Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/395

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
301
THE "GREAT EXHIBITION."

colossal forces, and Prussia to perfect the military system which took us so much by surprise half a century afterwards, we, on the other hand, wearied with our long and arduous struggle, had fallen asleep, and dreamed pleasantly that the "Millennium" was at hand. With this idea apparently in our minds, we inscribed on the walls of the Great Exhibition of 1851, the Scriptural text which tells us that "swords shall be beaten into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks, neither shall they learn war any more." A significant commentary on the text was found in the fact that many of the exhibits at the "World's Fair" consisted of cannon, rifles, and other lethal instruments of improved method and construction, intended for the wholesale destruction of the human race. We read the Scriptural text, and viewed these exhibits as relics of a barbarism which had existed six and thirty years before, oblivious of the circumstance that an incompetent general had "wiped out" a British army in Afghanistan, and that we had crushed the empire of Runjeet Singh on the banks of the Sutlej not so many years before. The closing of the Exhibition is commemorated by a cartoon, in which Leech shows us the famous Amazon putting on her bonnet and shawl, chatting the while with Hiram Power's Greek Slave, who, habited in "bloomer" costume, prepares likewise to take her departure. Allusion to the bribery and corruption prevalent at a notorious borough of that day is made in a sketch which depicts the Horror of that Respectable Saint, St. Alban's, at Hearing the Confession of a St. Alban's Elector.

The Coup D'état.Remarkable results were destined to follow the year of unrest—1848. Louis Philippe had been replaced in France by Louis Napoleon, who seems to have been elevated to the Presidency of the Republic because he was considered to be so absolutely harmless, the principle followed being analogous to that observed at the election of a Pope, which has resulted more than once in an unpleasant surprise for the cardinal electors. Those who had formed a low estimate of his abilities, found that Louis was no longer the "half-saved" youth of Boulogne and Strasburg; that he had learnt some stern lessons in the hard school of adversity; that he had developed,