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The Glasgow Pub Companion

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert,
page 11 of 13

the city with a comparatively slight loss, but signally defeated and routed the rebel army. Leaving a garrison in Cawnpore, he hurried on to the relief of Lucknow, where Sir Henry Havelock and General Outram had only been able to hold their own against fearful odds. The meeting of those three great leaders has become historic, and has more than once been the painter’s theme. Lucknow was taken, but the brilliant victory gained had also its shadow, for in three days thereafter, attacked by a fatal disease, and overborne with weary months of anxiety and almost superhuman exertion, Havelock, the Christian soldier, passed to his well-won rest. Exactly one year thereafter, on the 20th December, 1858, Sir Colin Campbell was able to send home, in his despatch to the British Government, the welcome tidings that the last of the insurgents had been driven across the mountains of Nepaul, that the Indian Mutiny had been effectually crushed, and that the mighty Empire of Hindustan, so near being lost, was practically reconquered from the Punjaub to Ceylon.

With the suppression of the Indian Mutiny ended the last great war in which this country has been engaged during our Queen’s reign. During the fifty-two years she has been on the throne, vast have been the developments in every branch of trade and commerce, whilst the discoveries in science, led on by James Watt and Robert Stephenson, have been alike startling and of boundless importance in the arts and manufactures. The discoveries in chemistry and electricity by Sir Humphrey Davy, Faraday, Thomas Graham, and others, have created quite a revolution in many things connected with textile manufactures and every-day life in this respect, whilst presenting us with new sources for wonder, and they are prophetic of a development which shall, in many points in the manufacturing world, create quite revolution from things as they at present exist. In engineering science, marvels have been achieved of which our fathers never even dreamed. Pre-eminent amongst these, stands foremost that wonder of science, perseverance and mechanical skill, the Forth Bridge; and it is a credit to Glasgow that, for the complete success of this great engineering triumph, the world is in no small measure indebted to one of her most distinguished sons, Sir William Arrol.

The reign of Victoria has been peculiarly fortunate in its brilliant statesmen, of whom Lord Melbourne, Sir Robert Peel, Lord Palmerston, Lord John Russell, Mr. Disraeli, Lord Salisbury, and Mr. Gladstone may be named as standing boldly out from amongst their compeers. Of Mr. Gladstone, who is still, in his eighty-second year, amongst us, it is unnecessary to give an estimate so far as his great and versatile powers are concerned. Of the others named, it may be said that, as a great historic figure in the political world, Lord Palmerston is decidedly facile princeps—Britain’s great statesman of the latter half of the nineteenth century. His nature was strenuous and self-assertive, and, as a statesman he dearly loved, whenever he could get the chance, to make a brilliant and startling stroke, especially in our foreign policy, for the advancement and honour of Britain; and, so long as he lived and was in power, his name was not only feared but respected by all Europe. He was a most dangerous rival, far-seeing and not to be circumvented, and as clever and astute a diplomatist as any whom Britain has, within the past half-century, possessed, with the exception, perhaps, of Lord Beaconsfield, whose political life, however, was much shorter and hence less comprehensive in its great achievements than was that of Lord Palmerston. Lord Palmerston gave himself up to the study of foreign affairs as no minister of the Crown had ever before done.


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