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AN era of Peace, Retrenchment, and Reform succeeded the Crimean War. Lord Palmerston, the most unquiet of Foreign Ministers, was forced to be a peaceful Prime Minister when the nation wanted peace. Great events succeeded each other in the world's history. Italy won her independence in 1860. America cemented her Union in blood, shed in a great civil war. Prussia wrested provinces from Denmark, and entered on her career of aggrandisement. Russia planned her march eastward. Lord Palmerston witnessed all this, and did not move. The rise of great nations called forth his jealousy, but did not provoke his interference. He died in 1865, when there was peace in his country. For Englishmen had entered on a period of domestic reforms. The great fiscal reforms of Mr. Gladstone, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, removed bit by bit all restraints on trade. Mr. Cobden concluded his Commercial Treaty with France in 1859. The Paper Tax was removed in 1860. Other taxes were repealed, and yet the revenues went up by leaps and bounds with the expansion of trade. A Reform Bill was introduced after Lord Palmerston's death, but was defeated. But the nation demanded the measure; and a Reform Bill, introduced by Mr. Disraeli, was passed. Mr. Gladstone succeeded him as Prime Minister in 1868, and his first administration was marked by other reforms. The Irish Church was disestablished. The first Irish Land Act was passed. A system of National
Education was organised. An Army Reform was effected. The Ballot Act was passed. The High Court of Justice was established.
Indian history reflects this peaceful progress during the first eighteen years of the Crown Administration. Lord Canning became the first Viceroy of India. Few of those who had protested against his “clemency," and had petitioned for his recall, knew of the task he had performed, or the trial he had undergone. It often happened during the dark days of the Mutiny that the silent and indefatigable worker passed the best part of the day and all the night at his desk. One winter morning he had worked from midnight till midday, without rest and without interval for breakfast; he then fell back exhausted, the action of the brain had ceased. Nor was it Lord Canning alone who bore this burden. His wife, the faithful partaker of all his anxieties, often shared his labours. She sat up, far into the night, copying secret letters and despatches which were not allowed to pass through the ordinary official channels. They bore the burden together; and they came out triumphant.
The Mutiny was at last over. A great Darbar was held at Allahabad on November 1, 1858, and Lord Canning read the Queen's Proclamation to the assembled men. This greatest of all Indian Darbars was dignified without ostentation, impressive without vaingloriousness. At another Darbar, held at Cawnpur, the new Viceroy made a welcome announcement. The rule against adoption which had brought princely dynasties to a close, was abolished. The Government of the Queen recognised the ancient right of adoption in Indian princes. Every ruling chief in India breathed more freely when they heard this announcement. The nation received the new administration of the Crown with acclamation.
Proceeding on his journey, Lord Canning visited the great cities of Northern India and the Punjab, and reached the frontier town of Peshawar in February 1860. Retracing his steps, he paid a short visit to Simla, and