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William Ewart Gladstone (29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a Britishmarker Liberal Party statesman and four times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1868–74, 1880–85, 1886 and 1892–94). He was also Chancellor of the Exchequer and a champion of the Home Rule Bill which would have established self-government in Irelandmarker.

Gladstone is also famous for his intense rivalry with the Conservative Party Leader Benjamin Disraeli. The rivalry was not only political, but also personal. When Disraeli died, Gladstone proposed a state funeral, but Disraeli's will asked for him to be buried next to his wife, to which Gladstone replied, "As Disraeli lived, so he died — all display, without reality or genuineness."

The British statesman was famously at odds with Queen Victoria for much of his career. She once complained, "He always addresses me as if I were a public meeting". Gladstone was known affectionately by his supporters as "The People's William" or the "G.O.M." ("Grand Old Man", or, according to Disraeli, "God's Only Mistake"). Winston Churchill and others cited Gladstone as their inspiration.

Early life

Born in 1809 in Liverpoolmarker, Englandmarker, at 62 Rodney Streetmarker, William Ewart Gladstone was the fourth son of the merchant Sir John Gladstone and his second wife, Anne MacKenzie Robertson. Gladstone was born and brought up in Liverpool and was of Scottishmarker ancestry. One of his earliest childhood memories was being made to stand on a table and say "Ladies and gentlemen" to the assembled audience, probably at a gathering to promote the election of George Canning as MP for Liverpool in 1812.

William Gladstone was educated from 1816 to 1821 at a preparatory school at the vicarage of St Thomas's Church at Seaforthmarker, close to his family's residence, Seaforth Housemarker. In 1821 William followed in the footsteps of his older brothers and attended Eton Collegemarker before matriculating in 1828 at Christ Churchmarker, Oxfordmarker, where he read Classics and Mathematics, although he had no great interest in mathematics. In December 1831 he achieved the double first class degree he had long desired. Gladstone served as President of the Oxford Union debating societymarker, where he developed a reputation as an orator, which followed him into the House of Commonsmarker. At university Gladstone was a Tory and denounced Whig proposals for parliamentary reform.
Gladstone in the 1830s


Following the success of his double first, William travelled with his brother John on a Grand Tour of Europe, visiting Belgiummarker, Francemarker, Germanymarker and Italymarker. On his return to England, William was elected to Parliament in 1832 as Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Newarkmarker, partly through the influence of the local patron, the Duke of Newcastle. Although Gladstone entered Lincoln's Innmarker in 1833, with a view to becoming a barrister, by 1839 he had requested that his name should be removed from the list because he no longer intended to be called to the Bar.

In the House of Commons, Gladstone was initially a disciple of High Toryism, opposing the abolition of slavery and factory legislation. In December 1834 he was appointed as a Junior Lord of the Treasury in Sir Robert Peel's first ministry. The following month he was appointed Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, an office he held until the government's resignation in April 1835.

Gladstone published his first book, The State in its Relations with the Church, in 1838, in which he argued that the goal of the state should be to promote and defend the interests of the Church of England. The following year he married Catherine Glynne, to whom he remained married until his death 59 years later. They had eight children together, including Herbert John Gladstone and Henry Neville Gladstone. Gladstone's eldest son William (known as "Willy" to distinguish him from his father) became a Member of Parliament but pre-deceased his father, dying in the early 1890s.

In 1840 Gladstone began to rescue and rehabilitate London prostitutes, walking the streets of London himself and encouraging the women he encountered to change their ways. Much to the criticism of his peers, he continued this practice decades later, even after he was elected Prime Minister.

Minister under Peel

Gladstone was re-elected in 1841. In September 1842 he lost the forefinger of his left hand in an accident while reloading a gun; thereafter he wore a glove or finger sheath (stall). In the second ministry of Robert Peel he served as President of the Board of Trade (1843–44). He resigned in 1845 over the Maynooth Seminarymarker issue, a matter of conscience for him. In order to improve relations with Irish Catholics, Peel's government proposed increasing the annual grant paid to the Seminary for training Catholic priests. Gladstone, who previously argued in a book that a Protestant country should not pay money to other churches, supported the increase in the Maynooth grant and voted for it in Commons, but resigned rather than face charges that he had compromised his principles to remain in office. After accepting Gladstone's resignation, Peel confessed to a friend, "I really have great difficulty sometimes in exactly comprehending what he means."

Gladstone returned to Peel's government as Colonial Secretary in December. The following year Peel's government fell over the MPs' repeal of the Corn Laws and Gladstone followed his leader into a course of separation from mainstream Conservatives. After Peel's death in 1850 Gladstone emerged as the leader of the Peelites in the House of Commons. He was re-elected for the University of Oxford in 1847 and became a constant critic of Lord Palmerston.

As a young man Gladstone had treated his father's estate, Fasque, west of Aberdeen, as home, but as a younger son he could not inherit it. Instead, from the time of his marriage, he lived at his wife's family's estate, Hawarden, in North Wales. He never actually owned Hawarden—it technically belonged first to his brother-in-law Sir Stephen Glynne, and was then inherited by Gladstone's eldest son in 1874. During the late 1840s, when he was out of office, he worked extensively to turn Hawarden into a viable business.

In 1848 he also founded the Church Penitentiary Association for the Reclamation of Fallen Women. In May 1849 he began his most active "rescue work" with "fallen women" and met prostitutes late at night on the street, in his house or in their houses, writing their names in a private notebook. He aided the House of Mercy at Clewermarker near Windsormarker (which exercised extreme in-house discipline) and spent much time arranging employment for ex-prostitutes. In a 'Declaration' signed on 7 December 1896 and only to be opened after his death by his son Stephen, Gladstone wrote:

"With reference to rumours which I believe were at one time afloat, though I know not with what degree of currency: and also with reference to the times when I shall not be here to answer for myself, I desire to record my solemn declaration and assurance, as in the sight of God and before His Judgment Seat, that at no period of my life have I been guilty of the act which is known as that of infidelity to the marriage bed".


In 1927, during a court case over published claims that he had had improper relationships with some of these women, the jury unanimously found that the evidence "completely vindicated the high moral character of the late Mr. W. E. Gladstone".

In 1850–1 Gladstone visited Naplesmarker for the benefit of his daughter Mary's eyesight. Giacomo Lacaita, legal adviser to the British embassy, was imprisoned by the Neapolitan government, as were other political dissidents. Gladstone became concerned at the political situation in Naples and the arrest and imprisonment of Neapolitan liberals. In February 1851 the government allowed Gladstone to visit the prisons where they were held and he deplored their condition. In April and July he published two Letters to the Earl of Aberdeen against the Neapolitan government and responded to his critics in An Examination of the Official Reply of the Neapolitan Government in 1852. Gladstone's first letter described what he saw in Naples as "the negation of God erected into a system of government".

Chancellor of the Exchequer: 1852–1855

A pensive Gladstone


In 1852, following the ascendancy of Lord Aberdeen, as premier, head of a coalition of Whigs and Peelites, Gladstone became Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Whig Sir Charles Wood and the Tory Disraeli had both been perceived to have failed in the office and so this provided Gladstone with a great political opportunity.

His first budget in 1853 almost completed the work begun by Peel eleven years before in simplifying Britain's tariff of duties and customs. 123 duties were abolished and 133 duties were reduced. The income tax had legally expired but Gladstone proposed to extend it for seven years to fund tariff reductions:

"We propose, then, to re-enact it for two years, from April, 1853, to April, 1855, at the rate of 7d. in the £; from April, 1855, to enact it for two more years at 6d. in the £; and then for three years more...from April, 1857, at 5d.
Under this proposal, on the 5th of April, 1860, the income-tax will by law expire".


Gladstone wanted to maintain a balance between direct and indirect taxation. He also wished to abolish the income tax. He knew that its abolition depended on a considerable retrenchment in government expenditure. He therefore increased the number of people eligible to pay it by lowering the threshold from £150 to £100. The more people who paid income tax, Gladstone believed, the more the public would pressure the government into abolishing it. Gladstone argued that the £100 line was "the dividing line...between the educated and the labouring part of the community" and that therefore the income tax payers and the electorate were to be the same people, who would then vote to cut government expenditure.

The budget speech (delivered on 18 April), at nearly five hours length, raised Gladstone "at once to the front rank of financiers as of orators". H. C. G. Matthew has written that Gladstone "made finance and figures exciting, and succeeded in constructing budget speeches epic in form and performance, often with lyrical interludes to vary the tension in the Commons as the careful exposition of figures and argument was brought to a climax". The contemporary diarist Charles Greville wrote of Gladstone's speech:

"...by universal consent it was one of the grandest displays and most able financial statement that ever was heard in the House of Commons; a great scheme, boldly, skilfully, and honestly devised, disdaining popular clamour and pressure from without, and the execution of it absolute perfection.
Even those who do not admire the Budget, or who are injured by it, admit the merit of the performance.
It has raised Gladstone to a great political elevation, and, what is of far greater consequence than the measure itself, has given the country assurance of a man equal to great political necessities, and fit to lead parties and direct governments".


However with Britain entering the Crimean War in February 1854, Gladstone introduced his second budget on 6 March. Gladstone had to increase expenditure on the Services and a vote of credit of £1,250,000 was taken to send a 25,000 strong force to the East. The deficit for the year would be £2,840,000 (estimated revenue £56,680,000; estimated expenditure £59,420,000). Gladstone refused to borrow the money needed to rectify this deficit and instead increased the income tax by one half from sevenpence to tenpence-halfpenny in the pound. Gladstone proclaimed that "the expenses of a war are the moral check which it has pleased the Almighty to impose on the ambition and the lust of conquest that are inherent in so many nations". By May £6,870,000 was needed to finance the war and so Gladstone introduced another budget on 8 May. Gladstone raised the income tax from 10 and a half d. to 14d. in order to raise £3,250,000 and spirits, malt, and sugar were taxed in order to raise the rest of the money needed.

He served until 1855, a few weeks into Lord Palmerston's first premiership, whereupon he resigned along with the rest of the Peelites after a motion was passed to appoint a committee of inquiry into the conduct of the war.

Opposition and Mission to the Ionian Islands: 1855–1859

Lord Stanley became Prime Minister in 1858, but Gladstone declined a position in his government, opting not to sacrifice his free trade principles.

Between November 1858 and February 1859 Gladstone, on behalf of the government of the Lord Derby [6013], was made Extraordinary Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands embarking via Vienna and Trieste on a twelve week mission to the southern Adriatic entrusted with complex challenges that had arisen in connection with the future of the British Protectorate of the Ionian islands [6014]

In 1858 Gladstone took up the hobby of tree felling, mostly of oak trees, an exercise he continued with enthusiasm until he was 81 in 1891. Eventually, he became notorious for this activity, prompting Lord Randolph Churchill to snigger, "The forest laments in order that Mr. Gladstone may perspire." Less noticed at the time was his practice of replacing the trees he'd felled with newly planted saplings. Possibly related to this hobby is the fact that Gladstone was a lifelong bibliophile to the extent that it has been suggested that in his lifetime, he read around 20,000 books, and eventually came to own a Library of over 32,000.

Chancellor of the Exchequer: 1859–1866

In 1859, Lord Palmerston formed a new mixed government with Radicals included, and Gladstone again joined the government as Chancellor of the Exchequer (with most of the other remaining Peelites) to become part of the new Liberal Party.

Gladstone inherited an unpleasant financial situation, with a deficit of nearly five millions and the income tax at 5d. Like Peel, Gladstone dismissed the idea of borrowing to cover the deficit. Gladstone argued that "In time of peace nothing but dire necessity should induce us to borrow". Most of the money needed was acquired through raising the income tax to 9d. Usually not more than two-thirds of a tax imposed could be collected in a financial year so Gladstone therefore imposed the extra four pence at a rate of 8d. during the first half of the year so that he could obtain the additional revenue in one year. Gladstone's dividing line set up in 1853 had been abolished in 1858 but Gladstone revived it, with lower incomes to pay 6 and a half d. instead of 9d. For the first half of the year the lower incomes paid 8d. and the higher incomes paid 13d. in income tax.

Gladstone's budget of 1860 was introduced on 10 February along with the Cobden-Chevalier Treaty between Britain and France that would reduce tariffs between the two countries. This budget "marked the final adoption of the Free Trade principle, that taxation should be levied for Revenue purposes alone, and that every protective, differential, or discriminating duty...should be dislodged". At the beginning of 1859, there were 419 duties in existence. The 1860 budget reduced the number of duties to 48, with 15 duties constituting the majority of the revenue. To finance these reductions in indirect taxation, the income tax, instead of being abolished, was raised to 10d. for incomes above £150 and at 7d. for incomes below that line.

One of the duties Gladstone intended to abolish in 1860 were the duties on paper, a controversial policy because the duties had traditionally inflated the costs of publishing and thus hindered the dissemination of radical working class ideas. Although Palmerston supported continuation of the duties, using them and income tax revenues to make armament purchases, a majority of his Cabinet supported Gladstone. The Bill to abolish duties on paper narrowly passed Commons but was rejected by the House of Lords. As no money bill had been rejected by Lords for over two hundred years, a furore arose over this vote. The next year, Gladstone included the abolition of paper duties in a consolidated Finance Bill (the first ever) in order to force the Lords to accept it, and accept it they did.

Significantly, Gladstone succeeded in steadily reducing the income tax over the course of his tenure as Chancellor. In 1861 the tax was reduced to ninepence (£0-0s-9d); in 1863 to sevenpence; in 1864 to fivepence; and in 1865 to fourpence. Gladstone believed that government was extravagant and wasteful with taxpayers' money and so sought to let money "fructify in the pockets of the people" by keeping taxation levels down through "peace and retrenchment".

When Gladstone first joined Palmerston's government in 1859, he opposed further electoral reform, but he moved toward the Left during Palmerston's last premiership, and by 1865 he was firmly in favour of enfranchising the working classes in towns. This latter policy created friction with Palmerston, who strongly opposed enfranchisement. At the beginning of each session, Gladstone would passionately urge the Cabinet to adopt new policies, while Palmerston would fixedly stare at a paper before him. At a lull in Gladstone's speech, Palmerston would smile, rap the table with his knuckles, and interject pointedly, "Now, my Lords and gentlemen, let us go to business".

As Chancellor, Gladstone made a speech at Newcastlemarker on 7 October 1862 in which he supported the independence of the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War, claiming that Jefferson Davis had "made a nation". Great Britain was officially neutral at the time, and Gladstone later regretted the Newcastle speech. In May 1864 Gladstone said that he saw no reason in principle why all mentally able men could not be enfranchised, but admitted that this would only come about once the working-classes themselves showed more interest in the subject. Queen Victoria was not pleased with this statement, and an outraged Palmerston considered it seditious incitement to agitation.

Gladstone's support for electoral reform and disestablishment of the Anglican Church in Ireland had alienated him from his constituents in his Oxford University seat, and he lost it in the 1865 general election. A month later, however, he stood as a candidate in South Lancashire, where he was elected third MP (South Lancashire at this time elected three MPs). Palmerston campaigned for Gladstone in Oxford because he believed that his constituents would keep him "partially muzzled". A victorious Gladstone told his new constituency, "At last, my friends, I am come among you; and I am come—to use an expression which has become very famous and is not likely to be forgotten—I am come 'unmuzzled'."

Prime Minister: 1868–1874

Gladstone's Cabinet of 1868 by Lowes Cato Dickinson.
Lord Russell retired in 1867 and Gladstone became a leader of the Liberal Party. In the next general election in 1868, the South Lancashire constituency had been broken-up by the Second Reform Act into two: South East Lancashire and South West Lancashire. Gladstone stood for South West Lancashire and for Greenwich, it being quite common then for candidates to stand in two constituencies simultaneously. He was defeated in Lancashire and won in Greenwich. He became Prime Minister for the first time and remained in the office until 1874.

In the 1860s and 1870s, Gladstonian Liberalism was characterised by a number of policies intended to improve individual liberty and loosen political and economic restraints. First was the minimization of public expenditure on the premise that the economy and society were best helped by allowing people to spend as they saw fit. Secondly, his foreign policy aimed at promoting peace to help reduce expenditures and taxation and enhance trade. Thirdly, laws that prevented people from acting freely to improve themselves were reformed.

Gladstone's first premiership instituted reforms in the British Army, Civil Service, and local government to cut restrictions on individual advancement. He instituted abolition of the sale of commissions in the army as well as court reorganization. In foreign affairs his overriding aim was to promote peace and understanding, characterized by his settlement of the Alabama Claims in 1872 in favour of the Americans.

The issue of disestablishment of the Church of Ireland was used by Gladstone to unite the Liberal Party for government in 1868. The Act was passed in 1869 and meant that Irish Roman Catholics did not need to pay their tithes to the Anglican Church of Ireland. He also instituted the Cardwell Reforms in 1869 that made peacetime flogging illegal and, in 1870, the Irish Land Act and the Forster's Education Act. In 1871 he instituted the University Test Act. In 1872, he secured passage of the Ballot Act for secret voting ballots. In 1873, his leadership led to the passage of laws restructuring the High Courts. He also passed the 1872 licensing act.

Opposition: 1874–1880

In the 1874 general election, the Liberals were defeated. In the wake of Benjamin Disraeli's victory, Gladstone retired temporarily from the leadership of the Liberal party, although he retained his seat in the House.

Gladstone was outraged at the Roman Catholic Church's Decree of Papal Infallibility and set about to refute it. In November 1874 he published the pamphlet The Vatican Decrees in their Bearing on Civil Allegiance.

A pamphlet he published in September 1876, Bulgarian Horrors and the Question of the East, attacked the Disraeli government for its indifference to the violent repression of the Bulgarianmarker rebellion in the Ottoman Empire (Known as the Bulgarian April uprising). An often-quoted excerpt illustrates his formidable rhetorical powers:

Let the Turks now carry away their abuses, in the only possible manner, namely, by carrying off themselves.
Their Zaptiehs and their Mudirs, their Bimbashis and Yuzbashis, their Kaimakams and their Pashas, one and all, bag and baggage, shall, I hope, clear out from the province that they have desolated and profaned.
This thorough riddance, this most blessed deliverance, is the only reparation we can make to those heaps and heaps of dead, the violated purity alike of matron and of maiden and of child; to the civilization which has been affronted and shamed; to the laws of God, or, if you like, of Allah; to the moral sense of mankind at large.
There is not a criminal in a European jail, there is not a criminal in the South Sea Islands, whose indignation would not rise and over-boil at the recital of that which has been done, which has too late been examined, but which remains unavenged, which has left behind all the foul and all the fierce passions which produced it and which may again spring up in another murderous harvest from the soil soaked and reeking with blood and in the air tainted with every imaginable deed of crime and shame.
That such things should be done once is a damning disgrace to the portion of our race which did them; that the door should be left open to their ever so barely possible repetition would spread that shame over the world!


Let me endeavor, very briefly to sketch, in the rudest outline what the Turkish race was and what it is.
It is not a question of Mohammedanism simply, but of Mohammedanism compounded with the peculiar character of a race.
They are not the mild Mohammedans of India, nor the chivalrous Saladins of Syria, nor the cultured Moors of Spain.
They were, upon the whole, from the black day when they first entered Europe, the one great anti-human specimen of humanity.
Wherever they went a broad line of blood marked the track behind them, and, as far as their dominion reached, civilization vanished from view.
They represented everywhere government by force as opposed to government by law.—Yet a government by force can not be maintained without the aid of an intellectual element.— Hence there grew up, what has been rare in the history of the world, a kind of tolerance in the midst of cruelty, tyranny and rapine.
Much of Christian life was contemptuously left alone and a race of Greeks was attracted to Constantinople which has all along made up, in some degree, the deficiencies of Turkish Islam in the element of mind!


During his rousing election campaign (the so-called Midlothian campaign) of 1879, he spoke against Disraeli's foreign policies during the ongoing Second Anglo-Afghan War in Afghanistanmarker. (See Great Game). He saw the war as "great dishonour" and also criticised British conduct in the Zulu War.

Prime Minister: 1880–1885

Gladstone in relaxed mood
In 1880 the Liberals won again and the new Liberal leader, Lord Hartington, retired in Gladstone's favour. Gladstone won his constituency election in Midlothian and also in Leedsmarker, where he had also been adopted as a candidate. As he could lawfully only serve as MP for one constituency, Leeds was passed to his son Herbert. One of his other sons, Henry, was also elected as an MP.

Queen Victoria asked Lord Hartington to form a ministry, but he persuaded her to send for Gladstone. Gladstone's second administration—both as PM and again as Chancellor of the Exchequer till 1882—lasted from June 1880 to June 1885. Gladstone had opposed himself to the "colonial lobby" pushing for the scramble for Africa. He thus saw the end of the Second Anglo-Afghan War, First Boer War and the war against the Mahdi in Sudanmarker.

However, he could not respect his electoral promise to disengage from Egyptmarker. June 1882 saw a riot in the Egyptian city of Alexandriamarker, with about 300 people being killed as part of the Urabi Revolt. In Parliament an angry and retributive mood developed against Egypt, and the Cabinet approved the bombardment of Urabi's gun emplacements by Admiral Sir Beauchamp Seymour and the subsequent landing of British troops to restore order to the city. Gladstone defended this in the Commons by exclaiming that Egypt was "in a state of military violence, without any law whatsoever".

In 1881 he established the Irish Coercion Act, which permitted the Lord Lieutenant to detain people for as "long as was thought necessary". He also extended the franchise to agricultural labourers and others in the 1884 Reform Act, which gave the counties the same franchise as the boroughs— adult male householders and £10 lodgers—and added about six million to the total number who could vote in parliamentary elections. Parliamentary reform continued with the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885.

Gladstone was becoming increasingly uneasy about the direction in which British politics was moving. In a letter to Lord Acton on 11 February 1885, Gladstone criticised Tory Democracy as "demagogism" that "put down pacific, law-respecting, economic elements that ennobled the old Conservatism" but "still, in secret, as obstinately attached as ever to the evil principle of class interests". He found contemporary Liberalism better, "but far from being good". Gladstone claimed that this Liberalism's "pet idea is what they call construction,—that is to say, taking into the hands of the state the business of the individual man". Both Tory Democracy and this new Liberalism, Gladstone wrote, had done "much to estrange me, and had for many, many years".

The fall of General Gordon in Khartoummarker, Sudan, in 1885 was a major blow to Gladstone's popularity. Many believed Gladstone had neglected military affairs and had not acted promptly enough to save the besieged Gordon. Critics inverted his acronym, "G.O.M." (for "Grand Old Man"), to "M.O.G." (for "Murderer of Gordon"). He resigned as Prime Minister in 1885 and declined Queen Victoria's offer of an Earldom.

Prime Minister: 1886

In 1886 Gladstone's party was allied with Irish Nationalists to defeat Lord Salisbury's government; Gladstone regained his position as Premier and combined the office with that of Lord Privy Seal. During this administration he first introduced his Home Rule Bill for Irelandmarker. The issue split the Liberal Party (a breakaway group went on to create the Liberal Unionist party) and the bill was thrown out on the second reading, ending his government after only a few months and inaugurating another headed by Lord Salisbury.

Prime Minister: 1892–1894

The general election of 1892 resulted in a minority Liberal government, with Gladstone as Prime Minister for the fourth and final time. Gladstone, at the age of 82, was both the oldest ever person to be appointed Prime Minister and when he resigned in 1894 aged 84 he was the oldest person ever to occupy the Premiership.

Gladstone's electoral address had promised Home Rule and the disestablishment of the Scottish and Welsh Churches. In February 1893 he introduced the Second Home Rule Bill. The Bill was passed in the Commons at second reading on 21 April by 43 votes and third reading on 1 September by 34 votes. However the House of Lords killed the Bill by voting against by 419 votes to 41 on 8 September.

In December 1893 an Opposition motion proposed by Lord George Hamilton called for an expansion of the Royal Navy. Gladstone opposed increasing public expenditure on the naval estimates, in the tradition of free trade liberalism of his earlier political career as Chancellor. Almost all his colleagues, however, believed in some expansion of the Royal Navy. Gladstone also opposed Chancellor Sir William Harcourt's proposal to implement a graduated death duty, which Gladstone denounced as "the most radical measure of my lifetime".

On 1 March 1894, in his last speech to the House of Commons, Gladstone asked his allies to override the Lords' veto. He resigned the Premiership on 2 March. The Queen did not ask Gladstone who should succeed him but sent for Lord Rosebery (Gladstone would have advised on Lord Spencer). He retained his seat in the Commons until 1895.

Final years

Gladstone's grave in Westminster Abbey


A few days after he relinquished the premiership, Gladstone wrote to George William Erskine Russell on 6 March, 1894:

"I am thankful to have borne a part in the emancipating labours of the last sixty years; but entirely uncertain how, had I now to begin my life, I could face the very different problems of the next sixty years.
Of one thing I am, and always have been, convinced—it is not by the State that man can be regenerated, and the terrible woes of this darkened world effectually dealt with".


In 1895, at the age of 85, Gladstone bequeathed £40,000 (equivalent to approximately £ today) and much of his library to found St Deiniol's Librarymarker in Hawardenmarker, Walesmarker, the only residential library in Britain. Despite his advanced age, he himself hauled most of his 32,000 books a quarter of a mile to their new home, using his wheelbarrow.

In 1896, in his last noteworthy speech, he denounced Armenianmarker massacres by Ottomans in a talk delivered at Liverpool.

On 2 January, 1897 Gladstone wrote to Francis Hirst on being unable to write a preface to a book on liberalism:

"...I venture on assuring you that I regard the design formed by you and your friends with sincere interest, and in particular wish well to all the efforts you may make on behalf of individual freedom and independence as opposed to what is termed Collectivism".


Gladstone died on 19 May 1898 at Hawarden Castle, Hawarden, aged 88. The death of William Ewart Gladstone was registered by Helen Gladstone, his daughter, on the 23 May 1898. The cause of death is officially recorded as "Syncope, Senility, certified by Herbert. E. S. Biss M.D" and not metastatic cancer, as is frequently reported. His coffin was transported on the London Underground before his state funeral at Westminster Abbeymarker, at which the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII) and the Duke of York (the future George V) acted as pallbearers. Two years after Gladstone's burial in Westminster Abbey, his wife, Catherine Gladstone (née Glynne), was laid to rest with him (see image at right).

Monuments



  • The first statue erected in Gladstone's honour after his death was in Blackburnmarker in 1899.


  • A statue of Gladstone by Albert Bruce-Joy and erected in 1882, stands near the front gate of St. Marys Churchmarker in Bow, Londonmarker. Paid for by the industrialist Theodore Bryant, it is viewed as a symbol of the later 1888 match girls strike, which took place at the nearby Bryant & May Match Factorymarker. Lead by the socialist Annie Besant, hundreds of working girls from the factory had gone on strike to demand improved working conditions and pay, eventually winning their cause. In recent years, the statue of Gladstone has been repeatedly daubed with red paint, suggesting that it was paid for with the 'blood of the match girls'.








  • A monument to Gladstone, Member of Parliament for Midlothian 1880–1895 was unveiled in Edinburghmarker in 1917 (and moved to its present location in 1955). It stands in Coates Crescent Gardens. The sculptor was James Pittendrigh McGillvray.




Dollis House, Gladstone Park, as seen from the gardens




  • Near to Hawardenmarker in the town of Mancotmarker, there is a small hospital named after Catherine Gladstone. A statue of her husband also stands near the High School in Hawarden.


  • Gladstone Rock—a large boulder about 12 ft high in Cwm Llan on the Watkin Path on the south side of Snowdonmarker where Gladstone made a speech in 1892. A plaque on the rock states that he 'addressed the people of Eryri upon justice to Wales.'


  • Liverpoolmarker's Crest Hotel was renamed The Gladstone Hotel in his honour in the early 1990s, but in 2006 was renamed again as The Liner Hotel.


  • Gladstone, Queenslandmarker, Australia was named after him and has a 19th century marble statue on display in its town museum.




Notes

Biographies

  • Walter Bagehot, 'Mr. Gladstone', Biographical Studies (1881).
  • D. W. Bebbington, William Ewart Gladstone (1993).
  • D. W. Bebbington, The Mind of Gladstone: Religion, Homer and Politics (2004)
  • Eugenio F. Biagini, Gladstone (2000)
  • F. Birrell, Gladstone (1933).
  • Eric Brand, William Gladstone (1986) ISBN 0877545286.
  • Osbert Burdett, W. E. Gladstone (1928).
  • E. G. Collieu, Gladstone (1968).
  • E. Eyck, Gladstone (1938).
  • Viscount Gladstone, After Thirty Years (1928).
  • Edward Hamilton, Mr. Gladstone. A Monograph (1898).
  • F. W. Hirst, Gladstone as Financier and Economist (1931).
  • Roy Jenkins, Gladstone (1995), ISBN 0-333-66209-1.
  • Philip Magnus, Gladstone: A Biography (1954)
  • H. C. G. Matthew, Gladstone: 1809-98 (1995), ISBN 0198206968.
  • John Morley, The Life of William Ewart Gladstone (Three volumes, 1903)
  • Sir Wemyss Reid (ed.), The Life of William Ewart Gladstone (1899).
  • Richard Shannon, Gladstone: Peel's Inheritor, 1809-1865 (1985), ISBN 0807815918.
  • Richard Shannon, Gladstone: Heroic Minister, 1865-1898 (1999), ISBN 0807824860.


See also



External links




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