1 portrait of Sydney Smith
by Daniel Maclise, published by James Fraser
8 3/4 in. x 5 1/2 in. (222 mm x 141 mm) paper size
Given by Henry Witte Martin, 1861
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Events of 1838back to top
Current affairsThe Anti-Corn Law league is established in Manchester, led by Richard Cobden and John Bright, aiming to create a fully free-trade economy.
The People's Charter is published, demanding many constitutional amendments that would become central to future democratic reform, including universal male suffrage and secret ballots. Despite having one million signatures (and 5 million by 1848), the petition was rejected.
Slavery is completely abolished.
Art and scienceTurner's The Fighting Temeraire is exhibited at the Royal Academy. The Temeraire, which had broken the line at the Battle of Trafalgar, was a reflection on the rapid changes of the industrial age. This was demonstrated this year when Isambard Brunel's Great Western crosses the Atlantic, in just fifteen days - a ship under sail could take a month.
The London-Birmingham railway is also completed, the line engineered by Robert Stephenson.
InternationalThe first stage in the formation of independent Boer republics in South Africa, as the Republic of Natal is formed in South Africa, following the Boers defeat of the Matabele of Mzilikasi. This comes two years after the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of the British-ruled colony of South Africa set out on the Great Trek, in search of their own independent state.
The Central American Federation, an experimental republic formed of several Latin states splits.