John Wesley (1703-1791) led the most remarkable religious movement of the eighteenth century. From reading Luther on the Epistle to the Galatians, he came, like Luther, to lay the chief stress in religious teaching on personal faith in Christ. He was himself an Anglican clergyman, but on account of his supposed mistaken zeal he was, in 1742, refused leave to preach in the church at his birthplace, Epworth, of which his father had been rector.
He preached instead in the churchyard, standing on his father’s tomb; hundreds were impressed by his words, and for more than forty years he continued the work thus begun. George Whitefield, another clergyman of remarkable eloquence, aided him, until they quarrelled on a question of doctrine, but Wesley’s great organizing zeal directed the movement.
Their services were sometimes held in churches, but as often in the open air. Near Bristol Whitefield preached to ten thousand of the mining population. Both he and Wesley penetrated to the remotest parts of England, and their zeal carried them to America. In each year Wesley travelled, usually on horseback, about six thousand miles, and preached about a thousand times. His life is an amazing record of hard work. His own desire was that his societies should remain voluntary organizations within the Church of England; he held no services during church hours, and at his meetings no sacraments were administered. But soon after his death the “Methodists” severed their connection with the Church of England, and became an independent organization.
Excerpt from The British Nation by George McKinnon Wrong – 1902 – Society in the Eighteenth Century
The Sepoy Rebellion – 1857 – As the mutiny developed, these conservatives looked round for some specific act to which they could triumphantly point the people of England as a verification of their predictions, and an adequate and valid reason for the Sepoy Rebellion. They found it in the fact that the Governor General, Lord Canning, (fresh from home and not yet tainted with their Christless “neutrality,”) had so far forgotten the obligations of his high position before the people of India, that he had actually contributed money in aid of a Missionary Society.
By an American reader this statement must be thought simply ridiculous, and the writer be deemed trifling. But no, far from it; we are in sober earnest. This was, in all seriousness, solemnly put forward before the British people and Parliament as the cause of the Rebellion by these “most potent, wise, and reverend seigneurs” of the East India Company. They found a mouth-piece even in the House of Lords, in the person of one of their former associates, Lord Ellenborough, who rose in his place, and lifted his hands in horror as he announced the fact, and declared that nothing less than Lord Canning’s recall could be considered an adequate penalty for so great a violation of the rules and traditions of the Honorable Court!
This “old Indian,” who thus made a fool of himself, and slurred the Christianity of the very crown before him in the presence of what has been called “the most venerable legislative assembly in Christendom.
Excerpt from The Land of Veda by William Butler – 1872
THE greatest war in which Great Britain has been engaged since Waterloo was the Crimean War, which arose chiefly from the following causes. Centuries ago a fierce and warlike people called the Turks had crossed from Asia into the land which we call Turkey. They conquered the Christian peoples there, and were for a long time the terror of Europe. Gradually their power waned, and in the early years of this century they were twice conquered by the Russians. Russia hated the Turks because they were Mohammedans, and oppressed the Christian peoples of Turkey, who were of the same religion as the Russians. In 1853 the powerful Czar of Russia claimed the right to interfere between Turkey and her Christian subjects; and when Turkey refused to grant his claim, he sent troops into her territory. France and England began to take sides with Turkey, because they did not want Russia to become master of the Turkish lands. In 1854 they declared war against Russia, and sent out great fleets and armies to Varna, a Turkish port on the Black Sea. But the Turks had already beaten the Russians on the Danube, and had caused them to withdraw from Turkish territory.
The allies were not satisfied with this, but said that the time had come to prevent Russia from becoming mistress of the Black Sea. So the English and French forces were landed in the Crimea, in order that they might destroy the great Russian port and fortress, Sevastopol. The allies marched to the south of the city, so as to get supplies from their ships in the harbor of Balaclava. After some delays they began to attack Sevastopol and its forts. But by this time the Russians were strong enough to try to cut off the British army from its ships, and this led to the battle of Balaclava.
Excerpt from taken from Stories from English History by Henry Pitt Warren – 1908
To honour acts of valor during the Crimean War Queen Victoria introduced the Victoria Cross in 1856.