Classic History Books


Great Britain and Her Queen - by Anne E. Keeling

joint note of Great Britain, France, and Russia, than new troubles began in Crete, its people rising in arms
to shake off the Turkish yoke.

Meanwhile our occupation of Egypt is compelling us to use armed force against the wild, threatening
dervishes in the Soudan, and well-grounded uneasiness is felt as to the position and action of our

countrymen in Southeastern Africa in connexion with the Boer republic of the Transvaal. The British

South Africa Chartered Company, formed in 1889, adventurous and ambitious, loomed large in men's

eyes during 1896, when the historic and disastrous raid of Dr. Jameson and his followers startled the

civilised world. The whole story of that enterprise is yet to unfold; but it has added considerably to the

embarrassments of the British government. Hopes were entertained in 1890 that the British East Africa

Company, by the pressure it could put on the Sultan of Zanzibar, had secured the cessation of the slave

trade on the East African shore; these hopes are not yet fulfilled, but it may be trusted that a step has been

taken towards the mitigation of the evil - the "open sore of the world."

If we turn to India, we see it in 1896-7 still in the grip of a cruel famine, aggravated by an outbreak of the
bubonic plague too well known to our fathers, which, appearing three years ago at Hong-Kong, has

committed new ravages at Bombay. Government is making giant efforts to meet both evils, and is aided

by large free-will offerings of money, sent not only from this country, but also from Canada. "Ten years

ago such a manifestation would have been unlikely. The sense of kinship is stronger, the imperial

sentiment has grown deeper, the feeling of responsibility has broadened." Kinship with a starving race is

felt and shown by the Empress on her throne, and her subjects learn to follow her example.

But the sense of brotherhood seems somewhat deficient when we look at the continual labour wars that
mark the period in our own land. From the Hyde Park riots of socialists and unemployed, in the end of

1887, to the railway strikes of 1897, the story is one of strikes among all sorts and conditions of workers,

paralysing trade, and witnessing to strained relations between labour and capital; the great London strike

of dock labourers, lasting five weeks, and keeping 2,500 men out of work, may yet be keenly

remembered. There seems an imperative need for the wide diffusion of a true, practical Christianity

among employers and employed; some signs point to the growth of that healing spirit: and we may note

with delight that while never was there so much wealth and never such deep poverty as during this

period, never also were there so many religious and charitable organisations at work for the relief of

poverty and the uplifting of the fallen; while not a few of the wealthy, and even one or two millionaires,

have shown by generous giving their painful sense of the contrast between their own wealth and the

destitution of others.

It has been a period of sharp religious disputes, and every religious and benevolent institution is keenly
criticised; but great good is being done notwithstanding by devoted men and women. The centenary of

the Baptist Missionary Society, observed in 1892, recalled to mind the vast work accomplished by

missions since that pioneer society sent out the apostolic "shoemaker" Carey, to labour in India, and

reminds us of the great change wrought in public opinion since he and his enterprise were so bitterly

attacked. The heroic missionary spirit is still alive, as is proved by the readiness of new evangelists to

step into the place of the missionaries to China, cruelly murdered at Ku-Cheng in 1895 by heathen

fanatics.

The immense development of our colonies during the reign has already been noticed; some of them have
made surprising advances during the last ten years. In southern and eastern Africa British enterprise has

done much to develop the great natural wealth of the land; but the frequent troubles in Matabeleland and

 

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