In 1848 he abdicated the throne and soon after Napoleon III became President of the new Republic.

(Reign of Terror, 1792)


It is the story of a hundred years that we propose to give; the record of the noblest and most marvelous century in the annals of mankind. Standing here, at the dawn of the Twentieth Century, as at the summit of a lofty peak of time, we may gaze far backward over the road we have traversed, losing sight of its minor incidents, but seeing its great events loom up in startling prominence before our eyes; heedless of its thronging millions, but proud of those mighty men who have made the history of the age and rise like giants above the common throng. History is made up of the deeds of great men and the movements of grand events, and there is no better or clearer way to tell the marvelous story of the Nineteenth Century than to put upon record the deeds of its heroes and to describe the events and achievements in which reside the true history of the age.

First of all, in this review, it is important to show in what the greatness of the century consists, to contrast its beginning and its ending, and point out the stages of the magnificent progress it has made. It is one thing to declare that the Nineteenth has been the greatest and most glorious of the centuries; it is another and more arduous task to trace the development of this greatness and the culmination of this career of glory. This it is that we shall endeavor to do in the pages of this work. All of us have lived in the century here described, many of us through a great part of it, some of us, possibly, through the whole of it. It is in the fullest sense our own century, one of which we have a just right to feel proud, and in whose career all of us must take a deep and vital interest.

A Bird’s-Eye View

Before entering upon the history of the age it is well to take a bird’s-eye view of it, and briefly present its claims to greatness. They are many and mighty, and can only be glanced at in these introductory pages; it would need volumes to show them in full. They cover every field of human effort. They have to do with political development, the relations of capital and labor, invention, science, literature, production, commerce, and a dozen other life interests, all of which will be considered in this work. The greatness of the world’s progress can be most clearly shown by pointing out the state of affairs in the several branches of human effort at the opening and closing of the century and placing them in sharp contrast. This it is proposed to do in this introductory sketch.

Tyranny and Oppression in the Eighteenth Century

A hundred years ago the political aspect of the world was remarkably different from what it is now. Kings, many of them, were tyrants; peoples, as a rule, were slaves—in fact, if not in name. The absolute government of the Middle Ages had been in a measure set aside, but the throne had still immense power, and between the kings and the nobles the people were crushed like grain between the upper and nether millstones. Tyranny spread widely; oppression was rampant; poverty was the common lot; comfort was confined to the rich; law was merciless; punishment for trifling offences was swift and cruel; the broad sentiment of human fellowship had just begun to develop; the sun of civilization shone only on a narrow region of the earth, beyond which barbarism and savagery prevailed.

In 1800, the government of the people had just fairly begun. Europe had two small republics, Switzerland and the United Netherlands, and in the West the republic of the United States was still in its feeble youth. The so-called republic of France was virtually the kingdom of Napoleon, the autocratic First Consul, and those which he had founded elsewhere were the slaves of his imperious will. Government almost everywhere was autocratic and arbitrary. In Great Britain, the freest of the monarchies, the king’s will could still set aside law and justice in many instances and parliament represented only a tithe of the people. Not only was universal suffrage unknown, but some of the greatest cities of the kingdom had no voice in making the laws.

Government and the Rights of Man in 1900

In 1900, a century later, vast changes had taken place in the political world. The republic of the United States had grown from a feeble infant into a powerful giant, and its free system of government had spread over the whole great continent of America. Every independent nation of the West had become a republic and Canada still a British colony, was a republic in almost everything but the name. In Europe, France was added to the list of firmly-founded republics, and throughout that continent, except in Russia and Turkey, the power of the monarchs had declined, that of the people had advanced. In 1800, the kings almost everywhere seemed firmly seated on their thrones. In 1900, the thrones everywhere were shaking, and the whole moss-grown institution of kingship was trembling over the rising earthquake of the popular will.

Suffrage and Human Freedom

The influence of the people in the government had made a marvelous advance. The right of suffrage, greatly restricted in 1800, had become universal in most of the civilized lands at the century’s end. Throughout the American continent every male citizen had the right of voting. The same was the case in most of western Europe, and even in far-off Japan, which a century before had been held under a seemingly helpless tyranny. Human slavery, which held captive millions upon millions of men and women in 1800, had vanished from the realms of civilization in 1900, and a vigorous effort was being made to banish it from every region of the earth. As will be seen from this hasty retrospect, the rights of man had made a wonderful advance during the century, far greater than in any other century of human history.

Criminal Law and Prison Discipline in 1800

In the feeling of human fellowship, the sentiment of sympathy and benevolence, the growth of altruism, or love for mankind, there had been an equal progress. At the beginning of the century law was stern, justice severe, punishment frightfully cruel. Small offences met with severe retribution. Men were hung for a dozen crimes which now call for only a light punishment. Thefts which are now thought severely punished by a year or two in prison then often led to the scaffold. Men are hung now, in the most enlightened nations, only for murder. Then they were hung for fifty crimes, some so slight as to seem petty. A father could not steal a loaf of bread for his starving children except at peril of a long term of imprisonment, or, possibly, of death on the scaffold.

And imprisonment then was a different affair from what it is now. The prisons of that day were often horrible dens, noisome, filthy, swarming with vermin, their best rooms unfit for human residence, their worst dungeons a hell upon earth. This not only in the less advanced nations, but even in enlightened England. Newgate Prison, in London, for instance, was a sink of iniquity, its inmates given over to the cruel hands of ruthless gaolers, forced to pay a high price for the least privilege, and treated worse than brute cattle if destitute of money and friends. And these were not alone felons who had broken some of the many criminal laws, but men whose guilt was not yet proved, and poor debtors whose only crime was their misfortune. And all this in England, with its boast of high civilization. The people were not ignorant of the condition of the prisons; Parliament was appealed to a dozen times to remedy the horrors of the jails; yet many years passed before it could be induced to act.

Prisons and Punishment in 1900

Compare this state of criminal law and prison discipline with that of the present day. Then cruel punishments were inflicted for small offences; now the lightest punishments compatible with the well-being of the community are the rule. The sentiment of human compassion has become strong and compelling; it is felt in the courts as well as among the people; public opinion has grown powerful, and a punishment to-day too severe for the crime would be visited with universal condemnation. The treatment of felons has been remarkably ameliorated. The modern prison is a palace as compared with that of a century ago. The terrible jail fever which swept through the old-time prisons like a pestilence, and was more fatal to their inmates than the gallows, has been stamped out. The idea of sanitation has made its way into the cell and the dungeon, cleanliness is enforced, the frightful crowding of the past is not permitted, prisoners are given employment, they are not permitted to infect one another with vice or disease, kindness instead of cruelty is the rule, and in no direction has the world made a greater and more radical advance.

The Factory System and the Oppression of the Workingman

A century ago labor was sadly oppressed. The factory system had recently begun. The independent hand and home work of the earlier centuries was being replaced by power and machine work. The steam-engine and the labor-saving machine, while bringing blessings to mankind, had brought curses also. Workmen were crowded into factories and mines, and were poorly paid, ill-treated, ill-housed, over-worked. Innocent little children were forced to perform hard labor when they should have been at play or at school. The whole system was one of white slavery of the most oppressive kind.

To-day this state of affairs no longer exists. Wages have risen, the hours of labor have decreased, the comfort of the artisan has grown, what were once luxuries beyond his reach have now become necessaries of life. Young children are not permitted to work, and older ones not beyond their strength. With the influences which have brought this about we are not here concerned. Their consideration must be left to a later chapter. It is enough here to state the important development that has taken place.

Perhaps the greatest triumph of the nineteenth century has been in the domain of invention. For ages past men have been aiding the work of their hands with the work of their brains. But the progress of invention continued slow and halting, and many tools centuries old were in common use until the nineteenth century dawned. The steam-engine came earlier, and it is this which has stimulated all the rest. A power was given to man enormously greater than that of his hands, and he at once began to devise means of applying it. Several of the important machines used in manufacture were invented before 1800, but it was after that year that the great era of invention began, and words are hardly strong enough to express the marvelous progress which has since taken place.

The Era of Wonderful Inventions

To attempt to name all the inventions of the nineteenth century would be like writing a dictionary. Those of great importance might be named by the hundreds; those which have proved epoch-making by the dozens. To manufacture, to agriculture, to commerce, to all fields of human labor, they extend, and their name is legion. Standing on the summit of this century and looking backward, its beginning appears pitifully poor and meager. Around us to-day are hundreds of busy workshops, filled with machinery, pouring out finished products with extraordinary speed, men no longer makers of goods, but waiters upon machines. In the fields the grain is planted and harvested, the grass cut and gathered, the ground ploughed and cultivated, everything done by machines. Looking back for a century, what do we see? Men in the fields with the scythe and the sickle, in the barn with the flail, working the ground with rude old ploughs and harrows, doing a hundred things painfully by hand which now they do easily and rapidly by machines. Verily the rate of progress on the farm has been marvelous.

The Fate of the Horse and the Sail

The above are only a few of the directions of the century’s progress. In some we may name, the development has been more extraordinary still. Let us consider the remarkable advance in methods of travel. In the year 1800, as for hundreds and even thousands of years before, the horse was the fastest means known of traveling by land, the sail of traveling by sea. A hundred years more have passed over our heads, and what do we behold? On all sides the powerful, and swift locomotive, well named the iron-horse, rushes onward, bound for the ends of the earth, hauling men and goods to right and left with a speed and strength that would have seemed magical to our forefathers. On the ocean the steam engine performs the same service, carrying great ships across the Atlantic in less than a week, and laughing at the puny efforts of the sail. The horse, for ages indispensable to man, is threatened with banishment. Electric power has been added to that of steam. The automobile carriage is coming to take the place of the horse carriage. The steam plough is replacing the horse plough. The time seems approaching when the horse will cease to be seen in our streets, and may be relegated to the zoological garden.

In the conveyance of news the development is more like magic than fact. A century ago news could not be transported faster than the horse could run or the ship could sail. Now the words of men can be carried through space faster than one can breathe. By the aid of the telephone a man can speak to his friend a thousand miles away. And with the phonograph we can, as it were, bottle up speech, to be spoken, if desired, a thousand years in the future. Had we whispered those things to our forefathers of a century past we should have been set down as wild romancers or insane fools, but now they seem like every-day news.

These are by no means all the marvels of the century. At its beginning the constitution of the atmosphere had been recently discovered. In the preceding period it was merely known as a mysterious gas called air. To-day we can carry this air about in buckets like so much water, or freeze it into a solid like ice. In its gaseous state it has long been used as the power to move ships and windmills. In its liquid state it may also soon become a leading source of power, and in a measure replace steam, the great power of the century before.

Education, Discovery and Commerce

In what else does the beginning of the twentieth stand far in advance of that of the nineteenth century? We may contrast the tallow candle with the electric light, the science of to-day with that of a century ago, the methods and the extension of education and the dissemination of books with those of the year 1800. Discovery and colonization of the once unknown regions of the world have gone on with marvelous speed. The progress in mining has been enormous, and the production of gold in the nineteenth century perhaps surpasses that of all previous time. Production of all kinds has enormously increased, and commerce now extends to the utmost regions of the earth, bearing the productions of all climes to the central seats of civilization, and supplying distant and savage tribes with the products of the loom and the mine.

Such is a hasty review of the condition of affairs at the end of the nineteenth century as compared with that existing at its beginning. No effort has been made here to cover the entire field, but enough has been said to show the greatness of the world’s progress, and we may fairly speak of this century as the Glorious Nineteenth.

Never was there a more worthy act of murder than that of the monster Marat, the most savage of the leaders of the Reign of Terror, by the knife of the devoted maiden, Charlotte Corday. She boldly avowed her guilt and its purpose, and suffered death by the guillotine, July 17, 1793.

The Threshold of the Century.

The Age we Live in and its Great Events

After its long career of triumph and disaster, glory and shame, the world stands to-day at the end of an old and the beginning of a new century, looking forward with hope and backward with pride, for it has just completed the most wonderful hundred years it has ever known, and has laid a noble foundation for the twentieth century, now at its dawn. There can be no more fitting time than this to review the marvelous progress of the closing century, through a portion of which all of us have lived, many of us through a great portion of it. Some of the greatest of its events have taken place before our own eyes; in some of them many now living have borne a part; to picture them again to our mental vision cannot fail to be of interest and profit to us all.

True History and the Things which Make it

When, after a weary climb, we find ourselves on the summit of a lofty mountain, and look back from that commanding altitude over the ground we have traversed, what is it that we behold? The minor details of the scenery, many of which seemed large and important to us as we passed, are now lost to view, and we see only the great and imposing features of the landscape, the high elevations, the town-studded valleys, the deep and winding streams, the broad forests. It is the same when, from the summit of an age, we gaze backward over the plain of time. The myriad of petty happenings are lost to sight, and we see only the striking events, the critical epochs, the mighty crises through which the world has passed. These are the things that make true history, not the daily doings in the king’s palace or the peasant’s hut. What we should seek to observe and store up in our memories are the turning points in human events, the great thoughts which have ripened into noble deeds, the hands of might which have pushed the world forward in its career; not the trifling occurrences which signify nothing, the passing actions which have borne no fruit in human affairs. It is with such turning points, such critical periods in the history of the nineteenth century, that this work proposes to deal; not to picture the passing bubbles on the stream of time, but to point out the great ships which have sailed up that stream laden deep with a noble freight. This is history in its deepest and best aspect, and we have set our camera to photograph only the men who have made and the events which constitute this true history of the nineteenth century.

Two of the World’s Greatest Events

On the threshold of the century with which we have to deal two grand events stand forth; two of those masterpieces of political evolution which mold the world and fashion the destiny of mankind. These are, in the Eastern hemisphere, the French Revolution; in the Western hemisphere, the American Revolution and the founding of the republic of the United States. In the whole history of the world there are no events that surpass these in importance, and they may fitly be dwelt upon as main foundation stones in the structure we are seeking to build. The French Revolution shaped the history of Europe for nearly a quarter century after 1800. The American Revolution shaped the history of America for a still longer period, and is now beginning to shape the history of the world. It is important therefore that we dwell on those two events sufficiently to show the part they have played in the history of the age. Here, however, we shall confine our attention to the Revolution in France. That in America must be left to the American section of our work.

The Feudal System and Its Abuses

The Mediæval Age was the age of Feudalism, that remarkable system of government based on military organization which held western Europe captive for centuries. The State was an army, the nobility its captains and generals, the king its commander-in-chief, the people its rank and file. As for the horde of laborers, they were hardly considered at all. They were the hewers of wood and drawers of water for the armed and fighting class, a base, down-trodden, enslaved multitude, destitute of rights and privileges, their only mission in the world to provide food for and pay taxes to their masters, and often doomed to starve in the midst of the food which their labor produced.

France, the country in which the Feudal system had its birth, was the country in which it had the longest lease of life. It came down to the verge of the nineteenth century with little relief from its terrible exactions. We see before us in that country the spectacle of a people steeped in misery, crushed by tyranny, robbed of all political rights, and without a voice to make their sufferings known; and of an aristocracy lapped in luxury, proud, vain, insolent, lavish with the people’s money, ruthless with the people’s blood, and blind to the spectre of retribution which rose higher year by year before their eyes.

One or two statements must suffice to show the frightful injustice that prevailed. The nobility and the Church, those who held the bulk of the wealth of the community, were relieved of all taxation, the whole burden of which fell upon the mercantile and laboring classes—an unfair exaction that threatened to crush industry out of existence. And to picture the condition of the peasantry, the tyranny of the feudal customs, it will serve to repeat the oft-told tale of the peasants who, after their day’s hard labor in the fields, were forced to beat the ponds all night long in order to silence the croaking of the frogs that disturbed some noble lady’s slumbers. Nothing need be added to these two instances to show the oppression under which the people of France lay during the long era of Feudalism.

The Climax of Feudalism in France

This era of injustice and oppression reached its climax in the closing years of the eighteenth century, and went down at length in that hideous nightmare of blood and terror known as the French Revolution. Frightful as this was, it was unavoidable. The pride and privilege of the aristocracy had the people by the throat, and only the sword or the guillotine could loosen their hold. In this terrible instance the guillotine did the work.

It was the need of money for the spendthrift throne that precipitated the Revolution. For years the indignation of the people had been growing and spreading; for years the authors of the nation had been adding fuel to the flame. The voices of Voltaire, Rousseau and a dozen others had been heard in advocacy of the rights of man, and the people were growing daily more restive under their load. But still the lavish waste of money wrung from the hunger and sweat of the people went on, until the king and his advisers found their coffers empty and were without hope of filling them without a direct appeal to the nation at large.

The States General is Convened

It was in 1788 that the fatal step was taken. Louis XVI, King of France, called a session of the States General, the Parliament of the kingdom, which had not met for more than a hundred years. This body was composed of three classes, the representatives of the nobility, of the church, and of the people. In all earlier instances they had been docile to the mandate of the throne, and the monarch, blind to the signs of the times, had no thought but that this assembly would vote him the money he asked for, fix by law a system of taxation for his future supply, and dissolve at his command.

He was ignorant of the temper of the people. They had been given a voice at last, and were sure to take the opportunity to speak their mind. Their representatives, known as the Third Estate, were made up of bold, earnest, indignant men, who asked for bread and were not to be put off with a crust. They were twice as numerous as the representatives of the nobles and the clergy, and thus held control of the situation. They were ready to support the throne, but refused to vote a penny until the crying evils of the State were reformed. They broke loose from the other two Estates, established a separate parliament under the name of the National Assembly, and begun that career of revolution which did not cease until it had brought monarchy to an end in France and set all Europe aflame.

The Fall of the Bastille

The court sought to temporize with the engine of destruction which it had called into existence, prevaricated, played fast and loose, and with every false move riveted the fetters of revolution more tightly round its neck. In July, 1789, the people of Paris took a hand in the game. They rose and destroyed the Bastille, that grim and terrible State prison into which so many of the best and noblest of France had been cast at the pleasure of the monarch and his ministers, and which the people looked upon as the central fortress of their oppression and woe.

With the fall of the Bastille discord everywhere broke loose, the spirit of the Revolution spread from Paris through all France, and the popular Assembly, now the sole law-making body of the State, repealed the oppressive laws of which the people complained, and with a word overturned abuses many of which were a thousand years old. It took from the nobles their titles and privileges, and reduced them to the rank of simple citizens. It confiscated the vast landed estates of the church, which embraced nearly one-third of France. It abolished the tithes and the unequal taxes, which had made the clergy and nobles rich and the people poor. At a later date, in the madness of reaction, it enthroned the Goddess of Reason and sought to abolish religion and all the time-honored institutions of the past.

The Revolution grew, month by month and day by day. New and more radical laws were passed; moss-grown abuses were swept away in an hour’s sitting; the king, who sought to escape, was seized and held as a hostage; and war was boldly declared against Austria and Prussia, which showed a disposition to interfere. In November, 1792, the French army gained a brilliant victory at Jemmapes, in Belgium, which eventually led to the conquest of that kingdom by France. It was the first important event in the career of victory which in the coming years was to make France glorious in the annals of war.

The hapless wife of Louis XVI, of France, imprisoned during the Revolution in the prisons of the Temple and Conciergerie, separated from her family and friends, and treated to great indignities, died at length under the knife of the guillotine, October 16, 1793.
Rivoli is a village of Venetia, Italy, on the western bank of the Adige; population, about 1,000. On January 14 and 15, 1797, Napoleon Bonaparte here, in his first campaign as commander-in-chief, gained a great victory over the Austrians commanded by Alvinczy, who lost 20,000 prisoners.
King and Queen Under the Guillotine

The hostility of the surrounding nations added to the revolutionary fury in France. Armies were marching to the rescue of the king, and the unfortunate monarch was seized, reviled and insulted by the mob, and incarcerated in the prison called the Temple. The queen, Marie Antoinette, daughter of the Emperor of Austria, was likewise haled from the palace to the prison. In the following year, 1793, king and queen alike were taken to the guillotine and their royal heads fell into the fatal basket. The Revolution was consummated, the monarchy was at an end, France had fallen into the hands of the people, and from them it descended into the hands of a ruthless and blood-thirsty mob.

The Reign of Terror

At the head of this mob of revolutionists stood three men, Danton, Marat, and Robespierre, the triumvirate of the Reign of Terror, under which all safety ceased in France, and all those against whom the least breath of suspicion arose were crowded into prison, from which hosts of them made their way to the dreadful knife of the guillotine. Multitudes of the rich and noble had fled from France, among them Lafayette, the friend and aid of Washington in the American Revolution, and Talleyrand, the acute statesman who was to play a prominent part in later French history.

Marat, the most savage of the triumvirate, was slain in July, 1793, by the knife of Charlotte Corday, a young woman of pious training, who offered herself as the instrument of God for the removal of this infamous monster. His death rather added to than stayed the tide of blood, and in April, 1794, Danton, who sought to check its flow, fell a victim to his ferocious associate. But the Reign of Terror was nearing its end. In July the Assembly awoke from its stupor of fear, Robespierre was denounced, seized, and executed, and the frightful carnival of bloodshed came to an end. The work of the National Assembly had been fully consummated; Feudalism was at an end, monarchy in France had ceased, and a republic had taken its place, and a new era for Europe had dawned.

The Wars of the French Revolution

Meanwhile a foreign war was being waged. England had formed a coalition with most of the nations of Europe, and France was threatened by land with the troops of Holland, Prussia, Austria, Spain and Portugal, and by sea with the fleet of Great Britain. The incompetency of her assailants saved her from destruction. Her generals who lost battles were sent to prison or to the guillotine, the whole country rose as one man in defence, and a number of brilliant victories drove her enemies from her borders and gave the armies of France a position beyond the Rhine.

These wars soon brought a great man to the front, Napoleon Bonaparte, a son of Corsica, with whose nineteenth century career we shall deal at length in the following chapters, but of whose earlier exploits something must be said here. His career fairly began in 1794, when, under the orders of the National Convention—the successor of the National Assembly—he quelled the mob in the streets of Paris with loaded cannon and put a final end to the Terror which had so long prevailed.

Placed at the head of the French army in Italy, he quickly astonished the world by a series of the most brilliant victories, defeating the Austrians and the Sardinians wherever he met them, seizing Venice, the city of the lagoon, and forcing almost all Italy to submit to his arms. A republic was established here and a new one in Switzerland, while Belgium and the left bank of the Rhine were held by France.

Napoleon in Italy and Egypt.

His wars here at an end, Napoleon’s ambition led him to Egypt, inspired by great designs which he failed to realize. In his absence anarchy arose in France. The five Directors, then at the head of the Government, had lost all authority, and Napoleon, who had unexpectedly returned, did not hesitate to overthrow them and the Assembly which supported them. A new government, with three Consuls at its head, was formed, Napoleon as First Consul holding almost royal power. Thus France stood in 1800, at the end of the Eighteenth Century.

England as a Centre of Industry and Commerce.

In the remainder of Europe there was nothing to compare with the momentous convulsion which had taken place in France. England had gone through its two revolutions more than a century before, and its people were the freest of any in Europe. Recently it had lost its colonies in America, but it still held in that continent the broad domain of Canada, and was building for itself a new empire in India, while founding colonies in twenty other lands. In commerce and manufactures it entered the nineteenth century as the greatest nation on the earth. The hammer and the loom resounded from end to end of the island, mighty centres of industry arose where cattle had grazed a century before, coal and iron were being torn in great quantities from the depths of the earth, and there seemed everywhere an endless bustle and whirr. The ships of England haunted all seas and visited the most remote ports, laden with the products of her workshops and bringing back raw material for her factories and looms. Wealth accumulated, London became the money market of the world, the riches and prosperity of the island kingdom were growing to be a parable among the nations of the earth.

On the continent of Europe, Prussia, which has now grown so great, had recently emerged from its mediæval feebleness, mainly under the powerful hand of Frederick the Great, whose reign extended until 1786, and whose ambition, daring, and military genius made him a fitting predecessor of Napoleon the Great, who so soon succeeded him in the annals of war. Unscrupulous in his aims, this warrior king had torn Silesia from Austria, added to his kingdom a portion of unfortunate Poland, annexed the principality of East Friesland, and lifted Prussia into a leading position among the European states.

The Condition of the German States

Germany, now—with the exception of Austria—a compact empire, was then a series of disconnected states, variously known as kingdoms, principalities, margravates, electorates, and by other titles, the whole forming the so-called Holy Empire, though it was “neither holy nor an empire.” It had drifted down in this fashion from the Middle Ages, and the work of consolidation had but just begun, in the conquests of Frederick the Great. A host of petty potentates ruled the land, whose states, aside from Prussia and Austria, were too weak to have a voice in the councils of Europe. Joseph II., the titular emperor of Germany, made an earnest and vigorous effort to combine its elements into a powerful unit; but he signally failed, and died in 1790, a disappointed and embittered man.

Austria, then far the most powerful of the German states, was from 1740 to 1780 under the reign of a woman, Maria Theresa, who struggled in vain against her ambitious neighbor, Frederick the Great, his kingdom being extended ruthlessly at the expense of her imperial dominions. Austria remained a great country, however, including Bohemia and Hungary among its domains. It was lord of Lombardy and Venice in Italy, and was destined to play an important but unfortunate part in the coming Napoleonic wars.

Dissension in Italy and Decay in Spain

The peninsula of Italy, the central seat of the great Roman Empire, was, at the opening of the nineteenth century, as sadly broken up as Germany, a dozen weak states taking the place of the one strong one that the good of the people demanded. The independent cities of the mediæval period no longer held sway, and we hear no more of wars between Florence, Genoa, Milan, Pisa and Rome; but the country was still made up of minor states—Lombardy, Venice and Sardinia in the north, Naples in the south, Rome in the centre, and various smaller kingdoms and dukedoms between. The peninsula was a prey to turmoil and dissension. Germany and France had made it their fighting ground for centuries, Spain had filled the south with her armies, and the country had been miserably torn and rent by these frequent wars and those between state and state, and was in a condition to welcome the coming of Napoleon, whose strong hand for the time promised the blessing of peace and union.

Spain, not many centuries before the greatest nation in Europe, and, as such, the greatest nation on the globe, had miserably declined in power and place at the opening of the nineteenth century. Under the emperor Charles I. it had been united with Germany, while its colonies embraced two-thirds of the great continent of America. Under Philip II. it continued powerful in Europe, but with his death its decay set in. Intolerance checked its growth in civilization, the gold brought from America was swept away by more enterprising states, its strength was sapped by a succession of feeble monarchs, and from first place it fell into a low rank among the nations of Europe. It still held its vast colonial area, but this proved a source of weakness rather than of strength, and the people of the colonies, exasperated by injustice and oppression, were ready for the general revolt which was soon to take place. Spain presented the aspect of a great nation ruined by its innate vices, impoverished by official venality and the decline of industry, and fallen into the dry rot of advancing decay.

The Partition of Poland by the Robber Nations.

Of the nations of Europe which had once played a prominent part, one was on the point of being swept from the map. The name of Poland, which formerly stood for a great power, now stands only for a great crime. The misrule of the kings, the turbulence of the nobility, and the enslavement of the people had brought that state into such a condition of decay that it lay like a rotten log amid the powers of Europe.

The ambitious nations surrounding—Russia, Austria, and Prussia—took advantage of its weakness, and in 1772 each of them seized the portion of Poland that bordered on its own territories. In the remainder of the kingdom the influence of Russia grew so great that the Russian ambassador at Warsaw became the real ruler in Poland. A struggle against Russia began in 1792, Kosciusko, a brave soldier who had fought under Washington in America, being at the head of the patriots. But the weakness of the king tied the hands of the soldiers, the Polish patriots left their native land in despair, and in the following year Prussia and Russia made a further division of the state, Russia seizing a broad territory with more than 3,000,000 inhabitants.

In 1794 a new outbreak began. The patriots returned and a desperate struggle took place. But Poland was doomed. Suvoroff, the greatest of the Russian generals, swept the land with fire and sword. Kosciusko fell wounded, crying, “Poland’s end has come,” and Warsaw was taken and desolated by its assailants. The patriot was right; the end had come. What remained of Poland was divided up between Austria, Prussia, and Russia, and only a name remained.

Russia and Turkey.

There are two others of the powers of Europe of which we must speak, Russia and Turkey. Until the seventeenth century Russia had been a domain of barbarians, weak and disunited, and for a long period the vassal of the savage Mongol conquerors of Asia. Under Peter the Great (1689–1725) it rose into power and prominence, took its place among civilized states, and began that career of conquest and expansion which is still going on. At the end of the eighteenth century it was under the rule of Catharine II., often miscalled Catharine the Great, who died in 1796, just as Napoleon was beginning his career. Her greatness lay in the ability of her generals, who defeated Turkey and conquered the Crimea, and who added the greater part of Poland to her empire. Her strength of mind and decision of character were not shared by her successor, Paul I., and Russia entered the nineteenth century under the weakest sovereign of the Romanoff line.

Turkey, once the terror of Europe, and sending its armies into the heart of Austria, was now confined within the boundaries it had long before won, and had begun its long struggle for existence with its powerful neighbor, Russia. At the beginning of the nineteenth century it was still a powerful state, with a wide domain in Europe, and continued to defy the Christians who coveted its territory and sought its overthrow. But the canker-worm of a weak and barbarous government was at its heart, while its cruel treatment of its Christian subjects exasperated the strong powers of Europe and invited their armed interference.

As regards the world outside of Europe and America, no part of it had yet entered the circle of modern civilization. Africa was an almost unknown continent; Asia was little better known; and the islands of the Eastern seas were still in process of discovery. Japan, which was approaching its period of manumission from barbarism, was still closed to the world, and China lay like a huge and helpless bulk, fast in the fetters of conservatism and blind self-sufficiency.

Napoleon Bonaparte; The Man of Destiny.

The first fifteen years of the nineteenth century in Europe yield us the history of a man, rather than of a continent. France was the centre of Europe; Napoleon, the Corsican, was the centre of France. All the affairs of all the nations seemed to gather around this genius of war. He was respected, feared, hated; he had risen with the suddenness of a thundercloud on a clear horizon, and flashed the lightnings of victory in the dazzled eyes of the nations. All the events of the period were concentrated into one great event, and the name of that event was Napoleon. He seemed incarnate war, organized destruction; sword in hand he dominated the nations, and victory sat on his banners with folded wings. He was, in a full sense, the man of destiny, and Europe was his prey.

A Remarkable Man and a Wonderful Career

Never has there been a more wonderful career. The earlier great conquerors began life at the top; Napoleon began his at the bottom. Alexander was a king; Cæsar was an aristocrat of the Roman republic; Napoleon rose from the people, and was not even a native of the land which became the scene of his exploits. Pure force of military genius lifted him from the lowest to the highest place among mankind, and for long and terrible years Europe shuddered at his name and trembled beneath the tread of his marching legions. As for France, he brought it glory, and left it ruin and dismay.

We have briefly epitomized Napoleon’s early career, his doings in the Revolution, in Italy, and in Egypt, unto the time that France’s worship of his military genius raised him to the rank of First Consul, and gave him in effect the power of a king. No one dared question his word, the army was at his beck and call, the nation lay prostrate at his feet—not in fear but in admiration. Such was the state of affairs in France in the closing year of the eighteenth century. The Revolution was at an end; the Republic existed only as a name; Napoleon was the autocrat of France and the terror of Europe. From this point we resume the story of his career.

The Enemies and Friends of France.

The First Consul began his reign with two enemies in the field, England and Austria. Prussia was neutral, and he had won the friendship of Paul, the emperor of Russia, by a shrewd move. While the other nations refused to exchange the Russian prisoners they held, Napoleon sent home 6,000 of these captives, newly clad and armed, under their own leaders, and without demanding ransom. This was enough to win to his side the weak-minded Paul, whose delight in soldiers he well knew.

Napoleon now had but two enemies in arms to deal with. He wrote letters to the king of England and the emperor of Austria, offering peace. The answers were cold and insulting, asking France to take back her Bourbon kings and return to her old boundaries. Nothing remained but war. Napoleon prepared for it with his usual rapidity, secrecy, and keenness of judgment.

There were two French armies in the field in the spring of 1800, Moreau commanding in Germany, Massena in Italy. Switzerland, which was occupied by the French, divided the armies of the enemy, and Napoleon determined to take advantage of the separation of their forces, and strike an overwhelming blow. He sent word to Moreau and Massena to keep the enemy in check at any cost, and secretly gathered a third army, whose corps were dispersed here and there, while the powers of Europe were aware only of the army of reserve at Dijon, made up of conscripts and invalids.

Movements of the Armies in Germany and Italy

Meanwhile the armies in Italy and Germany were doing their best to obey orders. Massena was attacked by the Austrians before he could concentrate his troops, his army was cut in two, and he was forced to fall back upon Genoa, in which city he was closely besieged, with a fair prospect of being conquered by starvation if not soon relieved. Moreau was more fortunate. He defeated the Austrians in a series of battles and drove them back on Ulm, where he blockaded them in their camp. All was ready for the great movement which Napoleon had in view.

Twenty centuries before Hannibal had led his army across the great mountain barrier of the Alps, and poured down like an avalanche upon the fertile plains of Italy. The Corsican determined to repeat this brilliant achievement and emulate Hannibal’s career. Several passes across the mountains seemed favorable to his purpose, especially those of the St. Bernard, the Simplon and Mont Cenis. Of these the first was the most difficult; but it was much the shorter, and Napoleon determined to lead the main body of his army over this ice-covered mountain pass, despite its dangers and difficulties. The enterprise was one to deter any man less bold than Hannibal or Napoleon, but it was welcome to the hardihood and daring of these men, who rejoiced in the seemingly impossible and spurned at hardships and perils.

Napoleon Crosses the Alps at St. Bernard Pass

The task of the Corsican was greater than that of the Carthaginian. He had cannon to transport, while Hannibal’s men carried only swords and spears. But the genius of Napoleon was equal to the task. The cannon were taken from their carriages and placed in the hollowed-out trunks of trees, which could be dragged with ropes over the ice and snow. Mules were used to draw the gun-carriages and the wagon-loads of food and munitions of war. Stores of provisions had been placed at suitable points along the road.

Thus prepared, Napoleon, on the 16th of May, 1800, began his remarkable march, while smaller divisions of the army were sent over the Simplon, the St. Gothard and Mont Cenis passes. It was an arduous enterprise. The mules proved unequal to the task given to them; the peasants refused to aid in this severe work; the soldiers were obliged to harness themselves to the cannon, and drag them by main strength over the rocky and ice-covered mountain path. The First Consul rode on a mule at the head of the rear-guard, serene and cheerful, chatting with his guide as with a friend, and keeping up the courage of the soldiers by his own indomitable spirit.

A few hours’ rest at the hospice of St. Bernard, and the descent was begun, an enterprise even more difficult than the ascent. For five days the dread journey continued, division following division, corps succeeding corps. The point of greatest peril was reached at Aosta, where, on a precipitous rock, stood the little Austrian fort of Bard, its artillery commanding the narrow defile.

It was night when the vanguard reached this threatening spot. It was passed in dead silence, tow being wrapped round the wheels of the carriages and a layer of straw and refuse spread on the frozen ground, while the troops followed a narrow path over the neighboring mountains. By daybreak the passage was made and the danger at an end.

The Situation in Italy

The sudden appearance of the French in Italy was an utter surprise to the Austrians. They descended like a torrent into the valley, seized Ivry, and five days after reaching Italy met and repulsed an Austrian force. The divisions which had crossed by other passes one by one joined Napoleon. Melas, the Austrian commander, was warned of the danger that impended, but refused to credit the seemingly preposterous story. His men were scattered, some besieging Massena, in Genoa, some attacking Suchet on the Var. His danger was imminent, for Napoleon, leaving Massena to starve in Genoa, had formed the design of annihilating the Austrian army at one tremendous blow.

The renowned exploit of Hannibal leading an army across the lofty and frozen passes of the Alps, was emulated by Napoleon in 1800, when he led his army across the St. Bernard Pass, descended like a torrent on the Austrians in Italy, and defeated them in the great battle of Marengo.
Strange thoughts must have passed through the mind of him soon to be Emperor of France, in gazing on the shriveled form of one of the great monarchs of old Egypt. Did he not ask himself then: what are glory and power worth, if this is the end of kingly greatness?

The people of Lombardy, weary of the Austrian yoke, and hoping for liberty under the rule of France, received the new-comers with transport, and lent them what aid they could. On June 9th, Marshall Lannes met and defeated the Austrians at Montebello, after a hot engagement. “I heard the bones crackle like a hailstorm on the roofs,” he said. On the 14th, the two armies met on the plain of Marengo, and one of the most famous of Napoleon’s battles began.

The Famous Field of Marengo

Napoleon was not ready for the coming battle, and was taken by surprise. He had been obliged to break up his army in order to guard all the passages open to the enemy. When he entered, on the 13th, the plain between the Scrivia and the Bormida, near the little village of Marengo, he was ignorant of the movements of the Austrians, and was not expecting the onset of Melas, who, on the following morning, crossed the Bormida by three bridges, and made a fierce assault upon the divisions of generals Victor and Lannes. Victor was vigorously attacked and driven back, and Marengo was destroyed by the Austrian cannon. Lannes was surrounded by overwhelming numbers, and, fighting furiously, was forced to retreat. In the heat of the battle Bonaparte reached the field with his guard and his staff, and found himself in the thick of the terrific affray and his army virtually beaten.

The retreat continued. It was impossible to check it. The enemy pressed enthusiastically forward. The army was in imminent danger of being cut in two. But Napoleon, with obstinate persistence, kept up the fight, hoping for some change in the perilous situation. Melas, on the contrary,—an old man, weary of his labors, and confident in the seeming victory,—withdrew to his headquarters at Alessandria, whence he sent off despatches to the effect that the terrible Corsican had at length met defeat.

He did not know his man. Napoleon sent an aide-de-camp in all haste after Desaix, one of his most trusted generals, who had just returned from Egypt, and whose corps he had detached towards Novi. All depended upon his rapid return. Without Desaix the battle was lost. Fortunately the alert general did not wait for the messenger. His ears caught the sound of distant cannon and, scenting danger, he marched back with the utmost speed.

Napoleon met his welcome officer with eyes of joy and hope. “You see the situation,” he said, rapidly explaining the state of affairs. “What is to be done?”

A Great Battle Lost and Won

“It is a lost battle,” Desaix replied. “But there are some hours of daylight yet. We have time to win another.”

While he talked with the commander, his regiments had hastily formed, and now presented a threatening front to the Austrians. Their presence gave new spirit to the retreating troops.

“Soldiers and friends,” cried Napoleon to them, “remember that it is my custom to sleep upon the field of battle.”

Back upon their foes turned the retreating troops, with new animation, and checked the victorious Austrians. Desaix hurried to his men and placed himself at their head.

“Go and tell the First Consul that I am about to charge,” he said to an aide. “I need to be supported by cavalry.”

A few minutes afterwards, as he was leading his troops irresistibly forward, a ball struck him in the breast, inflicting a mortal wound. “I have been too long making war in Africa; the bullets of Europe know me no more,” he sadly said. “Conceal my death from the men; it might rob them of spirit.”

The soldiers had seen him fall, but, instead of being dispirited, they were filled with fury, and rushed forward furiously to avenge their beloved leader. At the same time Kellermann arrived with his dragoons, impetuously hurled them upon the Austrian cavalry, broke through their columns, and fell upon the grenadiers who were wavering before the troops of Desaix. It was a death-stroke. The cavalry and infantry together swept them back in a disorderly retreat. One whole corps, hopeless of escape, threw down its arms and surrendered. The late victorious army was everywhere in retreat. The Austrians were crowded back upon the Bormida, here blocking the bridges, there flinging themselves into the stream, on all sides flying from the victorious French. The cannon stuck in the muddy stream and were left to the victors. When Melas, apprised of the sudden change in the aspect of affairs, hurried back in dismay to the field, the battle was irretrievably lost, and General Zach, his representative in command, was a prisoner in the hands of the French. The field was strewn with thousands of the dead. The slain Desaix and the living Kellermann had turned the Austrian victory into defeat and saved Napoleon.

The Result of the Victory of Marengo

A few days afterwards, on the 19th, Moreau in Germany won a brilliant victory at Hochstadt, near Blenheim, took 5,000 prisoners and twenty pieces of cannon, and forced from the Austrians an armed truce which left him master of South Germany. A still more momentous armistice was signed by Melas in Italy, by which the Austrians surrendered Piedmont, Lombardy, and all their territory as far as the Mincio, leaving France master of Italy. Melas protested against these severe terms, but Napoleon was immovable.

“I did not begin to make war yesterday,” he said. “I know your situation. You are out of provisions, encumbered with the dead, wounded, and sick, and surrounded on all sides. I could exact everything. I ask only what the situation of affairs demands. I have no other terms to offer.”

Napoleon Returns to France

During the night of the 2d and 3d of July, Napoleon re-entered Paris, which he had left less than two months before. Brilliant ovations met him on his route, and all France would have prostrated itself at his feet had he permitted. He came crowned with the kind of glory which is especially dear to the French, that gained on field of battle.

Five months afterwards, Austria having refused to make peace without the concurrence of England, and the truce being at an end, another famous victory was added to the list of those which were being inscribed upon the annals of France. On the 3d of December the veterans under Moreau met an Austrian army under the Archduke John, on the plain of Hohenlinden, across which ran the small river Iser.

Moreau and the Great Battle of Hohenlinden

The Austrians marched through the forest of Hohenlinden, looking for no resistance, and unaware that Moreau’s army awaited their exit. As they left the shelter of the trees and debouched upon the plain, they were attacked by the French in force. Two divisions had been despatched to take them in the rear, and Moreau held back his men to give them the necessary time. The snow was falling in great flakes, yet through it his keen eyes saw some signs of confusion in the hostile ranks.

“Richepanse has struck them in the rear,” he said, “the time has come to charge.”

Ney rushed forward at the head of his troops, driving the enemy in confusion before him. The centre of the Austrian army was hemmed in between the two forces. Decaen had struck their left wing in the rear and forced it back upon the Inn. Their right was driven into the valley. The day was lost to the Austrians, whose killed and wounded numbered 8,000, while the French had taken 12,000 prisoners and eighty-seven pieces of cannon.

The victorious French advanced, sweeping back all opposition, until Vienna, the Austrian capital, lay before them, only a few leagues away. His staff officers urged Moreau to take possession of the city.

“That would be a fine thing to do, no doubt,” he said; “but to my fancy to dictate terms of peace will be a finer thing still.”

The Peace of Luneville

The Austrians were ready for peace at any price. On Christmas day, 1800, an armistice was signed which delivered to the French the valley of the Danube, the country of the Tyrol, a number of fortresses, and immense magazines of war materials. The war continued in Italy till the end of December, when a truce was signed there and the conflict was at an end.

Thus the nineteenth century dawned with France at truce with all her foes except Great Britain. In February, 1801, a treaty of peace between Austria and France was signed at Luneville, in which the valley of the Etsch and the Rhine was acknowledged as the boundary of France. Austria was forced to relinquish all her possessions in Italy, except the city of Venice and a portion of Venetia; all the remainder of North Italy falling into the hands of France. Europe was at peace with the exception of the hostile relations still existing between England and France.

The Peace of Amiens

The war between these two countries was mainly confined to Egypt, where remained the army which Napoleon had left in his hasty return to France. As it became evident in time that neither the British land forces nor the Turkish troops could overcome the French veterans in the valley of the Nile, a treaty was arranged which stipulated that the French soldiers, 24,000 in all, should be taken home in English ships, with their arms and ammunition, Egypt being given back to the rule of the Sultan. This was followed by the peace of Amiens (March 27, 1802), between England and France, and the long war was, for the time, at an end. Napoleon had conquered peace.

During the period of peaceful relations that followed Napoleon was by no means at rest. His mind was too active to yield him long intervals of leisure. There was much to be done in France in sweeping away the traces of the revolutionary insanity. One of the first cares of the Consul was to restore the Christian worship in the French churches and to abolish the Republican festivals. But he had no intention of giving the church back its old power and placing another kingship beside his own. He insisted that the French church should lose its former supremacy and sink to the position of a servant of the Pope and of the temporal sovereign of France.

Establishing his court as First Consul in the Tuileries, Napoleon began to bring back the old court fashions and etiquette, and attempted to restore the monarchical customs and usages. The elegance of royalty reappeared, and it seemed almost as if monarchy had been restored.

A further step towards the restoration of the kingship was soon taken. Napoleon, as yet Consul only for ten years, had himself appointed Consul for life, with the power of naming his successor. He was king now in everything but the name. But he was not suffered to wear his new honor in safety. His ambition had aroused the anger of the republicans, conspiracies rose around him, and more than once his life was in danger. On his way to the opera house an infernal machine was exploded, killing several persons but leaving him unhurt.

Pope Pius VII, at the request, almost the command, of Napoleon, came from Rome to France in 1804 to crown the great conqueror Emperor of the French. He was very ceremoniously received by Napoleon, and treated with every outward show of honor. Years afterwards he was brought to France and forced to reside there, as the virtual captive of the Emperor.

The Punishment of the Conspirators and the Assassination of the Duke d’Enghien

Other plots were organized, and Fouché, the police-agent of the time, was kept busy in seeking the plotters, for whom there was brief mercy when found. Even Moreau, the victor at Hohenlinden, accused of negotiating with the conspirators, was disgraced, and exiled himself from France. Napoleon dealt with his secret enemies with the same ruthless energy as he did with his foes in the field of battle.

His rage at the attempts upon his life, indeed, took a form that has been universally condemned. The Duke d’Enghien, a royalist French nobleman, grandson of the Prince of Condé, who was believed by Napoleon to be the soul of the royalist conspiracies, ventured too near the borders of France, and was seized in foreign territory, taken in haste to Paris, and shot without form of law or a moment’s opportunity for defence. The outrage excited the deepest indignation throughout Europe. No name was given it but murder, and the historians of to-day speak of the act by no other title.

The opinion of the world had little effect upon Napoleon. He was a law unto himself. The death of one man or of a thousand men weighed nothing to him where his safety or his ambition was concerned. Men were the pawns he used in the great game of empire, and he heeded not how many of them were sacrificed so that he won the game.

Napoleon Crowned Emperor of the French

The culmination of his ambition came in 1804, when the hope he had long secretly cherished, that of gaining the imperial dignity was realized. He imitated the example of Cæsar, the Roman conqueror, in seeking the crown as a reward for his victories, and was elected emperor of the French by an almost unanimous vote. That the sanction of the church might be obtained for the new dignity, the Pope was constrained to come to Paris, and there anointed him emperor on December 2, 1804.

The new emperor hastened to restore the old insignia of royalty. He surrounded himself with a brilliant court, brought back the discarded titles of nobility, named the members of his family princes and princesses, and sought to banish every vestige of republican simplicity. Ten years before he had begun his career in the streets of Paris by sweeping away with cannon-shot the mob that rose in support of the Reign of Terror. Now he had swept away the Republic of France and founded a French empire, with himself at its head as Napoleon I.

But though royalty was restored, it was not a royalty of the old type. Feudalism was at an end. The revolution had destroyed the last relics of that effete and abominable system, and it was an empire on new and modern lines which Napoleon had founded, a royalty voted into existence by a free people, not resting upon a nation of slaves.

The Great Works Devised By the New Emperor

The new emperor did not seek to enjoy in leisure his new dignity. His restless mind impelled him to broad schemes of public improvement. He sought glory in peace as actively as in war. Important changes were made in the management of the finances in order to provide the great sums needed for the government, the army, and the state. Vast contracts were made for road and canal building, and ambitious architectural labors were set in train. Churches were erected, the Pantheon was completed, triumphal arches were built, two new bridges were thrown over the Seine, the Louvre was ordered to be finished, the Bourse to be constructed, and a temple consecrated to the exploits of the army (now the church of the Madeleine) to be built. Thousands of workmen were kept busy in erecting these monuments to his glory, and all France resounded with his fame.

Among the most important of these evidences of his activity of intellect was the formation of the Code Napoleon, the first organized code of French law, and still the basis of jurisprudence in France. First promulgated in 1801, as the Civil Code of France, its title was changed to the Code Napoleon in 1804, and as such it stands as one of the greatest monuments raised by Napoleon to his glory. Thus the Consul, and subsequently the Emperor, usefully occupied himself in the brief intervals between his almost incessant wars.

Europe in the Grasp of the Iron Hand.

England Declares War

The peace of Amiens, which for an interval left France without an open enemy in Europe, did not long continue. England failed to carry out one of the main provisions of this treaty, holding on to the island of Malta in despite of the French protests. The feeling between the two nations soon grew bitter, and in 1803 England again declared war against France. William Pitt, the unyielding foe of Napoleon, came again to the head of the ministry in 1804, and displayed all his old activity in organizing coalitions against the hated Corsican. The war thus declared was to last, so far as England was concerned, until Napoleon was driven from his throne. It was conducted by the English mainly through the aid of money paid to their European allies, and the activity of their fleet. The British Channel remained an insuperable obstacle to Napoleon in his conflict with his island foe, and the utmost he could do in the way of revenge was to launch his armies against the allies of Great Britain, and to occupy Hanover, the domain of the English king on the continent. This he hastened to do.

Great Preparations for the Invasion of England

The immunity of his persistent enemy was more than the proud conqueror felt disposed to endure. Hitherto he had triumphed over all his foes in the field. Should these haughty islanders contemn his power and defy his armies? He determined to play the role of William of Normandy, centuries before, and attack them on their own shores. This design he had long entertained, and began actively to prepare for as soon as war was declared. An army was encamped at Boulogne, and a great flotilla prepared to convey it across the narrow sea. The war material gathered was enormous in quantity; the army numbered 120,000 men, with 10,000 horses; 1,800 gunboats of various kinds were ready; only the support of the fleet was awaited to enable the crossing to be achieved in safety.

We need not dwell further upon this great enterprise, since it failed to yield any result. The French admiral whose concurrence was depended upon took sick and died, and the great expedition was necessarily postponed. Before new plans could be laid the indefatigable Pitt had succeeded in organizing a fresh coalition in Europe, and Napoleon found full employment for his army on the continent.

In April, 1805, a treaty of alliance was made between England and Russia. On the 9th of August, Austria joined this alliance. Sweden subsequently gave in her adhesion, and Prussia alone remained neutral among the great powers. But the allies were mistaken if they expected to take the astute Napoleon unawares. He had foreseen this combination, and, while keeping the eyes of all Europe fixed upon his great preparations at Boulogne, he was quietly but effectively laying his plans for the expected campaign.

Rapid March on Austria

The Austrians had hastened to take the field, marching an army into Bavaria and forcing the Elector, the ally of Napoleon, to fly from his capital. The French emperor was seemingly taken by surprise, and apparently was in no haste, the Austrians having made much progress before he left his palace at Saint Cloud. But meanwhile his troops were quietly but rapidly in motion, converging from all points towards the Rhine, and by the end of September seven divisions of the army, commanded by Napoleon’s ablest Generals,—Ney, Murat, Lannes, Soult and others,—were across that stream and marching rapidly upon the enemy. Bernadotte led his troops across Prussian territory in disdain of the neutrality of that power, and thereby gave such offence to King Frederick William as to turn his mind decidedly in favor of joining the coalition.

The Surrender of General Mack

Early in October the French held both banks of the Danube, and before the month’s end they had gained a notable triumph. Mack, one of the Austrian commanders, with remarkable lack of judgment, held his army in the fortress of Ulm while the swiftly advancing French were cutting off every avenue of retreat, and surrounding his troops. An extraordinary result followed. Ney, on the 14th, defeated the Austrians at Elchingen, cutting off Mack from the main army and shutting him up hopelessly in Ulm. Five days afterwards the despairing and incapable general surrendered his army as prisoners of war. Twenty-three thousand soldiers laid their weapons and banners at Napoleon’s feet and eighteen generals remained as prisoners in his hands. It was a triumph which in its way atoned for a great naval disaster which took place on the succeeding day, when Nelson, the English admiral, attacked and destroyed the whole French fleet at Trafalgar.

The succeeding events, to the great battle that closed the campaign, may be epitomized. An Austrian army had been dispatched to Italy under the brave and able Archduke Charles. Here Marshal Massena commanded the French and a battle took place near Caldiero on October 30th. The Austrians fought stubbornly, but could not withstand the impetuosity of the French, and were forced to retreat and abandon northern Italy to Massena and his men.

The greatest sea fight in history is represented by the above engraving. It was off Cape Trafalgar, southern coast of Spain, that Lord Nelson met and defeated the combined French and Spanish fleets, vastly his superior in number of vessels and men. This victory sounded the key note in the decline of Napoleon’s power and changed the destiny of Europe. “It is glorious to die in the moment of victory.” Nelson fell and died as he heard the words telling him that the naval power of France and Spain were destroyed and he gained at once the double honor of victory and Westminster Abbey.
General Murat was the Sheridan of France, the most dashing and daring cavalry leader in Napoleon’s armies. Napoleon said of him: “It was really a magnificent sight to see him in battle, heading the cavalry.” At Jena he played an efficient part in breaking the ranks of the Prussians.

In the north the king of Prussia, furious at the violation of his neutral territory by the French under Bernadotte, gave free passage to the Russian and Swedish troops, and formed a league of friendship with the Czar Alexander. He then dispatched his minister Haugwitz to Napoleon, with a demand that concealed a threat, requiring him, as a basis of peace, to restore the former treaties in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Holland.

With utter disregard of this demand Napoleon advanced along the Danube towards the Austrian states, meeting and defeating the Austrians and Russians in a series of sanguinary conflicts. The Russian army was the most ably commanded, and its leader Kutusoff led it backward in slow but resolute retreat, fighting only when attacked. The French under Mortier were caught isolated on the left bank of the Danube, and fiercely assailed by the Russians, losing heavily before they could be reinforced.

The Advance on Vienna

Despite all resistance, the French continued to advance, Murat soon reaching and occupying Vienna, the Austrian capital, from which the emperor had hastily withdrawn. Still the retreat and pursuit continued, the allies retiring to Moravia, whither the French, laden with an immense booty from their victories, rapidly followed. Futile negotiations for peace succeeded, and on the 1st of December, the two armies, both concentrated in their fullest strength (92,000 of the allies to 70,000 French) came face to face on the field of Austerlitz, where on the following day was to be fought one of the memorable battles in the history of the world.

The Eve Before Austerlitz

The Emperor Alexander had joined Francis of Austria, and the two monarchs, with their staff officers, occupied the castle and village of Austerlitz. Their troops hastened to occupy the plateau of Pratzen, which Napoleon had designedly left free. His plans of battle was already fully made. He had, with the intuition of genius, foreseen the probable manœuvers of the enemy, and had left open for them the position which he wished them to occupy. He even announced their movement in a proclamation to his troops.

“The positions that we occupy are formidable,” he said, “and while the enemy march to turn my right they will present to me their flank.”

This movement to the right was indeed the one that had been decided upon by the allies, with the purpose of cutting off the road to Vienna by isolating numerous corps dispersed in Austria and Styria. It had been shrewdly divined by Napoleon in choosing his ground.

The fact that the 2d of December was the anniversary of the coronation of their emperor filled the French troops with ardor. They celebrated it by making great torches of the straw which formed their beds and illuminating their camp. Early the next morning the allies began their projected movement. To the joy of Napoleon his prediction was fulfilled, they were advancing towards his right. He felt sure that the victory was in his hands.

The Greatest of Napoleon’s Victories

He held his own men in readiness while the line of the enemy deployed. The sun was rising, its rays gleaming through a mist, which dispersed as it rose higher. It now poured its brilliant beams across the field, the afterward famous “sun of Austerlitz.” The movement of the allies had the effect of partly withdrawing their troops from the plateau of Pratzen. At a signal from the emperor the strongly concentrated centre of the French army moved forward in a dense mass, directing their march towards the plateau, which they made all haste to occupy. They had reached the foot of the hill before the rising mist revealed them to the enemy.

The two emperors watched the movement without divining its intent. “See how the French climb the height without staying to reply to our fire,” said Prince Czartoryski, who stood near them.

The emperors were soon to learn why their fire was disdained. Their marching columns, thrown out one after another on the slope, found themselves suddenly checked in their movement, and cut off from the two wings of the army. The allied force had been pierced in its centre, which was flung back in disorder, in spite of the efforts of Kutusoff to send it aid. At the same time Davout faced the Russians on the right, and Murat and Lannes attacked the Russian and Austrian squadrons on the left, while Kellermann’s light cavalry dispersed the squadrons of the Uhlans.

The Russian guard, checked in its movement, turned towards Pratzen, in a desperate effort to retrieve the fortune of the day. It was incautiously pursued by a French battalion, which soon found itself isolated and in danger. Napoleon perceived its peril and hastily sent Rapp to its support, with the Mamelukes and the chasseurs of the guard. They rushed forward with energy and quickly drove back the enemy, Prince Repnin remaining a prisoner in their hands.

The day was lost to the allies. Everywhere disorder prevailed and their troops were in retreat. An isolated Russian division threw down its arms and surrendered. Two columns were forced back beyond the marshes. The soldiers rushed in their flight upon the ice of the lake, which the intense cold had made thick enough to bear their weight.

The Dreadful Lake Horror

And now a terrible scene was witnessed. War is merciless; death is its aim; the slaughter of an enemy by any means is looked upon as admissible. By Napoleon’s order the French cannon were turned upon the lake. Their plunging balls rent and splintered the ice under the feet of the crowd of fugitives. Soon it broke with a crash, and the unhappy soldiers, with shrill cries of despair, sunk to death in the chilling waters beneath, thousands of them perishing. It was a frightful expedient—one that would be deemed a crime in any other code than the merciless one of war.

A portion of the allied army made a perilous retreat along a narrow embankment which separated the two lakes of Melnitz and Falnitz, their exposed causeway swept by the fire of the French batteries. Of the whole army, the corps of Prince Bagration alone withdrew in order of battle.

All that dreadful day the roar of battle had resounded. At its close the victorious French occupied the field; the allied army was pouring back in disordered flight, the dismayed emperors in its midst; thousands of dead covered the fatal field, the groans of thousands of wounded men filled the air. More than 30,000 prisoners, including twenty generals, remained in Napoleon’s hands, and with them a hundred and twenty pieces of cannon and forty flags, including the standards of the Imperial Guard of Russia.

Treaty of Peace with Austria

The defeat was a crushing one. Napoleon had won the most famous of his battles. The Emperor Francis, in deep depression, asked for an interview and an armistice. Two days afterward the emperors,—the conqueror and the conquered,—met and an armistice was granted. While the negotiations for peace continued Napoleon shrewdly disposed of the hostility of Prussia by offering the state of Hanover to that power and signing a treaty with the king. On December 26th a treaty of peace between France and Austria was signed at Presburg. The Emperor Francis yielded all his remaining possessions in Italy, and also the Tyrol, the Black Forest, and other districts in Germany, which Napoleon presented to his allies, Bavaria, Wurtemberg, and Baden; whose monarchs were still more closely united to Napoleon by marriages between their children and relatives of himself and his wife Josephine. Bavaria and Wurtemberg were made kingdoms, and Baden was raised in rank to a grand-duchy. The three months’ war was at an end. Austria had paid dearly for her subserviency to England. Of the several late enemies of France, only two remained in arms, Russia and England. And in the latter Pitt, Napoleon’s greatest enemy, died during the next month, leaving the power in the hands of Fox, an admirer of the Corsican. Napoleon was at the summit of his glory and success.

Napoleon Awards Kingdoms to His Brothers and Adherents

Napoleon’s political changes did not end with the partial dismemberment of Austria. His ambition to become supreme in Europe and to rule everywhere lord paramount, inspired him to exalt his family, raising his relatives to the rank of kings, but keeping them the servants of his imperious will. Holland lost its independence, Louis Bonaparte being named its king. Joachim Murat, brother-in-law of the emperor, was given a kingdom on the lower Rhine, with Düsseldorf as its capital. A stroke of Napoleon’s pen ended the Bourbon monarchy in Naples, and Joseph Bonaparte was sent thither as king, with a French army to support him. Italy was divided into dukedoms, ruled over by the marshals and adherents of the emperor, whose hand began to move the powers of Europe as a chess-player moves the pieces upon his board.

The story of his political transformations extends farther still. By raising the electors of Bavaria and Wurtemberg to the rank of kings, he had practically brought to an end the antique German Empire—which indeed had long been little more than a name. In July, 1806, he completed this work. The states of South and West Germany were organized into a league named the Confederation of the Rhine, under the protection of Napoleon. Many small principalities were suppressed and their territories added to the larger ones, increasing the power of the latter, and winning the gratitude of their rulers for their benefactor. The empire of France was in this manner practically extended over Italy, the Netherlands, and the west and south of Germany. Francis II., lord of the “Holy Roman Empire,” now renounced the title which these radical changes had made a mockery, withdrew his states from the imperial confederation of Germany, and assumed the title of Francis I. of Austria. The Empire of Germany, once powerful, but long since reduced to a shadowy pretence, finally ceased to exist.

The Hostile Irritation of Prussia

These autocratic changes could not fail to arouse the indignation of the monarchs of Europe and imperil the prevailing peace. Austria was in no condition to resume hostilities, but Prussia, which had maintained a doubtful neutrality during the recent wars grew more and more exasperated as these high-handed proceedings went on. A league which the king of Prussia sought to form with Saxony and Hesse-Cassel was thwarted by Napoleon; who also, in negotiating for peace with England, offered to return Hanover to that country, without consulting the Prussian King, to whom this electorate had been ceded. Other causes of resentment existed, and finally Frederick William of Prussia, irritated beyond control, sent a so-called “ultimatum” to Napoleon, demanding the evacuation of South Germany by the French. As might have been expected, this proposal was rejected with scorn, whereupon Prussia broke off all communication with France and began preparations for war.

The Prussian Armies in the Field

The Prussians did not know the man with whom they had to deal. It was an idle hope that this state could cope alone with the power of Napoleon and his allies, and while Frederick William was slowly preparing for the war which he had long sought to avoid, the French troops were on the march and rapidly approaching the borders of his kingdom. Saxony had allied itself with Prussia under compulsion, and had added 20,000 men to its armies. The elector of Hesse-Cassel had also joined the Prussians, and furnished them a contingent of troops. But this hastily levied army, composed of men few of whom had ever seen a battle, seemed hopeless as matched with the great army of war-worn veterans which Napoleon was marching with his accustomed rapidity against them. Austria, whom the Prussian King had failed to aid, now looked no passively at his peril. The Russians, who still maintained hostile relations with France, held their troops immovable upon the Vistula. Frederick William was left to face the power of Napoleon alone.

March of the French Upon Prussia

The fate of the campaign was quickly decided. Through the mountain passes of Franconia Napoleon led his forces against the Prussian army, which was divided into two corps, under the command of the Duke of Brunswick and the Prince of Hohenlohe. The troops of the latter occupied the road from Weimar to Jena. The heights which commanded the latter town were seized by Marshal Lannes on his arrival. A second French corps, under Marshals Davout and Bernadotte, marched against the Duke of Brunswick and established themselves upon the left bank of the Saale.

On the morning of the 4th of October, 1806, the conflict at Jena, upon which hung the destiny of the Prussian kingdom, began. The troops under the Prince of Hohenlohe surpassed in number those of Napoleon, but were unfitted to sustain the impetuosity of the French assault. Soult and Augereau, in command of the wings of the French army, advanced rapidly, enveloping the Prussian forces and driving them back by the vigor of their attack. Then on the Prussian center the guard and the reserves fell in a compact mass whose tremendous impact the enemy found it impossible to endure. The retreat became a rout. The Prussian army broke into a mob of fugitives, flying in terror before Napoleon’s irresistible veterans.

Defeat of the Prussians at Jena and Auerstadt

They were met by Marshal Biechel with an army of 20,000 men, advancing in all haste to the aid of the Prince of Hohenlohe. Throwing his men across the line of flight, he did his utmost to rally the fugitives. His effort was a vain one. His men were swept away by the panic-stricken mass and pushed back by the triumphant pursuers. Weimar was reached by the French and the Germans simultaneously, the former seizing prisoners in such numbers as seriously to hinder their pursuit.

While this battle was going on, another was in progress near Auerstadt, where Marshal Davout had encountered the forces of the Duke of Brunswick, with whom was Frederick William, the king. Bernadotte, ordered by the emperor to occupy Hamburg, had withdrawn his troops, leaving Davout much outnumbered by the foe. But heedless of this, he threw himself across their road in the defile of Kœsen, and sustained alone the furious attack made upon him by the duke. Throwing his regiments into squares, he poured a murderous fire on the charging troops, hurling them back from his immovable lines. The old duke fell with a mortal wound. The king and his son led their troops to a second, but equally fruitless, attack. Davout, taking advantage of their repulse, advanced and seized the heights of Eckartsberga, where he defended himself with his artillery. Frederick William, discouraged by this vigorous resistance, retired towards Weimar with the purpose of joining his forces with those of the Prince of Hohenlohe and renewing the attack.

Davout’s men were too exhausted to pursue, but Bernadotte was encountered and barred the way, and the disaster at Jena was soon made evident by the panic-stricken mass of fugitives, whose flying multitude, hotly pursued by the French, sought safety in the ranks of the king’s corps, which they threw into confusion by their impact. It was apparent that the battle was irretrievably lost. Night was approaching. The king marched hastily away, the disorder in his ranks increasing as the darkness fell. In that one fatal day he had lost his army and placed his kingdom itself in jeopardy. “They can do nothing but gather up the débris,” said Napoleon.

The Demoralization of the Prussian Forces

The French lost no time in following up the defeated army, which had broken into several divisions in its retreat. On the 17th, Duke Eugene of Wurtemberg and the reserves under his command were scattered in defeat. On the 28th, the Prince of Hohenlohe, with the 12,000 men whom he still held together, was forced to surrender. Blucher, who had seized the free city of Lübeck, was obliged to follow his example. On all sides the scattered débris of the army was destroyed, and on October 27th Napoleon entered in triumph the city of Berlin, his first entry into an enemy’s capital.

Napoleon Divides the Spoils of Victory

The battle ended, the country occupied, the work of revenge of the victor began. The Elector of Hesse was driven from his throne and his country stricken from the list of the powers of Europe. Hanover and the Hanseatic towns were occupied by the French. The English merchandise found in ports and warehouses was seized and confiscated. A heavy war contribution was laid upon the defeated state. Severe taxes were laid upon Hamburg, Bremen and Leipzig, and from all the leading cities the treasures of art and science were carried away to enrich the museums and galleries of France.

Saxony, whose alliance with Prussia had been a forced one, was alone spared. The Saxon prisoners were sent back free to their sovereign, and the elector was granted a favorable peace and honored with the title of king. In return for these favors he joined the Confederation of the Rhine, and such was his gratitude to Napoleon that he remained his friend and ally in the trying days when he had no other friend among the powers of Europe.

The harsh measures of which we have spoken were not the only ones taken by Napoleon against his enemies. England, the most implacable of his foes, remained beyond his reach, mistress of the seas as he was lord of the land. He could only meet the islanders upon their favorite element, and in November 21, 1806, he sent from Berlin to Talleyrand, his Minister of Foreign Affairs, a decree establishing a continental embargo against Great Britain.

The Embargo on British Commerce

“The British Islanders,” said this famous edict of reprisal, “are declared in a state of blockade. All commerce and all correspondence with them are forbidden.” All letters or packets addressed to an Englishman or written in English were to be seized; every English subject found in any country controlled by France was to be made a prisoner of war; all commerce in English merchandise was forbidden, and all ships coming from England or her colonies were to be refused admittance to any port.

It is hardly necessary to speak here of the distress caused, alike in Europe and elsewhere, by this war upon commerce, in which England did not fail to meet the harsh decrees of her opponent by others equally severe. The effect of these edicts upon American commerce is well known. The commerce of neutral nations was almost swept from the seas. One result was the American war of 1812, which for a time seemed as likely to be directed against France as Great Britain.

Frederick William a Fugitive in the Russian Camp

Meanwhile Frederick William of Prussia was a fugitive king. He refused to accept the harsh terms of the armistice offered by Napoleon, and in despair resolved to seek, with the remnant of his army, some 25,000 in number, the Russian camp, and join his forces with those of Alexander of Russia, still in arms against France.

Napoleon, not content while an enemy remained in arms, with inflexible resolution resolved to make an end of all his adversaries, and meet in battle the great empire of the north. The Russian armies then occupied Poland, whose people, burning under the oppression and injustice to which they had been subjected, gladly welcomed Napoleon’s specious offers to bring them back their lost liberties, and rose in his aid when he marched his armies into their country.

Here the French found themselves exposed to unlooked-for privations. They had dreamed of abundant stores of food, but discovered that the country they had invaded was, in this wintry season, a desert; a series of frozen solitudes incapable of feeding an army, and holding no reward for them other than that of battle with and victory over the hardy Russians.

The French in the Dreary Plains of Poland

Napoleon advanced to Warsaw, the Polish capital. The Russians were entrenched behind the Narew and the Ukra. The French continued to advance. The Russians were beaten and forced back in every battle, several furious encounters took place, and Alexander’s army fell back upon the Pregel, intact and powerful still, despite the French successes. The wintry chill and the character of the country seriously interfered with Napoleon’s plans, the troops being forced to make their way through thick and rain-soaked forests, and march over desolate and marshy plains. The winter of the north fought against them like a strong army and many of them fell dead without a battle. Warlike movements became almost impossible to the troops of the south, though the hardy northerners, accustomed to the climate, continued their military operations.

By the end of January the Russian army was evidently approaching in force, and immediate action became necessary. The cold increased. The mud was converted into ice. On January 30, 1807, Napoleon left Warsaw and marched in search of the enemy. General Bennigsen retreated, avoiding battle, and on the 7th of February entered the small town of Eylau, from which his troops were pushed by the approaching French. He encamped outside the town, the French in and about it; it was evident that a great battle was at hand.

The weather was cold. Snow lay thick upon the ground and still fell in great flakes. A sheet of ice covering some small lakes formed part of the country upon which the armies were encamped, but was thick enough to bear their weight. It was a chill, inhospitable country to which the demon of war had come.

The battle fought at Eylau, in East Prussia, February 8, 1807, between the Russians and French, was the most indecisive engagement in Napoleon’s career. Both sides claimed victory, but the Russians retreated in the night. A dense snowfall occurred during the battle, and nearly led to the defeat of the French.
The sanguinary engagement at Friedland, a small town in East Prussia, fought on June 14, 1807, ended in the defeat of the Russians under Bennigsen by Napoleon’s army. It lead to the Peace of Tilsit, and the end of a long and desperate war.
The Frightful Struggle at Eylau

Before daybreak on the 8th Napoleon was in the streets of Eylau, forming his line of battle for the coming engagement. Soon the artillery of both armies opened, and a rain of cannon balls began to decimate the opposing ranks. The Russian fire was concentrated on the town, which was soon in flames. That of the French was directed against a hill which the emperor deemed it important to occupy. The two armies, nearly equal in numbers,—the French having 75,000 to the Russian 70,000,—were but a short distance apart, and the slaughter from the fierce cannonade was terrible.

A series of movements on both sides began, Davout marching upon the Russian flank and Augereau upon the centre, while the Russians manœuvred as if with a purpose to outflank the French on the left. At this interval an unlooked-for obstacle interfered with the French movements, a snow-fall beginning, which grew so dense that the armies lost sight of each other, and vision was restricted to a few feet. In this semi-darkness the French columns lost their way, and wandered about uncertainly. For half an hour the snow continued to fall. When it ceased the French army was in a critical position. Its cohesion was lost; its columns were straggling about and incapable of supporting one another; many of its superior officers were wounded. The Russians, on the contrary, were on the point of executing a vigorous turning movement, with 20,000 infantry, supported by cavalry and artillery.

“Are you going to let me be devoured by these people?” cried Napoleon to Murat, his eagle eye discerning the danger.

Murat’s Mighty Charge

He ordered a grand charge of all the cavalry of the army, consisting of eighty squadrons. With Murat at their head, they rushed like an avalanche on the Russian lines, breaking through the infantry and dispersing the cavalry who came to its support. The Russian infantry suffered severely from this charge, its two massive lines being rent asunder, while the third fell back upon a wood in the rear. Finally Davout, whose movement had been hindered by the weather, reached the Russian rear, and in an impetuous charge drove them from the hilly ground which Napoleon wished to occupy.

The battle seemed lost to the Russians. They began a retreat, leaving the ground strewn thickly with their dead and wounded. But at this critical moment a Prussian force, some 8,000 strong, which was being pursued by Marshal Ney, arrived on the field and checked the French advance and the Russian retreat. Benningsen regained sufficient confidence to prepare for final attack, when he was advised of the approach of Ney, who was two or three hours behind the Prussians. At this discouraging news a final retreat was ordered.

The Cost of Victory Frightful

The French were left masters of the field, though little attempt was made to pursue the menacing columns of the enemy, who withdrew in military array. It was a victory that came near being a defeat, and which, indeed, both sides claimed. Never before had Napoleon been so stubbornly withstood. His success had been bought at a frightful cost, and Königsberg, the old Prussian capital, the goal of his march, was still covered by the compact columns of the allies. The men were in no condition to pursue. Food was wanting, and they were without shelter from the wintry chill. Ney surveyed the terrible scene with eyes of gloom. “What a massacre,” he exclaimed; “and without result.”

So severe was the exhaustion on both sides from this great battle that it was four months before hostilities were resumed. Meanwhile Danzig, which had been strongly besieged, surrendered, and more than 30,000 men were released to reinforce the French army. Negotiations for peace went slowly on, without result, and it was June before hostilities again became imminent.

Eylau, which now became Napoleon’s headquarters, presented a very different aspect at this season from that of four months before. Then all was wintry desolation; now the country presented a beautiful scene of green woodland, shining lakes, and attractive villages. The light corps of the army were in motion in various directions, their object being to get between the Russians and their magazines and cut off retreat to Königsberg. On June 13th Napoleon, with the main body of his army, marched towards Friedland, a town on the River Alle, in the vicinity of Königsberg, towards which the Russians were marching. Here, crossing the Alle, Benningsen drove from the town a regiment of French hussars which had occupied it, and fell with all his force on the corps of Marshal Lannes, which alone had reached the field.

Napoleon on the Field of Friedland

Lannes held his ground with his usual heroic fortitude, while sending successive messengers for aid to the emperor. Noon had passed when Napoleon and his staff reached the field at full gallop, far in advance of the troops. He surveyed the field with eyes of hope. “It is the 14th of June, the anniversary of Marengo,” he said; “it is a lucky day for us.”

“Give me only a reinforcement,” cried Oudinot, “and we will cast all the Russians into the water.”

This seemed possible. Bennigsen’s troops were perilously concentrated within a bend of the river. Some of the French generals advised deferring the battle till the next day, as the hour was late, but Napoleon was too shrewd to let an advantage escape him.

“No,” he said, “one does not surprise the enemy twice in such a blunder.” He swept with his field-glass the masses of the enemy before him, then seized the arm of Marshal Ney. “You see the Russians and the town of Friedland,” he said. “March straight forward; seize the town; take the bridges, whatever it may cost. Do not trouble yourself with what is taking place around you. Leave that to me and the army.”

The troops were coming in rapidly, and marching to the places assigned them. The hours moved on. It was half-past five in the afternoon when the cannon sounded the signal of the coming fray.

The Assault of the Indomitable Ney

Meanwhile Ney’s march upon Friedland had begun. A terrible fire from the Russians swept his ranks as he advanced. Aided by cavalry and artillery, he reached a stream defended by the Russian Imperial Guard. Before those picked troops the French recoiled in temporary disorder; but the division of General Dupont, marching briskly up, broke the Russian guard, and the pursuing French rushed into the town. In a short time it was in flames and the fugitive Russians were cut off from the bridges, which were seized and set on fire.

The Total Defeat of the Russians

The Russians made a vigorous effort to recover their lost ground, General Gortschakoff endeavoring to drive the French from the town, and other corps making repeated attacks on the French centre. All their efforts were in vain. The French columns continued to advance. By ten o’clock the battle was at an end. Many of the Russians had been drowned in the stream, and the field was covered with their dead, whose numbers were estimated by the boastful French bulletins at 15,000 or 18,000 men, while they made the improbable claim of having lost no more than 500 dead. Königsberg, the prize of victory, was quickly occupied by Marshal Soult, and yielded the French a vast quantity of food, and a large store of military supplies which had been sent from England for Russian use. The King of Prussia had lost the whole of his possessions with the exception of the single town of Memel.

The Emperors at Tilsit and the Fate of Prussia

Victorious as Napoleon had been, he had found the Russians no contemptible foes. At Eylau he had come nearer defeat than ever before in his career. He was quite ready, therefore, to listen to overtures for peace, and early in July a notable interview took place between him and the Czar of Russia at Tilsit, on the Niemen, the two emperors meeting on a raft in the centre of the stream. What passed between them is not known. Some think that they arranged for a division of Europe between their respective empires, Alexander taking all the east and Napoleon all the west. However that was, the treaty of peace, signed July 8th, was a disastrous one for the defeated Prussian king, who was punished for his temerity in seeking to fight Napoleon alone by the loss of more than half his kingdom, while in addition a heavy war indemnity was laid upon his depleted realms.

He was forced to yield all the countries between the Rhine and the Elbe, to consent to the establishment of a dukedom of Warsaw, under the supremacy of the king of Saxony, and to the loss of Danzig and the surrounding territory, which were converted into a free State. A new kingdom, named Westphalia, was founded by Napoleon, made up of the territory taken from Prussia and the states of Hesse, Brunswick and South Hanover. His youngest brother, Jerome Bonaparte, was made its king. It was a further step in his policy of founding a western empire.

Louisa, the beautiful and charming queen of Frederick William, sought Tilsit, hoping by the seduction of her beauty and grace of address to induce Napoleon to mitigate his harsh terms. But in vain she brought to bear upon him all the resources of her intellect and her attractive charm of manner. He continued cold and obdurate, and she left Tilsit deeply mortified and humiliated.

Denmark and Sweden

In northern Europe only one enemy of Napoleon remained. Sweden retained its hostility to France, under the fanatical enmity of Gustavus IV., who believed himself the instrument appointed by Providence to reinstate the Bourbon monarchs upon their thrones. Denmark, which refused to ally itself with England, was visited by a British fleet, which bombarded Copenhagen and carried off all the Danish ships of war, an outrage which brought this kingdom into close alliance with France. The war in Sweden must have ended in the conquest of that country, had not the people revolted and dethroned their obstinate king. Charles XIII., his uncle, was placed on the throne, but was induced to adopt Napoleon’s marshal Bernadotte as his son. The latter, as crown prince, practically succeeded the incapable king in 1810.

The Pope a Captive at Fontainebleau

Events followed each other rapidly. Napoleon, in his desire to add kingdom after kingdom to his throne, invaded Portugal and interfered in the affairs of Spain, from whose throne he removed the last of the Bourbon kings, replacing him by his brother, Joseph Bonaparte. The result was a revolt of the Spanish people which all his efforts proved unable to quell, aided, as they were eventually, by the power of England. In Italy his intrigues continued. Marshal Murat succeeded Joseph Bonaparte on the throne of Naples. Eliza, Napoleon’s sister, was made queen of Tuscany. The temporal sovereignty of the Pope was seriously interfered with and finally, in 1809, the pontiff was forcibly removed from Rome and the states of the Church were added to the French territory, Pius VII., the pope, was eventually brought to France and obliged to reside at Fontainebleau, where he persistently refused to yield to Napoleon’s wishes or perform any act of ecclesiastical authority while held in captivity.

These various arbitrary acts had their natural result, that of active hostility. The Austrians beheld them with growing indignation, and at length grew so exasperated that, despite their many defeats, they decided again to dare the power and genius of the conqueror. In April, 1809, the Vienna Cabinet once more declared war against France and made all haste to put its armies in the field. Stimulated by this, a revolt broke out in the Tyrol, the simple-minded but brave and sturdy mountaineers gathering under the leadership of Andreas Hofer, a man of authority among them, and welcoming the Austrian troops sent to their aid.

Andreas Hofer and the War in the Tyrol

As regards this war in the Tyrol, there is no need here to go into details. It must suffice to say that the bold peasantry, aided by the natural advantages of their mountain land, for a time freed themselves from French dominion, to the astonishment and admiration of Europe. But their freedom was of brief duration, fresh troops were poured into the country, and though the mountaineers won more than one victory, they proved no match for the power of their foes. Their country was conquered, and Hofer, their brave leader, was taken by the French and remorselessly put to death by the order of Napoleon.

The Army of Napoleon Marches Upon Austria

The struggle in the Tyrol was merely a side issue in the new war with Austria, which was conducted on Napoleon’s side with his usual celerity of movement. The days when soldiers are whisked forward at locomotive speed had not yet dawned, yet the French troops made extraordinary progress on foot, and war was barely declared before the army of Napoleon covered Austria. This army was no longer made up solely of Frenchmen. The Confederation of the Rhine practically formed part of Napoleon’s empire, and Germans now fought side by side with Frenchmen; Marshal Lefebvre leading the Bavarians, Bernadotte the Saxons, Augereau the men of Baden, Wurtemberg, and Hesse. On the other hand, the Austrians were early in motion, and by the 10th of April the Archduke Charles had crossed the Inn with his army and the King of Bavaria, Napoleon’s ally, was in flight from his capital.

The quick advance of the Austrians had placed the French army in danger. Spread out over an extent of twenty-five leagues, it ran serious risk of being cut in two by the rapidly marching troops of the Archduke. Napoleon, who reached the front on the 17th, was not slow to perceive the peril and to take steps of prevention. A hasty concentration of his forces was ordered and vigorously begun.

“Never was there need for more rapidity of movement than now,” he wrote to Massena. “Activity, activity, speed!”

A Grave Peril Overcome

Speed was the order of the day. The French generals ably seconded the anxious activity of their chief. The soldiers fairly rushed together. A brief hesitation robbed the Austrians of the advantage which they had hoped to gain. The Archduke Charles, one of the ablest tacticians ever opposed to Napoleon, had the weakness of over-prudence, and caution robbed him of the opportunity given him by the wide dispersion of the French.

The Battle of Eckmühl and the Capture of Ratisbon

He was soon and severely punished for his slowness. On the 19th Davout defeated the Austrians at Fangen and made a junction with the Bavarians. On the 20th and 21st Napoleon met and defeated them in a series of engagements. Meanwhile the Archduke Charles fell on Ratisbon, held by a single French regiment, occupied that important place, and attacked Davout at Eckmühl. Here a furious battle took place. Davout, outnumbered, maintained his position for three days. Napoleon, warned of the peril of his marshal, bade him to hold on to the death, as he was hastening to his relief with 40,000 men. The day was well advanced when the emperor came up and fell with his fresh troops on the Austrians, who, still bravely fighting, were forced back upon Ratisbon. During the night the Archduke wisely withdrew and marched for Bohemia, where a large reinforcement awaited him. On the 23d Napoleon attacked the town, and carried it in spite of a vigorous defence. His proclamation to his soldiers perhaps overestimated the prizes of this brief but active campaign, which he declared to be a hundred cannon, forty flags, all the enemy’s artillery, 50,000 prisoners, a large number of wagons, etc. Half this loss would have fully justified the Archduke’s retreat.

The Campaign In Italy

In Italy affairs went differently. Prince Eugene Beauharnais, for the first time in command of a French army, found himself opposed by the Archduke John, and met with a defeat. On April 16th, seeking to retrieve his disaster, he attacked the Archduke, but the Austrians bravely held their positions, and the French were again obliged to retreat. General Macdonald, an officer of tried ability, now joined the prince, who took up a defensive position on the Adige, whither the Austrians marched. On the 1st of May Macdonald perceived among them indications of withdrawal from their position.

“Victory in Germany!” he shouted to the prince. “Now is our time for a forward march!”

He was correct, the Archduke John had been recalled in haste to aid his brother in the defence of Vienna, on which the French were advancing in force.

The campaign now became a race for the capital of Austria. During its progress several conflicts took place, in each of which the French won. The city was defended by the Archduke Maximilian with an army of over 15,000 men, but he found it expedient to withdraw, and on the 13th the troops of Napoleon occupied the place. Meanwhile Charles had concentrated his troops and was marching hastily towards the opposite side of the Danube, whither his brother John was advancing from Italy.

It was important for Napoleon to strike a blow before this junction could be made. He resolved to cross the Danube in the suburbs of the capital itself, and attack the Austrians before they were reinforced. In the vicinity of Vienna the channel of the river is broken by many islets. At the island of Lobau, the point chosen for the attempt, the river is broad and deep, but Lobau is separated from the opposite bank by only a narrow branch, while two smaller islets offered themselves as aids in the construction of bridges, there being four channels, over each of which a bridge was thrown.

The Bridges over the Danube

The work was a difficult one. The Danube, swollen by the melting snows, imperilled the bridges, erected with difficulty and braced by insufficient cordage. But despite this peril the crossing began, and on May 20th Marshal Massena reached the other side and posted his troops in the two villages of Aspern and Essling, and along a deep ditch that connected them.

As yet only the vanguard of the Austrians had arrived. Other corps soon appeared, and by the afternoon of the 21st the entire army, from 70,000 to 80,000 strong, faced the French, still only half their number, and in a position of extreme peril, for the bridge over the main channel of the river had broken during the night, and the crossing was cut off in its midst.

Napoleon, however, was straining every nerve to repair the bridge, and Massena and Lannes, in command of the advance, fought like men fighting for their lives. The Archduke Charles, the ablest soldier Napoleon had yet encountered, hurled his troops in masses upon Aspern, which covered the bridge to Lobau. Several times it was taken and retaken, but the French held on with a death grip, all the strength of the Austrians seeming insufficient to break the hold of Lannes upon Essling. An advance in force, which nearly cut the communication between the two villages, was checked by an impetuous cavalry charge, and night fell, leaving the situation unchanged.

At dawn of the next day more than 70,000 French had crossed the stream; Marshal Davout’s corps, with part of the artillery and most of the ammunition, being still on the right bank. At this critical moment the large bridge, against which the Austrians had sent fireships, boats laden with stone and other floating missiles, broke for the third time, and the engineers of the French army were again forced to the most strenuous and hasty exertions for its repair.

The Great Struggle of Essling and Aspern
Napoleon Forced to his First Retreat

The struggle of the day that had just begun was one of extraordinary valor and obstinacy. Men went down in multitudes; now the Austrians, now the French, were repulsed; the Austrians, impetuously assailed, slowly fell back; and Lannes was preparing for a vigorous movement designed to pierce their centre, when word was brought Napoleon that the great bridge had again yielded to the floating débris, carrying with it a regiment of cuirassiers, and cutting off the supply of ammunition. Lannes was at once ordered to fall back upon the villages, and simultaneously the Austrians made a powerful assault on the French centre, which was checked with great difficulty. Five times the charge was renewed, and though the enemy was finally repelled, it became evident that Napoleon, for the first time in his career, had met with a decided check. Napoleon Forced to his First RetreatNight fell at length, and reluctantly he gave the order to retreat. He had lost more than a battle, he had lost the brilliant soldier Lannes, who fell with a mortal wound. Back to the island of Lobau marched the French; Massena, in charge of the rear-guard, bringing over the last regiments in safety. More than 40,000 men lay dead and wounded on that fatal field, which remained in Austrian hands. Napoleon, at last, was obliged to acknowledge a repulse, if not a defeat, and the nations of Europe held up their heads with renewed hope. It had been proved that the Corsican was not invincible.

Some of Napoleon’s generals, deeply disheartened, advised an immediate retreat, but the emperor had no thought of such a movement. It would have brought a thousand disasters in its train. On the contrary, he held the island of Lobau with a strong force, and brought all his resources to bear on the construction of a bridge that would defy the current of the stream. At the same time reinforcements were hurried forward, until by the 1st of July, he had around Vienna an army of 150,000 men. The Austrians had probably from 135,000 to 140,000. The archduke had, moreover, strongly fortified the positions of the recent battle, expecting the attack upon them to be resumed.

At the decisive battle of Friedland, the Russian army was incautiously drawn up within a loop of the river. Napoleon was quick to perceive their mistake, and in a terrible charge he carried the town, burned the bridges, and then used his whole army to drive the Russians into the stream.
Tilsit is a city of about 25,000 inhabitants in Eastern Prussia. Here the Treaty of Peace between the French and Russian Emperors and also between France and Prussia was signed in July, 1807.

The Second Crossing of the Danube

Napoleon had no such intention. He had selected the heights ranging from Neusiedl to Wagram, strongly occupied by the Austrians, but not fortified, as his point of attack, and on the night of July 4th bridges were thrown from the island of Lobau to the mainland, and the army which had been gathering for several days on the island began its advance. It moved as a whole against the heights of Wagram, occupying Aspern and Essling in its advance.

The Victory at Wagram

The great battle began on the succeeding day. It was hotly contested at all points, but attention may be confined to the movement against the plateau of Wagram, which had been entrusted to Marshal Davout. The height was gained after a desperate struggle; the key of the battlefield was held by the French; the Austrians, impetuously assailed at every point, and driven from every point of vantage, began a retreat. The Archduke Charles had anxiously looked for the coming of his brother John, with the army under his command. He waited in vain, the laggard prince failed to appear, and retreat became inevitable. The battle had already lasted ten hours, and the French held all the strong points of the field; but the Austrians withdrew slowly and in battle array, presenting a front that discouraged any effort to pursue. There was nothing resembling a rout.

The Archduke Charles retreated to Bohemia. His forces were dispersed during the march, but he had 70,000 men with him when Napoleon reached his front at Znaim, on the road to Prague, on the 11th of July. Further hostilities were checked by a request for a truce, preliminary to a peace. The battle, already begun, was stopped, and during the night an armistice was signed. The vigor of the Austrian resistance and the doubtful attitude of the other powers made Napoleon willing enough to treat for terms.

The Peace of Vienna

The peace, which was finally signed at Vienna, October 14, 1809, took from Austria 50,000 square miles of territory and 3,000,000 inhabitants, together with a war contribution of $85,000,000, while her army was restricted to 150,000 men. The overthrow of the several outbreaks which had taken place in north Germany, the defeat of a British expedition against Antwerp, and the suppression of the revolt in the Tyrol, ended all organized opposition to Napoleon, who was once more master of the European situation.

Raised by this signal success to the summit of his power, lord paramount of Western Europe, only one thing remained to trouble the mind of the victorious emperor. His wife, Josephine, was childless; his throne threatened to be left without an heir. Much as he had seemed to love his wife, the companion of his early days, when he was an unknown and unconsidered subaltern, seeking humbly enough for military employment in Paris, yet ambition and the thirst for glory were always the ruling passions in his nature, and had now grown so dominant as to throw love and wifely devotion utterly into the shade. He resolved to set aside his wife and seek a new bride among the princesses of Europe, hoping in this way to leave an heir of his own blood as successor to his imperial throne.

Negotiations were entered into with the courts of Europe to obtain a daughter of one of the proud royal houses as the spouse of the plebeian emperor of France. No maiden of less exalted rank than a princess of the imperial families of Russia or Austria was high enough to meet the ambitious aims of this proud lord of battles, and negotiations were entered into with both, ending in the selection of Maria Louisa, daughter of the Emperor Francis of Austria, who did not venture to refuse a demand for his daughter’s hand from the master of half his dominions.

The Divorce of Josephine and Marriages of Maria Louisa

Napoleon was not long in finding a plea for setting aside the wife of his days of poverty and obscurity. A defect in the marriage was alleged, and the transparent farce went on. The divorce of Josephine has awakened the sympathy of a century. It was, indeed, a piteous example of state-craft, and there can be no doubt that Napoleon suffered in his heart while yielding to the dictates of his unbridled ambition. The marriage with Maria Louisa, on the 2d of April, 1810, was conducted with all possible pomp and display, no less than five queens carrying the train of the bride in the august ceremony. The purpose of the marriage did not fail; the next year a son was born to Napoleon. But this imperial youth, who was dignified with the title of King of Rome, was destined to an inglorious life, as an unconsidered tenant of the gilded halls of his imperial grandfather of Austria.

The Decline and Fall of Napoleon’s Empire.

The Causes of the Rise and Decline of Napoleon’s Power

Ambition, unrestrained by caution, uncontrolled by moderation, has its inevitable end. An empire built upon victory, trusting solely to military genius, prepares for itself the elements of its overthrow. This fact Napoleon was to learn. In the outset of his career he opposed a new art of war to the obsolete one of his enemies, and his path to empire was over the corpses of slaughtered armies and the ruins of fallen kingdoms. But year by year they learned his art, in war after war their resistance grew more stringent, each successive victory was won with more difficulty and at greater cost, and finally, at the crossing of the Danube, the energy and genius of Napoleon met their equal, and the standards of France went back in defeat. It was the tocsin of fate. His career of victory had culminated. From that day its decline began.

Aims and Intrigues in Portugal and Spain

It is interesting to find that the first effective check to Napoleon’s victorious progress came from one of the weaker nations of Europe, a power which the conqueror contemned and thought to move as one of the minor pieces in his game of empire. Spain at that time had reached almost the lowest stage of its decline. Its king was an imbecile; the heir to the throne a weakling; Godoy, the “Prince of the Peace,” the monarch’s favorite, an ambitious intriguer. Napoleon’s armies had invaded Portugal and forced its monarch to embark for Brazil, his American domain. A similar movement was attempted in Spain. This country the base Godoy betrayed to Napoleon, and then, frightened by the consequences of his dishonorable intrigues, sought to escape with the king and court to the Spanish dominions in America. His scheme was prevented by an outbreak of the people of Madrid, and Napoleon, ambitiously designing to add the peninsula to his empire, induced both Charles IV. and his son Ferdinand to resign from the throne. He replaced them by his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, who, on June 6, 1808, was named King of Spain.

The Bold Defiance of the People of Spain

Hitherto Napoleon had dealt with emperors and kings, whose overthrow carried with it that of their people. In Spain he had a new element, the people itself, to deal with. The very weakness of Spain proved its strength. Deprived of their native monarchs, and given a king not of their own choice, the whole people rose in rebellion and defied Napoleon and his armies. An insurrection broke out in Madrid in which 1,200 French soldiers were slain. Juntas were formed in different cities, which assumed the control of affairs and refused obedience to the new king. From end to end of Spain the people sprang to arms and began a guerilla warfare which the troops of Napoleon sought in vain to quell. The bayonets of the French were able to sustain King Joseph and his court in Madrid, but proved powerless to put down the people. Each city, each district, became a separate centre of war, each had to be conquered separately, and the strength of the troops was consumed in petty contests with a people who avoided open warfare and dealt in surprises and scattered fights, in which victory counted for little and needed to be repeated a thousand times.

Spain’s Brilliant Victory and King Joseph’s Flight

The Spanish did more than this. They put an army in the field which was defeated by the French, but they revenged themselves brilliantly at Baylen, in Andalusia, where General Dupont, with a corps 20,000 strong, was surrounded in a position from which there was no escape, and forced to surrender himself and his men as prisoners of war.

This undisciplined people had gained a victory over France which none of the great powers of Europe could match. The Spaniards were filled with enthusiasm; King Joseph hastily abandoned Madrid; the French armies retreated across the Ebro. Soon encouraging news came from Portugal. The English, hitherto mainly confining themselves to naval warfare and to aiding the enemies of Napoleon with money, had landed an army in that country under Sir Arthur Wellesley (afterwards Lord Wellington) and other generals, which would have captured the entire French army had it not capitulated on the terms of a free passage to France. For the time being the peninsula of Spain and Portugal was free from Napoleon’s power.

The Heroic Defence of Saragossa

The humiliating reverse to his arms called Napoleon himself into the field. He marched at the head of an army into Spain, defeated the insurgents wherever met, and reinstated his brother on the throne. The city of Saragossa, which made one of the most heroic defences known in history, was taken, and the advance of the British armies was checked. And yet, though Spain was widely overrun, the people did not yield. The junta at Cadiz defied the French, the guerillas continued in the field, and the invaders found themselves baffled by an enemy who was felt oftener than seen.

The Austrian war called away the emperor and the bulk of his troops, but after it was over he filled Spain with his veterans, increasing the strength of the army there to 300,000 men, under his ablest generals, Soult, Massena, Ney, Marmont, Macdonald and others. They marched through Spain from end to end, yet, though they held all the salient points, the people refused to submit, but from their mountain fastnesses kept up a petty and annoying war.

Wellington’s Career in Portugal and Spain

Massena, in 1811, invaded Portugal, where Wellington with an English army awaited him behind the strong lines of Torres Vedras, which the ever-victorious French sought in vain to carry by assault. Massena was compelled to retreat, and Soult, by whom the emperor replaced him, was no more successful against the shrewd English general. At length Spain won the reward of her patriotic defence. The Russian campaign of 1812 compelled the emperor to deplete his army in that country, and Wellington came to the aid of the patriots, defeated Marmont at Salamanca, entered Madrid, and forced King Joseph once more to flee from his unquiet throne.

The Reward of Patriotic Valor

For a brief interval he was restored by the French army under Soult and Suchet, but the disasters of the Russian campaign brought the reign of King Joseph to a final end, and forced him to give up the pretence of reigning over a people who were unflinchingly determined to have no king but one of their own choice. The story of the Spanish war ends in 1813, when Wellington defeated the French at Vittoria, pursued them across the Pyrenees, and set foot upon the soil of France.

A Record of Disaster

While these events were taking place in Spain the power of Napoleon was being shattered to fragments in the north. On the banks of the Niemen, a river that flows between Prussia and Poland, there gathered near the end of June, 1812, an immense army of more than 600,000 men, attended by an enormous multitude of non-combatants, their purpose being the invasion of the empire of Russia. Of this great army, made up of troops from half the nations of Europe, there reappeared six months later on that broad stream about 16,000 armed men, almost all that were left of that stupendous host. The remainder had perished on the desert soil or in the frozen rivers of Russia, few of them surviving as prisoners in Russian hands. Such was the character of the dread catastrophe that broke the power of the mighty conqueror and delivered Europe from his autocratic grasp.

Napoleon and the Czar at Enmity

The breach of relations between Napoleon and Alexander was largely due to the arbitrary and high-handed proceedings of the French emperor, who was accustomed to deal with the map of Europe as if it represented his private domain. He offended Alexander by enlarging the duchy of Warsaw—one of his own creations—and deeply incensed him by extending the French empire to the shores of the Baltic, thus robbing of his dominion the Duke of Oldenburg, a near relative of Alexander. On the other hand the Czar declined to submit the commercial interests of his country to the rigor of Napoleon’s “continental blockade,” and made a new tariff, which interfered with the importation of French and favored that of English goods. These and other acts in which Alexander chose to place his own interests in advance of those of Napoleon were as wormwood to the haughty soul of the latter, and he determined to punish the Russian autocrat as he had done the other monarchs of Europe who refused to submit to his dictation.

For a year or two before war was declared Napoleon had been preparing for the greatest struggle of his life, adding to his army by the most rigorous methods of conscription and collecting great magazines of war material, though still professing friendship for Alexander. The latter, however, was not deceived. He prepared, on his part, for the threatened struggle, made peace with the Turks, and formed an alliance with Bernadotte, the crown prince of Sweden, who had good reason to be offended with his former lord and master. Napoleon, on his side, allied himself with Prussia and Austria, and added to his army large contingents of troops from the German states. At length the great conflict was ready to begin between the two autocrats, the Emperors of the East and the West, and Europe resounded with the tread of marching feet.

The Invasion of Russia by the Grand Army

In the closing days of June the grand army crossed the Niemen, its last regiments reaching Russian soil by the opening of July. Napoleon, with the advance, pressed on to Wilna, the capital of Lithuania. On all sides the Poles rose in enthusiastic hope, and joined the ranks of the man whom they looked upon as their deliverer. Onward went the great army, marching with Napoleon’s accustomed rapidity, seeking to prevent the concentration of the divided Russian forces, and advancing daily deeper into the dominions of the czar.

The French Baffled by the Russian Policy

The French emperor had his plans well laid. He proposed to meet the Russians in force on some interior field, win from them one of his accustomed brilliant victories, crush them with his enormous columns, and force the dismayed czar to sue for peace on his own terms. But plans need two sides for their consummation, and the Russian leaders did not propose to lose the advantage given them by nature. On and on went Napoleon, deeper and deeper into that desolate land, but the great army he was to crush failed to loom up before him, the broad plains still spread onward empty of soldiers, and disquiet began to assail his imperious soul as he found the Russian hosts keeping constantly beyond his reach, luring him ever deeper into their vast territory. In truth Barclay de Tolly, the czar’s chief in command, had adopted a policy which was sure to prove fatal to Napoleon’s purpose, that of persistently avoiding battle and keeping the French in pursuit of a fleeting will-of-the-wisp, while their army wasted away from natural disintegration in that inhospitable clime.

He was correct in his views. Desertion, illness, the death of young recruits who could not endure the hardships of a rapid march in the severe heat of midsummer, began their fatal work. Napoleon’s plan of campaign proved a total failure. The Russians would not wait to be defeated, and each day’s march opened a wider circle of operations before the advancing host, whom the interminable plain filled with a sense of hopelessness. The heat was overpowering, and men dropped from the ranks as rapidly as though on a field of battle. At Vitebsk the army was inspected, and the emperor was alarmed at the rapid decrease in his forces. Some of the divisions had lost more than a fourth of their men, in every corps the ranks were depleted, and reinforcements already had to be set on the march.

Onward they went, here and there bringing the Russians to bay in a minor engagement, but nowhere meeting them in numbers. Europe waited in vain for tidings of a great battle, and Napoleon began to look upon his proud army with a feeling akin to despair. He was not alone in his eagerness for battle. Some of the high-spirited Russians, among them Prince Bagration, were as eager, but as yet the prudent policy of Barclay de Tolly prevailed.

Smolensk Captured and in Flames

On the 14th of August, the army crossed the Dnieper, and marched, now 175,000 strong, upon Smolensk, which was reached on the 16th. This ancient and venerable town was dear to the Russians, and they made their first determined stand in its defence, fighting behind its walls all day of the 17th. Finding that the assault was likely to succeed, they set fire to the town at night and withdrew, leaving to the French a city in flames. The bridge was cut, the Russian army was beyond pursuit on the road to Moscow, nothing had been gained by the struggle but the ruins of a town.

The situation was growing desperate. For two months the army had advanced without a battle of importance, and was soon in the heart of Russia, reduced to half its numbers, while the hoped-for victory seemed as far off as ever. And the short summer of the north was nearing its end. The severe winter of that climate would soon begin. Discouragement everywhere prevailed. Efforts were made by Napoleon’s marshals to induce him to give up the losing game and retreat, but he was not to be moved from his purpose. A march on Moscow, the old capital of the empire, he felt sure would bring the Russians to bay. Once within its walls he hoped to dictate terms of peace.

Napoleon was soon to have the battle for which his soul craved. Barclay’s prudent and successful policy was not to the taste of many of the Russian leaders, and the czar was at length induced to replace him by fiery old Kutusoff, who had commanded the Russians at Austerlitz. A change in the situation was soon apparent. On the 5th of September the French army debouched upon the plain of Borodino, on the road to Moscow, and the emperor saw with joy the Russian army drawn up to dispute the way to the “Holy City” of the Muscovites. The dark columns of troops were strongly intrenched behind a small stream, frowning rows of guns threatened the advancing foe, and hope returned to the emperor’s heart.

The Battle of Borodino

Battle began early on the 7th, and continued all day long, the Russians defending their ground with unyielding stubbornness, the French attacking their positions with all their old impetuous dash and energy. Murat and Ney were the heroes of the day. Again and again the emperor was implored to send the imperial guard and overwhelm the foe, but he persistently refused. “If there is a second battle to-morrow,” he said, “what troops shall I fight it with? It is not when one is eight hundred leagues from home that he risks his last resource.”

The guard was not needed. On the following day Kutusoff was obliged to withdraw, leaving no less than 40,000 dead or wounded on the field. Among the killed was the brave Prince Bagration. The retreat was an orderly one. Napoleon found it expedient not to pursue. His own losses aggregated over 30,000, among them an unusual number of generals, of whom ten were killed and thirty-nine wounded. Three days proved a brief time to attend to the burial of the dead and the needs of the wounded. Napoleon named the engagement the Battle of the Moskwa, from the river that crossed the plain, and honored Ney, as the hero of the day, with the title of Prince of Moskwa.

Marshal Ney, who commanded the rear-guard of Napoleon’s army during the retreat from Russia, won imperishable fame by his brilliant and daring deeds. Had it not been for his courage and military skill it is doubtful if a man of that great army would have escaped from the frozen soil of the north.

General Blucher, “Marshal Forward” as he was called, from his intrepid boldness, was a veteran of over seventy years of age at the date of the battle of Waterloo. He was defeated at Ligny, and during the battle was unhorsed and charged over by the French and Prussian cavalry. He reached with his troops the field of Waterloo in time to decide that battle against the French.
The First Sight of the Holy City of Russia

On the 15th the Holy City was reached. A shout of “Moscow! Moscow!” went up from the whole army as they gazed on the gilded cupolas and magnificent buildings of that famous city, brilliantly lit up by the afternoon sun. Twenty miles in circumference, dazzling with the green of its copper domes and its minarets of yellow stone, the towers and walls of the famous Kremlin rising above its palaces and gardens, it seemed like some fabled city of the Arabian Nights. With renewed enthusiasm the troops rushed towards it, while whole regiments of Poles fell on their knees, thanking God for delivering this stronghold of their oppressors into their hands.

The Grand Army in the Old Russian Capital

It was an empty city into which the French marched; its streets deserted, its dwellings silent. Its busy life had vanished like a morning mist. Kutusoff had marched his army through it and left it to his foes. The inhabitants were gone, with what they could carry of their treasures. The city, like the empire, seemed likely to be a barren conquest, for here, as elsewhere, the policy of retreat, so fatal to Napoleon’s hopes, was put into effect. The emperor took up his abode in the Kremlin, within whose ample precincts he found quarters for the whole imperial guard. The remainder of the army was stationed at chosen points about the city. Provisions were abundant, the houses and stores of the city being amply supplied. The army enjoyed a luxury of which it had been long deprived, while Napoleon confidently awaited a triumphant result from his victorious progress.

The Burning of the Great City of Moscow.

A terrible disenchantment awaited the invader. Early on the following morning word was brought him that Moscow was on fire. Flames arose from houses that had not been opened. It was evidently a premeditated conflagration. The fire burst out at once in a dozen quarters, and a high wind carried the flames from street to street, from house to house, from church to church. Russians were captured who boasted that they had fired the town under orders and who met death unflinchingly. The governor had left them behind for this fell purpose. The poorer people, many of whom had remained hidden in their huts, now fled in terror, taking with them what cherished possessions they could carry. Soon the city was a seething mass of flames.

The Kremlin did not escape. A tower burst into flames. In vain the imperial guard sought to check the fire. No fire-engines were to be found in the town. Napoleon hastily left the palace and sought shelter outside the city, where for three days the flames ran riot, feeding on ancient palaces and destroying untold treasures. Then the wind sank and rain poured upon the smouldering embers. The great city had become a desolate heap of smoking ruins, into which the soldiers daringly stole back in search of valuables that might have escaped the flames.

This frightful conflagration was not due to the czar, but to Count Rostopchin, the governor of Moscow, who was subsequently driven from Russia by the execrations of those he had ruined. But it served as a proclamation to Europe of the implacable resolution of the Muscovites and their determination to resist to the bitter end.

Napoleon, sadly troubled in soul, sent letters to Alexander, suggesting the advisability of peace. Alexander left his letters unanswered. Until October 18th the emperor waited, hoping against hope, willing to grant almost any terms for an opportunity to escape from the fatal trap into which his overweening ambition had led him. No answer came from the czar. He was inflexible in his determination not to treat with these invaders of his country. In deep dejection Napoleon at length gave the order to retreat—too late, as it was to prove, since the terrible Russian winter was ready to descend upon them in all its frightful strength.

The Grand Army Begins Its Retreat

The army that left that ruined city was a sadly depleted one. It had been reduced to 103,000 men. The army followers had also become greatly decreased in numbers, but still formed a host, among them delicate ladies, thinly clad, who gazed with terrified eyes from their traveling carriages upon the dejected troops. Articles of plunder of all kinds were carried by the soldiers, even the wounded in the wagons lying amid the spoil they had gathered. The Kremlin was destroyed by the rear guard, under Napoleon’s orders, and over the drear Russian plains the retreat began.

It was no sooner under way than the Russian policy changed. From retreating, they everywhere advanced, seeking to annoy and cut off the enemy, and utterly to destroy the fugitive army if possible. A stand was made at the town of Maloi-Yaroslavitz, where a sanguinary combat took place. The French captured the town, but ten thousand men lay dead or wounded on the field, while Napoleon was forced to abandon his projected line of march, and to return by the route he had followed in his advance on Moscow. From the bloody scene of contest the retreat continued, the battlefield of Borodino being crossed, and, by the middle of November, the ruins of Smolensk reached.

The Sad Remnant of the Army of Invasion

Winter was now upon the French in all its fury. The food brought from Moscow had been exhausted. Famine, frost, and fatigue had proved more fatal than the bullets of the enemy. In fourteen days after reaching Moscow the army lost 43,000 men, leaving it only 60,000 strong. On reaching Smolensk it numbered but 42,000, having lost 18,000 more within eight days. The unarmed followers are said to have still numbered 60,000. Worse still, the supply of arms and provisions ordered to be ready at Smolensk was in great part lacking, only rye-flour and rice being found. Starvation threatened to aid the winter cold in the destruction of the feeble remnant of the “Grand Army.”

Onward went the despairing host, at every step harassed by the Russians, who followed like wolves on their path. Ney, in command of the rear-guard, was the hero of the retreat. Cut off by the Russians from the main column, and apparently lost beyond hope, he made a wonderful escape by crossing the Dnieper on the ice during the night and rejoining his companions, who had given up the hope of ever seeing him again.

The Dreadful Crossing of the Beresina

On the 26th the ice-cold river Beresina was reached, destined to be the most terrible point on the whole dreadful march. Two bridges were thrown in all haste across the stream, and most of the men under arms crossed, but 18,000 stragglers fell into the hands of the enemy. How many were trodden to death in the press or were crowded from the bridge into the icy river cannot be told. It is said that when spring thawed the ice 30,000 bodies were found and burned on the banks of the stream. A mere fragment of the great army remained alive. Ney was the last man to cross that frightful stream.

On the 3d of December Napoleon issued a bulletin which has become famous, telling the anxious nations of Europe that the grand army was annihilated, but the emperor was safe. Two days afterwards he surrendered the command of the army to Murat and set out at all speed for Paris, where his presence was indispensably necessary. On the 13th of December some 16,000 haggard and staggering men, almost too weak to hold the arms to which they still despairingly clung, recrossed the Niemen, which the grand army had passed in such magnificent strength and with such abounding resources less than six months before. It was the greatest and most astounding disaster in the military history of the world.

This tale of terror may be fitly closed by a dramatic story told by General Mathieu Dumas, who, while sitting at breakfast in Gumbinnen, saw enter a haggard man, with long beard, blackened face, and red and glaring eyes.

“I am here at last,” he exclaimed. “Don’t you know me?”

“No,” said the general. “Who are you?”

“I am the rear-guard of the Grand Army. I have fired the last musket-shot on the bridge of Kowno. I have thrown the last of our arms into the Niemen, and came hither through the woods. I am Marshal Ney.”

“This is the beginning of the end,” said the shrewd Talleyrand, when Napoleon set out on his Russian campaign. The remark proved true, the disaster in Russia had loosened the grasp of the Corsican on the throat of Europe, and the nations, which hated as much as they feared their ruthless enemy, made active preparations for his overthrow. While he was in France, actively gathering men and materials for a renewed struggle, signs of an implacable hostility began to manifest themselves on all sides in the surrounding states. Belief in the invincibility of Napoleon had vanished, and little fear was entertained of the raw conscripts whom he was forcing into the ranks to replace his slaughtered veterans.

Europe in Arms Against Napoleon

Prussia was the first to break the bonds of alliance with France, to ally itself with Russia, and to call its people to arms against their oppressor. They responded with the utmost enthusiasm, men of all ranks and all professions hastened to their country’s defence, and the noble and the peasant stood side by side as privates in the same regiment. In March, 1813, the French left Berlin, which was immediately occupied by the Russian and Prussian allies. The king of Saxony, however, refused to desert Napoleon, to whom he owed many favors and whose anger he feared; and his State, in consequence, became the theatre of the war.

The Opening of the Final Struggle

Across the opposite borders of this kingdom poured the hostile hosts, meeting in battle at Lützen and Buntzen. Here the French held the field, driving their adversaries across the Oder, but not in the wild dismay seen at Jena. A new spirit had been aroused in the Prussian heart, and they left thousands of their enemies dead upon the field, among whom Napoleon saw with grief his especial friend and favorite Duroc.

A truce followed, which the French emperor utilized in gathering fresh levies. Prince Metternich, the able chancellor of the Austrian empire, sought to make peace, but his demands upon Napoleon were much greater than the proud conqueror was prepared to grant, and he decisively refused to cede the territory held by him as the spoils of war. His refusal brought upon him another powerful foe, Austria allied itself with his enemies, formally declaring war on August 12, 1813, and an active and terrible struggle began.

The Battle of Dresden, Napoleon’s Last Great Victory

Napoleon’s army was rapidly concentrated at Dresden, upon whose works of defence the allied army precipitated itself in a vigorous assault on August 26th. Its strength was wasted against the vigorously held fortifications of the city, and in the end the gates were flung open and the serried battalions of the Old Guard appeared in battle array. From every gate of the city these tried soldiers poured, and rushed upon the unprepared wings of the hostile host. Before this resistless charge the enemy recoiled, retreating with heavy loss to the heights beyond the city, and leaving Napoleon master of the field.

At Dresden, August 26 and 27, 1813, Napoleon gained the last of his many great victories, against a large army of Austrian, Prussian and Russian allies. In this hard-fought battle Murat, the dashing cavalry leader, was the hero of the day. Never had he led more effectively his “whirlwinds of cavalry,” and most of the honors of the day fell to his daring cuirassiers.
Thackeray, Trollope, Scott, Dickens, Bulwer-Lytton
Famous English Novelists.

On the next morning the battle was resumed. The allies, strongly posted, still outnumbered the French, and had abundant reason to expect victory. But Napoleon’s eagle eye quickly saw that their left wing lacked the strength of the remainder of the line, and upon this he poured the bulk of his forces, while keeping their centre and right actively engaged. The result justified the instinct of his genius, the enemy was driven back in disastrous defeat, and once again a glorious victory was inscribed upon the banners of France—the final one in Napoleon’s career of fame.

A Series of French Disasters

Yet the fruits of this victory were largely lost in the events of the remainder of the month. On the 26th Blücher brilliantly defeated Marshal Macdonald on the Katzbach, in Silesia; on the 30th General Vandamme, with 10,000 French soldiers, was surrounded and captured at Culm, in Bohemia; and on the 27th Hirschfeld, at Hagelsberg, with a corps of volunteers, defeated Girard. The Prussian-Swedish army similarly won victories on August 25th and September 6th, and a few weeks afterward the Prussian general, Count York, supported by the troops of General Horn, crossed the Elbe in the face of the enemy, and gained a brilliant victory at Wartenburg. Where Napoleon was present victory inclined to his banner. Where he was absent his lieutenants suffered defeat. The struggle was everywhere fierce and desperate, but the end was at hand.

The Fatal Meeting of the Armies at Leipzig

The rulers of the Rhine Confederation now began to desert Napoleon and all Germany to join against him. The first to secede was Bavaria, which allied itself with Austria and joined its forces to those of the allies. During October the hostile armies concentrated in front of Leipzig, where was to be fought the decisive battle of the war. The struggle promised was the most gigantic one in which Napoleon had ever been engaged. Against his 100,000 men was gathered a host of 300,000 Austrians, Prussians, Russians, and Swedes.

We have not space to describe the multitudinous details of this mighty struggle, which continued with unabated fury for three days, October 16th, 17th, and 18th. It need scarcely be said that the generalship shown by Napoleon in this famous contest lacked nothing of his usual brilliancy, and that he was ably seconded by Ney, Murat, Augereau, and others of his famous generals, yet the overwhelming numbers of the enemy enabled them to defy all the valor of the French and the resources of their great leader, and at evening of the 18th the armies still faced each other in battle array, the fate of the field yet undecided.

Napoleon was in no condition to renew the combat. During the long affray the French had expended no less than 250,000 cannon balls. They had but 16,000 left, which two hours’ firing would exhaust. Reluctantly he gave the order to retreat, and all that night the wearied and disheartened troops filed through the gates of Leipzig, leaving a rear-guard in the city, who defended it bravely against the swarming multitude of the foe. A disastrous blunder terminated their stubborn defence. Orders had been left to blow up the bridge across the Elster, but the mine was, by mistake, set off too soon, and the gallant garrison, 12,000 in number, with a multitude of sick and wounded, was forced to surrender as prisoners of war.

The end was drawing near. Vigorously pursued, the French reached the Rhine by forced marches, defeating with heavy loss the army of Austrians and Bavarians which sought to block their way. The stream was crossed and the French were once more upon their own soil. After years of contest, Germany was finally freed from Napoleon’s long-victorious hosts.

The Break-up of Napoleon’s European Empire

Marked results followed. The carefully organized work of Napoleon’s policy quickly fell to pieces. The kingdom of Westphalia was dissolved. The elector of Hesse and the dukes of Brunswick and Oldenburg returned to the thrones from which they had been driven. The Confederation of the Rhine ceased to exist, and its states allied themselves with Austria. Denmark, long faithful to France, renounced its alliance in January, 1814. Austria regained possession of Lombardy, the duke of Tuscany returned to his capital, and the Pope, Pius VII., long held captive by Napoleon, came back in triumph to Rome. A few months sufficed to break down the edifice of empire slowly reared through so many years, and almost all Europe outside of France united itself in hostility to its hated foe.

Napoleon was offered peace if he would accept the Rhine as the French frontier, but his old infatuation and trust in his genius prevailed over the dictates of prudence, he treated the offer in his usual double-dealing way, and the allies, convinced that there could be no stable peace while he remained on the throne, decided to cross the Rhine and invade France.

The War in France and the Abdication of the Emperor

Blücher led his columns across the stream on the first day of 1814, Schwarzenberg marched through Switzerland into France, and Wellington crossed the Pyrenees. Napoleon, like a wolf brought to bay, sought to dispose of his scattered foes before they would unite, and began with Blücher, whom he defeated five times within as many days. The allies, still in dread of their great opponent, once more offered him peace, but his success robbed him of wisdom, he demanded more than they were willing to give, and his enemies, encouraged by a success gained by Blücher, broke off the negotiations and marched on Paris, now bent on the dethronement of their dreaded antagonist.

A few words will bring the story of this contest to an end. France was exhausted, its army was incapable of coping with the serried battalions marshalled against it, Paris surrendered before Napoleon could come to its defence, and in the end the emperor, vacillating and in despair, was obliged, on April 7, 1814, to sign an unconditional act of abdication. The powers of Europe awarded him as a kingdom the diminutive island of Elba, in the Mediterranean, with an annual income of 2,000,000 francs and an army composed of 400 of his famous guard. The next heir to the throne returned as Louis XVIII. France was given back its old frontier of 1492, the foreign armies withdrew from her soil, and the career of the great Corsican seemed at an end.

In spite of their long experience with Napoleon, the event proved that the powers of Europe knew not all the audacity and mental resources of the man with whom they had to deal. They had made what might have proved a fatal error in giving him an asylum so near the coast of France, whose people, intoxicated with the dream of glory through which he had so long led them, would be sure to respond enthusiastically to an appeal to rally to his support.

Napoleon Returns from Elba

The powers were soon to learn their error. While the Congress of Vienna, convened to restore the old constitution of Europe, was deliberating and disputing, its members were startled by the news that the dethroned emperor was again upon the soil of France, and that Louis XVIII. was in full flight for the frontier. Napoleon had landed on March 1, 1815, and set out on his return to Paris, the army and the people rapidly gathering to his support. On the 30th he entered the Tuileries in a blaze of triumph, the citizens, thoroughly dissatisfied with their brief experience of Bourbon rule, going mad with enthusiasm in his welcome.

Thus began the famous period of the “Hundred Days.” The powers declared Napoleon to be the “enemy of nations,” and armed a half million of men for his final overthrow. The fate of his desperate attempt was soon decided. For the first time he was to meet the British in battle, and in Wellington to encounter the only man who had definitely made head against his legions. A British army was dispatched in all haste to Belgium, Blücher with his Prussians hastened to the same region, and the mighty final struggle was at hand. The persistent and unrelenting enemies of the Corsican conqueror, the British islanders, were destined to be the agents of his overthrow.

The Gathering of the Armies in Belgium

The little kingdom of Belgium was the scene of the momentous contest that brought Napoleon’s marvelous career to an end. Thither he led his army, largely made up of new conscripts; and thither the English and the Prussians hastened to meet him. On June 16, 1815, the prelude to the great battle took place. Napoleon met Blücher at Ligny and defeated him; then, leaving Grouchy to pursue the Prussians, he turned against his island foes. On the same day Ney encountered the forces of Wellington at Quatre Bras, but failed to drive them back. On the 17th Wellington took a new position at Waterloo, and awaited there his great antagonist.

The Terrible Defeat at Waterloo

June 18th was the crucial day in Napoleon’s career, the one in which his power was to fall, never to rise again. Here we shall but sketch in outline this famous battle, reserving a fuller account of it for our next chapter, under the story of Wellington, the victor in the fray. The stupendous struggle, as Wellington himself described it, was “a battle of giants.” Long the result wavered in the balance. All day long the British sustained the desperate assaults of their antagonists. Terrible was the contest, frightful the loss of life. Hour after hour passed, charge after charge was hurled by Napoleon against the British lines, which still closed up over the dead and stood firm; and it seemed as if night would fall with the two armies unflinchingly face to face, neither of them victor in the terrible fray.

The arrival of Blücher with his Prussians turned the scale. To Napoleon’s bitter disappointment Grouchy, who should have been close on the heels of the Prussians, failed to appear, and the weary and dejected French were left to face these fresh troops without support. Napoleon’s Old Guard in vain flung itself into the gap, and the French nation long repeated in pride the saying attributed to the commander of this famous corps: “The guard dies, but it never surrenders.”

Napoleon Meets His Fate

In the end the French army broke and fled in disastrous rout, three-fourths of the whole force being left dead, wounded, or prisoners, while all its artillery became the prize of the victors. Napoleon, pale and confused, was led by Soult from the battlefield. It was his last fight. His abdication was demanded, and he resigned the crown in favor of his son. A hopeless and unnerved fugitive, he fled from Paris to Rochefort, hoping to escape to America. But the British fleet held that port, and in despair he went on board a vessel of the fleet, trusting himself to the honor of the British nation. But the statesmen of England had no sympathy with the vanquished adventurer, from whose ambition Europe had suffered so terribly. He was sent as a state prisoner to the island of St. Helena, there to end his days. His final hour of glory came in 1842, when his ashes were brought in pomp and display to Paris.

No more impressive scene could be imagined than this peaceful slumber of an army on the eve of what was to prove one of the most famous battles of history. On the succeeding night many of these slumberers slept the sleep of death, but their hands had brought to an end the career of Napoleon.

This spirited illustration figures the final event in the mighty struggle at Waterloo when the French, after hurling themselves a dozen times against the unyielding British ranks, like storm waves upon a rock-bound shore, staggered back in despair, and Wellington gave the magic word of command: “Let all the line advance!” Those words signified the final downfall of Napoleon.

Nelson and Wellington, the Champions of England.

England and France on Land and Sea

For nearly twenty years went on the stupendous struggle between Napoleon the Great and the powers of Europe, but in all that time, and among the multitude of men who met the forces of France in battle, only two names emerge which the world cares to remember, those of Horatio Nelson, the most famous of the admirals of England, and Lord Wellington, who alone seemed able to overthrow the greatest military genius of modern times. On land the efforts of Napoleon were seconded by the intrepidity of a galaxy of heroes, Ney, Murat, Moreau, Massena, and other men of fame. At sea the story reads differently. That era of stress and strain raised no great admiral in the service of France; her ships were feebly commanded, and the fleet of Great Britain, under the daring Nelson, kept its proud place as mistress of the sea.

Nelson Discovers the French Fleet in Aboukir Bay

The first proof of this came before the opening of the century, when Napoleon, led by the ardor of his ambition, landed in Egypt, with vague hopes of rivaling in the East the far-famed exploits of Alexander the Great. The fleet which bore him thither remained moored in Aboukir Bay, where Nelson, scouring the Mediterranean in quest of it, first came in sight of its serried line of ships on August 1, 1798. One alternative alone dwelt in his courageous soul, that of a heroic death or a glorious victory. “Before this time to-morrow I shall have gained a victory or Westminster Abbey,” he said.

In the mighty contest that followed, the French had the advantage in numbers, alike of ships, guns, and men. They were drawn up in a strong and compact line of battle, moored in a manner that promised to bid defiance to a force double their own. They lay in an open roadstead, but had every advantage of situation, the British fleet being obliged to attack them in a position carefully chosen for defence. Only the genius of Nelson enabled him to overcome those advantages of the enemy. “If we succeed, what will the world say?” asked Captain Berry, on hearing the admiral’s plan of battle. “There is no if in the case,” answered the admiral. “That we shall succeed is certain: who may live to tell the story, is a very different question.”

The Glorious Battle of the Nile

The story of the “Battle of the Nile” belongs to the record of eighteenth century affairs. All we need say here is that it ended in a glorious victory for the English fleet. Of thirteen ships of the line in the French fleet, only two escaped. Of four frigates, one was sunk and one burned. The British loss was 895 men. Of the French, 5,225 perished in the terrible fray. Nelson sprang, in a moment, from the position of a man without fame into that of the naval hero of the world—as Dewey did in as famous a fray almost exactly a century later. Congratulations and honors were showered upon him, the Sultan of Turkey rewarded him with costly presents, valuable testimonials came from other quarters, and his own country honored him with the title of Baron Nelson of the Nile, and settled upon him for life a pension of £2,000.

The first great achievement of Nelson in the nineteenth century was the result of a daring resolution of the statesmen of England, in their desperate contest with the Corsican conqueror. By his exploit at the Nile the admiral had very seriously weakened the sea-power of France. But there were powers then in alliance with France—Russia, Sweden and Denmark—which had formed a confederacy to make England respect their naval rights, and whose combined fleet, if it should come to the aid of France, might prove sufficient to sweep the ships of England from the seas.

The weakest of these powers, and the one most firmly allied to France, was Denmark, whose fleet, consisting of twenty-three ships of the line and about thirty-one frigates and smaller vessels, lay at Copenhagen. At any moment this powerful fleet might be put at the disposal of Napoleon. This possible danger the British cabinet resolved to avoid. A plan was laid to destroy the fleet of the Danes, and on the 12th of March, 1801, the British fleet sailed with the purpose of putting this resolution into effect.

The Fleet Sails for Copenhagen

Nelson, then bearing the rank of vice-admiral, went with the fleet, but only as second in command. To the disgust of the English people, Sir Hyde Parker, a brave and able seaman, but one whose name history has let sink into oblivion, was given chief command—a fact which would have insured the failure of the expedition if Nelson had not set aside precedent, and put glory before duty. Parker, indeed, soon set Nelson chafing by long drawn-out negotiations, which proved useless, wasted time, and saved the Danes from being taken by surprise. When, on the morning of April 30th, the British fleet at length advanced through the Sound and came in sight of the Danish line of defence, they beheld formidable preparations to meet them.

The Danish Line of Defence

Eighteen vessels, including full-rigged ships and hulks, were moored in a line nearly a mile and a half in length, flanked to the northward by two artificial islands mounted with sixty-eight heavy cannon and supplied with furnaces for heating shot. Near by lay two large block-ships. Across the harbor’s mouth extended a massive chain, and shore batteries commanded the channel. Outside the harbor’s mouth were moored two 74-gun ships, a 40-gun frigate, and some smaller vessels. In addition to these defences, which stretched for nearly four miles in length, was the difficulty of the channel, always hazardous from its shoals, and now beaconed with false buoys for the purpose of luring the British ships to destruction.

With modern defences—rapid-fire guns and steel-clad batteries—the enterprise would have been hopeless, but the art of defence was then at a far lower level. Nelson, who led the van in the 74-gun ship Elephant, gazed on these preparations with admiration, but with no evidence of doubt as to the result. The British fleet consisted of eighteen line of battle ships, with a large number of frigates and other craft, and with this force, and his indomitable spirit, he felt confident of breaking these formidable lines.

The Attack on the Danish Fleet

At ten o’clock on the morning of April 2d the battle began, two of the British ships running aground almost before a gun was fired. At sight of this disaster Nelson instantly changed his plan of sailing, starboarded his helm, and sailed in, dropping anchor within a cable’s length of the Dannebrog, of 62 guns. The other ships followed his example, avoiding the shoals on which the Bellona and Russell had grounded, and taking position at the close quarters of 100 fathoms from the Danish ships.

A terrific cannonade followed, kept up by both sides with unrelenting fury for three hours, and with terrible effect on the contesting ships and their crews. At this juncture took place an event that has made Nelson’s name immortal among naval heroes. Admiral Parker, whose flag-ship lay at a distance from the hot fight, but who heard the incessant and furious fire and saw the grounded ships flying signals of distress, began to fear that Nelson was in serious danger, from which it was his duty to withdraw him. At about one o’clock he reluctantly hoisted a signal for the action to cease.

At this moment Nelson was pacing the quarter-deck of the Elephant, inspired with all the fury of the fight. “It is a warm business,” he said to Colonel Stewart, who was on the ship with him; “and any moment may be the last of either of us; but, mark you, I would not for thousands be anywhere else.”

As he spoke the flag-lieutenant reported that the signal to cease action was shown on the mast-head of the flag-ship London, and asked if he should report it to the fleet.

“No,” was the stern answer; “merely acknowledge it. Is our signal for ‘close action’ still flying?”

“Yes,” replied the officer.

How Nelson Answered the Signal to Cease Action

“Then see that you keep it so,” said Nelson, the stump of his amputated arm working as it usually did when he was agitated. “Do you know,” he asked Colonel Stewart, “the meaning of signal No. 39, shown by Parker’s ships?”

“No. What does it mean?”

“To leave off action!” He was silent a moment, then burst out, “Now damn me if I do!”

Turning to Captain Foley, who stood near him, he said: “Foley, you know I have only one eye; I have a right to be blind sometimes.” He raised his telescope, applied it to his blind eye, and said: “I really do not see the signal.”

On roared the guns, overhead on the Elephant still streamed the signal for “close action,” and still the torrent of British balls rent the Danish ships. In half an hour more the fire of the Danes was fast weakening. In an hour it had nearly ceased. They had suffered frightfully, in ships and lives, and only the continued fire of the shore batteries now kept the contest alive. It was impossible to take possession of the prizes, and Nelson sent a flag of truce ashore with a letter in which he threatened to burn the vessels, with all on board, unless the shore fire was stopped. This threat proved effective, the fire ended, the great battle was at an end.

At four o’clock Nelson went on board the London, to meet the admiral. He was depressed in spirit, and said: “I have fought contrary to orders, and may be hanged; never mind, let them.”

There was no danger of this; Parker was not that kind of man. He had raised the signal through fear for Nelson’s safety, and now gloried in his success, giving congratulations where his subordinate looked for blame. The Danes had fought bravely and stubbornly, but they had no commander of the spirit and genius of Nelson, and were forced to yield to British pluck and endurance. Until June 13th, Nelson remained in the Baltic, watching the Russian fleet which he might still have to fight. Then came orders for his return home, and word reached him that he had been created Viscount Nelson for his services.

Nelson in Chase of the French Fleet

There remains to describe the last and most famous of Nelson’s exploits, that in which he put an end to the sea-power of France, by destroying the remainder of her fleet at Trafalgar, and met death at the moment of victory. Four years had passed since the fight at Copenhagen. During much of that time Nelson had kept his fleet on guard off Toulon, impatiently waiting until the enemy should venture from that port of refuge. At length, the combined fleet of France and Spain, now in alliance, escaped his vigilance, and sailed to the West Indies to work havoc in the British colonies. He followed them thither in all haste; and subsequently, on their return to France, he chased them back across the seas, burning with eagerness to bring them to bay.

The Allied Fleet Leaves Cadiz

On the 19th of October, 1805, the allied fleet put to sea from the harbor of Cadiz, confident that its great strength would enable it to meet any force the British had upon the waves. Admiral De Villeneuve, with thirty-three ships of the line and a considerable number of smaller craft, had orders to force the straits of Gibraltar, land troops at Naples, sweep British cruisers and commerce from the Mediterranean, and then seek the port of Toulon to refit. As it turned out, he never reached the straits, his fleet meeting its fate before it could leave the Atlantic waves. Nelson had reached the coast of Europe again, and was close at hand when the doomed ships of the allies appeared. Two swift ocean scouts saw the movements, and hastened to Lord Nelson with the welcome news that the long-deferred moment was at hand. On the 21st, the British fleet came within view, and the following signal was set on the mast-head of the flag-ship:

“The French and Spaniards are out at last; they outnumber us in ships and guns and men; we are on the eve of the greatest sea-fight in history.”

On came the ships, great lumbering craft, strangely unlike the war-vessels of to-day. Instead of the trim, grim, steel-clad, steam-driven modern battle-ship, with its revolving turret, and great frowning, breech-loading guns, sending their balls through miles of air, those were bluff-bowed, ungainly hulks, with bellying sides towering like black walls above the sea as if to make the largest mark possible for hostile shot, with a great show of muzzle-loading guns of small range, while overhead rose lofty spars and spreading sails. Ships they were that to-day would be sent to the bottom in five minutes of fight, but which, mated against others of the same build, were capable of giving a gallant account of themselves.

Off Cape Trafalgar

It was off the shoals of Cape Trafalgar, near the southern extremity of Spain, that the two fleets met, and such a tornado of fire as has rarely been seen upon the ocean waves was poured from their broad and lofty sides. As they came together there floated from the masthead of the Victory, Nelson’s flagship, that signal which has become the watchword of the British isles: “England expects that every man will do his duty.”

The “Victory” and Her Brilliant Fight

We cannot follow the fortunes of all the vessels in that stupendous fray, the most famous sea-fight in history. It must serve to follow the Victory in her course, in which Nelson eagerly sought to thrust himself into the heart of the fight and dare death in his quest for victory. He was not long in meeting his wish. Soon he found himself in a nest of enemies, eight ships at once pouring their fire upon his devoted vessel, which could not bring a gun to bear in return, the wind having died away and the ship lying almost motionless upon the waves.

Before the Victory was able to fire a shot fifty of her men had fallen killed or wounded, and her canvas was pierced and rent till it looked like a series of fishing nets. But the men stuck to their guns with unyielding tenacity, and at length their opportunity came. A 68-pounder carronade, loaded with a round shot and 500 musket balls, was fired into the cabin windows of the Bucentaure, with such terrible effect as to disable 400 men and 20 guns, and put the ship practically out of the fight.

The Victory next turned upon the Neptune and the Redoubtable, of the enemy’s fleet. The Neptune, not liking her looks, kept off, but she collided and locked spars with the Redoubtable, and a terrific fight began. On the opposite side of the Redoubtable came the British ship Temeraire, and opposite it again a second ship of the enemy, the four vessels lying bow to bow, and rending one another’s sides with an incessant hail of balls. On the Victory the gunners were ordered to depress their pieces, that the balls should not go through and wound the Temeraire beyond. The muzzles of their cannon fairly touched the enemy’s side, and after each shot a bucket of water was dashed into the rent, that they may not set fire to the vessel which they confidently expected to take as a prize.

In the midst of the hot contest came the disaster already spoken of. Brass swivels were mounted in the French ship’s tops to sweep with their fire the deck of their foe, and as Nelson and Captain Hardy paced together their poop deck, regardless of danger, the admiral suddenly fell. A ball from one of these guns had reached the noblest mark on the fleet.

The Great Battle and its Sad Disaster

“They have done for me at last, Hardy,” the fallen man said.

“Don’t say you are hit!” cried Hardy in dismay.

“Yes, my backbone is shot through.”

His words were not far from the truth. He never arose from that fatal shot. Yet, dying as he was, his spirit survived.

“I hope none of our ships have struck, Hardy,” he feebly asked, in a later interval of the fight.

“No, my lord. There is small fear of that.”

“I’m a dead man, Hardy, but I’m glad of what you say. Whip them now you’ve got them. Whip them as they’ve never been whipped before.”

Another hour passed. Hardy came below again to say that fourteen or fifteen of the enemy’s ships had struck.

“That’s better, though I bargained for twenty,” said the dying man. “And now, anchor, Hardy—anchor.”

“I suppose, my lord, that Admiral Collingwood will now take the direction of affairs.”

“Not while I live,” exclaimed Nelson, with a momentary return of energy. “Do you anchor, Hardy.”

“Then shall we make the signal, my lord.”

“Yes, for if I live, I’ll anchor.”

Victory for England and Death for Her Famous Admiral

That was the end. Five minutes later Horatio Nelson, England’s greatest sea champion, was dead. He had won both prizes he sought for in the battle of the Nile—victory and Westminster Abbey.

Collingwood did not anchor, but stood out to sea with the eighteen prizes of the hard fought fray. In the gale that followed many of the results of victory were lost, four of the ships being retaken, some wrecked on shore, some foundering at sea, only four reaching British waters in Gibraltar Bay. But whatever was lost, Nelson’s fame was secure, and the victory at Trafalgar is treasured as one of the most famous triumphs of British arms.

The naval battle at Copenhagen, won by Nelson, was followed, six years later, by a combined land and naval expedition in which Wellington, England’s other champion, took part. Again inspired by the fear that Napoleon might use the Danish fleet for his own purposes, the British government, though at peace with Denmark, sent a fleet to Copenhagen, bombarded and captured the city, and seized the Danish ships. A battle took place on land in which Wellington (then Sir Arthur Wellesley) won an easy victory and, captured 10,000 men. The whole business was an inglorious one, a dishonorable incident in a struggle in which the defeat of Napoleon stood first, honor second. Among the English themselves some defended it on the plea of policy, some called it piracy and murder.

The British in Portugal

Not long afterwards England prepared to take a serious part on land in the desperate contest with Napoleon, and sent a British force to Portugal, then held by the French army of invasion under Marshal Junot. This force, 10,000 strong, was commanded by Sir Arthur Wellesley, and landed July 30, 1808, at Mondego Bay. He was soon joined by General Spencer from Cadiz, with 13,000 men.

The Death of Sir John Moore

The French, far from home and without support, were seriously alarmed at this invasion, and justly so, for they met with defeat in a sharp battle at Vimeira, and would probably have been forced to surrender as prisoners of war had not the troops been called off from pursuit by Sir Harry Burrard, who had been sent out to supersede Wellesley in command. The end of it all was a truce, and a convention under whose terms the French troops were permitted to evacuate Portugal with their arms and baggage and return to France. This release of Junot from a situation which precluded escape so disgusted Wellesley that he threw up his command and returned to England. Other troops sent out under Sir John Moore and Sir David Baird met a superior force of French in Spain, and their expedition ended in disaster. Moore was killed while the troops were embarking to return home, and the memory of this affair has been preserved in the famous ode, “The burial of Sir John Moore,” from which we quote:

“We buried him darkly at dead of night,
The sod with our bayonets turning,
By the glimmering moonbeams’ misty light
And the lanterns dimly burning.”

In April, 1809, Wellesley returned to Portugal, now chief in command, to begin a struggle which was to continue until the fall of Napoleon. There were at that time about 20,000 British soldiers at Lisbon, while the French had in Spain more than 300,000 men, under such generals as Ney, Soult, and Victor. The British, indeed, were aided by a large number of natives in arms. But these, though of service as guerillas, were almost useless in regular warfare.

The Gallant Crossing of the Douro

Wellesley was at Lisbon. Oporto, 170 miles north, was held by Marshal Soult, who had recently taken it. Without delay Wellington marched thither, and drove the French outposts across the river Douro. But in their retreat they burned the bridge of boats across the river, seized every boat they could find, and rested in security, defying their foes to cross. Soult, veteran officer though he was, fancied that he had disposed of Wellesley, and massed his forces on the sea-coast side of the town, in which quarter alone he looked for an attack.

In the slaughter of his Old Guard on the field of Waterloo, Napoleon recognized the tocsin of fate. Pale, distressed, despairing, he was led by Marshall Soult from the scene of slaughter. It was the last of his many fields of battle and death, and his career would have had a nobler ending if he had died there rather than fled.
The defeat of the French in the battle of Waterloo was so complete that all organization was lost, many of the soldiers fleeing singly from the field. This state of affairs is here strikingly depicted.

He did not know his antagonist. A few skiffs were secured, and a small party of British was sent across the stream. The French attacked them, but they held their ground till some others joined them, and by the time Soult was informed of the danger Wellesley had landed a large force and controlled a good supply of boats. A battle followed in which the French were routed and forced to retreat. But the only road by which their artillery or baggage could be moved had been seized by General Beresford, and was strongly held. In consequence Soult was forced to abandon all his wagons and cannon and make his escape by bye-roads into Spain.

The Victory at Talavera and the Victor’s Reward

This signal victory was followed by another on July 27, 1809, when Wellesley, with 20,000 British soldiers and about 40,000 Spanish allies, met a French army of 60,000 men at Talavera in Spain. The battle that succeeded lasted two days. The brunt of it fell upon the British, the Spaniards proving of little use, yet it ended in the defeat of the French, who retired unmolested, the British being too exhausted to pursue.

The tidings of this victory were received with the utmost enthusiasm in England. It was shown by it that British valor could win battles against Napoleon’s on land as well as on sea. Wellesley received the warmest thanks of the king, and, like Nelson, was rewarded by being raised to the peerage, being given the titles of Baron Douro of Wellesley and Viscount Wellington of Talavera. In future we shall call him by his historic title of Wellington.

Men and supplies just then would have served Wellington better than titles. With strong support he could have marched on and taken Madrid. As it was, he felt obliged to retire upon the fortress of Badajoz, near the frontier of Portugal. Spain was swarming with French soldiers, who were gradually collected there until they exceeded 350,000 men. Of these 80,000, under the command of Massena, were sent to act against the British. Before this strong force Wellington found it necessary to draw back, and the frontier fortresses of Almeida and Ciudad Rodrigo were taken by the French. Wellington’s first stand was on the heights of Busaco, September, 1810. Here, with 30,000 men, he withstood all the attacks of the French, who in the end were forced to withdraw. Massena then tried to gain the road between Lisbon and Oporto, whereupon Wellington quickly retreated towards Lisbon.

Wellington’s Impregnable Lines at Torres Vedras

The British general had during the winter been very usefully employed. The road by which Lisbon must be approached passes the village of Torres Vedras, and here two strong lines of earthworks were constructed, some twenty-five miles in length, stretching from the sea to the Tagus, and effectually securing Lisbon against attack. These works had been built with such secrecy and despatch that the French were quite ignorant of their existence, and Massena, marching in confidence upon the Portuguese capital, was amazed and chagrined on finding before him this formidable barrier.

It was strongly defended, and all his efforts to take it proved in vain. He then tried to reduce the British by famine, but in this he was equally baffled, food being poured into Lisbon from the sea. He tried by a feigned retreat to draw the British from their works, but this stratagem failed of effect, and for four months more the armies remained inactive. At length the exhaustion of the country of provisions made necessary a real retreat, and Massena withdrew across the Spanish frontier, halting near Salamanca. Of the proud force with which Napoleon proposed to “drive the British leopards into the sea,” more than half had vanished in this luckless campaign.

The Siege and Capture of the Portuguese Fortresses

But though the French army had withdrawn from Portugal, the frontier fortresses were still in French hands, and of these Almeida, near the borders, was the first to be attacked by Wellington’s forces. Massena advanced with 50,000 men to its relief, and the two armies met at Fuentes-de-Onoro, May 4, 1811. The French made attacks on the 5th and 6th, but were each time repulsed, and on the 7th Massena retreated, sending orders to the governor of Almeida to destroy the fortifications and leave the place.

Another battle was fought in front of Badajoz of the most sanguinary character, the total loss of the two armies being 15,000 killed and wounded. For a time the British seemed threatened with inevitable defeat, but the fortune of the day was turned into victory by a desperate charge. Subsequently Ciudad Rodrigo was attacked, and was carried by storm, in January, 1812. Wellington then returned to Badajoz, which was also taken by storm, after a desperate combat in which the victors lost 5,000 men, a number exceeding that of the whole French garrison.

Wellington Wins at Salamanca and Enters Madrid

These continued successes of the British were seriously out of consonance with the usual exploits of Napoleon’s armies. He was furious with his marshals, blaming them severely, and might have taken their place in the struggle with Wellington but that his fatal march to Russia was about to begin. The fortress taken, Wellington advanced into Spain, and on July 21st encountered the French army under Marmont before the famous old town of Salamanca. The battle, one of the most stubbornly contested in which Wellington had yet been engaged, ended in the repulse of the French, and on August 12th the British army marched into Madrid, the capital of Spain, from which King Joseph Bonaparte had just made his second flight.

Vittoria and the Pyrenees

Wellington’s next effort was a siege of the strong fortress of Burgos. This proved the one failure in his military career, he being obliged to raise the siege after several weeks of effort. In the following year he was strongly reinforced, and with an army numbering nearly 200,000 men he marched on the retreating enemy, meeting them at Vittoria, near the boundary of France and Spain, on June 21, 1813. The French were for the first time in this war in a minority. They were also heavily encumbered with baggage, the spoils of their occupation of Spain. The battle ended in a complete victory for Wellington, who captured 157 cannon and a vast quantity of plunder, including the spoils of Madrid and of the palace of the kings of Spain. The specie, of which a large sum was taken, quickly disappeared among the troops, and failed to reach the treasure chests of the army.

The French were now everywhere on the retreat. Soult, after a vigorous effort to drive the British from the passes of the Pyrenees, withdrew, and Wellington and his army soon stood on the soil of France. A victory over Soult at Nivelle, and a series of successes in the following spring, ended the long Peninsular War, the abdication of Napoleon closing the long and terrible drama of battle. In the whole six years of struggle Wellington had not once been defeated on the battlefield.

His military career had not yet ended. His great day of glory was still to come, that in which he was to meet Napoleon himself in the field, and, for the first time in the history of the great Corsican, drive back his army in utter rout.

The Gathering of the Forces at Brussels

A year or more had passed since the events just narrated. In June, 1815, Wellington found himself at the head of an army some 100,000 strong, encamped around Brussels, the capital of Belgium. It was a mingled group of British, Dutch, Belgian, Hanoverian, German, and other troops, hastily got together, and many of them not safely to be depended upon. Of the British, numbers had never been under fire. Marshal Blücher, with an equal force of Prussian troops, was near at hand; the two forces prepared to meet the rapidly advancing Napoleon.

We have already told of the defeat of Blücher at Ligny, and the attack on Wellington at Quatre Bras. On the evening of the 17th the army, retreating from Quatre Bras, encamped in the historic field of Waterloo in a drenching rain, that turned the roads into streams, the fields into swamps. All night long the rain came down, the soldiers enduring the flood with what patience they could. In the morning it ceased, fires were kindled, and active preparations began for the terrible struggle at hand.

The Battlefield of Waterloo

Here ran a shallow valley, bounded by two ridges, the northern of which was occupied by the British, while Napoleon posted his army on its arrival along the southern ridge. On the slope before the British centre was the white-walled farm house of La Haye Sainte, and in front of the right wing the chateau of Hougoumont, with its various stout stone buildings. Both of these were occupied by men of Wellington’s army, and became leading points in the struggle of the day.

It was nine o’clock in the morning before the van-guard of the French army made its appearance on the crest of the southern ridge. By half-past ten 61,000 soldiers,—infantry, cavalry, and artillery—lay encamped in full sight. About half-past eleven came the first attack of that remarkable day, during which the French waged an aggressive battle, the British stood on the defensive.

The Desperate Charges of the French

This first attack was directed against Hougoumont, around which there was a desperate contest. At this point the affray went on, in successive waves of attack and repulse, all day long; yet still the British held the buildings, and all the fierce valor of the French failed to gain them a foothold within.

About two o’clock came a second attack, preceded by a frightful cannonade upon the British left and centre. Four massive columns, led by Ney, poured steadily forward straight for the ridge, sweeping upon and around the farm-stead of La Haye Sainte, but met at every point by the sabres and bayonets of the British lines. Nearly 24,000 men took part in this great movement, the struggle lasting more than an hour before the French staggered back in repulse. Then from the French lines came a stupendous cavalry charge, the massive columns composed of no less than forty squadrons of cuirassiers and dragoons, filling almost all the space between Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte as they poured like a torrent upon the British lines. Torn by artillery, rent by musketry; checked, reformed; charging again, and again driven back; they expended their strength and their lives on the infantry squares that held their ground with the grimmest obstinacy. Once more, now strengthened by the cavalry of the Imperial Guard, they came on to carnage and death, shattering themselves against those unyielding squares, and in the end repulsed with frightful loss.

Blücher’s Prussians and the Charge of Napoleon’s Old Guard

The day was now well advanced, it being half-past four in the afternoon; the British had been fearfully shaken by the furious efforts of the French; when, emerging from the woods at St. Lambert, appeared the head of a column of fresh troops. Who were they? Blücher’s Prussians, or Grouchy’s pursuing French? On the answer to this question depended the issue of that terrible day. The question was soon decided; they were the Prussians; no sign appeared of the French; the hearts of the British beat high with hope and those of the French sank low in despair, for these fresh troops could not fail to decide the fate of that mighty field of battle. Soon the final struggle came. Napoleon, driven to desperation, launched his grand reserve corps, the far-famed Imperial Guard, upon his enemies. On they come, with Ney at their head; on them pours a terrible torrent of flame; from a distance the front ranks appear stationary, but only because they meet a death-line as they come, and fall in bleeding rows. Then on them, in a wild charge, rush the British Foot Guards, take them in flank, and soon all is over. “The Guard dies, but never surrenders,” says their commander. Die they do, few of them surviving to take part in that mad flight which swept Napoleon from the field and closed the fatal day of Waterloo. England has won the great struggle, now twenty years old, and Wellington from that day of victory takes rank with the greatest of British heroes.

From the Napoleonic Wars to the Revolution of 1830.

A Quarter Century of Revolution

The terrific struggle of the “Hundred Days,” which followed Napoleon’s return from Elba and preceded his exile to St. Helena, made a serious break in the deliberations of the Congress of Vienna, convened for the purpose of recasting the map of Europe, which Napoleon had so sadly transformed, of setting aside the radical work of the French Revolution, and, in a word, of turning back the hands of the clock of time. Twenty-five years of such turmoil and volcanic disturbance as Europe had rarely known were at an end; the ruling powers were secure of their own again; the people, worn-out with the long and bitter struggle, welcomed eagerly the return of rest and peace; and the emperors and kings deemed it a suitable time to throw overboard the load of new ideas under which the European “ship of state” seemed to them likely to founder.

The Congress of Vienna

The Congress of Vienna was, in its way, a brilliant gathering. It included, mainly as handsome ornaments, the emperors of Russia and Austria, the kings of Prussia, Denmark, Bavaria and Wurtemberg; and, as its working element, the leading statesmen of Europe, including the English Castlereagh and Wellington, the French Talleyrand, the Prussian Hardenberg, and the Austrian Metternich. Checked in its deliberations for a time by Napoleon’s fierce hundred days’ death struggle, it quickly settled down to work again, having before it the vast task of undoing the mighty results of a quarter of a century of revolution. For the French Revolution had broadened into an European revolution, with Napoleon and his armies as its great instruments. The whole continent had been sown thickly during the long era of war with the Napoleonic ideas, and a crop of new demands and conditions had grown up not easily to be uprooted.

Europe After Napoleon’s Fall

Reaction was the order of the day in the Vienna Congress. The shaken power of the monarchs was to be restored, the map of Europe to be readjusted, the people to be put back into the submissive condition which they occupied before that eventful 1789, when the States-General of France began its momentous work of overturning the equilibrium of the world. As for the people, deeply infected as they were with the new ideas of liberty and the rights of man, which had made their way far beyond the borders of France, they were for the time worn-out with strife and turmoil, and settled back supinely to enjoy the welcome era of rest, leaving their fate in the hands of the astute plenipotentiaries who were gathered in their wisdom at Vienna.

The Work of the Congress

These worthy tools of the monarchs had an immense task before them—too large a one, as it proved. It was easy to talk about restoring to the nations the territory they had possessed before Napoleon began his career as a map-maker; but it was not easy to do so except at the cost of new wars. The territories of many of the powers had been added to by the French emperor, and they were not likely to give up their new possessions without a vigorous protest. In Germany the changes had been enormous. Napoleon had found there more than three hundred separate states, some no larger than a small American county, yet each possessed of the paraphernalia of a court and sovereign, a capital, an army and a public debt. And these were feebly combined into the phantasm known as the Holy Roman Empire. When Napoleon had finished his work this empire had ceased to exist, except as a tradition, and the great galaxy of sovereign states was reduced to thirty-nine. These included the great dominions of Austria and Prussia; the smaller states of Bavaria, Saxony, Hanover and Wurtemberg, which Napoleon had raised into kingdoms; and a vastly reduced group of minor states. The work done here it was somewhat dangerous to meddle with. The small potentates of Germany were like so many bull-dogs, glaring jealously across their new borders, and ready to fly at one another’s throats at any suggestion of a change. The utmost they would yield was to be united into a confederacy called the Bund, with a Diet meeting at Frankfurt. But as the delegates to the Diet were given no law-making power, the Bund became an empty farce.

The great powers took care to regain their lost possessions, or to replace them with an equal amount of territory. Prussia and Austria spread out again to their old size, though they did not cover quite the old ground. Most of their domains in Poland were given up, Prussia getting new territory in West Germany and Austria in Italy. Their provinces in Poland were ceded to Alexander of Russia, who added to them some of his own Polish dominions, and formed a new kingdom of Poland, he being its king. So in a shadowy way Poland was brought to life again. England got for her share in the spoils a number of French and Dutch colonies, including Malta and the Cape Colony in Africa. Thus each of the great powers repaid itself for its losses.

Italy, France, and Spain

In Italy a variety of changes were made. The Pope got back the States of the Church; Tuscany was restored to its king; the same was the case with Naples, King Murat being driven from his throne and put to death. Piedmont, increased by the Republic of Genoa, was restored to the king of Sardinia. Some smaller states were formed, as Parma, Modena, and Lucca. Finally, Lombardy and Venice, much the richest regions of Italy, were given to Austria, which country was made the dominant power in the Italian peninsula.

Louis XVIII., the Bourbon king, brother of Louis XVI., who had reigned while Napoleon was at Elba, came back to the throne of France. The title of Louis XVII. was given to the poor boy, son of Louis XVI., who died from cruel treatment in the dungeons of the Revolution. In Spain the feeble Ferdinand returned to the throne which he had given up without a protest at the command of Napoleon. Portugal was given a monarch of its old dynasty. All seemed to have floated back into the old conditions again.

The Rights of Man

As for the rights of the people, what had become of them? Had they been swept away and the old wrongs of the people been brought back? Not quite. The frenzied enthusiasm for liberty and human rights of the past twenty-five years could not go altogether for nothing. The lingering relics of feudalism had vanished, not only from France but from all Europe, and no monarch or congress could bring them back again. In its place the principles of democracy had spread from France far among the peoples of Europe. The principle of class privilege had been destroyed in France, and that of social equality had replaced it. The principle of the liberty of the individual, especially in his religious opinions, and the doctrine of the sovereignty of the people, had been proclaimed. These had still a battle before them. They needed to fight their way. Absolutism and the spirit of feudalism were arrayed against them. But they were too deeply implanted in the minds of the people to be eradicated, and their establishment as actual conditions has been the most important part of the political development of the nineteenth century.

It is to the steam engine that the wonderful productive progress of recent times is largely due, and to the famous Scotch engineer, James Watt, belongs the honor of inventing the first effective steam engine. His idea of condensing the steam from his engine in a separate vessel came to him in 1765, and with this fortunate conception began the wonderful series of improvements which have given us the magnificent engine of to-day.

Revolution was the one thing that the great powers of Europe feared and hated; this was the monster against which the Congress of Vienna directed its efforts. The cause of quiet and order, the preservation of the established state of things, the authority of rulers, the subordination of peoples, must be firmly maintained, and revolutionary disturbers must be put down with a strong hand. Such was the political dogma of the Congress. And yet, in spite of its assembled wisdom and the principles it promulgated, the nineteenth century has been especially the century of revolutions, actual or virtual, the result being an extraordinary growth in the liberties and prerogatives of the people.

The Holy Alliance

The plan devised by the Congress for the suppression of revolution was the establishment of an association of monarchs, which became known as the Holy Alliance. Alexander of Russia, Francis of Austria, and Frederick William of Prussia formed a covenant to rule in accordance with the precepts of the Bible, to stand by each other in a true fraternity, to rule their subjects as loving parents, and to see that peace, justice, and religion should flourish in their dominions. An ideal scheme it was, but its promulgators soon won the name of hypocrites and the hatred of those whom they were to deal with on the principle of love and brotherhood. Reaction was the watchword, absolute sovereignty the purpose, the eradication of the doctrine of popular sovereignty the sentiment, which animated these powerful monarchs; and the Holy Alliance meant practically the determination to unite their forces against democracy and revolution wherever they should show themselves.

Revolution in Spain and Naples

It was not long before the people began to move. The attempt to re-establish absolute governments shook them out of their sluggish quiet. Revolution lifted its head again in the face of the Holy Alliance, its first field being Spain. Ferdinand VII., on returning to his throne, had but one purpose in his weak mind, which was to rule as an autocrat, as his ancestors had done. He swore to govern according to a constitution, and began his reign with a perjury. The patriots had formed a constitution during his absence, and this he set aside and never replaced by another. On the contrary, he set out to abolish all the reforms made by Napoleon, and to restore the monasteries, to bring back the Inquisition, and to prosecute the patriots. Five years of this reaction made the state of affairs in Spain so intolerable that the liberals refused to submit to it any longer. In 1820 they rose in revolt, and the king, a coward under all his show of bravery, at once gave way and restored the constitution he had set aside.

The shock given the Holy Alliance by the news from Spain was quickly followed by another coming from Naples. The Bourbon king who had been replaced upon the throne of that country, another Ferdinand, was one of the most despicable men of his not greatly esteemed race. His government, while weak, was harshly oppressive. But it did not need a revolution to frighten this royal dastard. A mere general celebration of the victory of the liberals in Spain was enough, and in his alarm he hastened to give his people a constitution similar to that which the Spaniards had gained.

Metternich and His Congresses

These awkward affairs sadly disturbed the equanimity of those statesmen who fancied that they had fully restored the divine right of kings. Metternich, the Austrian advocate of reaction, hastened to call a new Congress, in 1820, and another in 1821. The question he put to these assemblies was, Should revolution be permitted, or should Europe interfere in Spain and Naples, and pledge herself to uphold everywhere the sacred powers of legitimate monarchs? His old friends of the Holy Alliance backed him up in this suggestion, both Congresses adopted it, a policy of repression of revolutions became the programme, and Austria was charged to restore what Metternich called “order” in Naples.

He did so. The liberals of Naples were far too weak to oppose the power of Austria. Their government fell to pieces as soon as the Austrian army appeared, and the impotent but cruel Ferdinand was made an absolute king again. The radicals in Piedmont started an insurrection which was quickly put down, and Austria became practically the lord and master of Italy.

How Order was Restored in Spain

Proud of his success, Metternich called a new Congress in 1822, in which it was resolved to repeat in Spain what had been done in Naples. France was now made the instrument of the absolutists. A French army marched across the Pyrenees, put down the government of the liberals, and gave the king back his despotic rule. He celebrated his return to power by a series of cruel executions. The Holy Alliance was in the ascendant, the liberals had been bitterly repaid for their daring, terror seized upon the liberty-loving peoples, and Europe seemed thrown fully into the grasp of the absolute kings.

The Revolution in Greece

Only in two regions did the spirit of revolt triumph during this period of reaction. These were Greece and Spanish America. The historic land of Greece had long been in the hands of a despotism with which even the Holy Alliance was not in sympathy—that of Turkey. Its very name, as a modern country, had almost vanished, and Europe heard with astonishment in 1821 that the descendants of the ancient Greeks had risen against the tyranny under which they had been crushed for centuries.

The struggle was a bitter one. The sultan was atrocious in his cruelties. In the island of Chios alone he brutally murdered 20,000 Greeks, But the spirit of the old Athenians and Spartans was in the people, and they kept on fighting in the face of defeat. For four years this went on, while the powers of Europe looked on without raising a hand. Some of their people indeed took part, among them Lord Byron, who died in Greece in 1824; but the governments failed to warm up to their duty.

Their apathy vanished in 1825, when the sultan, growing weary of the struggle, and bent on bringing it to a rapid end, called in the aid of his powerful vassal, Mehemed Ali, Pasha of Egypt. Mehemed responded by sending a strong army under his son Ibrahim, who landed in the Morea (the ancient Peloponnesus), where he treated the people with shocking cruelty.

The Powers Come to the Rescue of Greece

A year of this was as much as Christian Europe could stand. England first aroused herself. Canning, the English prime minister, persuaded Nicholas, who had just succeeded Alexander as Czar of Russia, to join with him in stopping this horrible business. France also lent her aid, and the combined powers warned Ibrahim to cease his cruel work. On his refusal, the fleets of England and France attacked and annihilated the Turkish-Egyptian fleet in the battle of Navarino.

The Sultan still hesitated, and the czar, impatient at the delay, declared war and invaded with his army the Turkish provinces on the Danube. The next year, 1829, the Russians crossed the Balkans and descended upon Constantinople. That city was in such imminent danger of capture that the obstinacy of the sultan completely disappeared and he humbly consented to all the demands of the powers. Servia, Moldavia and Wallachia, the chief provinces of the Balkan peninsula, were put under the rule of Christian governors, and the independence of Greece was fully acknowledged. Prince Otto of Bavaria was made king, and ruled until 1862. In Greece liberalism had conquered, but elsewhere in Europe the reaction established by the Congress of Vienna still held sway.

The Spirit of Revolution

The people merely bided their time. The good seed sown could not fail to bear fruit in its season. The spirit of revolution was in the air, and any attempt to rob the people of the degree of liberty which they enjoyed was very likely to precipitate a revolt against the tyranny of courts and kings. It came at length in France, that country the ripest among the nations for revolution. Louis XVIII., an easy, good-natured old soul, of kindly disposition towards the people, passed from life in 1824, and was succeeded by his brother, Count of Artois, as Charles X.

Charles X. and His Attempt at Despotism

The new king had been the head of the ultra-royalist faction, an advocate of despotism and feudalism, and quickly doubled the hate which the people bore him. Louis XVIII. had been liberal in his policy, and had given increased privileges to the people. Under Charles reaction set in. A vast sum of money was voted to the nobles to repay their losses during the Revolution. Steps were taken to muzzle the press and gag the universities. This was more than the Chamber of Deputies was willing to do, and it was dissolved. But the tyrant at the head of the government went on, blind to the signs in the air, deaf to the people’s voice. If he could not get laws from the Chamber, he would make them himself in the old arbitrary fashion, and on July 26, 1830, he issued, under the advice of his prime minister, four decrees, which limited the list of voters and put an end to the freedom of the press. Practically the constitution was set aside, the work of the Revolution ignored, and absolutism re-established in France.

The Revolution in Paris

King Charles had taken a step too far. He did not know the spirit of the French. In a moment Paris blazed into insurrection. Tumult arose on every side. Workmen and students paraded the streets with enthusiastic cheers for the constitution. But under their voices there were soon heard deeper and more ominous cries. “Down with the ministers!” came the demand. And then, as the throng increased and grew more violent, arose the revolutionary slogan, “Down with the Bourbons!” The infatuated old king was amusing himself in his palace of St. Cloud, and did not discover that the crown was tottering upon his head. He knew that the people of Paris had risen, but looked upon it as a passing ebullition of French temper. He did not awake to the true significance of the movement until he heard that there had been fighting between his troops and the people, that many of the citizens lay dead in the streets, and that the soldiers had been driven from the city, which remained in the hands of the insurrectionists.

Then the old imbecile, who had fondly fancied that the Revolution of 1789 could be set aside by a stroke of his pen, made frantic efforts to lay the demon he had called into life. He hastily cancelled the tyrannical decrees. Finding that this would not have the desired effect, he abdicated the throne in favor of his grandson. But all was of no avail. France had had enough of him and his house. His envoys were turned back from the gates of Paris unheard. Remembering the fate of Louis XVI., his unhappy brother, Charles X., turned his back upon France and hastened to seek a refuge in England.

Louis Philippe Chosen as King

Meanwhile a meeting of prominent citizens had been held in Paris, the result of their deliberations being that Charles X. and his heirs should be deposed and the crown offered to Louis Philippe, duke of Orleans. There had been a Louis Philippe in the Revolution of 1789, a radical member of the royal house of Bourbon, who, under the title of Egalité, had joined the revolutionists, voted for the death of Louis XVI., and in the end had his own head cut off by the guillotine. His son as a young man had served in the revolutionary army and had been one of its leaders in the important victory of Jemappes. But when the terror came he hastened from France, which had become a very unsafe place for one of his blood. He had the reputation of being liberal in his views, and was the first man thought of for the vacant crown. When the Chamber of Deputies met in August and offered it to him, he did not hesitate to accept. He swore to observe and reign under the constitution, and took the throne under the title of Louis Philippe, king of the French. Thus speedily and happily ended the second Revolution in France.

Effect in Europe of the Revolution

But Paris again proved itself the political centre of Europe. The deposition of Charles X. was like a stone thrown into the seething waters of European politics, and its effects spread far and wide beyond the borders of France. The nations had been bound hand and foot by the Congress of Vienna. The people had writhed uneasily in their fetters, but now in more than one locality they rose in their might to break them, here demanding a greater degree of liberty, there overthrowing the government.

The latter was the case in Belgium. Its people had suffered severely from the work of the Congress of Vienna. Without even a pretence of consulting their wishes, their country had been incorporated with Holland as the kingdom of the Netherlands, the two countries being fused into one under a king of the old Dutch House of Orange. The idea was good enough in itself. It was intended to make a kingdom strong enough to help keep France in order. But an attempt to fuse these two states was like an endeavor to mix oil and water. The people of the two countries had long since drifted apart from each other, and had irreconcilable ideas and interests. Holland was a colonizing and commercial country, Belgium an industrial country; Holland was Protestant, Belgium was Catholic; Holland was Teutonic in blood, Belgium was a mixture of the Teutonic and French, but wholly French in feeling and customs.

The Belgian Uprising and Its Result

The Belgians, therefore, were generally discontented with the act of fusion, and in 1830 they imitated the French by a revolt against King William of Holland. A tumult followed in Brussels, which ended in the Dutch soldiers being driven from the city. King William, finding that the Belgians insisted on independence, decided to bring them back to their allegiance by force of arms. The powers of Europe now took the matter in hand, and, after some difference of opinion, decided to grant the Belgians the independence they demanded. This was a meddling with his royal authority to which King William did not propose to submit, but when the navy of Great Britain and the army of France approached his borders he changed his mind, and since 1833 Holland and Belgium have gone their own way under separate kings. A limited monarchy, with a suitable constitution, was organized for Belgium by the powers, and Prince Leopold, of the German house of Saxe-Coburg, was placed upon the throne.

The Movements in Germany and Italy

The spirit of revolution extended into Germany and Italy, but only with partial results. Neither in Austria nor Prussia did the people stir, but in many of the smaller states a demand was made for a constitution on liberal lines, and in every instance the princes had to give way. Each of these states gained a representative form of government, the monarchs of Prussia and Austria alone retaining their old despotic power.

In Italy there were many signs of revolutionary feeling; but Austria still dominated that peninsula, and Metternich kept a close watch upon the movements of its people. There was much agitation. The great secret society of the Carbonari sought to combine the patriots of all Italy in a grand stroke for liberty and union, but nothing came of their efforts. In the States of the Church alone the people rose in revolt against their rulers, but they were soon put down by the Austrians, who invaded their territory, dispersed their weak bands, and restored the old tyranny. The hatred of the Italians for the Austrians grew more intense, but their time had not yet come; they sank back in submission and awaited a leader and an opportunity.

The Condition of Poland

There was one country in which the revolution in France called forth a more active response, though, unhappily, only to double the weight of the chains under which its people groaned. This was unfortunate Poland; once a great and proud kingdom, now dismembered and swallowed up by the land-greed of its powerful neighbors. It had been in part restored by Napoleon, in his kingdom of Warsaw, and his work had been in a measure recognized by the Congress of Vienna. The Czar Alexander, kindly in disposition and moved by pity for the unhappy Poles, had re-established their old kingdom, persuading Austria and Prussia to give up the bulk of their Polish territory in return for equal areas elsewhere. He gave Poland a constitution, its own army, and its own administration, making himself its king, but promising to rule as a constitutional monarch.

The Revolt of the Poles

This did not satisfy the Poles. It was not the independence they craved. They could not forget that they had been a great power in Europe when Russia was still the weak and frozen duchy of Muscovy. When the warm-hearted Alexander died and the cold-hearted Nicholas took his place, their discontent grew to dangerous proportions. The news of the outbreak in France was like a firebrand thrown in their midst. In November, 1830, a few young hot-heads sounded the note of revolt, and Warsaw rose in insurrection against the Russians.

For a time they were successful. Constantine, the czar’s brother, governor of Poland, was scared by the riot, and deserted the capital, leaving the revolutionists in full control. Towards the frontier he hastened, winged by alarm, while the provinces rose in rebellion behind him as he passed. Less than a week had passed before the Russian power was withdrawn from Poland, and its people were once more lords of their own land. They set up a provisional government in Warsaw, and prepared to defend themselves against the armies that were sure to come.

A Fatal Lack of Unity

What was needed now was unity. A single fixed and resolute purpose, under able and suitable leaders, formed the only conceivable condition of success. But Poland was, of all countries, the least capable of such unity. The landed nobility was full of its old feudal notions; the democracy of the city was inspired by modern sentiments. They could not agree; they quarreled in castle and court, while their hasty levies of troops were marching to meet the Russians in the field. Under such conditions success was a thing beyond hope.

Yet the Poles fought well. Kosciusko, their former hero, would have been proud of their courage and willingness to die for their country. But against the powerful and ably led Russian armies their gallantry was of no avail, and their lack of unity fatal. In May, 1831, they were overwhelmed at Ostrolenka by the Russian hosts. In September a traitor betrayed Warsaw, and the Russian army entered its gates. The revolt was at an end, and Poland again in fetters.

The Fate of Poland

Nicholas the Czar fancied that he had spoiled these people by kindness and clemency. They should not be spoiled in that way any longer. Under his harsh decrees the Kingdom of Poland vanished. He ordered that it should be made a Russian province, and held by a Russian army of occupation. The very language of the Poles was forbidden to be spoken, and their religion was to be replaced by the Orthodox Russian faith. Those brief months of revolution and independence were fatal to the liberty-loving people. Since then, except during their brief revolt in 1863, they have lain in fetters at the feet of Russia, nothing remaining to them but their patriotic memories and their undying aspiration for freedom and independence.

Bolivar, the Liberator of Spanish America.

In the preceding chapter mention was made of two regions in which the spirit of revolt triumphed during the period of reaction after the Napoleonic wars—Greece and Spanish America. The revolt in Greece was there described; that in Spanish America awaits description. It had its hero, one of the great soldiers of the Spanish race, perhaps the greatest and ablest of guerilla leaders; “Bolivar the Liberator,” as he was known on his native soil.

How Spain Treated Her Colonies

Spain had long treated her colonists in a manner that was difficult for a high-spirited people to endure. Only two thoughts seemed to rule in their management, the one being to derive from the colonies all possible profit for the government at home, the other to make use of them as a means by which the leaders in Spain could pay their political debts. The former purpose was sought to be carried out by severe taxation, commercial restriction, and the other methods in which a short-sighted country seeks to enrich itself by tying the hands and checking the industries of its colonists. To achieve the latter purpose all important official positions in the colonies were held by natives of Spain. Posts in the government, in the customs, in all salaried offices were given to strangers, who knew nothing of the work they were to do or the conditions of the country to which they were sent, and whose single thought was to fill their purses as speedily as possible and return to enjoy their wealth in Spain.

The Oppression of the People

All this was galling to the colonists, who claimed to be loyal Spaniards; and they rebelled in spirit against this swarm of human locusts which descended annually upon them, practicing every species of extortion and fraud in their eagerness to grow rich speedily, and carrying much of the wealth of the country back to the mother land. Add to this the severe restrictions on industry and commerce, the prohibition of trade except with Spain, the exactions of every kind, legal and illegal, to which the people were forced to submit, and their deep-seated dissatisfaction is easy to understand.

Froude, Carlyle, Ruskin, Gibbon, Macaulay

The war for independence in the United States had no apparent influence upon the colonies of Spanish America. They remained loyal to Spain. The French Revolution seemed also without effect. But during the long Napoleonic wars, when Spain remained for years in the grip of the Corsican, and the people of Spanish America were left largely to govern themselves, a thirst for liberty arose, and a spirit of revolt showed itself about 1810 throughout the length and breadth of the colonies.

Bolivar, the Revolutionary Leader

Chief among the revolutionists was Simon Bolivar, a native of Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. In 1810 we find him in London, seeking the aid of the British government in favor of the rebels against Spain. In 1811 he served as governor of Puerto Cabello, the strongest fortress in Venezuela. He was at that time subordinate to General Miranda, whom he afterwards accused of treason, and who died in a dungeon in Spain. In the year named Venezuela proclaimed its independence, but in 1813, Bolivar, who had been entitled its “Liberator,” was a refugee in Jamaica, and his country again a vassal of Spain.

An Attempt at Assassination

The leaders of affairs in Spain knew well where to seek the backbone of the insurrection. Bolivar was the one man whom they feared. He removed, there was not a man in sight capable of leading the rebels to victory. To dispose of him, a spy was sent to Jamaica, his purpose being to take the Liberator’s life. This man, after gaining a knowledge of Bolivar’s habits and movements, bribed a negro to murder him, and in the dead of night the assassin stole up to Bolivar’s hammock and plunged his knife into the sleeper’s breast. As it proved, it was not Bolivar, but his secretary, who lay there, and the hope of the American insurrectionists escaped.

Bolivar Returns to Venezuela

Leaving Jamaica, Bolivar proceeded to San Domingo, where he found a warm supporter in the president, Petion. Here, too, he met Luis Brion, a Dutch shipbuilder of great wealth. His zeal for the principles of liberty infused Brion with a like zeal. The result was that Brion fitted out seven schooners and placed them at Bolivar’s disposal, supplied 3,500 muskets to arm recruits who should join Bolivar’s standard, and devoted his own life and services to the sacred cause. Thus slenderly equipped, Bolivar commenced operations in 1816 at the port of Cayos de San Luis, where the leading refugees from Cartagena, New Granada, and Venezuela had sought sanctuary. By them he was accepted as leader, and Brion, with the title of “Admiral of Venezuela,” was given command of the squadron he had himself furnished. The growing expedition now made for the island of Margarita, which Arismendi had wrested from the Spanish governor; and here, at a convention of officers, Bolivar was named “Supreme Chief,” and the third Venezuelan war began. It was marked by many a disaster to the patriot arms, and so numerous vicissitudes that, until the culminating triumph of Boyaca on August 7th, 1819, it remained doubtful upon which side victory would ultimately rest.

The Savage Cruelty of the Spaniards

The war was conducted on the part of the Spaniards with the most fiendish cruelty, prisoners taken in war and the unarmed people of the country alike being tortured and murdered under circumstances of revolting barbarity. “The people of Margarita,” writes an English officer who served in Venezuela, “saw their liberties threatened and endangered; their wives, children, and kindred daily butchered and murdered; and the reeking members of beings most dear to them exposed to their gaze on every tree and crag of their native forests and mountains; nor was it until hundreds had been thus slaughtered that they pursued the same course. The result was that the Spaniards were routed. I myself saw upwards of seven thousand of their skulls, dried and heaped together in one place, which is not inaptly termed ‘Golgotha,’ as a trophy of victory.”

Another writer tells us: “I saw several women whose ears and noses had been cut off, their eyes torn from their sockets, their tongues cut out, and the soles of their feet pared by the orders of Monteverde, a Spanish brigadier-general.” The result of these excesses of cruelty was an implacable hatred of the Spaniard, and a determination to carry on the war unto death.

The Methods of General Morillo

In 1815 Ferdinand of Spain determined to put an end once for all to the movement for independence that, in varying forms, had, been agitating for five years the whole of Spanish America. Accordingly, strong reinforcements to the royalist armies were sent out, under General Morillo. These arrived at Puerto Cabello, and, besides ships of war, comprised 12,000 troops—a force in itself many times larger than all the scattered bands of patriots then under arms put together. Morillo soon had Venezuela under his thumb, and, planting garrisons throughout it, proceeded to lay siege to Cartagena. Capturing this city in four months, he marched unopposed to Santa Fe de Bogota, the capital of New Granada, ruin and devastation marking his progress. In a despatch to Ferdinand, which was intercepted, he wrote: “Every person of either sex who was capable of reading and writing was put to death. By thus cutting off all who were in any way educated, I hoped to effectually arrest the spirit of revolution.”

An insight into Morillo’s methods of coping with the “spirit of revolution” is furnished by his treatment of those he found in the opulent city of Maturin on its capture. Dissatisfied with the treasure he found there, he suspected the people of wealth to have anticipated his arrival by burying their property. To find out the supposed buried treasure, he had all those whom he regarded as likely to know where it was hidden collected together, and, to make them confess, had the soles of their feet cut off, and then had them driven over hot sand. Many of the victims of this horrid piece of cruelty survived, and were subsequently seen by those that have narrated it.

Paez the Guerilla and His Exploits

At the commencement of the war, with the exception of the little band on the island of Margarita, the patriotic cause was represented by a few scattered groups along the banks of the Orinoco, on the plains of Barcelona and of Casanare. These groups pursued a kind of guerilla warfare, quite independently of one another, and without any plan to achieve. They were kept together by the fact that submission meant death. The leader of one of these groups, Paez by name, presents one of the most picturesque and striking characters that history has produced. He was a Llanero, or native of the elevated plains of Barinas, and quite illiterate. As owner of herds of half-wild cattle, he became chief of a band of herdsmen, which he organized into an army, known as the “Guides of the Apure,” a tributary of the Orinoco, and whose banks were the base of Paez’s operations. Only one of his many daring exploits can be here recorded. That occurred on the 3rd of June, 1819, when Paez was opposing the advance of Morillo himself. With 150 picked horsemen, he swam the river Orinoco and galloped towards the Spanish camp. “Eight hundred of the royalist cavalry,” writes W. Pilling, General Mitre’s translator, “with two small guns, sallied out to meet him. He slowly retreated, drawing them on to a place called Las Queseras del Medio, where a battalion of infantry lay in ambush by the river. Then, splitting his men into groups of twenty, he charged the enemy on all sides, forcing them under the fire of the infantry, and recrossed the river with two killed and a few wounded, leaving the plain strewn with the dead of the enemy.”

British Soldiers Join the Insurgents

While Paez’s dashing exploits were inspiring the revolutionary leaders with fresh courage, which enabled them at least to hold their own, a system of enlisting volunteers was instituted in London by Don Luis Lopes Mendez, representative of the republic. The Napoleonic wars being over, the European powers were unable to reduce their swollen armaments, and English and German officers entered into contracts with Mendez to take out to Venezuela organized corps of artillery, lancers, hussars, and rifles. On enlisting, soldiers received a bounty of £20; their pay was 2s. a day and rations, and at the end of the war they were promised £125 and an allotment of land. The first expedition to leave England comprised 120 hussars and lancers, under Colonel Hippisley; this body became the basis of a corps of regular cavalry. The nucleus of a battalion of riflemen was taken out by Colonel Campbell; and a subaltern, named Gilmour, with the title of colonel, formed with 90 men the basis of a brigade of artillery. General English, who had served in the Peninsular War under Wellington, contracted with Mendez to take out a force of 1,200 Englishmen; 500 more went out under Colonel Elsom, who also brought out 300 Germans under Colonel Uzlar. General MacGregor took 800, and General Devereux took out the Irish Legion, in which was a son of the Irish tribune, Daniel O’Connell. Smaller contingents also went to the seat of war; these mentioned, however, were the chief, and without their aid Bolivar was wont to confess that he would have failed.

Bolivar’s Plan to Invade New Granada

Now it was that a brilliant idea occurred to Bolivar. He had already sent 1,200 muskets and a group of officers to General Santander, who was the leader of the patriots on the plains of Casanare. This enabled Santander to increase his forces from amongst the scattered patriots in that neighborhood. He thereupon began to threaten the frontier of New Granada, with the result that General Barreiro, who had been left in command of that province by Morillo, deemed it advisable to march against him and crush his growing power. Santander’s forces, however, though inferior in number, were too full of enthusiasm for Barreiro’s soldiers—reduced to a half-hearted condition from being forced to take part in cruelties that they gained nothing from, except the odium of the people they moved amongst. Barreiro, accordingly, was driven back; and, on receiving the news of Santander’s success, Bolivar at once formed the conception of crossing the Andes and driving the Spaniards out of New Granada. The event proved that this was the true plan of campaign for the patriots. Already they had lost three campaigns through endeavoring to dislodge the Spaniards from their strongest positions, which were in Venezuela; now, by gaining New Granada, they would win prestige and consolidate their power there for whatever further efforts circumstances might demand.

Thus, as it has been described, did the veil drop from Bolivar’s eyes; and so confident was he of ultimate success, that he issued to the people of New Granada this proclamation: “The day of America has come; no human power can stay the course of Nature guided by Providence. Before the sun has again run his annual course, altars to Liberty will arise throughout your land.”

Bolivar immediately prepared to carry out his idea, and on the 11th of June, 1819, he joined Santander at the foot of the Andes, bringing with him four battalions of infantry, of which one—the “Albion”—was composed entirely of English soldiers—two squadrons of lancers, one of carabineers, and a regiment called the “Guides of the Apure,” part of which were English—in all 2,500 men. To join Santander was no easy task, for it involved the crossing of an immense plain covered with water at this season of the year, and the swimming of seven deep rivers—war materials, of course, having to be taken along as well. This, however, was only a foretaste of the still greater difficulties that lay before the venturesome band.

The Crossing of the Andes

General Santander led the van with his Casanare troops, and entered the mountain defiles by a road leading to the centre of the province of Tunja, which was held by Colonel Barreiro with 2,000 infantry and 400 horse. The royalists had also a reserve of 1,000 troops at Bogota, the capital of New Granada; at Cartagena, and in the valley of Cauca were other detachments, and there was another royalist army at Quito. Bolivar, however, trusted to surprise and to the support of the inhabitants to overcome the odds that were against him. As the invading army left the plains for the mountains the scene changed. The snowy peaks of the eastern range of the Cordillera appeared in the distance, while, instead of the peaceful lake through which they had waded, they were met by great masses of water tumbling from the heights. The roads ran along the edge of precipices and were bordered by gigantic trees, upon whose tops rested the clouds, which dissolved themselves in incessant rain. After four days’ march the horses were foundered; an entire squadron of Llaneros deserted on finding themselves on foot. The torrents were crossed on narrow trembling bridges formed of trunks of trees, or by means of the aerial “taravitas.”[A] Where they were fordable, the current was so strong that the infantry had to pass two by two with their arms thrown round each other’s shoulders; and woe to him who lost his footing—he lost his life too. Bolivar frequently passed and re-passed these torrents on horseback, carrying behind him the sick and weakly, or the women who accompanied his men.

The temperature was moist and warm; life was supportable with the aid of a little firewood; but as they ascended the mountain the scene changed again. Immense rocks piled one upon another, and hills of snow, bounded the view on every side; below lay the clouds, veiling the depths of the abyss; an ice-cold wind cut through the stoutest clothing. At these heights no other noise is heard save that of the roaring torrents left behind, and the scream of the condor circling round the snowy peaks above. Vegetation disappears; only lichens are to be seen clinging to the rock, and a tall plant, bearing plumes instead of leaves, and crowned with yellow flowers, resembling a funeral torch. To make the scene more dreary yet, the path was marked out by crosses erected in memory of travellers who had perished by the way.

The Terror of the Mountains

On entering this glacial region the provisions gave out; the cattle they had brought with them as their chief resource could go no farther. They reached the summit by the Paya pass, where a battalion could hold an army in check. It was held by an outpost of 300 men, who were dislodged by the vanguard under Santander without much difficulty.

Now the men began to murmur, and Bolivar called a council of war, to which he showed that still greater difficulties lay before them, and asked if they would persevere or return. All were of opinion that they should go on, a decision which infused fresh spirit into the weary troops.

In this passage more than one hundred men died of cold, fifty of whom were Englishmen; no horse had survived. It was necessary to leave the spare arms, and even some of those that were carried by the soldiers. It was a mere skeleton of an army which reached the beautiful valley of Sagamoso, in the heart of the province of Tunja, on the 6th of July, 1819. From this point Bolivar sent back assistance to the stragglers left behind, collected horses, and detached parties to scour the country around and communicate with some few guerillas who still roamed about.

Bolivar’s Methods of Fighting

Meanwhile, Barreiro was still in ignorance of Bolivar’s arrival. Indeed, he had supposed the passage of the Cordillera at that season impossible. As soon, however, as he did learn of his enemy’s proximity, he collected his forces and took possession of the heights above the plains of Vargas, thus interposing between the patriots and the town of Tunja, which, being attached to the independent cause, Bolivar was anxious to enter. The opposing armies met on the 25th of July, and engaged in battle for five hours. The patriots won, chiefly through the English infantry, led by Colonel James Rooke, who was himself wounded and had an arm shot off. Still, the action had been indecisive, and the royalist power remained unbroken. Bolivar now deceived Barreiro by retreating in the daytime, rapidly counter-marching, and passing the royalist army in the dark through by-roads. On August 5th he captured Tunja, where he found an abundance of war material, and by holding which he cut Barreiro’s communication with Bogota, the capital. It was in rapid movements like these that the strength of Bolivar’s generalship lay. Freed from the shackles of military routine that enslaved the Spanish officers, he astonished them by forced marches over roads previously deemed impracticable to a regular army. While they were manœuvring, hesitating, calculating, guarding the customary avenues of approach, he surprised them by concentrating a superior force upon a point where they least expected an attack, threw them into confusion, and cut up their troops in detail. Thus it happens that Bolivar’s actions in the field do not lend themselves to the same impressive exposition as do those of less notable generals.

The Victory of Boyaca

Barreiro, finding himself shut out from Tunja, fell back upon Venta Quemada, where a general action took place. The country was mountainous and woody, and well suited to Bolivar’s characteristic tactics. He placed a large part of his troops in ambush, got his cavalry in the enemy’s rear, and presented only a small front. This the enemy attacked furiously, and with apparent success. It was only a stratagem, however, for as they drove back Bolivar’s front, the troops in ambush sallied forth and attacked them in the flanks, while the cavalry attacked them in the rear. Thus were the Spaniards surrounded. General Barreiro was taken prisoner on the field of battle. On finding his capture to be inevitable, he threw away his sword that he might not have the mortification of surrendering it to Bolivar. His second in command, Colonel Ximenes, was also taken, as were also almost all the commandants and majors of the corps, a multitude of inferior officers, and more than 1,600 men. All their arms, ammunition, artillery, horses, etc., likewise fell into the patriots’ hands. Hardly fifty men escaped, and among these were some chiefs and officers of cavalry, who fled before the battle was decided. Those who escaped, however, had only the surrounding country to escape into, and there they were captured by the peasantry, who bound them and brought them in as prisoners. The patriot loss was incredibly small—only 13 killed and 53 wounded.

At Boyaca the English auxiliaries were seen for the first time under fire, and so gratified was Bolivar with their behavior, that he made them all members of the Order of the Liberator.

Thus was won Boyaca, which, after Maypu, is the great battle of South America. It gave the preponderance to the patriot arms in the north of the continent, as Maypu had done in the south. It gave New Granada to the patriots, and isolated Morillo in Venezuela.

Nothing now remained for Bolivar to do but to reach Bogota, the capital, and assume the reins of government, for already the Spanish officials, much to the relief of the inhabitants, had fled. So, with a small escort, he rode forward, and entered the city on August 10th, amid the acclamations of the populace.

Bolivar and the Peruvians

The final battle in this implacable war took place in 1821 at Carabobo, where the Spaniards met with a total defeat, losing more than 6,000 men. This closed the struggle, the Spaniards withdrew, and a republic was organized with Bolivar as president. In 1823 he aided the Peruvians in gaining their independence, and was declared their liberator and given supreme authority. For two years he ruled as dictator, and then resigned, giving the country a republican constitution. The people of the upper section of Peru organized a commonwealth of their own, which they named Bolivia, in honor of their liberator, while the congress of Lima elected him president for life.

The Freeing of the Other Colonies

Meanwhile Chili had won its liberty in 1817 as a result of the victory of Maypu, above mentioned, and Buenos Ayres had similarly fought for and gained independence. In North America a similar struggle for liberty had gone on, and with like result, Central America and Mexico winning their freedom after years of struggle and scenes of devastation and cruelty such as those above mentioned. At the opening of the nineteenth century Spain held a dominion of continental dimensions in America. At the close of the first quarter of the century, as a result of her mediæval methods of administration, she had lost all her possessions on the western continent except the two islands of Cuba and Porto Rico. Yet, learning nothing from her losses, she pursued the same methods in these fragments of her dominions, and before the close of the century these also were torn from her hands. Cruelty and oppression had borne their legitimate fruits, and Spain, solely through her own fault, had lost the final relics of her magnificent colonial empire.


Great Britain as a World Empire.

On the western edge of the continent of Europe lies the island of Great Britain, in the remote past a part of the continent, but long ages ago cut off by the British Channel. Divorced from the mainland, left like a waif in the western sea, peopled by men with their own interests and aims, it might naturally be expected to have enough to attend to at home and to take no part in continental affairs.

The Adventurous Disposition of the British People

Such was the case originally. The island lay apart, almost unknown, and was, in a sense, “discovered” by the Roman conquerors. But new people came to it, the Anglo-Saxons, and subsequently the Normans, both of them scions of that stirring race of Vikings who made the seas their own centuries ago and descended in conquering inroads on all the shores of Europe, while their daring keels cut the waters of far-off Greenland and touched upon the American coast. This people—stirring, aggressive, fearless—made a new destiny for Great Britain. Their island shores were too narrow to hold them, and they set out on bold ventures in all seas. Their situation was a happy one for a nation of daring navigators and aggressive warriors. Europe lay to the east, the world to the west. As a result the British islands have played a leading part alike in the affairs of Europe and of the world.

Hostility of England to France

France, the next door neighbor of Great Britain, was long its prey. While, after the memorable invasion of William of Normandy, France never succeeded in transporting an army to the island shores, and even Napoleon failed utterly in his stupendous expedition, the islanders sent army after army to France, defeated its chivalry on many a hard-fought field, ravaged its most fertile domains, and for a time held it as a vassal realm of the British King.

All this is matter of far-past history. But the old feeling was prominently shown again in the Napoleonic wars, when Great Britain resumed her attitude of enmity to France, and pursued the conqueror with an unrelenting hostility that finally ended in his overthrow. Only for this aggressive island Europe might have remained the bound slave of Napoleon’s whims. He could conquer his enemies on land, but the people of England lay beyond his reach. Every fleet he sent to sea was annihilated by his island foes. They held the empire of the waters as he did that of the land. Enraged against these ocean hornets, he sought to repeat the enterprise of William of Normandy, but if his mighty Boulogne expedition had put to sea it would probably have met the fate of the Armada of Spain. Great Britain was impregnable. The conqueror of Europe chafed against its assaults in vain. This little island of the west was destined to be the main agent in overthrowing the great empire that his military genius had built.

The Vast Industries of Great Britain

Great Britain, small as it was, had grown, by the opening of the nineteenth century, to be the leading power in Europe. Its industries, its commerce, its enterprise had expanded enormously. It had become the great workshop and the chief distributor of the world. The raw material of the nations flowed through its ports, the finished products of mankind poured from its looms, London became the great money centre of the world, and the industrious and enterprising islanders grew enormously rich, while few steps of progress and enterprise showed themselves in any of the nations of the continent.

How England Fought Against Napoleon

It was with its money-bags that England fought against the conqueror. It could not conveniently send men, but it could send money and supplies to the warring nations, and by its influence and aid it formed coalition after coalition against Napoleon, each harder to overthrow than the last. Every peace that the Corsican won by his victories was overthrown by England’s influence. Her envoys haunted every court, whispering hostility in the ears of monarchs, planning, intriguing, instigating, threatening, in a thousand ways working against his plans, and unrelentingly bent upon his overthrow. It was fitting, then, that an English general should give Napoleon the coup de grace, and that he should die a prisoner in English hands.

Chief among those to whom Napoleon owes his overthrow was William Pitt, prime minister of England during the first period of his career of conquest, and his unrelenting enemy. It was Pitt that organized Europe against him, that kept the British fleet alert and expended the British revenues without stint against this disturber of the peace of the nations, and that formed the policy which Great Britain, after the short interval of the ministry of Fox, continued to pursue until his final defeat was achieved.

Was England’s Policy a Wise One

Whether this policy was a wise one is open to question. It may be that Great Britain caused more harm than it cured. Only for its persistent hostility the rapid succession of Napoleonic wars might not have taken place, and much of the terrible bloodshed and misery caused by them might have been obviated. It seems to have been, in its way, disastrous to the interests of mankind. Napoleon, it is true, had no regard for the stability of dynasties and kingdoms, but he wrought for the overthrow of the old-time tyranny, and his marches and campaigns had the effect of stirring up the dormant peoples of Europe, and spreading far and wide that doctrine of human equality and the rights of man which was the outcome of the French Revolution. Had he been permitted to die in peace upon the throne and transmit his crown to his descendant, the long era of reaction would doubtless have been avoided and the people of Europe have become the freer and happier as a result of Napoleon’s work.

The Prestige Gained by Great Britain

The people of Great Britain had no reason to thank their ministers for their policy. The cost of the war, fought largely with the purse, had been enormous, and the public debt of the kingdom was so greatly increased that its annual interest amounted to $150,000,000. But the country emerged from the mighty struggle with a vast growth in power and prestige. It was recognized as the true leader in the great contest and had lifted itself to the foremost position in European politics. On land it had waged the only successful campaign against Napoleon previous to that of the disastrous Russian expedition. At sea it had destroyed all opposing fleets, and reigned the unquestioned mistress of the ocean except in American waters, where alone her proud ships had met defeat.

Great Extension of England’s Colonies

The islands of Great Britain and Ireland had ceased to represent the dominions under the rule of the British king. In the West Indies new islands had been added to his colonial possessions. In the East Indies he had become master of an imperial domain far surpassing the mother country in size and population, and with untold possibilities of wealth. In North America the great colony of Canada was growing in population and prosperity. Island after island was being added to his possessions in the Eastern seas. Among these was the continental island of Australia, then in its early stage of colonization. The possession of Gibraltar and Malta, the protectorate over the Ionian Islands, and the right of free navigation on the Dardanelles gave Great Britain the controlling power in the Mediterranean. And Cape Colony, which she received as a result of the Treaty of Vienna, was the entering wedge for a great dominion in South Africa.

The Wars of the World-Empire

Thus Great Britain had attained the position and dimensions of a world-empire. Her colonies lay in all continents and spread through all seas, and they were to grow during the century until they enormously excelled the home country in dimensions, population, and natural wealth. The British Islands were merely the heart, the vital centre of the great system, while the body and limbs lay afar, in Canada, India, South Africa, Australia and elsewhere.

But the world-empire of Great Britain was not alone one of peaceful trade and rapid accumulation of wealth, but of wars spread through all the continents, war becoming a permanent feature of its history in the nineteenth century. After the Napoleonic period England waged only one war in Europe, the Crimean; but elsewhere her troops were almost constantly engaged. Now they were fighting with the Boers and the Zulus of South Africa, now with the Arabs on the Nile, now with the wild tribes of the Himalayas, now with the natives of New Zealand, now with the half savage Abyssinians. Hardly a year has passed without a fight of some sort, far from the centre of this vast dominion, while for years England and Russia have stood face to face on the northern borders of India, threatening at any moment to become involved in a terrible struggle for dominion.

And the standing of Great Britain as a world power lay not alone in her vast colonial dominion and her earth-wide wars, but also in the extraordinary enterprise that carried her ships to all seas, and made her the commercial emporium of the world. Not only to her own colonies, but to all lands, sailed her enormous fleet of merchantmen, gathering the products of the earth, to be consumed at home or distributed again to the nations of Europe and America. She had assumed the position of the purveyor and carrier for mankind.

Manufacturing and Inventive Activity

This was not all. Great Britain was in a large measure, the producer for mankind. Manufacturing enterprise and industry had grown immensely on her soil, and countless factories, forges and other workshops turned out finished goods with a speed and profusion undreamed of before. The preceding century had been one of active invention, its vital product being the steam engine, that wonder-worker which at a touch was to overturn the old individual labor system of the world, and replace it with the congregate, factory system that has revolutionized the industries of mankind. The steam engine stimulated invention extraordinarily. Machines for spinning, weaving, iron-making, and a thousand other purposes came rapidly into use, and by their aid one of the greatest steps of progress in the history of mankind took place, the grand nineteenth century revolution in methods of production.

Commercial Enterprise

Great Britain did not content herself with going abroad for the materials of her active industries. She dug her way into the bowels of the earth, tore from the rocks its treasures of coal and iron, and thus obtained the necessary fuel for her furnaces and metal for her machines. The whole island resounded with the ringing of hammers and rattle of wheels, goods were produced very far beyond the capacity of the island for their consumption, and the vast surplus was sent abroad to all quarters of the earth, to clothe savages in far-off regions and to furnish articles of use and luxury to the most enlightened of the nations. To the ship as a carrier was soon added the locomotive and its cars, conveying these products inland with unprecedented speed from a thousand ports. And from America came the parallel discovery of the steamship, signalling the close of the long centuries of dominion of the sail. Years went on and still the power and prestige of Great Britain grew, still its industry and commerce spread and expanded, still its colonies increased in population and new lands were added to the sum, until the island-empire stood foremost in industry and enterprise among the nations of the world, and its people reached the summit of their prosperity. From this lofty elevation was to come, in the later years of the century, a slow but inevitable decline, as the United States and the leading European nations developed in industry, and rivals to the productive and commercial supremacy of the British islanders began to arise in various quarters of the earth.

Disastrous Effect on the People of the New Conditions

It cannot be said that the industrial prosperity of Great Britain, while of advantage to her people as a whole, was necessarily so to individuals. While one portion of the nation amassed enormous wealth, the bulk of the people sank into the deepest poverty. The factory system brought with it oppression and misery which it would need a century of industrial revolt to overcome. The costly wars, the crushing taxation, the oppressive corn-laws, which forbade the importation of foreign corn, the extravagant expenses of the court and salaries of officials, all conspired to depress the people. Manufacturies fell into the hands of the few, and a vast number of artisans were forced to live from hand to mouth, and to labor for long hours on pinching wages. Estates were similarly accumulated in the hands of the few, and the small land-owner and trader tended to disappear. Everything was taxed to the utmost it would bear, while government remained blind to the needs and sufferings of the people and made no effort to decrease the prevailing misery.

Thus it came about that the era of Great Britain’s greatest prosperity and supremacy as a world-power was the one of greatest industrial oppression and misery at home, a period marked by rebellious uprisings among the people, to be repressed with cruel and bloody severity. It was a period of industrial transition, in which the government flourished and the people suffered, and in which the seeds of revolt and revolution were widely spread on every hand.

This state of affairs cannot be said to have ended. In truth the present condition of affairs is one that tends to its aggravation. Neither the manufacturing nor commercial supremacy of Great Britain are what they once were. In Europe, Germany has come into the field as a formidable competitor, and is gaining a good development in manufacturing industry. The same must be said of the United States, the products of whose workshops have increased to an enormous extent, and whose commerce has grown to surpass that of any other nation on the earth. The laboring population of Great Britain has severely felt the effects of this active rivalry, and is but slowly adapting itself to the new conditions which it has brought about, the slow but sure revolution in the status of the world’s industries.

The Great Reform Bill and the Corn Laws.

A Period of Riot and Tumult

At the close of the last chapter we depicted the miseries of the people of Great Britain, due to the revolution in the system of industry, the vast expenses of the Napoleonic wars, the extravagance of the government, and the blindness of Parliament to the condition of the working classes. The situation had grown intolerable; it was widely felt that something must be done; if affairs were allowed to go on as they were the people might rise in a revolt that would widen into revolution. A general outbreak seemed at hand. To use the language of the times, the “Red Cock” was crowing in the rural districts. That is, incendiary fires were being kindled in a hundred places. In the centres of manufacture similar signs of discontent appeared. Tumultuous meetings were held, riots broke out, bloody collisions with the troops took place. Daily and hourly the situation was growing more critical. The people were in that state of exasperation that is the preliminary stage of insurrection.

Two things they strongly demanded, reform in Parliament and repeal of the Corn Laws. It is with these two questions, reform and repeal, that we propose to deal in this chapter.

The Parliament of Great Britain

The British Parliament, it is scarcely necessary to say, is composed of two bodies, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The former represents the aristocratic element of the nation;—in short, it represents simply its members, since they hold their seats as a privilege of their titles, and have only their own interests to consider, though the interests of their class go with their own. The latter are supposed to represent the people, but up to the time with which we are now concerned they had never fully done so; and they did so now less than ever, since the right to vote for them was reserved to a few thousands of the rich.

Two Centuries of Change

In the year 1830, indeed, the House of Commons had almost ceased to represent the people at all. Its seats were distributed in accordance with a system that had scarcely changed in the least for two hundred years. The idea of distributing the members in accordance with the population was scarcely thought of, and a state of affairs had arisen which was as absurd as it was unjust. For during these two hundred years great changes had taken place in England. What were mere villages or open plains had become flourishing commercial or manufacturing cities. Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, and other centres of industry had become seats of great and busy populations. On the other hand, flourishing towns had decayed, ancient boroughs had become practically extinct. Thus there had been great changes in the distribution of population, but the distribution of seats in Parliament remained the same.

Disfranchised Cities and Rotten Boroughs

As a result of this state of affairs the great industrial towns, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds, and others, with their hundreds of thousands of people, did not send a single member to Parliament, while places with only a handful of voters were duly represented, and even places with no voters at all sent members to Parliament. Land-holding lords nominated and elected those, generally selecting the younger sons of noble families, and thus a large number of the “representatives of the people” really represented no one but the gentry to whom they owed their places. “Rotten” boroughs these were justly called, but they were retained by the stolid conservatism with which the genuine Briton clings to things and conditions of the past.


The peculiar state of affairs was picturesquely pointed out by Lord John Russell in a speech in 1831. “A stranger,” he said, “who was told that this country is unparalleled in wealth and industry, and more civilized and enlightened than any country was before it—that it is a country which prides itself upon its freedom, and which once in seven years elects representatives from its population to act as the guardians and preservers of that freedom—would be anxious and curious to see how that representation is formed, and how the people choose their representatives.

The Case Presented by Lord John Russell

“Such a person would be very much astonished if he were taken to a ruined mound and told that that mound sent two representatives to Parliament; if he were taken to a stone wall and told that these niches in it sent two representatives to Parliament; if he were taken to a park, where no houses were to be seen, and told that that park sent two representatives to Parliament. But he would be still more astonished if he were to see large and opulent towns, full of enterprise and industry and intelligence, containing vast magazines of every species of manufacture, and were then told that these towns sent no representatives to Parliament.

“Such a person would be still more astonished if he were taken to Liverpool, where there is a large constituency, and told, ‘Here you will have a fine specimen of a popular election.’ He would see bribery employed to the greatest extent and in the most unblushing manner; he would see every voter receiving a number of guineas in a bag as the price of his corruption; and after such a spectacle he would be, no doubt, much astonished that a nation whose representatives are thus chosen, could perform the functions of legislation at all, or enjoy respect in any degree.”

Dissenters and Catholics Admitted to Parliament

Such was the state of affairs when there came to England the news of the quiet but effective French Revolution of 1830. Its effect in England was a stern demand for the reform of this mockery miscalled House of Commons, of this lie that claimed to represent the English people. We have not told the whole story of the transparent falsehood. Two years before no man could be a member of Parliament who did not belong to the Church of England. No Dissenter could hold any public office in the kingdom. The multitudes of Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, and other dissenting sects were excluded from any share in the government. The same was the case with the Catholics, few in England, but forming the bulk of the population of Ireland. This evil, so far as all but the Catholics were concerned, was removed by Act of Parliament in 1828. The struggle for Catholic liberation was conducted in Ireland by Daniel O’Connell, the most eloquent and patriotic of its orators. He was sneered at by Lord Wellington, then prime minister of Great Britain. But when it was seen that all Ireland was backing her orator the Iron Duke gave way, and a Catholic Relief Bill was passed in 1829, giving Catholics the right to hold all but the highest offices of the realm. In 1830, instigated by the revolution in France, the great fight for the reform of Parliamentary representation began.

The question was not a new one. It had been raised by Cromwell, nearly two hundred years before. It had been brought forward a number of times during the eighteenth century. It was revived in 1809 and again in 1821, but public opinion did not come strongly to its support until 1830. George IV., its strong opponent, died in that year; William IV., a king more in its favor, came to the throne; the government of the bitterly conservative Duke of Wellington was defeated and Earl Grey, a Liberal minister, took his place; the time was evidently ripe for reform, and soon the great fight was on.

The Reform Bill Introduced

The people of England looked upon the reform of Parliament as a restoring to them of their lost liberties, and their feelings were deeply enlisted in the event. When, on the 1st of March, 1831, the bill was brought into the House of Commons, the public interest was intense. For hours eager crowds waited in the streets, and when the doors of the Parliament house were opened every inch of room in the galleries was quickly filled, while for hundreds of others no room was to be had.

The debate opened with the speech by Lord John Russell from which we have quoted. In the bill offered by him he proposed to disfranchise entirely sixty-two of the rotten boroughs, each of which had less than 2,000 inhabitants; to reduce forty-seven others, with less than 4,000 inhabitants, to one member each; and to distribute the 168 members thus unseated among the populous towns, districts, and counties which either had no members at all, or a number out of all proportion to their population. Also the suffrage was to be extended, the hours for voting shortened, and other reforms adopted.

The Fate of Reform in Parliament

The bill was debated, pro and con, with all the eloquence then in Parliament. Vigorously as it was presented, the opposing elements were too strong, and its consideration ended in defeat by a majority of eight. Parliament was immediately dissolved by the premier, and an appeal was made to the people. The result showed the strength of the public sentiment, limited as the suffrage then was. The new Parliament contained a large majority of reformers, and when the bill was again presented it was carried by a majority of 106. On the evening of its passage it was taken by Earl Grey into the House of Lords, where it was eloquently presented by the prime minister and bitterly attacked by Lord Brougham, who declared that it would utterly overwhelm the aristocratic part of the House. His view was that of his fellows, and the Reform Bill was thrown out by a majority of forty-one.

England on the Verge of Revolution

Instantly, on the news of this action of the Lords, the whole country blazed into a state of excitement and disorder only surpassed by that of civil war. The people were bitterly in earnest in their demand for reform, their feelings being wrought up to an intense pitch of excitement. Riots broke out in all sections of the country. London seethed with excitement. The peers were mobbed in the streets and hustled and assaulted wherever seen. They made their way to the House only through a throng howling for reform. Those known to have voted against the bill were in peril of their lives, some being forced to fly over housetops to escape the fury of the people. Angry debates arose in the House of Lords in which even the Bishops took an excited part. The Commons was like a bear-pit, a mass of furiously wrangling opponents. England was shaken to the centre by the defeat of the bill, and Parliament reflected the sentiment of the people.

On December 12th, Russell presented a third Reform Bill to the House, almost the same in its provisions as those which had been defeated. The debate now was brief, and the result certain. It was felt to be no longer safe to juggle with the people. On the 18th the bill was passed, with a greatly increased majority, now amounting to 162. To the Lords again it went, where the Tories, led by Lord Wellington, were in a decided majority against it. It had no chance of passage, unless the king would create enough new peers to outvote the opposition. This King William refused to do, and Earl Grey resigned the ministry, leaving the Tories to bear the brunt of the situation they had produced.

How the Reform Bill Was Passed

The result was one barely short of civil war. The people rose in fury, determined upon reform or revolution. Organized unions sprang up in every town. Threats of marching an army upon London were made. Lord Wellington was mobbed in the streets and was in peril of his life. The maddened populace went so far as to curse and stone the king himself, one stone striking him in the forehead. The country was indeed on the verge of insurrection against the government, and unless quick action was taken it was impossible to foresee the result.

William IV., perhaps with the recent experience of Charles X. of France before his eyes, gave way, and promised to create enough new peers to insure the passing of the bill. To escape this unwelcome necessity Wellington and others of the Tories agreed to stay away from Parliament, and the Lords, pocketing their dignity as best they could, passed the bill by a safe majority, and reform was attained. Similar bills were passed for Scotland and Ireland, and thus was achieved the greatest measure of reform in the history of the British Parliament. It was essentially a revolution, the first great step in the evolution of a truly representative assembly in Great Britain.

The Extension of the Suffrage

The second great step was taken in 1867, in response to a popular demonstration almost as great and threatening as that of 1830. The Tories themselves, under their leader Mr. Disraeli, were obliged to bring in this bill, which extended the suffrage to millions of the people, and made it almost universal among the commercial and industrial classes. Nearly twenty years later, in 1884, a new crusade was made in favor of the extension of the suffrage to agricultural laborers, previously disfranchised. The accomplishment of this reform ended the great struggle, and for the first time in their history the people of Great Britain were adequately represented in their Parliament, which had ceased to be the instrument of a class and at last stood for the whole commonwealth.

The question of Parliamentary reform settled, a second great question, that of the Corn Laws, rose up prominently before the people. It was one that appealed more immediately to them than that of representation. The benefits to come from the latter were distant and problematical; those to come from a repeal of the Corn Laws were evident and immediate. Every poor man and woman felt each day of his life the crushing effect of these laws, which bore upon the food on their tables, making still more scarce and high-priced their scanty means of existence.

The Corn Laws

For centuries commerce in grain had been a subject of legislation. In 1361 its exportation from England was forbidden, and in 1463 its importation was prohibited unless the price of wheat was greater than 6s. 3d. per quarter. As time went on changes were made in these laws, but the tariff charges kept up the price of grain until late in the nineteenth century, and added greatly to the miseries of the working classes.

The farming land of England was not held by the common people, but by the aristocracy, who fought bitterly against the repeal of the Corn Laws, which, by laying a large duty on grain, added materially to their profits. But while the aristocrats were benefited, the workers suffered, the price of the loaf being decidedly raised and their scanty fare correspondingly diminished.

Cobden and the Anti-Corn Law Crusade
Great Britain Adopts Free Trade

More than once they rose in riot against these laws, and occasional changes were made in them, but many years passed after the era of parliamentary reform before public opinion prevailed in this second field of effort. Richard Cobden, one of the greatest of England’s orators, was the apostle of the crusade against these misery-producing laws. He advocated their repeal with a power and influence that in time grew irresistible. He was not affiliated with either of the great parties, but stood apart as an independent Radical, a man with a party of his own, and that party, Free Trade. For the crusade against the Corn Laws widened into one against the whole principle of protection. Backed by the public demand for cheap food, the movement went on, until in 1846 Cobden brought over to his side the government forces under Sir Robert Peel, by whose aid the Corn Laws were swept away and the ports of England thrown open to the free entrance of food from any part of the world. The result was a serious one to English agriculture, but it was of great benefit to the English people in their status as the greatest of manufacturing and commercial nations. Supplying the world with goods, as they did, it was but just that the world should supply them with food. Great Britain Adopts Free TradeWith the repeal of the duties on grain the whole system of protection was dropped and in its place was adopted that system of free trade in which Great Britain stands alone among the nations of the world. It was a system especially adapted to a nation whose market was the world at large, and under it British commerce spread and flourished until it became one of the wonders of the world.

Turkey, the “Sick Man” of Europe.

The “Sick Man” of Europe

Among the most interesting phases of nineteenth-century history is that of the conflict between Russia and Turkey, a struggle for dominion that came down from the preceding centuries, and still seems only temporarily laid aside for final settlement in the years to come. In the eighteenth century the Turks proved quite able to hold their own against all the power of Russia and all the armies of Catharine the Great, and they entered the nineteenth century with their ancient dominion largely intact. But they were declining in strength while Russia was growing, and long before 1900 the empire of the Sultan would have become the prey of the Czar had not the other powers of Europe come to the rescue. The Czar Nicholas designated the Sultan as “the sick man” of Europe, and such he and his empire have truly become.

The Result of the War of 1829

The ambitious designs of Russia found abundant warrant in the cruel treatment of the Christian people of Turkey. A number of Christian kingdoms lay under the Sultan’s rule, in the south inhabited by Greeks, in the north by Slavs; their people treated always with harshness and tyranny; their every attempt at revolt repressed with savage cruelty. We have seen how the Greeks rebelled against their oppressors in 1821, and, with the aid of Europe, won their freedom in 1829. Stirred by this struggle, Russia declared war against Turkey in 1828, and in the treaty of peace signed at Adrianople in 1829 secured not only the independence of Greece, but a large degree of home-rule for the northern principalities of Servia, Moldavia, and Wallachia. Turkey was forced in a measure to loosen her grip on Christian Europe. But the Russians were not satisfied with this. They had got next to nothing for themselves. England and the other Western powers, fearful of seeing Russia in possession of Constantinople, had forced her to release the fruits of her victory. It was the first step in that jealous watchfulness of England over Constantinople which was to have a more decided outcome in later years. The newborn idea of maintaining the balance of power in Europe stood in Russia’s way, the nations of the West viewing in alarm the threatening growth of the great Muscovite Empire.

Oppression of the Christians of Turkey

The ambitious Czar Nicholas looked upon Turkey as his destined prey, and waited with impatience a sufficient excuse to send his armies again to the Balkan Peninsula, whose mountain barrier formed the great natural bulwark of Turkey in the north. Though the Turkish government at this time avoided direct oppression of its Christian subjects, the fanatical Mohammedans were difficult to restrain, and the robbery and murder of Christians was of common occurrence. A source of hostility at length arose from the question of protecting these ill-treated peoples. By favor of old treaties the czar claimed a certain right to protect the Christians of the Greek faith. France assumed a similar protectorate over the Roman Catholics of Palestine, but the greater number of Greek Christians in the Holy Land, and the powerful support of the czar, gave those the advantage in the frequent quarrels which arose in Jerusalem between the pilgrims from the East and the West.

The Balance of Power in Europe

Nicholas, instigated by his advantage in this quarter, determined to declare himself the protector of all the Christians in the Turkish Empire, a claim which the sultan dared not admit if he wished to hold control over his Mohammedan subjects. War was in the air, and England and France, resolute to preserve the “balance of power,” sent their fleets to the Dardanelles as useful lookers-on.

The Sultan Declares War Against Russia

The sultan had already rejected the Russian demand, and Nicholas lost no time in sending an army, led by Prince Gortchakoff, with orders to cross the Pruth and take possession of the Turkish provinces on the Danube. The gauntlet had been thrown down. War was inevitable. The English newspapers demanded of their government a vigorous policy. The old Turkish party in Constantinople was equally urgent in its demand for hostilities. At length, on October 4, 1853, the sultan declared war against Russia unless the Danubian principalities were at once evacuated. Instead of doing so, Nicholas ordered his generals to invade the Balkan territory, and on the other hand France and England entered into alliance with the Porte and sent their fleets to the Bosporus. Shortly afterwards the Russian Admiral Nachimoff surprised a Turkish squadron in the harbor of Sinope, attacked it, and—though the Turks fought with the greatest courage—the fleet was destroyed and nearly the whole of its crews were slain.

This turned the tide in England and France, which declared war in March, 1854, while Prussia and Austria maintained a waiting attitude. No event of special importance took place early in the war. In April Lord Raglan, with an English army of 20,000 men, landed in Turkey and the siege of the Russian city of Odessa was begun. Meanwhile the Russians, who had crossed the Danube, found it advisable to retreat and withdraw across the Pruth, on a threat of hostilities from Austria and Prussia unless the principalities were evacuated.

England and France Come to the Aid of Turkey

The French had met with heavy losses in an advance from Varna, and the British fleet had made an expedition against St. Petersburg, but had been checked before the powerful fortress of Cronstadt. Such was the state of affairs in the summer of 1854, when the allies determined to carry the war into the enemy’s territory, attack the maritime city of Sebastopol in the Crimea, and seek to destroy the Russian naval power in the Black Sea.

The War in the Crimea

Of the allied armies 15,000 men had already perished. With the remaining forces, rather more than 50,000 British and French and 6,000 Turks, the fleet set sail in September across the Black Sea, and landed near Eupatoria on the west coast of the Crimean peninsula, on the 4th of September, 1854. Southwards of Eupatoria the sea forms a bay, into which, near the ruins of the old town of Inkermann, the little river Tschernaja pours itself. On its southern side lies the fortified town of Sebastopol, on its northern side strong fortifications were raised for the defence of the fleet of war which lay at anchor in the bay. Farther north the western mountain range is intersected by the river Alma, over which Prince Menzikoff, governor of the Crimea, garrisoned the heights with an army of 30,000 men. Against the latter the allies first directed their attack, and, in spite of the strong position of the Russians on the rocky slopes, Menzikoff was compelled to retreat, owing his escape from entire destruction only to the want of cavalry in the army of the allies. This dearly bought and bloody battle on the Alma gave rise to hopes of a speedy termination of the campaign; but the allies, weakened and wearied by the fearful struggle, delayed a further attack, and Menzikoff gained time to strengthen his garrison, and to surround Sebastopol with strong fortifications. When the allies approached the town they were soon convinced that any attack on such formidable defences would be fruitless, and that they mast await the arrival of fresh reinforcements and ammunition. The English took up their position on the Bay of Balaklava, and the French to the west, on the Kamiesch.

On the landing of the allied British, French and Turks in the Crimea in September, 1854, Prince Menshikoff occupied the adjacent heights with an army of 30,000 men. He was attacked by the allies and driven from his position in the battle of Alma. From that point the invaders marched to the siege of Sebastopol.
The Battle of Balaklava

There now commenced a siege such as has seldom occurred in the history of the world. The first attempt to storm by a united attack of the land army and the fleet showed the resistance to be much more formidable than had been expected by the allies. Eight days later the English were surprised in their strong position near Balaklava by General Liprandi. The battle of Balaklava was decided in favor of the allies, and on the 5th of November, when Menzikoff had obtained fresh reinforcements, the murderous battle of Inkermann was fought under the eyes of the two Grand Princes Nicholas and Michael, and after a mighty struggle was won by the allied armies. Fighting in the ranks were two other princely personages, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Napoleon, son of Jerome, former King of Westphalia.

Of the engagements here named there is only one to which special attention need be directed, the battle of Balaklava, in which occurred that mad but heroic “Charge of the Light Brigade,” which has become famous in song and story. The purpose of this conflict on the part of the Russians was to cut the line of communication of the allies, by capturing the redoubts that guarded them, and thus to enforce a retreat by depriving the enemy of supplies.

The Highlanders’ “Thin, Red Line”

The day began with a defeat of the Turks and the capture by the Russians of several of the redoubts. Then a great body of Russian cavalry, 3,000 strong, charged upon the 93d Highlanders, who were drawn up in line to receive them. There was comparatively but a handful of these gallant Scotchmen, 550 all told, but they have made themselves famous in history as the invincible “thin, red line.”

Sir Colin Campbell, their noble leader, said to them: “Remember, lads, there is no retreat from here. You must die where you stand.”

“Ay, ay, Sir Colin,” shouted the sturdy Highlanders, “we will do just that.”

They did not need to. The murderous fire from their “thin, red line” was more than the Russians cared to endure, and they were driven back in disorder.

The British cavalry completed the work of the infantry. On the serried mass of Russian horsemen charged Scarlett’s Heavy Brigade, vastly inferior to them in number, but inspired with a spirit and courage that carried its bold horsemen through the Russian columns with such resistless energy that the great body of Muscovite cavalry broke and fled—3,000 completely routed by 800 gallant dragoons.

And now came the unfortunate but world-famous event of the day. It was due to a mistaken order. Lord Raglan, thinking that the Russians intended to carry off the guns captured in the Turkish redoubts, sent an order to the brigade of light cavalry to “advance rapidly to the front and prevent the enemy from carrying off the guns.”

Captain Nolan and the Order to Charge

Lord Lucan, to whom the command was brought, did not understand it. Apparently, Captain Nolan, who conveyed the order, did not clearly explain its purport.

“Lord Raglan orders that the cavalry shall attack immediately,” he said, impatient at Lucan’s hesitation.

“Attack, sir; attack what?” asked Lucan.

“There, my lord, is your enemy; there are your guns,” said Nolan, with a wave of his hand towards the hostile lines.

The guns he appeared to indicate were those of a Russian battery at the end of the valley, to attack which by an unsupported cavalry charge was sheer madness. Lucan rode to Lord Cardigan, in command of the cavalry, and repeated the order.

“But there is a battery in front of us and guns and riflemen on either flank,” said Cardigan.

“I know it,” answered Lucan. “But Lord Raglan will have it. We have no choice but to obey.”

“The brigade will advance,” said Cardigan, without further hesitation.

In a moment more the “gallant six hundred” were in motion—going in the wrong direction, as Captain Nolan is thought to have perceived. At all events he spurred his horse across the front of the brigade, waving his sword as if with the intention to set them right. But no one understood him, and at that instant a fragment of shell struck him and hurled him dead to the earth. There was no further hope of stopping the mad charge.

The Charge of the Light Brigade

On and on went the devoted Light Brigade, their pace increasing at every stride, headed straight for the Russian battery half a league away. As they went fire was opened on them from the guns in flank. Soon they came within range of the guns in front, which also opened a raking fire. They were enveloped in “a zone of fire, and the air was filled with the rush of shot, the bursting of shells, and the moan of bullets, while amidst the infernal din the work of death went on, and men and horses were incessantly dashed to the ground.”

But no thought of retreat seems to have entered the minds of those brave dragoons and their gallant leader. Their pace increased; they reached the battery and dashed in among the guns; the gunners were cut down as they served their pieces. Masses of Russian cavalry standing near were charged and forced back. The men fought madly in the face of death until the word came to retreat.

The Sad End of a Deed of Glory

Then, emerging from the smoke of the battle, a feeble remnant of the “gallant six hundred” appeared upon the plain, comprising one or two large groups, though the most of them were in scattered parties of two or three. One group of about seventy men cut their way through three squadrons of Russian lancers. Another party of equal strength broke through a second intercepting force. Out of some 647 men in all, 247 were killed and wounded, and nearly all the horses were slain. Lord Cardigan, the first to enter the battery, was one of those who came back alive. The whole affair had occupied no more than twenty minutes. But it was a twenty minutes of which the British nation has ever since been proud, and which Tennyson has made famous by one of the most spirit-stirring of his odes. The French General Bosquet fairly characterized it by his often quoted remark: “C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre.” (It is magnificent, but it is not war.)

These battles in the field brought no changes in the state of affairs. The siege of Sebastopol went on through the winter of 1854–55, during which the allied army suffered the utmost misery and privation, partly the effect of climate, largely the result of fraud and incompetency at home. Sisters of Mercy and self-sacrificing English ladies—chief among them the noble Florence Nightingale—strove to assuage the sufferings brought on the soldiers by cold, hunger, and disease, but these enemies proved more fatal than the sword.

In the year 1855 the war was carried on with increased energy. Sardinia joined the allies and sent them an army of 15,000 men. Austria broke with Russia and began preparations for war. And in March the obstinate czar Nicholas died and his milder son Alexander took his place. Peace was demanded in Russia, yet 25,000 of her sons had fallen and the honor of the nation seemed involved. The war went on, both sides increasing their forces. Month by month the allies more closely invested the besieged city. After the middle of August the assault became almost incessant, cannon balls dropping like an unceasing storm of hail in forts and streets.

The Assault on and Capture of Sebastopol

On the 5th of September began a terrific bombardment, continuing day and night for three days, and sweeping down more than 5,000 Russians on the ramparts. At length, as the hour of noon struck on September 8th, the attack of which this play of artillery was the prelude began, the French assailing the Malakoff, the British the Redan, these being the most formidable of the defensive works of the town. The French assault was successful and Sebastopol became untenable. That night the Russians blew up their remaining forts, sunk their ships of war, and marched out of the town, leaving it as the prize of victory to the allies. Soon after Russia gained a success by capturing the Turkish fortress of Kars, in Asia Minor, and, her honor satisfied with this success, a treaty of peace was concluded. In this treaty the Black Sea was made neutral and all ships of war were excluded from its waters, while the safety of the Christians of Wallachia, Moldavia and Servia was assured by making these principalities practically independent, under the protection of the powers of Europe.

The Revolt in Bosnia

Turkey came out of the war weakened and shorn of territory. But the Turkish idea of government remained unchanged, and in twenty years’ time Russia was fairly goaded into another war. In 1875 Bosnia rebelled in consequence of the insufferable oppression of the Turkish tax-collectors. The brave Bosnians maintained themselves so sturdily in their mountain fastnesses that the Turks almost despaired of subduing them, and the Christian subjects of the Sultan in all quarters became so stirred up that a general revolt was threatened.

The Turks undertook to prevent this in their usual fashion. Irregular troops were sent into Christian Bulgaria with orders to kill all they met. It was an order to the Mohammedan taste. The defenceless villages of Bulgaria were entered and their inhabitants slaughtered in cold blood, till thousands of men, women, and children had been slain.

The “Bulgarian Horror” and Its Effect

When tidings of these atrocities reached Europe the nations were filled with horror. The Sultan made smooth excuses, and diplomacy sought to settle the affair, but it became evident that a massacre so terrible as this could not be condoned so easily. Disraeli, then prime minister of Great Britain, sought to dispose of these reports as matters for jest; but Gladstone, at that time in retirement, arose in his might, and by his pamphlet on the “Bulgarian Horrors” so aroused public sentiment in England that the government dared not back up Turkey in the coming war.

Hostilities were soon proclaimed. The Russians, of the same race and religious sect as the Bulgarians, were excited beyond control, and in April, 1877, Alexander II. declared war against Turkey. The outrages of the Turks had been so flagrant that no allies came to their aid, while the rottenness of their empire was shown by the rapid advance of the Russian armies.

They crossed the Danube in June. In a month later they had occupied the principal passes of the Balkan mountains and were in position to descend on the broad plain that led to Constantinople. But at this point in their career they met with a serious check. Osman Pasha, the single Turkish commander of ability that the war developed, occupied the town of Plevna with such forces as he could gather, fortified it as strongly as possible, and from behind its walls defied the Russians.

Osman Pacha and the Defence of Plevna

They dared not advance and leave this stronghold in their rear. For five months all the power of Russia and the skill of its generals were held in check by this brave man and his few followers, until Europe and America alike looked on with admiration at his remarkable defence, in view of which the cause of the war was almost forgotten. The Russian general Krüdener was repulsed with the loss of 8,000 men. The daring Skobeleff strove in vain to launch his troops over Osman’s walls. At length General Todleben undertook the siege, adopting the slow but safe method of starving out the defenders. Osman Pacha now showed his courage, as he had already shown his endurance. When hunger and disease began to reduce the strength of his men, he resolve on a final desperate effort. At the head of his brave garrison the “Lion of Plevna” sallied from the city, and fought with desperate courage to break through the circle of his foes. He was finally driven back into the city and compelled to surrender.

The Total Defeat of the Turks

Osman had won glory, and his fall was the fall of the Turkish cause. The Russians crossed the Balkan, capturing in the Schipka Pass a Turkish army of 30,000 men. Adrianople was taken, and the Turkish line of retreat cut off. The Russians marched to the Bosporus, and the Sultan was compelled to sue for peace to save his capital from falling into the hands of the Christians, as it had fallen into those of the Turks four centuries before.

Russia had won the game for which she had made so long a struggle. The treaty of San Stefano practically decreed the dissolution of the Turkish Empire. But at this juncture the other nations of Europe took part. They were not content to see the balance of power destroyed by Russia becoming master of Constantinople, and England demanded that the treaty should be revised by the European powers. Russia protested, but Disraeli threatened war, and the czar gave way.

The Congress of Berlin

The Congress of Berlin, to which the treaty was referred, settled the question in the following manner: Montenegro, Roumania, and Servia were declared independent, and Bulgaria became free, except that it had to pay an annual tribute to the sultan. The part of old Bulgaria that lay south of the Balkan Mountains was named East Roumelia and given its own civil government, but was left under the military control of Turkey. Bosnia and Herzegovina were placed under the control of Austria. All that Russia obtained for her victories were some provinces in Asia Minor. Turkey was terribly shorn, and since then her power has been further reduced, for East Roumelia has broken loose from her control and united itself again to Bulgaria.

The Turks in Armenia and Crete

Another twenty years passed, and Turkey found itself at war again. It was the old story, the oppression of the Christians. This time the trouble began in Armenia, a part of Turkey in Asia, where in 1895 and 1896 terrible massacres took place. Indignation reigned in Europe, but fears of a general war kept them from using force, and the sultan paid no heed to the reforms he promised to make.

In 1896 the Christians of the island of Crete broke out in revolt against the oppression and tyranny of Turkish rule. Of all the powers of Europe little Greece was the only one that came to their aid, and the great nations, still inspired with the fear of a general war, sent their fleet and threatened Greece with blockade unless she would withdraw her troops.

The War Between Turkey and Greece

The result was one scarcely expected. Greece was persistent, and gathered a threatening army on the frontier of Turkey, and war broke out in 1897 between the two states. The Turks now, under an able commander, showed much of their ancient valor and intrepidity, crossing the frontier, defeating the Greeks in a rapid series of engagements, and occupying Thessaly, while the Greek army was driven back in a state of utter demoralization. At this juncture, when Greece lay at the mercy of Turkey, as Turkey had lain at that of Russia twenty years before, the powers, which had refused to aid Greece in her generous but hopeless effort, stepped in to save her from ruin. Turkey was bidden to call a halt, and the sultan reluctantly stopped the march of his army. He demanded the whole of Thessaly and a large indemnity in money. The former the powers refused to grant, and reduced the indemnity to a sum within the power of Greece to pay. Thus the affair ended, and such is the status of the Eastern Question to-day. But it may be merely a question of time when Russia shall accomplish her long-cherished design, and become master of Constantinople; possibly by the way of Asia, in which her power is now so rapidly and widely extending.

The European Revolution of 1848.

Opposition in France to Louis Philippe

The revolution of 1830 did not bring peace and quiet to France nor to Europe. In France the people grew dissatisfied with their new monarch; in Europe generally they demanded a greater share of liberty. Louis Philippe delayed to extend the suffrage; he used his high position to add to his great riches; he failed to win the hearts of the French, and was widely accused of selfishness and greed. There were risings of legitimist in favor of the Bourbons, while the republican element was opposed to monarchy. No less than eight attempts were made to remove the king by assassination—all of them failures, but they showed the disturbed state of public feeling. Liberty, equality, fraternity became the watchwords of the working classes, socialistic ideas arose and spread, and the industrial element of the various nations became allied in one great body of revolutionists known as the “Internationalists.”

In Germany the demand of the people for political rights grew until it reached a crisis. The radical writings of the “Young Germans,” the stirring songs of their poets, the bold utterances of the press, the doctrines of the “Friends of Light” among the Protestants and of the “German Catholics” among the Catholics, all went to show that the people were deeply dissatisfied alike with the state and the church. They were rapidly arousing from their sluggish acceptance of the work of the Congress of Vienna of 1815, and the spirit of liberty was in the air.

Revolutionary Sentiment in Germany and Italy

The King of Prussia, Frederick William IV., saw danger ahead. He became king in 1840 and lost no time in trying to make his rule popular by reforms. An edict of toleration was issued, the sittings of the courts were opened to the public, and the Estates of the provinces were called to meet in Berlin. In the convening of a Parliament he had given the people a voice. The Estates demanded freedom of the press and of the state with such eloquence and energy that the king dared not resist them. The people had gained a great step in their progress towards liberty.

In Italy also the persistent demands of the people met with an encouraging response. The Pope, Pius IX., extended the freedom of the press, gave a liberal charter to the City of Rome, and began the formation of an Italian confederacy. In Sicily a revolutionary outbreak took place, and the King of Naples was compelled to give his people a constitution and a parliament. His example was followed in Tuscany and Sardinia. The tyrannical Duke of Modena was forced to fly from the vengeance of his people, and the throne of Parma became vacant by the death in 1847 of Maria Louisa, the widow of Napoleon Bonaparte, a woman little loved and less respected.

The Italians were filled with hope by these events. Freedom and the unity of Italy loomed up before their eyes. Only two obstacles stood in their way, the Austrians and the Jesuits, and both of these were bitterly hated. Gioberti, the enemy of the Jesuits, was greeted with cheers, under which might be heard harsh cries of “Death to the Germans.”

Such was the state of affairs at the beginning of 1848. The measure of liberty granted the people only whetted their appetite for more, and over all Western Europe rose an ominous murmur, the voice of the people demanding the rights of which they had so long been deprived. In France this demand was growing dangerously insistant; in Paris, the centre of European revolution, it threatened an outbreak. Reform banquets were the order of the day in France, and one was arranged for in Paris to signalize the meeting of the Chambers.

The Outbreak in Paris

Guizot, the historian, who was then minister of foreign affairs, had deeply offended the liberal party of France by his reactionary policy. The government threw fuel on the fire by forbidding the banquet and taking steps to suppress it by military force. The people were enraged by this false step and began to gather in excited groups. Throngs of them—artisans, students, and tramps—were soon marching through the streets, with shouts of “Reform! Down with Guizot!” The crowds rapidly increased and grew more violent. The people were too weak to cope with them; the soldiers were loath to do so; soon barricades were erected and fighting began.

After the close of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877, a Congress of the European Powers was held at Berlin to decide on the status of Turkey, its purpose being largely to prevent Russia from taking possession of Constantinople. One of its results was to give Great Britain control of the Island of Cyprus.
One of the most successful French Marshals in the Crimean War was Pierre Francois Joseph Bosquet. Parliament voted him England’s thanks for the part he played in winning the battle of Inkermann. He also took a leading part in the capture of the Malakoff, Siege of Sebastopol September 8, 1855, where he was seriously wounded.

For two days this went on. Then the king, alarmed at the situation, dismissed Guizot and promised reform, and the people, satisfied for the time and proud of their victory, paraded the streets with cheers and songs. All now might have gone well but for a hasty and violent act on the part of the troops. About ten o’clock at night a shouting and torch-bearing throng marched through the Boulevards, singing and waving flags. Reaching the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they halted and called for its illumination. The troops on duty there interfered, and, on an insult to their colonel and the firing of a shot from the mob, they replied with a volley, before which fifty-two of the people fell killed and wounded.

Revolt Becomes Revolution

This reckless and sanguinary deed was enough to turn revolt into revolution. The corpses were carried on biers through the streets by the infuriated people, the accompanying torch-bearers shouting: “To arms! they are murdering us!” At midnight the tocsin call rang from the bells of Notre Dame; the barricades, which had been partly removed, were restored; and the next morning, February 24, 1848, Paris was in arms. In the struggle that followed they were quickly victorious, and the capital was in their hands.

The Second French Republic

Louis Philippe followed the example of Charles X., abdicated his throne and fled to England. After the fate of Louis XVI. no monarch was willing to wait and face a Paris mob. The kingdom was overthrown, and a republic, the second which France had known, was established, the aged Dupont de l’Eure being chosen president. The poet Lamartine, the socialist Louis Blanc, the statesmen Ledru-Rollin and Arago became members of the Cabinet, and all looked forward to a reign of peace and prosperity. The socialists tried the experiment of establishing national workshops in which artisans were to be employed at the expense of the state, with the idea that this would give work to all.

Yet the expected prosperity did not come. The state was soon deeply in debt, many of the people remained unemployed, and the condition of industry grew worse day by day. The treasury proved incapable of paying the state artisans, and the public workshops were closed. In June the trouble came to a crisis and a new and sanguinary outbreak began, instigated by the hungry and disappointed workmen, and led by the advocates of the “Red Republic,” who acted with ferocious brutality. General Brea and the Archbishop of Paris were murdered, and the work of slaughter grew so horrible that the National Assembly, to put an end to it, made General Cavaignac dictator and commissioned him to put down the revolt. A terrible struggle ensued between the mob and the troops, ending in the suppression of the revolt and the arrest and banishment of many of its ringleaders. Ten or twelve thousand people had been killed. The National Assembly adopted a republican constitution, under which a single legislative chamber and a president to be elected every four years were provided for. The assembly wished to make General Cavaignac president, but the nation, blinded by their faith in the name of the great conqueror, elected by an almost unanimous vote his nephew, Louis Napoleon, a man who had suffered a long term of imprisonment for his several attempts against the reign of the late king. The revolution, for the time being, was at an end, and France was a republic again.

Effect of the Revolution of 1848 in Europe

The effect of this revolution in France spread far and wide through Europe. Outbreaks occurred in Italy, Poland, Switzerland and Ireland, and in Germany the revolutionary fever burned hot. Baden was the first state to yield to the demands of the people for freedom of the press, a parliament and other reforms, and went so far as to abolish the imposts still remaining from feudal times. The other minor states followed its example. In Saxony, Würtemberg and other states class abuses were abolished, liberals given prominent positions under government, the suffrage and the legislature reformed, and men of liberal sentiment summoned to discuss the formation of new constitutions.

Metternich and His System

But it was in the great despotic states of Germany—Prussia and Austria—that the liberals gained the most complete and important victory, and went farthest in overthrowing autocratic rule and establishing constitutional government. The great Austrian statesman who had been a leader in the Congress of Vienna and who had suppressed liberalism in Italy, Prince Metternich, was still, after more than thirty years, at the head of affairs in Vienna. He controlled the policy of Austria; his word was law in much of Germany; time had cemented his authority, and he had done more than any other man in Europe in maintaining despotism and building a dam against the rising flood of liberal sentiment.

But the hour of the man who had destroyed the work of Napoleon was at hand. He had failed to recognize the spirit of the age or to perceive that liberalism was deeply penetrating Austria. To most of the younger statesmen of Europe the weakness of his policy and the rottenness of his system were growing apparent, and it was evident that they must soon fall before the onslaught of the advocates of freedom.

An incitement was needed, and it came in the news of the Paris revolution. At once a hot excitement broke out everywhere in Austria. From Hungary came a vigorous demand for an independent parliament, reform of the constitution, decrease of taxes, and relief from the burden of the national debt of Austria. From Bohemia, whose rights and privileges had been seriously interfered with in the preceding year, came similar demands. In Vienna itself the popular outcry for increased privileges grew insistant.

The Outbreak in Vienna

The excitement of the people was aggravated by their distrust of the paper money of the realm and by a great depression in commerce and industry. Daily more workmen were thrown out of employment, and soon throngs of the hungry and discontented gathered in the streets. Students, as usual, led away by their boyish love of excitement, were the first to create a disturbance, but others soon joined in, and the affair quickly became serious.

The old system was evidently at an end. The policy of Metternich could restrain the people no longer. Lawlessness became general, excesses were committed by the mob, the dwellings of those whom the populace hated were attacked and plundered, the authorities were resisted with arms, and the danger of an overthrow of the government grew imminent. The press, which had gained freedom of utterance, added to the peril of the situation by its inflammatory appeals to the people, and by its violence checked the progress of the reforms which it demanded. Metternich, by his system of restraint, had kept the people in ignorance of the first principles of political affairs, and the liberties which they now asked for showed them to be unadapted to a liberal government. The old minister, whose system was falling in ruins about him, fled from the country and sought a refuge in England, that haven of political failures.

Flight and Return of the Emperor

In May, 1848, the emperor, alarmed at the threatening state of affairs, left his capital and withdrew to Innsbruck. The tidings of his withdrawal stirred the people to passion, and the outbreak of mob violence which followed was the fiercest and most dangerous that had yet occurred. Gradually, however, the tumult was appeased, a constitutional assembly was called into being and opened by the Archduke John, and the Emperor Ferdinand re-entered Vienna amid the warm acclamations of the people. The outbreak was at an end. Austria had been converted from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy.

Revolt in Prussia and the German Union

In Berlin the spirit of revolution became as marked as in Vienna. The King resisted the demands of the people, who soon came into conflict with the soldiers, a fierce street fight breaking out which continued with violence for two weeks. The revolutionists demanded the removal of the troops and the formation of a citizen militia, and the king, alarmed at the dangerous crisis in affairs, at last assented. The troops were accordingly withdrawn, the obnoxious ministry was dismissed, and a citizen-guard was created for the defence of the city. Three days afterwards the king promised to govern as a constitutional monarch, an assembly was elected by universal suffrage, and to it was given the work of preparing a constitution for the Prussian state. Here, as in Austria, the revolutionists had won the day and irresponsible government was at an end.

Elsewhere in Germany radical changes were taking place. King Louis of Bavaria, who had deeply offended his people, resigned in favor of his son. The Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt did the same. Everywhere the liberals were in the ascendant, and were gaining freedom of the press and constitutional government. The formation of Germany into a federal empire was proposed and adopted, and a National Assembly met at Frankfort on May 18, 1848. It included many of the ablest men of Germany. Its principal work was to organize a union under an irresponsible executive, who was to be surrounded by a responsible ministry. The Archduke John of Austria was selected to fill this new, but brief imperial position, and made a solemn entry into Frankfort on the 11th of July.

The Schleswig-Holstein Affair

All this was not enough for the ultra radicals. They determined to found a German republic, and their leaders, Hecker and Struve, called the people to arms. An outbreak took place in Baden, but it was quickly suppressed, and the republican movement came to a speedy end. In the north war broke out between Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein, united duchies which desired to be freed from Danish rule and annexed to Germany, and called for German aid. But just then the new German Union was in no condition to come to their assistance, and Prussia preferred diplomacy to war, with the result that Denmark came out victorious from the contest. As will be seen in a later chapter, Prussia, under the energetic leadership of Bismarck, came, a number of years afterwards, to the aid of these discontented duchies, and they were finally torn from Danish control.

War in Sicily and Sardinia

While these exciting events were taking place in the north, Italy was swept with a storm of revolution from end to end. Metternich was no longer at hand to keep it in check, and the whole peninsula seethed with revolt. Sicily rejected the rule of the Bourbon king of Naples, chose the Duke of Genoa, son of Charles Albert of Sardinia, for its king, and during a year fought for liberty. This patriotic effort of the Sicilians ended in failure. The Swiss mercenaries of the Neapolitan king captured Syracuse and brought the island into subjection, and the tyrant hastened to abolish the constitution which he had been frightened into granting in his hour of extremity.

In the north of Italy war broke out between Austria and Sardinia. Milan and Venice rose against the Austrians and drove out their garrisons, throughout Lombardy the people raised the standard of independence, and Charles Albert of Sardinia called his people to arms and invaded that country, striving to free it and the neighboring state of Venice from Austrian rule. For a brief season he was successful, pushing the Austrian troops to the frontiers, but the old Marshal Radetzky defeated him at Verona and compelled him to seek safety in flight. The next year he renewed his attempt, but with no better success. Depressed by his failure, he resigned the crown to his son Victor Emmanuel, who made a disadvantageous peace with Austria. Venice held out for several months, but was finally subdued, and Austrian rule was restored in the north.

The Revolution in Rome

Meanwhile the pope, Pius IX., offended his people by his unwillingness to aid Sardinia against Austria. He promised to grant a constitutional government and convened an Assembly in Rome, but the Democratic people of the state were not content with feeble concessions of this kind. Rossi, prime minister of the state, was assassinated, and the pope, filled with alarm, fled in disguise, leaving the Papal dominion to the revolutionists, who at once proclaimed a republic and confiscated the property of the Church.

Mazzini, the leader of “Young Italy,” the ardent revolutionist who had long worked in exile for Italian independence, entered the Eternal City, and with him Garibaldi, long a political refugee in America and a gallant partisan leader in the recent war with Austria. The arrival of these celebrated revolutionists filled the democratic party in Rome with the greatest enthusiasm, and it was resolved to defend the States of the Church to the last extremity, viewing them as the final asylum of Italian liberty.

Capture of Rome by the French Army

In this extremity the pope called on France for aid. That country responded by sending an army, which landed at Civita-Vecchia and marched upon and surrounded Rome. The new-comers declared that they came as friends, not as foes; it was not their purpose to overthrow the republic, but to defend the capital from Austria and Naples. The leaders of the insurgents in Rome did not trust their professions and promises and refused them admittance. A fierce struggle followed. The republicans defended themselves stubbornly. For weeks they defied the efforts of General Oudinot and his troops. But in the end they were forced to yield, a conditional submission was made, and the French soldiers occupied the city. Garibaldi, Mazzini, and others of the leaders took to flight, and the old conditions were gradually resumed under the controlling influence of French bayonets. For years afterwards the French held the city as the allies and guard of the pope.

The Outbreak in Hungary

The revolutionary spirit, which had given rise to war in Italy, yielded a still more resolute and sanguinary conflict in Hungary, whose people were divided against themselves. The Magyars, the descendants of the old Huns, who demanded governmental institutions of their own, separate from these of Austria, though under the Austrian monarch, were opposed by the Slavonic part of the population, and war began between them. Austrian troops were ordered to the aid of Jellachich, the ruler of the Slavs of Croatia in South Hungary, but their departure was prevented by the democratic people of Vienna, who rose in violent insurrection, induced by their sympathy with the Magyars.

Vienna Captured by Storm

The whole city was quickly in tumult, an attack was made on the arsenals, and the violence became so great that the emperor again took to flight. War in Austria followed. A strong army was sent to subdue the rebellious city, which was stubbornly defended, the students’ club being the centre of the revolutionary movement. Jellachich led his Croatians to the aid of the emperor’s troops, the city was surrounded and besieged, sallies and assaults were of daily occurrence, and for a week and more a bloody conflict continued day and night. Vienna was finally taken by storm, the troops forcing their way into the streets, where shocking scenes of murder and violence took place. On November 21, 1848, Jellachich entered the conquered city, martial law was proclaimed, the houses were searched, the prisons filled with captives, and the leaders of the insurrection put to death.

Shortly afterwards the Emperor Ferdinand abdicated the throne in favor of his youthful nephew, Francis Joseph, who at once dissolved the constitutional assembly and proclaimed a new constitution and a new code of laws. Hungary was still in arms, and offered a desperate resistance to the Austrians, who now marched to put down the insurrection. They found it no easy task. The fiery eloquence of the orator Kossuth roused the Magyars to a desperate resistance, Polish leaders came to their support, foreign volunteers strengthened their ranks, Gorgey, their chief leader, showed great military skill, and the Austrians were driven out and the fortresses taken. The independence of Hungary was now proclaimed, and a government established under Kossuth as provisional president.

The Hungarian Revolt and Its Suppression

The repulse of the Austrians nerved the young emperor to more strenuous exertions. The aid of Russia was asked, and the insurgent state invaded on three sides, by the Croatians from the south, the Russians from the north, and the Austrians, under the brutal General Haynau, from the west.

The conflict continued for several months, but quarrels between the Hungarian leaders weakened their armies, and in August, 1849, Gorgey, who had been declared dictator, surrendered to the invaders, Kossuth and the other leaders seeking safety in flight. Haynau made himself infamous by his cruel treatment of the Hungarian people, particularly by his use of the lash upon women. His conduct raised such wide-spread indignation that he was roughly handled by a party of brewers, on his visit to London in 1850.

With the fall of Hungary the revolutionary movement of 1848 came to an end. The German Union had already disappeared. There were various other disturbances, besides those we have recorded, but finally all the states settled down to peace and quiet. Its results had been great in increasing the political privileges of the people of Western Europe, and with it the reign of despotism in that section of the continent came to an end.

The greatest hero of the war in Hungary was undoubtedly Louis Kossuth, whose name has remained familiar among those of the patriots of his century. From Hungary he made his way to Turkey, where he was imprisoned for two years at Kutaieh, being finally released through the intervention of the governments of Great Britain and the United States. He then visited England, where he was received with enthusiastic, popular demonstrations and made several admirable speeches in the English language, of which he had excellent command. In the autumn of 1851 he came to the United States, where he had a flattering reception and spoke on the wrongs of Hungary to enthusiastic audiences in the principal cities.

Louis Napoleon and the Second French Empire.

The name of Napoleon is a name to conjure with in France. Two generations after the fall of Napoleon the Great, the people of that country had practically forgotten the misery he had brought them, and remembered only the glory with which he had crowned the name of France. When, then, a man whom we may fairly designate as Napoleon the Small offered himself for their suffrages, they cast their votes almost unanimously in his favor.

Louis Napoleon and His Claim to the Throne

Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, to give this personage his full name, was a son of Louis Bonaparte, once king of Holland, and Hortense de Beauharnais, and had been recognized by Napoleon as, after his father, the direct successor to the throne. This he made strenuous efforts to obtain, hoping to dethrone Louis Philippe and install himself in his place. In 1836, with a few followers, he made an attempt to capture Strasbourg. His effort failed and he was arrested and transported to the United States. In 1839 he published a work entitled “Napoleonic Ideas,” which was an apology for the ambitious acts of the first Napoleon.

A Rash and Unsuccessful Invasion

The growing unpopularity of Louis Philippe tempted him at this time to make a second attempt to invade France. He did it in a rash way almost certain to end in failure. Followed by about fifty men, and bringing with him a tame eagle, which was expected to perch upon his banner as the harbinger of victory, he sailed from England in August, 1840, and landed at Boulogne. This desperate and foolish enterprise proved a complete failure. The soldiers whom the would-be usurper expected to join his standard arrested him, and he was tried for treason by the House of Peers. This time he was not dealt with so leniently as before, but was sentenced to imprisonment for life and was confined in the Castle of Ham. From this fortress he escaped in disguise in May, 1846, and made his way to England.

On November 30, 1870, the French besieged in Paris made a desperate effort to break through the investing lines of the Germans at Champigny, on the River Marne. The struggle continued for two days and ended in the repulse of the French. This defeat sealed the fate of Paris and of France.

The revolution of 1848 gave the restless and ambitious adventurer a more promising opportunity. He returned to France, was elected to the National Assembly, and on the adoption of the republican constitution offered himself as a candidate the Presidency of the new republic. And now the magic of the name of Napoleon told. General Cavaignac, his chief competitor, was supported by the solid men of the country, who distrusted the adventurer; but the people rose almost solidly in his support, and he was elected president for four years by 5,562,834 votes, against 1,469,166 for Cavaignac.

An Autocratic President of France

The new President of France soon showed his ambition. He became engaged in a contest with the Assembly and aroused the distrust of the Republicans by his autocratic tones. In 1849 he still further offended the Democratic party by sending an army to Rome, which put an end to the republic in that city. He sought to make his Cabinet officers the pliant instruments of his will, and thus caused De Tocqueville, the celebrated author, who was minister for foreign affairs, to resign. “We were not the men to serve him on those terms,” said De Tocqueville, at a later time.

The new-made president was feeling his way to imperial dignity. He could not forget that his illustrious uncle had made himself emperor, and his ambition instigated him to the same course. A violent controversy arose between him and the Assembly, which body passed a law restricting universal suffrage, and thus reducing the popular support of the president. In June, 1850, it increased his salary at his request, but granted the increase only for one year—an act of distrust which proved a new source of discord.

The Coup d’état of Louis Napoleon

Louis Napoleon meanwhile was preparing for a daring act. He secretly obtained the support of the army leaders and prepared covertly for the boldest stroke of his life. On the 2d of December, 1851,—the anniversary of the establishment of the first empire and of the battle of Austerlitz,—he got rid of his opponents by means of the memorable coup d’etat, and seized the supreme power of the state.

The most influential members of the Assembly had been arrested during the preceding night, and when the hour for the session of the House came the men most strongly opposed to the usurper were in prison. Most of them were afterwards exiled, some for life, some for shorter terms. This act of outrage and violation of the plighted faith of the president roused the Socialists and Republicans to the defence of their threatened liberties, insurrections broke out in Paris, Lyons, and other towns, street barricades were built, and severe fighting took place. But Napoleon had secured the army, and the revolt was suppressed with blood and slaughter. Baudin, one of the deposed deputies, was shot on the barricade in the Faubourg St. Antoine, while waving in his hand the decree of the constitution. He was afterwards honored as a martyr to the cause of republicanism in France.

How Napoleon Won Popular Support

The usurper had previously sought to gain the approval of the people by liberal and charitable acts, and to win the goodwill of the civic authorities by numerous progresses through the interior. He posed as a protector and promoter of national prosperity and the rights of the people, and sought to lay upon the Assembly all the defects of his administration. By these means, which aided to awaken the Napoleonic fervor in the state, he was enabled safely to submit his acts of violence and bloodshed to the approval of the people. The new constitution offered by the president was put to vote, and was adopted by the enormous majority of more than seven million votes. By its terms Louis Napoleon was to be president of France for ten years, with the power of a monarch, and the Parliament was to consist of two bodies, a Senate and a Legislative House, which were given only nominal power.

Louis Napoleon is Elected Emperor

This was as far as Napoleon dared to venture at that time. A year later, on December 1, 1852, having meanwhile firmly cemented his power, he passed from president to emperor, again by a vote of the people, of whom, according to the official report, 7,824,189 cast their votes in his favor.

Thus ended the second French republic, an act of usurpation of the basest and most unwarranted character. The partisans of the new emperor were rewarded with the chief offices of the state; the leading republicans languished in prison or in exile for the crime of doing their duty to their constituents; and Armand Marrest, the most zealous champion of the republic, died of a broken heart from the overthrow of all his efforts and aspirations. The honest soldier and earnest patriot, Cavaignac, in a few years followed him to the grave. The cause of liberty in France seemed lost.

The crowning of a new emperor of the Napoleonic family in France naturally filled Europe with apprehensions. But Napoleon III., as he styled himself, was an older man than Napoleon I., and seemingly less likely to be carried away by ambition. His favorite motto, “The Empire is peace,” aided to restore quietude, and gradually the nations began to trust in his words, “France wishes for peace; and when France is satisfied the world is quiet.”

Marriage of the Emperor

Warned by one of the errors of his uncle, he avoided seeking a wife in the royal families of Europe, but allied himself with a Spanish lady of noble rank, the young and beautiful Eugenie de Montijo, duchess of Teba. At the same time he proclaimed that, “A sovereign raised to the throne by a new principle should remain faithful to that principle, and in the face of Europe frankly accept the position of a parvenu, which is an honorable title when it is obtained by the public suffrage of a great people. For seventy years all princes’ daughters married to rulers of France have been unfortunate; only one, Josephine, was remembered with affection by the French people, and she was not born of a royal house.”

Public Works in Paris and France

The new emperor sought by active public works and acts of charity to win the approval of the people. He recognized the necessity of aiding the working classes as far as possible, and protecting them from poverty and wretchedness. During a dearth in 1853 a “baking fund” was organized in Paris, the city contributing funds to enable bread to be sold at a low price. Dams and embankments were built along the rivers to overcome the effects of floods. New streets were opened, bridges built, railways constructed, to increase internal traffic. Splendid buildings were erected for municipal and government purposes. Paris was given a new aspect by pulling down its narrow lanes, and building wide streets and magnificent boulevards—the latter, as was charged, for the purpose of depriving insurrection of its lurking places. The great exhibition of arts and industries in London was followed in 1854 by one in France, the largest and finest seen up to that time. Trade and industry were fostered by a reduction of tariff charges, joint stock companies and credit associations were favored, and in many ways Napoleon III. worked wisely and well for the prosperity of France, the growth of its industries, and the improvement of the condition of its people.

The Ambition of the Emperor

But the new emperor, while thus actively engaged in labors of peace, by no means lived up to the spirit of his motto, “The Empire is peace.” An empire founded upon the army needs to give employment to that army. A monarchy sustained by the votes of a people athirst for glory needs to do something to appease that thirst. A throne filled by a Napoleon could not safely ignore the “Napoleonic Ideas,” and the first of these might be stated as “The Empire is war.” And the new emperor was by no means satisfied to pose simply as the “nephew of his uncle.” He possessed a large share of the Napoleonic ambition, and hoped by military glory to surround his throne with some of the lustre of that of Napoleon the First.

Whatever his private views, it is certain that France under his reign became the most aggressive nation of Europe, and the overweening ambition and self-confidence of the new emperor led him to the same end as his great uncle, that of disaster and overthrow.

The very beginning of Louis Napoleon’s career of greatness, as president of the French Republic, was signalized by an act of military aggression, in sending his army to Rome and putting an end to the new Italian republic. These troops were kept there until 1866, and the aspirations of the Italian patriots were held in check until that year. Only when United Italy stood menacingly at the gates of Rome were these foreign troops withdrawn.

The French in the Crimea

In 1854 Napoleon allied himself with the British and the Turks against Russia, and sent an army to the Crimea, which played an effective part in that great struggle in that peninsula. The troops of France had the honor of rendering Sebastopol untenable, carrying by storm one of its two great fortresses and turning its guns upon the city.

Orsini’s Attempt at Assassination

The next act of aggression of the French emperor was against Austria. As the career of conquest of Napoleon I. had begun with an attack upon the Austrians in Italy, Napoleon III. attempted a similar enterprise, and with equal success. He had long been cautiously preparing in secret for hostilities with Austria, but lacked a satisfactory excuse for declaring war. This came in 1858 from an attempt at assassination. Felice Orsini, a fanatical Italian patriot, incensed at Napoleon from his failing to come to the aid of Italy, launched three explosive bombs against his carriage. This effect was fatal to many of the people in the street, though the intended victim escaped. Orsini won sympathy while in prison by his patriotic sentiments and the steadfastness of his love for his country. “Remember that the Italians shed their blood for Napoleon the great,” he wrote to the emperor. “Liberate my country, and the blessings of twenty-five millions of people will follow you to posterity.”

Louis Napoleon had once been a member of a secret political society of Italy; he had taken the oath of initiation; his failure to come to the aid of that country when in power constituted him a traitor to his oath and one doomed to death; the act of Orsini seemed the work of the society. That he was deeply moved by the attempted assassination is certain, and the result of his combined fear and ambition was soon to be shown.

On New Year’s Day, 1859, while receiving the diplomatic corps at the Tuileries, Napoleon addressed the following significant words to the Austrian ambassador: “I regret that our relations are not so cordial as I could wish, but I beg you to report to the Emperor that my personal sentiments towards him remain unaltered.”

The Warlike Attitude of France and Sardinia

Such is the masked way in which diplomats announce an intention of war. The meaning of the threatening words was soon shown, when Victor Emmanuel, shortly afterwards, announced at the opening of the Chambers in Turin that Sardinia could no longer remain indifferent to the cry for help which was rising from all Italy. Ten years had passed since the defeat of the Sardinians on the plains of Lombardy. During that time they had cherished a hope of retribution, and it was now evident that an alliance had been made with France and that the hour of vengeance was at hand.

Austria was ready for the contest. Her finances, indeed, were in a serious state, but she had a large army in Lombardy. This was increased, Lombardy was declared in a state of siege, and every step was taken to guard against assault from Sardinia. Delay was disadvantageous to Austria, as it would permit her enemies to complete their preparations, and on April 23, 1859, an ultimatum came from Vienna, demanding that Sardinia should put her army on a peace footing or war would ensue.

Advance of the Austrian Army

A refusal came from Turin. Immediately field-marshal Gyulai received orders to cross the Ticino. Thus, after ten years of peace, the beautiful plains of Northern Italy were once more to endure the ravages of war. This act of Austria was severely criticised by the neutral powers, which had been seeking to allay the trouble. Napoleon took advantage of it, accusing Austria of breaking the peace by invading the territory of his ally, the king of Sardinia.

The real fault committed by Austria, under the circumstances, was not in precipitating war, which could not well be avoided in the temper of her antagonists, but in putting, through court favor and privileges of rank, an incapable leader at the head of the army. Old Radetzky, the victor in the last war, was dead, but there were other able leaders who were thrust aside in favor of the Hungarian noble Franz Gyulai, a man without experience as commander-in-chief of an army.

By his uncertain and dilatory movements Gyulai gave the Sardinians time to concentrate an army of 80,000 men around the fortress of Alessandria, and lost all the advantage of being the first in the field. In early May the French army reached Italy, partly by way of the St. Bernard Pass, partly by sea; and Garibaldi, with his mountaineers, took up a position that would enable him to attack the right wing of the Austrians.

The French in Italy and the March on Milan

Later in the month Napoleon himself appeared, his presence and the name he bore inspiring the soldiers with new valor, while his first order of the day, in which he recalled the glorious deeds which their fathers had done on those plains under his great uncle, roused them to the highest enthusiasm. While assuming the title of commander-in-chief, he left the conduct of the war to his able subordinates, MacMahon, Niel, Canrobert, and others.

The Austrian general, having lost the opportunity to attack, was now put on the defensive, in which his incompetence was equally manifested. Being quite ignorant of the position of the foe, he sent Count Stadion, with 12,000 men, on a reconnoisance. An encounter took place at Montebello on May 20th, in which, after a sharp engagement, Stadion was forced to retreat. Gyulai directed his attention to that quarter, leaving Napoleon to march unmolested from Alessandria to the invasion of Lombardy. Gyulai now, aroused by the danger of Milan, began his retreat across the Ticino, which he had so uselessly crossed.

A Campaign of Blunders

The road to Milan crossed the Ticino River and the Naviglio Grande, a broad and deep canal a few miles east of the river. Some distance farther on lies the village of Magenta, the seat of the first great battle of the war. Sixty years before, on those Lombard plains, Napoleon the Great had first lost, and then, by a happy chance, won the famous battle of Marengo. The Napoleon now in command was a very different man from the mighty soldier of the year 1800, and the French escaped a disastrous rout only because the Austrians were led by a worse general still. Some one has said that victory comes to the army that makes the fewest blunders. Such seems to have been the case in the battle of Magenta, where military genius was the one thing wanting.

The French pushed on, crossed the river without finding a man to dispute the passage,—other than a much-surprised customs official,—and reached an undefended bridge across the canal. The high road to Milan seemed deserted by the Austrians. But Napoleon’s troops were drawn out in a preposterous line, straddling a river and a canal, both difficult to cross, and without any defensive positions to hold against an attack in force. He supposed that the Austrians were stretched out in a similar long line. This was not the case. Gyulai had all the advantages of position, and might have concentrated his army and crushed the advanced corps of the French if he had known his situation and his business. As it was, between ignorance on the one hand and indecision on the other, the battle was fought with about equal forces on either hand.

Buffalora and Magenta

The first contest took place at Buffalora, a village on the canal where the French encountered the Austrians in force. Here a bloody struggle went on for hours, ending in the capture of the place by the Grenadiers of the Guard, who held on to it afterwards with stubborn courage.

General MacMahon, in command of the advance, had his orders to march forward, whatever happened, to the church-tower of Magenta, and, in strict obedience to orders, he pushed on, leaving the grenadiers to hold their own as best they could at Buffalora, and heedless of the fact that the reserve troops of the army had not yet begun to cross the river. It was the 5th of June, and the day was well advanced when MacMahon came in contact with the Austrians at Magenta, and the great contest of the day began.

Camou’s Deliberate March

It was a battle in which the commanders on both sides, with the exception of MacMahon, showed lack of military skill and the soldiers on both sides the staunchest courage. The Austrians seemed devoid of plan or system, and their several divisions were beaten in detail by the French. On the other hand, General Camou, in command of the second division of MacMahon’s corps, acted as Desaix had done at the battle of Marengo, marched at the sound of the distant cannon. But, unlike Desaix, he moved so deliberately that it took him six hours to make less than five miles. He was a tactician of the old school, imbued with the idea that every march should be made in perfect order.

At half-past four MacMahon, with his uniform in disorder and followed by a few officers of his staff, dashed back to hurry up this deliberate reserve. On the way thither he rode into a body of Austrian sharpshooters. Fortune favored him. Not dreaming of the presence of the French general, they saluted him as one of their own commanders. On his way back he made a second narrow escape from capture by the Uhlans.

The French Victory at Magenta

The drums now beat the charge, and a determined attack was made by the French, the enemy’s main column being taken between two fires. Desperately resisting, it was forced back step by step upon Magenta. Into the town the columns rolled, and the fight became fierce around the church. High in the tower of this edifice stood the Austrian general and his staff, watching the fortunes of the fray; and from this point he caught sight of the four regiments of Camou, advancing as regularly as if on parade. They were not given the chance to fire a shot or receive a scratch, eager as they were to take part in the fight. At sight of them the Austrian general ordered a retreat and the battle was at an end. The French owed their victory largely to General Mellinet and his Grenadiers of the Guard, who held their own like bull-dogs at Buffalora while Camou was advancing with the deliberation of the old military rules. MacMahon and Mellinet and the French had won the day. Victor Emmanuel and the Sardinians did not reach the ground until after the battle was at end. For his services on that day of glory for France MacMahon was made Marshal of France and Duke of Magenta.

Milan and the Quadrilateral

The prize of the victory of Magenta was the possession of Lombardy. Gyulai, unable to collect his scattered divisions, gave orders for a general retreat. Milan was evacuated with precipitate haste, and the garrisons were withdrawn from all the towns, leaving them to be occupied by the French and Italians. On the 8th of June Napoleon and Victor Emmanuel rode into Milan side by side, amid the loud acclamations of the people, who looked upon this victory as an assurance of Italian freedom and unity. Meanwhile the Austrians retreated without interruption, not halting until they arrived at the Mincio, where they were protected by the famous Quadrilateral, consisting of the four powerful fortresses of Peschiera, Mantua, Verona, and Leguano, the mainstay of the Austrian power in Italy.

The French and Italians slowly pursued the retreating Austrians, and on the 23d of June bivouacked on both banks of the Chiese River, about fifteen miles west of the Mincio. The Emperor Francis Joseph had recalled the incapable Gyulai, and, in hopes of inspiring his soldiers with new spirit, himself took command. The two emperors, neither of them soldiers, were thus pitted against each other, and Francis Joseph, eager to retrieve the disaster at Magenta, resolved to quit his strong position of defence in the Quadrilateral and assume the offensive.

The Armies on the Mincio

At two o’clock in the morning of the 24th the allied French and Italian army resumed its march, Napoleon’s orders for the day being based upon the reports of his reconnoitering parties and spies. These led him to believe that, although a strong detachment of the enemy might be encountered west of the Mincio, the main body of the Austrians was awaiting him on the eastern side of the river. But the French intelligence department was badly served. The Austrians had stolen a march upon Napoleon. Undetected by the French scouts, they had recrossed the Mincio, and by nightfall of the 23d their leading columns were occupying the ground on which the French were ordered to bivouac on the evening of the 24th. The intention of the Austrian emperor, now commanding his army in person, had been to push forward rapidly and fall upon the allies before they had completed the passage of the river Chiese. But this scheme, like that of Napoleon, was based on defective information. The allies broke up from their bivouacs many hours before the Austrians expected them to do so, and when the two armies came in contact early in the morning of the 24th of June the Austrians were quite as much taken by surprise as the French.

The village of Solferino in Northern Italy is made historic by two notable battles which occurred there. In 1796 the French conquered the Austrians; and in 1859 the allied French and Sardinians, commanded by their respective monarchs, gained here another great victory over the Austrians commanded by their Emperor.
The Battle of Solferino

The Austrian army, superior in numbers to its opponents, was posted in a half-circle between the Mincio and Chiese, with the intention of pressing forward from these points upon a centre. But the line was extended too far, and the centre was comparatively weak and without reserves. Napoleon, who that morning received complete intelligence of the position of the Austrian army, accordingly directed his chief strength against the enemy’s centre, which rested upon a height near the village of Solferino. Here, on the 24th of June, after a murderous conflict, in which the French commanders hurled continually renewed masses against the decisive position, while on the other side the Austrian reinforcements failed through lack of unity of plan and decision of action, the heights were at length won by the French troops in spite of heroic resistance on the part of the Austrian soldiers; the Austrian line of battle being cut through, and the army thus divided into two separate masses. A second attack which Napoleon promptly directed against Cavriano had a similar result; for the commands given by the Austrian generals were confused and had no general and definite aim. The fate of the battle was already in a great measure decided, when a tremendous storm broke forth that put an end to the combat at most points, and gave the Austrians an opportunity to retire in order. Only Benedek, who had twice beaten back the Sardinians at various points, continued the struggle for some hours longer. On the French side Marshal Niel had pre-eminently distinguished himself by acuteness and bravery. It was a day of bloodshed, on which two great powers had measured their strength against each other for twelve hours. The Austrians had to lament the loss of 13,000 dead and wounded, and left 9,000 prisoners in the enemy’s hands; on the side of the French and Sardinians the number of killed and wounded was even greater, for the repeated attacks had been made upon well-defended heights, but the number of prisoners was not nearly so great.

The Feeling in France and Italy

The victories in Italy filled the French people with the warmest admiration for their emperor, they thinking, in their enthusiasm, that a true successor of Napoleon the great had come to bring glory to their arms. Italy also was full of enthusiastic hope, fancying that the freedom and unity of the Italians was at last assured. Both nations were, therefore, bitterly disappointed in learning that the war was at an end, and that a hasty peace had been arranged between the emperors, which left the hoped-for work but half achieved.

Napoleon estimated his position better than his people. Despite his victories, his situation was one of danger and difficulty. The army had suffered severely in its brief campaign, and the Austrians were still in possession of the Quadrilateral, a square of powerful fortresses which he might seek in vain to reduce. And a threat of serious trouble had arisen in Germany. The victorious career of a new Napoleon in Italy was alarming. It was not easy to forget the past. The German powers, though they had declined to come to the aid of Austria, were armed and ready, and at any moment might begin a hostile movement upon the Rhine.

A Meeting of the Emperors and Treaty of Peace

Napoleon, wise enough to secure what he had won, without hazarding its loss, arranged a meeting with the Austrian emperor, whom he found quite as ready for peace. The terms of the truce arranged between them were that Austria should abandon Lombardy to the line of the Mincio, almost its eastern boundary, and that Italy should form a confederacy under the presidency of the pope. In the treaty subsequently made only the first of these conditions was maintained, Lombardy passing to the king of Sardinia. He received also the small states of Central Italy, whose tyrants had fled, ceding to Napoleon, as a reward for his assistance, the realm of Savoy and the city and territory of Nice.

Napoleon had now reached the summit of his career. In the succeeding years the French were to learn that they had put their faith in a hollow emblem of glory, and Napoleon to lose the prestige he had gained at Magenta and Solferino. His first serious mistake was when he yielded to the voice of ambition, and, taking advantage of the occupation of the Americans in their civil war, sent an army to invade Mexico.

The Invasion of Mexico

The ostensible purpose of this invasion was to collect a debt which the Mexicans had refused to pay, and Great Britain and Spain were induced to take part in the expedition. But their forces were withdrawn when they found that Napoleon had other purposes in view, and his army was left to fight its battles alone. After some sanguinary engagements the Mexican army was broken into a series of guerilla bands, incapable of facing his well-drilled troops, and Napoleon proceeded to reorganize Mexico as an empire, placing the Archduke Maximilian of Austria on the throne.

All went well while the people of the United States were fighting for their national union, but when their war was over the ambitious French emperor was soon taught that he had committed a serious error. He was given plainly to understand that the French troops could only be kept in Mexico at the cost of a war with the United States, and he found it convenient to withdraw them early in 1867. They had no sooner gone than the Mexicans were in arms against Maximilian, and his rash determination to remain quickly led to his capture and execution as a usurper.

Napoleon Loses Prestige in France

The inaction of Napoleon during the wars which Prussia fought with Denmark and Austria gave further blows to his prestige in France, and the opposition to his policy of personal government grew so strong that he felt himself obliged to submit his policy to a vote of the people. He was sustained by a large majority. Yet he perceived that his power was sinking. He was obliged to loosen the reins of government at home, though knowing that the yielding of increased liberty to the people would weaken his own control. Finally, finding himself failing in health, confidence, and reputation, he yielded to advisers who told him that the only hope for his dynasty lay in a successful war, and undertook the war of 1870 against Prussia.

The origin and events of this war will be considered in a subsequent chapter. It will suffice to say here that its events proved Napoleon’s incapacity as a military emperor, he being utterly deceived in the condition of the French army and unwarrantably ignorant of that of the Germans. He believed that the army of France was in the highest condition of organization and completely supplied, when the very contrary was the case; and was similarly deceived concerning the state of the military force of Prussia. The result was that which might have been expected. The German troops admirably organized and excellently commanded, defeated the French in a series of engagements that fairly took the breath of the world by their rapidity and completeness, ending in the capture of Napoleon and his army. As a consequence the second empire of France came to an end and Napoleon lost his throne. He died two years afterwards an exile in England, that place of shelter for French royal refugees.

Garibaldi and the Unification of Italy.

Lack of Italian Unity

From the time of the fall of the Roman Empire until late in the nineteenth century, a period of some fourteen hundred years, Italy remained disunited, divided up between a series of states, small and large, hostile and peaceful, while its territory was made the battlefield of the surrounding powers, the helpless prey of Germany, France, and Spain. Even the strong hand of Napoleon failed to bring it unity, and after his fall its condition was worse than before, for Austria held most of the north and exerted a controlling power over the remainder of the peninsula, so that the fair form of liberty fled in dismay from its shores.

Italian Unity and Its Heroes

But the work of Napoleon had inspired the patriots of Italy with a new sentiment, that of union. Before the Napoleonic era the thought of a united Italy scarcely existed, and patriotism meant adherence to Sardinia, Naples, or some other of the many kingdoms and duchies. After that era union became the watchword of the revolutionists, who felt that the only hope of giving Italy a position of dignity and honor among the nations lay in making it one country under one ruler. The history of the nineteenth century in Italy is the record of the attempt to reach this end, and its successful accomplishment. And on that record the names of two men most prominently appear, Mazzini, the indefatigable conspirator, and Garibaldi, the valorous fighter; to whose names should be added that of the eminent statesmen, Count Cavour, and that of the man who reaped the benefit of their patriotic labors, Victor Emmanuel, the first king of united Italy.

The Carbonari

The basis of the revolutionary movements in Italy was the secret political association known as the Carbonari, formed early in the nineteenth century and including members of all classes in its ranks. In 1814 this powerful society projected a revolution in Naples, and in 1820 it was strong enough to invade Naples with an army and force from the king an oath to observe the new constitution which it had prepared. The revolution was put down in the following year by the Austrians, acting as the agents of the “Holy Alliance,”—the compact of Austria, Prussia, and Russia.

An ordinance was passed, condemning any one who should attend a meeting of the Carbonari to capital punishment. But the society continued to exist, despite this severe enactment, and has been at the basis of many of the outbreaks that have taken place in Italy since 1820. Mazzini, Garibaldi, and all the leading patriots were members of this powerful organization, which was daring enough to condemn Napoleon III. to death, and almost to succeed in his assassination, for his failure to live up to his obligations as a member of the society.

Mazzini the Patriot

Giuseppe Mazzini, a native of Genoa, became a member of the Carbonari in 1830. His activity in revolutionary movements caused him soon after to be proscribed, and in 1831 he sought Marseilles, where he organized a new political society called “Young Italy,” whose watchword was “God and the People,” and whose basic principle was the union of the several states and kingdoms into one nation, as the only true foundation of Italian liberty. This purpose he avowed in his writings and pursued through exile and adversity with inflexible constancy, and it is largely due to the work of this earnest patriot that Italy to-day is a single kingdom instead of a medley of separate states. Only in one particular did he fail. His persistent purpose was to establish a republic, not a monarchy.

Early Career of Garibaldi

While Mazzini was thus working with his pen, his compatriot, Giuseppe Garibaldi, was working as earnestly with his sword. This daring soldier, a native of Nice and reared to a life on the sea, was banished as a revolutionist in 1834, and the succeeding fourteen years of his life were largely spent in South America, in whose wars he played a leading part.

The revolution of 1848 opened Italy to these two patriots, and they hastened to return, Garibaldi to offer his services to Charles Albert of Sardinia, by whom, however, he was treated with coldness and distrust. Mazzini, after founding the Roman republic in 1849, called upon Garibaldi to come to its defence, and the latter displayed the greatest heroism in the contest against the Neapolitan and French invaders. He escaped from Rome on its capture by the French, and, after many desperate conflicts and adventures with the Austrians, was again driven into exile, and in 1850 became a resident of New York. For some time he worked in a manufactory of candles on Staten Island, and afterwards made several voyages on the Pacific.

The Hunters of the Alps

The war of 1859 opened a new and promising channel for the devotion of Garibaldi to his native land. Being appointed major-general and commissioned to raise a volunteer corps, he organized the hardy body of mountaineers called the “Hunters of the Alps,” and with them performed prodigies of valor on the plains of Lombardy, winning victories over the Austrians at Varese, Como and other places. In his ranks was his fellow-patriot Mazzini.

The success of the French and Sardinians in Lombardy during this war stirred Italy to its centre. The grand duke of Tuscany fled to Austria. The duchess of Parma sought refuse in Switzerland. The duke of Modena found shelter in the Austrian camp. Everywhere the brood of tyrants took to flight. Bologna threw off its allegiance to the pope, and proclaimed the king of Sardinia dictator. Several other towns in the states of the Church did the same. In the terms of the truce between Louis Napoleon and Francis Joseph the rulers of these realms were to resume their reigns if the people would permit. But the people would not permit, and they were all annexed to Sardinia, which country was greatly expanded as a result of the war.

Count Cavour the Brain of Italy

It will not suffice to give all the credit for these revolutionary movements to Mazzini, the organizer, Garibaldi, the soldier, and the ambitious monarchs of France and Sardinia. More important than king and emperor was the eminent statesman, Count Cavour, prime minister of Sardinia from 1852. It is to this able man that the honor of the unification of Italy most fully belongs, though he did not live to see it. He sent a Sardinian army to the assistance of France and England in the Crimea in 1855, and by this act gave his state a standing among the powers of Europe. He secured liberty of the press and favored toleration in religion and freedom of trade. He rebelled against the dominion of the papacy, and devoted his abilities to the liberation and unity of Italy, undismayed by the angry fulminations from the Vatican. The war of 1859 was his work, and he had the satisfaction of seeing Sardinia increased by the addition of Lombardy, Tuscany, Parma and Modena. A great step had been taken in the work to which he had devoted his life.

Garibaldi’s Invasion of Sicily

The next step in the great work was taken by Garibaldi, who now struck at the powerful kingdom of Naples and Sicily in the south. It seemed a difficult task. Francis II., the son and successor of the infamous “King Bomba,” had a well-organized army of 150,000 men. But his father’s tyranny had filled the land with secret societies, and fortunately at this time the Swiss mercenaries were recalled home, leaving to Francis only his unsafe native troops. This was the critical interval which Mazzini and Garibaldi chose for their work.

Capture of Palermo

At the beginning of April, 1860, the signal was given by separate insurrections in Messina and Palermo. These were easily suppressed by the troops in garrison; but though both cities were declared in a state of siege, they gave occasion for demonstrations by which the revolutionary chiefs excited the public mind. On the 6th of May, Garibaldi started with two steamers from Genoa with about a thousand Italian volunteers, and on the 11th landed near Marsala, on the west coast of Sicily. He proceeded to the mountains, and near Salemi gathered round him the scattered bands of the free corps. By the 14th his army had increased to 4,000 men. He now issued a proclamation, in which he took upon himself the dictatorship of Sicily, in the name of Victor Emmanuel, king of Italy. After waging various successful combats under the most difficult circumstances, Garibaldi advanced upon the capital, announcing his arrival by beacon-fires kindled at night. On the 27th he was in front of the Porta Termina of Palermo, and at once gave the signal for the attack. The people rose in mass, and assisted the operations of the besiegers by barricade-fighting in the streets. In a few hours half the town was in Garibaldi’s hands. But now General Lanza, whom the young king had dispatched with strong reinforcements to Sicily, furiously bombarded the insurgent city, so that Palermo was reduced almost to a heap of ruins. At this juncture, by the intervention of an English admiral, an armistice was concluded, which led to the departure of the Neapolitan troops and war vessels and the surrender of the town to Garibaldi, who thus, with a band of 5,000 badly armed followers, had gained a signal advantage over a regular army of 25,000 men. This event had tremendous consequences, for it showed the utter hollowness of the Neapolitan government, while Garibaldi’s fame was everywhere spread abroad. The glowing fancy of the Italians beheld in him the national hero before whom every enemy would bite the dust. This idea seemed to extend even to the Neapolitan court itself, where all was doubt, confusion and dismay. The king hastily summoned a liberal ministry, and offered to restore the constitution of 1848, but the general verdict was, “too late,” and his proclamation fell flat on a people who had no trust in Bourbon faith.

Messina is Taken

The arrival of Garibaldi in Naples was enough to set in blaze all the combustible materials in that state. His appearance there was not long delayed. Six weeks after the surrender of Palermo he marched against Messina. On the 21st of July the fortress of Melazzo was evacuated, and a week afterwards all Messina except the citadel was given up.

Flight of Francis II. and Conquest of Naples

Europe was astounded at the remarkable success of Garibaldi’s handful of men. On the mainland his good fortune was still more astonishing. He had hardly landed—which he did almost in the face of the Neapolitan fleet—than Reggio was surrendered and its garrison withdrew. His progress through the south of the kingdom was like a triumphal procession. At the end of August he was at Cosenza; on the 5th of September at Eboli, near Salerno. No resistance appeared. His very name seemed to work like magic on the population. The capital had been declared in a state of siege, and on September 6th the king took flight, retiring, with the 4,000 men still faithful to him, behind the Volturno. The next day Garibaldi, with a few followers, entered Naples, whose populace received him with frantic shouts of welcome.

The Army of the Pope

The remarkable achievements of Garibaldi filled all Italy with overmastering excitement. He had declared that he would proclaim the kingdom of Italy from the heart of its capital city, and nothing less than this would content the people. The position of the pope had become serious. He refused to grant the reforms suggested by the French emperor, and threatened with excommunication any one who should meddle with the domain of the Church. Money was collected from faithful Catholics throughout the world, a summons was issued calling the recruits to the holy army of the pope, and the exiled French General Lamoricière was given the chief command of the troops, composed of men who had flocked to Rome from many nations. It was hoped that the name of the celebrated French leader would have a favorable influence on the troops of the French garrison of Rome.

The settlement of the perilous situation seemed to rest with Louis Napoleon. If he had let Garibaldi have his way the latter would, no doubt, have quickly ended the temporal sovereignty of the pope and made Rome the capital of Italy. But Napoleon seems to have arranged with Cavour to leave the king of Sardinia free to take possession of Naples, Umbria and the other provinces, provided that Rome and the “patrimony of St. Peter” were left intact.

Victor Emmanuel in Naples

At the beginning of September two Sardinian army corps, under Fanti and Cialdini, marched to the borders of the states of the church. Lamoricière advanced against Cialdini with his motley troops, but was quickly defeated, and on the following day was besieged in the fortress of Ancona. On the 29th he and the garrison surrendered as prisoners of war. On the 9th of October Victor Emmanuel arrived and took command. There was no longer a papal army to oppose him, and the march southward proceeded without a check.

In 1876 Garibaldi made a final effort to take the city of Rome, it being one of the cherished objects of his life to make it the capital of United Italy. He would have succeeded in capturing the famous city had not the French come to the aid of the papal troops. The allied forces were too strong, and he was defeated at Mentana. The illustration shows the French Zouaves in a dashing bayonet charge against the barricades of the revolutionists.
Garibaldi Yields His Conquests

The object of the king in assuming the chief command was to complete the conquest of the kingdom of Naples, in conjunction with Garibaldi. For though Garibaldi had entered the capital in triumph, the progress on the line of the Volturno had been slow; and the expectation that the Neapolitan army would go over to the invaders in a mass had not been realized. The great majority of the troops remained faithful to the flag, so that Garibaldi, although his irregular bands amounted to more than 25,000 men, could not hope to drive away King Francis, or to take the fortresses of Capua and Gaeta, without the help of Sardinia. Against the diplomatic statesman Cavour, who fostered no illusions, and saw the conditions of affairs in its true light, the simple, honest Garibaldi cherished a deep aversion. He could never forgive Cavour for having given up Nice, Garibaldi’s native town, to the French. On the other hand, he felt attracted toward the king, who in his opinion seemed to be the man raised up by Providence for the liberation of Italy. Accordingly, when Victor Emmanuel entered Sessa, at the head of his army, Garibaldi was easily induced to place his dictatorial power in the hands of the king, to whom he left the completion of the work of the union of Italy. After greeting Victor Emmanuel with the title of King of Italy, and giving the required resignation of his power, with the words, “Sire, I obey,” he entered Naples, riding beside the king; and then, after recommending his companions in arms to his majesty’s special favor, he retired to his home on the island of Caprera, refusing to receive a reward, in any shape or form, for his services to the state and its head.

Capture of Gaeta
Victor Emmanuel Made King of Italy

The progress of the Sardinian army compelled Francis to give up the line of the Volturno, and he eventually took refuge, with his best troops, in the fortress of Gaeta. On the maintenance of this fortress hung the fate of the kingdom of Naples. Its defence is the only bright point in the career of the feeble Francis, whose courage was aroused by the heroic resolution of his young wife, the Bavarian Princess Mary. For three months the defence continued. But no European power came to the aid of the king, disease appeared with scarcity of food and of munitions of war, and the garrison was at length forced to capitulate. The fall of Gaeta was practically the completion of the great work of the unification of Italy. Only Rome and Venice remained to be added to the united kingdom. Victor Emmanuel Made King of ItalyOn February 18, 1861, Victor Emmanuel assembled at Turin the deputies of all the states that acknowledged his supremacy, and in their presence assumed the title of King of Italy, which he was the first to bear. In four months afterwards Count Cavour, to whom this great work was largely due, died. He had lived long enough to see the purpose of his life practically accomplished.

Great as had been the change which two years had made, the patriots of Italy were not satisfied. “Free from the Alps to the Adriatic!” was their cry; “Rome and Venice!” became the watchword of the revolutionists. Mazzini, who had sought to found a republic, was far from content, and the agitation went on. Garibaldi was drawn into it, and made bitter complaint of the treatment his followers had received. In 1862, disheartened at the inaction of the king, he determined to undertake against Rome an expedition like that which he had led against Naples two years before.

Garibaldi’s Expedition Against Rome

In June he sailed from Genoa and landed at Palermo, where he was quickly joined by an enthusiastic party of volunteers. They supposed that the government secretly favored their design, but the king had no idea of fighting against the French troops in Rome and arousing international complications, and he energetically warned all Italians against taking part in revolutionary enterprises.

Sent Back to Caprera

But Garibaldi persisted in his design. When his way was barred by the garrison of Messina he turned aside to Catania, where he embarked with 2,000 volunteers, declaring he would enter Rome as a victor, or perish beneath its walls. He landed at Melito on the 24th of August, and threw himself at once, with his followers, into the Calabrian mountains. But his enterprise was quickly and disastrously ended. General Cialdini despatched a division of the regular army, under Colonel Pallavicino, against the volunteer bands. At Aspromonte, on the 28th of August, the two forces came into collision. A chance shot was followed by several volleys from the regulars. Garibaldi forbade his men to return the fire of their fellow-subjects of the Italian kingdom. He was wounded, and taken prisoner with his followers, a few of whom had been slain in the short combat. A government steamer carried the wounded chief to Varignano, where he was held in a sort of honorable imprisonment, and was compelled to undergo a tedious and painful operation for the healing of his wound. He had at least the consolation that all Europe looked with sympathy and interest upon the unfortunate hero; and a general sense of relief was felt when, restored to health, he was set free, and allowed to return to his rocky island of Caprera.

Florence the Capital of Italy

Victor Emmanuel was seeking to accomplish his end by safer means. The French garrison of Rome was the obstacle in his way, and this was finally removed through a treaty with Louis Napoleon in September, 1864, the emperor agreeing to withdraw his troops during the succeeding two years, in which the pope was to raise an army large enough to defend his dominions. Florence was to replace Turin as the capital of Italy. This arrangement created such disturbances in Turin that the king was forced to leave that city hastily for his new capital. In December, 1866, the last of the French troops departed from Rome, in despite of the efforts of the pope to retain them. By their withdrawal Italy was freed from the presence of foreign soldiers for the first time probably in a thousand years.

The War of 1866

In 1866 came an event which reacted favorably for Italy, though her part in it was the reverse of triumphant. This was the war between Prussia and Austria. Italy was in alliance with Prussia, and Victor Emmanuel hastened to lead an army across the Mincio to the invasion of Venetia, the last Austrian province in Italy. Garibaldi at the same time was to invade the Tyrol with his volunteers. The enterprise ended in disaster. The Austrian troops, under the Archduke Albert, encountered the Italians at Custozza and gained a brilliant victory, despite the much greater numbers of the Italians.

Fortunately for Italy, the Austrians had been unsuccessful in the north, and the emperor, with the hope of gaining the alliance of France and breaking the compact between Italy and Prussia, decided to cede Venetia to Louis Napoleon. His purpose failed. All Napoleon did in response was to act as a peacemaker, while the Italian king refused to recede from his alliance. Though the Austrians were retreating from a country which no longer belonged to them, the invasion of Venetia by the Italians continued, and several conflicts with the Austrian army took place.

The Fleets in the Adriatic

But much the most memorable event of this brief war occurred on the sea, in the most striking contest of ironclad ships between the American civil war and the Japan-China contest. Both countries concerned had fleets on the Adriatic. Italy was the strongest in naval vessels, possessing ten ironclads and a considerable number of wooden ships. Austria’s ironclad fleet was seven in number, plated with thin iron and with no very heavy guns. In addition there was a number of wooden vessels and gunboats. But in command of this fleet was an admiral in whose blood was the iron which was lacking on his ships, Tegethoff, the Dewey of the Adriatic. Inferior as his ships were, his men were thoroughly drilled in the use of the guns and the evolutions of the ships, and when he sailed it was with the one thought of victory.

Persano, the Italian admiral, as if despising his adversary, engaged in siege of the fortified island of Lissa, near the Dalmatian coast, leaving the Austrians to do what they pleased. What they pleased was to attack him with a fury such as has been rarely seen. Early on July 20, 1866, when the Italians were preparing for a combined assault of the island by land and sea, their movement was checked by the signal displayed on a scouting frigate: “Suspicious-looking ships are in sight.” Soon afterwards the Austrian fleet appeared, the ironclads leading, the wooden ships in the rear.

The battle that followed has had no parallel before or since. The whole Austrian fleet was converted into rams. Tegethoff gave one final order to his captains: “Close with the enemy and ram everything grey.” Grey was the color of the Italian ships. The Austrian were painted black, so as to prevent any danger of error.

Fire was opened at two miles distance, the balls being wasted in the waters between the fleets, “Full steam ahead,” signalled Tegethoff. On came the fleets, firing steadily, the balls now beginning to tell. “Ironclads will ram and sink the enemy,” signalled Tegethoff. It was the last order he gave until the battle was won.

The Sinking of the “Re d’Italia”

Soon the two lines of ironclads closed amid thick clouds of smoke. Tegethoff, in his flagship, the Ferdinand Max, twice rammed a grey ironclad without effect. Then, out of the smoke, loomed up the tall masts of the Re d’Italia, Persano’s flagship in the beginning of the fray. Against this vessel the Ferdinand Max rushed at full speed, and struck her fairly amidships. Her sides of iron were crushed in by the powerful blow, her tall masts toppled over, and down beneath the waves sank the great ship with her crew of 600 men. The next minute another Italian ship came rushing upon the Austrian, and was only avoided by a quick turn of the helm.

The “Palestro” is Blown Up

One other great disaster occurred to the Italians. The Palestro was set on fire, and the pumps were put actively to work to drown the magazine. The crew thought the work had been successfully performed, and that they were getting the fire under control, when there suddenly came a terrible burst of flame attended by a roar that drowned all the din of the battle. It was the death knell of 400 men, for the Palestro had blown up with all on board.

The great ironclad turret ship and ram of the Italian fleet, the Affondatore, to which Admiral Persano had shifted his flag, far the most powerful vessel in the Adriatic, kept outside of the battle-line, and was of little service in the fray. It was apparently afraid to encounter Tegethoff’s terrible rams. The battle ended with the Austrian fleet, wooden vessels and all, passing practically unharmed through the Italian lines into the harbor of Lissa, leaving death and destruction in their rear. Tegethoff was the one Austrian who came out of that war with fame. Persano on his return home was put on trial for cowardice and incompetence. He was convicted of the latter and dismissed from the navy in disgrace.

Venetia Ceded to Italy

But Italy, though defeated by land and sea, gained a valuable prize from the war, for Napoleon ceded Venetia to the Italian king, and soon afterwards Victor Emmanuel entered Venice in triumph, the solemn act of homage being performed in the superb Place of St. Marks. Thus was completed the second act in the unification of Italy.

The national party, with Garibaldi at its head, still aimed at the possession of Rome, as the historic capital of the peninsula. In 1867 he made a second attempt to capture Rome, but the papal army, strengthened with a new French auxiliary force, defeated his badly armed volunteers, and he was taken prisoner and held captive for a time, after which he was sent back to Caprera. This led to the French army of occupation being returned to Civita Vecchia, where it was kept for several years.

Rome Becomes the Capital of Italy

The final act came as a consequence of the Franco-German war of 1870, which rendered necessary the withdrawal of the French troops from Italy. The pope was requested to make a peaceful abdication. As he refused this, the States of the Church were occupied up to the walls of the capital, and a three hours’ cannonade of the city sufficed to bring the long strife to an end. Rome became the capital of Italy, and the whole peninsula, for the first time since the fall of the ancient Roman empire, was concentrated into a single nation, under one king.

Bismarck and the New Empire of Germany.

The Empires of Germany and France

What was for many centuries known as “The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation” was a portion of the great imperial domain of Charlemagne, divided between his sons on his death in 814. It became an elective monarchy in 911, and from the reign of Otho the Great was confined to Germany, which assumed the title above given. This great empire survived until 1804, when the imperial title, then held by Francis I. of Austria, was given up, and Francis styled himself Emperor of Austria. It is an interesting coincidence that this empire ceased to exist in the same year that Napoleon, who in a large measure restored the empire of Charlemagne, assumed the imperial crown of France. The restoration of the Empire of Germany, though not in its old form, was left to Prussia, after the final overthrow of the Napoleonic imperial dynasty in 1871.

The Rapid Growth of Prussia

Prussia, originally an unimportant member of the German confederation, rose to power as Austria declined, its progress upward being remarkably rapid. Frederick William, the “Great Elector” of Brandenburg, united the then minor province of Prussia to his dominions, and at his death in 1688 left it a strong army and a large treasure. His son, Frederick I., was the first to bear the title of King of Prussia. Frederick the Great, who became king in 1740, had under him a series of disjointed provinces and a population of less than 2,500,000. His genius made Prussia a great power, which grew until, in 1805, it had a population of 9,640,000 and a territory of nearly 6,000 square miles.

We have seen the part this kingdom played in the Napoleonic wars. Dismembered by Napoleon and reduced to a mere fragment, it regained its old importance by the Treaty of Vienna. The great career of this kingdom began with the accession, in 1862, of King William I., and the appointment, in the same year, of Count Otto von Bismarck as Minister of the King’s House and of Foreign Affairs. It was not King William, but Count Bismarck, who raised Prussia to the exalted position it has since assumed.

Bismarck’s Despotic Acts and Warlike Aggressions

Bismarck began his career by an effort to restore the old despotism, setting aside acts of the legislature with the boldness of an autocrat, and seeking to make the king supreme over the representatives of the people. He disdained the protest of the Chamber of Deputies in concluding a secret treaty with Russia. He made laws and decreed budget estimates without the concurrence of the Chambers. And while thus busily engaged at home in altercations with the Prussian Parliament, he was as actively occupied with foreign affairs.

In 1864 Austria reluctantly took part with Prussia in the occupation of the duchy of Schleswig-Holstein, claimed by Denmark. A war with Denmark followed, which ultimately resulted in the annexation to Prussia of the disputed territory. In this movement Bismarck was carrying out a project which he had long entertained, that of making Prussia the leading power in Germany. A second step in this policy was taken in 1866, when the troops of Prussia occupied Hanover and Saxony. This act of aggression led to a war, in which Austria, alarmed at the ambitious movements of Prussia, came to the aid of the threatened states.

Bismarck was quite ready. He had strengthened Prussia by an alliance with Italy, and launched the Prussian army against that of Austria with a rapidity that overthrew the power of the allies in a remarkably brief and most brilliant campaign. At the decisive battle of Sadowa fought July 3, 1866, King William commanded the Prussian army and Field-marshal Benedek the Austrian. But back of the Prussian king was General Von Moltke one of the most brilliant strategists of modern times, to whose skillful combinations, and distinguished services in organizing the army of Prussia, that state owed its rapid series of successes in war.

Austria Overthrown at Sadowa

At Sadowa the newly-invented needle-gun played an effective part in bringing victory to the Prussian arms. The battle continued actively from 7.30 A.M. to 2.30 P.M., at which hour the Prussians carried the centre of the Austrian position. Yet, despite this, the advantage remained with the Austrians until 3.30, at which hour the Crown Prince Frederick drove their left flank from the village of Lipa. An hour more sufficed to complete the defeat of the Austrians, but it was 9 P.M. before the fighting ceased. In addition to their losses on the field, 15,000 of the Austrians were made prisoners and their cause was lost beyond possibility of recovery.


There seemed nothing to hinder Bismarck from overthrowing and dismembering the Austrian empire, as Napoleon had done more than once, but there is reason to believe that the dread of France coming to the aid of the defeated realm made him stop short in his career of victory. Napoleon III. boasted to the French Chambers that he had stayed the conqueror at the gates of Vienna. However that be, a treaty of peace was signed, in which Austria consented to withdraw from the German Confederation. Bismarck had gained one great point in his plans, in removing a formidable rival from his path. The way was cleared for making Prussia the supreme power in Germany. The German allies of Austria suffered severely for their assistance to that power. Saxony kept its king, but fell under Prussian control; and Hanover, Hesse-Cassel, Nassau, and the free city of Frankfurt-on-the-Main were absorbed by Prussia.

South German States in the War

The States of South Germany had taken part on the side of Austria in the war, and continued the struggle after peace had been made between the main contestants. The result was the only one that could have been expected under the circumstances. Though the Bavarians and Würtembergers showed great bravery in the several conflicts, the Prussians were steadily successful, and the South German army was finally obliged to retire beyond the Main, while Würzburg was captured by the Prussians. In this city a truce was effected which ultimately led to a treaty of peace. Würtemberg, Bavaria, and Baden were each required to pay a war indemnity, and a secret measure of the treaty was an offensive and defensive alliance with Prussia for common action in case of a foreign war.

Disunion of Germany

Mention was made in the last chapter of the long disunion of Italy, its division into a number of separate and frequently hostile states from the fall of the Roman Empire until its final unification in 1870. A similar condition had for ages existed in Germany. The so-called German Empire of the mediæval period was little more than a league of separate states, each with its own monarch and distinct government. And the authority of the emperor decreased with time until it became but a shadow. It vanished in 1804, leaving Germany composed of several hundred independent states, small and large.

Several efforts were made in the succeeding years to restore the bond of union between these states. Under the influence of Napoleon they were organized into South German and North German Confederacies, and the effect of his interference with their internal affairs was such that they became greatly reduced in number, many of the minor states being swallowed up by their more powerful neighbors.

Efforts at Union

The subsequent attempts at union proved weak and ineffective. The Bund, or bond of connection between these states, formed after the Napoleonic period, was of the most shadowy character, its congress being destitute of power or authority. The National Assembly, convened at Frankfurt after the revolution of 1848, with the Archduke John of Austria as administrator of the empire, proved equally powerless. It made a vigorous effort to enforce its authority, but without avail; Prussia refused to be bound by its decisions; and the attitude of opposition assumed by this powerful state soon brought the new attempt at union to an end.

In 1886 the war between the two great powers of Germany, in which most of the smaller powers were concerned, led to more decided measures, in the absorption by Prussia of the states above named, the formation of a North German League among the remaining states of the north, and the offensive and defensive alliance with Prussia of the South German states. By the treaty of peace with Austria, that power was excluded from the German League, and Prussia remained the dominant power in Germany. A constitution for the League was adopted in 1867, providing for a Diet, or legislative council of the League, elected by the direct votes of the people, and an army, which was to be under the command of the Prussian king and subject to the military laws of Prussia. Each state in the League bound itself to supply a specified sum for the support of the army.

The Feeling for Unity

Here was a union with a backbone—an army and a budget—and Bismarck had done more in the five years of his ministry in forming an united Germany than his predecessors had done in fifty years. But the idea of union and alliance between kindred states was then widely in the air. Such a union had been practically completed in Italy, and Hungary in 1867 regained her ancient rights, which had been taken from her in 1849, being given a separate government, with Francis Joseph, the emperor of Austria, as its king. It was natural that the common blood of the Germans should lead them to a political confederation, and equally natural that Prussia, which so overshadowed the smaller states in strength, should be the leading element in the alliance.

The great increase in the power and importance of Prussia, as an outcome of the war with Austria, was viewed with jealousy in France. The Emperor Napoleon sought, by a secret treaty with Holland, to obtain possession of the state of Luxemburg, for which a sum of money was to be paid. This negotiation became known and was defeated by Bismarck, the King of Holland shrinking from the peril of war and the publicity of a disgraceful transaction. But the interference of Prussia with this underhand scheme added to the irritation of France.

The Position of Louis Napoleon

And thus time passed on until the eventful year 1870. By that year Prussia had completed its work among the North German states and was ready for the issue of hostilities, if this should be necessary. On the other hand, Napoleon, who had found his prestige in France from various causes decreasing, felt obliged in 1870 to depart from his policy of personal rule and give that country a constitutional government. This proposal was submitted to a vote of the people and was sustained by an immense majority. He also took occasion to state that “peace was never more assured than at the present time.” This assurance gave satisfaction to the world, yet it was a false one, for war was probably at that moment assured.

There were alarming signs in France. The opposition to Napoleonism was steadily gaining power. A bad harvest was threatened—a serious source of discontent. The Parliament was discussing the reversal of the sentence of banishment against the Orleans family. These indications of a change in public sentiment appeared to call for some act that would aid in restoring the popularity of the emperor. And of all the acts that could be devised a national war seemed the most promising. If the Rhine frontier, which every French regarded as the natural boundary of the empire, could be regained by the arms of the nation, discontent and opposition would vanish, the name of Napoleon would win back its old prestige, and the reign of Bonapartism would be firmly established.

Preparations for Hostilities

Acts speak louder than words, and the acts of Napoleon were not in accord with his assurances of peace. Extensive military preparations began, and the forces of the empire were strengthened by land and sea, while great trust was placed in a new weapon, of murderous powers, called the mitrailleuse, the predecessor of the machine gun, and capable of discharging twenty-five balls at once.

On the other hand, there were abundant indications of discontent in Germany, where a variety of parties inveighed against the rapacious policy of Prussia, and where Bismarck had sown a deep crop of hate. It was believed in France that the minor states would not support Prussia in a war. In Austria the defeat in 1866 rankled, and hostilities against Prussia on the part of France seemed certain to win sympathy and support in that composite empire. Colonel Stoffel, the French military envoy at Berlin, declared that Prussia would be found abundantly prepared for a struggle; but his warnings went unheeded in the French Cabinet, and the warlike preparations continued.

The Revolution in Spain

Napoleon did not have to go far for an excuse for the war upon which he was resolved. One was prepared for him in that potent source of trouble, the succession to the throne of Spain. In that country there had for years been no end of trouble, revolts, Carlist risings, wars and rumors of wars. The government of Queen Isabella, with its endless intrigues, plots, and alternation of despotism and anarchy, and the pronounced immorality of the queen, had become so distasteful to the people that finally, after several years of revolts and armed risings, she was driven from her throne by a revolution, and for a time Spain was without a monarchy and ruled on republican principles.

But this arrangement did not prove satisfactory. The party in opposition looked around for a king, and negotiations began with a distant relative of the Prussian royal family, Leopold of Hohenzollern. Prince Leopold accepted the offer, and informed the king of Prussia of his decision.

The Spanish Succession

The news of this event caused great excitement in Paris, and the Prussian government was advised of the painful feeling to which the incident had given rise. The answer from Berlin that the Prussian government had no concern in the matter, and that Prince Leopold was free to act on his own account, did not allay the excitement. The demand for war grew violent and clamorous, the voices of the feeble opposition in the Chambers were drowned, and the journalists and war partisans were confident of a short and glorious campaign and a triumphant march to Berlin.

Napoleon’s Demand and William’s Refusal

The hostile feeling was reduced when King William of Prussia, though he declined to prohibit Prince Leopold from accepting the crown, expressed his concurrence with the decision of the prince when he withdrew his acceptance of the dangerous offer. This decision was regarded as sufficient, even in Paris; but it did not seem to be so in the palace, where an excuse for a declaration of war was ardently desired. The emperor’s hostile purpose was enhanced by the influence of the empress, and it was finally declared that the Prussian king had aggrieved France in permitting the prince to become a candidate for the throne without consulting the French Cabinet.

The Declaration of War

Satisfaction for this shadowy source of offence was demanded, but King William firmly refused to say any more on the subject and declined to stand in the way of Prince Leopold if he should again accept the offer of the Spanish throne. This refusal was declared to be an offence to the honor and a threat to the safety of France. The war party was so strongly in the ascendant that all opposition was now looked upon as lack of patriotism, and on the 15th of July the Prime Minister Ollivier announced that the reserves were to be called out and the necessary measures taken to secure the honor and security of France. When the declaration of war was hurled against Prussia the whole nation seemed in harmony with it, and public opinion appeared for once to have become a unit throughout France.

Rarely in the history of the world has so trivial a cause given rise to such stupendous military and political events as took place in France in a brief interval following this blind leap into hostilities. Instead of a triumphant march to Berlin and the dictation of peace from its palace, France was to find itself in two months’ time without an emperor or an army, and in a few months more completely subdued and occupied by foreign troops, while Paris had been made the scene of a terrible siege and a frightful communistic riot, and a republic had succeeded the empire. It was such a series of events as have seldom been compressed within the short interval of half a year.

State of the French and German Armies

In truth Napoleon and his advisers were blinded by their hopes to the true state of affairs. The army on which they depended, and which they assumed to be in a high state of efficiency and discipline, was lacking in almost every requisite of an efficient force. The first Napoleon was his own minister of war. The third Napoleon, when told by his war minister that “not a single button was wanting on a single gaiter,” took the words for the fact, and hurled an army without supplies and organization against the most thoroughly organized army the world had ever known. That the French were as brave as the Germans goes without saying; they fought desperately, but from the first confusion reigned in their movements, while military science of the highest kind dominated those of the Germans.

Napoleon was equally mistaken as to the state of affairs in Germany. The disunion upon which he counted vanished at the first threat of war. All Germany felt itself threatened and joined hands in defence. The declaration of war was received there with as deep an enthusiasm as in France and a fervent eagerness for the struggle. The new popular song, Die Wacht am Rhein (“The Watch on the Rhine”) spread rapidly from end to end of the country, and indicated the resolution of the German people to defend to the death the frontier stream of their country.

Bismarck and Von Moltke

The French looked for a parade march to Berlin, even fixing the day of their entrance into that city—August 15th, the emperor’s birthday. On the contrary, they failed to set their foot on German territory, and soon found themselves engaged in a death struggle with the invaders of their own land. In truth, while the Prussian diplomacy was conducted by Bismarck, the ablest statesman Prussia had ever known, the movements of the army were directed by far the best tactician Europe then possessed, the famous Von Moltke, to whose strategy the rapid success of the war against Austria had been due. In the war with France Von Moltke, though too old to lead the armies in person, was virtually commander-in-chief, and arranged those masterly combinations which overthrew all the power of France in so remarkably brief a period. Under his directions, from the moment war was declared, everything worked with clocklike precision. It was said that Von Moltke had only to touch a bell and all went forward. As it was, the Crown Prince Frederick fell upon the French while still unprepared, won the first battle, and steadily held the advantage to the end, the French being beaten by the strategy that kept the Germans in superior strength at all decisive points.

But to return to the events of war. On July 23, 1870, the Emperor Napoleon, after making his wife Eugenie regent of France, set out with his son at the head of the army, full of high hopes of victory and triumph. By the end of July King William had also set out from Berlin to join the armies that were then in rapid motion towards the frontier.

Strength of the Armies

The emperor made his way to Metz, where was stationed his main army, about 200,000 strong, under Marshals Bazaine and Canrobert and General Bourbaki. Further east, under Marshal MacMahon, the hero of Magenta, was the southern army, of about 100,000 men. A third army occupied the camp at Chalons, while a well-manned fleet set sail for the Baltic, to blockade the harbors and assail the coast of Germany. The German army was likewise in three divisions, the first, of 61,000 men, under General Steinmetz; the second, of 206,000 men, under Prince Frederick Charles; and the third, of 180,000 men, under the crown prince and General Blumenthal. The king, commander-in-chief of the whole, was in the centre, and with him the general staff under the guidance of the alert Von Moltke. Bismarck and the minister of war Von Roon were also present, and so rapid was the movement of these great forces that in two weeks after the order to march was given 300,000 armed Germans stood in rank along the Rhine.

Battles of Saarbrück and Weissenburg

The two armies first came together on August 2d, near Saarbrück, on the frontier line of the hostile kingdoms. It was the one success of the French, for the Prussians, after a fight in which both sides lost equally, retired in good order. This was proclaimed by the French papers as a brilliant victory, and filled the people with undue hopes of glory. It was the last favorable report, for they were quickly overwhelmed with tidings of defeat and disaster.

Weissenburg, on the borders of Rhenish Bavaria, had been invested by a division of MacMahon’s army. On August 4th the right wing of the army of the Crown Prince Frederick attacked and repulsed this investing force after a hot engagement, in which its leader, General Douay, was killed, and the loss on both sides was heavy. Two days later occurred a battle which decided the fate of the whole war, that of Worth-Reideshofen, where the army of the crown prince met that of MacMahon, and after a desperate struggle, which continued for fifteen hours, completely defeated him, with very heavy losses on both sides. MacMahon retreated in haste towards the army at Chalons, while the crown prince took possession of Alsace, and prepared for the reduction of the fortresses on the Rhine, from Strasburg to Belfort. On the same day as that of the battle of Worth, General Steinmetz stormed the heights of Spicheren, and, though at great loss of life, drove Frossard from those heights and back upon Metz.

Occupation of Alsace and Lorraine

The occupation of Alsace was followed by that of Lorraine, by the Prussian army under King William, who took possession of Nancy and the country surrounding on August 11th. These two provinces had formerly belonged to Germany, and it was the aim of the Prussians to retain them as the chief anticipated prize of the war. Meanwhile the world looked on in amazement at the extraordinary rapidity of the German success, which, in two weeks after Napoleon left Paris, had brought his power to the verge of overthrow.

Towards the Moselle River and the strongly fortified town of Metz, 180 miles northeast of Paris, around which was concentrated the main French force, all the divisions of the German army now advanced, and on the 14th of August they gained a victory at Colombey-Neuvilly which drove their opponents back from the open field towards the fortified city.

The Situation at Metz

It was Moltke’s opinion that the French proposed to make their stand before this impregnable fortress, and fight there desperately for victory. But, finding less resistance than he expected, he concluded, on the 15th, that Bazaine, in fear of being cooped up within the fortress, meant to march towards Verdun, there to join his forces with those of MacMahon and give battle to the Germans in the plain.

The astute tactician at once determined to make every effort to prevent this concentration of his opponents, and by the evening of the 15th a cavalry division had crossed the Moselle and reached the village of Mars-la-Tour, where it bivouacked for the night. It had seen troops in motion towards Metz, but did not know whether these formed the rear-guard or the vanguard of the French army in its march towards Verdun.

In fact, Bazaine had not yet got away with his army. All the roads from Metz were blocked with heavy baggage, and it was impossible to move so large an army with expedition. The time thus lost by Bazaine was diligently improved by Frederick Charles, and on the morning of the 16th the Brandenburg army corps, one of the best and bravest in the German army, had followed the cavalry and come within sight of the Verdun road. It was quickly perceived that a French force was before them, and some preliminary skirmishing developed the enemy in such strength as to convince the leader of the corps that he had in his front the whole or the greater part of Bazaine’s army, and that its escape from Metz had not been achieved.

The Battle of Mars-la-Tour

They were desperate odds with which the brave Brandenburgers had to contend, but they had been sent to hold the French until reinforcements could arrive, and they were determined to resist to the death. For nearly six hours they resisted, with unsurpassed courage, the fierce onslaughts of the French, though at a cost in life that perilously depleted the gallant corps. Then, about four o’clock in the afternoon, Prince Frederick Charles came up with reinforcements to their support and the desperate contest became more even.

Defeat of the French

Gradually fortune decided in favor of the Germans, and by the time night had come they were practically victorious, the field of Mars-la-Tour, after the day’s struggle, remaining in their hands. But they were utterly exhausted, their horses were worn out, and most of their ammunition was spent, and though their impetuous commander forced them to a new attack, it led to a useless loss of life, for their powers of fighting were gone. They had achieved their purpose, that of preventing the escape of Bazaine, though at a fearful loss, amounting to about 16,000 men on each side. “The battle of Vionville [Mars-la-Tour] is without a parallel in military history,” said Emperor William, “seeing that a single army corps, about 20,000 men strong, hung on to and repulsed an enemy more than five times as numerous and well equipped. Such was the glorious deed done by the Brandenburgers, and the Hohenzollerns will never forget the debt they owe to their devotion.”

Great Victory of the Germans at Gravelotte

Two days afterwards (August 16th), at Gravelotte, a village somewhat nearer to Metz, the armies, somewhat recovered from the terrible struggle of the 14th, met again, the whole German army being now brought up, so that over 200,000 men faced the 140,000 of the French. It was the great battle of the war. For four hours the two armies stood fighting face to face, without any special result, neither being able to drive back the other. The French held their ground and died. The Prussians dashed upon them and died. Only late in the evening was the right wing of the French army broken, and the victory, which at five o’clock remained uncertain, was decided in favor of the Germans. More than 40,000 men lay dead and wounded upon the field, the terrible harvest of those nine hours of conflict. That night Bazaine withdrew his army behind the fortifications at Metz. His effort to join MacMahon had ended in failure.

An incident of the Franco-Prussian War.
In this battle the French under Marshal MacMahon were defeated by the Prussians.

The Siege of Metz

It was the fixed purpose of the Prussians to detain him in that stronghold, and thus render practically useless to France its largest army. A siege was to be prosecuted, and an army of 150,000 men was extended around the town. The fortifications were far too strong to be taken by assault, and all depended on a close blockade. On August 31st Bazaine made an effort to break through the German lines, but was repulsed. It became now a question of how long the provisions of the French would hold out.

MacMahon Marches to Relieve Bazaine

The French emperor, who had been with Bazaine, had left his army before the battle of Mars-la-Tour, and was now with MacMahon at Chalons. Here lay an army of 125,000 infantry and 12,000 cavalry. On it the Germans were advancing, in doubt as to what movement it would make, whether back towards Paris or towards Metz for the relief of Bazaine. They sought to place themselves in a position to check either. The latter movement was determined on by the French, but was carried out in a dubious and uncertain manner, the time lost giving abundant opportunity to the Germans to learn what was afoot and to prepare to prevent it. As soon as they were aware of MacMahon’s intention of proceeding to Metz they made speedy preparations to prevent his relieving Bazaine. By the last days of August the army of the crown prince had reached the right bank of the Aisne, and the fourth division gained possession of the line of the Maas. On August 30th the French under General de Failly were attacked by the Germans at Beaumont and put to flight with heavy loss. It was evident that the hope of reaching Metz was at an end, and MacMahon, abandoning the attempt, concentrated his army around the frontier fortress of Sedan.

The French Surrounded

This old town stands on the right bank of the Meuse, in an angle of territory between Luxemburg and Belgium, and is surrounded by meadows, gardens, ravines, ditches and cultivated fields; the castle rising on a cliff-like eminence to the southwest of the place. MacMahon had stopped here to give his weary men a rest, not to fight, but Von Moltke decided, on observing the situation, that Sedan should be the grave-yard of the French army. “The trap is now closed, and the mouse in it,” he said, with a chuckle of satisfaction.

Such proved to be the case. On September 1st the Bavarians won the village of Bazeille, after hours of bloody and desperate struggle. During this severe fight Marshal MacMahon was so seriously wounded that he was obliged to surrender the chief command, first to Ducrot, and then to General Wimpffen, a man of recognized bravery and cold calculation.

The Battle of Sedan

Fortune soon showed itself in favor of the Germans. To the northwest of the town, the North German troops invested the exits from St. Meuges and Fleigneux, and directed a fearful fire of artillery against the French forces, which, before noon, were so hemmed in the valley that only two insufficient outlets to the south and north remained open. But General Wimpffen hesitated to seize either of these routes, the open way to Illy was soon closed by the Prussian guard corps, and a murderous fire was now directed from all sides upon the French, so that, after a last energetic struggle at Floing, they gave up all attempts to force a passage, and in the afternoon beat a retreat towards Sedan. In this small town the whole army of MacMahon was collected by evening, and there prevailed in the streets and houses an unprecedented disorder and confusion, which was still further increased when the German troops from the surrounding heights began to shoot down upon the fortress, and the town took fire in several places.

That an end might be put to the prevailing misery, Napoleon now commanded General Wimpffen to capitulate. The flag of truce already waved on the gates of Sedan when Colonel Bronsart appeared, and in the name of the king of Prussia demanded the surrender of the army and fortress. He soon returned to headquarters, accompanied by the French General Reille, who presented to the king a written message from Napoleon: “As I may not die in the midst of my army, I lay my sword in the hands of your majesty.” King William accepted it with an expression of sympathy for the hard fate of the emperor and of the French army which had fought so bravely under his own eyes. The conclusion of the treaty of capitulation was placed in the hands of Wimpffen, who, accompanied by General Castelnau, set out for Doncherry to negotiate with Moltke and Bismarck. No attempts, however, availed to move Moltke from his stipulation for the surrender of the whole army at discretion; he granted a short respite, but if this expired without surrender, the bombardment of the town was to begin anew.

Surrender of Napoleon and His Army

At six o’clock in the morning the capitulation was signed, and was ratified by the king at his headquarters at Vendresse (2d September). Thus the world beheld the incredible spectacle of an army of 83,000 men surrendering themselves and their weapons to the victor, and being carried off as prisoners of war to Germany. Only the officers who gave their written word of honor to take no further part in the present war with Germany were permitted to retain their arms and personal property. Probably the assurance of Napoleon, that he had sought death on the battlefield but had not found it, was literally true; at any rate, the fate of the unhappy man, bowed down as he was both by physical and mental suffering, was so solemn and tragic, that there was no room for hypocrisy, and that he had exposed himself to personal danger was admitted on all sides. Accompanied by Count Bismarck, he stopped at a small and mean-looking laborer’s inn on the road to Doncherry, where, sitting down on a stone seat before the door, with Count Bismarck, he declared that he had not desired the war, but had been driven to it through the force of public opinion; and afterwards the two proceeded to the little castle of Bellevue, near Frenois, to join King William and the crown prince. A telegram to Queen Augusta thus describes the interview: “What an impressive moment was the meeting with Napoleon! He was cast down, but dignified in his bearing. I have granted him Wilhelmshöhe, near Cassel, as his residence. Our meeting took place in a little castle before the western glacis of Sedan.”

Revolution and the Third Republic

The locking up of Bazaine in Metz and the capture of MacMahon’s army at Sedan were fatal events to France. The struggle continued for months, but it was a fight against hope. The subsequent events of the war consisted of a double siege, that of Metz and that of Paris, with various minor sieges, and a desperate but hopeless effort of France in the field. As for the empire of Napoleon III., it was at an end. The tidings of the terrible catastrophe at Sedan filled the people with a fury that soon became revolutionary. While Jules Favre, the republican deputy, was offering a motion in the Assembly that the emperor had forfeited the crown, and that a provisional government should be established, the people were thronging the streets of Paris with cries of “Deposition! Republic!” On the 4th of September the Assembly had its final meeting. Two of its prominent members, Jules Favre and Gambetta, sustained the motion for deposition of the emperor, and it was carried after a stormy session. They then made their way to the senate-chamber, where, before a thronging audience, they proclaimed a republic and named a government for the national defence. At its head was General Trochu, military commandant at Paris. Favre was made minister of foreign affairs; Gambetta, minister of the interior; and other prominent members of the Assembly filled the remaining cabinet posts. The legislature was dissolved, the Palais de Bourbon was closed, and the Empress Eugenie quitted the Tuileries and made her escape with a few attendants to Belgium, whence she sought a refuge in England. Prince Louis Napoleon made his way to Italy, and the swarm of courtiers scattered in all directions; some faithful followers of the deposed monarch seeking the castle of Wilhelmshöhe, where the unhappy Louis Napoleon occupied as a prison the same beautiful palace and park in which his uncle Jerome Bonaparte had once passed six years in a life of pleasure. The second French Empire was at an end; the third French Republic had begun—one that had to pass through many changes and escape many dangers before it would be firmly established.

Jules Favre’s Defiance

“Not a foot’s breadth of our country nor a stone of our fortresses shall be surrendered,” was Jules Favre’s defiant proclamation to the invaders, and the remainder of the soldiers in the field were collected in Paris, and strengthened with all available reinforcements. Every person capable of bearing arms was enrolled in the national army, which soon numbered 400,000 men. There was need of haste, for the victors at Sedan were already marching upon the capital, inspired with high hopes from their previous astonishing success. They knew that Paris was strongly fortified, being encircled by powerful lines of defence, but they trusted that hunger would soon bring its garrison to terms. The same result was looked for at Metz, and at Strasburg, which was also besieged.

Thus began at three main points and several minor ones a military siege the difficulties, dangers, and hardships of which surpassed even those of the winter campaign in the Crimea. Exposed at the fore-posts to the enemy’s balls, chained to arduous labor in the trenches and redoubts, and suffering from the effects of bad weather, and insufficient food and clothing, the German soldiers were compelled to undergo great privations and sufferings before the fortifications; while many fell in the frequent skirmishes and sallies, many succumbed to typhus and epidemic disease, and many returned home mutilated, or broken in health.

Hardships of the Conflict

No less painful and distressing was the condition of the besieged. While the garrison soldiers on guard were constantly compelled to face death in nocturnal sallies, or led a pitiable existence in damp huts, having inevitable surrender constantly before their eyes, and disarmament and imprisonment as the reward of all their struggles and exertions, the citizens in the towns, the women and children, were in constant danger of being shivered to atoms by the fearful shells, or of being buried under falling walls and roofs; and the poorer part of the population saw with dismay the gradual diminution of the necessaries of life, and were often compelled to pacify their hunger with the flesh of horses, and disgusting and unwholesome food.

Thiers and Bismarck

The republican government possessed only a usurped power, and none but a freely elected national assembly could decide as to the fate of the French nation. Such an assembly was therefore summoned for the l6th of October. Three members of the government—Crémieux, Fourichon, and Glais-Vizoin—were despatched before the entire blockade of the town had been effected, to Tours, to maintain communication with the provinces. An attempt was also made at the same time to induce the great powers which had not taken part in the war to organize an intervention, as hitherto only America, Switzerland, and Spain had sent official recognition. For this important and delicate mission the old statesman and historian Thiers was selected, and, in spite of his three-and-seventy years, immediately set out on the journey to London, St. Petersburg, Vienna, and Florence. Count Bismarck, however, in the name of Prussia, refused any intervention in internal affairs. In two despatches to the ambassadors of foreign courts, the chancellor declared that the war, begun by the Emperor Napoleon, had been approved by the representatives of the nation, and that thus all France was answerable for the result. Germany was obliged, therefore, to demand guarantees which should secure her in future against attack, or, at any rate, render attack more difficult. Thus a cession of territory on the part of France was laid down as the basis of a treaty of peace. The neutral powers were also led to the belief that if they fostered in the French any hope of intervention, peace would only be delayed. The mission of Thiers, therefore, yielded no useful result, while the direct negotiation which Jules Favre conducted with Bismarck proved equally unavailing.

Soon the beleaguered fortresses began to fall. On the 23d of September the ancient town of Toul, in Lorraine, was forced to capitulate, after a fearful bombardment; and on the 27th Strasburg, in danger of the terrible results of a storming, after the havoc of a dreadful artillery fire, hoisted the white flag, and surrendered on the following day. The supposed impregnable fortress of Metz held out little longer. Hunger did what cannon were incapable of doing. The successive sallies made by Bazaine proved unavailing, though, on October 7th, his soldiers fought with desperate energy, and for hours the air was full of the roar of cannon and mitrailleuse and the rattle of musketry. But the Germans withstood the attack unmoved, and the French were forced to withdraw into the town.

Siege and Surrender of Metz

Bazaine then sought to negotiate with the German leaders at Versailles, offering to take no part in the war for three months if permitted to withdraw. But Bismarck and Moltke would listen to no terms other than unconditional surrender, and these terms were finally accepted, the besieged army having reached the brink of starvation. It was with horror and despair that France learned, on the 30th of October, that the citadel of Metz, with its fortifications and arms of defence, had been yielded to the Germans, and its army of more than 150,000 men had surrendered as prisoners of war.

The Germans at Versailles

This hasty surrender at Metz, a still greater disaster to France than that of Sedan, was not emulated at Paris, which for four months held out against all the efforts of the Germans. On the investment of the great city, King William removed his headquarters to the historic palace of Versailles, setting up his homely camp-bed in the same apartments from which Louis XIV. had once issued his despotic edicts and commands. Here Count Bismarck conducted his diplomatic labors and Moltke issued his directions for the siege, which, protracted from week to week and month to month, gradually transformed the beautiful neighborhood, with its prosperous villages, superb country houses, and enchanting parks and gardens, into a scene of sadness and desolation.

The Siege of Paris

In spite of the vigorous efforts made by the commander-in-chief Trochu, both by continuous firing from the forts and by repeated sallies, to prevent Paris from being surrounded, and to force a way through the trenches, his enterprises were rendered fruitless by the watchfulness and strength of the Germans. The blockade was completely accomplished; Paris was surrounded and cut off from the outer world; even the underground telegraphs, through which communication was for a time secretly maintained with the provinces, were by degrees discovered and destroyed. But to the great astonishment of Europe, which looked on with keenly pitched excitement at the mighty struggle, the siege continued for months without any special progress being observable from without or any lessening of resistance from within. On account of the extension of the forts, the Germans were compelled to remain at such a distance that a bombardment of the town at first appeared impossible; a storming of the outer works would, moreover, be attended with such sacrifices, that the humane temper of the king revolted from such a proceeding. The guns of greater force and carrying power which were needed from Germany, could only be procured after long delay on account of the broken lines of railway. Probably also there was some hesitation on the German side to expose the beautiful city, regarded by so many as the “metropolis of civilization,” to the risk of a bombardment, in which works of art, science, and a historical past would meet destruction. Nevertheless, the declamations of the French at the Vandalism of the northern barbarians met with assent and sympathy from most of the foreign powers.

The Energy of Resistance
Gambetta and His Work
The Southward Advance of the Germans

Determination and courage falsified the calculations at Versailles of a quick cessation of the resistance. The republic offered a far more energetic and determined opposition to the Prussian arms than the empire had done. The government of the national defence still declaimed with stern reiteration: “Not a foot’s breadth of our country; not a stone of our fortresses!” and positively rejected all proposals of treaty based on territorial concessions. Faith in the invincibility of the republic was rooted as an indisputable dogma in the hearts of the French people. The victories and the commanding position of France from 1792 to 1799 were regarded as so entirely the necessary result of the Revolution, that a conviction prevailed that the formation of a republic, with a national army for its defence, would have an especial effect on the rest of Europe. The Energy of ResistanceTherefore, instead of summoning a constituent Assembly, which, in the opinion of Prussia and the other foreign powers, would alone be capable of offering security for a lasting peace, it was decided to continue the revolutionary movements, and to follow the same course which, in the years 1792 and 1793, had saved France from the coalition of the European powers—a revolutionary dictatorship such as had once been exercised by the Convention and the members of the Committee of Public Safety, must again be revived, and a youthful and hot-blooded leader was alone needed to stir up popular feeling and set it in motion. To fill such a part no one was better adapted than the advocate Gambetta, who emulated the career of the leaders of the Revolution, and whose soul glowed with a passionate ardor of patriotism. In order to create for himself a free sphere of action, and to initiate some vigorous measure in place of the well-rounded phrases and eloquent proclamations of his colleagues Trochu and Jules Favre, he quitted the capital in an air-balloon and entered into communication with the Government delegation at Tours, which through him soon obtained a fresh impetus. His next most important task was the liberation of the capital from the besieging German army, and the expulsion of the enemy from the “sacred” soil of France. Gambetta and His WorkFor this purpose he summoned, with the authority of a minister of war, all persons capable of bearing arms up to forty years of age to take active service, and despatched them into the field; he imposed war-taxes, and terrified the tardy and refractory with threats of punishment. Every force was put in motion; all France was transformed into a great camp. A popular war was now to take the place of a soldiers’ war, and what the soldiers had failed to effect must be accomplished by the people; France must be saved, and the world freed from despotism. To promote this object, the whole of France, with the exception of Paris, was divided into four general governments, the headquarters of the different governors being Lille, Le Mans, Bourges, and Besançon. Two armies, from the Loire and from the Somme, were to march simultaneously towards Paris, and, aided by the sallies of Trochu and his troops, were to drive the enemy from the country. Energetic attacks were now attempted from time to time, in the hope that when the armies of relief arrived from the provinces, it might be possible to effect a coalition; but all these efforts were constantly repulsed after a hot struggle by the besieging German troops. At the same time, during the month of October, the territory between the Oise and the Lower Seine was scoured by reconnoitering troops, under Prince Albrecht, the south-east district was protected by a Würtemberg detachment through the successful battle near Nogent on the Seine, while a division of the third army advanced towards the south accompanied by two cavalry divisions. The Southward Advance of the GermansA more unfortunate circumstance, however, for the Parisians was the cutting off of all communication with the outer world, for the Germans had destroyed the telegraphs. But even this obstacle was overcome by the inventive genius of the French. By means of pigeon letter-carriers and air-balloons, they were always able to maintain a partial though one-sided and imperfect communication with the provinces, and the aërostatic art was developed and brought to perfection on this occasion in a manner which had never before been considered possible.

Gambetta’s Army of Defence

The whole of France, and especially the capital, was already in a state of intense excitement when the news of the capitulation of Metz came to add fresh fuel to the flame. Outside the walls Gambetta was using heroic efforts to increase his forces, bringing Bedouin horsemen from Africa and inducing the stern old revolutionist Garibaldi to come to his aid; and Thiers was opening fresh negotiations for a truce. Inside the walls the Red Republic raised the banners of insurrection and attempted to drive the government of national defence from power.

The Negotiations Are Broken Off

This effort of the dregs of revolution to inaugurate a reign of terror failed, and the provisional government felt so elated with its victory that it determined, to continue at the head of affairs and to oppose the calling of a chamber of national representatives. The members proclaimed oblivion for what had passed, broke off the negotiations for a truce begun by Thiers, and demanded a vote of confidence. The indomitable spirit shown by the French people did not, on the other hand, inspire the Germans with a very lenient or conciliatory temper. Bismarck declared in a despatch the reasons why the negotiations had failed: “The incredible demand that we should surrender the fruits of all our efforts during the last two months, and should go back to the conditions which existed at the beginning of the blockade of Paris, only affords fresh proof that in Paris pretexts are sought for refusing the nation the right of election.” Thiers mournfully declared the failure of his undertaking, but in Paris the popular voting resulted in a ten-fold majority in favor of the government and the policy of postponement.



Famine and Misery in Paris

After the breaking off of the negotiations, the world anticipated some energetic action towards the besieged city. The efforts of the enemy were, however, principally directed to drawing the iron girdle still tighter, enclosing the giant city more and more closely, and cutting off every means of communication, so that at last a surrender might be brought about by the stern necessity of starvation. That this object would not be accomplished as speedily as at Metz, that the city of pleasure, enjoyment, and luxury would withstand a siege of four months, had never been contemplated for a moment. It is true that, as time went on, all fresh meat disappeared from the market, with the exception of horse-flesh; that white bread, on which Parisians place such value, was replaced by a baked compound of meal and bran; that the stores of dried and salted food began to decline, until at last rats, dogs, cats, and even animals from the zoological gardens were prepared for consumption at restaurants. Yet, to the amazement of the world, all these miseries, hardships, and sufferings were courageously borne, nocturnal watch was kept, sallies were undertaken, and cold, hunger, and wretchedness of all kinds were endured with an indomitable steadfastness and heroism. The courage of the besieged Parisians was also animated by the hope that the military forces in the provinces would hasten to the aid of the hard-pressed capital, and that therefore an energetic resistance would afford the rest of France sufficient time for rallying all its forces, and at the same time exhibit an elevating example. In the carrying out of this plan, neither Trochu nor Gambetta was wanting in the requisite energy and circumspection. The former organized sallies from time to time, in order to reconnoitre and discover whether the army of relief was on its way from the provinces; the latter exerted all his powers to bring the Loire army up to the Seine. But both erred in undervaluing the German war forces; they did not believe that the hostile army would be able to keep Paris in a state of blockade, and at the same time engage the armies on the south and north, east and west. They had no conception of the hidden, inexhaustible strength of the Prussian army organization—of a nation in arms which could send forth constant reinforcements of battalions and recruits, and fresh bodies of disciplined troops to fill the gaps left in the ranks by the wounded and fallen. There could be no doubt as to the termination of this terrible war, or the final victory of German energy and discipline.

The Fall of the Fortresses

Throughout the last months of the eventful year 1870, the northern part of France, from the Jura to the Channel, from the Belgian frontier to the Loire, presented the aspect of a wide battlefield. Of the troops that had been set free by the capitulation of Metz, a part remained behind in garrison, another division marched northwards in order to invest the provinces of Picardy and Normandy, to restore communication with the sea, and to bar the road to Paris, and a third division joined the second army, whose commander-in-chief, Prince Frederick Charles, set up his headquarters at Troyes. Different detachments were despatched against the northern fortresses, and by degrees Soissons, Verdun, Thionville, Ham, where Napoleon had once been a prisoner, Pfalzburg and Montmedy, all fell into the hands of the Prussians, thus opening to them a free road for the supplies of provisions. The garrison troops were all carried off as prisoners to Germany; the towns—most of them in a miserable condition—fell into the enemy’s hands; many houses were mere heaps of ruins and ashes, and the larger part of the inhabitants were suffering severely from poverty, hunger and disease.

Guerilla Warfare in the East

The greatest obstacles were encountered in the northern part of Alsace and the mountainous districts of the Vosges and the Jura, where irregular warfare, under Garibaldi and other leaders, developed to a dangerous extent, while the fortress of Langres afforded a safe retreat to the guerilla bands. Lyons and the neighboring town of St. Etienne became hotbeds of excitement, the red flag being raised and a despotism of terror and violence established. Although many divergent elements made up this army of the east, all were united in hatred of the Germans and the desire to drive the enemy back across the Rhine.

Thus, during the cold days of November and December, when General Von Treskow began the siege of the important fortress of Belfort, there burst forth a war around Gray and Dijon marked by the greatest hardships, perils and privations to the invaders. Here the Germans had to contend with an enemy much superior in number, and to defend themselves against continuous firing from houses, cellars, woods and thickets, while the impoverished soil yielded a miserable subsistence, and the broken railroads cut off freedom of communication and of reinforcement.

In the Jura District

The whole of the Jura district, intersected by hilly roads as far as the plateau of Langres, where, in the days of Cæsar, the Romans and Gauls were wont to measure their strength with each other, formed during November and December the scene of action of numerous encounters which, in conjunction with sallies from the garrison at Belfort, inflicted severe injury on Werder’s troops. Dijon had repeatedly to be evacuated; and the nocturnal attack at Chattillon, 20th November, by Garibaldians, when one hundred and twenty Landwehrmen and Hussars perished miserably, and seventy horses were lost, affording a striking proof of the dangers to which the German army was exposed in this hostile country; although the revolutionary excesses of the turbulent population of the south diverted to a certain extent the attention of the National Guard, who were compelled to turn their weapons against an internal enemy.

Gambetta and the Army of the Loire

By means of the revolutionary dictatorship of Gambetta the whole French nation was drawn into the struggle, the annihilation of the enemy being represented as a national duty, and the war assuming a steadily more violent character. The indefatigable patriot continued his exertions to increase the army and unite the whole south and west against the enemy, hoping to bring the army of the Loire to such dimensions that it would be able to expel the invaders from the soil of France. But these raw recruits were poorly fitted to cope with the highly disciplined Germans, and their early successes were soon followed by defeat and discouragement, while the hopes entertained by the Paris garrison of succor from the south vanished as news of the steady progress of the Germans were received.

The Bombardment of Paris

During these events the war operations before Paris continued uninterruptedly. Moltke had succeeded, in spite of the difficulties of transport, in procuring an immense quantity of ammunition, and the long-delayed bombardment of Paris was ready to begin. Having stationed with all secrecy twelve batteries with seventy-six guns around Mont Avron, on Christmas-day the firing was directed with such success against the fortified eminences, that even in the second night the French, after great losses, evacuated the important position, the “key of Paris,” which was immediately taken possession of by the Saxons. Terror and dismay spread throughout the distracted city when the eastern forts, Rosny, Nogent and Noisy, were stormed amid a tremendous volley of firing. Vainly did Trochu endeavor to rouse the failing courage of the National Guard; vainly did he assert that the government of the national defence would never consent to the humiliation of a capitulation; his own authority had already waned; the newspapers already accused him of incapacity and treachery, and began to cast every aspersion on the men who had presumptuously seized the government, and yet were not in a position to effect the defence of the capital and the country. After the new year the bombardment of the southern forts began, and the terror in the city daily increased, though the violence of the radical journals kept in check any hint of surrender or negotiation. Yet in spite of fog and snow-storms the bombardment was systematically continued, and with every day the destructive effect of the terrible missiles grew more pronounced.

The Last Great Sally from Paris

Trochu was blamed for having undertaken only small sallies, which could have no result. The commander-in-chief ventured no opposition to the party of action. With the consent of the mayors of the twenty arrondissements of Paris a council of war was held. The threatening famine, the firing of the enemy, and the excitement prevailing among the adherents of the red republic rendered a decisive step necessary. Consequently, on the 19th of January, a great sally was decided on, and the entire armed forces of the capital were summoned to arms. Early in the morning, a body of 100,000 men marched in the direction of Meudon, Sevres and St. Cloud for the decisive conflict. The left wing was commanded by General Vinoy, the right by Ducrot, while Trochu from the watch-tower directed the entire struggle. With great courage Vinoy dashed forward with his column of attack towards the fifth army corps of General Kirchbach, and succeeded in capturing the Montretout entrenchment, through the superior number of his troops, and in holding it for a time. But when Ducrot, delayed by the barricades in the streets, failed to come to his assistance at the appointed time, the attack was driven back after seven hours’ fierce fighting by the besieging troops. Having lost 7,000 dead and wounded, the French in the evening beat a retreat, which almost resembled a flight. On the following day Trochu demanded a truce, that the fallen National Guards, whose bodies strewed the battlefield, might be interred. The victors, too, had to render the last rites to many a brave soldier. Thirty-nine officers and six hundred and sixteen soldiers were given in the list of the slain.

A Truce at Paris

Entire confidence had been placed by the Parisians in the great sally. When the defeat, therefore, became known in its full significance, when the number of the fallen was found to be far greater even than had been stated in the first accounts, a dull despair took possession of the famished city, which next broke forth into violent abuse against Trochu, “the traitor.” Capitulation now seemed imminent; but as the commander-in-chief had declared that he would never countenance such a disgrace, he resigned his post to Vinoy. Threatened by bombardment from without, terrified within by the pale spectre of famine, paralysed and distracted by the violent dissensions among the people, and without prospect of effective aid from the provinces, what remained to the proud capital but to desist from a conflict the continuation of which only increased the unspeakable misery, without the smallest hope of deliverance? Gradually, therefore, there grew up a resolution to enter into negotiations with the enemy; and it was the minister Jules Favre, who had been foremost with the cry of “no surrender” four months before, who was now compelled to take the first step to deliver his country from complete ruin. It was probably the bitterest hour in the life of the brave man, who loved France and liberty with such a sincere affection, when he was conducted through the German outposts to his interview with Bismarck at Versailles. He brought the proposal for a convention, on the strength of which the garrison was to be permitted to retire with military honors to a part of France not hitherto invested, on promising to abstain for several months from taking part in the struggle. But such conditions were positively refused at the Prussian headquarters, and a surrender was demanded as at Sedan and Metz. Completely defeated, the minister returned to Paris. At a second meeting on the following day, it was agreed that from the 27th, at twelve o’clock at night, the firing on both sides should be discontinued. This was the preliminary to the conclusion of a three weeks’ truce, to await the summons of a National Assembly, with which peace might be negotiated.

Bourbaki’s Army and the Siege of Belfort
The Harsh Terms of Peace

The war was at an end so far as Paris was concerned. But it continued in the south, where frequent defeat failed to depress Gambetta’s indomitable energy, and where new troops constantly replaced those put to rout. Garibaldi, at Dijon, succeeded in doing what the French had not done during the war, in the capture of a Prussian banner. But the progress of the Germans soon rendered his position untenable, and, finding his exertions unavailing, he resigned his command and retired to his island of Caprera. Two disasters completed the overthrow of France. Bourbaki’s army, 85,000 strong, became shut in, with scanty food and ammunition, among the snow-covered valleys of the Jura, and to save the disgrace of capitulation it took refuge on the neutral soil of Switzerland; and the strong fortress of Belfort, which had been defended with the utmost courage against its besiegers, finally yielded, with the stipulation that the brave garrison should march out with the honors of war. Nothing now stood in the way of an extension of the truce. On the suggestion of Jules Favre, the National Assembly elected a commission of fifteen members, which was to aid the chief of the executive, and his ministers, Picard and Favre, in the negotiations for peace. That cessions of territory and indemnity of war expenses would have to be conceded had long been acknowledged in principle; but protracted and excited discussions took place as to the extent of the former and the amount of the latter, while the demanded entry of the German troops into Paris met with vehement opposition.The Harsh Terms of Peace But Count Bismarck resolutely insisted on the cession of Alsace and German Lorraine, including Metz and Diedenhofen. Only with difficulty were the Germans persuaded to separate Belfort from the rest of Lorraine, and leave it still in the possession of the French. In respect to the expenses of the war, the sum of five milliards of francs ($1,000,000,000) was agreed upon, of which the first milliard was to be paid in the year 1871, and the rest in a stated period. The stipulated entry into Paris also—so bitter to the French national pride—was only partially carried out; the western side only of the city was to be traversed in the march of the Prussian troops, and again evacuated in two days. On the basis of these conditions, the preliminaries of the Peace of Versailles were concluded on the 26th of February between the Imperial Chancellor and Jules Favre. Intense excitement prevailed when the terms of the treaty became known; they were dark days in the annals of French history. But in spite of the opposition of the extreme Republican party, led by Quinet and Victor Hugo, the Assembly recognized by an overpowering majority the necessity for the Peace, and the preliminaries were accepted by 546 to 107 votes. Thus ended the mighty war between France and Germany—a war which has had few equals in the history of the world.

The Glory of Germany

Had King William received no indemnity in cash or territory from France, he must still have felt himself amply repaid for the cost of the brief but sanguinary war, for it brought him a power and prestige with which the astute diplomatist Bismarck had long been seeking to invest his name. Political changes move slowly in times of peace, rapidly in times of war. The whole of Germany, with the exception of Austria, had sent troops to the conquest of France, and every state, north and south alike, shared in the pride and glory of the result. South and North Germany had marched side by side to the battlefield, every difference of race or creed forgotten, and the honor of the German fatherland the sole watchword. The time seemed to have arrived to close the breach between north and south, and obliterate the line of the Main, which had divided the two sections. North Germany was united under the leadership of Prussia, and the honor in which all alike shared now brought South Germany into line for a similar union.

The first appeal in this direction came from Baden. Later in the year plenipotentiaries sought Versailles from the kingdoms of Bavaria and Wurtemberg and the grand duchies of Baden and Hesse, their purpose being to arrange for and define the conditions of union between the South and the North German states. For weeks this momentous question filled all Germany with excitement and public opinion was in a state of high tension. The scheme of union was by no means universally approved, there being a large party in opposition, but the majority in its favor in Chambers proved sufficient to enable Bismarck to carry out his plan.

Restoration of the Germany Empire

This was no less than to restore the German Empire, or rather to establish a new empire of Germany, in which Austria, long at the head of the former empire, should have no part, the imperial dignity being conferred upon the venerable King William of Prussia, a monarch whose birth dated back to the eighteenth century, and who had lived throughout the Napoleonic wars.

Near the close of 1870 Bismarck concluded treaties with the ambassadors of the Southern States, in which they agreed to accept the constitution of the North German Union. These treaties were ratified, after some opposition from the “patriots” of the lower house, by the legislatures of the four states involved. The next step in the proceeding was a suggestion from the king of Bavaria to the other princes that the imperial crown of Germany should be offered to King William of Prussia.

The Crowning of William I. at Versailles

When the North German Diet at Berlin had given its consent to the new constitution, congratulatory address was despatched to the Prussian monarch at Versailles. Thirty members of the Diet, with the president Simson at their head, announced to the aged hero-king the nation’s wish that he should accept the new dignity. He replied to the deputation in solemn audience that he accepted the imperial dignity which the German nation and its princes had offered him. On the 1st of January, 1871, the new constitution was to come into operation. The solemn assumption of the imperial office did not take place, however, until the 18th of January, the day on which, one hundred and seventy years before, the new emperor’s ancestor, Frederick I., had placed the Prussian crown on his head at Königsberg, and thus laid the basis of the growing greatness of his house. It was an ever-memorable coincidence, that in the superb-mirrored hall of the Versailles palace, where, since the days of Richelieu, so many plans had been concerted for the humiliation of Germany, King William should now proclaim himself German Emperor. After the reading of the imperial proclamation to the German people by Count Bismarck, the Grand Duke led a cheer, in which the whole assembly joined amid the singing of national hymns. Thus the important event had taken place which again summoned the German Empire to life, and made over the imperial crown with renewed splendor to another royal house. Barbarossa’s old legend, that the dominion of the empire was, after long tribulation, to pass from the Hohenstaufen to the Hohenzollern, was now fulfilled; the dream long aspired after by German youth had now become a reality and a living fact.

The tidings of the conclusion of peace with France, whose preliminaries were completed at Frankfurt on the 10th of May, 1871, filled all Germany with joy, and peace festivals on the most splendid scale extended from end to end of the new empire, in all parts of which an earnest spirit of patriotism was shown, while Germans from all regions of the world sent home expressions of warm sympathy with the new national organization of their fatherland.

A Decade of Remarkable Changes

The decade just completed had been one of remarkable political changes in Europe, unsurpassed in significance during any other period of equal length. The temporal dominion of the pope had vanished and all Italy had been united under the rule of a single king. The empire of France had been overthrown and a republic established in its place, while that country had sunk greatly in prominence among the European states. Austria had been utterly defeated in war, had lost its last hold on Italy and its position of influence among the German states. And all the remaining German lands had united into a great and powerful empire, of such extraordinary military strength that the surrounding nations looked on in doubt, full of vague fears of trouble from this new and potent power introduced into their midst.

Bismarck, however, showed an earnest desire to maintain international peace and good relations, seeking to win the confidence of foreign governments, while at the same time improving and increasing that military force which had been proved to be so mighty an engine of war.

The Legislature of the Empire

In the constitution of the new empire two legislative bodies were provided for, the Bundesrath or Federal Council, whose members are annually appointed by the respective state governments, and the Reichstag or Representative body, whose members are elected by universal suffrage for a period of three years, an annual session being required. Germany, therefore, in its present organization, is practically a federal union of states, each with its own powers of internal government, and with a common legislature approximating to our Senate and House of Representatives.

The Power of the Catholic Church in Prussia

The remaining incidents of Bismarck’s remarkable career may be briefly given. It consisted largely in a struggle with the Catholic Church organization, which had attained to great power in Germany, and was aggressive to an extent that roused the vigorous opposition of the chancellor of the empire, who was not willing to acknowledge any power in Germany other than that of the emperor.

King Frederick William IV., the predecessor of the reigning monarch, had made active efforts to strengthen the Catholic Church in Prussia, its clergy gaining greater privileges in that Protestant state than they possessed in any of the Catholic states. They had established everywhere in North Germany their congregations and monasteries, and, by their control of public education, seemed in a fairway to eventually make Catholicism supreme in the empire.

The New Laws Against Church Power

This state of affairs Bismarck set himself energetically to reform. The minister of religious affairs was forced to resign, and his place was taken by Falk, a sagacious statesman, who introduced a new school law, bringing the whole educational system under state control, and carefully regulating the power of the clergy over religious and moral education. This law met with such violent opposition that all the personal influence of Bismarck and Falk were needed to carry it, and it gave such deep offence to the pope that he refused to receive the German ambassador. He declared the Falk law invalid, and the German bishops united in a declaration against the chancellor. Bismarck retorted by a law expelling the Jesuits from the empire.

In 1873 the state of affairs became so embittered that the rights and liberties of the citizens seemed to need protection against a priesthood armed with extensive powers of discipline and excommunication. In consequence Bismarck introduced, and by his eloquence and influence carried, what were known as the May Laws. These provided for the scientific education of the Catholic clergy, the confirmation of clerical appointments by the state, and a tribunal to consider and revise the conduct of the bishops.

The Triumph of the Church

These enactments precipitated a bitter contest between church and state, while the pope declared the May Laws null and void and threatened with excommunication all priests who should submit to them. The state retorted by withdrawing its financial support from the Catholic church and abolishing those clauses of the constitution under which the church claimed independence of the state. Pope Pius IX. died in 1878, and on the election of Leo XIII. attempts were made to reconcile the existing differences. The reconciliation was a victory for the church, the May Laws ceasing to be operative, the church revenues being restored and the control of the clergy over education in considerable measure regained. New concessions were granted in 1886 and 1887, and Bismarck felt himself beaten in his long conflict with his clerical opponents, who had proved too strong and deeply entrenched for him.

The Socialists and the Insurance Laws

Economic questions became also prominent, the revenues of the empire requiring some change in the system of free trade and the adoption of protective duties, while the railroads were acquired by the various states of the empire. Meanwhile the rapid growth of socialism excited apprehension, which was added to when two attempts were made on the life of the emperor. These were attributed to the Socialists, and severe laws for the suppression of socialism were enacted. Bismarck also sought to cut the ground from under the feet of the Socialists by an endeavor to improve the condition of the working classes. In 1881 laws were passed compelling employers to insure their workmen in case of sickness or accident, and in 1888 a system of compulsory insurance against death and old age was introduced. None of these measures, however, checked the growth of socialism, which very actively continued.

In 1882 a meeting was arranged by the chancellor between the emperors of Germany, Russia, and Austria, which was looked upon in Europe as a political alliance. In 1878 Russia drifted somewhat apart from Germany, but in the following year an alliance of defence and offence was concluded with Austria, and a similar alliance at a later date with Italy. This, which still continues, is known as the Triple Alliance. In 1877 Bismarck announced his intention to retire, being worn out with the great labors of his position. To this the emperor, who felt that his state rested on the shoulders of the “Iron Chancellor,” would not listen, though he gave him indefinite leave of absence.

On March 9, 1888, Emperor William died. He was ninety years of age, having been born in 1797. He was succeeded by his son Frederick, then incurably ill from a cancerous affection of the throat, which carried him to the grave after a reign of ninety-nine days. His oldest son, William, succeeded on June 15, 1888, as William II.

William II. and the Dismissal of Bismarck

The liberal era which was looked for under Frederick was checked by his untimely death, his son at once returning to the policy of William I. and Bismarck. He proved to be far more positive and dictatorial in disposition than his grandfather, with decided and vigorous views of his own, which soon brought him into conflict with the equally positive chancellor. The result was a rupture with Bismarck, and his dismissal from the premiership in 1890. The young emperor subsequently devoted himself in a large measure to the increase of the army and navy, a policy which brought him into frequent conflicts with the Reichstag, whose rapidly growing socialistic membership was in strong opposition to this development of militarism.

The old statesman, to whom Germany owed so much, was deeply aggrieved by this lack of gratitude on the part of the self-opinionated young emperor. Subsequently a reconciliation took place. But the political career of the great Bismarck was at an end, and he died on July 30, 1898. It is an interesting coincidence that almost at the same time died the equally great, but markedly different, statesman of England, William Ewart Gladstone. Count Cavour, the third great European statesman of the last half of the nineteenth century, had completed his work and passed away nearly forty years before.

The Development of the German Army

The career of William II. has been one of much interest and some alarm to the other nations of Europe. His eagerness for the development of the army and navy, and the energy with which he pushed forward its organization and sought to add to its strength, seemed significant of warlike intentions, and there was dread that this energetic young monarch might break the peace of Europe, if only to prove the irresistible strength of the military machine he had formed. But as years went on the apprehensions to which his early career and expressions gave rise were quieted, and the fear that he would plunge Europe into war vanished. The army and navy began to appear rather a costly plaything of the active young man than an engine of destruction, while it tended in considerable measure to the preservation of peace by rendering Germany a power dangerous to go to war with.

The speeches with which the emperor began his reign showed an exaggerated sense of the imperial dignity, though his later career indicated far more judgment and good sense than the early display of overweening self-importance promised, and the views of William II. now command far more respect than they did at first. He has shown himself a man of exuberant energy. Despite a permanent weakness of his left arm and a serious affection of the ear, he early became a skilful horseman and an untiring hunter, as well as an enthusiastic yachtsman, and there are few men in the empire more active and enterprising to-day than the Kaiser.

State Socialism

A principal cause of the break between William and Bismarck was the system of partial state socialism established by him, of which the old chancellor strongly disapproved. This was a system of compulsory old age insurance, through which workmen and their employers—aided by the state—were obliged to provide for the support of artisans after a certain age. The system seems to have worked satisfactorily, but socialism of a more radical kind has grown in the empire far more rapidly than the emperor has approved of, and he has vigorously, though unsuccessfully, endeavored to prevent its increase. Another of his favorite measures, a religious education bill, he was obliged to withdraw on account of the opposition it excited. On more than one occasion he has come into sharp conflict with the Reichstag concerning increased taxation for the army and navy, and a strong party against his autocratic methods has sprung up, and has forced him more than once to recede from warmly-cherished measures.

Constitution of the German Empire

It may be of interest here to say something concerning the organization of the existing German empire. The constitution of this empire, as adopted April 16, 1871, proposes to “form an eternal union for the protection of the realm and the care of the welfare of the German people,” and places the supreme direction of military and political affairs in the King of Prussia, under the title of Deutscher Kaiser (German emperor). The war-making powers of the emperor, however, are restricted, since he is obliged to obtain the consent of the Bundesrath (the Federal Council) before he can declare war otherwise than for the defence of the realm. His authority as emperor, in fact, is much less than that which he exercises as King of Prussia, since the imperial legislature is independent of him, he having no power of veto over the laws passed by it.

This legislature consists of two bodies, the Bundesrath, representing the states of the union, whose members, 58 in number, are chosen for each session by the several state governments; and the Reichstag, representing the people, whose members, 397 in number, are elected by universal suffrage for periods of five years. The German union, as now constituted, comprises four kingdoms, six grand duchies, five duchies, seven principalities, three cities, and the Reichsland of Alsace-Lorraine; twenty-six separate states in all. It includes all the German peoples with the exception of those of Austria.

The Progress of Germany

The progress of Germany within the century under review has been very great. The population of the states of the empire, 24,831,000 at the end of the Napoleonic wars, is now over 52,000,000, having more than doubled in number. The wealth of the country has grown in a far greater ratio, and Germany to-day is the most active manufacturing nation on the continent of Europe. Agriculture has similarly been greatly developed, and one of its products, the sugar beet, has become a principal raw material of manufacture, the production of beet-root sugar having increased enormously. The commerce of the empire has similarly augmented, it having become one of the most active commercial nations of the earth. Its imports, considerable in quantity, consist largely of raw materials and food stuffs, while it vies with Great Britain and the United States in the quantity of finished products sent abroad. In short, Germany has taken its place to-day as one of the most energetic of productive and commercial nations, and its wealth and importance have increased correspondingly.

Gladstone, the Apostle of Liberalism in England.

Gladstone’s First Political Address

It is a fact of much interest, as showing the growth of the human mind, that William Ewart Gladstone, the great advocate of English Liberalism, made his first political speech in vigorous opposition to the Reform Bill of 1831. He was then a student at Oxford University, but this boyish address had such an effect upon his hearers, that Bishop Wordsworth felt sure the speaker “would one day rise to be Prime Minister of England.” This prophetic utterance may be mated with another one, by Archdeacon Denison, who said: “I have just heard the best speech I ever heard in my life, by Gladstone, against the Reform Bill. But, mark my words, that man will one day be a Liberal, for he argued against the Bill on liberal ground.”

Gladstone in Parliament and the Cabinet

Both these far-seeing men hit the mark. Gladstone became Prime Minister and the leader of the Liberal Party in England. Yet he had been reared as a Conservative, and for many years he marched under the banner of Conservatism. His political career began in the first Reform Parliament, in January, 1833. Two years afterward he was made an under-secretary in Sir Robert Peel’s Cabinet. It was under the same Premier that he first became a full member of the Cabinet, in 1845, as Secretary of State for the Colonies. He was still a Tory in home politics, but had become a Liberal in his commercial ideas, and was Peel’s right-hand man in carrying out his great commercial policy.

The Letters from Naples

The repeal of the Corn-laws was the work for which his Cabinet had been formed, and Gladstone, as the leading Free-trader in the Tory ranks, was called to it. As for Cobden, the apostle of Free-trade, Gladstone admired him immensely. “I do not know,” he said in later years, “that there is in any period a man whose public career and life were nobler or more admirable. Of course, I except Washington. Washington, to my mind, is the purest figure in history.” As an advocate of Free-trade Gladstone first came into connection with another noble figure, that of John Bright, who was to remain associated with him during most of his career. In 1857 he first took rank as one of the great moral forces of modern times. In that year he visited Naples, where he saw the barbarous treatment of political prisoners under the government of the infamous King Bomba, and described them in letters whose indignation was breathed in such tremendous tones that England was stirred to its depths and all Europe awakened. These thrilling epistles gave the cause of Italian freedom an impetus that had much to do with its subsequent success, and gained for Gladstone the warmest veneration of patriotic Italians.

First Contest Between Gladstone and Disraeli

In 1852 he first came into opposition with the man against whom he was to be pitted during the remainder of his career, Benjamin Disraeli, who had made himself a power in Parliament, and in that year became Chancellor of the Exchequer in Lord Derby’s Cabinet and leader of the House of Commons. The revenue Budget introduced by him showed a sad lack of financial ability, and called forth sharp criticisms, to which he replied in a speech made up of scoffs, gibes and biting sarcasms, so daring and audacious in character as almost to intimidate the House. As he sat down Mr. Gladstone rose and launched forth into an oration which became historic. He gave voice to that indignation which lay suppressed beneath the cowed feeling which for the moment the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s performance had left among his hearers. In a few minutes the House was wildly cheering the intrepid champion who had rushed into the breach, and when Mr. Gladstone concluded, having torn to shreds the proposals of the Budget, a majority followed him into the division lobby, and Mr. Disraeli found his government beaten by nineteen votes. Such was the first great encounter between the two rivals.

Lord Derby resigned at once, and politics were plunged into a condition of the wildest excitement and confusion. Mr. Gladstone was the butt of Protectionist execration. He was near being thrown out of the window at the Carlton Club by twenty extreme Tories, who, coming upstairs after dinner, found him alone in the drawing-room. They did not quite go this length, though they threatened to do so, but contented themselves with insulting him.

In the Cabinet that followed, headed by Lord Aberdeen, Gladstone succeeded Disraeli as Chancellor of the Exchequer, a position in which he was to make a great mark. In April, 1853, he introduced his first Budget, a marvel of ingenious statesmanship, in its highly successful effort to equalize taxation. It remitted various taxes which had pressed hard upon the poor and restricted business, and replaced them by applying the succession duty to real estate, increasing the duty on spirits, and extending the income tax. The latter Gladstone spoke of as an emergency tax, only to be applied in times of national danger, and presented a plan to extinguish it in 1860. His plan failed to work. Nearly fifty years have passed since then, and the income tax still remains, seemingly a fixed element of the British revenue system.

Gladstone’s Great Budget Speech

Taken altogether, and especially in its expedients to equalize taxation, this first Budget of Mr. Gladstone may be justly called the greatest of the century. The speech in which it was introduced and expounded created an extraordinary impression on the House and the country. For the first time in Parliament figures were made as interesting as a fairy tale; the dry bones of statistics were invested with a new and potent life, and it was shown how the yearly balancing of the national accounts might be directed by and made to promote the profoundest and most fruitful principles of statesmanship. With such lucidity and picturesqueness was this financial oratory rolled forth that the dullest intellect could follow with pleasure the complicated scheme; and for five hours the House of Commons sat as if it were under the sway of a magician’s wand. When Mr. Gladstone resumed his seat, it was felt that the career of the coalition Ministry was assured by the genius that was discovered in its Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Gladstone’s Powers as an Orator

It was, indeed, to Gladstone’s remarkable oratorical powers that much of his success as a statesman was due. No man of his period was his equal in swaying and convincing his hearers. His rich and musical voice, his varied and animated gestures, his impressive and vigorous delivery, great fluency, and wonderful precision of statement, gave him a power over an audience which few men of the century have enjoyed. His sentences, indeed, were long and involved, growing more so as his years advanced, but their fine choice of words, rich rhetoric, and eloquent delivery carried away all that heard him, as did his deep earnestness, and intense conviction of the truth of his utterances.

We must pass rapidly over a number of years of Gladstone’s career, through most of which he continued to serve as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and to amaze and delight the country by the financial reforms effected in his annual Budgets. Between 1853 and 1866 those reforms represented a decrease in the weight of the burden of the national revenue amounting to £13,000,000.

Meanwhile his Liberalism had been steadily growing, and reached its culmination in 1865, when the great Tory university of Oxford, which he had long represented, rejected him as its member. At once he offered himself as a candidate for South Lancashire, in which his native place was situated, saying, in the opening of his speech at Manchester: “At last, my friends, I am come among you; to use an expression which has become very famous and is not likely to be forgotten, ‘I am come among you unmuzzled.’”

Gladstone the Liberal Leader of the House

Unmuzzled he was, as his whole future career was to show. Oxford had, in a measure, clipped his wings. Now he was free to give the fullest expression to his liberal faith, and to stand before the country as the great apostle of reform. In 1866 he became, for the first time in his career, leader of the House of Commons—Lord Russel, the Prime Minister, being in the House of Lords. Many of his friends feared for him in this difficult position; but the event proved that they had no occasion for alarm, he showing himself one of the most successful leaders the House had ever had.

The Suffrage Reform Bill

His first important duty in this position was to introduce the new suffrage Reform Bill, a measure to extend the franchise in counties and boroughs that would have added about 400,000 voters to the electorate. In the debate that followed Gladstone and Disraeli were again pitted against each other in a grand oratorical contest. Disraeli taunted him with his youthful speech at Oxford against the Reform Bill of 1831. Gladstone replied in a burst of vigorous eloquence, in which he scored his opponent for lingering in a conservatism from which the speaker gloried in having been strong enough to break. He and the Cabinet were pledged to stand or fall with the Bill. But, if it fell, the principle of right and justice which it involved would not fall. It was sure to survive and triumph in the future. He ended with this stirring prediction:

“You cannot fight against the future. Time is on our side. The great social forces which move onwards in their might and majesty, and which the tumult of our debates does not for a moment impede or disturb, those great social forces are against you: they are marshalled on our side; and the banner which we now carry into this fight, though perhaps at some moment it may droop over our sinking heads, yet it soon again will float in the eye of Heaven, and it will be borne by the firm hands of the united people of the three kingdoms, perhaps not to an easy, but to a certain, and to a not far distant, victory.”

England Agitated on Reform

Disraeli and his party won. The Bill was defeated. But its defeat roused the people almost as they had been roused in 1832. A formidable riot broke out in London. Ten thousand people marched in procession past Gladstone’s residence, singing odes in honor of “the People’s William.” There were demonstrations in his favor and in support of the Bill throughout the country. The agitation continued during the winter, its fire fed by the eloquence of another of the great orators of the century, the “tribune of the people,” John Bright. This distinguished man and powerful public speaker, through all his life a strenuous advocate of moral reform and political progress, had begun his parliamentary career as an advocate of the Reform Bill of 1831–32. He now became one of the great leaders in the new campaign, and through his eloquence and that of Gladstone the force of public opinion rose to such a height that the new Derby-Disraeli ministry found itself obliged to bring in a Bill similar to that which it had worked so hard to overthrow.

And now a striking event took place. The Tory Reform Bill was satisfactory to Gladstone in its general features, but he proposed many improvements—lodger franchise, educational and savings-bank franchises, enlargement of the redistribution of seats, etc.—every one of which was yielded in committee, until, as one lord remarked, nothing of the original Bill remained but the opening word, “Whereas.” This bill, really the work of Gladstone, and more liberal than the one which had been defeated, was passed, and Toryism, in the very success of its measure, suffered a crushing defeat. To Gladstone, as the people perceived, their right to vote was due.

Disraeli Becomes Prime Minister

But Disraeli was soon to attain to the exalted office for which he had long been striving. In February, 1868, failing health caused Lord Derby to resign, and Disraeli was asked to form a new administration. Thus the “Asian Mystery,” as he had been entitled, reached the summit of his ambition, in becoming Prime Minister of England.

Gladstone is Made Prime Minister

He was not to hold this position long. Gladstone was to reach the same high eminence before the year should end. Disraeli’s government, beginning in February, 1868, was defeated on the question of the disestablishment of the Irish Church; an appeal to the country resulted in a large Liberal gain; and on December 4th the Queen sent for Mr. Gladstone and commissioned him to form a new ministry. The task was completed by the 9th, Mr. Bright, who had aided so greatly in the triumph of the Liberals, entering the new cabinet as President of the Board of Trade. Thus at last, after thirty-five years of active public life, Mr. Gladstone was at the summit of power—Prime Minister of Great Britain with a strong majority in Parliament in his support.

Bishop Wilberforce, who met him in this hour of triumph, wrote of him thus in his journal: “Gladstone as ever great, earnest, and honest; as unlike the tricky Disraeli as possible. He is so delightfully true and the same; just as full of interest in every good thing of every kind.”

The period which followed the election of 1868—the period of the Gladstone Administration of 1868–74—has been called “the golden age of Liberalism.” It was certainly a period of great reforms. The first, the most heroic, and probably—taking all the results into account—the most completely successful of these, was the disestablishment of the Irish Church.

Though Mr. Gladstone had a great majority at his back, the difficulties which confronted him were immense. In Ireland the wildest protests emanated from the friends of the Establishment. The “loyal minority” declared that their loyalty would come to an end if the measure were passed. One synod, speaking with a large assumption, even for a synod, of inspired knowledge, denounced it as “highly offensive to the Almighty God.” The Orangemen threatened to rise in insurrection. A martial clergyman proposed to “kick the Queen’s crown into the Boyne” if she assented to such a Bill. Another announced his intention of fighting with the Bible in one hand and the sword in the other. These appeals and these threats of civil war, absurd as they proved to be in reality, were not without producing some effect in Great Britain, and it was amid a din of warnings, of misgiving counsels, and of hostile cries, that Mr. Gladstone proceeded to carry out the mandate of the nation which he had received at the polls.

Disestablishment of the Irish Church

On the first of March, 1869, he introduced his Disestablishment Bill. His speech was one of the greatest marvels amongst his oratorical achievements. His chief opponent declared that, though it lasted three hours, it did not contain a redundant word. The scheme which it unfolded—a scheme which withdrew the temporal establishment of a Church in such a manner that the Church was benefited, not injured, and which lifted from the backs of an oppressed people an intolerable burden—was a triumph of creative genius. Leaving aside his Budgets, which stand in a different category, it seems to us there is no room to doubt that in his record of constructive legislation this measure for the disestablishment of the Irish Church is Mr. Gladstone’s most perfect masterpiece.

Disraeli’s speech in opposition to this measure was referred to by the London Times as “flimsiness relieved by spangles.” After a debate in which Mr. Bright made one of his most famous speeches, the bill was carried by a majority of 118. Before this strong manifestation of the popular will the House of Lords, which deeply disliked the Bill, felt obliged to give way, and passed it by a majority of seven.

The Irish Land Bill Enacted

In 1870 Mr. Gladstone introduced his Irish Land Bill, a measure of reform which Parliament had for years refused to grant. By it the tenant was given the right to hold his farm as long as he paid his rent, and received a claim upon the improvement made by himself and his predecessors—a tenant-right which he could sell. This bill was triumphantly carried; and another important Liberal measure, Mr. Forster’s Education Bill, became law.

In the following sessions the tide of Liberal reform continued on its course. Among the reforms adopted was that of vote by ballot. A measure was introduced abolishing purchase in the Army; and on this question Mr. Gladstone had his third notable conflict with the Lords. The Lords threw out the Bill. The imperious Premier, having found that purchase in the Army existed only by royal sanction, advised the Queen to issue a Royal Warrant cancelling the regulation. By a single act of executive authority he carried out a reform to which Parliament had, through one of its branches, refused its assent. This was a high-handed, not to say autocratic, step, and it afforded a striking revelation of the capacities in boldness and resolution of Mr. Gladstone’s character. It was denounced as Cæsarism and Cromwellism in some quarters; in others as an unconstitutional invocation of the royal prerogative.

Defeat of Gladstone and the Liberals

But the career of reform at length proved too rapid for the country to follow. The Government was defeated in 1873 on a bill for University Education in Ireland. Gladstone at once resigned, but, as Disraeli declined to form a Government, he was obliged to resume office. In 1874 he took the bold step of dissolving Parliament and appealing to the country for support. If he were returned to power he promised to repeal the income tax. He was not returned. The Tory party gained a majority of 46. Gladstone at once resigned, not only the Premiership, but the leadership of the Liberal party, and retired to private life—a much needed rest after his many years of labor. Disraeli succeeded him as Prime Minister, and two years afterwards was raised to the peerage by the Queen as the Earl of Beaconsfield.

Mr. Gladstone was never idle. The intervals of his public duties were filled with tireless studies and frequent literary labors. Chief among the latter were his “Homeric Studies,” works which showed great erudition and active mental exercise, though not great powers of critical discrimination. They adopted views which were then becoming obsolete, and their conclusions have been rejected by Homeric scholars. Gladstone’s greatness was as an orator and a moral reformer, not as a great logician and brilliant thinker.

Gladstone on the Bulgarian Horrors

In the period at which we have arrived his moral greatness and literary fervor were both called into exercise in an international cause. The Bulgarian atrocities of 1876—spoken of in Chapter X—called the aged statesman from his retirement, and his pamphlet entitled “Bulgarian Horrors and the Question of the East,” rang through England like a trumpet-call. “Let the Turks now carry away their abuses in the only possible manner—by carrying off themselves,” he wrote. “Their Zaptiehs and their Mudirs, their Bimbashis and their Yuzbachis, their Kaimakams and their Pashas, one and all, bag and baggage, shall, I hope, clear out from the province they have desolated and profaned.”

His Second Great Contest with Disraeli

He followed up this pamphlet by a series of speeches, delivered to great meetings and to the House of Commons, with which for four years he sought, as he expressed it, “night and day to counterwork the purpose of Lord Beaconsfield.” He succeeded; England was prevented by his eloquence from joining the Turks in the war; but he excited the fury of the war party to such an extent that at one time it was not safe for him to appear in the streets of London. Nor was he quite safe in the House of Commons, where the Conservatives hated him so bitterly as to jeer and interrupt him whenever he spoke, and a party of them went so far as to mob him in the House.

Yet the sentiment he had aroused saved the country from the greatest of the follies by which it was threatened; and, if it failed to stop the lesser adventures in which Lord Beaconsfield found an outlet for the passions he had unloosed,—an annexation of Cyprus, an interference in Egypt, an annexation of the Transvaal, a Zulu war which Mr. Gladstone denounced as “one of the most monstrous and indefensible in our history,” an Afghan war which he described as a national crime,—it nevertheless was so true an interpretation of the best, the deliberate, judgment of the nation, that it sufficed eventually to bring the Liberal party back to power.

Gladstone Again Made Premier

This took place in 1880. In the campaign for the Parliament elected in that year Gladstone took a most active part, and had much to do with the great Liberal victory that followed. In the face of the overwhelming majority that was returned Lord Beaconsfield resigned office, and Gladstone a second time was called to the head of the government.

Parnell Becomes the Leader of the Irish Party

As in the previous, so in the present, Gladstone administration the question of Ireland loomed up above all others. While Beaconsfield remained Premier Ireland was lost sight of, quite dwarfed by the Eastern question upon which the two life-long adversaries measured their strength. But as Turkey went down in public interest Ireland rose. The Irish people were gaining a vivid sense of their power under the Constitution. And another famine came to put the land laws and government of Ireland to a severe test. Still more, Ireland gained a leader, a man of remarkable ability, who was to play as great a part in its history as O’Connell had done half a century before. This was Charles Stewart Parnell, the founder of the Irish Land League—a powerful trade-union of tenant farmers—and for many years the leader of the Irish party in Parliament. In the Parliament of 1880 his followers numbered sixty-eight, enough to make him a power to be dealt with in legislation.

Gladstone, in assuming control of the new government, was quite unaware of the task before him. When he had completed his work with the Church and the Land Bills ten years before, he fondly fancied that the Irish question was definitely settled. The Home Rule movement, which was started in 1870, seemed to him a wild delusion which would die away of itself. In 1884 he said: “I frankly admit that I had had much upon my hands connected with the doings of the Beaconsfield Government in every quarter of the world, and I did not know—no one knew—the severity of the crisis that was already swelling upon the horizon, and that shortly after rushed upon us like a flood.”

The Famine and the Bill for Irish Relief

He was not long in discovering the gravity of the situation, of which the House had been warned by Mr. Parnell. The famine had brought its crop of misery, and, while the charitable were seeking to relieve the distress, many of the landlords were turning adrift their tenants for non-payment of rents. The Irish party brought in a Bill for the Suspension of Evictions, which the government replaced by a similar one for Compensation for Disturbance. This was passed with a large majority by the Commons, but was rejected by the Lords, and Ireland was left to face its misery without relief.

Mr. Forster’s Policy of Coercion

The state of Ireland at that moment was too critical to be dealt with in this manner. The rejection of the Compensation for Disturbance Bill was, to the peasantry whom it had been intended to protect, a message of despair, and it was followed by the usual symptom of despair in Ireland, an outbreak of agrarian crime. On the one hand over 17,000 persons were evicted; on the other there was a dreadful crop of murders and outrages. The Land League sought to do what Parliament did not; but in doing so it came in contact with the law. Moreover, the revolution—for revolution it seemed to be—grew too formidable for its control; the utmost it succeeded in doing was in some sense to ride without directing the storm. The first decisive step of Mr. Forster, the chief secretary for Ireland, was to strike a blow at the Land League. In November he ordered the prosecution of Mr. Parnell, Mr. Biggar, and several of the officials of the organization, and before the year was out he announced his intention of introducing a Coercion Bill. This step threw the Irish members under Mr. Parnell and the Liberal Government into relations of definitive antagonism.

Mr. Forster introduced his Coercion Bill on January 24, 1881. It was a formidable measure, which enabled the chief secretary, by signing a warrant, to arrest any man on suspicion of having committed a given offence, and to imprison him without trial at the pleasure of the government. It practically suspended the liberties of Ireland. The Irish members exhausted every resource of parliamentary action in resisting it, and their tactics resulted in several scenes unprecedented in parliamentary history. In order to pass the Bill it was necessary to suspend them in a body several times. Mr. Gladstone, with manifest pain, found himself, as leader of the House, the agent by whom this extreme resolve had to be executed.

Gladstone’s New Land Bill

The Coercion Bill passed, Mr. Gladstone introduced his Land Bill of 1881, which was the measure of conciliation intended to balance the measure of repression. This was really a great and sweeping reform, whose dominant feature was the introduction of the novel and far-reaching principle of the State stepping in between landlord and tenant and fixing the rents. The Bill had some defects, as a series of amending acts, which were subsequently passed by both Liberal and Tory Governments, proved; but, apart from these, it was on the whole the greatest measure of land reform ever passed for Ireland by the Imperial Parliament.

Stirring Events in Ireland

But Ireland was not yet satisfied. Parnell had no confidence in the good intentions of the government, and took steps to test its honesty, which so angered Mr. Forster that he arrested Mr. Parnell and several other leaders and pronounced the Land League an illegal body. Forster was well meaning but mistaken. He fancied that by locking up the ringleaders he could bring quiet to the country. On the contrary, affairs were soon far worse than ever, crime and outrage spreading widely. In despair, Mr. Forster released Parnell and resigned. All now seemed hopeful; coercion had proved a failure; peace and quiet were looked for; when, four days afterward, the whole country was horrified by a terrible crime. The new secretary for Ireland, Lord Cavendish, and the under-secretary, Mr. Burke, were attacked and hacked to death with knives in Phœnix Park.

Everywhere panic and indignation arose. A new Coercion Act was passed without delay. It was vigorously put into effect, and a state of virtual war between England and Ireland again came into existence. Great Britain, in her usual fashion of seeking to carry the world on her shoulders, had made the control of the Suez Canal an excuse for meddling with the government of Egypt.

The Bombardment of Alexandria and Death of Gordon

The result was a revolution that drove Ismail Pasha from his throne. As the British still held control, a revolt broke out among the people, headed by an ambitious leader named Arabi Pasha, and Alexandria was seized, the British being driven out and many of them killed. Much as Gladstone deprecated war, he felt himself forced into it. John Bright, to whom war was a crime that nothing could warrant, resigned from the cabinet, but the Government acted vigorously, the British fleet being ordered to bombard Alexandria. This was done effectively. The city, half reduced to ashes, was occupied by the British, Arabi and his army withdrawing in haste. Soon afterwards he was defeated by General Wolseley and the insurrection was at an end. Egypt remained a vassal of Great Britain. An unfortunate sequel to this may be briefly stated. A formidable insurrection broke out in the Soudan, under El Mahdi, a Mohammedan fanatic, who captured the city of Khartoum and murdered the famous General Gordon. For years Upper Egypt was lost to the state, it being recovered only at the close of the century by a military expedition.

In South Africa the British were less successful. Here a war had been entered into with the Boers, in which the British forces suffered a severe defeat at Majuba Hill. Gladstone did not adopt the usual fashion of seeking revenge by the aid of a stronger force, but made peace, the Boers gaining what they had been fighting for.

The Defeat of the Liberals

Disasters like this weakened the administration. Parnell and his followers joined hands with the Tories, and a vigorous assault was made upon the government. Slowly its majority fell away, and at length, in May, 1885, it was defeated.

The scene which followed was a curious one. The Irish raised cries of “No Coercion,” while the Tories delivered themselves up to a frenzy of jubilation, waving hats and handkerchiefs, and wildly cheering. Lord Randolph Churchill jumped on a bench, brandished his hat madly above his head, and altogether behaved as if he were beside himself. Mr. Gladstone calmly resumed the letter to the Queen which he had been writing on his knee, while the clerk at the table proceeded to run through the orders of the day, as if nothing particular had happened. When in a few moments the defeated Premier moved the adjournment, he did so still holding his letter in one hand and the pen in the other, and the Conservatives surged through the doorway, tumultuously cheering.

Gladstone’s great opponent was no longer on earth to profit by his defeat. Beaconsfield had died in 1881, and Lord Salisbury became head of the new Tory Government, one which owed its existence to Irish votes. It had a very short life. Parnell and his fellows soon tired of their unnatural alliance, turned against and defeated the Government, and Gladstone was sent for to form a new government. On February 1, 1886, he became Prime Minister of Great Britain for the third time.

Gladstone a Convert to Home Rule

During the brief interval his opinions had suffered a great revolution. He no longer thought that Ireland had all it could justly demand. He returned to power as an advocate of a most radical measure, that of Home Rule for Ireland, a restoration of that separate Parliament which it had lost in 1800. He also had a scheme to buy out the Irish landlords and establish a peasant proprietary by state aid. His new views were revolutionary in character, but he did not hesitate—he never hesitated to do what his conscience told him was right. On April 8, 1886, he introduced to Parliament his Home Rule Bill.

A Remarkable Scene in Parliament

The scene that afternoon was one of the most remarkable in Parliamentary history. Never before was such interest manifested in a debate by either the public or the members of the House. In order to secure their places, members arrived at St. Stephen’s at six o’clock in the morning, and spent the day on the premises; and, a thing quite unprecedented, members who could not find places on the benches filled up the floor of the House with rows of chairs. The strangers’, diplomats’, peers’, and ladies’ galleries were filled to overflowing. Men begged even to be admitted to the ventilating passages beneath the floor of the Chamber that they might in some sense be witnesses of the greatest feat in the lifetime of an illustrious old man of eighty. Around Palace Yard an enormous crowd surged, waiting to give the veteran a welcome as he drove up from Downing Street.

Mr. Gladstone arrived in the House, pale and still panting from the excitement of his reception in the streets. As he sat there the entire Liberal party—with the exception of Lord Hartington, Sir Henry James, Mr. Chamberlain and Sir George Trevelyan—and the Nationalist members, by a spontaneous impulse, sprang to their feet and cheered him again and again. The speech which he delivered was in every way worthy of the occasion. It expounded, with marvelous lucidity and a noble eloquence, a tremendous scheme of constructive legislation—the re-establishment of a legislature in Ireland, but one subordinate to the Imperial Parliament, and hedged round with every safeguard which could protect the unity of the Empire. It took three hours in delivery, and was listened to throughout with the utmost attention on every side of the House. At its close all parties united in a tribute of admiration for the genius which had astonished them with such an exhibition of its powers.

Yet it is one thing to cheer an orator, another thing to vote for a revolution. The Bill was defeated—as it was almost sure to be. Mr. Gladstone at once dissolved Parliament and appealed to the country in a new election, with the result that he was decisively defeated. His bold declaration that the contest was one between the classes and the masses turned the aristocracy against him, while he had again roused the bitter hatred of his opponents.

But the “Grand Old Man” bided his time. The new Salisbury ministry was one of coercion carried to the extreme in Ireland, wholesale eviction, arrest of members of Parliament, suppression of public meetings by force of arms, and other measures of violence which in the end wearied the British public and doubled the support of Home Rule. In 1892 Mr. Gladstone returned to power with a majority of more than thirty Home Rulers in his support.

Gladstone’s Last and Greatest Triumph

It was one of the greatest efforts in the career of the old Parliamentary hero when he brought his new Home Rule Bill before the House. Never in his young days had he worked more earnestly and incessantly. He disarmed even his bitterest enemies, none of whom now dreamed of treating him with disrespect. Mr. Balfour spoke of the delight and fascination with which even his opponents watched his leading of the House and listened to his unsurpassed eloquence. Old age had come to clothe with its pathos, as well as with its majesty, the white-haired, heroic figure. The event proved one of the greatest triumphs of his life. The Bill passed with a majority of thirty-four. That it would pass in the House of Lords no one looked for. It was defeated there by a majority of 378 out of 460.

The Close of a Great Career

With this great event the public career of the Grand Old Man came to an end. The burden had grown too heavy for his reduced strength. In March, 1894, to the consternation of his party, he announced his intention of retiring from public life. The Queen offered, as she had done once before, to raise him to the peerage as an earl, but he declined the proffer. His own plain name was a title higher than that of any earldom in the kingdom.

On May 19, 1898 William Ewart Gladstone laid down the burden of his life as he had already done that of labor. The greatest and noblest figure in legislative life of the nineteenth century had passed away from earth.


Ireland the Downtrodden.

Ireland in the Past Centuries

Time was when Ireland was free. But it was a barbarian freedom. The island had more kings than it had counties, each petty chief bearing the royal title, while their battles were as frequent as those of our Indian tribes of a past age. The island, despite the fact that it had an active literature reaching back to the early centuries of the Christian era, was in a condition of endless turmoil. This state of affairs was gradually put an end to after the English conquest; but the civilization which was introduced into the island was made bitter by an injustice and oppression which has filled the Irish heart with an undying hatred of the English nation and a ceaseless desire to break loose from its bonds.

For centuries, indeed, the rule of England was largely a nominal one, the English control being confined to a few coast districts in the east. In the interior the native tribes continued under the rule of their chiefs, were governed by their own laws, and remained practically independent.

The O’Neill Rebellion and the Confiscation of Ulster

It was not until the reign of James I. that England became master of all Ireland. In the last days of the reign of Elizabeth a great rising against the English had taken place in Ulster, under a chief named O’Neill. The Earl of Essex failed to put it down and was disgraced by the queen in consequence. The armies of James finally suppressed the rebellion, and the unruly island now, for the first time, came fully under the control of an English king. It had given the earlier monarchs nothing but trouble, and James determined to weaken its power for mischief. To do so he took possession of six counties of Ulster and filled them with Scotch and English colonists. As for the Irish, they were simply crowded out, and left to seek a living where they could. There was no place left for them but the marshes.

This act of ruthless violence filled the Irish with an implacable hatred of their oppressors which has not vanished in the years since it took place. They treasured up their wrongs for thirty years, but in 1641, when England was distracted by its civil war, they rose in their wrath, fell upon the colonists, and murdered all who could not save themselves by flight. For eight years, while the English had their hands full at home, the Irish held their reconquered lands in triumph, but in 1649 Cromwell fell upon them with his invincible Ironsides, and took such a cruel revenge that he himself confessed that he had imbued his hands in blood like a common butcher. In truth, the Puritans looked upon the Papists as outside the pale of humanity, and no more to be considered than a herd of wild beasts, and they dealt with them as hunters might with noxious animals.

Cromwell’s Bloody Severity and the Fate of the Irish

The severity of Cromwell was threefold greater than that of James, for he drove the Irish out of three provinces, Ulster, Leinster and Munster, bidding them go and find bread or graves in the wilderness of Connaught. Again the Irish rose, when James II., the dethroned king, came to demand their aid; and again they were overthrown, this time in the memorable Battle of the Boyne. William III. now completed the work of confiscation. The greater part of the remaining province of Connaught was taken from its holders and given to English colonists. The natives of the island became a landless people in their own land.

The Cause of Irish Hatred of England

To complete their misery and degradation, William and the succeeding monarchs robbed them of all their commerce and manufactures, by forbidding them to trade with other countries. Their activity in this direction interfered with the profits of English producers and merchants. By these merciless and cruel methods the Irish were reduced to a nation of tenants, laborers and beggars, and such they still remain, downtrodden, oppressed, their most lively sentiment being their hatred of the English, to whom they justly impute their degradation.

The time came when England acknowledged with shame and sorrow the misery to which she had reduced a sister people—but it was then too late to retrieve the wrong. English landlords owned the land, manufacturing industry had been irretrievably crowded out, the evil done was past mending.

With these preliminary statements we come to the verge of the nineteenth century. America had rebelled against England and gained independence. This fact stirred up a new desire for liberty in the Irish. The island had always possessed a legislature of its own, but it was of no value to the natives. It represented only the great Protestant landowners, and could pass no act without the consent of the Privy Council of England.

Home Rule and the Act of Union

A demand for a national Parliament was made, and the English government, having its experience in America before its eyes, granted it, an act being passed in 1782 which made Ireland independent of England in legislation, a system such as is now called Home Rule. It was not enough. It did not pacify the island. The religious animosity between the Catholics and Protestants continued, and in 1798 violent disturbances broke out, with massacres on both sides.

The Irish Parliament was a Protestant body, and at first was elected solely by Protestant votes. Grattan, the eminent Irish statesman, through whose efforts this body had been made an independent legislature,—“The King, Lords, and Commons of Ireland, to make laws for the people of Ireland,”—carried an act to permit Catholics to vote for its members. He then strove for a measure to permit Catholics to sit as members in the Irish Parliament. This was too much for George III. He recalled Lord Fitzwilliam, the viceroy of Ireland, who had encouraged and assisted Grattan and blighted the hopes of the Irish Catholics.

The United Irishmen and Act of Union

The revolt that followed was the work of a society called the United Irishmen, organized by Protestants, but devoted to the interests of Ireland. Wolfe Tone, one of its leading members, went to France and induced Napoleon to send an expedition to Ireland. A fleet was dispatched, but this, like the Spanish Armada, was dispersed by a storm, and the few Frenchmen who landed were soon captured. The rebellion was as quickly crushed, and was followed by deeds of remorseless cruelty, so shameful that they were denounced by the commander-in-chief himself. With this revolt the independence of Ireland ended. An act of union was offered and carried through the Irish Parliament by a very free use of money among the members, and the Irish Legislature was incorporated with the British one. Since January 1, 1801, all laws for Ireland have been made in London.

Among the most prominent members of the United Irishmen Society were two brothers named Emmet, the fate of one of whom has ever since been remembered with sympathy. Thomas A. Emmet, one of these brothers, was arrested in 1798 as a member of this society, and was imprisoned until 1802, when he was released on condition that he should spend the remainder of his life on foreign soil. He eventually reached New York, at whose bar he attained eminence. The fate of his more famous brother, Robert Emmet, was tragical. This young man, a school-fellow of Thomas Moore, the poet, was expelled from Trinity College in 1798, when twenty years of age, as a member of the United Irishmen. He went to the continent, interviewed Napoleon on behalf of the Irish cause, and returned in 1802 with a wild idea of freeing Ireland by his own efforts from English rule.

The Fate of Robert Emmet

Organizing a plan for a revolution, and expending his small fortune in the purchase of muskets and pikes, he formed a plot to seize Dublin Castle, capture the viceroy, and dominate the capital. At the head of a small body of followers he set out on this hopeless errand, which ended at the first volley of the guards, before which his confederates hastily dispersed. Emmet, who had dressed himself for the occasion in a green coat, white breeches and cocked hat, was deeply mortified at the complete failure of his scheme. He fled to the Wicklow mountains, whence, perceiving that success in his plans was impossible, he resolved to escape to the continent. But love led him to death. He was deeply attached to the daughter of Curran, the celebrated orator, and, in despite of the advice of his friends, would not consent to leave Ireland until he had seen her. The attempt was a fatal one. On his return from the interview with his lady-love he was arrested and imprisoned on a charge of high treason. He was condemned to death September 19, 1803, and was hanged the next day.

Before receiving sentence he made an address to the court of such noble and pathetic eloquence that it still thrills the reader with sympathetic emotion. It is frequently reprinted among examples of soul-stirring oratory. The disconsolate woman, Sarah Curran, perished of a broken heart after his untimely death. This event is the theme of one of Moore’s finest poems: “She is far from the land where her young hero lies.”

Landlords, Tenants and Clergy

The death of Emmet and the dispersal of the United Irishmen by no means ended the troubles in Ireland, but rather added to their force. Ireland and England, unlike in the character and religion of their people and in their institutions, continued in a state of hostility, masked or active, the old feuds being kept alive on the one side by the landlords, on the other by the peasantry and the clergy. The country was divided into a great number of small farms, thousands of them being less than five acres each in size. For these the landlords—many of whom the tenants never saw and some of whom had never seen Ireland—often exacted extravagant rents. Again, while the great majority of the people was Catholic, the Catholic clergy had to be supported by the voluntary contributions of the poverty-stricken people, while tithes, or church taxes, were exacted by law for the payment of clergymen of the English Church, who remained almost without congregations. Finally, the Catholics were disfranchised. After the abolishment of the Irish Parliament they were without representation in the government under which they lived. No Catholic could be a member of Parliament. It is not surprising that their protest was vigorous, and that the British government had many rebellious outbreaks to put down.

O’Connell and Catholic Emancipation

It was the disfranchisement of the Catholics that first roused opposition. Grattan brought up a bill for “Catholic Emancipation”—that is, the admission of Catholics to the British Parliament and the repeal of certain ancient, and oppressive edicts—in 1813. The bill was lost, but a new and greater advocate of Irish rights now arose, Daniel O’Connell, the “Liberator,” the greatest of Irish orators and patriots, who for many years was to champion the cause of downtrodden Ireland.

The “Counsellor” and His Oratory

The “counsellor”—a favorite title of O’Connell among his Irish admirers—was a man of remarkable powers, noted for his boisterous Irish wit and good humor, his fearlessness and skill as a counsel, his constant tact and readiness in reply, his unrivalled skill in the cross-examination of Irish witnesses, and the violent language which he often employed in court. This man, of burly figure, giant strength, inexhaustible energy and power of work, a voice mighty enough to drown the noise of a crowd, a fine command of telling language, coarse but effective humor, ready and telling retort, and master of all the artillery of vituperation, was just the man to control the Irish people, passing with the ease of a master from bursts of passion and outbreaks of buffoonery to passages of the tenderest pathos. Thoroughly Irish, he seemed made by nature to sustain the cause of Ireland.

O’Connell was shrewd enough to deter revolt, and, while awakening in the Irish the spirit of nationality, he taught them to keep political agitation within constitutional limits, and seek by legislative means what they had no hope of gaining by force of arms. His legal practice was enormous, yet amid it he found time for convivial relaxation and for a deep plunge into the whirlpool of politics.

The Irish Association

The vigorous advocate was not long in rising to the chiefship of the Irish party, but his effective work in favor of Catholic emancipation began in 1823, when he founded the “Irish Association,” a gigantic system of organization which Ireland had nothing similar to before. The clergy were disinclined to take part in this movement, but O’Connell’s eloquence brought them in before the end of the year, and under their influence it became national, spreading irresistibly throughout the land and rousing everywhere the greatest enthusiasm. To obtain funds for its support the “Catholic Rent” was established—one penny a month—which yielded as much as £500 per week.

In alarm at the growth of this association, the government brought in a bill for its suppression, but O’Connell, too shrewd to come into conflict with the authorities, forstalled them by dissolving it in 1825. He had set the ball rolling. The Irish forty-shilling freeholders gained courage to oppose their landlords in the elections. In 1826 they carried Waterford. In 1828 O’Connell himself stood as member of parliament for Clare, and was elected amid the intense enthusiasm of the people.

This triumph set the whole country in a flame. The lord-lieutenant looked for an insurrection, and even Lord Wellington, prime minister of England, was alarmed at the threatening outlook. But O’Connell, knowing that an outbreak would be ruinous to the Catholic cause, used his marvelous powers to still the agitation and to induce the people to wait for parliamentary relief.

O’Connell in Parliament

This relief came the following year. A bill was passed which admitted Catholics to parliament, and under it O’Connell made his appearance in the House of Commons May 15, 1829. He declined to take the old oaths, which had been repealed by the bill. The House refused to admit him on these conditions, and he went down to Clare again, which sent him back like a conqueror. At the beginning of 1830 he took his seat unopposed.

O’Connell’s career in parliament was one of persistent labor for the repeal of the “Act of Union” with Great Britain, and Home Rule for Ireland, in the advocacy of which he kept the country stirred up for years. The abolition of tithes for the support of the Anglican clergy was another of his great subjects of agitation, and this one member had the strength of a host as an advocate of justice and freedom for his country.

The Tithe Troubles

The agitation on the Catholic question had quickened the sense of the wrongs of Ireland, and the Catholics were soon engaged in a crusade against tithes and the established Church, which formed the most offensive symbols of their inferior position in the state. In 1830 the potato crop in Ireland was very poor, and wide-spread misery and destitution prevailed. O’Connell advised the people to pay no tithes, but in this matter they passed beyond his control, and for months crime ran rampant. The farmers refused to pay tithes or rents, armed bands marched through the island, and murder and incendiarism visited the homes of the rich. A stringent coercion bill was enacted and the troubles were put down by the strong hand of the law. Subsequently the Whig party, then in power, practically abolished tithes, cutting down the revenue of the Established Church, and using the remainder for secular purposes, and the agitation subsided.

In 1832 O’Connell became member for Dublin, and nominated most of the Irish candidates, with such effect that he had in the next Parliament a following of forty-five members, known sarcastically as his “tail.” He gradually attained a position of great eminence in the House of Commons, standing in the first rank of parliamentary orators as a debater.

The Home Rule Crusade

When a Tory ministry came into power, in 1841, O’Connell began a vigorous agitation in favor of repeal of the Act of Union and of Home Rule for Ireland, advocating the measure with all his wonderful power of oratory. In 1843 he travelled 5,000 miles through Ireland, speaking to immense meetings, attended by hundreds of thousands of people, and extending to every corner of the island. But thanks to his great controlling power, and the influence of Father Mathew, the famous temperance advocate, these audiences were never unruly mobs, but remained free from crime and drunkenness. The greatest was that held on the Hill of Tara, at which, according to the Nation, three-quarters of a million persons were present.

O’Connell wisely deprecated rebellion and bloodshed. “He who commits a crime adds strength to the enemy,” was his favorite motto. Through a whole generation, with wonderful skill, he kept the public mind at the highest pitch of political excitement, yet restrained it from violence. But with all his power the old chief began to lose control of the enthusiastic Young Ireland party and, confident that the government must soon yield to the impassioned appeal from a whole nation, he allowed himself in his speeches to outrun his sober judgment.

O’Connell Imprisoned

Fearful of an outbreak of violence, the government determined to put an end to these enormous meetings, and a force of 35,000 men was sent to Ireland. A great meeting had been called for Clantarf on October 5, 1843, but it was forbidden the day before by the authorities, and O’Connell, fearing bloodshed, abandoned it. He was arrested, however, tried for a conspiracy to arouse sedition, and sentenced to a year’s imprisonment and a fine of £2,000. This sentence was set aside by the House of Lords some months afterward as erroneous, and at once bonfires blazed across Ireland from sea to sea. But the three months he passed in prison proved fatal to the old chief, then nearly seventy years old. He contracted a disease which carried him to the grave three years afterwards.

The Young Ireland Rebellion

During his withdrawal the Young Ireland party began to advocate resistance to the government. In 1846 and 1847 came the potato famine, the most severe visitation Ireland had known during the century, and in 1848 the revolutionary movement in Europe made itself felt on Irish soil. In the latter year the ardent Young Ireland party carried the country into rebellion; but the outbreak was easily put down, hardly a drop of blood being shed in its suppression. The popular leader, Smith O’Brien, was banished to Australia, but was eventually pardoned. John Mitchell, editor of the Nation and the United Irishman, was also banished, but subsequently escaped from Australia to the United States.

The wrongs of Ireland remained unredeemed, and as long as this was the case quiet could not be looked for in the island. In 1858 a Phœnix conspiracy was discovered and suppressed. Meanwhile John O’Mahony, one of the insurgents of 1848, organized a formidable secret society among the Irish in the United States, which he named the Fenian Brotherhood, after Finn, the hero of Irish legend. This organization was opposed by the Catholic clergy, but grew despite their opposition, its members becoming numerous and its funds large.

The Fenian Brotherhood

Its leader in Ireland was James Stephens, and its organ the Irish People newspaper. But there were traitors in the camp and in 1865 the paper was suppressed and the leaders were arrested. Stephens escaped from prison ten days after his arrest and made his way to America. The revolutionary activity of this association was small. There were some minor outbreaks and an abortive attempt to seize Chester Castle, and in September, 1867, an attack was made on a police van in Manchester, and the prisoners, who were Fenians, were rescued. Soon after an attempt was made to blow down Clerkenwell Prison wall, with the same purpose in view.

The Fenians in the United States organized a plot in 1866 for a raid upon Canada, which utterly failed, and in 1871 the government of this country put a summary end to a similar expedition. With this the active existence of the Fenian organization ended, unless we may ascribe to it the subsequent attempts to blow down important structures in London with dynamite.

Land Holding Reform in Ireland

These movements, while ineffective as attempts at insurrection, had their influence in arousing the more thoughtful statesmen of England to the causes for discontent and need of reform in Ireland, and since that period the Irish question has been the most prominent one in Parliament. Such men as Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Bright took the matter in hand, Gladstone presenting a bill for the final abolition of Irish tithes and the disestablishment of the English Church in Ireland. This was adopted in 1868, and the question of the reform of land holding was next taken up, a series of measures being passed to improve the condition of the Irish tenant farmer. If ejected, he was to be compensated for improvements he had made, and a Land Commission was formed with the power to reduce rents where this seemed necessary, and also to fix the rent for a term of years. At a later date a Land Purchase Commission was organized, to aid tenants in buying their farms from the landlords, by an advance of a large portion of the purchase money, with provision for gradual repayment.

The Home Rule Agitation

These measures did not put an end to the agitation. Numerous ejections from farms for non-payment of rent had been going on, and a fierce struggle was raging between the peasants and the agents of the absentee landlords. The disturbance was great, and successive Coercion Acts were passed. The peasants were supported by the powerful Land League, while the old question of Home Rule was revived again, under the active leadership of Charles Stewart Parnell, who headed a small but very determined body in Parliament. The succeeding legislation for Ireland, engineered by Mr. Gladstone, to the passage in the House of Commons of the Home Rule Bill of 1893, has been sufficiently described in the preceding chapter, and need not be repeated here. It will suffice to say in conclusion, that the demand for Home Rule still exists, and that, in spite of all efforts at reform, the position of the Irish peasant is far from being satisfactory, the most prolific crop in that long-oppressed land seemingly being one of beggary and semi-starvation.

England and Her Indian Empire.

The Black Hole of Calcutta

In 1756, in the town of Calcutta, the headquarters of the British in India, there occurred a terrible disaster. A Bengalese army marched upon and captured the town, taking prisoner all the English who had not escaped to their ships. The whole of these unfortunates, 146 in number, were thrust into the “black hole,” a small room about eighteen feet square, with two small windows. It was a night of tropical heat. The air of the crowded and unventilated room soon became unfit to breathe. The victims fought each other fiercely to reach the windows. The next morning, when the door was opened, only twenty-three of them remained alive. Such is the famous story of the “black hole of Calcutta.”

Clive and the Battle of Plassey

In the following year (1757) this barbarism was avenged. On the battlefield of Plassey stood an army of about 1,000 British and 2,100 Sepoys, with nine pieces of artillery. Opposed to them were 50,000 native infantry and 18,000 cavalry, with fifty cannon. The disproportion was enormous, but at the head of the British army was a great leader, Robert Clive, who had come out to India as a humble clerk, but was now commander of an army. A brief conflict ended the affair. The unwieldy native army fled. Clive’s handful of men stood victorious on the most famous field of Indian warfare.

This battle is taken as the beginning of the British Empire in India. It is of interest to remember that just one hundred years later, in 1857, that empire reached the most perilous point in its career, in the outbreak of the great Indian mutiny. Plassey settled one question. It gave India to the English in preference to the French, in whose interest the natives were fighting. The empire which Clive founded was organized by Warren Hastings, the ablest but the most unscrupulous of the governors of India. At the opening of the nineteenth century the British power in India was firmly established.

Wellesley’s Career in India

In 1798 the Marquis of Wellesley—afterwards known as Lord Wellington—was made governor. Even there he had his future great antagonist to guard against, for Napoleon was at that time in Egypt, and was thought to have the design of driving the British from India and restoring that great dominion to France. Wellesley’s career in India was a brilliant one. He overthrew the powerful Marhatta Confederacy, gained victory after victory over the native chiefs and kings, captured the great Mogul cities of Delhi and Agra, and spread the power of the British arms far and wide through the peninsula.

In the succeeding years war after war took place. The warlike Marhattas rebelled and were again put down, other tribes were conquered, and in 1824 the city of Bhartpur in Central India, believed by the natives to be impregnable, was taken by storm, and the reputation of the British as indomitable fighters was greatly enhanced. Rapidly the British power extended until nearly the whole peninsula was subdued. In 1837 the conquerors of India began to interfere in the affairs of Afghanistan, and a British garrison was placed in Cabul, the capital of that country, in 1839.

The Terrible Retreat from Cabul

Two years they stayed there, and then came to them one of the greatest catastrophes in the history of the British army. Surrounded by hostile and daring Afghans, the situation of the garrison grew so perilous that it seemed suicidal to remain in Cabul, and it was determined to evacuate the city and retreat to India through the difficult passes of the Himalayas. In January, 1842, they set out, 4,000 fighting men and 12,000 camp followers. Deep snows covered the hills and all around them swarmed the Afghans, savage and implacable, bent on their utter destruction, attacking them from every point of vantage, cutting down women and children with the same ruthless cruelty as they displayed in the case of men. One terrible week passed, then, on the afternoon of January 13th, the sentinels at the Cabul gate of Jelalabad saw approaching a miserable, haggard man, barely able to sit upon his horse. Utterly exhausted, covered with cuts and contusions, he rode through the gate, and announced himself as Dr. Brydan, the sole survivor of the army which had left Cabul one week before. The remainder, men, women, and children,—except a few who had been taken prisoners,—lay slaughtered along that dreadful road, their mangled bodies covering almost every foot of its bloodstained length.

The British exacted revenge for this terrible massacre. A powerful force fought its way back to Cabul, defeated the Afghans wherever met, and rescued the few prisoners in the Afghan hands. Then the soldiers turned their backs on Cabul, which no British army was to see again for nearly forty years.

The War With the Sikhs

Three years afterwards the British Empire in India was seriously threatened by one of the most warlike races in the peninsula, the Sikhs, a courageous race inhabiting the Punjab, in northern India, their capital the city of Lahore. In 1845 a Sikh army, 60,000 strong, with 150 guns, crossed the Sutléj River and invaded British territory. Never before had the British in India encountered men like these. Four pitched battles were fought, in each of which the British lost heavily, but in the last they drove the Sikhs back across the Sutléj and captured Lahore.

That ended the war for the time being, but in 1848 the brave Sikhs were in arms again, and pushing the British as hard as before. On the field of Chilianwala the British were repulsed, with a loss of 2,400 men and the colors of three regiments. This defeat was quickly retrieved. Lord Gough met the enemy at Guzerat and defeated them so utterly that their army was practically destroyed. They were driven back as a shapeless mass of fugitives, losing their camp, their standards, and fifty-three of their cherished guns. With this victory was completed the conquest of the Punjab. The Sikhs became loyal subjects of the queen, and afterwards supplied her armies with the most valorous and high-spirited of her native troops.

The Causes of the Mutiny

Thus time went on until that eventful year of 1857, when the British power in India was to receive its most perilous shock. For a long time there had been a great and continually increasing discontent in India. Complaints were made that the treaties with native princes were not kept, that extortion was practised by which officials grew rapidly and mysteriously wealthy, looking upon India as a field for the acquisition of riches, and that the natives were treated by the governing powers with deep contempt, while every license was granted to the soldiery. The hidden cause of the discontent, however, lay in the deep hatred felt by the natives, Hindu and Mussulmen alike, for the dominant race of aliens to whom they had been obliged to bow in common subjection; and the fanaticism of the Hindus caused the smouldering elements of discontent to burst out into the flames of insurrection. A secret conspiracy was formed, in which all classes of the natives participated, its object being to overthrow the dominion of the English. It had been prophesied among the natives that the rule of the foreign masters of India should last only for a hundred years; and a century had just elapsed since the triumph of Clive at Plassey.

The Greased Cartridges

Small chupatties, cakes of unleavened bread, were secretly passed from hand to hand among the natives, as tokens of comradeship in the enterprise. This conspiracy was the more dangerous from making its way into the army, for India was a country governed by the sword. A rumor ran through the cantonments of the Bengal army that cartridges had been served out greased with the fat of animals unclean to Hindu and Mussulman alike, and which the Hindus could not bite without loss of caste, the injunction of their religion obliging them to abstain from animal food under this penalty. After this nothing could quiet their minds; fires broke out nightly in their quarters; officers were insulted by their men; all confidence was gone, and discipline became an empty form.

The Old Emperor Akbar

The sentence of penal servitude passed upon some of the mutineers became the signal for the breaking out of the revolt. At Meerut, on the Upper Ganges, the Sepoys broke into rebellion, liberated their comrades who were being led away in chains, and marched in a body to Delhi, the ancient capital of India and former seat of the Mogul empire. Here they took possession of the great military magazine and seized its stores. Those among the British inhabitants who did not save themselves by immediate flight were barbarously put to death; and the decrepit Akbar, the descendant of the Moguls, an old man of ninety, who lived at Delhi upon a pension granted to him by the East India Company, was drawn from his retirement and proclaimed Emperor of Hindostan by the rebels, his son, Mirza, being associated with him in the government.

The Frightful Massacre at Cawnpore

The mutiny spread with terrible rapidity, and massacres of the English took place at Indore, Allahabad, Azimghur, and other towns. Foremost in atrocity stands the massacre perpetrated at Cawnpore by Nana Sahib, the adopted son of the last Peishwa of the Marhattas, who, after entering into a compact with General Wheeler, by which he promised a free departure to the English, caused the boats in which they were proceeding down the river to be fired upon. The men were thus slain, while the women and children were brought back as prisoners to Cawnpore. Here they were confined for some days in a building, into which murderers were sent who massacred them every one, the mutilated corpses being thrown down a well.

The Scotch Slogan at Lucknow

In Oude, the noble-minded Sir Henry Lawrence defended himself throughout the whole summer in the citadel of Lucknow against the rebels under Nana Sahib with wonderful skill and bravery, until he was killed by the bursting of a bomb, on the 2d of July. The distress of the besieged, among whom were many ladies and children, was now extreme. But the little garrison held out for nearly three months longer against the greatest odds and amid the most distressing hardships. At length came that eventful day, when, to the keen ears of one of the despairing sufferers, a Scotch woman, came from afar a familiar and most hopeful sound. “Dinna ye hear the pibroch?” she cried, springing to her feet in the ecstacy of hope renewed.

Those near her listened but heard no sound, and many minutes passed before a swell of wind bore to their ears the welcome music of the bagpipe, playing the war-march of the Highlanders of her native land. It came from the party of relief led by General Havelock, which had left Calcutta on the first tidings of the outbreak, and was now marching in all haste to imperilled Lucknow.

The March of Havelock

On his way Havelock had encountered the mutineers at Futtipur and gained a brilliant victory. Three days later Cawnpore was reached. There the insurgent Sepoys fought with desperation, but they were defeated, and the British entered the town, but not in time to rescue the women and children, whose slaughter had just taken place. What they saw there filled the soldiers with the deepest sentiments of horror and vengeance. The sight was one to make the blood run cold. “The ground,” says a witness of the terrible scene, “was strewn with clotted blood, which here and there lay ankle deep. Long locks of hair were scattered about, shreds of women’s garments, children’s hats and shoes, torn books and broken playthings. The bodies were naked, the limbs dismembered. I have seen death in all possible forms, but I could not gaze on this terrible scene of blood.”

The frightful slaughter was mercilessly avenged by the infuriated soldiers on the people of Cawnpore and on the prisoners they had taken. Havelock then crossed the Ganges and marched into Oude. Fighting its way through the difficulties caused by inclement weather and the continual onslaughts of the enemy, Havelock’s regiment at last effected a coalition with the reinforcements under General Outram, and together they marched towards Lucknow, which was reached at the end of September.

An especial act of heroism was achieved during the siege of Lucknow by Mr. Kavanagh, an official, who offered, disguised as a native, to penetrate through a region swarming with enemies, to communicate with the general of the approaching relieving force. He happily accomplished his dangerous exploit, from which he obtained the honorable nickname of “Lucknow Kavanagh.”

The Relief of Lucknow

As the army of relief drew near, the beleaguered people heard with ears of delight the increasing sounds of their approach, the roar of distant guns reaching their gladdened ears. Yet the enterprise was a desperate one and its success was far from assured. Havelock and Outram had no more than 2,600 men, while the enemy was 50,000 strong. Yet as the sound of the guns increased there were evidences of panic among the natives. Many of the town people and of the Sepoys took to flight, some crossing the river by the bridge, some by swimming. At two o’clock the smoke of the guns was visible in the suburbs and the rattle of musketry could be heard. At five o’clock heavy firing broke out in the streets, and in a few minutes more a force of Highlanders and Sikhs turned into the street leading to the residency, in which the besieged garrison had so long been confined. Headed by General Outram, they ran at a rapid pace to the gate, and, amid wild cheers from those within, made their way into the beleaguered enclosure, and the first siege of Lucknow was at an end.

The Suffering at Lucknow

The garrison had fought for months behind slight defences and against enormous odds. They were well supplied with food and water, but they had been exposed to terrible heat and heavy and incessant rains. The Sepoys had been drilled by British officers, were well supplied with arms and ammunition, and from the housetops of the town kept up an incessant fire that searched every corner of the defended fortress. Sickness raged in the crowded and underground rooms in which shelter was sought against the constant musketry, and death had reaped a harvest among the gallant and unyielding few who had so long held that almost untenable post.

The Coming of Campbell

Havelock’s men were able to do no more than reinforce the garrison. After fighting their way with heavy losses into the citadel, they found that it was impossible, with their small army, to force a retreat through the ranks of the enemy with the women, children and invalids, surrounded by the swarms of rebels who surged round the walls like a foaming sea. They were compelled, therefore, to shut themselves up, and await fresh reinforcements. Provisions, however, now began to diminish, and they were menaced with the horrors of starvation; but matters did not reach this last extremity. Sir Colin Campbell, the new commander-in-chief, with 7,000 well-equipped troops, was already on the way. He arrived at Lucknow on the 14th of November, made a bold and successful attack on the fortifications, and liberated the besieged. Unable to hold the town, he left it to the enemy, being obliged to content himself with the rescue of the people in the residency. Eight days afterwards Havelock died of cholera. His memory is held in high esteem as the most heroic figure in the war of the mutiny.

Siege and Capture of Delhi

Meanwhile Delhi was under siege, which began on June 8th, just one month after the original outbreak. It was, however, not properly a siege, for the British were encamped on a ridge at some distance from the city. They never numbered more than 8,000 men, while within the walls were over 30,000 of the mutineers. General Nicholson arrived with a reinforcement in middle August, and on September 14th an assault was made. The city was held with desperation by the rebels, fighting going on in the streets for six days before the Sepoys fled. Nicholson fell at the head of a storming party, and Hodson, the leader of a corps of irregular horse, took the old Mogul emperor prisoner, and shot down his sons in cold blood.

Final Operations Against Lucknow

It was not until three months and a half after the release of the garrison at Lucknow that Sir Colin Campbell, having dealt out punishment to the mutineers at many of the stations where they still kept together, and having received large reinforcements of men and artillery from home, prepared for the crowning attack upon that place. On the 4th of February he advanced from Cawnpore, with three divisions of infantry, a division of cavalry, and fifteen batteries, and on the 1st of March operations began; General Outram, with a force of 6,000 men and thirty guns, crossing the Goomtee, and reconnoitering the country as far as Chinhut. On the following day he invested the king’s race-house, which he carried the next day by assault, and on the 9th Sir Colin Campbell’s main force captured, with a slight loss, the Martinière, pushed on to the bridges across the river, and carried, after some hard fighting, the Begum’s palace. Two days later the Immaumbarra, which had been converted into a formidable stronghold and was held by a large force, was breached and stormed, and the captors followed so hotly upon the rear of the flying foe that they entered with them the Kaiserbagh, which was regarded by the rebels as their strongest fortress. Its garrison, taken wholly by surprise, made but a slight resistance. The loss of these two positions, on which they had greatly relied, completely disheartened the enemy, and throughout the night a stream of fugitives poured out of the town.

The Storming of the Fortresses

The success was so unexpected that the arrangements necessary for cutting off the retreat of the enemy had not been completed, and very large numbers of the rebels escaped, to give infinite trouble later on. Many were cut down by the cavalry and horse artillery, which set out the next morning in pursuit; but, to the mortification of the army, a considerable proportion got away. The next day a number of palaces and houses fell into the hands of the advancing troops without resistance, and by midnight the whole city along the river bank was in their possession. In the meantime Jung Bahadoor, the British ally, was attacking the city with his Goorkhas from the south, and pushed forward so far that communications were opened with him halfway across the city. The following day the Goorkhas made a further advance, and, fighting with great gallantry, won the suburbs adjacent to the Charbach bridge.

The hard fighting was now over; the failure to defend even one of the fortresses upon which for months they had bestowed so much care, completely disheartened the mutineers remaining in the city. Numbers effected their escape; others hid themselves, after having got rid of their arms and uniforms; some parties took refuge in houses, and defended themselves desperately to the end. The work was practically accomplished on the 21st, and Lucknow, which had so long been the headquarters of the insurrection, was in British hands, and that with a far smaller loss than could have been expected from the task of capturing a city possessing so many places of strength, and held by some 20,000 desperate men fighting with ropes round their necks.

The Booty of the Soldiers
The East India Company Abolished
Victoria is Made Empress of India

The city taken, the troops were permitted to plunder and murder to their hearts’ content. In every house were dead or dying, and the corpses of Sepoys lay piled up several feet in height. The booty which the soldiers carried off in the way of jewels and treasures of every kind was enormous. The widowed queen of Oude set out for England, to proclaim the innocence of her son “in the dark countries of the West,” and to preserve to her house the shadow of an independent monarchy. She never saw her sunny India again, however; on the return journey she died of a broken heart. Though the rebellion gradually lost force and cohesion after this period, the vengeance continued for a year longer. But the chief rebel, Nana Sahib, and the two heroic women, the Begum of Oude and the Ranee of Jansee, escaped to Nepaul. In the course of the year 1858, peace and order again returned to the Anglo-Indian Empire, and the government was able to consider means of reconciliation. By a proclamation of the queen all rebels who were not directly implicated in the murder of British subjects, and would return to their duty and allegiance by January, 1859, were to obtain a complete amnesty.The East India Company Abolished This proclamation also announced that the queen, with the consent of Parliament, had determined to abolish the East India Company, to take the government into her own hands, and to rule India by means of a special secretary of state and council. The Indian Empire, both within and without, had assumed such gigantic proportions that it could no longer be properly ruled by a mercantile company, and came properly under the control of the crown. Victoria is Made Empress of IndiaIn 1876 Queen Victoria assumed, by act of Parliament, the title of Empress of India. The most recent important event, in the acquisition of territory in this part of the world, was the invasion of Burmah in 1885, and its capture after a short and decisive campaign. The Indian Empire of Victoria has now grown enormous in extent, its borders extending to the Himalayas on the north, where they are in contact with the boundaries of the great imperial dominion which Russia has acquired in Asia. Whether the two great rivals will yet come into conflict on this border is a question which only the future can decide.

India possesses a population only surpassed by that of China amounting at the census of 1896 to 221,172,952. This excludes the native and partially independent states, the population of which numbers 66,050,479, making a total for the whole empire, including Burmah, of 287,223,431. Under British control the country has been greatly developed, and abundantly supplied with means of internal communication, its railroad lines covering a length of about 27,000 miles, and its telegraphs of over 45,000 miles, while the telephone has also been widely introduced. Its commerce amounts in round numbers to nearly $500,000,000 annually.

This great country has long been subject to devastating disasters. In 1876 a terrible tidal wave drowned thousands of the people and destroyed millions in value of property. In 1897 much of the country suffered frightfully from famine, being the fifteenth occasion during the century. In the same year a plague broke out in the crowded city of Bombay and caused dreadful ravages among its native population. For ages past India has been subject to visitations of this kind, which have hitherto surpassed the power of man to prevent. In the last named all the world came to the aid of the starving and science did its utmost to stay the ravages of the plague.

Thiers, Gambetta, and the Rise of the French Republic.

A Provisional Government

It has been already told how the capitulation of the French army at Sedan and the captivity of Louis Napoleon were followed in Paris by the overthrow of the empire and the formation of a republic, the third in the history of French political changes. A provisional government was formed, the legislative assembly was dissolved, and all the court paraphernalia of the imperial establishment disappeared. The new government was called in Paris the “Government of Lawyers,” most of its members and officials belonging to that profession. At its head was General Trochu, in command of the army in Paris; among its chief members were Jules Favre and Gambetta. While upright in its membership and honorable in its purposes, it was an arbitrary body, formed by a coup d’etat like that by which Napoleon had seized the reins of power, and not destined for a long existence.

Excitement in Paris

The news of the fall of Metz and the surrender of Bazaine and his army served as a fresh spark to the inflammable public feeling of France. In Paris the Red Republic raised the banner of insurrection against the government of the national defence and endeavored to revive the spirit of the Commune of 1793. The insurgents marched to the senate-house, demanded the election of a municipal council which should share power with the government, and proceeded to imprison Trochu, Jules Favre, and their associates. This, however, was but a temporary success of the Commune, and the provisional government continued in existence until the end of the war, when a national assembly was elected by the people and the temporary government was set, aside. Gambetta, the dictator, “the organizer of defeats,” as he was sarcastically entitled, lost his power, and the aged statesman and historian, Louis Thiers, was chosen as chief of the executive department of the new government.

The treaty of peace with France, including, as it did, the loss of Alsace and Lorraine and the payment of an indemnity of $1,000,000,000, roused once more the fierce passions of the radicals and the masses of the great cities, who passionately denounced the treaty as due to cowardice and treason. The dethroned emperor added to the excitement by a manifesto, in which he protested against his deposition by the assembly and called for a fresh election. The final incitement to insurrection came when the assembly decided to hold its sessions at Versailles instead of in Paris, whose unruly populace it feared.

Outbreak of the Commune

In a moment all the revolutionary elements of the great city were in a blaze. The social democratic “Commune,” elected from the central committee of the National Guard, renounced obedience to the government and the National Assembly, and broke into open revolt. An attempt to repress the movement only added to its violence, and all the riotous populace of Paris sprang to arms. A new war was about to be inaugurated in that city which had just suffered so severely from the guns of the Germans, and around which German troops were still encamped.

The government had neglected to take possession of the cannon on Montmartre; and now, when the troops of the line, instead of firing on the insurrectionists, went over in crowds to their side, the supremacy over Paris fell into the hands of the wildest demagogues. A fearful civil war commenced, and in the same forts which the Germans had shortly before evacuated firing once more resounded; the houses, gardens, and villages around Paris were again surrendered to destruction, and the creations of art, industry, and civilization, and the abodes of wealth and pleasure were once more transformed into dreary wildernesses.

Outrages of the Insurgents

The wild outbreaks of fanaticism on the part of the Commune recalled the scenes of the revolution of 1789, and in these spring days of 1871 Paris added another leaf to its long history of crime and violence. The insurgents, roused to fury by the efforts of the government to suppress them, murdered two generals, Lecomte and Thomas, and fired on the unarmed citizens who, as the “friends of order,” desired a reconciliation with the authorities at Versailles. They formed a government of their own, extorted loans from wealthy citizens, confiscated the property of religious societies, and seized and held as hostages Archbishop Darboy and many other distinguished clergymen and citizens.

Punishment of the Commune

Meanwhile the investing troops, led by Marshal MacMahon, gradually fought their way through the defences and into the suburbs of the city, and the surrender of the anarchists in the capital became inevitable. This necessity excited their passions to the most violent extent, and, with the wild fury of savages, they set themselves to do all the damage to the historical monuments of Paris they could. The noble Vendôme column, the symbol of the warlike renown of France, was torn down from its pedestal and hurled prostrate in the street. The most historic buildings in the city were set on fire, and either partially or entirely destroyed. Among these were the Tuileries, a portion of the Louvre, the Luxembourg, the Palais Royal, the Elysée, etc.; while several of the imprisoned hostages, foremost among them Darboy, Archbishop of Paris, and the universally respected minister Daguerry, were shot by the infuriated mob. Such crimes excited the Versailles troops to terrible vengeance, when they at last succeeded in repressing the rebellion. They went their way along a bloody course; human life was counted as nothing; the streets were stained with blood and strewn with corpses, and the Seine once more ran red between its banks. When at last the Commune surrendered, the judicial courts at Versailles began their work of retribution. The leaders and participators in the rebellion who could not save themselves by flight were shot by hundreds, confined in fortresses, or transported to the colonies. For more than a year the imprisonments, trials, and executions continued, military courts being established which excited the world for months by their wholesale condemnations to exile and to death. The carnival of anarchy was followed by one of pitiless revenge.

The Republican government of France, which had been accepted in an emergency, was far from carrying with it the support of the whole of the assembly or of the people, and the aged, but active and keen-witted Thiers had to steer through a medley of opposing interests and sentiments. His government was considered, alike by the Monarchists and the Jacobins, as only provisional, and the Bourbons and Napoleonists on the one hand and the advocates of “liberty, equality and fraternity” on the other, intrigued for its overthrow. But the German armies still remained on French soil, pending the payment of the costs of the war; and the astute chief of the executive power possessed moderation enough to pacify the passions of the people, to restrain their hatred of the Germans, which was so boldly exhibited in the streets and in the courts of justice, and to quiet the clamor for a war of revenge.

President Thiers and the Assembly

The position of parties at home was confused and distracted, and a disturbance of the existing order could only lead to anarchy and civil war. Thiers was thus the indispensable man of the moment, and so much was he himself impressed by consciousness of this fact, that he many times, by the threat of resignation, brought the opposing elements in the assembly to harmony and compliance. This occurred even during the siege of Paris, when the forces of the government were in conflict with the Commune. In the assembly there was shown an inclination to moderate or break through the sharp centralization of the government, and to procure some autonomy for the provinces and towns. When, therefore, a new scheme was discussed, a large part of the assembly demanded that the mayors should not, as formerly, be appointed by the government, but be elected by the town councils. Only with difficulty was Thiers able to effect a compromise, on the strength of which the government was permitted the right of appointment for all towns numbering over twenty thousand. In the elections for the councils the Moderate Republicans proved triumphant. With a supple dexterity, Thiers knew how to steer between the Democratic-Republican party and the Monarchists. When Gambetta endeavored to establish a “league of Republican towns,” the attempt was forbidden as illegal; and when the decree of banishment against the Bourbon and Orlean princes was set aside, and the latter returned to France, Thiers knew how to postpone the entrance of the Duc d’Aumale and Prince de Joinville, who had been elected deputies, into the assembly, at least until the end of the year.

The National Loan

The brilliant success of the national loan went far to strengthen the position of Thiers. The high offers for a share in this loan, which indicated the inexhaustible wealth of the nation and the solid credit of France abroad, promised a rapid payment of the war indemnity, the consequent evacuation of the country by the German army of occupation, and a restoration of the disturbed finances of the state. The foolish manifesto of the Count de Chambord, who declared that he had only to return with the white banner to be made sovereign of France, brought all reasonable and practical men to the side of Thiers, and he had, during the last days of August, 1871, the triumph of being proclaimed “President of the French Republic.”

The new president aimed, next to the liberation of the garrisoned provinces from the German troops of occupation, at the reorganization of the French army. Yet he could not bring himself to the decision of enforcing in its entirety the principle of general armed service, such as had raised Prussia from a state of depression to one of military regeneration. Universal military service in France was, it is true, adopted in name, and the army was increased to an immense extent, but under such conditions and limitations that the richer and more educated classes could exempt themselves from service in the army; and thus the active forces, as before, consisted of professional soldiers. And when the minister for education, Jules Simon, introduced an educational law based on liberal principles, he experienced on the part of the clergy and their champion, Bishop Dupanloup, such violent opposition, that the government dropped the measure.

Lawyer Labori; Henry, the suicide; Dreyfus, the prisoner; Esterhazy, the confessed criminal; General Mercier, chief accuser.
Dreyfus in the act of declaring “I am Innocent.”

Reorganization of the Army

In order to place the army in the condition which Thiers desired, an increase in the military budget was necessary, and consequently an enhancement of the general revenues of the state. For this purpose a return to the tariff system, which had been abolished under the empire, was proposed, but excited so great an opposition in the assembly that six months passed before it could be carried. The new organization of the army, undertaken with a view of placing France on a level in military strength with her late conqueror, was now eagerly undertaken by the president. An active army, with five years’ service, was to be added to a “territorial army,” a kind of militia. And so great was the demand on the portion of the nation capable of bearing arms that the new French army exceeded in numbers that of any other nation.

Gambetta as an Agitator

But all the statesmanship of Thiers could not overcome the anarchy in the assembly, where the forces for monarchy and republicanism were bitterly opposed to each other. Gambetta, in order to rouse public opinion in favor of democracy, made several tours through the country, his extravagance of language giving deep offence to the monarchists, while the opposed sections of the assembly grew wider and more violent in their breach.

Trial and Condemnation of the Generals

Indisputably as were the valuable services which Thiers had rendered to France, by the foundation of public order and authority, the creation of a regular army, and the restoration of a solid financial system, yet all these services met with no recognition in the face of the party jealousy and political passions prevailing among the people’s representatives at Versailles. More and more did the Royalist reaction gain ground, and, aided by the priests and by national hatred and prejudice, endeavor to bring about the destruction of its opponents. Against the Radicals and Liberals, among whom even the Voltairean Thiers was included, superstition and fanaticism were let loose, and against the Bonapartists was directed the terrorism of court martial. The French could not rest with the thought that their military supremacy had been broken by the superiority of the Prusso-German arms; their defeats could have proceeded only from the treachery or incapacity of their leaders. To this national prejudice the Government decided to bow, and to offer a sacrifice to the popular passion. And thus the world beheld the lamentable spectacle of the commanders who had surrendered the French fortresses to the enemy being subjected to a trial by court-martial under the presidency of Marshal Baraguay d’Hilliers, and the majority of them, on account of their proved incapacity or weakness, deprived of their military honors, at a moment when all had cause to reproach themselves and endeavor to raise up a new structure on the ruins of the past. Even Ulrich, the once celebrated commander of Strasburg, whose name had been given to a street in Paris, was brought under the censure of the court-martial. But the chief blow fell upon the commander-in-chief of Metz, Marshal Bazaine, to whose “treachery” the whole misfortune of France was attributed. For months he was retained a prisoner at Versailles, while preparations were made for the great court-martial spectacle, which, in the following year, took place under the presidency of the Duc d’Aumale.

MacMahon Elected President

The result of the party division in the assembly was, in May, 1873, a vote of censure on the ministry which induced them to resign. Their resignation was followed by an offer of resignation on the part of Thiers, who experienced the unexpected slight of having it accepted by the majority of the assembly, the monarchist MacMahon, Marshal of France and Duke of Magenta, being elected President in his place. Thiers had just performed one of his greatest services to France, by paying off the last installment of the war indemnity and relieving the soil of his country of the hated German troops.

The Count de Chambord and His Demand

The party now in power at once began to lay plans to carry out their cherished purpose of placing a Legitimist king upon the throne, this honor being offered to the Count de Chambord, grandson of Charles X. He, an old man, unfitted for the thorny seat offered him, and out of all accord with the spirit of the times, put a sudden end to the hopes of his partisans by his mediæval conservatism. Their purpose was to establish a constitutional government, under the tri-colored flag of revolutionary France; but the old Bourbon gave them to understand that he would not consent to reign under the Tricolor, but must remain steadfast to the white banner of his ancestors; he had no desire to be “the legitimate king of revolution.”

This letter shattered the plans of his supporters. No man with ideas like these would be tolerated on the French throne. There was never to be in France a King Henry V. The Monarchists, in disgust at the failure of their schemes, elected MacMahon president of the republic for a term of seven years, and for the time being the reign of republicanism in France was made secure.

Trial and Sentence of Bazaine

While MacMahon was thus being raised to the pinnacle of honor, his former comrade Bazaine was imprisoned in another part of the palace at Versailles, awaiting trial on the charge of treason for the surrender of Metz. In the trial, in which the whole world took a deep interest, the efforts of the prosecution were directed to prove that the conquest of France was solely due to the treachery of the Bonapartist marshal. Despite all that could be said in his defence, he was found guilty by the court-martial, sentenced to degradation from his rank in the army, and to be put to death.

A letter which Prince Frederick Charles wrote in his favor only added to the wrath of the people, who cried aloud for his execution. But, as though the judges themselves felt a twinge of conscience at the sentence, they at the same time signed a petition for pardon to the president of the republic. MacMahon thereupon commuted the punishment of death into a twenty years’ imprisonment, remitted the disgrace of the formalities of a military degradation, without cancelling its operation, and appointed as the prisoner’s place of confinement the fortress on the island of St. Marguerite, opposite Cannes, known in connection with the “iron mask.” Bazaine’s wealthy Mexican wife obtained permission to reside near him, with her family and servants, in a pavilion of the sea-fortress. This afforded her an opportunity of bringing about the freedom of her husband in the following year with the aid of her brother. After an adventurous escape, by letting himself down with a rope to a Genoese vessel, Bazaine fled to Holland, and then offered his services to the Republican government of Spain.

The New Constitution of France

In 1875 the constitution under which France is now governed was adopted by the republicans. It provides for a legislature of two chambers; one a chamber of deputies elected by the people, the other a senate of 300 members, 75 of whom are elected by the National Assembly and the others by electoral colleges in the departments of France. The two chambers unite to elect a president, who has a term of seven years. He is commander-in-chief of the army, appoints all officers, receives all ambassadors, executes the laws, and appoints the cabinet, which is responsible to the Senate and House of Deputies,—thus resembling the cabinet of Great Britain instead of that of the United States.

MacMahon Resigns and Grevy Elected

This constitution was soon ignored by the arbitrary president, who forced the resignation of a cabinet which he could not control, and replaced it by another responsible to himself instead of to the assembly. His act of autocracy roused a violent opposition. Gambetta moved that the representatives of the people had no confidence in a cabinet which was not free in its actions and not Republican in its principles. The sudden death of Thiers, whose last writing was a defence of the republic, stirred the heart of the nation and added to the excitement, which soon reached fever heat. In the election that followed the Republicans were in so great a majority over the Conservatives that the president was compelled either to resign or to govern according to the constitution. He accepted the latter and appointed a cabinet composed of Republicans. But the acts of the legislature, which passed laws to prevent arbitrary action by the executive and to secularize education, so exasperated the old soldier that he finally resigned from his high office.

Gambetta as Prime Minister

Jules Grévy was elected president in his place, and Gambetta was made president of the House of Deputies. Subsequently he was chosen presiding minister in a cabinet composed wholly of his own creatures. His career in this high office was a brief one. The Chambers refused to support him in his arbitrary measures and he resigned in disgust. Soon after the self-appointed dictator, who had played so prominent a part in the war with Germany, died from a wound whose origin remained a mystery.

The constitution was revised in 1884, the republic now declared permanent and final, and Grévy again elected president. General Boulanger, the minister of war in the new government, succeeded in making himself highly popular, many looking upon him as a coming Napoleon, by whose genius the republic would be overthrown.

The Career of Boulanger

In 1887 Grévy resigned, in consequence of a scandal in high circles, and was succeeded by Sadi Carnot, grandson of a famous general of the first republic. Under the new president two striking events took place. General Boulanger managed to lift himself into great prominence, and gain a powerful following in France. Carried away by self-esteem, he defied his superiors, and when tried and found guilty of the offence, was strong enough in France to overthrow the ministry, to gain re-election to the Chamber of Deputies, and to defeat a second ministry.

But his reputation was declining. It received a serious blow by a duel he fought with a lawyer, in which the soldier was wounded and the lawyer escaped unhurt. The next cabinet was hostile to his intrigues, and he fled to Brussels to escape arrest. Tried by the Senate, sitting as a High Court of Justice, he was found guilty of plotting against the state and sentenced to imprisonment for life. His career soon after ended in suicide and his party disappeared.

The Panama Canal Scandal

The second event spoken of was the Panama Canal affair. De Lesseps, the maker of the Suez Canal, had undertaken to excavate a similar one across the Isthmus of Panama, but the work was managed with such wild extravagance that vast sums were spent and the poor investors widely ruined, while the canal remained a half-dug ditch. At a later date this affair became a great scandal, dishonest bargains in connection with it were abundantly unearthed, bribery was shown to have been common in high places, and France was shaken to its centre by the startling exposure. De Lesseps, fortunately for him, escaped by death, but others of the leaders in the enterprise were condemned and punished.

Anarchy in France and Murder of the President

In the succeeding years perils manifold threatened the existence of the French republic. A moral decline seemed to have sapped the foundations of public virtue, and the new military organization rose to a dangerous height of power, becoming a monster of ambition and iniquity which overshadowed and portended evil to the state. The spirit of anarchy, which had been so strikingly displayed in the excesses of the Parisian Commune, was shown later in various instances of death and destruction by the use of dynamite bombs, exploded in Paris and elsewhere. But its most striking example was in the murder of President Carnot, who was stabbed by an anarchist in the streets of Lyons. This assassination, and the disheartening exposures of dishonesty in the Panama Canal Case trials, stirred the moral sentiment of France to its depths, and made many of the best citizens despair of the permanency of the republic.

The Reorganization of the Army

But the most alarming threat came from the army, which had grown in power and prominence until it fairly overtopped the state, while its leaders felt competent to set at defiance the civil authorities. This despotic army was an outgrowth of the Franco-Prussian war. The terrible punishment which the French had received in that war, and in particular the loss of Alsace and Lorraine, filled them with bitter hatred of Germany and a burning desire for revenge. Yet it was evident that their military organization was so imperfect as to leave them helpless before the army of Germany, and the first thing to be done was to place themselves on a level in military strength with their foe. To this President Thiers had earnestly devoted himself, and the work of army organization went on until all France was virtually converted into a great camp, defended by powerful fortresses, and the whole people of the country were practically made part and portion of the army.

The final result of this was the development of one of the most complete and well-appointed military establishments in Europe. The immediate cause of the reorganization of the army gradually passed away. As time went on the intense feeling against Germany softened and the danger of war decreased. But the army became more and more dominant in France, and, as the century neared its end, the autocratic position of its leaders was revealed by a startling event, which showed vividly to the world the moral decadence of France and the controlling influence and dominating power of the members of the General Staff. This was the celebrated Dreyfus Case, the cause celèbre of the end of the century. This case is of such importance that a description of its salient points becomes here necessary.

The Opening of the Dreyfus Case

Albert Dreyfus, an Alsatian Jew and a captain in the Fourteenth Regiment of Artillery of the French army, detailed for service at the Information Bureau of the Minister of War, was arrested October 15, 1894, on the charge of having sold military secrets to a foreign power. The following letter was said to have been found at the German embassy by a French detective, in what was declared to be the handwriting of Dreyfus:

“Having no news from you I do not know what to do. I send you in the meantime the condition of the forts. I also hand you the principal instructions as to firing. If you desire the rest I shall have them copied. The document is precious. The instructions have been given only to the officers of the General Staff. I leave for the manœuvres.”

For some time prior to the arrest of Dreyfus on the charge of being the author of this letter, M. Drumont, editor of the Libre Parole, had been carrying on a violent anti-Semitic agitation through his journal. He raved about the Jews in general, declared Dreyfus guilty, and asserted that there was danger that he would be acquitted through the potent Juiverie, “the cosmopolite syndicate which exploits France.”

Public opinion in Paris became much influenced by this journalistic assault, and under these circumstances Dreyfus was brought to trial before a military court, found guilty and condemned to be degraded from his military rank, and by a special act of the Chamber of Deputies was ordered to be imprisoned for life in a penal settlement on Devil’s Island, off the coast of French Guiana, a tropical region, desolate and malarious in character. The sentence was executed with the most cruel harshness. During part of his detention Dreyfus was locked in a hut, surrounded by an iron cage, on the island. This was done on the plea of possible attempts at rescue. He was allowed to send and receive only such letters as had been transcribed by one of his guardians.

He denied, and never ceased to deny, his guilt. The letters he wrote to his counsel after the trial and after his disgrace are most pathetic assertions of his innocence, and of the hope that ultimately justice would be done him. His wife and family continued to deny his guilt, and used every influence to get his case reopened.

Belief in the Innocence of Dreyfus

The first trial of Dreyfus was conducted by court-martial and behind closed doors. Some parts of the indictment were not communicated to the accused and his lawyer. The secrecy of the trial, the lack of fairness in its management, his own protestations of innocence, the anti-Jewish feeling, and the course of the government in the affair aroused a strong suspicion that Dreyfus, being a Jew, had been used as a scapegoat for some one else and had been unjustly convicted. Many eminent literary men of France, and even M. Scheurer-Kestner, a vice president of the Senate—none of them Jews—eventually advocated the revision of a sentence which failed to appeal to the sense of justice of the best element of France.

It was asserted by some that Dreyfus had sold the plans of various strongly fortified places to the German government, and by others that the sale had been to the Italian government. It was also said that he had disclosed the plans for the mobilization of the French army in case of war, covering several departments, and especially the important fortress of Briançon, the Alpine Gibraltar near the Italian frontier.

The Bordereau and the Dossier

The bordereau, the paper on which the charges against Dreyfus were based, was a memorandum of treasonable revelations concerning French military affairs. The dossier was the official envelope containing the papers relative to the case, which embraced facts alleged to be sufficient to prove the guilt of the accused officer. The bordereau was examined by five experts in handwriting, only three of whom testified that it could have been written by Dreyfus. The papers in the dossier were not shown to Dreyfus or his counsel, so that it was impossible to refute them. In fact, the court-martial was conducted in the most unfair manner, and many became convinced that some disgraceful mystery lay behind it, and that Dreyfus had been made a scapegoat to shield some one higher in office.

The Accusation of Esterhazy

It was in the early part of 1898 that the case was again brought prominently to public notice, after the wife of the unfortunate prisoner had, with the most earnest devotion for three years, used every effort to obtain for him a new trial. Lieutenant-Colonel Picquart, in charge of the secret service bureau at Paris, became familiar through his official duties with the famous case, and was struck with the similarity between the handwriting of the bordereau and that of Count Ferdinand Esterhazy, an officer of the French army and a descendant of the well-known Esterhazy family of Hungary. Shortly afterwards M. Scheurer-Kestner declared that military secrets had continued to leak out after the arrest of Dreyfus, that in consequence a rich and titled officer had been requested to resign, and that this officer was the real author of the bordereau. This man was Count Esterhazy, whose exposure was due to Picquart’s fortunate discovery. Others took up this accusation, and the affair was so ventilated that Esterhazy was subjected to a secret trial by court-martial, which ended in an acquittal.

Zola’s Letter and Accusation

At the close of the Esterhazy trial a new defender of Dreyfus stepped into the fray, Emile Zola, the celebrated novelist. He wrote an open letter to M. Faure, then President of France, entitled “J’accuse” (“I accuse”), which was published in the Aurore newspaper. In it he boldly charged that Esterhazy had been acquitted by the members of the court-martial on the order of their chiefs in the ministry of war, who were anxious to show that French military justice could not possibly make an error.

This letter led to the arrest and trial of Zola and the manager of the paper, their trial being conducted in a manner specially designed to prevent the facts from becoming known. They were found guilty of libel against the officers of the court-martial and sentenced to heavy fines and one year’s imprisonment. On appeal, they were tried again in the same unfair way, and received the same sentence. Zola took care, by absenting himself from France, that the sentence of a year’s imprisonment should not be executed.

Henry’s Forgery and Suicide

As time went on new evidence became revealed. Colonel Henry, who was one of the witnesses in the Zola trial, was confronted with a damaging fact, one of the most important papers in the secret dossier being traced to him. He confessed that he had forged it to strengthen the case against Dreyfus, was imprisoned for the offence, and committed suicide in his cell—or was murdered, as some thought. Picquart was punished by being sent to Africa, and afterwards imprisoned. He made the significant remark that if he should be found dead in his cell it would not be a case of suicide. Esterhazy was said to have acknowledged to a London editor that he was the author of the bordereau, and it was proved that the handwriting was identical with his and the paper on which it was written a peculiar kind which he had used in 1894. The papers in the secret dossier were also alleged to be a mass of forgeries.

The great publicity of this case, in which the whole world had taken interest,—the action of the French courts being universally condemned,—and the development of the facts just mentioned, at length goaded the officials of the French government to action. President Faure had the case considered by the cabinet, and finally forced a revision. In consequence the cabinet resigned and a new one was chosen. As a result the case was brought before the Court of Cassation, the final court of appeal, which, after full consideration, ordered a new trial of the condemned officer.

The Egyptian patriots of 1882, who rushed to arms at the call of Arabi Pasha for the expulsion of the hated British from their country, made their most vigorous stand behind the strong fortifications of Alexandria, where they fought with much resolution. But the cannon of the British fleet proved too heavy for their powers of defence, and the city fell into the hands of the invaders. It was plundered and partly burned by the Egyptians in their retreat.
Of all the natives encountered by the British in Africa, there were none more brave and daring than the Zulus of the South, who did not hesitate with spear and shield to charge against the death dealing rifles of their foes. Cetewayo, the leader of these valiant blacks, was a man who would have been a hero in civilized warfare. As a captive savage in London streets he compelled the respect of his enemies by the majestic dignity of his bearing, and won the right to return and die in his native land.
A Second Condemnation

Captain Dreyfus was accordingly brought from Devil’s Island, and on July 1, 1899, reached the city of Rennes, where the new court-martial was to be held. It is not necessary to repeat the evidence given in this trial, which lasted from August 7th to September 7th, and with which the world is sufficiently familiar. It will suffice to say that the evidence against Dreyfus was of the most shadowy and uncertain character, being largely conjectures and opinions of army officers, and seemed insufficient to convict a criminal for the smallest offence before an equitable court; that the evidence in his favor was of the strongest character; that the proceedings were of the loosest description; that much favorable evidence was ruled out by the judges, the presiding judge throughout showing a bias against the accused; and that the trial ended in a conviction of the prisoner, by a vote of five judges to two, the verdict being the extraordinary one of “guilty of treason, with extenuating circumstances”—as if any treason could be extenuated.

The World’s Opinion

This is but an outline sketch of this remarkable case, which embraced many circumstances favorable to Dreyfus which we have not had space to give. The verdict was received by the world outside of France with universal astonishment and condemnation. The opinion was everywhere expressed that not a particle of incriminating evidence had been adduced, and that the members of the court-martial had acted virtually under the commands of their superior officers, who held that the “honor of the army” demanded a conviction. Dreyfus was thought by many to have been made a victim to shield certain criminals of high importance in the army, which so dominated French opinion that the great bulk of the people pronounced in favor of the sacrifice of this innocent victim to the Moloch of the French military system. It was widely felt in foreign lands that the great development of militarism in France, and the vast influence of the general staff of the army, formed a threatening feature of the governmental system, which might at any time overthrow the republic and form a military empire upon its ruins. Two republics have already been brought to an end in France through the supremacy of the army, and the safety of the third is far from assured. The Dreyfus case has thrown a flood of light upon the volcanic condition of affairs in France.

The general condemnation of this example of French “justice” by the press of other nations, and very probably the recognition by the governing powers of France of the inadequacy of the evidence led, shortly after the conclusion of the court-martial, to the pardon of the condemned. The sentence of the court in no sense affected his position before the world, he being looked upon everywhere outside of France as a victim of injustice instead of a criminal. The severity of his imprisonment however, had seriously affected his health, and threatened to bring his life to an end before he could obtain the justice which he proposed to seek in the courts of France.

This remarkable case, which made an obscure officer of the French army the most talked-of and commiserated man among all the peoples of the earth, at the end of the nineteenth century, is of further interest from the light it throws upon the legal system of France as compared with that of Anglo-Saxon nations. Dreyfus, it is true, was tried by court-martial, but the procedure was similar to that of the ordinary French courts, in which trial by jury does not exist, the judge having the double function of deciding upon the guilt or innocence of the accused and passing sentence; while efforts are made to induce the prisoner to incriminate himself which would be considered utterly unjust in British and American legal practice. The French legal system is a direct descendant of that of ancient Rome. The British one represents a new development in legal methods. Doubtless both have their advantages, but the Dreyfus trial seems to indicate that the system of France opens the way to acts of barbarous injustice.

Paul Kruger and the Struggle for Dominion in South Africa.

At the close of the nineteenth century, not the least important among the international questions that were disturbing the nations was the controversy between the English and the Boers in South Africa, concerning the political privileges of the Uitlanders, or foreign gold miners of the Transvaal. A consideration of this subject obliges us to go back to the beginning of the century and review the whole history of colonization in South Africa.

The Dutch Settlement in South Africa
Great Britain in Cape Colony and the Emigration of the Boers

That region belongs by right of settlement to the Dutch, who founded a colony in the region of Capetown as early as 1650, and in the succeeding century and a half spread far and wide over the territory, their farms and cattle ranches occupying a very wide area. The first interference with their peaceful occupation came in 1795, when the English took possession. In 1800, however, they restored the colony to Holland, which held it in peaceable ownership until the Congress of Vienna, in 1815, came to disturb the map of Europe, and in a measure that of the world. Great Britain in Cape Colony and the Emigration of the BoersAs part of the distribution of spoils among the great nations, Cape Colony was ceded to Great Britain. Since then that country, which has a great faculty of taking hold and a very poor faculty of letting go, has held possession, and has pushed steadily northward until British South Africa is now a territory of enormous extent, stretching northward to the borders of the Congo Free State and to Lake Tanganyika.

This vast territory has not been gained without active and persistent aggression, from which the Dutch settlers, known as Boers, and the African natives have alike suffered. In truth, the Boers found the oppression of British rule an intolerable burden early in the century, and in 1840 a great party of them gave up their farms and “treked” northward—that is, traveled with their ox-teams and belongings—eager to get away from British control. Here they founded a republic of their own on the river Vaal, and settled down again to peace and prosperity.

A Huntsman’s Paradise

The country in which they settled was a huntsman’s paradise. On the great plains of the High Veldt or plateau (from 4,000 to 7,000 feet in height) antelopes of several species roamed in tens of thousands. In the valleys and plains of the low country the giraffe, elephant, buffalo, lion and other large animals were plentiful. The rivers were full of alligators and hippopotami. Here the newcomers found abundance of food, and a land of such pastoral wealth that the farm animals they brought increased abundantly. For years a steady stream of Boers continued to enter and settle in this land, deserting their farms in the British territory, harnessing their cattle to their long, lumbering wagons, and bringing with them food for the journey, and a good supply of powder and lead for use in their tried muskets. Their active hunting experience brought them in time to rank among the best marksmen in the world.

The Boers Drive Out the Blacks

They had not alone wild animals to deal with, but wild men as well. Fierce tribes of natives possessed the land, and with these the Boers were soon at war. A number of sanguinary battles were fought, with much slaughter on both sides, but in the end the black men were forced to give way to the whites and cross the Limpopo River into Matabeleland, to the north, which their descendants still occupy. Others of the natives were subdued and continued to live with the Boers. The latter were essentially pioneers. They did not till the soil, but divided up the land into great grazing ranges, covered with their abundant herds. And they had no instinct for trade, what little commerce the country possessed falling into British hands.

The South African Republic Founded

Two settlements were made, one between the Orange and the Vaal rivers, and the other north of the Vaal. The former had much trouble with the British previous to 1854, in which year it was given its independence. It is known as the Orange River Free State. The latter was given the name of Transvaal, and originally formed four separate republics, but in 1860 these united into one under the title of the South African Republic. The settlers were for a time covered with the shadow of British sovereignty, the claims of the British extending up to the 25th degree of latitude. But this claim was only on paper, and in 1852 it was withdrawn, Great Britain formally renouncing all rights over the country north of the Vaal. And for years afterwards the Boers lived on here free and undisturbed.

The Discovery of Diamonds

But their country possessed other wealth than that of pasture lands, and its hidden treasures were to yield them no end of trouble in the years to come. Under their soil lay untold riches, which in time brought hosts of unruly strangers to disturb their pastoral peace. The trouble began in 1867, when diamonds were found in the vicinity of the Vaal River, and a rush of miners began to invade this remote district. But the diamond mines lay west of the borders of the Transvaal, and brought rather a threatening situation than immediate disturbance to the Boer state. It was the later discovery of gold on Transvaal territory that eventually overthrew the quiet content of the pastoral community.

Shepstone’s Annexation of the Transvaal

In 1877 the first intrusion came. The British were now abundant in Griqualand West, the diamond region, and on the Transvaal borders lay a host of native enemies, chief among them being the warlike Zulus, led by the bold and daring Cetewayo. Only fear of the British kept this truculent chief at rest. Meanwhile the Boer Republic had fallen into a financial collapse. Its frequent wars with the natives had exhausted its revenues and thrown it deeply into debt. A serious crisis seemed impending. On the plea of preventing this, Sir Theophilus Shepstone, secretary of Natal, made his way to Pretoria, the capital of the republic, and issued a proclamation annexing the Transvaal country to Great Britain. The public treasury he found to be almost empty, it containing only twelve shillings and six pence, and even part of this was counterfeit coin. His act was arbitrary and unwarranted, and while the Boers submitted, they did so with sullen anger, quietly biding their time.

The Zulu War

In the following year the Zulus, who had been threatening the Boers, broke out into war with the British, and with such energy that the whites were at first repulsed by the impetuous Cetewayo and his warlike followers. In this onset Prince Napoleon, son of the deposed emperor Louis Napoleon, who served as a volunteer in the British ranks, was killed. The British soon retrieved the disaster, and in the end decisively defeated the Zulus, capturing their king, who was taken as a prisoner to London. After the Zulu war Sir Garnet Wolseley led his troops into the Transvaal, telling the protesting Boers that “so long as the sun shone and the Vaal River flowed to the sea the Transvaal would remain British territory.” Other acts of interference, and the attempt of the British officials to tax the Boers, added to their exasperation, and at the end of 1880 they resolved to fight for the independence of which they had been robbed. Wolseley had before this left the territory, and the troops had been reduced to a few detachments, scattered here and there.

War With the Boers

The first hostile action took place on December 20, 1880, a detachment of the Ninety-fourth regiment, on its march to Pretoria, being waylaid by a body of about 150 armed Boers, who ordered them to stop. Colonel Anstruther curtly replied: “I go to Pretoria; do as you like.” The Boers did more than he liked. They closed in on his columns and opened on them so deadly a fire that the British fell at a frightful rate. Out of 259 in all, 155 had fallen dead or wounded in ten minutes’ time. Then the colonel, himself seriously wounded, ordered a surrender, and the Boers at once became as friendly as they had just been hostile. They had lost only two killed and five wounded.

As soon as news of this disaster reached Natal, Colonel Sir George Colley, in command at Natal, marched against the Boers without waiting for reinforcements, the force at his disposal being but 1,200 men. He paid dearly for his temerity and contempt of the enemy. On January 28, 1881, he was encountered by the Boers at a place called Lang’s Nek, and met with a bloody defeat. In about a week afterwards another engagement took place, in which the British lost 139 officers and men, while the whole Boer loss was 14. Practised hunters, their fire was so deadly that almost every shot found its mark.

The Stand at Majuba Hill

The war was going badly for the British. It was soon to go worse. Receiving reinforcements, Colley made a stand in an elevated position known as Majuba Hill, whose summit was 2,000 feet above the positions held by the Boers and its ascent so steep and rugged that the soldiers had to climb it in single file. Near the top of the ascent the grassy slopes were succeeded by boulders, crags, and loose stones, over which the weary men had to drag themselves on hands and knees. In this way about 400 men gained the summit on the morning of February 27th. The top of the hill was a saucer-shaped plateau, about 1,200 yards wide, with an elevated rim within which the British were posted.

The place seemed impregnable, but the daring Boers did not hesitate in the attack. A force of the older men were detailed to keep on the watch below—picked shots ready to fire on any soldier who should appear on the rim of the hill. The younger men began to climb the slopes, under cover of the shrub and stones. The assault was made on every side, and the defenders, too weak in numbers to hold the whole edge of the plateau, had to be moved from point to point to meet and attempt to thwart the attacks of the Boers. Slowly and steadily the hostile skirmishers clambered upwards from cover to cover, while the supports below protected their movement with a steady and accurate fire. During the hours from dawn to noon the British did not suffer very heavily, notwithstanding the accuracy of the Boer marksmanship. But the long strain of the Boers’ close shooting began to tell on the morale of the British soldiers, and when the enemy at length reached the crest and opened a deadly fire at short range the officers had to exert themselves to the utmost in the effort to avert disaster. The reserves stationed in the central dip of the plateau, out of reach until then of the enemy’s fire, were ordered up in support of the fighting line. Their want of promptitude in obeying this order did not augur well, and soon after reaching the front they wavered, and then gave way. The officers temporarily succeeded in rallying them, but the “bolt” had a bad effect. To use the expression of an eye-witness, a “funk became established.”

The Boers Storm the British Camp

It was struggled against very gallantly by the officers, who, sword and revolver in hand, encouraged the soldiers by word and by action. A number of men, unable to confront the deadly fire of the Boers, had huddled for cover behind the rocky reef crossing the plateau, and no entreaty or upbraiding on the part of their officers would induce them to face the enemy. What then happened one does not care to tell in detail. Everything connected with this disastrous enterprise went to naught, as if there had been a curse on it. Whatever may have been the object intended, the force employed was absurdly inadequate. Instead of being homogeneous, it consisted of separate detachments with no link or bond of union—a disposition of troops which notoriously has led to more panics than any other cause that the annals of regimental history can furnish. Fragments of proud and distinguished regiments fresh from victory on another continent shared in the panic of the Majuba, seasoned warriors behaving no better than mere recruits. To the calm-pulsed philosopher a panic is an academic enigma. No man who has seen it—much less shared in it—can ever forget the infectious madness of panic-stricken soldiers.

The Victory of the Boers

In the sad ending, with a cry of fright and despair the remnants of the hapless force turned and fled, regardless of the efforts of the officers to stem the rearward rush. Sir George Colley lay dead, shot through the head just before the final flight. A surgeon and two hospital attendants caring for the wounded at the bandaging place in the dip of the plateau were shot down, probably inadvertently. The elder Boers promptly stopped the firing in that direction. But there was no cessation of the fire directed on the fugitives. On them the bullets rained accurately and persistently. The Boers, now disdaining cover, stood boldly on the edge of the plateau, and, firing down upon the scared troops, picked off the men as if shooting game. The slaughter would have been yet heavier but for the entrenchment which had been made by the company of the Ninety-second, left overnight on the Nek, between the Inquela and the Majuba. Captain Robertson was joined at dawn from camp by a company of the Sixtieth, under Captain Thurlow. Later there arrived at the entrenchment on the Nek a troop of the Fifteenth Hussars, under the command of Captain Sullivan. After midday the sound of the firing on the Majuba rapidly increased, and men were seen running down the hill towards the laager, one of whom brought in the tidings that the Boers had captured the position, that most of the troops were killed or prisoners, and that the general was dead with a bullet through his head.

A Panic Flight

Wounded men presently came pouring in, and were attended by Surgeon-Major Cornish. The laager was manned by the companies, and outposts were thrown out, which were soon driven in by large bodies of mounted Boers, under whose fire men fell fast. Robertson dispatched the rifle company down the ravine towards the camp, and a little later followed with the company of the Ninety-second under a murderous fire from the Boers, who had reached and occupied the entrenchment. The Highlanders lost heavily in the retreat, and Surgeon-Major Cornish was killed. The surviving fugitives from Majuba and from the laager finally reached camp under cover of the artillery fire from it, which ultimately stopped the pursuit. With the consent of the Boer leaders a temporary hospital was established at a farm-house near the foot of the mountain, and throughout the cold and wet night the medical staff never ceased to search for and bring in the wounded. Sir George Colley’s body was brought into camp on March 1st, and buried there with full military honors.

Peace Declared with British Suzerainty

Of 650 officers and men who took part in this disastrous affair the loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners was 283; the Boers had one man killed and five wounded. Majuba Hill was enough for the British, fighting as they were in an unjust cause. An armistice was agreed upon, followed by a treaty of peace on March 23d. Large reinforcements had been sent out, which would have given the British an army of 20,000 against the 8,000 Boers, capable of bearing arms; but to fight longer in defence of an arbitrary invasion against such brave defenders of their homes and their rights, did not appeal to the conscience of Mr. Gladstone, and he lost no time in bringing the war to an end. By the terms of the treaty the Boers were left free to govern themselves as they would, they acknowledging the queen as suzerain of their country, with control of its foreign relations.

The greatest disaster ever experienced by the British in Africa was at Majuba Hill, in the South African Republic. In the war of 1880–81 with the Boers, a British force occupied the flat top of this steep elevation, but was driven out with great slaughter. The attempt to recapture the hill in the face of the skilled Boer marksmen was simply a climb to death, and the day ended in a serious defeat for the invaders.
Colonial Secretary of England
President of the South African Republic
The Gold Diggings of the Transvaal

The next important event in the history of the Transvaal was the exploitation of its gold mines. Gold was discovered there soon after the opening of the diamond mines, but not under very promising conditions. It exists in a conglomerate rock, whose beds extend over an area of seventy by forty miles, and through a depth of from two to twenty feet; but years passed before the richness in metal of these rocks was discovered, and it was not until after the Boer war that mining fairly began. No one in his wildest dreams foresaw that these “banket” beds would in time yield gold to the value of more than $60,000,000 a year. The yield of the diamond mines was also enormous, and these two incitements brought a steady stream of new settlers to that region, destined before many years greatly to outnumber the sturdy farmers and herders of Dutch descent.

The Career of Cecil Rhodes

In the vicinity of the gold mines, not far from Pretoria, the Boer capital, rose the mining city of Johannesburg, which now has a population of more than 100,000 souls, of whom half are European miners and nearly all the remainder are natives. The great event in the history of the diamond mines was the advent thither of Cecil Rhodes. This remarkable man, the son of a country parson in England, who was ordered to South Africa for the benefit of his failing lungs, displayed such enterprise and ability that he soon became the leading figure in the diamond mining industry, organizing a company that controlled the mines, and accumulating an immense fortune.

This accomplished, he entered actively into South African politics, and was not long in immensely extending the dominion of Great Britain in that region of the earth. He obtained from Lord Salisbury, prime minister of Great Britain, a royal charter giving him the right to occupy and govern the great territory lying between the Limpopo River on the south and the Zambesi on the north, and extending far to the north and the west of the South African Republic. With an expedition of a thousand men, volunteers from the Transvaal and the Cape Colony, Rhodes marched north through a country filled with armed Zulus,—the best fighting stuff in Africa,—and reached the spot where now stands the flourishing town of Fort Salisbury without firing a shot or losing a man. Here gold mines were opened, the resources of the country developed, and within three years as many important townships were founded and settled.

War With the Matabeles

Not until July, 1893, did trouble with the natives arise. Then a rupture took place with the Matabele chief, Lobengula, who sent against the whites powerful bands of his dreaded Zulu warriors, numbering in all over 20,000 armed blacks. These were met by Dr. Jameson, the administrator of the chartered territory, and dealt with so vigorously and skilfully that in two months the power of the Matabeles was at an end, their army was practically annihilated, their great kraals were occupied, and their king was driven from his capital into the desert, where he died two months later. Thus Cecil Rhodes added to the dominion of Great Britain a territory as large as France and Germany, very fertile and healthful, and rich in gold and other metals.

The Domain of the South African Company

Zambesia—or Rhodesia, as it is often called—now extends far to the north of the Zambesi River, being bordered on the north by the Congo Free State and Lake Tanganyika, and on the east by Lake Nyassa, and embracing the heart of South Africa. This territory was chartered in 1889 by the British South Africa Company, with Cecil Rhodes, then premier of the Cape Colony, as its managing director and practical creator.

What the Foreigners Brought to the Transvaal

The rapid development of British interests in South Africa, the acquisition of territory in great part surrounding the South African Republic,—which was completely cut off from the sea by British and Portuguese territory,—and the growth of a large foreign population on the soil of the republic itself, could not fail to be a source of great annoyance to the Boers, who deeply mistrusted their new neighbors. Their effort to get away from the British had been a failure. They were surrounded and overrun by them. It is true, the coming of the gold miners had been a great boon to the Boer in one way. From having an empty treasury, he had now an overflowing one. The tax on the gold product had made the government rich. The foreigners had also brought the railway, the electric light, the telegraph, cheap and abundant articles of every-day use, newspapers, schools, and other appendages of civilization, but it is doubtful if these were as welcome to the Boers as the cash contribution, since they tended to break up their simple, patriarchal style of living and destroy their time-honored customs.

Paul Kruger and the Uitlanders

The question that particularly troubled the Boer mind was a political one. Paul Kruger, the president of the republic, was a man of remarkable character, an astute statesman, a shrewd politician, with an iron will and keen judgment, a personage strikingly capable of dealing with a disturbing situation. While ignorant in book lore, he had associated with him as secretary of state an educated Hollander, Dr. Leyds by name, one of the ablest and shrewdest statesmen in South Africa. The pair of them were a close match for the bold and aspiring Cecil Rhodes, then premier of the Cape Colony. The difficulty they had to deal with was the following: The Uitlander(Outlander or foreign) element in the republic had grown so enormously as far to outnumber the Dutch. The country presented the anomaly of a minority of 15,000 ignorant and unprogressive Dutch burghers ruling a majority of four or five times their number of educated, wealthy and prosperous aliens, who, while possessing the most valuable part of the territory, were given no voice in its government. They were not only deprived of legislative functions in the country at large, but also of municipal functions in the city of their own creation, and they demanded in vain a charter that would enable them to control and improve their own city. President Kruger, fearing to have his government overwhelmed by these Anglo-Saxon strangers, sternly determined that they should have no political foothold in his state until after a long residence, foreseeing that if they were given the franchise on easy terms they would soon control the state. In this sense the gold which was making them rich seemed a curse to the Boers, since it threatened to bring them again under the dominion of the hated Englishman.

The Jameson Raid

In 1895 the state of affairs reached a critical point. The British in Matabeleland, north of the Transvaal, were in warm sympathy with their brethren in Johannesburg, and between them a plot was laid to overthrow Kruger and his people. An outbreak took place in Johannesburg, led by Colonel F. W. Rhodes, brother of Cecil Rhodes, by whom it was thought to have been instigated. It was quickly followed by an invasion from Matabeleland, led by Dr. L. S. Jameson, Cecil Rhodes’ lieutenant in that region. The movement was a hasty and ill-considered one. The invaders were met by the bold Boers, armed with their unerring rifles, were surrounded and forced to surrender, and their leaders were put on trial for their lives.

Paul Kruger, however, was shrewd enough not to push the matter to extremities. Jameson and his confederates were set at liberty and allowed to return to England, where they were tried, convicted of invading a friendly country and imprisoned—Cecil Rhodes going free. This daring man soon after suppressed an extensive revolt of the Matabeles, and gained the reputation of designing to found a great British nationality in South Africa. At a later date he devised the magnificent scheme of building a railroad throughout the whole length of Africa, from Cairo to Cape Colony, and threw himself into this ambitious enterprise with all his accustomed energy and organizing capacity.

The Demands of the Uitlanders

The victory of the Boers over Jameson and his raiders did not bring to an end the strained relations in Johannesburg. The demand of the Uitlanders for political rights and privileges grew more earnest and insistant as time went on, and the British government, on the basis of its suzerainty, began to take a hand in it. The right to vote, under certain stringent conditions as to period of residence and declaration of intention to become citizens, was accorded by the Boer government, but was far from satisfactory to the foreign residents, who demanded the suffrage under less rigorous conditions.

In 1899 the state of affairs became critical, England taking a more decided stand, and strongly pressing her claim to a voice in the status of British residents under her suzerainty—despite the fact that the latter gave her no right to interfere in the domestic affairs of the state. Joseph Chamberlain, secretary of state for the colonies, demanded a more equitable arrangement than that existing, and his insistence led to a conference between the Boer authorities and those of Cape Colony. But President Kruger refused to yield to the full demands made upon him, while the concessions which he offered were not satisfactory to the British cabinet.

Negotiations went on during the summer and early autumn of 1899, but at the same time both sides were actively preparing for war, and Great Britain had begun to send large contingents of troops to South Africa. The state of indecision came to a sudden end on October 10th. President Kruger apparently fearing that Joseph Chamberlain, who conducted the negotiations, was deceiving him, and seeking delay until he could land an overwhelming force in South Africa, sent a sudden ultimatum to the British cabinet. They were bidden to remove the troops which threatened the borders of his state before five o’clock of the next day or accept war as the alternative.

Such a mandate from a weak to a strong state was not likely to be complied with. The troops were not removed, and the Boers promptly crossed the borders into Natal on the east and Cape Colony on the west. The Orange River Free State had joined the South African Republic in its attitude of hostility, and the British on the borders found themselves outnumbered and outgeneraled. The towns of Mafeking and Kimberley on the west were closely besieged, and on the east the outlying troops were driven back on Ladysmith, where General White, the British commander, met with a severe repulse, losing two entire regiments as prisoners.

Meanwhile General Buller, the British commander-in-chief, had reached Cape Town and a powerful army was on the ocean, and it was widely felt that the successes of the Boers were but preliminaries to a desperate struggle whose issue only time could decide.

Howells, Cooper, Wallace, Eggleston, Hawthorn, Hale

The Rise of Japan and the Decline of China.

Asia the Original Seat of Civilization

Asia, the greatest of the continents and the seat of the earliest civilizations, yields us the most remarkable phenomenon in the history of mankind. In remote ages, while Europe lay plunged in the deepest barbarism, certain sections of Asia were marked by surprising activity in thought and progress. In three far-separated regions—China, India, and Babylonia—and in a fourth on the borders of Asia—Egypt—civilization rose and flourished for ages, while the savage and the barbarian roamed over all other regions of the earth. A still more extraordinary fact is, that during the more recent era, that of European civilization, Asia has rested in the most sluggish conservatism, sleeping while Europe and America were actively moving, content with its ancient knowledge while the people of the West were pursuing new knowledge into its most secret lurking places.

The Sluggishness of Modern Asia

And this conservatism is an almost immovable one. For a century England has been pouring new thought and new enterprise into India, yet the Hindoos cling stubbornly to their remotely ancient beliefs and customs. For half a century Europe has been hammering upon the gates of China, but the sleeping nation shows little signs of waking up to the fact that the world is moving around it. As regards the other early civilizations—Babylonia and Egypt—they have been utterly swamped under the tide of Turkish barbarism and exist only in their ruins. Persia, once a great and flourishing empire, has likewise sunk under the flood of Arabian and Turkish invasion, and to-day, under its ruling Shah, is one of the most inert of nations, steeped in the self-satisfied barbarism that has succeeded its old civilization. Such was the Asia upon which the nineteenth century dawned, and such it remains to-day except in one remote section of its area, in which alone modern civilization has gained a firm foothold.

The Seclusion of China and Japan

The section referred to is the island empire of Japan, a nation the people of which are closely allied in race to those of China, yet which has displayed a progressiveness and a readiness to avail itself of the resources of modern civilization strikingly diverse from the obstinate conservatism of its densely settled neighbor. The development of Japan has taken place within the past half century. Previous to that time it was as resistant to western influences as China. They were both closed nations, prohibiting the entrance of modern ideas and peoples, proud of their own form of civilization and their own institutions, and sternly resolved to keep out the disturbing influences of the restless west. As a result, they remained locked against the new civilization until after the nineteenth century was well advanced, and China’s disposition to avail itself of the results of modern invention was not manifested until the century was near its end.

The Opening of China

China, with its estimated population of nearly 400,000,000, attained to a considerable measure of civilization at a very remote period, but has made almost no progress during the Christian era, being content to retain its old ideas, methods and institutions, which its people look upon as far superior to those of the western nations. Great Britain gained a foothold in China as early as the seventeenth century, but the persistent attempt to flood the country with the opium of India, in disregard of the laws of the land, so annoyed the emperor that he had the opium of the British stores at Canton, worth $20,000,000, seized and destroyed. This led to the “opium war” of 1840, in which China was defeated and was forced to accept a much greater degree of intercourse with the world, five ports being made free to the world’s commerce and Hong Kong ceded to Great Britain. In 1856 an arbitrary act of the Chinese authorities at Canton, in forcibly boarding a British vessel in the Canton River, led to a new war, in which the French joined the British and the allies gained fresh concessions from China. In 1859 the war was renewed, and Peking was occupied by the British and French forces in 1860, the emperor’s summer palace being destroyed.

These wars had their effect in largely breaking down the Chinese wall of seclusion and opening the empire more fully to foreign trade and intercourse, and also in compelling the emperor to receive foreign ambassadors at his court in Peking. In this the United States was among the most successful of the nations, from the fact that it had always maintained friendly relations with China. In 1876 a short railroad was laid, and in 1877 a telegraph line was established. During the remainder of the century the telegraph service was widely extended, but the building of railroads was strongly opposed, and not until the century had reached its end did the Chinese awaken to the importance of this method of transportation. They did, however, admit steam traffic to their rivers, and purchased some powerful ironclad naval vessels in Europe.

How Japan Was Opened to Commerce

The isolation of Japan was maintained longer than that of China, trade with that country being of less importance, and foreign nations knowing and caring less about it. The United States has the credit of breaking down its long and stubborn seclusion and setting in train the remarkably rapid development of the Japanese island empire. In 1854 Commodore Perry appeared with an American fleet in the bay of Yeddo, and, by a show of force and a determination not to be rebuffed, he forced the authorities to make a treaty of commercial intercourse with the United States. Other nations quickly demanded similar privileges, and Japan’s obstinate resistance to foreign intercourse was at an end.

The result of this was revolutionary in Japan. For centuries the Shogun, or Tycoon, the principal military noble, had been dominant in the empire, and the Mikado, the true emperor, relegated to a position of obscurity. The entrance of foreigners disturbed conditions so greatly—by developing parties for and against seclusion—that the Mikado was enabled to regain his long-lost power, and in 1868 the ancient form of government was restored.

Great Development of Japan

Meanwhile the Japanese began to show a striking activity in the acceptance of the results of western civilization, both in regard to objects of commerce, inventions, and industries, and to political organization. The latter advanced so rapidly that in 1889 the old despotic government was, by the voluntary act of the emperor, set aside and a limited monarchy established, the country being given a constitution and a legislature, with universal suffrage for all men over twenty-five. This act is of remarkable interest, it being doubtful if history records any similar instance of a monarch decreasing his authority without appeal or pressure from his people. It indicates a liberal spirit that could hardly have been looked for in a nation so recently emerging from semi-barbarism. To-day, Japan differs little from the nations of Europe and America in its institutions and industries, and from being among the most backward, has taken its place among the most advanced nations of the world.

The Japanese army has been organized upon the European system, and armed with the most modern style of weapons, the German method of drill and organization being adopted. Its navy consists of over fifty war vessels, principally built in the dock-yards of Europe and America, and of the most advanced modern type, while a number of still more powerful ships are in process of building. Railroads have been widely extended; telegraphs run everywhere; education is in an advancing stage of development, embracing an imperial university at Tokio, and institutions in which foreign languages and science are taught; and in a hundred ways Japan is progressing at a rate which is one of the greatest marvels of the nineteenth century. This is particularly notable in view of the obstinate adherence of the neighboring empire of China to its old customs, and the slowness with which it is yielding to the influx of new ideas.

A Remarkable Event

As a result of this difference in progress between the two nations, we have to describe a remarkable event, one of the most striking evidences that could be given of the practical advantage of modern civilization. Near the end of the century war broke out between China and Japan, and there was shown to the world the singular circumstance of a nation of 40,000,000 people, armed with modern implements of war, attacking a nation of 400,000,000—equally brave, but with its army organized on an ancient system—and defeating it as quickly and completely as Germany defeated France in the Franco-German War. This war, which represents a completely new condition of events in the continent of Asia, is of sufficient interest and importance to speak of at some length.

Between China and Japan lies the kingdom of Corea, separated by rivers from the former and by a strait of the ocean from the latter, and claimed as a vassal state by both, yet preserving its independence as a state against the pair. Japan invaded this country at two different periods in the past, but failed to conquer it. China has often invaded it, with the same result. Thus it remained practically independent until near the end of the nineteenth century, when it became a cause of war between the two rival empires.

Corea Opened to Foreign Intercourse

Corea long pursued the same policy as China and Japan, locking its ports against foreigners so closely that it became known as the Hermit Nation and the Forbidden Land. But it was forced to give way, like its neighbors. The opening of Corea was due to Japan. In 1876 the Japanese did to this secluded kingdom what Commodore Perry had done to Japan twenty-two years before. They sent a fleet to Seoul, the Corean capital, and by threat of war forced the government to open to trade the port of Fusan. In 1880 Chemulpo was made an open port. Later on the United States sent a fleet there which obtained similar privileges. Soon afterwards most of the nations of Europe were admitted to trade, and the isolation of the Hermit Nation was at an end. Less than ten years had sufficed to break down an isolation which had lasted for centuries. In less than twenty years after—in the year 1899—an electric trolley railway was put in operation in the streets of Seoul—a remarkable evidence of the great change in Corean policy.

Corea was no sooner opened to foreign intercourse than China and Japan became rivals for influence in that country—a rivalry in which Japan showed itself the more active. The Coreans became divided into two factions, a progressive one that favored Japan, and a conservative one that favored China. Japanese and Chinese soldiers were sent to the country, and the Chinese aided their party, which was in the ascendant among the Coreans, to drive out the Japanese troops. War was threatened, but it was averted by a treaty in 1885 under which both nations agreed to withdraw their troops and to send no officers to drill the Corean soldiers.

Insurrection in Corea

The war, thus for the time averted, came nine years afterwards, in consequence of an insurrection in Corea. The people of that country were discontented. They were oppressed with taxes and by tyranny, and in 1894 the followers of a new religious sect broke out in open revolt. Their numbers rapidly increased until they were 20,000 strong, and they defeated the government troops, captured a provincial city, and put the capital itself in danger. The Min (or Chinese) faction was then at the head of affairs in the kingdom and called for aid from China, which responded by sending some two thousand troops and a number of war vessels to Corea. Japan, jealous of any such action on the part of China, responded by surrounding Seoul with soldiers, several thousands in number.

Disputes followed. China claimed to be suzerain of Corea and Japan denied it. Both parties refused to withdraw their troops, and the Japanese, finding that the party in power was acting against them, advanced on the capital, drove out the officials, and took possession of the palace and the king. A new government, made up of the party that favored Japan, was organized, and a revolution was accomplished in a day. The new authorities declared that the Chinese were intruders and requested the aid of the Japanese to expel them. War was close at hand.

Li Hung Chang and the Empress

China was at that time under the leadership of a statesman of marked ability, the famous Li Hung Chang, who, from being made viceroy of a province in 1870, had risen to be the prime minister of the empire. At the head of the empire was a woman, the Dowager Empress Tsu Tsi, who had usurped the power of the young emperor and ruled the state. It was to these two people in power that the war was due. The dowager empress, blindly ignorant of the power of the Japanese, decided that these “insolent pigmies” deserved to be chastised. Li, her right-hand man, was of the same opinion. At the last moment, indeed, doubts began to assail his mind, into which came a dim idea that the army and navy of China were not in shape to meet the forces of Japan. But the empress was resolute. Her sixtieth birthday was at hand and she proposed to celebrate it magnificently; and what better decorations could she display than the captured banners of these insolent islanders? So it was decided to present a bold front, and, instead of the troops of China being removed, reinforcements were sent to the force at Asan.

The Sinking of the Chinese Transport

There followed a startling event. On July 25th three Japanese men-of-war, cruising in the Yellow Sea, came in sight of a transport loaded with Chinese troops and convoyed by two ships of the Chinese navy. The Japanese admiral did not know of the seizure of Seoul by the land forces, but he took it to be his duty to prevent Chinese troops from reaching Corea, so he at once attacked the war ships of the enemy, with such effect that they were quickly put to flight. Then he sent orders to the transport that it should put about and follow his ships.

This the Chinese generals refused to do. They trusted to the fact that they were on a chartered British vessel and that the British flag flew over their heads. The daring Japanese admiral troubled his soul little about this foreign standard, but at once opened fire on the transport, and with such effect that in half an hour it went to the bottom, carrying with it one thousand men. Only about one hundred and seventy escaped.

Declaration of War

On the same day that this terrible act took place on the waters of the sea, the Japanese left Seoul en route for Asan. Reaching there, they attacked the Chinese in their works and drove them out. Three days afterwards, on August 1, 1894, both countries issued declarations of war.

The War on Land

Of the conflict that followed, the most interesting events were those that took place on the waters, the land campaigns being an unbroken series of successes for the well-organized and amply-armed Japanese troops over the mediæval army of China, which went to war fan and umbrella in hand, with antiquated weapons and obsolete organization. The principal battle was fought at Ping Yang on September 15th, the Chinese losing 16,000 killed, wounded and captured, while the Japanese loss was trifling. In November the powerful fortress of Port Arthur was attacked by army and fleet, and surrendered after a two days’ siege. Then the armies advanced until they were in the vicinity of the Great Wall, with the soil and capital of China not far before them.

The Chinese and Japanese Fleets

With this brief review of the land operations, we must return to the performances of the fleets, which were of high interest as forming the second occasion in which a modern ironclad fleet had met in battle—the first being that already described in which the Austrians defeated the Italians at Lissa. Backward as the Chinese were on land, they were not so on the sea. Li Hung Chang, progressive as he was, had vainly attempted to introduce railroads into China, but he had been more successful in regard to ships, and had purchased a navy more powerful than that of Japan. The heaviest ships of Japan were cruisers, whose armor consisted of deck and interior lining of steel. The Chinese possessed two powerful battleships, with 14-inch iron armor and turrets defended with 12-inch armor, each carrying four 12-inch guns. Both navies had the advantage of European teaching in drill, tactics, and seamanship. The Ting Yuen, the Chinese flagship, had as virtual commander an experienced German officer named Van Hanneken; the Chen Yuen, the other big ironclad, was handled by Commander M’Giffen, formerly of the United States navy. Thus commanded, it was expected in Europe that the superior strength of the Chinese ships would ensure them an easy victory over those of Japan. The event showed that this was a decidedly mistaken view.

It was the superior speed and the large number of rapid-fire guns of the Japanese vessels that gave them the victory. The Chinese guns were mainly heavy Krupps and Armstrongs. They had also some machine guns, but only three quick-firers. The Japanese, on the contrary, had a few heavy armor-piercing guns, but were supplied with a large number of quick-firing cannon, capable of pouring out shells in an incessant stream. Admiral Ting and his European officers expected to come at once to close quarters and quickly destroy the thin armored Japanese craft. But the shrewd Admiral Ito, commander of the fleet of Japan, had no intention of being thus dealt with. The speed of his craft enabled him to keep his distance and to distract the aim of his foes, and he proposed to make the best use of this advantage. Thus equipped the two fleets came together in the month of September, and an epoch-making battle in the history of the ancient continent of Asia was fought.

The Fleets off the Yalu River

On the afternoon of Sunday, September 16th, Admiral Ting’s fleet, consisting of 11 warships, 4 gunboats, and 6 torpedo boats, anchored off the mouth of the Yalu River. They were there as escorts to some transports, which went up the river to discharge their troops. Admiral Ito had been engaged in the same work farther down the coast, and early on Monday morning came steaming towards the Yalu in search of the enemy. Under him were in all twelve ships, none of them with heavy armor, one of them an armed transport. The swiftest ship in the fleet was the Yoshino, capable of making twenty-three knots, and armed with 44 quick-firing Armstrongs, which would discharge nearly 4,000 pounds weight of shells every minute. The heaviest guns were long 13-inch cannon, of which four ships possessed one each, protected by 12-inch shields of steel. Finally, they had an important advantage over the Chinese in being abundantly supplied with ammunition.

The Cruise of Admiral Ito’s Fleet

With this formidable fleet Ito steamed slowly to the north-westward. Early on Monday morning he was off the island of Hai-yun-tao. At seven A.M. the fleet began steaming north-eastward. It was a fine autumn morning. The sun shone brightly, and there was only just enough of a breeze to ripple the surface of the water. The long line of warships cleaving their way through the blue waters, all bright with white paint, the chrysanthemum of Japan shining like a golden shield on every bow, and the same emblem flying in red and white from every masthead must have been a grand spectacle. Some miles away to port rose the rocky coast and the blue hills of Manchuria, dotted with many an island, and showing here and there a little bay with its fishing villages. On the other side, the waters of the wide Corean Gulf stretched to an unbroken horizon. Towards eleven o’clock the hills at the head of the gulf began to rise. Ito had in his leading ship, the Yoshino, a cruiser that would have made a splendid scout. In any European navy she would have been steaming some miles ahead of her colleagues with, perhaps, another quick ship between her and the fleet to pass on her signals. Ito however seems to have done no scouting, but to have kept his ships in single line ahead, with a small interval between the van and the main squadron. At half-past eleven smoke was seen far away on the starboard bow, the bearing being east-north-east. It appeared to come from a number of steamers in line, on the horizon. The course was altered and the speed increased. Ito believed that he had the Chinese fleet in front of him. He was right. The smoke was that of Ting’s ironclads and cruisers anchored in line, with steam up, outside the mouth of the Yalu.

On Monday morning the Chinese crews had been exercised at their guns, and a little before noon, while the cooks were busy getting dinner ready, the lookout men at several of the mastheads began to call out that they saw the smoke of a large fleet away on the horizon to the south-west. Admiral Ting was as eager for the fight as his opponents. At once he signalled to his fleet to weigh anchor, and a few minutes later ran up the signal to clear for action.

The Chinese on the “Chen Yuen”

A similar signal was made by Admiral Ito half-an-hour later, as his ships came in sight of the Chinese line of battle. The actual moment was five minutes past noon, but it was not until three-quarters of an hour later that the fleets had closed sufficiently near for the fight to begin at long range. This three-quarters of an hour was a time of anxious, and eager expectation for both Chinese and Japanese. Commander McGiffen of the Chen Yuen has given a striking description of the scene when “the deadly space” between the two fleets was narrowing, and all were watching for the flash and smoke of the first gun:—“The twenty-two ships,” he says, “trim and fresh-looking in their paint and their bright new bunting, and gay with fluttering signal-flags, presented such a holiday aspect that one found difficulty in realizing that they were not there simply for a friendly meeting. But, looking closer on the Chen Yuen, one could see beneath this gayety much that was sinister. Dark-skinned men, with queues tightly coiled round their heads, and with arms bared to the elbow, clustered along the decks in groups at the guns, waiting impatiently to kill or be killed. Sand was sprinkled along the decks, and more was kept handy against the time when they might become slippery. In the superstructures, and down out of sight in the bowels of the ship, were men at the shell whips and ammunition hoists and in the torpedo room. Here and there a man lay flat on the deck, with a charge of powder—fifty pounds or more—in his arms, waiting to spring up and pass it on when it should be wanted. The nerves of the men below deck were in extreme tension. On deck one could see the approaching enemy, but below nothing was known, save that any moment might begin the action, and bring in a shell through the side. Once the battle had begun they were all right; but at first the strain was intense. The fleets closed on each other rapidly. My crew was silent. The sub-lieutenant in the military foretop was taking sextant angles and announcing the range, and exhibiting an appropriate small signal-flag. As each range was called, the men at the guns would lower the sight-bars, each gun captain, lanyard in hand, keeping his gun trained on the enemy. Through the ventilators could be heard the beats of the steam pumps; for all the lines of hose were joined up and spouting water, so that, in case of fire, no time need be lost. Every man’s nerves were in a state of tension, which was greatly relieved as a huge cloud of white smoke, belching from the Ting Yuen’s starboard barbette, opened the ball.”

The Opening of the Battle

The shot fell a little ahead of the Yoshino, throwing up a tall column of white water. Admiral Ito, in his official report, notes that this first shot was fired at ten minutes to one. The range, as noted on the Chen Yuen, was 5,200 yards, or a little over three and a half miles. The heavy barbette and bow guns of the Chen Yuen and other ships now joined in, but still the Japanese van squadron came on without replying. For five minutes the firing was all on the side of the Chinese. The space between the Japanese van and the hostile line had diminished to 3,000 yards—a little under two miles. The Yoshino, the leading ship, was heading for the centre of the Chinese line, but obliquely, so as to pass diagonally along the front of the Chinese right wing. At five minutes to one her powerful battery of quick-firers opened on the Chinese, sending out a storm of shells, most of which fell in the water just ahead of the Ting and Chen Yuen. Their first effect was to deluge the decks, barbettes and bridges of the two ironclads with the geysers of water flung up by their impact with the waves. In a few minutes every man on deck was soaked to the skin. One by one the other ships along the Japanese line opened fire, and then, as the range still diminished, the Chinese machine-guns, Hotchkisses and Nordenfelts added their sharp, growling reports to the deeper chorus of the heavier guns.

The armored barbettes and central citadels of the two Chinese battleships were especially the mark of the Japanese fire. Theoretically they ought to have been pierced again and again, but all the harm they received were some deep dents and grooves in the thick plates. But through the thin lined hulls of the cruisers the shells crashed like pebbles through glass, the only effect of the metal wall being to explode the shells and scatter their fragments far and wide.

Admiral Ito’s Strategy
The Daring Act of the “Heijei”

The Chinese admiral had drawn up his ships in a single line, with the large ones in the centre and the weaker ones on the wings. Ito’s ships came up in column, the Yoshino leading, his purpose being to take advantage of the superior speed of his ships and circle round his adversary. Past the Chinese right wing swept the swift Yoshino, pouring in the shells from her rapid-fire guns on the unprotected vessels there posted, one of which, the Yang Wei, was soon in flames. The ships that followed tore the woodwork of the Chao Yung with their shells, and she likewise burst into flames. The slower vessels of the Japanese fleet lagged behind their speedy leaders, particularly the little Heijei, which fell so far in the rear as to be exposed to the fire of the whole Chinese fleet. In this dilemma its captain displayed a daring spirit. The Daring Act of the “Heijei”Instead of following his consorts, he dashed straight for the line of the enemy, passing between two of their larger vessels at 500 yards distance. Two torpedoes were launched at him, but missed their mark. But he was made the target of a heavy fire, and came through with his craft in flames. At 2.23 the blazing Chao Yung went to the bottom with all on board.

The “Matsushima” and the “Ting Yuen”

As a result of the Japanese evolution, their ships finally closed in on the Chinese on both sides and the action reached its most furious phase. The two flag-ships, the Japanese Matsushima and the Chinese Ting Yuen, battered each other with their great guns, the wood-work of the latter being soon in flames, while a heap of ammunition on the Matsushima was exploded by a shell and killed or wounded eighty men. The Chinese flag-ship would probably have been destroyed by the flames but that her consort came to her assistance. By five o’clock the Chinese fleet was in the greatest disorder, several of its ships having been sunk or driven in flames ashore, while others were in flight. The Japanese fire was mainly concentrated on the two large ironclads, which continued the fight, their thick armor resisting the heaviest guns of the enemy.

McGiffen’s Terrible Danger

Signals and signal halyards had been long since shot away, and all the signalmen killed or wounded; but the two ships conformed to each other’s movements, and made a splendid fight of it. Admiral Ting had been insensible for some hours at the outset of the battle. He had stood too close to one of his own big guns on a platform above its muzzle, and had been stunned by the upward and backward concussion of the air; but he had recovered consciousness, and, though wounded by a burst shell, was bravely commanding his ship. Von Hanneken was also wounded in one of the barbettes. The ship was on fire forward, but the hose kept the flames under. The Chen Yuen was almost in the same plight. Her commander, McGiffen, had had several narrow escapes. When at last the lacquered woodwork on her forecastle caught fire, and the men declined to go forward and put it out unless an officer went with them, he led the party. He was stooping down to move something on the forecastle, when a shot passed between his arms and legs, wounding both his wrists. At the same time he was struck down by an explosion near him. When he recovered from the shock he found himself in a terrible position. He was lying wounded on the forecastle, and full in front of him he saw the muzzle of one of the heavy barbette guns come sweeping round, rise, and then sink a little, as the gunners trained it on a Japanese ship, never noticing that he lay just below the line of fire. It was in vain to try to attract their attention. In another minute he would have been caught in the fiery blast. With a great effort he rolled himself over the edge of the forecastle, dropping on to some rubbish on the main deck, and hearing the roar of the gun as he fell.

The battle now resolved itself into a close cannonade of the two ironclads by the main body of the Japanese fleet, while the rest of the ships kept up a desultory fight with the three other Chinese ships and the gunboats. The torpedo boats seem to have done nothing. Commander McGiffen says that their engines had been worn out, and their fittings shaken to pieces, by their being recklessly used as ordinary steam launches in the weeks before the battle. The torpedoes fired from the tubes of the battleships were few in number, and all missed their mark, one, at least, going harmlessly under a ship at which it was fired at a range of only fifty yards. The Japanese used no torpedoes. It is even said that, by a mistake, they had sailed without a supply of these weapons. Nor was the ram used anywhere. Once or twice a Chinese ship tried to run down a Japanese, but the swifter and handier vessels of Ito’s squadron easily avoided all such attacks. The Yalu fight was from first to last an artillery battle.

The End of the Battle

And the end of it came somewhat unexpectedly. The Chen Yuen and the Ting Yuen were both running short of ammunition. The latter had been hit more than four hundred times without her armour being pierced, and the former at least as often. One of the Chen Yuen’s heavy guns had its mountings damaged, but otherwise she was yet serviceable. Still, she had been severely battered, had lost a great part of her crew, and her slow fire must have told the Japanese that she was economizing her ammunition, which was now all solid shot. But about half-past five Ito signalled to his fleet to retire. The two Chinese ironclads followed them for a couple of miles, sending an occasional shot after them; then the Japanese main squadron suddenly circled round as if to renew the action, and, towards six o’clock, there was a brisk exchange of fire at long range. When Ito again ceased fire, the Chen Yuen had just three projectiles left for her heavy guns. If he had kept on for a few minutes longer the two Chinese ships would have been at his mercy.

Lessons from the Yalu Sea-Fight

Just why Ito retired has never been clearly explained. Probably exhaustion of his crew and the perils of a battle at night with such antagonists had much to do with it. The next morning the Chinese fleet had disappeared. It had lost four ships in the fight, two had taken to flight, and one ran ashore after the battle and was blown up. Two of the Japanese ships were badly damaged, but none were lost, while their losses in killed and wounded were much less than those of the Chinese. An important lesson from the battle was the danger of too much wood-work in ironclad ships, and another was the great value in naval warfare of rapid-firing guns. But the most remarkable characteristic of the battle of the Yalu was that it took place between two nations which, had the war broken out forty years earlier, would have done their fighting with fleets of junks and weapons a century old.

Capture of Wei Hai Wei

In January, 1895, the Japanese fleet advanced against the strongly fortified stronghold of Wei Hai Wei, on the northern coast of China. Here a force of 25,000 men was landed successfully, and attacked the fort in the rear, quickly capturing its landward defences. The stronghold was thereupon abandoned by its garrison and occupied by the Japanese. The Chinese fleet lay in the harbor, and surrendered to the Japanese after several ships had been sunk by torpedo boats.

The Treaty of Peace

China was now in a perilous position. Its fleet was lost, its coast strongholds of Port Arthur and Wei Hai Wei were held by the enemy, and its capital city was threatened from the latter place and by the army north of the Great Wall. A continuation of the war promised to bring about the complete conquest of the Chinese empire, and Li Hung Chang, who had been degraded from his official rank in consequence of the disasters to the army, was now restored to all his honors and sent to Japan to sue for peace. In the treaty obtained China was compelled to acknowledge the independence of Corea, to cede to Japan the island of Formosa and the Pescadores group, and that part of Manchuria occupied by the Japanese army, including Port Arthur, also to pay an indemnity of 300,000,000 taels and open seven new treaty ports. This treaty was not fully carried out. The Russian, British, and French ministers forced Japan, under threat of war, to give up her claim to the Liau Tung peninsula and Port Arthur.

The Impending Partition of China

The story of China during the few remaining years of the century may be briefly told. The evidence of its weakness yielded by the war with Japan was quickly taken advantage of by the great powers of Europe, and China was in danger of going to pieces under their attacks, which grew so decided and ominous that rumors of a partition between these powers of the most ancient and populous empire of the world filled the air.

In 1898 decided steps in this direction were taken. Russia obtained a lease for ninety-nine years of Port Arthur and Talien Wan, and is at present in practical possession of Manchuria, through which a railroad is to be built connecting with the Trans-Siberian road, while Port Arthur affords her an ice-free harbor for her Pacific fleet. Great Britain, jealous of this movement on the part of Russia, forced from the unwilling hands of China the port of Wei Hai Wei, and Germany demanded and obtained the cession of a port at Kiau Chun, farther down the coast. France, not to be outdone by her neighbors, gained concessions of territory in the south, adjoining her Indo-China possessions, and Italy, last of all, came into the Eastern market for a share of the nearly defunct empire.

A Palace Revolution

How far this will go it is not easy to say. The nations are settling on China like vultures on a carcass, and perhaps may tear the antique commonwealth to pieces between them. Within the empire itself revolutionary changes have taken place, the dowager empress having first deprived the emperor of all power and then enforced his abdication, while Japan, the late enemy of China, is now looked to for its defence, and Count Ito has been asked to become its premier.

Progress in China

Meanwhile one important result has come from the recent war. Li Hung Chang and the other progressive statesmen of the empire, who have long been convinced that the only hope of China lies in its being thrown open to Western science and art, have now become able to carry out their plans, the conservative opposition having seriously broken down. The result of this is seen in a dozen directions. Railroads, long almost completely forbidden, have now gained free “right of way,” and before many years promise to traverse the country far and wide. Steamers plough their way for a thousand miles up the Yang-tse-Kiang; engineers are busy exploiting the coal and iron mines of the Flowery Kingdom; great factories, equipped with the best modern machinery, are springing up in the foreign settlements; foreign books are being translated and read; and the emperor and the dowager empress have even gone so far as to receive foreign ambassadors in public audience and on a footing of outward equality in the “forbidden city” of Peking, long the sacredly secluded centre of an empire locked against the outer world.

What the Future May Bring to China

All this is full of significance. The defeat of China in 1895 may prove its victory, if it starts it upon a career of acceptance of Western civilization which shall, before the twentieth century has far advanced, raise it to the level of Japan. It must be borne in mind that the extraordinary progress of the island empire has been made within about forty years. China is a larger body and in consequence less easy to move, but its people are innately practical and the pressure of circumstances is forcing them forward. Within the next half century this great empire, despite its thousands of years of unchanging conditions, may take a wonderful bound in advance, and come up to Japan in the race of political and industrial development. In such a case all talk of the partition of China must cease, and it will take its place among the greatest powers of the world.

The Era of Colonies.

Since civilization began nations have endeavored to extend their dominions, not alone by adding to their territory by the conquest of adjoining countries, but also by sending out their excess population to distant regions and founding colonies that served as aids to and feeders of the parent state. In the ancient world the active commercial nations, Phœnicia and Greece, were alert in this direction, some of their colonies,—Carthage, for instance,—becoming powerful enough to gain the status of independent states. In modern times the colonial era began with the discovery of America in 1492 and the circumnavigation of Africa immediately afterwards. Spain and Portugal, the leaders in enterprise at that period, were quick to take advantage of their discoveries, while France, Great Britain and Holland came into the field as founders of colonies at a later date.

Progress in Colonization

At the opening of the nineteenth century Spain and Portugal still held the great dominions they had won. They divided between them the continent of South America, while Spain held a large section of North America, embracing the whole continent south of Canada and west of the Mississippi River, together with the peninsula of Florida. Portugal held, in addition to Brazil, large territories in east and west Africa and minor possessions elsewhere. As regards the remaining active colonizing nations,—Great Britain, France, and Holland,—some striking transformations had taken place. Great Britain, while late to come into the field of colonization, had shown remarkable activity and aggressiveness in this direction, robbing Holland of her settlement on the Atlantic coast of America, and depriving France of her great colonial possessions in the east and the west.

French Activity in Founding Colonies

France had shown a remarkable activity in colonization. In the east she gained a strong foothold in India, which promised to expand to imperial dimensions. In the west she had settled Canada, had planted military posts along the great Mississippi River and claimed the vast territory beyond, and was extending into the Ohio Valley, while the British still confined themselves to a narrow strip along the Atlantic coast. The war which broke out between the English and French colonists in 1754 put an end to this grand promise. When it ended France had lost all her possessions in America and India, Great Britain becoming heir to the whole of them with the exception of the territory west of the Mississippi, which was transferred to Spain. As regards Holland, she had become the successor of Portugal in the east, holding immensely valuable islands in the Malayan archipelago.

The colonial dominion of Great Britain, however, suffered one great loss before the end of the eighteenth century. It failed to recognize the spirit of Anglo-Saxon colonists, and by its tyranny in America gave rise to an insurrection which ended in the freedom of its American colonies. It still held Canada and many of the West India Islands, but the United States was free, and by the opening of the nineteenth century had fairly begun its remarkable development.

Such was the condition of colonial affairs at the beginning of the century with which we are concerned. Spain and Portugal still held the greatest colonial dominions upon the earth, France had lost nearly the whole of her colonies, Holland possessed the rich spice islands of the eastern seas, and Great Britain was just entering upon that activity in colonization which forms one of the striking features of nineteenth century progress.

Spain’s Colonial Decline

At the close of the century a remarkable difference appears. Spain had lost practically the whole of her vast colonial empire. She had learned no lesson from England’s experience with her American colonies, but maintained a policy of tyranny and oppression until these far-extended colonial provinces rose in arms and won their independence by courage and endurance. Her great domain west of the Mississippi, transferred by treaty to France, was purchased by the United States. Florida was sold by her to the same country, and by the end of the first quarter of the century she did not own a foot of land on the American continent. She still held the islands of Cuba and Porto Rico in the West Indies, but her oppressive policy yielded the same result there as on the continent. The islanders broke into rebellion, the United States came to their aid, and she lost these islands and the Philippine Islands in the East. At the end of the century all she held were the Canary Islands and some small possessions elsewhere.

Portugal had also suffered a heavy loss in her colonial dominions, but in a very different manner. The invasion of the home state by Napoleon’s armies had caused the king and his court to set sail for Brazil, where they established an independent empire, while a new scion of the family of Braganza took Portugal for his own. Thus, with the exception of Canada, Guiana, and the smaller islands of the West Indies, no colonies existed in America at the end of the century, all the former colonies having become independent republics.

The Colonial Development of Great Britain

The active powers in colonization within the nineteenth century were the great rivals of the preceding period, Great Britain and France, though the former gained decidedly the start, and its colonial empire to-day surpasses that of any other nation of mankind. It is so enormous, in fact, as to dwarf the parent kingdom, which is related to its colonial dominion, so far as comparative size is concerned, as the small brain of the elephant is related to its great body.

Other Colonizing Powers

Other powers, not heard of as colonizers in the past, have recently come into this field, though too late to obtain any of the great prizes. These are Germany and Italy, the latter to a small extent. But there is a great power still to name, which in its way stands as a rival to Great Britain, the empire of Russia, whose acquisitions in Asia have grown enormous in extent. These are not colonies in the ordinary sense, but rather results of the expansion of an empire through warlike aggression, but they are colonial in the sense of absorbing the excess population of European Russia. The great territory of Siberia was gained by Russia before the nineteenth century, but within recent years its dominion in Asia has greatly increased, and it is not easy to tell just when and where it will end.

Growth of the British Colonies

With this preliminary review we may proceed to consider the history of colonization within the century. And first we must take up the results of the colonial enterprise of Great Britain, as much the most important of the whole. Of this story we have already described some of the leading features. A chapter has been given to the story of the Indian empire of Great Britain, far the largest of her colonial possessions, and another to that of South Africa. In addition to Hindustan, in which the dominion of Great Britain now extends to Afghanistan and Thibet in the north, the British colony now includes Burmah and the west-coast region of Indo-China, with the Straits Settlements in the Malay peninsula, and the island of Ceylon, acquired in 1802 from Holland.

Australia and New Zealand

In the eastern seas Great Britain possesses another colony of vast dimensions, the continental island of Australia, which, with its area of nearly 3,000,000 square miles, is three-fourths the size of Europe. The first British settlement was made here in 1788, at Port Jackson, the site of the present thriving city of Sydney, and the island was long maintained as a penal settlement, convicts being sent there as late as 1868. It was the discovery of gold in 1851 to which Australia owed its great progress. The incitement of the yellow metal drew the enterprising thither by thousands, until the population of the colony is now more than 3,000,000, and is growing at a rapid rate, it having developed other valuable resources besides that of gold. Of its cities, Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, has more than 300,000 population; Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, probably 250,000, while there are other cities of rapid growth. Australia is the one important British colony obtained without a war. In its human beings, as in its animals generally, it stood at a low level of development, and it was taken possession of without a protest from the savage inhabitants.

The same cannot be said of the inhabitants of New Zealand, an important group of islands lying east of Australia, which was acquired by Great Britain as a colony in 1840. The Maoris, as the people of these islands call themselves, are of the bold and sturdy Polynesian race, a brave, generous, and warlike people, who have given their new lords and masters no little trouble. A series of wars with the natives began in 1843 and continued until 1869, since which time the colony has enjoyed peace. It can have no more trouble with the Maoris, since there are said to be no more Maoris. They have vanished before the “white man’s face.” At present this colony is one of the most advanced politically of any region on the face of the earth, so far as attention to the interests of the masses of the people is concerned, and its laws and regulations offer a useful object lesson to the remainder of the world.

Other British Colonies

In addition to those great island dominions in the Pacific, Great Britain possesses the Fiji Islands, the northern part of Borneo, and a large section of the extensive island of Papua or New Guinea, the remainder of which is held by Holland and Germany. In addition there are various coaling stations on the islands and coast of Asia. In the Mediterranean its possessions are Gibraltar, Malta, and Cyprus, and in America the great colony of Canada, a considerable number of the islands of the West Indies, and the districts of British Honduras and British Guiana. Of these, far the most important is Canada, to which a chapter will be devoted farther on in our work.

The Interior of Africa and Asia

We have here to deal with the colonies in two of the continents, Asia and Africa, of which the history presents certain features of singularity. Though known from the most ancient times, while America was quite unknown until four centuries ago, the striking fact presents itself that at the beginning of the nineteenth century the continents of North and South America were fairly well known from coast to centre, while the interior of Asia and Africa remained in great part unknown. This fact in regard to Asia was due to the hostile attitude of its people, which rendered it very dangerous for any European traveler to attempt to penetrate its interior. In the case of Africa it was due to the inhospitality of nature, which had placed the most serious obstacles in the way of those who sought to penetrate beyond the coast regions. This state of affairs continued until the latter half of the century, within which period there has been a remarkable change in the aspect of affairs, both continents having been penetrated in all directions and their walls of isolation completely broken down.

Early Colonies in Africa

Africa is not only now well known, but the penetration of its interior has been followed by political changes of the most revolutionary character. It presented a virgin field for colonization, of which the land-hungry nations of Europe hastened to avail themselves, dividing up the continent between them, so that, by the end of the century, the partition of Africa was practically complete. It is one of the most remarkable circumstances in the history of the nineteenth century that a complete continent remained thus until late in the history of the world to serve as a new field for the outpouring of the nations. The occupation of Africa by Europeans, indeed, began earlier. The Arabs had held the section north of the Sahara for many centuries, Portugal claimed—but scarcely occupied—large sections east and west, and the Dutch had a thriving settlement in the south. But the exploration and division of the bulk of the continent waited for the nineteenth century, and the greater part of the work of partition took place within the final quarter of that century.

The Partition of Africa

In this work of colonization Great Britain was, as usual, most energetic and successful, and to-day the possessions and protectorates of this active kingdom in Africa embrace 2,587,755 square miles; or, if we add Egypt and the Egyptian Soudan—practically British territory—the area occupied or claimed amounts to 2,987,755 square miles. France comes next, with claims covering 1,232,454 square miles. Germany lays claim to 920,920; Italy, to 278,500; Portugal, to 735,304; Spain, to 243,877; the Congo Free State, to 900,000; and Turkey (if Egypt be included), to 798,738 square miles. The parts of Africa unoccupied or unclaimed by Europeans are a portion of the Desert of Sahara, which no one wants; Abyssinia, still independent though in danger of absorption; and Liberia, a state over which rests the shadow of protection of the United States.

British Colonies in Africa

Of the British colonial possessions in Africa we have already sufficiently described that in the south, extending now from Cape Town to Lake Tanganyika, and forming an immense area, replete with natural resources, and capable of sustaining a very large future population. On the east coast is another large acquisition, British East Africa, extending north to Abyssinia and the Soudan and west to the Congo Free State, and including part of the great Victoria Nyanza. Further north a large slice has been carved out of Somaliland, facing on the Gulf of Aden. The remainder of this section of Africa is claimed—though very feebly held—by Italy, whose possessions include Somaliland and Eritrea, a coast district north of Abyssinia. Great Britain, in addition, lays claim to Sierra Leone and the Ashantee country on the west coast and an extensive region facing on the Gulf of Guinea, and extending far back into the Soudan.

African Colonies of France

Next to Great Britain in activity in the acquisition of African territory comes France, which within the recent period has enormously extended its claims to territory in this continent. Of these the most difficult in acquirement was Algeria, on the Mediterranean, which France first invaded in 1830, but did not obtain quiet possession of for many years and then only at the cost of long and sanguinary wars. At a later date the adjoining Moorish kingdom of Tunis was added, and since then the claims of France have been extended indefinitely southward, to include the greater part of the western half of the Sahara—the Atlantic coast district of the Sahara being claimed by Spain. Of this great desert region almost the whole is useless to any nation, and France holds it mainly as a connecting link between her possessions in Algeria and the Soudan.

French Soudan has had a phenomenal growth, the French displaying the same enterprise here as they did in America in the rapid extension of their Canadian province. Claiming, as their share in the partition of Africa, the Atlantic coast region of Senegal and an extensive district facing on the Gulf of Guinea and the South Atlantic, and known as French Congo, they have made an enormous spread, northward from the latter, westward from Senegal, and southward from Algeria, until now their claims cover nearly the whole of the Soudan—a vast belt of territory stretching from the Atlantic nearly across the continent and bordering on the Egyptian Soudan in the east. The French claim, indeed, extended as far as the Nile, being based on Major Marchand’s journey to the river in 1898. But the English conquests in that region barred out the French claim, and it has been abandoned. In addition to the territories here named, France has taken possession of a portion of the coast region of Abyssinia, between the Italian and the British regions, and completely shutting out that ancient kingdom from the sea.

German and Italian Colonies

The latest of the nations to develop the colonizing spirit were Italy and Germany. We have described Italy’s share in Africa. Germany’s is far larger and more important. In East Africa it holds a large and valuable region of territory, on the Zanzibar coast, between British East Africa and Portuguese Mozambique, and extending westward to Lake Nyassa and Tanganyika and the Congo Free State, and northward to the Victoria Nyanza. It cuts off British territory from an extension throughout the whole length of Africa, and if Cecil Rhodes’ Cairo to Cape Town Railway is ever completed, some hundreds of miles of it will have to run through German territory.

In South Africa Germany has seized upon abroad region left unclaimed by Great Britain, the Atlantic coast section of Damaraland and Great Namaqualand, and also an extensive section on the right of the Gulf of Guinea, stretching inward like a wedge between British and French possessions in this region. On the Gold Coast it has also a minor territory, lying between British Ashantee and French Dahomey.

The Congo Free State

The broad interior of the continent, the mighty plateau region watered by the great Congo River and its innumerable affluents, first traversed by the daring Stanley not many years in the past, has been erected into the extensive and promising Congo Free State, under the suzerainty of the king of Belgium. It is the most populous and agriculturally the richest section of Africa, while its remarkable extension of navigable waters give uninterrupted communication through its every part. It has probably before it a great future.

The French Conquest of Madagascar

Off the east coast of Africa lies the great island of Madagascar, now a French territory. France has had military posts on its coast for more than two hundred years, and in 1883 began the series of wars which resulted in the conquest of the island. The principal war of invasion began in 1895 and ended in a complete overthrow of the native government, Madagascar being declared a French colony in June, 1896.

Of these European possessions in Africa, all are held with a strong hand except those of Portugal, which unprogressive state may soon give up all claim to her territories of Angola and Mozambique. Great Britain and Germany have been negotiating with Portugal for the purchase of these territories—to be divided between them. As one part of the bargain, Great Britain will get the important Delagoa Bay, and definitely shut in the Boer Republic from the sea.

Wars in Africa

This division of Africa between the European nations, with the subsequent taking possession of the acquired territories, has not been accomplished without war and bloodshed; England, France, and Italy having had to fight hard to establish their claims. In only two sections, Abyssinia and the Egyptian Soudan, have the natives been able to drive out their invaders, and the wars in these regions call for some fuller notice.

Defeat of the Italians in Abyssinia

The first war in Abyssinia occurred in 1867, when England, irritated by an arbitrary action of the Emperor Theodore, declared war against him, and invaded his rocky and difficult country. The war ended in the conquest of Magdala and the death of Theodore. In 1889 Italy aided Menelek in gaining the throne, and was granted the large district of Eritrea on the Red Sea, with a nominal protectorate over the whole kingdom. Subsequently Menelek repudiated the treaty, and in 1894 the Italians invaded his kingdom. For a time they were successful, but in March, 1896, the Italian army met with a most disastrous defeat, and in the treaty that followed Italy was compelled to acknowledge the complete independence of Abyssinia. It was the one case in Africa in which the natives were able to hold their own against the ambitious nations of Europe.

The Expansion of Egypt

In Egypt they did so for a time, and a brief description of the recent history of this important kingdom seems of interest. Egypt broke loose in large measure from the rule of Turkey during the reign of the able and ambitious Mehemet Ali, who was made viceroy in 1840. In 1876 the independence of Egypt was much increased, and its rulers were given the title of khedive, or king. The powers of the khedives steadily increased, and in 1874–75 Ismail Pasha greatly extended the Egyptian territory, annexing the Soudan as far as Darfur, and finally to the shores of the lately discovered Victoria Nyanza. Egypt thus embraced the valley of the Nile practically to its source, presenting an aspect of immense length and great narrowness.

Soon after, the finances of the country became so involved that they were placed under European control, and the growth of English and French influence led to the revolt of Arabi Pasha in 1879. This was repressed by Great Britain, which bombarded Alexandria and defeated the Egyptians, France taking no part. As a result the controlling influence of France ended, and Great Britain became the practical ruler of Egypt, which position she still maintains.

The Rise of the Mahdi
The Massacre of Hicks Pasha and His Army

In 1880 began an important series of events. A Mohammedan prophet arose in the Soudan, claiming to be the Mahdi, a Messiah of the Mussulmans. A large body of devoted believers soon gathered around him, and he set up an independent sultanate in the desert, defeating four Egyptian expeditions sent against him, and capturing El Obeid, the chief city of Kordofan which he made his capital in 1883. Then against him Great Britain dispatched an army of British and Egyptian soldiers, under an English leader styled in Egypt Hicks Pasha. These advanced to El Obeid, where they fell into an ambush prepared by the Mahdists, and, after a desperate struggle, lasting three days, were almost completely annihilated, scarcely a man escaping to tell the disastrous tale. “General Hicks,” said a newspaper correspondent, “charged at the head of staff. The Massacre of Hicks Pasha and His ArmyThey galloped towards a sheikh, supposed by the Egyptians to be the Mahdi. Hicks rushed on him with his sword and cut his face and arm; this man had on a Darfur steel mail-shirt. Just then a club thrown struck General Hicks on the head and unhorsed him. The chargers of the staff were speared but the English officers fought on foot till all were killed. Hicks was the last to die.”

Other expeditions of Egyptian troops sent against Osman Digma (“Osman the Ugly”), the lieutenant of the Mahdi in the Eastern Soudan, met with a similar fate, while the towns of Sinkat and Tokar were invested by the Mahdists. To relieve these towns Baker Pasha advanced with a force of 3,650 men. There was no more daring or accomplished officer in the British army than Valentine Baker, but his expedition met with the same fate as that of his predecessor. Advancing into the desert from Trinkitat, a town some distance south of Suakim, on the Red Sea, the force was met by a body of Mahdists, and the Egyptian soldiers at once broke into a panic of terror. The Mahdists were only some 1,200 strong, but they surrounded and butchered the unresisting Egyptians in a frightful slaughter.

The Battles Near Suakim

“Inside the square,” said an eyewitness, “the state of affairs was almost indescribable. Cavalry, infantry, mules, camels, falling baggage and dying men were crushed into a struggling, surging mass. The Egyptians were shrieking madly, hardly attempting to run away, but trying to shelter themselves one behind another.” “The conduct of the Egyptians was simply disgraceful,” said another officer. “Armed with rifle and bayonet, they allowed themselves to be slaughtered, without an effort at self-defence, by savages inferior to them in numbers and armed only with spears and swords.”

Baker and his staff officers, seeing that affairs were hopeless, charged the enemy and cut their way through to the shore, but of the total force two-thirds were left dead or wounded on the field. Such was the “massacre” of El Teb, which was followed four days afterwards by the capture of Sinkat and slaughter of its garrison. This butchery was soon after avenged. General Graham was sent from Cairo with reinforcements of British troops, which advanced on Osman’s position, and, in two bloody engagements subjected him to disastrous defeat. The last victory was a crushing one, the total British loss being about 200, while, of the Arab loss, the killed alone numbered over 2,000.

Gordon Goes to Khartoum

In the same year in which these events took place (1884) General Charles Gordon—Chinese Gordon, as he was called, from his memorable exploits in the Flowery Kingdom—advanced by the Nile to Khartoum, the far-off capital of the Mohammedan Soudan, of which he had been governor-general in former years. His purpose was to relieve the Egyptian garrison of that city—in which design he failed. In fact, the Arabs of the Soudan flocked in such multitudes to the standard of the Mahdi that Khartoum was soon cut off from all communication with the country to the north, and Gordon and the garrison were left in a position of dire peril. It was determined to send an expedition to his relief, and this was organized under the leadership of Lord Wolseley, the victor in the Ashantee and Zulu wars.

To the Rescue of Gordon
The Desert Fights

The expedition was divided into two sections, a desert column which was to cross a sandy stretch of land with the aid of camels, from Korti to Metamneh, on the Nile, thus cutting off a wide loop in the stream; and a river column for whose transportation a flotilla of 800 whale boats was sent out from England. The desert column found its route strongly disputed. On the 7th of January, 1885, it was attacked by the Arabs in overwhelming force and fighting with the ferocity of tigers, some 5,000 of them attacking the 1,500 British drawn up in square, round which the fanatical Mahdists raged like storm-driven waves. The peril was imminent. Among those who fell on the British side was Colonel Burnaby, the famous traveler. The battle was a remarkably brief one, the impetuous rush of the Arabs being repulsed in about five minutes of heroic effort, during which there was imminent danger of their penetrating the square and making an end of the British troops. The Desert FightsAs it was the Arabs lost 1,100 in dead and a large number of wounded, the British less than 200 in all. A few days afterwards the Arabs attacked again, but as before were repulsed with heavy loss. On the 19th of January the river was reached, and the weary troops bivouacked on its banks.

Here they were met by four steamers which Gordon had sent down the Nile, after plating their hulls with iron as a protection against Arab bullets. Various circumstances now caused delay, and several days passed before General Wilson, in command of the expedition, felt it safe to advance on Khartoum. At length, on January 24th, two of the steamers, with a small force of troops, set out up the river, but met with so many obstacles that it was the 28th before they came within sight of the distant towers of Khartoum. From the bank came a shout to the effect that Khartoum had been taken and Gordon killed two days before. As they drew nearer there came evidence that the announcement was true. No British flag was seen flying; not a shot came from the shore in aid of the steamers. Masses of the enemy could be seen in all directions. A storm of musketry beat like hail on the iron sides of the boats. Wilson, believing the attempt hopeless, gave the order to turn and run at full speed down the river. They did so amid a rattle of bullets and bursting of shells from the artillery of the enemy.

Death of General Gordon

The news they brought was true. The gallant Gordon was indeed dead. The exact events that took place are not known. Some attributed the fall of the town to the act of a traitor, some to the storming of the gates. It does not matter now; it is enough to know that the famous Christian soldier had been killed with all his men—about 4,000 persons being slaughtered, in a massacre that continued for six hours. That was the end of it. The British soon after withdrew and left Khartoum and the Soudan in the undisputed possession of the Arabs. The Mahdi had been victorious, though he did not live long to enjoy his triumph, he dying some months later.

The Advance of the British and Recapture of the Soudan

And so matters were left for nearly twelve years, when the British government, having arranged affairs in Egypt to its liking, and put the country in a prosperous condition, decided to attempt the reconquest of the Soudan, and avenge the slaughtered Gordon. An expedition was sent out in 1896, which captured Dongola in September and defeated the dervish force in several engagements. The progress continued, slowly but surely, up the Nile. In 1897 other advantages were gained. But it was not until 1898 that the Anglo-Egyptian force, under Sir Herbert Kitchener, known under his Egyptian title of the Sirdar, reached the vicinity of Khartoum. The Egyptian soldiers under him were of other stuff than those commanded by Baker Pasha. From a mob with arms in hand they had been drilled into brave and steady soldiers, quite capable of giving a good account of themselves. At Omdurman, near Khartoum, the dervishes were met in force and a fierce and final battle was fought. The Arabs suffered a crushing defeat, losing more than 10,000 men, while the British loss was only about 200. This brilliant victory ended the war on the Nile. The fight was taken out of the Arabs. The Soudan was restored to Egypt by British arms, fourteen years after it had been lost to the Mahdi.

The Partition of Asia

Asia has been invaded by the nations of civilization almost as actively as Africa, and to-day, aside from the Chinese and Japanese Empires, far the greater part of that vast continent is under foreign control, the only important independent sections being Turkey, Arabia, Persia, and Afghanistan. As matters now look, all of these, China included, before the twentieth century is very old may be in European hands, and the partition of Asia become as complete as that of Africa. The nations active in this work have been Great Britain, Russia, and France, while Holland is in possession of Java, Sumatra, and others of the valuable spice islands of the eastern seas. Of the enterprise of Great Britain in extending her colonial dominion in Hindostan and Burmah we have already spoken. The enterprise of France here demands attention.

French and British Methods of Colonization

France has always been remarkably active in her colonizing enterprises. In America she surpassed Great Britain in the rapid extension of her dominion, though she fell far behind in the solidity of her settlements. It has been the same in Africa. France has spread out with extraordinary rapidity over the Soudan, while England has moved much more slowly but far more surely. The enterprises of the one are brilliant, those of the other are solid, and it is the firmness with which the Anglo-Saxon race takes hold that makes it to-day the dominant power on the earth. The French have the faculty of assimilating themselves with foreign peoples, accepting their manners and customs and becoming their friends and allies. The British, on the contrary, are too apt to treat their colonial subjects as inferior beings, but they combine their haughtiness with justice, and win respect at the same time as they inspire distrust and fear.

Operations of France in Indo-China

The colonizing enterprise of France in Asia, after the French had been ousted from India by Great Britain, directed itself to the peninsula of Indo-China. This was the only region of the Asiatic coast land which was at once safe to meddle with and worth the cost and trouble. In 1789 the emperor of Annam accepted French aid in the conquest of the adjoining states of Cochin China and Tonquin. The wedge of French influence, thus entered, was not removed. Missionaries sought those far-off realms, and in time found themselves cruelly treated by the natives. As usual in such cases, this formed a pretext for invasion and annexation, and in 1862 a portion of Cochin China was seized upon by France, the remainder being annexed in 1867. Meanwhile, in 1863, the “protection” of France was extended over the neighboring state of Cambodia.

North of Cochin China lies Annam, and farther north, bordering on China, is the province of Tonquin, inhabited largely by Chinese. The four states mentioned constitute the eastern half of Indo-China. The western portion is formed by the kingdom of Burmah, now a British possession. Between these lies the contracted kingdom of Siam, the only portion of the peninsula that retains its independence.

The Black Flags

The attention of France was next directed to Tonquin, the northern province of the Annamite Empire, which was invaded in 1873, and its capital city, Hanoi, captured. Here the French found foeman worthy of their steel. After the suppression of the Taiping rebellion in China certain bands of the rebels took refuge in Tonquin, where they won themselves a new home by force of arms, and in 1868 held the valley of the Red River as far south as Hanoi. These, known as the “Black Flags,” were bold, restless, daring desperadoes, who made the conquest of the country a difficult task for the French. By their aid the invading French were driven from Hanoi and forced back in defeat.

The Siege of Sontay
A Night Attack

The French resumed their work of conquest in 1882, again taking the city of Hanoi, and in December, 1883, a strong expedition advanced up the Red River against the stronghold of Sontay, which, with the neighboring Bac Ninh, was looked upon, in a military sense, as the key to Tonquin. The enterprise seemed a desperate one, the expeditionary force consisting of but 6,000 soldiers and 1,350 coolies, while behind the strong works of the place were 25,000 armed men, of whom 10,000 were composed of the valiant Black Flags. But cannon served the place of men. The river defences were battered down and preparations made to storm the citadel. During the succeeding night, however, the French ran imminent risk of a disastrous repulse. A Night AttackAt one o’clock at night, when all but the sentries were locked in slumber, a sudden shower of rockets was poured on the thatched roofs of the huts in which the soldiers lay asleep, and with savage yells the Chinese rushed from their gates and into the heart of the camp, firing briskly as they came. The French troops, fatigued with the hard fighting of the preceding day, and demoralized by the suddenness of the attack and the pluck and persistent energy of the assailants, were thrown almost into panic, and were ready to give way when the Chinese trumpets sounded the recall and the enemy drew off. As it appeared afterwards this attack was made by only 300 men. It would undoubtedly have stampeded the invading forces but for the vigilance of the sentinels.

The Storming of the Citadel

On the next day, December 16th, the fort was stormed, and taken after a desperate resistance. There is but one incident of the assault that we need relate. As the French rushed across the bridge that spanned the wide ditch and approached the gate of the citadel, there was seen an instance of cool and devoted bravery hardly excelled by that which was displayed by the famous “captain of the gate” who held the Tiber bridge, against the Tuscan host. There, told off to guard the narrow passage between the stockade and the wall, stood a gallant Black Flag soldier. His Winchester repeating rifle was in his hand, its magazine filled with cartridges. Although half the French force were at the gate, he quailed not. Shot after shot he fired, deliberately and calmly, and each bullet found its billet. Down went brave Captain Méhl, leader of the Foreign Legion, with a ball through his heart, and other attackers were slain; and when the stormers rushed in at last the heroic Black Flag, true to his trust, died with his face to the foe, as a soldier should die. The French, quick to recognize bravery either in friend or enemy, buried him with military honors when the day’s fight was over, at the gate which he defended so well.

The capture of this town, followed by that of Bac-Ninh, which was similarly taken by storm, completed the work of conquest and firmly established the French in their occupation of Tonquin.

France in Possession

They had, however, still the Chinese to deal with. China claimed a suzerainty over this region and protested against the French invasion, and in 1885 went to war for the expulsion of the foreign conquerors. During the previous year the Black Flags had engaged in murderous raids on the French mission stations, in which they massacred nearly 10,000 native Christians. In the war with China, they, with other Chinese troops, held the passes above Tuyen-Kivan for nearly a month against repeated assaults by the French, and were still in possession of their posts when peace was declared. China had yielded the country to France.

In 1895 France gained the right to extend a railway from Annam into China, a concession which was protested against by Great Britain, then in possession of the adjoining province. In 1896 a treaty was made between these two powers, which fixed the Mekong or Cambodia River as their dividing line. As a result those powers now hold all of Indo-China except the much diminished kingdom of Siam. France has permitted the form of the old government to continue, the Emperor of Annam still reigning—though he does not rule, since the real power is in the hands of the French governor-general at Hanoi.

The Advance of Russia in Asia

While Great Britain and France were thus establishing themselves in the south, Russia was engaged in the conquest of the north and centre of the continent. The immense province of Siberia, crossing the whole width of the continent in the north, was acquired by Russia in the seventeenth century, after which the progress of Russia in Asia ceased until the nineteenth century, within which the territory of the Muscovite empire in that continent has been very greatly extended. Two provinces were wrested from Persia in 1828, as the prize of a victorious war, and in 1859 the conquest of the region of the Caucasus was completed by the capture of the heroic Schamyl. In 1858 the left bank of the great Amur River was gained by treaty with China, after having been occupied by force.

Soon after this period, Russia began the work of conquest in the region of Turkestan, that long-mysterious section of Central Asia, inhabited in part by fierce desert nomades, who for centuries made Persia the spoil of their devastating raids, and in part by intolerant settled tribes, among whom no Christian dared venture except at risk of his life. It remained in great measure a terra incognita until the Russians forced their way into it arms in hand.

The Invasion of Turkestan

The southern border of Siberia was gradually extended downward over the great region of the Mongolian steppes until the northern limits of Turkestan were reached, and in 1864 Russia invaded this region subduing the oasis of Tashkend after a fierce war. In 1868 the march of invasion reached Bokhara, and in 1873 the oasis of Khiva was conquered and annexed. In 1875–76 Khokand was conquered after a fierce war, and annexed to Russia. This completed the acquisition of the fertile provinces of Turkestan, but the fierce nomades of the desert remained unsubdued, and the oasis of Merv and the country of the warlike Tekke Turcomans were still to conquer. This, which was accomplished in 1880–81, merits a fuller description.

A broad belt of desert lands stretches across the continent of Asia from Arabia, in the southwest, to the rainless highlands of Gobi, or Shamo, in the far east. This desert zone is here and there broken by a tract of steppe land that is covered with grass for a portion of the year, while more rarely a large oasis is formed where the rivers and streams, descending from a mountain range, supply water to a fertile region, before losing themselves in the sands of the desert beyond.

The Deserts of Central Asia

Eastward of the Caspian, and south of the Aral, much of the waste land is a salt desert, and the shells, mixed with the surface sand, afford further evidence that it was in times not very remote part of the bottom of a large inland sea, of which the landlocked waters of Western Asia are a survival.

Along the Caspian the steppe and desert sink gradually to the water-level, and the margins of the sea are so shallow that, except where extensive dredging works have been carried out, and long jetties constructed, ships have to discharge their cargoes into barges two or three miles from the shore.

This desert region marked for many years the southern limit of the Russian empire in Central Asia. A barren waste is a more formidable obstacle to an European army than the ocean itself; and the Turkoman tribes of the oases not only refused to acknowledge the dominion of the White Czar, but successfully raided up to the very gates of his border forts in the spring, when the grass of the steppe afforded forage for their horses. The first successful advance across the desert zone was made by Kaufmann, whose expeditions followed the belt of fertile land which breaks the desert where the Amu Daria (the Oxus of classical times) flows down from the central highlands of Asia to the great lake of the Aral Sea. But in 1878 the Russians began another series of conquests, starting not from their forts on the Oxus, but from their new ports on the southwestern shore of the Caspian.

The Country of the Tekke Turkomans

In this direction the most powerful of the Turkoman tribes were the Tekkes of the Akhal oasis. Between their strongholds and the Caspian there was a desert nearly 150 miles wide, and then the ridge of the Kopet Dagh Mountains. The desert, which stretches from the northern shore of the Atrek River, is partly sandy waste, partly a tract of barren clayey land, baked hard by the sun; broken by cracks and crevices in the dry season, and like a half-flooded brickfield when it rains. The water of the river is scanty, and not good to drink. It flows in a deep channel between steep banks, and so closely does the desert approach it that for miles one might ride within a hundred yards of its clay-banked cañon without suspecting that water was so near. Where the Sumber River runs into the Atrek the Russians had an advanced post—the earthwork fort of Tchad, with its eight-gun battery. Following the Sumber, one enters the arid valleys on the south of the Kopet Dagh range. On this side the slopes rise gradually; on the other side of the ridge there is a sharp descent, and sometimes the mountains form for miles a line of precipitous rocky walls. At the foot of this natural rampart lay the fortified villages of the Tekke Turkomans.

The Land of Akhal
The Herds and Villages of the Tekkes
The Akhal Warriors

Numerous streams descend from the Kopet Dagh, flowing to the north-eastward, and after a few miles losing themselves in the sands of the Kara Kum desert. Between the mountain wall and the desert the ground thus watered forms a long, narrow oasis—the land of Akhal—to which a local Mussulman tradition says that Adam betook himself when he was driven forth from Eden. No doubt much of the praise that has been given to the beauty and fertility of this three-hundred-mile strip of well-watered garden ground comes from the contrast between its green enclosures and the endless waste that closes in the horizon to the north-eastward. Corn and maize, cotton and wool, form part of the wealth of its people. The Herds and Villages of the TekkesThey had the finest horses of all Turkestan, and great herds and flocks of cattle, sheep and camels. The streams turned numerous mills, and were led by a network of tunnels and conduits through the fields and garden. The villages were mud-walled quadrangles, with an inner enclosure for the cattle; the kibitkas, or tents, and the mud huts of the Tekkes filling the space between the inner and outer walls, and straggling outside in temporary camps that could be rapidly cleared away in war time. The people were over 100,000 strong—perhaps 140,000 in all—men, women and children. They were united in a loose confederacy, acknowledged the lordship of the Khan of Merv, who had come from one of their own villages. They raided the Russian and Persian borders successfully, these plundering expeditions filling up the part of the year when they were not busy with more peaceful occupations. Along their fertile strip of land ran the caravan track from Merv by Askabad to Kizil Arvat and the Caspian, and when they were not at war the Tekkes had thus an outlet for their surplus productions, among which were beautiful carpets, the handiwork of their women. The Akhal WarriorsIn war they had proved themselves formidable to all their neighbors. United with the warriors of Merv, the men of Akhal had cut to pieces a Khivan army in 1855 and a host of Persians in 1861.

The conquest of Akhal had long been a subject of Russian ambition. It was not merely that they were anxious to put an end once for all to the raids of the Turkomans of the great oasis, but they regarded the possession of this region as a great step towards the consolidation of their power in Asia. From Baku, the terminus of their railways in the Caucasus, it was easy to ferry troops across the Caspian. What they wanted was a secure road from some port on its eastern shore to their provinces on the Upper Oxus, and anyone who knew the country must have felt that this road would eventually run through the Akhal and the Merv oases.

Repulse of Lomakine and the Russians

The first effort to subdue the Akhal warriors proved a complete failure. As soon as peace was concluded with Turkey, after the war of 1877–78, General Lomakine was sent with a strong force to the Caspian, whence he made his way by the caravan route over the desert to the strong nomade fortress of Geok Tepe (“blue hills”), at the foot of the mountain range mentioned. We shall say nothing more concerning this expedition than that the attempt to take the fort by storm proved a complete failure, and the Russians were forced to retreat in disorder.

Skobeleff and the Siege of Geok Tepe

To retrieve this disaster General Skobeleff, the most daring of the Russian generals, who had gained great glory in the siege of Plevna, was selected, and set out in 1880. On the 1st of January, 1881, he came in sight of the fort, with an army of 10,000 picked troops, and fifty-four cannon. Behind the clay ramparts lay awaiting him from 20,000 to 30,000 of valiant nomades, filled with the pride of their recent victory. The first batteries opened fire on the 8th, and the siege works were pushed so rapidly forward that the Russians had gained all the outworks by the 17th. This steady progress was depressing to the Turkomans, who were not used to such a method of fighting. The cannonade continued resistlessly, the wall being breached on the 23d and the assault fixed for the next day. Two mines had been driven under the rampart, one charged with gun-powder and one with dynamite, and all was ready for the desperate work of the storming parties.

Early the next day all the Russian guns opened upon the walls, and a false attack was made on the west side of the fort, the men firing incessantly to distract the attention of the Turkomans, while the actual column of attack was formed and held ready on the east. Another column, 2,000 strong, waited opposite the south angle, the soldiers ready and eager for the assault.

The Fort Carried by Storm

A little after eleven the mines were fired. The explosion caused momentary panic among the garrison, and in the midst of the confusion the two storming columns rushed for the breaches. But before they could climb the heaps of smoking debris the Tekkes were back at their posts, and it was through a sharp fire of rifles and muskets that the Russians pushed in through the first line of defence. The fight in and around the breaches was a close and desperate struggle; but as the stormers in front fell, others clambered up to replace them, and at the same time Haidaroff, converting his false attack into a real one, escaladed the southern wall.

A Frightful Massacre

“No quarter!” had been the shout of the Russian officers as they dashed forward at the head of the stormers. The Tekkes expected none. They fought in desperate knots, back to back, among the huts and tents of the town, but at last they were driven out by the east side. Skobeleff did not make Lomakine’s mistake of blocking their way. He let them go; but once they were out on the plain the Cossack cavalry was launched in wild pursuit, and for ten long miles sword and spear drank deep of the blood of the fugitives. Women as well as men were cut down or speared as the horses overtook them. More than 8,000 Tekkes fell in the pursuit. Asked a year after if this was true, Skobeleff said that he had the slain counted, and that it was so. Six thousand five hundred bodies were buried inside the fortress; eight thousand more strewed the ten miles of the plain.

Submission of the Turkomans

Skobeleff looked on the massacre as a necessary element in the conquest of Geok Tepe. “I hold it as a principle,” he said, “that in Asia the duration of peace is in direct proportion to the slaughter you inflict on the enemy. The harder you hit them the longer they will keep quiet after it.” No women, he added, were killed by the troops under his immediate command, and he set at liberty 700 Persian women who were captives in Geok Tepe. After ten miles the pursuit was stopped. There was no further resistance. Not a shot was fired on either side after that terrible day. The chiefs came in and surrendered. The other towns in the eastern part of the oasis were occupied without fighting; nay, more, within a month of Geok Tepe Skobeleff was able to go without a guard into the midst of the very men who had fought against him. We in America cannot understand the calm submission with which the Asiatic accepts as the decree of fate the rule of the conqueror whose hand has been heavy upon him and his. The crumbling ramparts of Geok Tepe remain a memorial of the years of warfare which it cost the Russians; and the iron track on which the trains steam past the ruined fortress shows how complete has been the victory.

Skobeleff looked upon his triumph as only the first step to further conquests. But within eighteen months of the storming of Geok Tepe he died suddenly at Moscow. Others have built on the foundations which he laid; and, for good or ill, the advance which began with the subjugation of the Tekke Turkomans has now brought the Russian outposts in Central Asia in sight of the passes that lead across the mountain barriers of the Indian frontier.

Great Development of Russia in Asia

This conquest was quickly followed by the laying of a railroad across the desert, from the Caspian to the sacred Mohammedan city of Samarcand, the former capital of the terrible Timur the Tartar, and the iron horse now penetrates freely into the heart of that once unknown land, its shrill whistle perhaps disturbing Timur in his tomb. Across the broad stretch of Siberia another railroad is being rapidly laid, and extended downward through Manchuria to the borders of China, a stupendous enterprise, the road being thousands of miles in length. Manchuria, the native land of the Chinese emperors, is now held firmly by Russia, and the ancient empire of Persia, on the southern border of Turkestan, is threatened with absorption. When and where the advance of Russia in Asia will end no man can say, perhaps not until Hindustan is torn from British hands and the empire of the north has reached the southern sea. While Russia in Europe comprises about 2,000,000 square miles, Russia in Asia has attained an area of 6,564,778 square miles, and the total area of this colossal empire is nearly equal to that of the entire continent of North America.

The final step in colonization—if we may call it by this name—belongs to the United States, which at the end of the century laid its hand on two island groups of the Eastern Seas, acquiring Hawaii by peaceful annexation and the Philippine Islands by warlike invasion. What will be the result of this acquisition on the future of the United States it is impossible to say, but it brings the American border close to China, and when the destiny of that great empire is settled, the republic of the West may have something to say.

The Future of Colonizing Enterprise

At the end of the nineteenth century the work of the colonizing powers was fairly at an end. Nearly all the available territory of the earth had been entered upon and occupied. But the work, while in this sense completed, was in a fuller sense only begun. It was left for the twentieth century for those great tracts of the earth to be brought properly under the dominion of civilization, their abundant resources developed, peace and prosperity brought to their fertile soils, and their long turbulent population taught the arts of peaceful progress and civilized industry.

How the United States Entered the Century.

The Great Republic of the West

Hitherto our attention has been directed to the Eastern Hemisphere, and to the stirring events of nineteenth century history in that great section of the earth. But beyond the ocean, in North America, a greater event, one filled with more promise for mankind, one destined to loom larger on the horizon of time, was meanwhile taking place, the development of the noble commonwealth of the United States of America. To this far-extending Republic of the West, a nation almost solely an outgrowth of the nineteenth century, our attention needs now to be turned. Its history is one full of great steps of progress, illuminated by a hundred events of the highest promise and significance, and it stands to-day as a beacon light of national progress and human liberty to the world, “the land of the brave and the home of the free.”

A hundred years ago the giant here described was but a babe, a newborn nation just beginning to feel the strength of its limbs. It is with this section of its history that we are here concerned, its days of origin and childhood. Two events of extraordinary significance in human history rise before us in the final quarter of the eighteenth century, the French Revolution and the American Declaration of Independence and its results. The first of these revolutionary events we have dealt with; the second remains to be presented.

The Great Men who Founded our Nation

There is one circumstance that impresses us most strongly in this great event, the remarkable group of able men who laid the foundation of the American commonwealth. Among those whose hands gave the first impulse to the ship of state were men of such noble proportions as George Washington, the greatest man of the century not only in America but in the whole world; Benjamin Franklin, who came closely to the level of Washington in another field of human greatness; Patrick Henry, whose masterpieces of oratory still stir the soul like trumpet-blasts; Thomas Jefferson, to whose genius we owe the inimitable “Declaration of Independence;” Thomas Paine, whose pen had the point of a sword and the strength of an army; John Paul Jones, the hero of the most brilliant feat of daring in the whole era of naval warfare, and Alexander Hamilton, whose financial genius saved the infant state in one of the most critical moments of its career. These were not the whole of that surpassing coterie, but simply in their special fields the greatest, and it is doubtful if the earth ever saw an abler group of statesmen than those to whom we owe the Constitution of the United States.

It is not our purpose to tell the story of the American Revolution. That lies back of the borders of time within which this work is confined. But some brief statement of its results is in order, as an introduction to the nineteenth century record of the United States.

Weakness of the States After the Revolution

It was a country in almost an expiring state when it emerged from the fierce death struggle of the Revolution. It had been swept by fire and sword, its resources destroyed, its industries ruined, its government financially bankrupt, its organization in a state of tottering weakness, little left it but the courage of its people and the aspirations of its leaders. But in courage and aspiration safety and progress lie, and with those for its motive forces the future of the country was assured.

The weakness spoken of was not the only or the worst weakness with which the new community had to contend. Though named the United States, its chief danger lay in its lack of union. The thirteen recent colonies—now states—were combined only by the feeblest of bonds, one calculated to carry them through an emergency, not to hold them together under all the contingencies of human affairs. Practically they were thirteen distinct nations, not one close union; a group of communities with a few ties of common self-interest, but otherwise disunited and distinct.

The Articles of Confederation

“Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union” had been adopted in 1777 and ratified by the agreement of all the states in 1781. But the Confederation was not a union. Each state claimed to be a sovereign commonwealth, and little power was given to the central government. The weak point in the Articles of Confederation was that they gave Congress no power to lay taxes or to levy soldiers. It could merely ask the states for men and money, but must wait till they were ready to give them—if they chose to do so at all. It could make treaties, but could not enforce them; could borrow money, but could not repay it; could make war, but could not force a man to join its armies; could recommend, but had no power to act.

The states proposed to remain independent except in minor particulars. They were jealous of one another and of the general Congress. “We are,” said Washington, “one nation to-day and thirteen to-morrow.” That well expressed the state of the case; no true union existed; the states were free to join hands more closely or to drift more widely asunder.

False Ideas in Finance

The time from the revolt against the stamp duties in 1775 to the inauguration in 1789 of the National Government under which we live has been called the critical period of American history. It was a period which displayed all the inaptitude of the Americans for sound financiering. There is hardly an evil in finances that cannot be illustrated by some event in American affairs at that time. The Americans began the war without any preparation, they conducted it on credit, and at the end of fourteen years three millions of people were five hundred millions of dollars or more in debt. The exact amount will never be known. Congress and the State Legislatures issued paper currency in unlimited quantities and upon no security. The Americans were deceived themselves in believing that their products were essential to the welfare of Europe, and that all European nations would speedily make overtures to them for the control of American commerce. It may be said that the Americans wholly over-estimated their importance in the world at that time; they thought that to cut off England from American commerce would ruin England; they thought that the bestowal of their commerce upon France would enrich France so much that the French king, for so inestimable a privilege, could well afford to loan them, and even to give them, money.

The doctrine of the rights of man ran riot in America. Paper currency became the infatuation of the day. It was thought that paper currency would meet all the demands for money, would win American independence. Even so practical a man as Franklin, then in France, said: “This effect of paper currency is not understood on this side the water; and, indeed, the whole is a mystery even to the politicians, how we have been able to continue a war four years without money, and how we could pay with paper that had no previously fixed fund appropriated specifically to redeem it. This currency, as we manage it, is a wonderful machine: it performs its office when we issue it; it pays and clothes troops and provides victuals and ammunition, and when we are obliged to issue a quantity excessive, it pays itself off by depreciation.”

If the taxing power is the most august power in government, the abuse of the taxing power is the most serious sin government can commit. No one will deny that the Americans were guilty of committing most grievous financial offenses during the critical period of their history. They abused liberty by demanding and by exercising the rights of nationality, and at the same time by neglecting or refusing to burden themselves with the taxation necessary to support nationality.

Constitutions of Colonies and Confederated States

The inability of the Congress of the Confederation to legislate under the provisions of the Articles compelled their amendment; for while the exigencies of war had forced the colonies into closer union,—a “perpetual league of friendship,”—they had also learned additional lessons in the theory and administration of local government; for each of the colonies, with the exception of Connecticut and Rhode Island, had transformed colonial government into government under a constitution. The people had not looked to Congress as a central power; they considered it as a central committee of the States. The individualistic tendencies of the colonies strengthened when the colonies transformed themselves into commonwealths.

The struggle, which began between the thirteen colonies and the imperial Parliament, was now transformed into a struggle between two tendencies in America, the tendency toward sovereign commonwealths and the tendency toward nationality. The first commonwealth constitutions did not acknowledge the supreme authority of Congress; there was yet lacking that essential bond between the people and their general government, the power of the general government to address itself directly to individuals. Interstate relations in 1787 were scarcely more perfect than they had been fifteen years before. The understanding of American affairs was more common, but intimate political association between the commonwealths was still unknown. The liberty of nationality had not yet been won. A peculiar tendency in American affairs from their beginning is seen in the succession of written constitutions, instruments peculiar to America. The commonwealths of the old Confederation demonstrated the necessity for a clearer definition of their relations to each other and of the association of the American people in nationality.

The Constitutional Convention and its Work

A sense of the necessity for commercial integrity led to the calling of the Philadelphia Convention to amend the old Articles, but when the Convention assembled it was found that an adequate solution of the large problem of nationality could not be found in an amendment of the old “Articles of Confederation,” but called for a new and more vigorous Constitution. This Convention combined the associated states into a strongly united nation, possessed of all the powers of nationality, civil, financial and military. It organized a tripartite government, consisting of Supreme Executive, Supreme Legislative, and Supreme Judicial departments, each with all the power “necessary to make it feared and respected.” While the Upper House of Congress still represented the states as separate commonwealths, the Lower House represented the people as individuals; it standing, not for a group of distinct communities, but for a nation of people. And to this House was given the sole power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, and to pay the debt, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States.”

With this Constitution the United States of America first came into existence; a strong, energetic and capable nation; its government possessed of all the powers necessary to the full control of the states, and full ability to make itself respected abroad; its people possessed of all the civil rights yet known or demanded.

Restrictions on the Right of Suffrage

Yet the people, in their political privileges, were still controlled by the constitutions of the states, and these fixed close restrictions on the right of suffrage, the electorate being confined to a small body whose ownership of real estate and whose religious opinions agreed with the ideas existing in colonial times. The property each voter was required to possess differed in different commonwealths. In New Jersey he must have property to the value of fifty pounds, in Maryland and the Carolinas an estate of fifty acres, in Delaware a freehold estate of known value, in Georgia an estate of ten dollars or follow a mechanic trade; in New York, if he would vote for a member of Assembly he must possess a freehold of twenty pounds, and if he would vote for State Senator, it must be a hundred. Massachusetts required an elector to own a freehold estate worth sixty pounds or to possess an annual income of three pounds. Connecticut was satisfied if his estate was of the yearly value of seven dollars, and Rhode Island required him to own the value of one hundred and thirty-four dollars in land. Pennsylvania required him to be a freeholder, but New Hampshire and Vermont were satisfied with the payment of a poll-tax.

Religious Qualifications of Voters

The number of electors was still further affected by the religious opinions required of them. In New Jersey, in New Hampshire, in Vermont, in Connecticut, and in South Carolina, no Roman Catholic could vote; Maryland and Massachusetts allowed “those of the Christian religion” to exercise the franchise, but the “Christian religion” in Massachusetts was of the Congregational Church. North Carolina required her electors to believe in the divine authority of the Scriptures; Delaware was satisfied with a belief in the Trinity and in the inspiration of the Bible; Pennsylvania allowed those, otherwise qualified, to vote who believed “in one God, in the reward of good, and the punishment of evil, and in the inspiration of the Scriptures.” In New York, in Virginia, in Georgia, and in Rhode Island, the Protestant faith was predominant, but a Roman Catholic, if a male resident, of the age of twenty-one years or over, could vote in Rhode Island.

Property Qualifications of Officials

The property qualifications which limited the number of electors were higher for those who sought office. If a man wished to be governor of New Jersey or of South Carolina, his real and personal property must amount to ten thousand dollars; in North Carolina to one thousand pounds; in Georgia to two hundred and fifty pounds or two hundred and fifty acres of land; in New Hampshire to five hundred pounds; in Maryland to ten times as much, of which a thousand pounds must be of land; in Delaware he must own real estate; in New York he must be worth a hundred pounds; in Rhode Island, one hundred and thirty-four dollars; and in Massachusetts a thousand pounds. Connecticut required her candidate for governor to be qualified as an elector, as did New Hampshire, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. In all the commonwealths the candidate for office must possess the religious qualifications required of electors.

Condition of the Country in 1787

From these statements it is evident that the suffrage in the United States was greatly limited when, after the winning of American independence, the Constitution of the United States was framed and the commonwealths had adopted their first constitutions of government. It may be said that in 1787 the country was bankrupt, and America was without credit, and that of a population of three million souls, who, by our present ratio, would represent six hundred thousand voters, less than one hundred and fifty thousand possessed the right to vote. African slavery and property qualifications excluded above four hundred thousand men from the exercise of the franchise. It is evident, then, that at the time when American liberty was won American liberty had only begun; the offices of the country were in the possession of the few, scarcely any provision existed for common education, the roads of the country may be described as impassable, the means for transportation, trade, and commerce as feeble. If the struggle for liberty in America was not to be in vain, the people of the United States must address themselves directly to the payment of their debts, to the enlargement of the franchise, to improvements in transportation, and to the creation, organization, and support of a national system of common taxation. It is these great changes which constitute the history of this country during the nineteenth century.

Payment of Debt and Extension of Suffrage

All these have been gained since the adoption of the Constitution. The remarkable financial operations of Alexander Hamilton—by which the crushing load of debt of the new nation was funded, for payment in after years a customs tariff established as a means of obtaining revenue, and provision made for paying the claims of the soldiers of the Revolution—saved the credit and secured the honor of the nation. As regards the franchise, it was greatly extended during the nineteenth century. By the time the Erie canal was excavated property qualifications for suffrage had disappeared in nearly all the states, and by the middle of the century such qualifications had been abandoned in them all. Those of a religious character had vanished thirty years earlier.

As yet, however, the right to vote was limited to “free, white, male citizens.” Twenty years afterwards, on March 30, 1870, a further great extension of the right of suffrage was made, when, in accordance with the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution, it was proclaimed by Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State, that the right of citizens of this country to vote could not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Universal suffrage, so far as male citizens were concerned, thus became the common condition of American political life in 1870. But the struggle for liberty in this direction was not yet ended. Female citizens, about the middle of the century, gave voice to their claim to the same right, and with such effort that they had gained the right to vote at all elections in four of the States—Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Idaho—by the end of the century, and partial rights of suffrage in a majority of the States. The outlook is that before many years universal suffrage in its fullest sense will be established in the United States.

Development in State Constitutions

With the westward movements of the millions of human beings who have occupied the North American continent have gone the institutions and constitutions of the east, modified in their journey westward by the varying conditions of the life of the people. The brief constitutions of 1776 have developed into extraordinary length by successive changes and additions made by the more than seventy Constitutional Conventions which have been held west of the original thirteen States. These later constitutions resemble elaborate legal codes rather than brief statements of the fundamental ideas of government. But these constitutions, of which those of the Dakotas and of Montana and Washington are a type, express very clearly the opinions of the American people in government at the present time. The earnest desire shown in them for an accurate definition of the theory and the administration of government proves how anxiously the people of this country at all times consider the interpretation of their liberties, and with what hesitation, it may be said, they delegate their powers in government to legislatures, to judges, and to governors.

Progress in the United States

The struggle for liberty will never cease, for with the progress of civilization new definitions of the wants of the people are constantly forming in the mind. The whole movement of the American people in government, from the simple beginnings of representative government in Virginia, when the little parliament was called, to the present time, when nationality is enthroned and mighty commonwealths are become the component parts of the “more perfect union,” has been toward the slow but constant realization of the rights and liberties of the people. Education, for which no commonwealth made adequate provision a century ago, is now the first care of the State. Easy and rapid transportation, wholly unknown to our fathers, is now a necessary condition of daily life. Trade has so prospered that the accumulated wealth of the country is more than sixty billions of dollars. Newspapers, magazines, books and pamphlets are now so numerous as to make it impossible to contain them all in hundreds of libraries, and the American people have become the largest class of readers in the world.

A century ago there were but six cities of more than eight thousand people in this country; the number is now more than five hundred. Three millions of people have become seventy-five millions. The area of the original United States has expanded from eight hundred and thirty thousand square miles to four times that area. With expansion and growth and the amelioration in the conditions of life, the earnest problems of government have been brought home to the people by the leaders in the State, by the clergy, by the teachers in schools and colleges, and by the press.

But though we may be proud of these conquests, we are compelled in the last analysis of our institutions, to return to a few fundamental notions of our government. We must continue the representative idea based upon the doctrine of the equality of rights and exercised by representative assemblies founded on popular elections; and after our most pleasing contemplation of the institutions of America, we must return to the people, the foundation of our government. Their wisdom and self-control, and these alone, will impart to our institutions that strength which insures their perpetuity.

Expansion of the United States from Dwarf to Giant.

In 1775, when the British colonies in America struck the first blow for independence, they were of dwarfish stature as compared with the present superb dimensions of the United States. Though the war with France had given them possession of the great Ohio Valley, the settled portion of the country lay between the Alleghanies and the Atlantic, and the thirteen confederated States were confined to a narrow strip along the ocean border of the continent.

But before and during the Revolutionary War pathfinders and pioneers were at work. Chief among them was the noted hunter Daniel Boone, the explorer and settler of the “Dark and Bloody Ground” of Kentucky. Before him daring men had crossed the mountains, and after him came others, so that by the end of the Revolution the hand of civilization was firmly laid on the broad forest land of Kentucky and Tennessee. The rich country north of the Ohio, where the British possessed a number of forts, was captured for the United States by another daring adventurer, George Rogers Clark, who led a body of men down the Ohio, took and held the British forts, and saved the northwest to the struggling States. The boundaries of the United States in 1800, as established by the treaty of peace with Great Britain, extended from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi, and from the Great Lakes on the north to Florida on the south. Florida, then held by Spain, included a strip of land extending to the Mississippi River, so that the new republic was cut off from the Gulf of Mexico by domain belonging to a foreign country. The area thus acquired by the new nation was over 827,000 square miles. It was inhabited in 1800 by a population of 5,300,000.

The vast and almost wholly unknown territory west of the Mississippi, claimed by France, in virtue of her discoveries and settlements on the great river, until 1763, when it was ceded to Spain, was held by that country in 1800. This cession gave Spain complete control of the lower course of the Mississippi, since her province of Florida extended to the east bank of the stream. And she held it in a manner that proved deeply annoying to the American settlers in the west, to whom free navigation of the Mississippi was of great and growing importance.

The Settlement of the West

These settlers were increasing in numbers with considerable rapidity. The daring enterprise of Daniel Boone and other fearless pioneers had opened up the fertile lands of Kentucky and Tennessee. The warlike boldness of Colonel Clark had gained the northwest territory for the new nation. Into this new country pioneer settlers poured, over the mountains and down the Ohio, and by the opening of the century villages and towns had been built in a hundred places, and farmers were widely felling the virgin woods and planting their grain in the fertile soil. Kentucky and Tennessee had already been organized as states, and their admission was quickly followed by that of Ohio, which entered the Union in 1803. In the same year an event of the highest importance took place, the acquisition of the great Louisiana territory by the United States.

Spain Closes the Mississippi to Traffic

It has been stated above that the action of Spain gave great annoyance to the settlers in the country west of the Alleghanies. To these the natural commercial outlet to the sea was the Mississippi River, and the free use of this stream was forbidden by Spain, through whose country ran its lower course. Spain was so determined to retain for herself the exclusive navigation of the great river that in 1786 the new American republic withdrew all claim upon it, agreeing to withhold any demand for navigation of the Mississippi for twenty-five years.

This action proved to be hasty and unwise. The West filled up with unlooked-for rapidity, and the settlers upon the Mississippi soon began to insist on free use of its waters, their irritation growing so great that the United States vainly sought in 1793 to induce Spain to open the stream to American craft. This purpose was attained, however, in 1795, when a treaty was made which opened the Mississippi to the sea for a term of three years, with permission for Americans to use New Orleans as a free port of entry, and place goods there on deposit.

France Obtains Louisiana

Five years later (1800), by an article in a secret treaty between Spain and France, the vast province of Louisiana, extending from the source to the mouth of the Mississippi River, and westward to the Rocky Mountains, was ceded by Spain to France, from which country Spain had received it in 1763. Towards the end of 1801 Napoleon Bonaparte, then at the head of French affairs, sent out a fleet and army ostensibly to act against San Domingo, but really to take possession of New Orleans.

When the secret of this treaty leaked out, as it soon did, there was great excitement in the United States, the irritation being increased by a Spanish order which withdrew the right of deposit of American merchandise in New Orleans, granted by the treaty of 1795, and failed to substitute any other place for that city, in accordance with the terms of the treaty. So strong was the feeling that a Pennsylvania Senator introduced a resolution into Congress, authorizing President Jefferson to call out 50,000 militia and occupy New Orleans. But Congress wisely decided that it would be better and cheaper to buy it than to fight for it, and in January, 1803, made an appropriation of $2,000,000 for its purchase. The President thereupon sent James Monroe to Paris to co-operate with Robert R. Livingston, United States Minister to France, in the proposed purchase.

The Louisiana Purchase

Fortunately for the United States a new war between England and France was then imminent, in the event of which Napoleon felt that he could not long hold his American acquisition against the powerful British navy. Not only New Orleans, but the whole of Louisiana, would probably be lost to him, and just then money for his wars was of more consequence than wild lands beyond the sea. Therefore, to the surprise of the American Minister, he was asked to make an offer for the entire territory. This was on April 11th. On the 12th Monroe reached Paris. The two commissioners earnestly debated on the offer. They had no authority to close with such a proposition, but by the time they could receive fresh instructions from Washington the golden opportunity might be lost, and Great Britain deprive us of the mighty West. An ocean telegraph cable would have been to them an invaluable boon. As it was, there was no time to hesitate, and they decided to close with the offer, fixing the purchase price at $10,000,000. Napoleon demanded more, and in the end the price fixed upon was $15,000,000, of which $3,750,000 was to be paid to American citizens who held claims against Spain. A treaty to this effect was signed April 30, 1803.

How the Purchase Was Received

The news fell upon Spain like a thunderbolt. She filed a protest against the treaty—based, probably, on a secret condition of her cession of Louisiana to France, to the effect that it should not be parted with by that country. But Napoleon was not the man to pay any attention to a protest from a power so weak as Spain, and the matter was one with which the United States was not concerned. President Jefferson highly approved of the purchase, and called an extra session of the Senate for its consideration. It met with some vigorous opposition in that body, based upon almost absolute ignorance of the value of the territory involved; but it was ratified in October, 1803, and Louisiana became ours. The territory thus easily and cheaply acquired added about 920,000 square miles to the United States, more than doubling its area. It is now divided up into a large number of States, and includes much of the most productive agricultural land of the United States.

Ignorance of the Country

The members of the Senate who opposed the ratification of the treaty of purchase were in a measure justified in their doubt. Almost nothing was known of the country involved, and many idle legends were afloat concerning it. Hunters and trappers had penetrated its wilds, but the stories told by them had been transformed out of all semblance of truth. In order to dispel this ignorance and satisfy these doubts, the President determined to send an exploring expedition to the far West, with the purpose of crossing the Rocky Mountains, seeking the head-waters of the Columbia River, and following that stream to its mouth. The men chosen to lead this expedition were William Clark—brother of George Rogers Clark, of Revolutionary fame—and Merriwether Lewis. Both of these were army officers, and they were well adapted for the arduous enterprise which they were asked to undertake.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition

Lewis and Clark left St. Louis in the summer of 1803. They encamped for the winter on the bank of the Mississippi opposite the mouth of the Missouri River. The company included nine Kentuckians, who were used to Indian ways and frontier life, fourteen soldiers, two Canadian boatmen, an interpreter, a hunter and a negro boatman. Besides these, a corporal and guard with nine boatmen were engaged to accompany the expedition as far as the territory of the Mandans.

The party carried with it the usual goods for trading with the Indians—looking-glasses, beads, trinkets, hatchets, etc., and such provisions as were necessary for the sustenance of its members. While the greater part of the command embarked in a fleet of three large canoes, the hunters and pack-horses followed a parallel route along the shore. In this way, in the spring of 1804, the ascent of the Missouri was commenced. In June the country of the Osages was reached, then the lands occupied by the Ottawa tribes, and finally, in the fall, the hunting grounds of the Sioux. Here the leaders of the expedition ordered cabins to be constructed, and camped for the winter among the Mandans, in latitude 27 degrees 21 minutes north. They found in that country plenty of game, buffalo and deer being abundant; but the weather was intensely cold and the expedition was hardly prepared for the severity of the climate, so that its members suffered greatly.

In April a fresh start was made and the party continued to ascend the Missouri, reaching the great falls by June. Here they named the tributary waters and ascended the northernmost, which they called the Jefferson River, until further navigation was impossible; then Captain Lewis with three companions left the expedition in camp and started out on foot toward the mountains, in search of the friendly Shoshone Indians, from whom he expected assistance in his projected journey across the mountains.

The Head-Waters of the Columbia

On the 12th of August he discovered the source of the Jefferson River in a defile of the Rocky Mountains and crossed the dividing ridge, upon the other side of which his eyes were gladdened by the discovery of a small rivulet which flowed toward the west. Here was proof irrefutable “that the great backbone of earth” had been passed. The intrepid explorer saw with joy that this little stream danced out toward the setting sun—toward the Pacific Ocean. Meeting a force of Shoshones and persuading them to accompany him on his return to the main body of the expedition, Captain Lewis sought his companions once more. Captain Clark then went forward to determine their future course, and coming to the river which his companion had discovered, he named it the Lewis River.

Descending the Columbia

A number of Indian horses were procured from their red-skinned friends and the explorers pushed on to the broad plains of the western slope. The latter part of their progress in the mountains had been slow and painful, because of the early fall of snow, but the plains presented all the charm of early autumn. In October the Kaskaskia River was reached, and, leaving the horses and whatever baggage could be dispensed with in charge of the Indians, the command embarked in canoes and descended to the mouth of the Columbia River, upon the south bank of which, four hundred miles from their starting point upon this stream, they passed the second winter. Much of the return journey was a fight with hostile Indians, and the way proved to be much more difficult than it had been found while advancing toward the west. Lewis was wounded before reaching home, by the accidental discharge of a gun in the hands of one of his force.

Finally, after an absence of two years, the expedition returned to its starting point, the leaders reaching Washington while Congress was in session. Grants of land were immediately made to them and to their subordinates. Captain Lewis was rewarded also with the governorship of Missouri. Clark was appointed brigadier-general for the territory of Upper Louisiana, and in 1813 was made governor of Missouri. When this Territory became a State he was appointed superintendent of Indian affairs, which office he filled till his death.

Spain’s Irritating Action

The second acquisition of territory by the United States embraced the peninsula of Florida. The Spanish colony of Florida was divided into two sections, known as Eastern and Western Florida, the latter extending from the Appalachicola River to the Mississippi River, and cutting off the Americans of Florida and Alabama from all access to the Gulf. Spain set up a customhouse at the mouth of the Alabama River, and levied heavy duties on goods to or from the country up that stream.

Western Florida Occupied

The United States was not willing to acknowledge the right of Spain to this country. It claimed that the Louisiana purchase included the region east of the Mississippi as far as the Perdido River,—the present western boundary of Florida—and in 1810 a force was sent into this country which took possession of it, with the exception of the city of Mobile. That city was occupied by General Wilkinson, commander-in-chief of the army, in 1813, leaving to Spain only the country between the Perdido and the Atlantic Ocean and south of Georgia.

General Jackson Invades Eastern Florida

Throughout these years the purpose had grown in the southern states to gain this portion of the Spanish dominion, as well as Western Florida, for the United States. On January 15 and March 3, 1811, the United States Congress passed in secret—and its action was not made known until 1818—acts which authorized the President of the United States to take “temporary possession” of East Florida. The commissioners appointed under these acts, Matthews and Mitchell, both Georgians, stirred up insurrection in the coveted territory, and, when President Madison refused to sustain them, the state of Georgia formally pronounced Florida needful to its own peace and welfare, and practically declared war on its private account. But its expedition against Florida came to nothing. In 1814, General Andrew Jackson, then in command of United States forces at Mobile, made a raid into Pensacola, and drove out a British force which had been placed there. He afterwards restored the place to the Spanish authorities and retired. Four years after, during the Seminole war, Jackson, annoyed by Spanish assistance given to the Indians, again raided Eastern Florida, captured St. Marks and Pensacola, hung Arbuthnot and Ambruster, two Englishmen who were suspected of aiding the Seminoles, as “outlaws and pirates,” and again demonstrated the fact that Florida was at the mercy of the United States.

The Purchase of Florida

The action of Jackson was unauthorized by the government, and his hanging the Englishmen without taking the trouble to make sure of their guilt caused a feeling of hostile irritation in England. But it had by this time grown quite evident to Spain, both that it could not hold Florida in peace and that this colony was of very little value to it. In consequence it agreed to sell the peninsula to the United States for the sum of $5,000,000, the treaty being signed February 22, 1819. By this treaty Spain also gave up all claim to the country west of the Louisiana purchase, extending from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. The purchase of Florida added 59,268 square miles to the United States, and the way was cleared for the subsequent acquisition of the Oregon country.

Texas Gains Freedom and is Annexed to the United States

The next accession of territory came in 1845, when Texas was added to the dominion of the United States. This country had, since 1821, been one of the states of the Mexican Republic. But American frontiersmen, of the kind calculated to foment trouble, soon made their way across the borders, increasing in numbers as the years passed on, until Texas had a considerable population of United States origin. Efforts were made to purchase this country from Mexico, $1,000,000 being offered in 1827 and $5,000,000 in 1829. These were declined, and in 1833 Texas adopted a constitution as a state of the Mexican republic. Two years later Santa Anna, the president of Mexico, was made dictator, and all state constitutions were abolished. Irritated by this, the American inhabitants declared the independence of Texas in 1836, and after a short war, marked by instances of savage cruelty on the part of the Mexicans, gained freedom for that country. Texas was organized as a republic, but its people soon applied for annexation to the United States. This was not granted until 1845. The territory added to this country by the admission of Texas amounted to 376,133 square miles.

The Oregon Country

In the following year another large section of territory was added to the rapidly growing United States. The Louisiana purchase ran indefinitely westward, but came to be considered as bounded on the west by the Rocky Mountains, Spain retaining a shadowy claim over the country west of that range. This exceedingly vague claim was abandoned in the Florida purchase treaty, and the broad Oregon country was left without an owner. The United States, indeed, might justly have claimed ownership on the same plea advanced for new regions elsewhere—namely, that of discovery and exploration. Captain Grey, in his ship, the Columbia, carried the starry flag to its coast in 1792, and was the first to enter and sail up its great river, which he named after his vessel. In 1805 the country was traversed and explored by Lewis and Clark. In 1811 John Jacob Astor founded the settlement of Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia, and sent hunters in search of furs through the back country. And in 1819 the vague right over the country held by Spain was transferred by treaty to the United States.

These various circumstances would have established a prescriptive right to the country concerned as against other countries, had any thought of claiming such a right been entertained. But no man, statesman or commoner, thought the country worth the value of even a paper claim, and it was left unconsidered and unthought of until the century was well advanced. Then, after the Hudson Bay Company had gained control of Astoria, and had begun to fill the country with fur hunters, a living sense of the value of this great region came to the mind of one man.

Whitman’s Ride
Oregon Is Acquired

This was Dr. Marcus Whitman, a missionary physician among the Indians of the Columbia River region. He discovered that the Hudson Bay Company was making efforts to bring permanent settlers there, and that it proposed to claim the country for Great Britain. At once the energetic doctor set out for Washington, crossing the vast stretch of country from the Pacific to the Atlantic on horseback and traversing the Rocky Mountains in the dead of winter. It was a long and terrible journey, full of perils and hardships, but he accomplished it in safety, and strongly urged the government at Washington to lay claim to the country. Even then it was hard to arouse an interest in the statesmen concerning this far-off territory, so the brave pioneer went among the people, told them of the beauty of the country and the fertility of its soil, and on his return, in 1843, took with him an emigrant train of nearly a thousand persons. This settled the question. The newcomers formed a government of their own. Others followed, and the question of ownership was practically settled. In 1845 there were some 7,000 Americans in Oregon and only a few British. By that time a stern determination had arisen in the people of this country to retain Oregon. A claim was made on the whole western region up to the parallel of 54 degrees 40 minutes, the southern boundary of Russian America, and the political war-cry of that year was “fifty-four forty or fight.” Oregon Is AcquiredIn 1846 the question was settled by treaty with Great Britain, the disputed country being divided at the forty-ninth parallel. The northern portion became British Columbia, the southern Oregon. In this way it was that the United States spanned the continent and established its dominion from ocean to ocean. The tract acquired measured about 255,000 square miles. It now constitutes the States of Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

The United States grew with extraordinary rapidity in the decade with which we are now concerned, the acquisition of Texas and Florida being followed in 1848 by another great addition of territory, much larger than either. This came as the result of the annexation of Texas.

War With Mexico and Its Results

Mexico had never acknowledged the independence of the “Lone Star Republic,” and was deeply dissatisfied at its acquisition by the United States, which it looked upon as an unwarranted interference in its private affairs. The strained relations between the two countries were made more stringent by a dispute as to the western boundary of Texas, both countries claiming the strip of land between the Rio Grande and Nueces Rivers. The result was a war, the description of which must be left for a later chapter. It will suffice here to say that the American troops marched steadily to victory, and at the end of the war held two large districts of northern Mexico, those of New Mexico and California. The occupation of these Mexican states gave this country a warrant to claim them as the prizes of victory.

California and New Mexico Purchased

But there was no disposition shown to despoil the defeated party without compensation. An agreement was made to pay Mexico $15,000,000 for New Mexico and California, and to assume debts owed by Mexico to United States citizens amounting to about $3,000,000. The territory thus acquired was 545,783 square miles in extent. Of its immense value we need scarce speak. It will suffice to say that it gave the United States the gold mines of California and the silver mines of Nevada, together with the still more valuable fertile fields of the California lowlands. Five years afterwards, to settle a border dispute, another tract of land, south of New Mexico, 45,535 square miles in extent, was purchased for the sum of $10,000,000. This is known as the Gadsden purchase, the treaty being negociated by James Gadsden. Thus in less than ten years the United States acquired more than 1,220,000 square miles of territory, increasing its domain by nearly three-fourths. These new acquisitions carried it across the continent in a broad band, giving it a coast line on the Pacific nearly equal to that on the Atlantic, and adding enormously to its mineral and agricultural wealth.

The Acquisition of Russian America

Still another extensive acquisition remained to be made. Long before, when the daring pioneers of Russia overran Siberia, parties of them crossed the narrow Bering Strait and took possession of the northwestern section of the American continent. This territory, long known as Russian America, embraced the broad peninsular extension west of the 141st degree of west longitude, and a narrow strip of land stretching down the coast as far south as the parallel of 54 degrees 40 minutes. It included also all the coast islands and the Aleutian Archipelago, with the exception of Copper and Bering Islands on the Siberian coast. This territory was of little value or advantage to Russia, and in 1867 that country offered to sell it to the United States for $7,200,000. The offer was accepted without hesitation, the result being an addition of 577,000 square miles to our territory.

The Wealth of Alaska

As regards the value of this acquisition something more remains to be said. The active Yankee prospectors have found Alaska—as the new territory was named—far richer than its original owners dreamed of. It was like the story of California repeated. First were the valuable fur seals, which haunted certain islands of Bering Sea. Then were the fur animals of the mainland. To these must be added the wealth of the rivers, which were found to swarm with salmon and other food fishes. Next may be named the forests, which cover the coast regions for hundreds of square miles. Finally, the country proved to be rich in mineral wealth, and especially in gold. The recently discovered gold deposits lie principally on the British side of the border, the Klondike diggings—developed in 1897—being in Canada. But gold has been mined in Alaska for years, and probably exists on most of the tributaries of the Yukon River, so that the country may yet prove to be a second California in its golden treasures.

Island Acquisitions

The final acquisition of territory by the United States came in 1899, as a result of the Spanish-American War of 1898. The treaty of peace gave to this country a series of highly fertile tropical islands, consisting of Porto Rico in the West Indies, and the Philippine Archipelago in the Asiatic Seas. To these must be added a temporary protectorate over, and possibly the future ownership of, the broad and fertile West Indian Island of Cuba. In 1898 there came by peaceful means another accession of territory, the Hawaiian group of islands in the Central Pacific. These, with some islands of minor importance—including Guam, in the Ladrone group, also acquired from Spain—constitute the recent island accessions of the United States. Their areas are: Porto Rico, 3,530; Hawaii, 6,564; and the Philippines, 116,000 square miles; making a total of about 126,000 square miles. As a consequence of those various accessions of territory, the United States now has an area of, in round numbers, 3,732,000 square miles, more than four times its area in 1800. As a result of these several acquisitions this country has grown from one of the smaller nations to nearly the largest nation in area, on the earth, while its population has increased from 5,300,000 in 1800 to about 75,000,000 in 1900. Its few small cities at the beginning of the century have been replaced by a considerable number of large ones, three of them with more than 1,000,000 inhabitants each, while New York, the largest, is now the second city in population on the earth.

The Development of Democratic Institutions in America.

The Religious Origin of Modern Democracy

Modern democracy is often looked upon as something peculiarly secular, unreligious, or even irreligious in its origin. In truth, however, it has its origin in religious aspirations quite as much as modern art or architecture or literature. To the theology of Calvin, the founder of the Republic of Geneva, grafted upon the sturdy independence of English and Scotch middle classes, our American democracy owes its birth. James I. well appreciated that the principles of uncompromising Protestantism were as incompatible with monarchy as with the hierarchy which they swept aside. Each man by his theology was brought into direct personal responsibility to his God, without the intervention of priest, bishop, or pope, and without any allegiance to his king except so far as it agreed with his allegiance to the King of kings. Macaulay has struck this note of Puritan republicanism when he says that the Puritans regarded themselves as “Kings by the right of an earlier creation; priests by the interposition of an Almighty hand.” As John Fiske says, James Stuart always treasured up in his memory the day when a Puritan preacher caught him by the sleeve and called him “God’s silly vassal.” “A Scotch Presbytery,” cried the king, “agrees as well with monarchy as God and the devil. Then Jack and Tom and Will and Dick shall meet, and at their pleasure censure me and my council and all our proceedings!”

The Political Conceptions of the Puritans

But the democracy which was founded in New England as the logical outcome of the religious principles for which the Puritans left Old England was not democracy as we know it to-day. The Puritans, for the most part, believed as much in divinely appointed rulers as the monarchs against whom they rebelled; but these divinely appointed rulers were to be the “elect of God”—those who believed as they did, and joined with their organizations to establish His kingdom on earth. For this reason we find the Massachusetts Colony as early as 1631 deciding that, “no man shall be admitted to the freedom of this body politic but such as are members of some of the churches within the limits of the same.” The government, in short, was simply a democratic theocracy, and, as the colony grew in numbers, the power came to be lodged in the hands of the minority. There were, however, among the clergy of Massachusetts men who believed in democracy as we understand it to-day. Alexander Johnson, in his history of Connecticut, says with truth that Thomas Hooker, who led from Massachusetts into Connecticut the colony which established itself at Hartford, laid down the principle upon which the American nation long generations after was to be established. When Governor Winthrop, in a letter to Hooker, defended the restriction of the suffrage on the ground that “the best part is always the least, and of that best part the wiser part is always the lesser,” the learned and generous-hearted pastor replied: “In matters which concern the common good, a general council, chosen by all to transact business which concerns all, I conceive most suitable to rule, and most safe for the relief of the whole.” The principles of our republicanism were never better stated until Lincoln in his oration at Gettysburg made his appeal that this nation might be consecrated anew in the fulfillment of its mission, and that government “from the people, for the people, by the people” might not perish from the earth. Both Hooker and Lincoln had a supreme belief in the wisdom of the plain people in the matters which affect their own lives. The rank and file of the people have the surest instinct as to what will benefit or injure the rank and file of the people, and when upon them is placed the responsibility of determining what their government shall be, they are educated for self-government. In the colony which Thomas Hooker founded upon these principles there was found at the time of the Revolution more political wisdom, more genius for self-government, and more devotion to the patriotic cause, than in any other of the thirteen colonies.

Democracy in the South

At the time of the Revolution, however, there was another democracy besides that of New England which enabled the colonies successfully to resist the Government of George III. This was the democracy of the planters of the South. The democracy of the Southern colonies was not, like that of New England, the democracy of collective self-government, but the democracy of individual self-government, or, rather, of individual self-assertion. In fact, it would hardly be too much to say that many of the Virginia planters who espoused so warmly and fought so bravely in the cause of liberty were not inspired by the spirit of democracy at all, but rather by the spirit of an aristocracy which could brook no control. These southern planters were the aristocrats of the American Revolution. In New York City, and even in Boston and Philadelphia, the wealthiest merchants were strongly Tory in their sympathies. In New York it was affirmed by General Greene that two-thirds of the land belonged to men in sympathy with the English and out of sympathy with their fellow countrymen. In these cities it was the plain people and the poorer classes who furnished most of the uncompromising patriots, but in the South men of fortune risked their fortunes in the cause of independence. These men were slave owners, and the habit of mastery made them fiercely rebellious when George III. attempted in any way to tyrannize over them. Many of them were the descendants of the English nobility, and as such they acknowledged no superiors. Naturally, then, in the struggle for liberty they furnished the leaders of the colonists, both North and South; and the agricultural classes, whether rich or poor, were naturally on the side of self-government, for their isolation had from the first compelled them to be self-governing.

What Was Thought of Democracy in the Federal Convention

The first half century of the political history of the United States consisted rather in the development of the political rights of the individual citizen than of the loyalty which all owed to the American nation. Nothing is so difficult as to keep in mind that the government of the colonies at the close of the Revolution was not what it is to-day, and that democracy as we know it was regarded as the dream of theorists. Some of the members of the Federal Convention deeply distrusted the common people. Elbridge Gerry, of Massachusetts, declared that “The people do not want suffrage, but are the dupes of pretended patriots;” and those who were at all in sympathy with him prevented, as they imagined, the election of the President by the people themselves, and did prevent the election of the United States Senators by the people. Some of them were even opposed to the election of the House of Representatives directly by the people; but, fortunately, even Hamilton sided with Madison and Mason, when they urged that our House of Commons ought to have at heart the rights and interests of, and be bound, by the manner of their election, to be the representatives of every class of people. But by “every class of people” the framers of the Constitution from the more conservative of the States meant simply every class of freeholders.

Property Qualifications for Suffrage
Chancellor Kent’s Views on Universal Suffrage

In Virginia none could vote except those who owned fifty acres of land. In New York, to vote for Governor or State Senator, a freehold worth $250 clear of mortgage was necessary, and to vote for Assemblymen a freehold of $50 or the payment of a yearly rent of $10 was necessary. Even Thomas Jefferson, who was the Democratic philosopher of the Revolutionary period, did not strenuously insist that the suffrage must be universal, and it was not for a half century that it became universal, even among white males. In the State of New York these restrictions existed until the adoption of the Constitution of 1821, and even this Constitution merely reduced the privileges of land owners. Chancellor Kent’s Views on Universal SuffrageOld Chancellor Kent, the author of “Kent’s Commentaries,” declared in this convention that he would not “bow before the idol of universal suffrage,” the theory which he said had “been regarded with terror by the wise men of every age,” and whenever tried had brought “corruption, injustice, violence, and tyranny.” “If universal suffrage were adopted,” he declared, “prosperity would deplore in sackcloth and ashes the delusion of the day.” The horrors of the French Revolution were always held up by conservatives to show that the people could not be trusted, and the learned author of the “Commentaries,” which every lawyer has pored over, maintained that, if universal suffrage should be adopted, “The radicals of England, with the force of that mighty engine, would sweep away the property, the laws, and the people of that island like a deluge.” Not until between 1840 and 1850 did universal suffrage among the whites come to be accepted in the older States.

During the first half century of our history it was the Democratic party, the party of Jefferson, which was on the side of these extensions of popular rights. The principle of this party was that each State ought to legislate for itself, with the least possible control from the central government; that each locality ought to have its freedom of local government extended; and that each individual should be self-governing, with the same rights and privileges for all. As regards foreign affairs, it was characterized by a “passion for peace,” and an abiding hostility toward a costly army and navy. Jefferson believed that the way to avoid wars, and the way to be strong, should war become inevitable, was by the devotion of the people to productive industry, and not by burdening them to rival the powers of Europe in the strength of their armaments. In the year 1800, the party which rallied to his support—then called the Republican party, but generally spoken of as the Democratic party—triumphed over the Federalists.

Federalism and Democracy in New England

In New England alone did Federalism remain strong at the close of Jefferson’s first administration. In that section the calvinistic clergy, who had done so much for the establishment of American democracy, fought fiercely against its extension. Jefferson’s followers demanded the separation of Church and State and the abolition of the religious qualifications for office holding, which were then almost as general as property qualifications. He was known to be in sympathy with the French revolution, and was therefore denounced as a Jacobin, both in religion and in politics. We cannot wonder, therefore, that in the section in which the clergy were the real rulers, Jeffersonian democracy was regarded with hatred and contempt. Vermont alone, among the New England States, was from the first thoroughly democratic, and this was because in Vermont there was no established aristocracy, either of education or of wealth. In Connecticut, which under clerical leadership had once been the stronghold of advanced democracy, we find President Dwight expressing a sentiment common not only to the clergy but to the educated classes generally, when he declared that “the great object of Jacobinism, both in its political and moral revolution, is to destroy every race of civilization in the world.” “In the triumph of Jeffersonianism,” he said, “we have now reached a consummation of democratic blessings; we have a country governed by blockheads and knaves.”

New Ideas in the New West

But the ideas which in New England were at first received only by the poor and the ignorant, were in the very air which Americans breathed. The new States which were organized at the West were aggressively democratic from the outset. In the Northwest Territory the inequalities against which Jeffersonian democracy protested never gained a foothold. Here, where the State of Ohio was organized during Jefferson’s first administration, the union of Church and State was not thought of, and no religious qualifications whatever for the office of Governor were exacted. Property qualifications were almost as completely set aside. While in some of the older States the Governor had to possess £5,000, and even £10,000, Ohio’s Governor was simply required to be a resident and an owner of land. As regards inheritances, the English law of primogeniture which remained unaltered in some of the older States, and in New England generally took the form of a double portion to the oldest son, was completely set aside, and all children of the same parents became entitled to the same rights. That Ohio thus led the way in the democratic advance was due to the fact that its constitution was framed when these ideas had already become ascendant in the hearts of the people, and the failure of the clergy of New England was due to their trying to keep alive institutions which were the offspring of another age, and could not long survive it.

The Decay and Disappearance of Federalism

For its distrust of the new democracy New England Federalism paid heavily in the isolation, defeat, and destruction which shortly awaited it. When the new democratic administration had fully reduced Federal taxation and shown its capacity for government, the more liberal-minded of the Federalists went over to the Democrats. Even Massachusetts gave a majority for Jefferson in 1804, and when the extreme Federalists became more extreme through the loss of their Liberal contingent, and called the Hartford Convention, in 1814, Federalism died of its own excesses. The policy of the democratic administration toward England may not have been wise, but the proposal of secession in order to resist it made Federalism almost synonymous with toryism and disloyalty.

A Period Without a Party

For a number of years after the close of the war of 1812 there was really only one political party in the United States. In 1824, when the contest was so close between Jackson, Adams and Clay, each of these contestants was a “Democratic Republican,” and it would have been hard to tell what questions of policy divided their followers; though Jackson’s followers, as a rule, cared most for the extension of the political rights of the poorer classes, and least for that policy of protection which the war had made an important issue, by cutting off commerce and thus calling into being extensive manufacturing interests. That the followers of Clay finally voted for Adams may have been due to sympathy upon this question of the tariff. In 1828 something akin to party lines were drawn upon the question of the national bank, and the victory of Jackson provoked the hostility of the masses toward that institution, which certainly enriched its stockholders to such an extent as to make them a favored class. The Tariff Act, passed in 1828, made the tariff question thenceforth the dividing question in our national politics until slavery took its place.

Most of the absolute free-traders were supporters of Jackson, but when South Carolina passed its Nullification Act as a protest against the “tariff of abominations,” as it was called, President Jackson promptly declared that “the Union must and shall be preserved,” and forced the recalcitrant State to renew its allegiance to the National Government. By the end of Jackson’s administration there were again two distinct parties in the United States; the one advocating a high tariff and extensive national improvements by the Federal Government, and the other advocating a low tariff and the restriction of national expenditures to the lowest possible limit. The former party—the Whig—was, of course, in favor of a liberal construction of the Constitution and the extension of powers to the National Government, while the latter advocated “strict construction” and “State rights.”

Rise of the Democratic and Whig Parties

Jackson belonged to the latter party, and in 1836 was able to transfer the succession to Van Buren. But in 1840 the Whigs swept the country, electing Harrison and Tyler, after the most picturesque Presidential campaign ever known in America. All the financial ills from which the country was suffering were for the time attributed to Van Buren’s economic policy, and his alleged extravagance at the White House enabled the Whigs to arouse the enthusiasm of the poor for their candidate, who was claimed to live in a log cabin and drink hard cider. During the next four years, however, there was a reaction, and in 1844 Polk was elected upon the platform on which Van Buren had stood. It is true that in Pennsylvania the Democratic campaign cry was, “Polk, Dallas and the tariff of ’42,” which was a high tariff; but in most of the country Democracy meant “free trade and sailors’ rights.”

The Origin and Character of the Republican Party

From this time on, the Whig party grew weaker and the Democratic party stronger. It is true that the Whigs elected General Taylor in 1848. The revenue tariff law passed by the Democrats in 1846 was not changed until the still lower tariff of 1857 was enacted. By 1852 the Whig party had so declined that it was hardly stronger than the old Federalist party at the close of Jefferson’s first term. But just as the Democratic party became able to boast of its strength, a new party came into being which adopted the principles of the free-soil wing of the old Democratic party, chose the name of “Republican Party,” swept into its ranks the remnants of various political organizations of the past, and in its second national campaign elected Abraham Lincoln to the presidency. In this readjustment of parties the pro-slavery Whigs went over to the Democrats and the anti-slavery Democrats went over to the Republicans. The bolting Democrats claimed, with truth, to maintain the principles held by their party from the time of Jefferson down, but the party as a whole followed the interests of its most powerful element instead of the principles of its founder. In the States from Ohio west, where upon economic questions the Democratic party had swept everything by increasing majorities since 1840, the bolting element was so great that all of these States were landed in the Republican column. One great Church—the Methodist—which before had been, as a rule, Democratic in politics, now became solidly Republican.

The People’s Party and Its Principles

From time to time, in the succeeding years, a variety of political organizations, of minor importance, rose and declined. But none of national significance were added to the two great parties until the Presidential campaigns of 1892 and 1896, when a new organization, known as the People’s party, came into prominence. The principles distinguishing it from the old Democratic and Republican parties were its demand for a currency issued by the general Government only, without the intervention of banks of issue, and the free and unrestricted coinage of silver and gold at the ratio of 16 to 1, regardless of foreign nations. It demanded further that the Government, in payment of its obligations, should use its option as to the kind of lawful money in which they were to be paid; should establish and collect a graduated income tax; and should own and operate the railroads and telegraph lines in the interests of the people. Its general tendency was to favor what is known as “Paternalism in government,” the existing form in America of what is known as Socialism in Europe. This party found its chief strength among the farmers, who believed it possible and right for the Government to pass laws to suppress “trusts” and monopolies, and also to favor the agricultural and laboring classes.

The history of American politics up to the time of the introduction of the new economic questions by the labor unions in the East, and the farmer’s unions in the West and South, has been the history of the gradual extension of political rights. The Federalist party gave us the Constitution; the old Democratic party gave us white manhood suffrage; the Republican party gave us universal suffrage. What the People’s party may give us remains for the future to demonstrate. The glory of America’s past is that she has been continually progressing; that she has proven to the world the capacity of the whole people for self-government.

America’s Answer to the British Claim of the Right of Search.

The Causes of the War of 1812

By their first war with Great Britain our forefathers asserted and maintained their right to independent national existence; by their second war with Great Britain, they claimed and obtained equal consideration in international affairs. The War of 1812 was not based on a single cause; it was undertaken from mixed motives,—partly political, partly commercial, partly patriotic. It was always unpopular with a great number of the American people; it was far from logical in some of its positions; it was perhaps precipitated by party clamor. But, despite all these facts, it remains true that this war established once for all the position of the United States as an equal power among the powers. Above all—clearing away the petty political and partisan aspects of the struggle—we find that in it the United States stood for a strong, sound, and universally beneficial principle, that of the rights of neutral nations in time of war. “Free ships make free goods” is a maxim of international law now universally recognized, but at the opening of the century it was a theory, supported, indeed, by good reasoning, but practically disregarded by the most powerful nations. It was almost solely to the stand taken by the United States in 1812 that the final settlement of this disputed principle was due.

British Impressment of American Seamen

The cause of the War of 1812, which appealed most strongly to the patriotic feelings of the common people, though, perhaps, not in itself so intrinsically important as that just referred to, was unquestionably the impressment by Great Britain of sailors from American ships. No doubt great numbers of English sailors did desert from their naval vessels and avail themselves of the easier service and better treatment of the American merchant ships. Great Britain, in the exigencies of her desperate contest with Napoleon, was straining every nerve to strengthen her already powerful navy, and the press-gang was constantly at work in English seaports. Once on board a British man-of-war, the impressed sailor was subject to overwork, bad rations, and the lash. That British sailors fought as gallantly as they did under this regime will always remain a wonder. But it is certain that they deserted in considerable numbers, and that they found in the rapidly-growing commercial prosperity of our carrying trade a tempting chance of employment.

Outrages Upon American Ships and Sailors

Great Britain, with a large contempt for the naval weakness of the United States, assumed, rather than claimed, the right to stop our merchant vessels on the high seas, to examine their crews, and to take as her own any British sailors among them. This was bad enough in itself, but the way in which the search was carried out was worse. Every form of insolence and overbearing was exhibited. The pretense of claiming British deserters covered what was sometimes barefaced and outrageous kidnapping of Americans. The British officers went so far as to lay the burden of proof of nationality in each case upon the sailor himself; if he were without papers proving his identity he was at once assumed to be a British subject. To such an extent was this insult to our flag carried, that our Government had the record of about forty-five hundred cases of impressment from our ships between the years of 1803 and 1810; and when the War of 1812 broke out the number of American sailors serving against their will in British war vessels was variously computed to be from six to fourteen thousand. It is even recorded that in some cases American ships were obliged to return home in the middle of their voyages because their crews had been so diminished in number by the seizures made by British officers that they were too short-handed to proceed. In not a few cases these depredations led to bloodshed.

The Affair of the “Chesapeake” and the “Leopard”

The greatest outrage of all, and one which stirred the blood of Americans to the fighting point, was the capture of an American war vessel, the Chesapeake, by the British man-of-war, the Leopard. The latter was by far the more powerful vessel, and the Chesapeake was quite unprepared for action; nevertheless, her commander refused to accede to a demand that his crew be overhauled in search for British deserters. Thereupon the Leopard poured broadside after broadside into her until her flag was struck. Three Americans were killed and eighteen wounded; four were taken away as alleged deserters; of these, three were afterwards returned, while in one case the charge was satisfactorily proved and the man was hanged. The whole affair was without the slightest justification under the law of nations and was in itself ample ground for war. Great Britain, however, in a quite ungracious and tardy way, apologized and offered reparation. This incident took place six years before the actual declaration of war. But the outrage rankled during all that time, and nothing did more to fan the anti-British feeling which was already so strong in the rank and file of Americans, especially in the Democratic (or, as it was then often called, the Republican) party. It was such deeds as this that led Henry Clay to exclaim, “Not content with seizing upon all our property which falls within her rapacious grasp, the personal rights of our countrymen—rights which must forever be sacred—are trampled on and violated by the impressment of our seamen. What are we to gain by war? What are we not to lose by peace? Commerce, character, a nation’s best treasure, honor!”

The Era of Paper Blockades

The interference with American commerce was also a serious threat to the cause of peace. In the early years of the century Great Britain was at war not only with France, but with other European countries. Both Great Britain and France adopted in practice the most extreme theories of non-intercourse between neutral and hostile nations. It was the era of “paper blockades.” In 1806 England, for instance, declared that eight hundred miles of the European coast were to be considered blockaded, whereupon Napoleon, not to be outdone, declared the entire Kingdom of Great Britain to be under blockade.

Up to a certain point the interruption of the neutral trade relations between the countries of Europe was to the commercial advantage of America. Our carrying trade grew and prospered wonderfully. Much of this trade consisted in taking goods from the colonies of European nations, bringing them to the United States, then trans-shipping them and conveying them to the parent nation. This was allowable under the international law of the time, although the direct carrying of goods by the neutral ship from the colony to the parent nation (the latter, of course, being at war) was forbidden. But by her famous “Orders in Council” Great Britain absolutely forbade this system of trans-shipment as to nations with whom she was at war. American vessels engaged in this form of trade were seized and condemned by English prize courts. Naturally, France followed Great Britain’s example and even went further. Our merchants, who had actually been earning double freights under the old system, now found that their commerce was woefully restricted. At first it was thought that the unfair restriction might be punished by retaliatory measures, and a quite illogical analogy was drawn from the effect produced on Great Britain before the Revolution by the refusal of the colonies to receive goods on which a tax had been imposed. So President Jefferson’s administration resorted to the most unwise measure that could be thought of—an absolute embargo on our own ships, which were prohibited from leaving port.

Jefferson and the Embargo
War Declared Against Great Britain

This measure was passed in 1807, and its immediate result was to reduce the exports of this country from nearly fifty million dollars’ worth to nine million dollars’ worth in a single year. Jefferson and the EmbargoThis was evidently anything but profitable, and the act was changed so as to forbid only commercial intercourse with Great Britain and France and their colonies, with a proviso that the law should be abandoned as regards either of these countries which should repeal its objectionable decrees. The French government moved in the matter first, but only conditionally. Our non-intercourse act, however, was after 1810 in force only against Great Britain. That our claims of wrong were equally, or nearly so, as great against France in this matter cannot be doubted. But the popular feeling was stronger against Great Britain; a war with England was popular with the mass of the Democrats; and it was the refusal of England to accept our conditions which finally led to the declaration of war. War Declared Against Great BritainBy a curious chain of circumstances it happened, however, that between the time when Congress declared war (June 18, 1812) and the date when the news of this declaration was received in England, the latter country had already revoked her famous “Orders in Council.” In point of fact, President Madison was very reluctant to declare war, though the Federalists always took great pleasure in speaking of this as “Mr. Madison’s war.” The Federalists throughout considered the war unnecessary and the result of partisan feeling and unreasonable prejudice.

The British and American Navies Compared

It is peculiarly grateful to American pride that this war, undertaken in defence of our maritime interests and to uphold the honor of our flag upon the high seas, resulted in a series of naval victories brilliant in the extreme. It was not, indeed, at first thought that this would be chiefly a naval war. President Madison was at one time strongly inclined to keep our war vessels in port; but, happily, other counsels prevailed. The disparity between the American and British navies was certainly disheartening. The United States had seven or eight frigates and a few sloops, brigs, and gunboats, while the sails of England’s navy whitened every sea, and her ships certainly outnumbered ours by fifty to one. On the other hand, her hands were tied to a great extent by the stupendous European war in which she was involved. She had to defend her commerce from formidable enemies, and could spare but a small part of her naval strength for battle with the new foe. That this new foe was despised by the great power which claimed, not without reason, to be the mistress of the seas, was not unnatural. But soon we find a lament raised in Parliament about the reverses of its navy, which were such as “English officers and English sailors had not before been used to, particularly from such a contemptible navy as that of America had always been held to be.” The fact is, that the restriction of American commerce had made it possible for our naval officers to take their pick of a remarkably fine body of native American seamen, naturally brave and intelligent, and thoroughly well trained in all seamanlike experiences. These men were in many instances filled with a spirit of resentment at British insolence, having either themselves been the victims of the aggressions which we have described, or having seen their friends compelled to submit to these insolent acts. The very smallness of our navy, too, was in a measure its strength; the competition for active service among those bearing commissions was great, and there was never any trouble in finding officers of proved sagacity and courage.

The War on the Canada Border

At the outset, however, the policy determined on by the administration was not one of naval aggression. It was decided to attack England from her Canadian colonies. This plan of campaign, however reasonable it might seem to a strategist, failed wretchedly in execution. The first year of the war, so far as regards the land campaigns, showed nothing but reverses and fiascoes. There was a long and thinly settled border country, in which our slender forces struggled to hold their own against the barbarous Indian onslaughts, making futile expeditions across the border into Canada, and resisting with some success the similar expeditions by the Canadian troops. One of the complaints which led to the war was that the Indian tribes had been incited against our settlers by the Canadian authorities and had been promised aid from Canada. It is certain that after war was declared British officers not only employed Indians as their allies, but, in some instances at least, paid bounties for the scalps of American settlers.

Hull and the Surrender of Detroit

The Indian war planned by Tecumseh had just been put down by General (afterward President) Harrison. No doubt Tecumseh was a man of more elevated ambition and more humane instincts than one often finds in an Indian chief. His hope to unite the tribes and to drive the whites out of his country has a certain nobility of purpose and breadth of view. But this scheme had failed, and the Indian warriors, still inflamed for war, were only too eager to assist the Canadian forces in a desultory but bloody border war. The strength of our campaign against Canada was dissipated in an attempt to hold Fort Wayne, Fort Harrison, and other garrisons against Indian attacks. Still more disappointing was the complete failure of the attempt, under the command of General Hull, to advance from Detroit into Canada. He was easily driven back to Detroit, and, while the nation was confidently waiting to hear of a bold defence of that place, it was startled by the news of Hull’s surrender without firing a gun, and under circumstances which seemed to indicate either cowardice or treachery. Hull was, in fact, court-martialed and condemned to death, and was only pardoned on account of his services in the war of 1776.

The “Constitution” and the “Guerrière”
The Glorious Victory of the Frigate “Constitution”

The mortification that followed the land campaign of 1812 was forgotten in the joy at the splendid naval victories of that year. Pre-eminent among these was the famous sea-duel between the frigates Constitution and Guerrière. Every one knows of the glory of Old Ironsides, and this, though the greatest, was only one of many victories through which the name of the Constitution became the most famed and beloved of all that have been associated with American ships. She was a fine frigate, carrying forty-four guns, and though English journals had ridiculed her as “a bunch of pine boards under a bit of striped bunting,” it was not long before they were busily engaged in trying to prove that she was too large a vessel to be properly called a frigate, and that she greatly out-classed her opponent in metal and men. It is true that the Constitution carried six more guns and a few more men than the Guerrière, but all allowances being made, her victory was a naval triumph of the first magnitude. Captain Isaac Hull, who commanded her, had just before the engagement proved his superior seamanship by escaping from a whole squadron of British vessels, out-sailing and out-manœuvring them at every point. It was on August 19, 1812, that he descried the Guerrière. Both vessels at once cleared for action and came together with the greatest eagerness on both sides for the engagement. Though the battle lasted but half an hour, it was one of the hottest in naval annals. At one time the Constitution was on fire, and both ships were soon seriously crippled by injuries to their spars. Attempts to board each other were thwarted on both sides by the close fire of small arms. The Glorious Victory of the Frigate “Constitution”Here, as in later sea-fights of this war, the accuracy and skill of the American gunners were something marvelous. At the end of half an hour the Guerrière had lost both mainmast and foremast, and floated as a helpless hulk in the open sea. Her surrender was no discredit to her officers, as she was almost in a sinking condition. It was hopeless to attempt to tow her into port, and Captain Hull transferred his prisoners to his own vessel and set fire to his prize.

In this engagement the American frigate had only seven men killed and an equal number wounded, while the British vessel had as many as seventy-nine men killed or wounded. The conduct of the American seamen was throughout gallant in the highest degree. Captain Hull put it on record that “From the smallest boy in the ship to the oldest seaman not a look of fear was seen. They all went into action giving three cheers and requesting to be laid close alongside the enemy.” The effect of this victory in both America and England was extraordinary. English papers long refused to believe in the possibility of the well-proved facts, while in America the whole country joined in a triumphal shout of joy, and loaded well-deserved honors on vessel, captain, officers, and men.

The “Wasp” Captures the “Frolic”

The chagrin of the English public at the unexpected result of this sea-battle was changed to amazement and vexation when, one after another, there followed no less than six combats of the same duel-like character, in all of which the American vessels were victorious. The first was between the American sloop Wasp and the English brig Frolic, which was convoying a fleet of merchantmen. The fight was one of the most desperate in the war; the two ships were brought so close together that their gunners could touch the sides of the opposing vessels with their rammers. Broadside after broadside was poured into the Frolic by the Wasp, which obtained the superior position; but her sailors, too excited to await the victory which was sure to come from the continued raking of the enemy’s vessel, rushed upon her decks without orders and soon overpowered her. Again the British loss in killed and wounded was large; that of the Americans very small. It in no wise detracted from the glory of this victory that both victor and prize were soon captured by a British man-of-war of immensely superior strength.

The “United States” and the “Macedonian”

Following this action, Commodore Stephen Decatur, in the frigate United States, attacked the Macedonian, a British vessel of the same class, and easily defeated her, bringing her into New York harbor on New Year’s Day, 1813, where he received an ovation equal to that offered Captain Hull. The same result followed the attack of the Constitution, now under the command of Commodore Bainbridge, upon the British Java. The latter had her captain and fifty men killed and about one hundred wounded, and was left such a wreck that it was decided to blow her up, while the Constitution suffered so little that she was in sport dubbed Old Ironsides, a name now ennobled by a poem which has been in every school-boy’s mouth. Other naval combats resulted, in the great majority of cases, in the same way; in all unstinted praise was awarded by the nations of the world, even including England herself, to the admirable seamanship, the wonderful gunnery, and the personal intrepidity of our naval forces. When the second year of the war closed our little navy had captured twenty-six warships, armed with 560 guns, while it had lost only seven ships, carrying 119 guns.

American Privateers and Their Work

But, if the highest honors of the war were thus won by our navy, the most serious injury materially to Great Britain was in the devastation of her commerce by American privateers. No less than two hundred and fifty of these sea guerrillas were afloat, and in the first year of the war they captured over three hundred merchant vessels, sometimes even attacking and overcoming the smaller class of warships. The privateers were usually schooners armed with a few small guns, but carrying one long cannon mounted on a swivel so that it could be turned to any point of the horizon, and familiarly known as Long Tom. Of course, the crews were influenced by greed as well as by patriotism. Privateering is a somewhat doubtful mode of warfare at the best; but international law permits it, and, though it is hard to dissociate from it the aspect of legalized piracy, it is recognized to this day. In the most recent war, however, the Spanish-American, neither of the belligerent nations indulged in this relic of barbarism.

If privateering were ever justifiable it was in the war now under consideration. As Jefferson said, there were then tens of thousands of seamen cut off by the war from their natural means of support and useless to their country in any other way, while by “licensing private armed vessels, the whole naval force of the nation was truly brought to bear on the foe.” The havoc wrought on British trade was widespread indeed; altogether between fifteen hundred and two thousand prizes were taken by the privateers. To compute the value of these prizes is impossible, but some idea may be gained from the single fact that one privateer, the Yankee, in a cruise of less than two months captured five brigs and four schooners, with cargoes valued at over half a million dollars. The men engaged in this form of warfare were bold to recklessness, and their exploits have furnished many a tale to American writers of romance.

The Fleets on the Lakes
Perry’s Great Victory on Lake Erie

The naval combats thus far mentioned were almost always of single vessels. For battles of fleets we must turn from the salt water to the fresh, from the ocean to the great lakes. The control of the waters of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and Lake Champlain was obviously of vast importance, in view of the continued land-fighting in the West and of the attempted invasion of Canada and the threatened counter-invasions. The British had the great advantage of being able to reach the lakes by the St. Lawrence, while our lake navies had to be constructed after the war began. One such little navy had been built at Presque Isle, now Erie, on Lake Erie. It comprised two brigs of twenty guns and several schooners and gunboats. It must be remembered that everything but the lumber needed for the vessels had to be brought through the forests by land from the eastern seaports, and the mere problem of transportation was a serious one. When finished, the fleet was put in command of Oliver Hazard Perry. Watching his time (and, it is said, taking advantage of the carelessness of the British commander, who went on shore to dinner one Sunday, when he should have been watching Perry’s movements), the American commander drew his fleet over the bar which had protected it while in harbor from the onslaughts of the British fleet. To get the brigs over this bar was a work of time and great difficulty; an attack at that hour by the British would certainly have ended in the total destruction of the fleet. This feat accomplished, Perry, in his flagship, the Lawrence, headed a fleet of ten vessels, fifty-five guns and four hundred men. Opposed to him was Captain Barclay with six ships, sixty-five guns, and also about four hundred men. Perry’s Great Victory on Lake ErieThe British for several weeks avoided the conflict, but in the end were cornered and forced to fight. It was at the beginning of this battle that Perry displayed the flag bearing Lawrence’s famous dying words, “Don’t give up the ship!” No less famous is his dispatch announcing the result in the words, “We have met the enemy and they are ours.” The victory was indeed a complete and decisive one; all six of the enemy’s ships were captured, and their loss was nearly double that of Perry’s forces. The complete control of Lake Erie was assured; that of Lake Ontario had already been gained by Commodore Chauncey.

The Battle of the Thames

Perry’s memorable victory opened the way for important land operations by General Harrison, who now marched from Detroit with the design of invading Canada. He engaged with Proctor’s mingled body of British troops and Indians, and by the battle of the Thames drove back the British from that part of Canada and restored matters to the position in which they stood before Hull’s deplorable surrender of Detroit—and, indeed, of all Michigan—to the British. In this battle the Indian chief, Tecumseh, fell, and about three hundred of the British and Indians were killed on the field. The hold of our enemies on the Indian tribes was greatly broken by this defeat.

Previous to this the land campaigns had been marked by a succession of minor victories and defeats. In the West a force of Americans under General Winchester had been captured at the River Raisin, where there took place an atrocious massacre of prisoners by the Indians, who were quite beyond restraint from their white allies. On the other hand, the Americans had captured the city of York, now Toronto, though at the cost of their leader, General Pike, who, with two hundred of his men, was destroyed by the explosion of a magazine. Fort George had also been captured by the Americans and an attack on Sackett’s Harbor had been gallantly repulsed. Following the battle of the Thames, extensive operations of an aggressive kind were planned, looking toward the capture of Montreal and the invasion of Canada by way of Lakes Ontario and Champlain. Unhappily, jealousy between the American Generals Wilkinson and Hampton resulted in a lack of concert in their military operations, and the expedition became a complete fiasco.

Lawrence’s Famous Saying, “Don’t Give Up the Ship.”

One turns for consolation from the mortifying record of Wilkinson’s expedition to the story of the continuous successes which accompanied the naval operations of 1813. Captain Lawrence, in the Hornet, won a complete victory over the English brig Peacock; our brig, the Enterprise, captured the Boxer, and other equally welcome victories were reported. One distinct defeat marred the record—that of our fine brig, the Chesapeake, commanded by Captain Lawrence, which was captured after one of the most hard-fought contests of the war by the British brig, the Shannon. Lawrence himself fell mortally wounded, exclaiming as he was carried away, “Tell the men not to give up the ship, but fight her till she sinks.” It was a paraphrase of this exclamation which Perry used as a rallying signal in the battle on Lake Erie. Despite his one defeat, Captain Lawrence’s fame as a gallant seaman and high-minded patriot was untarnished, and his death was more deplored throughout the country than was the loss of his ship.

Macdonough’s Victory on Lake Champlain

In the latter part of the war England was enabled to send large reinforcements both to her army and navy engaged in the American campaigns. Events in Europe seemed in 1814 to insure peace for at least a time. Napoleon’s power was broken; the Emperor himself was exiled at Elba; and Great Britain at last had her hands free. But before the reinforcements reached this country, our army had won greater credit and had shown more military skill by far than were evinced in its earlier operations. Along the line of the Niagara River active fighting had been going on. In the battle of Chippewa, the capture of Fort Erie, the engagement at Lundy’s Lane, and the defence of Fort Erie the troops, under the command of Generals Winfield Scott and Brown, had more than held their own against superior forces, and had won from British officers the admission that they fought as well under fire as regular troops. More encouraging still was the total defeat of the plan of invasion from Canada undertaken by the now greatly strengthened British forces. These numbered twelve thousand men and were supported by a fleet on Lake Champlain. Their operations were directed against Plattsburg, and in the battle on the lake, usually called by the name of that town, the American flotilla, under the command of Commodore Macdonough, completely routed the British fleet. As a result the English army also beat a rapid and undignified retreat to Canada. This was the last important engagement to take place in the North.

The Burning of the American Capital

Meanwhile expeditions of considerable size were directed by the British against our principal Southern cities. One of these brought General Ross with five thousand men, chiefly the pick of the Duke of Wellington’s army, into the Bay of Chesapeake. Nothing was more discreditable in the military strategy of our administration than the fact that at this time Washington was left unprotected, though in evident danger. General Ross marched straight upon the capital, easily defeated at Bladensburg an inferior force of raw militia—who fought, however, with much courage—seized the city, and carried out his intention of destroying the public buildings and a great part of the town. Most of the public archives had been removed. Ross’s conduct in the burning of Washington, though of a character common enough in modern warfare, has been condemned as semi-barbarous by many writers. The achievement was greeted with enthusiasm by the English papers, but was really of much less importance than they supposed. Washington at that time was a straggling town of only eight thousand inhabitants; its public buildings were not at all adequate to the demands of the future; and an optimist might even consider the destruction of the old city as a public benefit, for it enabled Congress to adopt the plans which have since led to the making of the most beautiful city of the country, if not of the world.

A similar attempt upon Baltimore was less successful The people of that city made a brave defence and hastily threw up extensive fortifications. In the end the British fleet, after a severe bombardment of Fort McHenry, was driven off. The British admiral had boasted that Fort McHenry would yield in a few hours; and two days after, when its flag was still flying, Francis S. Key was inspired by its sight to compose our far-famed national ode, the “Star Spangled Banner.”

Jackson and the Creek Indians
Jackson’s Famous Great Victory at New Orleans

A still larger expedition of British troops soon after landed on the Louisiana coast and marched to the attack of New Orleans. Here General Andrew Jackson was in command. He had already distinguished himself during the war by putting down with a strong hand the hostile Creek Indians, who had been incited by English envoys to warfare against our southern settlers; and in April, 1814, William Weathersford, the half-breed chief, had surrendered in person to Jackson. General Packenham, who commanded the five thousand British soldiers sent against New Orleans, expected as easy a victory as that of General Ross at Washington. But Jackson had summoned to his aid the stalwart frontiersmen of Kentucky and Tennessee—men used from boyhood to the rifle, and who made up what was in effect a splendid force of sharp-shooters. Both armies threw up rough fortifications; General Jackson made great use for that purpose of cotton bales, Packenham employing the still less solid material of sugar barrels. As it proved neither of these were suitable for the purpose, and they had to be replaced by earthworks. Jackson’s Famous Great Victory at New OrleansOddly enough, the final battle, and really the most important one of the war, took place after the treaty of peace between the two countries had been signed. The British were repulsed again and again in persistent and gallant attacks on our fortifications. General Packenham himself was killed, together with many of his officers and seven hundred of his men. One British officer pushed to the top of our earthworks and demanded their surrender, whereupon he was smilingly asked to look behind him, and turning saw, as he afterwards said, that the men he supposed to be supporting him “had vanished as if the earth had swallowed them up.” Of the Americans only a few men were killed.

The Results of the War

The treaty of peace, signed at Ghent, December 24, 1814, has been ridiculed because it contained no positive agreement as to many of the questions in dispute. Not a word did it say about the impressment of American sailors or the rights of neutral ships. Its chief stipulations were the mutual restoration of territory and the appointing of a commission to determine our northern boundary line. The truth is that both nations were tired of the war; the circumstances that had led to England’s aggressions no longer existed; both countries were suffering enormous commercial loss to no avail; and, above all, the United States had emphatically justified by its deeds its claim to an equal place in the council of nations. Politically and materially, further warfare was illogical. If the two nations had understood each other better in the first place; if Great Britain had treated our demands with courtesy and justice instead of with insolence; if, in short, international comity had taken the place of international ill-temper, the war might have been avoided altogether. Its undoubted benefits to us were incidental rather than direct. But though not formally recognized by treaty, the rights of American seamen and of American ships were in fact no longer infringed upon by Great Britain.

The Hartford Convention

One political outcome of the war must not be overlooked. The New England Federalists had opposed it from the beginning, had naturally fretted at their loss of commerce, and had bitterly upbraided the Democratic administration for currying popularity by a war carried on mainly at New England’s expense. When, in the latter days of the war, New England ports were closed, Stonington was bombarded, Castine in Maine was seized, and serious depredations were threatened everywhere along the northeastern coast, the Federalists complained that the administration taxed them for the war but did not protect them. The outcome of all this discontent was the Hartford Convention. In point of fact it was a quite harmless conference which proposed some constitutional amendments, protested against too great centralization of dower, and urged the desirability of peace with honor. But the most absurd rumors were prevalent about its intentions; a regiment of troops was actually sent to Hartford to anticipate treasonable outbreaks; and for many years good Democrats religiously believed that there had been a plot to set up a monarchy in New England with the Duke of Kent as king. Harmless as it was, the Hartford Convention caused the death of the Federalist party. Its mild debates were distorted into secret conclaves plotting treason, and, though the news of peace followed close upon it, the Convention was long an object of opprobrium and a political bugbear.

The United States Sustains Its Dignity Abroad.

The Piratical States of North Africa

If the reader will look at any map of Africa he will see on the northern coast, defining the southern limits of the Mediterranean, four States, Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, and Tripoli, running east and west a distance of 1800 miles. These powers had for centuries maintained a state of semi-independency by paying tribute to Turkey. But this did not suit Algeria, the strongest and most warlike of the North African States; and in the year 1710 the natives overthrew the rule of the Turkish Pasha, expelled him from the country, and united his authority to that of the Dey, the Algerian monarch. The Dey subsequently governed the country by means of a Divan or Council of State chosen from the principal civic functionaries. The Algerians, with the other “Barbary States,” as the piratical States were called, defied the powers of Europe; their armed vessels sweeping the waters of the Mediterranean, committing a thousand ravages upon the merchant vessels of other nations, and almost driving commerce from its waters. France alone resisted these depredations, and this only partially, for after she had repeatedly chastised the Algerians, the strongest of the piratical States, and had induced the Dey to sign a treaty of peace, the Corsairs would await their opportunity and after a time resume their depredations. Algiers in the end forced the United States to resort to arms in the defence of its commerce, and the long immunity of the pirates did not cease until the great republic of the West took them in hand.

The truth is, this conflict was no less irrepressible than that greater conflict which a century later deluged the land in blood. Before the Constitution of the United States had been adopted, two American vessels, flying the flag of thirteen stripes and thirteen stars, instead of the forty-five stars which now form our national constellation, while sailing the Mediterranean had fallen a prey to the swift, heavily-armed Algerian cruisers. The vessels were confiscated, and their crews, to the number of twenty-one persons, were held for ransom, for which an enormous sum was demanded.

This sum our Government was by no means willing to pay, as to do so would be to establish a precedent not only with Algeria, but also with Tunis, Tripoli, and Morocco, for each of these African piratical States was in league with the others, and all had to be separately conciliated.

The War with the Pirates of Tripoli

But, after all, what else could the Government do? The country had no navy. It could not undertake in improvised ships to go forth and fight the powerful cruisers of the African pirates—States so strong that the commercial nations of Europe were glad to win exemption from their depredations by annual payments. Why not, then, ransom these American captives by the payment of money and construct a navy sufficiently strong to resist their encroachments in the future? This feeling on the part of the Government was shared by the people of the country, and as a result Congress authorized the building of six frigates, and by another act empowered President Washington to borrow a million of dollars for purchasing peace. Eventually the ransom money was paid to the piratical powers, and it was hoped all difficulty was at an end. But, as a necessary provision for the future, the work of constructing the new warships was pushed with expedition. As will be seen, this proved to be a wise and timely precaution.

We are now brought to the year 1800. Tripoli, angry at not receiving as much money as was paid to Algiers, declared war against the United States. Circumstances, however, had changed for the better, and the republic was prepared to deal with the oppressors of its seamen in a more dignified and efficient manner than that of paying ransom. For our new navy, a small but most efficient one, had been completed, and a squadron consisting of the frigates Essex, Captain Bainbridge, the Philadelphia, the President, and the schooner Experiment, was in Mediterranean waters. Two Tripolitan cruisers lying at Gibraltar on the watch for American vessels were blockaded by the Philadelphia. Cruising off Tripoli, the Experiment fell in with a Tripolitan cruiser of fourteen guns, and after three hours’ hard fighting captured her, the Tripolitans losing twenty killed and thirty wounded. This brilliant result had a marked effect in quieting the turbulent pirates, who for the first time began to respect the United States. A treaty was signed in 1805, in which Tripoli agreed no longer to molest American ships and sailors.

The Famous Incident of the “Philadelphia”

This war was marked by a striking evidence of American pluck and readiness in an emergency. During the contest the frigate Philadelphia, while chasing certain piratical craft into the harbor of Tripoli, ran aground in a most perilous situation. Escape was impossible, she was under the guns of the shore batteries and of the Tripolitan navy, and after a vain effort to sink her, all on board were forced to surrender as prisoners of war. Subsequently the Tripolitans succeeded in floating the frigate, brought her into port in triumph, and began to refit her as a welcome addition to their navy. This state of affairs was galling to American pride, and, as the vessel could not be rescued, it was determined to make an effort to destroy her. One night a Moorish merchantman (captured and fitted for the purpose) entered the harbor and made her way close up to the side of the Philadelphia. Only a few men, dressed in Moorish garb, were visible, and no suspicion of their purpose was entertained. As these men claimed to have lost their anchor, a rope was thrown them from the vessel, and they made fast. In a minute more a startling change took place. A multitude of concealed Americans suddenly sprang into sight, clambered to the deck of the Philadelphia, and drove the surprised Moors over her sides. The frigate was fairly recaptured. But she could not be taken out, so the tars set her on fire, and made their escape by the light of her blazing spars and under the guns of the Tripolitan batteries, not a ball from which reached them. It was a gallant achievement, and gave fame to Decatur, its leader.

War Declared by Algiers

But peace was not yet assured. In 1815, when this country had just ended its war with Great Britain, the Dey of Algiers unceremoniously dismissed the American Consul and declared war against the United States, on the plea that he had not received certain articles demanded under the tribute treaty. This time the government was well prepared for the issue. The population of the country had increased to over eight millions. The military spirit of the nation had been aroused by the war with Great Britain, ending in the splendid victory at New Orleans under General Jackson. Besides this, the navy had been increased and made far more effective. The administration, with Madison at its head, decided to submit to no further extortions from the Mediterranean pirates, and the President sent in a forcible message to Congress on the subject, taking high American ground. The result was a prompt acceptance of the Algerian declaration of war. Events succeeded each other in rapid succession. Ships new and old were at once fitted out. On May 15, 1815, Decatur sailed from New York to the Mediterranean. His squadron comprised the frigates Guerriere, Macedonian and Constellation, the new sloop of war Ontario, and four brigs and two schooners in addition.

The Dey Sues for Peace

On June 17th, the second day after entering the Mediterranean, Decatur captured the largest frigate in the Algerian navy, having forty-four guns. The next day an Algerian brig was taken, and in less than two weeks after his first capture Decatur, with his entire squadron, appeared off Algiers. The end had come. The Dey’s courage, like that of Bob Acres, oozed out at his fingers’ ends. The terrified Dey sued for peace, which Decatur compelled him to sign on the quarter-deck of the Guerriere. In this treaty it was agreed by the Dey to surrender all prisoners, pay a heavy indemnity, and renounce all tribute from America in the future. Decatur also secured indemnity from Tunis and Tripoli for American vessels captured under the guns of their forts by British cruisers during the late war.

This ended at once and forever the payment of tribute to the piratical States of North Africa. All Europe, as well as our own country, rang with the splendid achievements of our navy; and surely the stars and stripes had never before floated more proudly from the masthead of an American vessel—and they are flying as proudly to-day.

A Naval War with France

One further example of the readiness of this country to defend itself upon the seas in its weak, early period may be related, though it slightly antedated the beginning of the century. This was a result of American indignation at the ravages upon its commerce by the warring nations of Europe. About 1798 the depredations of France upon our merchantmen became so aggravating that, without the formality of a declaration, a naval war began. The vessels of our new navy were sent out, “letters of marque and reprisal” were granted to privateers, and their work soon began to tell. Captain Truxton of the Constellation captured the French frigate L’Insurgente, the privateers brought more than fifty armed vessels of the French into port and France quickly decided that she wanted peace. This sort of argument was not quite to her taste.

Seventeen years after the close of the trouble with Algiers, in 1832, one of the most interesting cases of difficulty with a foreign power arose. As with Algeria and Tripoli, so now our navy was resorted to for the purpose of exacting reparation. This time the trouble was with the kingdom of Naples, in Italy, which had been wrested from Spain by Napoleon, who placed successively his brother Joseph and his brother-in-law Murat on the throne of Naples and the two Sicilies. During the years 1809–12 the Neapolitan government, under Joseph and Murat successively, had confiscated numerous American ships with their cargoes. The total amount of the American claims against Naples, as filed in the State department when Jackson’s administration assumed control, was $1,734,994. They were held by various insurance companies and by citizens, principally of Baltimore. Demands for the payment of these claims had from time to time been made by our government, but Naples had always refused to settle them.

The Claim Against Naples

Jackson and his cabinet took a decided stand, and determined that the Neapolitan government, then in the hands of Ferdinand II.—subsequently nicknamed Bomba because of his cruelties—should make due reparation for the losses sustained by American citizens. The Hon. John Nelson, of Frederick, Maryland, was appointed Minister to Naples, and required to insist upon a settlement. Commodore Daniel Patterson, who had aided in the defense of New Orleans in 1815, was put in command of the Mediterranean squadron and ordered to co-operate with Minister Nelson in enforcing his demands. But Naples persisted in her refusal to render satisfaction, and a warlike demonstration was decided upon, the whole matter being placed, under instructions, in the hands of Commodore Patterson.

How King Bomba was Brought to Terms

The entire force under his command consisted of three fifty-gun frigates and three twenty-gun corvettes. In order not to precipitate matters too hastily, the plan adopted was that these vessels should appear in the Neapolitan waters one at a time, and instructions were given to that effect. The Brandywine, with Minister Nelson on board, went first. Mr. Nelson made his demand for a settlement and was refused. There was nothing in the appearance of a Yankee envoy and a single ship to trouble King Bomba and his little kingdom. The Brandywine cast anchor in the harbor and the humbled envoy waited patiently for a few days. Then another American flag appeared on the horizon, and the frigate United States floated into the harbor and came to anchor. Mr. Nelson repeated his demands, and they were again refused. Four days slipped away, and the stars and stripes once more appeared off the harbor. King Bomba, looking out from his palace windows, saw the fifty-gun frigate Concord sail into the harbor and drop her anchor. Then unmistakable signs of uneasiness began to show themselves. Forts were repaired, troops drilled, and more cannon mounted on the coast. The demands were reiterated, but the Neapolitan government still declined to consider them. Two days later another warship made her way into the harbor. It was the John Adams. When the fifth ship sailed gallantly in, Nelson sent word home that he was still unable to collect the bill. The end was not yet. Three days later, and the sixth American sail showed itself on the blue waters of the peerless bay. It was the handwriting on the wall for King Bomba, and his government announced that they would accede to the American demands. The negotiations were promptly resumed and speedily closed, the payment of the principal in installments with interest being guaranteed. Pending negotiations, from August 28th to September 15th the entire squadron remained in the Bay of Naples, and then the ships sailed away and separated. So, happily and bloodlessly, ended a difficulty which at one time threatened most serious results.

Captain Ingraham and the Koszta Affair

Another demonstration, less imposing in numbers but quite as spirited, and, indeed, more intensely dramatic, occurred at Smyrna in 1853, when Captain Duncan N. Ingraham, with a single sloop-of-war, trained his broadsides on a fleet of Austrian warships in the harbor. The episode was a most thrilling one, and our record would be incomplete were so dramatic an affair left unrecorded on its pages. This is the story:

When the revolution of Hungary against Austria was put down, Kossuth, Koszta, and other leading revolutionists fled to Smyrna, and the Turkish government, after long negotiations, refused to give them up. Koszta soon after came to the United States, and in July, 1852, declared under oath his intention of becoming an American citizen. He resided in New York city a year and eleven months.

The “St. Louis” and the “Huzzar”

A year after he had declared his intention to assume American citizenship, Koszta went to Smyrna on business, where he remained for a time undisturbed. He had so inflamed the Austrian government against him, however, that a plot was formed to capture him. On June 21, 1853, while he was seated on the Marina, a public resort in Smyrna, a band of Greek mercenaries, hired by the Austrian Consul, seized him and carried him off to an Austrian ship-of-war, the Huzzar, then lying in the harbor. Archduke John, brother of the emperor, is said to have been in command of this vessel. Koszta was put in irons and treated as a criminal. The next day an American sloop-of-war, the St. Louis, commanded by Captain Duncan N. Ingraham, sailed into the harbor. Learning what had happened, Captain Ingraham immediately sent on board the Huzzar and courteously asked permission to see Koszta. His request was granted, and the captain assured himself that Koszta was entitled to the protection of the American flag. He demanded his release from the Austrian commander. When it was refused, he communicated with the nearest United States official, Consul Brown, at Constantinople. While he was waiting for an answer six Austrian warships sailed into the harbor and came to anchor in positions near the Huzzar. On June 29th, before Captain Ingraham had received any answer from the American Consul, he noticed unusual signs of activity on board the Huzzar, and before long she began to get under way. The American captain made up his mind immediately. He put the St. Louis straight in the Huzzar’s course and cleared his guns for action. The Huzzar hove to, and Captain Ingraham went on board and demanded the meaning of her action.

“We propose to sail for home,” replied the Austrian. “The consul has ordered us to take our prisoner to Austria.”

“You will pardon me,” said Captain Ingraham, “but if you attempt to leave this port with that American on board I shall be compelled to resort to extreme measures.”

The Austrian glanced around at the fleet of Austrian war-ships and the single American sloop-of-war. Then he smiled pleasantly, and intimated that the Huzzar would do as she pleased.

Captain Ingraham bowed and returned to the St. Louis. He had no sooner reached her deck than he called out: “Clear the guns for action!”

The Archduke of Austria saw the batteries of the St. Louis turned upon him, and suddenly realized that he was in the wrong. The Huzzar was put about and sailed back to her old anchorage. Word was sent to Captain Ingraham that the Austrian would await the arrival of the note from Mr. Brown.

Koszta is Given Up to Ingraham

The consul’s note, which came on July 1st, commended Captain Ingraham’s course and advised him to take whatever action he thought the situation demanded. At eight o’clock on the morning of July 2d, Captain Ingraham sent a note to the commander of the Huzzar, formally demanding the release of Mr. Koszta. Unless the prisoner was delivered on board the St. Louis before four o’clock the next afternoon, Captain Ingraham would take him from the Austrians by force. The Archduke sent back a formal refusal. At eight o’clock the next morning Captain Ingraham once more ordered the decks cleared for action and trained his batteries on the Huzzar. The seven Austrian war vessels cleared their decks and put their men at the guns.

At ten o’clock an Austrian officer came to Captain Ingraham and began to temporize. Captain Ingraham refused to listen to him.

“To avoid the worst,” he said, “I will agree to let the man be delivered to the French Consul at Smyrna until you have opportunity to communicate with your government. But he must be delivered there, or I will take him. I have stated the time.”

At twelve o’clock a boat left the Huzzar with Koszta in it, and an hour later the French Consul sent word that Koszta was in his keeping. Then several of the Austrian war-vessels sailed out of the harbor. Long negotiations between the two governments followed, and in the end Austria admitted that the United States was in the right, and apologized.

The Trouble with Nicaragua

Scarcely had the plaudits which greeted Captain Ingraham’s intrepid course died away, when, the next year, another occasion arose where our government was obliged to resort to the show of force. This time Nicaragua was the country involved. Various outrages, as was contended, had been committed on the persons and property of American citizens dwelling in that country. The repeated demands for redress were not complied with. Peaceful negotiations having failed, in June, 1854, Commander Hollins, with the sloop of war Cyane, was ordered to proceed to the town of San Juan, or Greytown, which lies on the Mosquito coast of Nicaragua, and to insist on favorable action from the Nicaraguan government.

Captain Hollins came to anchor off the coast and placed his demands before the authorities. He waited patiently for a response, but no satisfactory one was offered him. After a number of days he made a final appeal and then proceeded to carry out his instructions. On the morning of July 13th he directed his batteries on the town of San Juan and opened fire. Until four o’clock in the afternoon the ship poured out broadsides as fast as its guns could be loaded. By that time the greater part of the town was destroyed. Then a party of marines was put on shore, and completed the destruction of the place by burning the houses.

A lieutenant of the British navy commanding a small vessel of war was in the harbor at the time. England claimed a species of protectorate over the settlement, and the British officer raised violent protest against the action taken by America’s representative. Captain Hollins, however, paid no attention to the interference and carried out his instructions. The United States government later sustained Captain Hollins in everything he had done, and England thereupon thought best to let the matter drop. In this that country was unquestionably wise.

In Paraguayan Waters

At this time the United States seems to have entered upon a period of international conflict; for no sooner had the difficulties with Austria and Nicaragua been adjusted than another war-cloud appeared on the horizon. Here again only a year from the last conflict had elapsed, for in 1855 an offense was committed against the United States by Paraguay. To explain what it was we shall have to go back three years. In 1852 Captain Thomas J. Page, commanding a small light-draught steamer, the Water Witch, by direction of his government started for South America to explore the River La Plata and its large tributaries, with a view to opening up commercial intercourse between the United States and the interior States of South America. We have said that the expedition was ordered by our government; it also remains to be noted that it was undertaken with the full consent and approbation of the countries having jurisdiction over those waters. Slowly, but surely, the little steamer pushed her way up the river, making soundings and charting the river as she proceeded. All went well until February 1, 1855, when the first sign of trouble appeared.

The Assault on the “Water Witch”

It was a lovely day in early summer—the summer begins in February in that latitude—and nothing appeared to indicate the slightest disturbance The little Water Witch was quietly steaming up the River Paraná, which forms the northern boundary of the State of Corrientes, separating it from Paraguay, when suddenly, without a moment’s warning, a battery from Fort Itaparu, on the Paraguayan shore, opened fire upon her, immediately killing one of her crew, who at that time was at the wheel. The Water Witch was not fitted for hostilities; least of all could she assume the risk of attempting to run the batteries of the fort. Accordingly, Captain Page put the steamer about, and was soon out of range. It should here be explained that at that time President Carlos A. Lopez was the autocratic ruler of Paraguay, and that he had previously received Captain Page with every assurance of friendship. A few months previous, however, Lopez had been antagonized by the United States consul at Ascencion. This gentleman, in addition to his official position, acted as agent for an American mercantile company of which Lopez disapproved and whose business he had broken up. He had also issued a decree forbidding foreign vessels of war to navigate the Paraná or any of the waters bounding Paraguay, which he clearly had no right to do, as half the stream belonged to the country bordering on the other side.

Marcy Demands Reparation

Captain Page, finding it impracticable to prosecute his exploration any further, at once returned to the United States, where he gave the Washington authorities a detailed account of the occurrence. It was claimed by our government that the Water Witch was not subject to the jurisdiction of Paraguay, as the channel was the equal property of the Argentine Republic. It was further claimed that, even if she had been within the jurisdiction of Paraguay, she was not properly a vessel of war, but a government boat employed for scientific purposes. And even were the vessel supposed to be a war vessel, it was contended that it was a gross violation of international right and courtesy to fire shot at the vessel of a friendly power without first resorting to more peaceful means. At that time William L. Marcy, one of the foremost statesmen of his day, was Secretary of State. Mr. Marcy at once wrote a strong letter to the Paraguayan government, stating the facts of the case, declaring that the action of Paraguay in firing upon the Water Witch would not be submitted to, and demanding ample apology and compensation. All efforts in this direction, however, proved fruitless. Lopez refused to give any reparation; and not only so, but declared that no American vessel would be allowed to ascend the Paraná for the purpose indicated.

The event, as it became known, aroused not a little excitement; and while there were some who deprecated a resort to extreme measures, the general sentiment of the country was decidedly manifested in favor of an assertion of our rights in the premises. Accordingly, President Pierce sent a message to Congress, stating that a peaceful adjustment of the difficulty was impossible, and asking for authority to send such a naval force to Paraguay as would compel her arbitrary ruler to give the full satisfaction demanded.

A Powerful Fleet Sent to Paraguay

To this request Congress promptly and almost unanimously gave assent, and one of the strongest naval expeditions ever fitted out by the United States up to that time was ordered to assemble at the mouth of La Plata River. The fleet was an imposing one for the purpose, and comprised nineteen vessels, seven of which were steamers specially chartered for the purpose, as our largest war vessels were of too deep draught to ascend the La Plata and Paraná. The entire squadron carried 200 guns and 2,500 men, and was commanded by flag officer, afterward rear-admiral, Shubrick, one of the oldest officers of our navy, and one of the most gallant men that ever trod a quarter-deck. Flag Officer Shubrick was accompanied by United States Commissioner Bowlin, to whom was intrusted negotiations for the settlement of the difficulty.

Three years and eleven months had now passed since the Water Witch was fired upon, and President Buchanan had succeeded Franklin Pierce. The winter of 1859 was just closing in at the north; the streams were closed by ice, and the lakes were ice-bound, but the palm trees of the south were displaying their fresh green leaves, like so many fringed banners, in the warm tropical air when the United States squadron assembled at Montevideo. The fleet included two United States frigates, the Sabine and the St. Lawrence; two sloops-of-war, the Falmouth and the Preble; three brigs, the Bainbridge, the Dolphin and the Perry; seven steamers especially armed for the occasion, the Memphis, the Caledonia, the Atlanta, the Southern Star, the Westernport, the M. W. Chapin, and the Metacomet; two armed store-ships, the Supply and the Release; the revenue steamer, Harriet Lane; and, lastly, the little Water Witch herself, no longer defenceless, but in fighting trim for hostilities.

The Ships Anchor off Ascencion

On the 25th of January, 1859, within just one week of four years from the firing upon the Water Witch, the squadron got under way and came to anchor off Ascencion, the capital of Paraguay. Meanwhile President Urquiza, of the Argentine Republic, who had offered his services to mediate the difficulty, had arrived at Ascencion in advance of the squadron. The negotiations were reopened, and Commissioner Bowlin made his demand for instant reparation. All this time Flag Officer Shubrick was not idle. With such of our vessels as were of suitable size he ascended the river, taking them through the difficulties created by its currents, shoals and sand bars, and brought them to a position above the town, where they were made ready for action in case of necessity to open fire. The force within striking distance of Paraguay consisted of 1,740 men, besides the officers, and 78 guns, including 23 nine-inch shell guns and one shell gun of eleven inches.

President Lopez Brought to Terms

Ships and guns proved to be very strong arguments with Lopez. It did not take the Dictator-President long to see that the United States meant business, and that the time for trifling had passed and the time for serious work had come. President Lopez’s cerebral processes worked with remarkable and encouraging celerity. By February 5th, within less than two weeks of the starting of the squadron from Montevideo, Commissioner Bowlin’s demands were all acceded to. Ample apologies were made for firing on the Water Witch, and pecuniary compensation was given to the family of the sailor who had been killed. In addition to this, a new commercial treaty was made, and cordial relations were fully restored between the two governments.

The Civil War in Chili

A period of more than thirty years now elapsed before any serious difficulty occurred with a foreign power. In 1891 an event took place that threatened to disturb our relations with Chili and possibly involve the United States in war with that power. Happily the matter reached a peaceful settlement. In January, of that year, civil war had broken out in Chili, the cause of which was a contest between the legislative branch of the government and the executive, for the control of affairs. The President of Chili, General Balmaceda, began to assert authority which the legislature, or “the Congressionalists,” as the opposing party was called, resisted as unconstitutional and oppressive, and they accordingly proceeded to interfere with Balmaceda’s Cabinet in its efforts to carry out the president’s despotic will.

Finally matters came to a point where appeal to arms was necessary. On the 9th of January the Congressional party took possession of the greater part of the Chilian fleet, the navy being in hearty sympathy with them, and the guns of the warships were turned against Balmaceda,—Valparaiso, the capital, and other ports being blockaded by the ships. For a time Balmaceda maintained control of the capital and the southern part of the country. The key to the position was Valparaiso, which was strongly fortified, Balmaceda’s army being massed there and placed at available points.

The Overthrow of Balmaceda

At last the Congressionalists determined to attack Balmaceda at his capital, and on August 21st landed every available fighting man at their disposal at Concon, about ten miles north of Valparaiso. They were attacked by the Dictator on the 22d, there being twenty thousand men on each side. The Dictator had the worst of it. Then he rallied his shattered forces, and made his last stand at Placillo, close to Valparaiso, on the 28th. The battle was hot, the carnage fearful; neither side asked for or received quarter. The magazine rifles, with which the revolutionists were armed, did wonders. The odds were against Balmaceda; both his generals quarreled in face of the enemy; his army became divided and demoralized. In a later battle both of his generals were killed. The valor and the superior tactics of General Canto, leader of the Congressional army, won the day. Balmaceda fled and eventually committed suicide, and the Congressionalists entered the capital in triumph.

Several incidents meantime had conspired, during the progress of this war, to rouse the animosity of the stronger party in Chili against the United States. Before the Congressionalists’ triumph the steamship Itata, loaded with American arms and ammunition for Chili, sailed from San Francisco, and as this was a violation of the neutrality laws, a United States war vessel pursued her to the harbor of Iquique, where she surrendered. Then other troubles arose. Our minister at Valparaiso, Mr. Egan, was charged by the Congressionalists, then in power, with disregarding international law in allowing the American Legation to be made an asylum for the adherents of Balmaceda. Subsequently these refugees were permitted to go aboard American vessels and sail away. Then Admiral Brown, of the United States squadron, was, in Chili’s opinion, guilty of having acted as a spy upon the movements of the Congressionalists’ fleet at Quinteros, and of bringing intelligence of its movements to Balmaceda at Valparaiso. This, however, the Admiral stoutly denied.

An Attack on the Men of the “Baltimore”

The strong popular feeling of dislike which was engendered by these charges culminated on the 16th of October, in an attack upon American seamen by a mob in the streets of the Chilian capital. Captain Schley, commander of the United States cruiser Baltimore, had given shore-leave to a hundred and seventeen petty officers and seamen, some of whom, when they had been on shore for several hours, were set upon by Chilians. They took refuge in a street car, from which, however, they were soon driven and mercilessly beaten, and a subordinate officer named Riggen fell, apparently lifeless. The American sailors, according to Captain Schley’s testimony, were sober and conducting themselves with propriety when the attack was made. They were not armed, even their knives having been taken from them before they left the vessel.

The assault upon those in the street car seemed to be only a signal for a general uprising; and a mob which is variously estimated at from one thousand to two thousand people attacked our sailors with such fury that in a little while these men, whom no investigation could find guilty of any breach of the peace, were fleeing for their lives before an overwhelming crowd, among which were a number of the police of Valparaiso. In this affray eighteen sailors were stabbed, several dying from their wounds.

Of course the United States government at once communicated with the Chilian authorities on the subject, expressing an intention to investigate the occurrence fully. The first reply made to the American government by Signor Matta, the Chilian minister of foreign affairs, was to the effect that Chili would not allow anything to interfere with her own official investigation.

An Investigation Demanded

An examination of all the facts was made on our part. It was careful and thorough, and showed that our flag had been insulted in the persons of American seamen. Yet, while the Chilian court of inquiry could present no extenuating facts, that country refused at first to offer apology or reparation for the affront. In the course of the correspondence Minister Matta sent a note of instruction to Mr. Montt, Chilian representative at Washington, in which he used the most offensive terms in relation to the United States, and directed that the letter should be given to the press for publication.

After waiting for a long time for the result of the investigation at Valparaiso, and finding that, although no excuse or palliation had been found for the outrage, the Chilian authorities seemed reluctant to offer apology, the President of the United States, in a message to Congress, made an extended statement of the various incidents of the case and its legal aspect, and stated that on the 21st of January he had caused a peremptory communication to be presented to the Chilian government by the American minister at Santiago, in which severance of diplomatic relations was threatened if our demands for satisfaction, which included the withdrawal of Mr. Matta’s insulting note, were not complied with. At the time that this message was delivered no reply had been sent to the note.

The American Case Presented

Mr. Harrison’s statement of the legal aspect of the case, upon which the final settlement of the difficulty was based, was that the presence of a warship of any nation in a port belonging to a friendly power is by virtue of a general invitation which nations are held to extend to each other; that Commander Schley was invited, with his officers and crew, to enjoy the hospitality of Valparaiso; that while no claim that an attack which an individual sailor may be subjected to raises an international question, yet where the resident population assault sailors of another country’s war vessels, as at Valparaiso, animated by an animosity against the government to which they belong, that government must act as it would if the representatives or flag of the nation had been attacked, since the sailors are there by the order of their government.

Chili Offers an Apology and Reparation

Finally an ultimatum was sent from the State department at Washington, on the 25th, to Minister Egan, and was by him transmitted to the proper Chilian authorities. It demanded the retraction of Mr. Matta’s note and suitable apology and reparation for the insult and injury sustained by the United States. On the 28th of January, 1892, a dispatch from Chili was received, in which the demands of our government were fully acceded to, the offensive letter was withdrawn, and regret was expressed for the occurrence. In his relation to this particular case, Minister Egan’s conduct received the entire approval of his government.

While the United States looked for a peaceful solution of this annoying international episode, the proper preparations were made for a less desirable outcome. Our naval force was put in as efficient a condition as possible, and the vessels which were then in the navy yard were got ready for service with all expedition. If the Chilian war-scare did nothing else, it aroused a wholesome interest in naval matters throughout the whole of the United States, and by focusing attention upon the needs of this branch of the public service, showed at once how helpless we might become in the event of a war with any first-class power. We may thank Chili that to-day the United States Navy is in a better condition than at any time in our history.

The Monroe Doctrine

When the great Napoleon was overthrown, France, Russia, Prussia and Austria formed an alliance for preserving the “balance of power” and for suppressing revolutions within one another’s dominions. This has been spoken of in a preceding chapter as the “Holy Alliance.” At the time the Spanish South American colonies were in revolt, and the alliance had taken steps indicating an intention to aid in their reduction. George Canning, the English secretary of state, proposed to our country that we should unite with England in preventing such an outrage against civilization. It was a momentous question, and President Monroe consulted with Jefferson, Madison, Calhoun and John Quincy Adams, the secretary of state, before making answer. The decision being reached, the President embodied in his annual message to Congress in December, 1823, a clause which formulated what has ever since been known as the “Monroe Doctrine.” It was written by John Quincy Adams, and, referring to the intervention of the allied powers, said that we “should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety;” and further, “that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.”

The Case of Cuba

By the Monroe Doctrine the United States formally adopted the position of guardian of the weaker American States, and since its promulgation there have been few aggressions of European nations in America, and none in which the United States has not decisively warned them off. The most striking instances may be stated. When, during the troubles in Cuba, France and Great Britain suggested an alliance with the United States to look after affairs in that quarter, they were given plainly to understand that this country would attend to that matter itself and would brook no interference on the part of foreign powers. It also intimated that, in the event of Spain giving up her authority in Cuba from any cause, the United States proposed to act as the sole arbiter of the destinies of the island. Since that date no European power has shown any inclination to interfere in Cuban affairs.

France in Mexico and the Fate of Maximilian

The only decided effort to set at naught the Monroe Doctrine was made by France during-the American Civil War. Taking advantage of the difficulties under which our government then labored, France landed an army in Mexico, overthrew the republic, established an empire, and placed Maximilian, a brother of the Emperor of Austria, upon its throne. All went well with the new emperor until after the close of our Civil War; then all began to go ill. The Monroe Doctrine raised its head again, and the French were plainly bidden to take their troops from Mexico if they did not want trouble. Napoleon III. was quick to take the hint, and to withdraw his army. Maximilian was advised to go with it, but he unwisely declined, fancying that he could maintain his seat upon the Mexican throne. He was quickly undeceived. The liberals sprang to arms, defeated with ease his small army, and soon had him in their hands. A few words complete the story. He was tried by court martial, condemned to death, and shot. Thus ended in disaster the most decided attempt to set at naught the Monroe Doctrine of American guardianship.

The Venezuelan Boundary and the Monroe Doctrine

A second effort, less piratical in its character, was the attempt of Great Britain to extend the borders of British Guiana at the expense of Venezuela. To a certain degree Great Britain seems to have had right on its side in this movement, but its methods were those used by strong nations when dealing with weak ones, the demand of Venezuela for arbitration was scornfully ignored, and force was used to support a claim whose justice no effort was made to show. These high-handed proceedings were brought to a quick termination by the action of the United States, which offered itself as the friend and ally of Venezuela in the dispute. President Cleveland insisted on an arbitration of the difficulty in words that had no uncertain ring, and the statesmen of Great Britain, convinced that he meant just what he said, submitted with what grace they could. A court of arbitration was appointed, the boundary question put into its hands to settle, and peace and satisfaction reigned again. The Monroe Doctrine had once more decisively asserted itself. By the decision of the court of arbitration each country got the portion of the disputed territory it most valued, and both were satisfied. Thus peace has its triumphs greater than those of war.

These are not offered as the only occasions in which the United States has come into hostile relations with foreign powers and has sustained its dignity with or without war, but they are the most striking ones, unless we include in this category the Mexican war. Various disputes of a minor character have arisen, notably with Great Britain, the latest being that concerning the Alaskan boundary; but those given are the only instances that seem to call for attention here.

Webster and Clay and the Preservation of the Union.

Questions of Internal Policy

During the first half of the nineteenth century a number of great questions came up in American politics and pressed for solution. There was abundance of hostilities—wars with Great Britain, the Barbary states, Mexico and the Indians—and international difficulties of various kinds. The most important of these we have described. We have now to consider questions of internal policy, problems arising in the development of the nation which threatened its peace and prosperity, and to deal with which called for the most earnest patriotism and the highest statesmanship in the political leaders of the commonwealth. Among these leaders two men loomed high above their contemporaries, Daniel Webster, the supreme orator and staunch defender of the Union, and Henry Clay, the great peace-maker, whose hand for years stayed the waves of the political tempest and more than once checked legislative hostilities in their early stage. It was not until Clay had passed from the scene that one of the national problems alluded to plunged the country into civil war and racked the Union almost to the point of dissolution.

Danger to the Union

Of these great political questions, danger to the Union arose from two, the problem of the tariff and the dispute over the institution of slavery. There were others of minor importance, prominent among them those of internal improvement at government expense, and of state rights, or the degree of independence of the states under the Federal Union, but it was the first two only that threatened the existence of the nation, and in dealing with which the noblest statesmanship and the most fervid and convincing oratory were called into play. The subject of slavery in particular gloomed above the nation like a terrible thunder cloud. All other questions of domestic policy—tariff, currency, internal improvements, state rights—were subordinate to the main question of how to preserve the Union under this unceasing threat. Some, like Calhoun, were ready to abandon the Union that slavery might be saved; others, like Garrison, were ready to abandon the Union that slavery might be destroyed. Between these extremes stood many able and patriotic statesmen, who, to save the Union, were ready to make any sacrifice and join in any compromise. And high among these, for more than fifty years, stood the noble figure of Henry Clay.

Clay’s Great Popularity

Not often does a man whose life is spent in purely civil affairs become such a popular hero and idol as did Clay—especially when it is his fate never to reach the highest place in the people’s gift. “Was there ever,” says Parton, “a public man, not at the head of a state, so beloved as he? Who ever heard such cheers, so hearty, distinct and ringing, as those which his name evoked? Men shed tears at his defeat, and women went to bed sick from pure sympathy with his disappointment. He could not travel during the last thirty years of his life, but only make progresses. When he left home the public seized him and bore him along over the land, the committee of one state passing him on to the committee of another, and the hurrahs of one town dying away as those of the next caught his ear.”

Born a poor boy, who had to make his way up from the lowest state of frontier indigence, he was favored by nature with a kindly soul, the finest and most effective powers of oratory, and a voice of the most admirable character; one of deep and rich tone, wonderful volume, and sweet and tender harmony, which invested all he said with majesty, and swept audiences away as much by its musical and swelling cadences as by the logic and convincing nature of his utterances.

After years of active and useful labor in Congress, it was in 1818 that Clay first stepped into the arena for the calming of the passions of Congress and the preservation of the Union, a duty to which he devoted himself for the remainder of his life. In the year named a petition for the admission of Missouri into the Union was presented in Congress, and with it began that long and bitter struggle over slavery which did not end until the surrender of Lee at Appomattox in 1865.

The Slavery Sentiment

For years the sentiment in favor of slavery had been growing stronger in the South. At one time many of the wisest southern statesmen and planters disapproved of the institution and proposed its abolition. But the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney, in 1793, and the subsequent great development of the cotton culture had decidedly changed the situation. By 1800 the value of the cotton product had advanced to $5,700,000. In 1820 it had made another great advance, and was valued at nearly $20,000,000. There was now no thought of doing away with the use of slaves, but a strong sentiment had arisen in the South in favor of extending the area in which slave labor could be employed.

The Admission of Missouri

In the North a different state of feeling existed. Slavery was believed to be a wrong and an injury to American institutions, though no movement for its abolition had been started. Many people thought it ought to and would disappear in time, but there was no idea of taking steps to enforce its disappearance. But when, in the bill for the admission of Missouri, there was shown a purpose of extending the area of slavery, northern sentiment became alarmed and a strong opposition to this project developed in Congress.

It was the sudden revelation of a change of feeling in the South which the North had not observed in its progress. “The discussion of this Missouri question has betrayed the secret of their souls,” wrote John Quincy Adams. The slaveholders watched with apprehension the steady growth of the free states in population, wealth and power. In 1790 the population of the two sections had been nearly even. In 1820 there was a difference of over 600,000 in favor of the North in a total of less than ten millions. In 1790 the representation of the two sections in Congress had been about evenly balanced. In 1820 the census promised to give the North a preponderance of more than thirty votes in the House of Representatives. If the South was to retain its political equality in Congress, or at least in the Senate, it must have more slave states, and there now began a vigorous struggle with this object in view. It was determined, if possible, to have as many states as the North, and it was with this purpose that it fought so hard to have slavery introduced into Missouri.

The Missouri Compromise

The famous “Missouri Compromise,” by which the ominous dispute of 1820 was at last settled, included the admission of one free state (Maine) and one slave state (Missouri) at the same time, and it was enacted that no other slave state should be formed out of any part of the Louisiana territory north of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes, which was the southern boundary line of Missouri. The assent of opposing parties to this arrangement was secured largely by the patriotic efforts of Clay, who, says Schurz, “did not confine himself to speeches, * * * but went from man to man, expostulating, beseeching, persuading, in his most winning way. * * * His success added greatly to his reputation and gave new strength to his influence.” The result, says John Quincy Adams, was “to bring into full display the talents and resources and influence of Mr. Clay.” He was praised as “the great pacificator”—a title which was confirmed by the deeds of his later life.

Clay served as secretary of state during the administration of John Quincy Adams, but in 1829, when Jackson, his bitter enemy, succeeded to the presidency, he retired for a short season to private life in his beautiful Kentucky home. But he was not long to remain there; in 1831 he was again elected to the Senate, where he remained until 1842. They were stormy years. In South Carolina the opposition to the protective tariff had led to the promulgation of the famous “nullification” theory—the doctrine that any state had the power to declare a law of the United States null and void. Jackson, whose anger was thoroughly aroused, dealt with the revolt in summary fashion, threatening that if any resistance to the government was attempted he would instantly have the leaders arrested and brought to trial for treason. Nevertheless, to allay the discontent of the South, Clay devised his Compromise Tariff of 1833, under which the duties were to be gradually reduced, until they should reach a minimum of twenty per cent. In 1832 he allowed himself, very unwisely, to be a candidate for the presidency, Jackson’s re-election being a foregone conclusion. In 1836 he declined a nomination, and Van Buren was elected. Then followed the panic of 1837, which insured the defeat of the party in power, and the election of the Whig candidate at the following presidential election; but the popularity of General Jackson had convinced the party managers that success demanded a military hero as a candidate; and accordingly General Harrison, “the hero of Tippecanoe,” was elected, after the famous “Log Cabin and Hard Cider campaign” of 1840. This slight was deeply mortifying to Clay, who had counted with confidence upon being the candidate of the party. “I am the most unfortunate man in the history of parties,” he truly remarked; “always run by my friends when sure to be defeated, and now betrayed for a nomination when I, or any one else, would be sure of an election.”

Clay as a Presidential Candidate

In 1844, however, Clay’s opportunity came at last. He was so obviously the Whig candidate that there was no opposition. The convention met at Baltimore in May, and he was nominated by acclamation, with a shout that shook the building. Everything appeared to indicate success, and his supporters regarded his triumphant election as certain.

The Contest of 1844

But into the politics of the time had come a new factor—the “Liberty party.” This had been hitherto considered unimportant; but the proposed annexation of Texas, which had become a prominent question, was opposed by many in the North who had hitherto voted with the Whig party. Clay was a slaveholder; and though he had opposed the extension of slavery, his record was not satisfactory to those who disapproved of the annexation of Texas. In truth, the opposition to slavery in the North was rapidly gaining political strength, while the question of the annexation of Texas was looked upon as one for the extension of the “peculiar institution,” since Texas would, under the Missouri Compromise, fall into line as a slave state, and was large enough, if Congress should permit, to be cut up into a number of slave states. Clay was between two fires. He was distrusted in the South; while his competitor, Polk, was pledged to support the annexation of Texas. He was doubted in the North as a slaveholder. His old enemy, Jackson, used his influence strongly against him. The contest finally turned upon the vote of New York, and that proved so close that the suspense became painful. People did not go to bed, waiting for the delayed returns. The contest was singularly like that of Blaine and Garfield, forty years later, when the result again turned upon a close vote in the State of New York. When at last the decisive news was received, and the fact of Clay’s defeat was assured, the Whigs broke out in a wail of agony all over the land. “It was,” says Nathan Sargent, “as if the first-born of every family had been stricken down.” The descriptions we have of the grief manifested are almost incredible. Tears flowed in abundance from the eyes of men and women. In the cities and villages the business places were almost deserted for a day or two, people gathering together in groups to discuss in low tones what had happened. The Whigs were fairly stunned by their defeat, and the Democrats failed to indulge in demonstrations of triumph, it being widely felt that a great wrong had been done. It was the opinion of many that there would be no hope thereafter of electing the great statesmen of the country to the presidency, and that this high office would in future be attained only by men of second-rate ability.

The Compromise of 1850

The last and greatest work of the life of Henry Clay was the famous Compromise of 1850, which has been said to have postponed for ten years the great Civil War. At that period the sentiment against slavery was rapidly increasing in the North and had gained great strength. Though the number of free and slave states continued equal, the former were fast surpassing the latter in wealth and population.

It was evident that slavery must have more territory or lose its political influence. Shut out of the northwest by the Missouri Compromise, it was supposed that a great field for its extension had been gained in Texas and the territory acquired from Mexico. But now California, a part of this territory which had been counted upon for slavery, was populated by a sudden rush of northern immigration, attracted by the discovery of gold; and a state government was organized with a constitution excluding slavery, thus giving the free states a majority of one. Instead of adding to the area of slavery, the Mexican territory seemed likely to increase the strength of freedom. The South was both alarmed and exasperated. Threats of disunion were freely made. It was clear that prompt measures must be taken to allay the prevailing excitement, if disruption were to be avoided. In such an emergency it was natural that all eyes should turn to the “great pacificator,” Henry Clay.

An Orator of Seventy-two

When, at the session of 1849–50, he appeared in the Senate to assist, if possible, in removing the slavery question from politics, Clay was an infirm and serious, but not sad, old man of seventy-two. He never lost his cheerfulness or faith, but he felt deeply for his distracted country. During that memorable session of Congress he spoke seventy times. Often extremely sick and feeble, scarcely able, with the assistance of a friend’s arm, to climb the steps of the Capitol, he was never absent on the days when the compromise was to be debated. On the morning on which he began his great speech, he was accompanied by a clerical friend, to whom he said, on reaching the long flight of steps leading to the Capitol, “Will you lend me your arm, my friend? for I find myself quite weak and exhausted this morning.” Every few steps he was obliged to stop and take breath. “Had you not better defer your speech?” asked the clergyman. “My dear friend,” said the dying orator, “I consider our country in danger; and if I can be the means, in any measure, of averting that danger, my health or life is of little consequence.” When he rose to speak it was but too evident that he was unfit for the task he had undertaken. But as he kindled with his subject, his cough left him, and his bent form resumed all its wonted erectness and majesty. He may, in the prime of his strength, have spoken with more energy, but never with so much pathos or grandeur. His speech lasted two days; and though he lived two years longer, he never recovered from the effects of the effort. The thermometer in the Senate chamber marked nearly 100 degrees. Toward the close of the second day, his friends repeatedly proposed an adjournment; but he would not desist until he had given complete utterance to his feelings. He said afterwards that he was not sure, if he gave way to an adjournment, that he should ever be able to resume.

Clay’s Tribute to the Union

Never was Clay’s devotion to the Union displayed in such thrilling and pathetic forms as in the course of this long debate. On one occasion allusion was made to a South Carolina hot-head, who had publicly proposed to raise the flag of disunion. When Clay retorted by saying, that, if Mr. Rhett had really meant that proposition, and should follow it up by corresponding acts, he would be a traitor, and added, “and I hope he will meet a traitor’s fate,” thunders of applause broke from the crowded galleries. When the chairman succeeded in restoring silence, Mr. Clay made that celebrated declaration which was so frequently quoted in 1861: “If Kentucky to-morrow shall unfurl the banner of resistance unjustly, I will never fight under that banner. I owe paramount allegiance to the whole Union, a subordinate one to my own state.” Again: “The senator speaks of Virginia being my country. This Union, sir, is my country; the thirty states are my country; Kentucky is my country, and Virginia, no more than any state in the Union.” And yet again: “There are those who think that the Union must be preserved by an exclusive reliance upon love and reason. That is not my opinion. I have some confidence in this instrumentality; but, depend upon it, no human government can exist without the power of applying force, and the actual application of it in extreme cases.”

The Omnibus Bill

The compromise offered by Clay became known as the “Omnibus Bill,” from the various measures it covered. It embraced the following provisions: 1. California should be admitted as a free state. 2. New Mexico and Utah should be formed into territories, and the question of the admission of slavery be left for their people to decide. 3. Texas should give up part of the territory it claimed, and be paid $10,000,000 as a recompense. 4. The slave-trade should be prohibited in the District of Columbia. 5. A stringent law for the return of fugitive slaves to their masters should be enacted.

Effect of the Fugitive Slave Law

The question concerning Texas was the following: Texas claimed that its western boundary followed the Rio Grande to its source. This took in territory which had never been part of Texas, but the claim was strongly pushed, and was settled in the manner above stated. The serious question, however, in this compromise was that concerning the return of fugitive slaves. When an effort was made to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law great opposition was excited, on account of the stringency of its provisions. The fugitive, when arrested, was not permitted to testify in his own behalf or to claim trial by jury, and all persons were required to assist the United States marshal, when called upon for aid. To assist a fugitive to escape was an offence punishable by fine and imprisonment. In the last two respects the law failed; and its severe provisions added greatly to the strength of the anti-slavery party, and thus had much to do in bringing on the Civil War.

Side by side with Clay in the senate stood another and greater figure, the majestic presence of Daniel Webster, one of the greatest orators the world has ever known, a man fitted to stand on the rostrum with Demosthenes, the renowned orator of Greece, or with Chatham, Burke, or Gladstone of the British parliament.

The “Reply to Hayne”

In the hall of the United States Senate, on January 26, 1830, occurred what may be considered the most memorable scene in the annals of Congress. It was then that Daniel Webster made his famous “Reply to Hayne,”—that renowned speech which has been declared the greatest oration ever made in Congress, and which, in its far-reaching effect upon the public mind, did so much to shape the future destiny of the American Union. That speech was Webster’s crowning work, and the event of his life by which he will be best known to posterity.

Nothing in our history is more striking than the contrast between the Union of the time of Washington and the Union of the time of Lincoln. It was not merely that in the intervening seventy-two years the republic had grown great and powerful; it was that the popular sentiment toward the Union was transformed. The old feeling of distrust and jealousy had given place to a passionate attachment. It was as though a puny, sickly, feeble child, not expected by its parents even to live, had come to be their strong defense and support, their joy and pride. A weak league of states had become a strong nation; and when in 1861 it was attacked, millions of men were ready to fight for its defence. What brought about this great change? What was it that stirred the larger patriotism that gave shape and purpose to this growing feeling of national pride and unity? It was in a great degree the work of Daniel Webster. It was he who maintained and advocated the theory that the Federal Constitution created, not a league, but a nation; that it welded the people into organic union, supreme and perpetual. He it was who set forth in splendid completeness the picture of a great nation, inseparably united, commanding the first allegiance and loyalty of every citizen; and who so fostered and strengthened the sentiment of union that, when the great struggle came, it had grown too strong to be overthrown.

Webster’s Personal Appearance
Voice and Personal Magnetism of Webster

No description of Daniel Webster is complete or adequate which fails to describe his extraordinary personal appearance. In face, form and voice nature did her utmost for him. So impressive was his presence that men commonly spoke of this man of five feet ten inches in height and less than two hundred pounds in weight as a giant. He seemed to dwarf those surrounding him. His head was very large, but of noble shape, with broad and lofty brow, and strong but finely cut features. His eyes were remarkable. They were large and deep-set, and in the excitement of an eloquent appeal they glowed with the deep light of the fire of a forge. Voice and Personal Magnetism of WebsterHis voice was in harmony with his appearance. In conversation it was low and musical; in debate it was high but full. In moments of excitement it rang out like a clarion, whence it would sink into notes of the solemn richness of organ tones, while the grace and dignity of his manner added greatly to the impressive delivery of his words. That wonderful quality which we call personal magnetism, the power of impressing by one’s personality every human being who comes near, was at its height in Mr. Webster. He never punished his children. It sufficed, when they did wrong, to send for them and look at them in silence. The look, whether of sorrow or anger, was rebuke and punishment enough.

The Question of Nullification

As an orator, Mr. Webster’s most famous speeches were the Plymouth Rock address, in 1820; the Bunker Hill Monument address, in 1825; and his orations in the Senate in 1830 in reply to Hayne, and in 1850 on Clay’s Compromise Bill. Greatest among these was the speech in reply to Robert Y. Hayne, of South Carolina, on the 26th of January, 1830. The Union was threatened, and Webster rose to the utmost height of his impassioned genius in this thrilling appeal for its preservation and endurance. The question under debate was the right of a state to nullify the acts of Congress. Hayne, in sustaining the affirmative of this dangerous proposition, had bitterly assailed New England, and had attacked Mr. Webster by caustic personalities, rousing “the giant” to a crushing reply.

“There was,” says Edward Everett, “a very great excitement in Washington, growing out of the controversies of the day, and the action of the South; and party spirit ran uncommonly high. There seemed to be a preconcerted action on the part of the southern members to break down the northern men, and to destroy their force and influence by a premeditated onslaught.

“Mr. Hayne’s speech was an eloquent one, as all know who ever read it. He was considered the foremost southerner in debate, except Calhoun, who was vice-president and could not enter the arena. Mr. Hayne was the champion of the southern side. Those who heard his speech felt much alarm, for two reasons; first, on account of its eloquence and power, and second, because of its many personalities. It was thought by many who heard it, and by some of Mr. Webster’s personal friends, that it was impossible for him to answer the speech.

Hayne’s Speech in the Senate

“I shared a little myself in that fear and apprehension,” said Mr. Everett. “I knew from what I heard concerning General Hayne’s speech that it was a very masterly effort, and delivered with a great deal of power and with an air of triumph. I was engaged on that day in a committee of which I was chairman, and could not be present in the Senate. But immediately after the adjournment. I hastened to Mr. Webster’s house, with, I admit, some little trepidation, not knowing how I should find him. But I was quite re-assured in a moment after seeing Mr. Webster, and observing his entire calmness. He seemed to be as much at ease and as unmoved as I ever saw him. Indeed, at first I was a little afraid from this that he was not quite aware of the magnitude of the contest. I said at once:

“‘Mr. Hayne has made a speech?’

“‘Yes, he has made a speech.’

“‘You reply in the morning?’

“‘Yes,’ said Mr. Webster, ‘I do not propose to let the case go by default, and without saying a word.’

“‘Did you take notes, Mr. Webster, of Mr. Hayne’s speech?’

Webster Prepares for Reply

“Mr. Webster took from his vest pocket a piece of paper about as big as the palm of his hand, and replied, ‘I have it all: that is his speech.’

“I immediately arose,” said Mr. Everett, “and remarked to him that I would not disturb him longer; Mr. Webster desired me not to hasten, as he had no desire to be alone; but I left.”

“On the morning of the memorable day,” writes Mr. Lodge, “the Senate chamber was packed by an eager and excited crowd. Every seat on the floor and in the galleries was occupied, and all the available standing-room was filled. The protracted debate, conducted with so much ability on both sides, had excited the attention of the whole country, and had given time for the arrival of hundreds of interested spectators from all parts of the Union, and especially from New England.

“In the midst of the hush of expectation, in that dead silence which is so peculiarly oppressive because it is possible only when many human beings are gathered together, Mr. Webster arose. His personal grandeur and his majestic calm thrilled all who looked upon him. With perfect quietness, unaffected apparently by the atmosphere of intense feeling about him, he said, in a low, even tone:

The Opening of a Great Speech

“‘Mr. President: When the mariner has been tossed for many days in thick weather and on an unknown sea, he naturally avails himself of the first pause in the storm, the earliest glance of the sun, to take his latitude and ascertain how far the elements have driven him from his true course. Let us imitate this prudence; and before we float farther on the waves of this debate, refer to the point from which we departed, that we may, at least, be able to conjecture where we are now. I ask for the reading of the resolution before the Senate.’

“This opening sentence was a piece of consummate art. The simple and appropriate image, the low voice, the calm manner, relieved the