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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

The Taiping rebellion grew ever more threatening


[Sidenote:

Death of Froebel]

During this year in Germany, Friedrich Wilhelm Froebel, the German educator, died at Marienthal on July 21, in his seventieth year. After an unsettled and aimless youth, he started teaching, and soon developed a system which has become famous under the name of Kindergarten (children's garden). It was intended to convert schooling into play, which, according to Froebel, is the child's most serious business. The first Kindergarten was opened in 1840 at Blankenburg, Prussia. Meeting at first with little encouragement, it gradually gained a footing in most civilized countries. Froebel was largely assisted in the propagation of his ideas by the Baroness Marenholz-Buelow. He was the author of "Die Menschenerziehung" (Human Education) and "Mutter und Koselieder," a book of nursery songs and pictures for children.

[Sidenote: "Prometheus" affair]

In England, the dismissal of Lord Palmerston left the Foreign Office in an embarrassing position as regarded Louis Napoleon's government. Other embarrassments were likewise bequeathed. Thus, on January 10, Lord Palmerston's successor, Lord Granville, had to disavow to the American Minister the act of the British man-of-war "Empress," which had fired into the American steamer "Prometheus." England offered an apology which was accepted.

[Sidenote: "The Third of February"]

justify;">The caustic comments of the English press on French affairs, together with the free utterances of Victor Hugo and other French exiles on English soil, gave great offence to Louis Napoleon. Count Valevski's diplomatic protests found support in the British House of Lords. It was then that Alfred Tennyson, undeterred by the supposed reserve of his Poet Laureateship, wrote the invective lines entitled "The Third of February."

[Sidenote: "Henry Esmond"]

About the same time Thackeray brought out his "History of Henry Esmond," a masterpiece of English historical fiction. In the dedication to Lord Ashburton, Thackeray thus announced his departure for America. "My volume will reach you when the author is on his voyage to a country where your name is as well known as here."

[Sidenote: Transvaal's independence recognized]

In South Africa, at the Sand River Convention on January 17, the British virtually accepted the independence of the Transvaal. In the meanwhile the fifth war with the Kaffirs was begun by Sir George Cathcart. Incidentally a crushing defeat was inflicted on the Basutos at Guerea. Toward the close of the year the situation grew so alarming that martial law was proclaimed by the Governor of Cape Colony. All inhabitants were bidden to the frontier for the defence of the colonies.

[Sidenote: Progress of Taiping rebellion]

In China, the Taiping rebellion grew ever more threatening. Early in the year Tien Wang decided to march out of Kmaysi to invade the vast untouched provinces of Central China. He averred that he had "the divine commission to possess the Empire as its true sovereign." The rebels now became known as Taipings, after a town of that name in Kwangsi province. Tien Wang began his northern march in April. Irritated by the conduct of Tien Wang's lieutenants, the Triads took a secret departure and made peace with the Imperialists. Their secession put an end to the purpose of attacking Canton which Tien Wang had cherished, and he made an assault on Kweisling. The Imperial Commissioners at that place having beaten them back failed to pursue and conquer them, and they advanced unopposed across the vast province of Hoonan. At Changsha they encountered strong resistance. After a siege of eighty days they abandoned the attack and marched northward. They captured Yoochow, which was an important arsenal, and soon afterward Hankow, Manchong and How-Kong were taken.


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