Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/515

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395
JOHN TENNIEL.

after Jena, had been unostentatiously preparing for another deadly struggle with France, and perfecting the most admirable military machinery of modern times. Russia, under Nicholas, a thorough soldier in theory, had an army so elaborately over-drilled that when the time came it was found practically useless for the purposes of actual warfare. The sleep of England was suddenly awakened by the war with Russia, and afterwards by the revolt of her Indian mercenaries. The Russian was to be followed by a war between France and Austria; the enfranchisement of Italy from the Alps to the Adriatic; the fratricidal struggle between Prussia and Austria, and the rending asunder within six weeks of the famous Germanic Confederation of the Rhine. It is a somewhat singular coincidence that immediately before the commencement of these troubles the great Duke of Wellington died, an event commemorated by two remarkable cartoons of Tenniel, the first of which is entitled September XIV. MDCCCLII. (the day of the great soldier's death), and the other, The Duke's Bequest—for the most Worthy.

The year 1853 opened the eyes of those of us who fancied that war was a thing of the past, and that the reign of Universal Peace had begun. Not only was Turkey at war with Russia, but had given her a tremendous thrashing at Oltenitza, an event alluded to in the artist's cartoon of A Bear with a Sore Head. One of the best of his satires of the same year depicts Aberdeen as he appeared in The Unpopular Act of the Courier of St. Petersburg, wherein the premier attempts the risky feat of driving a team of unmanageable horses. The features of the nervous athlete betray much anxiety; the two fiery leaders, Russia and Turkey, prove wholly beyond his control; while Austria, unsettled by their bad example, is much disposed to be troublesome.

Matters went from bad to worse in 1854. England was not only thoroughly aroused but angry, not only with her enemies, but with the foolish people who had preached peace to her when there was no peace; and, in What it has Come to, we find my Lord Aberdeen vainly trying to hold in the British lion, whose ire has been roused by the Russian bear, who is seen scampering off in the distance.