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Ten Englishmen of the Nineteenth Century   By:

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This eBook was produced by Ryan Ramseyer.


By James Richard Joy


To My Daughter Helen With Her Father's Love


The object of this work is to set forth with as much clearness as possible the more important facts in the history of England in the nineteenth century. We have chosen to do this through the medium of biography, in the belief that the lives of a few representative men would present better opportunities for interesting and effective treatment than an historical narrative, which must have been encumbered by a mass of detail not capable of effective disposition within the limited space at our command. An introductory chapter serves to give a general view of the course of events and to show the relations of the men and movements which are afterward presented in more detail.

With but one exception our "Ten Englishmen" are men in public life, political or military. Artists, authors, preachers, and scholars were purposely left out of the account, because they are to receive prominence in other parts of the course for which this volume was written. The exception was made in the case of George Stephenson, because the revolution in transportation, due to his improvement of the locomotive engine, has had such a powerful influence upon the industrial development of the nation.

In bringing these great personages before the reader our intention has been quite as much historical as biographical. Each name is linked with some conspicuous problem in statesmanship, and the endeavor has been to set forth the work as well as the workman. It is hoped that the library notes appended to each chapter will be of assistance to the earnest student, in supplementing the meager outlines of this volume with the abundance of personal detail and wealth of dramatic incident which give life and action to history.

The appendix should not be overlooked. Its selections from authentic speeches, letters, dispatches, and other writings bring the reader into touch with the men who made England great.

One word more. Our "Ten" are not necessarily "THE Ten." They are the men whose lives lay in line with the writer's plan. If they serve to accentuate the leading features of the history we are not disposed to argue with those who would present other candidates for the honor of inclusion in the list.

James Richard Joy

Plainfield, N.J., June 4, 1902.



The opening of the nineteenth century found England in the midst of a great foreign war, which for almost a generation absorbed the thought and energy of the nation, and postponed for the time the vital questions of economic and political reform which clamored for settlement.


The war began in 1793, when the French nation, having overturned its ancient throne, and revolutionized its social and political institutions, set out on a democratic crusade for "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity," which involved it in a conflict with the governments of Europe. William Pitt, who had been Prime Minister of George III. since 1783, had twice banded the European states against the French republican armies; but while the English fleets remained masters of the seas, the enthusiasm of the French soldiers, and the genius of their young generals, had thus far proved too strong for the mercenary battalions of despotism. In the closing month of the year 1800, Pitt's "Second Coalition" had been shattered by the defeat of the Allies at Hohenlinden. The Peace of Amiens which shortly ensued (March, 1802, to May, 1803) was but a delusion. England greeted it with joy and hope, but soon discovered its unreality. From the renewal of hostilities, in May, 1803, until the final triumph of the allies, in 1815, the war resolved itself into a struggle between Napoleon and England... Continue reading book >>

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