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Title: The Real Gladstone - an Anecdotal Biography
Author: Ritchie, J. Ewing (James Ewing), 1820-1898
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcribed from the 1898 T. Fisher Unwin edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org



                           THE REAL GLADSTONE.


                                * * * * *

                         An Anecdotal Biography.

                                * * * * *

                                    BY
                             J. EWING RITCHIE
                          (CHRISTOPHER CRAYON),

       AUTHOR OF ‘CITIES OF THE DAWN,’ ‘CRYING FOR THE LIGHT,’ ETC.

                                * * * * *

                                 LONDON:
                             T. FISHER UNWIN,
                           PATERNOSTER SQUARE.

                      NEW YORK: G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS.
                                  1898.



PREFACE.


In this little work I have aimed to write, not a history or a biography,
not a criticism or a eulogy, but merely to give a few scattered notes,
gathered from many quarters, for the general public, rather than for the
professional politician.  Lord Rosebery is reported to have said that it
will require many writers to give a complete biography of Mr. Gladstone.
He may be right; but the evil of it will be, the work, if exhaustive,
will be exhausting.  Especially will it be so in these busy times, when
yesterday’s biographies become stale to a public forgetful of the past,
caring only for the present, oblivious of the morrow.  It is almost an
impertinence to speak of the many claims Mr. Gladstone has on a people
whom he has served so long.  All I claim to do is to give a few data
which may help them to estimate the

             ‘Heroic mind
    Expressed in action, in endurance proved’—

in short, more or less imperfectly, ‘The Real Gladstone.’

Clacton,
      _May_, 1898.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER                                                      PAGE
        I.  BIRTH AND SCHOOLDAYS                                1
       II.  GLADSTONE AT OXFORD                                 9
      III.  ENTERS PARLIAMENT                                  16
       IV.  M.P. FOR OXFORD UNIVERSITY                         38
        V.  MR. GLADSTONE’S ECCLESIASTICAL OPINIONS            47
       VI.  MR. GLADSTONE AND THE DIVORCE BILL                 67
      VII.  POLITICS AGAIN                                     75
     VIII.  POLITICS AND THE IRISH CHURCH                      92
       IX.  EDUCATION AND IRELAND                             116
        X.  IRELAND UNDER MR. FORSTER                         126
       XI.  HOME RULE                                         140
      XII.  MR. GLADSTONE’S SPEECHES                          154
     XIII.  MR. GLADSTONE’S PUBLICATIONS                      170
      XIV.  ANECDOTAL AND CHARACTERISTIC                      191
       XV.  MR. GLADSTONE’S LETTERS                           213
      XVI.  MR. GLADSTONE AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES              235
     XVII.  AT HOME                                           273

CHAPTER I.
BIRTH AND SCHOOLDAYS.


Many, many years ago England’s foremost statesman, as George Canning then
was, distrusted by the multitude, feared by his colleagues, regarded with
suspicion by the First Gentleman of the Age—as it was the fashion to term
George the Magnificent, who was then seated on the British throne—wearied
of the strife and turmoil of party, spent a short time at Seaforth House,
bidding what he deemed his farewell to his Liverpool correspondents.  His
custom, we are told, was to sit for hours gazing on the wide expanse of
waters before him.  His had been a marvellous career.  Born out of the
circle of the ruling classes, by his indomitable energy, the greatness of
his intellectual gifts, his brilliant eloquence, he had lifted himself up
above his contemporaries, and had become their leader; and here he was
about to quit the scene of his triumphs—to reign as Viceroy in a far-off
land.  Canning, however, did not retire from the Parliamentary arena, but
stopped at home to be Premier of Great Britain and Ireland, and to let
all Europe know that this country had done with the Holy Alliance; that a
new and better spirit was walking the earth; that the dark night of
bigotry was past, and that the dawn of a better day had come.  As he sat
there looking out over the waters, a little one was to be seen playing
below upon the sand.  That little lad was the son of Canning’s host and
friend, and his name was William Ewart Gladstone.  Does it not seem as if
the little one playing on the sand had unconsciously caught something of
the genius, of the individuality, of the eloquence, of the loftiness of
aim, of the statesman who sat above him overlooking the sea?
Circumstances have much to do with the formation of character.  To the
youthful Gladstone, Canning was a light, a glory, and a star.

William Ewart Gladstone was born on December 29, 1809, at a house which
may still be seen, 62, Rodney Street, Liverpool.  He was of Scotch
extraction, his father, a Liverpool merchant, having an estate in
Scotland.  Mr. Gladstone senior lived to become one of the merchant
princes of Great Britain, a Baronet, and a Member of Parliament.  He
died, at the advanced age of eighty-seven, in 1851.  His wife was Anne,
daughter of Andrew Robertson, of Stornoway.  They had six children;
William Ewart Gladstone was the third.  The family were all brought up as
debaters.  The children and their parents are said to have argued upon
everything.  They would debate whether the meat should be boiled or
broiled, whether a window should be shut or opened, and whether it was
likely to be fine or wet next day.

As a little boy, Gladstone went to school at Seaforth, where the late
Dean Stanley was a pupil.  The latter is responsible for the following:
‘There is a small school near Liverpool at which Mr. Gladstone was
brought up before he went to Eton.  A few years ago, another little boy
who was sent to this school, and whose name I will not mention, called
upon the old clergyman who was the headmaster.  The boy was now a young
man, and he said to the old clergyman: “There is one thing in which I
have never in the least degree improved since I was at school—the casting
up of figures.”  “Well,” replied the master, “it is very extraordinary
that it should be so, because certainly no one could be a more incapable
arithmetician at school than you were; but I will tell you a curious
thing.  When Mr. Gladstone was at the school, he was just as incapable at
addition and subtraction as you were; now you see what he has become—he
is one of the greatest of our financiers.”’

William Gladstone left home for Eton after the summer holidays of 1821,
the headmaster being Dr. Keate.  Sir Roderick Murchison describes him as
‘the prettiest little boy that ever went to Eton.’  From the first he was
a hard student and well behaved, and exercised a good influence over his
schoolfellows.  ‘I was a thoroughly idle boy,’ said the late Bishop
Hamilton of Salisbury, ‘but I was saved from worse things by getting to
know Gladstone.’  Another schoolfellow remembered how he turned his glass
upside down, and refused to drink a coarse toast proposed according to
custom at an election dinner.  His most intimate friend was Arthur
Hallam, of whom he wrote an article in the _Daily Telegraph_, which
created universal admiration.  He had the courage of his opinions, and
when bantered by some of his associates for his interfering on behalf of
some ill-used pigs, he offered to write his reply ‘in good round hand
upon their faces.’  He took no delight in games, but kept a private boat
for his own use, and was a great walker with his select friends.  He was
accustomed on holidays to go as far as Salt Hall, to bully the fat
waiter, eat toasted cheese, and drink egg-wine—hence he seems to have
been familiarly known as Mr. Tipple.  But he soon became especially
distinguished by his editing the _Eton Miscellany_, and for his skill in
debate at what was commonly called the Pop.  Its meetings were generally
held over a cook-shop, and its politics were intensely Tory, though
current politics were forbidden subjects.  His maiden speech was in
favour of education.  Eton at that time was not a good school, writes Sir
Francis Doyle; but he testifies strongly to the virtues of the debating
society.  He continues: ‘In the debating society Mr. Gladstone soon
distinguished himself.  I had the privilege of listening to his maiden
speech.  It began, I recollect, with these words: “Sir, in this age of
increasing and still increasing civilization . . .”  After Mr.
Gladstone’s arrival, the debating society doubled and trebled itself in
point of numbers, and the discussions became much fuller of interest and
animation.  Hallam and Mr. Gladstone took the lead.’  Not content with
the regular debating society, Mr. Gladstone and a few others, such as
Miles Gaskell and Canning, established an inner one, held on certain
summer afternoons in the garden of one Trotman.  Sir Francis continues:
‘It happened that my tutor, Mr. Okes, rented a small garden at the rear
of Trotman’s, and by some chance found himself there on the occasion of
one of these debates.  To his surprise, he heard three or four boys on
the other side of the wall sneering, shouting, and boohooing in the most
unaccountable manner.  There seemed but one conclusion to him as an
experienced Eton tutor—viz., that they were what we at the Custom-House
used somewhat euphemistically to term under the influence of liquor.  He
thereupon summoned Mr. Gladstone to his study, listened gloomily and
reluctantly to his explanations and excuses, and all but handed over our
illustrious Premier, with his subordinate orators, to be flogged for
drunkenness.’

Dr. Wilkinson, in his ‘Reminiscences of Eton,’ gives a couplet and its
translation by Mr. Gladstone, when a boy at Eton:

    ‘Ne sis O cera mollior,
    Grandiloquus et vanus;
    Heus bone non es gigas tu,
    Et non sum ego nanus.’

    ‘Don’t tip me now, you lad of wax,
    Your blarney and locution;
    You’re not a giant yet, I hope,
    Nor I a Liliputian.’

As to the _Miscellany_, with which Mr. Gladstone had so much to do, Sir
Francis continues: ‘It would have fallen to the ground but for Mr.
Gladstone’s energy, perseverance, and tact.  I may as well remark here
that my father—as I have said elsewhere, a man of great ability as well
as of great experience in life—predicted Mr. Gladstone’s future eminence
from the manner in which he handled this somewhat tiresome business.  “It
is not,” he remarked, “that I think his papers better than yours or
Hallam’s—that is not my meaning at all; but the force of character he has
shown in managing his subordinates (insubordinates I should rather call
them), and the combination of ability and power that he has made evident,
convince me that such a young man cannot fail to distinguish himself
hereafter.”’  Further, Sir Francis Doyle writes: ‘I cannot take leave of
Mr. Gladstone’s Eton career without recording a joke of his which, even
in this distance of time, seems calculated to thrill the heart of
Midlothian with horror and dismay.  He was then, I must remind my
hearers, a high Tory, and, moreover, used to criticise my passion for the
turf.  One day I was steadily computing the odds for the Derby, as they
stood in a morning newspaper.  Now, it happened that the Duke of Grafton
owned a colt called Hampden, who figured in the aforesaid list.  “Well,”
cried Mr. Gladstone, reading off the odds, “Hampden, at any rate, I see,
is in his proper place between _Zeal_ and _Lunacy_!”’

The impression Gladstone made on his schoolfellows at Eton is clearly
shown in a letter of Miles Gaskell to his mother, pleading for his going
to Oxford rather than Cambridge: ‘Gladstone is no ordinary individual.
. . .  If you finally decide in favour of Cambridge, my separation from
Gladstone will be a source of great sorrow to me.’  And Arthur Hallam
wrote: ‘Whatever may be our lot, I am very confident that he is a bud
that will blossom with a richer fragrance than almost any whose early
promise I have witnessed.’

Gladstone, as has already been shown, was one of the principal members of
the staff of the _Eton Miscellany_.  He was then seventeen, and in one of
the articles signed by him he expressed his fear that he would not be
able to direct public opinion into the right channel.  He was aware that
merit was always rewarded, but he asked himself if he possessed that
merit.  He dared not presume that he did possess it, though he felt
within him a something which made him hope to be able, without much
hindrance, to gain public favour, and, as Virgil said, ‘celerare viam
rumore secundo.’  We find Gladstone the Etonian expressing similar hopes
in an article on ‘Eloquence.’  The young author shows us himself and his
school-colleagues fascinated by the resounding debates in the House of
Commons, and dreaming, boy-like, of making a successful Parliamentary
début, perhaps being offered a Government berth—a Secretaryship of State,
even the post of Prime Minister.  While entertaining these ambitious
views Mr. Gladstone calmed his mind by ‘taking to poetry.’  Several
poetical pieces, including some verses on ‘Richard Cœur-de-Lion,’ and an
ode to ‘The Shade of Wat Tyler,’ date from this period.

As a pendant to this fragmentary sketch of Mr. Gladstone’s schooldays, we
may quote the lively description of the young editor given by Sir Francis
Doyle in ‘A Familiar Epistle to W. E. Gladstone, Esq., M.P.,’ published
in 1841.  Sir Francis paints a delightful picture of the
_rédacteur-en-chef_:

          ‘Who, in his editorial den,
    Clenched grimly an eradicating pen,
    Confronting frantic poets with calm eye,
    And dooming hardened metaphors to die.
    Who, if he found his young adherents fail,
    The ode unfinished, uncommenced the tale,
    With the next number bawling to be fed,
    And its false feeders latitant or fled,
    Sat down unflinchingly to write it all,
    And kept the staggering project from a fall.’

Dr. Furnivall, president of the Maurice Rowing Club, lately sent Mr.
Gladstone a copy of his letter on ‘Sculls or Oars.’  The ex-Prime
Minister, in returning his thanks for the letter, says: ‘When I was at
Eton, and during the season, I sculled constantly, more than almost any
other boy in the school.  Our boats then were not so light as they now
are, but they went along merrily, with no fear of getting them under
water.’



CHAPTER II.
GLADSTONE AT OXFORD.


After spending six months with private tutors, in October, 1828, he went
up to Christ Church, Oxford, and the following year was nominated to a
studentship.  ‘As for Gladstone,’ writes Sir Francis Doyle, ‘in the
earlier part of his undergraduateship he read steadily, and did not exert
himself to shine as a speaker; in point of fact, he did not attempt to
distinguish himself in the Debating Society till he had pretty well made
sure of his distinction in the Schools.  I used often to walk with him in
the afternoon, but I never recollect riding or boating in his company,
and I believe that he was seldom diverted from his normal constitutional
between two and five along one of the Oxford roads.  The most adventurous
thing I ever did at Oxford in Mr. Gladstone’s company, if it really were
as adventurous as I find he still asserts it to have been, was when I
allowed myself to be taken to Dissenting chapels.  We were rewarded by
hearing Dr. Chalmers preach on two occasions, and Rowland Hill at another
time.’

Gladstone seems to have delighted in these escapades.  His mother was an
occasional attendant on the ministrations of the celebrated Dissenting
preacher Dr. Raffles, of Liverpool, and possibly might have taken the
future Premier with her.  His attendance at church was very regular.  ‘He
used rather to mount guard over my religious observances,’ writes Sir
Francis Doyle, ‘and habitually marched me off after luncheon to the
University sermon at two o’clock.  Now, I have not the gift of snoring
comfortably under a dull preacher; instead of a narcotic he acts on my
nerves as an irritant, but with Mr. Gladstone the case was different.
One afternoon I looked up, and discovered, not without a glow of triumph,
that although the reverend gentleman above me had not yet arrived at his
“Thirdly,” my Mentor was sleeping the sleep of the just.  “Hullo!” said I
to myself, “no more two-o’clock sermons for me.”  Accordingly, on the
very next occasion when he came to carry me off, my answer was ready:
“No, thank you, not to-day.  I can sleep just as well in my arm-chair as
at St. Mary’s.”  The great man was discomfited, and retired, shaking his
head, but he acknowledged his defeat by troubling me no more in that
matter.’

Cardinal Manning had been the principal leader in the Oxford Debating
Society till Mr. Gladstone appeared upon the scene.  At once he and
Gaskell became the leading Christ Church orators, and the great
oratorical event of the time was Mr. Gladstone’s speech against the first
Reform Bill.  ‘Most of the speakers,’ writes Sir Francis Doyle, who was
present on the occasion, ‘rose more or less above their ordinary level,
but when Mr. Gladstone sat down we all of us felt that an epoch in our
lives had arrived.  It was certainly the finest speech of his that I ever
heard.  The effect produced by that great speech led to his being
returned to Parliament as M.P. for Newark by the Tory Duke of Newcastle,
who is remembered for his question, “May I not do what I like with my
own?”’

To return to Mr. Gladstone’s career at the University.  In 1831 he took a
double first-class, and would easily have attained a Fellowship in any
college where Fellowships depended upon a competitive examination.  He
held with Scott, the foremost scholar of the day, the second place in the
Ireland for 1829.  In that year a deputation from the Union of Cambridge
went to Oxford to take part in a debate on the respective merits of Byron
and Shelley.  One of the Cambridge party was Monckton Milnes, afterwards
Lord Houghton.  He writes: ‘The man that took me most was the youngest
Gladstone, of Liverpool—I am sure a very superior person.’  On all he
seems to have exercised a beneficial influence.  He deprecated the
example of the gentlemen commoners, and did much to check the pernicious
habit prevalent at that time in the University, of over-indulgence in
wine.  His tutor was the Rev. Robert Briscoe.  He also attended the
lectures of the Rev. Dr. Benton on divinity and Dr. Pusey on Hebrew.  He
read classics privately with a tutor of the Bishop of St. Andrews.  In
1830 he was at Cuddesdon Vicarage with a small reading-party, where he
seems to have mastered Hooker’s ‘Ecclesiastical Polity.’  He founded and
presided over an essay society called after his name, of which he was
successively secretary and president.  In his maiden speech at the Union
in 1830 he defended Catholic emancipation; declared the Duke of
Wellington’s Government unworthy of the confidence of the nation; opposed
the removal of Jewish disabilities; and argued for the gradual
emancipation of slavery rather than immediate abolition.

It is evident that all the time of his University career Mr. Gladstone
had a profoundly religious bias, and at one time seems to have
contemplated taking Holy Orders.  Bishop Wordsworth declared that no man
of his standing read the Bible more or knew it better.  One of his
fellow-students writes: ‘Poor Gladstone mixed himself up with the St.
Mary Hall and Oriel set, who are really for the most part only fit to
live with maiden aunts and keep tame rabbits.’  At this time Mr.
Gladstone’s High Churchmanship does not seem to have been so pronounced
as it afterwards became.  He was a disciple of Canning, and rejoiced at
Catholic emancipation.  ‘When in Scotland, staying at his father’s house
in Kincardineshire, he attended the Presbyterian Kirk zealously and
contentedly, and took me with him,’ writes Sir Francis Doyle, ‘to what
they call the “fencing of the tables,” an operation lasting five or six
hours.’

One of Gladstone’s college acquaintances was Martin Tupper, whose
‘Proverbial Philosophy’ had a sale out of all proportion to its merits,
in 1864.  He wrote—

    ‘Orator, statesman, scholar, and sage,
    The Crichton-more, the Gladstone of his age.’

‘My first acquaintance with Gladstone,’ Martin Tupper writes, ‘was a
memorable event.  It was at that time not so common a thing for
undergraduates to go to the Communion at Christ Church Cathedral, that
holy celebration being supposed to be for the particular benefit of Deans
and Canons and Masters of Arts; so when two undergraduates went out of
the chancel together after Communion, which they had both attended, it is
small wonder that they addressed each other genially, in defiance of
Oxford etiquette, nor that a friendship so well begun has continued to
this hour.’  He testifies how Gladstone was the foremost
man—warm-hearted, earnest, hard working, and religious, and had a
following even in his teens.

The following anecdote is amusing.  Tupper writes: ‘I had the honour at
Christ Church of being prize-taker of Dr. Benton’s theological essay,
“The Reconciliation of Matthew and John,” when Gladstone, who had also
contested it, stood second, and when Dr. Benton had me before him to give
me the twenty-five pounds’ worth of books, he requested me to allow Mr.
Gladstone to have five pounds’ worth, as he was so good a second.’  Alas!
Mr. Tupper in after-life was led to think that the man to whom at one
time he looked up, had deviated from the proper path.  In his ‘Three
Hundred Sonnets,’ he kindly undertook, in the reference to Gladstone, to
warn the public to

    ‘Beware of mere delusive eloquence.’

And again he wrote of a

    ‘Glozing tongue whom none can trust.’

Still, it is well to quote in this connection how Tupper considered
Gladstone the central figure at Oxford University.  He writes: ‘Fifty
years ago Briscoe’s Aristotle class at Christ Church was comprised almost
wholly of men who have since become celebrated, some in a remarkable
degree; and as we believe that so many names afterwards attaining to
great distinction have rarely been associated at one lecture board,
either at Oxford or elsewhere, it may be allowed to one who counts
himself the least and lowest of the company to pen this brief note of
those old Aristotelians.  In this class was Gladstone, ever from youth up
the beloved and admired of many personal intimates.’

Miss Clough’s character of Gladstone, solely from his handwriting, is
thus recorded by Lord Houghton: ‘A well-judging person; a good classic;
considerate; apt to mistrust himself; undecided; if to choose a
profession, would prefer the Church; has much application; a good
reasoner; very affectionate and tender in his domestic relations; has a
good deal of pride and determination, or rather obstinacy; is very fond
of society, particularly ladies’; is neat, and fond of reading.’

Bishop Wordsworth writes: ‘My cousin William Wordsworth, then living at
Eton, was dining at Liverpool at the house of a great Liverpool merchant
just after Gladstone had taken his degree.  Amongst the company were
Wordsworth, the poet, and Mr. John Gladstone, the father of the future
Premier.  After dinner, the poet congratulated the father on the success
of his distinguished son.  “Yes, sir,” replied the father, “I thank you.
My son has greatly distinguished himself at the University, and I trust
he will continue to do so when he enters public life, for there is no
doubt that he is a man of great ability, but he has no stability.”’

Sir Francis Doyle describes a visit he paid to Gladstone at his father’s
house.  ‘Whilst there,’ he writes, ‘I was very much struck with the
remarkable acuteness and great natural powers of Mr. Gladstone the
father.  Under his influence, apparently, nothing was taken for granted
between the father and his sons.  A succession of arguments on great
topics and small topics alike—arguments conducted with perfect good
humour, but also with the most implacable logic—formed the staple of the
family conversations.  Hence, it was easy to see from what foundations
Mr. Gladstone’s skill as a debater was built up.’  Further illustrative
traits are supplied.  For instance, one of the amusements of the place
was shooting with bows and arrows.  The arrows were lost in the long
grass; Sir Francis would have left them to chance and time.  Not so Mr.
Gladstone.  He insisted on their being all found.  Again, on a trip to
Dunottar Castle, Mr. Gladstone was riding a skittish chestnut mare, who
would not let him open a gate in front of him.  ‘My cob,’ Sir Francis
writes, ‘was perfectly docile, and quiet as a sheep.  I naturally said,
“Let me do that for you.”  But no; his antagonist had to be tamed, but it
took forty minutes to do so, and then the horsemen proceeded on their
way.’  It is said that Mr. Rarey, the horse-tamer, subsequently had a
high opinion of Mr. Gladstone’s skill as an equestrian.



CHAPTER III.
ENTERS PARLIAMENT.


In 1832 Mr. Gladstone left Oxford, and after spending six months in
Italy, he was recalled to England to become Member for Newark.  In his
address he declared that the duties of governors are strictly and
peculiarly religious, and that legislators, like individuals, are bound
to carry throughout their acts the spirit of the high truths they have
acknowledged.  Much required to be done for popular education, and labour
should receive adequate remuneration.  He regarded slavery as sanctioned
by Holy Scripture, but he was in favour of the gradual education and
emancipation of the slaves.  It was said that he was the Duke of
Newcastle’s nominee.  He replied that he was nothing of the kind—that he
came there by the invitation of the Red Club, than whom none were more
respectable and intelligent.  He was returned at the head of the poll.
Newark rejoiced in two members.  Another Tory was second, and the Liberal
candidate, Serjeant Wilde, was defeated.  Mr. Gladstone accordingly took
his seat in the first Reformed Parliament, which met in January, 1833.
His maiden speech was on the Anti-slavery Debate, to defend his father
from an attack made on him by Lord Howick with regard to the treatment of
his slaves in Demerara.  On the morning of the debate, as he was riding
in Hyde Park, a passer-by pointed him out to another new member, Lord
Charles Russell, and said, ‘That is Gladstone; he is to make his maiden
speech to-night; that will be worth hearing.’

Commenting on Mr. Disraeli’s début in the House of Commons, Professor
Prynne writes: ‘This was a contrast to the graceful, harmonious, almost
timid, maiden speech of Mr. W. E. Gladstone—a manner that I never saw
equalled, except by Lord Derby when he was in the House of Commons.  The
speaking of these two was like a stream pouring foam, or it may be
described as reading from a book.  Of Mr. Gladstone we all agreed in
saying, “This is a young man of great promise.”’  A foreigner writes that
until he had heard Mr. Gladstone speak he never believed that the English
was a musical language, but that after hearing him he was convinced that
it was the most melodious of living tongues.

About this time there appeared Mr. James Grant’s ‘Random Recollections.’
It is amusing to read: ‘I have no idea that he will ever acquire the
reputation of a great statesman.  His views are not sufficiently enlarged
or profound for that; his celebrity in the House of Commons will chiefly
depend on his readiness and dexterity as a clever debater, in conjunction
with the excellence of his elocution and the gracefulness of his manner
when speaking.’  ‘When a Select Committee of the House of Commons,’
writes Sir George Stephen, ‘was appointed to take evidence on the working
of the apprenticeship system among the West Indian blacks, it was
arranged between Buxton on the one side and Gladstone on the other that
Mr. Burge and myself should be admitted as their respective legal
advisers.  At that time evidently Mr. Gladstone had been recognised as
the champion of the one party as much as Mr. Buxton of the other.’

In the anti-slavery recollections of Sir George Stephen we have a graphic
account of the struggle between Gladstone, as the advocate of slavery,
and Sir John Jerome, a colonial judge, who may be said to have died a
martyr to his anti-slavery zeal.  ‘I shall never forget,’ writes Sir
George, ‘his examination before the Apprenticeship Committee.  Gladstone
employed all his ingenuity in vain, and no man has a greater share of
logical acumen, to bewilder him.  But Jerome was quite his match.  His
evidence was argumentative, and therefore the cross-examination was in
the nature of argument, as it generally is in Parliamentary Committees.
It was a brilliant affair of thrust and counter-thrust.  Gladstone was
calm, imperturbable, and deliberate; Jerome wide-awake, ready at every
point, and, though full of vivacity, as impossible to catch tripping as a
French rope-dancer.  He evaded what he could not answer, but evaded it so
adroitly that Gladstone might detect but could not expose the evasion;
and every now and then Jerome retorted objection to objection with a
readiness that made it difficult to say which was the examiner and which
the examined.  The rest of the Committee silently watched the scene, as a
conflict between two practised intellectual gladiators, and I am
persuaded that Mr. Gladstone himself would admit that Jerome had not the
worst of it.  But if Mr. Gladstone had studied in the school of Oxford,
Jerome was educated as an advocate for the French Bar, so they met on
equal terms, while Jerome had the advantage of a good cause.’

Mr. Gladstone has been celebrated for his explanations.  One of the
earliest of them was written when he was Conservative candidate for
Newark, addressed to a Mr. John Simpson, a Conservative Nonconformist.
It is dated ‘Hawarden, Chester, July 10, 1841.’

    ‘DEAR SIR,

    ‘I am sincerely obliged by your transmitting to me the curious
    extract contained in your letter of the 6th, as you state that it has
    occasioned uneasiness to some of my constituents.  It had not met my
    eye, but had it done so, I should have passed it over without notice,
    trusting to its own glaring falsity to neutralize its design, just as
    I remember to have passed over an amusing sketch in the _Weekly
    Dispatch_, shown to me by a friend, which stated that I entered
    public life as a Liberal, but ratted to the Duke of Wellington and
    Sir Robert Peel in 1834, and that I was said openly to avow my
    readiness to sell myself to the best bidder.  I have not the least
    hesitation in disclaiming, in the most emphatic and stringent
    language that you can suggest to me, all desire to remove or abridge
    the civil privileges at present enjoyed by any class of my
    fellow-subjects, or “to exercise the civil power” for the purpose of
    “compelling conformity” or “extinguishing dissent.”  And I trust that
    I have already in print sufficiently disclaimed any such desire.
    With respect to “Puseyism,” or the religious part of the question, as
    your letter does not refer me to it, I need not here enter upon its
    discussion further than to say that I consider it clearly forbidden
    by my duty as a member of the Church to recognise any scheme of human
    opinions in theology as the basis of my belief, and of my hopes for
    the Divine mercy, and that the sum of Christianity, in my view, is
    that contained in the ancient Creeds, and demonstrated by the supreme
    authority of Scripture.  While thus briefly dismissing the question,
    I have no desire to evade further inquiry.  What I have published
    upon these matters now extends to a considerable bulk, and I could
    not expect you to undergo the considerable labour of going through
    the whole of it.  I have, however, desired that a copy of the third
    edition of my first book on the “Relations of the Church with the
    State” may be forwarded to you by an early opportunity.  More
    recently I have much enlarged the work; but if you will refer to the
    portions relating to persecution in that volume, you will, I think,
    perceive that I am not among its admirers.  You will find parts
    particularly bearing on it in Chap. II., 72–7, and Chap. VI., 5–13.
    This, I hope, may satisfy you without your undertaking a more
    extended labour.

    ‘I remain, dear sir, your faithful servant,

                                                         ‘W. E. GLADSTONE.

    ‘You are at perfect liberty to make this letter known.’

In Parliament Mr. Gladstone defended the Irish Church, and when in the
next session Mr. Hume introduced a Universities’ Admission Bill, intended
to enable Dissenters to attend the Universities, Mr. Gladstone strongly
opposed it.  Soon after came the Tory reaction, and a General Election,
at which Mr. Gladstone was again returned for Newark, in conjunction,
however, this time with Serjeant Wilde.  The new Parliament met in
February, 1835.  Mr. Gladstone was then Junior Lord of the Treasury in
the new Government formed by Sir Robert Peel, a Government of but very
short duration.  Sir Francis Doyle writes: ‘When Mr. Gladstone had
established himself as a rising M.P. at the Albany, he breakfasted there,
and met the poet Wordsworth.  The great poet sat in state surrounded by
young and enthusiastic admirers.  His conversation was very like the
“Excursion,” turned into vigorous prose.’  At this time Wilberforce,
afterwards Bishop of Oxford and Winchester, wrote to him: ‘It would be
affectation in you, which you are above, not to know that few young men
have the weight you have in the House of Commons, and are gaining rapidly
through the country.  Now, I do not urge you to consider this as a talent
for the use of which you must render an account, for so I know you do
esteem it, but what I want to urge upon you is that you should calmly
look before you—see the degree of weight and influence to which you may
fairly, if God spares your life and powers, look forward in future years,
and thus act _now_ with a view to _then_.  There is no height to which
you may not fairly rise in this country.’  Mr. Gladstone’s reply was not
that of an optimist: ‘The principles of civil government have decayed
amongst us as much as I suspect those which are ecclesiastical, and one
does not see an equally ready or sure provision for their revival.  One
sees in actual existence the apparatus by which our institutions are to
be threatened and the very groundwork of the national character is to be
broken up; but on the other hand, if we look around for the masses of
principle—I mean of enlightened principle blended with courage and
devotion, which are the human means of resistance—_these_ I feel have yet
to be organized, almost created.’

In July, 1838, Mr. W. E. Gladstone wrote to Mr. Murray, the publisher,
from 6, Carlton Gardens, informing him that he has written and thinks of
publishing some papers on the relationship of the Church and the State,
which would probably fill a moderate octavo volume, and he would be glad
to know if Mr. Murray would be inclined to see them.  Mr. Murray saw the
papers, and on August 9 he agreed with Mr. Gladstone to publish 750 or
1,000 copies of the work on Church and State on half-profits, the
copyright to remain with the author after the first edition was sold.
The work was immediately sent to press, and proofs were sent to Mr.
Gladstone, about to embark for Holland.  A note was received from the
author, dated from Rotterdam, saying that sea-sickness prevented him from
correcting the proofs on the passage.  This was Mr. Gladstone’s first
appearance as author, and the work proved remarkably successful.

On receiving a copy of the book Sir Robert Peel exclaimed: ‘With such a
career before him, why should he write books?’  In other quarters the
book met with a warmer appreciation.  Baron Bunsen wrote: ‘It is the book
of the times—a great event—the first since Burke that goes to the bottom
of the question, far above his party and his times.  I sat up till after
midnight, and this morning I continued till I had read the whole.
Gladstone is the first man in England as to intellectual power, and he
has heard higher tones than anyone else in this land.’  Dr. Arnold was
delighted with it.  Newman says to a friend: ‘Gladstone’s book, you see,
is making a sensation.’  Again he writes: ‘The _Times_ is again at poor
Gladstone; really, I feel as if I could do anything for him.  I have not
read his book, but its consequences speak for it.  Poor fellow! it is so
noble a thing.’

Sir Henry Taylor wrote: ‘I am reading Gladstone’s book, which I shall
send you, if he has not.  It is closely and deeply argumentative, perhaps
too much in the nature of a series of profound corollaries for a book
which takes so very demonstrative a character, leaves one to expect what
is impossible, and to feel drawn on by a postulate; but it is most able
and profound, and written in language which cannot be excelled for
clearness.  It is too philosophical to be generally read, but it will
raise his reputation in the opinion of those who do read it, and will not
embarrass him so much in political life as a popular quotable book on
such subjects might be apt to do.  His party speak of him as the man who
will be one day at their head, and certainly no man of his standing has
yet appeared who seems likely to stand in his way.  _Two wants_,
_however_, _may lie across his political career—want of robust health and
want of flexibility_.’

Writing to Mr. John Murray, Lord Mahon, afterwards Lord Stanhope, says:
‘Mr. Gladstone’s volume has lately engaged much of my attention.  It is
difficult to feel quite free from partiality where so amiable and
excellent a man is concerned; but if my friendship does not blind me, I
should pronounce his production as marked by profound ecclesiastical
learning and eminent native ability.  At the same time, I must confess
myself startled at some of his tenets; his doctrine of Private Judgment
especially seems to me a contradiction in terms, attempting to blend
together the incompatible advantages of the Romanists and of the
Protestant principle upon that point.’

Two years afterwards, we find a reference to the same subject.  ‘As to
the third edition of “The State in its Relations to the Church,” I should
think the remaining copies had better be got rid of in whatever summary
or ignominious mode you may deem best.  They must be dead beyond recall.
. . .  With regard to the fourth edition, I do not know whether it would
be well to procure any review or notice of it, and I am not a fair judge
of its merits, even in comparison with the original form of the work; but
my idea is that it is less defective, both in the theoretical and
historical development, and ought to be worthy of the notice of those who
deemed the earlier editions worth their notice and purchase; that it
really would put a reader in possession of the view it was intended to
convey, which, I fear, is more than can be said of any of its
predecessors.’

Mr. Murray does not seem to have had many letters from Mr. Gladstone,
though Croker mentions his having called on Mr. Murray to express his
dissatisfaction on an article which appeared in the _Quarterly_ on the
Corn Laws.  When, in 1843, the Copyright Bill was the subject of
legislation, he wrote to Mr. Murray: ‘I cannot omit to state that I learn
from your note that steps are being taken here to back the recent
proceedings of the Legislature.  I must not hesitate to express my
conviction that what Parliament has done will be fruitless unless the law
be seconded by the adoption of such modes of publication as will allow
the public here and in the colonies to obtain possession of new and
popular English works at moderate prices, if it be practicable for
authors and publishers to make such arrangements, I should hope to see a
great extension of our book trade, as well as much advantage to
literature from the measures that have now been taken, and from those
which I trust we shall be enabled to take in completion of them.  But
unless the proceedings of the trade itself adapt and adjust themselves to
the altered circumstances, I can feel no doubt that we shall relapse into
or towards the old state of things—the law will be first evaded and then
relaxed.’  This sensible hint of Mr. Gladstone’s does not seem to have
been entirely thrown away—at any rate, as far as Mr. Murray was
concerned.

About the same time Mr. Gladstone seems to have been not a little moved
by our military proceedings in India.  When Lieutenant Eyre’s ‘Military
Operations in Cabool’ appeared, Mr. Murray sent Mr. Gladstone a copy.  He
replied: ‘I have read it with great pain and shame, which are, I fear, as
one must say in such a case, the tests of its merits as a work.  May
another occasion for such a narrative never arise!’  A humane wish, as
subsequent events show, not likely to be speedily realized.

‘Church and State’ soon reached a third edition, and led to the famous
review of it by Macaulay, in which he speaks of Gladstone as ‘the rising
hope of the stern and unbending Tories.’  ‘I have bought Gladstone’s book
on Church and State,’ he writes to Macvey Napier, ‘and I think I can make
a good article on it.  It seems to me the very thing for a spirited,
popular, and at the same time gentlemanlike, critique.’  Again he writes:
‘I met Gladstone at Rome.  We talked and walked together in St. Peter’s
during the best part of an afternoon, and I have in consequence been more
civil to him personally than I otherwise should have been.  He is both a
clever and an able man, with all his fanaticism.’  At this time
Gladstone’s eyesight failed him, and the doctors recommended him to spend
the winter at Rome, where he met, besides Macaulay, Henry Manning and
Cardinal Wiseman and Grant, who afterwards became Roman Catholic Bishop
of Southwark.  Among the visitors at Rome that winter were the widow and
daughters of Sir Stephen Richard Glynne, of Hawarden Castle, Flintshire.
Mr. Gladstone was already acquainted with these ladies, having been a
friend of Lady Glynne’s eldest son at Oxford and having also met him at
Hawarden.  The visit to Rome threw him much into their society, and he
became engaged to Lady Glynne’s eldest daughter.

‘In 1839,’ writes Sir Francis Doyle, ‘I attended Mr. Gladstone’s wedding
at Hawarden as his best man.  Catherine Glynne and her sister Mary, both
beautiful women, were married on the same day—the first to William
Gladstone, the second to Lord Lyttelton.  The occasion was a very
interesting one from the high character of the two bridegrooms and the
warmth of affection shown for the two charming young ladies by all their
friends and neighbours in every rank of life.  There was a depth and
genuineness of sympathy diffused around which, as the French say, spoke
for itself without any words.’

During the early part of their married life Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone lived
with Sir Thomas Gladstone at 6, Carlton Gardens.  Later they lived at 13,
Carlton House Terrace, and when Mr. Gladstone was in office occupied an
official residence in Downing Street.  In 1850, Mr. Gladstone, who had
succeeded to his patrimony five years before, bought 11, Carlton House
Terrace, which was his London house for twenty years, and he subsequently
lived in Harley Street, where on one occasion an angry mob smashed his
windows.  During the Parliamentary recess Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone divided
their time between Fasque, Sir John Gladstone’s seat in Kincardineshire,
and Hawarden House, which they shared with Mrs. Gladstone’s brother, Sir
Stephen Glynne, till, on his death, it passed into their sole possession.
Mr. Gladstone had a numerous family.  His eldest son predeceased him; his
second son is known as Herbert Gladstone; another was Henry Gladstone.
One of his daughters married the Rev. Mr. Drew.

It is interesting to read what an American writer has to say of Mrs.
Gladstone: ‘The French have a derisive saying that there are no political
women in England, and hence no salons in London.  They have no
appreciation of that class of Englishwomen, who are far more important
and beneficial to society than are the corresponding class in France.
But there is a social factor in English politics unattainable by any
other nation, and possibly only under just such a form of Government and
with such a ruler as Queen Victoria has proved herself to be.  She is in
a large sense the leader of the woman movement in her country—a movement
which is represented in a stricter sense by Mrs. Gladstone, the wife of
England’s foremost statesman.  In this movement are no diplomats or
political female deputies; but women who, knowing the practical work that
must be done for humanity, are about it in earnest fashion, giving the
world fitting examples of their ability and power as women and workers.
To better the condition of the people, not to scheme and wire-pull for a
party, is the aim of women like Mrs. Gladstone, whose social power is
stronger than the strongest political influence that exists.

‘She is a noble woman, aside from the fact that her position is so
exceptional that her faults would naturally seem trivial, surrounded by
the halo of her rank and her husband’s fame.  As a little child she
exhibited the unselfishness which has made her name beloved in England.
Her father said of her that she was his most gifted child, and always
spoke with subdued pride of the strong character she exhibited in
earliest youth.  She chose as a schoolgirl the motto, “If you want a
thing well done, do it yourself,” and has kept it as hers through life.
The practical good sense manifested by her when young has been her magic
wand through all the passing years.  She is now a woman of seventy-six
years, and is the same wise-minded, sensible person that she was when she
wrote her chosen sentence in her diary fully seventy years ago.  The
story of her life would read like a beautiful romance, so full has it
been of work, domestic, social, and philanthropic, and so overflowing
with happiness.

‘The variety and interest which have marked Mrs. Gladstone’s life would
have been lacking to a large extent had she not felt such an overflowing
sympathy for the people—for the poor and trouble-burdened, the weary and
the faint-hearted.  One of her friends was once lamenting to her that she
could do nothing for others because she had not means.  “Oh yes, you can,
my dear: you can do everything; you can love them.”  “But that would not
help the poor or the sick or the dying,” was answered.  “Yes, it would;
it would cheer and bless and comfort; try it and prove my words,” said
Mrs. Gladstone, and her visitor parted from her in tears, so heartfelt
and earnest were her words.

‘The story of Mr. Gladstone’s public career is in part his wife’s; for in
all his undertakings she has been a powerful factor.  Wherever he has
journeyed she has gone: in whatever work he has been engaged she has been
at his side, mastering details and keeping pace with him, so that she has
been his comrade in all things.  Mr. Gladstone at all times, and on every
fitting occasion, pays tribute to the mind and heart of his wife, and
attributes to her companionship and encouragement the stimulus and the
solace without which he could not have undertaken the tasks he has
performed.  She was his “helpmeet” from their earliest union, and as time
passed and their affection for each other grew as a protecting shelter
about them, he relied more and more upon her counsels.  Always at his
side ministering to him and diverting his mind by steady cheerfulness and
bright talk, she has made his life an exceptionably joyous one, and she
basks in the sunshine of the happiness she has created.  For many years,
while her children were growing up about her and needing her watchful
care, she had manifold duties, but for a long time there has been no
divided responsibility, and the accustomed way for both of them has been
together, and together in a union so close that it is really that
exceptional thing—a soul-marriage.  She alone has shared alike in his
labours and his recreations, his triumphs and defeats, and, beyond all
the incidents of their united lives, her unselfish devotion has been his
staff and his support.

‘Mr. Gladstone’s manners, especially when addressing ladies, are very
courtly.  There is a fine stateliness, and at the same time an exquisite
courtesy, in his address.  In his manners, as well as in much else, Mr.
Gladstone belongs distinctly to the older school which flourished before
the Queen came to the throne, when society still preserved a certain
distinctive style, which has suffered much in the rush and tumble of our
new democracy.’

Mr. Gladstone’s ‘Church Principles and Government’ appeared in 1840.
Macaulay writes to Napier: ‘I do not think it would be wise to review it.
I observed in it very little that had reference to politics—very little,
indeed, that could not consistently be said by a supporter of the
voluntary principle.  It is, in truth, a theological treatise, and I have
no mind to engage in a controversy about the nature of the Sacraments,
the operation of Holy Orders, the validity of the Church, and such points
of learning, except where they are connected with questions of
Government.  I have no disposition to split hairs about the spiritual
reception of the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist, or about
baptismal regeneration.’  However, it was subsequently reviewed in the
_Edinburgh_ by Henry Roger, of Spring Hill College, Birmingham, in an
article on the Right of Private Judgment.  Dr. Arnold writes how he was
disappointed with the book.  Newman writes: ‘It is not open to the
objections I feared; it is doctrinaire, and I think self-confident, but
it will do good.’  Maurice thus criticised it: ‘His Aristotelianism is,
it strikes me, more deeply fixed in him than before, and on that account
I do not see how he can ever enter into the feeling and truths of
Rationalism to refute it.  His notion of attacking the Evangelicals by
saying, Press your opinions to these results, and they become
Rationalistic, is ingenious, and thought out, I think, with great skill
and an analytical power for which I had not given him credit; but after
all, it seems to me, an argument which is better for the courts than for
a theological controversy.’  At Eton, about this time, he was almost
worshipped.  When he went there to examine the candidates for the
Newcastle Scholarship, one of the candidates wrote: ‘I wish you to
understand that Mr. Gladstone appeared not to me only but to others as a
gentleman wholly unlike other examiners of school people.  It was not as
a politician we admired him, but as a refined Churchman deep also in
political philosophy.’

In 1841 he accepted the office of Vice-President of the Board of Trade
under Sir Robert Peel, afterwards becoming President as successor to Lord
Ripon.  In his address seeking re-election at Newark, he declared that
the British farmer might rely upon two points—first, ‘that adequate
protection would be given to him; secondly, that protection would be
given him through the means of the sliding scale.’  In 1842 he was
engaged in the preparation of the revised tariff, by which duties were
either abolished or diminished on some twelve hundred articles.  Greville
writes in the March of that year that he had already displayed a capacity
which made his admission into the Cabinet indispensable.  In the course
of the next year he became President of the Board of Trade and a member
of the Cabinet, and the very first act he had to perform was to give his
vote in favour of withdrawing the Bill providing for the education of
children in factories, which had been violently opposed by the Dissenters
on the plea that it was too favourable to the Established Church.  In
this connection we have the following curious story: A brusque but
wealthy shipowner of Sunderland once entered the London office of Mr.
Lindsay on business.  ‘Noo, is Lindsay in?’ inquired the northern diamond
in the rough.  ‘Sir!’ exclaimed the clerk to whom the inquiry was
addressed.  ‘Well, then, is Mr. Lindsay in, seest thou?’  ‘He will be in
shortly,’ said the clerk.  ‘Will you wait?’  The Sunderland shipowner
intimated that he would, and was ushered into an adjacent room, where a
person was busily employed copying some statistics.  Our Sunderland
friend paced the room several times, and presently, walking to the table
where the other occupant of the room was seated, took careful note of the
writer’s doings.  The copier looked up inquiringly, when the northerner
said: ‘Thou writest a bonny hand, thou dost.’  ‘I am glad you think so,’
was the reply.  ‘Ah! thou dost—thou maks thy figures well; thou’rt just
the chap I want.’  ‘Indeed,’ said the Londoner.  ‘Yes, indeed,’ said
Sunderland.  ‘I’m a man of few words.  Noo, if thou’lt coom o’er to canny
auld Sunderland, thou seest, I’ll gie thee a hoondred and twenty pund a
year, and that’s a plum thou doesn’t meet with every day in thy life, I
reckon—noo then.’  The Londoner thanked the admirer of his penmanship
most gratefully, and intimated that he would like to consult Mr. Lindsay
upon the subject.  ‘Ah, that’s reet!’  And in walked Mr. Lindsay, who
cordially greeted his Sunderland friend, after which the gentleman at the
desk gravely rose and informed Mr. Lindsay of the handsome appointment
which had been offered him in the Sunderland shipowner’s office.  ‘Very
well,’ said Mr. Lindsay, ‘I should be sorry to stand in your way; a
hundred and twenty pound is more than I can afford to pay you in the
department in which you are at present placed.  You will find my friend a
good and kind master, and, under the circumstances, I think the sooner
you know each other the better.  Allow me, therefore, to introduce to you
the Right Hon. W. Gladstone.’  Mr. Gladstone had been engaged in making a
note of some shipping returns for his budget.  The shipowner was, of
course, a little taken aback, but he soon recovered his self-possession,
and enjoyed the joke as much as Mr. Gladstone did.  Very soon Sir Robert
Peel proposed to establish non-sectarian colleges in Ireland, and to
increase the grant to Maynooth.  This led to Mr. Gladstone’s resignation
in 1845, but not before he had completed a second revised tariff,
carrying on still further the work of commercial reform.  In the
explanation which he gave for his resignation he was understood to say
that the measure with regard to Maynooth was a departure from the
principles he had contended for in his books.

Everyone was amazed, and the party he had left was very angry.  Greville
writes: ‘Gladstone’s explanation was ludicrous.  Everybody said that he
had only succeeded in showing that his explanation was quite uncalled
for.’  It is perfectly clear that no one was able to understand the
explanation.  In a letter to Mr. W. E. Forster, Cobden wrote:
‘Gladstone’s speeches have the effect on my mind of a beautiful strain of
music; I can rarely remember any clear unqualified expression of opinion
on any subject outside his political, economical and financial
statements.  I remember on the occasion when he left Sir Robert Peel’s
Government on the Maynooth question, and when the House sat in unusual
numbers to hear his explanation, I sat beside Villiers and Ricardo for an
hour listening with real pleasure to his beautiful rhetorical involutions
and evolutions, and at the close turning round to one of my neighbours
and exclaiming, “What a marvellous talent is this!  Here have I been
listening with pleasure for an hour to his explanation, and I know no
more why he left the Government than when he commenced.”’

A little prior to this speech Mr. Gladstone had secured a follower in the
person of Mr. Stafford Northcote, afterwards Lord Iddesleigh, as private
secretary.  ‘From what I know of Mr. Gladstone’s character,’ writes Mr.
Northcote to his father, ‘there is no single statesman of the present day
to whom I would more gladly attach myself; and I should think, from the
talent he has shown for business since he came into office, there is no
one more likely to retain his place unless any revolution takes place.’
To another friend, Mr. Northcote, on his acceptance of the office,
writes: ‘With any other man than Gladstone I might have hesitated longer.
But he is one whom I respect beyond measure; he stands almost alone as
the representative of principles with which I cordially agree; and as a
man of business, and one who, humanly speaking, is sure to rise, he is
pre-eminent.’  A little later Mr. Northcote writes to a lady: ‘I look
upon him’ (Gladstone) ‘as the representative of the party scarcely
developed as yet, though secretly forming, which will stand by all that
is dear and sacred, in my estimation, in the struggle which will come ere
very long between good and evil, order and disorder, the Church and the
world; and I see a very small band collecting around him, and ready to
fight manfully under his leading.’

In a letter to a friend, Mr. Gladstone thus explains his retirement from
office: ‘My whole purpose was to place myself in a position in which I
should be free to consider my course without being liable to any just
suspicion on the ground of personal interest.  It is not profane if I
say, “With a great price obtained I this freedom.”  The political
association in which I stood was to me, at the time, the Alpha and Omega
of public life.  The Government of Sir Robert Peel was believed to be of
immovable strength.  My place, as President of the Board of Trade, was at
the very kernel of its most interesting operations . . .  I felt myself
open to the charge of being opinionated and wanting in deference to
really great authorities, and I could not but see that I should be
evidently regarded as fastidious and fanciful, fitter for a dreamer, or
possibly a schoolman, than for the active purposes of public life in a
busy and moving age.’

While at the Board of Trade Mr. Gladstone found time to devote himself as
ardently as ever to ecclesiastical subjects.  He was one of the party
supremely interested in the establishment of an Anglican Bishop at
Jerusalem.  Lord Shaftesbury describes how, in connection with the event
at a dinner given by Baron Bunsen, ‘he’ (Gladstone) ‘stripped himself of
a part of his Puseyite garment, and spoke like a pious man.’  Bunsen,
writing of Gladstone’s speech, says: ‘Never was heard a more exquisite
speech: it flowed like a gentle and translucent stream. . . .  We drove
back to town in the clearest starlight, Gladstone continuing, with
unabated animation, to pour forth his harmonious thoughts in melodious
tones.’

In 1845 Mr. Gladstone contemplated a visit to Ireland.  ‘Ireland,’ he
writes to an Oxford friend, ‘is likely to find this country and
Parliament so much occupation for years to come that I feel rather
oppressively an obligation to try and see it with my own eyes, instead of
using those of other people, according to the limited measure of my
means.’  The visit, however, was not paid.  He went to see Dr. Dollinger
at Munich instead.

In the winter Mr. Gladstone, while out shooting, met with an accident
that necessitated the amputation of the first finger of his left hand.

It must not be forgotten that early in his official career Mr. Gladstone
was Under-Secretary for the Colonies under Lord Aberdeen.  Henry Taylor,
who was then one of the permanent officials, writes: ‘I rather like
Gladstone, but he is said to have more of the devil in him than appears,
in a virtuous way—that is, only self-willed.  He may be all the more
useful here for that.  His amiable looks and manners deluded Sir James
Stephen, who said that for success in public life he wanted pugnacity.’
By the time he quitted office, Taylor owns that they had come to know him
better.  ‘Gladstone left with us a paper on negro education, which
confirmed me in the impression that he is a very considerable man—by far
the most so of any man I have seen among our rising statesmen.  He has,
together with his abilities, great strength of character and excellent
disposition.’  In a letter to his friend Hudson Gurney, Lord Aberdeen,
one of the ablest statesmen modern England has known, writes: ‘In
consequence of the defeat of my Under-Secretary in the county of Forfar,
I have been obliged to appoint another.  I have chosen a young man whom I
did not know, and whom I never saw, but of whose good character and
abilities I have often heard.  He is the young Gladstone, and I hope he
will do well.  He has no easy part to play in the House of Commons, but
it is a fine opening for a young man of talent and ambition, and places
him in the way to the highest distinction.  He appears to me so amiable
that I am sure, personally, I shall like him.’  It is interesting in this
connection to note Mr. Gladstone’s opinion of Lord Aberdeen.  He thus
describes the interview: ‘I knew Lord Aberdeen only by public rumour.  I
had heard of his high character, but I had also heard of him as a man of
cold manners and close and even haughty reserve.  It was dusk when I
entered the room, so that I saw his figure rather than his countenance,
and I remember well that before I had been three minutes with him all my
apprehensions had melted away like snow in the sun, and I came away from
that interview conscious indeed—as who could not fail to be conscious—of
his dignity, but of a dignity so tempered by a peculiar purity and
gentleness, and so associated with impressions of his kindness and even
friendship, that I believe I thought more about the wonder at that time
of his being so misunderstood by the outer world than about the new
duties and responsibilities of my new office.’  Ministers were beaten by
Lord John Russell, who carried a resolution in favour of applying the
surplus revenues of the Irish Church to general education, and Mr.
Gladstone retired to private life, working hard at his chambers in the
Albany, studying mainly Homer and Dante and St. Augustine.  He went
freely into society, though refusing to attend Mr. Monckton Milnes’
Sunday evening parties.  He was a frequent attendant at St. James’s,
Piccadilly, and at All Saints’, Margaret Street—all the while speaking
when occasion required in Parliament and working hard on Committees.



CHAPTER IV.
M.P. FOR OXFORD UNIVERSITY.


In 1845 the Whigs, failing to form a Cabinet, resigned, and Sir Robert
Peel was again in office to carry the abolition of the Corn Laws.  After
resigning office, Mr. Gladstone published a pamphlet on ‘Recent
Commercial Legislation,’ the tendency of which was in favour of the
conclusion that all materials of industry should, as far as possible, be
set free from Custom duties.  When Lord Stanley refused to accompany his
chief in the achievement of Free Trade in corn, Mr. Gladstone became, in
his place, Secretary of State for the Colonies.  But the Duke of
Newcastle would not allow Mr. Gladstone his seat for Newark—he had turned
his own son, Lord Lincoln, out of the representation of Nottingham for a
similar reason—and Mr. Gladstone was out of Parliament when the question
of Free Trade was being fought and won.  Early in 1847 it was announced
that there would be a vacancy in the representation of Oxford, and Mr.
Gladstone was selected for the vacant seat.  It was known to all that to
represent Oxford University was Mr. Gladstone’s desire, as it had been
that of Canning.  In May, 1847, a meeting was held in Oxford in favour of
Mr. Gladstone’s candidature.  The canvassing went on with more than the
usual excitement in a University constituency.  There was an
electioneering Gladstonian rhyme worth preserving.  The anti-Gladstonians
had difficulty in finding a candidate.

    ‘A cipher’s sought,
       A cipher’s found;
    His work is nought,
       His name is Round.’

The question for the electors was, as Mr. Gladstone put it, ‘Whether
political Oxford shall get shifted out of her palæozoic position into one
more suited to her position and work as they now stand.’  On August 2 Mr.
Gladstone writes that he heard, not without excitement, the horse’s hoofs
of the messenger bearing the news of the poll.  He was elected by a
majority of 173 over Mr. Round, the senior member, Sir Robert Inglis,
being some 700 votes in advance of him.  Mr. Hope Scott has left it on
record that Mrs. Gladstone was a copious worker on her husband’s behalf.
Sir Robert Peel went down to vote for his colleague.  The venerable Dr.
Routh, then nearly ninety-two years old, left his seclusion at Magdalen
College to vote for him.  The feeling of Mr. Gladstone’s supporters may
be summed up in a letter written by Dr. Moberly, afterwards Bishop of
Gloucester, to a doubtful voter:

‘For my own part, I certainly disapprove of Mr. Gladstone’s vote on the
godless colleges in Ireland, and I am not sure, even though I acknowledge
the difficulties of the case, whether I approve of that respecting
Maynooth; but I feel that I am not specially called on to reward or
punish individual voters as to select _the deepest_, _truest_, _most
attached_, _most efficient advocate for the Church and Universities_ in
coming, and very probably serious, dangers.  I think your correspondence
with Gladstone’s committee has probably done great good.  It is very
useful that Gladstone should know that there are those who are not
satisfied with some of his past acts; but surely you will not press this
hitherto useful course to the extreme result of refraining from voting?’

Mr. Gladstone still continued in politics to uphold Conservative
traditions, apart from Free Trade.  He opposed marriage with a deceased
wife’s sister; he deprecated the appointment of a Commission to inquire
into the Universities; but he vindicated the policy of admitting Jews to
Parliament, and defended the establishment of diplomatic relations with
the Court of Rome.  He supported the alteration of the Parliamentary
oath, but was opposed to an abstract attack on Church rates.  One
domestic sorrow befell him about this time, the death of a little
daughter, Catherine, between four and five years old.  Another difficulty
which gave him much trouble was on an affair which agitated all England
at one time, and was known as the Gorham case.  Mr. Gorham was an
Evangelical clergyman, and the Bishop of Exeter refused to institute on
the ground that his views on baptism were not sound; but in March, 1850,
the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council held that his teaching was
not such as to debar him from preferment in the Church of England.  In a
letter addressed to the Bishop of London (Bloomfield), entitled ‘The
Royal Supremacy viewed in the Light of Reason, History, and
Common-sense,’ Mr. Gladstone contended that the Royal Supremacy was not
inconsistent with the spiritual life and inherent jurisdiction of the
Church, and that the recent establishment of the Privy Council as a final
court of appeal in religious causes was an injurious, and even dangerous,
departure from the Reformation settlement.  The Bishops, he held, when
‘acting jointly, publicly, solemnly, responsibly, are the best and most
natural organs of the judicial office of the Church in matters of heresy,
and, according to reason, history, and the Constitution in that
subject-matter, the fittest and safest counsellors of the Crown.’  To
that controversy it is due to a great extent that Mr. Hope Scott and Dr.
Manning went over to the Church of Rome—the two men on whom in Church
matters Mr. Gladstone principally relied.  The blow was severe.  ‘I
felt,’ said Mr. Gladstone, ‘as if I had lost my two eyes.’

In this year Mr. Gladstone was very much depressed.  Sir Stafford
Northcote writes: ‘He (Gladstone) was out of spirits himself about public
matters, and did not paint Parliamentary life in rose colour. . . .  He
is distressed at the position Peel has taken up, and at the want of
sympathy between those who had acted for so many years cordially
together, and he looks forward to serious Church troubles, which he
thinks might possibly drive him out of Parliament.’  An idea which, had
it been carried out, would have deprived the world of Mr. Gladstone’s
greatest triumphs, political and oratorical.  In that year came up the
Don Pacifico affair, and Lord Palmerston’s triumph by means of the
_Romanus civis sum_ dictum, against which Mr. Gladstone thundered.  It
was, as Lord Palmerston admitted, a first-rate performance, appealing to
the law of Nature and of God, and deprecating the vain conception that
we, forsooth, have a mission to be the censors of vice and folly, of
abuse and imperfection, among the other countries of the world, a
doctrine which Mr. Gladstone subsequently seemed altogether to have
departed from.

On the lamented death of Sir Robert Peel, Mr. Gladstone bore eloquent
testimonies to the merits of that great man.

In the following winter Mr. Gladstone was in Naples, taken there by the
illness of one of his children, for whom the medical men had recommended
a warmer climate, and thence he addressed to the Earl of Aberdeen those
letters denouncing the atrocities of the Italian Government which for the
first time made Mr. Gladstone popular with the English people.

On his return, he found the country excited to a temporary fury, because
the Pope had planned Roman Bishops in English counties.  To meet it, Lord
John Russell carried an Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, which Mr. Gladstone
powerfully attacked, and which some twenty years after he had the
pleasure of quietly repealing.  But the Bill proved a death-blow to Lord
John Russell’s hold on office, weakened as it was by Lord Palmerston’s
retirement, in consequence of his unauthorized recognition of Louis
Napoleon’s _coup d’état_.  Lord Derby came into office, and there was a
General Election.

Mr. Gladstone was sent by Lord Derby as a Lord Commissioner to the Ionian
Islands, to carry out needed reforms in that part of the world, Her
Majesty Queen Victoria having refused her assent to the petition of the
Ionian Parliament for union with Greece.  But Mr. Gladstone was to reform
the Ionian Parliament, so as to make it resemble as much as possible that
of England.  When he left, his successor, Sir H. Stocks, wrote:
‘Gladstone is regretted by many, respected by all.  Nothing could have
been better than the firmness, judgment, and temper and talent he has
shown.  It sometimes staggers me to reflect that I have to succeed him.’

It was about this time that M. Thiers paid England a visit, having left
France in consequence of the _coup d’état_.  A dinner was made up for
him, at which were present Mr. Gladstone, Bulwer the novelist, Lord
Elcho, Lord Herbert of Lea, Mr. Hayward, and others.  The conversation
was varied and animated.  Mr. Hayward writes: ‘Thiers had the advantage
of language and choice of subject, but the general opinion was that Mr.
Gladstone was, if anything, the superior conversationalist of the two.’

When the election of 1852 approached, the opponents of Mr. Gladstone,
thinking that his friends might have been alienated by his votes on
Jewish disabilities and on the Papal Aggressions Bill, brought forward a
third candidate for the University, Dr. Marsham, of Merton, in spite of a
declaration signed by 1,276 members; but Mr. Gladstone managed to secure
a majority of 350.  In the debate in November Mr. Gladstone attacked Mr.
Disraeli’s Budget, and at the election following the Tories again
attacked Mr. Gladstone’s seat.  The opposition was a curious affair—the
result of an obscure intrigue—Lord Crompton being put forward apparently
without his consent and against his wish.  Then Mr. Percival was suddenly
brought forward.  Mr. Gladstone, however, on a small poll, had a majority
of 87, and his seat was saved for the time.  As a rule, a University M.P.
is supposed to hold his seat for life.

By this time the Tories had become outrageous against Mr. Gladstone.
After the defeat of the Derby Government, some of them gave a dinner to
Major Beresford at the Carlton, who had been charged with bribery at the
Derby election, and had been acquitted.  ‘After dinner,’ writes Mr.
Greville, ‘when they got drunk, they went upstairs, and found Mr.
Gladstone alone in the drawing-room.  Some of them proposed to throw him
out of the window.  This they did not quite dare do, but contented
themselves with giving an insulting message or order to the waiter, and
then went away.’  But Mr. Gladstone remained a member of the club till
1859.  On the Coalition Government being formed under Lord Aberdeen, Mr.
Gladstone became Chancellor of the Exchequer.  His Budget speech, five
hours long, held the House spell-bound.  It was devoted mainly to
remission of taxation.  The deficiency thus created was made up by the
application of the legacy duty to real property, by an increase of the
duty on spirits, and by an extension of the income-tax at 5d. in the
pound to all incomes between £100 and £150.  The Irish were indignant at
the tax being extended to Ireland.  One of the few genuine Irish
patriots, Mr. J. O’Neil Daunt, writes: ‘One of Mr. Gladstone’s arguments
is curious from its dishonest ingenuity.  He extracts from our poverty a
pretext for disarming us.  Pitt and Castlereagh promised at the Union
that Irish taxation should not be approximated to British until an
increased prosperity should enable us to bear the increased burden.  The
prosperity has not come, but the tax must be got.  If, says Gladstone,
you have not got wealth to be mulcted, your poverty will answer me quite
as well.  For the purchasing power of £150 is greater in a poor country
than a rich one; whence he argues that, as Ireland is poor, an Irish
income of £150 is a fitter subject of taxation than an income of equal
amount in England.  The peculiar beauty of this argument is, that the
poorer a country is, the stronger is the force of argument for taxing
it.’  Evidently Mr. Gladstone’s Budget found more favour in English than
in Irish eyes.  The income-tax, said Mr. Gladstone, was to expire in
1860.  Alas! he did not then foresee the Crimean War.  On the contrary,
everything seemed to betoken a happy future.

In May, 1853, Mr. Greville records an interview he had with Sir James
Graham.  ‘Graham seemed in excellent spirits about their political state
and prospects, all owing to Gladstone and the complete success of the
Budget.  The long and numerous Cabinets, which were attributed in the
_Times_ to disunion, were occupied in minute consideration of the Budget,
which was there fully discussed; and Gladstone spoke in the Cabinet one
day for three hours, rehearsing his speech in the House of Commons,
though not quite at such length. . . .  He talked of a future head, as
Aberdeen is always quite ready to retire; but it is very difficult to
find anyone to succeed him.  I suggested Gladstone.  He shook his head,
and said it would not do.  He spoke of the great mistakes Derby had made.
Gladstone’s object certainly was for a long time to be at the head of the
Conservative party in the House of Commons, and to join with Derby, who
might, in fact, have had all the Peelites, if he had chosen to ally
himself with them instead of Disraeli.  The latter had been the cause of
the ruin of the party.’

In the same year Bishop Wilberforce wrote: ‘Lord Aberdeen is now growing
to look upon Gladstone as his successor, and so told Gladstone the other
day.’

A little while after we find Lord Aberdeen saying: ‘Gladstone intends to
be Prime Minister.  He has great qualifications, but some serious
defects.  The chief is that when he has convinced himself, perhaps, by
abstract reasoning of some view, he thinks that everyone ought at once to
see as he does, and can make no allowance for difference of opinion.
Gladstone must thoroughly recover his popularity.  The Queen has quite
got over her feeling against him, and likes him much. . . .  I have told
Gladstone that when he is Prime Minister I will have a seat in his
Cabinet, if he desires it, without an office.’



CHAPTER V.
MR. GLADSTONE’S ECCLESIASTICAL OPINIONS.


In April, 1856, Mr. Greville writes of a conversation he had with Graham:
‘He began talking over the state of affairs generally.  He says there is
not one man in the House of Commons who has ten followers—neither
Gladstone, nor Disraeli, nor Palmerston . . . that Gladstone is certainly
the ablest man there.  His religious opinions, in which he is zealous and
sincere, enter so largely into his political conduct as to form a very
serious obstacle to his success, for they are abhorrent to the majority
of this Protestant country, and (I was surprised to hear him say) Graham
thinks approach very nearly to Rome.’

While absorbed in politics, or literature, or society, Mr. Gladstone
never forgot to do his duty to the best of his ability as a loyal son of
the Church of England.  In 1842 there was a fight at Oxford University on
the choice of a Professor of Poetry for the University.  One candidate
was dear to the High Church party, the other to the Low, or Evangelical,
of which Lord Ashley was the head.  Mr. Gladstone wrote to Lord Sandon,
urging him to entreat Lord Ashley to avoid, for the Church’s sake, the
scandal of a contest.  But Lord Ashley was on the winning side, and his
candidate was returned at the head of the poll.

In 1843, in the debates on the Dissenters’ Chapel Bill, Lord Ashley
writes: ‘That inexplicable Mr. Gladstone contended that all Dissent was
semi-Arian, and that a vast proportion of the founders were, in fact,
Unitarians.’  When, in 1845, Mr. Ward was condemned at Oxford for his
book, ‘The Ideal of a Christian Church,’ Mr. Gladstone was one of the
_non-placets_.  In a letter to his friend Bishop Wilberforce in 1844, Mr.
Gladstone writes: ‘I rejoice to see that you are on the whole hopeful.
For my part, I heartily go along with you.  The fabric consolidates
itself more and more, even while the earthquake rocks it; for, with a
thousand drawbacks and deductions, love grows warmer and larger, truth
firmer among us.  It makes the mind sad to speculate on the question how
much better all might have been, but our mourning should be turned into
joy and thankfulness while we think also how much worse it might have
been.  It seems to me to be written for our learning and use: “He will be
very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when He shall hear it,
He will answer thee.  And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity
and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a
corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: and thine ears
shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it.”’

About this time Mr. Gladstone seems to have taken a leading part in the
establishment of the High Church College, Glenalmond, instituted for the
purpose of turning Presbyterian Scotland from the errors of its ways.  At
that time Mr. Gladstone was still in bondage.  He argued for the
maintenance of the Established Church in Ireland.  Mr. Gladstone had not
advanced beyond his party, and belonged to the school immortalized in
‘Tom Jones.’  ‘When I mention religion,’ says the Rev. Mr. Thwackum, ‘I
mean the Christian religion, and not only the Christian religion, but the
Protestant religion, and not only the Protestant religion, but the Church
of England.’

In opening the Liverpool Collegiate Institution, he pleaded earnestly for
Christian teaching.  ‘If you could erect a system,’ he said, ‘which
presents to man all branches of knowledge save the one that is essential,
you would only be building up a tower of Babel, which, when you had
completed it, would be the more signal in its fall, and which would bury
those who had raised it in its ruins.  We believe that if you can take a
human being in his youth, and make him an accomplished man in natural
philosophy, in mathematics, or in the knowledge necessary for the
profession of a merchant, a lawyer, or a physician; that if in any or all
of these endowments you could form his mind—yes, if you could endow him
with the power and science of a Newton, and so send him forth, and if you
had concealed from him—or, rather, had not given him—a knowledge and love
of the Christian faith, he would go forth into the world, able, indeed,
with reference to those purposes of science, successful with the
accumulation of wealth for the multiplication of more, but poor and
miserable and blind and naked with reference to everything that
constitutes the true and sovereign purpose of our existence—nay, worse
with respect to the sovereign purpose than if he had still remained in
the ignorance which we all commiserate, and which it is the object of
this institute to assist in removing.’

But Mr. Gladstone was moving.  When Lord John Russell brought in a Bill
to admit Jews to Parliament, Mr. Gladstone supported it, though at one
time against it.

In 1850 Mr. Gladstone wrote a letter to Bishop Hampden, which threw a
good deal of light on his mental working.  He wrote: ‘Your lordship will
probably be surprised at receiving a letter from me.  The simple purport
of it is to discharge a debt of the smallest possible importance to you,
yet due, I think, from me, by expressing the regret with which I now look
back on my concurrence in a vote of the University of Oxford in the year
1836, condemnatory of some of your lordship’s publications.  I did not
take actual part in the vote, but, upon reference to a journal kept at
the time, I find that my absence was owing to an accident.  For a good
many years past I have found myself ill able to master books of an
abstract character, and I am far from presuming at this time to form a
judgment on the merits of any proposition then at issue.  I have learned,
indeed, that many things which in the forward precipitancy of my youth I
should have condemned are either in reality sound or lie within the just
bounds of such discussion as justly befits a University.  But that which
(after a delay due, I think, to the cares and pressing occupations of
political life) brought back to my mind the injustice of which I had
unconsciously been guilty in 1836 was my being called upon as a member of
the Council of King’s College in London to concur in a measure similar in
principle with respect to Mr. Maurice—that is to say, in a condemnation
couched in general terms, which really did not declare the point of
imputed guilt, and against which perfect innocence could have no defence.
I resisted to the best of my power, though ineffectually, the grievous
wrong done to Mr. Maurice, and urged that the charges should be made
distinct, that all the best means of investigation should be brought to
bear on them, ample opportunity given for defence, and a reference then
made, if needful, to the Bishop in his proper capacity of layman, as the
Council were inexorable.  It was only, as I have said, after mature
reflection that I came to perceive the bearing of the case on that of
1836, and to find that by my resistance I had condemned myself.  I then
lamented that on that occasion, now so remote, I had not felt and acted
in a different manner.  I beg your lordship to accept this, the
expression of my cordial regret.’  Dr. Hampden had published certain
lectures which afterwards were strongly objected to by the Tractarian
party, whose triumph led to a good deal of bitterness, hard to understand
now.

Again, in March, 1865, when Mr. Dillwyn moved that ‘the present position
of the Irish Church is unsatisfactory, and calls for the earliest
attention of Her Majesty’s Government,’ Mr. Gladstone replied that they
were not prepared to deny the abstract truth of the former part of the
resolution, while they could not accept the resolution.  The Irish Church
as she then stood was in a false position.  She ministered only to one
eighth or one ninth of the community.  The debate was adjourned, and not
resumed during the remainder of the session; but the speech of the
Chancellor of the Exchequer caused great excitement, and Mr. (afterwards
Chief Justice) Whiteside promptly denounced it as fatal to the
Established Church of Ireland.  Sir Stafford Northcote wrote: ‘Gladstone
made a terrible long stride in his downward progress last night, and
denounced the Irish Church in a way that shows how by-and-by he will deal
not only with it, but the Church of England, too . . . was evidently
annoyed that his colleagues had decided on opposing Dillwyn’s motion.  He
laid down the doctrine that the tithes were national property. . . .  It
is plain that he must hold that the tithe of Wales, where the Dissenters
are in a minority, does not properly belong to the Church; and by-and-by
we shall find that he will carry the principle a great deal further.  It
is sad to see what he is coming to.’

Tory suspicion soon found a vent; an election was at hand, and Mr.
Gladstone’s seat for Oxford University was in danger.  As early as 1861
the question of his retirement had been mooted.  In that year he wrote to
the Rector of Exeter College: ‘I have never forgotten the ties which bind
me to my kind and good-natured supporters in the University, and no
prospect elsewhere could induce me to quit them, unless I could think
that at a juncture like this they might, with every prospect of success,
support a candidate who would fill my place to their full and general
satisfaction. . . .  To quit Oxford under any circumstances would be to
me a most sad, even if it ever became a prudent and necessary, measure.’

As a further illustration of Mr. Gladstone’s Liberal opinions, and his
unfitness for Oxford, I quote from a letter of his to Bishop Wilberforce
on Mr. Hadfield’s proposal in the House of Commons to abolish the
declaration made by Mayors that they would not use their office against
the Established Church.  ‘As I apprehend the matter, no one is obliged to
take this declaration at all.  I took it myself last year, as Elder
Brother of the Trinity House, in which I have no duty whatever to
discharge, except, I believe, to appoint an “almsbody” once in five or
ten years.  As Chancellor of the Exchequer I have not taken it.  An
annual Act of Indemnity passes with your consent to dispense with it, and
all who choose avail themselves of the dispensation.  I put it to you
that this declaration ought not to be maintained upon the Statute Book.
If it is right to require of certain persons that they should declare
something on behalf of the Established Church, the law, and not the
individual, should define who those persons should be.  An established
legal _præmunire_ of self-exception is fatal to the law.  If you are
right in saying (which I have never heard elsewhere) that men wish to
escape the declaration in order that they may carry their municipal
paraphernalia in state to Dissenting chapels, it is plain that they can
do it now, and therefore the declaration cannot be maintained on the
ground that it prevents them, for it does not.  If I am told that the
mere abstract existence of such a declaration, counteracted as it is by
the indemnity, deters the flesh and blood of Dissenting Mayors from such
a use of the _paraphernalia_, such a reply appears to me fanciful.  In
short, if this Bill is not to be supported, it appears to me better to
profess thorough-going exclusiveness at once, and to say that nothing
shall be yielded except to force, for that is what the whole matter comes
to. . . .  It is quite obvious that if the consideration of these
measures is to be approached in such a frame of mind, we shall be doing
in our day simply what Eldon and Inglis did in theirs.  I must say that
is not my idea of my stewardship.’

Again, he writes to the Bishop: ‘The policy of the Church as an
establishment to my mind is plain.  She should rest on her possessions
and her powers, parting with none of them, except for equivalents in
another currency, or upon full consideration of _pros_ and _cons_; but
outside of these she should avoid all points of sore contact with
Dissenters.  Each one of them is a point at which she as a dead mass rubs
upon the living flesh, and stirs the hostility of its owner.  It is no
less due to her own interests to share them than it is to justice as
regards the Dissenter to surrender these points—if surrender that is to
be called which is so unmixedly to her advantage.’

In 1865 the Oxford University election resulted in the loss by Mr.
Gladstone of his seat.  The opposition to him was headed by Archdeacon
Denison, on account of his conduct on the Education Question.  Mr.
Gladstone was defeated by Mr. Hardy, but he was defeated by those members
of the constituency who had the least interest in education.  Nearly all
the professors, tutors, and lecturers voted in the minority, but were
outnumbered by the country clergy.  ‘Of course,’ writes Bishop
Wilberforce to Mr. Gladstone, ‘if half of these men had known what I know
of your real devotion to our Church, that would have outweighed their
hatred to a Government which gave Waldegrave to Carlisle, and Baring to
Durham, and the youngest Bishop on the Bench to York, and supported
Westbury in denying the faith of our Lord.  But they could not be made to
understand the truth, and have inflicted on the University and the Church
the gross indignity of rejecting the best, noblest, and truest son of
each, in order to punish Shaftesbury’—supposed to be Palmerston’s
Bishop-maker—‘and Westbury.  You were too great for them.’

Mr. Gladstone’s reply was as follows:

‘Do not conceal from yourself that my hands are very much weakened.  It
is only as representing Oxford that a man whose opinions are disliked and
suspected could expect or could have a title to be heard.  I look upon
myself now as a person wholly extraneous on one great class of questions;
with respect to legislative and Cabinet measures, I am a unit.  I have
had too much of personal collision with Westbury to be a fair judge in
his case, but in your condemnation of him as respects attacks on
Christian doctrines do not forget either what coadjutors he has had or
with what pitiful and lamentable indifference not only the Christian
public, but so many of the clergy—so many of the warmest
religionists—looked on.  Do not join with others in praising me because I
am not angry, only sorry, and that deeply. . . .  There have been two
great deaths or transmigrations of spirit in my political career—one very
slow, the breaking of ties with my original party; the other very short
and sharp, the breaking of my tie with Oxford.  There will probably be a
third, and no more.’

In a subsequent letter Mr. Gladstone states to the Bishop his fixed
determination never to take any step to raise himself ‘to a higher level
in official life; and this not on grounds of Christian self-denial, which
would hardly apply, but on the double ground, first, of my total
ignorance of my capacity, bodily or mental; and secondly, perhaps I might
say specially, because I am certain that the fact of my taking it would
seal my doom in taking it.’  The Bishop and Mr. Gladstone seem ever to
have been on the most confidential terms.

In a subsequent debate on Church rates Mr. Gladstone, while opposing an
abstract resolution on the subject, declared that he felt as strongly as
anyone the desirability of settling the question.  The evils attending
the present system were certainly enormous, and it was a fact that we had
deviated from the original intention of the law, which was not to oppose
a mere uncompensated burden on anyone, but a burden from which everyone
bearing it should receive a benefit, so that while each member of the
community was bound to contribute his quota to the Church, every member
of the Church was entitled to go to the churchwardens and demand a free
place to worship his Maker.  The case then was, especially in towns, that
the centre and best parts of the church were occupied by pews exclusively
for the middle classes, while the labouring classes were jealously
excluded from every part of sight and hearing in the churches, and were
treated in a manner which it was most painful to reflect upon.

Sir George Lewis predicted that the death of Peel would have the effect
upon Gladstone of removing a weight from a spring, and the worthy Baronet
judged correctly.  ‘He will come forward more and more, and take more
part in discussion.  The general opinion is that Gladstone will give up
his Free Trade and become leader of the Protectionists.’  It was not so;
Mr. Gladstone had been a puzzle and wonder to his contemporaries.  It
puzzled the gigantic intellect of a Brougham to understand, not why Mr.
Gladstone gave up office when Sir Robert Peel proposed to increase the
grant to Maynooth, but Mr. Gladstone’s explanation of his conduct.  Mrs.
Charlotte Wynne, no superficial observer, wrote: ‘Mr. Gladstone has been
given two offices to keep him quiet, by giving him too much to do to
prevent his troubling his head about the Church; but,’ adds the lady, ‘I
know it will be in vain, for to a speculative mind like his theology is a
far more inviting and extensive field than any that is offered by the
Board of Trade.’  This trait of his character especially came out when he
opposed the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, hurried through Parliament in a
panic because the Pope had given English titles to his Bishops in
England.  Mr. Gladstone ever loved to talk of theology, and in 1870 we
find him in Dr. Parker’s pulpit in the City Temple describing
preachers—especially Dr. Newman, who, with his deep piety and remarkable
gifts of mind, he described as an object of great interest, and Dr.
Chalmers.  Their very idiosyncrasies, Mr. Gladstone argued, were in their
favour.  In 1870, when Mr. Gladstone went to Mill Hill to address the
scholars at the Dissenting Grammar School there, he ended with an appeal
to the lads above all things to strive after Christian growth and
perfection.  Early Mr. Gladstone learned to give up his prejudices
against Dissenters.  Often has he confessed that they are the most
efficient supporters and source of strength.  Miss Martineau was a
Dissenter, yet he went out of his way to offer her a pension which she
declined.  To hear Mr. Gladstone read the lessons, all the country round
flocked to Hawarden Church when the owner of the hall was at home.
People laughed when Lord Beaconsfield on a memorable occasion declared
that he was on the side of the angels.  When Mr. Gladstone spoke on
religious topics, people listened to him with respect, because they felt
that in all his utterances he was sincere.  Of his Christian liberality
of sentiment we have a further illustration when he and his son went to
hear Mr. Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher.  The event is thus
recorded; it took place in the beginning of the year 1882: ‘On Sunday
evening last Mr. Gladstone and his eldest son were present at the service
in Mr. Spurgeon’s tabernacle, and occupied Mrs. Spurgeon’s pew.  Both
before and after the service these distinguished gentlemen were together
in the pastor’s vestry.  Mr. Gladstone shook hands heartily with the
elders and deacons present, and expressed himself highly delighted with
the service.  The visit was strictly private, and Mr. Gladstone and his
son walked back to Downing Street.’  Many were the varying comments on
the event.  In the chief Opposition paper a writer recalled the fact that
many years ago Mr. Spurgeon expressed a wish that the Church of England
might grow worse in order that she soon might be got rid of.  He then
argued that if Mr. Gladstone’s sympathy with Mr. Spurgeon is what his
presence at the Tabernacle would imply, we have a satisfactory
explanation of the unsatisfactory character of Mr. Gladstone’s
ecclesiastical appointments.  Mr. Spurgeon is a foe to the Church; Mr.
Gladstone goes to hear him, therefore he is a foe of the Church.  Mr.
Gladstone, being a foe of the Church, appoints as Bishops, Deans and
Canons the men who will do the Church most mischief.  Of course, the
_Saturday Review_ did its best to make Mr. Gladstone ridiculous in
connection with the affair.  ‘Some jealousy may be aroused in rival
Bethels by this announcement, which is, we believe, the first of its
kind.  But it may possibly be that Mr. Gladstone is going to take a
course, and that he will distribute the steps of that course equally
among the various tabernacles of his stanchest supporters.  The battle of
the Constitution is to be fought out in the precincts of Ebenezer, and
Ebenezer must be accordingly secured.  Mr. Gladstone’s plan is
unquestionably a wise one.’  The _Saturday Review_ wanted to know what
made Mr. Gladstone shake hands so heartily with the deacons.  ‘A
proceeding somewhat similar to Mr. Perkes’s plan for winning an
election.’  Perhaps it is in one of Mr. Gladstone’s letters to Bishop
Wilberforce that we get a clear idea of his view of the Church of
England.  In 1857 he wrote: ‘It is neither Disestablishment nor even loss
of dogmatic truth which I look upon as the greatest danger before us, but
it is the loss of those elementary principles of right and wrong on which
Christianity must itself be built.  The present position of the Church of
England is gradually approximating to the Erastian theory that the
business of the Establishment is to teach all sorts of doctrines, and to
provide Christian ordinances by way of comfort for all sorts of people,
to be used at their own option.  It must become, if uncorrected, in lapse
of time a thoroughly immoral position.  Her case seems to be like that of
Cranmer—to be disgraced first and then burned.  Now, what I feel is that
the constitution of the Church provides the means of bringing controversy
to issue; not means that can be brought at all times to bear, but means
that are to be effectually, though less determinately, available for
preventing the general devastation of doctrine, either by a positive
heresy or by that thesis I have named above, worse than any heresy.
Considering that the constitution of the Church with respect to doctrine
is gradually growing into an offence to the moral sense of mankind, and
that the question is, Shall we get, if we can, the means of giving
expression to that mind? I confess that I cannot be repelled by fears
connected with the state of the Episcopal Bench from saying Yes.  Let me
have it if I can, for, regarding the Church as a privileged and endowed
body, no less than one with spiritual prerogatives, I feel these two
things—if the mind of those who rule and of those who compose the Church
is deliberately anti-Catholic, I have no right to seek a hiding place
within the pale of her possessions by keeping her in a condition of
voicelessness in which all are entitled to be there because none are.
That is, viewing her with respect to the enjoyment of her temporal
advantages, spiritually how can her life be saved by stopping her from
the exercise of functions essential to her condition?  It may be said she
is sick; wait till she is well.  My answer is, She is getting more and
more sick in regard to her own function of authoritatively declaring the
truth; let us see whether her being called upon so to declare it may not
be the remedy, or a remedy, at least.  I feel certain that the want of
combined and responsible ecclesiastical action is one of the main evils,
and that the regular duty of such action will tend to check the spirit of
individualism and to restore that belief in a Church we have almost
lost.’

Of colonial Bishops Mr. Gladstone had a high admiration.  In 1876 he
wrote: ‘It is indeed, I fear, true that a part—not the whole—of our
colonial episcopate have sunk below the level established for it
five-and-thirty years ago by the Bishops of those days.  But how high a
level it was! and how it lifted the entire heart of the Church of
England!’

Here it is as well to give some further particulars as to Mr. Gladstone’s
action with regard to Church matters.  In 1836 Mr. Gladstone left the
Church Pastoral Aid Society, of which he had become one of the
vice-presidents, in consequence of an attempt to introduce lay agency.
At all times he was ready to guard and vindicate the religious character
of his alma mater.  On one occasion Lord Palmerston had expressed a
reasonable dislike of a system which compelled the undergraduates ‘to go
from wine to prayers, and from prayers to wine.’  Mr. Gladstone, in
reply, said he had a better opinion of the undergraduates who had been so
lately his companions.  He did not believe that even in their most
convivial moments they were unfit to enter the house of prayer.  Mr.
Gladstone was one of a committee which met at the lodgings of Mr.
(afterwards Sir Thomas) Acland in Jermyn Street, which led to the
formation of Boards of Education for the different dioceses, and to the
establishment of training colleges, with the double aim of securing
religious education for the middle classes and the collegiate education
of the schoolmasters.

Mr. Gladstone’s ecclesiastical leanings soon brought him back to
Parliamentary life, in connection with Archbishop Tait’s Public Worship
Regulation Bill.  The grounds of his opposition he affirmed in the
following resolutions:

‘1.  That in proceeding to consider the grounds for the Regulation of
Public Worship this House cannot do otherwise than take into view the
lapse of more than two centuries since the enactment of the present
rubrics of the Common Prayer-Book of the Church of England; the multitude
of particulars combined in the conduct of Divine service under their
provisions; the doubt occasionally attaching to their interpretation, and
the number of points they are thought to have left undecided; the
diversities of local custom which under these circumstances have long
prevailed; and the unreasonableness of proscribing all varieties of
opinion and usage among the many thousands of congregations of the Church
distributed throughout the land.

‘2.  That this House is therefore reluctant to place in the hands of any
single Bishop—on the motion of one or more persons, however
defined—greatly increased facilities towards procuring an absolute ruling
of many points hitherto left open and reasonably allowing of diversity,
and thereby enforcing the establishment of an inflexible rule of
uniformity throughout the land, to the prejudice in matters indifferent
of the liberty now practically existing.

‘3.  That the House willingly acknowledges the great and exemplary
devotion of the clergy in general to their sacred calling, but is not on
that account the less disposed to guard against the indiscretions or
thirst for power of other individuals.

‘4.  That this House is therefore willing to lend its best assistance to
any measure recommended by adequate authority, with a view to provide
more effectual security against any neglect of, or departure from, strict
law which may give evidence of a design to alter, without the consent of
the nation, the spirit or the substance of revealed religion.

‘5.  That in the opinion of this House it is also to be desired that the
members of the Church having a legitimate interest in her services should
receive ample protection against precipitate and arbitrary changes of
established customs by the sole will of the clergyman and against the
wishes locally prevalent amongst them, and that such protection does not
appear to be afforded by the provisions of the Bill now before the House.

‘6.  That the House attaches a high value to the concurrence of Her
Majesty’s Government with the ecclesiastical authorities in the
initiative of legislation affecting the Established Church.’

In moving these resolutions, Mr. Gladstone’s speech was of the highest
interest and importance; ‘but never, perhaps, in his long career,’ writes
the biographer of Archbishop Tait, ‘did his eloquence so completely fail
to enlist the sympathy even of his own supporters, and the resolutions
were withdrawn.’  The Bill, opposed by Dr. Pusey on one side and Lord
Shaftesbury on the other, was carried in a modified form.  Eye-witnesses
have described the debate on the second reading: ‘The House, jaded with a
long and anxious sitting, was eager to divide.  A clear voice was heard
above the clamour.  It was Mr. Hussey Vivian, an old and tried friend of
Mr. Gladstone.  He rose to warn him not to persist in his amendments; not
twenty men on his own side of the House would follow him into the Lobby.
Already deft lieutenants, mournful of aspect, had brought slips of paper
to their chief, fraught, it seemed, with no good tidings.  When the
Speaker put the question, there was no challenge for a division.  Amid a
roar of mixed cheers and laughter, the six resolutions melted away into
darkness.’

Sir William Harcourt was one of Mr. Gladstone’s principal opponents in
the course of the debate.  In Committee there was rather an amusing
passage of arms between Mr. Gladstone and his old Attorney-General.  Sir
William espoused the Bill strongly, and implored Mr. Disraeli to come to
the rescue.  ‘We have,’ he said, ‘a leader of the House who is proud of
the House of Commons, and of whom the House of Commons is proud.’  A
provision had been introduced into the Bill which would have overthrown
the Bishops’ right of veto on proceedings to be instituted in the New
Court.  This provision Mr. Gladstone vehemently opposed, and quoted from
the canonist Van Espero.  Sir William ridiculed the quotations, and
accused Mr. Gladstone at the eleventh hour of having come back to wreck
the Bill.  Two days after he again attacked Mr. Gladstone, and quoted
authorities in support of his views.  Mr. Gladstone’s reply was complete.

At this time Mr. Gladstone was much occupied with his favourite
ecclesiastical subjects.  In an article on ‘Ritual and Ritualism,’
contributed to the _Contemporary Review_, he contended for the lawfulness
and expediency of moderate ritual in the services of the Church of
England.  He returned to Church questions in a second article entitled
‘Is the Church of England worth Preserving?’—a question which, of course,
he answered in the affirmative.  In the course of his remarks he created
a perfect storm of indignation on the part of the Roman Catholics.  To
meet this Mr. Gladstone published a pamphlet called ‘The Vatican Decrees
in their Bearing on Civil Allegiance.’  One hundred and twenty thousand
copies of the pamphlet were sold in a few weeks, and the press was filled
with replies.  Mr. Gladstone returned to the charge in a pamphlet
entitled ‘Vaticanism,’ in which he contended that in theory the Papal
Infallibility was inconsistent with the requirements of civil allegiance.
In connection with this subject, let it be briefly stated that in 1880,
when Mr. Gladstone returned to power, one of the first things to be
settled was the Dissenters’ Burial Bill, a subject first brought before
the House of Commons by Sir Morton Peto in 1861.  The Bill was finally
piloted through the House of Commons by Mr. Osborne Morgan, Judge
Advocate.  Perhaps by this time Mr. Gladstone had become tired of
ecclesiastical difficulties.  In a letter to the Lord Chancellor
respecting fresh legislation on the part of the Archbishop of Canterbury,
Mr. Gladstone wrote: ‘The thing certainly could not be done by the
authority of the Cabinet, were the Cabinet disposed to use it, of which
at present I can say nothing.’

About this time a church was built at Stroud Green, near Finsbury Park,
at a cost of £11,000, £8,000 of which was contributed by the parishioners
and their friends.  It was an Evangelical or Low church, but when, on the
incumbent’s retirement, Mr. Gladstone, claiming the presentation on
behalf of the Crown, thought fit to appoint as Vicar a clergyman whose
antecedents proved him to be commonly known as ritualistic, the
parishioners protested.  Petitions against Mr. Linklater’s appointment,
signed by 2,300 petitioners and members of the congregation, were
presented to Mr. Gladstone.  The following is a quotation from a letter
written by the late Vicar: ‘There is a very widespread anxiety through
the congregation that the church which their money has built should not
pass into the hands of one who does not hold the same Evangelical views,
or favour the same simple ritual to which they have been accustomed.’
The Bishop also appealed and remonstrated; all was in vain.  On August
23, 1885, Mr. Linklater was inducted to the charge of the parish.  A
majority of the seat-holders at once relinquished their seats; others, we
are told, have since followed their example, and some who remained in
hope of better things are obliged to acknowledge that their hopes are
disappointed.  The services most prized by the congregation have been
discontinued, and other services introduced which are believed to be
unscriptural, contrary to the laws ecclesiastical, and opposed to the
plain directions of the Book of Common Prayer.



CHAPTER VI.
MR. GLADSTONE AND THE DIVORCE BILL.


In 1857 there occurred a memorable passage of arms between Mr. Gladstone
and Sir Richard Bethell—afterwards Lord Westbury—on the subject of
divorce.  More than one Commission had reported in favour of establishing
a separate court, so that the dissolution of marriage might be effected
by judicial separation instead of a special Act of Parliament.  By this
change the expense incident to the existing procedure would be materially
reduced, and the remedy which lay within the reach of the wealthy would
be extended to the poor.  As the law stood, the privilege of obtaining a
relief from the marriage tie depended on a mere property qualification.
If a man had £1,000 to spend, he might rid himself of an unfaithful wife;
if not, he must remain her husband.

The absurdity of the law was well put by Mr. Justice Maule.  A hawker who
had been convicted of bigamy urged in extenuation that his wife had been
unfaithful to him and deserted him, and that was why he had to take a
second wife.  In passing sentence, the judge, addressing the prisoner,
said: ‘I will tell you what you ought to have done under the
circumstances, and if you say you did not know, I must tell you that the
law conclusively presumes you did.  You should have instructed your
attorney to bring an action against the seducer of your wife for damages;
that would have cost you about £100.  Having succeeded thus far, you
should have employed a proctor, and instituted a suit in the
Ecclesiastical Court for a divorce _a mensâ et thoro_; that would have
cost you £200 or £300 more.  When you had obtained a divorce _a mensâ et
thoro_, you had only to obtain a private Act for a divorce _a vinculo
matrimonii_.  The Bill might possibly have been opposed in all its stages
in both Houses of Parliament, and altogether these proceedings would have
cost you £1,000.  You will probably tell me that you never had a tenth of
that sum, but that makes no difference.  Sitting here as an English
judge, it is my duty to tell you that this is not a country in which
there is one law for the rich and another for the poor.  You will be
imprisoned for one day.’

The long-postponed Bill was introduced into the Lords, where it passed
after unflagging opposition from Bishop Wilberforce.  July 24 was the
date fixed for its second reading in the House of Commons, but no sooner
had the Attorney-General (Bethell) risen to explain the Bill than Mr.
Henley interposed with a motion that it be read again in a month.  He was
supported in this unusual proceeding in a speech of great length and
energy by Mr. Gladstone.  The motion was negatived by a large majority.
On July 30 the Attorney-General made his proposed statement.  In the
course of his speech he pointedly alluded to Mr. Gladstone as a great
master of eloquence and subtle reasoning.  ‘If that right hon. gentleman
had lived—thank Heaven he had not—in the Middle Ages, when invention was
racked to find terms of eulogium for the _subtilissimi doctores_, how
great would have been his reputation!’  The case against the Bill was
presented with the most telling force by Mr. Gladstone.  He began by
urging the strong feeling against the Bill, and the great danger of
precipitancy on legislating in such a House under Government pressure.
The Bill undertook to deal not only with the civil consequences and
responsibilities of marriage, but also to determine religious obligations
and to cancel the most solemn vows; while, though not invested with any
theological authority, it set itself up as a square and measure of the
consciences of men.  ‘I must confess,’ continued Mr. Gladstone, ‘that
there is no legend, there is no fiction, there is no speculation, however
wild, that I should not deem it rational to admit into my mind rather
than allow what I conceive to be one of the most degrading doctrines that
can be propounded to civilized men—namely, that the Legislature has power
to absolve a man from spiritual vows taken before God.’  Mr. Gladstone
met the assertion that the Bill made no change in the law, but merely
reduced to legislative form what had long had legislative effect, by a
direct negative.  The Bill carried divorce to the door of all men of all
classes, and was therefore to all intents as completely novel as if it
had no Parliamentary precedent.  Entering upon the theological arguments
under protest, as a discussion which could not properly be conducted in a
popular assembly, he adduced much historical testimony, particularly that
of the Primitive Christian Church, to refute the propositions of the
Attorney-General as to the solubility of marriage.  Coming down to the
Reformation, Mr. Gladstone forcibly summarized Sir Richard Bethell’s
argument, turning aside for a moment to interpolate an amusing personal
reference:

‘While I am mentioning my honourable and learned friend, it would be
ungrateful in me not to take notice of the undeservedly kind language in
which he thanked Heaven that I had not lived and died in the Middle Ages.
My hon. and learned friend complimented me on the subtlety of my
understanding, and it is a compliment of which I feel the more the force
since it comes from a gentleman who possesses such a plain,
straightforward, John-Bull-like character of mind—_rusticus abnormis
sapiens crassaque Minerve_.  Therefore, and by the force of contrast, I
feel the compliment to be ten times more valuable.  But I must say, if I
am guilty of that subtlety of mind of which he accuses me, I think that
there is no one cause in the history of my life to which it can be so
properly attributed as to my having been for two or three pleasant years
the colleague and co-operator with my hon. and learned friend.  And if
there was a class of those _subtilissimi doctores_ which was open to
competition, and if I were a candidate for admission and heard that my
hon. and learned friend was so likewise, I assure him that I would not
stand against him on any account whatever.’

Mr. Gladstone’s next sally was received with much applause.  He contended
that the Attorney-General had surpassed himself in liberality, for he
gave a ninth beatitude: ‘Blessed is the man who trusts the received
version’—a doctrine much more in keeping with the Middle Ages and those
_subtilissimi doctores_ than with the opinion of an Attorney-General of a
Liberal Government in the nineteenth century; that was, Blessed is he who
shuts his eyes, and does not attempt to discover historical truth; who
discards the aims of legitimate criticism; who, in order to save himself
trouble and pass an important Bill without exertion, determines not to
make use of the faculties that God has given him, and throws discredit
upon scholarship and upon the University of which he is a conspicuous
ornament, by refusing to recognise anything but the received version.
Referring to the social aspect of the question, Mr. Gladstone with
glowing eloquence deplored the change which the Bill would work in the
marriage state, as shaking the great idea of the marriage ceremony in the
minds of the people, marking the first stage on a road of which they knew
nothing, except that it was different from that of their forefathers, and
carried them back towards the state in which Christianity found the
heathenism of man.  In conclusion, he declared that he resisted the
measure because it offended his own conscientious feelings; it was a
retrograde step, pregnant with the most dangerous consequences to their
social interests; it was not desired by the people of this country; it
contained a proposal harsh and unjust towards the ministers of religion,
and involved an insult to religion itself; and, lastly, because it was
brought forward at a time when it was impossible to bring the mind of the
country and the House to an adequate consideration of its magnitude and
importance.  Although he might be entirely powerless in arresting its
progress, he was determined, as far as it depended upon him, that he
would be responsible for no part of the consequences of a measure
fraught, as he believed it to be, with danger to the highest interests of
religion and the morality of the people.  The speech held the House
spellbound, and its conclusion was greeted by prolonged cheering.  It was
felt that all that could be said against the measure had been said.
After a forcible reply from Sir Richard Bethell, in which he addressed
himself exclusively to the argument of Mr. Gladstone, who had, he said,
on that occasion transcended himself, and, like Aaron’s rod, swallowed up
all the rest of the opponents of the Bill, the second reading was carried
by a majority of 111.  It was time Mr. Gladstone exerted himself; he had
lost ground last session as being unpractical.

In the October of that year Bishop Wilberforce was at Hawarden, and had
much talk with Gladstone.  He said: ‘I greatly feel being turned out of
office.  I saw great things to do; I longed to do them.  I am losing the
best years of my life out of my natural service, yet I have never ceased
to rejoice that I am not in office with Palmerston.  When I have seen the
tricks, the shufflings, he daily has recourse to, as to his business, I
rejoice not to sit on the Treasury Bench with him.’

Of course, the Divorce Bill intensified his dislike to the Palmerston
regime.  Never was there a severer fight than that which took place in
Committee.  Clause by clause, line by line, almost word by word, the
progress of the measure was challenged by an acute and determined
opposition.  One of the most important amendments was made by Lord John
Manners, to give jurisdiction to local courts in cases of judicial
separation.  A still more important amendment was proposed with the
object of extending to the wife the same right of divorce as was given to
the husband.  On this proposal Mr. Gladstone made a telling speech,
founding his argument on the equality of the sexes in the highest
relations of life.  A further amendment in the same direction was
attacked with such ardour by Mr. Gladstone, Lord John Manners, and Mr.
Henly, that at length the Attorney-General claimed the right, as having
official charge of the Bill, to be treated with some consideration, and
then he carried the war into the enemy’s country so as to bring Mr.
Gladstone again to his feet.  He complained bitterly of Sir Richard
Bethell’s charges of inconsistency and insincerity—‘charges which,’ he
said, ‘have not only proceeded from his mouth, but gleamed from those
eloquent eyes of his which have turned continuously on me for the last
ten minutes.’  He commented severely on the Attorney-General’s statement
of his duty with regard to the Bill.  It was pushed by him through the
House as a Ministerial duty; he received it from the Cabinet, for whom he
considered it his duty to hew wood and draw water.  In the course of the
discussion of this clause, which occupied ten hours, Mr. Gladstone made
upwards of twenty speeches, some of them of considerable length.  He was
on his legs every three minutes, in a white heat of excitement.  Mr.
Gladstone is stated to have told Lord Palmerston that the Bill should not
be carried till the Greek Calends, and in reply to the question put to
him in the lobby by Sir Richard Bethell—‘Is it to be peace or
war?’—fiercely replied, ‘War, Mr. Attorney—war even to the knife.’
‘Gladstone,’ he wrote to his wife, ‘gives a personal character to the
debates.’  One of Mr. Gladstone’s amendments—to the effect that clergymen
having conscientious objections to remarrying of divorced persons were to
be exempt from any penalty for refusing to solemnize such marriages—which
he was unable to move on account of a domestic calamity, was put forward
by Sir W. Heathcote and accepted by the Government, and the long and
bitter battle came to an end on August 31, when the third reading passed
without a division.

Writing as late as 1887, Mr. Gladstone contends that the Divorce Bill was
an error.  ‘My objection,’ writes Mr. Gladstone, ‘to the Divorce Bill was
very greatly sharpened by its introduction of the principle of
inequality.  But there is behind this the fact that I have no belief
whatever in the operation of Parliamentary enactments upon a vow—a case
which appears to me wholly different from that of the Coronation Oath.  I
think it would have been better to attempt civil legislation only, as in
the case of the Deceased Wife’s Sister Bill.  Lord Westbury and I were
pitted in conflict by the Divorce Bill; but he was the representative of
a prevailing public opinion, as well as of an Administration—I of an
opinion which had become isolated and unpopular.  I remember hearing with
some consolation from Lord Wensleydale that he was against the principle
of the Bill.’  It is but fair to add that, after the Act had passed, Mr.
Gladstone, with the generous frankness which distinguishes all great men,
wrote a letter to the Attorney-General, expressing regret for any
language he had used during debates on the Bill which might have given
pain.  Sir Richard used to say during the course of the debates that Mr.
Gladstone was the only debater in the House of Commons whose subtlety of
intellect and didactic skill made it a pleasure to cross swords with him.



CHAPTER VII.
POLITICS AGAIN.


When Parliament met in 1859, an amendment was moved to the Address in a
maiden speech from Lord Hartington, which was carried after a three
nights’ debate, Mr. Gladstone voting with the Government.  Lord Derby and
his colleagues instantly resigned.  A new Government was formed—Lord
Palmerston Premier, Lord John Russell leader of the House of Commons,
with Mr. Gladstone as Chancellor of the Exchequer.  A spirited opposition
to Mr. Gladstone’s re-election for the University took place.  Lord
Chandos—afterwards the Duke of Buckingham—came forward as the
Conservative candidate.  In an address put forward on his behalf by
Professor Mansel, it was stated: ‘By his acceptance of office Mr.
Gladstone must now be considered as having given his adherence to the
Liberal party as at present reconstructed, and as approving of the policy
of those who overthrew Lord Derby’s Government at the late division.  By
his vote on that division Mr. Gladstone expressed his confidence in the
Administration of Lord Derby.  By accepting office he now expresses his
confidence in the administration of Lord Derby’s opponent and successor.’
In a letter to Dr. Hawkins, the Provost of Oriel, Mr. Gladstone wrote:
‘Various differences of opinion, both on foreign and domestic matters,
separated me during great part of the Administration of Lord Palmerston
from a body of men with the majority of whom I had acted in perfect
harmony under Lord Aberdeen.  I promoted the vote of the House of
Commons, which in February led to the downfall of that Ministry.  Such
having been the case, I thought it my clear duty to support, as far as I
was able, the Government of Lord Derby.  Accordingly, on the various
occasions during the existence of the late Parliament when they were
seriously threatened with danger of embarrassment, I found myself, like
many other independent members, lending them such assistance as was in my
power.’

The Oxford election terminated in Mr. Gladstone’s triumph over his
opponent.  It is curious to note how entirely Mr. Gladstone concurred
with Lord John Russell.  He worked hard in the Cabinet and in Parliament
for his lordship’s Reform Bill, and regarded with aversion Lord
Palmerston’s fortifications.  In a letter to Her Majesty we read:
‘Viscount Palmerston hopes to be able to overcome his objections, but if
that should prove impossible, however great the loss to the Government by
the retirement of Mr. Gladstone, it would be better to lose Mr. Gladstone
than to run the risk of losing Portsmouth or Plymouth.’  When his
colleague’s scruples had been overcome, Lord Palmerston wrote to his
Sovereign: ‘Mr. Gladstone told Lord Palmerston this evening that he
wished it to be understood that, though acquiescing in the step now taken
about the fortifications, he kept himself free to take such course as he
might think fit upon the subject next year; to which Lord Palmerston
consented.  That course will probably be the same which Mr. Gladstone
took last year—namely, ineffectual opposition and ultimate acquiescence.’

Mr. Gavan Duffy has given us a correct picture of Gladstone as he
appeared to him about this time: ‘Mr. Gladstone was not yet the official
leader of the Peelites, but he was the most noteworthy of them, and
attracted close observation.  He was habitually grave, it seemed to me,
and spoke as if he uttered oracles; yet he left the impression that his
speeches were not only improvised, but that the process of adopting a
conclusion was not always complete when he rose to speak.  But the vigour
and grace of his rhetoric put criticism to flight.  The House, which
relished the persiflage of Palmerston, thought Gladstone too serious, and
resented a little, I think, the subdued tone of contemptuous superiority
in which he addressed the leader of the House.  He was as smooth as silk,
but there was manifestly a reserve of vehement and angry passion ready to
break out when it was provoked.’

In a book just published by Mr. Hogan we get a glance at Mr. Gladstone as
Colonial Secretary.  In Queensland a town still bears his name.  The town
of Gladstone, which is now within the limits of North Queensland, has
been somewhat overshadowed by Rockhampton, which owes its existence to
the gold fever which, at the time when folk began to talk of ‘North
Australia,’ nobody foresaw.  The period, indeed, seems to us now
curiously remote, though it is still fresh in the mind of the statesman
whose name was bestowed upon the capital of the intended new colony.  So
much, at least, appears from the prefatory note addressed to the author:

    ‘DEAR MR. HOGAN,

    ‘My recollections of “Gladstone” were most copious, and are now
    nearly half a century old.

    ‘The period, December, 1845, when I became Colonial Secretary, was
    one when the British Government had begun to feel nonplussed by the
    question of Transportation.  Under the pressure of this difficulty,
    Lord Stanley, or the Colonial Office of his day, framed a plan for
    the establishment, as an experiment, of a pure penal colony without
    free settlers (at least, at the outset).

    ‘When I came in, the plan might have been arrested in the event of
    disapproval; but the Government were, I think, committed, and I had
    only to put the last hand to the scheme.

    ‘So it went on towards execution.

    ‘In July, 1846, the Government was changed, and Lord Grey succeeded
    me.  He said he would make none but necessary changes in pending
    measures.  He, however, annihilated this scheme.  For that I do not
    know that he is to be severely blamed.  But he went on and dealt with
    the question in such a way as to produce a mess—I think more than
    one—far worse than any that he found.  The result was the total and
    rather violent and summary extinction of the entire system.

    ‘Here I lost sight of the fate of “Gladstone.”  It has my good
    wishes, but I have nothing else to give.

    ‘Yours very faithful,

                                                        ‘W. E. GLADSTONE.’

Mr. Hogan deals with the decline and fall of transportation.  It had
ceased in New South Wales before Mr. Gladstone came into office.  It had
broken down also in Norfolk Island, and the hideous practice in Van
Diemen’s Land, known as ‘the probation system,’ was causing considerable
excitement.  It was at this time that Lord Stanley conceived the notion
of a new penal colony in North Australia, and it fell to his successor,
Mr. Gladstone, to give it form and substance.  Mr. Hogan does not spare
Mr. Gladstone’s political errors; he is, on the contrary, rather given to
dwelling upon them with an acerbity which is to be regretted.  We all
know that the venerable statesman, who has now well-nigh outlived the
bitterness of party rancour, had in those days much to learn.  He was
undoubtedly, at one time, of opinion that the right of the mother country
to found penal settlements at the Antipodes was incontestable; but this
view was then shared by most politicians outside the thoughtful circle of
the Philosophical Radicals.  It is clear, moreover, that Mr. Gladstone
came to the subject of transportation with a sincere conviction that it
was possible to convert criminals into good citizens, whose presence on
the soil would be, not a curse, but an advantage.  There is a remarkable
State paper in the shape of a memorandum addressed to Sir Eardley Wilmot,
who had been sent out specially to inaugurate the probation system.  In
this, after commenting with the enthusiasm natural to a young statesman
on the practicability of reformation, he goes on to say: ‘Considerations
yet more sacred enhance the importance of it, for it is impossible to
forget in how large a proportion of cases these unhappy people have every
claim on our sympathy which the force of temptation, adverse
circumstances of life, ignorance and neglected education, can afford to
those who have incurred the penalty of the law.’

But our colonists, no doubt, saw in such utterances only a pharisaism
which overlooks the fact that this is pre-eminently a sort of charity
which should begin at home.  Mr. Gladstone, as appears from his
despatches, was profoundly dissatisfied with the way in which Sir Eardley
Wilmot—who was an old man, with probably an old-fashioned aversion to new
ideas—performed, or, rather, did not perform, his duties, and finally
dismissed him.  Unfortunately, at the same time he addressed him in a
private or ‘secret’ letter, in which he referred to certain rumours that
had reached him of irregularities in Sir Eardley’s private life, which,
as they were subsequently disproved, and Sir Eardley died during the
controversy, awakened much sympathy.  Mr. Hogan gives great prominence to
this old scandal, and there can be no doubt that Sir Eardley was unjustly
treated; but it is manifest that it was not the malicious rumours, but
the neglect of duty, that was the ground of his dismissal.  Mr.
Gladstone’s complaint is:

‘You have under your charge and responsibility many thousand convicts
formed into probation parties, or living together at Government depots.
It is only with extreme rarity that you advert in your despatches to the
moral condition of these men.  You have discussed the economical
questions connected with their maintenance or their coercion, and you
have even entered into argument, though in a manner too little
penetrating, upon their offences against the laws.  But into the inner
world of their mental, moral and spiritual state, either you have not
made it a part of your duty to examine, or else—which for the present
issue is, I apprehend, conclusive—you have not placed Her Majesty’s
Government in possession of the results.’

It is curious to note Mr. Gladstone’s unpopularity in the Colonies.  When
Sir Henry Parkes, the New South Wales Premier, visited England, he
writes: ‘I had a long conversation with Mr. Gladstone, in the course of
which I told him that he had been often charged in Australia, both in the
newspapers and in speeches, with being indifferent, if not inimical, to
the preservation of the connection between the colonies and England.  He
was visibly surprised at what I told him, and said I was authorized to
say that he had never at any time favoured such view, and that I might
challenge any person making the charge to produce proof in support of
it.’  On another occasion Sir Henry Parkes writes: ‘We talked for two
hours chiefly on Australian topics, and I recollect very vividly his
animated inquiry as to whether many of the young men of the country
entered the Church.’

The Budget of 1860 was distinguished mainly for two things—the Commercial
Treaty with France, initiated by Mr. Cobden, and the Taxes on Knowledge.

In the debate on this subject in 1852, Mr. Gladstone, then in opposition,
intimated that, though he should like to see the paper duty repealed when
the proper time had come, if books and newspapers were dearer than they
ought to be, the blame was not so much with fiscal requirements as with
the trades unionism, which wickedly raised the wages of compositors and
others to a level far above their deserts.  If the working-classes wanted
cheap literature, he thought that they had a sufficient remedy in their
own hands, as they themselves could cheapen the labour by which the
literature was produced (quoted from Fox Bourne’s ‘History of the
Newspaper Press’).

In the following year Mr. Gladstone, after the Government had been
beaten, as a compromise, proposed to reduce the advertisement duty from
one shilling and sixpence to sixpence.  But he was again defeated, and
the tax, in spite of him, was abolished altogether.  The final stage was
reached in 1861, when the paper duty was abolished, Mr. Gladstone being
Chancellor of the Exchequer, after the Bill had been defeated in the
House of Lords.  ‘It entailed,’ wrote Mr. Gladstone in the _Nineteenth
Century_, ‘the severest Parliamentary struggle in which I have ever been
engaged.’  The repeal of the paper duty was the arrival of a new era in
literature—of the penny newspaper, of the popular magazine, of cheap
reprints of all our great standard authors.

On February 15 Mr. Greville writes: ‘When I left London a fortnight ago
the world was anxiously expecting Gladstone’s speech, in which he was to
put the Commercial Treaty and the Budget before the world.  His own
confidence, and that of most of his colleagues, in his success was
unbounded, but many inveighed bitterly against the treaty.  Clarendon
shook his head, Overstone pronounced against the treaty, the _Times_
thundered against it, and there is little doubt that it was unpopular,
and becoming more so every day.  Then came Gladstone’s unlucky illness,
which compelled him to put off his expose, and made it doubtful whether
he would not be physically disabled from doing justice to the subject.
His doctor says he ought to have taken two months’ rest instead of two
days.  However, at the end of his two days’ delay he came forth and,
_consensus omnium_, achieved one of the greatest triumphs that the House
of Commons ever witnessed.  Everybody, I have heard from home, admits
that it was a magnificent display, not to be surpassed in ability of
execution, and that he carried the House of Commons with him.  I can well
believe it, for when I read the report of it next day it carried me along
with it likewise.’  The only parties not gratified were the Temperance
Reformers, who did not like the cheap Gladstone claret which was
immediately introduced at the dinner-tables, nor that clause of the new
Bill which was to give grocers licenses to sell the cheap wines of
France, and which was to make the fortune of the great house of Gilbey.

Lord Russell became a peer, and left Mr. Gladstone to fight the good
fight in the House of Commons, about this time.  Gladstone and Disraeli
were fully recognised as the leaders of their respective parties.  In the
life of Mr. Richard Redgrave, under the date of 1860, Mr. Redgrave gives
a description of Mr. Gladstone’s reply to Mr. Disraeli’s attack on the
French Treaty.  A friend who was present told him: ‘Mr. Gladstone was in
such a state of excitement that everyone dreaded an attack from him; that
his punishment of Mr. Disraeli was most ferocious.  He was like a
Cherokee Indian fighting; he first knocked down his adversary, then he
stamped upon him, then he got excited and danced on him; he scalped him,
and then took him between his finger and thumb like a miserable insect,
and looked at him, and held him up to contempt.’

Mr. Macarthy’s judicious criticism may be quoted here.

‘It is idle to contend that between Gladstone and Disraeli any love was
lost, and that many people thought it was unhandsome on the part of Mr.
Gladstone not to attend his great rival’s obsequies, and to bury his
animosities in the grave.  In 1862 Disraeli complained to the Bishop of
Oxford that he and others kept the Church as Mr. Gladstone’s nest-egg
when he became a Whig till it was almost addled.  At this time Disraeli
wrote: “I wish you could have induced Gladstone to have joined Lord
Derby’s Government when Lord Ellenborough resigned in 1858.  It was not
my fault that he did not; I almost went on my knees to him.  Had he done
so, the Church and everything else would have been in a very different
position.”  In 1867 the Bishop of Oxford writes: “The most wonderful
thing is the rise of Disraeli.  It is not the mere assertion of talent,
as you hear so many say; it seems to me quite beside that.  He has been
able to teach the House of Commons almost to ignore Gladstone, and at
present lords it over him, and, I am told, says that he will hold him
down for twenty years.”  Disraeli, however, did himself no good when, in
1878, he described Mr. Gladstone as a sophistical rhetorician, inebriated
with the exuberance of his own verbosity, and gifted with an egotistical
imagination that at all times can command an interminable and
inconsistent series of arguments to malign his opponents and to glorify
himself.’

Disraeli was never happy in statement.  When he had to explain a policy,
financial or other, he might really be regarded as a very dull speaker.
Gladstone was specially brilliant in statement.  He could give to an
exposition of figures the fascination of a romance or a poem.  Mr.
Gladstone never could, under any circumstances, be a dull speaker.  He
was no equal of Disraeli in the gift of sarcasm, and what Disraeli
himself called ‘flouts and jeers.’  But in his reply he swept his
antagonist before him with his marvellous eloquence, compounded of reason
and passion.

On the breaking out of the American Civil War, Mr. Gladstone was
undoubtedly on the side of the South: Jefferson Davis, he said, had made
a nation of the South—a speech of which Mr. Gladstone repented a few
years after.  But it took a long time for the North to forgive or forget
his unfortunate speech.  Bishop Fraser, writing in 1865, says: ‘They have
just got hold of about a dozen subscribers to the Confederate Loan, among
whom is W. E. Gladstone, down, to my surprise, for £2,000.  This, as you
might expect, is a topic for excited editorials, and the cry is that the
American Government ought to demand his dismissal from the Ministry.’

In time the Americans began to understand Mr. Gladstone better, and to
appreciate him and his good feeling towards their country more.  Major
Pond, the well-known American, for twenty years endeavoured to get the
G.O.M.—as he has long been known on both sides of the Atlantic—to cross
the Atlantic on a lecturing tour.  In 1880 Mr. Gladstone wrote to him: ‘I
have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, with all the kindness it
expresses and the dazzling prospects which it offers.  Unhappily, my
reply lies not in vague expressions of hope, but in the burden of seventy
years and of engagements and duties beyond my strength, by desertion of
which, even for the time needed, I should really be disentitling myself
to the goodwill of the American people, which I prize so highly.’
Notwithstanding this refusal, Major Pond returned to the attack, and
offered the Grand Old Man seven thousand pounds for twenty lectures,
which Mr. Gladstone declined.  As a gentleman, he was bound to do so.  It
would have been a sorry sight to have seen the G.O.M. carted all over
America as a show on a lecturing tour.

‘To Americans,’ says _Table Talk_, ‘the venerable ex-leader of the
Liberal Party in the British Parliament is not only a great Englishman,
but the greatest of all Englishmen, and his demise, which, it is to be
hoped, will yet be long postponed, will be regarded as a calamity to all
the English-speaking races.  It has always been a matter of keen regret
throughout the American continent that Mr. Gladstone has never been able
to pay a visit to those whom the Grand Old Man described in his memorable
article in the _North American Review_ as “kin beyond sea.”  In July,
1894, a well-organized attempt was made to induce Mr. Gladstone to cross
the ocean.  A letter of invitation was sent to him, signed by the then
Vice-President of the United States, Mr. Adlai Stevenson, by Mr. Chauncey
Depew, by Dr. Pepper, Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, by
seventy Senators and one hundred Congressmen, by the Governors of a large
number of the States, as well as nearly all the members of Mr.
Cleveland’s Cabinet and of the Supreme Bench at Washington.  It was
intimated to the aged statesman that the most extraordinary arrangements
would be made for his comfort, including the most luxurious (of course,
free) transportation for himself, Mrs. Gladstone, and such companions and
attendants as he desired; a special service of private cars on all the
railways, and the unlimited use of an Atlantic cable during the time of
his absence from England.  Mr. Gladstone was also promised immunity from
“interviewers, party politicians, advertisers, and hand-shakers.”  Mr.
Gladstone’s reply covered three pages of large size writing-paper, and
was written by himself entirely.  At that time, it will be remembered,
Mr. Gladstone’s eyes were giving him great trouble, and he pathetically
wrote: “Undoubtedly your letter supplied the strongest motives for an
attempt to brave the impossible.  But I regret to say it reaches me at a
time when, were I much younger, it could not be open to me to consider
this question.”  At the same time, while unable to accept such a
flattering invitation, Mr. Gladstone, in concluding his letter, begged
that the American nation would remain assured of “my unalterable interest
in your country.”’

It was scarcely necessary to write that.  In his celebrated article on
‘Kith and Kin’ Mr. Gladstone had shown how far our American cousins had
shot ahead of the old folks at home.

In 1866 Sir Richard Temple wrote of the opening debate: ‘Next it was Mr.
Gladstone’s turn to speak.  I had understood privately that he was going
to make some announcement that would imply the resignation of the Liberal
leadership.  He was known to be disappointed at his failure to obtain a
majority at the General Election. . . .  In fact, however, he said
nothing to imply resignation, but, on the contrary, was evidently
prepared to oppose the Government and challenge them to propose a measure
in favour of Ireland, if they had one.  It was in this speech that,
alluding to his reserve on the question of Home Rule until the fit moment
for action should arrive, he described himself as an old Parliamentary
hand.  He had long been a coiner of phrases that have become household
words in Parliament, and yet this description became famous among us at
once.’

Lord Houghton writes in 1866: ‘I sat by Gladstone at the Delameres’.  He
was very much excited, not only about politics, but cattle plague, china,
and everything else.  It is indeed a contrast to Palmerston’s “Ha, ha!”
and _laissez faire_.’  Again in 1868 Lord Houghton writes: ‘Gladstone is
the great triumph, but, as he owns that he has to drive a four-in-hand
consisting of English Liberals, English Dissenters, Scotch Presbyterians,
and Irish Catholics, he requires all his courage to look his difficulties
in the face, and trust to surmount them.’

In 1849 Lord Malmesbury writes: ‘Dined with the Cannings, and met Mr.
Gladstone and Mr. Phillimore.  We were anxious to see the former, as he
is a man much spoken of as one who will come to the front.  We were
disappointed at his appearance, which is that of a Roman Catholic priest;
but he is very agreeable.’  On another occasion Malmesbury speaks of
Gladstone as ‘a dark horse.’  In 1866 Lady Palmerston tells Lord
Malmesbury that his lordship had very serious apprehensions as to Mr.
Gladstone’s future career, and considered him a very dangerous and
reckless politician.  About the same time Lord Palmerston said to the
Earl of Shaftesbury: ‘Gladstone will soon have it all his own way, and
when he gets my place we shall have strange doings.’  A little later on
Lord Malmesbury refers to the zest with which Mr. Gladstone had taken to
singing nigger melodies.

Mr. Gladstone in 1865, questioned on the subject of the Irish Church,
wrote: ‘It would be very difficult for me to subscribe to any
interpretation of my speech on the Irish Church like that of your
correspondent, which contains so many conditions and bases of a plan for
dealing with a question apparently remote and at the same time full of
difficulties on every side.  My reasons are, I think, plain.  First,
because the question is remote, and out of all bearing on the practical
politics of the day, I think it would be far worse for me than
superfluous to determine upon any scheme or bases of a scheme with
respect to it.  Secondly, because it is difficult, even if I anticipated
any likelihood of being called on to deal with it, I should think it
right to take no decision beforehand as to the mode of dealing with the
difficulties.  But my first reason is that which chiefly sways.  As far
as I know, my speech signifies pretty clearly the broad distinction
between the abstract and the practical views of the subject.  And I think
I have stated strongly my sense of the responsibility attaching to the
opening of such a question except in a state of things which gives
promise of satisfactorily settling it. . . .  In any measure dealing with
the Church of Ireland, I think (though I scarcely expect ever to be
called on to share in such a measure), the Act of Union must be
recognised, and must have important consequences, especially with
reference to the position of the hierarchy.’

A little amusement will be created by the following:

Mr. Jerningham, author of ‘Reminiscences of an Attaché,’ met Mr.
Gladstone at Strawberry Hill just after the Liberal defeat on the Reform
Bill.  Sitting near him at breakfast, Mr. Jerningham asked Mr. Gladstone
for his autograph.

‘“Certainly,” he said; “but you must ask me a question on paper, and I
will answer it.”

‘I was twenty-three years of age—very proud of being in such interesting
company at such a time, and therefore most anxious to justify my presence
by some clever question.

‘I wrote down quickly the following, and, rather pleased with it, gave it
to Mr. Gladstone.  It ran thus: “What is Mr. Gladstone’s opinion of the
difference which exists in 1866 between a Liberal and a moderate
Conservative?”

‘Mr. Gladstone crumpled up the paper, and, apparently much annoyed, said
he did not think he could answer such a question.

‘I was so concerned by his look of vexation that I went up to one of the
ladies and repeated my question to her, so as to gather from her in which
way I had offended.

‘She nearly screamed—at least, so far as that person could ever utter a
sound—and asked how I could ever have been so bold.

‘The truth dawned upon me.  The moderate Conservatives of 1866 had
dissolved a powerful Liberal Ministry, and I had inquired what he thought
of them—of the very statesman who had put their moderate principles to
the test.’

After this _faux pas_ one is not surprised that Mr. Jerningham rejoiced
that a dinner in town obliged him to leave his hosts on that very
afternoon.  But, after all, the storm soon blew over, and the incident
had a pleasant ending.  As Mr. Jerningham was on his way to Richmond,
whom should he find upon the boat at Twickenham but Mr. Gladstone
himself!  So ends the tale:

‘I very modestly bade good-bye to him without any allusion to my
indiscretion of the morning; but with infinite kindness and charm of
manner, he said, “I have not forgotten you,” and pulled out of his pocket
my original question and his characteristic answer to it:

                                         “‘Strawberry Hill, June 24, 1866.

    “‘The word Moderate, as far as my observation goes, does no great
    credit—according to the manner in which it is now used—either to the
    word Liberal or to the word Conservative.  Every Liberal claims to be
    Conservative; every Conservative to be Liberal.  I know of no
    solution of the question between them except the test of their works.

                                                       ‘“Yours very truly,
                                                      ‘“W. E. GLADSTONE.”’

Count Beust says: ‘When I was ambassador in London, Mr. Gladstone, who
was then in office, was caricatured with his colleagues in a piece called
“The Happy Land,” at the Court Theatre.  This annoyed the Premier, and
the piece was taken off.’



CHAPTER VIII.
POLITICS AND THE IRISH CHURCH.


In the General Election for 1865 Mr. Gladstone lost his seat for the
University of Oxford.  For years it was evident that his advancing views
were gradually drifting him from the Oxford constituents, and when an Act
was passed to enable country clergymen and non-resident M.A.’s—by means
of voting papers—to swamp the real Oxford constituency, Mr. Gladstone’s
seat was gone, and his opponent, Mr. Hardy, triumphed.  The battle was
bravely fought, and the blow was severely felt by Mr. Gladstone and his
friends.  In his farewell address Mr. Gladstone said: ‘After an arduous
connection of seven years, now I bid you farewell.  My earnest purpose to
serve you—my many faults and shortcomings—the incidents of the political
relationship between myself and the University established in 1847, so
often questioned in vain, and now at length finally dissolved—I leave to
the judgment of the future.  It is an imperative duty, and one alone
which induces me to trouble you with these few parting words—the duty of
expressing my profound and lasting gratitude for indulgence as generous,
and for support as warm and enthusiastic in itself, and as honourable
from the character and distinctions of those who have given it, as has,
in my belief, ever been given by any constituency to any representative.’

‘The salient figure,’ writes Sir Richard Temple, ‘was the impressive
personality of Mr. Gladstone himself, who was quite the figure-head in
this Parliament.  Naturally he was no longer the handsome man with the
beautiful voice who had been wont to charm a listening senate.  But still
his attitude was noble, picturesque, and when under excitement he was
grandly leonine.  Advanced age had left its trace on him outwardly, and
had impaired his matchless powers of elocution.  The once resonant voice
often would become husky, and at times almost inaudible, so that his
voice rose and fell with a cadence like the wind.  But his persuasiveness
for many minds remained in its highest degree.  His impassioned gesture
seemed to be quieter; it could not conceivably have been finer than it
was in those days.  When excited in speech, he would sweep his arm round
like the play of a scimitar, and yet with a movement both graceful and
appropriate.  His hands, too, were most impressive, and by their motion
or action helped him to enforce his arguments.  Above all, there was the
play of features on the careworn countenance.  Evidently he was in the
highest sense of the term one of Nature’s orators.’  The quality of his
speeches was not quite what it had once been in all respects.  The
passion, the glow, the sympathy, the magnetism remained as of yore.

At the Oxford election Dr. Pusey wrote to a friend: ‘You are naturally
rejoicing over the defeat of Mr. Gladstone, which I mourn.  Some of those
who concurred in that election or stood aloof will, I fear, mourn
hereafter because they were the cause of that rejection.  The grounds
alleged against Mr. Gladstone bore at the utmost upon the Establishment.
The Establishment might perish and the Church might come forth the purer.
If the Church were corrupted the Establishment would become a curse in
proportion to its influence.  As that conflict will thicken, Oxford will,
I think, learn to regret her rude severance from one so loyal to the
Church, to the faith, and to God.’

Speaking in the Free Trade Hall in Manchester during the South Lancashire
election, Mr. Gladstone said: ‘After an anxious struggle of eighteen
years, during which the unbounded devotion and indulgence of my friends
have maintained me in the arduous position of representative of the
University of Oxford, I have been driven from that position; but do not
let me come among you under false colours or with a false pretence.  I
have loved the University of Oxford with a deep and passionate love, and
as long as I live that attachment will continue.  If my affection is of
the smallest advantage to that great, that noble, that ancient
institution, that advantage, such as it is—and it is most
insignificant—that attachment Oxford will possess as long as I breathe.
But don’t mistake the issue which has been raised.  The University has at
length, after eighteen years of self-denial, been drawn by what I might
call the overweening exercise of power into the vortex of mere party
politics.  Well, you will readily understand why, as long as I had a hope
that the zeal and kindness of my friends might keep me in my place, it
was not possible for me to abandon them.  Could they have returned me by
but a majority of one, painful as it is to a man at my time of life, and
feeling the weight of public cares, to be incessantly struggling for his
seat, nothing could have induced me to quit the University to which I had
so long devoted my best care and attachment.  But by no act of mine I am
free to come among you.  And having thus been set free, I need hardly
tell you that it is with joy, with thankfulness and enthusiasm that I
now, at the eleventh hour, make my appeal to the heart and mind of South
Lancashire, and ask you to pronounce upon that appeal.’

Mr. Gladstone then described what had been done by himself and party,
commencing with the emancipation of the Roman Catholics, dwelling on the
reformation of the Poor Law, the reformation of the tariffs, the
abolition of the Corn Laws, the abolition of the Navigation Laws, the
conclusion of the French Treaty, the removal of laws which have relieved
Dissenters from stigma and almost ignominy, adding: ‘I can truly say that
there is no period of my life during which my conscience is so clear, and
renders me so good an answer, as those years in which I have co-operated
in the promotion of Liberal measures.  Because they are Liberal they are
the true measures, and indicate the true policy by which the country is
made strong and its institutions preserved.’

In a speech delivered the same evening at the amphitheatre at Liverpool,
Mr. Gladstone continued: ‘I am, if possible, more firmly attached to the
institutions of my country than when a boy I wandered among the
sand-hills of Seaforth.  But experience has brought its lessons.  I have
learned that there is wisdom in a policy of trust, and folly in a policy
of mistrust.  I have observed the effect which has been produced by
Liberal legislation; and if we are told that the policy of the country is
in the best and broadest sense Conservative, honesty compels me to admit
that that result has been brought about by Liberal legislation.’

About this time the Duke of Newcastle died, leaving Mr. Gladstone a
trustee of his son’s estate.  ‘In this capacity,’ writes Mr. G. W. E.
Russell, ‘the Chancellor of the Exchequer applied himself with
characteristic thoroughness to the duties pertaining to the management of
a rural property, and acquired in the superintendence of the woodlands of
Chester that practical knowledge of woodcraft which has since afforded
him such constant interest and occupation.’

The new Parliament was opened on February 6, 1866, the Queen appearing at
the ceremony for the first time since her widowhood.  In offering his
services to Earl Russell, after the death of Palmerston, Mr. Gladstone
wrote: ‘I am sore with conflicts about the public expenditure, which I
feel that other men would have escaped, or conducted more gently and less
fretfully.  I am quite willing to retire.’

As one of the Ministers who engaged in the Crimean War, Mr. Gladstone had
to leave office, Lord Derby being unable to form a Ministry, as Mr.
Gladstone and the Peelites would not join him.  Lord Palmerston became
Premier, and Mr. Gladstone returned to office as Chancellor of the
Exchequer, but resigned three weeks afterwards, on the ground that the
Government assented to Mr. Roebuck’s motion for a committee to inquire
into the conduct of the war.  Twenty years after Mr. Gladstone contended:
‘The design of the Crimean War was in its groundwork the vindication of
European law against an unprovoked aggression.  It sought, therefore, to
maintain intact the condition of the menaced party against the aggressor;
or, in other words, to defend against Russia the integrity and
independence of the Ottoman Empire.’  This resignation took place in
February, 1855, and Mr. Gladstone’s position in consequence became very
isolated.  According to his subsequent statement, he was driven from
office.  His sympathies, he owns, were with the Conservatives, his
opinions with the Liberals.

The Bishop of Oxford writes of Gladstone as in the highest sense of the
term ‘Liberal’—‘detested by the aristocracy for his succession duty, the
most truly Conservative measure passed in my recollection.’  Yet Mr.
Gladstone was still as eager as ever in Church matters.  Archdeacon
Denison had been prosecuted for teaching the doctrine of the Real
Presence, and was condemned by Dr. Lushington, acting as assessor to
Archbishop Sumner.  Gladstone wrote: ‘Whatever comes of it, two things
are pretty clear: The first, that not only with the executive
authorities, but in the sacred halls of justice, there are now two
measures, and not one, in use—the straight one, for those supposed to err
in believing too much; and the other for those who believe too little.
The second is, that this is another blow to the dogmatic principle in the
Established Church, the principle on which, as a Church, it rests, and on
which, as an establishment, it seems less and less permitted to rest.  No
hasty judgment is pardonable in these matters; but for the last ten or
twelve years the skies have been darkening for a storm.’  Again he
writes: ‘The stewards of doctrine should, on the general ground of
controversy and disturbance, deliver from their pulpits, or as they think
fit, to the people the true and substantive doctrine of the Holy
Eucharist.  This freely done, and without any notice of the Archbishop or
Dr. Lushington, I should think far better for the time than any
declaration.’

Mr. Gladstone, as leader of the House, introduced a Reform Bill Lord
Russell laboured at in the Cabinet, which was not very cordial in its
favour, but he was supported by Mr. Gladstone, deciding to deal only with
the question of the franchise, and leaving the question of redistribution
to a later time.  The Bill, which was introduced by Mr. Gladstone on
March 12, proposed the reduction of the county franchise from £50 to £14,
and of the borough franchise from £10 to £7.  Some people seemed to think
that Mr. Gladstone did not speak with his accustomed force; but that may
be accounted for by the remembrance that he had to speak to a House not
very enthusiastic in favour of Parliamentary reform.  But the first
reading was carried after two nights’ debate, and the second reading was
fixed for April 12.  It was, however, evident that, while the
Conservative party were organized, the Liberals on their side were
divided and indifferent.  They argued with some force that the Government
had brought forward only half of its scheme, and that it was impolitic
and unstatesmanlike to accept one portion of the scheme without being
acquainted with the whole.  Lord Grosvenor, though sitting on the Liberal
benches, declared that he would meet the second reading by a resolution
to that effect; while Mr. Kinglake, the author of ‘Eothen,’ aiming at the
same end, but anxious to secure the maintenance of the Government,
announced that he should ask the House of Commons to declare that it was
not expedient to go into Committee on the Bill until the House had before
it the expected Bill for the redistribution of seats.  The House,
however, passed the second reading, but by a majority so small that the
continuance of the Ministry in power was difficult.  The Ministry,
however, decided to persevere, and in April introduced three additional
measures—a Redistribution Bill for England and Wales, and Reform Bills
for Scotland and Ireland.  But the condition of affairs did not
improve—on the contrary, grew worse; and on June 1 Lord Dunkellin, the
eldest son of Lord Clanricarde, carried a motion against the Government,
substituting rating for rental as the basis of the borough franchise.
The Ministry resigned, and Lord John Russell as a Parliamentary leader
disappears from history.

There were people who hinted that Lord John was jealous of Mr.
Gladstone’s success.  Such does not seem to have been the case.  In 1853
his lordship wrote to Lady John: ‘Gladstone’s speech was magnificent.  It
rejoices me to be a party to so large a plan, and to do with a man who
seeks to benefit the country rather than to carry a majority by a
concession to fear.’  Again, when the question of privilege arose on the
action of the Lords with regard to the paper duty, Lord John told the
Duke of Bedford that Mr. Gladstone’s speech was ‘magnificently mad.’  In
1867 Mr. Gladstone wrote to Lord John: ‘My political relations with you
have been late in life.  I moved to you, not you to me; and ever since we
have been in contact—that is to say, during the last fifteen years—my
co-operation with you has been associated all along with feelings of warm
attachment and regard.  Every motion that moves me further from you is
painful to me. . . .  If you do not stand without a rival, I, for one, do
not know where to look for your superior in the annals of British
legislation.’  A little later on, when Mr. Gladstone brought forward the
motion which sounded the knell of the Tory Government and of the
Established Church in Ireland, Lord John presided at an enthusiastic
meeting, held in St. James’s Hall, London, to support Mr. Gladstone’s
policy; and when, in December, 1868, Mr. Gladstone formed his first
Administration, one of the first persons he wrote to to join him was Lord
John.  Upon the refusal of the latter, on the plea of age, Mr. Gladstone
wrote: ‘The snapping of ties is never pleasant, but your resolution is
probably a wise one.  Perhaps it is selfish of me to think of and mention
them, rather than dwell upon those ties which inseparably associate your
name with so many great and noble passages in the history of our
country.’  And again, when Mr. Gladstone had introduced his Irish Land
Act, he wrote to Lord John: ‘We have had a most anxious time with regard
to the Irish Land Bill.  Often do I think of a saying of yours more than
thirty years back, which struck me ineffaceably at the time.  You said
the true key to an Irish debate was this: that it was not properly borne
in mind that as England is inhabited by Englishmen, and Scotland by
Scotchmen, so Ireland is inhabited by Irishmen.’

Let us return to the Reform Bill.  It was evident that London was getting
excited on the subject.  When the Liberals resigned in June, some ten
thousand people assembled in Trafalgar Square and passed strong
resolutions in favour of Reform.  They then marched to Carlton House,
singing litanies and hymns in honour of Mr. Gladstone.  As he was away,
Mrs. Gladstone and her family came out on the balcony to acknowledge the
popular tribute.  At meetings all over England Mr. Gladstone was hailed
as the hero of the people.  He had become ‘the People’s William.’  On
July 13 Lord Houghton wrote to a friend on the Continent: ‘The change of
Ministry has passed over very quietly.  It was a real collapse, and
inevitable by human skill.  Gladstone showed a fervour of conviction
which has won him the attachment of three hundred men and the horror of
the rest of the House of Commons.  He will be all the better for a year
or two of opposition.’  It was in the course of this debate that Mr.
Gladstone, replying to Lord R. Montagu’s expression that the working
classes, if armed with the franchise, would be an invading and destroying
army, evoked a ringing cheer when, in a climax of enthusiasm, he asked:
‘Are they not our own flesh and blood?’

In the autumn Mr. Gladstone, with his family, spent a short while in
Rome, where he had an interview with the Pope, which gave rise to rumours
he had formally to deny, that during that visit he had made arrangements
with the Pope to destroy the Irish Church Establishment, and that he was
a Roman Catholic in heart.

In 1867 Mr. Disraeli, as leader of the House of Commons, introduced his
celebrated Reform Bill, or, rather, Reform Resolutions.  He proposed to
reduce the occupation franchise for boroughs to a £6 rating, in counties
to £20.  The franchise was also to be extended to persons having £50 in
the funds or £50 in a savings bank for a year.  Payment of £20 of direct
taxes would also be a title to the franchise, as would a University
degree.  Votes would further be given to clergymen, ministers of religion
generally, members of the learned professions, and certificated
schoolmasters.  It was proposed to disfranchise Yarmouth, Lancaster,
Reigate, and Totnes, and to take one member each from twenty-three
boroughs with less than seven thousand inhabitants.  The House would have
thirty seats to dispose of, and it was proposed to allot fourteen of them
to new boroughs in the Northern and Midland districts, fifteen to
counties, and one to the London University; the second division of the
Tower Hamlets two members, and several new county divisions would have
two additional members each.  The scheme would add 212,000 voters to the
boroughs, and 206,500 to the counties.  Mr. Gladstone pointed out the
inconvenience of proceeding by resolution, and the Government undertook
to introduce a Bill.

In March, 1867, the Bill was introduced, much to the dissatisfaction of
Lord Cranborne, now Lord Salisbury, the Earl of Carnarvon, and General
Peel, who resigned the offices they held.  But the Bill was read a second
time without a dissentient; the fight in the Committee was short and
sharp.  In May Lord Houghton writes: ‘I met Gladstone at breakfast.  He
seemed quite awed with the diabolical wickedness of Dizzy, who, he says,
is gradually driving all ideas of political honour out of the House, and
accustoming it to the most revolting cynicism.’  At this time it is
understood that there was a temporary want of harmony between Mr.
Gladstone and some of his supporters.  When the Bill was read a third
time Lord Cranborne denied emphatically that it was a Conservative
triumph.  The Bill, he said, had been modified at the dictation of Mr.
Gladstone, who demanded, first, the lodger franchise; secondly, the
abolition of the distinction between compounders and non-compounders;
thirdly, a provision to prevent traffic in votes; fourthly, the omission
of the taxing franchise; fifthly, the omission of the dual vote; sixthly,
the enlargement of the distribution of seats; seventhly, the reduction of
the county franchise, the omission of voting-papers, and the omission of
the educational and savings banks franchise.  ‘If,’ continued his
lordship, ‘the adoption of the principles of Mr. Bright could be
described as a triumph, then the Conservative party in the whole history
of its previous annals had won no such signal triumph before.  I desire,’
continued Lord Cranbourne, ‘to protest in the most earnest language I am
capable of against the political morality on which the measures of this
year have been passed.  If you borrow your politics from the ethics of
the political adventurer, you may depend upon it the whole of your
political institutions will crumble beneath your feet.’  In the House of
Lords Earl Derby unblushingly described it as a leap in the dark.
Shooting Niagara it was described by Carlyle.  Mr. Disraeli, however,
rejoiced with exceeding joy over the event.  By his own energy and faith
in himself he had attained to the highest distinction—yet still many
regarded him with distrust.  In August Bishop Wilberforce writes: ‘No one
can even guess at the political future.  Whether a fresh election will
strengthen the Conservatives or not seems altogether doubtful.  The most
wonderful thing is the rise of Disraeli.’

At this time Mr. Maurice wrote to his son: ‘I am glad you have seen
Gladstone, and have been able to judge a little of what his face
indicates.  It is a very expressive one—hard-worked, as you say; not,
perhaps, especially happy; more indicative of struggle than of victory,
but not without promise of that.  I admire him for his patient attention
to details, and for the pains which he takes to prevent himself from
being absorbed in them.  He has preserved the type which I remember he
bore at the University thirty-six years ago, though it has undergone
curious developments.’

When in February, 1868, Parliament met, it was announced that Lord Derby,
owing to failing health, had resigned—that Mr. Disraeli was to be
Premier.  And then came Mr. Gladstone’s turn.  The Liberal party, once
more united, had things all their own way.  Mr. Gladstone brought in a
Bill to abolish compulsory Church rates, and that was carried.  He
announced that he held the condition of the Irish Church to be
unsatisfactory.  In March he moved: ‘1. That in the opinion of this House
it is necessary that the Established Church of Ireland should cease to
exist as an Establishment, due regard being had for all personal
interests and to all individual rights of property.  2. That, subject to
the foregoing considerations, it is expedient to prevent the creation of
new personal interests by the exercise of any public patronage, and to
confine the operations of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to objects of
immediate necessity or involving individual rights, pending the final
decision of Parliament.  3. That an humble address be presented to Her
Majesty, humbly to pray that, with a view to the purposes aforesaid, Her
Majesty will be graciously pleased to place at the disposal of Parliament
interest in the temporalities, in archbishoprics, bishoprics, and other
ecclesiastical dignities and benefices in Ireland and in the custody
thereof.’  ‘I am sorry,’ writes Bishop Wilberforce, ‘Mr. Gladstone has
moved the attack on the Irish Church.  It is altogether a bad business,
and I am afraid Gladstone has been drawn into it from the unconscious
influence of his restlessness at being out of office.  I have no doubt
that his hatred to the low tone of the Irish Church has had a great deal
to do with it.’

For many years the subject had been before the public.  A Royal
Commission had been appointed to deal with the question, and it had given
rise to more than one debate in the House of Commons.  Mr. Gladstone’s
own adoption of the policy of Disestablishment had been made evident in a
speech delivered July, 1867, although he abstained from voting.  His
relation to the question had, however, as he indicated, been practically
declared for more than twenty years.  A year later, on a motion by Mr.
Maguire, ‘that this House resolves itself into a Committee with the view
of taking into consideration the condition and circumstances of Ireland,’
Mr. Gladstone spoke more decidedly, declaring that, in order to the
settlement of the condition of the Irish, the Church as a State Church
must cease to exist, and in consequence of this declaration Mr. Maguire
withdrew his motion.  On the first division on Mr. Gladstone’s
resolutions he obtained a majority of sixty against Government.
Subsequent divisions having confirmed and increased this majority, Mr.
Disraeli announced on May 4 that he had advised Her Majesty to dissolve
Parliament in the coming autumn, in order that the opinion of the country
might be taken on the great issue put before it.  Great was the
excitement everywhere, and many were the public meetings held on the
subject in all parts of England.  At a meeting of Church supporters held
in St. James’s Hall in May, Archbishop Longley in the chair, there were
twenty-five bishops on the platform, besides an array of peers and
M.P.’s.  Archbishop Tait, who moved the first resolution, referring to a
speech of his own on the Church Rate Bill, writes to his son: ‘Gladstone
fell foul of it somewhat roughly on moving his Irish Church resolutions,
but last Sunday your mother and I went to the little church in Windmill
Street which Mr. Kempe has built for the poor of St. James’s, and there
found Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone taking refuge from the glare of London for a
quiet Sunday morning; and as we all walked home together, I had some most
agreeable conversation with him.  I wish he was not so strangely
impetuous, for he is certainly a good Christian. . . .  I almost hope
that something may be done to bring him to reason about reforming, not
destroying, the Irish Church.  This, no doubt, is what the Old Whigs
really desire, if only they could get Disraeli out.’  Mr. Disraeli soon
gratified—at any rate, to a certain extent—the Old Whigs.  In November
the constituencies replied to the appeal made to them by Mr. Disraeli by
an almost unprecedented majority for his opponent.  The national verdict
could no longer be opposed.  Mr. Disraeli himself recognised the fact by
resigning office without waiting for the meeting of Parliament.  When
Parliament met in February, Mr. Gladstone was Premier.  Defeated in
Lancashire, he had been elected for Greenwich.

There were, of course, party cavillings when the member for Greenwich was
gazetted in August, 1873, as Chancellor of the Exchequer without vacating
his seat for the Metropolitan borough; but the polemics in the press
gradually ceased upon the subject, without materially weakening his
influence upon his pledged supporters, and the public at large hardly
found time to listen to the controversy.  Trade was good, and
remunerative enterprise continued to advance by leaps and bounds—to
borrow one of Mr. Gladstone’s famous phrases.  On one occasion, when a
Tory member argued against a certain measure that it was not the right
time to introduce it, Mr. Bernal Osborne wittily exclaimed: ‘Not the
right time, sir?  We take our time from Greenwich.’

No sooner had Parliament met than the Queen, in order to smooth the
difficulties of the question, wrote to Bishop Tait, who had then become
Archbishop of Canterbury: ‘The Queen has seen Mr. Gladstone, who shows
the most conciliatory disposition.  He really seems to be moderate in his
views, and anxious, so far as he properly and consistently can do so, to
meet the wishes of those who would maintain the Irish Church.  He at once
assured the Queen of his readiness—and, indeed, his anxiety—to meet the
Archbishop and to communicate freely with him on the subject of this most
important question; and the Queen must express her hope that the
Archbishop will meet him in the same spirit.’  The Government could do
nothing that would tend to raise a suspicion of their sincerity in
proposing to disendow the Irish Church, and to withdraw all State
endowments from all religious communities in Ireland, but with these
conditions accepted, all other matters connected with the question might,
the Queen thought, thus become the subject of discussion and negotiation.
The interview, when it took place, seems to have much relieved the
Archbishop’s mind, especially as Mr. Gladstone at that date had not made
public any authoritative statement of the shape which his
Disestablishment policy was to assume.  The Archbishop used to say in
after-years that his position after the interview for about ten days was
the most difficult he had ever known.  In addition to the necessarily
urgent correspondence of such a time, he had to grant interviews to men
of every sort and condition who came to consult, inform or interrogate
him upon the absorbing topic which was on every lip; and he had not
merely to give attention to larger comments and conjectures, and to say
something suitable in reply, but to keep entirely secret all the while
the scheme which Mr. Gladstone had unfolded to him, and even the fact
that such a communication had taken place.

At length came Monday, March 1, and Mr. Gladstone unfolded his scheme.
For some three hours and a half Mr. Gladstone occupied the attention—the
absorbed attention—of an eager House.  It was one of his grandest
oratorical triumphs.  Complicated details, which in other hands would
have been dry and lifeless, kept the listener spellbound.  ‘It was
strange,’ writes the Archbishop, ‘to hear Gladstone on Monday last unfold
his scheme in the House of Commons, knowing beforehand what it was all to
be, and having, indeed, had a rehearsal of it in my library.’

Mr. Gladstone’s Bill was in accordance with the resolutions he had moved
when in opposition.  The actual moment of Disestablishment he proposed to
postpone until January 1, 1871; but from the passing of the Act the
creation of private interests was to cease, and the property of the
Church was to pass at once into the hands of Commissioners appointed for
the purpose.  All the ecclesiastical laws of the Disestablished Church
were to exist as a binding contract to regulate the internal affairs of
the Disestablished Church until such time as they should be altered by
the voluntary agency of whatever new governing body would be appointed.
The churches and burial-grounds were to become on application the
property of the Disestablished Church, and the glebe-houses as well, on
payment of the somewhat heavy existing building charges.  The whole value
of the Church property was estimated at sixteen millions; of this sum,
£8,500,000 would be swallowed up in the necessary compensation of various
kinds, and the remaining seven and a half millions would be applied to
the advantage of the Irish people, but not to Church purposes.  Special
provision was made for incumbents and unbeneficed curates.  As to the
post-Reformation grants, Mr. Gladstone fixed a dividing line at the year
1680, agreeing that all grants made from private sources subsequent to
that year should be handed over intact to the Disestablished Church.  As
to the remaining seven millions and a half, it was to be devoted to the
relief ‘of unavoidable calamities and suffering not provided for by the
Poor Law,’ to the support of lunatic and idiot asylums, institutions for
the relief of the deaf and dumb and blind, and other kindred objects.
These details, one after another, were set forth with great clearness,
and the speech was closed with a magnificent peroration, which drew a
warm tribute of admiration even from the bitterest opponents of the Bill.

In the House of Commons the Bill was carried triumphantly, in spite of
good debating on the part of its enemies.  On the second reading, the
division was 368 for, 250 against.  But it was in the Lords that the
battle was chiefly fought, when the second reading was carried, after a
debate which lasted till three in the morning, by 179 against 146.  Upon
a division being called, the two English Archbishops, amid a scene of
intense excitement, retired to the steps of the throne, which are
technically not within the House; Bishop Wilberforce and several
Conservative peers withdrew.  Among the Conservatives who voted with the
Government were Lord Salisbury, Lord Bath, Lord Devon, Lord Carnarvon,
and Lord Nelson.  The only Bishop who voted with the Government was
Bishop Thirlwall, of St. David’s.  Thirteen English and three Irish
Bishops voted on the other side.  But in Committee the Lords tacked on
sixty-two amendments.  _Punch_ had a clever cartoon on the occasion.  The
Archbishop of Canterbury was represented as a gipsy nurse giving back a
changeling instead of the child that had been presented to him, saying,
‘Which we’ve took the greatest care of ’m, ma’m,’ while Mrs. the Prime
Minister replies, ‘This is not _my_ child—not in the least like it.’  The
Ministerialists described the Bill to be so mutilated as to be
practically useless, and the vociferous Radical cheers which greeted Mr.
Gladstone as he rose on July 15 to move that the Lords’ amendments be
considered were significant of the temper of the House.  Nothing could be
more uncompromising than his speech.  He made no attempt to soften down
the differences; he even accentuated their gravity, as he recounted the
amendments one by one, and called upon the House to reject the
preposterous proposals of men who had shown themselves to be as ignorant
of the feelings of the country as if they had been ‘living in a balloon.’
He insisted on the rejection of each and every clause which involved,
however indirectly, the proposal of concurrent endowment; he declined to
sanction the postponement of the date of Disestablishment; and he
declined to leave the disposal of the anticipated surplus to the wisdom
of a future Parliament.  He consented, however, to allow a
reconsideration of the commutation terms, and he went further than some
of his supporters in agreeing to give the lump half-million in lieu of
the private endowments which had been so much discussed.  His unyielding
attitude made the Lords furious.  When the Peers met, after a debate of
quite unusual warmth, they resolved by a majority of 74 to agree to the
first and most important of their amendments—the authorization of the
principle of concurrent endowments.  Lord Granville immediately adjourned
the House to take counsel with his colleagues.  It seemed as if a
collision between the two Houses was inevitable.  However, Mr. Gladstone
and Lord Cairns met, a compromise was effected, the danger of a collision
between the two Houses was avoided, and the Bill for Disestablishing and
Disendowing the Irish Church—which Mr. Gladstone had enthusiastically and
somewhat sanguinely believed to be a message of peace to Ireland—became
law.  The Archbishop of Canterbury, who had been one of the chief
instruments in the negotiations, writes in his diary: ‘We have made the
best terms we could, and, thanks to the Queen, a collision between the
Houses has been averted; but a great occasion has been poorly used, and
the Irish Church has been greatly injured without any benefits to the
Roman Catholics.’

In Ireland the scheme was met with mingled emotions.  The Church party
were in despair, and their attachment to England was undoubtedly
weakened.  One of the ablest of Irish patriots—Mr. John O’Neill
Daunt—wrote: ‘The scheme, as set forth, is to some extent undoubtedly a
disendowment scheme, but objectionable in not going so far in that
direction as Mr. Gladstone might have done with propriety and with full
consideration for the vested interests of existing incumbents.  His
capitation scheme is, in fact, a plan for re-endowment, by which several
millions of money, obtained by the sale of Church property, will be
permanently abstracted from the Irish public and appropriated to the
ecclesiastical uses of the present State Churchmen and their successors.
This is anything but equality, and cannot be accepted as a final
settlement by the Irish nation.’  Again he writes: ‘The Lords have passed
Mr. Gladstone’s Bill, with some mutilations, to which the Commons finally
assented in a conference.  The Bill is a wretched abortion—in fact, it is
such a sham as might have been expected from an English Parliament.  It
pretends to disendow the State Church, which it re-endows with about
five-eighths of the Church property in a capitalized shape. . . .  If
Gladstone were an honest friend of Ireland, he could have averted all
this danger by withholding the power to capitalize.  To be sure, it is a
queer disendowment that sends off the parsons with five-eighths of the
money in their pockets.’  Again he writes: ‘On the whole, I dare say we
have a sort of qualified triumph—nothing to boast of, considering that
the result of nearly thirteen years’ agitation is a measure that enables
the parsons to walk off with ten or eleven millions of our money in their
pockets, _that still exacts from us the rascally rent-charge_, and that
swindles Ireland of the amount of Irish taxes heretofore kept in the
country by Maynooth and the _Regium Donum_.’

Nor were the English Dissenters, by whose aid Mr. Gladstone had carried
the Bill, very much elated about it.  Their organ, the _British Quarterly
Review_, at some length showed how Mr. Gladstone’s pretended disendowment
had given back the State Church property to the disestablished clergy in
a capitalized shape.  It was enough for the mob to feel that Mr.
Gladstone had put an end to the Irish State Church—that upas-tree which
had long blighted the country.  Be that as it may, nothing was more
beautiful than Mr. Gladstone’s peroration when he moved his resolutions.
Said he: ‘There are many who think that to lay hands on the National
Church Establishment is a profane and unhallowed act.  I sympathize with
it.  I sympathize with it, while I think it is my duty to overcome and
suppress it.  There is something in the idea of a National Establishment
of religion—of a solemn appropriation of a part of the commonwealth for
conferring upon all who are ready to receive it what we know to be an
inestimable benefit; of saving that part or portion of the inheritance
from private selfishness, in order to extract from it, if we can, pure
and unmixed advantages of the highest order for the population at large.
There is something attractive in this—so attractive that it is an image
that must always command the homage of the many.  It is somewhat like the
kingly ghost in “Hamlet,” of which one of the characters of Shakespeare
says:

    ‘“We do it wrong, being so majestical,
    To offer it the show of violence;
    But it is as the air invulnerable,
    And our vain blows malicious mockery.”

But, sir, this is to view a religious Establishment upon one side
only—upon what I may call the ethereal side; it has likewise a side of
earth.  And here I cannot do better than quote some lines written by the
present Archbishop of Dublin at a time when his genius was devoted to the
Muses.  He said, speaking of mankind:

    ‘“We who did our lineage high
    Draw from beyond the starry sky,
    Are yet upon the other side,
    To earth and to its dust allied.”

And so the Church Establishment, regarded in its theory and its aim, is
beautiful and attractive.  Yet what is it but an appropriation of public
property—an appropriation of the fruits of labour and skill to certain
purposes; and unless those purposes are fulfilled, that appropriation
cannot be justified.  Therefore, sir, I think we must set aside fears,
which thrust themselves upon the imagination, and act upon the sober
dictates of our judgment.  I think it has been shown that the cause for
action is strong—not for precipitate action, not for action beyond our
powers, but for such action as the opportunities of the times and the
condition of Parliament, if there is a ready will, will amply and easily
admit of.  If I am asked as to my expectations of the issue of this
struggle, I begin by frankly avowing that I, for one, would not have
entered into it unless I had believed that the final hour _was_ about to
sound.  “Venit summa dies et ineluctabile fatum.”  And I hope that the
noble lord will forgive me if I say that before last Friday I thought
that the thread of the remaining life of the Irish Established Church was
short, but that since Friday last, when at half-past four o’clock in the
afternoon the noble lord stood at that table, I have regarded it as being
shorter still.  The issue is not in our hands.  What we had and have to
do is to consider deeply and well before we take the first step in an
engagement such as this, but, having entered into the controversy, there
and then to acquit ourselves like men, and to use every effort to remove
what still remains of the scandals and calamities in the relations that
exist between England and Ireland, and to make our best efforts, at
least, to fill up with the cement of human concord the noble fabric of
the British Empire.’

Mr. Gladstone triumphed.  Mr. Disraeli contented himself with the victory
of his great rival.  Mr. M‘Cullagh Torrens writes that he happened to
pass near the Conservative leader in the cloisters as he muffled to
resist the outer air, and could not help asking him what he thought of
Gladstone’s speech in introducing the Bill.  ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘perfectly
wonderful!  Nobody but himself could have gone through such a mass of
statistics, history, and computations.’  And then, after a pause: ‘And so
characteristic in the finish to throw away the surplus on the other
idiots.’



CHAPTER IX.
EDUCATION AND IRELAND.


During the Educational debates Mr. Miall said that the Premier had ‘led
one section of the Liberal party through the valley of humiliation; but
once bit, twice shy, and we can’t stand this sort of thing much longer.’
Mr. Gladstone sharply replied: ‘I hope that my hon. friend will not
continue his support of the Government one moment longer than he deems it
consistent with his sense of duty and right.  For God’s sake, sir, let
him withdraw it the moment he thinks it better for the cause he has at
heart that he should do so.  So long as my hon. friend thinks fit to give
us his support, we will co-operate with my hon. friend for any purpose we
have in common, but when we think his opinions and demands exacting, when
we think that he looks too much to the section of the community he
adorns, and too little to the interests of the people at large, we must
then recollect that we are the Government of the Queen, and that those
who have assumed the high responsibility of administering the affairs of
the empire must endeavour to forget the part in the whole, and must, in
the great measures they introduce into the House, propose to themselves
no meaner or narrower object—no other object than the welfare of the
empire at large.’  Again, in opposing Mr. Miall’s motion for doing to the
English Church what had been done to the Irish, he said: ‘The Church of
England is not a foreign Church; it is the growth of the history and
traditions of the country.  It is not the number of its members or the
millions of its revenue—it is the mode in which it has been from a period
shortly after the Christian era, and has never for 1,300 years ceased to
be, the Church of the country, having been at every period engrained into
the hearts and feelings of the great mass of the people, and having
entwined itself with the local habits and feelings, so that I do not
believe there lives the man who could either divine the amount and
character of the work my honourable friend would have to undertake were
he doomed to be responsible for the execution of his own propositions, or
who could in the least degree define or anticipate the consequences by
which it would be attended.  If Mr. Miall sought to convert the majority
of the House of Commons to his views, he must begin by converting to his
views the opinions of the majority of the people of England.’

The attempt to carry an Irish University Bill led Mr. Gladstone to
resign.  Mr. W. E. Forster writes: ‘Gladstone rose with the House dead
against him, and made a wonderful speech, easy—almost playful—with
passages of great power and eloquence, but with a graceful ease which
enabled him to plant daggers into Horsman, Fitzmaurice and Co.’  Again he
writes: ‘Gladstone determined to resign; outside opinion very strongly
for resignation.  Gladstone made quite a touching little speech; he began
playfully.  This was the last of a hundred Cabinets, and he wished to say
to his colleagues with what profound gratitude—and then he broke down,
and could only say that he would not enter on the details.  Tears came
into my eyes, and we were all very touched.’  As Mr. Disraeli was unable
to form a Government, Mr. Gladstone, however, soon returned to power, he
resuming his old place as Chancellor of the Exchequer.  Touching the
Irish University Bill, Lord Blachford writes: ‘Coleridge is sanguine
about Gladstone’s Irish University Bill.  He seems to have started with
the Cabinet against him, and to have converted them all (their point
being, I suppose, to have something that would _pass_), especially some
whom Coleridge describes as full of admiration for the scheme.  I don’t
understand it, but I imagine that it gives or leaves to everybody enough
to stop their mouths without infuriating their neighbours.’  As stated,
Mr. Gladstone returned to office, only to leave it in the following year,
when he dissolved Parliament and the Tories had a majority.  Mr.
Gladstone retained his seat for Greenwich, but a local Tory was at the
head of the poll.

Lord Russell’s charges against Mr. Gladstone of indifference on colonial
questions is somewhat borne out by his conduct with regard to the
annexation of Fiji, which he opposed in 1873, but which was ultimately
carried out by the Government that succeeded his in the following year.
In reply to Sir W. M’Arthur’s motion in the House for the annexation of
Fiji, Mr. Gladstone said: ‘Nothing was easier than to make out a
plausible case of appropriation of this kind, and yet nothing would so
much excite the displeasure of those who cheered his honourable friend
the member for Lambeth, than when for such appropriations a similar
disposition was shown by other countries.  It might be the chill of old
age that was coming upon him, but he confessed he did not feel that
excitement for the acquisition of new territory which animated the hon.
gentleman.’  As to commerce, with our inability ‘to cope with expanding
opportunities, he did not feel the pressure of the argument for securing
special guarantees for our trade in every part of the world.’  He was
more discursive in replying to what he called, ‘in no taunting spirit,
the philanthropic part of the question.’

Nothing was more unexpected, or, as it happened, nothing more disastrous,
than Mr. Gladstone’s sudden dissolution of Parliament in 1874.  Mr.
M’Cullagh Torrens writes: ‘On January 24 I was amused at breakfast by a
paragraph read by one of my family—which, in the profundity of
legislative wisdom, I treated as an editorial jest—announcing an
immediate dissolution.  When convinced at last by reference to an address
to Greenwich that the decree had really gone forth, my breath was again
taken away by learning that the immediate cause was the authoritative
confession that the Cabinet had lost the necessary influence in directing
public opinion, and that the new departure requisite for its recovery
consisted in the offer to abolish the income-tax, and the creation of a
number of peasant boroughs instead of those which might be still spared
as belonging to the upper classes.’  Mr. Chamberlain severely described
Mr. Gladstone’s address containing these proposals as ‘the meanest public
document which had ever in like circumstances proceeded from a statesman
of the first rank.’  It fell flat on the public.

In 1875 Mr. Gladstone, to the surprise of his friends, announced his
determination to retire from the leadership of his party, and the Marquis
of Hartington was selected in his stead, and held that post until the end
of the session of 1879.  The situation was a little embarrassing.  The
difficulties he had to encounter as leader of a minority in the House of
Commons were enormously increased by the fact that he had to deal, not
merely with his followers, but with his brilliant predecessor, who could
at any moment, by his own individual action, lead the Liberal party into
any course in which he chose to direct them.

Continuing his career as a reformer, we find Mr. Gladstone repealing the
Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, and abolishing religious tests in the
Universities; and as the Lords threw out his Bill for the Abolition of
Purchase in the Army, he abolished it by Royal Warrant.  Many old Whigs
questioned the wisdom of the procedure, as they did also his conduct in
the _Alabama_ Claims, which he referred to arbitration, when, as is
always the case, the arbitrators decided against us and in favour of
America.  Earl Russell, who has a claim to be heard on the question,
writes that he declined to submit the claims to arbitration by a foreign
Power because ‘it appeared to me that we could not consistently with our
position as an independent State allow a foreign Power to decide either
that Great Britain had been wanting in good faith or that our law
officers did not understand so well as a foreign Power or State the
meaning of a British statute.’

His lordship severely criticised the way in which Mr. Gladstone formed
his Ministry, as done with little tact or discrimination.  ‘I cannot
think,’ he continues, ‘that I was mistaken in giving way to Mr. Gladstone
as head of the Whig-Radical party of England.  During Lord Palmerston’s
Ministry I had every reason to admire the boldness and the judgment with
which he had directed our finances.  I had no reason to suppose that he
was less attached than I was to our national honour; that he was less
proud than I was of our national achievements by land or sea; that he
disliked the extension of our colonies; or that his measures would tend
to reduce the great and glorious empire of which he was put in charge to
a manufactory of cheap cloth and a market for cheap goods, with an army
and navy reduced by paltry savings to a standard of weakness and
inefficiency.’

In March, 1874, Mr. Gladstone addressed a letter to Lord Granville, in
which he said: ‘At my age I must reserve my entire freedom to divest
myself of all the responsibilities of leadership at no distant date. . . .
I should be desirous shortly before the season of 1874 to consider
whether there would not be an advantage in my placing my services for a
time at the disposal of the Liberal party, or whether I should claim
exemption from the duties I have hitherto discharged.’  Mr. Gladstone at
that time was sixty-four—certainly no great age for himself or any other
statesman of his time; and when Mr. Russell Gurney proposed to legislate
on Ritualism, Mr. Gladstone was back in the field.  After his
unsuccessful intervention, Mr. Gladstone again retired from active
participation in affairs; but he returned to the subject in the autumn by
contributing an article to the _Contemporary Review_, in which he
passionately protested against the attempt to impose uniformity of
practice on the clergy of the Church of England by legislation.  In the
following passage he did much to offend the Roman Catholics: ‘As to the
question whether a handful of clergy are or are not engaged in an utterly
hopeless and visionary attempt to Romanize the Church and the people of
England, at no time since the bloody reign of Queen Mary has such a
scheme been possible.  But if it had been possible in the seventeenth or
eighteenth centuries, it would still have become impossible in the
nineteenth, when Rome has substituted for the proud boast of _semper
eadem_ a policy of violence and change in faith; when she has refurbished
every rusty weapon she was fondly thought to have disused; when no one
can become her convert without renouncing his mental and moral freedom,
and placing his civil loyalty and duty at the mercy of another; and when
she has equally repudiated modern thought and ancient history.’  This
article was followed up by his celebrated pamphlet, ‘The Vatican Decrees
in their bearing on Civil Allegiance.’

Ministers had an easy time of it till they got to the purchase of the
shares in the Suez Canal, which Mr. Gladstone vehemently opposed, though
it seems to have turned out well.  When Mr. Gladstone declared that it
was an unprecedented thing to spend the money of the nation in that way,
Sir Stafford Northcote replied: ‘So is the canal.’  Mr. Gladstone was
soon to prove how far from real was his intention of retiring into
private life.  We began to hear of Bulgarian atrocities and of the
Turkish horrors.  It was a cause into which Mr. Gladstone threw himself
heart and soul.  He published an article in the _Contemporary Review_,
advocating the expulsion of ‘the unspeakable Turk,’ bag and baggage, from
the country.  His pamphlets were in every hand.  In the meanwhile we had
another crisis in the East.  We were on the verge of war with Russia, and
the Jingoes, as the war party came to be denominated, went about the
streets singing:

    ‘We don’t want to fight; but, by Jingo! if we do,
    We’ve got the ships, we’ve got the men, we’ve got the money too!’

Mr. Disraeli had sought refuge in the House of Lords as Earl
Beaconsfield.  All this time Mr. Gladstone kept rather quiet in
Parliament, but from time to time he addressed meetings in the country,
denouncing the Jingoes.  We find him, however, supporting a vote of
censure on the Government, moved by Lord Hartington, he himself having
already moved one.  It was a false move in tactics, as the Government
obtained a crushing majority.  But the Ministry were doomed,
nevertheless.  At the General Election in 1880 they had a decisive
defeat, mainly due to Mr. Gladstone, who had gone to Scotland to win
Midlothian, hitherto the stronghold of the Duke of Buccleugh, and who had
carried the fiery cross in triumph from London to the North.  Never had
he exerted himself more, and never with such splendid results.  As Mr.
Disraeli had said when referring to Mr. Gladstone’s temporary retirement
from political life, ‘There will be a return from Elba;’ nor was that
return long delayed.  Once more he was Premier.

But there was a difficulty.  At the time of the victory Lord Hartington,
not Mr. Gladstone, was the leader of the Liberal party.  When Lord
Beaconsfield resigned, which he had the grace to do without meeting
Parliament, the Queen, according to precedent, sent for Lord Hartington.
He could do nothing, and then the Queen summoned Lord Granville, the
Liberal leader in the Lords.  The two statesmen went together to the
Queen, and assured her that the victory was Mr. Gladstone’s, and that he
was the only possible Premier.  They returned to London in the afternoon,
and called upon Mr. Gladstone in Harley Street.  He was expecting the
message which they brought, and he went down to Windsor without a
moment’s delay.  This was on April 23.  That evening he kissed hands and
returned to London, a second time Premier.  The prospect was not
cheering.  On a vote on the Bradlaugh affair the Government majority was
seventy-five.  There were difficulties about Sir Bartle Frere at the
Cape, about Cyprus, about the Employers’ Liability Bill, and a hot debate
on opium.  ‘Gladstone,’ writes Sir Stafford Northcote, ‘had been dining
out to meet the authoress of “Sister Dora” (Miss Lonsdale), who was very
much alarmed by the rapidity and variety of his questions, and only came
back in time to express his opinion that the House was too much
influenced by sentiment and too little by judgment.  It must be as good
as a play to hear such sentiments from such a quarter.’  In the course of
one of the debates on the Bradlaugh affair, Sir Stafford Northcote
writes: ‘Gladstone spoke early, and evidently under great anxiety.  His
speech, especially in the earlier part, was a very fine one, and produced
a considerable impression.  Towards the end, however, he refined too
much, and seemed a little to lose his hold of his audience.  Gibson
followed him with a very able and telling speech, but, unfortunately, the
House had greatly emptied for dinner when Mr. Gladstone sat down.  It is
a favourite habit of his to speak into the dinner-hour, so that his
opponent must speak either to empty benches or forego the advantage of
replying on the instant.’  The Opposition when the division was taken had
a majority of forty-four, ‘a result,’ adds Sir Stafford Northcote,
‘wholly unexpected on our side, the more sanguine having only hoped for a
close run, and being prepared to renew the fight by moving the previous
question, and adjourning the debate on it.  The excitement when the
numbers were given was greater than I ever remember.  There was shouting,
cheering, clapping of hands, and other demonstrations, both louder and
longer than any I ever heard in my Parliamentary life.’

It may be stated that ultimately the question of Bradlaugh was settled by
Mr. Gladstone’s moving a resolution to admit all persons who may claim
their right to do so, without question and subject to their liability to
penalties by the State.

When the new Parliament assembled the Liberals were in a majority of more
than a hundred, if the Irish Home Rulers were counted as neutral.  If
they were added to the Liberal ranks, their majority became 170.  No one
then thought of adding them to the Conservatives, though half of them—the
Parnellites—subsequently voted with the Conservatives in a vast number of
divisions, and finally contributed to Mr. Gladstone’s downfall.



CHAPTER X.
IRELAND UNDER MR. FORSTER.


When Mr. Gladstone returned to power, Mr. Forster was appointed Chief
Secretary for Ireland, with Lord Cowper as Viceroy.  There was great
distress—as there generally is in Ireland—and exceptional efforts had
been made, both by the Government and the people of this country, to meet
it.  A benevolent fund had been raised, chiefly through the influence of
the Duchess of Marlborough, wife of the Lord-Lieutenant, and a Distress
Relief Act had been carried by Parliament to empower the application of
three-quarters of a million of the Irish Church Surplus Fund, and some
good had unquestionably been done by the public and private effort thus
made to relieve distress; but it was clear, from the results of the
elections, and from the speeches of the popular Irish leaders, that it
was not to measures of this kind that the people looked for permanent
relief.  The unusual distress of 1879 had intensified and aggravated the
chronic disaffection, and sixty members had been returned to Parliament
who were pledged to do their utmost to put an end to English rule in
Ireland by securing Home Rule.  Flushed with the brilliant success they
had achieved, the Liberal party entered upon office confident that a
career of prosperity lay before them.  Lord Beaconsfield’s defeat had
been brought about by the national repudiation of his foreign policy;
and, in the first instance, it was of foreign, rather than domestic,
affairs that the new House of Commons was thinking.  But Ireland at once
came to the front.  The existing Coercion Act would expire in a few
weeks, and it was necessary to secure its renewal before it lapsed; but
the Cabinet resolved to try the experiment of governing by means of the
ordinary law.

The Lords threw out Mr. Forster’s measures intended to relieve Ireland.
He did not scruple to avow his vexation and resentment at their summary
rejection, and the dangerous effect it would have in the disturbed
districts during the coming winter, which might lead to the adoption of
much stronger measures, both of concession and coercion, than the
Government had hitherto attempted.  In response, Mr. Parnell, in
addressing a great audience at Ennis, enunciated the plan already known
as boycotting, whereby every man who took an evicted farm, and everyone
who aided or abetted eviction, should be shunned as a leper in the fair,
refused custom in the market, and treated as an intruder at the altar.
Before the year was out the courts established by the Land League
publicly heard and determined the merits of each case as it arose.  The
signal for acts of summary violence was set by the fate of Lord
Mountmorres, who had incurred popular dislike by his conduct as a
rigorous magistrate, and was put to death on the highway near his own
house in open daylight.  Mr. Forster early proposed to suspend the Habeas
Corpus Act, and to prosecute the prominent movers of the agitation.  Mr.
Gladstone clung to the hope that the friends of law and order would
combine to suppress the tendencies to outrage, and wished to defer as
long as possible the suspension of constitutional freedom; but ere
Parliament had reassembled in 1881, the progress of disorder and outrage
had increased, and the Cabinet reluctantly authorized the introduction of
a measure for the protection of life and property.  Twenty-two nights
were spent in debating it; but it was passed by an overwhelming majority,
comprising Ministerialists, Radicals, and Conservatives.  But the
obstruction systematically offered to repressive legislation at last
provoked Speaker Brand to assert a discretionary power of terminating
debate, which led to the introduction of a change of procedure, of which
the most prominent measure was the Clôture.

The Irish Land Bill was the chief work of the session of 1881.  Mr.
Forster’s work at this time was arduous and untiring to keep the Cabinet
up to duty.  In October, 1881, Mr. Gladstone writes from Hawarden: ‘Your
sad and saddening letter supplies much food for serious reflection; but I
need not reply at great length, mainly because I practically agree with
you.  I almost take for granted, and I shall assume until you correct me,
that your meaning about ruin to property is as follows: You do not mean
the ruin to property which may directly result from exclusive dealing,
but you mean ruin to property by violence—_e.g._, burning of a man’s
haystack because he had let his cars on hire to the constabulary.  On
this assumption I feel politically quite prepared to concur with you in
acting upon legal advice to this effect; nor do I dissent, under the
circumstances, from the series of propositions by which you seek to
connect Parnell and Co. with the prevalent intimidation.  But I hardly
think that so novel an application of the Protection Act should be
undertaken without the Cabinet.’

In the same month Mr. Gladstone went to Leeds, where he had a reception
which exceeded all expectations.  In his speech he devoted himself to the
Irish Question.  Amidst enthusiastic cheers from the vast audience, he
pointed to Mr. Forster’s name, and spoke in generous terms of the arduous
and painful task in which he was then engaged; and then he went on in
clear and forcible language to denounce the conduct of Mr. Parnell and of
the other Land League leaders in striving to stand between the people of
Ireland and the Land Act, in order that the beneficial effects of that
measure might not be allowed to reach them.  Such conduct, Mr. Gladstone
declared, would not be tolerated.  ‘The resources of civilization were,’
he observed, ‘not exhausted.’  Then followed the arrest of Mr. Parnell.
Within twelve hours the news was spread over the civilized world, and
everywhere it created a great sensation.  Mr. Gladstone, speaking at a
meeting at the Guildhall on the same day, first announced the fact of Mr.
Parnell’s arrest to the people of England, and the statement was received
with an enthusiastic outburst that startled even the speaker himself.  It
was hailed as if it were the news of a signal victory.  Throughout
England the belief—so soon to be dissipated—was held that the
imprisonment of Mr. Parnell at Kilmainham must mean the downfall of his
authority, and the extinction of the great organization of which he was
the head; in reality, the outrages and assassinations became greater.

One result was a change in the policy of the Government.  The English
public was asked to believe that the Irish policy of the Government was
not the policy of Mr. Gladstone, but of Mr. Forster alone.  On March 24,
1882, Mr. Gladstone wrote to Mr. Forster, who was then in Dublin,
pointing out to him the growing opposition to the Ministerial proposals
for instituting the Closure, and the prevalent belief among the Irish
members in the House that by stopping the Closure they might prevent the
renewal of the Protection Act.  The Prime Minister added ‘that, with the
Land Act working briskly, resistance to process disappearing, and rents
increasingly and even generally, though not uniformly, paid, a renewal of
so odious a power as that we now hold _is_ impossible, and that whatever
may be needed by way of supplement to the ordinary law must be found in
other forms.’

Mr. Parnell, speaking at Wexford on October 10, 1881, said: ‘He (Mr.
Gladstone) would have you believe that he is not afraid of you, because
he has disarmed you, because he has attempted to disorganize you, because
he knows that the Irish nation is to-day disarmed as far as physical
weapons go, but he does not hold this kind of language with the Boers
(cheers for the Boers.  A Voice: ‘We will be Boers too!’).  What did he
do at the commencement of the session?  He said something of this kind
with regard to the Boers.  He said that he was going to put them down,
and as soon as he discovered that they were able to shoot straighter than
his own soldiers, he allowed those few men to put him and his Government
down, and although he has attempted to regain some of his lost position
in the Transvaal by subsequent chicanery and diplomatic negotiations, yet
that sturdy and small people in the distant Transvaal have seen through
William Ewart Gladstone; and they have told him again, for the second
time, that they will not have their liberties filched from them; and I
believe that, as a result, we shall see that William Ewart Gladstone will
again yield to the people of the Transvaal (hear, hear).  And I trust
that, as the result of this great movement, we shall see that, just as
Gladstone by the Act of 1881 has eaten all his old words, has departed
from all his formerly declared principles, now we shall see that these
brave words of this English Prime Minister will be scattered as chaff
before the united and advancing determination of the Irish people to
regain for themselves their lost land and their lost legislative
independence (loud and continued cheering).’

Miss Parnell termed him a hoary-headed old miscreant; Miss Helen Taylor,
of the London School Board, described him as a dastard and a recreant;
Mr. O’Donnell, M.P., said Gladstone was a Judas, who had betrayed Ireland
by the kiss of peace to the persecutor and tormentor.  In Philadelphia,
the City of Brotherly Love, the effigy of Mr. Gladstone was burned by a
crowd of fifteen hundred Irish under the direction of the League leaders.
Even in Hawarden the magistrates had to place four additional constables
to protect Mr. Gladstone from the effects of Irish revenge.  Mr.
Gladstone, said Mr. Parnell at Wexford just before he was arrested, was
the greatest coercionist, the greatest and most unrivalled slanderer of
the Irish nation, that ever lived.

The situation was gloomy.  Naturally Mr. Gladstone made as light as
possible of the situation in the speech he delivered at the Lord Mayor’s
banquet.  The speech for the moment silenced the murmurs of dissension
inside the Cabinet.  ‘You said,’ Mr. Gladstone wrote to Forster, ‘that if
we are to ask for a suspension of Habeas Corpus, it must be on a case of
great strength and clearness.  But do these figures, after all the
allowance to be made for protection, indicate such a case?  As far as I
can judge, there is a tendency in Ireland upon a series of years to a
decline in the total number of homicides.  The immense increase in
property offences, agrarian, for 1880 seems to me to mark the true
character of the crisis and the true source of the mischief of the Land
League.  But I incline to assume that any suspension of Habeas Corpus
must be founded on danger to life.’

When Parliament met in 1881 began the long running fight between Mr.
Forster and Mr. Parnell.  As the chief representative of the Land League,
Mr. Parnell had spoken defending the action of the League, and Mr.
Forster retorted that the meetings of that body had constantly been
followed by outrage, and that the object of the Land Leaguers was not to
bring about an alteration in the law of the land by constitutional means,
but to prevent any payment of rent save such as might be in accordance
with the unwritten law of Mr. Parnell.  In Parliament Government carried
a Protection Act, an Arms Bill, and an Irish Land Bill.  The Acts were of
no avail.  Outrages increased after the passing of the Protection Act.
In May Mr. John Dillon was arrested and others of his party.  In
September it was resolved to arrest Mr. Parnell, ‘the uncrowned king,’ as
his followers called him.  Mr. Gladstone assented to the arrest if in the
opinion of the law officers of the Crown he had by his speeches been
guilty of treasonable practices.

On one occasion, when Mr. Forster had suggested that he had better
retire, Mr. Gladstone wrote by return of post to acknowledge ‘the very
grave letter,’ which he thought ought to be laid before the Cabinet.
‘With regard to your leaving Ireland,’ wrote the Prime Minister, ‘there
is an analogy between your position and mine.  Virtually abandoning the
hope of vital change for the better, I come on my own behalf to an
anticipation projected a little further into the future—that after the
winter things may mend, and that my own retirement may give facilities
for the fulfilment of your very natural desire.’  It was in a day or two
after this Mr. Gladstone congratulated Forster upon the manner in which
he had accomplished a difficult and delicate task in connection with the
Irish Executive.  ‘It is not every man,’ he writes, ‘who in difficult
circumstances can keep a cool head with a warm heart—and that is what you
are doing.’

In 1882 the situation in Ireland became increasingly difficult and
dangerous.  As the time drew near for the meeting of Parliament, it was
evident that the session would be a stormy one.  In all quarters attacks
upon the Chief Secretary seemed to be in course of preparation.  The
Protection Act had not put an end to the outrages, despite the fact that
hundreds of prisoners, including Mr. Parnell and other members of
Parliament, were under lock and key.  Above all, the Protection Act would
expire during the year, and consequently Ministers must allow it to
expire, or must ask Parliament to spend weeks, or possibly months, in
renewing it.  Yet in the Queen’s Speech it was stated that the condition
of Ireland showed signs of improvement, and encouraged the hope that
perseverance in the course hitherto pursued would be rewarded with the
happy results which were so much to be desired.  The Lords resolved to
find fault with the working of the Land Act.  The challenge of the Lords
was taken up by the Government in the House of Commons, and a resolution
moved by Mr. Gladstone, that any inquiry at that time into the working of
the Land Act would defeat its operation, and must be injurious to the
interests of good government in Ireland, was carried by a majority of 303
to 235.

After the Easter recess the attacks on Forster were renewed.  It was
demanded that he should be removed from office, and that the suspects
should be immediately released, on the plea that their imprisonment had
not prevented the continuance of the outrages.  To make matters worse,
the American Government became urgent in their demands for the release of
those prisoners who could prove that they were citizens of the United
States, while, in addition to the political perplexities thus created,
the atrocious murder of Mrs. H. J. Smythe, as she was driving home from
church in West Meath, sent a thrill of horror through the country.  At
this time Forster, in a letter to Mr. Gladstone, writes: ‘That if now or
at any future time’ (the _Pall Mall_ had been suggesting his resignation)
‘you think that from _any cause_ it would be to the advantage of the
public service or for the good of Ireland that I should resign, I most
unreservedly place my resignation in your hands.’

In reply, Mr. Gladstone wrote from Hawarden, April 5, 1882: ‘Yesterday
morning I was unwell, and did not see the papers, so that I have only
just become aware of the obliging suggestion that you should retire.  I
suspect it is partly due to a few (not many) Tory eulogies.  There is one
consideration which grievously tempts me towards the acceptance of the
offer conveyed in your most handsome letter.  It is that if you go, and
go on Irish grounds, surely I must go too. . . .  We must continue to
face our difficulties with an unbroken front and with a stout heart.  I
do not admit your failure, and I think you have admitted it rather too
much—at any rate, by omission—by not putting forward the main fact that
in the deadly fight with the social revolution you have not failed, but
are succeeding.  Your failure, were it true, is our failure; and outrage,
though a grave fact, is not the main one.  Were there a change in the
features of the case, I would not hesitate to recognise it, with whatever
pain, as unreservedly as I now record their actual condition.  I do not
suppose we ought to think of legislating on the Irish case until after
Whitsuntide.’

But, nevertheless, Mr. Forster did resign.  In April Lord Spencer
succeeded Earl Cowper as Irish Viceroy, and negotiations were carried on
between Captain O’Shea and Mr. Parnell—known now as the Kilmainham
Treaty—of which Mr. Forster strongly complained.  Mr. Gladstone took a
different view.  Writing to Forster, he expressed the satisfaction with
which he had read Mr. Parnell’s letter.  With regard to the expression in
the letter of the writer’s willingness to co-operate in future with the
Liberal party, Mr. Gladstone wrote: ‘This is a _hors d’œuvre_ which we
had no right to expect.  I may be far wide of the mark, but I can
scarcely wonder at O’Shea saying, “The thing is done. . . .”  On the
whole, Parnell’s letter is the most extraordinary I ever read.  I cannot
help feeling indebted to O’Shea.’

In May Mr. Forster resigned.  Writing on the 2nd of that month, Mr.
Gladstone, in reply, says: ‘I have received your letter with much grief,
but on this it would be selfish to expatiate.  I have no choice—followed
or not followed, I must go on. . . .  One thing, however, I wish to say.
You wish to minimize in any public statement the cause of your retreat.
In my opinion, _and I speak from experience_, viewing the nature of the
case, you will find this hardly possible.  For a justification, I fear,
you will have to found upon the doctrine of a new departure, or must
protest against it and deny it with heart and soul.’

Speaking of the parting, Mr. Forster told his biographer that he had
learned not merely to esteem, but to love Mr. Gladstone during their
intercourse as colleagues, and he bore testimony to the fact that he had
never ceased to be supported by him until the moment came when the Prime
Minister found reason to change his policy.  Then, however, the change of
policy was swiftly followed by a change of attitude, so far as politics
were concerned, deplored by both men, but, under the circumstances,
inevitable.

Lord Frederick Cavendish was gazetted as Mr. Forster’s successor.  He
arrived in Dublin on May 6.  On that day he and Mr. Burke, the Irish
Under-Secretary, were foully murdered while crossing the Phœnix Park by a
band of assassins, whose plans, it was evident, had been laid long
beforehand with the utmost deliberation.  Mr. Forster had escaped them on
his departure from Dublin by what almost seemed a miracle.  In a few days
after, Sir William Harcourt introduced into the House of Commons a new
Coercion Bill, which, although it was laid upon the lines introduced by
Mr. Forster before he retired from office, was in many respects more
severe and stringent in its character than anything which he had
proposed.

Another difficulty which beset the Government was the occupation of Egypt
in 1882.  The bombardment of Alexandria led to the retirement of Mr.
Bright from the Cabinet.  Many Liberals were profoundly dissatisfied.  In
the early part of the session of 1883, the question of our obligations in
South Africa, and our duties towards native chiefs who had trusted in our
promises, arose in connection with Bechuanaland.  In domestic politics
the question was that of the Household Suffrage Bill, which, carried in
the Commons, was thrown out in the House of Lords.

But a greater question was that of the abandonment of the Soudan and the
failure to relieve Gordon at Khartoum.  It was in the course of one of
his most urgent appeals to Government not to delay the sending out of an
expedition that Forster used words respecting Mr. Gladstone which were
strangely misinterpreted at the time.  Speaking of the dangers of
Gordon’s position, he said: ‘I believe everyone but the Prime Minister is
already convinced of that danger . . . and I attribute his not being
convinced to his wonderful power of persuasion.  He can persuade most
people of most things, and above all, he can persuade himself of almost
anything.’  It is difficult now to realize that these words were resented
by Lord Hartington as ‘a bitter and personal, and evidently
highly-prepared and long-reflected-over, attack upon the sincerity of Mr.
Gladstone.’  It is to be remembered that at this time Mr. Bright had
resigned office, and the Government was daily growing weaker.  The attack
of the Tories was incessant, and the supporters of the Government became
daily more faint-hearted.  It is said of one of our months that it comes
in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.  In the present instance this
was specially true of the Gladstone Government.  In June, 1883, the
Government were beaten on the Budget.  In reference to this event Lord
Shaftesbury writes: ‘I have just seen the defeat of Government on the
Budget by Conservatives and Parnellites combined; an act of folly
amounting to wickedness.  God is not in all their thoughts, nor their
country either.  All seek their own, and their own is party spirit,
momentary triumph, political hatred, and the indulgence of low political
and unpatriotic passions.’

A more accurate observer, ‘I rather fancy,’ wrote Mr. W. H. Smith, M.P.,
‘the Government look for it as a relief from their troubles.’  The last,
and perhaps the most serious of all, was the manner in which they had
allowed themselves to be outwitted by Russia in Afghanistan.  This belief
was generally entertained all over the land.  Mr. Gladstone was glad to
put an end to his perplexities by resigning office.  The Queen offered to
make him an Earl, which he had too much sense to accept—though in office
no one was more ready to make peers of his friends.  In his later years
his trump card was an attack on the House of Lords.  Lord Salisbury
became Premier, all necessary business was quickly disposed of, and in
the autumn a General Election took place.  In the boroughs the Liberal
losses were heavy; in the counties they increased their strength.  One of
Mr. Gladstone’s appeals to the country was sounded in his speech at
Edinburgh to the electors of Midlothian.  He passionately implored his
party to hold together, in order, above all things, that they should
return a Liberal majority so considerable as to make it independent of
the Irish party.  He expressed the hope that from one end of the country
to the other there would not be a single representative returned to
Parliament who would listen to any proposition tending to impair the
visible empire.  Whatever demands might be made on the part of Ireland,
if they were to be entertained they must be subject to the condition that
the union of the empire should be preserved.  Mr. Parnell’s answer was to
return eighty-six Home-Rulers for Ireland; Lord Salisbury remained
Premier.  Lord Shaftesbury wrote: ‘In a year or so we shall have Home
Rule disposed of at all hazards to save us from hourly and daily bores.’
In the meanwhile the Conservatives held feebly to office till 1886, when
in January Mr. Gladstone resumed office as Premier.



CHAPTER XI.
HOME RULE.


About this time Home Rule began seriously to be talked about.  It was
even hinted that Mr. Gladstone was about to bring in a measure on the
subject.  In some quarters it was hinted the Conservatives would outbid
him in their eagerness to obtain Irish support.  Men who belonged to no
party could not bring themselves to regard any measure of Home Rule
seriously, especially when they saw how by means of it Irish M.P.’s had
gained a popularity and a position which otherwise they would never have
hoped to attain.  An Irish Nationalist had everything to lose by means of
a peaceful solution of Irish difficulties—his claim on the funds
collected largely in America, his place in Parliament, his position on
the public platform.  As long as he could teach his ignorant
fellow-countrymen and sympathizing Americans that England was the sworn
foe of Ireland and did all she could to crush her and keep her down, he
had an easy time of it.  To abuse England was to play an easy part, and
no misrepresentation was too absurd to be put forth to arouse Irish
hatred—on which the Catholic priests naturally looked with no unfriendly
eyes.  For England was a country rich and prosperous and Protestant, and
they dared not tell the Irish people that if they copied England Ireland
would be as prosperous as any part of Great Britain.  Take the case of
Mr. Forster, savagely execrated as ‘Buckshot’ Forster.  Why was he held
up to hatred under that name?  Simply for the reason that buckshot not
being so fatal as bullets, Mr. Forster had recommended it to the troops
in case they should be obliged to resort to arms.  The plain Englishman,
aware how for fifty years Parliament had been trying to pacify Ireland
and to remove wrong where it was admitted to exist, who heard Irishmen
declare that they were at war with England, could not be expected
strongly to support a movement in favour of Home Rule, especially after
Mr. Gladstone’s appeal to him to give him a majority independent of the
Irish vote.

Many prejudices had to be overcome.  As a rule, the Englishman has slight
confidence in Irish oratory.  An amusing illustration of its tendency to
run into exaggeration is given by that sturdy Irish patriot Mr. John
O’Neill Daunt, who in 1882 thus closes his diary for the year: ‘The year
now ending has been blackened by most abominable crimes and murders.
Parnell and his followers acquired vast popularity by denouncing the
evictors, the extortioners, the rack-renters; had they stopped there they
would have merited praise.  But in attacking all landlords—good and bad
landlords—they fatally widened that severance of classes which has always
been the curse of Ireland.’

Unprejudiced Englishmen—not excited by hope of triumph for a party—were
naturally sceptical about Home Rule for Ireland.  The masses were quite
content to follow Mr. Gladstone’s lead, and to applaud the Irish orators
who from time to time appeared in their midst.  As a nation, the Irish
are oratorical and poetical.  It is by poetry and oratory the Irishman
makes his way in the world, and wins fame and fortune; while the Saxon is
content to make a fortune by honest industry and commercial enterprise.
An Irish poet—one of the most popular of them perhaps—who is more
honoured in England than in the land of his birth, wrote:

    ‘Of all the ills that men endure,
    How small the part that laws can heal or cure.’

And they are content to plod on, while the Irishman revels in the
excitement of agitation.  But Mr. Gladstone’s new policy was to put down
agitation, to satisfy his Irish supporters, and to send another message
of peace to Ireland by carrying a measure of Home Rule.  His initial
difficulty was with his Cabinet.  The Marquis of Hartington, Lord Derby,
Lord Selborne stood aloof, Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Trevelyan remaining
with him.  Early in the session Mr. Gladstone announced that he hoped to
be able to lay before the House his plan for the future government of
Ireland.  Sir Stafford Northcote saw dangers ahead.  In a speech he made
at Aberdeen, he said of his old leader: ‘I am prepared from a long
acquaintance with him, both as a friend and as an opponent in Parliament,
to bear the highest tribute to the great ability of the late Premier; at
the same time, I think he is about the most dangerous statesman I know.
. . .  It always seems to me that the worst sign of bad weather is when you
see the new moon with what is called the old moon in its arms.  I have no
doubt that many of you Aberdeen men have read the fine old ballad of Sir
Patrick Spens, who was drowned some twenty or thirty miles to the east of
Aberdeen.  In that ballad he was cautioned not to go to sea, because his
old and weatherwise attendant had noticed the new moon with the old moon
in its lap.  I think myself that is a very dangerous sign; and when I see
Mr. Chamberlain with Mr. Gladstone, the old moon, in his arms, I think it
is time to look out for squally weather.’

Squally weather it was at any rate the misfortune of Mr. Gladstone to
encounter in his new endeavour.  There was at this time no one in the
ranks of the Opposition at all approaching Lord Randolph Churchill in
force and vigour as an orator; and in a speech delivered in Manchester he
made an eloquent appeal to Liberals to join with Conservatives in forming
a new political party, which he named ‘Unionist,’ to combine all that is
best of the Tory, the Whig, and the Liberal.

In the interval of suspense which preceded Mr. Gladstone’s declaration as
to his Irish scheme, there was no ambiguity in the utterances of the Whig
leaders, and he was made perfectly aware that if his Bill would confer a
practically independent legislature on Ireland, he must prepare for
opposition not only from them and the Tories, but also from Mr.
Chamberlain and Mr. Trevelyan, his colleagues in the Cabinet.  In March
it was announced that they had resigned.

On April 8, 1886, Mr. Gladstone moved his great and long-expected
measure.  The desire to hear the statement of the Premier was intense,
Nationalist members sitting up all night to secure their places.  Never
was there such a struggle on the part of members to obtain seats.  Chairs
were set on the floor of the House, by which means seventy or eighty
additional seats were provided.  The galleries, the nooks—in short, every
foot of standing ground was crowded with chairs.  Language fails to do
justice to the intense excitement of the hour, or to note the competition
for every seat in the Strangers’ Gallery; the scramble of the Lords, too,
for room in places assigned to them, the ovation rapturously afforded by
his followers to the hero of the hour, the physical and mental efforts of
the orator for more than two hours, the rapt attention, diversified by
bursts of cheers from one side and ironical exclamations from the other,
and the vociferous applause at the close, are things never to be
forgotten in the history of our Parliamentary annals.  The speech with
which he wound up the debate on the first reading in April was
wonderfully fine.  ‘He raised,’ writes Sir R. Temple, ‘the drooping
spirits of his followers; he held his head aloft; and in his wrath
against the dissentient Liberals he seemed to stand higher by inches than
his ordinary stature.’  His next effort, in unfolding his scheme for
buying out the Irish landlords, was not so successful.  After Mr.
Chamberlain’s attack on it, he is described as having left the House
apparently in high dudgeon.  The second reading of the Home Rule Bill was
moved by Mr. Gladstone amidst cheers from the Nationalist members alone.
The debate was animated and prolonged.  On the closing night Mr.
Gladstone rose at midnight to deliver his fourth speech on the Bill.
‘For the last twenty minutes or so,’ writes Sir R. Temple, ‘I have never
heard such oratory anywhere from any man; indeed, he poured his very soul
into it.’  But all in vain.  The Ayes were 311, the Noes 341.  Parliament
was dissolved, and in the General Election Home Rule was smitten, as far
as England was concerned, hip and thigh.  Lord Salisbury was Premier, Mr.
Goschen joined the Unionist party; and Mr. Chamberlain suggested the
Round Table Conference to fill up the Liberal ranks, to which Mr.
Gladstone heartily consented, but which came to nothing after all.

The chief event of this short session was a Tenant Relief Bill,
introduced by Mr. Parnell, providing for the suspension of the ejectment
of any defaulting tenant who should pay half his rent and half his
arrears.  Let us add, this session was memorable as the most trying one
that had ever taken place, from the acrimony of its debates and the late
hours of its sittings.  However, Mr. Gladstone had got back Sir George
Trevelyan and three or four small men besides.  Meanwhile, the Government
had to wince under the loss of several seats at by-elections.  At
Southampton, the Unionist majority of 342 had been turned into a
Gladstonian one of 885; and the Ayr Burghs followed suit, by replacing a
Unionist, whose majority had been at the General Election 1,175, by a
Gladstonian whom they preferred to the extent of 53 votes to the Hon.
Evelyn Ashley.  It was not till Christmas Eve that Parliament adjourned.
Government met Parliament the next year under great discouragement.
Before the debate on the Queen’s Speech was begun, Sir William Harcourt
raised the question of privilege, of which he maintained a breach had
been committed against the House by Tories in the matter of the charges
against the Irish members; and the diminished majority by which his
motion was rejected—58—testified to the loss of prestige by the
Government, as a consequence of their supposed connection with a case
bolstered up by the forgeries of the Irish informer Pigott.  On the
second reading of the Local Taxation Bill, Mr. Caine moved an amendment
refusing assent to any proposal to extinguish licenses by means of public
money.  Mr. Gladstone, in supporting it, defended himself from the charge
of having violated pledges given to his Midlothian electors, declared
that since those pledges had been given ‘the law had been cleared and
settled in a manner not only unfavourable to the doctrine of vested
interests, but likewise to the doctrine of permanent interest, on the
part of a publican in an annual license.’  However, Mr. Gladstone spoke
in vain.

Mr. Justin McCarthy, in his ‘Life of Mr. Gladstone,’ seems to show the
gradual development of Mr. Gladstone’s conversion to Home Rule.  This was
not at all the sudden change that shallow satirists imagined.  His
conviction was gradually borne in upon him by the close study of Ireland
imposed upon him as a preparation for his Church and Land legislation.
He hesitated long, because Ireland had never sent a majority of
Nationalists to Parliament.  On this subject Mr. McCarthy’s recollection
of a conversation with the great chief in the division lobby is very
interesting: ‘He said to me in a somewhat emphatic tone that he could not
understand why a mere handful of Irish members, such as my immediate
colleagues were, should call themselves _par excellence_ the Irish
Nationalist Party, while a much larger number of Irish representatives,
elected just as we were, kept always assuring him that the Irish people
had no manner of sympathy with us or with our Home Rule scheme.  “How am
I to know?” he asked me.  “These men far outnumber you and your friends,
and they are as fairly elected as you are.”  I said to him: “Mr.
Gladstone, give us a popular franchise in Ireland, and we will soon let
you know whether we represent the Irish people or whether we do not.”  At
the election of 1885 they did let him know, by returning 85 Nationalists
out of 103 members for Ireland.  This settled the question in Mr.
Gladstone’s mind.

When a serious calamity occurred to the Irish party by reason of the
action brought against Mr. Parnell by Captain O’Shea for adultery with
his wife, Mr. Gladstone was compelled to take notice of the matter.  The
English Nonconformists and Scotch Presbyterians made known to him their
determination not to work for Home Rule so long as Mr. Parnell remained
at the head of the Irish party.  Accordingly, Mr. Gladstone wrote to Mr.
John Morley: ‘I thought it necessary, reviewing arrangements for the
commencement of the present session, to acquaint Mr. McCarthy with the
conclusion at which I have arrived, after using all the means of
reflection and observation in my power.  It was this, that,
notwithstanding the splendid services rendered by Mr. Parnell to his
country, his continuance at the present moment in the leadership would be
productive of consequences disastrous in the highest degree to the cause
of Ireland.’

This led to serious charges of bad faith made against Mr. Gladstone by
Mr. Parnell.  ‘No single suggestion was offered by me,’ wrote Mr.
Gladstone in reply, ‘as formal, or as unanimous, or final.  It was a
statement, perfectly free and without prejudice, of points in which
either I myself or such of my colleagues as I had been able to consult
inclined generally to believe that the plan for Home Rule in Ireland
might be improved, and as to which I was desirous to learn whether they
raised any serious objection in the mind of Mr. Parnell.’

In February, 1891, Mr. Gladstone moved the second reading of a Bill which
he had introduced to remove the disabilities which prevented Roman
Catholics from holding the appointment of Lord Chancellor and Viceroy of
Ireland.  The Bill was rejected by a majority of forty-seven.  After this
he almost entirely disappears from the Parliament he had done so much to
illustrate and adorn.  Never before has any statesman filled so large a
space in public life, or secured so enormous a popularity.  At times,
even after 1892, there was talk of his returning to Parliament as leader,
to head his followers, who were as sheep having no shepherd.  But failing
strength and advancing years led him to retire from Parliament
altogether, and fainter grew his voice, and less frequent his utterances.
Amongst the latest was his message to his party in 1898, to stick to Lord
Rosebery and to attack the House of Lords.  To the last the
Nonconformists of England and Scotland, in spite of his High Church
views, stuck to Mr. Gladstone.  Largely had he been deserted by his old
followers all over the country, who had cheered Mr. Gladstone when he
indignantly told the leaders of the Irish party that their steps were
dogged with crime; who had done their best to give him a majority that
would render him, as he intimated, independent of the Irish vote, but who
failed to understand how, after such declarations, Mr. Gladstone could
spring on them a Home Rule Bill, which they were not prepared to support.
But none of these things affected the Nonconformist Conscience.  In May,
1888, Mr. Gladstone received an address at the Memorial Hall in
Farringdon Street, in favour of his Irish policy, signed by 3,370
Nonconformist ministers.  To the address, which was read by the Rev. J.
Guinness Rogers, Mr. Gladstone replied: ‘I accept with gratitude, as well
as pleasure, the address which has been presented to me, and I rejoice
again to meet you within walls which, although no great number of years
have passed away since their erection, have already become historic, and
which are associated in my mind, and in the minds of many, with
honourable struggles, sometimes under circumstances of depression,
sometimes under circumstances of promise, but always leading us forward,
whatever have been the phenomena of the moment, along the path of truth
and justice.  I am very thankful to those who have signed the address for
the courageous manner in which they have not scrupled to associate their
political action and intention with the principles and motives of their
holy religion.’

Not long after came the end of Mr. Gladstone’s marvellous Parliamentary
career.  The originative power, masterful vigour, and fiery energy which
still characterized Mr. Gladstone after passing his eightieth year were
so extraordinary that his followers almost regarded him as immortal.  At
any rate, men of forty and fifty hardly expected to have to look for
another leader in their lifetime.  But, nevertheless, the time came for
his retirement—came suddenly, and without apparent cause.  There were
rumours, but there was nothing certain, and his last Parliamentary words,
in grave condemnation of the changes made by the Lords in the Local
Government Bill, were spoken in March, 1894.  The description of the
scene is one of the most effective passages in Mr. McCarthy’s book:

‘Some of us, of course, were in the secret, or at least were vaguely
forewarned of what we had to expect.  Shortly after Mr. Gladstone sat
down I met Mr. John Morley in one of the lobbies.  “Is that, then,” I
asked, “the very last speech?”  “The very last,” was his reply.  “I don’t
believe one quarter of the men in the House understand it so,” I said.
“No,” he replied, “but it is so, all the same.”  Mr. McCarthy continues:
“No other man, not Mr. Gladstone, would probably on such an occasion have
made it plain that he was giving his final farewell to the assembly which
he had charmed and over which he had dominated by his eloquence for so
many years.  Lord Chatham certainly would not have allowed himself to
pass out of public life without conveying to all men the idea that he
spoke in Parliament for the last time.  But Mr. Gladstone, with all his
magnificent rhetorical gift, and with all his artistic instinct, had no
thought of getting up a scene. . . .  In the theatric sense I should
describe his last speech as a dramatic failure.  Numbers of men lounged
out of the House when the speech was over, not having the least idea that
they were never again to hear his voice in Parliamentary debate.  Yet I
for one do not regret that Mr. Gladstone thus took his leave of political
life.  I am not sorry that there were no fireworks; that there was no
tableau; that there was no such dramatic fall of the curtain.  The orator
during his closing speech was inspired by one subject, and was not
thinking of himself.  A single sentence interjected in the course of the
speech would have told every one of his hearers what was coming, and
would have led to a demonstration such as was probably never before known
in the House of Commons.  It did not suit Mr. Gladstone’s tastes or
inclinations to lead up to any such demonstration, and therefore, while
he warned the House of Commons as to its duties and its responsibilities,
he said not a word about himself and about his action in the future.
Parliamentary history lost something, no doubt, by the manner of his
exhortation, but I think the character of the man will be regarded as all
the greater because at so supreme a moment he forgot that the greatest
Parliamentary career of the Victorian era had come at last to its close.’

About this time Mr. W. H. Smith, the ‘Old Mortality’ of _Punch_, writes:
‘Gladstone is more kindly in his personal relations than I have ever
known him, but he is physically much weaker, and the least exertion
knocks him up.’  Yet Mr. Gladstone long outlived his amiable critic.
When in March Mr. W. H. Smith moved the adoption of the report of the
Parnell Commission, Mr. Gladstone moved an amendment, and for two hours
poured forth a stream of eloquence, writes Sir R. Temple, like molten and
liquid gold from the furnace, with intonation and gesticulation quite
marvellous for a man of his advanced age; but his amendment was rejected.
In the debate on the Welsh Church he spoke for Disestablishment,
contending that when he argued for the Establishment the political forces
were for it, but now they were against it.  In the next year Mr.
Gladstone made a speech in favour of peasant proprietorship, and on the
advantages of small tenures of land, as on the Continent.  He also
opposed a grant for a railway near Zanzibar.  In a broad-minded and
judicious manner he supported the Government Bill for developing
legislative measures in India, and for giving the natives increased
electoral rights.  He also supported the Clergy Discipline (Immorality)
Bill in terms, says Sir R. Temple, of noble generosity towards the
organization of the Church, yet in language of courteous respect towards
Nonconformists.

In the Parliament ruled over by Mr. Smith, Mr. Gladstone—‘now seventy-six
years,’ writes Mr. Russell—entered on an extraordinary course of physical
and intellectual efforts with voice and pen, ‘in Parliament and on the
platform,’ on behalf of his favourite scheme of Irish Home Rule.  In 1888
Mr. Neill O’Daunt writes: ‘Mr. Gladstone has been justly and ably
denouncing the Union in the _Westminster Review_ and other periodicals.
He has given many unanswerable arguments against it.  He might add,
however, that if you want to appreciate the evils of the Union, look at
me, W. E. G.  When Ireland lay crushed and prostrate beneath the miseries
of a seven years’ famine, when multitudes had perished by starvation, and
when all who could obtain the passage-money fled to America, I, W. E. G.,
secured that propitious moment to give a spur to the exodus by adding 52
per cent. to the taxation of Ireland, and pleaded the terms of the Union
as my justification for inflicting this scourge on the suffering people.’

It is characteristic of Mr. Gladstone’s loyalty that when engaged in
celebrating his golden wedding, he found time to attend the House of
Commons and deliver a speech in support of the Royal Grants.

Mr. Gladstone had left Parliament, had passed away from public life.
Fight was in him, nevertheless, to the last.  When in the winter of 1898
he started for the South of France, according to newspaper reports, he
advised his followers to continue the attack on the House of Lords; and
when the Irish celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in March in London, he wrote
to them, advising union if they would gain the day.  I prefer, however,
and I think many will agree with me, to think of the aged and illustrious
man as he was leaving Bournemouth for Hawarden in March of the same year,
putting his head out of the window, and saying to the crowd who had come
to see him off: ‘God bless you all, and the land you love!’



CHAPTER XII.
MR. GLADSTONE’S SPEECHES.


In 1892 appeared part of what was to be a ten-volume edition of Mr.
Gladstone’s speeches, edited by Mr. William Hutton, librarian, National
Liberal Club, and R. J. Cowen, of the Inner Temple, barrister-at-law.
The work is a labour of love on the part of the two editors, and Mr.
Gladstone himself contributes a modest preface.  He has seen such
passages as seemed to require revision, and he testifies to their
correctness.  In some instances the editors have made verbal amendments
where it was apparent that the text was misreported.  They have also
added brief notes, just sufficient to recall the circumstances under
which the speeches were delivered.  It is in his perorations that Mr.
Gladstone rises to his loftiest rhetoric, as is seen in the one delivered
in his great Birmingham speech of 1885 on Ireland’s new weapons: ‘Ah,
gentlemen, may I tell you with what weapons Ireland is fighting this
battle?  She is not fighting it with the weapons of menace, with a threat
of separation, with Fenian outbreaks, with the extension of secret
societies.  Happily those ideas have passed away into a distance
undefined.  She is fighting the contest with the weapons of confidence
and affection—of confidence in the powerful party by whose irrevocable
decision she is supported, and of affection towards the people of
England.  May I tell you one incident, that will not occupy two minutes,
in proof of what I say?  In the county, I think, of Limerick, not very
many days ago, an Englishman was addressing a crowd of Irish Nationalists
on the subject of Home Rule.  His carriage or his train, whichever it
was, was just going to depart.  Someone cried out, “God save Ireland!”
and there was a loud burst of cheering.  The train started, the cheering
subsided.  Another voice from the crowd was raised, and shouted, “And God
save England!” and there were cheers louder still, such in the language
of Shakespeare that

    ‘“Make the welkin ring again,
    And fetch still echoes from the hollow earth.”

These cheers were the genuine expression of the sentiment of the country.
They, our opponents, teach you to rely on the use of this deserted and
enfeebled and superannuated weapon of coercion.  We teach you to rely
upon Irish affection and goodwill.  We teach you not to speculate on the
formation of that sentiment.  We show you that it is formed already; it
is in full force; it is ready to burst forth from every Irish heart and
through every Irish voice.  We only beseech you, by resolute adherence to
that policy you have adopted, to foster, to cherish, to consolidate that
sentiment, and so to act that in space it shall spread from the north of
Ireland to the south, and from the west of Ireland to the east; and in
time it shall extend and endure from the present date until the last of
the years and the last of the centuries that may still be reserved in the
counsels of Providence to work out the destinies of mankind.’

Perhaps more of our readers will agree with Mr. Gladstone’s eulogy of
books in opening a working men’s library in Saltney:

‘And now I commend you again to your books.  Books are delightful
society.  If you go into a room and find it full of books—and without
even taking them down from their shelves—they seem to speak to you, to
bid you welcome.  They seem to tell you that they have got something
inside their covers that will be good for you, and that they are willing
and desirous to impart to you.  Value them much.  Endeavour to turn them
to good account, and pray recollect this, that the education of the mind
is not merely a stowage of goods in the mind.  The mind of man, some
people seem to think, is a storehouse that should be filled with a
quantity of useful commodities which may be taken out like packets from a
shop, and delivered and distributed according to the occasions of life.
I will not say that this is not true as far as it goes; but it goes a
very little way, for commodities may be taken in and commodities may be
given out, but the warehouse remains just the same as it was before, or
probably a little worse.  That ought not to be the case with a man’s
mind.  No doubt you are to cull knowledge that is useful for the temporal
purpose of life, but never forget that the purpose for which a man lives
is the improvement of the man himself, so that he may go out of this
world having, in his great sphere or his small one, done some little good
to his fellow-creatures, and laboured a little to diminish the sin and
the sorrow that are in the world.  For his own growth and development a
man should seek to acquire, to his full capacity, useful knowledge, in
order to deal it out again according to the supreme purposes of
education.  I remember just now I said that, outside of science, the
chance for a labouring man to acquire knowledge was comparatively very
little, unless he acquire it through observation.  The poet Gray
describes the condition of the rustics of the village in these words:

    ‘“But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
       Rich with the spoils of Time, did ne’er unroll;
    Chill Penury repressed their noble rage,
       And froze the genial current of the soul.”

We have witnessed an improvement upon that state of things.  Knowledge
has now begun to unroll her ample page, and chill Penury does not now so
universally repress.  Let that improvement itself be improved upon, not
necessarily by grand, imposing designs, but by each of us according to
his means, with the sedulous endeavour to do our duty to our neighbour
and our service to our country.  Let me express the fervent hope that
this literary institute may thrive, and may largely and continuously
contribute to the prosperity of Saltney and the happiness of its people.’

In the Dundee address on ‘Art and Industry,’ delivered on October 29,
1890, Mr. Gladstone half playfully, half seriously, denounced the
vagaries of fashion:

‘Now, shall I shock you if I tell you what perhaps is partly only a
personal opinion of my own?  The study of beauty has several very
formidable enemies.  One of them, of course, is haste in production,
carelessness in production.  Sometimes the desire for cheapness makes
people think you cannot have cheapness and beauty together.  But the
particular enemy which I think is one of the most formidable of all to
the true comprehension and true pursuit of beauty is that thing which is
known under the name of fashion.  That may seem strange to the young
gentlemen who want to be smart in their dress.  I will not speak of young
ladies.  To them I have no doubt it will sound as if I was using language
certainly rash, and perhaps almost profane.  What is fashion?  Gentlemen
and ladies, if the ladies have anything to do with it—I won’t say whether
it is so or not—what is fashion?  Fashion of dress is perpetual change.
Wherever there is perpetual change, if it is to be justifiable or if it
is to be useful, there ought to be perpetual progress.  But fashion is
not perpetual progress; fashion is a zigzag.  Fashion is a wheel which
whirls round and round, and by-and-by, after a fashion has been left,
after it has been discarded, if you have only a little patience to wait
long enough, you will find you will go back to it.  Ladies and gentlemen,
you are young and I am old; I have seen this wheel of fashion going round
and round, always puzzling you, like a firework wheel, but always landing
in a total negation of progress, and with a strong tendency to the
substitution of mere caprice and mere display for the true pursuit of
beauty.’

In 1894 appeared another volume.  Nominally it was the ninth volume, but
the order of sequence is apparently to be from last to first.  The new
volume is one of the most important of the series, since it contains the
great speech on introducing the first Home Rule Bill, and seventeen
speeches of later date, mainly upon Home Rule.  Some of these speeches
present the great Parliamentary orator at his very highest—broad in
sweep, dexterous in sword-play, flashing with wit, pellucid in
expression, driving home his case with passionate appeal and a rush of
ingenious argument.  Whether we agree with him or not, it is impossible,
even in cold print, not to admire the overpowering ability of the ‘old
Parliamentary hand.’  Here is the peroration of the first great speech on
introducing the first Home Rule Bill:

‘However this may be, we are sensible that we have taken an important
decision—our choice has been made.  It has not been made without thought;
it has been made in the full knowledge that trial and difficulty may
confront us on our path.  We have no right to say that Ireland through
her constitutionally-chosen representatives will accept the plan I offer.
Whether it will be so I do not know—I have no title to assume it—but if
Ireland does not cheerfully accept it, it is impossible for us to attempt
to force upon her what is intended to be a boon; nor can we possibly
press England and Scotland to accord to Ireland what she does not
heartily welcome and embrace.  There are difficulties, but I rely upon
the patriotism and sagacity of this House; I rely on the effects of free
and full discussion; and I rely more than all upon the just and generous
sentiments of the two British nations.  Looking forward, I ask the House
to assist us in the work which we have undertaken, and to believe that no
trivial motive can have driven us to it—to assist us in this work which
we believe will restore Parliament to its dignity, and legislation to its
free and unimpeded course.  I ask you to stay that waste of public
treasure which is involved in the present system of government and
legislation in Ireland; and which is not a waste only, but which
demoralizes while it exhausts.  I ask you to show to Europe and to
America that we, too, can face political problems which America twenty
years ago faced, and which many countries in Europe have been called upon
to face, and have not feared to deal with.  I ask that in our own case we
should practise with firm and fearless hand what we have so often
preached—the doctrine which we have so often inculcated upon
others—namely, that the concession of local self-government is not the
way to sap or impair, but the way to strengthen and consolidate, unity.
I ask that we should learn to rely less upon merely written stipulations,
and more upon those better stipulations which are written on the heart
and mind of man.  I ask that we should apply to Ireland that happy
experience which we have gained in England and in Scotland, where the
course of generations has now taught us, not as a dream or a theory, but
as practice and as life, that the best and surest foundation we can find
to build upon is the foundation afforded by the affections, the
convictions, and the will of the nation; and it is thus, by the decree of
the Almighty, that we may be enabled to secure at once the social peace,
the fame, the power, and the permanence of the empire.’

In another style, but very characteristic, I quote from the speech
delivered by Mr. Gladstone at Hawarden in the Jubilee year, reviewing the
reign of the Queen:

‘Now, I have said quite enough for this occasion, and I think enough to
justify me in reminding you that although a jubilee may be regarded as an
affair of form and ceremony, there is a great deal more than form and
ceremony in this Jubilee.  It invites us and compels us to cast our
thoughts backward over that long series of years with which we are almost
all of us familiar, and it imposes upon us the duty of deep thankfulness
to the Almighty, who in these late days, when our history is so long, and
when some might have thought that our nation and our constitution had
grown old, has given us as a people a renovated youth; who has inspired
us with renewed activity and with buoyant hope; who has conducted us thus
far upon the road to improvement and advancement in the pursuit, not of
false, but of true human happiness; who has made the laws of this country
no longer odious, no longer suspected, but dear to the people at large,
and who has thereby encouraged us—I will not say much of encouragement to
men of my age, whose life is in the past more than in the future—it has
encouraged all those who are grown up or coming on, who are in the first
glow of youth or in the prime and vigour of manhood, to persevere and
endeavour to make the coming years, if they can, not worse, but better
than those which have gone by.  I beseech you, if you owe the debt of
gratitude to the Queen for that which I have described, for her hearty
concurrence in the work of public progress and improvement, for the
admirable public example which her life has uniformly set, for her
thorough comprehension of the true conditions of the great covenant
between the throne and the people—if you owe her a debt of gratitude for
these, may I say to you: Try to acknowledge that debt by remembering her
in your prayers.  Depend upon it that when St. Paul enjoined that prayers
should be made for all men, and gave the commanding and the leading place
to prayers for kings and all in authority, St. Paul spoke the language
not only of religion, but of the most profound social justice and human
common-sense.  Do not imagine that because in this world some live in
greater splendour and greater enjoyment than others, they therefore live
free of temptation, so as not to need the prayers of their
fellow-Christians.  Depend upon it, the higher placed one is in society,
the greater are his difficulties, and the more subtle the temptations
that surround his path, and that which is true as we rise from rank to
rank is not least of all, but most of all, true when we come to the
elevated and august position of the Sovereign, who, as a sovereign, more
than any one among her subjects, needs the support which the prayers and
the intercessions of her subjects offered for her to her Saviour can
afford.  Forgive me for entreating you not to forget that duty; not to
forget that simple mode at the command of all, in which everyone who
thinks the Queen has nobly done her duty to them may perform a great and
beneficial duty to her and for her.’

We give one other extract from a speech at Swansea in 1887—‘The Union of
Hearts’:

‘No difference connected with this question ought for a moment to impede
our steady march upon the path on which we are entered—the path which
leads us to a happy consummation of a just and politic arrangement
between the two nations.  I have reminded you of the objects which the
arrangement contemplated—objects the dearest of which can endear them to
the hearts of men, the greatness of the empire, the solidity of the
empire, the true cohesion of the empire, the happiness of the people, the
union of classes, the establishment of social order, the rule of law by
moral as well as by physical force in one of the great divisions of the
country, and finally the restoration of the honour and character of the
country, so grievously compromised by this painful subject.  These are
the objects which make our present arduous labours worth persevering in
and make us determined to pursue them.  There was on one of the banners
we saw to-day a phrase that I referred to in addressing our friends
outside, and which made a deep impression upon me—“The union of hearts,
not manacles.”  What is our union with Ireland now?  It is the union of
manacles, and not of hearts.  It is a force that attaches Ireland to us.
What said Mr. Bright?  If Ireland were towed out 2,000 miles into the
Atlantic your relations with Ireland would be at an end.  We want to
substitute for that union of force the union of hearts.  We want that
Ireland shall be united to England as Wales is united to England, as
Scotland is united to England, not that they should be dead to their own
national interests and concerns, but that they should desire to pursue
them and promote them as measures of a firmly united and compacted
empire.  We have a state of things in Ireland by which, if we seize and
do not lose the golden opportunity, this same union may be gained.  While
Ireland, in consonance with her traditions and in consequence of those
physical circumstances by which she is divided from us by the Channel,
desires the management of her own concerns, she is happily disposed to
union with us, and to be at one with us in everything that concerns the
greatness of the empire; but if this golden opportunity be lost we know
not when it will return.  The rule is that lost opportunities do not
return, or, if they return, they return only after long intervals and
after heavy damages have been paid for the original neglect.  God grant
that these mischiefs may be avoided—at any rate, with regard to the
subject that is now before us.’

A remarkable illustration of Mr. Gladstone’s many-sidedness is to be
found in the fact that on one occasion he went to dine with the poor at
St. Pancras Workhouse in 1879, with 600 of the aged inmates, at a dinner
given by Mr. E. Skerries, one of the guardians.  In the course of his
speech Mr. Gladstone said: ‘My life presents to me a great variety of
scenes and occasions; but among all these scenes and occasions I tell
you, with unfeigned sincerity, I have not witnessed one for a long time
that has filled me with heartier or tenderer pleasure than to be a guest
at the present assembly.  I likewise desired, I am well aware, in a
slight manner to take an opportunity which does not often occur to me of
testifying, as far as I can, my interest in your lot.  In this great
establishment of which you are inmates it is not possible, consistently
with the interests of the community, to give many indulgences by rule and
under system, which I am convinced many of those who govern you would
desire to give if they felt it could be done with safety.  It is not
because the giving or receiving of such indulgences would be mischievous
or dangerous to yourselves; it is the effect, which I am quite sure you
can well appreciate, which would be produced upon the community at large,
if these establishments, which are maintained out of the labour of the
community and at its charge, were made establishments of luxurious
living.  It is necessary that the independent labourer of the country
should not be solicited and tempted to forego his duty to his wife and
children and the community by thinking that he could do better for
himself by making himself a charge on that community.  There is no more
subtle poison that could be infused into the community than a system of
that kind.  We were in danger of it some fifty or sixty years ago, but
the spirit and courage of the Parliament of 1834 and the Government of
that day introduced a sounder system, and matters are here regulated with
what I believe and trust is—and I believe you would be able to echo what
I say—with firmness and kindness.’

When the charges against Mr. Parnell and his friends were made in the
House of Commons, Mr. Gladstone was strongly against their vindication of
themselves in a court of law—on the first ground, on the plea of the
law’s delay, and, secondly, from the character of our judges.  He blamed
Lord Randolph Churchill for speaking in their favour.  He entirely
differed from that noble lord as to the judges.  He believed all judges
now on the bench could be trusted perfectly.  But there was one judge now
upon the bench who came down from the bench to take a part in regard to
the great Irish Question more violent than had been taken by any layman
he could remember.  If one of the gentlemen sitting below the gangway
said it was excusable in him to feel some mistrust in such a case, though
he (Mr. Gladstone) should not feel mistrust himself, he could understand
that mistrust.  Was it so certain a verdict would be got?  As to the
certainty of getting verdicts against newspapers in cases where a public
man attempted to restrain the liberty of newspaper comment on his own
conduct, he might mention that thirty years ago he had the honour to
serve Her Majesty as High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands.  The people
of the Ionian Islands had little or nothing to complain of as to
practical grievances, but they were possessed with an intense sentiment
of nationality.  That sentiment determined them to be content with
nothing except union with their own blood and race, and that sentiment
was treated by a portion of the press of this country, and especially by
a portion of the Metropolitan press, with unmeasured and bitter contempt.
It was said: ‘Who are these miserable Ionians that desire to join
themselves to an equally miserable set of people in Greece, instead of
welcoming the glory of being attached to a great empire?’  The _Times_
said, in effect: ‘The Ionian Assembly has been committing treason, and
the Queen’s Commissioner has been aiding them to commit that treason.’
He determined to prosecute the _Times_.  He took the best advice from
legal friends of weight and character, and every one of those gentlemen
said: ‘Don’t dream of it.  You cannot get a verdict.’  He would have gone
into court without one particular prejudice against him, but in this case
there was in the minds of a portion of the public a gross and cruel
prejudice.  His legal advisers protested so positively against any such
trial that he had to acquiesce in that gross and monstrous charge.
Juries had a just and proper prejudice in favour of the liberty of the
press, and if he himself were a juror it would take very much indeed to
make him give a verdict in restraint of the liberty of the press.  He
could not think they were entitled to condemn in the slightest degree the
hon. member for East Mayo, if he declined to commit himself to the mercy
or the chance of a court of law.

As another proof of Mr. Gladstone’s versatility, let us notice a speech
delivered at the Hawarden Flower Show on fruit and vegetable culture, in
which he dwelt on the importance of garden cultivation.  He commenced by
remarking that that was a time when leading people had to consider more
seriously than they were accustomed to do in times of prosperity how they
could better their position, and struggle with the vicissitudes of time
and climate more effectually than on former occasions they had been able
to do.  ‘I believe,’ said Mr. Gladstone, ‘that one of the modes in which
the cultivators of the soil in this country—I will draw no distinction at
present between small and large—may improve their position is by paying a
greater attention to what is called garden and spade cultivation.
Perhaps it will surprise you if I tell you what is the value of the fruit
and vegetables imported into this country from abroad.  Now, of dried
fruits there are imported into this country a value of about £2,346,000.
I don’t speak so much of those, because a large proportion consists of
products, such as currants, figs, and raisins, that are not adapted to
the latitude of this country; but I find that a vast quantity is imported
of raw fruit, such as apples, pears, stone-fruit, and the like.  No less
than £1,704,000 worth of raw fruit is generally imported into this
country.  Then, when I come to vegetables, a still larger proportion is
imported.  There are £414,000 worth of onions imported, but, I take it,
there is no better country for the growth of onions than this country.
There were, taking potatoes and other kinds of vegetables, about
£5,000,000 imported.  I should like to see this fruit and these
vegetables grown at home.’  Mr. Gladstone then went on to show how
lucrative was the growing of vegetables.  ‘There was a natural taste on
the part of the people to cottage garden cultivation, and a vast deal of
profitable industry might be set in motion by the extension of this
cottage gardening, and by the introduction of the spade cultivation where
it was found suitable, even upon larger masses of land than were at the
command of cottagers.’

At a breakfast in 1887, given by Dr. Parker, at which a large number of
Nonconformist ministers were present, in the course of his speech Mr.
Gladstone said: ‘I have no difficulty whatever in referring to the
language which I myself and others have used in respect to the Irish
party about six years ago, and in bringing that language into comparison
with what I have said of them within the last few weeks.  Six years ago
it was our conviction that the leaders of the Irish party were engaged in
operations which, although they might have considered them to be
justified and called for by the circumstances of the country, we thought
were of a blamable and dangerous, and even ruinous character.  I did say
at that time that the footsteps of what was called the Land League were,
in my opinion, dogged with crime—that where the Land League went, crime
followed it.  I did say at that time, when, as we believed, there was a
general movement against the payment of rates and fulfilling of contracts
as a whole—I did say at that time that it was a question of proceeding
through rapine to dismemberment.  Those were very grave words to use.
They may have been warranted, or they may have been unwarranted; they may
have been exaggerated, or they may have been justified by the
circumstances of the case, but I believed them, and they were spoken with
sincerity.  I am bound to say this, that I am not prepared to say at this
moment that they were without force and truth.  Grave charges were made
at that time by the Nationalist party against us.  Some of those charges
I can now see to have been true, and I see that that is the case not for
the first time.  I see that some of the measures which we proposed,
especially the measure for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, were
unhappy and mischievous measures; but we spoke according to the
circumstances that were before us.  It is quite true that we were aware
then, as now, that enormous allowances were to be made for men acting in
Ireland under the difficulties of their position, and with the smarting
and painful recollection of their past history; but we spoke the truth
then, and we speak the truth now.  The other day, following the steps of
Lord Spencer, I stated in public that there was not, so far as I knew,
and that there never had been, any reason for charging upon Mr. Parnell
and the members of the Irish party complicity with crime.  That is
perfectly true; and it is what I would have said six years ago.  I
believed then that their language was dangerous, and that their plans
were questionable, that they had a tendency to the production of crime;
but that is a thing totally different from complicity with crime.’



CHAPTER XIII.
MR. GLADSTONE’S PUBLICATIONS.


When George III. was King, two of his servants, as retired Ministers, met
one another at Bath.  Said one of them, Lord Mendip, to the other, Lord
Camden, ‘I hope you are well and in the enjoyment of a happy old age.’
Lord Camden replied in a querulous tone: ‘Happy!  How can a man be happy
who has survived all his passions and enjoyments?’  ‘Oh, my dear lord,’
was the reply of his old antagonist, ‘do not talk so; while God is
pleased to enable me to read my Homer and my Bible, I cannot but be
thankful and happy.’  It is easy to imagine Mr. Gladstone making a
similar reply.  His love of Homer is only equalled by his love of the
Bible.  Porson used to say of Bishop Pearson that, if he had not muddled
his head with theology, he would have been a first-class critic in Greek.
Mr. Gladstone, as we have seen, has had a good deal to do with theology,
but that he has not muddled his brains with it is clear, not merely from
his active life as a statesman, but from the perusal of the many valuable
works he has written on Homer, and his life and time and work.  The
subject seems to have endless attractions for him.  Charles James Fox
used to read Homer through every year.  Mr. Gladstone displays a still
greater enthusiasm.  In this department of human inquiry he has been
emphatically distinguished, and his works on Homer, to do them adequate
justice, would require a volume by no means small to themselves.  In 1838
his first great work on the subject appeared.  It was entitled ‘Studies
of Homer and the Homeric Age,’ and consisted of three large volumes.  In
1869 he republished and rewrote a great part of the previous volumes in
his ‘Juventus Mundi: the Gods and Men of the Heroic Age.’  ‘I am
anxious,’ he writes, ‘to commend to inquirers and readers generally
conclusions from the Homeric poems which appear to me to be of great
interest with reference to the general history of human culture, and in
connection therewith with the Providential government of the world.  But
I am much more anxious to encourage and facilitate the access of educated
persons to the actual contents of the text.  The amount and variety of
these contents have not been fully apparent.  The delight received from
the poems has possibly had some influence in disposing the generality of
readers to rest satisfied with their enjoyment.  The doubts cast upon
their origin must have assisted in producing and fostering a vague
instinctive indisposition to further laborious examination.  The very
splendour of the poems dazzles the eyes with whole sheets of lightning,
and may almost give to analysis the character of vulgarity or
impertinence.’  In his preface Mr. Gladstone tells us that his ideas have
been considerably modified in the ethnological and mythological portions
of his inquiry.  The chief source of modification in the former has been
that a further prosecution of the subject with respect to the Phœnicians
has brought out more clearly and fully what he had only ventured to
suspect—a highly influential function in forming the Greek element.  A
fuller view of this element in its composition naturally aids in an
important manner upon any estimate of Pelasgians and Hellenes
respectively.  This Phœnician influence reaches far into the sphere of
mythology, and tends, as he thinks, greatly to clear the views we may
reasonably take of that curious and interesting subject.  The aim of this
revised edition of his Homeric studies was to assist Homeric studies in
our schools and Universities, and to convey a practical knowledge of the
subject to persons who are not habitual students.

Few men have found time to appear in print so frequently as Mr.
Gladstone.  His latest publication bears the date of 1898; his earliest
appeared in 1837.  One of his great topics has been Homer.  The old Greek
poet ought to be, according to Mr. Gladstone, in everyone’s hands.  His
latest work on the subject was the ‘Landmarks of Homeric Study, together
with an Essay on the Points of Contact between the Assyrian Tablets and
the Homeric Text,’ which appeared in 1890.  Among the numberless
solutions of the Homeric question since the days of Wolff, he still
maintains the traditional view that there was but one Homer, that he
wrote both poems, and that the poems themselves should be regarded as a
historic whole.  In Mr. Gladstone’s view one of Homer’s chief functions
was to weld the diverse elements of the Hellenic nation into one.
National unity necessarily involved religious unity, and so Mr. Gladstone
goes on to propound the theory that Homer endeavoured to find a place in
his heaven for all the gods that had been worshipped by the different
races he was welding together, and that with this view he created a
composite system of religion.  It affords us matter for wonder, he says,
as well as admiration, how Homer excluded from this new composite system
the most degrading ingredients in which the religions around him
abounded.  Though forced to admit Aphrodite, he only admitted her to a
lower place, and presented her in an unfavourable light.  She is, in
fact, only the Assyrian Ishtar, the Ashtoreth of the Hebrews and
Phœnicians.  He also elaborately contends that there was a good deal of
morality among Homer’s Greeks, far more than is generally supposed.  The
Politics of Homer form another chapter, and he finds high praise for the
value the poet attached to personal freedom, and in the extraordinary
power for those times he attached to the spoken word.  Except in the
concluding chapter on Assyrian Tablets and the Homeric Texts, Mr.
Gladstone added little to what is to be found in one or other of his
previous books.

In 1896 appeared ‘The Impregnable Rock of Holy Scripture,’ revised and
enlarged from _Good Words_.  The argument appears to be that in the
science and history of the Holy Bible there may be detected a degree of
accuracy plainly supernatural and miraculous.  With great warmth he owns
his desire to prevent his countrymen from relaxing their hold on the
Bible, which Christendom regards as ‘an inestimable treasure,’ and thus
bringing on themselves ‘inexpressible calamity.’  He adopts towards
Hebrew specialists an attitude neither defiant nor abjectly submissive.
The meaning of Hebrew words must, of course, be determined by Hebrew
scholars; but he argues that we must not forget the risks to which
specialists themselves are exposed.  ‘Among them,’ he writes, ‘as with
other men, there may be fashions of the time and school, which Lord Bacon
called idols of the market-place, and currents of prejudice below the
surface, such as to detract somewhat from the authority which each
inquirer may justly claim in his own field, and from their title to
impose these conclusions upon mankind.’  And so often has it already
happened that the Bible was supposed to be submerged by some wave of
opinion, which proved, after all, to be passing and ephemeral, that we
may have confidence in its power of weathering storms.  He holds that if,
even for argument’s sake, one concession were to be made to specialists
of all they can be entitled to ask respecting the age, the authorship,
the text of the books, he may still invite his readers to stand with him
on the impregnable rock of Holy Scripture.  Apart from all that science
or criticism may say, he can still challenge men to accept the Scriptures
on the moral and spiritual and historical ground of their character in
themselves.  In the course of his work he treats successively of the
creation story as told in the first chapter of Genesis, of the Psalms, of
the Mosaic legislation, of the Deluge, and of recent corroborations of
Scripture from history and natural science.

In 1848 Mr. Gladstone wrote a Latin version of Toplady’s hymn, ‘Rock of
Ages,’ though it did not appear till 1861, when it was published in a
volume of translations by himself and Lord Lyttelton, issued by them in
memory of their marriage to two sisters.  The following is the
translation:

    ‘Jesu, pro me perforatus,
    Condar intra Tuum latus.
    Tu per lympham profluentem,
    Tu per sanguinem tepentem,
    In peccata mi redunda,
    Tolle culpam, sordes munda.

    ‘Coram Te, nec justus forem,
    Quamvis totâ vi laborem,
    Nec si fide nunquam cesso,
    Fletu stillans indefesso,
    Tibi soli tantum munus;
    Salva me, Salvator unus!

    ‘Nil in manu mecum fero,
    Sed me versus crucem gero;
    Vestimenta nudus oro,
    Opem debilis imploro;
    Fontem Christi quæro immundus
    Nisi laves, moribundus.

    ‘Dum hos artus vita regit;
    Quando nox sepulchro tegit;
    Mortuos cum stare jubes,
    Sedens Judex inter nubes;
    Jesu, pro me perforatus,
    Condar intra Tuum latus.’

In 1863 Mr. Gladstone printed his translation of the first book of the
‘Iliad.’  He sent a copy to Lord Lyndhurst, then in his ninety-first
year.  The aged critic replied in the following letter.  The accident to
which it alludes was one which had happened some days before to Mr.
Gladstone when riding in the Park:

    ‘MY DEAR GLADSTONE,

    ‘We are very sorry for your accident, but rejoice that the
    consequence is not likely to be serious.  What should we do with the
    surplus without you?  I return with thanks the translation.  It is a
    remarkable effort of ingenuity, literal almost to a fault, and in a
    poetical form.  But is the trochee suited to our heroic verse?  Its
    real character is in some degree disguised by your mode of printing
    the lines.  If the usual mode were adopted, the defect would at once
    appear:

    ‘“Of Achilles, son of Peleus,
       How the deadly wrath arose!
    How the hosts of the Achaians
       Rued it with ten thousand woes!”

    Written and read in this way, it has a sort of ballad air.  If I am
    wrong, correct me.  Perhaps I have been too long accustomed to the
    iambic measure with variations, as best suited to English heroic
    poetry, to be able to form a correct opinion.  As an example of
    trochaic lines, there are several in Dryden’s “Alexander’s Feast”:

    ‘“Bacchus, ever fair and young,
    Drunken joys did first ordain,” etc.’

Mr. Gladstone thought so highly of this criticism that he wrote back
asking permission to print it in a contemplated preface to his
translation.  ‘It is not,’ he said, ‘from a mere wish to parade you as my
correspondent, though this wish may have its share.  Your observation on
my metre, which has great force, cuts, I think, deep into the matter—into
the principles of Homeric translation.  So pray let me have your
permission.’

As an illustration of Mr. Gladstone’s skill as a translator, let me add
some verses from his version of the ‘Hecuba’ of Euripides, seven pages of
which appeared in the _Contemporary Review_ a few years since, though the
translation was made in his Eton days:

                               ‘ANTISTROPHE I.

    ‘’Twas dead of night, and silence deep
    Buried all in dewy sleep,
    For feast, and dance, and slaughter done,
    Soft slumber’s season had begun.
    The lyre was hushed, the altar cold,
       The sword, the lance, all bloodless lay;
    My husband, softly resting, told
       The toils and dangers of the day:
    No longer watching for the foe
    Sworn to lay proud Ilion low.

                                 ‘STROPHE II.

    ‘I strove my flowing hair to bind
    With many a festal chaplet twin’d;
    The mirror’s rays of glittering hue
    Betrayed me to my virgin view,
    Hast’ning to rest—Then peal’d on high
    O’er Ilion’s walls the victor’s cry;
    Troy heard the shout that sounded then,
       “Dash’d down the turrets of the foe,
    Shall sons of Greece again, again
       To home, and rest, and glory go.”’

In 1892 appeared ‘An Academic Sketch’ by the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone,
M.P., being the Romanes Lecture delivered in the Sheldon Theatre, Oxford.
Whilst it did not detract from, it scarcely added to, Mr. Gladstone’s
reputation.  It was, in fact, a speech somewhat of the after-dinner type.
All the world knew that the Oxford of the past was a theme on which he
could pleasantly dilate.

In 1894 there appeared from Mr. Gladstone’s pen an article in the
_Nineteenth Century_ on the ‘Atonement,’ occasioned by the study of Mrs.
Besant’s ‘Autobiography.’  He says of her: ‘Mrs. Besant passes from her
earliest to her latest stage of thought as lightly as a swallow skims the
surface of the lawn, and with just as little effort to ascertain what
lies beneath it.  Her several schemes of belief or non-belief appear to
have been entertained one after another with the same undoubting
confidence, until the junctures successively arrived for their not
regretful, but rather contemptuous, rejection.  They are nowhere based
upon reasoning, but on the authority of Mrs. Besant.’  The special
proposition which Mr. Gladstone examines is one of four, the difficulties
of which led Mrs. Besant to reject Christianity—the nature of the
atonement of Christ.  In dealing with this topic, Mr. Gladstone, after
condemning the crude utterances of some theologians and preachers, by
whom the New Testament doctrine has been travestied and misconceived,
lays down what he conceives to be the true teaching.  ‘What is here
enacted in the kingdom of grace only repeats a phenomenon with which we
are perfectly familiar in the natural and social order of the world,
where the good, at the expense of pain endured by them, procure benefits
for the unworthy.’

In the same year appeared Mr. Gladstone’s Horace.  It was on the whole a
failure.  A critic writes: ‘The uncouth diction, obscurity of expression
of the rendering, are patent evidences of the translator’s being ill at
ease under the restraint of narrow bounds of rhyme and metre.’  The same
writer observes: ‘Mr. Gladstone’s translation of the Odes of Horace will
escape oblivion.  Historians will remember it as they remember the
hexameters of Cicero, the verses with which Frederick the Great pestered
Voltaire, and the daily poems Warren Hastings used to read at his
breakfast-table.’  An ingenious contributor to _Blackwood_, on the
publication of the book, contributed a letter from ‘Horace in the
Shades,’ intimating that he had nothing to do with the matter.  It is to
be questioned whether worse verses were ever written than the following
in the ‘Horace’:

    ‘No; me the feast the war employs
    Of maids (their nails well clipt) with boys,
    Me fancy free; or something warm,
    My playful use does no one harm.’

Again,

    ‘Then shalt thou with flagrant passion
       Like the beasts be torn,
    And with fire of cankered entrails
       Thou shalt grieve forlorn.’

Or,

    ‘The Furies grant in war no scant;
       Devouring seas o’er sailors roll;
    Young funerals hold their place with old;
       Proserpine spares no breathing soul.’

Thus is the death of Cleopatra recorded:

    ‘Bold to survey with eye serene,
    The void that had her palace been;
    She lodged the vipers in her skin
    Where best to drink the poison in.’

When ‘Ecce Homo’ appeared—a book which dear Lord Shaftesbury, Exeter Hall
applauding, described as the worst book ever vomited out of the jaws of
hell—Mr. Gladstone, in an article in _Good Words_, gave in his adherence
to the book.  He described the author as at once passing into the
presence of Jesus of Nazareth, and then, without any foregone conclusion,
either of submission or dissent, giving that heed to the acts and words
of the unfriended teacher which the truest Jews did when those words were
spoken and those acts done.

Mr. Gladstone found time, amid his preoccupations, to write a long
article for the _English Historical Review_ on the last portion of the
‘Greville Memoirs,’ chiefly justifying the action of the parties with
which he was associated at the time of the ‘death and obsequies of
Protection,’ in 1852, and during the Crimean War.  Mr. Gladstone
traverses Mr. Greville’s statement that in 1852 the Peelites were
indisposed to join the Whigs, under the delusive belief that they could
form a Government of their own.  He can say positively that, with the
single exception of the Duke of Newcastle, none of the party entertained
this belief.  ‘They knew that dichotomy, and not trichotomy, was for our
times the law of the nation’s life.’  Their sympathies in regard to
economy and peace lay rather with one of the Liberal wings than with the
main body.  In some cases they were divided between their Liberal
opinions and their Conservative traditions and associations.  For many a
man to leave the party in which he was brought up is like the stroke of a
sword dividing bone and marrow.  But the intermediate position is
essentially a false position, and nothing can long disguise its
falseness.  The right hon. gentleman confesses that he himself frankly
stated to Lord Derby that the Peelites were a public nuisance, for while
rapid migrations from camp to camp may be less creditable, slow ones not
only are more painful, but are attended with protracted public
inconvenience.  The lessons of this political drama, he says—and the
statement is significant at the present time—are of the present and the
future.  It entails a heavy responsibility to embark political parties in
controversies certain to end in defeat where there is a silent sense of
what is coming—a latent intention to accept defeat—and where the
postponement of the final issue means only the enhancement of the price
to be paid at the close.  Mr. Gladstone deprecates the tone generally
assumed in speaking of the Crimean War.  He denies the assumptions that
we drifted into that war; that the Cabinet of the day was in continual
conflict with itself at the various stages of the negotiations; and that
if it had adopted a bolder course at an earlier stage the Emperor
Nicholas would have succumbed.  The first of these assertions he
characterizes as untrue, the second as ridiculous, and the third as
speculative and highly improbable.  Lord Clarendon did say that we
drifted into war; but his meaning was simply that the time of war had not
come, but the time of measures for averting it had expired; and Lord
Clarendon, not less expressively than truly, said that, while the
intermediate days were gliding by, we were drifting into war.  ‘But the
fable is brazen-fronted, and, like Pope Joan, still holds her place.’  As
regards the Cabinet, Mr. Gladstone has witnessed much more sharp or warm
argument in almost every other of the seven Cabinets to which he has had
the honour to belong.  In regard to the assumption that the war was not
justifiable, he makes the ‘inconvenient admission’ that those who
approved of the war at the time approved of it on very different grounds.
Some favoured it as an Arthurian enterprise, the general defence of the
weak against the strong; some because they had faith in the restorative
energies of Turkey, if time were obtained by warding off the foe; some
thought the power of Russia was exorbitant, and dangerous to Europe and
to England.  This last was the sentiment which most captivated the
popular imagination.  ‘It was feeling, and not argument, that raised the
Crimean War into popularity.’  It is feeling, Mr. Gladstone thinks, which
has plunged it into the abyss of odium.  The war proceeded, as he
conceives, upon a more just and noble idea expressed by Lord Russell
when, on the outbreak of hostilities, he denounced the Emperor Nicholas
as ‘the wanton disturber of the peace of Europe.’  The policy which led
to the war was a European protest against the wrongdoing of a single
State.  His belief is that, compared with most wars, the war of 1854–56
will hold in history no dishonourable place.  For its policy must be
regarded _à parte ante_.  He confesses, however, that the result of the
war was exceedingly unsatisfactory.

The May number of the _Nineteenth Century_, 1887, contained an article by
Mr. Gladstone reviewing the fifth and sixth volumes of Mr. Lecky’s
‘History of England in the Eighteenth Century.’  Towards the conclusion
of the article Mr. Gladstone quotes the following sentence:

‘Mr. Lecky writes as follows: “We have seen a Minister going to the
country on the promise that if he was returned to office he would abolish
the principal direct tax paid by the class which was then predominant in
the constituencies.”’

This sentence refers, of course, to Mr. Gladstone’s promise in his
election address in 1874 to repeal the income tax.  Mr. Gladstone replies
that Mr. Lecky seems to be unaware that it is the practice of candidates
for a seat in Parliament to announce to those whose votes they desire
their views on political questions, either pending, proximate, or
sometimes remote.  He proceeds:

‘The accusing sentence is inaccurately written.  In January, 1874, the
date to which it refers, there was no question of returning to office.  I
addressed a constituency as Minister, and in a double capacity as
Chancellor of the Exchequer and as head of the Administration, proposed
to repeal the income tax.  But it is also untruly written.  It is untrue
that the payers of income tax were then the predominant class in the
constituencies.  In Ireland, the payers of income tax had ceased, since
the ballot was introduced, to rule elections.  In England and Scotland, a
very large majority of members were returned by the towns.  In the towns,
then as now, household suffrage was in full force, and the voters were as
a body more independent of the wealthy than are the rural population.
The repeal of the income tax, whether proper or improper in itself, was
not then a thing improper in respect of the persons to whom it was
announced.

‘It has been held by some that there should never be an appeal to the
people by a Ministry on the subject of taxation.  But why not?  The
rights of the people in respect to taxation are older, higher, clearer,
than in respect to any other subject of government.  Now, appeals on many
such subjects have been properly made—on Reform in 1831; on the China War
in 1857; on the Irish Church in 1868; on Home Rule in 1886; lastly, in
1852, by the Tories, whose creed Mr. Lecky appears in other matters to
have adopted, on the finance proper to be proposed by Mr. Disraeli after,
and in connection with, the repeal of the Corn Law.

‘Undoubtedly, although right in principle, such appeals and promises are
eminently liable to abuse.  But there is one touchstone by which the
peccant element in them may be at once detected.  If the promise launches
into the far future, it may straightway be condemned.  If, on the other
hand, it is one certain to be tested within a few weeks, the case is
different.  A Minister casually pitchforked, so to speak, into office,
and living from hand to mouth, might be tempted to a desperate venture.
But can Mr. Lecky suppose that the Ministry of 1868–74, which had
outlived the ordinary term, and (may it be said?) had made its mark in
history, would thus have gambled with false coin, and have sought to add
so ignobly, and with such compromise of character, a respite almost
infinitesimal to its duration?

‘Was the engagement to the repeal of the income tax one either obligatory
or proper in itself?  Was the time well chosen?  Was the proposer morally
bound to the proposal?  I will answer “Yes” to all these questions, and I
will prove my affirmative, though my short recital will lead Mr. Lecky,
if he reads it, into a field of contemporary history which it is quite
plain that he has never traversed.’

In 1895 it was announced that Mr. Gladstone had written a book on ‘The
Psalter, according to the Prayer-book Version.’  It was commenced by Mr.
Gladstone many years before, but it was not till his retirement from
office that he found time to finish it.  He also compiled a Concordance,
and added a series of notes on the Psalter.  In the same year the address
on the Armenian question, which was delivered by Mr. Gladstone at
Chester, was republished in pamphlet form by Mr. Fisher Unwin.

I may not omit to refer to Mr. Gladstone’s utterance on the first chapter
of Genesis—that sublime exordium to the Bible—that its truth is in all
respects as fresh to-day as it was in the hour of its first enunciation,
and that it links the Church of Adam, Abraham, and Moses in living
fellowship and unity to the Church of to-day.

In 1894 Mr. Gladstone republished certain papers, which had already
appeared in various periodicals, under the title of ‘Studies Subsidiary
to the Works of Bishop Butler.’  He ridicules critics such as Matthew
Arnold, who held that the ‘Analogy’ is dead, with the eighteenth-century
Deism it opposed.  He labours to show that it is as applicable to the
religious problems of to-day as to those a hundred years old.  The
‘Analogy,’ he holds, is one of the finest of intellectual disciplines.
In the study of Butler’s works the student finds himself in an
intellectual palæstra, where his best exertions are required thoroughly
to grapple with his teacher.  Mainly, education is a process of
wrestling, and it is best to wrestle with the highest masters.  The
chapters on the Censors of Butler shows all the ex-Premier’s skill at
fence.  On the subject of the Theology of Butler, Mr. Gladstone
attributes his habit of drawing it straight from the Scriptures, with
little reference to authorities, as due to his Nonconformist education.
In reply to the charges that the ‘Analogy’ tended to Romanism, he asks
for a single known case where the study of Butler had led to Rome.  The
chapter on the influence of Butler is of great interest.  In his second
part Mr. Gladstone is occupied largely with an elaborate discussion, on
the lines laid down by Butler, on the future life, and the condition of
man therein.  He is especially severe on the Universalists.  He regards a
period of future discipline for imperfect natures, ‘not without an
admixture of salutary and accepted grace,’ as in accord with both faith
and reason.  The remaining chapters on Determinism, Teleology, Miracle,
and Probability are the toughest in the whole book, and are as hard to
understand as Butler himself.  On miracles Mr. Gladstone follows the
orthodox lines.

Mr. Gladstone’s latest utterances on the subject of Christianity appeared
in 1895.  He pleads for an eternity of punishment.  His latest article on
the subject appeared in the American Pictorial Bible.  The following
passage, in which he surveys the world, is worth reprinting: ‘The
Christian religion,’ he says, ‘is for mankind the greatest of all
phenomena.  It is the dominant religion of the inhabitants of this planet
in at least two important respects.  It commands the largest number of
professing adherents.  If we estimate the population of the globe at
1,400,000,000—and some would state it at a higher figure—between 400 and
500 of these, or one-third of the whole, are professing Christians; and
at every point of the circuit the question is not one of losing ground,
but of gaining it.  The fallacy which accepted the vast population of
China as Buddhists in the mass has been exploded, and it is plain that no
other religion approaches the numerical strength of
Christianity—doubtful, indeed, if there be any other which reaches
one-half of it.  The second of the particulars now under view is perhaps
more important.  Christianity is the religion in the command of whose
professors is lodged a proportion of power far exceeding its superiority
of numbers, and this power is both moral and material.  In the area of
controversy it can be said to have hardly an antagonist.  Force, secular
or physical, is accumulated in the hands of Christians in a proportion
almost overwhelming, and the accumulation of influence is not less
remarkable than that of force.  This is not surprising, for all the
elements of influence have their home within the Christian precinct.  The
art, the literature, the systematic industry, invention, and commerce—in
one word, the forces of the world are almost wholly Christian.  In
Christendom alone there seems to be an inexhaustible energy of world-wide
expansion.’

In conclusion, we give a couple of extracts from Mr. Gladstone’s more
recent articles of universal interest.  In one he makes a noble
contribution to the praise of books.  ‘Books are,’ he says, ‘the voices
of the dead.  They are a main instrument of communion with the vast human
procession of the other world.  They are the allies of the thought of
men.  They are in a certain sense at enmity with the world.  Their work
is, at least, in the two higher compartments of our threefold life.  In a
room well filled with them no one has felt or can feel solitary.  Second
to none, as friends to the individual, they are first and foremost among
the _compages_, the bonds and rivets of the race.’  But books want
housing and arranging, and they are multiplying so rapidly that they
threaten to get beyond all control.  In an article in the _Nineteenth
Century_, from which we quote the above, Mr. Gladstone, with a
light-hearted relish of the subject it is pleasant to see, gives some of
his ideas on the subject of arrangement.

Another extract will give us his ideas of the Jews.  He thinks that the
purport of the Old Testament can be best summed up in the words that it
is a history of sin and redemption.  After explaining that the narrative
of the Fall is in accordance with the laws of a grand and comprehensive
philosophy, and that the objections taken to it are the product of
narrower and shallower modes of thought, he proceeds, passing by the
story of the Deluge and the dispersion, to consider the selection of
Abraham.  ‘Why,’ he asks, ‘were the Jews selected as the chosen people of
God?’  Not, he thinks, because of their moral superiority.  He contrasts
the Jewish ethics and those of the Greeks, considerably to the detriment
of the former, and then sums up the matter as follows: ‘Enough has
perhaps been said to show that we cannot claim as a thing demonstrable a
great moral superiority for the Hebrew line generally over the whole of
the historically known contemporary races.  I, nevertheless, cannot but
believe that there was an interior circle, known to us by its fruits in
the Psalter and the prophetic books, of morality and sanctity altogether
superior to what was to be found elsewhere, and due rather to the
pre-Mosaic than to the Mosaic religion of the race.  But it remains to
answer with reverence the question, Why, if not for a distinctly superior
morality, nor as a full religious provision for the whole wants of man,
_why_ was the race chosen as a race to receive the promises, to guard the
oracles, and to fulfil the hopes of the great Redemption?

‘The answer may, I believe, be conveyed in moderate compass.  The design
of the Almighty, as we everywhere find, was to prepare the human race, by
a varied and a prolonged education, for the arrival of the great
Redemption.  The immediate purposes of the Abrahamic selection may have
been to appoint, for the task of preserving in the world the fundamental
bases of religion, a race which possessed qualifications for that end
decisively surpassing those of all other races.  We may easily indicate
two of these fundamental bases.  The first was the belief in one God.
The second was the knowledge that the race had departed from His
laws—without which knowledge how should they welcome a Deliverer whose
object it was to bring them back?  It may be stated with confidence that
among the dominant races of the world the belief in one God was speedily
destroyed by polytheism, and the idea of sin faded gradually but utterly
away.  Is it audacious to say that what was wanted was a race so endowed
with the qualities of masculine tenacity and persistency, as to hold over
these all-important truths until that fulness of time when, by and with
them, the complete design of the Almighty would be revealed to the world?
A long experience of trials beyond all example has proved since the
Advent how the Jews, in this one essential quality, have surpassed every
other people upon earth.  A marvellous and glorious experience has shown
how among their ancestors before the Advent were kept alive and in full
vigour the doctrine of belief in one God and the true idea of sin.  These
our Lord found ready to His hand, essential preconditions of His
teaching.  And in the exhibition of this great and unparalleled result of
a most elaborate and peculiar discipline we may perhaps recognise,
sufficiently for the present purpose, the office and work of the Old
Testament.’

In another article Mr. Gladstone objects to Universalism as a
contradiction of Divine utterance.  He writes: ‘To presume on overriding
the express declarations of the Lord Himself delivered upon His own
authority, is surely to break up revealed religion in its very
ground-work, and to substitute for it a flimsy speculation spun like a
spider’s web by the private spirit, and as little capable as that web of
bearing the strain by which the false is to be severed from the true.’
Speaking of the theory which denies future punishment, he says: ‘What is
this but to emasculate all the sanctions of religion, and to give
wickedness, already under a too feeble restraint, a new range of
license?’

It is vain to seek to chronicle Mr. Gladstone’s publications.  Even at
the time of his last illness he was said to have been engaged in a work
on the Fathers.  His writings fill six columns in the library catalogue
of the British Museum.



CHAPTER XIV.
ANECDOTAL AND CHARACTERISTIC.


No one has been the subject of so much small talk as Mr. Gladstone.  He
has been a fortune to the men who think it creditable to write gossip and
twaddle for newspapers in London or the provinces.  In 1881 all England
was interested, or supposed to be so, in the tale of his hat.  A writer
says: ‘The House of Commons has not had such a laugh for years as it had
to-day over Mr. Gladstone and his hat.  Mr. Gladstone is singular among
members in never bringing a hat into the assembly.  He would not wear it
when his head was broken, but preferred a skull-cap.  But it is the rule
that after a division is called nobody shall address the Speaker
standing, or with his head uncovered.  To-day Mr. Gladstone wished to say
something after the division-bell had rung, but no sooner did he open his
mouth than the whole House yelled for him to observe the law.  He sought
for a hat, but could find none, the House still roaring at him.  At
length one of his colleagues got hold of Sir Farrer Herschell’s hat and
put it on him.  Now, Sir Farrer is a small man among small men, and he
has a small head for a small man.  Mr. Gladstone, if not exactly a giant,
has the head of one.  Imagine him, then, with Sir Farrer’s hat upon his
head.  A mountain crowned by a molehill could not have looked more
ridiculous.  The House laughed and roared at Mr. Gladstone, and Mr.
Gladstone laughed at himself.  Everybody voted this the sublimest
spectacle of the session.’  Alas! Mr. Gladstone too often lent himself in
Parliament to being exhibited.  To draw Gladstone was at one time a
favourite sport among the young men of the Opposition.  Nothing was
easier.  You had only to get up and misquote Mr. Gladstone, and the fiery
old man was on his legs in an instant.

In the _English Illustrated Magazine_ Mr. W. R. Lucy in 1892 gave an
interesting analysis of Mr. Gladstone intellectually.  He writes: ‘In
addition to a phenomenal physical constitution, Nature has been lavish to
Mr. Gladstone in other ways.  Education, association, and instinct early
led him into the political arena, where he immediately made his mark.
But there are half a dozen professions he might have embarked upon with
equal certainty of success.  Had he followed the line which one of his
brothers took, he would have become a prince among the merchants of
Liverpool.  Had he taken to the legal profession, he would have filled
the courts of law with his fame.  Had he entered the Church, the highest
honours would have been within his grasp.  If the stage had allured him,
the world would have been richer by another great actor—an opportunity,
some of his critics say, not altogether lost under existing
circumstances.  With the personal gifts of a mobile countenance, a voice
sonorous and flexible, and a fine presence, Mr. Gladstone possesses
dramatic instincts frequently brought into play in House of Commons
debates or in his platform speeches.  In both his tendency is rather
towards comedy than tragedy.  It is the fashion to deny him a sense of
humour, a judgment that could only be passed by a superficial observer.
In private conversation his marvellous memory gives forth from its
apparently illimitable stores an appropriate and frequently humorous idea
of the current topic.  If his fame had not been established on a loftier
line, he would have been known as one of the most delightful
conversationalists of the day.’

The Rev. Dr. Robertson, of Venice, having sent Mr. Gladstone a copy of
his second edition of ‘Fra Paolo Sarpi,’ in returning thanks from
Hawarden, Mr. Gladstone writes: ‘I have a strong sympathy with men of his
way of thinking.  It pleases me particularly to be reminded of Gibbon’s
weighty eulogy upon his history.  Ever since I read it—I think over forty
years ago—I have borne to it my feeble testimony by declaring that it
comes nearer to Thucydides than any historical work I have ever read.  It
pleases me much to learn that a Sarpi literature has appeared lately at
Venice.  If you were so good as to send the titles of any of the works or
all works on the subject, I would order them; and I should be further
glad if you would at any time thereafter come and see them in a library
with hostel attached, which I am engaged in founding here.’

One of the London clubs to which Mr. Gladstone belonged was that known as
Grillions, where it was the custom when a member dined there alone to
record the event in verse.  In 1882 Mr. Gladstone dined at the club
alone, and, having written as chairman in the club-book ‘one bottle of
champagne,’ added the following:

    ‘The mind is its own place, and in itself
    Can make a heaven of hell—a hell of heaven.’

To which Lord Houghton, as poet-laureate of the club, added some verses,
commencing:

    ‘Trace we the workings of that wondrous brain,
    Warmed by a bottle of our dry champagne.’

In 1891 the _Literary World_ wrote: ‘There have been comments made lately
by different writers depreciating Mr. Gladstone’s literary judgments.
Whatever else may be said for them, it is certain, we think, that they
are not hastily formed, for in his reading, as in all else, he is
strictly methodical.’  This point is well made by a contributor to the
_Young Man_, in a long and interesting article.  ‘Mr. Gladstone,’ he
says, ‘cannot read hastily, nor has he ever acquired the fine art of
skipping.  But he is not slow to discover whether the book is worth
reading, and if not, after a few pages it is cast on one side, though, as
a general rule, his judgment is lenient.’  In the ‘Autobiography of Sir
Henry Taylor’ this is further illustrated.  Mr. Gladstone on one occasion
asked him what he thought of two or three volumes of poetry recently
published.  They were presentation copies sent him by obscure poets, who,
if possessed of a grain or two of common-sense, could have had but little
expectation that their volumes would be opened by Mr. Gladstone, even if
they should pass beyond the sifting hands of his secretaries.  ‘He
seemed, however, to be prepared to discuss their merits, had not my
entire ignorance,’ writes Sir Henry, ‘stopped the way.’

Another characteristic is mentioned by Sir Henry on the authority of Mrs.
Gladstone—the power he possessed of turning from what was arduous and
anxious, and becoming at once intensely occupied with what was neither,
and she regarded this as having something of a saving virtue.  But she
added, nevertheless, it was a frightful life.

‘Gladstone’s method of impartiality is,’ wrote Lord Houghton, ‘to be
furiously earnest on both sides of a question.’  Again, we have another
characteristic from Lord Houghton—Gladstone saying ‘he felt strongly that
the statesman was becoming every day more and more the delegate of the
people and less the leader.’

Another characteristic incident is recorded by Mr. Richard Redgrave: ‘Mr.
Lowe said that a few days before, dining with Mr. Gladstone, a lady being
seated between them, Mr. Gladstone across said to Mr. Lowe: “I cannot
think why they called Cobden the Inspired Bagman.”  “Neither can I,” said
Mr. Lowe; “for he was neither inspired nor a bagman.  In fact, it reminds
me of a story told of Madame Maintenon when someone offered to obtain an
order for her to gain admission into the _Maison des filles repenties_.
‘Nay,’ said Madame, ‘I am neither a _fille_ nor am I a _repentie_.’”  At
that the lady between the two politicians burst into a laugh, but Mr.
Gladstone pulled rather a long face,’ as he did, I am told by a late
Minister, at a dinner where Lord Westbury uttered some rather coarse
jokes.

The late Mr. R. H. Hutton, of the _Spectator_, in an article in the
_Contemporary Review_, smartly hit off one of Mr. Gladstone’s
characteristics: ‘There is a story that one of his most ardent followers
said of him that he did not at all object to Mr. Gladstone’s always
having one ace up his sleeve, but he did object to his always saying that
Providence placed it there.’  In 1832 a Dean of Peterborough said of Mr.
Gladstone: ‘His conscience is too tender ever to run straight.’  In 1866
Dr. Lake, of Durham, remarked of Mr. Gladstone that ‘his intellect could
persuade his conscience of anything.’

‘In the course of life,’ Mr. Gladstone wrote to Sir Henry Taylor, ‘I have
found it just as difficult to get out of office as to get in, and I have
done more doubtful things to get out than to get in.  Furthermore, for
more than nine or ten months of the year I am always willing to go, but
in the two or three which precede the Budget I begin to feel an itch to
have the handling of it.  Last summer I should have been delighted [to
resign]; now I am indifferent.  In February, if I live so long, I shall,
I have no doubt, be loath, but in April quite ready again.  Such are my
signs of the Zodiac.’

In the series of sketches of ‘Bookworms of Yesterday and To-day,’ place
in the _Bookworm_ is given to Mr. Gladstone, who has been a
book-collector for over three-quarters of a century.  ‘He kindly informs
me,’ writes Mr. W. Roberts, ‘that he has two books which he acquired in
1815, one of which was a present from Miss H. More.  At the present time
he estimates his library to contain from 22,000 to 25,000 books, arranged
by himself into divisions and sections in a very minute manner.  The
library is so exceedingly miscellaneous that Mr. Gladstone himself does
not venture to state which section preponderates, although he thinks that
“theology may be one-fourth.”  There are about twenty editions of Homer,
and from thirty to forty translations, whole or part.  He has never
sympathized to any considerable extent with the craze for modern first
editions, but “I like a tall copy” is Mr. Gladstone’s reply, made with
all the genuine spirit of the true connoisseur, to an inquiry on the
subject.  And so far as regards a preference for ancient authors, in old
but good editions, to modernized reprints, the verdict is emphatically in
favour of the former.’

Lord Shaftesbury seems to have been struck with Mr. Gladstone’s
inconsistency.  In his diary, in 1873, he writes: ‘Last year Gladstone,
speaking on Female Suffrage, said “the Bill will destroy the very
foundation of social life.”  This year he says: “We had better defer it
till we get the ballot; then it will be quite safe.”’  In 1864 his
lordship had written: ‘Mr. Gladstone will succumb to every pressure
except the pressure of a constitutional and Conservative party.’

Mr. W. Lucy thus illustrates Mr. Gladstone’s restlessness: ‘Except at the
very best, Mr. Gladstone’s Parliamentary manner lacked repose.  He was
always brimming over with energy, which had much better have been
reserved for worthier objects than those that sometimes succeeded in
evoking its lavish expenditure.  I once followed Mr. Gladstone through
the hours of an eventful sitting. . . .  The foe opposite was increasing
in the persistence of his attack, and nominal friends on the benches were
growing weary in their allegiance.  The Premier came in from behind the
chair with hurried pace; he had been detained in Downing Street up to the
last moment.  As usual, when contemplating making a great speech, he had
a flower in his button-hole, and was dressed with unusual care.  Striding
swiftly past his colleagues on the Treasury Bench, he dropped into the
seat kept vacant for him, and, hastily taking up a copy of the orders,
ascertained what particular question in the long list had been reached.
Then turning with a sudden bound of his whole body, he entered into
animated conversation with a colleague, his pale face working with
excitement, his eyes glistening, and his right hand vehemently beating
the open palm of his left hand, as if he were literally pulverizing an
adversary.  Tossing himself back with equally rapid gesture, he lay
passive for the space of eighty seconds.  Then with another swift
movement of the body he turned to the colleague on the left, dashed his
hand into his side-pocket, as if he had suddenly become conscious of a
live coal secreted there, pulled out a letter, opened it with a violent
flick of extended forefingers, and earnestly discoursed thereon.’

In acknowledging a copy of a recently published work on ‘Clergymen’s Sore
Throat,’ Mr. Gladstone has addressed a letter to the author, Dr. E. B.
Shuldham, on the subject of the management of the voice in public
speaking.  ‘No part of the work,’ writes Mr. Gladstone, ‘surprised me
more than your account of the various expedients resorted to by eminent
singers.  There, if anywhere, we might have anticipated something like a
fixed tradition.  But it seems we have learned nothing from experience,
and I myself can testify that even in this matter fashion prevails.
Within my recollection an orange, or more than one, was alone, as a rule,
resorted to by members of Parliament requiring aid.  Now it is never
used.  When I have had very lengthy statements to make I have used what
is called egg-flip—a glass of sherry beaten up with an egg.  I think it
excellent, but I have much more faith in the egg than in the alcohol.  I
never think of employing it unless on the rare occasions when I have
expected to go much beyond an hour.  One strong reason for using
something of the kind is the great exhaustion often consequent on
protracted expectation and attention before speaking.’

One of the best of the many stories connected with Mr. Gladstone’s many
residences in the South of France tells how one Sunday he and his wife
were seated in the church at Cannes near the pulpit.  The Grand Old Man,
turning to his wife, said, in an irritable tone: ‘I can’t hear.’  ‘Never
mind, my dear,’ said the lady.  ‘Go to sleep; it will do you much more
good.’

In a chapter of his autobiography Mr. Gladstone wrote: ‘In theory, and at
least for others, I am a purist with respect to what touches the
consistency of statesmen.  Change of opinion in those to whom the public
look more or less to assert its own is an evil to the country at large,
though a much smaller one than their persistency in a course which they
know to be wrong.  It is not always to be blamed, but it is to be watched
with vigilance—always to be challenged and put upon trial.’

In 1881 Mr. Gladstone told the electors of Leeds he had been a Liberal
since 1846.  The fact is, as Mr. Jennings has shown, that he held office
under a Conservative Premier, that he was returned for Oxford as a
Conservative, and that in 1858 he canvassed the county of Flint for Sir
Stephen Glynne, who was a strong supporter of Lord Derby’s Government.

In 1855, when Lord Aberdeen, who was certainly no Whig, retired, Mr.
Gladstone wrote a most effective letter of regret, which incidentally
throws a little light on his correspondent’s character.  Mr. Gladstone
writes: ‘You make too much of services I have rendered you.  I wish it
were in my power to do justice in return for the benefits I have received
from you.  Your whole demeanour has been a living lesson to me, and I
have never gone, with my vulnerable temper and impetuous moods, into your
presence without feeling the strong influence of your calm and settled
spirit.’

_Pearson’s Magazine_ tells some interesting things about the Grand Old
Man.  Though possessing strict views on Sunday observance, he does not
disapprove of Sunday cycling.  The bicycle, he says, is no more than a
perfect means of locomotion.  Hawarden Park, which is closed to ordinary
tourists on Sunday, is open to cyclists.  He gives the first place among
living writers of fiction to Zola, but his favourite English books are
the Waverley Novels.  Of his once large collection of axes only thirty or
forty now remain.  ‘In bygone days admirers were constantly sending him
axes as marks of their esteem, and now other admirers quite as constantly
smuggle them away as treasured mementoes of their visits.’  A silver
pencil, axe-shaped, presented by the Princess of Wales ‘for axing
questions,’ is among the treasures of the G.O.M.  Fifty or sixty
walking-sticks, part of a once unique collection, adorn a rack outside
Mr. Gladstone’s study, but the number of these also ‘is being diminished
by visitors whose enthusiasm is in advance of their scruples.’  Alluding
to Mr. Gladstone’s fondness for fresh air, the writer (Mr. W. A.
Woodward) says: ‘I have seen him, with Mrs. Gladstone at his side, a
ridiculously small umbrella held between them, set forth for a pleasure
drive in such torrents of rain as no ordinary mortal would have faced
save on some vital purpose.’  Books on divorce and marriage—judging by
the number of annotations in his neat, distinct handwriting in such
volumes in his library—receive his closest attention, but he has no very
great interest in the modern analytical novel.  ‘It is natural,’ says the
writer, ‘that the subject of marriage, in its middle relation to politics
and religion, should have exercised a large fascination over so ardent a
student of theology and sociology.’

Mr. Gladstone planted a young tree at Studley Royal, and the Studley and
Oldfield children were specially summoned to the place to witness the
ceremonial.  As they were standing in review order—there being in all
about one hundred and twenty youngsters—Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone passed
down the lines, and some remarks by the right hon. gentleman were
addressed to Lord Ripon.  The point mainly dwelt upon was the large size
of the heads of Yorkshire children.  Mr. Gladstone suggested that it was
indicative of independence.  He added that his experience was that the
farther north he went, the larger he found the human head, and he told an
anecdote about a man who went to a hatter’s, but failed to get a hat
large enough, until the tradesman, driven to desperation, called for an
Aberdeen hat.

It is well known that Mr. Gladstone is an authority in the ceramic art,
and he never loses an opportunity of inspecting rare and beautiful
specimens.  When he lately visited Manchester he spent an early hour at
the exhibition among the beautiful collection placed there by Messrs.
Doulton.  And there he received an unexpected pleasure.  More than a
dozen years ago, when speaking at a dinner of the Turners’ Company, he
alluded to a visit he had made to the works of Messrs. Doulton.  He had
been taken into the room of a young man, who happened to be absent at the
time, to see the quality of his workmanship.  He was delighted with what
he saw, the more when he learned that the young artist had not heard a
sound since his fourth year.  He spoke so kindly of him and his work that
it almost seemed as if Mr. Gladstone envied the isolation which seemed to
favour abstraction and study in the midst of bustle and din.  It was this
gentleman, Mr. Frank Butler, whom Mr. Gladstone found in charge of the
Doulton art treasures at Manchester.  He at once remembered him, and,
before leaving, he had Mr. Butler to seat himself at the potter’s wheel,
and fashion before him a vase as a specimen of his skill.  Upon this Mr.
Gladstone inscribed his name in the wet clay, and another was turned for
Mrs. Gladstone.

From a little volume—‘Mr. Gladstone in the Evening of his Days’—I take
the following:

‘Another reason why Mr. Gladstone gets through such an astounding amount
of work is his extraordinary habit of using up odds and ends of time.
One day not long ago he was driving into Chester after luncheon; his
pudding was very hot, so he went away from table, changed his clothes,
got ready for his drive, and came back and finished the meal, thus saving
the ten minutes during which his pudding cooled.  It may here be
mentioned, in connection with the drives to Chester, that on the day a
few months ago when he drove in for the purpose of making his powerful
Armenian speech, Mr. Gladstone had been absorbed in Butler all the
morning, and the speech was made without any special preparation.’  Even
at the great age of eighty-five it was evident that Mr. Gladstone worked
more hours a day than many men in the prime of life would like.

Sir Francis Doyle once asked Mr. Gladstone whether, after his long years
of practice, he ever felt nervous on rising to speak.  ‘Not on political
questions,’ was his answer; ‘but if I am called upon to deliver what the
Greeks used to call an “epideictic oration,” as at the Literary Fund
dinner, or the like, I am often somewhat troubled at first.’

‘I have just heard,’ wrote on one occasion a correspondent of the
_Manchester Guardian_, ‘a highly characteristic anecdote of Mr.
Gladstone’s versatility.  I suppress the name and place.  After an
interesting interview with a prominent author, whose acquaintance he had
newly made, in reply to a courteous hope that his health and strength
might long be spared, Mr. Gladstone said: “Yes, I confess I wish to live
for two great objects.  You can guess one of them: it is to settle the
Irish question.  The other is, to convince my countrymen of the
substantial identity between the theology of Homer and that of the Old
Testament.”’

Under this heading we give a few items from Bishop Wilberforce’s notes.
In 1868 he writes: ‘Gladstone noble as ever.’  Again: ‘Gladstone, as
ever, just, earnest, and honest, as unlike the tricky Disraeli as ever.’
Again the Bishop writes, after staying with him at Hatfield: ‘I have very
much enjoyed meeting Gladstone.  He is so delightfully true—just as full
of interest in every good thing of every kind, and exactly the reverse of
the mystery man.  When people talk of Gladstone going mad, they do not
take into account the wonderful elasticity of his mind and the variety of
his interests.  Now, this morning after breakfast he and I and Salisbury
went a walk round the beautiful park, and he was just as much interested
in the size of the oaks, their probable age, etc., as if no care of State
ever pressed upon him.  This is his safeguard, joined to rectitude of
purpose and clearness of view.’

No reference to Mr. Gladstone would be complete without a word about his
collars.  In a paper on the subject in the _New Century_, Mr. Harry
Furniss writes: ‘I believe I am generally supposed to have invented Mr.
Gladstone’s collars; but, as a matter of fact, I merely sketched them.
Many men wear collars quite as large, and even larger, than his, but they
are not so prominent in appearance, for the simple reason that when Mr.
Gladstone sits down it is his custom to sit well forward; his body
collapsed, so to speak, and his head sunk into his seat.  The inevitable
result was that his collar rose, and owing to this circumstance I have
frequently seen it looking quite as conspicuous as it is depicted in my
caricatures.  When Mr. Gladstone upon one occasion met the artists of
_Punch_ at dinner, I was chagrined to find when he walked into the
dining-room that he had discarded his usual large collar for one of the
masher type.  I felt that my reputation for accuracy was blighted, and
sought consolation from the editor of a Gladstonian organ who happened to
be present.  “Yes,” he said; “he is evidently dressed up to meet the
_Punch_ artists.  He is the pink of fashion and neatness now; but last
night when I met him at dinner his shirt was frayed at the edges, and his
collar was pinned down behind, but the pin gave way during the evening,
and the collar nearly came over his head.”’

Mr. Justin McCarthy has much to say of Mr. Gladstone’s eyes: ‘I am myself
strongly of opinion that Mr. Gladstone strongly improved in appearance as
his life went on deepening into years.  I cannot, of course, remember him
as he was in 1833.  I think I saw him for the first time some twenty
years later.  But although he was a decidedly handsome man at that time,
I did not think his appearance was nearly so striking or so commanding as
it became in the closing years of his career.  I do not believe that I
ever saw a more magnificent human face than that of Mr. Gladstone after
he had grown old.  Of course, the eyes were always superb.  Many a
stranger looking at Mr. Gladstone for the first time saw the eyes, and
only the eyes, and could think for a moment of nothing else.  Age never
dimmed the fire of these eyes.’

A few characteristics are given by Mr. McCarthy: ‘I have mixed,’ he
writes, ‘with most of Mr. Gladstone’s contemporaries, his political
opponents as well as his political followers, and I have never heard a
hint of any serious defect in his nature, or of any unworthy motive
influencing his private or public career.  Defects of temperament, and of
manner, and of tact have no doubt been ascribed to him over and over
again.  He was not, people tell me, always successful in playing up to or
conciliating the weaknesses of inferior men.  He was not good, I am told,
at remembering faces or names. . . .  Such defects, however, in Mr.
Gladstone’s nature or temperament count indeed for little or nothing in
the survey of his career.’  Another characteristic of Mr. Gladstone,
remarks Mr. McCarthy, is his North-country accent.

Sir Andrew Clark, who was Mr. Gladstone’s physician for years, said he
never had a more docile patient than Mr. Gladstone.  The moment he is
really laid up he goes to bed, and there remains till he recovers.  He is
a firm believer in the doctrine of lying in bed when you are ill.  You
keep yourself in an equable temperature, avoid the worries and drudgery
of everyday life, and being in bed is a good pretext for avoiding the
visits of the multitude of people whose room is better than their
company.

Mr. Gladstone’s admirers are very angry when it is intimated that his
character is not perfection.  It may be there are spots in the sun, but
the idol of the party must be spotless.

The following anecdote illustrates Mr. Gladstone’s love of music.  On the
eve of one of his great budgets, Mr. Gladstone found time to go to the
theatre to see Sarah Bernhardt act in ‘Phèdre.’  The great statesman was
so delighted with the acting, that he wrote to mademoiselle a letter
expressing his great gratification.  The divine Sarah always had a great
influence on the impressionable Premier.  When she held a reception, the
first to come and the last to go was Mr. Gladstone, and none who
witnessed it were likely to forget the spectacle of the great statesman
bending low almost till he kissed the hand of the actress when she
advanced to welcome him.

According to all accounts, Mr. Gladstone is on the most friendly terms
with his tenantry.  To some of them he has been specially kind.  On the
occasion of the marriage of his son and heir he feasted 550 of his
cottage tenants on the first day, and upwards of 400 on the second.  On
one occasion, while Mr. Gladstone was pointing out to a large party of
excursionists the beauties of the trees, he added: ‘We are very proud of
our trees.’  ‘Why, then, do you cut them down as you do?’ said a man in
the crowd.  Said the Grand Old Man in reply: ‘We cut down that we may
improve.  We remove rottenness that we may restore health by letting in
air and light.  As a good Liberal, you ought to understand that.’

Again I give an anecdote of his kindness as landlord.  When Mr. Gladstone
was engaged in one of his Midlothian campaigns, his principal tenant, an
energetic and capable practical farmer, was suffering from severe
illness.  Every day during the campaign came a letter from Mr. and Mrs.
Gladstone inquiring after his health.  On their return from Scotland,
having travelled all night, they drove from Chester straight to the
tenant’s house, and were both in his bedroom at half-past eight in the
morning.

Another Hawarden anecdote may be recorded here.  In Mr. Gladstone’s
household was an old woman-servant, who had a son inclined to go wrong.
The mother remonstrated, but all to no purpose.  At last she thought if
the Premier would take the prodigal in hand, at last he might be
reclaimed.  She appealed to Mr. Gladstone, and he responded at once to
her appeal.  He had the lad sent to his study, spoke to him words of
tender advice and remonstrance, and eventually knelt down with him and
prayed to a higher Power to help in the work of reformation.

In May, 1885, Mr. Lucy writes: ‘In making a statement to-night on the
course of public business, the Premier spoke, as has been a matter of
custom of late, amid continuous noisy interruptions from a section of the
Conservative party.  To-night this method of Parliamentary procedure,
novel, as directed against the leader of the House, reached a climax
which had the desired effect of temporarily silencing the Premier.  After
a painful pause, he observed that this new kind of Parliamentary warfare
was of little matter to him, whose personal interposition in political
strife was a question of weeks rather than of months, certainly of months
more than of years.  But he had a deep conviction that within the last
three years a blow had been struck at the liberty and dignity of the
House of Commons by these intrusions upon debate.’

No notice can be held to be complete which does not give one an idea of
the splendid physical constitution which has enabled Mr. Gladstone to
lead the life he has led and to do the work he has done.  On one occasion
he told his Welsh admirers that it was due to the air of that part of the
Principality near which he resided.  But his vitality is undoubtedly an
illustration of the principle of heredity.  The medical journals had
always much to say of Mr. Gladstone’s health.  We quote one.  At the end
of the session in which Mr. Gladstone carried his Irish Land Bill, the
_Lancet_ wrote: ‘Apart from all party and political considerations, it is
but proper to express our satisfaction at seeing Mr. Gladstone, at the
end of a session almost unprecedented for length and for those influences
which harass and exhaust, in a state of admirable health and spirits.  It
was a physiological and psychological marvel last week to see him rise
and show reasons for disagreeing with the Lords’ Amendments, not in any
hasty or excited mood, but with perfect serenity of intellect and temper,
with absolute mastery of details, and appealing to all that was best in
his opponents.  This is a feat which exceeds, in our judgment, the
felling of many trees, and almost crowns Mr. Gladstone’s many claims to
distinction.  The last straw breaks the camel’s back, and it would have
been excusable if the obstructions of August had elicited peevishness and
intelligible if they had produced exhaustion.  But both strength and
temper are intact, and Mr. Gladstone goes to his holiday with a stock of
energy which many younger men would be glad to return with, and which is
no mean guarantee for future service to his Queen and country.’

Archbishop Magee used to tell a good story of Father Healy and Mr.
Gladstone.  The latter asked him upon what principle the Roman Church
offered soul indulgences, saying when he was in Rome he was offered an
indulgence for fifty francs.  Father Healy replied: ‘Well, Mr. Gladstone,
I do not want to go into theology with you; but all I can say is, that if
my Church offered you an indulgence for fifty francs, she let you off
very cheap!’

A correspondent, a well-known London minister, who got crushed in the
crowd at the opening of St. Martin’s Free Library, in 1891, by Mr.
Gladstone, tells an anecdote of the ex-Premier’s kindness of heart, on
the authority of a former vicar.  When Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr.
Gladstone regularly attended this church.  A crossing-sweeper in the
parish, who had been some time ill, when asked by the vicar if anybody
had been to see him, said, ‘Yes, sir; Mr. Gladstone.’  ‘Which Mr.
Gladstone?’ he was asked.  ‘Why,’ was the answer, ‘Mr. Gladstone himself.
He often speaks to me, and gives me something at my crossing.  Not seeing
me, he asked my mate, who was keeping it for me, why I was not there.  He
told him I was ill, and then he asked where I lived.  So he came to see
me, and talked and read to me.’

There was a characteristic big gathering, deserving to be recorded here,
at the National Liberal Club, in celebration of Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone’s
golden wedding.  In all there were nearly 2,000 guests, and these
included most of the Liberal leaders, and at least one distinguished
Liberal Unionist (Sir John Lubbock), who, when perceived among the
throng, received the welcome of a cordial cheer.  The chief feature of
the proceedings was the presentation of the handsome commemorative
album—a remarkable work of art—to the ex-Premier in the reading-room.
The scene here was a particularly brilliant one; and when Mr. and Mrs.
Gladstone appeared among the throng, accompanied by several members of
the family, there was an outburst of enthusiasm which was continued to an
unwonted length.  Mr. Gladstone’s reply to the address was not long; it
was a feelingly-uttered expression of gratification.  Only a few
sentences were occupied with political allusions.  They declared that
Liberal principles were not of destruction, but of improvement.

These are a few of the sentences of thanks: ‘I am ashamed,’ said Mr.
Gladstone, ‘of the kindness that has been shown me.  (“No.”)  When I
speak of my wife, when I acknowledge that there is greater justice in the
tributes that you have so kindly paid to her, I there enjoy a relative
and a comparative freedom, and no words that I could use would ever
suffice to express the debt that I owe her in relation to all the offices
that she has discharged on my behalf, and on the behalf of those who are
near and dearest to us, during the long and happy period of our conjugal
union.  (Cheers.)  I hope it will not sound like exaggeration—it is
really a phrase dictated by my desire to express what I feel—if I say
that I feel myself to be, as it were, drowned in an ocean of kindness.’

The other day Canon Scott Holland, in a touching sermon, described Mr.
Gladstone as ‘spending his life in benedictions to those whom he leaves
behind in this world, and in thanksgiving to God, to whom he rehearses
over and over again, day after day, Newman’s hymn of austere and splendid
admiration.’  Here is the hymn:

    ‘Praise to the Holiest in the height,
       And in the depth be praise:
    In all His words most wonderful;
       Most sure in all His ways!

    ‘O loving wisdom of our God!
       When all was sin and shame,
    A second Adam to the fight
       And to the rescue came.

    ‘O wisest love! that flesh and blood
       Which did in Adam fail,
    Should strive afresh against their foe,
       Should strive and should prevail;

    ‘And that a higher gift than grace
       Should flesh and blood refine,
    God’s Presence and His very Self,
       And Essence all-divine.

    ‘O generous love! that He who smote
       In man for man the foe,
    The double agony in man
       For man should undergo;

    ‘And in the garden secretly,
       And on the cross on high,
    Should teach His brethren and inspire
       To suffer and to die.’

At other times Mr. Gladstone has been known to say that his favourite
hymns were ‘Rock of Ages’ and the version of ‘Dies Iræ’ which Scott
introduced into ‘The Lay of the Last Minstrel’:

    ‘That day of wrath, that dreadful day,
    When heaven and earth shall pass away,
    What power shall be the sinner’s stay?
    How shall he meet that dreadful day?’

Mr. Gladstone, according to a writer in the _Daily News_, once remarked
that he had made a careful study of all Toplady’s hymns, but had only
found four other good lines in the whole of them.  To those who have ever
heard Mr. Gladstone recite these four lines, as he was often used to do,
the recollection will come just now with pathetic poignancy:

    ‘Lord! it is not life to live,
       If Thy Presence Thou deny,
    Lord! if Thou Thy presence give,
       ’Tis no longer death—to die.’

For Charles Wesley’s hymns Mr. Gladstone did not greatly care.  He
considered them much over-rated.  ‘And he wrote more than Homer,’
exclaimed Mr. Gladstone once; ‘7,000 hymns of thirty lines each, say; do
the sum, gentlemen, and be appalled.’



CHAPTER XV.
MR. GLADSTONE’S LETTERS.


                                                                ‘Hawarden,
                                                          ‘_July_ 2, 1886.

    ‘MY DEAR BRIGHT,

    ‘I am sorry to be compelled again to address you.  In your speech you
    charge me with having successfully concealed my thoughts last
    November.  You ought to have known that this was not the fact, for in
    reply to others, from whom this gross charge was more to be expected
    than from you, I pointed out last week that on the 9th November, in
    Edinburgh, I told my constituents that if the Irish elections went as
    was expected, the magnitude of the subject they would bring forward
    would throw all others into the shade, and that it “went down to the
    very roots and foundations of our whole civil and political
    constitution” (“Midlothian Speeches,” 1885, p. 44).  2. You say I
    have described a conspiracy now existing in Ireland as marching
    through rapine to the break-up of the United Kingdom.  This also is
    contrary to the fact.  In 1881 there was, in my opinion, such a
    conspiracy against the payment of rent and the union of the
    countries, and I so described it.  In my opinion, there is no such
    conspiracy now, nor anything in the least degree resembling it.  You
    put into my mouth words which, coming from me, would be absolute
    falsehood.  3. You charge me with a want of frankness, because I have
    not pledged the Government to some defined line of action with regard
    to the Land Purchase Bill.  A charge of this kind is, between old
    colleagues and old friends, to say the least, unusual.  Evidently you
    have not read the Bill or my speech on its introduction, and you have
    never been concerned in the practical work of legislation on
    difficult and complicated subjects.  The foundation of your charge is
    that on one of the most difficult and most complicated of all
    subjects I do not, in the midst of overwhelming work, formulate at
    once a new course or method of action without consulting the
    colleagues to whom I am so much bound, and from whom I receive
    invaluable aid.  It might, I think, have occurred to you, as you have
    been in the Cabinet, that such a course on my part would have been
    indecent and disloyal, and that I should greatly prefer to bear all
    the charges and suspicions which you are now unexpectedly the man to
    fasten upon me.  4. You state you are convinced it is my intention to
    thrust the Land Purchase Bill upon the House of Commons.  If I am a
    man capable of such an intention, I wonder you ever took office with
    one so ignorant of the spirit of the Constitution and so arbitrary in
    his character.  Though this appears to be your opinion of me, I do
    not think it is the opinion held by my countrymen in general.  You
    quote not a word in support of your charge; it is absolutely untrue.
    Every candidate, friendly or unfriendly, will form his own view, and
    take his own course on the subject.  We must consider to the best of
    our power all the facts before us, but I certainly will not forego my
    right to make some effort to amend the dangerous and mischievous Land
    Purchase Law passed last year for Ireland, if such effort should
    promise to meet approval.  I have done what I could to keep out of
    controversy with you, and, while driven to remonstrate against your
    charges, I advisedly abstain from all notice of your statements,
    criticisms, and arguments.

                                                  ‘Always yours sincerely,
                                                        ‘W. E. GLADSTONE.’

To this Mr. Bright replied two days afterwards as follows:

                                                                    ‘Bath,
                                                          ‘_July_ 4, 1886.

    ‘MY DEAR GLADSTONE,

    ‘I am sorry my speech has so greatly irritated you.  It has been as
    great a grief to me to speak as I have spoken as it can have been to
    you to listen or to read.  You say it is a gross charge to say that
    you concealed your thoughts last November.  Surely, when you urged
    the constituencies to send you a Liberal majority large enough to
    make you independent of Mr. Parnell and his party, the Liberal party
    and the country understood you to ask for a majority to enable you to
    resist Mr. Parnell, not to make a complete surrender to him.  You
    object to my quotations about a conspiracy “marching through rapine
    to the breakup of the United Kingdom,” and you say there is now no
    such conspiracy against the payment of rent and the union of the
    countries.  I believe there is now such a conspiracy, and that it is
    expecting and seeking its further success through your measures.  You
    complain that I charge you with a want of frankness in regard to the
    Land Purchase Bill.  You must know that a large number of your
    supporters are utterly opposed to that Bill.  If you tie the two
    Bills together, their difficulty in dealing with them will be much
    increased and their liberty greatly fettered.  I think your friends
    and your opponents and the country have a right to know your
    intentions on so great a matter, when you are asking them to elect a
    Parliament in your favour.  Your language seems to me rather a puzzle
    than an explanation, and that of your colleagues, though
    contradictory, is not much clearer.  “I have done what I could to
    keep out of controversy with you.”  I have not urged any man in
    Parliament, or out of it, to vote against you.  I have abstained from
    speaking in public until I was in the face of my constituents, who
    have returned me unopposed to the new Parliament, and to them I was
    bound to explain my opinion of, and my judgment on, your Irish Bills.
    I stand by what I have said, and shall be surprised if the new
    Parliament be more favourable to your Irish measures than the one you
    have thought it necessary to dissolve.  Though I thus differ from you
    at this time and on this question, do not imagine that I can ever
    cease to admire your great qualities or to value the great services
    you have rendered to your country.

                                              ‘I am, very sincerely yours,
                                                            ‘JOHN BRIGHT.’

At the St. Asaph Diocesan Conference the following letter, addressed by
the Premier to Dr. Hughes, Bishop of St. Asaph, was read by Canon Wynne
Edwards:

                                                         ‘Hawarden Castle,
                                                      ‘_October_ 19, 1884.

    ‘MY DEAR LORD BISHOP,

    ‘When I undertook to contribute a letter (in default of personal
    attendance) towards the work of the Diocesan Conference, I did not
    anticipate the autumnal controversy in which the political world is
    now engulfed, and I fear that any attempt I now make to redeem a
    pledge given under other circumstances will be poor and inadequate,
    even in comparison with what it might otherwise have been, from the
    cares and distractions which the controversy daily brings upon me.
    At the same time, I had not even at the outset any ambitious plan
    before me.  I did not prepare to enter on the wide field of argument
    respecting the disestablishment of the Church—too vast for my
    available time; too polemical for one who has already more than
    enough of polemical matter on his hands (a laugh).  Will it come?
    Ought it to come?  Must it come?  Is it near, or is it somewhat
    distant or indefinitely remote?  All these are questions of interest
    which I could not touch with advantage unless it be a single point.
    Whether Disestablishment would be disastrous or not, I think it clear
    that there is only one way in which it might come to be disgraceful.
    That one way parts into two.  Disestablishment would be disgraceful
    if it were due to the neglect, indifference, or deadness of the
    Church (applause).  But this is a contingency happily so improbable
    that for present purposes it may be dismissed without discussion.  It
    might also be disgraceful were it to arrive as a consequence of
    dissensions among the members of the Church (hear, hear).  This, as
    it appears to me, would be an unworthy termination of a controversy
    which ought to be settled upon far higher grounds (applause).  The
    particular “duty of Churchmen with regard to Disestablishment,” which
    I shall try in few words to set forth, is the duty of taking care
    that dissensions from within shall not bring the Establishment to its
    end (applause).  The last half-century has been a period of the most
    active religious life known to the Reformed Church of England.  It
    has also been the period of the sharpest internal discord.  That
    discord has of late been materially allayed, not, I believe, through
    the use of mere narcotics, not because the pulse beats less
    vigorously in her veins, but through the prevalence in various
    quarters of wise counsels, or, in other words, the application to our
    ecclesiastical affairs of that common-sense by which we desire that
    our secular affairs should always be governed (applause).  What I
    wish now to urge is this.  In the fact that such discord has
    prevailed there is not—nay, even were it to rise again into
    exasperation there ought not to be—ground for religious despondency
    or dismay.  Divergence is to be expected, not only in all things
    human, but in all things divine which wear things human for their
    habiliment; and there were particular reasons why it was to be
    anticipated and to be patiently borne within the Church of England.
    We have still to look it in the face as an incident of our history,
    though it may lie less heavily upon us than in some former years as a
    present embarrassment.  It is, under all circumstances, a cause of
    pain and a source of danger, but not always a demonstrative proof of
    weakness.  On the contrary, when profoundly felt and yet borne, so to
    speak, without breach of continuity, it may be a test and a proof of
    strength (applause).  In every living organism, in every institution
    or system, its health will depend upon the equilibrium of the
    elements out of which it is composed; but the maintenance of this
    equilibrium is more easy when the system is uniformly simple and its
    tendencies determinate and clear; more difficult when it is
    many-sided and when it aims at binding together and at directing
    towards a common end tendencies which are naturally divergent, and
    which more commonly find for themselves homes altogether severed.
    Let me borrow an illustration from the world of politics.  Discord is
    comparatively rare and slight in a political club, because a
    political club is an institution formed to maintain some scheme of
    opinion current at the time and familiarly apprehended, though its
    tests be but rough, by those who join it.  But the Houses of
    Parliament, in which these rival systems have to dwell together and
    to work themselves out into common results, are and must be the homes
    of frequent and serious contention.  In the sixteenth century the
    Continental Churches of the West north of the Alps and Pyrenees were
    for the most part broken into rival bodies, fiercely contending with
    one another, but within themselves representing respectively one of
    the two great tendencies of the period.  To these tendencies I will
    not give a theological name, but will call them those of the
    Reformation and the counter-Reformation respectively.  From the time
    of the Council of Trent and of Loyola the Church of Rome represented
    more strictly than it had done before the tendencies of
    counter-Reformation.  The Reformed Church had partly in the letter,
    and yet more in the spirit, broken with the previous constitution of
    the Church as well as with her dogma.  Their confessions were indeed
    complex, but were framed upon a basis which their members felt, or at
    least thought they understood.  They had all become in different
    degrees less like legislatures and more like clubs; that is to say,
    in the points to which I refer.  A considerable time elapsed
    accordingly before the Latin Church was again seriously troubled with
    theological quarrels within its own domain; so also the Protestant
    Churches on the Continent underwent far less of trouble from internal
    dissensions than did the Church of England.

    ‘In the Scandinavian countries we may almost say such trouble has
    been unknown; the reason is, I apprehend, that in each case the
    hostile elements had been in the main suppressed or expelled by the
    struggle of the sixteenth century.  Within this island it was not so.
    Both in England and in Scotland the effort was not only made, but
    tenaciously persisted in, to maintain the external unity of the
    nation in a common religious profession.  I may here drop the case of
    Scotland, which has found a solution of its own.  It is enough to
    speak of the case of England.  It presents a result at first sight
    paradoxical in this respect—that the Church, which among reformed
    communions had least broken with tradition and most maintained the
    framework of the ancient authority, was the most perplexed, and
    indeed convulsed, with controversies and with schisms.  When the
    matter is examined the cause is not far to seek.  Weingarten, a
    German writer, lays down the proposition that the Reformation, as a
    religious movement, took its shape in England not in the sixteenth
    century, but in the seventeenth.  The sixteenth century made the
    Church and the nation independent, and established the external
    framework of an ecclesiastical policy; but it seems difficult to show
    that the religion now professed as national in England took its rise
    at that epoch otherwise than as a legal and national profession.  It
    seems plain that the great bulk of those burned under Mary were
    Puritans.  Under Elizabeth we have to look, I believe (with very rare
    and remarkable exceptions), among Puritans or among recusants for the
    exhibition of an active and definite religious life.  A strong
    pressure from without bound together a heterogeneous mass.  In the
    region of theology I apprehend that what is termed Anglicanism began
    with Hooker—an authority still so high amongst us that none disown
    him, and a writer whose work is said by Walton to have attracted the
    laudatory admiration of the reigning Pope.  But the body to which
    Hooker belonged also contained Cartwright, and contained, too, men of
    the same opinion.  These internal differences ripened after a time
    into convulsion, tyranny, and revolution.  I cannot severely blame
    those who overset Episcopacy for their oversetting, nor those who
    brought it back for their bringing it back.  The contending elements
    could not live together in the same dwelling upon tolerable terms.
    Every effort was made to devise schemes of comprehension, and every
    effort failed.  It was better, I suppose, that the rival partisans
    should part than that they should carry the country onward from one
    revolution to another.  They parted in Scotland by casting out
    Episcopacy at the Revolution.  They parted in England legally at the
    Restoration, and morally when a series of subsequent experiences had
    shown that the system then established by law was the only one in
    which the bulk of the nation could be content to abide (applause).

    ‘But what was the operation thus effected?  It was a drastic process,
    but a process far less drastic than those of the sixteenth century.
    On the one side or the other it so far enabled the Church of England
    to fulfil the conditions of a corporate life and unity that it has
    now been maintained during two centuries and a quarter without either
    the unmitigated dualism or the agonies of convulsion which had marked
    the previous experience, and with this general result: that at the
    present hour the hopes of the Church of England are higher and more
    buoyant than perhaps they have ever been (applause).  It has been
    very far indeed from an heroic history.  Not only defect but scandal
    has abounded.  These things, however, are beside the present purpose,
    which aims at pointing out that when uniformity was finally brought
    by law into the Church of England, still much room for diversity was
    left—room enough to invite polemical criticism, but perhaps not more
    than, on the one hand, the inestimable value of the principle of
    liberty required, or than, on the other hand, the teaching office of
    the Church could without vital injury allow.  She is still working
    out her system by experience, but still not without this note, that
    the strife of parties, although softened of late, is still somewhat
    sharp within her.  When it is said that the Church is comprehensive,
    the true meaning seems to be that her history, which has, of course,
    determined her character, has tended to comprise within her limits a
    greater diversity of views than have usually been so brought
    together.  What may be called the Puritanical element, rejected at
    the Restoration, began slowly to reassert itself in the latter half
    of the eighteenth century, and is now admitted to have brought about
    a great revival of religious life in the English Church (applause).
    A form of thought to which the name of Broad may be applied seems to
    have been more than tolerated in some conspicuous instances by Laud,
    and acquired solidity in the universities at last after the
    Restoration.  On the other hand, as regards the Romeward tendency (so
    to term it) of the Church of England, there is some evidence (though
    not free from suspicion) in the curious life of Lady Williams, to
    show that the chief English bishops of that era took a very mitigated
    view of their doctrinal differences from the Roman Church; and
    Barillon, the Ambassador of Louis XIV., writes to his Court in the
    reign of James II. that the Anglican prelates were preferable to the
    Jansenist Bishops of the Roman Communion.  I will not attempt to
    bring these illustrations (in which I am relying upon memory only)
    down to the present day.  Enough, I think, has been said to show that
    the Church of England has been all along peculiarly liable on the one
    side and on the other both to attack and to defection, and that the
    probable cause is to be found in the degree in which, whether for
    worldly or for religious reasons, it was attempted in her case to
    combine divergent elements within her borders.  If there be any truth
    in this rough and very incomplete historical sketch, the conclusions
    to be drawn from it as regards my present purpose are clear and
    simple, for it at once appears that the great maxim _In omnibus
    caritas_, which is so necessary to temper all religious controversy,
    ought to apply with a tenfold force to the conduct of the members of
    the Church of England in respect to differences among themselves.
    They ought, of course, in the first place to remember that their
    right to differ is limited by the laws of the system to which they
    belong; but within that limit should they not also, each of them,
    recollect that his antagonist has something to say?—that the
    Reformation and the counter-Reformation tendencies were, in the order
    of Providence, placed here in a closer juxtaposition than anywhere
    else in the Christian world; that a course of destiny so peculiar
    appears to indicate on the part of the Supreme Orderer a peculiar
    purpose; that not only no religious, but no considerate or prudent,
    man, should run the risk of interfering with such a purpose; that the
    great charity which is a bounden duty everywhere in these matters
    should here be accompanied and upheld by two ever-striving
    handmaidens of a great reverence and a great patience; that instead
    of the bitterness, I might almost say the savagery, which has too
    often characterized our inward contentions, they ought on every
    ground of history and reason to be peculiarly marked by moderation,
    mildness and reserve (applause), by thinking no evil, by hoping all
    things, by kindly and favourable interpretations (applause), and if
    the demand thus made upon the evangelical resources of human nature
    seem to be over-large, is it not warranted?  Is it not eminently
    rational at a time when, on the one hand, the deepest and widest
    questions of belief in a Saviour, in a Deity, and in a moral law, are
    everywhere coming to issue on a scale hitherto without example; and
    when, on the other hand, this great organization within which our lot
    has been cast is from day to day exhibiting here and beyond the seas
    not only a remarkable material extension, but a growing vigour of
    inward life, and an increasing abundance in every work of mercy, of
    benevolence, and of true civilization? (applause).  In concluding
    these remarks, I will only say that I have, in writing them,
    endeavoured to place myself at a point of view which is impersonal,
    impartial and historical, and that I have not knowingly wounded the
    susceptibilities or assailed the opinions of anyone who may read them
    (loud applause).

    ‘I remain, with great respect, my dear Lord Bishop,

                                                   ‘Yours most faithfully,
                                                         ‘W. E. GLADSTONE.

    ‘The Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of St. Asaph.’

During the subsequent proceedings the letter was frequently referred to
as a magnificent letter, and as one worthy of the Premier’s transcendent
abilities.

Mr. Gladstone wrote to Lord E. Fitzmaurice, complimenting him upon a
speech which he delivered at Old Cumnock, in Ayrshire.  ‘It was
pre-eminently,’ said the ex-Premier, ‘the speech that was wanted, made by
one who was “in all respects peculiarly the man to make it.”  In my
view,’ proceeded Mr. Gladstone, ‘Ireland is the heading of a bright
chapter in the history, not only of the Liberals, but especially of the
Whigs.  It was a noble thing on the part of Burke and Fitzwilliam and the
other seceders from Fox that not all their horror of France could make
them untrue to Ireland.  The Whig party after the schism remained for
Irish purposes unbroken, and were right in each one of the various stages
through which the question had to pass—right in the endeavour, frustrated
by Pitt and the ascendency men, to work the Grattan Parliament; right in
the opposition to the Union when it was shamelessly forced on Ireland;
right in saying, by the mouth of Fox, that so huge a measure must have an
unprejudiced and a full trial when it had once been effected, and when no
man could undertake to say positively that Ireland might not come, as
Scotland had come, to make it her own by adoption; right, probably, when
Grattan gave his provisional sanction to coercion as the necessary sequel
to the Union; right certainly when Lord Grey and Lord Althorp proposed
further coercion in 1834, when they had done, and were doing, for Ireland
in so many ways all which at the time they could, and when no Minister
was in a condition to say constitutionally that the sense of the Irish
people demanded self-government; and, finally, right was a cruelly
crippled remnant of their leading class, enthusiastically supported from
first to last by a large portion of the nation, in listening to the
constitutional demand of Ireland by their representatives in 1885, and in
recognising after three generations had passed away that union with
coercion—in other words, government by force—had been tried all but too
fully, and had entirely failed.  We want,’ continued Mr. Gladstone, ‘a
little Whig treatment of Ireland.’  Dealing with another aspect of the
argument, which he characterized as ‘not less unacceptable and
important,’ he expressed the fear that the action of the chief part of
the Whig peers and aristocracy in severing themselves from the bulk of
the Liberal party might be to narrow the Liberal party, which had
hitherto been so broad.  This he attributed ‘entirely to the so-called
Liberal Unionists.’  ‘Liberal Unionism has,’ he said, ‘tended to break up
the old and invaluable habit of Liberal England, which looked to a
Liberal aristocracy and a Liberal leisured class as the natural, and
therefore the best, leaders of the Liberal movement.  Thus it was that
classes and masses were united.’  This controversy, and the recollection,
will do away with the certain triumph of Home Rule.  But will the ranks
which have been divided easily close up?  ‘I, for one,’ repeated Mr.
Gladstone, ‘think that the narrowing of the party by the severance or
reduction of one wing is also the crippling of the party.’

Mr. Gladstone had, as he himself put it, ‘felt it his duty to put Liberal
candidates in possession of some means of meeting statements’ as to his
past connection with the Tory party.  The particular remark which
elicited this letter was made by Mr. Chatterton, the Tory candidate for
the Crewe division.  It was that ‘in his fiftieth year Mr. Gladstone was
in full sympathy with the Tory party.’  Mr. Gladstone, in his letter, put
forward ten propositions: ‘It is true that down to the year 1839, when I
was twenty-nine years old, I might fairly be called a Tory of the Tories
in questions relating to the Church.  (2) It is untrue that even at that
time I could justly be so described in other questions.  (3) I am not
aware that after 1839, or, at all events, after 1841, I could justly be
described, even in Church questions, as a Tory of the Tories, or perhaps
as a Tory at all.  (4) In 1843 I was denounced in the House of Lords as
being disloyal to the principles of Protection.  (5) In 1849–50 I
assisted to the best of my power the Government of Naples.  (6) In 1851,
in company with the Peelites, the Irish Roman Catholics, and the group
led by Mr. Cobden, I actively resisted both Whigs and Tories, but the
last especially, in defence of religious liberty, on the Ecclesiastical
Titles Bill.  (7) Unquestionably I differed strongly from the first
Government of Lord Palmerston in 1855–8, on the question of peace, of
foreign policy, of finance, and of divorce.  The last was not a party
question.  On the other three I believe that my opinions were, as they
are now, practically the opinions of the Liberal party.  (8) Lord Derby
sent me to the Ionian Islands in 1858, in precisely the same sense as
that in which the Government of 1868–74 sent Lord Iddesleigh to America.
(9) In company with Lord Russell and Mr. Milner Gibson, I gave the vote
in 1858 on the Conspiracy Bill which brought in the Tories.  Like Lord
Russell, after doing this, I knew it to be my duty to give the Tories
fair-play and such support as was equitable until positive cause of
difference should arise.  (10) Before their Italian policy was made
public, I declined to join in the vote of want of confidence which
removed them from office.  But a few weeks later, when the volume
containing it was published, I intimated in Parliament that had I known
that policy at the time I should have pursued a different course.’  ‘So
much,’ adds Mr. Gladstone, ‘for my Toryism down to 1859.’

In 1876 Mr. Gladstone wrote to Hayward: ‘The _Times_ appears to be
thoroughly emasculated.  It does not pay to read a paper which next week
is sure to refute what it has demonstrated this week.  It ought to be
prohibited to change sides more than a certain number of times in a year.
As to the upper ten thousand, it has not been by a majority of that body
that any of the great and good measures of our century have been carried,
though a minority have done good service; and so I fear it will
continue.’  Mr. Gladstone seems in 1878 to have had a poor opinion of the
_Daily News_.  ‘I think,’ he wrote to Blachford, ‘they have often made
improper admissions, and do not drive the nail home as it really ought to
be done by a strong Opposition paper, such as the _Morning Chronicle_ of
Derry.’

In his address to the electors of Midlothian in 1886, Mr. Gladstone said:
‘Lord Hartington has lately and justly stated in general terms that he is
not disposed to deny our having fallen into errors of judgment.  I will
go one step further, and admit that we committed such errors, and serious
errors, too, with cost of treasure and of precious lives, in the Soudan.
For none of these errors were we rebuked by the voice of the Opposition;
we were only rebuked, and that incessantly, because we did not commit
them with precipitation, and because we did not commit other errors
greater still.  Our mistakes in the Soudan I cannot now state in detail;
the task belongs to history.  Our responsibility for them cannot be
questioned; yet its character ought not to be misapprehended.  In such a
task miscarriages were inevitable.  They are the proper and certain
consequence of undertakings that war against nature, and that lie beyond
the scope of human means, and of rational and prudent human action; and
the first authors of these undertakings are the real makers of the
mischief.’

In connection with this subject, let us add the following from Gordon’s
Diary at Khartoum: ‘Poor Gladstone’s Government! how they must love me!
I will accept nothing whatever from Gladstone’s hands.  I will not let
them even pay my expenses; I will get the King to pay them.  I will never
set foot in England again.’

Perhaps one of the most remarkable letters a great statesman ever wrote
was that to an American in 1862, in which Mr. Gladstone thus shows how
impossible it was for the North to put down the South.  He writes: ‘You
know, in the opinion of Europe, that impossibility has been proved.
Depend upon it, to place the matter on a simple issue, you cannot conquer
and keep down a country where the women behave like the women of New
Orleans, and when a writer says they would be ready to form regiments,
were such regiments required.  And how idle it is to talk as some of your
people do, and some of ours, of the slackness with which the war has been
carried on, and of its accounting for the want of success.  You have no
cause to be ashamed of your military character and efforts. . . .  I am,
in short, a follower of General Scott; with him I say, Wayward sisters,
go in peace.  Immortal fame be to him for his wise and courageous advice,
amounting to a prophecy.  Finally, you have done what man could do; you
have failed because you have resolved to do what man could not do.  Laws
stronger than human will are on the side of earnest self-defence; and to
aim at the impossible, which in other things may be folly only when the
path of search is dark with misery and red with blood, is not folly only,
but guilt to boot.’

In 1880 some correspondence was published between Captain Boycott and Mr.
Gladstone.  The former wrote to the Prime Minister, giving a narrative of
the events which obliged him to leave Ireland, and asked for compensation
from the Government.  ‘I have been prevented from pursuing my business
peaceably; where my property has not been stolen, it has been maliciously
wasted, and my life has been in hourly peril for many months.  I have
been driven from my home, and, having done no evil, find myself a ruined
man, because the law as administered has not protected me.’  In reply,
Mr. Gladstone’s secretary wrote: ‘Mr. Gladstone has received your letter
of the 8th inst., and, in reply, desires me to say that he is not sure in
what way he is to understand your request for assistance from her
Majesty’s Government.  It has been very largely afforded you in the use
of the public force; beyond this it is the duty of the Government to use
its best exertions in the enforcement of the existing law, which they are
endeavouring to effect through the courts, and by asking when necessary
the assistance of the Legislature to amend or enlarge the law—a matter of
much importance, on which you can, of course, only receive information
together with the public generally.’  A little later we were informed Mr.
Gladstone declined to accede to Captain Boycott’s claim for pecuniary
compensation on account of having to leave his farm, holding that the
large display of public force required for Captain Boycott’s protection
having been furnished, the State could not be expected to entertain any
further claims.

Mr. Gladstone addressed the following letter to the editor of the
_Baptist_:

    ‘DEAR SIR,

    ‘I have given full consideration, which is well deserved, to your
    letter and article.  I complain of nothing in the article, and am not
    surprised at the desires which it expresses.  I acknowledge the just
    and generous treatment which I have had from Nonconformists both in
    and out of Wales; but the same hill or valley presents itself in
    different forms and tints, according to the point from which it is
    viewed.

    ‘My point of view is that determined for me by my political career.
    I cannot safely or wisely deal in the affirmation of abstract
    resolutions, though I by no means undertake to lay down the same
    rather rigid rule for others.  In 1868 I moved resolutions on the
    Irish Church, but they were immediately followed by a Bill.

    ‘Your article asserts that there is now a great opportunity for
    disestablishing the Welsh Church, which ought not to be let slip.

    ‘I will not enter into the arguments pro or con., but will simply
    refer to the declarations I have made in the case of Scotland, and
    then assume, _for argument’s sake_, that the Welsh Church ought to be
    disestablished.

    ‘From my point of view there is now no such opportunity at all.  I
    have been telling the country on every occasion I could find that no
    great political matter, of whatever kind (of course I mean a
    contested matter), could be practically dealt with until the Irish
    question, which blocks the way, is settled, and so put out of the
    way.  I may, of course, be wrong, but this is my firm opinion;
    therefore he who wishes to have a great Welsh question discussed in a
    practical manner should, as I think, see that his first business,
    with a view to his own aim, is to clear the road.

    ‘But you may say Ireland ought not to occupy the attention of
    Parliament to the exclusion of great British questions.  My answer
    is, that I have not stated whether it _ought_, but have simply said
    that it will.

    ‘Then, you may ask, why not defer the Irish question until these
    urgent British matters are settled?  I reply that I have no more
    power thus to defer the Irish question than I had to defer the
    earthquake which happened thirty-six hours ago in France and Italy.
    Any attempt by me to force a postponement of the Irish question would
    only add to the confusion and the pressure.  I am not creating a
    difficulty, but only pointing it out.  The finger-post does not make
    the road.

    ‘I will, however, point out a main reason why this Irish question is
    so troublesome, obtrusive, and provoking.  It is because it involves
    social order, and it is in the nature of questions involving social
    order to push their claims to precedence over other questions.

    ‘In conclusion, I may also observe that your letter and article take
    no notice of the fact that I am in my fifty-fifth year of public
    service, and appear to assume that it is my duty to continue in such
    service until I drop.  To this proposition I must, on what appear to
    me solid and even high grounds, respectfully demur.

    ‘I have no desire that you should consider this letter as a secret
    one.

                                         ‘Your most faithful and obedient,
                                                        ‘W. E. GLADSTONE.’

    ‘21, Carlton House Terrace,
       ‘_February_ 25.’

Mr. Gladstone’s secretary, writing to a correspondent in the _Daily News_
in 1885, who had asked what the clergy were drawing from national funds,
replied: ‘SIR,—Mr. Gladstone, in reply to your letter, desires me to
inform you that the clergy are not State paid.’

Again, to a correspondent Mr. Gladstone wrote: ‘You are mistaken in
supposing that the outrages in Manchester and Clerkenwell determined or
affected my action with regard to Ireland.  They drew the attention of
the public, on which there are so many demands, to Irish questions, and
thereby enabled me in point of time to act in a manner for which I had
previously declared my desire.  You state that the Irish voters are
preparing themselves to punish the Liberal party.  In that respect I do
not see that those of whom you speak can improve upon what they have
already done; for in and since 1874, just after that party had dealt with
the questions of Church and Land, they inflicted upon it the heaviest
Parliamentary blow it has received in my time.  I hope, however, from
every present indication, that, notwithstanding the mischief done to it
and to the wider interests of humanity by the Irish secession, it will,
when an opportunity is allowed, prove to have strength sufficient for the
exigencies of the time.’



CHAPTER XVI.
MR. GLADSTONE AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES.


In 1853 Lord Blachford wrote, just after Mr. Gladstone had unfolded his
famous Budget which took off newspapers the additional stamp required for
supplements, and imposed a single stamp of a penny for every newspaper of
whatever sort: ‘If Gladstone has anything Conservative in him, he will
find it difficult to remain in a Ministry which must eventually be thrown
upon Radical support.  But he is really so powerful a man that, whatever
shakes and delays and loss of time there may be, he must come up near the
surface.  I expect he will show the best—_i.e._, most politically
powerful—side of himself as Chancellor of the Exchequer.  Pursuing
details is so much his power if he is only not run away with by it.  I
think, if it is not a paradox, he has not poetry enough for the formation
of a first-rate judgment.  He has an immense mass of knowledge most
methodically arranged, but the separate items must be looked for in their
respective boxes, and do not combine.  The consequence is not merely want
of play, but that crotchety, one-sided, narrowish mode of viewing a
matter uncorrected by the necessary comparisons and considerations which
people call ingenious and subtle and Gladstonian.  He looks at the
details, not at the aspects of a subject, and masters it, I should
imagine, by pursuing it hither and thither from one starting-point, and
not by walking round it; and financial subjects will, I suppose, bear
this mode of treatment better than any other.’

In a valuable work by a distinguished German, Dr. Geiffeken, of which an
English translation appeared in 1889, the author thus described Mr.
Gladstone: ‘His eloquence shows as its prominent quality the acuteness of
intelligent methodical thought, and a readiness which, united with the
most complete mastery of the matter, seems to require no preparation.  He
is beyond all cavil the first speaker of his time on subjects connected
with public business, and is unsurpassed in power of luminous
presentation of complicated economic questions.  Relying on a memory that
never fails, he knows how to impart life to the dryest array of figures,
to group them in attractive forms, and to expound them so that his
hearers may have them completely within their grasp.  Nor is he less able
in mastering the most involved question of law.  His imagination is
short-winded, dry, and apt to lose itself in speculation.  His pathos is
without warmth, his diction lacks charm, in spite of his copious command
of language, his clear periods, and the inexhaustible staying power of
his voice.  The most unfavourable side of him as a speaker is seen when
he begins to argue.  Mr. Escobar never understood so well as he how to
use language against the use of language, to involve his thoughts in
clouds, to explain away inconvenient facts, to leave himself a back-door
open to escape, and to father upon his opponents assertions which they
would in nowise acknowledge.  He involves the truth so hopelessly that it
is impossible to disentangle it.’

Sir Rowland Hill, in his ‘Autobiography,’ writes: ‘There are few public
men with whom I have not come on such excellent terms, and from whom I
have received so much kindness, as from Mr. Gladstone.’

Archbishop Trench, writing to Bishop Wilberforce in 1864, says: ‘I deeply
regret Mr. Gladstone’s Reform speech, which certainly may alter his
future—may alter the whole future of England.  No man but one endowed
with his genius and virtues could effectually do mischief to the
institutions of England, but he may do it.’  Again he wrote: ‘Nothing can
hinder Mr. Gladstone from being the most remarkable man in England.’

In the autumn of 1859 Sir Archibald Alison, the historian, met Mr.
Gladstone at the hospitable mansion of Mr. Stirling, of Keir, near
Stirling.  ‘I had been acquainted with him,’ he writes, ‘when he was a
young man, and he had dined once or twice at our house in St. Colome
Street, but I had not seen him for above twenty years, and in the
interval he had become a leading Parliamentary orator and a great man.  I
was particularly observant, therefore, of his manner and conversation,
and I was by no means disappointed in either.  In manner he had the
unaffected simplicity of earlier days, without either the assumption of
superiority which might have been natural from his Parliamentary
eminence, or the official pedantry so common in persons who have held
high office in the State.  In conversation he was rapid, easy and fluent,
and possessed in a high degree that great quality so characteristic of a
powerful mind, so inestimable in discoursing, of quickly apprehending
what was said on the other side, and in reply setting himself at once to
meet it fairly and openly.  He was at once energetic and discursive,
enthusiastic, but at times visionary.  It was impossible to listen to him
without pleasure, but equally so to reflect on what he said without grave
hesitation.  He left on my mind the impression of his being the best
discourser on imaginative topics, and the most dangerous person to be
entrusted with practical ones, I had ever met with.  He gave me more the
impression of great scholastic acumen than of weighty, statesman-like
wisdom.  Eminent in the University, and transferred without any practical
training in the school of life at once from its shades to the House of
Commons, he was like the ecclesiastics who in Catholic countries were
often transferred direct from the cloister to the Cabinet, and began to
operate on mankind as they would do on a dead body to elucidate certain
points of physics, and who have so often proved at once the ablest and
most dangerous of governors.’

An able writer, Mr. Bagehot, contends Mr. Gladstone is spoilt by
applause, as follows: ‘But because his achievements have fallen so much
below the standard of his expectations, because destiny has fought
against him and proved too much for him, is Mr. Gladstone on that account
dejected?  On the contrary, although he may experience some passing
emotions of chagrin and a pious resentment against circumstances, he
cherishes the comfortable conviction that both what he has done and what
he has abstained from doing are right.  Facts may be against him, but,
then, so much the worse for the facts.  His view of foreign politics is
that every male child born into the world, whether Indian or African,
Mussulman, Egyptian fellah or Zulu Kaffir, Aztec or Esquimaux, is capable
of being educated into a free and independent elector for an English
borough.  Parliamentary institutions and representative Government are to
him, not only the supreme end at which to aim, but the régime to which
all nationalities are instinctively capable of adapting themselves.  He
makes no allowance for difference of race or climate, historical
antecedents, national peculiarities.  Herein he displays a lack of
imagination, which is more strange, seeing that he possesses a large
allowance of the imaginative faculty in other respects, and that he is
really poet first and statistician afterwards.

‘Particular causes have combined to confirm this defect.  Mr. Gladstone
has spent his life in the House of Commons, and cannot imagine a
political system or a scheme of popular rule without as accurate a copy
as conditions permit of the English representative Chamber.  Again, he
understands the English people so well, he has so completely identified
himself with the ideas and aspirations of the upper class of bourgeoisie,
that he considers it scarcely worth while to attempt to understand any
other race.  If he attempts such an intellectual process he can only
measure the unfamiliar by reference to the familiar object.

‘Mr. Gladstone has drunk too deeply of the atmosphere of idolatry and
incense by which he has been surrounded.  His immense experience of
public life, his great capacities as a financier, his moral earnestness,
his religious fervour, his scholarship, culture, and conversational
powers, have procured for him enthusiastic worshippers in every section
of the community—among the lower classes; among the men of commerce and
business; among the Whig aristocracy, with whom he has been educated, and
who have long since seen in him the bulwark against revolution; among the
clergy of the Anglican Church and the Nonconformist ministers; finally,
among certain small and exclusive divisions of London society itself.  No
man can receive the homage that has fallen to the lot of Mr. Gladstone
during so many years without experiencing a kind of moral intoxication
and forming an excessive idea of his own infallibility.  Nor is it good
for him that domestic interposition should ward off the hostile
expressions of opinions in the newspapers not attached to his cause, but
which may, nevertheless, represent the views of a certain section of the
English people.’

Mr. G. W. E. Russell, in his charming little book on Gladstone, refers to
Mr. Gladstone’s speech on the Don Pacifico debate, as illustrating his
tendency ‘to belittle England, to extol and magnify the virtues and
graces of other nations, and to ignore the homely prejudice of
patriotism.  He has frankly told us that he does not know the meaning of
prestige, and an English Minister who makes that confession has yet to
learn one of the governing sentiments of

    ‘“An old and haughty nation proud in arms.”

Whether this peculiarity of Mr. Gladstone’s mind can be referred to the
fact that he has not a drop of English blood in his body is perhaps a
fanciful inquiry; but its consequences are plain enough in the vulgar
belief that he is indifferent to the interests and honour of the country
which he has three times ruled, and that his love for England is swamped
and lost in the enthusiasm of humanity.’

In an article on the Peelites in _Macmillan’s_, Professor Goldwin Smith
writes: ‘Gladstone does not yet belong to history, and the only part of
his career which fell specially under my notice was Oxford University
Reform.  He opposed inquiry when a Commission was announced by Lord John
Russell, and afterwards, as a member of the Coalition Government, he
framed what was for that day a drastic and comprehensive measure of
reform. . . .  It was impossible to be brought into contact with Mr.
Gladstone, even in so slight a way, without being made sensible of his
immense powers of work, of mastering and marshalling details, of framing
a comprehensive measure, and of carrying it against opposition in the
House of Commons.  I also saw and appreciated his combative energy.  The
Bill had been miserably mauled in the Commons by Disraeli, with the aid
of some misguided Radicals.  When it got to the Lords I was placed under
the steps of the throne, to be at hand if information on details was
needed by those in charge of the Bill.  The House seemed very full, but
the Duke of Newcastle came to me and said that he did not believe Lord
Derby intended to venture on a real opposition to the Bill, as there had
not been a strong whip on the Conservative side.  “In that case,” I said,
“what hinders you from reversing here the amendments which have been
carried against you in the Commons?”  A conference was held in the
library to consider this suggestion, but Lord Russell, the leader of the
Commons, peremptorily vetoed it on the ground of prudence.  Mr. Gladstone
was confined to his room by illness, but, in compliance with my earnest
prayer, the question was referred to him.  Next day the signal for battle
was hung out, and I had the great satisfaction of looking on while a
series of amendments in committee—the Commons amendments—were reversed,
and the Bill was restored to a workable state.’

In 1868 Bishop Colenso writes: ‘I had a very pleasant letter by the last
mail from Mr. Gladstone, to whom I wrote ten months ago with reference to
his language about Bishop Gray and myself at an S.P.G. meeting at
Penmaenmawr.  He had my letter before him for four months, as he says,
but he begs me to believe that this long interval of silence has not been
due to any indifference or disrespect; and, in short, he writes a very
kind and courteous letter, administering a little rebuke to me at the
end, “not so much with respect to particular opinions, as to what appears
to be your method (technically so called) in the treatment of theological
questions.”’  Again, in 1881: ‘I need not say that I am utterly
disappointed with Mr. Gladstone and Lord Kimberley, and particularly with
the tone of the _Daily News_, speaking, I suppose, as the Government
organ.  I cannot help thinking that the present Government has lost a
great deal of its power by the feebleness they have shown in their action
with regard to South African affairs, where, as far as I can see, they
have not righted a single wrong committed by Sir B. Frere, and only
withdrawn him under great pressure, and when he had already set on foot
further mischief.’  In a little while the Bishop writes more approvingly:
‘It gives us hope that other wrongs may be redressed when Mr. Gladstone
is ready, even in the midst of defeats at Laing’s Neck, Ingogo, and
Majuba, to hold back the hand of Great Britain from cruelly chastising
these brave patriots, so unequally matched with our power, which of
course could overwhelm and crush them.’

Count Bismarck is reported to have said: ‘If I had done half as much harm
to my country as Mr. Gladstone has done to his country the last four
years, I would not dare to look my countrymen in the face.’

Mr. Kinglake thus describes Mr. Gladstone: ‘If he was famous for the
splendour of his eloquence, for his unaffected piety, and blameless life,
he was celebrated far and wide for a more than common liveliness of
conscience.  He had once imagined it to be his duty to quit a Government
and to burst through strong ties of friendship and gratitude by reason of
a thin shade of difference on the subject of white or brown sugar.  It
was believed that if he were to commit even a little sin or to imagine an
evil thought he would instantly arraign himself before the dread tribunal
which awaited him within his own bosom, and that his intellect being
subtle and microscopic, and delighting in casuistry and exaggeration, he
would be likely to give his soul a very harsh trial, and treat himself as
a great criminal for faults too minute to be visible to the naked eyes of
laymen.  His friends lived in dread of his virtues, as tending to make
him whimsical and unstable, and the practical politicians, perceiving
that he was not to be depended upon for party purposes, and was bent on
none but lofty objects, used to look upon him as dangerous, used to call
him behind his back a good man—a good man in the worst sense of the
term.’

In 1865 Carlyle wrote: ‘I had been at Edinburgh, and had heard Gladstone
make his great oration on Homer there on retiring from office as Rector.
It was a grand display.  I never recognised before what oratory could do,
the audience being kept for three hours in a state of electric tension,
bursting every moment into applause.  Nothing was said which seemed of
moment when read deliberately afterwards; but the voice was like
enchantment, and the street when we left the building was ringing with a
prolongation of cheers.’  Again he meets Gladstone at Mentone in 1867,
and thus describes him: ‘Talk copious, ingenious, but of no worth or
sincerity; pictures, literature, finance, prosperities, greatness of
outlook for Italy, etc.—a man ponderous, copious, of evident faculty, but
all gone irrecoverably into House of Commons shape; man once of some
wisdom or possibility of it, but now possessed by the Prince or many
Princes of the Power of the Air.  Tragic to me, and far from enviable,
from whom one felt one’s self divided by abysmal chasms and
immeasurabilities.’  On the passing of the measure of Irish Church
Disestablishment, Carlyle writes: ‘In my life I have seen few more
anarchic, factious, unpatriotic achievements than this of Gladstone and
his Parliament in respect to such an Ireland as now is.  Poor Gladstone!’
Again he writes: ‘Ten days ago read Gladstone’s article in the _Edinburgh
Review_ with amazement.  Empty as a blown goose egg.  Seldom have I read
such a ridiculous, solemn, addlepated Joseph Surface of a thing.
Nothingness, or near it, conscious to itself of being greatness almost
unexampled. . . .  According to the People’s William, England with
himself atop is evidently even now at the _top of the world_.  Against
bottomless _anarchy_ in all fibres of her spiritual and practical she has
now a complete ballot-box—can vote and count noses as free as air.
Nothing else wanted, clearly thinks the People’s William.  He would ask
you with unfeigned astonishment what else.  The sovereign thing in nature
is _parmaceti_ (read ballot) for an inward bruise.  That is evidently his
belief, what he finds believable about England in 1870.  Parmaceti,
parmaceti—enough of him and it.’  This was written in 1870.

In 1873 the old Chelsea Sage writes more bitterly still: ‘The whole world
is in a mighty fuss here about Gladstone and his Bill (Irish
Education)—the attack on the third branch of the upas tree, and the
question of what is to become of him in consequence of it.  To myself,
from the beginning, it seemed the consummation of contemptibilities and
petty trickeries on his part; one of the most transparent bits of
thimble-rigging to secure the support of his sixty Irish votes, the
Pope’s brass band, and to smuggle the education violin into the hands of
Cullen and the sacred sons of Belial and the scarlet woman, I had ever
seen from him before.’  And again: ‘Gladstone seems to me one of the
contemptiblest men I ever looked on—a poor Ritualist, almost spectral
kind of a phantasm of a man; nothing in him but forms and ceremonies and
artistic mappings; incapable of seeing veritably any fact whatever, but
seeing, crediting, and laying to heart the mere clothes of the fact, and
fancying that all the rest does not exist.  Let him fight his own battle
in the name of Beelzebub, the god of Ekron, who seems to be his god.
Poor phantasm!’  When the catastrophe of 1874 came, and the People’s
William was flung from his pedestal, the general opinion was that his
star had set for ever, till he saw who it was that the people had chosen
to replace him.  His mind misgave him then that the greater faults of his
successor would lift Mr. Gladstone back again to a yet more giddy
eminence and greater opportunities for evil.

‘Finally,’ remarks Mr. Froude, ‘he did not look on Mr. Gladstone merely
as an orator who, knowing nothing as it ought to be known, had flung his
force into words and specious sentiments, but as the representative of
the multitudinous cants of the age, religious, moral, political,
literary; differing on this point from other leading men, that he
believed in all, and was prepared to act on it.  He, in fact, believed
Mr. Gladstone to be one of those fatal figures created by England’s evil
genius to work irreparable mischief, which no one but he could have
executed.’

In her ‘Memories of Old Friends’ Miss Caroline Fox tells us she asked
Carlyle, ‘Is not Gladstone a man of principle?’  ‘I did hope well of him
once,’ replied Carlyle, ‘in 1867, and so did John Stirling, though I
heard he was a Puseyite and so forth . . . and so I hoped something might
come of him; but now he has been declaring that England is in such a
wonderfully prosperous state—meaning that it has plenty of money in its
breeches pockets and plenty of beef in its great ugly belly.  But that is
not the prosperity we want, and so I say to him: “You are not the
lifegiver to England.  I go my way; you go yours.”’  Mr. Froude, in his
‘Oceana,’ testifies to Mr. Gladstone’s unpopularity in the Colonies.  At
Melbourne, at the time of the Gordon catastrophe, he writes: ‘They did
not love him before, and had been at a loss to understand the influence
which he had so long exercised.  His mighty popularity must, they
thought, now be at an end.  It could not survive a wound so deadly in his
country’s reputation.  They were deceived, it seems,’ adds Mr. Froude,
speaking for them and himself.  ‘Yet perhaps they were forming an opinion
prematurely which will hereafter be the verdict of mankind.  He, after
all, is personally responsible more than any other man for the helpless
condition into which the executive administration of the English empire
seems to have fallen.’  ‘Oceana’ was published in 1886.

‘Gladstone,’ writes Professor Fawcett, ‘made the speech of the evening.
He is a fine speaker.  He never hesitates, and his action and manner are
admirable.  In fact, in this respect he resembles Bright, but is far
inferior to Bright, in my opinion, in not condensing his matter.  Again,
Gladstone is too subtle.’  On more than one occasion Fawcett seems to
have doubted the judgment of his leader.

Sir E. Watkin writes: ‘Sir John A. Macdonald, then Mr. Macdonald, was
once taken by me under the gallery, by special order of the Speaker, to
hear a great speech of Mr. Gladstone, whom he had not heard before.  When
we went away I said: “Well, what do you think of him?”  He replied: “He
is a great rhetorician, but he is not an orator.”

About twenty years ago Mr. Gladstone’s future career as a Minister was
predicted with singular accuracy by a very acute observer of men and
things, who had held almost every possible office, from that of
Ministerial Whip to Chancellor of the Exchequer and Secretary of State.
Observing from the Peers’ Gallery Mr. Gladstone’s mismanagement of public
business when he led the House of Commons in Lord Russell’s short-lived
second Administration, he said, in effect: ‘We are coming to new times.
Mr. Gladstone cannot manage the House of Commons as other Ministers have
done, in the usual way, but he can force great measures through by
bringing the pressure of outside opinion to bear upon it.  This,’ he
added, ‘is the way in which Mr. Gladstone will maintain himself in power.
We shall have one violent proposal after another, as the means by which
Mr. Gladstone may gain or keep office.’

Mr. John Morley writes: ‘He sometimes shows a singular difficulty in
apprehending what will be the average judgment even on ordinary
proceedings.  He showed this in the mistake concerning Sir Robert
Collier’s hardly more than colourable qualification to be made a member
of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.  He showed it again in a
blunder of much the same kind—the special pleader’s kind—in the
appointment to the Ewelme Rectory of a clergyman who could only by a
strained interpretation of the usual rule be regarded as eligible.  He
showed it more than ever in his attempt to interpret away Lord (then Mr.)
Odo Russell’s meaning in the language addressed by him in 1870 to Prince
Bismarck on the subject of Russia’s action concerning the Black Sea
clause of the Treaty of Paris, and averring the necessity—England’s
necessity—for going to war with Russia with or without allies.  His hasty
resignation of the leadership of the Liberal party in 1874 was a still
more important illustration of his rather erratic judgment.  The latest
instance of it is his letter to Count Carophyl, which shows at the same
time, we think, a singularly just appreciation of the diplomatic
concessions he had gained, and a singularly inadequate one as to the
importance of a proud and lofty tone as one who writes as a spokesman of
a great people.’

Mr. Spurgeon, writing to a Cardiff Liberal who opposes Mr. Gladstone’s
Irish policy, says:

‘As to Ireland, I am altogether at one with you; especially I feel the
wrong proposed to be done to our Ulster brethren.  What have they done to
be thus cast off?  The whole scheme is as full of dangers and absurdities
as if it came from a madman, yet I am sure Mr. Gladstone is only doing
justice, and acting for the good of all.  I consider him to be making one
of those mistakes which can only be made by great and well-meaning men.’

In a further deliverance on the question, ‘in answer to many friends,’
and expressing himself as sorry to say what he does, liking to agree with
Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Spurgeon says:

‘We feel bound to express our great regret that the great Liberal leader
should have introduced his Irish Bills.  We cannot see what our Ulster
brethren have done that they should be cast off.  They are in great
dismay at the prospect of legislative separation from England, and we do
not wonder.  They have been ever our loyal friends, and ought not to be
sacrificed.  Surely something can be done for Ireland less ruinous than
that which is proposed.  The method of pacification now put forward seems
to us to be full of difficulties, absurdities, and unworkable proposals.
It is well meant, but even the best and greatest may err.  We cannot look
forward with any complacency to Ulster Loyalists abandoned, and an
established Irish Catholic Church, and yet they are by no means the
greatest evils which we foresee in the near future, should the suggested
policy ever become fact.’

There was a brief intercourse between the two, creditable to each.  In
1838 Macaulay writes: ‘I found Gladstone in the throng, and I accosted
him, as we had never been introduced to each other.  He received my
advances with very great _empressement_ indeed, and we had a good deal of
pleasant chat.’

In 1839 appeared the celebrated work on ‘The State in its Relations to
the Church.’  Macaulay bought it, read it, and wrote to Jeffery: ‘The
Lord hath delivered him into our hands.  I see my way to a popular and at
the same time gentleman-like critique.’  Again: ‘I do think I have
disposed of all Gladstone’s theories unanswerably, and that there is not
a line of the paper even so strict a judge as Sir Robert Inglis would
quarrel with as at all indecorous.’  Again Macaulay says: ‘I have
received a letter from Mr. Gladstone, who in generous terms acknowledged,
with some reservations, the fairness of the article.  “In whatever you
write,” continues Gladstone, “you can hardly hope for the privilege of
most anonymous productions; but if it had been possible not to recognise,
I should have questioned your authorship in this particular case, because
the candour and single-mindedness which it exhibits are, in one who has
long been connected in the most distinguished manner with a political
party, so rare as to be almost incredible. . . .  In these lacerating
times one clings to everything of personal kindness, and husbands it for
the future; and if you will allow me, I shall earnestly desire to carry
with me such a recollection of your mode of dealing with a subject on
which the attainment of truth, we shall agree, materially depends on the
temperament in which the search for it is instituted and conducted.”’
‘How much,’ writes Macaulay’s biographer, ‘this letter pleased Macaulay
is evident by the fact of his having kept it unburned, a compliment
which, except in this single instance, he never paid to any of his
correspondents.’  ‘I have seldom,’ he writes, in reply to Mr. Gladstone,
‘been more gratified than by the very kind note which I have just
received from you.  Your book itself, and everything that I have heard
about you—though almost all my information came, I must say, to the
honour of our troubled times, from people very strongly opposed to you in
politics—led me to regard you with respect and goodwill.’  Again Macaulay
wrote: ‘I have no idea that he will ever acquire the reputation of a
great statesman.  His views are not sufficiently profound or enlarged for
that.’

In 1853 Mrs. Beecher-Stowe, the far-famed author of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin,’
was in London, and dined with Mr. Gladstone at the Duke of Argyll’s.  She
writes: ‘He is one of the ablest and best men in the kingdom.  It is a
commentary on his character that, although one of the highest of the High
Church, we have never heard him spoken of among the Dissenters otherwise
than as an excellent and highly-conscientious man.  For a gentleman who
has attained such celebrity, both in politics and theology, he looks
remarkably young.  He is tall, with dark hair and eyes, a thoughtful,
serious cast of countenance, and is easy and agreeable in conversation.’

When the Commercial Treaty with France was being discussed, Cobden wrote:
‘Gladstone is really almost the only Cabinet Minister of five years’
standing who is not afraid to let his heart guide his head a little at
times.’  In 1860 Cobden wrote to Bright: ‘I have told you before that
Gladstone shows much heart in this business. . . .  He has a strong
aversion to the waste of money on our armaments.  He has no class feeling
about the services.  It is a pity that you cannot avoid hurting his
feelings by such sallies. . . .  He has more in common with you and me
than any other man of his power in Britain.’  Again: ‘I agree with you
that Gladstone overworks himself.  But I suspect that he has a
conscience, which is at times a troublesome partner for a Cabinet
Minister.  I make allowances for him, for I have never yet been able to
define to my own satisfaction how far a man with a view to utility ought
to allow himself to be merged in a body of men called a Government, or
how far he should preserve his individuality.’  In 1862 Mr. Cobden
writes: ‘Then Gladstone lends his genius to all sorts of expenditure
which he disapproves, and devises schemes for raising money which nobody
else would think of.’  Cobden’s last reference to Gladstone seems to have
been at the time of the Danish War, when he once more laments the fact
that Palmerston was still Premier and able to use all parties for his
ends.  Cobden writes: ‘With Gladstone and Gibson for his colleagues, and
with a tacit connivance from a section of the Tories, there can be no
honesty in our party life.’

In an ‘Essay on the British Parliament’ a writer gives the prize of
eloquence to Mr. Gladstone.  It is, as he truly says, ‘Eclipse first, and
the rest nowhere.’

‘Mr. Gladstone is an appreciated man, but he is not understood.  Why not?
The first duty of a pretty woman, it has been said, is to let everyone
know that she is pretty.  Extending that kind of code to the other sex,
it is surely the first duty of an intellectual man to be intelligible.
In this age there is more of the suspicion that Mr. Gladstone is
Talleyrandizing, and using his copious vocabulary for the concealment of
thought. . . .  He sees so much to say on all sides that he never clearly
defines on which side lies the preponderating reasoning.  He sums up
controversies, rather than ranges himself in them.  Debate is with him
pure debate—a division appears, in his apprehension, rather to disfigure
the proceedings. . . .  If Premier himself, he could ally himself on one
hand with Mr. Milner Gibson, and on the other with Mr. Spencer Walpole.
He is the _juste milieu_ of the day, and, biding his time, he offers to
his contingent supporters “chameleon’s diet—eating the air
promise-crammed.’”—‘Political Portraits,’ by E. M. Whittey, published in
1851, p. 226.

Mr. Hill, in his ‘Political Portraits,’ writes: ‘If Mr. Gladstone has to
make up his mind while he is on his legs whether he will or will not
answer a delicate question, he will express himself somewhat after this
fashion: “The honourable gentleman, in the exercise of that discretion
which I should be the last to deny to any member of this House, least of
all to one so justly entitled to respect as my hon. friend, both on
account of his high personal character and his long Parliamentary
experience, has asked me whether the Government intend to bring in a Bill
for the establishment of secular education in Ireland.  Now, the
discretion which I freely concede to the hon. gentleman in regard to the
proposal of this question, I must, as a member of the Government, reserve
to myself in considering whether or how I shall answer the question.  I
have to consider it not only in itself, but in regard to the time at
which it is put, and the circumstances which surround the topic.”  Mr.
Gladstone then, perhaps, will say, what Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell
would have said in a single sentence, that he must decline to answer it.’

Count Beust said: ‘Independently of the demerits and dangers of Mr.
Gladstone’s Home Rule scheme, he has, to my mind, little or no excuse for
introducing it, and the parallel he draws between it and the dual system
I inaugurated is utterly fallacious.  Agrarian agitation is the plea
which he uses for giving the Irish people a separate Parliament.  I
believe that the agrarian system in Ireland has for centuries been a bad
one, and the land legislation of 1881—whatever people may think of it
from a moral point of view—will unquestionably bring about good results.
But how these results are to be beneficially increased by giving Ireland
a separate Parliament, and handing over its government to the avowed
enemies of England, I cannot see, for one of its first acts would be to
pass laws—virtually decrees of expulsion—against the landlords, to banish
capital from the land, and materially to aggravate the general condition
of the peasantry.  As an old statesman, I should consider that the
establishment of an Irish Parliament, raising, as it unquestionably
would, aspirations on the part of the people to free themselves from the
English yoke, and increasing the power of political agitators, is fraught
with the gravest danger to England.  I cannot understand Mr. Gladstone
quoting Austria-Hungary as an example, for, independently of the great
dissimilarity between the two systems, Mr. Gladstone forgets the
condition of Austria when the Hungarian Parliament was established.
Austria had been beaten after a short but most disastrous war; Prussia
had forbidden her any further interference in German affairs; the country
was almost in a state of latent revolution; and an outbreak in Hungary,
promoted by foreign agents and foreign gold, with Klapka doing Count
Bismarck’s bidding, was in the highest degree probable, and would, had it
occurred, have led to almost overwhelming disaster.  Knowing this, I felt
bound to advise the Emperor to accede to the views of the Déak party,
securing the solidarity of the empire by the guarantees afforded through
the systems of delegations and joint budget.  Mr. Gladstone cannot urge
upon your House of Commons the same reasons for granting Home Rule to
Ireland.  England has not been, and I trust never will be, beaten as
Austria had been beaten.  No foreign foe has been dictating terms at the
gates of London.  No revolution is latent, and, a point also worthy of
consideration, the population of Ireland is only about five millions,
including those Protestants who are against the Home Rule scheme, as
compared with what I should think was the wish of the great majority of
the thirty millions composing the population of Great Britain; whereas
the area of Hungary is greater than that of Austria proper, and its
population is nearly one-half of the total population of the empire.’

Well might Count Beust ask: ‘How can Mr. Gladstone use my dualistic
system as a precedent for his scheme of Home Rule?’

Mr. Joseph Cowen said: ‘The super-subtlety of his intellect, his faculty
for hair-splitting, and his love of party warfare, create distrust, and
generate that strong sense of resentment which exists towards him amongst
a numerous section of the community.  If he were not so subtle he would
be more successful.  A plain straight man like Lord Hartington, or Lord
John Russell, or Sir Stafford Northcote, impresses the average Englishman
more favourably than a curiously acute one like the Prime Minister.  The
popular impression—that he is an austere purist, and would not resort to
any of the tricks or wriggles that characterize ordinary party leaders—is
altogether a mistake.  Those who are brought in contact with the
Legislature know that he can resort to any of the devices of partizanship
as readily as men who are popularly accounted his inferiors.  It is this
many-sidedness that leads to the different estimates that are formed of
him.  He cannot but have felt very keenly the death of Gordon, and the
massacre that ensued on the fall of Khartoum; yet I believe it is true
that he went to the Criterion that night to see a very second-rate
comedy.  Ordinary persons having the responsibility that he had would not
have been able to attend a theatre at such a time.  The other day he
laboured to impress the House of Commons with the extreme gravity of the
position of affairs with Russia, and shortly after he went to see Miss
Anderson play in “Pygmalion and Galatea.”  These sudden changes from
seriousness to seeming frivolity foster that sense of distrust which a
large number of sober Englishmen feel towards him.  They cannot
understand how a man engaged in such grave and weighty transactions can
feel them very acutely when he can so easily throw them on one side and
ignore the responsibilities they entail.’

‘What a wonderful fellow Gladstone is, after all!’ said Mr. Disraeli one
day to McCullagh Torrens.  ‘He had a dreadful passage, I hear, coming
back from Ireland, and the moment he got on shore he began to make a
speech to the Welshmen, telling them that they were all right, and to
keep so.’

‘What an ardent creature!’ he exclaimed as Mr. Gladstone rushed past them
to vote on another occasion when a division had been called for.

Under the date of June 8, 1885, Sir Stafford Northcote writes: ‘The great
debate came off to-night. . . .  The result, a majority of twelve against
Government, took the House greatly by surprise, though we ourselves had
reckoned on a victory by three or four votes.  About forty of the
Parnellites went with us.  The excitement on the declaration of the
numbers was very great, and displayed itself rather indecorously.
Randolph Churchill jumped upon his seat and stood waving his
pocket-handkerchief and shouting; Walter left the House with Algernon
West, and said something about this being a curious end of Gladstone’s
career.  West said: “Oh, this won’t be the end now; you will see him come
out more energetic than ever.”’  Sir Stafford Northcote, it may be
stated, seems at times to have been a good deal bothered by Mr.
Gladstone.  ‘The most incredulous man I ever met!’ he writes in his
diary; ‘keeps on shaking his head whenever I refer to him.’  Again he
writes: ‘Gladstone had been dining out to meet the authoress of “Sister
Dora”—Miss Lonsdale—who was very much alarmed by the rapidity and variety
of his questions.’  Again we find him complaining of Gladstone’s habit of
speaking late into the dinner-hour, so that his opponent must either
speak to empty benches or forego the advantage of replying on the
instant.  After this, we must admit Mr. Gladstone’s description of
himself on one occasion as an ‘old Parliamentary hand.’

‘Mr. Gladstone Close at Hand’ is the title of Dr. Parker’s article of
gossip about Mr. Gladstone in the _New Review_.  Once during his last
Premiership Dr. Parker had the honour of breakfasting with Mr. Gladstone
in Downing Street.  After the meal Mr. Gladstone took down a book and
read aloud an account of the circumstances under which Ireland was united
to Great Britain.  The account was so pathetic that the reader broke down
and sobbed like a child.  The ex-Premier permitted himself to be
interviewed by means of a written catechism Dr. Parker sent him, and the
answers are given in the article.  Perhaps the way in which some of the
questions are ingeniously not answered is as instructive as the direct
replies to others.  Asked whether, in his opinion, the Church of England
had a firmer hold upon the people than ever it had, he said the Church
suffered much from the general decline of what is called the prestige of
churches, but had gained much from the transformation of the clergy.  He
does not believe in the interchange of pulpits.  ‘With all respect for
those clergymen who are willing to preach in Nonconformist pulpits, I
must say,’ he replied, ‘they do not seem to form a proper conception of
their own Church.’

Dr. Parker, not content with prose, broke out on one occasion into song,
as follows:

    ‘An old Parliamentary Hand,
       Bearing an axe and raising a shield,
    Suspended the play with ominous words,
       “Mine is the Bill that holds the field.”’

Lord Hatherley wrote in 1855: ‘There is but one man of genius in the
House, I think—Gladstone.’

Professor Tyndall wrote in a letter to the _Times_: ‘Nature, which has so
richly endowed him in many ways, has denied him the faculty of discerning
the defeat which, even in the springtide of power and in the flush of
victory, he has over and over again gratuitously wooed.  In fact, he
thinks too highly of himself and too meanly of his followers.  Like
Napoleon’s generals, they are to him mere mud, to be shaped and moulded
according to his imperial will.  The dissatisfaction arising from his
conduct is not a thing of yesterday.  God, as Mahomed says, has made men
to be men—not foxes and wolves; and the love of truth and abhorrence of
untruth inherent in the healthy British character have gradually opened
the eyes of Mr. Gladstone’s most able and most independent supporters to
his misdeeds.  His errors of judgment, his political dishonesty, his
impulsiveness and passion, so often invoked for purposes both ungenerous
and unwise, his tampering for party ends with the sustaining bulwarks of
the State, his cruel indifference to the fate of men far nobler than
himself who had trustfully accepted from him tasks the faithful
prosecution of which led them to a doom which he might have averted, but
did not avert, the voice of many a brother’s blood crying from the
ground, had already shaken the faith of honest Liberals in their idol,
when his flagitious Irish policy put an end to their forbearance and
caused them to fling abroad the banner of revolt.  The cream of the
Liberal party have been the seceders here; the men who above all others
adorned the Liberal ranks have been the first to renounce the heresies of
their recreant leader.  A former worshipper of the ex-Prime Minister said
to me some time ago: “Never in the history of England was there such a
consensus of intellect arrayed against a statesman as that now arrayed
against Mr. Gladstone.  What a fall!” . . .  I see with concern letters
from Liberal Unionists in the _Times_ which seem to indicate that the
writers only deem it necessary for Mr. Gladstone to declare his
abandonment of Home Rule to make all right again with the Liberals.  But
who is to guarantee Mr. Gladstone’s good faith in this matter?  He
apostatized, for party purposes, when he became a Home Ruler, and he will
apostatize again whenever it suits his ambition to do so.  I should not
be surprised if, some fine day, he took those simple Unionists at their
word and made the required declaration.  But could we be sure of him
afterwards?  For years, according to his own confession, he nourished in
the dark corners of his mind this fungus of Home Rule, while to all his
friends he seemed earnestly bent on extirpating it.  A man of this stamp
has no claim to the trust or credence of Liberal Unionists.’

Writing in 1879, Principal Tulloch says: ‘I bought the _Observer_ on my
way back, and read Gladstone’s philippic against the Government.  What a
man he is!  What avenging and concentrated passion and power of hatred at
the age of seventy!  If he gets back to power, he will certainly play the
devil with something.’

Dr. Talmage, who visited Mr. Gladstone at Hawarden a year or two since,
sailed from Liverpool on the following day on his return to America.
While in the Holy Land he secured a large stone from Calvary, which is
intended to form the corner-stone of his proposed new church in Brooklyn.
Dr. Talmage, who was interviewed after his visit to Hawarden, said he
found Mr. Gladstone hale and hearty, and he ran up and down the hills
like a boy.  The ex-Premier was sanguine that his Home Rule scheme would
succeed.  Dr. Talmage asked if his faith in Christianity had wavered in
his old age.  Mr. Gladstone answered: ‘The longer I live, the stronger
grows my faith in God, and my only hope for the world is that the human
race will be brought more into contact with Divine revelation.’

Mr. Mozley writes in his ‘Reminiscences’: ‘As for Mr. Gladstone, I have
for many years seldom thought of him without being reminded of the
terrible lines in which Horace describes one of the attendants of that
fickle goddess whom he believed to be the arbiter of civil strife.  Often
have I felt that I would rather grow cabbage, like Cincinnatus, than be
the public executioner of usurpations, monopolies, and other abuses.
But, after indulging in the sentiment, I have swelled the triumph of
justice, peace, and public good.  I have generally been so unfortunate in
the use of my electoral privileges that I have come to think them hardly
worth the fuss made about them; but the most unfortunate use I ever made
of them—so I felt at the time—was when I went up to Oxford to vote for
Mr. Gladstone, and he was actually elected.  It was some excuse for this
ridiculous inconsistency that I scarcely ever looked into Mr. Gladstone’s
weekly organ—of course, he had not a weekly organ in any other sense than
he had a tail to his coat—without seeing some very offensive and utterly
untrue allusion to myself. . . .  But now, what is the singular good
fortune or providential protection I began with?  Simply this: I never in
all my life once saw Mr. Gladstone, from the morning I met him in Hurdis
Lushington’s room, three or four days after his arrival from Eton, till
he was so good as to ask me to breakfast in June, 1882, and kindly
suggest an alteration in my book.  On the former occasion he had all the
purple bloom and freshness of boyhood and the glow of generous emotion.’

Mr. Samuel Morley, M.P., wrote: ‘I regard Mr. Gladstone as the greatest,
purest, and ablest statesman of the present age, and of all ages or of
any age.  How great the sympathy during his recent illness throughout the
whole civilized world!  With what?  Not with Mr. Gladstone as M.P. for
Midlothian; not with Gladstone as Premier or statesman; but simply with
Gladstone as the embodiment of the highest and purest aspirations of that
patriotism which desires the best of all good things for the greatest
number of our own fellow-countrymen, and that the countrymen of all other
countries may partake in these good things also.  His life, his health,
his genius, his power, and influence are of more consequence to the
country than all or any of the most pressing questions now before
Parliament.’

No one, as was to be expected, has been more variously or idiotically
censured or blamed than Mr. Gladstone.  Considerable ingenuity has been
displayed by more than one pious clergyman to show that he is the beast
of Revelation.  In the opinion of one of them—the Rev. Canon Crosthwaite,
of Kildare—beheading is too good for Mr. Gladstone.  He has ‘bamboozled
the House of Commons, and has persuaded it to rob God and put His
patrimony into the Treasury of England.  Essex lost his head for only
talking to O’Neal across the river.  What does not Mr. Gladstone
deserve,’ asks the Canon, in the _National Review_, ‘for trafficking with
Irish rebels and betraying to them all the rights of the British Crown?
Yet this spoiler of the Church is allowed to read lessons.’  Another
reverend, possibly a Dissenter, wrote to Mr. Gladstone to suggest that he
would add to the services he has rendered religion by conducting a series
of services in the Agricultural Hall.  In reply, declining the
suggestion, Mr. Gladstone wrote: ‘It would expose me, with justice, to
that charge of ostentation which some think already attaches to me.’

Actually a reverend gentleman compiled, under the head of ‘Musical
Evenings with the Great and Good,’ a service of song.  The directions are
to open with the hymn, ‘Hark, my soul! it is the Lord.’  A footnote
informs us that ‘this hymn of Cowper’s has been translated by Mr.
Gladstone into Italian.’  The direct bearing of these facts is not at
once apparent, but possibly enlightenment may arrive during the ‘Prayer’
which is to follow.  The first verse of the next hymn runs:

    ‘Sing we a song of praise to-day
       For battles fought and victories won,
    For strength vouchsafed upon our way,
       And noble work our cause has done;
    For joy that cometh after tears,
    And harvests reaped for fifty years.’

Later on a kind of parenthetic observation runs, that ‘Oxford is an
ancient seat of learning, and may be the fountain of intellectual light;
but it has ever been the home of political darkness and the defender of
exclusive privilege.’  As Mr. Gladstone’s earlier political career is
very sweepingly condemned, and the evil influences of the University
deplored, it is to be presumed that the half-century of harvest is a
small stretch of the exuberant poetic licence that Mr. Thoseby permits
himself occasionally.  Personal encouragement to Mr. Gladstone, however,
is not wanting, and he is told to

    ‘Hold on, my brother, hold on!
    Hold on till the prize is won,
       Hold on to the plough,
       And weary not now,
    For the work is well-nigh done.’

A subsequent song informs him positively that

    ‘The day shall appear,
    When the might with the right
       And the Truth shall be:
    Come there what may to stand in the way,
       That day the world shall see.’

And that there is to be

             ‘No surrender, no surrender
    In the cause of truth and right.’

But perhaps the climax of Gladstonolatry is reached in the following
passages:

‘In Mr. Gladstone’s work as legislator and administrator there is, from
first to last, the same thoroughness and mastery.  He never introduced a
measure into the House in a crude and incomplete manner.  He mastered
every detail, and knew exactly the value and bearing of every suggestion
and amendment offered, and whether he could admit it or not.  He
introduced no measures merely to curry favour, to strengthen his party,
or catch the popular vote.  He has always had regard to pressing needs,
and has made it a matter of duty to press and pass the measures he
introduced.  And these measures have never been condemned except by
“politicians in distress.”  In his work as administrator he has not left
the work to be done by subordinates.  He has attended to his own duties,
and toiled to understand every particular, and, in consequence, he has
never had to vacillate, taking a position to-day from which he has had to
withdraw to-morrow; saying one thing to-day and contradicting it the
next.’

Remarkable as is the polished literary style of this citation, it is
surpassed in the following fantastic rhapsody:

‘His beautiful residence at Hawarden Castle, in Cheshire, has much of the
old baronial associations connected with it.  It is delightfully situated
in a finely-wooded park, where Mr. Gladstone’s well-known penchant for
tree-felling, as a relaxation, finds ample scope.  And where he also may
gaze with joy on hill and dale, and

    ‘“Watch the wild birds soar and sing,
    Or build their nest, or plume their wing.”’

And where, perchance, he may now and again sing to the birds.  Might not
those birds, those beautiful birds, represent Freedom!  Political
Freedom, the Sovereignty of Ideas, the Monarchy of Mind, the Republic of
Intellect, Free Thought, Free Speech, Free Pews, Free Churches in a Free
State, until there shall be no Party but God, and no Politics but
Religion—the mighty Christ all in all.’

In 1870 Mr. Grant Duff, in the course of one of his addresses to his
constituents, said that some years ago, when Mr. Gladstone’s
Administration was in power, a clever Tory, who hated both Mr. Gladstone
and his Administration, wrote the following acrostic:

    ‘G was the great man, mountain of mind;
    L a logician, expert and refined;
    A was an adept in rhetoric’s art,
    D was the dark spot he had in his heart;
    S was the sophistry led him astray;
    T was the truth that he bartered away;
    O was the cipher his conscience became;
    N the new light that enlightened the same;
    E was the evil one, shouting for joy,
          “At it, and down with it, Gladstone, my boy.”

This acrostic was repeated in a drawing-room in the presence of a young
lady of good Liberal principles, and the daughter of a well-known Member
of Parliament, who, without leaving the room, went to a table and wrote
this answer to it:

    ‘G is the genius that governs the nation;
    L are the Lords, who require education;
    A is the animus raised by the great;
    D are the donkeys who fear for the State:
    S is the standard that Liberals raise;
    T are the Tories who howl in dispraise;
    O ’s Opposition, wanting a head;
    N is the nation, not driven, but led;
    E is old England, shouting for joy,
          “Stick to the Government, Gladstone, my boy.”’

The bitterness of some of the attacks on Mr. Gladstone were at any rate a
great testimony to his surpassing power and popularity.  In 1880 appeared
a handbill under the title of the ‘Gladstonian Mess,’ announcing: ‘A
grand banquet will be given at the Boar’s Head Hotel immediately after
the sale of the effects of Mr. John Bull, previously announced, carefully
prepared by Mr. W. E. Gladstone, the auctioneer, and at the vendor’s
expense, to which all the company are invited.’  The sale was
announced—Mr. Gladstone the auctioneer: ‘The whole of the vast landed
estates, goods, chattels and effects of Mr. John Bull, who is retiring
from business on account of advancing age and ill-health, induced by
recent losses in the Transvaal venture, comprising three kingdoms (united
or otherwise), one empire, one dominion, forty-eight colonies, and one
Suzerainty, one large public-house, known as the Lords and Commons, also
an extremely elegant, spacious, and well-built family residence, known as
the Buckingham Palace, with greenhouses, gardens, stables, and every
necessary appointment.  The residence contains ample accommodation for a
family of position, is situate in its own grounds, and commands good
views of the Nelson Monument, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Westminster
Abbey, and is within easy distance of the thriving market towns of London
and Westminster.’  As an indication, on the other hand, of Mr.
Gladstone’s popularity, let me refer to the Gladstone claret, which was
supposed to be a peculiarly economical and refreshing beverage, and the
Gladstone travelling-bag, which was described as a bag adapted for the
requirements of all travellers, of all ages, of both sexes and in all
grades of life.  Someone took the trouble to issue the prospectus of what
was called the Gladstone Exploitation Company, a further unintentional
tribute.

The following appeared in a Turkish newspaper at the time of the
Bulgarian atrocities: ‘Mr. Gladstone is of Bulgarian descent.  His father
was a pig-dealer in the villayet of Kusteridje.  Young Gladstone ran away
at the age of sixteen to Servia, and was then with another pig-dealer
sent to London to sell pigs.  He stole the proceeds, changed his name
from Troradin to Gladstone, and became a British subject.  Fortune
favoured him till he became Prime Minister.  Gladstone has no virtues.
Gold is his god.  The Ottoman Government offered him five thousand pounds
to put their finances in order, but subsequently withdrew the offer, and
his vexation at this, combined with his bad Bulgarian nature, caused his
opposition to the Turks.  The surname “Gladstone” means lust for gold,
and was given to him on account of his failings in that respect.’

In the ‘Life of Lord Houghton’ we find another illustrative anecdote.
The writer says: ‘One day, a few years before his death, when he was
dining at the house of Mr. James Knowles, the conversation turned upon
the relative characteristics of Mr. Gladstone and Lord Beaconsfield, and
it was remarked by someone that if Lord Beaconsfield was a good judge of
men, Mr. Gladstone was a still better judge of mankind.  Houghton was
asked to turn the epigram into verse, and he did it as follows:

    ‘We spake of two high names of speech and pen,
       How each was seeing, and how each was blind;
    Knew not mankind, but keenly knew all men;
       Knew naught of men, but knew and loved mankind.’

In connection with these great men it is interesting to note that in
1867, when Parliament met, Mrs. Disraeli was lying seriously ill.  Mr.
Gladstone, in the opening sentence of his speech on the Address, gave
public expression to the sympathy of all parties.  Lord Houghton, in
referring to the fact, adds: ‘The scene in the House of Commons was very
striking; Dizzy quite unable to restrain his tears.’  When Lord
Beaconsfield died, however, many were found to censure Mr. Gladstone for
not having been present at the funeral of his distinguished rival.

Lord Blachford’s letters contain many short notices of Mr. Gladstone.  In
1858 he gives a sketch of him in a conference with Sir Edward Bulwer: ‘It
was very absurd to see them talking it over; Gladstone’s clear, dark eye
and serious face, and ponderous forehead and calm manner, was such a
contrast with Sir E.’s lean and narrow face and humid, theatrical,
conscious kind of ways.’  In 1868 he writes to Newman: ‘I have not yet
got through Gladstone’s autobiography. . . .  Of course, as you say, some
of his friends think it injudicious, and I am not sure that it is not
injudicious on that very account.  One great weight which Gladstone has
to carry in the political race is a character for want of judgment, and
every addition to that is an impediment.’  In 1874, in July, when Mr.
Gladstone appeared in Parliament after four months’ absence to oppose the
Bill for the Abolition of Church Patronage in Scotland, Lord Blachford
writes: ‘Gladstone’s opposition is curious.  I am sorry to say I cannot
go with him on either of his points—indeed, I may almost say on any.  I
see no reason why the Scotch Church should not have their way about
patronage.  I think the cry against the Public Worship Bill a scare, and
I particularly object to the principle and working of the Endowed Schools
Act.  However, everybody seems to agree that he made a great speech on
the Public Worship Bill as a matter of oratory.  He does not seem to care
much about what was his party, who, I suppose, are dead against him on
two out of three of these points.’

Of Mr. Gladstone, John Arthur Roebuck, a bellicose Radical—very noisy in
his time—says: ‘He may be a very good chopper, but, depend upon it, he is
not an English statesman.’  Of Tennyson, it is said that he loved Mr.
Gladstone, but detested his policy.

The late Sir James Stansfeld is reported as saying to an interviewer:
‘Mr. Gladstone’s conduct in the Cabinet was very curious.  When I first
joined in 1871, I naturally expected that his position was so commanding
that he would be able to say, “This is my policy; accept it or not, as
you like.”  When Sir James Graham was examined before a committee on
Admiralty administration, he was asked: “What would happen if a member of
your Board did not agree with your policy?”  He answered: “He would cease
to be a member of my board.”  I thought Mr. Gladstone would have taken
the same line, but he did not.  He was always profuse in his expressions
of respect for his Cabinet.  There is a wonderful combination in Mr.
Gladstone of imperiousness and deference; in the Cabinet he would assume
that he was nothing.’

In the _Nineteenth Century_ appeared a curious estimate of Mr. Gladstone
by an Indian gentleman.  ‘He has,’ he writes, ‘a natural prejudice,
almost antipathy, to the name of Turk.  His mind, in some respects,
resembles that of some pious, learned, but narrow-minded priest of the
middle ages; and his unreasoning prejudice against the Turk is indeed
mediæval, and worthy of those dark ages of blood, belief and Quixotic
chivalry.  A person of such character, however graphic and sublime he may
be, should not have such a great political influence on the minds of
millions of his fellow-beings; he should not be at the head of a vast
empire such as that of England of to-day if he cannot constrain his
emotions and his ecclesiastical prejudices.  He is a sublime moral leader
of men; but a statesman of Mr. Gladstone’s position should be more calm,
more deliberate, and should weigh his words carefully before he speaks.
He should take care that his writings and speeches do not wound the
feelings of millions of his fellow-subjects.’

On the defeat of the Liberal party in 1895, the _National Review_ wrote:
‘One can now appreciate the previously provoking description of Mr.
Gladstone as a great Conservative force.  His Irish escapade has
shattered the Liberal party, made the House of Lords invulnerable, and
the Church unassailable.’  Dr. Guinness Rogers wrote that Mr. Gladstone’s
retirement was one of the causes of the defeat of the Liberal party.  ‘It
is to a large extent a measure of the enormous influence of that
commanding personality.  Not until the secret history of that period can
be studied will it be known how tremendous was the loss which the Liberal
party sustained by the withdrawal from the strife of a leader who towered
head and shoulders over all his associates.’

Mr. Gladstone seems seldom to have made a speech but his friends favoured
him with their criticisms.  Thus, when in 1871 he visited Yorkshire and
made speeches at Wakefield and Whitby, Lord Houghton wrote, after
praising one of his speeches: ‘I cannot say as much for your Whitby
speech, for it confirmed my feelings that on the high mountain where you
stand there is a demon, not of demagogism, but of demophilism, that is
tempting you sorely.  I am no alarmist, but it is undeniable that a new
and thoroughly false conception of the relations of work and wealth is
invading society, and of which the Paris Commune is the last expression.
Therefore one word from such a man as you, implying that you look on
individual wealth as anything else than a reserve of public wealth, and
that there can be any antagonism between them, seems to me infinitely
dangerous.’  Mr. Gladstone replied, writes Lord Houghton’s biographer,
with his usual frankness and friendliness to the remonstrances of his old
friend, ‘whose criticisms are marked by the kindly tone which is habitual
with you, though I do not agree with everything you say about property.’

Sir Francis Doyle will have it that to Mr. Disraeli is due the fact that
Mr. Gladstone left the Conservatives.  ‘We may all of us recollect,’ he
writes, ‘the Irish soldiers who marched up to and then passed a standard
erected by William III.  Some regiments moved to the right and others to
the left, the right-hand division taking service under Louis XIV., the
other division submitting to the English Government.  On their first
separation they were but an inch or two apart, but the distance gradually
widened between them till they or their representatives met face to face
at Fontenoy.  So, after Sir Robert Peel’s death, Lord Beaconsfield’s
presence established like that standard a line of demarcation between the
two portions of the Tory party.  Had it not been for the line fixed
across their path, I think Mr. Gladstone, Herbert, and the other Peelites
would have joined Lord Derby instead of the Whigs.  Nor would Mr.
Gladstone’s logic have been in fault (when is it?), or failed to justify
abundantly the course he had taken.’



CHAPTER XVII.
AT HOME.


Hawarden Park, in the centre of which stands Hawarden Castle, is one of
the finest country seats in the three kingdoms.  Visitors who arrive at
Hawarden for the first time are surprised at the extent of the grounds
and the beauty of the park.  Hawarden Park, with Hawarden Castle, came to
Mr. Gladstone with his wife.  When Mr. Gladstone married he had no
intention of making his seat in Wales, but finding that Sir Stephen
Glynne was in circumstances which rendered it disadvantageous to the
family for him to live in the Castle, Mr. Gladstone bought some of the
land, and took up his quarters with his father-in-law in the Castle,
which had been temporarily closed.  This arrangement lasted for many
years, and was attended with none of the disagreeable consequences which
so often happen when two generations live under one roof.  The two
families lived side by side, and nothing could exceed the harmony of the
united households.  Sir Stephen Glynne always sat at the head of the
table, while Mrs. Gladstone sat at the other end; Mr. Gladstone sat
between.  This arrangement continued down to the death of Sir Stephen
Glynne, and it was rather curious to see a statesman whose name and whose
fame were familiar throughout the world always taking the second place in
his own house.  But for the somewhat embarrassed circumstances of Sir
Stephen Glynne, which led Mr. Gladstone to buy some of the Glynne estate,
it was his intention to have bought a seat in Scotland, to which, as his
native country, Mr. Gladstone was always strongly attached.  The
accident, therefore, of a temporary financial embarrassment on the part
of his father-in-law made Hawarden famous throughout the world, and
supplied Mr. Gladstone with a very much more convenient country seat than
any which he could have procured north of the Tweed.

The Castle is situated on the summit of a range of hills overlooking
Chester and the river Dee.  The village contains the remains of a castle
which dates back almost to the Conqueror, and the ancient mound
fortification, the ditch and drawbridge, and the keep, are proof to-day
of its power in the past.  The old Castle standing in the grounds is
scarce more than a relic now.  The modern Castle in which the Gladstone
family resides was built over a hundred years ago, and has been
considerably added to from time to time, so that it is a comparatively
new seat.  It has a splendid appearance; the stone battlements and walls,
which are well grown with ivy, look especially striking.  The grounds
contain several points of interest, and are exceedingly well wooded,
_even now_, much to the surprise of many visitors, who have heard no
little of Mr. Gladstone’s powers with his axe.

The new buildings of the Library, which stand not far from the church,
have a neat entrance-gate leading to them, with a well-kept lawn on each
side.  It is in no sense a public institution, but is intended to afford
to clergymen and others an opportunity of quiet study.  Here are gathered
thousands of volumes, carefully selected, representing an eclectic field
of thought, including the whole area of human interest.  By the side of
an erudite Churchman like Pusey you will discover a book by a
Nonconformist like Dale.  The volumes were in many cases brought to the
library by Mr. Gladstone’s own hands, and on many an afternoon he was to
be seen walking through the park with a bundle of books, to be arranged
on the shelves by his own hands or under his superintendence.  Not far
off in the village street stands the substantial building called the
Hawarden Institute.  Upstairs in the library are to be seen volumes with
characteristic inscriptions by Mr. Gladstone.  On the flyleaf of one of
the Waverley Novels is written, for instance: ‘No library should be
complete without a set of Sir Walter Scott’s novels in full.
Accordingly, I present this set to the Hawarden Institute.’  Attached to
the institute is a capital billiard-room, a bath-room, and a
reading-room.  The gymnasium, which was given by Mr. Herbert Gladstone,
is not patronized quite so much as that gentleman, it is understood,
desires.

The library at Hawarden is one of the finest private libraries in the
country.  It consists of more than twenty thousand volumes, and
considerable curiosity existed as to what Mr. Gladstone intended to do
with this collection of books after his death.  Contrary to the usual
practice obtaining in magnificent private libraries, Mr. Gladstone
allowed his books to be lent out to almost anyone in the neighbourhood
who wished to read them.  At one time this liberty was unlimited; anyone
could take a book out and keep it an indefinite period, provided that he
simply left an acknowledgment of having borrowed the book.  This
privilege, however, was so much abused by some persons that a few years
ago a rule was laid down limiting the time for which a book might be kept
to one month.  With that exception, however, the Hawarden Library is
still the free loan library of the countryside.

‘Within, Hawarden Castle,’ says a writer in the _World_, ‘though not
ambitiously large, contains more than one roomy cell for its
scholar-recluse.  At every corner the signs of taste and culture abound.
The pictures have been only slightly thinned by the handsome contribution
to the Wrexham Exhibition, and curious china is not entirely absent.
Oriental jars and costly cabinets of Japanese lacquer are scattered about
the handsome rooms with tasteful carelessness, and here and there are
specimens of art needlework, in the revival of which Mrs. Gladstone is
known to take great interest.  But the peculiarity of the house is the
vast flood of books, which no one apartment can contain.  Out of one
library into another, and into drawing-room and dining-room, books have
flowed in a resistless stream, pushing other things aside, and
establishing themselves in their place.  There are books new and old,
rare and common, choice editions and ordinary manuals of reference,
ponderous tomes of controversial theology and snappish little pamphlets
on the currency, with other equally light and pleasant subjects.  Over
all reigns that air of easy and natural luxury which forms the principal
charm of the English country-house proper, as distinguished from the
comfortless vastness of foreign _châteaux_ and the pretentious splendour
of the suburban villa of the _nouveau riche_.  The castellan, however, is
no admirer of nooks and snuggeries, loving most to get through his
morning reading in an especially large apartment, garnished with movable
bookshelves—a transparent hive for a working bee—amid abundant air and
floods of sunshine.  “Air and light,” and plenty of them, are among his
prime conditions of existence.’

‘Mr. Gladstone’s study,’ says another visitor, ‘is rather curiously
arranged.  The walls are covered with books, and volumes are also massed
on large shelves jutting out from the walls into the room.  Between each
partition of books there is room to walk; thus the saving of space in
arranging the library in this manner is enormous.  The stock of books
perhaps exceeds fifteen thousand volumes, and notwithstanding this large
number, Mr. Gladstone has little difficulty in placing his hand upon any
volume that he may require.  There are three writing-desks in the room;
one is chiefly reserved for correspondence of a political nature and
another is used by Mrs. Gladstone.  Looking out of the study window, the
flower-beds facing the Castle present a picturesque appearance, while the
heavy-wooded grounds beyond stand out in bold relief.’

The village itself is only one street, and a small one; but no village
has become more famous and has been more visited by savants, politicians,
famous individuals, foreign or English, and deputations consisting of
working men, either to watch the great statesman felling trees or to hear
him talk.

In a magazine known as the _Young Man_ appeared a few years since an
interesting account of Mr. Gladstone’s home life, which may claim to be
quoted here.  The writer, who was one of Mr. Gladstone’s nearest
neighbours and most intimate friends, said that there was no home in the
United Kingdom where there was more freedom of opinion or more frankness
in expressing disagreement than in the home of Mr. Gladstone.

‘His daily life at home is a model of simplicity and regularity, and the
great secret of the vast amount of work he accomplishes lies in the fact
that every odd five minutes is occupied.  No man ever had a deeper sense
of the preciousness of time and the responsibility which everyone incurs
by the use or misuse he makes of it.  To such a length does he carry this
that at a picnic to a favourite Welsh mountain he has been seen to fling
himself on the heather, and bury himself in some pamphlet upon a question
of the day, until called to lighter things by those who were responsible
for the provision basket.  His grand maxim is _never to be doing
nothing_.

‘Although Mr. Gladstone’s daily routine is familiar to some, yet many
inaccurate accounts have been circulated from time to time.  In bed about
twelve, he sleeps like a child until called in the morning.  Not a
moment’s hesitation does he allow himself, although, as we have heard him
say, no schoolboy could long more desperately for an extra five minutes.
He is down by eight o’clock, and at church (three-quarters of a mile off)
every morning for the 8.30 service.  No snow or rain, no tempest, however
severe, has ever been known to stop him.  Directly after breakfast a
selection of his letters is brought to him.

‘Excepting before breakfast, Mr. Gladstone does not go out in the
morning.  At 2 p.m.,’ continues the _Young Man_, ‘he comes to luncheon,
and at the present time he usually spends the afternoon arranging the
books at his new library.  To this spot he has already transported nearly
twenty thousand books, and every volume he puts into its place with his
own hand.  To him books are almost as sacred as human beings, and the
increase of their numbers is perhaps as interesting a problem as the
increase of population.  It is real pain to him to see a book badly
treated—dropped on the floor, unduly squeezed into the bookcase,
dog’s-eared, or, worst crime of all, laid open upon its face.

‘A short drive or walk before the social cup of tea enables him to devote
the remaining hour or so before post-time to completing his
correspondence.  After dinner he returns to his sanctum—a very temple of
peace in the evening, with its bright fire, armchair, warm curtains, and
shaded reflecting candle.  Here, with an occasional doze, he reads until
bedtime, and thus ends a busy, fruitful day.  Mr. Gladstone has often
been heard to remark that had it not been for his Sunday rest, he would
not now be the man he is.  Physically, intellectually, and spiritually,
his Sunday has been to him a priceless blessing.  From Saturday night to
Monday morning Mr. Gladstone puts away all business of a secular nature,
keeps to his special Sunday books and occupations, and never dines out
that day unless to cheer a sick or sorrowful friend.’

Hawarden Castle was much improved after passing into Mr. Gladstone’s
hands.  In commemoration of the golden wedding the porch in front of the
Castle was erected, a building that adds much to its appearance.  A
writer in _Harper’s Magazine_ says: ‘A glance over the tables in the
drawing-room at Hawarden Castle leads one to the conviction that Mr.
Gladstone is the most photographed man in the world.  The tables are
literally covered with photographs presenting the well-known face and
figure in all habitual circumstances and attitudes.  Mr. Gladstone
submits to the photographer much upon the same principle that he endures
many other of the experiences that sadden life.  He recognises a certain
amount of possession that the public have in him, and if they insist upon
taking it out in photography, that is their affair.  He is not only
photographed often, but happily, having, indeed, by this time acquired so
much skill that he always comes out well.  But,’ continues the writer,
‘no photograph, or the fine oil painting of Millais, comes up to the
interest possessed by a little ivory painting which lies in the
drawing-room at Hawarden.  It represents a little boy some two years of
age sitting on the knee of a little girl in nymph-like costume, and
fondly supposed to be learning his letters.  He has, in truth, one chubby
little finger pointed towards the book which rests on his sister’s knees,
but his face is raised, and two great brown eyes look inquiringly into
those of the beholder.  This is the child—the father of the man who sits
in the other room, though beyond the measurement of the floor there
stretches between them the long span of seventy years.  The little girl
is Mr. Gladstone’s sister, who died.  The portrait was taken in
Liverpool, while Mr. John Gladstone lived in Rodney Street.

‘Mr. Gladstone has recently disposed of the question of his hobbies.  He
has none.  Before the day of his retirement into private life, however,
the public took a partially proprietary interest in what they were
pleased to consider his hobby of cutting down trees.

‘It became so notorious that foreigners got to suppose that Mr. Gladstone
did little else in his spare time but fell timber, and Americans who
visited Hawarden Castle were disappointed at not finding the park a
desolation of tree-stumps.

‘That Mr. Gladstone should often have gone out, axe in hand, to assist
his woodmen was really the most natural thing imaginable.  Wood-cutting
was just the kind of Titanic exercise in which he delighted to let out
the flood of his energy.  Again, the park being one of the best timbered
in England, it was to be expected that Mr. Gladstone, with a keen eye to
the improvement of the property, should take a personal interest in the
removal of those trees whose growth, position or decay marred the
splendour of their neighbours.

‘Mr. Gladstone is now a very old man—older than many who remember him in
his vigorous Parliamentary days quite realize.  It is many years since
his wood-cutting exploits.  But, three summers ago, on a special
occasion, he went out for the last time on his favourite pastime.  The
axe that he used—a new one, and lighter than those he usually wielded—is
now stored away in a cupboard in Mr. Herbert Gladstone’s room at the
Castle.  “To the end of the handle,” says a writer in _Pearson’s
Magazine_ for March, “is pasted a little label with the brief
inscription:

    ‘“Used by W. E. G. on a beech in the North Garden, 1895.”

‘Mr. Gladstone’s favourite implement was the ordinary wedge-shaped
American axe.  But one that he used a great deal in later days still
stands in a corner of his study.  Its long, thin blade made it a
difficult weapon to handle skilfully; yet the shape or size of the axe
made little difference to so experienced a craftsman.  In an outdoor room
at Hawarden, now chiefly devoted to the storage of bicycles and
fishing-baskets, are between thirty and forty axes piled together—long
axes and short axes, thick and thin, plain and varnished, new and worn.
These represent only a small portion of the collection that Mr. Gladstone
once had.  In bygone days admirers were constantly sending him axes as
marks of their esteem, and now other admirers quite as constantly smuggle
them away as treasured mementoes of their visits.

‘Besides these workaday axes one may see several with silver heads, and
among them one, especially valued, that was presented to Mr. Gladstone in
1884 by the workmen on the Forth Bridge.  There are, too, miniature axes
beautifully modelled in solid gold, kept among the jewels in the
drawing-room; and a silver pencil, axe-shaped, which was presented to the
G. O. M. by the Princess of Wales “for axing questions.”’

In 1870 Hayward writes: ‘I had an immensity of talk on all subjects with
Gladstone.  I strolled about with him for some hours yesterday.  He takes
whatever work he has to do easily enough here, and finds time for general
reading into the bargain.’  In 1871 the same writer says: ‘Gladstone as
he always is as a companion—conversation singularly rich and varied.’
Such seems to have been the common testimony of all who had the honour of
spending a brief time with Mr. Gladstone at home.

It is idle, and would be tiresome, to give the history of the deputations
of working-men who went to Hawarden.  As an illustration, let me say that
one December day a number of the working-men of Derby went to Hawarden to
present Mr. Gladstone with a dessert-service of Derby china, specially
manufactured at the Derby Crown Works for the occasion.  When in 1882 Mr.
Gladstone celebrated his political jubilee, addresses and telegrams came
to him at Hawarden from all parts of the country.  When in 1877 Hawarden
was invaded by fourteen hundred members of the Bolton Liberal Club, he
refused to see them, but quietly informed them that he and his son were
about to fell a tree in the course of the day in the park, and thither
the crowd repaired, where, after Mr. Gladstone had performed his task, he
gave them an address.  One of his great wood-cutting feats that year was
his felling an enormous beech-tree—a task he performed in three hours.
It was a tough job, considering that it measured thirteen feet in
circumference, and was a good proof of the aged statesman’s muscular
strength and activity.  Hercules alone seems to have been his equal.

Perhaps one of the most enormous deputations ever received at Hawarden
was in 1886, when the Irish deputations came over in great strength to
Hawarden, one of them bearing an address signed by 600,000 Irish women.
The others brought to him the freedoms of Cork, Limerick, Waterford, and
Clonmel.  In acknowledging the addresses received, Mr. Gladstone dwelt
upon the moderation with which the Home Rule agitation was carried on.
He declared that it would ultimately succeed, and denied that the Irish
demand involved separation.  Yet at one time there were fears for
Hawarden and Mr. Gladstone.  In 1882 Lord Houghton, while staying there,
wrote to his son:

    ‘DEAR ROBERT,

    ‘You may be easy about my personal security.  We have two
    detectives—one engaged to the cook; and Lord Spencer brought three
    more yesterday.’

Of the Hawarden Post-office a volume might be written.  There could
scarcely have been one more filled with important correspondence in all
the empire.  Everyone deemed it to be his duty to pester Mr. Gladstone
with letters, and his replies in the shape of postcards were to be found
carefully preserved everywhere.  Even illness severe and protracted was
no excuse.  ‘One of the most painful incidents connected with Mr.
Gladstone’s illness,’ writes the London correspondent of the _Birmingham
Daily Post_, ‘is the persistence of uninvited spiritual advisers in
addressing him.  I am told that not a day, and scarcely a post, passes
without some of these personages intruding themselves.

‘Chapters from the Old and New Testaments, the lives of Scriptural
personages, isolated texts, hymns and religious books—in some cases the
advice coming from the unknown authors themselves—have all been suggested
for the veteran statesman’s “edification.”

‘In not a few instances poems on the same theme have been sent for his
perusal, and, as the authors have generally put it, for his spiritual
comfort and relief.  I need hardly say that these effusions have never
reached Mr. Gladstone, but they have in not a few instances, by their
very suggestiveness of impending disaster, caused distress to his
family.’

A representative of the _Daily Mail_ added more on this subject: ‘Among
people in touch with the Hawarden household it is being discussed with a
good deal of indignant comment, and more than one well-known name is
mentioned as having been appended to some of this correspondence.  It is
not so much the gratuitous impertinence of the amateur spiritual consoler
which occasions the annoyance Mr. Gladstone’s relatives feel.

‘Mr. Gladstone has throughout his life loomed so large in the eyes of the
religious public that he has always been a favourite target for the
controversialists of every sect.  He long ago grew accustomed to being
bombarded with controversial pamphlets, and to being assailed with texts
of Scripture bearing more or less obliquely upon some political question
of the day.  And whenever he has been suffering from some trifling
indisposition, or has sustained any family loss or affliction, sackfuls
of letters quoting texts of Scripture have been sent to him.  It
occasions neither surprise nor any great amount of annoyance, therefore,
now that the sympathy of everyone is turned towards him, that in the case
of fervid religionists it should find expression in passages of Scripture
and extracts from devotional works from which the senders have
themselves, in times of sorrow and affliction, derived comfort and
consolation.

‘But there are other classes of correspondents.  There are people who
urge him for his soul’s sake to see the error of his ways while there is
yet time; there are people who see occasion in his present illness to
hasten to say that they forgive him for holding theological views
differing from their own; there are people who invite him to send a
subscription to something with a view to insuring to himself posthumous
satisfaction, as well as the advantage of grateful prayer and
intercession.

‘But, worst of all, and most painful to the relatives to bear, are the
frantic efforts of the testimonial hunters in a hurry.  One patent
medicine has made strenuous endeavours to foist itself upon him, with an
obvious view to subsequent advertisement.

‘Of course, there is another side to the picture.  The kindly and
sympathetic messages and inquiries which have come from people of all
ranks, from her Majesty the Queen downwards, have been of great comfort.’

                                * * * * *

I conclude this rapid survey with a quotation from Mr. G. W. E. Russell’s
‘Gladstone’: ‘In order to form the highest and truest estimate of Mr.
Gladstone’s character, it is necessary to see him at home.  But to do
this is a privilege accorded necessarily to the few.  The public can only
judge him by his public life; and from this point of view it may be that
the judgment of one of his colleagues may be accepted when he said: “The
only two things Mr. Gladstone really cares for are the Church and
finance.”’  What may be the verdict of history on him as a statesman it
is impossible to foretell.  In England, at any rate, no man has been a
power so long.  To most of us, to borrow from Shakespeare, he seems to
bestride this narrow world like a Colossus.  He has done much to help the
advent of the new democracy, but it is as a commercial reformer,
apparently, that Mr. Gladstone will be best known to future ages.  In
that capacity he produced marvellous changes.  By making paper cheap he
gave an impulse to the publishing trade, of which we have not yet seen
the end.  By the Methuen Treaty it was deemed a heavy blow was struck at
Portugal.  Under Mr. Gladstone, with the aid of Richard Cobden, that
treaty was got rid of, the light wines of France were introduced, the
social habits of the country were changed for the better, and the
commerce of the country largely increased.  The anomalies of the
navigation laws were perhaps more marvellous than those of the commercial
treaties.  Mr. Gladstone had much to do with removing those anomalies,
and the result was a marvellous increase in the growth of British
shipping and foreign commerce, and the revenue increased, as Mr.
Gladstone stated, by leaps and bounds; and while the working man has
secured better wages, his power of purchase has been largely increased.
Alas! poverty, selfishness, ignorance are still at work in our midst, and
Utopia seems as far off as ever.

                                * * * * *

On May 19 the end came, and all over the world, to the grief of the
nation, it was known that Mr. Gladstone was no more.

Parliament unanimously voted him a Public Funeral in Westminster Abbey,
where he was laid to rest May 28, 1898.

                                * * * * *

                 BILLING AND SONS, PRINTERS.  GUILDFORD.



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                          CRYING FOR THE LIGHT;
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                          (CHRISTOPHER CRAYON).

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                                * * * * *

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                                * * * * *

       _Just Published_.  _One Vol._, _crown_ 8_vo._, _price_ 5_s._

                         THE CITIES OF THE DAWN:
                 Naples, Athens, Pompeii, Constantinople,
               Smyrna, Jaffa, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Cairo,
                    Marseilles, Avignon, Lyons, Dijon.

                           By J. EWING RITCHIE
                          (CHRISTOPHER CRAYON).

                                * * * * *

                              PRESS NOTICES.

‘Impressive descriptions of a holiday tour in the East.  The little
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                                * * * * *

               LONDON: T. FISHER UNWIN, PATERNOSTER SQUARE.





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