Classic History Books


Great Britain and Her Queen - by Anne E. Keeling

have grave discontents broken our domestic peace, but wise statesmanship has found a timely remedy.
We need not, if we learn the lessons of the past aright, fear greatly to confront the future. Not to us the

glory or the praise, but to a merciful overruling Providence, ever raising up amongst us noble hearts in

time, that we are found to-day

"A nation yet, the rulers and the ruled,"

not quite bankrupt in heart or hope or faith, but possessing

"Some sense of duty, something of a faith,
Some reverence for the laws ourselves have made,

Some patient force to change them when we will;"

and we may justly acknowledge, in thankfulness not vainglorious, the happier fate that has been ours
above many another land, that may still be ours, "if England to itself do rest but true."

We have seen during these sixty years the map of Europe remodelled to an undreamed of extent. Fair
Italy, though still possessing her fatal gift of beauty, though still suffering many things, is no longer the

prey of foreign unloved rulers, but has become a nation, a mere "geographical expression" no longer;

Germany, whose many little princedoms were once a favourite theme of British mockery, is now one

great and formidable empire; the power of Russia has, despite the Crimean check, continued to expand,

while desperate internal struggles have shaken that half-developed people, proving fatal to the gentle

successor of Nicholas, the emancipator of the Russian serfs, and often threatening the life of his

successors; and the once formidable American slave-system has been swept away, with appalling loss of

human life; a second President of the United States has fallen by the hand of an assassin; and new

difficulties, scarce inferior to those connected with slavery, have followed on its abolition. Our record

shows no calamity comparable to the greatest of these, if we set aside the Indian horrors so terribly

avenged at the moment, but by their teaching resulting ultimately in good rather than evil.

Besides the furious strife and convulsion that have rent other lands, how inconsiderable seem the
disturbances that disfigure our home annals, how peaceful the changes in our constitutional system,

brought about orderly in due form of law, how purely domestic the saddest events of our internal history!

We wept with our Sovereign in her early widowhood, a bereavement to the people as well as to the

Queen; we trembled with her when the shadow of death hung over her eldest son, rejoicing with her

when it passed away; we shared her grief for two other of her children, inheritors of the noble qualities of

their father, and for the doom which took from us one whom we had loved to call "our future king"; we

deplored the other bereavements which darkened her advancing years; we have lamented great men taken

from us, some, like the conqueror of Waterloo, "the great world-victor's victor," in the fulness of age and

honour, others with their glorious work seemingly half done, their career of usefulness mysteriously cut

short; we have shuddered when the hateful terrorism, traditional pest of Ireland through centuries of

wrong and outrage, has once and again lifted its head among ourselves; we have suffered - though far

less severely than other lands, even than some under our own rule - from plague, pestilence, and famine,

from dearth of work and food. But what are these woes compared to those that other peoples have

endured, when it has been said to the sword, "Sword, go through the land," and the dread word has been

obeyed; when war has slain its thousands, and want its tens of thousands; or when terrible convulsions of

nature have shaken down cities, and turned the fruitful land into a wilderness?

Events have moved fast since the already distant day when the Colonial and Industrial Exhibition was

 

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