Resuming our pen after an interval of ten years, we have thought it well, not only to carry on our story of the Sovereign and her realm to the latest attainable point, but also to give some account of the advance made and the work accomplished by the Methodist Church, which, youngest of the greater Nonconformist denominations, has acted more powerfully than any other among them on the religious and social life, not only of the United Kingdom and the Empire, but of the world. This account, very brief, but giving details little known to outsiders, will form a valuable pendant to the sketch of the general history of Victoria's England that we are now about to continue.

Many thousands who rejoiced in the Queen's Jubilee of 1887 are glad to-day that the close of the decade should find the beloved Lady of these isles, true woman and true Queen, still living and reigning.

On September 23, 1896, Queen Victoria had reigned longer than any other English monarch, and the desire was general for some immediate celebration of the event; but, by the Queen's express wish, all recognition of the fact was deferred until the sixtieth year should be fully completed, and the nation prepared to celebrate the "Diamond Jubilee" on June 22, 1897, with a fervour of loyalty that should far outshine that of the Jubilee year of 1887.

In the personal history of our Queen during those ten years we may note with reverent sympathy some events that must shadow the festival for her. The calm and kindly course of her home-life has again been broken in upon by bereavement. All seemed fair in the Jubilee year itself, and the Queen was appearing more in public than had been her wont - laying the foundations of the Imperial Institute; unveiling in Windsor Park a statue of the Prince Consort, Jubilee gift of the women of England; taking part in a magnificent naval review at Spithead. But a shadow was already visible to some; and early in 1888 sinister rumours were afloat as to the health of the Crown Prince of Germany, consort of the Queen's eldest daughter. Too soon those rumours proved true. Even when the prince rode in the splendid Jubilee procession, a commanding figure in his dazzling white uniform, the cruel malady had fastened on him that was to slay him in less than a year, proving fatal three months after the death of his aged father had called him to fill the imperial throne. The nation followed the course of this tragedy with a feverish interest never before excited by the lot of any foreign potentate, and deeply sympathised with, the distress of the Queen and of the bereaved empress.

But the year 1892 held in store a blow yet more cruelly felt. The English people were still rejoicing with the Queen over the betrothal of the Duke of Clarence, eldest son of the Prince of Wales, to his kinswoman Princess May of Teck, when the death of the bridegroom elect in January plunged court and people into mourning. That the Queen was greatly touched by the universal sympathy with her and hers was proved by the pathetic letter she wrote to the nation, and by the frank reliance on their affection which marked the second letter in which, eighteen months later, she asked them to share her joy in the wedding of the Duke of York, now heir-presumptive, to the bride-elect of his late brother. This union has been highly popular, and the Queen's evident delight in the birth of the little Prince Edward of York in June, 1894, touched the hearts of her subjects, who remembered the deep sorrow of 1892.

Once more they were called to grieve with her, when the husband of her youngest daughter Beatrice, Prince Henry of Battenberg, who for years had formed part of her immediate circle, died far from home and England, having fallen a victim to fever ere he could distinguish himself, as he had hoped, in our last expedition to Ashanti. The pathos of such a death was deeply felt when the prince's remains were brought home and laid to rest, in the presence of his widow and her royal mother, in the very church at Whippingham that he had entered an ardent bridegroom. Not all gloom, however, has been Her Majesty's domestic life in these recent years; she has taken joy in the marriages of many of her descendants; and the visits of her grandchildren - of whom one, Princess Alice of Hesse, daughter of the well-beloved Alice of England, became Czarina of Russia only the other day - are a source of keen interest to her.

But there is no selfish absorption in her own family affairs, no neglect of essential duty. The Prince of Wales and "the Princess" relieve the Queen of many irksome social functions; but she does not shun these when it is clear to her that her people wish her to undertake them. Witness her willingness to take part in the Jubilee Thanksgiving services and pageant, despite the feebleness of her advanced age.

We need not dwell long on the rather stormy Parliamentary history of the last decade, on the divisions and disappointments of the Irish Home Rule party, once so powerful, or on the various attacks aimed at the Welsh and Scottish Church establishments and at the principle of "hereditary legislation" as embodied in the House of Lords. Some useful legislation has been accomplished amid all the strife. We may instance the Act in 1888 creating the new system of County Councils, the Parish Councils Act, the Factory and Workshops Amendment Act, and the Education Act of 1891 - measures designed to protect the toiling millions from the evils of "sweating," and to assure their children of practically free education.

Substantial good has been done, whether the reins of power have been held by Mr. Gladstone or by Lord Salisbury - whose long tenure of office expiring in 1892, the veteran statesman whom he had displaced again took the helm - or by Lord Rosebery, in whose favour the great leader finally withdrew in 1894 into private life, weary of the burden of State. In 1897 we again see Lord Salisbury directing the destinies of the mighty empire - a task of exceptional difficulty, now that the gravest complications exist in Europe itself and in Africa. The horrors suffered by the Armenian subjects of the Turk have called for intervention by the great powers; but no sooner had Turkish reforms been promised in response to the joint note of Great Britain, France, and Russia, than new troubles began in Crete, its people rising in arms to shake off the Turkish yoke.

Meanwhile our occupation of Egypt is compelling us to use armed force against the wild, threatening dervishes in the Soudan, and well-grounded uneasiness is felt as to the position and action of our countrymen in Southeastern Africa in connexion with the Boer republic of the Transvaal. The British South Africa Chartered Company, formed in 1889, adventurous and ambitious, loomed large in men's eyes during 1896, when the historic and disastrous raid of Dr. Jameson and his followers startled the civilised world. The whole story of that enterprise is yet to unfold; but it has added considerably to the embarrassments of the British government. Hopes were entertained in 1890 that the British East Africa Company, by the pressure it could put on the Sultan of Zanzibar, had secured the cessation of the slave trade on the East African shore; these hopes are not yet fulfilled, but it may be trusted that a step has been taken towards the mitigation of the evil - the "open sore of the world."

If we turn to India, we see it in 1896-7 still in the grip of a cruel famine, aggravated by an outbreak of the bubonic plague too well known to our fathers, which, appearing three years ago at Hong-Kong, has committed new ravages at Bombay. Government is making giant efforts to meet both evils, and is aided by large free-will offerings of money, sent not only from this country, but also from Canada. "Ten years ago such a manifestation would have been unlikely. The sense of kinship is stronger, the imperial sentiment has grown deeper, the feeling of responsibility has broadened." Kinship with a starving race is felt and shown by the Empress on her throne, and her subjects learn to follow her example.

But the sense of brotherhood seems somewhat deficient when we look at the continual labour wars that mark the period in our own land. From the Hyde Park riots of socialists and unemployed, in the end of 1887, to the railway strikes of 1897, the story is one of strikes among all sorts and conditions of workers, paralysing trade, and witnessing to strained relations between labour and capital; the great London strike of dock labourers, lasting five weeks, and keeping 2,500 men out of work, may yet be keenly remembered. There seems an imperative need for the wide diffusion of a true, practical Christianity among employers and employed; some signs point to the growth of that healing spirit: and we may note with delight that while never was there so much wealth and never such deep poverty as during this period, never also were there so many religious and charitable organisations at work for the relief of poverty and the uplifting of the fallen; while not a few of the wealthy, and even one or two millionaires, have shown by generous giving their painful sense of the contrast between their own wealth and the destitution of others.

It has been a period of sharp religious disputes, and every religious and benevolent institution is keenly criticised; but great good is being done notwithstanding by devoted men and women. The centenary of the Baptist Missionary Society, observed in 1892, recalled to mind the vast work accomplished by missions since that pioneer society sent out the apostolic "shoemaker" Carey, to labour in India, and reminds us of the great change wrought in public opinion since he and his enterprise were so bitterly attacked. The heroic missionary spirit is still alive, as is proved by the readiness of new evangelists to step into the place of the missionaries to China, cruelly murdered at Ku-Cheng in 1895 by heathen fanatics.

The immense development of our colonies during the reign has already been noticed; some of them have made surprising advances during the last ten years. In southern and eastern Africa British enterprise has done much to develop the great natural wealth of the land; but the frequent troubles in Matabeleland and the complications with the Transvaal since the discovery of gold there may be regarded as counterbalancing the material advantages secured. Ceylon has a happier record, having more than regained her imperilled prosperity through the successful enterprise of her settlers in cultivating the fine tea which has almost displaced China tea in the British market, Ceylon exporting 100,000,000 lbs. in 1895 as against 2,000,000 lbs. ten years previously. Canada also now takes rank as a great maritime state, and the fortunes of Australia, though much shaken a few years ago by a great financial crisis, are again brilliant; in the world of social progress and democracy it is still the colonial marvel of our times.

The last census, taken in 1891, in Great Britain and Ireland showed a vast increase of population, sixty-two towns in England and Wales returning more than 50,000 inhabitants, and the total population of the United Kingdom being 38,104,975. Alarmists warned us that, with the ratio of increase shown, neither food nor place would soon be found for our people; and a great impetus being given to emigration, our colonies benefited. But despite such alarms, articles of luxury were in greater demand than ever, the tobacco duty reaching in 1892 the sum of L10,135,666, half a million, more than in the previous year; and the consumption of tea and spirits increased in due proportion. The same year saw great improvements in sanitation put into practice as the result of an alarm of cholera, that plague ravaging Hamburg.

Vast engineering works, of which the Manchester Ship Canal is the most familiar instance, have been carried on. This great waterway, thirty-five miles long, and placing an inland town in touch with the sea, was begun in 1887 and finished in 1894. Numerous exhibitions, at home and abroad, have stimulated industrial and aesthetic progress; and science has continued to advance with bewildering rapidity, developing chiefly in practical directions. The bacteriologist has unveiled much of the mystery of disease, showing that seed-germs produce it; the photographer comes in aid of surgery, for the discovery of the X or Roentgen rays, by the German professor whose name is associated with them, now enables the surgeon to discover foreign bodies lodged within the human frame, and to decide with authority their position and the means of removing them. Burial reforms, in the interests of health and economy, have been introduced, and nursing, elevated into a science, has become an honourable profession for cultured women. In 1894 that eminent savant Lord Rayleigh brought before the British Association his discovery of a hitherto unknown constituent in the atmosphere. The use of steam as a motive power, almost contemporaneous with the Queen's reign, has bound our land in a network of railways: now it is electricity which is being utilised in the same sense, and to the telephone and the telegraph as means of verbal communication is added the motorcar as a means of rapid progression, 1896 seeing its use in streets sanctioned by Parliament. It may not yet supersede the bicycle, which in ten years has greatly increased in favour. Electric lighting, in the same period, has become very general; and further adaptations of this mysterious force to man's service are in the air.

This is an age of great explorers. Stanley has succeeded to Livingstone, Nansen to Franklin; but it has been only within comparatively recent years that women have emulated men in penetrating to remote regions. Within the decade we have seen Mrs. Bishop a veteran traveller, visiting south-west Persia; Mrs. French Sheldon has shown how far beyond the beaten track a woman's adventurous spirit may lead her; and Miss Mary Kingsley, a niece of the late Charles Kingsley, has intrepidly explored the interior of Africa, her scientific observations being welcomed by British savants. In 1896 women, who had long sought the privilege, were permitted to compete for the diploma of the Royal College of Surgeons, and in many other walks of usefulness the barriers excluding women have been removed, with benefit to all concerned. It is not other than natural that under the reign of a noble woman there should arise women noble-minded as herself, cherishing ideas of life and duty lofty as her own, and that their greatest elevation of purpose should tent to raise the moral standard among the men who work with them for the uplifting of their fellow subjects. Such signs of the times may be noticed now, more evident than even ten years ago.

The educational progress of the last decade has been very great, especially as regards the instruction of women; yet the period has not been noticeably fruitful of literature in the highest sense. In the world of fiction there is much that looks like degeneration; the lighter magazines and serials have multiplied past computation, and form all the reading of not a few persons. To counteract the unhealthy "modern novel" has arisen the Scottish school, the "literature of the kailyard," as it has been termed in scorn; yet a purer air breathes in the pages of J. M. Barrie, "Ian Maclaren," and Crockett. Their many imitators are in some danger of impairing the vogue of these masters, but still the tendency of the school is wholesome. Other artists in fiction assume the part of censors of society, and write of its doings with a bitterness that may or may not profit; the unveiling of cancerous sores is of doubtful advantage to health.

The death-roll from 1887 to 1897 is exceptionally heavy; in every department of science, art, literary and religious life, the loss has been great. Many musicians have been taken from us since the well-beloved Jenny Lind Goldschmidt; Canon Sir E. A. Gore Ouseley, Sir G. Macfarren, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, Rubinstein, Carrodus, and others.

English letters have suffered by the removal of many whose services in one way or another have been great: the prose-painter Richard Jefferies; the pure and beneficent Mrs. Craik, better known as Miss Muloch; Matthew Arnold, poet, educationalist, critic, whose verse should outlive his criticisms; the noble astronomer Richard Proctor; Gustave Masson, the careful biographer of Milton; Laurence Oliphant, gifted and eccentric visionary; the naturalist J. G. Wood; the explorer and orientalist Burton; the historians Kinglake, Froude, and Freeman; the great ecclesiastics Bishop Lightfoot, Canon Liddon, Archbishop Magee of York, Dean Church, Dean Plumptre, and the Cardinals Newman and Manning; Tennyson and Browning, poets whose mantle has yet fallen on none; Huxley and Tyndall, eminent in science; the justly popular preacher and writer Charles H. Spurgeon; the orator and philanthropist John Bright, whose speeches delight many in book-form; and Robert Louis Stevenson, novelist, essayist, poet. To these we may add Eliza Cook and Martin Tapper, widely popular a generation ago, and surviving into our own day; Lord Lytton, known as "Owen Meredith," a literary artist, before he became viceroy of India and British ambassador at Paris; and Professor Henry Drummond, dead since 1897 began, and widely known by his "Natural Law in the Spiritual World." Even so our list is far from complete.

Of painters and sculptors we have lost since 1887 Frank Holl; Sir Edgar Boehm, buried in St. Paul's by express wish of the Queen; Edwin Long; John Pettie; Sir Noel Paton; Sir Frederick Leighton; and Sir J. E. Millais. The last two illustrious painters were successively Presidents of the Royal Academy, Millais, who followed Leighton in that office, surviving him but a short time. Sir Frederick had been raised to the peerage as Lord Leighton only a few days before he died, the patent arriving too late for him to receive it.

The English world is the poorer for these many losses, some of which took place under tragic circumstances; yet hope may well be cherished that amongst us are those, not yet fully recognised, who will nobly fill the places of the dead. Some hymn-writer may arise whose note will be as sweet as that of the much loved singer, Dr. Horatius Bonar, some painter as spiritual and powerful as Paton, some poet as grandly gifted as the late laureate and his compeer Browning. We do not at once recognise our greatest while they are with us; therefore we need not think despairingly of our age because the good and the great pass away, and we see not their place immediately filled. Nor, though there be great and crying evils in our midst, need we tremble lest these should prevail, while there is so much earnest and energetic endeavour to cope with and overcome them.