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Okj EN years have passed since the publication of the Eighth Volume of Cassell's History
I^^j Of England, which originally ended with a notice of the lamented death of the late
Prince Consort.* The reader is now presented with a continuation of the narrative
nearly to the present day. He will not fail to note the striking difference between the
complexion of the story of England's fortunes as traced in the preceding Volume, and that
which is exhibited here. In the twelve years from 18G0 to 1872, no Crimean War stirred every
English heart to its depths—no mortal struggle against a revolted army made critical appeal to the
valour and energy of the English race. As if dissatisfied with the result of the war with Russia, England
.has since that time retired more decidedly than ever from intervention in foreign politics; and neither the
dismemberment of Denmark her ancient ally in 1864, nor the violent destruction of the independence of
Hanover, nor the rending of Alsace and Lorraine from France, appeared to our Parliament and people a
sufficient cause for armed interference. Yet, moving ever onwards in the path of industrial and social
progress, England has effected, since 1861, a variety of changes in her domestic polity, and extended the
dominion of man over nature by a theusand new applications of science to the useful arts, the record of
which in the following pages will be found of no ordinary interest. A new Reform Bill has brought
the masses whe earn their bread by the labour of their hands within the pale of the Constitution;
the Irish Church has been disestablished; finally, the education of the whele people, for the first time
in English history, has been made a matter of public enactment and provision. Of the memorable
struggles which attended the passing of these measures through Parliament, the reader will here find a full
and coherent account. To the exposition of the industrial progress of the nation during the last twenty
years, the six closing chapters of the Volume have been devoted. The movement of population, the
development of commerce, the invention of new metheds for facilitating human intercourse and quickening
the transmission of ideas, and the wonderful growth of all forms of industry connected with the working of
metals, especially of iron—on all these points the concluding chapters will be found to contain a large
amount of accurate information, compiled from authentic sources.
The peaceful tenor of the public life of England, during the period comprised in the present Volume, has not been shared by our kinsmen across the Atlantic, nor by the neighbour nations of the Continent. A conflict of four years' duration was necessary before the Northern Americans succeeded in overcoming the resistance of the South, and preventing the dissolution of that federal union to which they are so justly attached. Since the date at which our last Volume closed, Denmark has been deprived of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, Austria utterly defeated in a seven weeks' war and driven out of Germany, the unification of the kingdom of Italy continued and completed, Germany transformed from an unwieldy
* Iu the now issue of the History, with a view to the preservation of the chronological order of events, various other important incidents have been treated in the last chapter of Vol. VIII., and the narrative of the Prince's last illness and death has been transferred to the first chapter of the present Volume.
Cod federation into a powerful Protestant empire; while France, crushed and conquered in a brief war, has been compelled to surrender two fair provinces to Germany. Perhaps no period of ten years in the history of Europe ever witnessed more memorable events, more extraordinary and unexpected vicissitudes. These things, in spite of our neutrality, cannot but be deeply interesting to Englishmen, and the reader will accordingly find the great wars, revolutions, and negotiations of America and the Continent described at some length in the following pages.
The differences between Great Britain and the United States arising out of the depredations of the Alabama, and other cruisers of her class—the negotiations which succeeded in adjusting those differences by a treaty referring them to international arbitration—and the proceedings of the Tribunal of Arbitration appointed under that treaty, will be found narrated, in their proper sequence and connection, in the forty-fifth and forty-sixth chapters.
A narrative of the progress of English Art during the last twenty years will be found in Chapter XLI.
Her Majesty Queen Victoria still reigns, as she reigned when the last preceding Volume of this History appeared, over a loyal and united people. After the great and crushing sorrow of her life, it has pleased Providence to send her no scanty share of those alleviations which help us to bear mortal ills with, resignation; she has seen, since the death of the Prince Consort, most of her children happily and honourably married; death has made no more encroachments on the family circle; and the young life of blooming grandchildren has come to lead her thoughts towards the joys and interests of a new generation. That a similar immunity from great afflictions may attend Her Majesty during the next decennial period of English history, must be the sincere prayer of all her subjects.
That a clue proportion has invariably been observed in the narration of events so near to us, or that amidst the embarrassing abundance of materials, nothing has been omitted which ought to have been, noticed, nothing related which ought to have been omitted, it would perhaps be hazardous to assert. It is hoped, however, that the moving picture of English and European life, from 18G1 to 1872, has, on the whole, been transferred to these pages with fidelity and impartiality; and in this hope the Ninth Volume of Cassell's Illustrated History Of England is confidently commended to the indulgent judgment of the public.
The Portrait of H.E.H. the Princess of Wales (see Trontitpiece) 19 copied, by permission, from a photograph
by Messrs. W. and D. Downey.