Roger Vaughan's U.K. History Pages

Pages from:

The British Almanac of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge


From October, 1856, to November, 1857.

Oct. 8. 1856. Seizure, by the Chinese authorities, of a 'lorcha,' or small trading-vessel, under the British flag, which leads to hostilities between the British and Chinese.

13. Surrender of the city of Herat to the Persians. The Governor and his family put to death.

24. Canton attacked by the English on account of the seizure of the 'Arrow' lorcha by the Chinese, and the refusal of the Viceroy to hold personal communication with Sir Michael Seymour, the British admiral.

26 Opening of Lisbon and Santarem Railway: the first in Portugal.

27. Opening of a railway between Montreal and Toronto.

28. The English and French legations leave Naples.

Nov. 1. 1856. War proclaimed against Persia at Calcutta by the Governor-General of India.

3. Bombardment of the city of Canton by the British fleet.

5. At Constantinople Lord Stratford de Redcliffe installed the Sultan a Knight of the Garter with a magnificence similar to that observed in England at the installation of the Emperor Napoleon.
-Attempts made by Russian officials to land stores for the lighthouse on the Isle of Serpents were frustrated by H.M.S. 'Magicienne.'

10. Lord Palmerston, at the Lord Mayor's inauguration dinner, spoke in a very decided manner in reference to the points supposed to be in dispute between the Russian and British authorities as to the interpretation of the Treaty of Paris. His lordship said - "We were convinced that the people of England would willingly forego the prospect of future military and naval glory when they were satisfied that the objects of the war had been substantially accomplished It now remains that the conditions of the Peace shall be faithfully executed and honourably observed, and I trust that the peace of Europe will be placed upon a secure and permanent foundation."

11. The Belgian Legislative Chambers opened by a speech from the King, in which he gratefully acknowledges the manner in which the twenty-fifth anniversary of the inauguration of his reign had been celebrated, and describes the commercial condition of the country as satisfactory. A full and free pardon granted by the Queen to persons suffering for political offences. This pardon applies to Messrs. Frost, Smith O'Brien, Doherty, &c., and restores them to their civil rights and station, as they stood previous to trial. Discovery of enormous frauds on the Great Northern Railway Company, committed by one of its principal officers Leopold Redpath, who held the office of Registrar of shares and transferrer of stock. The defalcation amounted of upwards of 150,000l. Redpath was traced to Paris, whence he returned to London, and was captured on the 14th.

13. The bell for the new Houses of Parliament tried for the first time. It was named 'Big Ben.' The clapper weighed 16 cwt. The note of the bell was a pure natural E. On September 24th, 1857, it was found to be cracked and rendered unserviceable till re-cast. Death of Charles Frederick, Prince of Leiningen, son of the Duchess of Kent by her first husband, and, consequently, half-brother of Queen Victoria. He was 52 years of age.

14. Mysterious murder of Mr. Little, cashier of the Great Western Railway of Ireland.

22. An insurrectionary movement broke out in Sicily, but was speedily repressed by the military. Baron Bentivenga, the chief of the insurgents, was taken prisoner. Soujuk-Kaleh recaptured by the Russians, under General Philipson, and the Circassians expelled, after an obstinate conflict.

Dec. 1. 1856. Opening of the United States Congress, and delivery of the President's message. The House of Representatives refused, by 101 to 97, to receive Mr. Whitefleld, the delegate from Kansas.

3. An action brought by the Earl of Lucan, in the Court of Exchequer, against 'The Daily News', for libel contained in an article in that paper on July 26th, in reference to his lordship's conduct in the Crimea, was decided in favour of the defendant.

4. The Emperor of Austria issues a decree removing the sequestration placed upon the property of the Lombard emigrants, and granting a full pardon to 90 persons sentenced for the crime of high-treason, or 'lese majeste', in the Italian provinces of the empire. The King of Denmark grants a complete amnesty.

5. In the Court of Arches Sir John Dodson delivered judgment in Archdeacon Denison's case, dismissing the appeal of the Archdeacon.

8. A soldier of the 3rd battalion of Chasseurs attempts to strike the King of Naples with his musket during a military review at Naples. Numerous meetings held in London and throughout the country against the continuance of the War Income-tax.

9. Capture of Bushire, in the Persian Gulf, by the British Expedition.

10. Arrival in London of the Rev Dr. Livingstone, the distinguished African missionary and traveller. Mr. Sheepshanks presents to the nation his collection of paintings and drawings, valued at about 60,000l., for the purposes of public instruction, one of the conditions being that the collection should be kept in the neighbourhood of Kensington.

12. Arrival at Spithead of ' The Resolute,' arctic discovery-ship. 'The Resolute,' which had been abandoned in the ice, had been found by an American ship, and delivered to the United States Government, by whose orders it had been repaired, restored to its original condition, and presented to Great Britain.

15. Dr. Livingstone, at a special meeting of the Royal Geographical Society, was presented with the gold medal of the Society for his discoveries in Africa, and made a statement in reference to the course of his travels in South Africa. He had traversed about 11,000 miles, the greater part of which had not previously been visited by Europeans.

20. Judgment pronounced by Sir Jobn Dodson confirming the decision of Dr. Lushington in reference to the decorations in the churches of St. Paul and St. Barnabas, Knightsbridge. The extra ceremonies and decorations ordered to be discontinued.
23. Public meeting at the London Mechanics' Institution addressed by Dr. King and Lieut. Pim, in favour of another expedition in search of Sir John Franklin.

31. The Conferences to arrange the differences of interpretation of the Treaty of Paris commenced in Paris, when plenipotentiaries from the powers which were parties to that Treaty assembled at the office of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Jan. 2. 1857. Meeting of Swiss residents in London in support of the Government of Switzerland in the dispute with Prussia respecting Nenfchâtel. The Archbishop of Paris (Siborn) assassinated by a priest while officiating in the Church of St. Stephen of the Mount, in Paris; The assassin was subsequently executed.

6. The Commission at Paris agree on terms settling the differences respecting the Danubian Principalities and the Isle of Serpents. The factories at Canton burnt by the Chinese.

8. The Federal Council of Switzerland accept the new propositions of France and England, and convoke the Federal Assembly to meet on the 14th to consider the terms of peace.

15. The National Council of Switzerland accept the propositions of France and England in reference to the Neufchâtel difficulty.
16. Conviction of Leopold Redpath for forgery; his sentence being transportation for life.

25. An amnesty decreed for the Lombardo-Venetian kingdom.

30. An attempt made to destroy the Europeans in Hong-Kong by poisoning their bread.

Feb, 2.1857. At Melbourne, in Victoria Colony, it was agreed that eight hours' work shall be reckoned a day's work, and paid for as such.

8. General Outram obtained a victory over the Persians at Kooshab, near Bushire.

March 3.1857. A treaty of peace between Great Britain and Persia signed at Paris by Lord Cowley and Ferukh-Khan. --.Election of Mr. Buchanan as President of the United States, and Mr. Buckenridge as Vice-President.

5. Conference at Paris on the subject of the Neufchatel dispute between Prussia and Switzerland Trial and conviction of James Townshend Saward (alias 'Jem the Penman') and James Anderson for various acts of forgery, and for being connected with the bullion robberies on the South-Eastern Railway. Both prisoners were sentenced to transportation for life.

14. Treaty between Denmark and the principal States of Europe, for the abolition of the Sound Dues, signed at Copenhagen. Each maritime state agreed to pay to Denmark an equivalent for the amount of duty paid by the ships of their respective countries, calculated on an average of five years, and capitalised at the rate of four per cent. The portion of England was 1,125,2061.

21. The judgment of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the. Appeal Case of St. Paul's, Knightsbridge, and St. Barnabas, Pimlico, was given, allowing the crosses and credence tables to remain, but affirming the decree of the Court of Arches which ordered the removal of the stone altar and the cross over it, also the disuse of the embroidered linen used on the communion table at the time of the celebration of the Holy Communion.

26. Capture of Mohammerah by General Ontram, with a force of 4,500 men. About 200 Persians were killed.

28. Serious election riots at Kidderminster, in which Mr. Lowe, one of the candidates, and a member of the Government, was considerably injured.

30. The British fleet left Constantinople. Shortly before its departure the Sultan visited the British admiral on board ship. The Russians raised some of the ships sunk by them in Sebastopol harbour.

April 3.1857. The Sepoys of the 19th Bengal Native Infantry disbanded for mutiny at Barrackpore. General dissatisfaction among the Sepoy regiments in consequence of an idea having gained currency that the cartridges supplied to them were greased by beef suet instead of mutton fat, it being pollution for a Hindoo to touch the former.

4. At Chester Assizes, Peter Campbell, second mate of the American ship 'James L. Bogart,' sentenced to transportation for life for shooting, with intent o grievous bodily harm; a sailor having been shot dead by him in a scuffle on board ship.

5. Cessation of hostilities against Persia, Sir James Outram having received from England intelligence of the treaty of peace.

10. Good Friday: about 28,000 persons visited the Crystal Palace at Sydenham.

14, Princess Beatrice born at Buckingham Palace.

15. Foundation stone of the new Free Public Library at Liverpool laid by William Brown, Esq., M.P. for South Lancashire, who has undertaken to erect the building at his own cost.

20. The Grand Duke Constantine of Russia arrived in France on a visit to the Emperor Napoleon, of whose birthday this was the fiftieth anniversary
21. Departure of the Earl of Elgin for China, as special Ambassador to the Court of Pekin.

23. In the Court of Arches, the Dean, Sir J. Dodson, gave judgment on a technical point in favour of the appeal of the Archdeacon of Taunton, thus reversing the decision which deprived the Archdeacon of his preferments in the church.

30. Death of the Duchess of Gloucester, aged eighty-one years, the last of the family of George III

May 5.1857 Opening of the Art Treasures' Exhibition, at Manchester by Prince Albert.

6. Mr. Nathan Noble's statue of Her Majesty, designed to commemorate the royal visit to Salford in 1857, inaugurated at Peel Park, in presence of Prince Albert.

8. Opening of the new Reading Room at the British Museum.

24. A series of Sunday Evening Services commented in Exeter Hall, under the sanction of the Bishop of London.

26. A treaty between the great powers, signed at Paris, settling the relations of Prussia and Switzerland in reference to the principality of Neufchâtel.

30. The King of the Belgians adjourns the Legislative Chambers, in consequence of the popular feeling against an Act, passed by a majority in the Chambers, by which the power of the Roman Catholic clergy would be much increased.

31. Arrival of the Russian Grand Duke Constantine at Osborne on a visit to Queen Victoria.

June 1.1857 Opening of Calthorpe Park, Birmingham, by the Duke of Cambridge, in the presence of about 100,000 persons. The park is the gift of Lord Calthorpe. -- A number of junks taken from the Chinese, following similar seizures on the 25th and 27th of May.

7. A fire took place in Leghorn Theatre, while 3,000 persons were witnessing the performance of a piece called the 'Taking of Sebastopol.' In the attempt to escape from the building many lives were lost; the lowest account states 62 killed, and 87 injured.

22. Educational Conference in London, under the presidency of Prince Albert.

24. South Kensington Museum opened to the public.

25. The Privy Council passed an order for publishing a letter patent, by which the Queen grants to Prince Albert the title of Prince Consort during their joint lives.

26. The Queen distributes in Hyde Park, in the presence of about 6,000 troops and many thousand spectators, the Victoria Cross to 48 military officers and privates, and 14 of the royal navy and marines.

30. Visit of the Queen to the Art Treasures' Exhibition at Manchester.

July 1.1857 The trustees of the Nightingale Fund report the amount received by them to be 44,0391.-Sailing of the Fox, screw steamer, Capt. M'Clintock, in search of the remains of the Franklin expedition. The Fox was fitted out by Lady Franklin.

5. General Cavaignac and several other republicans returned as members of the Corps Legislatif for districts of Paris.

9. Conclusion of the trial of Madeleine Smith, at Edinburgh, for the murder by poison of Emile L'Angelier; the jury on the ninth day of the trial found a verdict of ' Not proven,' and the prisoner was discharged.

11. Her Majesty laid the foundation stone of the Royal Victoria patriotic Asylum, Wandsworth Common, to be erected and endowed from the Royal Patriotic Fund, for 300 orphan daughters of soldiers, sailors, and marines.- Sir Colin Campbell appointed Commander in Chief of the army in India. On the 12th Sir Colin left London for Calcutta.

August 6.1857 Trial at Paris of three Italians for a design on the life of the Emperor Napoleon. The trial terminated on the 7th with a verdict of guilty. One was sentenced to transportation for life, and, two to imprisonment for 15 years.
8. The Emperor and Empress of the French visited Queen Victoria at Osborne.

11 Failure of the attempt to lay the Atlantic Telegraph Cable, the cable having snapped after 335 miles' length had been given out.

14. The inauguration of the Louvre by the Emperor of the French with great ceremony. The Louvre was commenced in 1541 by Francis I.
25. Public meeting at the Mansion House, London, to originate a public subscription for the relief of the distress caused to the Europeans in India, in connexion with the mutinies there. By the middle of November the sum raised was upwards of £260,000

September 9.1857 Conference of the Evangelical Alliance at Berlin, attended by ministers and laymen from Great Britain, America, and the Continent. The King of Prussia was present at some of the sittings. The Conference met on several successive days.

12. Loss of the Central America steamer in a tremendous gale on her voyage from Havannah to New York. Upwards of 400 lives lost; about 100 saved.

14. Assault on Delhi by the British forces under Generals Wilson and Nicholson. Fighting continued till the 20th, when the city was taken. The King of Delhi escaped.

25. The Emperor of Russia and the Emperor of France met at Stuttgardt at the King of Wurtemberg's palace.

Oct. 7.1857 Fast and Humiliation day throughout the United Kingdom on account of the Indian troubles.

Nov. 9.1857 Several extensive failures of commercial houses in London, Liverpool, and Glasgow. Two banks in Glasgow suspended payment. The Bank of England raised the rate of discount to 8, 9, and at last 10 per cent.

12. Lord Palmerston and Sir G. C. Lewis, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on behalf of the Government, authorise the Bank of England to extend its issues as necessity may require, irrespective of the provisions of the Bank Charter Act of 1844, and promising to ask Parliament for an indemnity, if needed. This measure abated the commercial panic and restored confidence.

16. Parliament summoned to meet on Thursday, Dee. 3rd, in consequence of the pressure of financial difficulties, and the state of India.

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OCR scanned and corrected.

R.F.Vaughan 2002