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LIFE AND TIMES 



OF 



William E.Gladstone 

Bn Hccount of 

His Ancestry and Boyhood 
His Career at Eton and Oxford 
His Entrance- into Public Life 
His Rise-to Leadership and Fame 
His Q&m% AS Statesman and Author 

I* 

AND His Influence on the. Progress of 

'JhE NlNETEENfff-:.GENTURY 






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BY John Qlakk RffiffAtH 

AUTHOR OR If - ' 

"CSffiAT Ri^CBS OP Mankind/' " cvcLOPiEDiA of Universal History,* ^'HBtorit of the 

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New York 

PETER FENELON COLLIER, PUBLISHER 














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PREFACE. 




O interpret the life of a great historical personage is not an easy task. 
In proportion as the given career has intertwined itself with the 
lines of general causation and made itself a brilliant thread in the 
history of an epoch, by so much the more is the interpretation of 
that career made difficult. The highest lives are closest to the 
Universal Flow, and to know them and translate them into language involves a 
knowledge of the profound sources and tendencies of the whole human drama. 
The small life is inconspicuous and is causative of little ; the great life is con- 
spicuous and causative of much. 

The life of the great man is not a biography, but a history. His purposes and 
actions tend constantly to the impersonal. In such a life there is always a star- 
tling paradox ; for while its individuality becomes more and more intense, its 
personality becomes less and less distinct. The unity of the man, strengthened 
more and more by the conflicts through which he passes, is strongly set upon a 
disk which widens ever, like the penumbra of a star, until it covers the firma- 
ment. 

By the common consent of men and nations William Ewart Gladstone has 
been a great figure, a powerful personage, in the history of our times. For quite 
half a century his name has been heard. At the date of his death it was fully 
sixty years since his first book was brilliantly and adversely reviewed by the 
ablest critic and essayist of England. At times the fame of Gladstone has 
sounded across seas and continents, rising above the historical roar and clamor 
of the Western nations. 

For more than threescore years Gladstone sat in the British House of Com- 
mons. We think that no other statesman of ancient or modern times continued 
for such an incredible period to participate actively in the legislation of his 
country. Certainly no other of any age or nation retired more honorably from 
the arena in which he had so long performed a conspicuous part. 

It is my purpose in this volume to present for American readers a compara- 
tively full account of the Life and Times of William E. Gladstone. To write 
his life has involved to a considerable extent a recital of the history of his times. 

As soon as Gladstone appeared in the British Cabinet he began to influence and 

7 



8 PREFACE. 

even to direct public affairs. As early as 1853, when, as Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer in the ministry of the Earl of Aberdeen, he found himself under the 
responsibility of supplying the resources with which to support an army and a 
navy in the Black Sea during the Crimean War, he influenced conspicuously the 
direction of events. More and more this influence broadened and deepened, until 
in several crises of English history he was actually the determining force ; that 
is, he was the individual consciousness by the agency of which History deter- 
mined what should and what should not be in the current evolution of English 
nationality. 

To delineate this life succinctly and adequately in its relation with the general 
movement in the last half of the nineteenth century has been my duty. To 
delineate it in a manner suited to the easy apprehension of American readers 
has also been my office and desire. To this end I have considered, first, what 
may be called a section of general history at the date of Gladstone's birth ; also 
the ancestral conditions and forces which brought him forth. The manner of 
life which prevailed in his boyhood and in his school days at Eton I have tried 
to describe. It has been my purpose, wherever this life of Gladstone has touched 
the institutions of his times, to interpret them also. This plan has led to the pres- 
entation of sketches of Eton School and Oxford University, at which seats of 
discipline and learning the young Gladstone was trained for the duties of life. 
In his going forth for a brief sojourn in the south of Europe the same method 
of noting the social and political conditions through which he passed has been 
adopted. It was on the circuit of Italy that the young publicist — merchant and 
politician alike by lineage and environment — came into contact with the Nea- 
politan prisons and first revealed himself as a public man to the consciousness of 
his countrymen. 

In this connection I shall only indicate in briefest outline the course of Glad- 
stone's life from the beginning of his public career to the sunset of his days. 
The year 1832 sees him, a young man only twenty-three years of age, entering 
the House of Commons. He goes into that arena as a Tory, a Conservative. He 
has for his patron the Duke of Newcastle. He begins by defending social and 
political abuses. He becomes the apologist of Negro slavery, for his father had 
sugar plantations in the West Indies, and his father was ** an honorable man." 

The younger Gladstone makes his way under this banner for several sessions. 
The year 1838 witnesses his apparition as an author. He writes The State in 
its Relations with the Church, and gets therefor a merited castigation at the hands 
of Macaulay. By this time the ancient Oxford notes her son with pride. In 
1847 ^^ becomes her representative in the House of Commons. And this 
relation he holds for eighteen years. During this period Gladstone became an 



PREFACE. 9 

historical personage. First he was Vice-President and then President of the Board 
of Trade. In 1845 he actually resigned from the British ministry on account of 
a conscientious scruple ! Then he became Secretary of State for the Colonies, 
At that epoch a man with a conscience was still available ! 

It was in the inten'^al between 1846 and 1852 that Gladstone showed the first 
unmistakable signs of a purpose to desert the tents of the Tories. His liberalism 
came on like a dawn tending to sunrise. Meanwhile, in 1852, he accepted the 
place of Chancellor of the Exchequer in the ministry of Aberdeen. From Con- 
servatism he had passed by the way of Peelism near the mouth of the cave of 
AdtiUam — but had not entered. After the fall of Aberdeen he continued in 
office under Palmerston for a short season, and then resigned. In the years 
1858-59 he became Special Commissioner of Great Britain to the Ionian Islands, 
and in this office he secured the cession of the islands to Greece. By this time 
his liberalism had become so pronounced that he accepted the post of Chancellor 
of the Exchequer under Lord Palmerston and Earl Russell, his successor. Now 
he became leader of the House of Commons, and his star entered the ascendant. 

It was in December of 1868 that Gladstone became, for the first time. Prime 
Minister of England. His first term in this office continued for five years and 
two months. In this interval the Irish Church was disestablished and the Irish 
Land Act passed. The reaction of 1874 carried Gladstone into opposition. In 
this attitude he stood for six years in gladiatorial antagonism to his great rival, 
Benjamin Disraeli. Not until 1880 did the reverse tides of British opinion carry 
him again to the premiership of Great Britain. Then came the Home Rule 
agitation, and the great deeps of England were stirred; and after the victorious 
Midlothian campaign Gladstone came back to the highest office in the gift of the 
British nation. 

For five years the Home Rule struggle continued, until it culminated in tem- 
porary defeat. The bill which Gladstone had prepared with so much skill and 
defended with so much eloquence, at last reached the crisis of a vote, and failed 
in the very hands of its author. Then there was a brief appeal to the country, 
then a third brief interval in the office of Prime Minister, extending from February 
to July, 1886. Then the crisis broke, and Gladstone went out of office for an- 
other period of six years. This was the epoch of the Salisbury ascendency. 

But the Home Rule spirit would not down. The tide rises again and roars 
along the shore. In 1892 Gladstone, being already in his eighty-third year, is for 
the fourth time summoned by the Queen to conduct her government. Now by a 
victorious battle shall Home Rule be accomplished. In 1893 the Prime Minis- 
ter brings in his bill, and in the face of all manner of opposition carries it through 
the House of Commons. For the hour it appears that Ireland shall be lifted into 



lO 



PREFACE. 



a new relation with the British empire and with the world. But the House of 
Lords, that dilapidated roost for the croaking birds of the Middle Ages, comes to 
the rescue of the Past, and the bill for the Home Rule of Ireland is negatived. 

Thus near the end of his career, in 1894, William E. Gladstone was obliged 
to give over the project of Home Rule, and presently to retire from the arena in 
which he had so long been the foremost actor. In doing so he shook his hand in 
defiance not only at the IJouse of Lords, but at the whole system of aristocratic 
organization and ancient privilege which are represented by that House and held 
as in a keep unto the judgment of the last day. 

There remains only the period of the Grand Old Man's retirement in the 
halls and haunts of Hawarden. Of this last span of a heroic career the closing 
chapter of this work will give an adequate account. The closing days of Glad- 
stone's life were hallowed to an unusual degree by the sympathies and respect of 
mankind. The eyes of the world long rested upon him as one of the noblest off- 
spring of a great century. His tottering step was marked. The slow incoming 
of decrepitude, the deepening wrinkles on the furrowed face — these were recorded 
in the journalism of all nations. 

It is the story of this life, considered in its historical relations, which I have 
sought to delineate in the following pages. I beg leave to commend the recital 
to the consideration of my countrymen ; for it is full of interest and inspiration. 



V 




CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

The Year 1809. 

Conditions of Passage in 1809— State of War and Civil Service in England — Aerial Navigation — Industrial 
Conditions — State of Inquiry — Geology in Particular — Astronomical Knowledge — Constitution of Nature — 
Davy and Herschel — Status of Slavery and the Slave Trade — Servitude of Woman— Transit of Napoleon the 
Great — Ebb and Flow of Political Conditions in America and France — Ascendency of the Novi Homines — Clash 
of British and Gallic Sympathies in America — Personnel of Leadership in the United States — What Bonaparte 
was Doing — The Present Work a Life and a Histor)' — Coincident Avatar of Darwin and Lincoln — Tennyson and 
Foe — Mendelssohn — All These the Offspring of Revolution,. .-.--- 25-29 

CHAPTER II. 

Ancestry and Boyhood. 

Primitive Seat of the Gladstone Stock — Arthurshiel — The Old Gledstanes — Meaning and Transformation of 
the Name — William Gladstane — John — He of Mid-Toftcombs — Thomas Gladstone — Coming of the Gladstonian 
Character — Apparition of the Commercial Instinct — Thomas Gladstone and Helen Neilson — ^John Gladstone, the 
Scotch Englishman — Time of his Birth — How He Founded the Family — His Relations with Corrie — His First 
Commercial Exploit — Success of his American Adventure — " Corrie, Gladstone, and Bradshaw " — ^John Gladstone 
and Company — President of the West India Association — Liverpool Becomes the Gladstonian Seat — Growth of 
the Family — Commercial Conditions at the Time of the Great One's Birth — Sir John Gladstone in Politics — His 
Relations with Canning and Peel — Birth of William Ewart — Destinies of his Brothers and Sisters — How the Poor 
are Hampered in England — And how the Rich Emerge — Mythical Strains of Noble Blood in the Gladstone — 
Princely Folk Mixed in with the Burgher — Gladstone Bom in a Crisis — His Star the Planet of Commerce and 
Politics — Reaction of the Environment — Incidents of William Ewart's First Years — Touch of Hannah More — He 
Hears Great Guns at Edinburgh — Witnesses the Uproar of Victory in Liverpool — Remembers Canning — Other 
Platitudes of Childhood — Age of Twelve — Impact of Scotch Discipline — Robustness of the Burgher Boy — Deriva- 
tion of Sentiments — Primary Studies — Sir John Discovers Possibilities — We Must Educate, - 30-37 

CHAPTER IIL 

At Eton and Oxford. 

Crisis in 1821 — Choice of Eton — Story of that School from Henry VI — The Town of Eton— Purposes of King 
Henry — Sketch of the Youth Gladstone — The Curriculum to which He was Exposed — Comparisons of Then and 
Now — Philosophical View of Collegiate Training at the Close of the First Quarter of Our Century — Nature of 
SubcoUeges in Great Britain — Winchester and Westminster Schools— Sketch of the ** Royal School" of Eton — 
Predominance of the Greek and Latin Languages — Class Divisions of the School — List of Text-books — Absence 
of Natural Science and Mathematics — Critique from the Edinburgh Review — Quantum of Greek and Latin 
Readings — Quality of the Texts — Authors specially Considered — Merits of Fagging and Flogging — Seniority 
being Substituted for Merit — Posterior Compulsion — The Head Master as a Flogger — How Wellington Got his 
Courage — Introduction of Gladstone to this Discipline — Further Criticism of the Edinburgh Review — Athletic 
Sports at Eton — The Etonian Periodicals — Gladstone Juventis Dips his Pen — He Becomes an Able Editor — The 
Eton Miscellany Flourishes — Contributors thereto — Gladstone and Hallam Freres — How They Hurled their Lances 
— First Nam de Plume — Principia of the Gladstonian Style — His " View of Lethe " — Phases of Poetical Adoles- 
cence — The Youth's Vision of the Drowning Immortals — Narrow Range of Things Taught — The Gladstonian 
Epic of the Lion Heart — Increase of Mental Activity — Glimpses of Ambition in the Miscellany — Foresh ado wings 
of Parliament — George Canning as an Ideal — How the Youth Became a Tory — Death of Canning — Other Political 
Heroes of the Day — Panegyric on Canning — Development of the Gladstonian Style — General Results of the 
Youth's Life at Eton — The Religious Bent — Gladstone as a Student under Dr. Turner — Choice of Oxford and 
Motives of the Choosing — Christchurch College in Particular — A Student ** on the Foundation" — Larger Field 
of Scholastic Study Opens — Beginning as an Oxonian — The Debating Society — Changed and Changing Condi- 
tions of that Institution — The Young Man as a Champion of Tory Orthodoxy — Epoch of Reform — What the 
Student Debate Signifies — Cambridge and Oxford Divide on Shelley and Byron — Memorable Debate on that Sub- 
ject—Preponderance of Argument on Gladstone's Side in the Combat — He Rises to Distinction in the Union — 
Question of the Disabilities of the Jews — Resolution against the Earl Grey Ministry — Abolition of Slavery in the 
West Indies— Gladstone on the Wrong Side — Leaders and Progress of Abolitionism — Position of Gladstone the 
Elder — Therefore Are We Opposed to Abolition — The Debate on the Oxonian Union — Philosophy of Gladstone's 
Progress — How He was Entangled on the Slavery Question — He Comes to his Examinations — A •* Double First '* 
— Afterviews and Retrospect of Oxford — His Address to the Palmerston Club, - - - 38-57 

II 



12 CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER IV. 

Travel and Entrance INT9 Parliament. 

Project of Going Abroad — Unfruilfulness of the First Journey to Italy — Better Results Afterward — The Visit 
to Sicily — Moods of ^tna and Vesuvius — Gladstone's Descriptioii of the Former and the Surrounding Landscape 
— His Magniloquent Style — Glimpses of his Dream — By Way of Catania to the Summit — ^A Piece of Descri{>tion — 
How a Man may Prefer an Hexameter to a Volcano— Gladstone not a Great Traveler — The Political Arena more 
Attractive than Nature — We will Stand for Pailiament — General Sketch of Conditions in 1832 — Transit of 
George IV and William IV — Question of Reforming the House of Commons — The Rotten Boroughs — The Agita- 
tion Shakes Great Britain — The Slavery Issne and Dbabilities of the Jews — The DisapfXMnting Election of 1832 
— <rladstone Promoted by the Dnke of Newcastle — Style of an English Election — Opponents of Mr. Gladstone and 
Principles of Each — Appearance of the Neophyte on the Hustings — Contest of the Blue Club with the Red — The 
Young Tory's First Political Address — His Proclamation of Principles — Labor Should be Remunerated — Slavery 
Should not be Abolished, but Mitigated— Scriptural Justification of Servitude — Fitness should Precede Emanci- 
pation — Rally to the Ancient Flag — No Surprise at such a Delivery — Gladstone the Favorite — Contest with 
Sei^eant W^ikle at the Hastings — A Formal Poll Required — Scenes on Election Day — Gladstone is Successful — 
Significance of the Election — Bearing of the Young Member from Newark — Question of the Press Tax — The 
Chomsof Cheers and Hisses — Sayings of Scribblems Politicus — Counter Eruptions of tlie ypurMtU Andthe ^e/Uc/or 
—Argument of the Latter — Suspicion that the Duke did It — No Aspersion of Gladstone's Character, - 58-72 

CHAPTER V. 

First Passages in ths House of Commons. 

Point of Supcrionty of the British Method over that of Congress — How Reform Lags in Great Britain — ^East 
India Company and Slavery in West Indies the Two Bugbears — Condition of Affairs in Trinidad and Jamaica — 
John. Gladstone's Estate in Demarara — Beginning of Debate on Abolition — Speech of Lord Howick — Gladstone's 
Maiden Effort — His Defense of his Father — His Second Address before the House — His Plea for Gradual 
Emancipation — He Favors Temporizing — The Planters Must be Protected — Debate Results in Abolition with 
Compensation — The Borough of Liverpool to be Investigated — Political Value of Ten Pounds Sterling — Liverpool 
rxQ^ particularly Corrupt — The Church Temporalities Bill — Measure Opposed by Gladstone — We will Defend the 
Irish Church — There may be Abuses, but Let Us Correct them Gently — Ought Students to Subscribe to the 
Thirty-nine Articles ? — Gladstone Thinks it Should be Done Pro Forma — He Begins to I^ad the Tories — Applause 
in Newark — Fall of the Melboi^e Ministry — Peel Calls Gladstone — Parliamentaiy Method with Ministers Elect 
— Gladstone's Appeal to Newark — He has Sergeant Wilde for a Colleague — Popularity of die Junior Lord of the 
Treasury — His Account of his Meetii^ with Lord Aberdeen— Question of Church and State Arises — Attitude of 
Gladstone thereto — The Reform Act is Accepted — Sir Robert Appoints Gladstone Under Secretary for the Col- 
onies — His First Bill — Overthrow of the Peel Ministry — Nature of Action and Reaction in Great Britain — 
Gladstone's Speech on the Church Question — Adoption of Russell's Resolution — ^Political Rancor in Medbonrne 
Ministry — Negro Apprenticeship in the West Indies — The Buxton Resolution — Gladstone Speaks Against It^ 
The Canadian Commotion Reaches the House of Commons — The Question at Issue — Policy of Lord Durham as 
Governor General — Lord Russell's Sclieme — Gladstone Speaks in Support Thereof — The Question of 1837 — How 
Shall We Manage the Church Estates ?— Opposition of Sir Robert Peel to the Ministerial Measure — Rudiments 
of TJu SiaU in its Relation with iJU C&a«r^/i— Gladstone's First Great Oratioa, - - - 73-87 

CHAPTER VI. 

Rising to Leadership. 

Accession of Victoria to the Throne— The New Parliament — Gladstone again Stands for Newark — Question 
of Going to Manchester — Gladstone's C6mmuaicatioa to the Mercury — The Shibboleth of " Church and State " — 
A Minority Candidate at the Manchester Poll — The Reception at Bush Inn — Some Political Wit — Beginning of 
Gladstone's Ascendency — The Young Queen's Speech — The Canadian Imbroglio again — Gladstone's Speedi on 
Lord RusseiPs Measure — Brougham Proposes the Abolition of Negro Apprenticeship — Stories of Abuses on the 
Plantation — ^Strickland's Resolution in the Commons — Gla&istone Speaks in Opposition thereto — His Defense of 
Apprenticeship — His Father's Honor and his Own Involved — Apprenticeship a Part o€ the Compensation to the 
Slaveholders— Gladstone Describes the Situation in the West Indies — He Charges Inconsistency on Strickland — 
He Strikes a Blow at Negro Slavery in America— He Calls for Justice— Defeat of the Strickland Resolution- 
Gladstone's Speech Praised by the 7iiif«— Rejoicing of the Conservatives — Summary of Gladstone's Status in 
1838— Paragraph from the British Stnaie—A Question of Subtraction— A Description of Gladstone's Style— His 
Habit and Person— His Manner in Public Speech— Further Agitation on the QuesUon of Negro Apprenticeship- 
Gladstone's Pcdtion on the Subject— Seeking for a Better System of Education— Awakening of Religious Preju- 
dices—Lord Morpeth's Speech on the Education Bill— Gladstone's Work on the State and Church Becomes a 
Handbook— Speeches of O'Connell and Ashley— Gladstone's Reply to the Former— He Enlarges upon the Sub- 



CONTENTS. 13 

j«ct before the Commons and Reduces the Governmental Majority— Question of Admitting the Jews to Educa^ 
lional Privileges — Lord Macaulay's Speech — The Chinese Question Obtrudes Itself— What the Qnestion Involved 
— Gladstone's Passage with Sir James Graham — Narrow Margin for Sir James's Resolution — Decline of the Met- 
boBTTie Ministry — Dissolotion of Parliament and Appeal to the Country — The Liberals Go to tbe Wall — Sir 
Robert Peel BeccMnes Prime Minister— Gladstone Vice President of the Board, - - - 88-104 

CHAPTER VIL 
Marriage and First Appearance in Literature. 
Gladstone Marries Catherine Glynne — The Hawarden Estate — The Glynne Family — Sir James Glynne in 
Particular — The Castle and the Park — Gladstone Publishes The State in its Relations with the Church — Preceding 
Works on the same Subject — Gladstone's Dissatisfaction with the Question as Staled — Macaulay Reviews the 
Work — His Famous First Paragraph — Fundamental Proposition of Gladstone's Book — The Author's Thesis to 
Establish the Rightfulness of Slate Government over Religions Institutions — His Argument to Prove as Much — 
The Nation Has a Personality — A Personality Should be Religious — Religion Implies a Govemroent^-Tbe Gotv- 
emtng Conti^ol Must be by the Secular Body — Macaulay's Answer to these Propositions — He £mplap» the Jieductia 
nd Ahsurdum — Further Destruction of the Gladstone Propositions — The Assumptions of the Avthor Do nol Bear 
the Tests of Logic — The Critic's Citation of the Battle of Blenheim — Men of Different Faiths May 'Unite in Com- 
mon Purposes without Governmental Control — ^Destruction of Gladstone's Arg\iment for the Exdnsicn of Dis- 
senters — How the Question Appears in the Prospect — Correspondence of Gladstone with his Critic — Admirable 
Good Temper Displayed by Both — The Author's Carlton-Gardens Letter — Macaulay's Reply — Pleasure of Otford 
at the Work of her Son — Position Taken by the Quarterly Revie^o — What the Present may Learn out of Glad- 
stone's Book — His Defense of the Irish Church Establishment — ^Inconsistency of the Argument with his Subse- 
quent Work and Teaching — The Book Puts Gladstone on the Defensive — How He Parries the Thrust — The 
Critics Bear Hard upon Him — ^What He Says in a Chapter of Autobiography — His Apol<^ — What Modified 
his Opinions — The Work Increases the Estimate in which He is Held by the Public, - - 105-124 

CHAPTER VIII. 
The Free-trade Transformation. 
Ccnd'tions Present at the Beginning of the Reign of Victorian-Accession of the Melbourne Ministry — Char- 
acter of Lord Melbourne — The Nation Turns against his Administration — Sir Robert Peel Succeeds Him — The 
Com Law Question — History of tfjat Legislation — Successive Stages in its Development — Sir Robert Proposes a 
New Scale of Duties — The Crisis Precipitated — Lord Russell's Amendment— Gladstone's Position on the Question 
— Sir Robert's Misrepresentations — Necessity of Doing Something — ^An Act to Tax Incomei*^The Situation a 
Counterpart to that of the United States in 1886 — The Long Debate — Gladstone Prolific irr Speeches — Public 
Opinion against the Corn Laws — Tendency to Free Trade — Debate on the Queen's Speech — Gladstone's Plea for 
Moderation — The Minister Triumphs — Beginning of the Chartist Agitation — Principles of the People's Charter — 
Reasonableness of the Same — Work of the Agitators — Marriage of the Queen — Character of the Prince Consort — 
The Royal Family — Gladstone Defends the Sugar Duty — He Favors Free Exportation of Machinery — His Views 
Begin to Enlarge — His Address before the Collegiate Institution — His Skill in Commercial Questions — Ilis Bill 
for the Regulation of Railway Fares — The Companies against Him — Question of the Unitarian Properties — Glad- 
stone's Advocacy of the Unitarian Right to Hold — Question "of Voting Money to the College of Maynooth — Char- 
acter of tbe Institution — The Maynooth Improvement Bill — Gladstone, between Two Fires, Resigns — His 
Motives for Supporting the Maynooth Bill — His Argument — He Sets forth the Philosophy of the Situation — 
His Plea for Justice to the Irish People — Analysis of the Vole — Sir James Graham's Bill for Education in 
Ireland — Gladstone's Debate with Inglis on the Question — Other Great Issues to be Considered — Gladstone's 
Pamphlet, entitled Remarks^ etc. — His Drift on the Free-trade Current — The Crisis of 1845 — Proposition to Abolish 
the Corn Laws in toto — Overthrow of the Peel Ministry — Accession of Lord Russell— Gladstone as Colonial Sec- 
retary — He Bids Farewell to Newark — Explanation of his Motives — Consistency Giving Way before Hunger 

Sudden Apparition of Disraeli — His Attack on Sir Robert — Great Britain on the Highroad to Free Trade — The 
Corn Laws are Abolished in toto^ ......... 125-148 

CHAPTER IX. 
Representative of Oxford University. 
Downfall of the Peel Ministry — Gladstone Goes with It — He Presents Himself to Oxford — His Opponent — 
Gladstone's Address — He Admits Changes of Opinion — He Discusses the Irish Question — Oxford Hard to Satisfy 
— Position Taken by Gladstone's Advocates — He is Elected — Question of Enlarging the Rights of the Jews — The 
Baron Rothschild is Elected to the Iloase of Commons — How Could He Qualify ? — Lord Russell Seeks to Make a 
Way — If a Cathc^ic, Why Not a Jew ? — Gladstone Speaks in Favor of Admission — Points of his Argument — 
Admission to Citiienship Carries Eligibility — The Dangerous Ground on W^hich Gladstone Stood — The Chartist 
Agitation Rises Again — Mass Meetings, Bonfires, and Outbreaks — The Assembly in Kensington Common — The 



14 CONTENTS. 

Maintenance of Authority — Gladstone and Louis Napoleon in the same Role — Lord' Russell Confronted with a 
Deficit — Question of Taxing Incomes — Hot Debate on the Subject — Disraeli's Charge on the Government — Glad- 
stone Defends his Chief — He Appeals to Statistics — Necessity of Passing the Income Tax — Effect of Pacific Utter- 
ances — Distracted Condition in Europe — England Holds on her Way Unmoved — She Will Not Revolutionize — 
Eraeiigence of Two Great Characters — Disraeli and his Fatal Thrust — Question of the Navigation Laws — Glad- 
stone Essays the Defense of the Peel Ministry — His Cautious Speech on the Navigation Bill— Strong Trend to- 
ward Absolute Free Trade — His Speech on the Labouchere Act — Report of the Commission on Customs — Disraeli 
on the Day of Dupes — Gladstone Parries his Rival's Onset — The Navigation Act is Passed, - 149-163 

m 

CHAPTER X. 

Beginnings of the Church Question. 

The Religious Aspect Presents Itself — Cardinal Ferrelti Becomes Pius IX — His Consultum — Question of 
Establishing Diplomatic Relations with Rome — Gladstone Speaks against this Policy — Hint of a P'uture Purpose 
^** On the True Faith of a Christian " — The Poor as well as the Rich Should Have Equal Religious Privileges — 
No Sittings No Rates, Should be the Rule — Alarming Condition in Canada — How to Suppress the Rebellion — 
Gladstone's Petition on the Subject — Question of a General Colonial Reform — Issue between Gladstone and 
Roebuck — Molesworth's Contention — Hume's Policy — Last Days of the Ancient Ecclesiasticism — Question of 
Marrying the Deceased Wife's Sister — Wortley's Marriage Bill — Gladstone's Opposition and Arguments — His 
Conjunction with Disraeli — Principle of Laissez Faire in England and America — Disraeli Appears as the Living 
Voice of the Landed Aristocracy — Free I'radeas Related to Industrial Distress — Analogy of Gladstone's Position 
— Both Leaders Seek to Alleviate the Agricultural Distress — Peril of the Ministry — Lord Russell's Measure for 
the Government of the Australian Colonies — Gladstone's Opposition to a Single House — Passage of the Russell 
Bill — Suffering of British Producers — The Conservatives Gain an Advantage on the Sugar Question — Shall Sugar 
be Protected ? — Lord Palmerston's Contention — Question of the Universities Again — Gladstone's Speech on the 
Subject — What Came of the Burning of Judas Iscariot — The Thrifty Don Pacifico^Palmerston Put on the Defen- 
sive — Sir Robert Peel's Speech against the Ministry — Gladstone's Argument on Don Pacifico — He Criticises Lord 
Palmerston^-Hc Points Out the Besetting Sin of Englishmen — An Appeal Lies to the People — ^View of Interna- 
tional Comit7^p«The Government is Sustained-— Death of Sir Robert Peel — Where Will Gladstone Go? - 164-179 

CHAPTER XL 

First International Episode. 

Gladstone Begips to be International — Declarations of Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies — Insurrections 
against Him — Hi« Armies Subdue the Revolt — Gladstone, in Naples, Investigates the Prisons — His Two Letters 
to the Earl of Aberdeen — He Disclaims the Purpose of Interference — Not the Administration of the King, but 
Cruelties and Outrages under Discussion— ^How Justice Had been Perverted and the Judiciary Corrupted in 
Naples — *' The Negation of God Reduced to a System " — Numbers in the Prisons — Character of the Neapolitan 
Judiciary — Particular Cases of Injustice and Cruelty — A Sensation Produced in England — Lord Aberdeen Appealed 
to — Character of Gladstone's Charges — Severity of his Arguments — He Answers the Apologists for the Govern- 
ment of Naples—The Case of Bolza — Citations from Farini and Bemetti — The Administration at Rivarola — Edict 
of the Duke of Modena — Effect of Gladstone's Philippic — Official Reply of the Neapolitan Government — Glad- 
stone's Rejoinder — De Lacy Evans's Paper in the Commons — Palmerston's Embarrassment — His Indorsement of 
Gladstone— Far- reaching Influence of the Discussion — Condon's Rant — Gladstone's Third Publication on the 
Subject — His Unassailable Position — Closing Words of the Controversy — Attitude of the Government of Naples — 
Suffering in the Dungeons — England and France Withdraw their Representatives — The Revolution Brings 
Francis to his Knees — Gladstone's Translation of The Roman State — His Criticisms of that Work — The Three 
Questions Suggested — Gladstone's Answers Thereto — What He Perceived in this Controversy, - 180-195 

CHAPTER XIL 

Durham Letter and Ecclesiastical Titles Bill. 

Gladstone is No Man*s Man — Transformation of Pius IX — He Seeks to Enlarge the Roman Hierarchy — His 
Influence Reaches into England — Russell's Letter to Lord Durham — Agricultural Distress in England — Complaint 
of the Farmers — Disraeli Discovers his Opportunity — His Speech on the Industrial Depression — The Govern- 
ment's Defense — Retention of the Income Tax — The Budget is Resisted — Russell's Resignation — Aberdeen Fails 
to Form a Ministry — Russell is Recalled — Gladstone Opposes the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill — Points in his Argu- 
ment — His Exposition of the Ecclesiastical Question — The Ecclesiastical Titles Bill is Passed — The Coup cTEtat in 
France — Ministry Agrees to Silence — Lord Palmerston Breaks the Compact — He Defeats the Militia Bill — Derby 
Fails — Death of the Duke of Wellington — Tennyson's Ode — Eulogies in the House of Commons — Disraeli Makes 
a Break — Sarcasm of the Globe Newspaper — Gladstone's Eulogy — The Queen Expresses her Grief, - 196-205 



CONTENTS. 15 

CHAPTER XIIL 

Coup d'Etat and First Budget. 

The Year 1852 — Conflicting Interests in Great Britain — Disraeli Must Face the Condition— His Plan for 
Raising a Revenue and Reducing Expenditures— Sir Charles Wood's Contention — Robert Lowe's Speech — Sir 
James Graham Attacks the Budget — Disraeli's Rejoinder — Gladstone Takes up the Theme — He Discusses the 
House Tax and Condemns the Budget Generally — The Ministry is Defeated — Aberdeen Forms a Coalition Min- 
istry — Gladstone Chancellor of the Exchequer — Louis Napoleon and the Coup cTEiat — Tour of the Prince-Presi- 
dent — His Speech at Bordeaux — " The Empire is Peace " — The Republic is Converted into an Empire — Effect of 
the Coup in Great Britain — Difficulties of Gladstone's Position — He Studies the Finances — His Plan for the Re- 
duction of the Public Debt — He Presents his First Budget — His Estimates for the Year — He Proposes an Income 
Tax — How the Same Should be Laid — Items of Increase and Reduction — A Limit of Time on the Income Rate — 
How this Tax had Worked in the Past — A Bold Policy Necessary — The Proposed Tax Should be Temporary — 
Gladstone's Peroration — Disraeli's Criticism of the Budget — His Views on the Income Tax, Land Tax, etc. — The 
Budget Before the House — It is Approved, ------.- 206-216 

CHAPTER XIV. 

French Alliance and Crimean War. 

Nature of the Disputes Involved in the Crimean War — The Eastern Question and the Parties Thereto- 
Great Britain's Interest in the Controversy — Relation of Turkey to the Issue — France's Part in the Dispute — 
Personal Pique of Louis Napoleon — The Motley Team — The Casus Belli — Strife of the Greek and Roman Cath- 
olic Churches in the East — Concessions of Islam to Christianity and Palestine — The Czar and the "Sick Man " — 
The '* Necessary Arrangements " — Great Britain Rejects the Overture — Reason for War Variously Stated — Motive 
Ascribed by France and England — The Czar's Proclamation — Address of Gladstone at Manchester— His Cautious 
and Peaceable Disposition — Awkward Position of Great Britain — Nicholas Answers the Challenge of the Porte — 
The Vienna Note — ^Allied Fleets in the Black Sea — Destruction of the Turkish Flotilla — Louis Napoleon's Letter 
to Nicholas — The Czar's Answer — England Loath to Begin Hostilities — Kinglake's Analysis of Gladstone's Views 
— Necessity of the Latter to Provide the Sinews of War — The Clash of Arms — Commanders and Forces — Siege 
of Sebastopol — ^Attacks and Sorties — Contraction of the Allied Lines — Storming of the Redan and Malakoff — 
Death of the Czar — Conclusion of the War and Treaty of Paris — Hardships of the Aberdeen Ministry — Antago- 
nistic Attitude of Gladstone and Disraeli — Question of Taxation versus Borrowing — Gladstone's Budget of 1854 — 
His Theory of Making the War Period Pay its Own Way — Deficit of 1853-54 — The Chancellor Would Meet it by 
Taxation — Estimates of Income and Expenditure — Disraeli's Mild Protest — Lord W^illoughby's Break — Additional 
Outlays Demanded — Gladstone Resorts to Excise Duties — Battle over the Tax on Malt — Gladstone's Policy is 
Sustained, --------.--- 217-233 

CHAPTER XV. 

Accession of Palmerston and Treaty of Paris. 

Policy of Those Who Opposed the W^ar — Failure of the Peace Commission — Heart Weakness of Lord Aber- 
deen — Discordance in the Ministry — Aspirations of Palmerston and Russell — Deplorable Condition of the British 
Army in Crimean-Transit of the Angel of the Bivouac — The Queen's Letter to Lord Raglan — Excitement in 
England in Consequence of the Sufferings of the Army — Lord Palmerston and the Cholera — Question of Burying 
the Dead under Churches — Palmerston Resigns from the Ministry— And is Recalled — Prevalence of Intrigues — 
Prince Albert's Letter to Baron Stockmar — Hostility of the Ministry Reaches the Court — Animosity Against the 
Prince Consort — Imminent Disruption of the Cabinet — Palmerston's Letter to his Brother-in-law — Strictures on 
the Conduct of the War — Disraeli's Charge on the Government — Russell and Gladstone Parry as They Can — The 
Four Points of the Vienna Conference — Del?ate on the Foreign Enlistment Bill — Roebuck's Resolution to Investi- 
gate the Conduct of the War — Stafford's Speech — His Account of Conditions in the Crimea — The Effect on the 
Commons — Gladstone's Reply — He Censures Lord Russell — His Passage of Eloquence — His Attitude toward the 
Investigation — He Defends Newcastle — Disraeli's Speech — Russell's Attempt at Defense — The Government is 
Overwhelmed — Gladstone Least Affected — The Queen Tries Derby, Lansdowne, and Russell — Palmerston 
Chosen — Gladstone Continues in Office — Layard Attacks the New Ministry — Palmerston's Rejoinder — Gladstone, 
Graham, and Herbert Resign — ^Accession of Alexander II and the Vienna Conference — Attitude of the Powers in 
that Assembly — Disraeli's Resolution Relative Thereto — His Bitter Speech against Lord Russell — Gladstone 
Undertakes the Defense of the Four Points — His Plea Excites Aversion — Lord Russell Stands Between — The 
Vote of Confidence — Gladstone's Relations with the Queen — Side Light from Albert's Correspondence — Lord 
Lytton's Peroration — His Resolution in the Commons — Russell Goes Out — His Explanation — Palmerston At- 
tempts to Stay his Fall — Disraeli's Thrust — Roebuck Renews his Assault — His Acrimonious Speech — Gladstone's 
Plea for Peace — Cessation of Hostilities — Assembling of the Ambassadors at Paris — The Eleven Articles of the 
Treaty— The Four Supplemental Paragraphs^Spread of the Tidings, - - - . 234-258 



l6 CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XVI. 

Last Half of the Sixth Decade. 

Lord Palmcrston's Fame at the Conclnsioii of the War — ^Thc Address to the Queen — Dubious Rejoictngs — 
Sydney Smith to Lady Grey — Unfavorable Period in Gladstone's Career — Bad Reminiscence of the Aberdeen Min- 
btry — Gladstone Speaks on the Treaty of Peace — '* Satisfaction '* rather than ** Joy " — His Horror of Islam and 
Loyalty to the Church of England — Antipathy to the Turks — His Views on Moldavia, Wallachia, and the Black 
Sea — He Approves Arbitration — Inquires into the Protocol — Question of a Free Press in Belgium — Agitation 
Begins for a Reform of the Educational System — RusselPs Proposition — Gladstone's Speech against It — His Views 
on Secular Elducation — How to Meet the War Debt — Comewall Lewis Presents his Plan — Working of the Foreign 
Enlistment Act in America — Gladstone Speaks against the Course of the Government — The Crampton Affair — 
The Speaker Bewails the Chaos — Near Conjunction of Gladstone and Disraeli — What the Occasion Was — Views 
of the Former on the Income Tax— The Budget for 1857 — Disraeli's Amendment — Gladstone Holds Strictly to 
his Own Financial Views — Disraeli's Speech on the Budget — Gladstone's Estimates on the Revenue and Expendi- 
ture — The Budget is Accepted — Gladstone Speaks to an Amendment in re the Tea Tax — Strength of the Pal- 
merston Ministry — Gladstone Speaks for the Equality of Women in Matters of Divorce — Origin of the Difficult v 
with China — Policy of Great Britain with Half-civilized and Barbarous Nations — Character of the Ship Arrow — 
Injustice of Great Britain — Committee of Inquiry — Cobden Arraigns the Government — Gladstone's Speech Rel- 
ative to Sir John Bowring — His Modified Defense of China — He Charges Great Britain witn Aggression and 
Wrongdoing — Palmerston's Rejoinder — Disraeli Enters the Lists i^ainst Him — The Cobden Resolution is Adopted 
— Dissolution of Parliament and Indorsement of the Government — Bank Panic of 1857 — Glaastonc's Views as to 
f Causes and Conditions — Outbreak of the Sepoy Rebellion — Spread of the British Dominion in India — Beginning 
of the Mutiny — Massacre at Mecrut — The Flame Spreads to Delhi and Lahore — Haveiocx "iJndenakes tlie Relic) 
of Lncknow — The Appeal to the Chief of Bithoor — His Treachery — The Avrfiil Tragedy — Extinction of the 
Mutiny — Fate of the East India Company — Its Powers Transferred to the Crown — Beginnings of the Indian 
Empire — Gladstone Opposes the Imperial Tendency — And Seeks to Save the £ast India Company — rOrsini'a 
Attempt on Napoleon — ^The Conspiracy to Murder Bill — ^Gibson's Amendment — His Attack on the Government — 
Excerpt from the London Times — Gladstone's Able Speech — He Urges the I>n-Knglish Character of the Pending 
Measure — Pahnerston's Defense of the Bill — Defeat of the Proposed Act — ^Fall of Pahnerston and Accession o\ 
Lord Deiby — Near Approach of Gladstone and Disraeli — The Former is Made Commissioner to the Ionian 
Islands — Question of Relinquishing the Protectorate — Gladstone Publisnes his Studies on Homer and the Homeric 
Age — Introduction of the Reform Bill of 1859 — Character of the Measure — ^Lord Russell's Amendment — Gladstone 
Dtscitsses the Question — His Outline of Lord Russell's Policy — Admits the Necessity of Reform — Failure of 
the Ministerial Bill — Dissolution and Reindorsement of the Government — The Ministry Fails on the Address — 
Reacccssion of Palmerston — Gladstone a Second Time Chancellor of the Exchequer, - - 259-286 

CHAPTER XVII. 

Minister of Financk utcder Palmerston. 

Gladstone is Charged with Becoming a Liberal — The Cry Reaches Oxford — He is Reelected — His Budget of 
1859 — The Scheme of Receipt and Expenditure — Proposals for Revenue — Disraeli Attacks the Gladstonian Budget 
— Gladstone Agrees to the Reduction of European Armaments — The Cry of ** Free Italy •* — France Espouses the 
Italian Cause — Battles of Novara, Magenta, and Solferino— The Treatyof Villafranca — ^The Six Articles of Peace 
— Great Britain Feels Herself Disparaged — Lord Elcho's Proposition — Gladstone's Speech Thereon — Wbat He 
Proposed as Britt^ Policy — Beginnings of the Irish Church Question — Gladstone Appears in Fine Form in the 
Debate — A Free-trade Treaty is Concluded with France — Bright, Cobden, and Chevallier Lead — Cobden's 
Negotiations with Napoleon — His Success in Preparing the Treaty — Great Concessions to the Principle of Free 
Trade — Gladstone Rises with the Wave — He Brings Forward the Budget of i860 — A Memorable Occasion — 
Beginning of his Address — His Account of the Revenues and Expenditures — Question of Interest and' Annuities 
— General Increase in the Wealth of the Kingdom — Reduction of the Taxation and the Treaty with France — How 
Far Great Britain would Go in the Direction of Free Trade — The Chancellor Explains the New Treaty — Proposal 
to Make Tea Free — The Speaker Praises Cobden — Proposed Reduction in the Customs Duties — Articles on i^'hich 
the Excise might be Abolished — Paper in Particular — Other Important Commodities Considered — Retention of 
the Income Tax — ^Thc Pending Measure a Complete Reform in the Tariff System — ^The Speaker's Peroration — 
Marlred Ability of the Address — ^Character of his Oratory — Elements of O^^position to the Budget — Disraeli's Atti- 
tude and Argument — Gladstone's Counter Chai^je — Du Cane's Resolution — Paper the Danger Point in the Budget 
— Arguments Pro and Con — The Budget Accepted — Derby's Opposition in the House of Lords — A Critical Sit- 
uation — Lord Palmerston's Three Resolutions — Gladstone Speaks on the Rights of the Two Houses — Proposition 
to Reduce the Duty on Foreign Paper — Russell's Proposal for Parliamentary Reform — Gladstone's Partial Support 
— He Becomes Lord Rector of the University of Edinbuigh — His Address on the Occasion — He Discusses tbe 
Strength and Weakness of Christian Civilisation — Also the Historical Idea of a University — The University's 



CONTENTS. 1 7 

MedutUng Power im Society^ — The Speaker Defends Disptttation — Questioa of £ducatk>iial Endowmenls — His 
Address to tke Younger Membere of the University— He £x]u»ts Them to Cheerfail Discipline and Fidelity — The 
Oiator^s Peroration, ----.------ 237-312 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

Budget of 1861 and AMEHirAN Complications. 
Importance of the Seventh Decade — In What State that Period Fonnd the Nation — What Now Devohrcd 
on Gladstone— The Year 1861 — England Continues her Policj of Nentralitj^ — She Cooperates with France 
against China — Her Majesty's Address — Disposition to Abolish the Church Rates — Gladstone's Early Views on 
this Qnestion — Sir John Trelawny's Bill — Reasons for Supporting the Measure — Gladstone's Speech on the Sub- 
ject — The Division of Sentiment in the Cabinet — A Decision against the Chancellor — Bill to Establish Postal 
Savings Banks — Outlines of the Proposed System — ^Success of the Enterprise — Tlie Italian Revolt against Francis 
11— Pope Hennessy's Bill — ^Speeches on the Subject — Gladstone's Discussion of the Measure — His Great Passage 
— Historical Outline of Italian Conditions — The Speaker Justifies the Italian Revolution — Hope that Italy may 
be Nationalized — Other Speeches Follow — The Budget of 186 1 — Gladstone's Introduction of his Paper — Schedule 
of Revcsme and Expenditures*— Question of the French Treaty — Estimates for the Fiscal Year 1661-62 — ^¥rhat 
Should be Remitted and What Added — ^Gladstone's Great Success in Presenting his Budgets — Peroration i« this 
I'n&tance — ^Strength of the Opposition — Bentick Challenges Gladstone on the Budget — Reply to the Latter — He 
Verifies his Estimates — Disraeli on the Tea Tax — Tlie Sug^r Tax and the Paper Duty — ^One Bill for the Whole 
Budget— ^Excitement of the Opposhton — Robert CeciTs Attack — Nature of his Harangue — Gladstone's Justifica- 
tion of.the Single Bill — Will the House Support the Lords in their Veto? — The Onus of Defense Rests on Glad- 
stone — The Bill for the Repeal of the Paper Duty Becomes a Law — Beginning of the American Complication — 
Crossing of Opinion between Great Britain and the United States — Casuistry of the Former — The Like Vice in 
America — Every Nation for Itself — The Trent Affair — Great Britain Opens her Shipyards to the Confederate 
Cruisers— She Recognizes the Belligerency of the Confederates — Injury to Engli^ Interests by the Civil War — 
Comments by the London Times on the American Protective System — ^Serionsness of the Situation — Aristocratic 
England against the Union — No Recognition of Independence for the Confederacy — Upper England Desires our 
Downfall — Gladstone Drifts on the Evil Tide — How the English Revenue Suffered — His Ill-timed Newcastle 
Speech— <3reat Offense in the United States — Years Required to Heal the Wound — Liberalism at Last Atoned — 
Gladstone's Subsequent View of the Matter and Apology — Letter to Cyrus W. Field, - - 313-33^ 

CHAPTER XIX. 
Othek Budgets of the Palmerston RuGntE. 
Gladstone's Financial Scheme for 1862 — Great Losses to be CoMfroated — How the Chancellor of the Ex- 
dieqver wovkl Meet the Conditions — His View of the Revenues — Question of Redncrug Taxes — Relative Sim- 
plioity of the Bodget — Disraeb's Philippic against the Scheme — Character of the Assank on the Chaaoellor's 
Measures — Uselessness of the Attack — Gladstone's Rejoinder — Passage with Stafford Noithoote — The Italian 
QnesAion Flares «p Again — Folly of Bowyer and Hennessy — Gladstone's 5vpeech on the Conditions hi Italy — His 
Reference to his>own InHnence in Italian Affairs — lie Explodes Bowyer's History' — His Description of the Prog- 
ress of the Relation — Success of United Italy — General Popularity of Gladstone — He Speaks on the Occasion 
of tlie Testimonial to Kean — ^The Budget of 1863— Qnef^tion of Taxatk>a Still Predominant— Outline of Glad- 
stone's Aiguments in Presenting his Measures — IiKiostrial Coaditioas in England and Ireland^-Qnestion of 
Applyhig the Snrplus — Details of the Reveame — Certain Duties to be Abolished — Redaction of the Income Tax 
— Tiie Chancellor Reviews his Administration — CondnsioB of his Addiess — The Aristocracy Raises a Clamor — 
Other Causes of Opposittoo— Question of Taxing Eixlowments— Gladstone Confronts the Cfaurehaen — His Ar- 
garaent against Exempting Charitable Beqnests — He Describes the Differeat Kinds of Endowments — He is 
Obliged to Withdraw the Measure — Hubbard's Resolution and Its Rejection — The Dissenters' Burials Bill — The 
Nature o^the Measure — Gladstone's View of the Question — Why England would Oppose the Measure — Interna- 
tiona] Exposition at South Kensington — Nature of the Project — The Measure Fails — Ascendency of Gladstone in 
the Cabinet — His Bodget of 1S64 — Nature of the Presentation — Snrplus Revenue and Expenditure — Qnestion of 
Reducing the National Debt — ^Status of Exports and Imports — Gladstone Hard Pressed by Statistics — Shall We 
Abolish tbe Daty on Rags? — How Much Shall Wine be Taxed? — Elstimates for the Fiscal Year — Recommenda- 
tiotts ibr Rednctton — Qnestion of Fire Insurance — Optimistic Statement of the Financial Condition — Diffiodt 
Point of tbe Paper Duty and the Mah Tax — Ought the Go^^emment Annuities to be Purchased ? — Winds of 

Opposition Blow — Great is Diana — Padiament Vibrates with the Wind — Budget of 1864 is Adopted, - 539-350 

' » 

CHAPTER XX. 
Progress toward Liberalism and Rejection by Oxford. 
Gladstone as a Cause and Effect — He Opens the Dike for Political Revolution — Question of tlie Disfranchised 
— FhUosophy of Agitation among the Working Classes — American View of the Question^Gladstone's Mild 
t 



1 8 CONTENTS. 

Policy — Mis Liberalism Extends to the Church — Shall Prussia Occupy Schleswig-Holstein ? — War in Denmark — 
Disraeli's Resolution of Thanks to the Queen — A Covert Thrust — Debate of the Two Leaders — Gladstone Attacks 
Disraeli's Resolution — Other Participants in the Discussion — The Genus Peelite — Kinglake's Substitute Adopted 
— Dillwynd's Resolution against the Irish Church — Gladstone's Significant Speech — Position of the Irish People 
— Importance of Gladstone's Utterance — Other Speakers — Gladstone's Letter to his Trinity Correspondent — 
Budget of 1865 — Gladstone's Hold on Parliamentary Power — His Summary of Existing Conditions — Character of 
his Fiscal Orations — Outline of the Pending Budget — Aspect of Trade — Estimate of Expenditure — Beer and "Wine 
Question — Tea Tax and Income Tax — Fire Insurance — The Duty on Malt — Approaching End of the Parliament 
— What about Reelection? — Will Oxford Indorse Us? — New System of Oxonian Voting — Insurrection of Con- 
servatism — The Wilberforce Affair — Danger of Defeat — Coleridge's Manifesto^GIadstone is Rejected — Analysis 
of the Vote — Gladstone Defeated by the Older P'ellows — Mingled Sweet and Bitter in the Overthrow — General 
Opinion in England — Utterance of the Times — Summary of the Situation by the Daily News — Church Organs 
Approve the Thing Done — Gladstone's Valedictory Address — He Appeals to South Lancashire — Character of his 
Paper — *' I Come Among You Unmuzzled " — His Speech at the Manchester Reception — His Expressions of Joy 
on his Emancipation — He Lords the Liberal Party — And Claims a Share — A Swift and Victorious Campaign — 
Liverpool and Manchester Indorse the Candidate — He Reviews the Oxford Incident — His Defense of the Palmer- 
ston Regime — He is Elected — The New Parliament — Death of Palmerston — Sketch of his Career — Gladstone's 
Eulogy — Richard Cobden Dies — Outline of his Life and Character, Incidents Illustrative of his Purpose — Circum- 
stances of his Death — Russell Accedes and Gladstone Becomes Leader of the House, - - 351-372 

CHAPTER XXL 

Reform Bill of 1866. 

Question of Reforming Parliament — Gladstone Introduces the Budget of *66-~His Estimates of Revenues and 
Expenditures — Commercial Condition — Various Duties Repealed or Reduced — Question of the National Debt — 
Commercial Prospects — The British Coal Supply — Relation of the Debt Thereto — The Irish Question Obtrudes 
Itself — Gladstone's Speech on the Irish Amendment — Bright*s Appeal to the Rival Leaders — Gladstone's Reply — 
Proposed Abolition of Church Taxes — Hardcastle's Bill — Method of Compromising Such Questions — The Austro- 
Prussian War — Gladstone's Views of the Conflict and its Results — The Queen's Address Promises Reform — Glad- 
stone Prepares the Reform Bill — He Explains the Features of the Measure — Extension of the Suffrage the Bottom 
Principle — Gladstone Appeals to the House for an Equitable Decision — He Would Welcome the Army of New 
Voters — Difficulty of Government by Party — Horsman and Lowe Revolt — Personality of Mr. Lowe — His Speech 
against the Reform Bill — Horsman's Denunciation — ^John Bright Retorts with Hot Pitch — He Discovers the 
Cave of Adullam — Effectiveness of Bright's Manner and Method — He Creates the Adullamites — Passage 
of Gladstone with Bulwer-Lytton — ** Gradual Flesh and Blood" — The Opposition is Aggravated — The Easter 
Recess — Demonstration at Liverpool and Gladstone's. Speech — ^John Bright's Clarion Cry — The People Rise 
in Favor of the Bill — Lowe Returns to the Onset — His Speech against Reform — He Assails the Liberals — 
His Attack on Russell — He Excoriates Demagogues — He Improves Gladstone's Vii^il — His Peroration — 
Effectiveness of the Speech — Disraeli Appears for the Opposition — Gladstone Rallies in Behalf of the Bill — He 
Replies to Disraeli — Refers to his Early Publication — Defends the Liberal Party — Predicts a Victorious Outcome 
— Closeness of the Vote on the Second Reading — Frenzy of the Tories and the Adullamites — Gladstone's Calmness 
— He Goes Forward with his Scheme — The Redistribution Bill — The Two Measures as One — Dunkellin's Amend- 
ment is Adopted — Overthrow of the Russell Ministry — Accession of Lord Derby — The New Premier Proceeds 
Cautiously — Great Demonstrations in Favor of Reform — The Radical Orators in High Feather — Hyde Park 
Meeting and Riot — Toryism Experiences a Change of Heart — Disraeli as the Asian Mystery — He Must Face the 
Situation — He Becomes a Reformer — First Measures Proposed by Him — The Liberals Rally against his Scheme 
— A Bill is Proposed and Presented — Also Another Bill — The Real Bill is Presented — Astonishing Nature of this 
Business — Disraeli Explains the Tory Reform Bill of 1867 — The Franchise in Counties — Suffrage for all Graduates 
— Property as a Limited Basis — Double Voting — Plan of Redistribution — What Boroughs Gained and What Lost — 
The Seven-Pound Qualification — Taking the Wind Out of Liberal Sails — Gladstone's Policy with Respect to the 
Measure — The Liberal Proposition — Gladstone Proposes Amendments — Disraeli's Acceptance and Explanation of 
Conditions — Chaotic State of Affairs — Injustice to Gladstone — British Character Explained by the Situation — 
Hodgkinson's Amendnient to the Bill is Accepted — Disraeli's Adaptability — Gain of Seats by Certain Boroughs — 
The House Goes Forward as It Will — Compliance of Disraeli — Good Logic of the Prime Minister — Bernal 
Osborne's Attack on the Ministry — Lord Cranboume Resigns — He Denounces Disraeli's Policy— Passage of the 
Reform Bill — Action of the Lords — One Modification Effected — Lord Russell's Assault on the Scheme — Robert 
Lowe again Becomes Clamorous — The Commons Have their Own Way — Toadyism Accomplishes What Liber- 
alism had Failed to Do^Death of Lord Derby — Disraeli Succeeds him in Office — Gladstone Leads the Oppo- 
sition, .------------ 373*408 



CONTENT& 19 

CHAPTER XXII. 

The Disbstablishment op the Irish Church. 

Black Friday in London and New York — Losses Entailed by the Failure of Overend, Guerney & Company 
— ^The Panic that Ensued — Gladstone's Policy Relating Thereto — Beginning of the Labor Agitation — The Riot at 
Deptford — Disraeli's Accession to the Premiership — Outbreak of the War with Abyssinia — Spinning of Fenian 
Troubles in Ireland — Gladstone's Delicate Criticism of the Address from the Throne — His Suggestions Relative 
to Abyssinia — Hint at the Irish Church Question — Disraeli's Reply — His Views on the Irish Question and Ex- 
planation of the Abyssinian Situation — Sketch of the War with King Theodore — ^Afterparts of the Conflict — Dis- 
raeli's Brilliant Passage — Serious Condition of Affairs in Ireland — Outspreading of the Fenian Society — Its Origin 
— The English Oppression Across the Channel — What Great Britain had Done to Alleviate — Inadequate Meas- 
ures of Parliament — Gladstone's Outcry in the Name of his Country — Dreadful Condition of the Irish Church — 
Long Standing of the Abuse — Lord Russell's Comments on the Evil — Demands of Ireland in the Year 1868 — Re- 
lation of the Irish Church Question to the Land Question — Difficulty of Touching Either — Gladstone's Forecast 
of the Result — Maguire's Resolution — Policy of ** Leveling Up" — Lord Mayo's Attitude — The Word *' Disestab- 
lishment " — Gladstone's First Challenge — He Explores the Way before Him — The Government Quails before the 
Question — Disraeli's Embarrassment — His Pathetic Appeal — Gladstone's Three Resolutions — Efibrts to Temporize 
with the Issue — Lord Stanley's Amendment — Substance and Method of Gladstone's Speech — His Reply to Dis- 
raeli's Complaint — His Former Views — Further Features of his Argument — His Treatment of the Stanley Amend- 
ment — Lord Stanley's Reply — Speech of Lord Cranborne — Hardy's Address — ^John Bright's Assault — Lowe's Sar- 
casm and Invective — Disraeli's Conclusion — His Retort on Lowe — The Government Driven into a Comer — Glad- 
stone Concludes for the Opposition — Stanley's Amendment is Voted Down — The Ministry Staggers on — It 
Negotiates with the Catholic Church — The Discussion Becomes Acrimonious — The Assaults on Gladstone — His 
First Resolution is Carried — Still the Ministry Holds on — Gladstone Presses his Advantage — The Second and 
Third Resolutions are Carried — The Suspensory Bill — Bright's Attack on the Prime Minister — The College of 
Maynooth Becomes an Issue — Nature of the RegnumDonum — Resolution to Abolish the Grants — Minor Questions 
of Legislature — Knightley's Resolution of Reform — Excitement Relative to the Oncoming Election — Attempts to 
Defeat Gladstone — Tactics of the Liberals to Prevent it — The Nation Supports the Liberal Party — Extent of the 
Majority — The Disraeli Ministry Resigns — Gladstone Becomes Prime Minister — Constitution of the Liberal 
Cabinet — ^Anecdote of John Bright— Beginning of the Real Battle for Disestablishment — The Olf Order Rises in 
Revolt — Denunciations of the Clerical Party — The New Parliament Convenes — Gladstone's Preparation for the 
Conflict — His Style of Speech — The Act to Put an End to the Established Church — The Prime Minister's Great 
Address — The Distinction between Disendowment and Disestablishment — Proposed Method of Reorganization — 
The Vested Interest and the Tithe — Provision for the Curalis — Disposition of the Church Buildings and Glebe 
Houses — Difficult Question of the Reg^um Donum — How the Tithe Rent Charges Should be Extinguished — Pro- 
posed Uses of the Overplus from Disestablishment — Gladstone's Manner of Presenting his Scheme — His Optimism 
— The Peroration of his Speech — Satisfying Character of the Scheme Proposed — Beginning of Disraeli's Speech — 
His Manner and his Argument — Dr. Ball Assails the Measure — Speech of Sir Roundell Palmer — Mr. Lowe 
Makes a Charge — Gathome Hardy Attacks the Prime Minister and Denounces the Bill — Gladstone's Telling Re- 
joinder — **The Clock was Pointing to the Dawn "—Division ^of the House — The Government's Majority fur 
Second Reading — Further Debate of Disraeli and the Prime Minister — The Third Reading is Carried — Abuse of 
Gladstone — Part Taken by the Bishop of St. David's — Lord Derby's Final Attack on the Bill in the House of 
Lords — Slight Majority Given for the Measure in that Body — Importance of the Act of Disestablishment, 409-446 

CHAPTER XXIIL 

The Great Liberal Ascendency. 

The Land Question Follows Hard After — Reformatory Character of the Epoch — Philosophy of such Move- 
ments — Introduction of the Irish Land Bill — Gladstone's Address in Presenting It — Misapprehension of Conditions 
in Ireland — Prime Minister's Rhumi of History Past — No Progress Hitherto Made toward Solving the Land 
Question — Complicated Character of the Irish System — Difficulty of Elucidating the Subject — Insecurity of Tenure 
— How the Tenants were Held Back from Improvements — Peculiarity of the Ulster Custom — ^Startling Increase 
in the Irish Rents — The Prime Minister's Exposition of the Subject — The Remedial Measures Proposed — His 
Appeal for a Candid Consideration — Expression of Hopes for the Regeneration of Ireland — The Peroration — 
Favorable Prospects of the Bill — Sir Roundell Palmer's Attack on the Measure — Disraeli's Speech — Gladstone's 
Reply— Overwhelming Majority for the Second Reading — Amendments Offered to the Measure — Success of the 
Land Bill in Both Houses — Question of National Education Next — Forster Leads the Way — Position of Noncon- 
formists and Dissenters — Traditional Opinion of the British Nation against Secular Education — The Forster Bill- 
Necessity of Doing Something — Appalling Conditions of the Cities — Heterogeneous Educational State of the King- 
dom — Nonattendance on the Schools — ^The Neglected Army of Children — Provisions of the Pending Bill — The 



20 CONTENTS. 

Measure Provokes Opposition — The Bill is Debated and Passed — Passage between Miall and Gladstone — Contem- 
poraneous History on the Continent— The Franco- Pnissian War — Suspicion of Great Britain on Account of the Bis- 
marck-Benedetti Compact — Agitation of the Government — Gladstone's Weakness in Presence of War — Neutrality 
of Belgivm Gaanuiteed — Episode of the Greek Brigands — Indignation at their Crime — Rigor of Greek Govemmenc 
and Extermination of Offenders — Act to E>etermiTi« Appointments by ConpetitiTe ExaminatioRs — General-in* 
chief to be Named by MinisteT of War — Passage of the Foreign Enlistmeat Act — Release of the Fenian Pris- 
oners in Dublin, • " - - - - - - - -'- 447^-463 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

Decline of the Reformatory Movement. 

The Liberal Cause Begins to W^ane — ^Apparition of the Eastern Queslion — Russia Takes Advantage of the 
Franco-Prussian Crisis — Her Notification to the Powers — I'lie London Conference — Disraeli Attacks the Govern- 
ment — Gladstone's Reply — Continuance of the Debate — Herbert's Resolution — Question of Purchase in the Army 
— Cardwelt's Measnre of Reargaiiizalion — Position of the Liberal Party on the Subject — Course of the Debate — 
Attitude of the Leaders — The Question in the Committee of the Whole— Disraeli's Views of the Subjecl— Glad- 
stone's Can/ — Adroit Cancellation of the Royal Warraut — Disraeli's Denunciation of the Measure — ^Duke of Rich- 
mood's Resoiutk>n of Censure — Speeches on the Sabject— Gladstone's Justification — The Administration Measure 
is Ratified by Parliament — The Ballot Bill before the House — Anger in the House of Lords — Tlie Univenyty 
Tests Repeal — The Marriage Portion of the Princess Louise — Effects of Disestablishment and Land Reform m 
Ireland — Disorder and Crime in that Country Calls for Invesligation — Disraeli's Charge on Hartington — Glad- 
stone's Reply — Bernal Osborne's Speech — Qnestion of Woman Suffiage — The Treaty of Washington — Agreement 
Respecting the Alabama Claims — Lowe's Work on the Tax Question — Whalley's Letter to Gladstotie — The Prime 
Minister's Reply — First Hint at Home Rule in Ireland — Gladstone's Speech at Aberdeen — His Antipathy to the 
Cause — Tlie Prime Minister's Character Illustrated — His Speeches During the Reoess — The ^* Battle of Docking " 
— Gladstone's Reply — His Visit to Blackheath and his Address at that Place — Threateaii^ DemoastratioB against 
Him — He Wins the Day — The Year 187 1 — The Liberal Party Loses Ground — Illness and Recovery of the Prince 
of Wales — Activity and Bitterness of the Opposition — The *' Blaze of Apology" — Gladstone Replies to the 
Attacks — Debate on the Washii^ton Treaty — Criticism on the Appointment of Sir Robert Collier — The Case of 
Mr. Harvey — Sir Charles Dilke Attacks the Civil List — Sir Charles Speaks the QoestHin — His Declaration of 
RepabUcanisra — Gladstone's Condemnatk>n of the Motion— The Af^/^ which Followed — The Republican Strength 
in Great Britain — Tlie Ballot Bill Revives — Harcoart's Amendment^-Qaestion of Settling the Aiahatmm Claims — 
Board of Arbitration at Geneva — The Award — How the Decision was Received — Approaching Crisis for the Min- 
istry — ^Tlie Irish University Bill — Gladstone's Review of the Measure and of the Situation — The Question Stated 
— The Educational Condition in Ireland — Lessons from the Statistics — Chaos of the Irish Institutions — Gladstone 
Delineates his Plan of Amendment — ^What He W^oiild Do with the Collies — Outline of the Financial Scheme — 
The Prtjet of Government — Hot Opposition to the Measure — The Catholic Bishops Cry Out — Irish Parliamen- 
tarians Take the Cue — ^The Radical Liberals Revolt — Gladstone in a Strait Place — Debate all Along the Line 
— Lowe Excoriates Horsman — Speech of the W^ar Minister — Disraeli Concludes for the Opposition — His Argu- 
ment — Gladstone Strives to Turn the Fight — He Explains and Defends tlie Bill — The Prime Minister's Peroration 
— Rejection of the Bill — Gladstone Oliers his Resignation — It is Not Accepted — The Interregnum — Miall's Resolu- 
tion against the Englisli Church — The Country Wearies of Reform — Dbsolutioa, Election, and Verdict — Gladstone's 
Manifesto — He Attempts to Stay the Reaction — Disraeli's Address to Buckinghamshire — Gladstone at Blackheath 
— The Canvass of 1874 — Defeat of the Liberals and Overtlirow of the Gladstone Ministry, - 464-503 

CHAPTER XXV. 
Oct of Offtce. 
Close of a Great Period in Gladstone's Life — Ascendency of Disraeli — His Character — Sentiment Respecting 
Gladstone's Overthrow — His Letter to Lord Granville — Doubtful State of his Mind atfifUfrim — A Quasi-Liberal 
Leadership — Disraeli Dissatisfied — The Queen's Address and Gladstone's Speech — Conservatism has Little to Do 
— Mild-mannered Legislation — Langvki Measures of Reform — He Speaks cm the Duke of Richmond's Bill — 
Reasons Why the Measure Shontd Not be Adopted^-Sigaificance of a Cheer — Relatkm of the Established Charch 
to the Scottish Presbytery — Richmond's Bill is Passetl — Activity in the House of Lords — Canterbury's Bill for 
Uniformity of Worship — Gladstone Speaks on the Question in the House — ^What Would Follow the Enforcement 
of Uniformity — Dead Letters in the Ritual — Hurtful Elements in the Canterbury Proposition — Gladstone Defines 
his Position in EngKsh Society — He Offers a Series of Resolutions to Supersede the Canterbury Scheme — ^The 
House Supports the Government — The Endowed Schools Act — Alarm of the Antichurch Party — Forster and Glad- 
stone Speak in Opposition — Outline of the Ari^jment of the Latter — He Describes the Estimate of Foreigners 
Re<;pcctin5 British Methods— Evils of Too Much Precedent— Disraeli *s Policy with Regard to the Pending 
Measure — Gladstone's Address to the Students in Liverpool CoHege — He Explains the Status of Religions Belief 
and the Philosophy of Faith and Practice — Danger of Reckless No'velty in Speculation — Gladstone's Absence from 



CONTENTS 2 1 

tlie House — Disneli's Method when Out of Politics — Coatnist of the Intellectual Prodacts of the Two Men— 
Seatiiiicnts of the Friends of the Two-— Screed of the Ptdl Mall 6«4«^— Gladstone's Address to the Buckley 
Institute — His Views of the Labor Question and the Transaction of Business — Necessity for I intellectual Develop- 
ment among the Working Classes — Question of Books and Amusements — Books the Resource of the Common 
People — Gladstone Speaks also at Mill Hill — He Discusses the Question of Prizes — Reminiscences and Exhor- 
tatiou to the Students-Counsel to the Management — Second Letter to Lord Granville — Wlio Shall be 
Leader of the Liberals ? — Lowe and Bright Considered — Sketch of the Character of the Latter — The Marquis 
of Hartingtoo Chosen — Morgan's Burials Bill — ^The Question at Issue — May Men be Buried as They Will 
Be? — Gladstone Criticises the Budget of 1875 — Outline of his Argument — The Sinking Fund Discussed — 
Revival of the Ecclesiastical Question — The Reformation on the Continent and in Great Britan — Differences 
between Rome and the Anglican Church — Quakerism and Formalism— How the Sects Have Proceeded — How 
Much Ritual Shall We Have? — Gladstone Writes Essays on Ritualism — Attitude of the Irish Bishops and the 
Romanist Party — Gladstone's Article in the Contemporary Review — He Proceeds from the Abstract to the 
Concrete Example — He Discusses the Crusade of Rome in England — The Ritual Deducible from the Gospel — 
Heated Controversy Breaks Out — Gladstone's Five Propositions — He Publishes the Vatican Decreet — The 
Dogma of Infallibility Discussed — The Writer Makes a Dilemma for His O^^poneuts — His Deduction from 
the Embarrassment of the Roman Party — He Alleges his Former Friendliness to Rome — Describes the Status 
of Affairs in the Mother Church — Present Attitude of Roman Catholics Compared with Conditions of the 
Sixteenth Centur3r — Antagonism of the Romanist Party — The Paper Entitled VaHcamsm — The Secession of 
Cardinal Newman — ^The Writer Continues the Dis<nxssion of the Vatican Decrees — His Manner of Life at 
Hawarden — His Intellectual Activity in the Years 1874-79 — His Contributions to the Great Reviews — Last Words 
and Very Last Words — ** Kin Beyond the Sea" — ;** Gleamings of Past Years" — Current Affairs in Europe — Glad- 
stone's Proposition Relative to the Turk — The Trouble in Hercegovina — Exit of Abdul- Aziz — Disraeli Announces 
Victoria's Title of Empress of India — Horrors in Bulgaria and Servia — Disraeli's Reply to Gladstone's Interroga- 
tion — Disraeli Becomes Earl of Beaconsfield — His Farewell Address — Bad News from Eastern Europe — Massacre 
in Bulgaria — Gladstone's Pamphlet on the Bulgarian Horrors — He Advocates the Extinction of the Turkish Power 
in Bu^aria and Herzegovina — The Bag and Baggage Proposition — Gladstone's Speech at Blackheath — Europe 
Should Act Together against the Turk — Friendly Sentiments toward Russia — Gladstone's Reappearance in Public 
Life — Menacing Attitude of Russia — The Czar Encouraged by Beaconsiicld — Conference at Constantinople — 
Gladstone's Suggestions to that Assembly — He Urges the Support of the Popular Cause in the Turkish Provinces 
— Pkan of Reform by the Conference — Gladstone's Speech at the Opening of Parliament — Chaplain is Called to 
Order — Gladstone's Memorable Reply to his Assailant — He Defends Himself and Dispatches Chaplain — He 
Refers to Those in Power — What Duty Indicated for Himself — His Denunciation of Turkey — The Turko-Russian 
War Begins— GIsulstone's Resolution of May 7 — He Overdraws the Mark — Break in the Liberal Party— He 
Shows What Should be the Attitude of Great Britain — Not Too Late for Reform— Futile Efforts to Civilize the 
Turks — The Nation is with, the Speaker — Movement of the Russian Army — Shi]^a Pass is Taken — Siege of 
Plevna — ^Investment of Kars and Erzeroun — Turkey is Prostrated — Settlement of the Points at Issue at San 
Slelano— TIic Powers Interfere — The Congress of Beriin — Outbreak of Jingoism in London — Insults to Gladstone 
— He Becomes Rector of the University of Glasgow — His Address on tlie Occasion — His Remarks Provoke 
Beaoonsfield — Almost a Quarrel between the Rivals — Trouble in Afghanistan — Nature of the Difficulty — Glad- 
stone Charges the Government with Responsibility — The People the Tribunal — Conscience in International 
Affairs — The Speaker Declares the Afghan War Unjust — He Lays the Responsibility at the Door of the Commons 
— Outbreak of the Zulu War — Reviving Courage of the Liberals — Gladstone Ready for the Fray — Suppressed 
Volcano in Ireland — The Midlothian Campaign — Question of Liberal Leadership — Discomfiture of the Con- 
servatives — The Queen Tries Expedients — Gladstone Again Becomes Prime Minister, - - 504-558 

CHAPTER XXVI. 

First Battle for Home Rule. 

Growth of the Home Rule Contingent — That Party in Touch with the Liberals — Predominance of a Single 
Idea — The Land League Becpmes a Political and Social Force — Charles Stuart Parnell — Policy of Ignoring the 
Home Rule Party — The Situation in Ireland — How the Existing Order Tries to Stay Agitation — The Coercion 
Act is Introduced — The New Land Bill — Freedom of Debate in the Commons — The Home Rulers Continue the 
Discussion — The Speaker Overrules ** Privilege" — Expulsion of the Irish Leaders — Reaction in their Favor — 
Gladstone Sympathizes — The Land Bill Will not Suffice — The Spirit of Irish Reform Becomes Rampant — 
General Revolt in 1861 — Denunciation of the Land League — Genesis of the Boycott — Story of Captain Boycott — 
Incident of the Greenwich Memorial Chair—Gladstone is Prolific in Speeches — Episode of •' Buckshot " Forster 
— John Dillon's Anathema — He Curses and Defies and is Arrested — Embarrassment of the Government — The 
Arms Bill — ** The Treaiy of Kilmainham'' — The Irish Jails are Filled — Work of Annie Pamell-.-Bishops For and 
x\gainst — Rise of the National Party— The Liberal Party must Accept the Home Rulers — The Tragedy of Phoenix 



22 CONTENTS. 

Park — A Great Sensation Follows — Parnell in the House of Commons — The Boar at Bay — Reaction against the 
Liberal Ascendency — Passage of the Crimes Bill and Arrears of Rent Bill — Dillon's Speech on the Condition of 
Ireland — Gladstone's Argument on the Right of Eviction — Bad Effects of the Recent Legislation — Outrages in 
Dublin — The Irish National League — Outbreak of the Egyptian War — Deportation of Arabi — El Mahdi and 
Gordon — The Weak Side of Gladstone's Character — He Attempts to Cope with the Situation — Question of Re- 
forming the Franchise — Abolition of the Agricultural Holdings Act — Introduction of Ikie Franchise Bill — Glad- 
stone's Address on that Measure — Discriminations in the British Suffrage — Prejudice against Agricultural Labor — 
Provisions of the New Bill — The Question in the House of Lords — Shall the Commons be Prorogued ? — Denun- 
ciations of the Lords — The Bill in the Autumn — Passage of the Measure — The Redistribution Bill — General Re- 
sults of the Act — Troublesome Aspect Abroad — The Opposition Rides High — Hicks-Beach's Amendment — The 
Death Duties — The Government is Beaten — The Ministry Resigns — Gladstone's Letter to Albert Victor — Acces- 
sion of the Marquis of Salisbury — The Redistribution Bill is Passed — Even Results of the Election — Increase of 
the Home Rule Contingent — This Party Necessary to Salisbury — Gladstone's Address to Midlothian — He Dis- 
cusses the Irish Question — Intimations of Political Co-operation — Will Salisbury Promote Reform ? — Embarrass- 
ment of Both Parties — Question of Local Self-government for Ireland — Silence — The Queen's Address in 1886 — 
Conservatism in the Ascendant — The Debate on the Address — The Issue Hangs Dubious — Government Gives 
Notice of Intended Legislation — Chamberlain's Declaration — Collings's Amendment — Gladstone Supports the 
Proposition — Salisbury Falls and Gladstone Rises — ** Three Acres and a Cow " — The New Cabinet — Labor 
Tumults in Trafalgar Square and Hyde Park — Assaults on Gladstone and his Policy — He Excogitates a Scheme 
for Home Rule — And Introduces the Home Rule Bill — His Famous Address — History of Conditions — Statistics 
of Crime — Preserving the Empire — Proposed Constitution of Government for Ireland — The Irish Parliament — 
The Viceroy — Great Interest in the Measure — Defections and Schisms — Introduction of the Land Purchase Bill — 
Defeat of the Home Rule Measure — Dissolution and Appeal to the Country — Gladstone's Address to Midlothian 
— Epoch of Gog and Magog — Triumph of the Conservatives — Gladstone Resigns and Salisbury is Recalled — The 
Conservative Cabinet — Dej^inning of Coercive Measures — Gladstone Makes a Tour and Writes Two Pamphlets — 
He Analyzes the Recent Vote — Reaction in Favor of the Liberal Policy — ^Jubileeof the Queen — The Pofet Laureate 
Kecomes a Peer — New Alignment of Parties — The Criminal Law Amendment Bill — Gladstone is Counted with 
the Home Rulers — Irish Land Bill of 1887 — Balfour Attacks the National League — Gladstone's Opposition — 
Persecution of the Irish Leaders — " Parnellism and Crime" — The Forgery in the London Tinus — Parnell Brings 
Suit and Obtains a Verdict — Completeness of his Triumph — The O'Shea Divorce and Fall of Parnell — Gladstone's 
Course from 1888 to 1891 — His Eightieth Milestone — He Becomes the ** Woodchopper of Hawarden " — Unabated 
Interest in Public Affairs — The Salisbury Administration — Triumph of the Reactionary Policy — Irish Immigra- 
tion — Government with Rod and Cord — By-elections Favorable to the Liberals — Parnell's Attitude under Scan- 
dalous Assaults — Gladstone Assents to the Cant — Parnell's Last Struggle — ^Division of the Irish Party — Removal 
of Restrictions on Roman Catholics — The Veteran Statesman in the House — Waiting for a Reaction — Dissolution 
of Parliament and Triumph of the Liberals — End of the Salisbury Government — Gl%dstone again Prime Minister 
— He Introduces the Second Home Rule Bill — A Great Hour in his Life — The Prime Minister Explains the 
Pending Measure — How the Irish Parliament Should be Constituted — The Peroration — The Home Rule Bill is 
Passed — Rejected by the Lords — The Reversal of Victory — Other Measures of the Session — Gladstone Resigns the 
Premiership-^Rosebery Accedes to the Place — Gladstone's Last Speech and Defiance of the Lords, - 559-612 

CHAPTER XXVII. 

Retirement and Last Years. 

The Going Forth of the Rivals — Scene where Beaconsfield Departed — Gladstone Says Nothing — His Physical 
and Intellectual Condition in 1894 — His Improvement in Health and Spirits — His Avocations and Places of Visi- 
tation — Gladstone's Hume Life — Mrs. Gladstone and her Place in the Drama — Dorothy Mary Drew — The Poem 
Ad Dorotheam — Gladstone Does Not Forget the World — His Occasional Utterances on Great Subjects — His 
Address on Armenia — An Extract Illustrative — The Veteran's Last Communication to the House of Commons — 
He Speaks for the Armenians — The Irish Question Revives — Gladstone Writes a Public Note to the House of 
Commons — He Visits Kiel and Participates in the Dedication of the Baltic Ship Canal — His Great Influence — 
At Hawarden He Continues his Attacks on the Ottoman Empire — Collapse of the Rosebei-y Ministry — The 
Armenian Question in Poetry — Gladstone's Articles on the "Future Life" — His Theses on Immortality — He 
Arranges his Papers and Prepares Material for his Biography — He Pleads for the Greeks against the Turks 
— His Facial Neuralgia — He Passes the Winter on the Mediterranean — Nature of his Malady — His Decline 
in the Spring of 1898 — He Faces the Ordeal — Event and Circumstances of his Death — Summary of his Life and 
Character, .---_---.-. 613-623 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS, 



PAGE 

William Ewart Gladstone. . Frontispiece 
Group of Illustrious Men Born in 1809. 27 
Sir John Gladstone . . . . 31 
House in which Gladstone was Born . ^^ 
Eton College and Cricket Grounds . 39 
Christchurch College, Oxford . . 43 
Magdalen College, Oxford . 47 

St. John's College, Oxford . . .51 
View of Mount -^tna . . . 59 

William IV 63 

Scene at the Hustings in the Days of 

Open Elections . . . . 69 
Blackfriars Bridge, London . . .72 
(xeorge Canning . . . . 77 
Daniel O'Connell Addressing his Coun- 
trymen 85 

Queen Victoria, 1843. ... 88 
Coronation of Queen Victoria — Admin- 
istration of the Sacrament. . . 90 
Cotton Mills, Manchester. . . 92 

Daniel O'Connell loi 

Hawarden Castle . . . .106 

Lord Macaulay (Photograph by Maull 
& Fox) . . . . . .110 

The Strand and St. Mary's Church, 
London . . . . . .121 

Sir Robert Peel 126 

Corn Law Agitation . . . . 131 
Albert, Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, 

Prince Consort 133 

Maynooth College .... 137 

Thomas Moore . . . . .142 

Election Meeting in Ireland . . 145 
Scene during the Potato Famine . .147 
Tailpiece. . . . . .148 

The present Baron Rothschild . .152 
Muster of the Irish at Mullinahone 

under Smith O'Brien, 1848 . .154 
William Smith O'Brien . . . 158 
B. Disraeli in his Youth . . .160 
Lord Elgin 165 



209 



219 



224 



PAGE 

Spencer Horatio Walpole . . .172 
The Piraeus, Athens . . . .174 
Lord Henry Brougham. . . .179 
Earl of Aberdeen . . . .181 
Louis Napoleon Bonaparte . . . 201 
Duke of Wellington (From an original 

portrait by Salter) .... 203 
Funeral of the Duke of Wellington . 205 
William E. Gladstone as Chancellor of 
the Exchequer under the Earl of 
Aberdeen, age forty-two . 
Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the 
late Prince Consort .... 
Field Marshal Lord Raglan (Com- 
mander in Chief of the British Army 

in the Crimea) 

Marshal A. J. J. Pelissier (Commander in 
Chief of the French Army in the 

Crimea) 225 

Siege of Sebastopol . . . ,226 
The Fall of Sebastopol — Capture of the 
Malakhoff Tower . . . .228 

1. Before Sebastopol. The Redan from 
the Old Advanced Trench, July 14, 1855 ^3^ 

2. The Battle of the Tchernaya. The 
Attack upon the Sardinian Picket, 
September 5, 1855 231 

3. The Valley of Death. Before Sebas- 
topol, June 3, 1855. . . .231 

Tailpiece 233 

John Bright 235 

Miss Nightingale in the Hospital at 

Scutari 236 

Sir Edmund Lyons, G.C.B., Command- 
ing Squadron in Black Sea; Sir Charles 
Napier, K.C.B., Commanding Baltic 
Fleet ; and Allied Naval Commanders 239 
The Allied Commanders of the Crimea 
(King of Sardinia, Lord Raglan, Mar- 
shal Pelissier, General Bosquet, Omar 
Pasha) 242 



23 



24 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



PACE 

Lord Palmerston 244 

Lord John Russell 249 

Vienna Conference . . .251 

The Peace Commemoration, 1856 — The 
Fireworks, Sketched from the Mall, in 

St. James Park 261 

Sir Colin Campbell . . .277 

General Havelock Greeted by the Chris- 
tians whom he Saved . . . 278 
Edward Geoffrey Stanley (Earl of 

Derby) 283 

William E. Gladstone, 1859 (as Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer under Pal- 
merston) 290 

Richard Cobden 294 

Members' Lobby, House of Commons . 296 
Victor Emmanuel, King of Italy . 318 

Tailpiece 331 

Garibaldi Addressing the Italian Parlia- 
ment 336 

Gladstone in 1864 .... 352 

John Stuart Mill 374 

Balmoral Castle 392 

Conflict of the Authorities with Reform 

League Demonstration, July 23, 1866 396 
Visit of Tithe PrOctor in Ireland . .413 
The Irish Remedy — Emigration to 

America 418 

Gladstone Addressing the House of 

Commons 421 

Gladstone (for the first time Prime Min- 
ister, December 4, 1868) . . 433 
Dickens, 1861. . . . ^ . . 456 
Capture of British Tourists by Greek 

Brigands 462 

Alexander II, Emperor of Russia . 465 
Sir John Alexander Macdonald, Premier 

of Canada 474 

A Critical Question i:i the House . .481 

Prince of Wales 483 

Views of Trinity College, Dublin (Col- 
lege Green, Viceregal Lodge, St. Ste- 
phen's Green, Trinity College, Chief 
Secretary's Lodge) .... 490 

Disraeli Entertaining the House with a 
Story ...... 496 

Incident of Gladstone's Campaigning . 502 
Bishop of Canterbury Delivering an Ad- 
dress at Albert Hall . . . .510 



PAGE 

Sir William* Vernon Harcourt . . 522 
William E. Gladstone in his Study at 

Hawarden 532 

William I, Emperor of Germany . . 535 
Earl of Beaconsfield .... 537 

Abdul Hamid-Khan II, Sultan of Tur- 
key . . . . . .539 

''Peace with Honor" (Return of Bea- 
consfield from the Berlin Conference). 548 
Victoria, Empress of India . . 554 
William E. Gladstone in 1880 (Time of 

Midlothian Campaign) . . 556 

The Midlothian Campaign . . 558 

Fenian Disorders in Ireland — ^Attack on 

a Police Van 560 

William O'Brien 562 

Fight between Land Leaguers and Police 564 
The Greenwich Memorial Chair. . 565 
Distress in Ireland — Eviction of Ten- 
ants 567 

Liberation of Prisoners from Irish 

Jails 570 

Unionist Demonstration in Belfast. . 572 
Joseph Chamberlain .... 577 
Robert Arthur Cecil, Marquis of Salis- 
bury 580 

Great Labor Parade in Trafalgar Square 586 
Introduction of Home Rule Bill — 

Gladstone's Peroration . . . 589 
Division of the House of Commons on 
the Irish Home Rule Bill. The Ayes, 
311. The Noes, 341 . . . . 591 
Lord Randolph Churchill . , . 594 
Jubilee of Queen Victoria — Her Majesty 

Arriving at Westminster . . 596 

Arthur James Balfour .... 598 
Charles Stewart Parnell . . . 600 
**The Woodchopper of Hawarden ** . 602 

Justin McCarthy 604 

Election Scene of 1892 .... 605 

William E. Gladstone. For the fourth 
time Prime Minister .... 607 

The British Notion of an Irish Parlia- 
ment ....... 609 

Archibald Philip Primrose, Earl of 

Rosebery 611 

Mrs. Gladstone (From a late photograph) 614 
William E. Gladstone and his Grand- 
daughter, Dorothy Drew . , .617 



^ 



LIFE AND TIMES 



OF 



WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE 




CHAPTER I. 

The Year 1809. 

[N the yesr 1809 the paint was still fresh on the only steamboat 
in the world. Thus far and no farther had proceeded the 
evolution of human passage by waterways and rivers. The 
means of destruction wefdscartely^ greater than in the Middle 
Ages. In Januarj/crf. t£*2Ct year 'Sir /John Moore, at Corufla, 
won his fatal victory over th^ "?«?J'€K 'with' fliijtfpck. muskets. The art of 
life was still in its rudimeniary stages. In Gre^t* Britain it cost fourteen 
pence to send a letter three.* huncf red miles, and ii> the United States seven- 
teen cents for the same servicV/ \ There was not aii- iron-barred tramway on 
the face of the globe. Meto..J\<3iped to fly througl^ •the air, but had no 
expectation of being propellcf^/^'.a steam engiaew^ "In that year, after his 
sixty-sixth ascension, died Frsi/{g5ri3.^B4anchpid;.fifsl aeronaut to cross the 
English Channel. Perhaps in th^'-farm stie^i-'pf the world there was not 
a single plow with iron or steel mordboard. " *The harvesters in the wheat 
iields of all countries, from Poland to the Alleghanies, cut their grain with 
sickles. The most rapid transit on earth or sea was the sailing vessel ; and 
that might be surpassed in speed, for short distances, by race horses. On 
the physical side the old civilization perpetuated itself. The industrial 
genius of man was displayed only in local enterprises and curious handi- 
crafts. The age of astounding invention and overwhelming material progress 
had not yet risen on mankind. 

Of general knowledge the conditions were in a correlative stage of 
development. In 1809 William Smith, the father of English geology, was 
preparing his earth-map of England and Wales — a work which became the 
foundation of all subsequent inquiry. On January 20 of that year William 
McClure read in Philadelphia his great paper on the " Geology of the 
United States," thus laying the basis of that science which was to destroy 
the old superstitious concept of the earth, and to make known to man the 



true character of the globe which he inhabits. 



26 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE, 

Our knowledge of the solar system at that date was limited to the 
orbit of Uranus. Neptune must lie far off for thirty-seven years, awaiting 
the genius of Adams and Leverrier to make him known. Four asteroids 
— Ceres, Pallas, Juno, and Vesta — had been discovered within the ten 
preceding years. These were supposed to constitute the whole group of 
fragmentary worlds between Mars and Jupiter. The scale on which the 
universe is built was as yet but vaguely conjectured. The constitution of 
the earth and of our atmospheric envelope was but little understood. Sir 
Humphry Davy, just recovering from the long nervous fever with which 
he was prostrated on his discovery of sodium and potassium, was reaching 
out rapidly for the bottom elements of the natural world. It was three 
years before that horrible explosion in the Felling colliery led him to the 
invention of the safety lamp and the preservation thereby of the manufac- 
turing interests of Great Britain. The greatest telescope in the world was 
the twenty-foot reflector of the elder Herschel. Young Fraunhofer, at the 
age of twenty-two, still in the Institute of Munich, was experimenting with 
his lenses and prisms. Through them,*lreji years later, was to come to him 
the revelation of the si^mficVnt^liqeS bf-fhd .spectrum, indicating the funda- 
mental unity and com/rK)Jhf.p]^n of uniVerfrf nature. 

The social and d^Jmekrc condition of mankind was sufficiently significant. 
Until within a year 'the ^lave trade had been ^openly practiced under the 
Constitution by the rQ^t'c^js^rits of the Unitexf States. In Great Britain the 
system of servitude w^s.*4tiil protected. la 4?emerara, Trinidad, and Jamaica 
the sugar plantationsV^*ce. worked by ^NegvV^laves under the lash of the 
driver and the banner'ofJl^pG^'ol'ge* "^^Xn'^fhe home life of England the 
evolution had proceeded so "/af. that theTewere those who doubted, and even 
disputed, the right of husbands" to whip their wives as freely as they might 
whip slaves ; but such scoffers at the existing order were few and without 
great influence ! The divorced wife in England, whatever might have been 
her own blamelessness or the horrid crimes of the husband that led to the 
separation, was positively interdicted from visiting or seeing her own 
children ! The remaining shadows of the Middle Ages reached out far into 
the domestic condition of all the civilized peoples of Europe and America. 

The civil and political state of the world was sufficiently significant. 
History had appointed France, and France had appointed Napoleon, to lead 
a supreme revolutionary campaign against the ancient order in Europe. At 
this time it appeared that the campaign was to be successful, and that the 
old regime was about to be extinguished. The monarchies of Europe were 
crouching close to the ancient walls, hoping that the storm might pass and 
that they might again emerge to sit on thrones and hunt in parks and 
gather beauty of doubtful reputation into courts where fashion reigned and 
virtue was not even remembered ! 



ir Wtnddl Holmes. CIi;.tI« R.jbtrl Ujtwin. 

M=nJcU=ol,n. William Kwarl Gl.idsloiic. KdB-« Ml:'" P'"'. 

bam LliiCDlu. Alficd Tciiny^ii. 

GROUP UP ILLUSTRIOUS MKN HORN IN 1809. 



28 UFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E, GLADSTONE. 

America, becoming automatic, still fluctuated with the disturbances and 
storms of the mother continent Our agitations, however, were like those 
of the sea on a shore far distant from the center of the storm. The Napo- 
leonic era wa$ at its height In that year was made the treaty of Bayonne, 
in which Napoleon declared the end of the Bourbon rule in the Spanish 
peninsula. The French ascendency was extended from Gibraltar to the 
Niemen, and from the Strait of Messina to the Baltic. The Corsican 
established his brothers and other subordinates, gathered out of law offices 
and livery stables, in power over a dozen states. They were the novi 
homines of new Europe, and stood in willing league with the French 
empire, then five years old. For the time it appeared that the new order 
reached by revolution in America was confirming itself coincidentally with 
the extinction of the old order destroyed by a revolution in Europe. 

On our side of the sea the third Virginian president, following the 
second of the same dynasty, acceded to the chief magistracy of the republic 
in the spring of 1809. The counter currents of the British reaction in 
America and the Gallic sympathies of our people ran together throughout 
the old Thirteen States, and broke in long lines of foam and political 
agitation. The brief Federal ascendency in our politics was ended, and the 
moderate Democracy, impersonated in Madison and his Secretary of State, 
was the prevailing type of American politics. Jefferson had retired to 
Monticello. Hamilton was five years dead. John Quincy Adams was 
Minister of the United States at St Petersburg. Henry Clay had descended 
from the Senate to become the leader of the House of Representatives. 
The elder Adams was contributing to the Boston Patriot his letters in 
vindication of the policy of his unpopular administration. Children born 
at the time of the funeral of Washington were completing their tenth year. 
In England Pitt and Fox were three years dead, and the British ministry 
was striving, by means fair and foul, to revive the continental coalition 
against the Emperor Napoleon. That conqueror, on the 6th of July in this 
year, fought his great battle of Wagram, and on the i6th of the following 
December divorced Josephine, in order to secure for himself an heir w^hose 
mother should be a Hapsburg. 

This volume is intended to show the life line of a great man drawn 
through the intricacies of the nineteenth century, beginning with the year 
1809. The story is at once personal and historical. It is a life and a 
history. As it is personal, it suggests at the start the consideration of other 
personalities in relation to the great personality whose career is here de- 
lineated. The year of the birth of Gladstone was remarkable as the date 
of the beginning of a great number of personal forces in both Europe and 
America — forces which have interwoven themselves in a magical manner 
with the intellectual, moral, and political woof of our era. Perhaps no other 



THE YEAR 1809. 29 

year of this century has given birth to such a prodigious .array of human 
forces. It is well that the attention of English and American readers be 
directed to the brilliant galaxy of names whose possessors appeared on 
this earthly scene of action in the year 1809. 

Early in that year, namely, on the 1 2th of February, and coincidently 
on the same day, were born Charles Robert Darwin in England and Abra- 
ham Lincoln in America. The one was destined to emancipate the human 
mind from its traditional concepts of the natural history of life on our earth 
and to discover and expound the bottom principles of that magnificent biol- 
ogy which may almost be called the beginning of human knowledge. The 
other was destined in another sphere of great and beneficent activity to 
become, under historical causation, the emancipator of a race of slaves. 
While the one was to lift the mind of man to an orderly and sublime con- 
cept of the natural world, the other was to lift the political life of one of the 
greatest of peoples from the horrid quagmire of slavery and to establish the 
nation which he was called to rule in the days of trial on a new foundation 
of justice and equal rights for all. 

In this year came Alfred Tennyson, the chief singer of the Vic- 
torian era, and Edgar Allan Pee, destined to leave a tremendous impress 
on American song. The one was to gather up the expiring light of the age 
of romantic poetry and to blend it with the refined and careless and sorrow- 
fringed poetry of the nineteenth century. The other was to look pro- 
foundly into the gloom of song, to see and describe weird faces in the dusk 
of hope, and to chant melodies all too few, bom of the universal spirit, and 
nursed by his own somber and erratic genius. 

In this year came also Mendelssohn the Great, Hebrew by birth, and 
teaching his father to say : " Formerly I was the son of my father, and now 
I am the father of my son !" Over the confusion of the century his Ora- 
torios still rise. Though dying at the age of thirty-eight, his music reaches 
out to immortality. 

We may not here enumerate all or even a majority of the great names 
whose possessors came into the world with the year 1809. They were all 
the products of the revolutionary storms that preceded them. They were 
the progeny of violence and heroic action. Already, however, there had 
come to the fathers and mothers of these children of 1809 ^^^ beginning of 
peace and hope. The light of a new era was rising, when the travails of 
motherhood announced the awakening to life of this remarkable group of 
personages. 

One of the most distinguished of these great characters is the subject 
of this " Life and Times." We shall endeavor to follow with fidelity the 
lines of his career across the disturbed but hopeful drama of the tremen- 
dous century to which he has belonged. 



30 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 



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CHAPTER II. 
Ancestry and Boyhood. 

< 

HE Gladstone family is of Scotch origin. The stock seems to 
have originated in the country of Clyde. There was an estate 
belonging to the family in Upper Clydesdale, and another in 
the town of Biggar, also in Lanarkshire. It was out of the 
Biggar branch that the subject of this memoir took his rise. 
The name of the family is found as far back as the sixteenth century, and 
more frequently in the old local documents of the seventeenth. The town 
records of the Clyde district are flecked here and there with the transactions 
of men of this stock. One of the estates was called Arthurshiel ; and this 
was held by a member of the family named John, and was sold by him in 
i68o to one James Brown, of Edmonstoun. 

The name of the family first occurs as Gledstanes, and afterward as 
Gladstanes, or Gladstane. Not until about the middle of the eighteenth 
century do we find the name in its more recent form of Gladstone, and not 
until 1835 did Sir John Gladstone, acting under a royal license, yf«a//j/ drop 
the terminal s from the ancestral nomen. The analysis of the nomen shows 
the lowland Scottish word gledy signifying a hawk, and stanes, a dialectical 
variation for stones. Thus the original sense was the Hawk Stones ; and 
this doubtlessly embodied some unknown tradition of the family. Smith, in 
his Life of Gladstone, suggests that the name of the family may have 
reference to some custom connected with land tenure in Scotland in the 
Middle Ages. This is merely conjectural. 

The name Gladstanes is an example of the strange disposition shown 
among nearly all peoples to get their names into the plural form. It has 
required the force of literature to crystallize the majority of modern proper 
names and keep them in the singular form. There is, for example, a natural 
disposition among the folks to call members of the Wood family Woods, or 
those of the John family Johns, or those of the William family Williams. 
In the case before us the name was finally fixed in the English spelling of 
Gladstone, and the pronunciation gldd-stan, with a strong accent on the 
first. 

In the early part of the eighteenth century, the Biggar branch of the 
family was represented by William Gladstane, who was a manufacturer of 
malt and a man prosperous in his household. His estate, on his death in 
1728, descended to his oldest son John, then thirty-one years of age, who 
took up his father's business in Lanark. He died in 1756, transmitting a 
respectable property to his family of eleven children, of whom five were 
sons. 



ANCESTRY AND BOYHOOD. 



3' 



From this time the history of the family is better known. John Glad- 
stane, third son of him who died in 1756, had the estate called Mid Toft- 
combs. He took in marriage Christian Taverner, and received with her a 
considerable property. She was of her husband's rank, being of that mid- 
dle folk who constitute the bone and sinew of England. From this mar- 
riage we have a fourth son, Thomas Glad- 
stone (for the name now takes this form), who 
was born just after our Washington, namely, 
on the 3rd of June, 1 732, and lived to the year 
1809. In him the Gladstonian qualities be- 
gan to express themselves strongly. He was 
a man of vigorous constitution, preserving his 
powers to the ripe age of seventy-seven, and 

lacking only a few months of witnessing the ' 

birth of that grandson who was to confer an 
imperishable luster on the ancestral name for 
all time to come. 

Thomas Gladstone also showed the pow- 
erful commercial instinct which has expressed 
itself in the thought and purpose of the family 

for more than a century and a half. He also ^'^ ■'°"'' <=lai.stone. 

had an adventurous spirit, held in check by that same prudential and 
rational restraint which ever marked the career of the statesman. Thomas 
Gladstone left his father's house when he was still a boy, and went to Leith, 
where he became, on his own responsibility, a grain merchant of distinction. 
He chose for his wife Helen Neilson, of Springfield, and. by her became 
the father of sixteen children, of whom twelve came to adult years. The 
family instinct was strong upon him. The crowd that grew up around his 
hearth. Instead of terrifying, only inspired him ; and he was able in due 
time to push out all of his progeny into honorable and useful careers. 

The eldest son of this big group of hardy, practical Scotch-English 
children was John Gladstone, father of the subject of this study He was 
a native of Leith, and was born in 1763. It was the year of that treaty of 
Paris by which Great Britain obtained from France her vast territorial 
empire in America, and by which Spain gnined, as if in trust for the possible 
republic of the United States, her almost limitless province of Louisiana. 
It was the third year of George III, and the fortieth of Louis XV of 
France. 

John Gladstone, more than any of his predecessors, may be said to have 
created the fortunes of the family. He was a man of boundless but strictly 
practical activities. He began in business at first with his father at Leith, 
but was not destined to remain in that limited sphere. The work of a 



32 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

maltster was too simple and small for his ambitions. He remained with his 
father, however, until he was twenty-one years of age, and was then sent 
in a tentative way with a shipload of grain to Liverpool. The consignee 
was a certain Corrie, a grain merchant of that city. Here the world opened 
to the younger Gladstone in wider vision than ever before. The commer- 
cial spirit possessed him. On the wharves of the Mersey he saw men as 
trees walking. The merchant, Corrie, at once discovered in the young man 
the great qualities which he possessed ; and John Gladstone responded to 
the overture, and became an assistant in the establishment of Corrie and 
Company, 

In the scrapped-out biographies of John Gladstone an account is given 
of that event by which he first greatly distinguished himself in the commer- 
cial world. On a certain occasion, when the grain crops of Europe had 
failed and the supply in Liverpool was correspondingly short, John Gladstone 
was sent by the firm to the new United States to purchase there and send 
back as cheaply as possible twenty-four shiploads of grain. He undertook 
his mission with confidence ; but on reaching New York and Philadelphia 
he found that there had been a short crop also on our side of the Atlantic, 
and that neither the accessible supply nor the price warranted the carrying 
out of his home instructions. To do so would be still further to involve the 
house which he represented. 

It was a case in which responsibility had to be taken. The twenty-four 
ships were waiting to receive their cargoes. With remarkably good judg- 
ment young .Gladstone turned about and, by an examination of current 
prices of produce in America and in Liverpool, purchased and filled his 
ships with such articles as bore the largest profit, returned to Liverpool, and 
rescued his employers from impending bankruptcy. He was thereupon made 
a member of the firm, under the title of Corrie, Gladstone, and Bradshaw. 

The business of this house was. thrust out in many directions. In the 
course of sixteen years the gentlemen Corrie and Bradshaw retired, or 
were bought out by John Gladstone ; and the firm, by the admission of his 
brother Robert, became John Gladstone and Company. No other commer- 
cial house in the most commercial city of the world showed greater enter- 
prise. A trade was established w^ith Russia, through the port of Riga. In the 
West Indies, and particularly in Demerara, trading stations were established 
Gladstone was elected President of the West India Association of Merchants. 

The remaining five brothers at Leith left the ancestral city and came 
to Liverpool, where they established themselves in various branches of 
trade. When the monopoly of the East India Company expired, in the 
year 1814, a ship of the house of Gladstone was the first private vessel to 
reach Calcutta. 

At the close of the eighteenth century John Gladstone was thirty-seven 



ANCESTRY AND BOYHOOD. 



HQUSE IN WHICH GLADSTONE WAS BORS, 



34 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

years of age. His first wife died without children Shortly afterward he 
took in second marriage Ann Robertson, daughter of Andrew Robertson, 
of Stornoway, and from this marriage are descended the family of four 
sons and two daughters, of which William Ewart Gladstone was the fourth 
and last of the sons. 

It should be remarked in this connection that the period just preceding 
the statesman's birth was that in which British commerce passed through 
the severest trial it has ever known. That commerce was the industrial 
expression of the naval supremacy of Great Britain. It was to destroy this 
supremacy that Napoleon did his utmost in establishing his system of 
Continental blockade. The declared motive of this system was to obliterate 
the commerce of England and to let her ships lie rotting on the sea. After 
Trafalgar it was the one great aim of Napoleon to ruin his enemy by 
shutting her out of the ports of Europe and America. 

All of this bore hard on such a merchant trader as John Gladstone, but 
it also tended to bring out the full force of his character. There were times, 
about the year 1807, when ^^ seemed that the Napoleonic system would 
prevail. In a single year the commerce of Liverpool fell off. by a hundred 
and forty thousand tons. In such an emergency the merchants besought 
Parliament to cancel such acts as the so-called Orders in Council, to 
remove the restrictions on neutral trade, and in particular to open the 
way for the restoration of commerce with the United States and the 
ports of South America. Nor can it be doubted that had the petitions 
sent up to Parliament from the commercial cities of England been 
favorably entertained our second war with the mother country might have 
been obviated. 

John Gladstone, having become wealthy, became an important factor 
in the politics of Liverpool. He was a conservative, as are nearly all mer- 
chants of all countries ; for trade is timid, and money, the vehicle of trade, 
is more timid still. In the year 181 2, an exciting political contest was held 
in Liverpool, in which Henry Brougham and the Radical candidate Creevey 
were defeated by the Conservatives Canning and Gascoyne. The result 
was attributed in considerable measure to the influence of Gladstone, who 
was henceforth recognized as one of Cannings powerful supporters. In 
course of time the rich merchant was himself made a member of Parliament, 
and then a baronet, by Sir Robert Peel, in 1845. He lived to the great age 
of eighty-eight, and died in the year 1851, living to see the premonitions of 
his greater son's ascendency in the political history of England. 

William Ewart Gladstone was born on the 29th of December, 1809. 
At the present time, all of the brothers and sisters except himself only have 
passed away. Captain John Neilson Gladstone died in 1863, and Robertson 
Gladstone in 1875. Sir Thomas Gladstone, Bart., died in 1889. The 



ANCESTRY AND BOYHOOD. 35 

two daughters, Ann McKenzie and Helen Jane, remained unmarried to 
their death. The statesman exemplifies better than any of his brothers and 
sisters the great longevity of the family, as well as the extraordinary intel- 
lectual capacity and hardih6od of the race. 

Wealth is one of the foundations of British society. The poor do not 
fare well in England. The sons of the poor in our ancestral islands, as 
well as the sons of the poor on the Continent, find a difficult emergence 
from the hard environment which poverty, with its consequent obscurity, 
draws around them. Only in times of revolutionary tumult do- the poor 
emerge in any part of Europe. The Gladstone family by the first quarter 
of the present century had, by the enterprise and successful adventure of 
the merchant John Gladstone, become distinguished for wealth. There was 
no longer any question that the children of the baronet might receive the 
best education and obtain the best opportunities in life. 

We may mention here some efforts of the curious to connect the states- 
man with the nobility, and even the royalty, of England and Scotland. The 
family was, as we have said, of the middle class of the English. Nor does 
it appear that the Gladstones have themselves taken pains to find in their 
veins a strain of blood better than that of the common lot. It is claimed, 
however, that Andrew Robertson, of Stornoway, maternal grandfather of 
William Ewart Gladstone, was a descendant of Henry Hl.^and also in some 
complex way of Robert Bruce. The line upward to this great origin in- 
cludes Lady Jane Beaufort, queen of James I of Scotland, who was in the 
line of the Bruce. Sir Bernard Burke has made it tolerably clear that the 
ancestry of Andrew Robertson runs up to this marriage of Lady Jane to 
King James. Lucy, one of the biographers of the statesman, preserves a 
note written by William Henry Gladstone in the year 1881, in which the 
writer says of his maternal grandmother, who was second daughter of Lord 
Braybrooke, that she was Mary Neville, through whom William Ewart 
Gladstone is connected with Lord Chatham, William Pitt, Lord Granville, 
and other notables of English history. Suffice it that, at the time of the 
birth of him who was so greatly to distinguish the ancestral name, the family 
of Gladstone, though of the middle class, had become distinguished some- 
what by remote and traditional kinship with the great, and much more by 
the honest acquisition of large wealth sufficient to remove from all the sons 
and daughters of Sir John Gladstone the necessity of personal exertion 
other than the stimulus of inborn ambitions, and all care as to the acquisi- 
tion of additional worldly fortune. 

Thus, within two days of the end of the year 1809, ^^ contemplate the 
birth of William Ewart Gladstone, youngest of the. four sons of John Glad- 
stone, Bart. It was the beginning, in the very crisis of the disturbed and 
chaotic era, of a personal force which was to reach across almost the entire 



36 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

expanse of the greatest of the centuries, and to make itself distinguishable 
somewhat as an energj"^ among the tremendous impulses of general causation. 

The very earliest impressions, other than the maternal, on the mind of 
the child Gladstone were those of commerce and politics. He was born in 
the very heart of the commercial world, at a time when the powerful forces 
of trade were extending into the political realm and beginning to modify 
in a large way the policies of States. VVe may thus discover, coincidently 
with the first stage of Gladstone's life, the reaction of the environment 
which sooner or later conduces in large measure to the character and am- 
bitions of every human being. Gladstone born under other conditions 
would have been some other than himself While heredity had prepared 
him, history had prepared his place. The conjunction of the two has given, 
the great personal result which we discover in him who has been, without 
controversy, the first public man of Great Britain in our age. 

A few illustrative incidents have been preserved of the first years of 
this remarkable personage. When he was four years old he was taken by 
his mother to call on Hannah More. That distinguished woman gave him 
a little book, and he remembered the act and what she said to him — namely, 
that he had just come into the world, and she was just going out of it. This 
must have occurred in 18 13. In the following year the child was taken 
by his father to Edinburgh at a time when the guns in the castle were 
fired in jubilation for the capture of Paris by the allies ; it was the first ab- 
dication of Napoleon. Gladstone to his old age remembered to have heard 
the windows shake when the great guns boomed. 

Other proofs of his precocious memory are related. He has told us 
himself that when he was still a babe on the floor he took notice of the odd 
pattern of his nurse s dress, and remembered it always. This may be re- 
garded as the farthest luminous point discoverable by him by the backward 
look into the otherwise total oblivion of infancy. In like manner he was 
able to remember a circumstance which occurred when he was but three 
years old. This was the uproar and jubilee of the inhabitants of Liverpool 
on the occasion of the ratification of the election of George Canning to 
Parliament, in the latter part of 1812. The house of John Gladstone, in 
Rodney Street, was illuminated on that occasion, and the tumult in the 
neighborhood was so great as to excite the wondering interest of the child.* 
The statesman had also a distinct recollection of Waterloo, and was wont 

* The statesman, on his seventieth birthday, addressing a delegation of Liverpool people who had gone to 
Hawarden to congratulate him, said in a reminiscent way: *' You have referred to my connection with Liverpool, 
and it has happened to me singularly enough to have the incidents of my personality, the association of my per- 
sonality, if I may so speak, curiously divided between the Scotch extraction, which is purely and absolutely Scotch 
as to every drop of blood in my veins, and, on the other hand, a nativity in Liverpool, which is the scene of my 
earliest recollections. And very early those recollections are ; for I remember, gentlemen, what none of you 
could possibly recollect : I remember the first election of Mr. Canning in Liverpool." 



ANCESTRY AND BOYHOOD. 37 

to tell how a Welsh girl who served in the ancestral home in Liverpool 
used to boast that the Welsh, a million strongs under Sir Williams Wynn, 
had gone over to Spain " to fight Boney !" We may not forget in this con- 
nection that the boy Gladstone from the wharves of the Mersey might look 
across to the mountains of Wales, and that he gathered therefrom his first 
distinct impressions of natural scenery. 

Besides these few glimpses of the child life of Gladstone, for which we 
are indebted to his own memory, there is little or nothing to relate of his 
first years other than that he ate and slept and grew and came to the age 
when his formal education must be undertaken. This was done when he 
reached his twelfth year. Already he had received from his mother the 
rudiments of knowledge. She was a Scotch mother, and the father was a 
Scotchman. That sufficed to insure strictness and conservatism and moral 
prudence in the Gladstone home. 

Those who have considered carefully the characters of the father and 
mother discover in the statesman a happy union of the best elements of 
each. Gladstone's robustness, his physical strength, his mental energy, love 
of affairs, business capacity, willingness to work out a large part of his life 
over budgets and estimates, and his healthy half-commoner blood came from 
his father, the merchant, the burgher, the municipal magnate turned prac- 
tical politician, the member of Parliament, and possible baronet. But the 
premier's sympathy, susceptibility to impressions, cool enthusiasm, willing- 
ness to progress, but only from untenable to more tenable ground, and in 
general his affectional and half-poetic dispositions were derived from the 
mother ; and to her formative hand and will he also owed his instruction 
in the rudiments of learning. 

It is not of record precisely to what point in his primary studies the 
boy had advanced when the age arrived for sending him away to school. 
The child was precocious to a degree. We know from absolute demon- 
stration that his abilities and attainments, even in early boyhood, were quite 
phenomenal. The broad-minded and discerning John Gladstone perceived 
the possibilities that were in his son's life and character, and became duly 
anxious to put in his way the best possible opportunities for education. 
There was a likelihood, a priori^ that the cautious and deliberative merchant 
would make a conservative choice in the matter of a school so important 
to the methodical and successful development of his promising son. 



38 



LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 




CHAPTER III. 

At Eton and Oxford. 

HE first crisis in young Gladstones life came in the fall of 182 1. 
After much deliberation the father chose Eton as the place for 
the first stage in academic training. Eton was the oldest and 
withal the strictest of those public establishments devised in 
mediaeval England for the scholastic training of boys. The 
Eton school was, and is, of almost world-wide fame. It was founded by 
Henry VI in 1441. The first building was erected at that date, and the 
school was opened in the following year. 

The little town of Eton is twenty-one miles west-southwest from 
London, on the bank of the Thames. The place is still, after the lapse of 
four and a half centuries, only a small town, having scarcely more than three 
thousand inhabitants. But for the school which has given name to the 
locality its place on the map might be neglected. At the first, King Henry 
provided that his college should be supported with revenues derived from 
the priories which had been suppressed by his father, Henry V. Such was 
the beginning of those endowments which, augmented from many sources, 
have increased until they now greatly exceed a hundred thousand dollars 
per annum. 

In Gladstone's day the school of Eton was by no means what it has 
since become. It was in September of 182 1 that the boy was put there 
to undergo the discipline of youth. He was a strong, patient, and talented 
lad, deeply impressed with the importance of doing his best and of submit- 
ting to authority. He was destined to remain for six years subject to the 
system of academic education then in vogue and to gain therefrom, in spite 
of its faults and tyrannies, much more than its logical valuation in results. 
We may say, once for all, that hardly anything could be further removed 
from the vital and vitalizing processes of a modern school than were the 
dry curriculum and disciplinary despotism of Eton at the close of the first 
quarter of our century. And we may add that few things could be more 
striking than the superiority in character, intellect, and purpose of the boy 
Gladstone to the average unambitious, flabby, albuminous youngster of our 
age about to enter college. 

It cannot fail of interest to note with some particularity the nature of 
the collegiate training to which the lad William E. Gladstone was ndw to 
be subjected. The subject has an independent value as well as a specific 
value in relation to him who was to become the leading statesman of Great 
Britain. The school does not make the man. The school is the product 
of a given age and condition, and that age and condition contribute also the 



AT ETON AND OXFORD. 39 

youth without which the school would be naught. The question is, in view 
of these facts and principles, to determine in what way and in what degree 
the school influences its pupils, shapes their characters, and directs their 
growth and ambitions in the formative period of life. 

The school of Eton has had for several centuries a great name. It 
has for a long time stood at the head of the sub-colleges of Great Britain. 
We have noted the circumstances of the foundation. Oxford and Cam- 
bridge, as is well known, have each a group of colleges locally associated 
with the mother, and, so to speak, under her outspread wings. Eton differs 
from such colleges in being displaced and set in a sort of independent 
relation at a distance. The same is true of the similar schools of Win- 
cliester and Westminster. In general the idea has been at Eton to prepare 
young men of the favored classes for the universities. At the beginning 
of this century, and perhaps to the present day, Eton inclines strongly to 
Oxford. When Gladstone was an Etonian the institution might be regarded 
as an Oxford feeder. But the youth leaving Eton, and being chosen for 
university promotion, might go to either university as he would. 

We fortunately possess a strong and trustworthy sketch of the general 
character of the so-called " Royal School of Eton " at a date just subsequent 



ETON COLLEGE AND CRICKET GROUNDS. 



40 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

to Gladstone's promotion therefrom to Oxford. In the Edinburgh Review 
for April of 1830 may be found an article, written, as we believe, by Macvey 
Napier, at that time editor of the powerful quarterly, giving a history in 
outline and a critique of the Eton school. From this we are able in fancy to 
revisit the institution and to study its curriculum and discipline as they were 
at the time when the future premier of England, from his twelfth to his eight- 
eenth year, was a student there. The fundamental and almost the only object 
in the course of study was to make the boys — ^who must be at the date of 
their entrance between eight and sixteen years of age, and have been " bom 
in England of lawfully married parents" — proficient in the Latin and Greek 
languages. The contemporary reviewer says : " The only subjects which it 
is professed to teach are the Greek and Latin languages, as much divinity 
as can be gained from construing the Greek Testament and reading a 
portion of Tomline on the Thirty-nine Articles^ and a little ancient and 
modern geography." 

The school was divided into an upper college and a lower. The upper 
consisted of four classes, or forms, and the lower of two classes, making six 
in all. There would be thus a large excess of students in the upper college. 
In the lower college there would be only the boys of the first two forms ; 
but these forms would be more largely attended than the others — being 
first. In the year 1829 the upper college had three hundred and nineteen 
students, and the lower two hundred and ninety-three. The students, viewed 
as a whole group and without respect to the classes in which they were 
distributed, were divided into two groups, the first of which was designated 
as king's scholars, or collegers, and the other as oppidans, or town boys. 
The collegers had superior advantages, for they were maintained gratui- 
tously. They were distinguished from the oppidans by a uniform. They 
had a different residence in the town and school from that assigned to the 
commoners, and were, indeed, the undergraduate aristocracy of the insti- 
tution. 

The text-books in use at Eton were as follows : i. An Introduction to 
the Latin Tongue; for the use of youth. 2. Rudiments of Greek Gram- 
mar; for use in the Royal School of Eton. 3. Greek Authors; for use in 
the Royal School of Eton. Being a collection of extracts from the Greek 
historians, prepared by one of the masters of the school. 4. Roman Authors; 
for use in the Royal School of Eton. Being a collection from the Latin 
writers in the same style as the preceding. 5. Greek Poets; for use in the 
Royal School of Eton. A compilation of extracts. 6. A Comparative 
Atlas of Ancient and Modern Geography; for the use of Eton school, to 
which there was an index. 7. The Greek New Testament; for occasional 
reading. 8. Bishop George Tomline's Treatise on the Thirty-nine Articles 
of the Church of England. 



ETON AND OXFORD. 4 1 

Such was the course of study in that institution which, in the year 
1830, had the reputation of being the first undercollege in the United 
Kingdom ! In it all there was not a single trace of natural science. Neither 
physics nor chemistry is heard of. Neither botany nor astronomy in the 
most rudimentary and descriptive forms is found even by suggestion. The 
whole history of mankind and of institutions is virtually omitted ! The 
readings from the Greek historians were so fragmentary as to give no gen- 
eral and continuous account of the classical nations. The readings were 
had for linguistic discipline, and with hardly any respect to history. No 
account of literature or of any of the politer humanities was to be found in 
the course. Of mathematics there was not the slightest trace ! There was 
neither logic nor rhetoric ; neither mental philosophy nor moral ; neither 
criticism nor modern languages; neither knowledge of man nor study of 
natural phenomena from the beginning to the end. Even the desultory 
linguistics were studied out of all relation with human development and 
progress ! 

The Edinburgh reviewer gives the following account of what was done 
day by day in Eton school at the time when Gladstone was a student there : 

" In a common week there is one whole holiday, on which no school 
business is done ; but every boy is required to go twice to chapel ; one half- 
holiday on which there are two school-times and one chapel ; and on Satur- 
day there are three school-times and one chapel. On each of the three 
other days there are four school-times, three of which last respectively for 
three quarters of an hour; the other has no fixed length, but probably aver- 
ages for each boy about a quarter of an hour. The school-times would 
therefore amount to less than eleven hours in a week. The boys are, how- 
ever, expected to come prepared into school ; so that some time is occupied 
in previous study, and every boy hears the lesson construed at his tutor s 
house before he appears in school." 

The writer goes on to estimate that in a week a youth in the fifth form 
would have to read about seventy lines of the Iliad, the same amount of the 
^neid, two or three pages from his book of selections called the Greek 
Writers, and a like quantity from the Roman Writers, thirty or forty lines 
from the Greek Poets, and twenty or thirty verses from one of the Gospels 
in Greek or from the Acts of the Apostles. All the poetry- which was to be 
construed had to be learned by heart. Once a week there was a lesson 
from the Greek grammar; and also a selection from Ovid or Tibullus. 
There must be one exercise in Latin prose ; a Latin poem of as many as 
twenty verses, and another lyric of five or six stanzas. It was from such a 
course as this that the discipline of an Eton boy was to be obtained three 
quarters of a century ago. 

The reviewer whom we are here following next takes into considera- 



42 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

tion the text-books of Eton, and finds them to be of the poorest quality. 
He says that they "are marked by almost every fault under which such 
treatises can labor. They contain much that is useless and much that is in- 
accurate ; they exclude much that is highly useful; they are written without 
a proper arrangement and harmony of parts ; the rules are not precise, the 
examples are ill chosen ; and a large part of the Latin and the whole of the 
Greek grammar is written in Latin." The writer goes on to call attention 
to the particular errors and imperfections with which the texts were dis- 
figured. The book designated as the Greek Poets contained some short 
extracts from Homer and Hesiod; a few idyls and epigrams ; extracts from 
Callimachus, Apollonius, and Bion. The selections were not arranged in 
chronological order or in accordance with any other rational principle ; and 
the biographical sketches and notes were short and unsatisfactory. The col- 
lection of Greek prose writings was of about the same compass and charac- 
ter, as was also the book of selection from writers in Latin prose. The best 
opportunity furnished anywhere in the course for some glimpses of real 
human history was furnished in the extracts from Livy. 

We may note in the next place two of the prevailing customs at Eton 
in Gladstone's day — customs which were to hold their own against all 
humanity for many years afterward. These were fagging and flogging. The 
boys of the first two classes might be fagged by the young fellows of the up- ' 
per forms. Indeed, all the boys on entering the institution were put into a 
fag; that is, into a company of a dozen or more like themselves, who must 
do the bidding of the upper-class group to which the particular fag or class 
was assigned. The slavery and shame of the system could hardly be de- 
scribed. The boy below was the servant of the boy above. The upper- 
class student might do almost as he would with his servant. The tasks 
which were assigned to a fag were humiliating and severe, and to this was 
added all manner of abuse and brutality. The wonder remains that any^ 
aspiring and proud lad could have been subjected to so degrading a system 
and yet preserve a show of manly character. Of course the tables were 
soon turned by those who were the victims of fagging. When they reached 
the upper forms, they themselves became the tyrants. It was then their 
opportunity to be avenged by exercising the same sway over the new 
students that had been wielded over themselves. Human nature is always 
the same, and the servant makes a hard master. 

Eton offered no prizes. It offered no stimulus to ambition. It prom- 
ised nothing unless it was promotion to the University. And such promo- 
tion was not made on any basis of merit, but simply on seniority. Those 
who had been longest at Eton might be promoted in certain numbers, and 
who the favored were was determined by lot. Young fellows might thus- 
remain at the school until they were twenty-two years of age. 



ETON AND OXFORD. 



CHRISTCHURCH COLLEGE, OXFORD. 



But if there was no noble motive before the student, there was enough 
compulsion behind ! The discipline was by flogging. The students were 
fiogged (or every kind of offense. It was the common method of punish- 
ment. In case any boy was derelict he was stripped to his back and flogged 
with a leather strap. The flogging was done by the head master of Eton, 
and the amount of exercise which he had in this work made him an expert. 
It was not only the new beginners and younger boys who were flogged, but 
all alike were amenable to the punishment. Young fellows who were well 
along in their teens were publicly stripped and whipped in the prescribed 
manner. At the time when the boy Gladstone was at Eton there were ap- 
proximately six hundred lads in attendance, and probably no day went by 
without the customary flagellations.* 

It was into this inane and barren realm of study that Gladstone was 



• Whipping was llie order of the day, John Delaware Lewis is BUlhorily for tlie 
tion an upper-das* man, twenly years of age, who was aboul to take in marriage a young lady of Windso 
wii completing his last vork at school, came one evening late to the house of his tutor. For being late h 
Kverety flogged by the head master, Goodfoid. On another occasion eighty boy.s were at one time barred o 
being tardj, and a!l were soundly whipped. Among the number was a lad who entered the military service 
to dtjtinclion. commanded in the Peninsular war, and, standing under a tree near Mont St. Jean on the l 
June, 1815, gave the command, " Up, guards ! and at ihera 1 " 



44 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E/GLADSTONE. 

introduced four months before completing his twelfth year. It was this 
course of instruction and discipline that he must undergo. Fortunately he 
was enabled by his fathers influence with the Duke of Newcastle to be- 
come a colleger, that is, a king's scholar. This gave him some importance, 
and doubtless exempted him in a degree from the grosser abuse to which 
the oppidans were subject The likelihood of his succeeding as a student 
certainly lay wholly within himselt Out of the Etonian curriculum as little 
might be expected as is indicated in the last article which we shall quote 
from the Edinburgh reviewer : " The consequence," says he, " of this desul- 
tory mode of reading desultory books is that when an Etonian goes either 
to Cambridge or to Oxford and is questioned as to the extent of his studies, 
he can only answer that besides Horace and part of Virgil and the /Iz'afl he 
has read nothing. He has not read a single book of Herodotus, or Thucyd- 
ides, or Xenophon, or Livy, or Polybius, or Tacitus; he has not read a sin- 
gle Greek tragedy or comedy, he is utterly ignorant of mathematical or phys- 
ical science, and even of arithmetic ; the very names of logical, moral, or 
political science are unknown to him. Modern history and modern jan- 
guages are of course out of the question. Is it creditable to the largest and 
most celebrated public school of England that such should be the result of 
five or six years' residence, at an age when childhood is past and the mind 
is capable of developing its powers ? " 

It was therefore in the boy Gladstone, and not in his school, that the 
promise of greatness resided. We should note, however, that there were a 
few extraneous and incidental conditions at Eton that were favorable alike 
to strength of body and growth of mental power. In the matter of athletic 
sports little was left to be desired. There was back of the establishment 
of Eton a large area of open field where the boys might play in their rough 
English fashion, and where the struggle for mastery might always be wit- 
nessed. There on the other side flowed the river. Both the field and the 
river constantly invited the six or seven hundred young fellows poured out 
from the confines of their scholastic keep to contest with each other with 
racket and oar for superiority and fame. 

More important, however, than the opportunities for physical develop- 
ment at Eton were certain independent institutions that grew up perhaps 
among the students themselves. One of these was the Union Debating 
Society, in which Gladstone would, out of the nature of the case, distinguisli 
himself. Another was the Etonian periodicals, that were devised from time 
to time as a possible vent for the literary aspiration of the young fellows at 
school. One such manuscript journal was called Apis Matinay or the 
Morning Bee, This was established by Winthrop Mackworth Praed in 
1820. The Bee was soon, however, converted into th^ E Ionian, the last 
number of which was issued two months before Gladstone entered the 



ETON AND OXFORD. 45 

school. Then came the Eton Miscellany^ in the originating of which the 
future statesman had a good part. The editor was Bartholomew Bouverie, 
but young Gladstone wrote much more of the periodical than he. Smith, 
in his Life of Gladstone, has preserved an extract from the introduction to 
the Miscellany^ which was written by the young man during the latter part 
of his stay at Eton. The aspirant to journalistic fame says : " In my present 
undertaking there is one gulf in which I fear to sink, and that gulf is Lethe, 
There is one stream which I dread my inability to stem, it is the tide of 
popular opinion. I have ventured, and no doubt rashly ventured — 

' Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders, 
To try my fortune in a sea of glory. 
But far beyond my depth.* 

At present it is my hope alone that buoys me up ; for more substantial 
support I must be indebted to my own exertions, well knowing that in this 
land of literature merit never wants its reward. That such merit is mine I 
dare not presume to think ; but still there is something within me that bids, 
me hope that I may be able to glide prosperously down the stream of public 
estimation, or, in the words of Virgil, 

*To hasten the journey with a prosperous report*" 

It was, doubtless, the opportunity which he found at Eton to write and 
to speak that led him subsequently, far down the journey of life, to say in 
a lecture to the Etonian boys : " My attachment to Eton increases with the 
lapse of years. It is the queen of schools." 

The Eton Miscellany flourished during the greater part of Gladstone's 
years at school. He was the most prolific writer in the college paper. 
Thirteen contributions from him are pointed out in the first volume. He 
had friends and competitors. One of these was Arthur Henry Hallam, son 
of the English historian, one day to become the subject of In Memoriam. 
Another was George Augustus Selwyn, born in the same year with himself, 
afterward Bishop of New Zealand, who was his most intimate companion at 
school. Of him the statesman has recorded the highest estimate. " In him- 
self," says he, " he formed a large part of the life of Eton, and Eton formed 
a large part of his life. To him is due no small share of the beneficial 
movement in the direction of religious earnestness which marked the Eton 
of forty years back, and which was not, in my opinion, sensibly affected by 
any influence extraneous to the place itself. At a moments notice upon 
the call of duty he tore up the singularly deep roots which his life had struck 
into the soil of England." 

It is at once amusing and highly instructive to note the efforts of these 
two ambitious friends to make themselves known in the college journal. 
There was a correspondence column in the paper where the contributors 
threw a free lance at many things. How hardly, withal, could any lance be 



J 



46 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

called free that was hurled from the precincts of a college where geometry 
was not taught, where no one understood French or German, and where 
biology was unknown even by name ! But free thought, like all things else, 
is a relative term. The young men at Eton, no. doubt, thought they had it, 
and thinking goes far to make things so, even in a question of mental 
servitude. The correspondence column in the Miscellany was called " The 
Postman." Young Gladstone's nom de plume was Philophantasm — a term 
which, if it signify anything, seems to imply that the youth, according to his 
own thinking, was pursuing something elusive, as it were an ignis fatuus. 
His contributions were not lacking in point. His style, however, was 
always large and open, for that manner is best in politics. 

The Gladstonian style, even from the boyhood of the statesman, though 
it was generally perspicuous, lacked in terseness. One of his Philophan- 
tasm articles recounts an adventure which the writer had with the poet 
Vergil. When the youth met the antique shade the latter was reciting 
Latin verses, but they were so different in sound and rhythm and measure 
from what was heard at Eton that the young visitant could not understand 
the poet. Vergil, moreover, complained that the Etonians preferred Horace 
to himself, and sent a request to the authorities that the ^neid might be 
occasionally quoted by the faculties and students. Not without wit the 
writer makes Vergil say at the close of the interview, " I know the Eton 
boys hate me because I am difficult to learn ! '' 

Here, then, was a sm^all vent for youthful genius. Of course English 
literature was ignored, but the classical was in vogue. Anon we find young 
Gladstone translating into verse a chorus from Euripides. On another 
occasion he gives .us a " View of Lethe," a sketch in prose, displaying but 
little invention, but revealing one of Gladstone's sentiments which bore 
strongly in his youth, namely the fear that he himself, coming to naught, 
would be forgotten. The desire to live in the annals of one's age, if it be 
intense, is on the whole a more energetic form of ambition than the hunger 
for passing applause or any lust of power. 

Gladstone was now in the stage of poetical adolescence. Nearly all 
young men pass through this current of ether as the planet of boyhood fol- 
lows its prescribed orbit. It is a kind of early spring of sentiment and fancy. 
Gladstone fixed his attention on the oblivious river of the underworld, and 
imagined that he contemplated immersion therein with the greatest dread. 
Such sentiments, though wholly fictitious in themselves, are quite real to 
the possessors who beguile themselves with the thought that it is a great 
thing to be remembered or forgotten. , 

In the case of young Gladstone, he views the matter somewhat objec- 
tively. He sees men and their works about to perish in Lethe, and is able 
to discover the humorous aspect of the struggle to escape from the stream 



\ 






ETON AND OXFORD. 47 

of forgetfulness. " I was surprised," says he, " even to see some works with 
the names of Shakespeare and Milton on them sharing the common des- 
tiny ; but on examination I found that those of the latter were some polit- 
ical rhapsodies which richly deserved their fate ; and that the former con- 
sisted of some editions of his works which had been burdened with notes and 
mangled with emendations by his merciless commentators. In other places 
I perceived authors worked up into frenzy by seeing their own compositions 
descending like the rest. Often did the infuriated scribes extend their hands, 
and make a plunge to endeavor to save their beloved offspring, but in vain. 
I pitied the anguish of their disappointment, but with feelings of the same 
commiseration as that which one feels for a malefactor on beholding his 
death, being at the same time fully conscious how well he has deserved it." 

One important inference may be drawn from this extract. It is the 
cheering fact that Shakespeare and Milton were not wholly unknown at 
Eton ! We see from what the young man writes that the aspect of the cur- 
rent world has been reflected by some process into the inclosure, and that 
the Etonians were not unaware that English literature existed and that 
even newspapers are a part of the apparatus of human intercourse. We are 
thus able to read between the lines of the inane linguistics of Eton to better 
forms of culture than could be discovered in the mere logical examination 
of the curriculum. 

The range of things to be jmitated at Eton was narrow, and the sum 



MAGDALEN COLLEGE, OXFORD. 



48 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

of things taught was insignificant ; but opportuntiy was there — as every- 
where. Gladstone produced one poem at this time of two hundred and fifty 
verses which strongly reflects the passing culture of the school. His sub- 
ject is Richard Coeur de Lion, but the manner and matter might be re- 
garded as a boy s effort to render Homer in the style of Pope. The rhym- 
ing couplets of the youth, however, are pervaded with the spirit of Dryden, 
rather than the Augustan finish of Pope's method. The whole thing is in 
the vein of King Cambyses, but is nevertheless fairly well done for a boy. 
Fixing his eye on the Lion Heart, he says: 

"Who foremost now the deadly spear to dart, 

And strike the javelin to the Moslem's heart ? 

Who foremost now to climb the leaguered wall, 

The first to triumph, or the first to fall ? 

Lo, where the Moslems rushing to the fight, 

Back bear their squadrons in inglorious flight. 

With plumed helmet, and with glittering lance, 

*Tis Richard bids his steel-clad bands advance ; 

'Tis Richard stalks along th6 blood-dyed plain, 

And views unmoved the slaying and the slain ; 

'Tis Richard bathes his hands in Moslem bloody 

And tinges Jordan with the purple flood. 

Yet where the timbrels ring, the trumpets sound, 

And tramp of horsemen shakes the solid ground, 

Though 'mid the deadly charge antt rush of fight. 

No thought be theirs of terror or of flight, — 

Ofttimes a sigh will rise, a tear will flow. 

And youthful bosoms melt in silent woe; 

For who of iron frame and harder heart 

Can bid the mem'ry of his home depart ? 

Tread the dark desert and the thirsty sand, 

Nor give one thought to England's smiling land? 

To scenes of bliss, and days of other years — 

The Vale of Gladness and the Vale of Tears; 

That, passed and vanish'd from their loving sight. 

This 'neath their view, and wrapped in shades of night.*" 

With his progress as an Etonian, Gladstone became more and more 
active and prolific. He was from a boy addicted to composition. We may 
contemplate his pride on seeing himself in print. In the latter years of his 
stay at Eton his friends and competitors in a literary way were Hallam and 
Selwyn. He wrote and published more than either of these rivals. His con- 
tributions in the second volume of the Eton Miscellany number seventeen. 
For the most part he wrote prose ; but occasionally displayed his powers 
in verse. If Hallam contributed a poem on ** The Battle of the Boyne," 
Gladstone followed with an " Ode to the Shade of Wat Tyler." There is 
another extant example of his work, called " Guatemozin's Death Song." 



ETON AND OXFORD. 49 

Certainly such compositions were not great poems ; probably not poems 
at all ; but they exhibited a large measure of ability in versification and ver- 
sified eloquence. Probably his greatest prose contribution at this epoch 
was entitled " Eloquence," In it we are able to discover the embryonic 
statesman and leader of Parliament. Of course all aspiring young English- 
men think of getting into the House of Commons, and the more ambitious 
look to a possible place in government. Young Gladstone's paper shows 
that his mind was thoroughly occupied with the hope of public life and leader- 
ship. He describes the entrance of a young man into the Commons, his 
trials there, his possible triumphs, his rise to leadership, and his station 
among the great. The names of the popular leaders of the day are cited in 
the usual manner of young men, one of whose fallacies it is to be always 
supposing that if they themselves ever come to leadership it must be in the 
likeness and by the measure of somebody else ! 

Among those whom Gladstone had in mind was, first of all, George 
Canning. We have seen how this statesman had impressed himself on the 
father of our subject on the occasion of the Liverpool election, in 1812. 
Canning furnished the Etonian aspirant with one of his models in the essay 
entitled " Ancient and Modern Genius Compared." It may surprise us to 
note that in this paper Gladstone espouses the cause of the moderns. We 
should have expected the other. Fathered and educated as he was up to 
this point of his career, he could hardly be expected to allow that there was 
anything superior except in the past. By every consideration a priori the 
young man was a Tory absolute. Nevertheless he took the side of modern 
genius, and awarded to it the palm. 

In this fact we may discover one of the great qualities of his life. That 
life was a growth out of conservatism, illiberalism, Toryism, reactionism, 
into progressive, though never audacious, liberalism and progress. That is 
the summation of the Gladstonian career. Canning died in August of 1827, 
about the time that Gladstone left Eton. The event produced a deep im- 
pression on Gladstone's mind, and one of his papers contains a glowing trib- 
ute to his ideal statesman. Another whom he admired and emulated was 
Lord Robert Stewart Castlereagh. who had died five years previously. 
Others were Lord Morpeth and Edward Geoffrey Stanley, who had been 
in their time members of the debating society of Eton. The usual error of 
young judgment is seen in the comparison which Gladstone makes between 
Canning and Pitt — as though those two statesmen had been of approxi- 
mately the same magnitude and momentum. In the conclusion of the pan- 
egyric on Canning, the young writer says: 

" Surely if eloquence never excelled and seldom equaled — if an expanded 
mind and judgment whose vigor was paralleled only by its soundness — if 
brilliant wit — if a glowing imagination — if a warm heart and an unbending 



50 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTOxVE. 

firmness — could have strengthened the frail tenure, and prolonged the mo- 
mentary duration of human existence, that man Canning had been immor- 
tal ! But nature could endure no longer. Thus had Providence ordained 
that inasmuch as the intellect is more brilliant, it shall be more short-lived ; 
as its sphere is more expanded, more swiftly is it summoned away. Lest 
we should give to man the honor due to God — lest we should exalt 
the object of our admiration into a divinity for our worship — He who calls 
the weary and the mourner to eternal rest hath been pleased to remove him 
from our eyes. . . . The decrees of inscrutable wisdom are unknown to us; 
but if ever there was a man for whose sake it was meet to indulge the 
kindly though frail feelings of our nature — for whom the tears of sorrow 
were to us both prompted by affection and dictated by duty — that man was 
George Canning." 

One may easily discern in these youthful effusions of Gladstone the 
evidences of his intellectual manner and development. Already in this 
eulogy of Canning we note the premonitions of that style — rather large and 
ample, flecked with Latin and turning political-phraseward — which the 
statesman was destined to employ through so many decades in his writings 
and discourses to his countrymen. The writer was now well on in his 
eighteenth year. His course at Eton ended in the latter part of 1827. He 
had achieved an enviable reputation at Eton school, where the tradition of 
it remains to this day. His attainments in the curriculum were first-rate. 
In spite of the poor linguistic apparatus, he had become well versed in the 
Greek and Latin classics. Not that his readings were ample and thorough 
in the works of the great Greeks and their Roman imitators ; but he had 
become expert in those parts of classicism which he had been able to reach. 
On leaving Eton, he was fairly well trained in the lore of the Hellenic and 
Latin races. His mind was deeply impressed with the myth and tradition 
of those races. His orthodox training in religion had been strengthened 
and confirmed while at school. He was a typical Church-of-England young 
man, doubting not at all the absolute correctness of the great Episcopal 
establishment and the inerrancy of the doctrines and practices of which it 
was the conservator and visible expression. Any notion of Gladstone's life 
taken as a whole which does not include as one of its dominant elements 
the strong religious conservatism and content of the man is thoroughly in- 
adequate and incorrect. 

For about two years after leaving Eton, William E. Gladstone assigned 
himself to the care of Dr. Turner, afterward Bishop of Calcutta. The rela- 
tion was a private one. Turner was a man of erudition, according to the 
standard of the Church of England. He was precisely the kind of an in- 
structor to carry forward the education of the graduate Etonian in the pre- 
scribed line, and to fit him for admission to the university. Thither he was 



ETON AND OXFORD. 



ST. JOHN S COLLEGE AND BRIDGE, OXFORD. 

now tending. We have no exact information respecting the method pur- 
sued by Turner with his student ; but we know that the instruction now in- 
cluded mathematics and the evidences of Christianity. For these branches 
as well as languages and philosophy were required for admission to Oxford. 
That most ancient of the English universities was now selected by his 
father and himself for the completion of his academic training. Christ 
Church College was chosen as the particular establishment. This institution 
was at the time the heart of the British conservatism. Here the ancients 
were praised as against the moderns. Here the past was believed in as 
against the distrusted present and dangerous future. Here the old and 
niediseval circle of scholasticism was followed around and around with as 
little deviation as possible. Here Toryism in politics and orthodoxy in re- 
ligion were inculcated as the very foundations of society. It was proper 
enough that a young man proceeding from the household of a conservative,- 
cautious, slaveholding merchant in Liverpool, assigned for six years to the 
rigid and barren nursery of Eton, drawing from her dry breast whatever of 
life he could, and placed afterward in tutelage under a scholastic rapidly 
becoming a bishop of the Church, should now enter Christ Church College 
to be finished in all those elements of character and purposes of life which 



52 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

looked to the one supreme end of maintaining the existing order and making 
it as good as the past. It might be — as it was — the place above all others 
to make a conservator, an apologist, an upholder of the ancient regime, a 
defender of the faith and of all the abuses and despotisms of British society 
as it was in 1829 ; but it was least of all the place to make a reformer and 
progressive statesman. 

The intermediary period in young Gladstone's life, reaching from 1827 
to 1829 — that is, almost to the completion of his twentieth year — is a little 
obscure as to facts, but was certainly filled with close application and pro- 
nounced advancement In the last-named year he entered Christ Church 
College, Oxford, and became a student " on the foundation ;" that is, at the 
charge of the university endowment. Few young men have within our cen- 
tury or at any time ever taken to the chosen university a sincerer purpose 
and deeper motive than prevailed with Gladstone. Scarcely had he en- 
tered the university when he became distinguished for his ability and 
robust character. He entered freely into the intellectual and moral life of 
the college, and was soon regarded as a leader. 

The avenues of inquiry opened in several scholastic directions that had 
hitherto been closed to Gladstone. He might now engage in metaphysical 
inquiry. The classical languages no longer absorbed his whole time and 
energies. There was opportunity for general reading, for rhetoric, for logic, 
for criticism, for translation, for improvement in composition, and for debate 
of those questions which were then paramount in England. Up to this 
time, however, no professorship in modern languages had been established 
at Oxford — a circumstance attesting in a striking manner the predominance 
of the old intellectual life of mankind over the new, and the really provincial 
character of the Oxonian learning. 

Gladstone's residence at the university covered a period of two years 
— 1829-31. Considering his age and opportunities, we may allow that he 
expanded at this period more rapidly than ever before. There w^as at the 
institution an organization known as the Debating Society, or Oxford 
Union. Though intended in the first place for students about to become 
lawyers or clergymen, it was nevertheless open to all who would avail them- 
selves of its advantages. The young politician might there, as well as any 
other, try his powers. The Union was of so large and important a charac- 
ter as to be second only to the college itself in the advantages which it 
afforded. In this respect the society had the same value that all like organ- 
izations have had in connection with universities, from those of the Middle 
Ages in Italy down to the frontier institutions of America. Within the last 
quarter of a century, the changed and changing manner has operated to un- 
dermine the debating unions and open literary societies of the universities 
in both Europe and the United States, a fact to be deeply deplored by all 



ETON AND OXFORD. * 53 

who understand the merits and true purpose of a robust and aggressive col- 
lege training. It is high time for all lovers of universities to look around 
and discover the causes of deterioration and decay when the debating 
society gives way, as it has virtually done in America, to the dilettantism 
and dapper insipidity of the fraternity hall and smoking club. 

Gladstone entered fully into the life of Oxford. He adopted without 
hesitation the Toryism and orthodoxy of the institution. It might be seen 
from the first that he was there for acquirement, for leadership, for honor. 
He entered into the Debating Union, penetrated the libraries, made the ac- 
quaintance of the leading young men of the United Kingdom, heard their 
talk, and talked and wrote himself. His urbanity and application and unim- 
peachable morals made him a young man of mark. He was a Churchman, 
a politician, a student, all in one. He started with the assumption that the 
middle ground is the true place of vantage and virtue in all things. The 
Ovidian maxim, Tutissimus in medio ibis, was adopted by him without ques- 
tion ; and the force of it to some extent remained with him through life. 

The time when Gladstone was a student resident at Oxford was an era 
of political stormcloud and tempest. The great reform movement was on. 
The division was sharp between the old and the new. The profound ques- 
tions of reforming Parliament, of abolishing the abuses of the old borpugh 
system, and of ending slavery in the colonies of Great Britain were on in 
full force. While at Cambridge the reformatory impulse was in the ascen- 
dant, at Oxford conservatism was predominant. The Whig and the Tory, 
the progressive and the conservative, the defender and the reformer, clashed 
in every place. Many of the young men afterward distinguished in the 
political history of England were at this time in the universities. 

The phrase goes that what college students debate will presently be 
the issues of society. In the Debating Union of Oxford were gathered the 
leading spirits from three or four of the colleges. Baliol was there, and Oriel, 
and Christ Church. The meetings were held on.ce a week. Generally the 
subject of discussion was drawn from the current politics and the conditions 
of society. Sometimes, however, the subject was literary and critical. On 
one noted occasion a debate was held between the representatives of the 
Cambridge Union and that of Oxford. A challenge was sent over to the 
latter university by the former, proposing to maintain the superior merits 
of Shelley over Lord Byron. 

The question rose high. Shelley had been expelled from Oxford ; and 
now that he was dead in a foreign land, and the British nation could no 
longer work itself into spasmodic virtue and indignation over the personal 
life of the poet, his merits came to be acknowledged, and his name a literary 
shibboleth at Cambridge. This was a red flag to Oxford. The debate was 
held at the latter university on the 26th of November, very soon after 



54 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

Gladstone's admission. One of the representatives from Cambridge was 
Richard Monckton Milnes (afterwards Lord Houghton), who was exactly 
contemporary with Gladstone, having been born in the same year and being 
of even dates with him in entering and returning from the university. 
Houghton in an address delivered at Cambridge thirty-seven years after- 
ward says, speaking of the Shelley-Byron debate : " At that time we were 
all full of Mr. Shelley. We had printed his Adonais for the first time in 
England ; and a friend of ours suggested that as he (Shelley) had been 
expelled from Oxford and been very badly treated at that university it would 
be a grand thing for us to defend him there. . . . We accordingly went to 
Oxford — at that time a long dreary post-chaise journey of ten hours — and 
were hospitably entertained by a young student of the name of Gladstone; 
who, by the by, has himself been since expelled." 

It is a significant circumstance that on this occasion Gladstone, who had 
only been at Christ Church College for about three months, represented his 
college in the reception of the deputation from Cambridge. His colleague 
on the committee was Mr. Manning of Oriel. In the debate that ensued 
the sentiment and arguments were quite overwhelmingly in affirmation of 
the superiority of Shelley over Byron. The leading speakers were Francis 
Doyle, Mr. Manning (afterward the cardinal), Mr. Sunderland, Arthur 
Henry Hallam, and Monckton Milnes. It was the custom on such occasions 
to submit the question to a vote. This was done ostensibly on the merits 
of the argument ; but no doubt the merits of the question, subjectively con- 
sidered, were held in mind by the voters. The vote in this case was for the 
Cambridge contestants by a majority of ninety to thirty-three. Gladstone 
himself did not speak. 

His rank in the Debating Union, however, was at once acknowledged. 
Within a year he was made secretary of the Society, and soon afterward 
president These distinctions show that by the time of his majority (De- 
cember, 1830), he was in the Oxonian swim, and was already buffeting the 
waves and tides with which he was to contend during the rest of his career. 
We note with interest the political questions that were debated at this time 
in the Union. One was, ^'Resolved, that the disabilities of the Jews should 
be removed." Another was, ^'Resolved, that the administration of the Duke 
of Wellington is undeserving of the confidence of the country." On the 
latter question Gladstone, then secretary of the Union, spoke with great 
force and persuasiveness. He had the gratification of recording an affirma- 
tive decision, though the vote was only fifty-seven against fifty-six in the 
negative. In the case of another question proposed in a resolution con- 
demnatory of the administration of Earl Grey, Gladstone moved out boldly 
by , offering a substitute in which we may discover the method and expres- 
sion which characterized many of his policies. 



ETON AND OXFORD. 55 

His substitute was: " That the ministry of Earl Grey has unwisely in- 
troduced and most unscrupulously forwarded a measure which threatens not 
only to change our form of government, but ultimately to break up the very 
foundation of social order, as well as materially to forward the views of 
those who are pursuing this project throughout the civilized world," In 
this pronunciamento we note not only the merit, but the vices of the young 
political leader, a part of whose art always is to persuade his countrymen 
that the policy of the opposing party is about to break up the foundations 
of society ! No doubt the debater on such an occasion half believes what 
he says ; but the real significance of it is the construction of an argutnentum 
in terror em for political effect. It appears that Gladstone was able to carry 
all before him on his chosen propositions, for the vote of the Union was 
ninety-four in the affirmative to thirty-six in the negative. 

We note in the next place a still more striking example of the Glad- 
stonian character at this time. In it we discover too the vice of his educa- 
tion, and the utterly erroneous course in which he was started at the begin- 
ning of his career. The next question, and indeed the last, of which we 
have a record preserved in the minutes of the Oxford Union was that of the 
proposed abolition of slavery in the West Indies. That issue was then com- . 
ing rapidly to a crisis in Great Britain. It was a part, indeed, of the great • 
reformatory agitation which prevailed at the close of the third decade. The 
question of slavery and the slave trade had begun to be agitated as far back 
as 1 786. From that time forth Thomas Clarkson did not cease to declaim 
against the sale and servitude of human beings. He was joined after a few 
years by William Wilberforce of great memory. As early as 1 790 both 
Pitt and Fox joined the abolitionists. 

The House of Commons continued to be agitated by the efforts of 
the philanthropists ; but the House of Lords, and in general the Tory 
party, prevailed to stay the movement. In 1823 the society for the mitiga- 
tion and gradual abolition of slavery throughout the British dominions was 
organized, and the movement gained an impetus by the advocacy of Thomas 
Fowell Buxton and Elizabeth Heyrick, the Quakeress, who, by her pam- 
phlet entitled " Immediate, not Gradual Abolition," wrought nearly as 
forcefully on the better sentiments of the English people as Harriet Beecher 
Stowe was destined to do for the opinion of the American people a gener- 
ation later. At the time when Gladstone was at Christ Church the 
abolitionists were gathering up all their energies for the final and, as it 
proved to be, the successful assault. 

John Gladstone was a slaveholder. His plantations in Demerara 
were worked by slaves. To disturb the slave system was to disturb him 
and his revenues. Besides, the Tories and the religious establishment of 
Great Britain united politically and religiously to uphold slavery. Young 



56 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

Gladstone was a Tory and a High Churchman. At this period in his 
career he knew two things : one was the ancient, well-founded political 
order in Great Britain; and the other was the Church of England Of 
these two things Oxford was the Gibraltar. Gladstone was one of the 
young watchmen sent to the towers on the wall to call the hours and defy 
the enemy. He went to his place without reluctance and with full convic- 
tion of truth and duty. The situation, however, was such as to introduce a 
contradiction in his nature. 

We may imagine that the slavery debate in the Oxonian Union was 
the occasion on which the intellectual and moral nature of William E. Glad- 
stone first knew pain, for then he first sinned. On the 2d of June, 1831, 
when his career at Oxford was nearly at an end, a resolution was proposed 
in the Union for the immediate abolition of slavery in the West Indies. 
Note the amendment which Gladstone offered, as follows : " That legisla- 
tive enactments ought to be made, and if necessary to be enforced, first, for 
better guarding the personal and civil rights of the Negroes in our West 
Indian colonies. Second, for establishing compulsory manumission. Third, 
for securing universally the receiving of a Christian education under the 
clergy and teachers independent of the planters ; a measure of which total 
but gradual emancipation will be the natural consequence, as it was of a 
similar procedure in the first ages of Christianity." 

Here, then, we perceive the parting of the ways. The light in the 
young man began to shine, but yet shone only in the darkness. It is a 
remarkable circumstance that every beginning made by William E. Glad- 
stone in the days of his youth, with the solitary exception of the beginning 
of a sound moral character, was made either diametrically in the opposite 
direction to human rights and progress, or was at most projected at illogical 
and impossible angles from the beaten high road of error which he was trav- 
eling. His amendments to the motion for the abolition of slavery show 
the Tory politician. We perceive that in viewing slavery he was desirous 
of making that institution as tolerable as possible ; but he was willing that 
the institution itself should be perpetuated. He had just passed his 
majority. The shadow of Oxford was strong upon him. The influence of 
his fathers opinions and interests also prevailed. The Tory leaders said 
slavery. The bishops said slaver}'. The Bible said slavery. The past 
said slavery. All these are good ; therefore, slavery shall be maintained. 
True, philanthropy seems to be against it. True, the light within us seems 
to reveal a hideous countenance on the front of this ancient institution 
and to make it indeed a criminal monster. But the inner light may be an 
ignis fa tuus. The rising philanthropy, shining afar, may be only a bale- 
fire kindled above the rocks. Therefore we will conserve things as they 
are. But we will modify and temporize a little in the direction of progress. 



ETON AND OXFORD. 57 

We repeat that this struggle of irreconcilable forces in the Gladstonian 
intellect and purpose casts a wide effulgence over his whole career, in the 
light of which the man may be best interpreted. We may note that, some 
years afterward, when Gladstone had entered Parliament, and when slavery 
had been abolished throughout the British empire, except in India, he was 
constrained by an uncharitable reference of a Liberal speaker to defend as 
best he might the character and transactions of his father as a West-Indian 
slaveholder. 

Thus, with rapid development and rise to such reputation as a youth 
may gain at his university, Gladstone passed his two years at Oxford He 
came to his examinations in the latter part of 1831 and gained the highest 
possible honors of the university. He was graduated with the distinction 
known as " Double First ; " that is, he received the first honors under two 
specifications, which was the highest rank that a student might attain. 

In after years, with the growth of his reflective powers, Gladstone 
turned frequently to contemplate Oxford, and in many instances gave 
critical estimates of the university where the formal education of his youth 
was completed. He came to see how far from the true beginning of a 
liberal and progressive statesman's life that ancient institution stood. 
Forty-seven years after his graduation he made an address to the Palmer- 
ston Club at Oxford^ in the course of which he traversed the principles of 
the university and criticised her errors. " I trace," said he, " in the education 
of Oxford of my own time one great defect. Perhaps it was my own fault, 
but I must admit that I did not learn when at Oxford that which I have 
learned since, namely, to set a due value on the imperishable and the ines- 
timable principles of human liberty. The temper which I think too much 
prevailed in academic circles was that liberty was regarded with jealousy, 
and that fear could not be wholly dispensed with. ... I think that the 
principle of the Conservative party is jealousy of liberty and of the people 
only qualified by fear ; but I think the policy of the Liberal party is trust 
in the people only qualified by prudence. I can only assure you, gentlemen, 
that, now I am in front of extended popular privileges, I have no fear of 
those enlargements of the constitution that seem to be approaching. On 
the contrary, I hail them with desire. I am not in the least degree conscious 
that I have less reverence for antiquity, for the beautiful and good and 
glorious charges that our ancestors have handed down to us as a patrimony 
to our race, than I had in other days when I held other political opinions. 
I have learnt to set the true value upon human liberty, and in whatever I 
have changed there, and there only, has been the explanation of the 
change." 

Out of this paragraph we may discover the bottom principle in the 
light of which the political career of William E. Gladstone is to be explained. 



58 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTOKE. 



CHAPTER IV. 
Travel and Entrance into Parliament. 

-ADSTONE never lacked for means or opportunity. Nor did 
he ever squander the one or lose the other. His life was pre- 
eminently a Hfe of seeking and of labor. If great influence and 
great fame came to him, they came as the results of honest 
application, rational purpose, and a well-tempered ambition. 
Having completed his course at Oxford and attained his majority, he next 
availed himself of the opportunity to travel on the Continent. Hitherto his 
views of life and manners had been limited to England. His first tour abroad 
began with the year 1832, and covered a period of six months. Most of 
this time he spent in the Italian cities, principally in Rome, the Mecca of 
young scholars. 

It appears that Mr. Gladstone merely traveled and observed during his 
first tour on the Continent, and that he wrote but little in that time. Six 
years afterward, however, he went a second time to Italy, and thence to 
Sicily. On this -journey he kept a diary, and wrote copiously of what he 
saw and thought. In the interval between his first and second journey he 
had entered public life, and his name was already known in the parliameii- 
tary history of the epoch. There is a great difference in the intellectual 
power and development of a young man at the ages of twenty-one and 
twenty-nine. At the former age he may still be to a certain extent a boy 
in energy and purpose; but if the manly power have not come upon him at 
twenty-nine then will it not come at all. 

The biographers of Mr. Gladstone have dwelt with interest upon the 
account which he gives of his visit to Sicily in the year 1838, and in partic- 
ular upon his description of ..^tna and the eniption which fortunately for 
him occurred coincidently with his visit, ^tna and Vesuvius are not in the 
habit of displaying their powers for the special delight of travelers with a 
descriptive turn. Bayard Taylor, on one of his returns from the East, was 
delayed ten days, as if to make his arrival at Naples (he dwells half-humor- 
ously upon the incident) coincident with a Vesuvian vomit. It appears 
that Gladstone was almost equally favored on the occasion of his ascent of 
^tna. On his way to the fire mountain, he visited the Sicilian temples 
and ruins. His journal shows the character of his sentiments amid these 
scenes, and illustrates his descriptive method : 

"After j^tna," says he, "the temples are certainly the great charm and 
attraction of Sicily. I do not know whether there is any one among them 
which, taken alone, exceeds in interest and beauty that of Neptune at 
PjEstum; but they have the advantage of number and variety as well as of 



TRAVEL AND ENTRANCE INTO PARLIAMENT. 




6o LIFE AKD TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

highly interesting position. At Segeste the temple is enthroned in a per- 
fect mountain solitude, and it is like a beautiful tomb of its religion, so 
stately, so entire; while around, but for one solitary house, of the. keeper, 
there is nothing, absolutely nothing, to disturb the apparent reign of silence 
and death. At Selinus the huge fragments on the plain seem to make an 
eminence themselves ; and they listen to the ever-young and unwearied waves 
which almost wash their base and mock their desolation by the image of 
perpetual life and motion they present, while the tone of their heavy fall 
upon the beach well accords with the solemnity of the scene. At Girgenti 
the ridge visible to the mariner from afar is still crowned by a long line of 
fabrics, presenting to the eye a considerable mass and regularity of struc- 
ture, and the town is near and visible ; yet that town is so entirely the mere 
phantom of its former glory within its now shrunken limits, that instead of 
disturbing the effect, it rather seems to add a new image and enhance it 
The temples enshrine a most pure and salutary art, that which connects 
grandeur of effect with simplicity of detail; and retaining their beauty and 
their dignity in their decay they represent the great man when fallen, as types 
of that almost highest of human qualities — silent, yet not sullen, endurance." 

This style, though rather magniloquent and a little indistinct and 
drawling, is superior to most of the descriptive writing which English liter- 
ature displayed sixty years ago. We miss the clear-cut, brilliant, and poeti- 
cal imagery which the taste of the present day demands. The most signifi- 
cant paragraph or expression in the extract is the last, in which the silent, 
unresentful, and sublime ruin of Girgenti is compared to a great man, say, 
a defeated prime minister (such as we shall be fifty years from now !) fallen 
from power, but magnificent in overthrow. The Gladstonian mind was man- 
ifestly, even at that early day, full of such imagery and thought as that. It 
is as true as ever that ''coming events cast their shadows before." 

Mr. Gladstone's journal shows the stages of his ascent to the crater of 
the volcano. He gives us an account of the immense chestnut trees, per- 
haps the finest in the world, which mark the limit of tree growth on the 
side of the mountain. The traveler observes with care the aspects of nature, 
not failing to note the character of the soil and the relative fertility at dif- 
ferent points. The account is an odd mixture of inchoate poetry and polit- 
ical economy. It was on the the 30th of October, 1838, that the writer set 
out from Catania to the summit of iEtna. On reaching Nicolosi-the moun- 
tain began to rumble. There were patches of woods and some mountain 
pastures in which flocks were browsing. The tropical temperature gave 
place, first to temperate and then to frigid conditions. The night was 
passed by the company at Casa degli Inglesi, and on the following morning 
the travelers beheld a sublime sunrise. Gladstone was greatly impressed 
with the scene, and gives the following account of what he witnessed : 



TRAVEL AND ENTRANCE INTO PARLIAMENT. 6l 

"Just before we reached the lip of the crater the guide exultingly 
pointed out what he declared to be ordinarily the greatest sight of the moun- 
tain, namely, the shadow of the cone of ^tna drawn with the utmost deli- 
cacy by the newly risen sun, but of gigantic extent ; its point at this mo- 
ment rested on the mountains of Palermo, probably a hundred miles off, 
and the entire figure was visible, the atmosphere over the mountains having 
become and continuing perfectly and beautifully transparent, although in 
the hundreds of valleys which were beneath us, from the east to the west of 
Sicily, and from the mountains of Messina down to Cape Passaro, there were 
still abundant vapors waiting for a higher sun to disperse them ; but we 
enjoyed in its perfection this view of the earliest and finest work of the 
greater light of heaven in the passage of his beams over this portion of the 
earth's surface, 

" During the hour we spent on the summit, the vision of the shadow 
was speedily contracted, and taught us how rapid is the real rise of the sun 
in the heavens, although its effect is diminished to the eye by a kind of fore- 
shortening." 

The travelers next come to the edge of the crater. Within there was 
a state of active eruption. Certainly the scene was enough to kindle the 
enthusiasm of the most phlegmatic spirit It illustrates the whole culture 
of that age and the temperament of Mr. Gladstone in particular, that this 
sublime exhibition of the natural world, this heaving bituminous lake of fire 
and terror swelling as if to vent itself upon the beauty and life of the world, 
suggested Vergil and what he had said and thought in visiting and describ- 
ing the same scene. Gladstone, yielding to the past, catches up the imagery 
of the j^netdy and repeats that, and weighs it and criticizes it as the 
expression of his own emotions in the presence of the smoking and roaring 
yEtna! The influence of the scholastic spirit could go no further. The 
Gladstonian intellect and imagination, strong as they were, and excited as 
they were by one of the sublimest spectacles to be witnessed on the earth, 
turns to the fictions of a Roman poet, distant from his own point of obser- 
vation by more than eighteen hundred years, and criticizes and analyzes 
his expressions as to their adequacy and correctness considered as linguis- 
tic pictures of a volcanic mountain in the act of disgorging itself on the 
world. That method was the natural result of six years of Latin and Greek 
readings at Eton, followed by the apotheosis of the past at Oxford ! The 
vision of the future Premier of England, stretching over the hell-throat of 
yEtna, was obfuscated with his Latin hexameters. 

It could not be said that Gladstone was ever a great traveler. His 
absences on the Continent were never frequent, and were in the beaten 
way. His thoughts were too much occupied with the organic movements 
of society and the conditions and tendencies of political parties to be 



62 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

greatly absorbed with the aspects of the natural world or deeply concerned 
with the manners and customs of foreign races. He must return as soon 
as practicable to England, in order to participate in the great action of 
the age. 

It was in the year 1832 that Gladstone first stood for Parliament. 
He appeared in public life as a Tory, under the patronage of the Duke of 
Newcastle. It was the custom of the times for political leaders to select 
promising young men whose views were accordant with their own, and 
to promote their election to the House of Commons. In such cases a 
borough would be selected whose voters were known to be favorable to 
that party to which the young man belonged, and he would be sent there 
to contest the election with some rival or rivals of opposing politics. 

The epoch at which William E. Gladstone first appeared before the 
public was so extraordinary as to demand some special consideration. It 
was the very crisis at which the great Reform Bill was forced through 
Parliament against the opposition of the ministry, the king, and the landed 
aristocracy of England. 

Let us note a few of the political conditions which were present in the 
United Kingdom as late as the year 1830. That was the year of the revo- 
lutionary movement on the Continent, in which the roused-up people of 
France discharged Charles X from further service, and took the citizen 
king instead. In that year Belgium became independent, and soon after- 
ward gave the crown to Leopold I. In England there was less audacity. 
As to royal conditions, George IV died, and William IV came to the 
throne. The agitation in England, coincident with that on the Continent, 
took the form of a movement for the reorganization of the House of Com- 
mons on a reformed basis. 

Than this project nothing could be more reasonable, and certainly 
nothing was ever more bitterly opposed. The House of Commons rested 
upon a foundation thoroughly corrupt and absurd ; but conservatism 
upheld the existing system. The population of England had now fluctu- 
ated from the land side to the great manufacturing cities. Populous com- 
munities had sprung up where none had existed before. Industry had under- 
gone great changes. The House of Commons no longer represented the 
actual England, but the old England of a mythical past. Tremendous 
cities now flourished, and because they were of recent growth were unrep- 
resented in Parliament. Such were Liverpool and Manchester and Leeds, 
whose teeming thousands of people had no voice in the House of Com- 
mons. But the ancient boroughs, however depopulated, kept their rights 
of representation. Nothing could be more preposterous than the system 
which had supervened. Conservative England continued to declare that 
her ancient boroughs, such as Gratton and Old Sarum, tJiough having not 



TRAVEL ANU ENTRANCE INTO PARLIAMENT. 







64 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

a single houses must be represented by two members in the Commons ; 
for it had once been so, and nothing must be changed! 

The condition became so monstrous that intelligent manufacturers 
and citizens and Whig statesmen began to agitate for a reform. The 
result was a political revolt. The ministry of the Duke of Wellington was 
overthrown, and a new ministry was formed under Earl Grey in Novem- 
ber of 1830. This revolution preceded the Reform Bill, so-called, which 
was not presented until the ist of March, 1831. The agitation shook Great 
Britain to the center. The last months of 1830-31 witnessed a crisis more 
serious than anything which had been known since the revolution of 1688. 
There were commotions in the cabinet — intrigues and counter-intrigues, 
and constant battle between the House of Lords and the rising sentiment 
of the country. Not until the 7th of June, 1832, was the Reform Bill 
finally passed, and then only when the movement was backed by imminent 
revolution. 

Two other liberal tendencies appeared at the same time. One was the 
project for the abolition of slavery throughout the British dominions, and 
the other for the removal of the remaining disabilities of the Jews. British 
conservatism, incorporated in the Tory party, was firmly arrayed against all 
these tendencies of progress. The radicals came on valiantly to the battle. 
The Whig party as such was generally with the progressive tide. There 
was at this period, as at all times, in England a great number of leaders 
and a large following who sought to stand on middle ground between the 
contending elements — to prevent by their influence the effects of a Tory 
reaction and to constitute a brake on the too rapidly running wheels of 
reform. It was the influence of this class that led to the surprising results 
of the English elections of 1832. 

A new reform Parliament had now to be chosen in accordance with 
the bill which had just been passed. The passage of the measure seemed 
to imply that Tory England had gone to the wall. It was confidently 
expected that the new House of Commons would be overwhelmingly 
liberal. So thought the radicals, and the discomfited Tories were ready 
to concede such a result. But both parties were disappointed in the elec- 
tions. Those who had supported the Reform Bill were not universally and 
overwhelmingly elected. Many of the leading conservatives were returned 
to Parliament under the approval of distinct majorities. 

It was in this election that William E. Gladstone first offered himself 
as a candidate for the House. He stood for Newark, in which the Duke 
of Newcastle correctly divined a chance of success against the reform party. 
It was to enter into the canvass of this borough that Mr. Gladstone, cutting 
short his first visit to the Continent, returned to England in September of 
1832. The Earl of Lincoln, son of the Duke of Newcastle, was an intimate 



TRAVEL AND ENTRANCE INTO PARLIAMENT. 65 

friend of the young aspirant, and it was this personal influence perhaps that 
led the duke to advance and support Gladstone in the Newark contest. 

The political usage in England varies so much from that with which 
we are familiar in our own country that American readers have difficulty 
in understanding the English elections. It is not necessary that the Eng- 
lish candidate for the House of Commons shall stand for election for the 
borough in which he resides. He may choose his field. He is not "nomi- 
nated^ in the American manner. There is a large freedom on the part of the 
candidate in declaring himself. As many as compete for the honor of elec- 
tion go before the people of the borough with public address and printed 
circulars containing an expression of the alleged principles of the candi- 
dates ; and when all is done an election is held, at which the voters declare 
their choice by show of hands or by ballot in the American manner. 

In the Newark canvass of 1832, which was the first held after the en- 
largement of the suffrage under the Reform Bill, the other candidates were 
Mr. W. F. Handley and Mr. Serjeant Wilde. The three represented the 
different opinions of the day. The advanced liberal candidate was Ser- 
jeant Wilde, who had been already three times a candidate — and once 
successfully — for parliamentary honors. He had canvassed the borough in 
1829, 1830, and 1 83 1, as the representative of the reform party, and in the 
last-named year had been elected. There was every presumption that after 
the passage of the Reform Bill, when the benefits of the measure might be 
expected to accrue to those who had favored it, the liberal candidate would 
receive kn increased majority. 

It would seem, however, that Serjeant Wilde was not able to contend 
successfully with the stranger Gladstone. The young man's personal ap- 
pearance was greatly in his favor. He was well-grown and manly. Cur- 
rent descriptions represent him as possessing a handsome person and an in- 
tellectual and striking countenance. Pictures preserved of the future states- 
man from this time represent him as full-visaged, with large lustrous eyes, 
long heavy brows, and a peculiarly adult and forceful expression for a young 
man only twenty-two years of age. He came to Newark also with unusual 
oratorical powers. He had carefully prepared himself for the emergency 
which had now arrived. Wilde, his principal opponent, had experience and 
abilities. He was skilled in the arts of the platform, and had the enthusi- 
astic support of the so-called Blue Club, or Liberal League of the borough. 
He was also thought to be the winning candidate. He had the prestige of 
being already a member of the House, presenting himself for reelection, un- 
der the very claim which had been approved by the voters in 1830. 

Gladstone, however, showed himself superior in public argument — a 
thing never lost on an English constituency. He also developed political 
skill, and was supported by the Red Club of Newark with as much enthusi- 

5 



66 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

asm as was Wilde by the Blues. Gladstone was an out-and-out Tory in his 
principles; but he made his argument with a certain reserve which always 
characterized his policy and contributed much to his success. The British 
mind demands that the wheels of progress shall indeed revolve, but it also 
demands that they shall turn slowly, moderately, safely, sometimes imper- 
ceptibly. Gladstone seems from the first to have understood the nature of 
that constituency upon which he must rely for support. 

On the 9th of October, 1832, the young candidate sent to the electors 
of Newark his first formal political address. The reader will be interested 
to see in what manner the neophyte politician aspiring to great things de- 
livered his cause to his intending constituents. It will be noted that the 
author of the paper recognized slavery as the leading question at issue. It 
cannot fail of interest to mark in what manner the young Tory sought to 
support and defend for a while longer that ancient barbarity of mankind, 
the system of human bondage : 

" Having now completed my canvass," says he, " I think it my duty as 
well to remind you of the principles on which I have solicited your votes, 
as freely to assure my friends that its result has placed my success beyond 
a doubt. 

" I have not requested your favor on the ground of adherence to the 
opinions of any man or party, further than such adherence can be fairly un- 
derstood from the conviction I have not hesitated to avow, that we must 
watch and resist that uninquiring and indiscriminating desire for change 
amongst us, which threatens to produce, along with partial good, a melan- 
choly preponderance of mischief; which, I am persuaded, would aggravate 
beyond computation the deep-seated evils of our social state, and the heavy 
burdens of our industrial classes ; which, by disturbing our peace, destroys 
confidence, and strikes at the root of prosperity. Thus it has done already; 
and thus, we must therefore believe, it will do. 

" For the mitigation of those evils, we must, I think, look not only to 
particular measures, but to the restoration of sounder general principles. I 
mean especially that principle on which alone the incorporation of religion 
with the State in our Constitution can be defended ; that the duties of gov- 
ernors are strictly and peculiarly religious ; and that legislatures, like indi- 
viduals, are bound to carry throughout their acts the spirit of the high 
truths they have acknowledged. Principles are now arrayed against our in- 
stitutions ; and not by truckling nor temporizing — not by oppression nor 
by corruption — but by principles they must be met. 

" Among their first results should be a sedulous and special attention to 
the interests of the poor, founded upon the rule that those who are the least 
able to take care of themselves should be most regarded by others. Par- 
ticularly it is a duty to endeavor, 'by every means, that labor may receive 



TRAVEL AND ENTRANCE INTO PARLIAMENT. 67 

adequate remuneration ; which, unhappily, among several classes of our 
fellow-countrymen is not now the case. Whatever measures, therefore- — 
whether by correction of the poor laws, allotment of cottage grounds, or 
otherwise — tend to promote this object, I deem entitled to the. warmest sup- 
port ; with all such as are calculated to secure sound moral conduct in any 
class of society. 

" I proceed to the momentous question of slavery, which I have found 
entertained among you in that candid and temperate spirit which alone 
befits its nature, or promises to remove its difficulties. If I have not recog- 
nized the right of an irresponsible society to interpose between me and the 
electors, it has not been from any disrespect to its members, nor from 
unwillingness to answer theirs or any other questions on which the electors 
may desire to know my views. To the esteemed secretary of the society I 
submitted my reasons for silence ; and I made a point of stating these views 
to him, in his character of a voter. 

" As regards the abstract lawfulness of slavery, I acknowledge it simply 
as importing the right of one man to the labor of another ; and I rest it 
upon the fact that Scripture, the paramount authority upon such a point, 
gives directions to persons standing in the relation of master to slave, for 
their conduct in that relation ; whereas, were the matter absolutely and 
necessarily sinful^ it would not regulate the manner. Assuming sin as the 
cause of degradation, it strives most effectually to cure the latter by extir- 
pating the former. We are agreed that both the physical and the moral 
bondage of the slave are to be abolished. The question is as to the order, 
and the order only ; now Scripture attacks the moral evil before the tem- 
poral one, and the temporal through the moral one, and I am content with 
the order which Scripture has established. 

" To this end I desire to see immediately set on foot, by impartial and 
sovereign authority, a universal and efficient system of Christian instruc- 
tion, not intended to resist designs of individual piety and wisdom for the 
religious improvement of the Negroes, but to do thoroughly what they can 
only do partially. 

"As regards immediate emancipation, whether with or without com- 
pensation, there are several minor reasons against it ; but that which weighs 
with me is, that it would, I much fear, exchange the evils now affecting the 
Negro for others which are weightier — for a relapse into deeper debase- 
ment, if not for bloodshed and internal war. Let fitness be made a condi- 
tion for emancipation ; and let us strive to bring him to that fitness by the 
shortest possible course. Let him enjoy the means of earning his freedom 
through honest and industrious habits ; thus the same instruments which 
attain his liberty shall likewise render him competent to use it ; and thus, I 
earnestly trust, without risk of blood, without violation of property, with 



68 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

unimpaired benefit to the Negro, and with the utmost speed which prudence 
will admit, we shall arrive at that exceedingly desii:able consummation, the 
utter extinction of slavery. 

" And now, gentlemen, as regards the enthusiasm with which you have 
rallied round your ancient flag, and welcomed the humble representative of 
those principles whose emblem it is, I trust that neither the lapse of time 
nor the seductions of prosperity can ever efface it from my memory. To 
my opponents my acknowledgments are due for the good humor and kind- 
ness with which they have received me ; and while I thank my friends for 
their zealous and unwearied exertions in my favor, I briefly but emphatic- 
ally assure them, that if promises be an adequate foundation of confidence, 
or experience a reasonable ground of calculation, our victory is sure. 

" I have the honor to be, gentlemen, 

" Your obliged and obedient servant, 

" W. E. Gladstone." 

No one in America shall unduly wonder at this speech, delivered in the 
fall of 1832. No age shall judge the preceding but by the standards that 
then prevailed. Certainly the whole speech, so far as the argument is con- 
cerned, is an incubus quite intolerable to civilization. But it is a speech 
that would have been regarded as remarkably moderate anywhere in the 
United States, even in Boston, for twenty years after the date of its 
delivery! We shall not, therefore, be surprised that in the England of 
more than sixty years ago a casuistical argument, buttressed with "Cursed 
be Canaan," was acceptable to a Tory constituency: We may remember 
in this connection that as much as eight years after this election in Newark 
the law of England still gave to a husband the same rights over his wife 
that he might exercise over his slave ! In such a condition of opinion and 
usage, we need hardly expect any refinement of conscience or clear recogni- 
tion of human ricrhts. 

As the canvass in Newark progressed, it became evident that Glad- 
stone was the favorite. The influence of the Duke of Newcastle, exercised 
through the Conservative Club, secured to him in advance about six hun- 
dred and fifty votes. To these the young orator succeeded in adding before 
the election nearly two hundred and fifty additional pledges. Notwith- 
standing his alliance with the past as against the progressive principles 
represented by Serjeant Wilde, he forged to the front, and on the nth of 
December was able to come to the hustings with confidence of success. 

Here again the scene was one unfamiliar to American readers. It was 
the custom of the English constituencies to come together and to oblige 
their candidates to appear on the platform in turn, as if to show their parts. 
Each might say what he would in the way of a speech, and each was sub- 



TRAVEL AND ENTRAN'CE INTO PARLIAMENT. 69 

jected to a running fire of questions and bullying well calculated to try the 
nerve of seasoned politicians, to say nothing of young aspirants. The three 
candidates appeared at the date mentioned, and Gladstone was subjected 
to not a little injustice and harsh treatment at the hands of the Liberals. 

Mr. Wilde consumed the time with a long speech, intending to wear 
out the patience of the Gladstone following; and in this he partly suc- 
ceeded. Two or three well-informed leaders of the Liberal party plied 
Gladstone with hard questions, which might well put him at his wits' end 
to answer. But he came through the ordeal with less hurt and more dig- 
nity than might have been expected. His opponents had managed the 
affair so that Gladstone's address must come at a late hour in the evening. 
Wilde spoke for about three hours. The young candidate could do no more 
than say a few words on leading topics before nightfall. The Liberals in the 
crowd interrupted him with yellings, and when the show of hands was 
called, it was evident that Wilde and Handley were in the lead. Many of 
Gladstone's supporters had gone away, and the enemy were in possession 
of the hustings. 

Under these circumstances it became necessary that a formal poll be 



SCENE AT THE HUSTINGS IN THE I 



J 



^0 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

held. If the reader has read with attention Carlyle's essay, " An Election 
to the Long Parliament " he will have a lively impression of the manners 
and methods of an English constituency such as it was from the middle of 
the seventeenth to nearly the first quarter of the nineteenth century. We 
need not here recount the scenes which were constantly witnessed in the 
old English boroughs, or animadvert on the methods by which an election 
was carried prior to the passage of the Reform Bill. Even after that event 
the manners of an English election were nearly the same as before ; but 
turbulence and mere tricks, such as that practiced by Mr. Wilde on the 
hustings, could not prevail to defeat the capable and proper young Tory, 
who had been defrauded of the fruits of his popularity at the public meet- 
ing. Indeed, the unfair scheme to rob him of his rights turned somewhat 
in his favor, and when the poll was held, instead of being the last, he was 
the first of the candidates. The tally showed for Gladstone, 882 votes ; for 
Handley, 793; and for Wilde, 719. 

Though Mr. Gladstone was in the plurality, he was very far from 
receiving a majority of the suffrages. This, however, sufficed ; and the 
successful candidate became member of Parliament for the first time, being 
as yet within his twenty-third year. The election was significant in this — 
that it showed the temper of the English voters in declaring for reform and 
then choosing men of Conservative dispositions to hold the reform in check. 
The like spirit was manifested throughout England, though the gains for 
the Tories were insufficient to restore them to their lost ascendency. 

The attention of Conservative leaders was immediately turned to the 
young member-elect from Newark. Mr. Gladstone seems to have borne 
himself with remarkable propriety, and to have been in no great measure 
inflated by his success. He pressed on, however, to make addresses at 
different places, notably before the Constitutional Club at Nottingham and 
at Newark, on both of which occasions he delivered eloquent and able 
speeches, conceived and uttered in the manner of tlie Tory statesman. A 
writer has pointed out the significant circumstance that the orator, in addi- 
tion to repeating what now appear to be his inane arguments about slavery, 
opposed in his Newark speech a proposition then pending for the abolition 
of certain taxes and restrictions on the public press. In doing so he made 
an argument to show that the press tax was essential to the maintenance 
of the revenue, and, secondly, that the tax in question had a wholesome 
influence in preventing the dissemination of false and corrupt matter by 
means of newspapers. It was equivalent to saying that an editor would 
not pay a tax for the privilege of circulating lies — a proposition clearly 
disproved by the journalistic history of all civilized countries ! 

In the Life of Gladstone, by George Burnett Smith, we have preserved 
from the newspapers of the day some extracts out of the chorus of cheers 



TRAVEI^ AND ENTRANCE INTO PARLIAMENT. Jl 

and hisses that arose on the occasion of the young man s first election to 
Parliament. The Nottingham Journal, highly pleased with the result, 
speaking of the opinion that the election had a ministerial significance, 
said : " The delusion has now vanished and made room for sober reason 
and reflection. . . . The return of Mr. Gladstone — to the discomfiture of 
the learned Serjeant and his friends — has restored the town of Newark to 
that high rank which it formerly held in the estimation of friends of order 
and good government We venture to predict that the losing candidate 
[Wilde] in this contest has suffered so severely that he will never more 
show his face at Newark on a similar occasion." The extract shows that 
the genus scribblerus politicus is the same in all generations. Here we 
have the town of Newark " saved and restored " by the election of a young 
man twenty-two years of age, chosen by plurality, with nearly two thirds 
of the vote against him ! We also have the usual and well-known prophecy 
that the defeated candidate is utterly ruined and done for world without 
end ! The Reflector, another newspaper of Newark, liberal in politics, said : 
" Mr. Gladstone is the son of Gladstone of Liverpool, a person who (we are 
speaking of the father) had amassed a large fortune by West India 
dealings. In other words, a great part of his gold has sprung from the 
blood of black slaves. Respecting the youth himself — a person fresh from 
the college, and whose mind is as much like a sheet of white foolscap as 
possible — he was utterly unknown. He came recommended by no claim in 
the world except the will of the duke. The duke nodded unto Newark, and 
Newark sent back the man, or rather the boy, of his chbice. What ! is this 
to be, now that the Reform Bill has done its work ? Are sixteen hundred 
men still to bow down to a wooden-headed lord, as the people of Egypt 
used to do to their beasts, to their reptiles, and their ropes of onions ? 
There must be something wrong — something imperfect. What is it ? What 
is wanting ? Why, the ballot ! If there be a doubt of this (and we believe 
there is a doubt even among intelligent men) the tale of Newark must set 
the question at rest. Serjeant Wilde was met on his entry into the town 
by almost the whole population. He was greeted everywhere, cheered 
everywhere. He was received with delight by his friends and with good 
and earnest wishes for his success by his nominal foes. The voters for 
Gladstone went up to that candidate's booth (the slave driver, as they called 
him) with Wilde's colors. People who had before voted for Wilde on being 
asked to give their suff*rage said : * We cannot, we dare not. We have lost 
half our business, and shall lose the rest if we go against the duke. We 
would do anything in our power for Serjeant Wilde and for the cause, but 
we cannot starve ! ' Now what say ye, our merry men, touching the ballot ? " 
Such were the two opinions that vented themselves in respect to Glad- 
stone's election. No doubt the statesman himself, in the afterpart of his 



72 LIFE AND TIMES OK WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

career, would have cheerfully coincided with what was said by the Reflector 
against himself and the manner of his first election to the House of Com- 
mons. It can hardly be doubted that the organized power of Toryism was 
turned by the Duke of Newcastle upon the constituency of Newark to 
secure the election of his son's friend and his own supporter to Parliament. 
It will be noted that the number of votes secured for Gladstone was just 
fairly sufficient to make his election unambiguous. Certainly the carping 
of the Liberal opposition did not go so far as to asperse the character and 
talents of the young manwho had come home from his travels in Italy to 
begin one of the longest and most conspicuous public careers known in 
history. 



BLACK FKIAKS BRIDGE, 1 



FIRST PASSAGES IN HOUSE OF COMMONS. 73 




CHAPTER V. 

First Passag^es in House of Commons. 

N connection with Mr. Gladstones entrance into Parliament we 
, note a circumstance showing the great superiority of one part 
of the British system over the corresponding part of American 
method. In our American Congressional system the usage 
has taken such form under the Constitution as to postpone the 
entrance of the new members into the House oi Representatives for much 
more than a year after the time when they are elected, and for about a year 
and a half from the date of their canvass before the people. Meanwhile 
the old Congress, probably out of accord with public opinion and perhaps 
discredited at the late election, goes on occupying its place and performing 
what political mummery soever the exigency of the defeated party seems to 
require. In England the members of the new Parliament come in fresh 
from their constituencies. No more than a brief interval elapses after the 
election until the new House is constituted. In Mr. Gladstone's case his 
election occurred on the nth and 12th of December, 1832, and the new 
House of Commons of which he was a member was convened on the 29th 
of the January following. The king's speech from the throne was delivered 
in the usual style on the 5th of February. William IV was in the third 
year of his reign. 

As we have said, the constitution and temper of the first Reform 
Parliament were much more conservative than might have been expected. 
After reforming the basis of the House of Commons, England, like a cautious 
farmer who has broken his fields by a new method but chooses to plant the 
seed and till the crop in the accustomed manner, paused in the course toward 
radicalism, and the new House, though of different materials, was much the 
same in spirit as its predecessor. Two great measures, however, were on 
that must, in the nature of the case, be now definitely adjusted. One was 
the final withdrawal of the immense trade monopoly which had been enjoyed 
by the British East India Company, and the other was the proposition to 
abolish slavery in the West Indies. The islands most concerned in the latter 
proposition were Trinidad and Jamaica; also Demerara. There had been 
in these islands, since the establishment of the British ascendency, a sort of 
modified Creole servitude which the English planters had used in .the culti- 
vation of their estates. It had been found, however, that native Africans 
could better endure the heat of tropical sugar fields than could the West 
Indian natives or the hybrids that abounded in the islands. African slavery 
thus became a deeply fixed institution, and its abolition was opposed with 
all the usual arguments born of interest, expediency, and superstition. 



74 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

It chanced that this question of abolishing West Indian slavery fur- 
nished the first occasion for Mr. Gladstone to address the House of Com- 
mons. The opportunity was not sought, but was rather forced on the young 
parliamentarian. We have referred, in a former chapter, to the fact that 
John Gladstone of Liverpool owned large plantations in Demerara. His 
estate there was known as Vreeden Hoop. It was cultivated by African 
slaves, under the immediate direction of a kinsman of the Gladstones named 
Maclean. The sugar industry in the islands had increased at the expense 
of that of cotton and coflFee. It was alleged that the slaves on the sugar 
plantations had been greatly overworked, maltreated, and poorly fed, and 
that the result was a large falling off in the number of slaves, with the con- 
sequent necessity of further importations from Africa. 

In May of 1833 a proposition was brought forward for the emancipa- 
tion of the blacks of the West Indies. The subject brought on a long and 
excited debate. Public opinion had in the meanwhile advanced to the 
extent of putting the defenders and apologists of slavery at a disadvantage, 
and their defense was not delivered with the accustomed spirit of their 
party. On the contrary, it took the form of a mild appeal for going slow in 
the work of emancipation, of making it gradual, of postponing, of getting as 
much as possible in compensation, and of holding back from finality a 
measure which could not be longer stayed. 

While this proposition was under discussion, one of the speakers. Lord 
Howick, who had been Undersecretary for the Colonies, made a liberal 
speech, in which he animadverted with some bitterness upon the condition 
of the slave-worked estates in Demerara. He showed that on the planta- 
tion owned by John Gladstone and operated by his kinsman there had been 
a decrease of seventy-one slaves, and that this was due to the severity of 
the treatment to which they had been subjected in the sugar fields. The 
speech was near to being an attack upon the character of the elder Glad- 
stone, and a charge of inhumanity for greed in the operation of the sugar 
plantation. 

The occasion thus suddenly presented itself for the member from 
Newark to make his maiden speech. On the 17th of May, 1833, he first 
addressed the House. He warded as well as he could the charges made by 
Lord Howick. He attempted to show that the decrease in the population 
of the Demerara estate was not attributable directly to the production of 
sugar or the severity of the treatment to which the slaves were subjected, 
but to a shifting in the character of the population at large. He conceded 
that the production of sugar demanded a greater severity of labor than 
was required in the production of cotton or coffee ; but he argued that this 
hardship was inseparable from the nature of human employments. It was 
so in Great Britain, in the home islands, that some kinds of labor were more 



FIRST PASSAGES IN HOUSE OF COMMONS. 75 

severe than others. Some employments shortened life. The worker in the 
lead mines did so at the constant risk of his health and with the certainty 
of curtailing the period of his existence. They who painted in shops in- 
haled fumes from paint pots, and were injured thereby. Of a like neces- 
sarily severe and somewhat dangerous character was the labor of producing 
sugar cane. The speaker denied the imputations against the character of his 
father and his lieutenant in Demerara. The latter was a humane man, and 
the speaker read letters recently received from him to attest the amicable 
relations between the superintendent and the well-contented slaves. On 
the whole, the speech was well delivered, was well received by the Conserv- 
atives, and heard with as much patience as might be expected by the 
Liberals. 

The debate went on with the usual variations until the 3rd of June, 
when Gladstone spoke again on the same subject. In the half-month that 
intervened he had diligently prepared himself, and was now better able to 
show the untruth of the charges which had been made against his father 
and his method of management. In the first part of his second speech the 
young parliamentarian confined himself to what Lord Howick had said 
about the elder Gladstone's estate, as illustrating the evil genius of slavery. 
Having disposed of this part, the speaker went on to discuss the general 
question before the House. He spoke of the slave system as it existed in the 
West Indies. He conceded the abuses of the system, but refused to admit 
the evil of the thing itself. Seeing that the Parliament, backed by "public 
opinion, was determined to make an end of slavery, he pleaded for mod- 
eration. He would temporize with the existing condition ; would mitigate 
It ; would cure it by degrees ; would apply the religious salve to the wounds 
of both slave and master ; would admit that human servitude was a thing 
repugnant to the British Constitution ; but that it could hot be extirpated 
in a day or a year. There must be gradual emancipation — if any. Property 
rights must be guarded. Englishmen had honestly acquired their human 
property, and this could not be taken away without just and ample 
compensation. At the same time many humane principles ought to be 
introduced in the relations of slaves and master. Elevation of the Negroes 
must precede emancipation. All should be educated and Christianized. 
Moreover, the legislatures of the insular colonies must be invoked in joint 
action with the House before emancipation could be legally reached. Vio- 
lent interference with slavery would prove to be not only a great injustice, 
but a practical disturbance of the industries and the whole social condition 
of the West Indies. The House did not possess the requisite information, 
the unquestioned basis of fact necessary for the consideration of so serious 
a proposition as abolition. It would be of the most doubtful expediency, 
anyhow, to emancipate ignorant and wicked blacks. No doubt many of the 



76 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

planters would themselves desire to be free from the burden of responsibil- 
ity which was put upon them by the existing system. Such men, as well as 
all others, should be regarded. Government should not think itself able to 
abolish slavery by a violent and arbitrary act. Such a measure would bring 
confusion and ruin to the colonies of Great Britain, and conduce to the 
downfall of the empire. In the last clause we may discover 'the usual 
alarmist prophecy with which the neophyte statesman is always prone to 
terrorize his countrymen into the support of his party and his measure. 

The reader is aware of the result of this great debate in which Glad- 
stone for the first time showed his powers in parliamentary speech. The 
House of Commons went forward to the legitimate result of such a discus- 
sion. Colonial slavery was abolished, with compensation to the slaveholders. 
The sum of twenty millions sterling was voted in payment for the slaves 
emancipated from the ownership of their masters. Thus, in the years 1833- 
34, in the outlying parts of the British empire, as well as in the home 
kingdom, slavery, or involuntary servitude, except for the commission of 
crime, ceased to exist. 

The next question that provoked an effort on Gladstone's part was one 
relating to alleged corruption in the politics of Liverpool. A committee of 
investigation had been appointed to look into the circumstances of the elec- 
tion of 1830. Liverpool had been the constituency of George Canning dur- 
ing the period of his greatness. The custom of the time permitted, if it did 
not sanction, the use of money and other corrupt motives in carrying elec- 
tions. Some of the boroughs had gained a bad reputation on the score of 
bribery. Nearly all the towns in the kingdom were more or less infected 
with this form of political vice. On several occasions men in Liverpool 
were openly bribed to support this policy or that. 

This condition of affairs was a moral element in the debates that led to 
the adoption of the Reform Bill. On one occasion Lord Cochrane openly 
declared in the House of Commons that he himself had sent the towhcrier 
through the town of Honiton, calling the voters who had supported him to 
go to the town banker and receive ten pounds ten shillings each as their 
share in good government. Liverpool had vigorously applied her commer- 
cial system in her elections, and had become notorious as one among the 
most corrupt constituencies in the United Kingdom. 

In the debate on this question, Gladstone spoke for the third time, pal- 
liating as much as he could the condition of affairs in his native city. He 
showed in a conservative way that direct bribery had not been known in 
Liverpool, at least not systematically practiced, before the year 1830. This 
was much ! The speaker also urged that in 1830 the election had not been 
particularly corrupt, that only a few instances of bribery had been actually^ 
shown, that a good deal of what was said was merely political scandal, and 



riKST PASSAGES IN HOUSE UF COMMONS. 



GEORGE CANNING. 



■-■^o^'-^ ,; 



- ^■^■■■^::^ 



yS LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

that the House did not possess the requisite information upon which to vote 
a continuance of the inquiry. The result of the discussion showed Mr. 
Gladstone to be greatly in the minority ; for the proposition to prosecute 
the investigation was carried by a vote of nearly two to one. 

Several other measures were presented at this session of Parliament 
on which an ambitious young Tory might well have opinions. Among 
these was a scheme embodied in what was known as the Church Temporal- 
ities Bill. The question related to the Established Church in Ireland. Al- 
ready there was a beginning of that agitation which was to continue for a 
quarter of a century, and to end only with disestablishment. The pending 
proposition was made by Lord Althorp. The measure contemplated the 
reduction of episcopal livings in Ireland, and some rectification of the taxes 
which were laid with so much injustice upon the Catholic Irish for the sup- 
port of the foreign establishment. 

Such a bill, however just and expedient, must needs encounter the 
opposition of the Conservatives. Mr. Gladstone, even in his first term of serv- 
ice, aspired to leadership of the younger Tory contingent in the House. On 
the 8th of July, 1833, he made a speech on the Althorp Bill, opposing it, 
and setting forth in good form the reasons of his opposition. He began by 
saying that he could not content himself with mere silence and a negative 
vote on such a momentous occasion. To the young statesman, all occasions 
of this kind are momentous ! He thrives on things momentous, and secures 
his leadership by some argumentum ad rem miraculam. 

Gladstone said that he would defend the Irish Church. There might 
be abuses in that establishment ; he was not prepared to deny the existence 
of such abuses; but the injury of the Church by a parliamentary act could 
not be justified on the score of abuse. If there were abuse, then former  
Parliaments were to blame for it. No doubt the Protestant Episcopal 
Church in Ireland had not flourished; but the low condition of the Church 
in that part of the empire could not be improved by an act calculated to 
work still greater inefficiency. With the passage of such a measure the 
Irish Church would be placed at still greater disadvantage. Let none think 
to strengthen an institution by weakening its resources. The number of 
episcopal districts should by no means be reduced. The Irish Church, as 
well as the English Church, was a national establishment. The govern- 
ment was in honor and all good policy obliged to maintain the episcopal 
organization in Ireland as well as in England. The paternity of the State 
must be recognized. To reduce the resources of the Irish clergy, when that 
body was already at so low an ebb of force, must cripple and disorganize the 
religious establishment in an important part of the United Kingdom. Per- 
haps the government would succeed in forcing the bill through ; but it 
would be against the best interests of the Irish people, hurtful to the Estab- 



FIRST PASSAGES IN HOUSE OF COMMONS. 79 

lished Church in particular, and inimical to the spirit of the British Consti- 
tution. Such was the tenor of Gladstone's speech, which of course could 
not avail against the large majority of the Liberals. 

Another measure which called out the young statesman was a Non- 
conformist Bill, proposed by Mr. Hume, declaring it no longer necessary for 
intending students at the University of Oxford to subscribe to the Thirty- 
nine Articles of Religion. Against this proposition Gladstone made his fifth 
speech in the House. He attacked the proposed measure on the ground 
that it contained the dangerous principle of religious liberty. Religion, he 
thought, was an affair of the State. It was made so in the Constitution of 
Great Britain. The Protestant Episcopal Church was the legal and consti- 
tutional establishment of the realm. The subscription of the Thirty-nine Ar- 
ticles at Oxford was pro forma anyhow. Oxford was a public institution 
of Great Britain. The subscription of the articles was as little as could be 
expected. The passage of the Nonconformist measure would bring con- 
fusion not only to the university, but everywhere. Those directly respon- 
sible for the management of the university would hardly remain in charge 
of an institution the gates of which were thrown open to the admission of 
an irreligious and un-English throng given over to a condition of moral 
anarchy. All this was excellent Toryism ; but it could not avail against 
the purpose of the Liberals who passed Hume*s Admission Bill by a major- 
ity of more than two to one. 

On the whole, Gladstone's early work in Parliament, though inspired 
with reactionary principles and wholly discordant with his subsequent 
career, was highly successful. He became a leader almost from the first 
The Tories began to look to him as a young man of great promise. It 
should be remarked that the Liberals also respected him, however much 
they may have abhorred his politics. The constituency of Newark was 
pleased to note the prominence attained by the young man whom the town 
had sent as its representative in the House of Commons. The Duke of 
Newcastle was highly pleased with his lieutenant. 

Meanwhile the ministry of Lord Melbourne began to fall to pieces. 
The student of parliamentary history is ever and anon surprised at the 
unaccountable decay of governments. A political triumph, however over- 
whelming, argues nothing as to the perpetuity of an administration based 
thereon. In the present case Lord Al thorp, one of the most conciliatory 
and amiable members of the ministry, was transferred to the House of 
Lords. Lord Melbourne tried to patch the breach in the dike, but the 
king objected to the reconstruction of the Liberal cabinet. Confusion came 
in, and at the suggestion of the Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Peel was 
called home from the Continent to form a new ministry ab ovo. 

The half-conservative temper of Sir Robert Peel was well known, and 



8o LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

even Toryism had reason to hope for something at his hands. What should 
the new premier do in December of 1834 but call William E. Gladstone to 
attach himself to the government as Junior Lord of the Treasury? Here 
was a sudden rise, indeed ; for Mr. Gladstone when summoned still lacked 
five days of the completion of his twenty-fifth year. The precocity in the 
case was by no means equal to that of William Pitt ; but it sufficed. 

The sudden elevation to place and influence made it necessary for Mr. 
Gladstone, in accordance with the Constitution, to submit himself to his 
constituency for approval. Very salutary is that check which the people 
of Great Britain in their capacity as electors have over that powerful 
ministry upon which the whole administration of the empire depends. In 
the first place, the minister-elect must be a member of Parliament. They 
who are in counsel to form a new government may not go outside of the 
House of Commons to gather the ministerial elements of it. Moreover, 
the member chosen must return to his constituents and be reelected before 
he can participate in the government. 

Thus did Mr. Gladstone in 1835. He appealed to his constituents in 
Newark, issuing to them an address, in which he reviewed the course of 
events, and showed the circumstances of the political transformation which 
had swept over the country. He now took the ground that the friends of 
the Melbourne ministry had fallen away because of their fear that the 
Liberal party would rush forward into the untried experimentation of radi- 
calism. The writer stated his belief that it was the duty of all patriots, 
without distinction of party, to uphold the crown and to defend as invio- 
lable the time-honored principles and methods of the British Constitution. 
Under that policy the country had flourished and grown to greatness. The 
proper method now to be pursued was temperately and dispassionately to 
reform the abuses of both Church and State. This policy had become the 
duty of every true Conservative. New conditions had entered in, and some 
things had been changed. For the rest, the whole pursuit of the statesman 
should be reformatory and corrective. The address exhibited greater talent 
and more of the coming Gladstonian elements of political sagacity than any 
of his former papers. 

At the election of 1832 Mr. Gladstone had been returned from Newark 
along with Mr. Handley, who was also a moderate Conservative. The latter 
appears to have been a member of no marked abilities. After two years 
of service he retired from the House, and in the election of 1835 Sergeant 
Wilde, that able Liberal, who, according to the Nottingham yournal, was 
" never more to show his face at Newark on a similar occasion," was chosen 
to serve, with Gladstone for his colleague. The latter came to Newark for 
reelection in full feather. The Duke of Newcastle proudly attended him. 
There was a great ball at Newark in honor of the occasion. Enthusiasm 



\ 



I 



FIRST PASSAGES IN HOUSE OF COMMONS 8 1 

ran high. After the foregone election ratifying the popular representative s 
appointment as Junior Lord of the Treasury there was an ovation in New* 
ark, in which Gladstone was taken up in an elegant chair and borne away 
on a carriage drawn by six caparisoned horses, from Clinton Arms Inn to 
the committee rooms of the city, where the young orator made a great 
speech to a crowd constituting the major part of the population. The event 
may be regarded as the beginning of a chorus destined to reverberate, with 
rise and fall, through England for fully sixty years. 

Thus William E. Gladstone became an undermember in the ministry 
of Sir Robert Peel. He has himself given an interesting account of his 
entrance into ministerial life and of his first meeting with Lord Aberdeen. 
In a preface to the Life of the Earl of Aberdeen, Mr. Gladstone says: 

"On an evening in the month of January, 1835, I was sent for by Sir 
Robert Peel, and received from him the offer, which I accepted, of the 
Undersecretaryship of the Colonies. From him I went on to Lord Aber- 
deen, who was thus to be, in official home-talk, my master. I may confess 
that I went in fear and trembling. I knew Lord Aberdeen only by public 
rumor. Distinction of itself, naturally and properly, rather alarms the 
young. I had heard of his high character; but J had also heard of him as 
a man of cold manners, close and even haughty reserve. It was dusk when 
I entered his room — the one on the first floor, with the bow window look- 
ing to the park — so that I saw his figure rather than his countenance. I 
do not recollect the matter of the conversation ; but I well remember that, 
before I had been three minutes with him, all my apprehensions had melted 
away like snow in the sun. I came away from that interview, conscious 
indeed — as who could 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 felt 
more about the wonder of his being at that time so misunderstood by 
the outer world than about the new duties and responsibilities of my new 
office." 

We should note before passing ♦from this stage of the Gladstonian 
career the beginning of one of the great questions which were to occupy 
the statesman's future time and purpose. It was the question of the Church 
and the State ; of the relations of the one to the other. Two out of the 
five principal speeches which he made during his first terms of parliamen- 
tary service were on this theme. We may discover in his speech on the 
Irish Temporalities Bill, and also in his renftirks against the removal of the 
religious test for the admission of students at Oxford, the germs of Mr. 
Gladstone's first book. We may regard that work as having begun with 
the proposition to curtail the Episcopal establishment in Ireland. 

It was about four years from this date until the appearance of the book 
6 



82 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

entitled, The State in its Relations with the Church, by W. E. Glad- 
stone, Esq., late student of Christchurch and M. P. for Newark, In the 
interim, no doubt, his mind was much occupied with thinking and com- 
posing on the theme which first carried him into literature. His Oxford 
education, and, indeed, his whole antecedence and environment, constrained 
him to be a Church-of-England va^Si par excellence ; and it was natural that 
he should soon make the attempt to justify to himself the union of that 
Church with the established political and civil order ; that is, with the 
State. 

The appointment to be Junior Lord of the Treasury was soon followed 
with a more distinct and unequivocal recognition. The Peel ministry 
adopted the maxim that the Reform Act was a finality ; that it was not to 
be undone ; that the measure had become a part of the British Constitution ; 
that under the new methods it was the business of government to go 
forward moderately, conservatively, with the reform of those abuses the 
existence of which had become notorious with the Liberal agitation. This 
theory of political expediency Gladstone adopted from his chief. It appears 
that Sir Robert was highly pleased with the Junior Lord, of the Treasury, 
for just after the meeting of the House, in February of 1835, William E. 
Gladstone was promoted to be Undersecretary for the Colonies. He had 
shown interest in the colonial question not only in Parliament, but in 
outside discussion, and had pretty thoroughly informed himself respecting 
the insular administrations of the empire. His appointment to be under- 
secretary was, therefore, fit to be made. It is worthy of note that within a 
month from receiving his portfolio he brought in a bill, conceived in a large 
and liberal spirit, for regulating the passenger traffic in merchant vessels to 
the West Indies and the main coast of the Americas. The introduction 
of the measure produced a very favorable impression in the House, tending 
to confirm the good opinion which that body already held of the young 
Conservative leader. 

While this, the first ministerial measure prepared by Gladstone, was 
pending an unexpected political swirl came on, which led to the resignation 
of the Peel government and the return of Lord Melbourne to power. The 
British nation quickly tires of its own methods. It is, without doubt, the 
most stubborn and opinionated people in the world. First passing a 
Reform Bill, England put the administration of it in the hands of those 
who had opposed it ! Presently the absurdity of that method began to 
declare itself, and the ministry of Sir Robert Peel h^^^sv, pari passu, to be 
weakened. The Liberal elements were able, at the very opening of Parlia- 
ment, to defeat the ministerial candidate for Speaker. This was a blow, to 
begin with. Then came Lord John Russell with a resolution taking up 
again the subject of the temporalities of the Irish Church. Lord John's 



FIRST PASSAGES IN HOUSE OF COMMONS. 83 

motion, however, was defeated after a hot debate, in the course of which 
Mr. Gladstone took a leading part. 

In this speech he followed the same line of argument which he had 
pursued at the former session. The Church existed under protection of the 
State, and in alliance with it It was the business of the State to support 
the Church, and not to invade her existing rights or reduce her properties. 
The proposition of Lord John Russell was covertly aimed against the 
Church establishment itself. It signified ultimately the complete divorce of 
Church and State. That disastrous scheme would be promoted by the 
present agitation. The element of religion ought to enter into every British 
administration. The views and wishes of visionaries and theorists should 
not be allowed to prevail over the long-established policy of Great Britain. 
England would sink away from the high rank she had reached if the foun- 
dations of her greatness were thus disturbed. For himself, the speaker 
strongly hoped never to live to see the day when a measure such as that 
proposed could be ratified by a British Parliament to the undoing of the 
realm. 

The debate evoked all of the Liberalism of the House, Lord John 
Russell's motion was adopted by a majority of thirty-three. The action was 
a ministerial defeat on a vital question, and this was followed with a like 
result when the Russell motion was debated in committee. Thus it was 
that Sir Robert Peel was forced from office, and Lord Melbourne was 
recalled to organize a new ministry. Mr. Gladstone had remained in office 
as Undersecretary for the Colonies for less than three months. He went 
out with his chief, having had no opportunity to show his parts except in 
the preparation of his bill for the carriage of passengers by merchant ships 
from England to America. 

The organization of the second Melbourne ministry was the signal for 
an extraordinary outbreak of political rancor. The debates in the House 
of Commons degenerated into mere denunciations, quarrels, and personali- 
ties. To his credit, Gladstone took no part in these unprincipled encounters. 
By holding off from the passing fray, however, he gained in respect more 
than he lost in the current applause of political nothings. The wreck of the 
Peel ministry had left him in opposition to the government of Melbourne, 
though it might be remarked that his Toryism became more and more 
moderated with each stage in his career. He had not yet abandoned his 
idols, but it was evident that he had less confidence in them than when he 
first entered public life. 

On one question Mr. Gladstone very naturally continued in a sensitive 
frame of mind. Slavery had now been abolished, and the restoration of that 
dreadful system was henceforth unthinkable — except by them daft. The 
changes of human society, however, are much less sudden and abrupt than 



84 l-IFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

is generally supposed West Indian slavery had ceased to exist under the 
flag of England ; but a system of Negro apprenticeship, to extend from 
1834 to 1840, had taken its place. It was not long until Liberal rumors 
were circulated that the apprentices in the British islands were as much 
abused as the slaves had been before. Such reports were well calculated to 
stir up radical indignation. 

On the 22d of March, 1836, a resolution was offered in the House of 
Commons by Powell Buxton, to inquire into the system of apprenticeship 
which had sprung up, and to this the ministry agreed. In the course of the 
discussion, Daniel O'Connell, of great fame, made an attack on the indus- 
trial conditions in the West Indies, declaring that the apprenticed Negroes 
there were in many instances worse off than they had been when slaves. 
Apprenticeship, indeed, was only another name for slavery. The abuses of 
the one were even as the crimes of the other. To this Gladstone spoke in 
reply. He would have the honorable member to understand that many, no 
doubt a majority, of the British West Indian planters were men of high and 
humane characters. No doubt the system of apprenticeship had its evils; . 
but these had been exaggerated by radicals and agitators for political effect. 
Apprenticeship had its advantages as well as its drawbacks. The condition 
of the emancipated Negroes of the West Indies was steadily improving. 
The condition would continue, to improve, unless the ill-advised agitation 
in the House of Commons should check or wholly defeat the good results 
of the Act of Emancipation. The attacks which honorable members had 
made upon the evils of apprenticeship were gratuitous and, for the most part, 
without foundation in truth. The probabilities are that in this controversy 
Mr. Gladstone had the advantage in the argument; but the government, 
by aid of the party whip, was able to pass the Buxton resolution by a large 
majority. 

It was at this juncture, when Mr. Gladstone was in his twenty-eighth 
year, that the civil commotions in Canada, borne by report and exag- 
gerated by rumor to the House of Commons, added another wave to the 
public commotion. It is necessary to glance for a moment at the conditions 
which had wrought this result. In the year 1791 Upper Canada had 
been divided from Lower. A separate government was given to each. 
Lower Canada was French; Upper Canada was English. No sooner had 
the division been effected than the British subjects of Upper Canada began 
to discover strong sympathies with the government of the United States. 
At the same time serious breaks occurred between the legislative assembly 
of the Lower province and the crown ofificers of that country. 

The crown officers as a rule stood stoutly to the interests of the mother 
country ; but the popular party sought to promote the local interests of the 
province. A revolutionary tendency appeared. Sir Francis Head, Gov- 



FIRST I'ASSAGES IN HOUSE OF COMMONS. 



DANIEL O'CtMOJEI,^ A.PDFESWNG HIS COL'NTKVMEN. 



86 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONB:. 

ernor of Upper Canada, instead of calling out his regular forces, sent those 
forces to assist the officers of the lower province, and summoned the local 
militia to put down the insurgents in his own government. He was success- 
ful in restoring order, but it was found that the insurrection had really 
been moved by the hope of gaining admission into the American union. 
Sir Francis, therefore, had run a narrow risk of losing his province alto- 
gether. He was succeeded by Lord Durham, who began his administra- 
tion with projects to reform the preexisting methods. 

The home government was alarmed, or at least the Tories were alarmed 
with the intelligence that Lord Durham was about to become a greater 
revolutionist in Canada than the rebels themselves, insomuch that he was 
designated by the London Times as the " Lord High Seditioner.'* An agi- 
tation followed, which was hardly calmed before the year 1840. Lord Dur- 
ham was himself overthrown ; but the reformative measures which he advo- 
cated gradually gained ground in both Canada and Great Britain, until they 
became the virtual foundation of the Constitution of the modern Dominion. 

The noise and rumor of all this stirred the House of Commons pro- 
foundly. Lord John Russell offered a series of resolutions whereby it was 
hoped to calm the turbulence in Canada and to heal the schism between the 
upper province and Quebec. The question debated was virtually the right 
of the Canadians to conduct their own affairs. Lord RusselPs measure was 
a ministerial scheme, and though Mr. Gladstone was now in the opposition, 
he supported the principles propounded, and made a speech in support of 
the governmental policy. In the course of this speech, the dread which the 
speaker then entertained of popular government was strongly mani- 
fested. He made the point that it was the business of every patriot under 
such circumstances to rally to the support of the government, as if only 
anarchy and political ruin lay in the opposite policy. The prerogatives of 
the crown must be upheld in Canada as well as elsewhere. The Canadian 
House of Assembly must yield, even by force, to the exigencies of public 
order. This opinion prevailed, and the House was treated to the spectacle 
of a moderate though undoubted Tory sustaining the Liberal ministry against 
the Liberals of the Canadian provinces ! Such are the unaccountable con- 
tradictions and absurdities of government by party. 

The question of the prerogatives and revenues of the Church again 
came up at the session of 1837. A plan of reform quite revolutionary in its 
compass and methods was proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
who was Mr. Spring Rice. The measure contemplated the organization of 
a commission, into whose hands the general properties of the Church should 
be transferred, and by whom the benefits to the bishops, deans, and chapters 
of the Church should be paid. It was argued that by the better manage- 
ment of the Church estates in the hands of the commission, a larger 



FIRST PASSAGES IN HOUSE OF COMMONS. 8/ 

aggregate of profits would be derived, to the extent that the measure pro- 
posed by Lord Althorp for reforming the Church in Ireland might be passed 
without loss to the sum total of the revenues. 

This ministerial measure was attacked by Sir Robert Peel and by Mr. 
Gladstone. The latter threw himself with more than wonted energy into 
the debate. He laid it down as a postulate that religion — organized religion 
— is the basis of the State, This it is that gives stability to the constitu- 
tional structure of a civilized people. It was so in Rome. Rome was 
mistress of the world not because of her armies and her navies, not because 
of her Senate and her consuls, not because of her wealth and territorial 
extent, but because of a certain solidarity in Roman society that had the 
religious order as its basis and ultimate reason. So also was it in Great 
Britain. The people of England had a religion. Being Christian, it was 
a much more important safeguard and anchor than could have been the 
pagan system of Rome. To give up the established religious order or — 
which was the same thing — to weaken it by adverse legislation would be an 
act of suicidal folly and wickedness, for the support of which a British min- 
istry would be held sternly to account by the judgment and conscience of 
the age and by posterity. 

This appeal, however, made with full force by Gladstone, could not pre- 
vail. The measure of Mr. Rice was carried, though the majority in favor 
of the same was riot decisive. The speech made by Gladstone was the 
longest and the most impassioned of any which he had thus far delivered in 
the Commons. In it we may note with distinctness the rudimentary evolu- 
tion of the book which he was presently to publish, The State in its Rela* 
tions with the Church. The address made against the Rice Bill was pub- 
lished in Luke Hansard's yournal of the House of Commons^ and occupied 
a space of thirteen pages. It may also be regarded as the first of the 
Gladstonian orations. 



LIKE ANU TIMES UE WILLIAM E. ULAUSTONE. 



QUEEN VICTORIA, 1843. 






RISING TO LEADERSHIP. 89 




CHAPTER VI. 

Rising to Leadership. 

[T was reserved for the year 1837 to witness the transfer of the 
British crown to the head of her who still wears it. William IV 
was gathered to his ancestors in the vaults of Windsor. His- 
tory had seen with astonishment the imminent extinction of 
the erstwhile populous house of Hanover-Brunswick. The 
great family of George HI had virtually sunk into the earth. To him nine 
sons had been born ; two of them had worn his crown. And yet in June 
of 1837, when William IV went down into the valley of the shadow, not a 
single male child of the legitimate blood of the English Guelphs survived 
to wear the crown! Edward, Duke of Kent, fourth son of George III, had 
died in 1825. To his surviving family, by the established laws of English 
descent, the monarchy must now look for a sovereign ; and that sovereign 
was found in the person of the Duke of Kent's daughter, Alexandrina 
Victoria, to whom the scepter went without the shadow of dispute. She 
ascended the throne as the thirty-fifth in order of succession from William 
the Conqueror. 

One of the circumstances of the transfer of the crown was the holding 
of a new parliamentary election. Gladstone had now attracted the atten- 
tion of the Conservative party throughout the kingdom. The Tories 
recognized him as a probable leader of the future. His moderate temper 
they could not well endure ; but the man political is not particular, if he can 
have a leader who will conduct him to success. More than one constitu- 
ency would now have been glad to have the member from Newark stand 
as a candidate. He was, however, prudential, not to say faithful to those 
who had first elected him to office. He accordingly offered himself to New- 
ark for the third time. 

The Tories of Manchester were anxious to secure the popular young 
leader for themselves. Manchester was a Liberal stronghold. For the 
Tories, the way to success there was steep-up, if not unscalable. They 
appointed a committee to cjll on Gladstone with arguments in favor of his 
representing Manchester. He heard what was to be said, but declined the 
offer. The modest certainty of Newark was better, according to his cau- 
tious judgment, than the glittering hypothesis of Manchester. A report, how- 
ever, got abroad that the young statesman was not ohly coquetting with the 
anxious city, but had signified his purpose to accept a candidacy for the 
larger place. There appears to have been no foundation for such a rumor 
other than the call of the Manchester committee; but Mr. Gladstone, on 
the 2 2d of July, 1837, a month after the accession of Victoria, found 



RISING TO LEADERSHIP. 9I 

occasion to publish in the Newark newspaper a formal contradiction of the 
report. 

We may note in what he says the prudent, strongly political, and astute 
temper of the man. " My attention," says he, " has just .been called to a 
paragraph in the Nottingham and Newark Mercury of this morning, which 
announces on the authority of some person unknown that I have consented 
to be put in nomination for Manchester, and have promised if elected to. sit 
in Parliament as its representative. I have to inform you that these state- 
ments are wholly without foundation. I was honored on Wednesday with 
a deputation from Manchester, empowered to request that I would become 
a candidate for the borough. I felt the honor, but I answered unequivoc- 
ally and at once, that I must absolutely decline the invitation ; and I am 
much at a loss to conceive how *a most respectable correspondent' could 
have cited language which I never used from a letter which I never wrote. 
Lastly, I beg to state in terms as explicit as I can command that I hold 
myself bound in honor to the electors of Newark, that I adhere in every 
particular to the tenor of my late address, and that I place my humble 
services during the ensuing Parliament entirely and unconditionally at 
their disposal." 

One would think that this clear and frank declination of the Manchester 
proposition would have settled the case ; but not so. Surprising as it may 
seem, the Tory electors of that city persisted in nominating Mr. Gladstone 
and voting for him. It is probable that they felt that his was a nanie to 
conjure with, and that in a hopeless political contest they could keep the 
Conservative forces together with the shibboleth of ** Church and State," 
and the name of Gladstone as the defender of the established order. A 
story got abroad, moreover, that he was a subscriber to the extent of five 
hundred pounds to the Tory election fund of Manchester, on condition that 
he be returned ! We do not know whether this report was or was not well 
founded. The probabilities are that Gladstone subscribed to the Conserv- 
ative fund, but that he did not stipulate his election as a condition. How- 
ever this may' be, his name was put in nomination and formally seconded 
by the Tory politicians of Manchester. 

Mr. Denison, one of their number, made a strong speech in Gladstone's 
favor, setting him forth as the able and unambiguous supporter of the union 
of Church and State. The Conservatives of the city knew themselves to 
be in a hopeless minority, but they rallied and cast 2,294 votes for William 
E. Gladstone. The Hon. C. Poulett Thomson received 4,155 votes, and 
Mr. Mark Phillips, 3,760. The result showed an astonishing strength 
for the Tory candidate. He had declined a nomination. He was nonresi- 
dent. The manufacturing city was overwhelmingly Liberal. The candi- 
date (if such he were) never once appeared in the borough, or gave the 



LIFE AND TlMtS UF WILLIAM E, GLADSTONE. 



COTTON MILLS, MANCHESTER. 



slightest countenance to what was going on ; and yet his vote was so large 
as to be a menace to the competitor just above him. Such was the surpris- 
ing strength of the Gladstone vote that the Tories were jubilant, and sent for 
their man to be the guest at a political dinner which they gave in his honor. 
The reception was held at the Bush Inn. In Gladstone's speech at 
the dinner he became witty. The circumstances had brought him to full 
feather. He was among his friends. In the political manner he congratu- 
lated his admirers that they had polled so great a vote under the banner of 
so poor a leader. He deprecated the abuse to which he had been subject, 
when he had in no wise offended the Liberals of Manchester, even by his 
presence during the canvass. Then he came to some excellent satire. " I 
have been told," said he, " that certain parties in Manchester were pleased 
to send over to Newark a Radical candidate to oppose me in the late elec- 
tion. I believe Manchester receives annually from Newark a great deal of 
useful commodities in the shape of malt and flour; and I suppose it was 
upon the principle of a balance of trade that this Radical candidate was 
sent ! If, instead of sending back this Radical candidate, they had sent back 
one of their sacks of flour, they would have sent back what was nearly as 
intelligent, and much more useful ! " 



RISING TO LEADERSHIP. 93 

The beginnings of the ascendency of William E. Gladstone in the 
affairs of Great Britain were virtually coincident with the commencement of 
the Victorian era. The career of the statesman and the career of the 
queen Svhose government he so largely influenced, but with whom he 
was never a popular or even acceptable agent, lie parallel throughout 
nearly the whole extent of this century. Under the auspices of Melbourne 
and Wellington, the young queen, modest, quite womanly, conservative, came 
to. the throne in the summer of 1837. On the twentieth of the following 
October she, for the first time, attended Parliament, and opened the session 
in person. Her speech had, of course, been prepared by the minister. On 
the w^hole the beginning of the reign was auspicious. The young sovereign 
was greatly praised by the Tories, and even the Radicals found some cause 
of congratulation and hope. 

Legislation, however, was for the moment at a standstill. After a short 
session, Parliament was prorogued for nearly three months. In the mean- 
time the Canadian imbroglio had continued to vex the provinces and to 
alarm the home government. When, in January of 1838, Parliament was 
reconvened. Lord John Russell brought forward a measure proposing to 
suspend for a season the constitution of Lower Canada, and pledging the 
support of the country to the government in the restoration of order in the 
Canadian provinces. Meanwhile, the Assembly of Quebec had sent Mr. 
Roebuck as its representative to the House of Commons to present the cause 
of Canada before that tribunal. In attempting to discharge his duty, he was 
met with a protest by Mr. Gladstone, who objected to receiving anyone as a 
representative of a provincial Assembly. The spirit with which the protestant 
resisted the recognition of popular rights seems strangely inconsistent with a 
proper respect for human liberty, as the same is now understood in English- 
speakfng countries, and equally inharmonious with the statesman s future 
policies. 

An attempt was made by the opponents of Lord John Russell's meas- 
ure to have it rejected; and on this issue Gladstone spoke at length. His 
attitude showed that he might already be regarded as a Conservative leader 
in the House of Commons. He urged retrospectively that the act of Parlia- 
ment passed in 1831, putting the Canadian revenues into the hands of the 
provincial Assembly, was responsible for the present assumptions and pre- 
sumptions of that body. To repeal the act referred to would be to undo 
the evil. The administration of the colonial office had recently been marked 
with folly and double dealing. The correspondence of Lord Gosford, 
Secretary for the Colonies, showed impolicy, tergiversation, misrepresenta- 
tion of fact. The colonial department was characterized as thoroughly 
incapable. The attack made by Gladstone on the ministry in this particular 
was severe, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Rice, felt called upon 



94 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

to speak in answer. Nor does it appear that his effort to refute the argument 
and denunciation of Gladstone was very successful. Sir Robert Peel spoke 
ironically of the inconsequential speech of the chancellor, and mocked at 
his effort as a failure. The ministerial majority, however, was sufficient to 
carry through the motion propounded by Lord Russell. 

The next wave of excitement in Parliament was the result of a measure 
proposed by Lord Henry Brougham for the abolition of the system of Negro 
apprenticeship in the West Indies. To this system we have already referred. 
In the retrospect, it seems hardly justifiable that Lord Brougham should 
have brought up the distressing subject when the question was so near a 
solution of itself. The system of apprenticeship of the late slaves only 
extended from the year 1834, when the Act of Emancipation was passed, to 
the year 1840. Within eighteen months of the time of which we are speak- 
ing apprenticeship would cease to exist. Nevertheless, the rising humanity 
of the age surged strongly through the breasts of radical and progressive 
statesmen, and they could illy brook the continuance of the virtual slavery 
of the British Islands with the abuses to which the system was reported to 
give rise. Lord Brougham was not a man to bear patiently what he con- 
ceived to be a great wrong. Perhaps he was not unwilling to annoy and 
taunt those statesmen who had been in the attitude of upholding the ancient 
order. ^ 

Stories of gross abuses and shocking cruelties done in the West Indies 
had been recently published in Great Britain. They were of common 
report. It was constantly alleged and repeated that the apprenticeship of the 
Negroes in the six-year interim was as vile in its abuse and injustice as the 
system of actual slavery. Lord Brougham, supported by Dr. Stephen 
Lushington and other Radical members of Parliament, pressed his motion 
for the immediate abolition of apprenticeship. This was done strangely 
enough in the House of Lords; but the echo of the movement was imme- 
diately heard in the Commons, where, on the 29th of March, 1838, Sir 
George Strickland offered a resolution virtually concurrent with that of Lord 
Brougham. 

On this question Gladstone made the longest and perhaps the strongest 
speech which he had ever yet delivered. It was longest as matter of fact, 
and strongest in the ability displayed to array the somewhat shattered logis- 
tics of the past in the support of conservatism. Clearly the speaker was 
sensitive from personal considerations on the subject of the slave system 
and apprentice system in the West Indies. The fine estate of his father, 
who was now approaching the end of his life, had been built up by means 
of slave labor in the West Indian plantations — not wholly so, but in large 
measure. It was easy, therefore, to taunt the distinguished son with the 
intimation that his own properties and worldly fortunes, both actual and in 



RISING TO LEADERSHIP. 95 

expectancy, were poisoned throughout with the injustice and cruelties of 
human servitude. 

It must be acknowledged that William E. Gladstone was always a man 
of honor. This is said aside from those political turnings and expedients with 
which his long public career was marked. It was therefore to him a burning 
matter to have the insinuation of dishonesty and inhumanity applied to 
those methods by which his wealth had been acquired. He spoke power- 
fully against the motion of Sir George Strickland for immediate emancipa- 
tion. He referred to the generosity which the West Indian slaveholders 
had shown when the Act of Emancipation was passed. They, as well as 
the Liberals and agitators, had assented to the humane measure by which 
slavery was done away. The slaveholders had themselves acknowledged 
and contributed to rectify the abuse and wrong of human servitude. They, 
the slaveholders, were glad that the system of enforced Negro labor had 
ceased to exist They had accepted for their losses the compensation 
which was tendered by government as a compromise. It should be con- 
ceded that if the slaveholders had sought to perpetuate slavery under a 
false guise, then they should be denounced, pilloried by public opinion, 
handed over to future ignominy. But this was not so. The greater number 
of the ex-slaveholders had not desired covertly to perpetuate the system 
of servitude. Apprenticeship was only an intermediary expedient, which 
must soon pass away by its own limitation. The stories in circulation upon 
which honorable members were basing their present attack were slanders 
and not truths. These slanders affected the character of a reputable and 
highly honorable class of Englishmen. 

The speaker then broke out in what was for him a passionate appeal. 
His outburst was personal and almost angry. " O, sir," said he, " with what 
depth of desire have I longed for this day ! Sore and wearied and irritated, 
perhaps, with the grossly exaggerated misrepresentations and with the utter 
calumnies that have been in circulation without the means of reply, how 
do I rejoice to meet them in free discussion before the face of the British 
Parliament ! And I earnestly wish that I may be enabled to avoid all 
language and sentiments similar to those I have reprobated in others. The 
character of the planters is at stake in this controversy. They have been 
attacked on both moral and pecuniary grounds. Apprenticeship — as Lord 
Stanley has distinctly stated when introducing the measure before the 
House — was a part of the compensation. Negro labor had a marketable 
value, and it would be unjust to those who had a right in it to deprive them 
of it. The House has recognized and assented to this right as far as the 
year 1840, and is thus morally bound to fulfill its compact. The committee 
presided over by Mr. Buxton has investigated the system of apprenticeship, 
and has reported against the necessity for the proposed change." 



96 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

The speaker proceeded once more to canvass at great length the indus- 
trial condition in the West Indies. He showed that the relations between 
the planters and the Negroes who had been their slaves were amicable and, 
on the whole, satisfactory. Whatever cruelties may have existed they were 
in process of extinction. The system of apprenticeship was not slavery, 
and was not marked with the abuses that had characterized human bondage. 
The stories which had been circulated and printed in Great Britain were 
exaggerations drawn from individual instances of hardship and abuse. The 
evils attendant upon apprenticeship were not general, but only local and 
peculiar. Statistics did not warrant the allegations of the gentlemen who 
support. Sir George Strickland's motion. If the lash had been used by 
West Indian overseers, that was a cruelty which was rapidly passing away. 
The history of British Guiana showed that the whipping of slaves had 
virtually ceased, and would cease of itself. In a population of fully seven 
thousand there had only been, in that country, eleven cases of whipping in 
the five preceding months. Even these cases of the use of the lash were 
justified, or at least excused, on the ground that the punishment was for 
theft, for crime, and was not the real slave-whipping that had existed 
formerly. 

Besides, the advocates of the measure before the House were involved 
in the grossest inconsistency. They who were supporting the proposed 
measure of Sir George Strickland could not wait for two years until the 
system of apprenticeship would expire by its own limitation, but they could 
patronize without compunction the horrid system of African slavery in 
America. For that system the responsibility rested on British statesman- 
ship. In America there were three millions of slaves, and Great Britain, by 
the purchase of American cotton for use in the industrial cities, was patron- 
izing and supporting a slavery that had no alleviation. It was grossly 
inconsistent in Radical leaders thus to shore up human bondage in America, 
and to turn about and attack the mild and humane system of apprentice- 
ship in the West Indies. 

In America, the speaker continued, there was no hint of abolition. 
Slavery in that country was unmitigated. It had become a part of the 
domestic condition in a large portion of the American States. It bade fair 
to be an everlasting institution. In 1837 the British dealers, represented 
by agitators in Parliament, had consumed forty-five million pounds of cotton 
produced by free labor, and three hundred and eighteen million pounds 
produced by slave labor ! This, too, at a time when India afforded a field for 
the production of cotton with free labor at cheaper rates than could be had 
in America. " If, sir," the speaker continued, '* the complaints against the 
general body of the West Indies had been substantiated, I should have 
deemed it an unworthy artifice to attempt diverting the attention of the 



RISING TO LEADERSHIP. 97 

House from the question immediately at issue by merely proving that other 
delinquencies existed in other quarters ; but, feeling as I do that those 
charges have been overthrown in debate, I think myself entitled and bound 
to show how capricious are honorable gentlemen in the distribution of their 
sympathies among those different objects which call for their application." 

In this case the speaker claimed to urge only justice. The House of 
Commons could not be indifferent to the call for justice. Notwithstanding 
the fact that the speaker was in opposition, notwithstanding the fact that 
he appeared as an apologist only, proposing nothing in the way of progress, 
such was the vigor of his address and .tl)e. dilemma in which he placed the 
patrons of American slavery illQgically.c^tt^clcing the system of apprentice- 
ship, certainly a lesser evil, ^bat the resolution of Strickland was beaten on 
an open division of the'-Jiouse. The London. Times, then as ever the 
organ of the government, fo.und occasion to ,^peak in high compliment of 
the speech of Gladstone from both a politic;^!*-,^^ an oratorical point of 
view. The address was put^lished in full in H-^MaVd's Journal of the House 
of Commons, occupying , rhitny-three columK§:.bf that publication. It was 
also quoted with delight by. the Conservatix^ papers and summarized with 
little condemnation by the •l-^iberal journals of the time. Certainly the 
speech did not go to the root of the matter. It did not look down into the 
^oo ultimate character of all slavery and all semislavery whatsoever ; but, taking 
—as Gladstone was ever disposed to take — the existing condition as the 
point of departure, he argued out of that most strongly and successfully, 
against the proposals of Lord Brougham and Sir George Strickland, gaining 
for himself and for his successful effort a well-deserved increment of repu- 
tation as a parliamentarian and rising statesman ; this, too, in the face of 
the fact that the abuses complained of in the islands of Demerara, Trini- 
dad, and Jamaica were-, on the whole, founded in fact. The great point was 
that the government had promised the slaveholders a period of six years 
of that apprenticeship of the Negroes which stood in the place of the 
former slavery. To this they were entitled, as well as to the twenty millions 
sterling which had been given them in compensation^ for their human 
chattels. 

We might make the episode just recited, happening in the spring of 1838, 
the date of the national reputation and rising influence of W. E. Gladstone 
in the House of Commons. It was now manifest that an able, cautious, and 
withal patriotic, though strongly conservative, young parliamentary leader 
had appeared, from whom much might be expected for the future. Barnett 
Smith, in his Life of Gladstone, has repeated from a book called the British 
Senate in 1838, a paragraph in which the able author of that work, though 
often erroneous in statements of fact, happily sketches the character and 
position of the member from Newark at the period indicated. 
7 .  - . 

.Ct'^'TRAL RESEBVB 

I I rm ——^4 , 



00 

81 

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T-'^-n 



98 . LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

" Mr. Gladstone," says he, "is one of the most rising young men on the 
Tory side of the House. His party expect great things from him; and cer- 
tainly, when it is remembered that his age is only thirty-five [!] the success 
of the parliamentary efforts he has already made justifies their expectations. 
He is well informed on most of the subjects which usually occupy the 
attention of the Legislature ; and he is happy in turning his information to 
good account. He is ready on all occasions which he deems fitting ones 
with a speech in favor of the policy advocated by the party with whom he 
acts. His extempore resources are ample. Few men in the House can 
improvise better. It does notja^pp^x to ctjst him an effort to speak. He is 
a man of very considerabl^-t^If^t^^feut haft-ixiathing approaching to genius. 
His abilities are much more \ffie* result df'ko-* excellent education and of 
mature study than of any prodigality of nature lff.\3ie*flistribution of her mental 
gifts. I have no idea tlia^'he will ever acquire tl)e reputation of a great 
statesman. His views are;fibt sufficiently prbfourfd or enlarged for that; 
his celebrity in the Hou'sc^f "Commons will dxren}f depend on his readiness 
and dexterity as a debatefi-iir.conjunction .wi<h-tb'e excellence of his elocu- 
tion and the gracefulness of. ^is\itiahnef.\V'h€ri3''' ©peaking." 

Such contemporaneous critipfsms aail>GLt-Just cited are always interest- 
ing in the retrospect — and frequently^Stmusing. We may well wonder how 
the author of the same could make a gentleman to be " only thirty-five " in 
the year 1838, who was born in December of 1809 ! To the average arith- 
metician, skilled only in the vulgar subtraction of numbers, it would appear 
that ^Ir. Gladstone at this time was not yet thirty, or even quite twenty- 
nine years of age. And withal, five years at this period of a man s life are 
worth counting ! As to the prophetical part, that Gladstone could never 
acquire the reputation of statesman, and that he was more dependent on 
excellence of elocution than on any enlarged or profound views of state policy, 
that is fairly good ! 

The same author from whom we have quoted is more to the point in 
speaking of Gladstone's style, and of his ability in ars celare artem. " His 
style," says he, "is polished, but has no appearance of the effect of previous 
preparation. He displays considerable acuteness in replying to an oppo- 
nent ; he is quick in his perception of anything vulnerable in the speech to 
which he replies, and happy in laying the weak point bare to the gaze of 
the House. He now and then indulges in sarcasm, which is in most cases 
very felicitous. He is plausible even when most in error. When it suits 
himself or his party, he can apply himself with the strictest closeness to the 
real point at issue ; when to evade the point is deemed most politic, no man 
can wander from it more widely." And the critic might have added more 
gracefully or classically ! 

In the next place the author of The British Senate in 1838 goes on to 



RISING TO LEADERSHIP. 99 

speak of the person and habit of the man. " Mr. Gladstone's appearance," 
says he, " and manners are much in his favor. He is a fine-looking man. 
He is about the usual height and of good figure. His countenance is mild 
and pleasant, and has a highly intellectual expression. His eyes are clear 
and quick. His eyebrows are dark and rather prominent There is not a 
dandy in the House but envies what Truefit would call his 'fine head of jet- 
black hair.' It is always carefully parted from the crown downward to 
his brow, where it was tastefully shaded. His features are small and regu- 
lar \mirabile dictu /], and his complexion must be a very unworthy witness 
if he does not possess an aburfdant stock of health. 

" Mr. Gladstone's gesture is varied but not violent. When he rises he 
generally puts both his hands behind his back ; and having there suffered 
them to embrace each other for a short time he unclasps them, and allows 
them to drop on either side. They are not permitted to remain long in 
that locality before you see them again closed together and hanging down 
before him. Their reunion is not suffered to last for any length of time. 
Again a separation takes place, and now the right hand is seen moving up 
and down before him. Having thus exercised it a little, he thrusts it into 
the pocket of his coat, and then orders the left hand to follow its example. . 
Having granted them a momentary repose there, they are again put into 
gentle motion ; and in a few seconds they are seen reposing vis a vis on his 
breast. He moves his face and body from one direction to another, not for- 
getting to bestow a liberal share of his attention on his own party. He is 
always listened to with much attention by the House, and appears to be 
highly, respected by men of all parties. He is a man of good business 
habits ; of this he furnished abundant proof when Undersecretary for the 
Colonies, during the short-lived administration of Sir Robert Peel." 

We may now notice the remaining parliamentary history of Mr. Glad- 
stone during the years 1839-40. Notwithstanding the fact that with the 
last-named year the remaining vestiges of Negro slavery in the West Indies 
would cease, the agitation in the House of Commons relative to the indus- 
trial condition in those islands still continued The animosity rose so high 
that at one time Sir Stephen Lushington introduced a bill from the side of 
the government for the suspension of the Jamaican Constitution. The 
measure was sufficiently radical and severe. As might be expected, Glad- 
stone opposed it with all his might. He went again through the same argu- 
ments that he had now traversed more than once with respect to the rela- 
tions to the ex-slaves and ex-masters of the British West Indies. More par- 
ticularly, he urged that the Lushington Bill was in violation of faith. It 
would undo those conditions upon which a settlement in Jamaica had been 
effected. It was like a proposition to violate a contract after the fact. The 
passage of such a bill would be a notice to the colonial subjects of Great 



;>ril)5'V7\ 



ICX5 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

Britain that they could not any longer depend on the good faith of the 
House of Commons. 

At this time began the agitation in England for a better system of 
public education, A proposition was made to constitute an Educational 
Board for the United Kingdom in connection with the privy council. 
The measure had the support of George William Frederick Howard (Vis- 
count Morpeth), at that time Chief Secretary for Ireland. It was opposed 
by Lord Stanley, who on the 14th of June, 1839, spoke long and almost 
angrily against the so-called National Education Bill. He insisted in a 
motion that her majesty be requested to rescind that Order in Council by 
which the Educational Board was to be constituted. 

Every proposition of the kind now before the House was calculated to 
awaken the deep-seated religious prejudices of Great Britain. The interests 
of the Established Church and the interest of Irish Catholicism could 
hardly be made to consist The larger interest of secular society — inde- 
pendent alike of the one and of the other — was sacrificed once and again 
to the powerful prejudices of religion. Nearly every speaker approached 
the question from the angle of his own establishment. It seemed Impos- 
sible to please everybody with anything. Lord Morpeth spoke in favor of 
the proposed bill. He made the argument that the government of Great 
Britain was in the habit of employing for national purposes, such as war, all 
classes of subjects, without respect to religious qualifications. Government 
did not hesitate to lay its hand on Roman Catholics and Nonconformists, 
as well as on adherents of the Church of England. Government did not 
forbear to take in taxation the property of all alike. Therefore all should 
be treated alike in the matter of public education. If the government made 
soldiers out of young Roman Catholics and took the gold of Nonconform- 
ists without asking leave of religious prejudice, then the government could 
hardly refuse the advantages of education to all subjects without partiality 
or prejudice. 

It is probable, indeed certain, that the trend of the debate was in part 
determined by the postulates and arguments of Mr. Gladstone's recent book 
on The State in its Relations with the Church; for that work had now 
been published, and was matter of comment in religious circles and in the 
high places of statesmanship. In course of the debate, some of the speak- 
ers, such as Daniel O'Connell and Lord Ashley, referred to Mr. Gladstone's 
work, criticising favorably or adversely the tenets of that treatise. This 
was precisely to the author's hand and mind. It gave opportunity to him 
to reply to the defenders of the ministerial project. His speech was lev- 
eled in particular against Lord John Russell and Lord Morpeth. The 
speaker did not hesitate to avow and defend the doctrines of his book. 
He would support that thesis in both theory and practice. The principles 



r 



RISING TO LEADERSHIP. 



of his work on Church and State might well be compared with the prin- 
ciples of Lord John Russell, particularly in the results that flowed naturally 
therefrom. The principles which he had espoused might well be judged 
from an examination of the institutions of the three parts of the home 
empire of Great Britain. The establishment of England would show prac- 
tically the value of his doctrine. Scotland and Ireland would also furnish 



DANIEL OCONNELL. 



a lesson. He animadverted upon the statistics which O'Connell had intro- 
duced into his speech, remarking wittily that that orator reminded him of 
a remark made by George Canning, to the effect that he had a great aver- 
sion to hearing a fact in debate, but a still greater repugnance to figures! 

Gladstone insisted that O'Connell was inaccurate in his alleged statis- 
tics. He then turned to Lord Morpeth's contention that the State ought 



I02 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

to provide education for the Nonconformists because "it fingered their 
gold." In reply to this the speaker said that if the State of England had 
no other function than that of expressing the will of the people on religious 
doctrines, he might admit the truth of Morpeths saying. On the other 
hand, if the State should be regarded as an entity and moral person having 
duties to perform, a conscience to obey, and by consequence a system of 
religion to uphold, then indeed the case was different Certainly it was not 
the business of a representative in the House to revile any form of religion; 
but Christianity, expressed in the episcopal establishment, was the religion 
of the State. The measure proposed was sweeping in its provisions. It 
took in every mongrel variety of human thought and doctrine. If the 
bill should become a law, then the Jews would have a right to public 
education. 

How could this thing be? A recent petition sent to the House had 
expressed to the queen the profound gratitude of the nation along with 
the wish that the youth of the country should be religiously trained, and 
the rights of conscience be respected for all. The petitioners expressed the 
hope that both Jew and Christian might be educated " with a due regard to 
the Holy Scriptures." How could the Jew, who rejected the New Testa- 
ment, be educated at public charge " with due regard to the Holy Scrip- 
tures?" If the Jews were to be educated at public charge as well as 
Christians, then the children of the Jews would have to be indoctrinated 
with the reading of the New Testament — a thing intolerable to the Hebrew 
understanding and conscience. The measure was therefore contradictory 
and absurd. The speaker would not require any child of England to be 
indoctrinated with principles contrary to the religion of his fathers. But 
this forbade the education of such children at the expense of the State. 
The whole speech was an excellent example of the conflict of the Aristo- 
telian logic, with all its bloodless and inhuman bones, against that humane 
and civilizing fact called history. Mr. Gladstone succeeded by his debate 
in reducing the governmental majority on the Education Bill, which was 
nevertheless passed over the Conservative protest • 

This was the age in British politics when many of the humane ques- 
tions that have filled up so large a part of the annals of the empire in this 
century were beginning to take form. The question of the Jews as possible 
participants in the benefits of the new statute of education widened into an 
agitation for removing from the long-oppressed race the legal discrimina- 
tions to which they had been subjected. Late in the session of 1839 a bill 
was brought into the House for the removal of the civil disabilities of the 
Jews. The Liberals — including the residue of Whig statesmen — and the 
Radicals of the House were favorable to the proposed measure. The 
Conservatives, however, were strongly agitated against it. Mr. Gladstone 



RISING TO LEADERSHIP. IO3 

was among the number who deprecated the revocation of the anti-Jewish 
statutes. He spoke against the Removal Bill, and in so doing was con- 
fronted and worsted not a little by the brilliant Thomas Babington 
Macaulay, whose speech on the occasion was as humane and logical as it 
was eloquent and ornate. 

It could hardly be doubted that at this time Macaulay was the greatest 
debater in the Commons. His speech, when inspired with the passionate 
sense of justice and human right, moved like a storm through the forest; 
nothing could withstand it. He was nine years the senior of Gladstone, 
and had the advantage of a profounder scholarship, extending into every 
field of the humanities, a more vivid imagination, less prudence, and greater 
audacity. The bill for the removal of Jewish disabilities was passed through 
the House of Commons, but rejected by the Lords. It was much that 
Mr. Gladstone, who had not yet completed his thirtieth year, should be 
matched in any measure of honorable competition with the most brilliant 
speaker and writer of the times. 

In the following session Parliament was agitated with the Chinese 
question. Great Britain had begun her nefarious commerce in opium with 
the merchants of the Chinese ports. The authorities of the celestial 
empire were striving in a weak and desultory way to inhibit the wicked and 
corrupting trade. There was an interruption of intercourse between Great 
Britain and China, and afterward some overt acts of hostility. In the ses- 
sion of 1840 Sir James Graham introduced a declarative resolution that the 
difficulties with the Orient were referable to the mismanagement of the min- 
istry respecting the relations of Great Britain with China, and in particular 
to the fact that the superintendent of British interests at Canton had not 
been furnished with adequate instructions relative to the then contraband 
trade in opium. It was a measure of the opposition intended to weaken 
the influence of the government. 

The purpose of the supporters of the proposition was to show that 
Great Britain had been to blame in the antecedents of the difficulty, and 
'Would be still more to blame in making war on the Chinese. This was the 
position taken by Gladstone. In his speech he reverted to what Macaulay 
had said against the resolution of Sir James Graham. It shows us the 
degree of his courage that he was not unwilling to measure swords with so 
great an antagonist. " The right honorable gentleman opposite," said Mr. 
Gladstone, " spoke last night in eloquent terms of the British flag waving 
in glory at Canton, and of the animating effects produced on the minds of 
our sailors ^by the knowledge that in no country under heaven was it per- 
mitted to be insulted. But how comes it to pass that the sight of that flag 
always raises the spirit of Englishmen ? It is because it has always been 
associated with the cause of justice, with opposition to oppression, with 



104 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE, 

respect to . national rights, with honorable commercial enterprise; but now 
under the auspices of the noble Lord that flag is hoisted to protect an 
infamous contraband traffic, and if it were never to be hoisted except as it 
is now hoisted on the coast of China we should recoil from its sight with 
horror, and should never again feel our hearts thrill as they now thrill with 
emotion when it floats proudly and magnificently on the breeze." 

This was an instance in which Gladstone, though a Conservative, was 
favored by the elements in the question under debate. We think we per- 
ceive in his oratorical outburst an enthusiasm which had been impossible if 
the speaker had not discerned the degrading use to which the British flag 
was put in protecting the contraband trade in opium. The fire of the address 
hints at the great conflagration that may hereafter arise when national injus- 
tice shall furnish to the statesman, under inverted political conditions, a true 
theme of oratory and denunciation. 

The vote for Sir J. Graham s antiministerial resolution was so strong 
as almost to prevail over the government. Only five votes were wanting to 
such a result. Meanwhile the Melbourne ministry became more and more 
unpopular. The Nonconformists in England were dissatisfied with it, and 
still more were the Irish Catholics. The sentiment increased in' 1840-41, 
and with the next session of Parliament it was manifest that the ministry 
would be overthrown. In the interim a deficit of two and a half millions 
sterling had appeared in the revenue. The Conservatives grew more and 
more aggressive. On the 27th of May, Sir Robert Peel, leader of the oppo- 
sition, offered a resolution in the Commons of a want of confidence in the 
ministry. A long and heated debate ensued, at the end of which the gov- 
ernment was beaten on a full House, by a majority of one vote. 

Lord John Russell, speaking for the ministry, announced the dissolu- 
tion of Parliament and an appeal to the country. On the 22d of June the 
session ended in great confusion, and the parties threw themselves into the 
political canvass. In the elections that ensued the Conservatives made a 
net gain of forty seats in the House. Manyof the most able Liberals were 
beaten for reelection. Gladstone came back from Newark with a greater 
vote than ever. The Liberals went to the wall. When the House con- 
vened, in August of 1841, the government was beaten on the address by a 
majority of ninety-one. Lord Melbourne went out, and' Sir Robert Peel 
was summoned to construct a new ministry. In the formation of this Mr. 
Gladstone was remembered. He received the appointment of Vice President 
of the Board of Trade and Master of the Mint. His constituency of Newark 
readily approved his appointment, and he became a prominent member in 
the second ministry of Sir Robert PeeL 



MARRIAGE AND FIRST APPEARANCE IN LITERATURE. IO5 




CHAPTER VII. 

Marriage and First Appearance in Literature. 

N the second chapter of this work we traced to a certain extent 
Mr. Gladstones ancestry and family development. In the 
present connection we revert again to personal history, and 
in particular present a notice of his marriage, the establish- 
ment of his own family, and the status of that family in the 
last years of the statesman's life. 

In 1839 M^' Gladstone took in marriage Miss Catherine Glynne, 
daughter of Sir Stephen Richard Glynne. With her came the now cele- 
brated Hawarden Castle, in Flintshire. Here the statesman virtually spent 
his life with his growing family, but occupied during the greater part with 
his pubKc duties at London. The home of the Gladstones became famous 
as the head of it rose to distinction and world-wide reputation. 

The Hawarden estate has a history which, as events have determined, 
the English-speaking race is not likely to let die. The traditional accounts 
of Hawarden go back to the times of the Commonwealth, and then by another 
stage to the middle of the fifteenth century. It seems first to have belonged, 
in the reign of Henry VI, to Sir Thomas Stanley, one of the officers of the 
crown. Then it passed to the Derbys, with whom it remained until James, 
Earl of Derby, was beheaded for royalism in 1651. With this event the 
estate went to Sergeant Glynne, to whom it was sold as a sequestered prop- 
erty. Nine years afterward, with the restoration of the House of Stuart,'the 
heir of the Derbys was about to reclaim Hawarden; but Sergeant Glynne 
purchased whatever rights Charles, Earl of Derby, may have had, and the 
estate remained to the Glynnes, Sir William Glynne obtaining it in 1665. 
During the wars of the Commonwealth, the Royalists and the Republicans 
had the place by turns; but the Derbys never reoccupied Hawarden after 
the revolution. 

As to the Glynne family, that came out of Wales. The name seems to 
be taken from Glyn Llyvon, in Carnarvonshire. The father of Sergeant 
Glynne, who obtained Hawarden in 1651, was a knight, who became a chief 
justice. One of his sons was a parliamentarian and a baronet. In 1727 
Sir Stephen Glynne, second baronet of the name, built a house at Hawarden. 
, Afterward Sir John Glynne, who married a daughter of the family of 
Ravenscroft, added to the estate the property called Broadlane. The Broad- 
lane House became the nucleus of Hawarden castle. The property was 
greatly improved by Sir John, who made the boundaries of the estate about 
what they are at the present time. More than seven thousand acres are 
included in the property, of which the park comprises about two hundred 



LIFE AND TIMES Of WILLIAM K. GLADSTONE. 



'-^ 



r 



MARRIAGE AND FIRST APPEARANCE- IN LITERATURE. I07 

acres and the other improved grounds about five hundred acres additional. 
By a coincidence, the present Hawarden house was built in the year of the 
birth of Mr. Gladstone — as if to prepare a way for the future. Sir Stephen, 
father of Mrs. Gladstone, added many improvements in his time; and still 
greater changes and rectifications were made by Mr. Gladstone himself, in 
1864. 

The marriage of the statesman, when he had nearly completed his 
thirtieth year, was in every respect auspicious. The young wife was a 
lady of many accomplishments, noble character, fine native talents and a 
happy sympathy with the ambition of her husband. The union of the two 
proved to be prosperous and congenial in the highest measure. The 
Gladstone family as a whole came into public notice, and rose with the 
reputation of the statesman, until it became of world-wide note and most 
enviable reputation. 

The marriage of Mr. Gladstone and the foundation of his own house 
was coincident in time with his first formal appearance in the world of 
letters. It was in 1837-38 that he wrote and in the latter year that he 
published his first book. It appeared in two volumes, under the title of 
The State in its Relations with the Church, Already in Parliament 
the powerful beginnings had been seen of the movement the logical end 
of which was the disestablishment of that great religious organization 
which since the Reformation had been so closely interwoven with the 
structure and spirit of civil society. The movement in question had spread 
alarm throughout conservative England. Every Tory must in the nature 
of the case declaim against it. Every upholder of the established order 
must lift up his voice in warning. 

In Mr. Gladstone's case he was not at all satisfied with academic and 
parliamentary declamation. On the contrary, at the very time when he was 
mounting to distinction and falling in love, he sat down deliberately to 
consider and set forth the bottom principles in the existing ecclesiastical 
system. That system included the union of Church and State. It included 
the powerful patronage and support of the Church by the State. It virtually 
made the State and the Church to be parts or organs of a common entity. 
Mr. Gladstone was not willing that this should simply be so, but he must; 
dig down and discover the principles upon which the system was founded, 
and the justification of it in right reason and good policy. He had studied 
all that former philosophers had written on the subject. He knew Hooker's 
Ecclesiastical Polity and Warburton's Alliance of Church and State as 
if by heart. He was familiar with the writings of Locke, had carefully 
considered Kilmer's Patriarchical Theory of Government, and Black- 
stone's dissertations on secular and sacred law. In like manner he had 
weighed whatever Paley and Bolingbroke and Dr. Chalmers had said on the 



I08 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

great question of the relations of the State to the religious establishment in 
Great Britain. He had looked at the works of the authors referred to with 
a critical eye, and had discovered their insufficiency. None of the argu- 
ments seemed to satisfy his inquiring and honest mind. Therefore must he 
consider the whole question ab ovo, and find for himself the real foundation 
upon which the combined structure of English State and English Church 
rested. Therefore must he formulate new arguments, gathered more 
substantially out of the nature of things, out of right reason, and out of the 
particular conditions acknowledged in British society. 

Thus arose the book on Church and State — a work much debated 
about in its own time, and regarded with curiosity to the present day. The 
author defined himself in the title as " W. E. Gladstone, Esq., Student of 
Christchurch, and M. P. for Newark." The first edition of the book went 
to the public in 1838; but the standard edition (the second) appeared in the 
beginning of 1839. The publication produced a distinct impression on the 
public mind. It was made the subject of Macaulay's memorable essay in the 
April number of the Edinburgh Revtezv of that year. This essay appears in 
all the standard editions of Macaulay, and has thus been disseminated wher- 
ever English speech is heard. The fact is that a good portion of the repu- 
tation of Gladstone s first book has depended, at least for perpetuity, on 
the splendid criticism which the master of that art gave to the work on the 
appearance of the second edition. 

We shall for this reason, in what we have to say about the first formal 
work published by Mr. Gladstone, refer quite fully to Macaulay's critique. 
It should be borne in mind that the author of the book became himself a 
noted reviewer. His articles soon found their way into the Quarterly 
Review, which publication, by the way, was another of those remarkable 
facts which date their origin to the great year 1809. Macaulay quickly 
recognized the fact that a new personal force had appeared in British 
society. He himself and that new personal force were diametrically opposed 
in nearly every particular of theory and life. Macaulay was at this time 
the great light of the Edinburgh coterie. He was a Whig of the Whigs, 
though it could hardly be said that Gladstone, Conservative as he was, w^as 
a Tory of Tories. His book, however, was conceived wholly from the 
Tory point of view. It was written as if from Oxford. It was virtually an 
Oxford production. Not that Mr. Gladstone did not himself produce it 
and stamp his genius on it, chapter by chapter, and line by line ; but he 
himself was still, /ar excellence, an Oxford man, and he would fain furnish 
Oxford with a better philosophical foundation than she had ever yet pos- 
sessed for one of her favorite tenets, namely, the union of Church and State. 

This condition must be borne in mind in estimating the force of Macau- 
lay s criticism. It was Whig against Tory. If the reviewer had not had a 



FIRST APPEARANCE IN LITERATURE. IO9 

profound respect for the young man Gladstone, he would have treated 
him as he treated the poet Montgomery or the political adventurer Barfere ; 
but there is nothing of this kind in the great critic's review of Gladstone s 
book. On the contrary, Macaulay does himself proudly, and the author of 
the book respectfully, from beginning to end. " The author of this vol- 
ume," says he, " is a young man of unblemished character, and of distin- 
guished parliamentary talents, the rising hope of those stern and unbending 
Tories, who follow, reluctantly and mutinously, a leader whose experience 
and eloquence are indispensable to them, but whose cautious temper and 
moderate opinions they abhor. It would not be at all strange if Mr. Glad- 
stone were one of the most unpopular men in England. But we believe that 
we do him no more than justice when we say, that his abilities and his 
demeanor have obtained for him the respect and good will of all parties. 
His first appearance in the character of an author is therefore an interest- 
ing event ; and it is natural that the gentle wishes of the public should go 
with hini to his trial." 

This paragraph has often been cited by the curious in political history 
as a striking example of the unforeseen that comes to pass in the affairs of 
men. Here w^e have him who was to become the greatest Liberal leader 
in the annals of England described — and truly described — as "the rising 
hope 6f those stern and unbending Tories, who follow, reluctantly and 
mutinously, a leader whose experience and eloquence are indispensable to 
them, but whose cautious temper and moderate opinions they abhor." The 
critic adds, that Gladstone at that time might be regarded as one of the 
most unpopular men in England. This implies that he had no popularity 
or place with the Liberals of the day; certainly he had none with the Radi- 
cals. It also implies that while he was necessary to the young Tories in 
and out of Parliament, they really abhorred his moderate opinions. How 
great the change that was to ensue in the next trhree decades — a change by 
which all the existing relations in 1839 were to be utterly reversed! 

Macaulay has stated the theory of Mr. Gladstone in his work on 
Church and State as resting on a single "great fundamental proposition — 
that the propagation of religious truth is one of the principal ends of gov- 
ernment, as government." The reviewer adds that if Mr. Gladstone does 
not prove this proposition, his whole argument vanishes away. This is 
correctly stated. Gladstone s book does attempt to support the proposition 
that the propagation of religious truth is one of the great ends, if not the 
greatest end, of human government, and that therefore the established reli- 
gious order in England is, so to speak, one of the functions of the British 
government, to be administered with as much care as if it were the army, 
or the polls, or the system of coast defenses, or the police, or the post, or the 
colonial administration of the empire. 



no LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

We will append two or three critical quotations from the book in which 
Mr. Gladstone expresses in his own lofty and at times somewhat vague 
manner the bottom doctrines which he would defend and make permanent 
in the polity of Great Britain, One of his arguments is to show that only 
communicants of the Church of England ought to be selected for office, anti 



that all others may be rightfully excluded. On this hypothesis he builds up 
the following argument : 

" We may state the same proposition in a more general form, in which 
it surely must command universal assent. Wherever there is power in the 
universe, that power is the pr,operty of God, the King of that universe—- 
his property of right, however for a time withholden or abused. Now this 
property is, as it were, realized, is used according to the will of the owner, 



i 

FIRST APPEARANCE IN LITERATURE. I I 1 



when it is used for the purposes he has ordained, and in the temper of 
mercy, justice, truth, and faith, which he has taught us. But those principles 
never can be truly, never can be permanently entertained in the human 
breast, except by a continual reference to their source, and the supply of 
the divine grace. The powers, therefore, that dwell in individuals acting 
as a government, as well as those that dwell in individuals acting for 
themselves, can only be secured for right uses by applying to them a 
religion." 

Further on, and in pursuance of the same line of argument which the 
author perceived he must make secure against all attack, he continues: 

" Why, then, we come now to ask, should the governing body in a State 
profess a religion? First, because it is composed of individual men; and 
they, being appointed to act in a definite moral capacity, must sanctify their 
acts done in that capacity by the offices of religion, inasmuch as the acts 
cannot otherwise be acceptable to God, or anything but sinful and punish- 
able in themselves. And whenever we turn our face away from God in our 
conduct, we are living atheistically. ... In fulfillment, then, of his obli- 
gations as an individual, the statesman must be a worshiping man. But 
his acts are public — the powers and instruments with which he works are 
public — acting under and by the authority of the law, he moves at his word 
ten thousand subject arms. And because such energies are thus essentially 
public, and wholly out of the range of mere individual agency, they must 
be sanctified not only by the private personal prayers and piety of those 
who fill public situations, but also by public acts of the men composing the 
public body. They must offer prayer and praise in their public and collec- 
tive character — in that character wherein they constitute the organ of the 
nation, and wield its collected force. Wherever there is a reasoning agency, 
there is a moral duty and responsibility involved in it. The governors are 
reasoning agents for the nation, in their conjoint acts as such. And there- 
fore there must be attached to this agency, as that without which none of 
our responsibilities can be met, a religion. And this religion must be that 
of the conscience of the governor, or none." 

Still again, the author, holding persistently to the fundamental doc- 
trines of his thesis, says : 

" National will and agency are indisputably one, binding either a dis- 
sentient minority, or the subject body, in a manner that nothing but the 
recognition of the doctrine of national personality can justify. National 
honor and good faith are words in everyone's mouth. How do they less 
imply a personality in nations than the duty toward God, for which we 
now contend ? They are strictly and essentially distinct from the honor 
and good faith of the individuals composing the nation. France is a person 
to us, and we to her. A willful injury done to her is a moral act, and a moral 



112 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

act quite distinct from the acts of all the individuals composing the nation. 
Upon broad facts like these we may rest, without resorting to the more 
technical proof which the laws afford in their manner of dealing with cor- 
porations. If, then, a nation have unity of will, have pervading sympathies, 
have the capability of reward and suffering contingent upon its acts, shall 
we deny its responsibility ; its need of a religion to meet tiiat responsibility ? 
. . . A nation, then, having a personality, lies under the obligation, like 
the individuals composing its governing body, of sanctifying the acts of that 
personality by the offices of religion, and thus we have a new and impera- 
tive ground for the existence of a State religion." 

These extracts sufficiently elucidate the bottom grounds on which Mr. 
Gladstone built up with so much pains and cogency his system of Church 
and State. The argument was new. It was invented out of the philosophy 
of conditions existing in England, and existing still more widely in the 
abstract consideration of the nature and functions of human government. 
Macaulay must attack this argument, if at all, in its fundamental assump- 
tions ; and that he does in the review which we have before us — a review as 
famous as the book to which it is directed. 

The critic, like the author, went down to the bottom principle of the 
controversy. That principle involved, on the one hand, the assumption that 
government has for one of its leading functions the propagation of religious 
truth, and, on the other hand, the assumption that government is strictly a 
secular affair limited to the office of protecting the persons and estates of 
citizens from injury. 

This question, we may remark, has now been virtually solved by the 
logic and process of events. History within this century has demonstrated 
that human government is a secular, and not a reHgious affair. True, there 
is a large class of well-meaning people, diffused in varying numbers and 
varying zeal through all the civilized nations, who still claim that religion is 
a subject about which government should be constantly concerning itself. 
Such persons go through life in a ferment of excitement, the end and aim 
of which is to get the government to interfere more and more with the reli- 
gious and moral questions of men. But the class referred to are no longer 
potent as they once were. It has become a disorganized class, whose office 
is annoying, but hardly any longer disturbing to the course and manner of 
secular administration. 

A half a century ago, however, the case was different. Then it was 
still necessary to insist stoutly that government should be restricted to its 
normal and necessary functions, and that these functions had respect only to 
the secular conditions of society. This ground was boldly assumed by Mr. 
Macaulay in his review of Gladstone's book. Speaking of the two theories, 
the two possible objects of government, the one being the propagation of 



r 



FIRST APPEARANCE IN LITERATURE. 11 3 

religious truth, and the other the protection of the persons and estates of 
citizens from injury^ the critic says : 

" No two objects more entirely distinct can well be imagined. The one 
object belongs wholly to the visible and tangible world in which we live ; 
the other belongs to that higher world beyond the reach of our senses. The 
one belongs to this life ; the other, to that which is to come." 

Macaulay goes on, by parity of reasoning, to show what the Gladstonian 
principle would lead to if applied to society and its organized forces in gen- 
eral He reaches the reductio ad absurdum as follows : 

" Take any combination at random — the London and Birmingham Rail- 
way Company, for example — and observe to what consequences Mr. Glad- 
stones arguments inevitably lead. Thus : * Why should the directors of the 
railway company in their collective capacity profess a religion ? First, 
because the collection is composed of individual men appointed to act in a 
definite moral capacity — bound to look carefully to the property, the limbs, 
and the lives of their fellow-creatures — bound to act diligently for their con- 
stituents — bound to govern their servants with humanity and justice — bound 
to fulfill with fidelity many important contracts. They must therefore sanc- 
tify their acts by the offices of religion, or these acts will be sinful and 
punishable in themselves. In fulfillment, then, of his obligations as an indi- 
vidual, the Director of the London and Birmingham Railway Company must 
be a worshiping man. But his acts are public. He acts for a body. He 
moves at his word ten thousand subject arms. And because these energies 
are out of the range of his mere individual agency they must be sanctified 
by public acts of devotion. The railway directors must offer prayer and 
praise in their public and collective character — in that character wherewith 
they constitute the organ of the company and wield its collected power. 
Wherever there is reasoning agency, there is moral responsibility. The 
directors are reasoning agents for the company. And therefore there must 
be attached to this agency, as that without which none of our responsibili- 
ties can be met, a religion. And this religion must be that of the con- 
science of the director himself, or none. There must be public worship and 
a test No Jew, no Socinian,no Presbyterian, no Catholic, no Quaker, must 
be permitted to be the organ of the company and to wield its collected 
force.' Would Mr. Gladstone really defend this proposition ? We are sure 
that he would not ; but we are sure that to this proposition and to innumer- 
able similar propositions his reasoning inevitably leads." 

The brilliant and profound reviewer next proceeds as follows : 

" Is it not perfectly clear that Mr. Gladstone's argument applies with 
exactly as much force to every combination of human beings for a common 
purpose, as to governments } Is there any such combination in the world, 
whether technically a corporation or not, which has not this collective 

8 



114 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

personality from which Mr. Gladstone deduces such extraordinary conse- 
quences ? Look at banks, insurance offices, dock companies, canal com- 
panies, gas companies, hospitals, dispensaries, associations for the relief of 
the poor, associations for apprehending malefactors, associations of medical 
pupils for procuring subjects, associations of country gentlemen for keeping 
foxhounds, book societies, benefit societies, clubs of all ranks, from those 
which have lined Pall Mall and St. James* Street with their palaces, down 
to the * free and easy ' which meets in the shabby parlor of a village inn. 
Is there a single one of these combinations to which Mr. Gladstone's argu- 
ment will not apply as well as to the State? In all these combinations — in 
the Bank of England, for example, or in the Athenaeum Club — the will and 
agency of the society are one, and bind the dissentient minority. The bank 
and the Athenaeum have a good faith and a justice different from the good 
faith and the justice of the individual members. The bank is a person to 
those who deposit bullion with it. The Athenaeum is a person to the 
butcher and the wine merchant. If the Athenaeum keeps money at the 
bank, the two societies are as much persons to each other as England and 
France. Either society may increase in prosperity ; either may fall into 
difficulties. If, then, they have this unity of will ; if they are capable of 
doing and suffering good and evil, can we, to use Mr. Gladstone's words, 
*deny their responsibility, or their need of a religion to meet that responsi- 
bility?* Joint-stock banks, therefore, and clubs 'having a personality lie 
under the necessity of sanctifying that personality by the offices of religion ;' 
and thus we have * a new and imperative ground ' for requiring all the 
directors and clerks of joint-stock banks, and all the officers of clubs to 
qualify by taking the sacrament.*' 

From these paragraphs the reader may discover Macaulay's astuteness 
and logical fence in answering and' undoing the bottom assumptions of Mr. 
Gladstone's book. Further on the critic says : 

** It is perfectly true that it would be a very good thing if all the mem- 
bers of all the associations in the world were men of sound religious views. 
We have no doubt that a good Christian will be under the guidance of 
Christian principles in his conduct as director of a canal company or stew- 
ard of a charity dinner. If he were, to refer to a case which we before put, 
a member of a stage coach company he would, in that capacity, remember 
that * a righteous man regardeth the life of his beast.' But it does not 
follow that every association of men must therefore, as such association, 
profess a religion. It is evident that many great and useful objects can be 
attained in this world only by cooperation. It is equally evident that there 
cannot be efficient cooperation if men proceed on the principle that they 
must not cooperate for one object unless they agree about other objects. 
Nothing seems to us more beautiful or admirable in our social system than 



FIRST APPEARANCE IN LITERATURE. II 5 

the facility with which thousands of people, who perhaps agree only on a 
single point, combine their energies for the purpose of carrying that single 
point. We see daily instances of this. Two men, one of them obstinately 
prejudiced against missions, the other president of a missionary society, sit 
together at the board of an hospital and heartily concur in measures for 
the health and comfort of the patients. Two men, one of whom is a zealous 
supporter and the other a zealous opponent of the system pursued in Lan- 
caster's schools, meet at the Mendicity Society, and act together with the 
utmost cordiality. The general rule we take to be undoubtedly this, that 
it is lawful and expedient for men to unite in an association for the. promo- 
tion of a good object^ though they may differ with respect to other objects 
of still higher importance." 

Further on in his argument against the principles of Gladstone Macau- 
lay continues : 

"It is impossible to name any collection of human beings to which Mr. 
Gladstone s reasonings would apply more strongly than to an army. Where 
shall we find more complete unity of action than in an army ? Where else 
do so many human beings implicitly obey one ruling mind ? What other 
mass is there which moves so much like one man ? Where is such tremen- 
dous power intrusted to those who command ? Where is so awful a respon- 
sibility laid upon them ? If Mr. Gladstone has made out, as he conceives, 
an imperative necessity for a State religion, much more has he made it out 
to be imperatively necessary that every army should, in its collective 
capacity, profess a religion. Is he prepared to adopt this consequence ? 

" On the morning of the 13th of August, in the year 1704, two great 
captains, equal in authority, united by close private and public ties, but of 
different creeds, prepared for a battle, on the event of which were staked the 
liberties of Europe. Marlborough had passed a part of the night in prayer, 
and before daybreak received the sacrament according to the rites of the 
Church of England. He then hastened to join Eugene, who had probably 
just confessed himself to a popish priest. The generals consulted together, 
formed their plan in concert, and repaired each to his own post Marl- 
borough gave orders for public prayers. The English chaplains read the 
service at the head of the English regiments. The Calvinistic chaplains of 
the Dutch army, with heads on which hand of bishop had never been laid, 
poured forth their supplication in front of their countrymen. In the mean- 
time the Danes might listen to their Lutheran ministers, and Capuchins 
might encourage the Austrian squadrons, and pray to the Virgin for a 
blessing on the arms of the holy Roman empire. The battle commences, 
and these men of various religions all act like members of one body. The 
Catholic and the Protestant generals exert themselves to assist and to 
surpass each other. Before sunset the empire is saved. France has lost in 



Il6 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

a day the fruits of eighty years of intrigue and of victory. And the alHes, 
after conquering together, return thanks to God separately, each after his 
own form of worship. Now, is this practical atheism ? Would any man 
in his senses say that, because the allied army had unity of action and a 
common interest, and because a heavy responsibility lay on its chiefs, it 
was, therefore, imperatively necessary that the army should, as an army, 
have one established religion, that Eugene should be deprived of his com- 
mand for being a Catholic, that all the Dutch and Austrian colonels should 
be broken for not subscribing to the Thirty-nine Articles ? Certainly not. 
The most ignorant grenadier on the field of battle would have seen the 
absurdity of such a proposition. * I know,' he would have said, * that the 
Prince of Savoy goes to mass and that our Corporal John cannot abide it, 
but what has the mass to do with the taking of the village of Blenheim ? 
The prince wants to beat the French, and so does Corporal John. If we 
stand by each other we shall most likely beat them. If we send all the 
papists and Dutch away Tallard will have every man of us.* Mr. Glad- 
stone himself, we imagine, would admit that our honest grenadier had the 
best of the argument ; and if so, what follows ? Even this : that all Mr. 
Gladstone's general principles about power and responsibility and person- 
ality and conjoint action must be given up, and that, if his theory is to 
stand at all, it must stand on some other foundation. 

" We have now, we conceive, shown that it may be proper to form men 
into combinations for important purposes, which combinations shall have 
unity and common interests, and shall be under the direction of rulers 
intrusted with great power and lying under solemn responsibility, and yet 
that it may be highly improper that these combinations should, as such, 
profess any one system of religious, belief, or perform any joint act of reli- 
gious worship. How, then, is it proved that this may not be the case with 
some of those great combinations which we call States ? We firmly believe 
that it is the case with some States. We firmly believe that there are 
communities in which it would be as absurd to mix up theology with gov- 
ernment as it would have been in the right wing of the allied army at 
Blenheim to commence a controversy with the left wing, in the middle of 
the battle, about purgatory and the worship of images." 

In the further course of this remarkable criticism Macaulay takes up 
Gladstone's particular argument for the exclusion of Dissenters from public 
office. On this subject the debate waxes hot. The critic charges home 
upon the author the justification of doctrines which would lead to the repe- 
tition of all the religious barbarities of the Middle Ages. He succeeds in 
making appear in their true absurdity the humane exceptions and restraints 
which Mr. Gladstone would fain put on the naked barbarity of the legiti- 
mate results and deductions of his thesis. 



4 
1 



r' 



FIRST APPEARANCE IN LITERATURE. II7 

We may not here pursue with any considerable fullness the lengthy 
review which Macaulay presents of the vicious elements in Gladstones 
book. He does not hesitate to say that on the whole it is one of the worst 
books ever written ; that it is false, and that the doctrines are so pernicious 
that they would lead, if carried into practical operation, to the dissolution 
of society. At the same time he loses no opportunity to comment favor- 
ably on the high talents and character of the author, and of his possible and 
probable usefulness in the intellectual and public life of Great Britain. The 
severity of the strictures is everywhere tempered with respect to the source 
from which the book proceeded. 

It is evident in the present reconsideration of the subject, after the 
lapse of more than a half a century — after allowing for the current prejudices 
of both the author and the critic, and for the disparity in the then literary 
experience and fame of the two men — that Macaulay succeeded in demol- 
ishing and making of no effect the elaborate structure which Gladstone had 
built up with so great pains, and, indeed, with so much learning. The author 
was in the wrong, and the critic mainly in the right. The present age would 
be much less patient with a book advocating the propagation of religious 
truth as one of the legitimate and necessary functions of government than 
was the age of which we are speaking — of the age when it was still doubtful 
whether Alfred Tennyson could write a good poem, and when the bones of 
Napoleon were still resting under the slab in Slane s valley. 

We shall not pass, however, from the interesting topic of Gladstone's 
first appearance and defeat in the field of literature without noting with 
admiration the correspondence to which the episode gave rise between the 
author of T/ie State in its Relations with the Church and the brilliant 
scholar before whose trenchant blade he went to the wall. Much later in 
life, namely, in 1868, Mr. Gladstone published his Chapter of Autobiography, 
in which he reviewed at some length the circumstances of the issuance of 
his first book, gave what justification he could in the retrospect, and 
renounced the rest, but in particular gave publicity to the two letters which 
were exchanged between himself and Macaulay on the occasion of the pub- 
lication by the latter of his celebrated article on " Church and State." 
These letters are here incorporated, not only for their own intrinsic 
interest, but for the lesson which they teach, and ought to teach, relative 
to the narrow-minded rancor and puny enmities which sometimes prevail 
among public and literary men in the United States. After fifty-six 
years it is still a matter of inspiration and good cheer to read these two 
letters of rising Tory and famous Whig, of young author and veteran 
critic, of political aspirant trying to bolster up the past, and 'experienced 
publicist advancing into the future and setting up the gonfalon of liberal- 
ism far out beyond the outposts. The first letter is from Mr. Gladstone, 



Il8 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

written coincidently with the appearance of Macaulay's criticism, and is as 
follows : 

"6 Carlton Gardens, April lo, 1839. 

"Dear Sir: I have been favored with a forthcoming number of the 
Edinburgh Review^ and I perhaps too much presume upon the bare 
acquaintance with you, of which alone I can boast, in thus unceremoniously 
assuming you to be the author of the article entitled * Church and State,' 
and in offering you my very warm and cordial thanks for the manner in 
which you have treated both the work and the author on whom you deigned* 
to bestow your attention. In whatever you write you can hardly hope 
for the privilege of most anonymous productions, a real concealment ; 
but if it had been possible not to recognize you I should have ques- 
tioned your authorship in this particular case, because the candor and single- 
mindedness which it exhibits are, in one who has long been connected in 
the most distinguished manner with political party, so rare as to be almost 
incredible. 

" I hope to derive material benefit, at some more tranquil season, from 
a consideration of your argument throughout. I am painfully sensible, 
whenever I have occasion to reopen the book, of its shortcomings, not only 
of the subject, but even of my own conceptions ; and I am led to suspect 
that, under the influence of most kindly feelings, you have omitted to criti- 
cise many things besides the argument, which might fairly have come within 
your animadversion. 

"In the meantime I hope you will allow me to apprise you that on 
one material point, especially, I am not so far removed from you as you sup- 
pose. I am not conscious that I have said either that the Test Act should 
be repealed or that it should not have been passed ; and though on such 
subjects language has many bearings which escape the view of the writer at 
the moment when the pen is in his hand, yet I think that I can hardly have 
put forth either of these propositions, because I have never entertained the 
corresponding sentiments. Undoubtedly I should speak of the pure abstract 
idea of Church and State as implying that they are coextensive; and I 
should regard the present composition of the United Kingdom as a devia- 
tion from that pure idea, but only in the same sense as all differences of 
religious opinion in the Church are a deviation from its pure idea, while I 
not only allow that they are permitted, but believe that (within limits) they 
"were intended to be permitted. There are some of these deflections from 
abstract theory which appear to me allowable ; and that of the admission 
of persons not holding the national creed into civil office is one which, in 
my view, must be determined by times and circumstances. At the same 
time I do not recede from any protest whicl;i I have made against the prin- 
ciple that religious differences are irrelevant to the question of competency 



FIRST APPEARANCE IN LITERATURE. II 9 

for Civil office; but I would take my stand between the opposite extremes — 
the one, that no such diflferences are to be taken into view ; the other, that all 
such differences are to constitute disqualifications. 

" I need hardly say the question I raise is not whether you have mis- 
represented me; for, were I disposed to anything so weak, the whole internal 
evidence and clear intention of your article would confute me ; indeed, I feel 
1 ought to apologize for even supposing that you may have been mistaken 
in the apprehension of my meaning, and I freely admit, on the other hand, 
the possibility that, totally without my own knowledge, my language may 
have led to such an interpretation. 

" In these lacerating times one clings to anything of personal kindness 
in the past, to husband 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 deal- 
ing with the subject ; inasmuch as the attainment of truth, we shall agree, 
so materially depends upon the temper in which the search for it is insti- 
tuted and conducted. 

" I did not mean to have troubled you at so much length, and I have 
only to add that I am, with much respect, dear sir, 

" Very truly yours, 
" T. B. Macaulay, Esq. W. E. Gladstone.'' 

The reply of Macaulay to this letter of the man whose book he had 
brought, not only to the bar, but to the rack also, is equally interesting and 
honorable. He says on the very next day : 

"3 Clarges Street, April ii, 1839. 

"My Dear Sir: I have very seldom been more gratified than by 
the very kind note which I have just received from you. Your book itself, 
and everything that I heard about you, though almost all my informa- 
tion came — to the honor, I must say, of our troubled times — from people 
very strongly opposed to you in politics, led me to regard you with respect 
and good will, and I am truly glad that I have succeeded in marking those 
feelings. I was half afraid, when I read myself over again in print, that the 
button, as is too common in controversial fencing, even between friends, had 
once or twice come off the foil. 

" I am very glad to find that we do not differ so widely as I had appre- 
hended about the Test Act. I can easily explain the way in which I was 
misled. Your general principle is that religious nonconformity ought to be 
a disqualification for civil office. In page 238 you say that the true and 
authentic mode of ascertaining conformity is the Act of Communion. I 
thought, therefore, that your theory pointed directly to a renewal of the 
Test Act. And I do not recollect that you have ever used any expression 



I20 LIFE AND TIMES OF ^VILL1AM E. GLADSTONE. 

importing that your theory ought in practice to be modified by any consid- 
erations of civil prudence. All the exceptions that you mention are, as far 
as I remember, founded on positive contract — not one on expediency, even 
in cases where the expediency is so strong and so obvious that most states- 
men would call it necessity. If I had understood that you meant your rules 
to be followed out in practice only so far as might be consistent with the 
peace and good government of society I should certainly have expressed 
myself very differently in several parts of my article. 

" Accept my warm thanks for your kindness, and believe me, with every 
good wish, my dear sir, 

" Very truly yours, 

" W. E. Gladstone, Esq., M. P. T. B. Macaulay." 

Mr. Gladstone's work. The State in its Relations with the Churchy in so 
far as it had any ulterior motive, was intended to please and inspire the 
conservative scholars and thinkers of Great Britain. The author had 
Oxford particularly in mind. To that institution the book was dedicated 
in these words: "Inscribed to the /University of Oxford; tried and not 
found wanting through the vicissitudes of a thousand years ; in the belief 
that she is providentially designed to be a fountain of blessings spiritual, 
social, and intellectual, to this and to other countries, to the present and 
future times ; and in the hope that the temper of these pages may be found 
not alien to her own." 

Certainly the temper of the book and its fundamental assumptions were 
not alien to those of Oxford. The men of that university received the work 
almost as a finality on the great theme which the author discussed. The 
better thinkers, however, of Toryism, as well as of the Liberal ranks, hesitated 
or drew back from the defense of principles the results of which must be as 
Macaulay had shown. The Quarterly Review took up the book as the Edin- 
burgh had done, but from the conservative point of view. But the Quarterly^ 
though praising much the work of the young author, did not ratify his 
arguments as such. The reviewer asserted that a popular government 
could not maintain a State religion against the wishes of the people. If 
the English nation as such should choose to renounce the Established 
Church, then the king, the lords and the Commons, singly or in union of 
effort, would be impotent to uphold the Church, and must indeed abandon 
it to its fate. The writer did not fail to observe that Gladstone had gone 
beyond his predecessors in seeking the bottom principles and sources of his 
argument. "He has," said the reviewer, " seen through the weakness and 
fallacy of the line of reasoning pursued by Warburton and Paley. And he 
has most wisely abandoned the argument from expediency, which offers 
little more than an easy weapon to fence with, while no real danger is appre- 



FIRST APPEARANCE IN LITERATURE. 



: STRAND AND ST. MARY'S CHURCH,' LONDON. 



hended ; and has insisted chiefly on the claims of duty and truth — the only 
consideration which can animate and support men in a real struggle against 
false principles." The writer then proceeded, in the manner of -Gladstone 
himself, to show that morality in government cannot be maintained without 
religion. This was a supposedly unassailable proposition with the conserva- 
tive writers of the last quarter of the eighteenth, and the first half of the nine- 
teenth century. If the truth of this proposition be granted, then it should 
follow that the maintenance of religion is a proper function of government, 
and the support of the Church, in union with the State, the necessary 
method of enforcing the State's morality. 

Mr. Gladstone's first book still furnishes not a fe\V remarkable studies 
forthe student of political history. Among these no part is more interesting 
than those paragraphs in which the Author sets forth his views respecting 
the duties of the State of Great Britain to uphold the Irish Church. Little 
did the writer foresee the great change which his own mind would undergo 
before he could become the champion of disestablishment. In the opening 
chapter of the second volume of The Stale in its Relations with the Church 
the author, speaking of the Irish Establishment, makes the following Argu- 
ment for the maintenance of the existing order : 

" The Protestant Legislature of the British empire maintains in the 



122 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

possession of the Church property of Ireland the ministers of a creed 
professed, according to the parliamentary enumeration of 1835, by one 
ninth of its population, regarded with partial favor by scarcely another 
ninth, and disowned by the remaining seven. And not only does this 
anomaly meet us in full view, but we have also to consider and digest the 
fact that the maintenance of this Church for near three centuries in Ireland 
has been contemporaneous- with a system of partial and abusive government 
varying in degree of culpability, but rarely, until of later years when we 
have been forced to look at the subject and to feel it, to be exempted in 
common fairness from the reproach of gross inattention (to say the very 
least) to the interests of a noble but neglected people. 

" But however formidable at first sight these admissions, which I have 
no desire to narrow or to qualify, may appear, they in no way shake the 
foregoing arguments. They do not change the nature of truth and her 
capability and destiny to benefit mankind. They do not relieve government 
of its responsibility, if they show that that responsibility was once unfelt 
and unsatisfied. They place the Legislature of this country in the condition, 
as it were, of one called to do penance for past offenses ; but duty remains 
unaltered and imperative, and abates nothing of her demand on our services. 
It is undoubtedly competent, in a constitutional view, to the government of 
this country to continue the present disposition of Church property in 
Ireland. It appears not too much to assume that our imperial Legislature 
has been qualified to take, and has taken in point of fact, a sounder view 
of religious truth than the majority of the people of Ireland in their desti- 
tute and uninstructed state. We believe, accordingly, that that which we 
place before them is, whether they know it or not, calculated to be beneficial 
to them, and that, if they know it not now, they will know it when it is 
presented to them fairly. Shall we, then, purchase their applause at the 
expense of their substantial, nay, their spiritual interests ? 

"It does, indeed, so happen that there are also powerful motives on the 
other side concurring with that which has here been presented as paramount. 
In the first instance we are not called upon to establish a creed, but only to 
maintain an existing legal settlement, where our constitutional right is 
undoubted. In the second, political considerations tend strongly to recom- 
mend that maintenance. A common form of faith binds the Irish Protes- 
tants to ourselves, while they, upon the other hand, are fast linked to 
Ireland ; and thus they supply the most natural bond of connection between 
the countries. But if England, by overthrowing their Church, should 
weaken their moral position they would be no longer able, perhaps no longer 
willing, to counteract the desires of the majority tending, under the direc- 
tion of their leaders (however, by a wise policy, revocable from that fatal 
course), to what is termed national independence. Pride and fear, on the 



FIRST APPEARANCE IN LITERATURE. 1 23 

one hand, are, therefore, bearing up against more immediate apprehension 
and difficulty, on the other. And with some men these may be the funda- 
mental considerations ; but it may be doubted whether such men will not 
flinch in some stage of the contest should its aspect at any moment 
become unfavorable." 

His book on Church and State put Mr. Gladstone on the defensive 
during his life. He was constrained ever afterward to appear at intervals 
in the r6le of apologist for the doctrines set forth in his first work. He 
was obliged to ware right and ware left in defending as much as was at all 
defensible in his book. In course of time he openly disavowed much of it. 
Sometimes, when hard pressed, he would put forth an argument aptly 
conceived and well calculated to conciliate hostile criticism. His enemies 
urged that his doctrine of a conscience in the State led directly to the 
exclusion from all participation in public affairs those who had consciences 
of different scope and timber from that of the governing power. It led 
even, said they, to persecution for opinion's sake and the revival of the 
horrid vices of the Middle Ages. 

To this Mr. Gladstone replied with not a little skill : " What political 
or relative doctrine is there which does not become an absurdity when 
pushed to its extreme ? The taxing powers of the State, the prerogatives 
of the crown to dissolve Parliaments and to create peers, the right of the 
House of Commons to withhold supplies, the right of the subject, not to 
civil franchises only, but even to security of person and property — all 
these, the plain, uncontested rules of our Constitution, become severally 
monstrous and intolerable when they are regarded in a partial and exclusive 
aspect." 

This argument was, indeed, adroit and powerful, but the antagonist was 
not satisfied. He returned to the onset, and showed that Mr. Gladstone's 
case of logical parity and reduction to the absurd would not hold ; for in 
the case of taxation, that, under the British Constitution, rests not on some 
men, but on all alike; whereas Mr. Gladstone's doctrine, if pressed to its 
extreme, would exclude the Jew and the Quaker from office, and, therefore, 
would be a hardship to some only — not to all. This view of the case was 
certainly correct, and again the statesman's argument was undone. 

We have already quoted from a Chapter of Autobiography, published 
by Mr. Gladstone in 1868. By that time he had become the successful 
leader in the movement for disestablishing the Irish Church. His position 
at the time was so utterly contrarious to the grounds which he had occupied 
aforetime that he felt constrained to publish what may be regarded as an 
amende honorable to the British public and all mankind. He had passed 
over to a position wholly opposed to that which he had formerly held, and 
must defend the change as well as he might. This he does in his Chapter 



124 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

of Autobiography. The work is essentially an explanation of the processes 
by which British society and British polity had been transformed, and how 
he had been transformed also. The introduction to his treatise is suffi- 
ciently explanatory : 

" At a time," says he, " when the Established Church of Ireland is on her 
trial it is not unfair that her assailants should be placed upon their trial 
too ; most of all if they have at one time been her sanguine defenders. But 
if not the matter of the indictment against them, at any rate that of their 
defense should be kept apart, as far as they are concerned, from the public 
controversy, that it may not darken or perplex the greater issue. It is in 
the character of the author of a book called The State in its Relations 
with the Church that I offer these pages to those who may feel a disposi- 
tion to examine them. They were written at the date attached to them, 
but their publication has been delayed until after the stress of the general 
election." 

The writer then goes on to admit the great and glaring change which 
had taken place in himself with respect to the Established Church in 
Ireland. He urged that this change must be accounted for, explained, and 
understood as not attributable to eccentricity or perversity on his own part, 
but to the slow-moving and irresistible changes by which British society, and, 
indeed, all modern history, had been translated into another mood and temper. 
Moreover, Mr. Gladstone was not willing that the public question then on 
in England for the disestablishment of the Irish Church should suffer in 
its progress and solution by any of his own inconsistencies. The reader 
will bear in mind that we are here speaking of what Mr. Gladstone wrote 
thirty years after the date of his first book. 

We have thus sufficiently pursued the story of the statesman's first 
appearance in literature, of the nature of the book which he published, of 
the reception which it met, of the pains which the author must afterward 
be at to apologize for it or explain it away. The publication of the book 
raised Mr. Gladstone in the estimation of all parties. His abilities were 
recognized in the intellectual world, and if his arguments were condemned 
by the best thinkers, they were condemned as much because they were the 
product of the past, of Toryism, and of Oxford University, as because they 
were the utterance of a rising statesman. With him as a person, as an 
author, as an aspiring politician, nearly all the intellectual folk of Great 
Britain sympathized, notwithstanding the abhorrence in which many held 
his doctrines. We may thus, at the beginning of the year 1840, contemplate 
William E. Gladstone as well advanced on that public career which he was 
destined to follow so long and so well, and see him establishing himself 
more and more in the good opinion of his countrymen. 



THE FREE-TRADE TRANSFORMATION. 1 25 




CHAPTER VIII. 
The Free-trade Transformation. 

HE political condition of Great Britain during the first three or 
four years of the reign of Victoria might well furnish oppor- 
tunity to a scholarly young statesman to express his opinions 
and policies by means of literature. A quiet had fallen on 
England, and the debates in Parliament were, for the most part, 
factitious and irrelevant. The Reform Bill, and the results of that measure, 
had been accepted as parts of the British Constitution. Conservatism, from 
having bitterly opposed the reformatory legislation which was effected at 
the beginning of the decade, passed over in the usual manner and encamped 
in the abandoned bivouac of Liberalism. 

Meanwhile, ministerial changes had been going forward. Earl Grey, 
after having had the distinguished, almost immortal, honor of leading the 
ministry when the struggle was on for parliamentary reform, for the abolition 
of slavery throughout the British empire, and the enactment of the Poor 
Law amendment, finally went out of office in July of 1834. William Lamb, 
second Viscount Melbourne, then became prime niinister until the following 
November, to be returned to the same position in April of 1835. The 
Melbourne administration lasted for six years and four months, ending in 
August of 1841. The period of this ministry was almost wholly uneventful 
from a legislative point of view. Great Britain was engaged in quietly 
adjusting herself to the reformed conditions, and was very willing that the 
administration should remain in the hands of a statesman more noted for 
negations than for anything else ; more indebted for his reputation to his 
successful induction of Queen Victoria into her duties as sovereign than for 
any popularity derived from his policy as a statesman. His talents were by 
no means brilliant. His oratory was weak and often pointless. Personally 
he was popular and acceptable. His skill in statecraft lay in his ability to 
manage the subordinates of his party and to interest them with his wit and 
other attractive personal qualities. 

It was during this rather colorless period of the Melbourne ministry, 
just after the accession of Victoria and just before his own marriage, that 
Mr. Gladstone found opportunity to indulge his passion for letters, and to 
promote his future interests in politics by advocating the doctrines discussed 
in the foregoing chapter relative to the union of Church and State. The 
time now came, however, for a change in the tide. Great Britain wearied 
of the Melbourne ministry, and in August of 1841 that administration went 
to pieces. It was the signal for the beginning of a new epoch in parlia- 



1*6 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE, 

mentary history ; and of this history William E. Gladstone had now become 
a not inconsiderable part. 

Lord Melbourne was succeeded by Sir Robert Peel, who had been out 
of oflice since 1835. During this interval Mr. Gladstone had followed in the 
wake of him who now became Prime Minister and First Lord of the 
Treasury. At the first it could not be known what changes in the policy 
of the empire Sir Robert was disposed to promote. Possibly he did not 



SIK ROBERT F 



himself see clearly the course of events. At any rate, he moved cautiously 
on coming into power, examining tentatively the ground he was to occupy; 
and in this policy he was supported by Mr. Gladstone. 

In September of 1841 a lengthy debate occurred in Parliament on a 
motion to constitute a Committee of Supply. On this proposition Mr. 
Fielden moved to amend by appointing a committee to investigate the 
causes of the existing distress before attempting to relieve it. The debate 



THE FREE-TRADE TRANSFORMATION. 1 27 

showed a strong disposition on the part of Parliament to ascertain its own 
whereabouts with relation to that past from which the House had emerged, 
and to that future which seemed altogether obscure. 

We are now able to see historically, as by the immutable laws of cause 
and effect, how great industrial and social questions must follow hard after 
the Reform Bill of 1832. Among such questions none was of greater impor- 
tance than that of the Corn Laws. Those laws touched the history of 
Great Britain in many places, and extended over several centuries of time. 
They existed as a part of the system which the empire had long maintained 
in favor of the agricultural classes. The general effect of the Reform Bill 
had been to reduce somewhat the overwhelming influence of the landed 
aristocracy, and correspondingly to enhance the influence of the commercial 
and manufacturing classes. The Corn Laws were involved in this change ; 
and the question of amending or abolishing them could hardly long be post- 
poned. Besides, certain conditions of distress, industrial and social, had now 
appeared in British society. It were hard to say whether such distress had 
long existed and had only now found a voice, or whether the accumulation 
of populations in the manufacturing centers and the pressure of the whole 
people on the means of subsistence had led to the suffering which at length 
cried out for relief 

We need not here enter elaborately into the history of the Corn Laws 
of Great Britain. That- would carry us far back, at least to the early part 
of the fifteenth century. The laws in question related fundamentally to the 
export and import of wheat, rye, barley, and the immediate products of 
some of these grains. Duties were imposed on the exportation and trade 
in these cereals, all of which were included under the general term corn. 
Statute after statute had been passed through a period of about three 
hundred years, regulating the corn trader and determining prices, the theory 
being that the home product of Great Britain was necessary in toto for the 
well-being of the people. 

The act of the year 181 5 had been intended to fix the price of 
wheat in the British markets at about eighty shillings the quarter. In 
the ensuing twenty years the laws were many times modified in the 
hope of maintaining the price of the bread materials at a high point, in 
spite of natural conditions. In 1827 George Canning secured the pas- 
sage of a new schedule in the House of Commons, lowering the duties 
and expressing the tendency of legislation toward their final extinction. 
Two years previously an act had been passed permitting the importation 
of wheat from North America at a duty of five shillings per quarter, 
without respect to the home price of wheat in Great Britain. The law 
of Canning had been one shilling the quarter on wheat, when the home 
price was above seventy shillings, and an increased duty of two shillings 



128 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

for every point that the price should fall below sixty-nine shillings the 
quarter. 

These rules of trade were difficult of application, and frequently of little 
effect. The laws became more and more unsatisfactory, and the reformed 
Conservative government undertook, in 1841, to revise the schedule. On 
the 9th of February in that year Sir Robert Peel proposed a new sliding 
scale of duties on corn, beginning with a duty of twenty shillings, to be levied 
when the home price of wheat was fifty-one shillings the quarter, with a re- 
duction to one shilling when the home price should rise to seventy-three 
shillings the quarter. The theory was that by the sliding scale the price of 
the various grains to which the law referred might be maintained at a high 
point and with comparatively little fluctuation therefrom. 

It was with this important economic proposition that the stormy legis- 
lative history. of the decade was introduced. It was the intention of Sir 
Robert Peel to precipitate a discussion of the Corn Laws as such. He 
declared in so many words that he regarded the crisis as not unfavorable 
for the consideration of the bottom principles of the laws. He spoke of the 
conditions present in the country, saying that the foreign crops in sight 
had not been such as to alarm the farming interest of England. There had 
been quiet in the country during the period of the recess. Legislation 
might be resumed with no apprehension of popular violence ; for there was 
none. The House might proceed with calmness and moderation to con- 
sider any measure which had for its end the solution of the problem 
involved in the duties on corn. 

The event showed, however, that Sir Robert had drawn on his imagi- 
nation rather than on the facts in the foregoing statements. The echo of 
his speech had hardly died away before the popular young queen had been 
hooted at one of the London theaters. That was a signal that the ministry 
was imperiled. The country came into a condition of feverish excitement 
Five days after Sir Robert Peel had introduced his proposition Lord John 
Russell, taking advantage of a parliamentary opportunity, thrust before the 
House of Commons an amendment, which was really a substitute, in these 
terms : " That this House, considering the evils which have been caused by 
the present Corn Laws, and especially by the fluctuation of the graduated, 
or sliding scale, is not prepared to adopt the measure of her majesty's 
government, which is founded on the same principles, and is likely to be 
attended by similar results." 

If this substitute should prevail it would amount to the overthrow of 
the ministry. Indeed, Lord John Russell had that end in view. The Con- 
servative leaders, however, planted themselves with the panoply of party 
contrivance around them in the way of the movement. Gladstone took up 
the cause of the premier, and spoke with great plausibility in favor of the 



THE FREE-TRADE TRANSFORMATION. 1 29 

iTiinisterial proposition. He denied that Sir Robert Peel's measure was 
identical with that of Lord John Russell, or even like it. The speaker was 
more careful than his master in regard to the existing distress, which he 
admitted, but laid to the charge of nature. For, he said, the crops had 
failed, and no rate of import duties could prevail against such a disaster. 
For four years successively there had been a comparative failure in the 
production of wheat, barley, and rye. The high prices of food under such 
circumstances could not be wholly obviated under any contrivance of man. 
The proposition of the government was in nearly all respects different from 
that of Lord Russell, and markedly superior thereto. The measure pro- 
posed by the premier was temperate, rational, conservative. The country 
might safely, under such a measure, expect an equalization in prices and a 
betterment of social and domestic conditions. The debate waxed hot; but 
when it came to a vote the government was sustained by a large majority. 
Lord Russell's substitute was vigorously rejected. 

Nevertheless, public discontent was everywhere. Sir Robert Peel, in 
his optimistic misrepresentation of the industrial condition of England, 
incurred much ridicule and sarcasm. The animosity against him broke out 
here and there in tumults, denunciations, and burnings in effigy. The 
ministry, however, was strong and unyielding. Only ten days after the 
Russell episode Mr. Villiers, a free trader pure and simple, offered a resolu- 
tion in the House for the absolute repeal of the existing Corn Laws. This 
struck down to the heart of the question. Since it was a measure of disturb- 
ance, a thing always frightful to a British Parliament, it was rejected by a 
majority of more than two thirds. 

Something, however, had to be done; for there was a deficit of nearly 
three million pounds, and the existing system of tariff duties on articles of 
consumption was already strained to the point of breaking. It is in the 
nature of such situations that they suggest an income tax. Property, in the 
day of final resort, is summoned to give back a part of what it has taken 
away. Sir Robert Peel espoused the principle of a tax on incomes. He 
presented a scheme for raising three million seven hundred thousand pounds, 
at the same time indicating his purpose, should his method be adopted, of 
reducing the duties of the existing schedule to a much lower figure. The 
main feature of the scheme was the levying of a sevenpence rate on all 
incomes over a hundred and fifty pounds for a period of three years. The 
Whigs, under the lead of Lord John Russell, entered the arena against the 
ministerial plan, but could not prevail. 

As soon as the Income Tax Bill was passed government went forward 

to carry out its pledge of reducing and abolishing duties. The idea was to 

relieve the manufacturing industries of Great Britain, and to popularize the 

government with them, by reducing, minimizing, or wholly removing those 

9 



130 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

• 

duties by which the agricultural interest had so long been favored Nor 
will the American reader fail to observe in this situation, partibus reversis, 
the exact counterpart of the tariff legislation in the United States in the 
decade following the first accession of Cleveland to the presidency. An 
examination of the ministerial schedule, which Mr. Gladstone is said to have 
prepared and to have put into Sir Robert Peels hands for introduction into 
the Commons, showed that a large number of the articles hitherto under 
duty were to be changed to the free list, and that the duties on a still greater 
number had been heavily reduced. The measure was virtually the proto- 
type of the American Wilson Bill of 1893-94. The free traders in Parlia- 
ment shouted with derisive laughter to see, as they said, the ministry of 
Great Britain driven over by public opinion to the position held by the 
Radicals. 

A long debate ensued, marked with stormy passages, in the course of 
which Mr. Gladstone stood as the champion of what was virtually his 
own measure. The debates reported in Hansard and the A nntial Register 
for this period show that the statesman (for we may now call him such) 
spoke at greater length or less no fewer than a hundred and twenty-nine 
times during the session of 1841-42, and by far the greater number of his 
efforts were directed to the question of tariff reform as expressed in the 
pending ministerial bill. 

We shall here for the moment neglect the general political and domes- 
tic conditions in England, and go forward to the end of the contest over 
the Corn Laws. The fate of those long-standing interferences with the 
natural conditions of trade was at hand. The debate over the tariff 
schedules was ever and anon deflected to that which was the bottom ques- 
tion, namely, the advisability of abolishing utterly the restrictions on the 
commerce in the cereals grown in England. The manufactures of the 
realm were seriously impaired. It was a periodical epoch of distress. 
Everything seemed to go to the advantage of those who sought to make 
Great Britain an absolutely free-trade country. Mr. Gladstone at this 
time, having become virtually the ablest speaker among the ministerial 
benches, had devolved on him the onerous duty of explaining away the 
suffering and discontent of the country. He was much more concessive 
than his leader, Sir Robert Peel, in admitting the hard conditions of the 
times. The session of 1842 expired, and that of 1843 began. The queen's 
speech, devised to meet the exigencies of the existing ministry, spoke 
thankfully of the labors of her Parliament, optimistically of the condition 
of her people, and quite hopefully of the future. 

The address from the throne called forth serious opposition. There 
was a proposition to consider the speech of her majesty in committee of 
the whole. Should such a motion prevail it would imply a want of confi- 



THE FREE-TRADE TRANSFORMATION. I3I 

dence in the government. A debate ensued, in the course ol which Mr. 
Gladstone defended the pohcy of the ministry, but at the same time held out 
the lure that the differences between the two parties in Parliament — parties 
which had recently combined to the number of more than three hundred 
votes against the proposition to abolish the Corn Laws — were not so great 
but that all conservative lovers of their country might join in relaxing, as 
much as might be expedient, the prevalent system of duties. The speaker 
made a politic and rather tentative address, warning the House not to take 
such action as should give a great shock to the commercial industries 
of England, such as would manifestly be produced by the total abolition 
of the Corn Laws. The speech, as a whole, was a moderate plea for such 
limited protection as still held its place in the industrial and commercial 
relations of Great Britain, and as had not yet been exterminated from the 
current theory of political economy. Finally, he charged the opposition 
with inconsistency In this, that the Whig party, whether in power or out of 
power, had as much as the Conservatives neglected — until obliged by the 
recent distress of the country — to propose or promote any salutary meas- 
ures of trade reform. 

The result of these debates was another triumph for the ministry. 



■LAW AGITATION. 



132 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

Later in the session the project of abolishing the Corn Laws was once and 
again renewed ; and it might be observed with alarm by the dominant party 
that the ministerial majority wavered from time to time, was reduced at 
intervals on the votes, and became sensitive to the distress of the country 
and the outside agitation. Still the ministry of Sir Robert Peel held on. 
It was supported by the fully represented and powerfully organized 
landed aristocracy of England, while the opposition to the current policy 
came up from the clamorous but rather chaotic manufacturing centers, where 
opinion had not yet become consolidated in favor of free trade. 

We shall here return to consider the outside social reasons for the 
political disturbances of these times. We have now entered fully upon the 
great Epoch of Chartism, a crisis in which modern English democracy 
discovered its power and forged its way to the front. The career of William 
E. Gladstone cannot be well estimated and interpreted without noting the 
oncoming conditions which prevailed coincidently with his rise to influ- 
ence in Parliament and to national and international reputation. 

It was in the year 1838 that the Chartists first paraded what they 
called the People's Charter. It is believed that the brief code of principles 
so denominated was prepared by Daniel O'Connell. There was an 
enumeration of six fundamental things which the masses of the English 
people were said to demand. These were : 

1. A demand for universal suffrage ; 

2. A demand for an annual Parliament ; 

3. A demand for the right to vote by ballot ; 

4. A demand for the abolition of the property qualification then exist- 
ing for membership in the House of Commons ; 

5. A demand that members of Parliament be paid a salary for their 
services ; 

6. A demand for the division of the United Kingdom into equal 
electoral districts on the basis of population. 

Relative to these demands or principles of political progress we should 
remark that the appeal for universal suffrage signified only manhood 
suffrage, and had no respect to the political rights of women. The third 
principle, or right to vote by ballot, had respect to the secret, written ballot 
as against the method of voting viva voce, which was then in vogue. The 
latter method had always been used by the dominant aristocracy as a means 
of suppressing the real voice of the under man. For how could the under 
man express his preference at the polls if he had to do so in the presence 
of the country squire, who was virtually his master ? Such is the influence 
of property, and of money in particular, that a free ballot must mean, the 
whole world over, the secret ballot by which the under man is able to be 
counted without fear of the consequences. How hardly did civilization 



THE FREE-TRADE TRANSFORMATION. I33 

discover the ballot box, and how more than hardly has that ballot box been 
made a reality for the legitimate expression of the wishes of the people ! 

The Chartists put their charter on their banners and began to agitate. 
Of course the masses followed in the wake of the proclamation. There was 
a general turbulence in the seabed of British life. In the retrospect we 
see how reasonable and moderate were the demands of the Chartist leaders ; 
and yet, such was the hostility of the governing classes toward this meek 
proclamation of republicanism that one might well imagine, from the political 
literature of the day, that the end of all things was at hand — that both man 
and nature were about to be engulfed in the abyss of anarchy. Several 
remarkable personages led the political insurrection. O'Connell himself 
was charged with being the author of the Chartist platform. His country- 
man, Feargus O'Connor, became the most popular as well as the most vehe- 
ment of the agitators. The poet and phil- 
anthropist, Thomas Cooper, was another. 
Henry Vincent, well known in America as a 
lecturer in the eighth decade, was another. 
Some of these were seized and imprisoned. 
All were persecuted. But the volume of 
agitation rolled and swelled and broke, 
until at length the Melbourne ministry 
tottered and went down. Then it was 
that Sir Robert Peel, Gladstone's friend 
and ideal leader, came to the fore and 
brought his able lieutenant with him. 

We may note another circumstance of 
this time as a matter of interest in that his- 
tory of which Mr. Gladstone was about to 
become a great part. This was the mar- 
riage of the queen. At the opening of 

Parliament In 1840 Victoria appeared in person and announced her purpose 
to be married to her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The 
young majesty said that she was intending to secure the happiness of her 
people and her own. Common fame had it that the queen and the prince 
were really in love — a rare thing in those high courts where monarchy sits 
and contrives in what way it shall best perpetuate itself at the expense 
of nature and in mockery of the human heart The marriage was accord- 
ingly celebrated, and the prince consort became an influential factor in 
the current domestic, civil, and artistic life of Great Britain. He did his 
part well for a little more than twenty years. Albert was always a man 
of moderation and good taste. He and the queen, or rather the queen 
and he, lived happily together. Their family grew and multiplied. Great 



134 LI^E ^^^ TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

Britain was honored with a virtuous home at the head of the State, a 
thing not known for a long time in the annals of the empire. Albert 
became the patron of arts and industries ; sympathized with the British 
public; smoothed not a little the gnarled forehead of John Bull; and 
finally — which was of great importance — attended in politics strictly to 
his own business. He was known as an outside privy council ; but the 
influence which he must necessarily exercise over his wife was never 
against the dictates of reason and conscience, and never adverse to the 
interests of the English nation. The queen thought him the ideal man, and 
came as near to adoration as was possible with her unenthusiastic, prudent, 
and almost wholly neutral nature. 

An incident of the parliamentary session of 1842 was Mr. Gladstone's 
opposition to a reduction in the duty on imported sugar. The mood of his 
mind may be discovered by examining his argument on this subject. He 
was prudent enough to discern the rising and inevitably predominant senti- 
ment of free trade. The existing duties on foreign sugar were not in the 
nature of free trade, and their continuance would be inconsistent with what 
was about to be accomplished in the abolition of the Corn Laws. Glad- 
stone therefore defended the sugar duties on the ground that the reduction 
of the same would encourage the opening of the slave trade again — this for 
the reason that cheap sugar would signify cheap labor in Demerara and 
Jamaica; and cheap labor would tempt the planters to reinforce the slave 
system of cultivation. 

The next measure with which the name of Gladstone was publicly 
associated was a bill proposed by himself for the abolition of the interdict 
on the exportation of machinery. The law to prohibit such exportation 
had been passed in the preceding reign. It was, of course, strictly accord- 
ant with the Corn Laws, being a part of the general interference with the 
natural laws of trade. It was intended to regulate the price of machinery 
by restricting the sale of it to the home market. Mr. Gladstone had now 
become President of the Board of Trade. In that relation he was the 
successor of the Earl of Ripon, whom he succeeded in the Peel ministry. It 
was claimed by the author of the bill that the existing statute had become 
practically inoperative. It appeared that, notwithstanding the law, the 
foreign trade in English machinery had been continued. At all events, 
Gladstone succeeded in carrying his bill through Parliament. This was per- 
haps as important a measure as any which he promoted in the parliamen- 
tary session of 1843. 

In the meantime, however, he began to take a larger view of the needs 
and tendencies of British society. Some of his biographers have pointed to 
this period as the time when Mr. Gladstone began to discuss those social 
and educational questions with which he was subsequently so much con- 



THE FREE-TRADE TRANSFORMATION. 1 35 

cerned. It was in the year 1843 ^^^^^ ^^ ^^^ invited to deliver the address 
at the opening of the collegiate institution of Liverpool. His speech on the 
occasion was carefully prepared, and showed once more the strongly reli- 
gious bias of his life. The nature of Gladstone being large and sincere, and 
his character aspiring, he had become in boyhood deeply imbued with the 
prevailing religious system, and this tendency had been so strongly confirmed 
in his whole educational career that the old forces of his youth would not 
readily loose their grasp on the now adult man. 

In the beginning of his address on the occasion referred to he advo- 
cated, almost vehemently, the maintenance of religion as a part of the 
educational system. Addressing himself to the regents he said : " We 
believe that if you could erect a system which should present to mankind 
all the 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 all believe that if you can take a human being in his youth, 
and if you can make him an accomplished man in natural philosophy, in 
mathematics, or in the knowledge necessary for the profession of a mer- 
chant, 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 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, worse — with respect to the sovereign purpose — than if he had 
still remained in the ignorance which all commiserate, and which it is the 
object of this institution to assist in removing." 

The traces of Mr. Gladstone's origin among the commercial classes 
are to be seen in nearly the whole of his career. He always spoke with 
more zeal and more knowledge on commercial questions than on any other 
phase of the industrial life. By the year 1844 the railway system of Great 
Britain had sufficiently grown to claim the attention of Parliament. It was 
the business of the Board of Trade, and in particular of the president of 
that body, to consider with attention the rising interests of the British rail- 
ways. It Was at the session of this year that Gladstone brought forward a 
bill providing for the purchase, after a period of fifteen years, of any rail- 
ways whose rights might be acquired during the period named. 

Already some of the railways had cut down their rates. All of them 
had adopted the principle of classification in the matter of fares. The 
trains were run as first-class, as second-class, as third-class, etc. The bill of 



136 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

Mr. Gladstone was of a kind to enforce itself as a sort of charter or consti- 
tution upon all the railways that should be built after the passage of the 
measure. A strong trace of a future leaning toward democracy might be 
seen in that provision of the bill which compelled railways to run at least 
one daily train, at a speed of not less than twelve miles, for the local 
accommodation of the common people, at the rate of one penny per mile 
for each passenger, to whom was allowed an amount of baggage weighing 
fifty pounds without extra charge. Children under three years of age were 
to be carried free, and those between three years and twelve years at half 
the price for adults. 

The companies of the railways already in existence set themselves to 
prevent the passage of this popular measure, but their opposition was 
unavailing. If any railway should refuse to be governed by the provisions 
thus made, then such railway became purchasable by the Board of Trade, 
and might be paid for within a period of twenty-five years out of the profits, 
at a rate not exceeding ten per cent per annum of the purchase price. 

It is to this year, 1844, that another significant piece of legislation 
favored by Gladstone must be referred. It was the first, perhaps, of those 
measures which betokened a dawning liberalism in his opinions. Hope- 
fully enough, the liberalism appeared against the principles of that strict 
orthodoxy in which he had been reared and to which his first book had 
been so ardently devoted. It had happened in England that not a few of 
the Nonconformists who, far back in the revolutionary times, had begun as 
Presbyterians, had now ended by becoming Unitarian in belief. Religion- 
ists of such profession had in the long interval acquired many properties. 
Such properties had been transmitted from age to age, while those who 
owned and controlled them were gradually passing to new grounds in the 
matter of religious profession. To the Church of England it was somewhat 
tolerable that men should be dissenting Trinitarians, such as they of the 
Presbyterian faith, but quite intolerable that Unitarians should be seized of 
those ecclesiastical properties which had come down from an ancestry more 
nearly orthodox. 

The properties referred to were in many cases charitable in character. 
Lady Hewley had given to the Calvinists an establishment which had 
passed to Unitarian control, and so passing, the managers were expelled 
from possession and occupancy! At the session of 1844 ^ ^^^^ ^^s before 
Parliament to ratify and confirm all such properties to the rightful owners, 
subject only to the restriction that the ownership had been undisturbed for 
a period of twenty years preceding. It was in the discussion of this bill 
that Mr. Gladstone appeared in the affirmative. He stood up boldly in the 
Commons and declared that, while his own allegiance to the Church of 
England and her rights was unshaken and unchallengeable, he nevertheless 



J 



THE FREE-TRADE TRANSFORMATION. 



MAYNOOTH COLLEGE. 



regarded the pending proposition simply as a matter of common justice 
which, independently of all creed and abstract consideration of reason and 
theory, should be adopted. The Unitarians ought to be defended in their 
natural and inalienable rights as well as they of orthodox belief. The 
address of the President of the Board of Trade produced something of a 
sensation in the Commons, and from that day predictions began to be heard 
to the effect that William E. Gladstone might some day become the cham- 
pion of equal rights to all religions whatsoever. 

This foregiving, indeed, of the liberalizing tendency in Gladstone was 
destined soon to be confirmed in a striking crisis of his parliamentary life. 
Now it was that the question arose of voting a sum of money for the 
improvement of the Catholic college of Maynooth, in Ireland. This insti- 
tution is situated in a village of the same name in the County of Kildare, 
Province of Leinster, about fifteen miles distant from Dublin, The college 
was instituted by the Irish Parliament in 1765, with the design of furnishing 
a seat of learning for the education of Roman Catholic clergymen. In the 
time of William Pitt the question of supporting the institution by grants 
of money under parliamentary act was agitated, and a measure of dubious' 
justice and little efficacy was adopted. The time had now arrived when the 
college must be supported or must cease to perform its functions. New 



138 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E, GLADSTONE. 

buildings were required, which the management was unable to supply. The 
people who patronized Maynooth were taxpayers, as any other, and subjects 
of the British crown, but received no benefit in return. 

At the first parliamentary session of 1845 ^ measure called the May- 
nooth Improvement Bill was introduced into the House of Commons. As 
matter of fact, the bill went forward regularly through its several readings^ 
and with much debate, until 1846, when the act was passed granting an 
annual gift of twenty-six thousand pounds for the support of the Royal 
Catholic College, and in particular for. the erection of the new Gothic build- 
ings which the institution has ever 6ince occupied. The measure was of a 
kind to bring Mr. Gladstone into a close place. For how could he, who 
had written TAe State in its Relations with the Church, support from his 
ministerial position a bill for the proposed grant to a Catholic university } 
He had held that the religious establishment, whatever it may be, is a legiti- 
mate organ of the government, and must be supported to the exclusion of 
all other forms of ecclesiastical organization. Should he now take the 
opposite view, and, under the impulses of a broader humanity, adopt the 
motto, Tros Tyriusve mihi nulla discrimine agetur? Would not all 
men say that for the sake of his place in the ministry his opinions had 
gone by vendue to the highest competing interest ? In reality Gladstone's 
opinions had changed to the extent that his conscience now required 
him to support the Maynooth Bill. That he could do only in one way 
without laying himself liable to the charge of interested tergiversation. 
The one way was to resign his place in the ministry. That done he might 
honorably stand on the floor of the House and declare — which was indeed 
the truth — that he had changed, but changed from conscientious motives and 
to his own hurt. 

T^iis course he boldly pursued. At the opening of the session of 1845 
he resigned his place in the ministry, and made full explanation of his 
reasons for doing so. If he should favor — so he said — an increase in the 
endowments of Maynooth, and perhaps go so far a*s to favor the support of 
nonsectarian colleges, he should go against the opinions which he had 
advocated in his work on Church and State. He acknowledged the falli- 
bility of his judgment as expressed in that book. " It has been my convic- 
tion," said he, " that although I was not to fetter my judgment as a member 
of Parliament by a reference to abstract theories, yet, on the other hand, it 
was absolutely due to the public and due to myself that I should, so far as 
in me lay, place myself in a position to form an opinion upon a matter of 
so great importance that should not only be actually free from all bias^ or 
leaning with respect to any consideration whatsoever, but an opinion that 
should be unsuspected. On that account, I have taken a course most pain- 
ful to myself in respect to personal feelings, and have separated myself 



F 



THE FREE-TRADE TRANSFORMATION. 1 39 

from men with whom and under whom I have long acted in public 
life, and of whom I am bound to say, although I have now no longer 
the honor of serving my most gracious sovereign, that^ ^continue to 
regard them with unaltered sentiments both of public regard ahd private 
attachment." 

These sentiments were emphatically honorable to him. who uttered 
them. They set him right before Parliament and the country. They 
showed him to be a conscientious and thoroughgoing man, capable of self- 
sacrifice in the cause of truth as he understood it. His speech on the sub- 
ject was warmly applauded by his friends, and respected by the opposition. 
The speaker added to his explanation some conciliatory things about the 
ministry, and in particular about Sir Robert Peel. The latter responded to 
Gladstone's address in fitting words, pronouncing a eulogium on him, and 
declaring him to be a man of honor, whose services he should lose with the 
greatest regret. In like manner Lord John Russell expressed his appreci- 
ation of the motives and high character of the retiring minister. In fact, 
the whole transaction was of a kind to improve not a little our estimate of 
the current political morality of Great Britain as reflected in the lives and 
actions of some of her leading men. 

Thus passed Mr. Gladstone out of the ministry of Sir Robert Peel. 
While the Maynooth Bill was under discussion he appeared openly as its 
advocate. This was a thing that a man of profound political intuition and 
prevision of things to come might have done for policy. Possibly Glad- 
stone foresaw the tendency of the British mind. Possibly he already knew 
better than his colleagues the drift of opinion which must lead on to a 
larger, more just, and more humane policy in the conduct of the State. But 
it cannot be doubted that he was moved most of all by the simple consider- 
ation of right as he perceived it. The forces that had bound his boyhood 
and early public life began to relax. He said that he would by no means 
renounce the theories of government in Church and State which he had 
hitherto defended. Neither would he allow that the endowments now pro- 
posed to the Royal College of Maynooth signified the restitution to that 
establishment of funds due on the score of previbus spoliation by the gov- 
ernment of Great Britain. He was not willing to allow that any sum of 
money was due to the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. He supported 
the bill on other grounds exclusively. The state of Irish society suggested 
and demanded the measure as one part of a sound and humane policy. 
The proposed endowment must, in the nature of the case, exercise a strong 
influence on the management and sentiments of Maynooth, so adverse 
hitherto to the Church of England and to the government by which that 
Church was Authorized and supported. "There is reason," said he, "to 
favor this bill on the score of the poverty of the Roman Catholics in 



140 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

Ireland and of their great numbers. These people find great difficulty in 
providing for themselves the necessaries of life, and still greater hardship 
in supporting their own preachers and procuring education for them." He 
noted with delight the enlarged sentiments which he was able to discover 
in the leaders on both sides of the House. These sentiments, expressed in 
both words and actions, showed clearly the rising of a humane opinion, that 
they who pay the taxes of a country have a right to the benefit of that 
country's institutions. As for the theory that it was the duty of the British 
government to support exclusively the Church of England, that doctrine was 
no longer wholly tenable. It might be true, as he himself in an abstract argu- 
ment had urged, that the exclusive support of the Established Church was 
a function of the State ; but practically the doctrine could be no longer 
applied to conditions present and prevalent in Great Britain and Ireland. 

The speaker went down deep into the philosophy of the situation. He 
ventured to refer to a saying of Burke's, that there is on the whole less 
ground for supporting the somewhat negative creed of Protestantism than 
there is for supporting the absolutely positive creed of Catholicism. The 
attitude of Great Britain on this question had become illogical. Nearly all 
the dissenting sects in England received some kind of support, recognition, 
encouragement from the government To give such support and recognition 
to English Nonconformists and to refuse it to Irish Catholics was an incon- 
sistent policy which could not well be defended — indeed, not defended at all 
in a philosophical manner. The endowment about to be voted ought to be 
voted in a liberal spirit, and he hoped that mutual confidence between the 
two islands would be promoted thereby. Under such a policy Irish agita- 
tion ought to pass away. The measure must really, he thought, be 
accepted, not only as a truce and an armistice, but as a positive element of 
peace. He begged to remind them who were unreasonably agitating the 
question from the Irish side that a corresponding agitation from the Church 
establishment of England had met the proposals of the pending bill, and 
that mutual distrust and animosity were not in the nature of patriotism, 
whether on the one side or the other. " I trust," said he, " that a wiser 
spirit will preside over the minds of both parties, and that a conviction will 
spring up in both that this measure is a surrender of rival claims for the 
sake of peace. Believing the measure to be conformable to justice, and not 
finding any principle on which to resist it, I hope it will pass into law and 
receive, if not the sanction, at least the acquiescence, of the English nation.'^ 

It is honorable to the parliamentary history of Great Britain that the 
affirmative vote on the Maynooth Improvement Bill included the leading 
men of both parties in the House of Commons. We should not forget that 
in all such movements which history undertakes for the improvement of 
mankind she avails herself of personal and political interests. She uses 



THE FREE-TRADE TRANSFORMATION. I4I 

humanities and prejudices with equal facility. The politician, in balancing 
up the probabilities favorable to himself, must make account of how his 
humane and enlightened measure will hereafter bring him votes. At this 
calculation History smiles, but allows the human scheme to go on without 
interference; albeit in the end her own greater purposes will always be 
reached and confirmed. 

Such measures as the Maynooth Bill opened the dike for the inletting 
of many fructifying waters. In the case before us, it was not long until 
another measure was introduced for the general improvement of academical 
education in Ireland. The bill in this case was brought forward by Sir 
James Graham, and was the largest concession to Roman Catholic interests 
that had thus far been seriously advocated in the House of Commons. 
The Tories hereupon took greater umbrage than ever. It is at once 
instructive and amusing to note the terror of the past on the appearance 
of some beneficent agitation in human society. Gladstone had now gone 
so far in religious liberalism that he supported Sir James Graham's bill ; 
but the Conservative leader. Sir R. H. Inglis, flew to the rescue, and 
denounced the measure as the most gigantic scheme of godless education 
ever propounded in any country. 

A debate ensued between Sir Robert and Mr. Gladstone, in which the 
latter had the advantage. He admitted, in his usual cautious manner, that 
the proposed bill had imperfections which he would gladly see removed. 
For his own part, he thought that the Catholic bishops of Ireland ought to 
have a hand in the revision of an educational measure which was designed 
to fit conditions so thoroughly understood by them. He waived aside the 
furious declamation of Sir Robert Inglis about a godless education, showing 
that the bill itself contained a mild arid reasonable provision for a religious 
function in the schools of Ireland ; namely, that in all the schools a room 
or rooms were to be provided in which theological lectures might be 
delivered of a kind to assert and even maintain the truth of Episcopalianism 
as the religion of the State. — This might be regarded as equivalent to saying 
that the antidote should be administered with the bane ! 

In the parliamentary sessions of the years 1844-46, certain questions 
of vast importance to the interests of Great Britain were brought for- 
ward as the basis of legislation. One of these related to the law of partner- 
ship ; another to the agricultural condition of Great Britain ; a third to the 
sugar duties, and a fourth to the abolition of the Corn Laws. That relating 
to the British railways has already been considered. The sugar question 
struck down deep into the whole commercial system of the realm. The 
Corn-Law dispute also held in it the whole issue as between free trade and 
protection, considered as a policy of the State. So important were these ques- 
tions that Gladstone at this time considered them in extenso in a political 



142 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

and economic brochure entitled Remarks upon Recent Commercial Legisla- 
Hon. The work was made up, in part, from his own report as President of 
the Board of Trade, in part from his speeches in ParHament, and in part 
from a general consideration of the question. 

The writer dwelt in particular on the tariff as affectinjj the trade of 
England He attempted, as so many others have done, to follow out the 



1 



THOMAS MOORE. 

principle of legislative interference with economic laws to the ultimate results. 
On the whole his arguments tended to the defense of free trade as the true 
policy of the empire. It is evident from an examination of his pamphlet at 
this distance, that his opinions were rapidly crystallizing into a conviction 
that the best course to follow in the establishment of the supremacy of 
British trade throughout the world was to make that trade as free as possi- 
ble — subject to as few restrictions in the shape of customs duties as might 
be under existing conditions. 



THE FREE-TRADE TRANSFORMATION. I43 

Just at this juncture, namely, in the year 1845, ^"^ of those peculiar 
crises for which the political history of England is remarkable arrived. It 
became evident to the Conservative leaders, and to those highest in authority, 
that the time had come when the Corn Laws, so long regarded as necessary 
if not sacred, must be abolished. Experience had now written on these 
hwSfMene Tekel, and the Muse of Tom Moore had sung them into oblivion. 
It is a peculiarity of British method, that unexpectedly in high quarters there 
comes a change of front. One party, perhaps in power but about to be 
overwhelmed by the other party, suddenly tacks and takes the wind out of 
the bellying sails of the opposition, and speeds awayJiigh-blown across the 
ocean of inconsistency to the harbor of all statesmanship — success. 

Just at the close of the year 1845 ^he London Times, without previous 
hint or foregiving of the thing to be done, sent out an editorial declaring 
that Parliament would be convened by the queen's government with the 
beginning of the new year, to consider the question of abolishing the Corn 
Laws in toto. Her majesty's address would recommend as much. The 
announcement came like a thunderclap, unheralded by cloud. The news 
was denied and denounced as false. The very journals and public men who 
had long labored to secure the abolition of the Corn Laws were horrified to 
see their prospective conquest about to be circumvented by a stroke of 
policy. 

Sir Robert Peel still stood at the head of the ministry. For a long 
time the leaven had been working in his stubborn mind, thoroughly British, 
tending ever more and more to change him from the old restrictive policy to 
the new methods and theory of free trade. But another strongly British 
complication arose with this change in the purposes of the premier. He 
might change himself,but he could not so easily transform his ministry. Glad- 
stone, it will be remembered, had already traveled far in the direction of 
absolute freedom of commerce ; but some of the other members of the Peel 
ministry could not be controlled. There was a defection on the part of 
Lord Stanley, the colonial secretary, and of the Duke of Buccleuch, both 
of whom declared that they would not follow Sir Robert in his change of 
front. This so weakened the government that Peel resigned, and Lord 
John Russell was summoned by her majesty to form a new ministry. The 
latter statesman undertook to do so ; but in this he ran counter to the rising 
and determined sentiment in favor of abolishing the Corn Laws, and was 
obliged to give way, with a request to the queen to reappoint Sir Robert. 
The latter came back to power ; Lord Stanley disappeared from his post as 
colonial secretary, and William E. Gladstone was appointed to that impor- 
tant trust. 

This movement led at once to a complication in the latter statesman's 
affairs. Appointed to the ministry, he must be reelected by his constituents. 



144 L^^^ ^^^ TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

Up to this period he had continued to represent the city and borough of 
Newark. That precinct was a sort of perquisite of his long-time friend, the 
Duke of Newcastle. But the duke was a Conservative of the Conserva- 
tives, who would not follow the new policy, or even assent to so radical a 
measure as the repeal of the Corn Laws. The high Conservatives at this 
epoch were protectionists, pure and simple. 

The American reader, however, must remember that protection, as 
then applied in Great Britain, looked directly to the primary productions 
of the country, and not at all to the secondary industries, as in our country. 
In England it was the manufactures that clamored for free trade, while the 
agricultural interest held stoutly to protection. The country squires were, 
therefore, the high Tories of the realm, and the Duke of Newcastle followed 
this banner. Gladstone, the man of the Liverpool merchants, followed it no 
longer. It became a political impropriety for him to appeal again to the 
electors of Newark, under the patronage of the Duke of Newcastle. He 
must leave that borough in order to honor the opinions of his friend, and 
to be a consistent member of a free-trade ministry. 

The character of Gladstone in such emergencies always shone with a 
clear luster. He was an honorable man. Accepting the post of colonial 
secretary, he issued to the voters of Newark an address bidding them fare- 
well. Under date of the 5th of January, 1846, being then in his thirty- 
seventh year, he sent forth his communication, in which he said : 

" By accepting the office p{ Secretary of State for the Colonies I have 
ceased to be your representative in Parliament. On several accounts I 
should have been peculiarly desirous, at the present time, of giving you an 
opportunity to pronounce your constitutional judgment on my public con- 
duct by soliciting at your hands a renewal of the trust which I have already 
received from you on five successive occasions, and held during a period of 
thirteen years. But as I have gooji reason to believe that a candidate 
recommended to your favor through local connections may ask your suf- 
frages, it becomes my very painful duty to announce to you on that ground 
alone my retirement from a position which has afforded me so much of 
honor and of satisfaction." 

In the course of his address Mr. Gladstone explained his motives in 
accepting office in a government avowedly in favor of removing the legisla- 
tion which was supposed to uphold the agricultural interest of England. 
He avowed his belief that the new policy would prove a beneficial one to 
all classes of British subjects. He further declared that he had followed in 
this instance not only his own conscience, but the public call, which none 
might patriotically disregard. 

However reasonable all this was, the change involved a temporary loss 
to Gladstone. No other constituency could be immediately found to return 



146 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

him to the House, and for the nonce he might be regarded as a statesman 
without a vocation. He had now become, however, so pronounced in his 
advocacy of free trade, and his ability and honesty were so much in evidence, 
that his influence was almost as great as ever in the brief interval between 
the sessions of 1846 and 1847. 

In the meantime a natural disaster came on to influence most strongly 
the aff*airs of men. The potato rot appeared in Ireland. The people were 
about to famish. As the law then stood the cereals so necessary for life 
might not be imported without paying such duties as greatly to aggravate 
the price. England was in the attitude of starving Ireland by means of 
her tariff! The argument was stronger than the combined energies of 
Aristotle and Adam Smith. The only question was whether Sir Robert 
Peel, remaining over, so to speak, from the old order, should take away from 
the Liberals the fruits of their victory, or whether he should give way to 
them, letting them work their will. 

Sir Robert was not the man to surrender his advantage, and his colo- 
nial secretary was as little as he disposed to leave the execution of the 
reform that was now inevitable to the hands of the opposition. The 
premier, at the opening of Parliament in 1847, declared his purpose to 
press forward at once to the abrogation of the Corn Laws. His speech on 
the occasion was marked with as much energy as he ever displayed. He 
acknowledged the change in his own opinions. He had yielded, he said, 
to the logic of events. A potato famine was at the door. Consistency 
must give way before hunger, and mere logic must yield to that necessity 
which is higher even than States. An investigation into the affairs of 
Ireland had brought him to understand his duty, and he would not quail 
before it. 

It is a notable circumstance of the crisis which was now on that Ben- 
jamin Disraeli, rising in an eccentric manner above the horizon, appeared 
as the mouthpiece of the agricultural aristocracy of England, entered the 
arena against the proposed repeal, and twitted the colonial secretary, with 
whom he was destined to contend for the mastery for so many years, with 
his alleged inconsistency. His remarks on the occasion were directed in 
part to Sir Robert Peel, and in part to Mr. Gladstone. Disraeli declared 
that, as for him, he adhered without wavering to the opinions which he had 
hitherto declared in favor of the time-honored policy of agricultural protec- 
tion. He referred to the fact that the representatives of this view of 
national economy had sent him to speak for them in Parliament, and that 
he could not, either from his own convictions or from fidelity to those 
whom he represented, abandon his well-known views. He would sooner 
resign his seat in the House. 

These remarks were not without pungency. While they were logically 



r 



THE FREE-TRADE TRANSFORMATION. 



I POTATO FAMINE. 

keen they could hardly be said to have reached their mark, for the bosses 
of progress were held between the speaker's javelin and the targets at 
which they were aimed, and the hollow-eyed specter of the potato famine 
looked sardonically into the face of the archer. The measure went steadily 
on until it accomplished itself, and the Corn Laws were no more. The act 
had a specific and a general significance. Specifically it signified that the 
particular industry of producing the cereals in England should not be 
further favored at the expense of the manufacturing and commercial inter- 
est. Generally It signified that Great Britain was now on the high road to 
the adoption of the permanent policy of free trade as against the whole 
protective theory and practice. 

Thus, by the famous Act 9 and 10 Vict. c. 22, the long-standing Corn 
Laws of Great Britain were abolished. The policy of raising and maintain- 
ing at a higher than natural figure the price of grain went down before the 
arguments of Richard Cobden and the persistent pressure of the Anti-Corn 
Law League. The reason of man and the interest of a class, energized by 
the potato rot in Ireland, prevailed to put an end to the tax so long imposed 
on manufacturers and consumers in the interest of grain raisers. The repeal 



148 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E, GLADSTONE. 

bill provided for an immediate reduction of the duty on foreign wheat to a 
maximum often shillings the quarter when the price should be under forty- 
eight shillings the quarter ; to five shillings the quarter on barley, when the 
price should be under twenty-six shillings the quarter ; and to four shillings 
the quarter on oats when the price should be under eighteen shillings the 
quarter. When the price should rise above these figures then the duties 
should be lower, and finally, on the ist of February, 1849, *^he old system 
of duties was to cease in toto. Thereafter all foreign cereals were to be 
admitted at the nominal rate of one shilling the quarter, and all foreign 
meal and flour at the rate of four and a half pence the hundredweight. 
And we may here anticipate by referring to the act of i860, by which even 
the nominal duties remaining under the act of repeal were abolished — since 
which time wheat, barley, oats, etc., and their immediate products have been 
admitted into the United Kingdom free from duties. 



REPRESENTATIVE OF OXFORD UNIVERSITY. 1 49 



[ 




jLAlAl 




\V/, 7^ 







CHAPTER IX. 
Representative of Oxford University. 

ILLIAM E. GLADSTONE supported with animation and per- 
sistency the administration of Sir Robert Peel. Strangely- 
enough, on the very day on which the Corn Laws were finally 
abolished by the stratagem of the Conservatives, the ministry 
of Sir Robert was overthrown by an adverse vote" in the House 
of Commons. While the debates were in progress relative to the repeal, an 
important incidental measure had been brought into the Commons by the 
ministry, to suppress certain outrages in Ireland. The starving people of 
that island were not sufficiently tame. Lawlessness, inspired of hunger^ 
prevailed in many parts, and government conceived the project of suppress- 
ing it by force. The measure came to a vote in the House coincidently 
with the passage of the repeal bill by the Lords, and to the surprise of Sir 
Robert Peel was voted down by a large majority. The blow was so direct 
and significant that the premier at once placed his resignation in the hands 
of her majesty, who called Lord John Russell, leader of the Whig opposi- 
tion, to construct a new ministry. 

Peel and the Conservatives went out of office, and Gladstone with 
them. For a brief interval he absented himself from the Commons, and 
when the new election came around, the question then being approval ar dis- 
approval of the late legislation on the educational affairs of Ireland, he pre- 
sented himself to the electors of Oxford University. That institution was at 
the time represented in one of its memberships by Sir Robert H. Inglis. The 
other seat might be contested. For this second seat, Gladstone appeared 
in a very spirited contest with the opposing contestant, Mr. Round. The 
latter had the advantage of being a thoroughly orthodox Tory. Mr. Glad- 
stone was sufficiently orthodox, but his conservatism had become somewhat 
doubtful — as evinced of late by his speeches and votes on the Maynooth 
College Bill and on the repeal of the Corn Laws. Both the candidates 
were men of ability, Gladstone being the superior. But he was handicapped 
with a certain distrust that he was no longer sound on some of the questions 
concerning which Oxford University was known to be grounded in stead- 
fastness and immutability. 

In entering the contest for the right to represent the oldest and most 
scholarly university of Great Britain, Mr. Gladstone sent to the Oxford 
electors the usual address of announcement. In this he must needs appear 
as an apologist for his recent political acts and tendencies. He frankly 
acknowledged that the incoming of new conditions in Great Britain had 
changed his views since he had written and published The State in its Rela- 



n 



150 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

tions with the Church, That event was now nearly ten years agone. The 
point at which he had veered from his former stand was as to the exclusive 
support of the State religion as a function of the government He declared 
that the fight which he had made for this principle had proved abortive. In 
Great Britain there were many forms of religious faith. The condition had 
become so complicated that to single out even the national religion, which 
was indeed the true religion of England, and to make the support of that 
exclusive of all others was a policy no longer warranted in practice. 

Referring to past conditions, and to the necessity that he had been 
under to make a choice, the speaker said : " The question remaining for me 
was, whether, aware of the opposition of the English people, I should set 
do>yn as equal to nothing, in a matter primarily connected not with our own, 
but with their priesthood, the wishes of the people of Ireland ; and whether 
I should avail myself of the popular feeling in regard to Roman Catholics 
for the purpose of enforcing against them a system which we had ceased by 
common consent to enforce against Arians — a system above all of which I 
must say that it never can be conformable to policy, to justice, or even 
to decency, when it has become avowedly partial and one-sided in its 
application." 

Perhaps this presentation of his cause was as strong as Mr. Gladstone was 
able to make it ; but it was by no means satisfactory to the Oxford extremists. 
That constituency already had one of their own kind in the person of Sir 
Robert H. Inglis. To him Mr. Round, the third candidate, was hardly second 
in his allegiance to the old, and opposition to the new order in England. It was 
noted at the time that, while the opposition to Gladstone among the electors 
was loud and rather angry, the secular voice about the university and far 
beyond the time-honored precincts, finding utterance in the newspapers of 
the day, generally cried for Gladstone. The position taken by his advocates 
was that his allegiance to the Church of England was unshaken, that his 
fidelity at bottom to the Establishment could not be questioned ; but that a 
statesman must before all things be practical. It was no longer practical to 
go to the extreme which had — as all confessed and knew — been so strongly 
supported by the candidate in his work on the Church and the State. That 
candidate at any rate was able and distinguished. He was one of the 
hardest-working parliamentarians of the epoch. He was honest, else he 
would not have taken ,his present position, to his so great hurt. It was no 
longer needed-7-so continued the apologists — that a statesman following 
abstract views should make himself and his cause impossible. A man 
could not always promote in practice his own philosophical opinions. 

These views found echo far and wide, and as the canvass proceeded 
Gladstone gained on his competitor. It was noted that those high in 
authority and close to the government uttered good words for the coming man. 




REPRESENTATIVE OF OXFORD UNIVERSITV. I5I 

The London Times declared that Mr. Gladstone s election, while, unlike that 
of Mr. Round, it would send an important member to the House of Commons, 
would be alike honorable and valuable to Oxford University. The hope 
was added that no hesitancy or apathy among the electors might prevent 
so fortunate a result. The interest widened and became almost national. 

Meanwhile, on the 23d of July, the queen dissolved Parliament. Six 
days afterward, the nomination of representatives for Oxford took place. 
The election was held in the Hall of Convocation at the university. More 
than thirty-eight hundred votes were presented at the polls. The excite- 
ment was intense, and the contest close as between Gladstone and Round. 
The election of Sir R. H. Inglis had been conceded, and that gentleman 
received almost as many ballots as both the others. Gladstone led his 
opponent by one hundred and seventy-three votes, and thus became the 
junior representative of his alma mater in the Parliament of 1847. 

The American reader at the close of the century must review with 
interest the liberalizing tendencies that were working in Great Britain in 
the fourth and fifth decades. Such liberalism as then began to prevail^ 
however, must needs strike strangely on the American sense. How, for 
example, could that be called liberal which merely acknowledged that a 
citizen lew in London was even as other men ? 

And what's his reason 1 I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes ? hath not a Jew hands, 
organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions ? fed with the same food, hurt with the same 
weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and (^oled by 
the same winter and summer, as a Christian is ? If you prick us, do we not bleed ? if you tickle 
us, do we not laugh ? aye, if you poison us, do we not die ? 

This argument of Shylock's, though put rn the interrogative form, 
would seem to be unanswerable in all time and among all nations. But 
the Englishman of the first quarter of the nineteenth century did not 
assent to the humane theory of his greatest bard. The Jews were dis- 
paraged out of citizenship and almost out of property and life. Coin- 
cidently with the passage of the Reform Bill and with the introduction 
of a better policy toward Dissenters and Catholics it began to be acknowl- 
edged that even an Israelite is human. The restrictions against the 
race of Jacob began to relax, and in the election of 1847, "^vhat should 
happen in the heart of London town but the election of the Baron Mayer 
Anselm Rothschild to the House of Commons! Certainly it was a 
marvelous thing that one of that race should be thought fit to represent a 
London constituency holding the principle that religion is a function of the 
State, and that no religion is authentic other than that incorporated in the 
Church founded and enforced by Henry VHI ! 

The Baron Mayer Anselm of the Red Shield was elected. But how 
could he serve } There was a statute demanding of him before his entrance 



152 LIKE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

into the House that he take an oath of fidelity to the Church of England, 
renouncing all others! He must swear "on the faith of a true Christian." 
Of course a man of pliant conscience might readily do a thing of this kind, 
covering it up with the usual casuistry that it was merely pro forma ; but not 
so the baron. He was so dishonorable as to refuse to swear a lie, even for 



THE PRESENT BAKUN ROTHSCHILD. 



admission to the British Parliament! Such stubbornness, though it might 
commend him to a heathen, must needs provoke the good. Lord John 
Russell, now at the head of the ministry, with that adroitness for which he 
was one of the most remarkable of men, sought to make a way with a reso- 
lution to the effect that Jews should be, and were, eligible to all offices and 
rights "to which Roman Catholics might attain." Already the way had 
been crookedly opened for Catholics to enter Parliament and to exercise 



REPRESENTATIVE OF OXFORD UNIVERSITY. 1 53 

Other public functions. Why should not the Jews go up by the same tor- 
tuous course ? 

Though this proposition of the premier was a casuistical contrivance 
rather than an open avowal, it was even in that form antagonized by the Con- 
servative opposition. Sir R. H. Inglis, senior representative from Oxford, 
strongly opposed the resolution ; but his colleague, W. E. Gladstone, had 
now gone so far as to support it. He addressed the House with what was 
really an unanswerable argument. He began with the question as to what 
ground existed for the exclusion of a Jew more than for the exclusion of a 
citizen of any other class sharing in the deliberations of Parliament, He 
refuted the argumentum ad prejudiciam to the effect that the British House 
of Commons was a Christian Parliament. Certainlv it was a Christian Par- 
liament, and would always remain such. It could not be unchristianized by 
the addition of a Jew or Christianized by his exclusion. It was not to be 
expected that the time would ever arrive when a majority, or even a 
threatening minority, of the House would be or could be of non-Christian or 
unchristian character. The apprehension that the admission of a Jew to 
Parliament would draw down the wrath of heaven was merely an utterance 
in terrorem delivered to the simple. 

The speaker went on to show that the admission of Jews to citizenship 
involved the right of the prejudiced race to aspire to the representative 
honor and prerogative. A member of the House must needs be a law- 
maker; but in that capacity he was the organ of a constituency. There 
was no reason why any member of a constituency should be excluded. As 
long as the constituencies continued, to be Christian, so long must the 
British Parliament remain for all practical purposes as Christian as before. 
Moreover, the admission of Jews once granted, the irrational opposition to 
the measure must soon pass away. Such a prejudice could not be long 
supported. The motion of Lord John Russell was an expression of the 
common sense and good faith of the English people. It was the voice of 
justice — a voice not in opposition to the Church of England and much less 
in opposition to Christianity as a system of faith and practice, but rather a 
measure in opposition to the continuance of prejudices on the score of race 
and religion. Certainly if the resolution should be adopted the Established 
Church should be on the alert to extend and confirm her influence in the 
State, to the end that the time-honored relations between the two might 
not be disturbed or broken. As for himself, he had foreseen that the former 
statute removing the disabilities of the Jews would lead logically to their 
admission to office in the State. 

All this may in the retrospect seem reasonable enough. The American 
reader can hardly conceive of any answer to an argument so strongly 
buttressed with truth and humanity. We note with astonishment, however, 



LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E, GLADSTONE. 



MUSTER OF THE IRTSH AT MULLINAHONE VSUER S.MJTH 



REPRESENTATIVE OF OXFORD UNIVERSITY. 1 55 

that in the course of the debate Mr. Gladstone was twitted with the asser- 
tion that if he had made his speech before the late election he would never 
have represented the University of Oxford in the House of Commons. 
And that was probably true! In the conclusion of the discussion the reso- 
lution of Lord John Russell was carried; but the Baron Rothschild, 
refusing to avail himself of the tortuous method of getting into Parliament, 
would not take his seat. He would not accept an oath which was hateful 
alike to his faith and his honor. Nor did he finally enter the Commons until 
more than ten years afterward, when the oath, first falling into desuetude 
and then into contempt, was finally abrogated as to Jewish members. 

While the life of Gladstone was thus winding on through the parlia- 
mentary history of the decade the Chartist agitation in England rose higher 
and higher. The British Chartists, carrying banners with the Lovett 
charter on them, went up and down the realm. The demand for the enlarge- 
ment and confirmation of English liberties was loudly echoed in many parts. 
The reader should remember that this agitation' was a part of the conti- 
nental movement which resulted in the Revolution of 1848. Almost every 
nation in Europe was shaken to its center. England, as usual in such times 
of upheaval, was less disturbed than the rest ; but the excitement was suffi- 
cient to alarm the existing order not a little. 

In some parts of the country there were serious outbreaks. Mass 
meetings, bonfires, processions, and declamations were the order of the day. 
At one time the people rushed by thousands into Trafalgar Square. Glas- 
gow was the scene of a riot, which was put down under fire by the military. 
In Edinburgh and Manchester there were similar scenes ; but in these cities, 
as in most other places, there was little bloodshed. On the idth of April, 
1848, a great throng, numbering more than twenty thousand, gathered on 
Kennington Common. The defense, however, had been intrusted to the 
Duke of Wellington, under whom two hundred thousand militiamen were 
enrolled. It was apprehended that the insurrection of the people might 
proceed as far as violent revolt. Those who claimed to be the champions 
of law and order easily held the ascendant. The municipal combined with 
the military arm to overawe the Chartists, and the latter were effectually 
cowed. They had prepared the largest petition which had thus far been 
known in the annals of mankind, and this petition they would bear with 
the pomp of thousands to the doors of Parliament. The existing order 
sought to make the enormous business ridiculous, and, having the organs 
of public opinion, well-nigh succeeded in doing so. Nor may we well pass 
from this episode without noting the fact that in the enrollment of special 
constables to act in the preservation of the peace at London, among 
hundreds of other conspicuous names appear those of Louis Napoleon Bona- 
parte, destined in less than a quadrennium to make himself emperor of the 



156 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

French, and William Ewart Gladstone, in like manner appointed to a con- 
spicuous place in the history of the succeeding quarter of a century. 

However successful the ministry of Lord John Russell may have been 
in confronting the dangers of this troublous period it soon fell into extreme 
perils. The worst evil that came at this juncture was a deficit of more than 
two millions of pounds in the treasury. We may here observe, in a philo- 
sophical way, and without much reference to current conditions in our own 
country, that the immediate effects of free trade and protection on the 
introduction of the one or the other as a State policy are sufficiently 
remarkable. That State which turns from free trade to protection enters 
at once upon a period of ostensible prosperity as it respects national finances. 
The State that turns from protection toward free trade gets itself, for a time, 
into a strait place for the means with which to uphold what is called the 
national credit and to maintain a respectable balance in tl^e treasury. We 
do not here enter into the remote or ultimate results of the two systems, but 
speak only of the temporary stimulus afforded by the one and the depres- 
sion likely to follow the adoption of the other. 

In 1848 England may be regarded as having established herself on the 
basis of free trade. For the time being she suffered hardship on account 
of it. The deficit was alarming. The Chancellor of the Exchequer recom- 
mended an increase of taxation. He would have the income tax, to which 
Sir Robert Peel had resorted, not only continued for five years, but 
increased from seven pence to a shilling the pound. The measure proposed 
reached only the incomes of Great Britain. As to Irelarfd, that country 
had none — at leist so few that it was deemed expedient not to carry the 
tax across the Channel. 

Such a proposition must needs excite furious debate. No other thing, 
not even life, will defend itself like property. The moneyed interests 
sprang up full armed. The representatives of the landed aristocracy cried 
out against government, declaring that the deficit and the woeful condition 
of the whole financial system were the necessary and inevitable results of 
that heretical free trade which had been adopted along with the overthrow 
of the time-honored system of Great Britain. The peculiar character of 
these reflections obliged Sir Robert Peel, leader of the opposition, to go 
over to the support of the ministry, for it had been the work of his ministry 
to abolish the Corn Laws. It was as though Senator Sherman should have 
supported the financial policy of the second administration of Cleveland — 
as he must needs do in self-defense. The debate was hot. The eccentric 
and brilliant Disraeli threw himself into the arena to answer Sir Robert Peel. 
His sarcasm flew like venom. He declared that, as to himself, he might be 
regarded as a free trader, but that there was a difference between a free 
trader and 2i freebooter ! The latter was the proper office and designation 



REPRESENTATIVE OF OXFORD UNIVERSITY. 1 57 

of the Manchester school of economists. He held up a copy of the Blue 
Book containing the ministerial statistics prepared by the Committee on 
Imports, declaring that that book he considered the greatest work of 
imagination produced in the nineteenth century ! The effect of these sallies 
was immense. The delight of the Conservatives was unbounded on behold- 
ing Sir Robert Peel thus impaled. Some one must of necessity come to the 
rescue, and that some one was Gladstone. 

He had every motive for replying. In the first place his friend and 
leader. Sir Robert Peel, had been assailed. In the next place the policy of 
freeing the manufacturing interests and commerce from the burden imposed 
by the Corn Laws was challenged, as if that policy should be undone. 
Thirdly, a leader admired by the landed aristocracy and wholly acceptable 
thereto — brilliant, courageous, and vindictive — had appeared, as if to deny 
the right of an)'^ but himself to be first in the Parliament of Great Britain. 
Gladstone knew on entering the debate, and acknowledged in his intro- 
ductory paragraphs, that he could not meet his sarcastic and wary antagonist 
on his chosen plane of bitter wit and stinging repartee ; but he was willing 
to argue the question and to defend the policy of the Peel administration. 

That administration he proceeded to consider in the light of the facts. 
His appeal was to statistics. He adduced figures in abundance to show 
that, on the whole, Great Britain was prosperous, or at least was beginning 
to prosper, from the abrogation of the old and the substitution of a new 
code of economics. He pointed out that the reversal of this policy, or the 
attempted reversal of it, by a vote of a majority of the House against the 
Income Tax Bill could but prove disastrous. Such a course would imply 
vacillation, uncertainty. It would imply ignorance of the facts. It would 
tend to show that the continental disturbances of the year, so terrible in 
Belgium and France and Germany, were working also their pernicious influ- 
ence in Great Britain — a thing to be deprecated by all patriots. As for 
himself, he did not doubt that the British Parliament would show itself 
worthy of its predecessors. He did not doubt that the general will of the 
nation would be sustained. He did not doubt that while European society 
was shaken and in some parts reduced to chaos England would remain as 
firm as ever. Social order should be upheld. Trade should be protected 
and confirmed. Public employments should be made pure. Conscience, 
more than party, should be followed in such an era of disturbance and 
danger. Parliament, acting with moderation and prudence, should show its 
devotion to English institutions. Those institutions would still survive to 
bless the coming times. Great Britain should not yield to the European 
turmoil. — On the whole the effect of these pacific and conservative utter- 
ances was hardly less marked than had been the epigrams of Disraeli. 
The measure of the income tax for three years was carried through Parlia- 



158 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

ipent by a substantial majority, and the policy of free trade emphatically 
confirmed 

We have just remarked the distracted condition prevailing in Europe 
in the year 1848. Nothing like it had been witnessed since the era of the 
French Revolution. The Citizen King of the French was readily dismissed 
from further service. The revolution spread into Belgium and Spain and 



WILLIAM SMITH O'BRIEN. 

Italy and far beyond the Rhine. Chartism in England was the correlated 
circumstance. The government of Great Britain must needs be antirevo- 
lutionary. Victoria and the late King of the French had been atone. The 
Chartist leaders found that the overturning of political abuses was a much 
more difficult task than it had been with the revolutionists on the Conti- 
nent, The insurrections in Paris, Berlin, and Brussels had easily succeeded ; 
but that in London could not succeed— except by the tedious processes of 



REPRESENTATIVE OF OXFORD UNIVERSITY. 1 59 

history. It is not in the nature of England to yield of a sudden to any- 
thing. Her structure will not permit it. That structure has been wrought 
by centuries of evolution and increase. On it the Conqueror used his 
battle-ax more than eight centuries ago. On it rang the swords of the 
Plantagenets. The war hammers of York and Lancaster resounded on 
bulwark and buttress. Victoria had now added grace and womanhood ; 
the coping stones were not without glory. At the middle of our century 
English liberty was still a crude thing, and in many respects a misnomer ; 
but it was worth having. 

So England would not revolutionize under the clamor of Chartism. 
Parliament became reformatory by littles. There was some reform and 
some adjustment, after the British manner. The Irish agitators — O'Con- 
nell, O'Brien, Meagher, Duffy, and Mitchel — shot into the sky of agitation, 
but went away like . meteors. There was persecution, false trials, false 
convictions, and some hanging, which would have been beheading and 
quartering if the sentences of the courts could have been carried out. 

In the midst of all this two characters emerged, one of which it is the 
business of this narrative to follow to the end. The other was that fantas- 
tic Hebrew, Benjamin Disraeli, who, from beginning as the butt of the 
House of Commons, rose more and more to the rank of leadership. This 
remarkable personage had entered Parliament as a Radical. On account of 
his quaint apparel, loud ways, and his mixation of peacock and jackdaw he 
had been hooted down on the occasion of his maiden speech. He had 
persevered, however, against all kinds of prejudice, from the age-long 
P^'^judice of race to the gadfly prejudice of mere personalities. More and 
more he gained on the contempt with which he was first assailed. He 
drifted over to the Conservative benches of the House. He watched his 
opportunity, and that opportunity came in his debate with Peel. He sprang 
open like an automatic knife, and cut his way to the ministerial heart. 
Henceforth, to the day of his death, he was always the idol of the old 
landed aristocracy of Great Britain and of her majesty the queen. 

We have referred to the many important measures that arose at this 

juncture in Parliamenfr- Among these was the question of revising the 

navigation laws. T^J^ scheme for doing so was prepared by Labouchere, 

President of th^^oard of Trade. It grew out of the abrogation of the 

restrictions thaf had so long existed on English industry and commerce. 

Making tradp free implied the opening of ocean navigation on terms of 

equality foFevery sort of merchandise. The proposed law reserved for the 

crown tlWprerogative of restricting the commercial intercourse with foreign 

nationy^hen such a course should be suggested by the safety or the 

interef of the State. The measure also included a concession to the 

^^'^1 colonies of opening their coast trade on terms of equality to foreign 



158 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE, 

ment by a substantial majority, and the policy of free trade emphatically 
confirmed. 

We have just remarked the distracted condition prevailing in Europe 
in the year 1848. Nothing like it had been witnessed since the era of the 
French Revolution. The Citizen King of the French was readily dismissed 
from further service. The revolution spread into Belgium and Spain and 



V1LLIAM SMITH O'BRIEN. 



Italy and far beyond the Rhine. Chartism in England was the correlated 
circumstance. The government of Great Britain must needs be antirevo- 
luttonary. Victoria and the late King of the French had been atone. The 
Chartist leaders found that the overturning of political abuses was a much 
more difficult task than it had been with the revolutionists on the Conti- 
nent. The insurrections in Paris, Berlin, and Brussels had easily succeeded ; 
but that in London could not succeed — except by the tedious processes of 



r 



REPRESENTATIVE OF OXFORD UNIVERSITY. 1 59 

history. It is not in the nature of England to yield of a sudden to any- 
thing. Her structure will not permit it. That structure has been wrought 
by centuries of evolution and increase. On it the Conqueror used his 
battle-ax more than eight centuries ago. On it rang the swords of the 
Plantagenets. The war hammers of York and Lancaster resounded on 
bulwark and buttress. Victoria had now added grace and womanhood ; 
the coping stones were not without glory. At the middle of our century 
English liberty was still a crude thing, and in many respects a misnomer ; 
but it was worth having. 

So England would not revolutionize under the clamor of Chartism. 
Parliament became reformatory by littles. There was some reform and 
some adjustment, after the British manner. The Irish agitators — O'Con- 
nell, O'Brien, Meagher, Duffy, and Mitchel — shot into the sky of agitation, 
but went away like meteors. There was persecution, false trials, false 
convictions, and some hanging, which would have been beheading and 
quartering if the sentences of the courts could have been carried out 

In the midst of all this two characters emerged, one of which it is the 
business of this narrative to follow to the end. The other was that fantas- 
tic Hebrew, Benjamin Disraeli, who, from beginning as the butt of the 
House of Commons, rose more and more to the rank of leadership. This 
remarkable personage had entered Parliament as a Radical. On account of 
his quaint apparel, loud ways, and his mixation of peacock and jackdaw he 
had been hooted down on the occasion of his maiden speech. He had 
persevered, however, against all kinds of prejudice, from the age-long 
prejudice of race to the gadfly prejudice of mere personalities. More and 
more he gained on the contempt with which he was first assailed. He 
drifted over to the Conservative benches of the House. He watched his 
opportunity, and that opportunity came in his debate with Peel. He sprang 
open like an automatic knife, and cut his way to the ministerial heart. 
Henceforth, to the day of his death, he was always the idol of the old 
landed aristocracy of Great Britain and of her majesty the queen. 

We have referred to the many important measures that arose at this 
juncture in Parliament. Among these was the question of revising the 
navigation laws. The scheme for doing so was prepared by Labouchere, 
President of the Board of Trade. It grew out of the abrogation of the 
restrictions that had so long existed on English industry and commerce. 
Making trad-j free implied the opening of ocean navigation on terms of 
equality for every sort of merchandise. The proposed law reserved for the 
crown the prerogative of restricting the commercial intercourse with foreign 
nations when such a course should be suggested by the safety or the 
interest of the State. The measure also included a concession to the 
British colonies of opening their coast trade on terms of equality to foreign 



L 



158 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

ment by a substantial majority, and the policy of free trade emphatically 
confirmed. 

We have just remarked the distracted condition prevailing in Europe 
in the year 1848. Nothing like it had been witnessed since the era of the 
French Revolution. The Citizen King of the French was readily dismissed 
from further service. The revolution spread into Belgium and Spain and 



WILLIAM SMITH O BRIEN, 



Italy and far beyond the Rhine. Chartism in England was the correlated 
circumstance. The government of Great Britain must needs be antirevo- 
lutionary. Victoria and the late King of the French had been atone. The 
Chartist leaders found that the overturning of political abuses was a much 
more difficult task than it had been with the revolutionists on the Conti- 
nent, The insurrections in Paris, Berlin, and Brussels had easily succeeded ; 
but that in London could not succeed — except by the tedious processes of 



REPRESENTATIVE OF OXFORD UNIVERSITY. 1 59 

history. It is not in the nature of England to yield of a sudden to any- 
thing. Her structure will not permit it. That structure has been wrought 
by centuries of evolution and increase. On it the Conqueror used his 
batde-ax more than eight centuries ago. On it rang the swords of the 
Plantagenets. The war hammers of York and Lancaster resounded on 
bulwark and buttress. Victoria had now added grace and womanhood ; 
the coping stones were not without glory. At the middle of our century 
English liberty was still a crude thing, and in many respects a misnomer ; 
but it was worth having. 

So England would not revolutionize under the clamor of Chartism. 
Parliament became reformatory by littles. There was some reform and 
some adjustment, after the British manner. The Irish agitators — O'Con- 
nell, O'Brien, Meagher, Duffy, and Mitchel — shot into the sky of agitation, 
but went away like meteors. There was persecution, false trials, false 
convictions, and some hanging, which would have been beheading and 
quartering if the sentences of the courts could have been carried out. 

In the midst of all this two characters emerged, one of which it is the 
business of this narrative to follow to the end. The other was that fantas- 
tic Hebrew, Benjamin Disraeli, who, from beginning as the butt of the 
House of Commons, rose more and more to the rank of leadership. This 
remarkable personage had entered Parliament as a Radical. On account of 
his quaint apparel, loud ways, and his mixation of peacock and jackdaw he 
had been hooted down on the occasion of his maiden speech. He had 
persevered, however, against all kinds of prejudice, from the age-long 
prejudice of race to the gadfly prejudice of mere personalities. More and 
more he gained on the contempt with which he was first assailed. He 
drifted over to the Conservative benches of the House. He watched his 
opportunity, and that opportunity came in his debate with Peel. He sprang 
open like an automatic knife, and cut his way to the ministerial heart. 
Henceforth, to the day of his death, he was always the idol of the old 
landed aristocracy of Great Britain and of her majesty the queen. 

We have referred to the many important measures that arose at this 
juncture in Parliament. Among these was the question of revising the 
navigation laws. The scheme for doing so was prepared by Labouchere, 
President of the Board of Trade. It grew out of the abrogation of the 
restrictions that had so long existed on English industry and commerce. 
Making trado free implied the opening of ocean navigation on terms of 
equality for every sort of merchandise. The proposed law reserved for the 
crown the prerogative of restricting the commercial intercourse with foreign 
nations when such a course should be suggested by the safety or the 
interest of the State. The measure also included a concession to the 
British colonies of opening their coast trade on terms of equality to foreign 



158 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

ment by a substantial majority, and the policy of free trade emphatically 
confirmed. 

We have just remarked the distracted condition prevailing in Europe 
in the year 1848. Nothing like it had been witnessed since the era of the 
French Revolution. The Citizen King of the French was readily dismissed 
from further service. The revolution spread into Belgium and Spain and 



WILLIAM SMITH O BRIEIN. 



Italy and far beyond the Rhine. Chartism in England was the correlated 
circumstance. The government of Great Britain must needs be antirevo- 
lutionary. Victoria and the late King of the French had been at one. The 
Chartist leaders found that the overturning of political abuses was a much 
more difficult task than it had been with the revolutionists on the Conti- 
nent. The insurrections in Paris, Berlin, and Brussels had easily succeeded ; 
but that in London could not succeed— except by the tedious processes of 



REPRESENTATIVE OF OXFORD UNIVERSITY. 1 59 

history. It is not in the nature of England to yield of a sudden to any- 
thing. Her structure will not permit it. That structure has been wrought 
by centuries of evolution and increase. On it the Conqueror used his 
battle-ax more than eight centuries ago. On it rang the swords of the 
Plantagenets. The war hammers of York and Lancaster resounded on 
bulwark and buttress. Victoria had now added grace and womanhood ; 
the coping stones were not without glory. At the middle of our century 
English liberty was still a crude thing, and in many respects a misnomer ; 
but it was worth having. 

So England would not revolutionize under the clamor of Chartism. 
Parliament became reformatory by littles. There was some reform and 
some adjustment, after the British manner. The Irish agitators — O'Con- 
nell, O'Brien, Meagher, Duffy, and Mitchel — shot into the sky of agitation, 
but went away like . meteors. There was persecution, false trials, false 
convictions, and some hanging, which would have been beheading and 
quartering if the sentences of the courts could have been carried out 

In the midst of all this two characters emerged, one of which it is the 
business of this narrative to follow to the end. The other was that fantas- 
tic Hebrew, Benjamin Disraeli, who, from beginning as the butt of the 
House of Commons, rose more and more to the rank of leadership. This 
remarkable personage had entered Parliament as a Radical. On account of 
his quaint apparel, loud ways, and his mixation of peacock and jackdaw he 
had been hooted down on the occasion of his maiden speech. He had 
persevered, however, against all kinds of prejudice, from the age-long 
prejudice of race to the gadfly prejudice of mere personalities. More and 
more he gained on the contempt with which he was first assailed. He 
drifted over to the Conservative benches of the House. He watched his 
opportunity, and that opportunity came in his debate with Peel. He sprang 
open like an automatic knife, and cut his way to the ministerial heart. 
Henceforth, to the day of his death, he was always the idol of the old 
landed aristocracy of Great Britain and of her majesty the queen. 

We have referred to the many important measures that arose at this 
juncture in Parliament. Among these was the question of revising the 
navigation laws. The scheme for doing so was prepared by Labouchere, 
President of the Board of Trade. It grew out of the abrogation of the 
restrictions that had so long existed on English industry and commerce. 
Making trade: free implied the opening of ocean navigation on terms of 
equality for every sort of merchandise. The proposed law reserved for the 
crown the prerogative of restricting the commercial intercourse with foreign 
nations when such a course should be suggested by the safety or the 
interes*. of the State. The measure also included a concession to the 
British colonies of opening their coast trade on terms of equality to foreign 



158 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

rpent by a substantial majority, and the policy of free trade emphatically 
confirmed. 

We have just remarked the distracted condition prevailing in Europe 
in the year 1848. Nothing like it had been witnessed since the era of the 
French Revolution. The Citizen King of the French was readily dismissed 
from further service. The revohition spread into Belgium and Spain and 



WILLIAM SMITH O'BRIEN. 

Italy and far beyortd the Rhine. Chartism in England was the correlated 
circumstance. The government of Great Britain must needs be antirevo- 
lutionary. Victoria and the late King of the French had been atone. The 
Chartist leaders found that the overturning of political abuses was a much 
more difficult task than it had been with the revolutionists on the Conti- 
nent. The insurrections in Paris, Berlin, and Brussels had easily succeeded ; 
but that in London could not succeed — except by the tedious processes of 



REPRESENTATIVE OF OXFORD UNIVERSITY. 1 59 

history. It is not in the nature of England to yield of a sudden to any- 
thing. Her structure will not permit it. That structure has been wrought 
by centuries of evolution and increase. On it the Conqueror used his 
battle-ax more than eight centuries ago. On it rang the swords of the 
Plantagenets. The war hammers of York and Lancaster resounded on 
bulwark and buttress. Victoria had now added grace and womanhood ; 
the coping stones were not without glory. At the middle of our century 
English liberty was still a crude thing, and in many respects a misnomer ; 
but it was worth having. 

So England would not revolutionize under the clamor of Chartism. 
Parliament became reformatory by littles. There was some reform and 
some adjustment, after the British manner. The Irish agitators — O'Con- 
nell, O'Brien, Meagher, Duffy, and Mitchel — shot into the sky of agitation, 
but went away like meteors. There was persecution, false trials, false 
convictions, and some hanging, which would have been beheading and 
quartering if the sentences of the courts could have been carried out 

In the midst of all this two characters emerged, one of which it is the 
business of this narrative to follow to the end. The other was that fantas- 
tic Hebrew, Benjamin Disraeli, who, from beginning as the butt of the 
House of Commons, rose more and more to the rank of leadership. This 
remarkable personage had entered Parliament as a Radical. On account of 
his quaint apparel, loud ways, and his mixation of peacock and jackdaw he 
had been hooted down on the occasion of his maiden speech. He had 
persevered, however, against all kinds of prejudice, from the age-long 
prejudice of race to the gadfly prejudice of mere personalities. More and 
more he gained on the contempt with which he was first assailed. He 
drifted over to the Conservative benches of the House. He watched his 
opportunity, and that opportunity came in his debate with Peel. He sprang 
open like an automatic knife, and cut his way to the ministerial heart. 
Henceforth, to the day of his death, he was always the idol of the old 
landed aristocracy of Great Britain and of her majesty the queen. 

We have referred to the many important measures that arose at this 
juncture in Parliament. Among these was the question of revising the 
navigation laws. The scheme for doing so was prepared by Labouchere, 
President of the Board of Trade. It grew out of the abrogation of the 
restrictions that had so long existed on English industry and commerce. 
Making trade free implied the opening of ocean navigation on terms of 
equality for every sort of merchandise. The proposed law reserved for the 
crown the prerogative of restricting the commercial intercourse with foreign 
nations when such a course should be suggested by the safety or the 
interest of the State. The measure also included a concession to the 
British colonies of opening their coast trade on terms of equality to foreign 



l60 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

merchantmen. Finally the act provided for the institution of a Depart- 
ment of the Marine in the government, at the head of which was to be 
placed one of the lords of the admiralty. All of this seemed natural and 
inevitable to the Liberals, with whom Gladstone had now begun to act ; but 
it seemed odious to the Conservatives of the old school. The opposition 



threw every possible objection in speech and obstacle in politics in the way 
of the passage of the measure. 

It devolved on William E. Gladstone more than any other to defend 
the measure of the government. Though not a minister, he must act with 
the ministry as the lieutenant of Sir Robert Feel, and indeed in the promo- 
tion of his own views. In the course of the debate he delivered one of his 
principal parliamentary orations. It was on the 29th of May, 1848, that he 



REPRESENTATIVE OF OXFORD UNIVERSITY. l6l 

addressed the House on the subject His burden was to establish the 
practicability and desirability for repealing the current marine code and 
instituting another system of commerce on the seas. In the outset, he 
admitted that the project of the government was not unexceptionable. It 
was subject to criticism. Such admission had now become a part of the 
Gladstonian method. It accorded well with his temperament to allow 
much in his arguments in order to establish or suggest that slow and con- 
servative progress in affairs without noticing which it is impossible to 
understand and interpret his career. 

He thought in this instance that government had been too precipitant. 
Slower methods would have been more sure. In one passage he laid, in 
part, the foundation of what was destined to be an almost lifelong dislike 
on the part of the queen. Observe that all sovereigns desire the enlarge- 
ment and confirmation of their prerogatives. They seem to think — that is, 
they flatter themselves into thinking — that the interests of their subjects will 
be best promoted by increasing the power of the crown ; this in the face of 
the fact that history, if she have wrought at any one problem for centuries, 
has been steadily engaged in the work of reducing — as she will ultimately 
extinguish — the prerogatives of all crowns whatsoever. 

The new Navigation Bill contained a clause conferring on her majesty 
a large discretionary power as to the rules regulating foreign commerce. 
This part of the measure Gladstone opposed. He thought that there was 
a great objection to conferring such a power on government Even though 
the queen be surrounded by the privy council, her government should not 
be empowered to act in the proposed legislative capacity. For himself, he 
should not concede such an enlargement of the regal prerogatives. No 
doubt it had been better if the ministerial measure had been less radical. 
The proposed legislation seemed to him to abolish too much of the past for 
the mere pleasure of instituting the untried in its place. He also called 
attention to what he considered the unwise provision by which the coasting 
trade was excluded from the general scheme. In this part of the debate he 
hinted at the intercommercial relations between England and America. He 
said in words that it would be well to admit free the American merchant- 
men, if our country would in turn do the same for British ships. In one 
strong and courageous passage he declared his preference for such naviga- 
tion laws as would make the high seas as free for all innocent commerce 
as are the winds and tides. For his part, he hoped to live to see such a 
time ; and he hoped also that Great Britain would lead the way to the end 
that the ocean might become as free as the land. 

It became evident that the bill of the President of the Board of Trade 
had a majority in its favor ; but the opposition was active, and the measure 
at length went over to the next year. It then came to a direct issue, 
II 



1 62 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

Gladstone spoke a second time on the proposed act in the session of 1849. 
He again upheld the ministry, pointing out, however, such defects in the 
governmental measures as he discovered. He again approached the question 
from the side of facts and figures. The year that had elapsed enabled him 
to show the House that the relaxation of the former maritime code had 
already produced a favorable result. The prophecies of the opposition, 
made in an academic way, had not been verified. The carrying trade of 
England had within the last twelvemonth considerably increased. If the 
shipowners and shipbuilders had been or should be injured by the passage 
of the Navigation Act, then the principle of compensation might be 
judiciously applied. For his own part he would set an example of free 
commerce. He would not proceed tentatively and by reciprocity only, but 
actually and openly. England might recognize the favorable legislation of 
foreign States; but England should nevertheless go forward on her own 
lines of progress and expansion. He did not believe that conditional and 
experimental legislation was wise under existing conditions. He criti- 
cised again the part of the act which related to the coasting trade of Great 
Britain. Government might well declare the coasting trade open to 
America, and America would come to see the advantage of a correlative 
measure for herself He did not doubt that Australia, Canada, and India 
were favorable to a repeal of the navigation laws. On the whole, he pre- 
ferred that the clause relating to the coasting trade should be stricken out ; 
but he was willing, if it should be deemed necessary, to support the bill as a 
whole. The fears of the opposition had little ground. Some of the 
speakers had called the proposed act a second horse of Troy about to be 
hauled in through the walls. There was no danger of such an apparition. 
Vague prophecies of harm to come were born of the imagination, and 
would never take corporeal form. Great Britain had a destiny which under 
Providence she would fulfill, all evil prognostications to the contrary not- 
withstanding. 

Meanwhile the Commission on Customs made a report which tended to 
confirm Gladstone's contention with regard to the part of the bill relating 
to the coasting trade. Seeing that the revenue would be endangered, the 
ministry agreed to modify the act in the direction indicated by Gladstone. 
Henry Labouchere changed the bill in about ten particulars, and Gladstone, 
though not wholly satisfied and though unwilling himself to offer a substi- 
tute for the whole, agreed to support the modified measure. 

This concession on the part of the President of the Board of Trade, 
and this pliancy on the part of Gladstone gave opportunity for another out- 
burst by the sarcastic and imaginative Disraeli. He came to the attack in 
one of his best moods. He called attention of the House to the retreat of 
Labouchere and the complacency of Gladstone. The conduct of the two 



r 



REPRESENTATIVE OF OXFORD UNIVERSITY. 1 63 

in making supposititious sacrifices of personal opinion before the public and 
for the ostensible good of the country, reminded him of that day in the 
French Revolution when the priests and nobles marching together threw 
off their miters and coronets, making believe that they were at one not only 
with each other, but with the third estate and all mankind. That day had 
passed into history under the name of the Day of Dupes ! It was to be 
hoped that the coquetting and jowling of statesmen in the British Parlia- 
ment would not too vividly recall to memory the historical Day of Dupes. 
The speaker declared that the bill was already in a paralytic condition. He 
called attention, in the manner of all opposition speakers, to the distressed 
state of the country. The evil day had come through the precipitancy 
and recklessness of government — a course by which the best interests 
of the people had been sacrificed. Persistency in such a course must 
imperil, if it had not already imperiled, the institutions of the empire. He 
paid his respects in particular to Mr. Gladstone for trying to make an 
impossible explanation of his course with respect to pending legislation. 
Even the pledges of that gentleman had not been fulfilled. After making 
his argument, he had refused to follow his own deductions. His present atti- 
tude was that of total inconsistency, etc. The ministry did not indeed, 
according to Mr. Disraeli, care for Mr. Gladstone, except to use him as an 
instrument of its purpose, and then to cast him overboard as an obstacle. 

Mr. Gladstone, thus criticised, replied with much success. He denied 
that he had failed in the matter of his pledges. He appealed to the House 
to verify the assertion that he had in the beginning of the discussion 
openly reserved to himself the privilege of acting on his own judgment as 
to the various features of the pending act. He thought the measure of the 
government one of great importance, and notwithstanding many of his per- 
sonal views he was supporting that measure as likely to be of advantage to 
his country. Perhaps his concessive attitude to the interests of the country, 
even as against himself, was the thing which had roused the sarcastic spirit 
of the gentleman on the other side. That gentleman would perhaps not 
hesitate to take advantage of one who was conscientiously following the 
train of duty provided thereby he might exercise his brilliant wit. Free 
trade might be made a subject of sarcasm, but that policy nevertheless had 
by the goodness of Providence exercised a marked and immeasurable 
influence for good on the destinies of Great Britain. 

Thus with debate and counterdebate the question finally came to an 
issue, and in June of 1849 ^^ ^^ ^^^ passed. The vote showed that the 
ministry, supported by Mr. Gladstone and others of independent turn, was 
still upheld by a good working majority. 



164 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 




CHAPTER X. 

Beginnings of the Church Question. 

EANWHILE the rising questions of religion and of organized 
ecclesiasticism in its relations to the State came ever and 
anon to the fore. Now it was Catholic and Jew, and now 
Jew and Catholic. The old strict construction, whereby the 
Church of England must be upheld, all other parties to the 
contrary notwithstanding, was hardly any longer practical or even possible. 
The spirit of the age forbade it. Catholic Ireland lay darkly banked across 
the Channel. 

In the year 1846 Cardinal Maria Mastai Ferretti was raised to the 
papal chair, with the title of Pius IX. He was already in his fifty-fifth 
year ; but his eye was not dimmed nor his natural force abated. No pope 
of the late centuries had been equally ambitious. He began his reign as a 
Liberal. He proclaimed amnest}^ for political offenses. Prisons were opened, 
and the persecuted went free. His generosity extended even to the Jews. 
He constituted a lay commission to consider the questions of reform. In 
1847 he published a Coftsultum by which a Council of State was established 
to assist him in his government. True, the college of cardinals still held 
a check on the pope and his measures. The acts of his council could not 
become valid until they were approved by the college ; but the effects of 
the movement tended to raise the papacy in the esteem and expectation of 
Protestant nations. 

In the British Parliament a bill was introduced to establish diplomat- 
ical relations with the court of Rome. Such an act was against the long- 
standing policy and prejudice of England. Mr. Gladstone spoke on this 
question, and favored the proposed measure^ He who had written The 
State in its Relations with the Church had already gone so far toward liber- 
alism that he advocated the proposed recognition of the See of Rome! 
He called attention to the fact that from the sixteenth to the seventeenth 
century the papal power had sought by stratagem and war to regain its 
hold on the British isles. The people of England had resisted such foreign 
domination, and in resisting had renounced all political recognition of the 
papacy. But the original conditions had now passed away. The inhibitory 
statutes against Rome need not longer stand a menace to the progress and 
enlightenment of the nineteenth century. Parliament had recently shown 
its consideration for Rome in the Maynooth College Bill. If it had become 
necessary to hold amicable relations with the Roman Catholics of Ireland 
there was a logical necessity of recognizing that power with which the 
Irish Catholics were in such close ecclesiastical affiliation. He might be 



r 



BEGINNINGS OF THE CHURCH QUESTION, 165 

charged with inconsistencies. He might be misunderstood and misrepre- 
sented. It might be charged that he held in mind some future project 
relative to the Irish Church, By all these considerations, however, he 
should not be moved to refuse his support to the pending measure. Nor 
will the reader fail to note in what the speaker hinted at in a possible future 
policy respecting the Irish Catholics the shadowy outline and suggestions 
of Disestablishment Gladstone was already a Liberal. 

The same tendency was shown on several occasions when the question 



LOUD BLGtN. 



of the Jews obtruded itself before the House, The old oath which a 
member of Parliament must take required him to qualify " on the true faith 
of a Christian." How could a Jew swear on the true faith of a Christian } 
The bar seemed to be absolute against every true Israelite, and surmount- 
able only by him of casuistical disposition and most elastic conscience. 
Gladstone said, in one debate of this session, that the Jew ought not any 
longer in justice to be prevented from sitting in the House of Commons 
on account of the diversity of his religious views from those of orthodox 



1 66 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

Christians. For his part he would not have oaths taken carelessly or in a 
loose sense. Out of such usage mere formalism and moral indifference 
would spring. For his part he favored the retention of the words " on the 
true faith of a Christian " for all members who were Christian, but the omis- 
sion of the qualifying clause for such as had not the Christian profession. 

Another aspect of the ecclesiastical business was the offering in the 
House of a sort of academic resolution to the effect that the poor as well as 
the rich ought to have equal religious privileges, or else be excused from the 
payment of the Church rates. No Church opportunity no pay, was the prin- 
ciple of the thing declared. Such a proposition arose out of the gross 
abuses which had come to pass in the Establishment. The Episcopal 
churches were filled with the well to do. The well to do preoccupied and 
held the pews. The masses went unfed with the bread of instruction and 
comfort. As a matter of fact property had here, as ever, triumphed over 
life. The man was counted out in order that the estate might have a sit- 
ting. All Church members ought to have the right of the sitting or be 
excused from paying the rates. So said Gladstone in one of his speeches. 
While not supporting an abstract and therefore inane proposition, he 
nevertheless hoped that practical reform would be attained, that the abuse 
complained of might be abolished, that the rights of the humble as well as 
of the powerful middle classes to sittings in the churches should be recog* 
nized and enforced. 

By this time the conditions in Canada had become positively alarming. 
Montreal was threatened with subversion by mobs. A recent Bill of 
Indemnity for Losses in the late rebellion had been passed and approved 
by Lord Elgin, Governor General of the Dominion. The Liberals had 
supported this measure against strenuous opposition. Tories and Conserv- 
atives succeeded in producing such a condition of public opinion that the 
governor general was stoned and the Parliament House assailed by rioters. 
The echo of the tumult reached England. The ministry was greatly 
embarrassed. The Conservatives stood in with the opposition to Lord 
Elgin in Canada. It was proposed to vote the means for upholding the 
constituted authorities ; but the opposition assailed such proposal on the 
ground that the very money which was to be voted for the purpose named 
was the money of Canada, collected from her revenues. Parliament was 
about to put itself in the position of suppressing the Canadian populace 
with their own resources ! 

On the 14th of June in this year (1849) Gladstone offered a resolution 
and spoke on the Canadian imbroglio. He urged that the condition in 
Canada warranted the interference of the home authorities. He denounced 
the Indemnity Bill, because, as he alleged, it gave opportunity to those 
who had committed treason to reimburse themselves for their losses. The 



BEGINNINGS OF THE CHURCH QUESTION. 1 67 

people of Canada had not had an opportunity to pass judgment on that 
bill. He would have the government to refuse all compensation to those 
who had been in actual rebellion. Those claiming benefits must be able 
to establish the fact that they had not participated in the insurrection. 
He should favor the giving of an opportunity to the Legislature of Canada 
to pass on the Indemnity Bill before declaring its ratification by Parliament. 

The speech was not at all satisfactory to the ministry. Lord John 
Russell declared that government must uphold the Act of Indemnity, and 
that the view expressed by Gladstone would tend to anarchy in Canada. 
Mr. Gladstone's proposition to suspend the assent of the crown until the 
Colonial Legislature should have opportunity to consider the measure was 
not sustained by a majority, and the Indemnity Act was passed and ratified 
by the queen. 

In the meantime the opinion was gaining ground that a general colo- 
nial reform should be instituted. A bill to this effect was presented by Mr. 
Roebuck, or rather he sought the privilege of introducing such a bill, and 
on this issue Gladstone again addressed the House. He urged the propri- 
ety of a general reform, and thought the time had now come that a bill 
proceeding from the Colonial Office should be prepared and sent to the 
colonies for consideration. This view, however, was not supported, though 
a respectable minority voted in its favor. After a few days Sir W. Moles- 
worth returned to the question, moving an address to the queen. He 
would have her majesty institute a commission to inquire into the methods 
pursued by her servants in the conduct of the colonial governments. The 
resolution recited the evidences of distrust and dissatisfaction in the various 
outlying provinces of Great Britain. The colonial governments were too 
expensive. They did not afford freedom to the industries and enterprises 
of the people. The administration abroad was of a kind to discourage that 
colonizing disposition of the British people which was one of the greatest 
evidences of their enterprise — one of the strongest proofs of their courage 
and capacity. 

Gladstone again came to the support of this view, Mr. Hume rallied 
also. Both contended that the time was opportune for an improvement in 
the colonial system of the empire. It was not only the Canadian imbroglio 
that would justify the action of government in undertaking a renovation of 
the colonial system. Many abuses had been brought out from other gov- 
ernments, suggesting a change in policy. It was indeed necessary to pre- 
vent a severance of colonial interest from that of the home government. 
Civil, social, and political connection ought to be maintained between the 
imperial government and all of its dependencies. It was, however, of 
still paramount importance that the affectionate sympathies of the pro- 
vincials and the home subjects of the crown should be upheld. These 



1 68 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

arguments, however, were unavailing, and the Molesworth proposition was 
also voted down. 

Up to this date the ancient ecclesiasticism had been able to maintain 
its ascendency over the domestic life of Englishmen. The Episcopal 
Church was as strict as Rome in following the canonical view respecting 
marriage. The principle of marrying out of kinship and affinity was stoutly 
upheld. Of all the points where the interdicts fretted most against usage 
that which forbade the marriage by a man with his deceased wife's sister 
was hardest. It appeared to the old imagination of man that to take two 
sisters successively in the marriage relation was little less than incestuous. 

It were hard to say upon what ground this opinion is ultimately based. 
Certain it is that human preference, affection, or caprice will often lead the 
wifeless husband to choose in second marriage the sister of his former 
spouse. In the session of 1849 Mr. Stuart Wortley brought in a bill to 
remove the legal interdict against such unions. The law civil in this case 
coincided with the law canonical. Of course the whole religious order rose 
in insurrection against the proposed change. Gladstone's views had been 
much modified as they respected the Church Establishment, but hardly 
changed at all with respect to ultimate religious principles. He lifted his 
voice in opposition to the proposed measure. He thought it to be against 
the interests of society, as well as immoral. Certainly it was against theo- 
logical doctrines. 

The speaker believed that it was also against the deep-seated opinions 
of the English people. Parliament should hardly undertake to promote a 
measure that antagonized the sentiment and conscience of England. Such 
a bill would work utter confusion in the Church. The Church, by its min- 
isters, must continue to refuse to solemnize marriages forbidden by canon- 
ical law. If the Wortley Bill should pass there would be a double system 
of marriage ; that is, a merely legal system opposing itself to the religious 
marriage which the people of England believed in as essential to the pres- 
ervation of the purity of domestic life. The speaker's argument in this vein 
prevailed, and the bill proposed by Mr. Wortley was voted down. 

The next^ parliamentary episode in the statesman's career belongs to 
the session of 1850. He was now forty-one years of age. Benjamin Disraeli 
was five years older. The two men were unlike in everything except 
ambition and the ability to lead. A contingency arose at this juncture that 
brought them together. England at the middle of our century was in a very 
similar condition, industrially and economically, to that of the United 
States five decades afterward. Both nations had been long under a pro- 
tective system of industry. In the older country such protection had spread 
out its wing over the agricultural interest, and manufactures were left to 
care for themselves. The English industrial body might be looked upon as 



r 



BEGINNINGS OF THE CHURCH QUESTION. 169 

divided on a medial line, the one half being stimulation and the other half 
laisf^tB i fa ire. / 

In our country the situation was the same, except that the two sides of 
the body industrial were reversed. In our case the stimulated side has been 
the manufacturing side, and the agricultural the laissez faire. Both nations, 
one a half century after the other, gave up, the one in toto and the other in 
part, the high protective tariff. The change in both cases tended to confirm, 
establish, and perpetuate an aristocracy of wealth. Without inquiring here 
whether the one system or the other is superior, we may safely allege that 
the change ushered in the evil day. Society, in England and America alike, 
went more than ever to extremes. Particularly in England, after the pas- 
sage of that legislation which we have been considering through many pre- 
ceding pages, did the numbers of the poor increase. Hardship came, and 
with it the outcry of poverty. The two parties in British politics — after the 
condition, of distress was once admitted to exist — charged each the other, or 
the others theory of economics, with the evil results. The Liberals said that 
the condition was simply the aftermath of the unjust system of industrial 
economy that had long existed, and which we, the Liberals, have at length 
with so much toil and patriotism suppressed. The Conservatives charged 
that the free trade, or as Disraeli designated it, " the freebooting of the 
Manchester school," had done the devilment. 

At any rate distress existed, with endless contradiction as to the causes of 
it. On the 19th of February, 1850, Disraeli, leader of the old protective landed 
aristocracy, offered a resolution that the House of Commons go into com- 
mittee of the whole to consider a revision of the poor laws of the United 
Kingdom, to the end that the distresses of the agricultural folk might be 
alleviated. On the side of the ministry this resolution was antagonized by 
Gladstone's friend. Sir James Graham. Gladstone himself, however, spoke 
in favor of Disraeli's resolution. Albeit, he did so, from the opposite 
point of view. Disraeli began to the effect that the sufferings of the agricul- 
tural classes of Great Britain must be assuaged — and the cause of the distress 
was free trade. Gladstone also took the position that the suffering classes 
must be relieved ; but the free-trade policy which had recently been adopted 
was not the origin of such suffering. If indeed the motion of the gentleman 
opposite implied the abandonment of free trade, then he (Gladstone) would 
not support that motion. 

In many particulars the arguments of the two lifelong antagonists ran 
on this occasion in the same channel. Both agreed that a part of the ex- 
pense of aiding the poor might be charged up to the division of the revenue 
known as the Consolidated Fund. There was also agreement on the prin- 
ciple of local control of the poor funds. Gladstone took the; position that 
these measures were distinct and apart from any return, or effort to return, to 



170 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

the principle of protection. Sir James Graham had said that he would 
oppose the pending measure because it was a measure fraught with injustice. 
Gladstone for his part would defend it on the ground that it was a measure 
of justice. Certainly there was a want of equity in the existing laws ; for 
the taxes for the support of the poor were not laid with an equal hand on 
all. It was possible that a tax of this kind could not be made perfect in 
equity. Parliament ought to pass a measure as near i^rfection as might be 
in the imperfect conditions of society. 

The speaker pointed out that the landed properties had long been 
burdened with the poor tax. This condition had come down by inheritance 
to the present owners. Now that the agricultural interest was suffering 
the cry of that interest ought to be heard, and the taxes more equally laid 
on all kinds of property. He was anxious to see the agriculturists, the 
poor men of the English farms, relieved of at least a part of the burdens 
which they bore. In any event the Commons must here and now inquire 
diligently into the existing poverty and its causes, so that in all parts of the 
empire, whether at home or abroad, the suffering might be relieved by 
rational and humane legislation. Gladstone said that a liberal and con- 
ciliatory spirit ought to be shown to all. There was in the pending ques- 
tion an element of humanity that was to be considered as much as exact 
justice. Evidently the farmers and poor people of the country were strug- 
gling to attain and hold a place of independence in the social order of Great 
Britain, and in so doing they were entitled to the sympathies and support 
of the best men of all parties. 

This speech carried great weight, as was seen in the result Disraeli's 
proposition, supported by Gladstone, was within twenty-one votes of 
carrying against the ministry. As the destinies of English history were 
prepared it was not fixed that the two most distinguished political leaders 
of the age should often be found in cooperation. Only at rare intervals 
did their tempers and policies concur. 

More than ever at this time did the statesmanship of England look 
abroad to those foreign parts of the empire which British adventure had 
established in distant countries, even to the ocean continent of Australia* 
The latter country, beginning with penal establishments, had now grown 
into an incipient State. The time had arrived when Australian society, 
having purged itself somewhat of its primeval impurities, must needs have 
a civil frame. It was devolved on the ministry of Lord John Russell to con- 
front this question, and that statesman set about it with his usual energies. 
His views were incorporated in a measure for the government of the 
Australian colonies. One of the sharpest controversies with regard thereto 
arose on the construction of the Australian Legislature. Lord Russell 
provided in his bill for a single legislative chamber, or House of Com- 



r 



BEGINNINGS OF THE CHURCH QUESTION. 1 71 

mens for each colony. This scheme did not conform to the British type ; 
for Great Britain had for her part two houses — the Commons and the Lords. 

To have the Australian plan differ from that of the mother country 
seemed to intimate that the home government was not sufficiently rational, 
and perhaps not sufficiently democratic. This contingency brought out an 
element in Gladstone which was native to him, which had been strengthened 
by his education, but was weakened much by his recent course. Like a 
true Englishman he stood on the old ground to consider a while whether 
anything else might be as good as the existing order. He opposed the 
measure for a single chamber, and favored two houses. If there was no 
Australian aristocracy corresponding to the Lords in England then he held 
that either the people might elect the members of their Upper House or 
else the crown might appoint them. This view of the case accorded with 
that of Horatio Walpole, but the influence of Lord Russell was sufficient 
to carry his measure through. At a later stage of the discussion he spoke 
again in favor of a proposition to give the colonial office a power of veto over 
bills which should be passed by the Australian Assembly. At a still later 
period in the session he brought forward a measure of his own, to enlarge 
and confirm the powers of the clergy and laity of the Established Church 
in determining local questions in given dioceses at their own discretion. 

Very complicated and often tortuous were the parliamentary issues of 
these days. On the 13th of May, 1850, Gladstone urged that pertain 
modifications in the Australian Government Bill, which he and others had 
presented, should be submitted to the colonists themselves, and to this end 
he moved a suspension of the passage of the general bill until the opinion of 
the Australians might be learned. He again rehearsed his objections to 
the pending act as it then stood. He pressed his views strenuously, but in 
vain. The Russell Bill was passed by a large majority. Nor may we fail to 
note that in this passage with the government Disraeli returned the late 
compliment of his competitor by supporting his motion. 

As we have said, the changed and changing policy of Great Britain 
brought at least temporary hardships to the producers of England and her 
colonies. Out in the West Indies the planters suffered, or imagined that 
they suffered, from the abolition of slavery. The removal of the duties on 
sugar had lowered the price of that commodity, while the cost of produc- 
tion had continued the same. Moreover, America — the United States of 
America — was at this time with her slave labor competing strongly for the 
sugar market of the world. The Conservatives found in this condition an 
opportunity of attack. They might revert to the reckless abolition of slavery 
in the West Indies as an example of the incapacity of the Liberals to 
govern. If we, the Conservatives, had had the responsibility of substituting 
free for slave labor in the Indies, how carefully we should have done it, and 



172 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E, GLADSTONE. . 

how much better would have iaeen the results ! Now a radical government 
had compelled the free labor of Jamaica to offer British sugar in the world- 
market in competition with slave-grown sugar of the United States. 

A resolution was offered in Parliament by Sir Edward N. Buxton to 
this effect : " That it is unjust and impolitic to expose the free-grown sugar 
of the British colonies and possessions abroad to unrestricted competition 
with the sugar of foreign slave-trading countries." Superficially the motion 
seemed to be inspired of right reason. It put the ministry on the defensive. 
All that could be urged was that the West Indies had already begun to 
revive from the period of depression, and that the free industry of British 
subjects in those islands would uLtiniately prevail over all competition. 

Gladstone, in speaking on this question, took a moderate and compro- 
mising view. He was willing that the 
protective principle should be applied 
in a restricted way, and for a limited 
time, to the industries of the West 
Indies. The case of those islands was 
different from the general condition. 
He denied strenuously that the aboli- 
tion of slavery had injured the British 
possessions abroad. It was not that, 
but the failure of government to 
follow up abolition with other whole- 
some legislation. Parliament had 
failed to take rational measures for 
supplying the deficiency in the labor 
of the West Indies after the act of 
abolition. For himself, he would not 
hold to a theory as against a condi- 
tion ; but the restoration of the pro- 
SPENCER HORATIO WALPOLE. tectlve systcm could not bring back to 

the West Indies or to any country a 
lost prosperity. But he believed that the reduction of duties on sugar 
ought to be gradual, and that the period of the final extinction of the same 
should be prolonged in the interest of the Jamaican planters. 

At this juncture the distinguished Henry John Temple, Lord Palmer- 
ston, appeared in the debate He attacked right and left, touching upon 
the incongruities' in Gladstone's speech. That gentleman, he urged, was a 
champion of free trade. He had promoted the abolition of the protective 
system in Great Britain ; but now when the shoe pinched he was favoring 
at least the partial perpetuation of the protective system in the Indies. 
These comments were at least superficially effective, and Gladstone had to 



BEGINNINGS OF THE CHURCH QUESTION. I 73 

ware right and ware left to save himself from the charge of inconsistency. 
The Buxton resolution was indeed rejected, but the majority against it was 
reduced to forty-one votes. 

It is in the nature of political parties to torment the one the other 
all they can. They take every advantage of conditions to put each other, 
never up, but always down. At the parliamentary session of 1850 the 
troublesome question of the English and Irish universities was again 
brought before the House of Commons. The question of religion was 
always at the bottom of such issues. In this case a motion was made by a 
Mr. Heywood to inquire into the state of the higher institutions of learning 
in both England and Ireland. A royal committee was appointed, with the 
assent of the ministry. Gladstone spoke again on the subject. He made 
the point that those about to make bequests to the universities would be 
held back in their generous intentions by a knowledge of the fact that with 
every change in the British ministry the triumphant party might appoint a 
committee to investigate the universities. 

Benefactors would not spring up if the management of their gifts was 
to be rendered contemptible by such procedures. He admitted, with his 
habitual caution and reserve, that the universities had not met the highest 
demands of the age. They had not been what they ought to have been in 
the transforming processes of civilization. But. he would also defend the 
universities from the aspersions to which they had been subjected. They 
were a part of the history of England. They were interwoven with the 
intellectual life of the British nation. If any additional supervision or inves- 
tigation should be demanded it were better that the crown should appoint a 
commission for that office rather than that the same should be constituted by 
a political majority in the Commons. The present laws, if properly enforced, 
he deemed sufficient for the regulation of the English universities. 

Just at this time the attention of statesmen and people alike was drawn 
away from the home affairs of Great Britain to the consideration of a 
foreign complication. A difficulty had arisen in Greece which seemed to 
demand the attention of Parliament. The trouble in question dated back 
to the year 1847. I" ^^^^ year the Athenian government had decided to 
abolish one of the Greek Church ceremonies known as the burning of Judas 
Iscariot. It had become the custom to make an effigy of Judas once a 
year, and to burn it publicly in connection with the Easter celebration. 
The ceremony was usually accompanied with uproarious and half-lawless 
amusements. When the abolition of the business was proclaimed there 
was resistance among the people, who were not willing to give up their 
annual sport. A mob arose in Athens, under the leadership of two sons of 
the minister of war. Albeit, the sense of the mob was that if they could 
not bum a factitious Judas they would destroy a live one. 



174 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

There was resident in Athens at this time a certain Jew called Don 
Pacifico. His house was near by the scene of the tumult. He was a Por- 
tuguese by descent, but being born at Gibraltar he had become a citizen of 
Great Britain. His house was attacked and destroyed by the Athenian 
insurgents. He himself escaped, and presently made up a list of his losses, 
amounting to thirty thousand pounds. He also claimed that certain of his 
papers showing an indebtedness of Portugal to him of many additional 
thousands of pounds had been destroyed. This claim he al?o preferred 



THE PIR«US. ATHENS. 

against the Greek government. His thrifty imagination did not stop at 
trifles. When the Greeks failed to compensate him he appealed to the 
British minister of foreign affairs. The minister indorsed the claim, and 
an issue was thus made between Great Britain and Greece. 

Lord Palmerston, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, demanded that payment 
should be made for damages done by the mob, and when the Greek author- 
ities hesitated he ordered a British fleet, under Admiral Sir William Parker 
to blockade the Piraeus, or seaport of Athens, until settlement should be 
made. This was accordingly done. Hereupon the opposition in the 
British Parliament discovered a cause of offense. The action of Palmerston 



BEGINNINGS OF THE CHURCH QUESTION. 1 75 

and the admiral were loudly assailed. It was said that Great Britain had 
stooped from her lofty estate to take up the cause of a Jew adventurer. A 
debate broke out for and against the policy of the government. Meanwhile, 
France was offended at the thing done, to the extent that the French ambas- 
sador at London was recalled. Lord Palmerston was put on the defensive, 
and the Whig ministry was about to be pressed to the wall. 

Palmerston attempted to explain and parry. The matter was taken up 
in the House of Lords, and a considerable majority was obtained against 
the government. The ministry tottered. In the Commons a resolution was 
introduced in this tortuous form : " That this principles which have hitherto 
regulated the foreign policy of her majesty's government are such as were 
required to preserve untarnished the honor and dignity of this country, and, 
in times of unexampled difficulty, the best calculated to maintain peace 
between England and the various nations of the world." 

This adroit resolution gave to the ministers an opportunity to defend 
themselves. They were attacked, however, by Sir Robert Peel in the last 
and one of the most memorable of his speeches. Lord Palmerston replied, 
mixing into his argument a great amount of such material as in American 
parlance would be designated buncombe. He paralleled Great Britain and 
Rome. Time M'as when to say " I am a Roman citizen " was to hold up a 
talisman and shield before him who uttered it, and to make him greater 
than a king. So also the citizen of Great Britain must be able by declaring 
himself a British subject anywhere in the world to stand secure against all 
violence and outrage, even in times of tumult and lawlessness and on bar- 
barian shores. There was much of this kind of appeal, well calculated to 
arouse the prejudices of all Britons. 

Gladstone delivered on the occasion one of his remarkable speeches. 
In some particulars it deserves to survive. At one point especially he 
boldly pointed out the national weakness of Englishmen, who were, and 
have always been, disposed to bully mankind with their assumptions, censo- 
riousness, and dictations.^ He spoke against the government. He urged 
that the ministry had cunningly changed the question debated in the House 
of Lords, so framing it as to make another issue whereby they, the minis- 
ters, hoped to enlist the prejudices of the nation. There was not a dispo- 
sition on the part of government to discuss the real question as between 
Great Britain and the Greeks. Precedents had been cited, said he, that 
belonged to the conduct of one great nation in its relations with another 
like itself. The instances cited were not such as a mighty government 
should plead respecting its conduct toward a weak one. The government 
had centered all its sympathies on Don Pacifico. Others besides he had 
been wronged by the Athenian mob, but of such wrongs government was 
taking no account It was said that one Stellio Sumachi had been tor- 



n 



176 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

tured ; but his claim was only twenty pounds, while that of Don Pacifico 
was thirty thousand pounds! A British subject, the historian Finlay, dom- 
iciled in Athens, had been wronged, and he might have appealed for repara- 
tion to the Athenian courts, but he had not done so. 

The speaker admitted that the personal character of Don Pacifico had 
not much to do with the validity or invalidity of his claim. He urged that 
the claimant had not availed himself of the Greek courts, but had inconti- 
nently gone to the British minister, and that Admiral Parkers violent 
demonstration had followed without consideration. The Greeks had been 
subjected to reprisals amounting to much more than twice the sums of 
all the damages claimed ! Great Britain, by the error of government, had 
put herself in the attitude of bullying a weak and friendly State. The 
policy of noninterference was a British policy, and for this policy England 
had contended with foreign nations for centuries. Now, however, the min- 
istry had adopted by overt act the policy of interference — a policy which 
she could not follow without contradicting herself and her own history. 
Internationality forbade such a violation of consistency and humanity. 
Lord Palmerston had made an appeal ac/ captandum to Englishmen, and 
had referred to the pedantic phrase of being a Roman citizen as a panoply 
against injury throughout the world. It was well enough to claim the pro- 
tection of English citizenship, but the spirit of modern civilization required 
that such claim should be based on justice and reason and truth. 

The speaker animadverted upon tlie conduct of Lord Palmerston with 
considerable severity. " Sir," said he, " I do not understand the duty of a 
secretary for foreign affairs to be of such a character. I understand it 
to be his duty to conciliate peace with dignity. I think it to be the very 
first of all his duties studiously to observe and to exalt in honor amonsr 
mankind that great code of principles which is termed the law of nations, 
which the honorable and learned member for Sheffield has found, indeed, 
to be very vague in their nature and greatly dependent upon the discretion 
of each particular country, but in which I find, on the contrary, a great and 
noble monument of human wisdom, founded on the combined dictates of 
reason and experience, a precious inheritance bequeathed to us by the gen- 
erations that have gone before us, and a firm foundation on which we must 
take care to build whatever it may be our part to add to their acquisitions, if 
indeed we wish to maintain and to consolidate the brotherhood of nations 
and to promote the peace and welfare of the world. 

" Sir, I say the policy of the noble lord tends to encourage and confirm 
us in that which is our besetting fault and weakness, both as a nation and 
as individuals. Let an Englishman travel where he will as a private person 
he is found in general to be upright, high-minded, brave, liberal, and true ; 
but with all this foreigners are too often sensible of something that galls 



BEGINNINGS OF THE CHURCH QUESTION. 1 77 

them in his presence, and I apprehend it is because he has too great a 
tendency to self-esteem — too little disposition to regard the feelings, the 
habits, and the ideas of others. Sir, I find this characteristic too plainly leg- 
ible in the policy of the noble lord. I doubt not that use will be made of our 
present debate to work upon this peculiar weakness of the English mind. 
The people will be told that those who oppose the motion are governed by 
personal motives, have no regard for public principles, no enlarged ideas of 
national policy. You will take your case before a favorable jury and you 
think to gain your verdict ; but, sir, let the House of Commons be warned 
— let it warn itself — against all illusions. There is in this case, also^ a 
course of appeal. There is an appeal, such as the honorable and learned 
member for Sheffield has made, from the one House of Parliament to the 
other. There is a further appeal from this House of Parliament to the 
people of England ; but, lastly, there is also an appeal from the people of 
England to the general sentiment of the civilized world; and I, for my 
part, am of opinion that England will stand shorn of a chief part of her 
glory and pride if she shall be found to have separated herself, through the 
policy she pursues abroad, from the moral supports which the general and 
fixed convictions of mankind afford — if the day shall come when she may 
continue to excite the wonder and the fear of other nations, but in which 
she shall have no part in their affection and regard. 

" No, sir, let it not be so ; let us recognize, and recognize with frank- 
ness, the equality of the weak with the strong, the principles of brotherhood 
among nations, and of their sacred independence. When we are asking 
for the maintenance of the rights which belong to our fellow-subjects resi- 
dent in Greece, let us do as we would be done by, and let us pay all the 
respect to a feeble State and to the infancy of free institutions which we should 
desire and should exact from others toward their maturity and their strength. 
Let us refrain from all gratuitous and arbitrary meddling in the internal 
concerns of other States,, even as we should resent the same interference if 
it were attempted to be practised toward ourselves. If the noble lord has 
indeed acted on these principles, let the government to which he belongs 
have your verdict in its favor ; but if he has departed from them, as I con- 
tend, and as I humbly think and urge upon you that it has been too amply 
proved, then the House of Commons must not shrink from the performance 
of its duty under whatever expectations of momentary obloquy or reproach, 
because we shall have done what is right ; we shall enjoy the peace of our 
own consciences and receive, whether a little sooner or a little later, the 
approval of the public voice for having entered our solemn protest against 
a system of policy which we believe, nay, which we know, whatever may be 
its first aspect, must of necessity in its final results be unfavorable even to 

the security of British subjects resident abroad, which it professes so much 
12 



178 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

to Study — unfavorable to the dignity of the country which the motion of 
the honorable and learned member asserts it preserves — and equally unfavor- 
able to that other great and sacred object, which also it suggests to our 
recollection, the maintenance of peace with the nations of the world." 

The interest in the debate toward the close was intense. It could 
hardly be known in advance whether the House would sustain the ministry 
or, following the lead of the Lords, condemn it. The result showed that 
party discipline, combined with Palmerston s adroitness in turning the dis- 
cussion into another channel, had prevailed. The Whig ascendency and the 
action of the government were sustained by the vote, though by only a 
narrow majority. It was another instance of the mingled audacity and 
finesse of Lord Palmerston. 

Scarcely had this question been settled when the British public was 
shocked by the death of Sir Robert Peel. That statesman had been driving 
out to Buckingham Palace to make a call on the queen. Returning from 
his visit he exchanged salutations with a lady; but in the act his horse shied 
and threw Sir Robert from his carriage. He fell heavily on his shoulder, 
and a subsequent examination showed a fractured rib just over the heart. 
He retained consciousness, and suffered much for three days, when he sank 
under the shock and died. 

The public sorrow for the loss of this distinguished Englishman was 
sincere and general. Fitting orations were delivered in both Houses of 
Parliament The Duke of Wellington and Lord Brougham spoke in the 
Lords, and Mr. Gladstone and others in the Commons. In Gladstone's 
case the eulogy was as much personal as public in its inspiration. He had 
long followed Sir Robert Peel as his leader, and had enjoyed with him an 
unclouded friendship. True, he was now rapidly attaining as great and 
lasting reputation as he whom he had so long sustained. Soon he was to 
surpass the reputation of the dead. Fpr the present he spoke sincerely of 
Sir Robert, declaring that his heart was too full of sorrow to permit him to 
enter into any analytical estimate of the loss which England had sustained. 

The disappearance of Sir Robert Peel from the scene of his prolonged 
activities was a critical circumstance in the political transformation that was 
now going forward with such rapidity. So long as the leader lived the old 
order survived That old order, however, was already spectral, and the new 
order was quickly revealed. The party known as the Peelites was dissolved 
into its elements. It may be allowed that William E. Gladstone hardly 
knew whither to go. He had become a power in Parliament, and was 
cherishing great ambitions. He was unwilling to go over to the Whigs, 
and it had now become impossible for him to return to the Tories. For the 
time being he made up to Sir James Graham, and stood close by the side 
of that statesman until the death of the latter in 1861. Sir James at this 



r 



BEGINNINGS OF THE CHURCH QUESTION. 1 79 

time enjoyed a well-earned reputation for skill in politics and wisdom in 
statesmanship. It has been urged in his behalf that if he had possessed a 
judgment as clear as his learning was vast and his perceptions acute he 
could but have risen to distinct leadership in the public life of Great Britain. 
It appears in the retrospect that Gladstone in this stage of his development 
drew largely upon the resources of Sir James Graham, and to a considera- 
ble degree imbibed his principles and methods. 



LORD HENRY BROUGHAM. 



We have in this chapter followed Mr. Gladstone to that stage in his 
career where his influence, having been first acknowledged throughout 
Great Britain, began to diffuse itself over the Continent and into all 
countries having civilized relations with England, whether of race, govern- 
ment, or commercial intercourse. 



ND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 



CHAPTER XI. 

First IntemationaJ Episode. 

is a remarkable circumstance that the first international im- 
pression produced by William E. Gladstone was the result of 
his personal agency, and not of his political or parliamentary 
offices. The event referred to began with an incident that 
might be regarded as an accident In 1851 he brought him- 
self more than ever to the attention of Europe and the world by two letters 
which he wrote to his friend George Hamilton Gordon, Earl of Aberdeen, 
who was soon to become Premier of England. The source and character 
of the letters and their irtfluence on the opinion of the day may be under- 
stood from a consideration of the following circumstances : 

In 1830 Ferdinand II, King of the Two Sicilies, came to the throne. He 
was then twenty years of age. He began his reign with the publication of 
many specious promises of reform. He would reform the finances, the 
political conditions, the whole administration of the kingdom. All the 
while he was laying plans for the subversion of the few remaining liberties 
of his subjects. He was a shrewd prince, poorly educated, vain, and super- 
stitious. He had the ability to hold the reins of power, but he regarded 
the people as, the mere materials of his craft 

Ferdinand was indifferent to the wishes and sentiments of foreign 
countries. He took for his first wife a daughter of Victor Emmanuel, and 
for his second (in 1836) Maria Theresa, daughter of Archduke Charles of 
Austria. Henceforth he stood in with Austria, and, feeling secure in his 
alliance, adopted nearly all the methods of despotism. Between the years 
1837 and 1848 there were no fewer than five insurrections against him. 
That of the last-named year was so serious, and so greatly convulsed Sicily, 
that the king thought it better to conciliate the insurgents. This he did 
by promising a liberal Constitution. A national election was held -and a 
chamber of a hundred and forty deputies chosen. Ferdinand prescribed an 
intolerable oath for the members of the National Assembly, and when they 
would not take it he ordered the dissolution of the body. 

This was in March of 1849. Tumults broke out in Naples and in 
Sicily. The king's armies were ordered to suppress the insurrection, and 
this they did by bombarding several cities. The innocent and the guilty 
were visited with indiscriminate violence. The king got for himself the title 
of // Bontda f A system of espionage and arbitrary arrest was adopted ; 
seventy-six out of the one hundred and forty deputies were seized and 
thrown into prison. The Neapolitan jails and filthy dungeons were 
crowded with victims. Public officers and patriots, including a noble mem- 



FIRST INTERNATIONAL EPISODE. l8l 

berof the late ministry, were ignominiously chained and thrust into prison- 
holes along with the basest criminals. Terror did its perfect work, and for 
the nonce King Ferdinand flattered himself that he had " restored order!" 

It happened that Mr. Gladstone spent the winter months of 1850-51 in 
Naples. It appeared that he had no thought in going thither of espousing 
the cause of the persecuted Neapolitan patriots. He soon learned, on 
inquiry, that the absent opposition of the Chamber of Deputies was in 
prison! Some had fled to foreign parts. It was estimated that the prisons 
held twenty thousand, though it was afterward ascertained that this estimate 
was too great by several thousand. Mr. Gladstone began to examine the 
condition of affairs for his own information. He became at once convinced 
of the horrid political depravity in the government. Moved by humane 
sentiments, and pressing forward under the liberal impulses which had car- 
ried him to his present stage in the 
public life of England, he determined, 
in his private capacity as an English 
citizen, to attack the monstrous con- 
dition of affairs in the kingdom of 
Naples. 

The result was that he composed 
and sent to the Earl of Aberdeen, as 
said above, two letters, in which he 
described in terms of dignified severity 
the condition of things in Naples and 
Sicily. The letters were at once pub- 
lished, and produced one of the greatest 
sensations of the day. The author at 
the outset declared that he had not ^ „, ^ , 

EABL OF ABERDEEN. 

visited Naples with the conscious 

intention or design of becoming a critic or censor with respect to the 
abuses of the government. He was not there to promote the opinions or 
sentiments of Great Britain ; but the conditions which he had found obliged 
him, from a deep sense of duty, to denounce to his countrymen and the 
world the dreadful, almost unnamable, abuses and crimes which prevailed 
in the administration of the Neapolitan government. 

He next pointed out the principal reasons which impelled him to write ' 
and publish his communications. In the first place, the present practices 
of the government of Naples with respect to political offenders he had 
found to be an outrage on religion, civilization, humanity, and decency. In 
the next place, the practices of the government in Naples were producing 
by the law of contraries a reign of anarchy, democratic turbulence, republi- 
canism, not accordant with the real sentiments of the people. In the third 



1 82 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

place, the writer, being a member of the Conservative party in England 
(observe that in 1851 Gladstone still called himself a Conservative), must 
unconsciously sympathize with the established governments of Europe, 
rather than with those who assailed thbse governments ; and for this reason 
he must do what he could do to prevent the overthrow of the European 
governments by revolts against them on account of their abusive characters. 

Mr. Gladstone declared that he was not passing judgment on the 
administration of the kings government as to its imperfections and occa- 
sional or incidental corruptions and cruelties ; but he attacked it because 
of its constitutional, systematic, and persistent outrages of all law and 
humanity. He impeached the government of Ferdinand because it was in 
contempt of the opinions of mankind and indifferent to all the humanities. 
He declared that the violence done by the king and his minions was car- 
ried on for the purpose of breaking ** every other law, unwritten and eternal, 
human and divine; it is," said he, "the wholesale persecution of virtue, 
when united with intelligence, operating upon such a scale that entire 
classes may with truth be said to be its object, so that the government is in 
bitter and cruel, as well as utterly illegal, hostility to whatever in the nation 
really lives and moves and forms the mainspring of practical progress and 
improvement ; it is the awful profanation of public religion, by its notorious 
alliance in the governing powers with the violation of every moral rule 
under the stimulus of fear and vengeance ; it is the perfect prostitution of 
the judicial office which has made it, under veils only too threadbare and 
transparent, the degraded recipient of the vilest and clumsiest forgeries, got 
up willfully and deliberately, by the immediate advisers of the crown, for the 
purpose of destroying the peace, the freedom, aye, and even, if not by capi- 
tal sentences, the life of men among the most virtuous, upright, intelligent, 
distinguished, and refined of the whole community ; it is the savage and 
cowardly system of moral, as well as in a lower degree of physical, torture, 
through which the sentences obtained from the debased courts of justice are 
carried into effect. 

"The effect of all this is a total inversion of all the moral and social 
ideas. Law, instead of being respected, is odious. Force, and not affection, 
is the foundation of government. There is no association, but a violent 
antagonism, between the idea of freedom and that of order. The governing 
power, which teaches of itself that it Is the image of God upon earth, is 
clothed in the view of the overwhelming majority of the thinking public 
with all the vices for its attributes. I have seen and heard the strong and 
too true expression used, * This is the negation of God erected into a system 
of government.'" 

We may not here enter into the discussion of the total accuracy of 
the charges which Gladstone made against the administration of the Two 



FIRST INTERNATIONAL EPISODE. 1 83 

Sicilies. It could not well be known how many, or even exactly who, had 
been seized, imprisoned, or driven into exile. Certain it was in a general 
way that a majority of the National party in the Chamber of Deputies, hun- 
dreds of leading patriots, and thousands of their followers had been either 
banished or imprisoned. Nor would the government permit anyone to 
ascertain the extent of the outrage. In course of time it was ascertained 
that the numbers given by Mr. Gladstone, after his own investigations in 
Naples, were somewhat above the mark ; but on the other hand the horrors 
of the prisons, the methods of punishment adopted, the cruelty of the 
police, and the relentless indifference of the king and all his underofficers, 
were found to exceed not only Gladstone's account of the matter, but the 
very limits of human belief. 

Some of the things proved with respect to the prison discipline could 
hardly be accepted as possible this side of the age of the Inquisition. It 
was established as a fact that the dungeon-holes in which most of the 
prisoners were confined were so loathsome and pestilential that the physi- 
cians sent thither at intervals could not enter them. An arrangement was 
made that the sick or dying should be brought forth to apartments that were 
less stinking and infectious than those in which they were confined. There, 
at the risk of their lives, the doctors might administer to those whom the 
government really desired to die as quickly as possible. In some cases it^ 
was proved that the patriots were tortured. 

The superior criminal court of Naples at first, as the story ran, was 
divided about evenly on the question of trying justly those that were 
brought to that tribunal. But some of the judges were the willing tools 
of the king and the ministry. They, assuming authority, gave significant 
hints to their fellow judges that if the decisions were not in accord with the 
prevailing authority they who rendered such judgments might be in the 
same category with the prisoners. Those arrested were chained two and 
two, and were not allowed to take off their manacles in prison. In one 
case a patriot was tortured by having a pointed instrument thrust repeatedly 
under his nails. In other cases the chains were so heavy that the enfeebled 
prisoners could not stand up. 

The patriot Carlo Poerio was one of the most eminent victims of these 
indescribable outrages. Another was called Settembrini. Another was 
Signor Pironte, who had himself been a judge of the court. A fourth was 
the Baron Porcari. It was manifest that it was the policy of the govern- 
ment to extinguish the patriots by the method of horrid imprisonment, 
enforced with starvation and disease. The belief prevailed that the ministers 
and sovereign had not the courage to execute even those who were con- 
demned to death, but chose rather by processes cowardly and inhuman to put 
them into a condition in which they must perish as in a chamber of horrors. 



184 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

The first of Mr. Gladstones letters was published in April of 185 1, and 
produced a great sensation in England. This he followed up with the 
second letter in July of the same year. We shall here present a few 
extracts from the latter communication as an example of the severity of the 
arraignment which he made of the Neapolitan authorities. The epistle 
was written in a tone as elevated as it was severe. The writer, addressing 
the Earl of Aberdeen, says : 

" I have felt it my bounden duty to remit my statements by publication 
to the bar of general opinion — of that opinion which circulates throughout 
Europe with a facility and force increasing from year to year, and which, 
however in some things it may fall short or in others exceed is so far, at 
least, impregnated with the spirit of the Gospel that its accent^ are ever 
favorable to the diminution of human suffering. 

"To have looked for any modification whatever of. the reactionary 
policy of a government, in connection with a moving cause ^q trivial as any 
sentiments or experience of mine, may be thought presumptuous or chimeri- 
cal What claim, it may be asked, had I, one among thousands of mere 
travelers, upon the Neapolitan government.? The deliberations. which fix 
the policy of States, especially of absolute States, must be presumed to 
have been laborious and solid in some proportion to their immense, their 
terrific power over the practical destinies of mankind ; and they ought not 
to be unsettled at a moment's notice in deference to the wishes or the 
impressions of insignificant, or adversely prepossessed, or at best irre- 
sponsible individuals. 

** My answer is short On the government of Naples I had no claim 
whatever; but as a man I felt and knew it to be my duty to testify to what 
I had credibly heard, or personally seen, of the needless and acute suffer- 
ings of men. Yet, aware that such testimony, when once launched, is 
liable to be used for purposes neither intended nor desired by those who 
bear it, and that in times of irritability and misgiving, such as these are on 
the continent of Europe, slight causes may occasionally produce, or may 
tend and aid to produce, effects less inconsiderable, I willingly postponed 
any public appeal until the case should have been seen in private by those 
whose conduct it principally touched. It has been so seen. They have 
made their option ; and while I reluctantly accept the consequences, their 
failing to meet it by any practical improvement will never be urged by me 
as constituting an aggravation of their previous responsibilities. ... 

" My assurance of the general truth of my representations has been 
heightened, my fears of any material error in detail have been diminished, 
since the date of my first letter, by the negative but powerful evidence of 
the manner in which they have been met. Writing in July, I have as yet 
no qualification worth naming to append to the allegations which I first put 



FIRST INTERNATIONAL EPISODE. 1 85 

into shape in April. I am indeed aware that my opinion with respect to 
the number of political prisoners in the kingdom of the Two Sicilies has 
been met by an assertion purporting to be founded on returns that instead 
of twenty thousand they are about two thousand. Even this number has 
not always been admitted ; for I recollect that in November last they were 
stated to me, by an Englishman of high honor and in close communication 
with the court, to be less than one thousand. I have carefully pointed out 
that my statement is one founded on opinion ; on reasonable opinion as I 
think, but opinion still. Let the Neapolitan government have the full 
benefit of the contradiction I have mentioned. To me it would be a great 
relief if I could honestly say it had at once commanded my credence. The 
readers of my letters will not be surprised at my hesitation to admit it. 
But this I would add : the mere number of political prisoners is in my 
view, like the state of the prisons, in itself, a secondary feature of the case. If 
they are fairly and legally arrested, fairly and legally treated before trial, 
fairly and legally tried, that is the main matter. Where fairness and legality 
preside over the proceedings we need have no great fear about an undue 
number of prisoners. But my main charges go to show that there is gross 
illegality and gross unfairness in the proceedings ; and it is only in connec- 
tion with the proof of this that the number of prisoners and the state of 
the prisons come to be matters of such importance, ... 

" I do not intend to add to the statements of fact contained in my last 
letter, though they are but a portion, and not always the most striking 
portion of those which I might have produced. One reason of this is that 
they are, as I think, sufficient for their purpose ; and another, that by a 
different course I should probably put in jeopardy, not indeed the persons 
who made them to me, but those whom the agents of the police might sup- 
pose, or might find it convenient to pretend that they supposed, to have so 
made them. . . . 

"That my statements should be received in the first instance with 
incredulity can cause me no dissatisfaction. Nay, more ; I think that, for the 
honor of human nature, statements of such a kind ought to be so received. 
Men ought to be slow to believe that such things can happen, and happen 
in a Christian country, the seat of almost the oldest European civilization. 
They ought to be disposed rather to set down my assertions to fanaticism or 
folly on my part than to believe them as an overtrue tale of the actual pro- 
ceedings of a settled government. But though they ought to be thus dis- 
posed at the outset, they will not, I trust, bar their minds to the entrance of 
the light, however painful be the objects it may disclose. I have myself 
felt that incredulity, and wish I could have felt it still ; but it has yielded to 
conviction step by step, and with fresh pain at every fresh access of evi- 
dence. I proceed accordingly to bring the readers mind, so far as I am 



1 86 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

able, under the process through which my own has passed, and to state 
some characteristic facts, which may convey more faithfully than abstract 
description an idea of the political atmosphere of Italy. . . . 

" There was lately a well-known officer of police in Milan named 
Bolza. In the time of the Revolution of 1848 the private notes of the 
government on the character of its agents were discovered. Bolza is there 
described as a person harsh, insincere, anything but respectable, venal, a 
fanatical Napoleonist until 18 15, then an Austrian partisan of equal heat, 

* and to-morrow a Turk, were Soliman to enter upon these States ; ' capa- 
ble of anything for money's sake against either friend or foe. Still, as the 
memorandum continues, * he understands his business, and is right good at 
it. Nothing is known of his morals or of his religion.' But a work pub- 
lished at Lugano contains his last will, and this curious document testifies 
to the acute sense which even such a man retained of his own degradation. 

* I absolutely forbid my heirs,' he says, ' to allow any mark, of whatever 
kind, to be placed over the spot where I shall be interred ; much more any 
inscription or epitaph. I recommend my dearly beloved wife to impress 
upon my children the maxim that, when they shall be in a condition to 
solicit an employment from the generosity of the government, they are to 
ask for it elsewhere than in the department of the executive police ; and 
not, unless under extraordinary circumstances, to give her consent to the 
marriage of any of my daughters with a member of that service.' 

" I shall next name two facts which are related by Farini, the recent 
and esteemed writer of a history of the States of the Church since 1815 : 

* There exists a confidential circular of Cardinal Bernetti, in which he orders 
the judges, in the case of Liberals charged with ordinary offenses or crimes, 
invariably to inflict the highest degree of punishment.' 

" Bernetti was not an Austrian partisan ; it is alleged that he was 
supplanted (early in the reign of Gregory XVI) through Austrian influence. 
His favorite idea was the entire independence of the pontifical State, and, 
therefore, the circular to which I have referred is purely Italian. 

" This was under Gregory XVI. Under Leo XII Cardinal Rivarola 
went as a legate a latere into Romagna. On the 31st of August, 1825, he 
pronounced sentence on five hundred and eighty persons. Seven of these 
were to suffer death ; forty-nine were to undergo hard labor for terms 
varying between ten years and life; fifty-two were to be imprisoned for 
similar terms. These sentences were pronounced privately, at the simple 
will of the cardinal, upon mere presumptions that the parties belonged to 
the liberal sects, and, what is to the ear of an Englishman the most astound- 
ing fact of all, after a process simply analogous to that of a grand jury (I 
compare the process, not the person), and without any opportunity given to 
the accused for defense ! 



FIRST INTERNATIONAL EPISODE. 1 87 

" I may add a reference to an edict published by the Duke of Modena 
on the 1 8th of April, 1832. This edict ordains that political prisoners 
may be sentenced to any punishment materially less than that provided 
by law upon proof of the offense without any trial or form of proceeding 
whatever, in cases where it has been agreed not to disclose the names of 
the witnesses or not to make known the purport of their evidence. With 
these reduced punishments exile was to be ordinarily combined, and fines 
as well as other appendages might be added at discretion ! The edict may 
be seen in the notorious newspaper called La Voce della Verzia, No. no." 

These blows of the Englishman went home, and a sentiment was 
created against the Neapolitan government as difficult to resist as though 
there had been a threatened invasion. Such was the effect that the authori- 
ties of Naples must needs reply ; but their attempt to refute Gladstone 
and justify themselves was a miserable failure. The pamphlet which 
embodied the official defense of Ferdinand II was sent to London, to the 
government, with the request that copies be forwarded to all the European 
courts to which Mr. Gladstone s letter had gone. Such was the character, 
however, of the Neapolitan communication — so inconsequential was the 
argument and false the spirit of the reply — that Lord Palmerston declined 
to send it anywhere, saying that he would not be " accessory to the circu- 
lation of a pamphlet which in my [his] opinion does no credit to its writer 
or the government which he defends or to the political party of which he 
professes to be the champion." In a less official manner he told Prince 
Castelcicala, minister of the Neapolitan government, that he (Lord Palmer- 
ston) had become convinced of the truthfulness of Mr. Gladstone's revela- 
tions, and that he hoped the government which the prince represented, 
laying the matter to heart, would hasten to reform the abuses which were 
a scandal to civilization. 

Since the reply of the Neapolitan government to Gladstone's open 
letters entered denial of his charges he published, in the beginning of 1852, 
An Examination of the Official Reply. He began with this significant 
quotation from " Richard III : " 

Clarence. — Relent and save your souls. 

First Murderer, — Relent ! 'tis cowardly, and womanish. 

Clarence. — Not to relent is beastly, savage, devilish. 

This headpiece was significant of the severity with which Gladstone 
handled the document which the government of Naples had thundered 
against him. He said in the beginning that he did not expect to be 
encountered by a responsible antagonist. The answer to his first two let- 
ters had come from Naples under the title of " A Review of the Errors 
and Misrepresentations Published by Mr. Gladstone in Two Letters Directed 
to the Earl of Aberdeen ; " but if the object of a title, said he, be to give a 



1 88 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

« 

correct description, the Neapolitan paper ought to- have been denominated 
" A Tacit Admission of the Accuracy of Nine Tenth Parts of the State- 
ments Contained in the Two Letters to the Earl of Aberdeen." The 
author of the denial had set up as a headline the Latin aphorism, " To err, 
to know nothing, to deceive, we consider both wicked and base." Gladstone 
declared that this motto was conspicuously appropriate ! The author of 
the denial, instead of arguing the truth or falsity of Gladstone's contention, 
charged him with levity, with ignorance, with consorting with anarchists 
and criminals. To this Gladstone replied : 

" But, indeed, all these charges of levity, of ignorance, of herding with 
republicans and malefactors, and the rest, are not worth discussing ; for the 
whole matter comes to one single issue — ^are the allegations true, or are 
they false? If they are false I shall not be the man to quarrel with any 
severity of reproach that may be directed against me ; but if they are true, 
then I am quite sure the Neapolitan government will take no benefit by- 
insinuating doubts whether sentiments like mine, even if well founded, 
ought to be made known, or by taking any trivial and irrelevant objection 
to my personal conduct or qualifications.'* 

We shall not here pursue the argumentation and* refutation of Glad- 
stone in support of his former letters, and to the confusion of his adver- 
saries. In the meantime the matter had broken out in Parliament At 
the session of 1851, soon after the appearance of Gladstone's first letter, 
Sir De Lacy Evans offered a paper in the House of Commons to the 
following effect : 

" From a publication entitled to the highest consideration it appears 
that there are at present above twenty thousand persons confined in the 
prisons of Naples for alleged political offenses ; that these prisoners have, 
with extremely few exceptions, been thus immured in violation of the 
existing laws of the countr}', and without the slightest legal trial or public 
inquiry into their respective cases ; that they include a late prime minister 
and a majority of the late Neapolitan Parliament, as well as a large propor- 
tion of the most respectable and intelligent classes of society ; that these 
prisoners are chained two and two together; that these chains are never 
undone, day or night, for any purpose whatever, and that they are suffering 
refinements of cruelty and barbarity unknown in any other civilized country. 
It is consequently asked if the British minister at thfe court of Naples has 
been instructed to employ his good offices in the cause of humanity for the 
diminution of these lamentable severities, and with what result } " 

It is one of the rights and methods of the British Parliament to put 
questions of this kind, prefaced with explanatory statements, to the minis- 
ters of the crown. Government must answer the interrogatories as a rule, 
or, refusing to answer, subject themselves to further criticism. To interro- 



FIRST INTERNATIONAL EPISODE. 1 89 

gate is a method of the. opposition. The question put in this case to Lord 
Palmerston was embarrassing ; for the long-standing policy of Great Britain 
has been one of noninterference with the political affairs of other States, 
Great Britain under her constitution has no right to interfere. Interna- 
tional law, however, in cases of extreme cruelty, inhumanity, barbarity, con- 
cedes the right of a civilized and humane government to interfere. 

In the case under consideration, moreover, the sentiment of the English 
nation was overwhelmingly against the Neapolitans. Lord Palmerston 
could only answer that government had heard with pain the confirmation 
of the statements published by several persons in a position to know. Such 
statements had been mutually established by indubitable testimony. 
Government had learned with regret the calamitous condition of affairs at 
Naples. It was not the part of government to interfere formally with that 
of Naples. The question, he regretted to say, was one of internal adminis- 
tration, which Naples might determine for herselt Speaking of Mr. Glad- 
stone, he added, "At the same time Mr. Gladstone — whom I may freely 
name, though not in his capacity as a member of Parliament — has done him- 
self, I think, very great honor by the course he pursued at Naples, and by 
the course he has followed since ; for I think that when you see an English 
gentleman, who goes to pass a winter at Naples, instead of confining him- 
self to those amusements that abound in that city, instead of diving into 
volcanoes and exploring excavated cities — when we see him going to courts 
of justice, visiting prisons, descending into dungeons, and examining great 
numbers of the cases of unfortunate victims of . illegality and injustice, with 
a view afterward to enlist public opinion in the endeavor to remedy those 
abuses — I think that is a course that does honor to the person who pur- 
sues it ; and concurring in feeling with him that the influence of public 
opinion in Europe might have some useful effect in setting such matters 
right, I have thought it my duty to send copies of his pamphlet to our 
ministers at the various courts of Europe, directing them to give to each 
government copies of the pamphlet, in the hope that, by affording them an 
opportunity of reading it, they might be led to use their influence in pro- 
moting what is the object of my honorable and gallant friend — a remedy for 
the evils to which he has referred." This was the highest possible testi- 
mony to the value and efficacy of the revelations which Mr. Gladstone had 
made. 

The reference in Lord Palmerston's reply to sending copies of Glad- 
stone's pamphlet to the various courts of Europe suggests the importance 
of the subject and the far-reaching influence which the rising English states- 
man was now able to exercise, not only in his own country, but also abroad. 
His communications to the Earl of Aberdeen produced animosity with a 
certain class of publicists in several parts of Europe. Alleged answers to 



190 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

his charges appeared in several capitals. Even in London there was an in- 
significant — and scurrilous — reply. In Paris, M. Jules Gondon, editor of 
r C/nwers, attempted to defend the government of Ferdinand II. He would 
have that monarch to be " the most dignified and the best of kings."" In the 
article of Gondon there was an abundance of vituperation, bigotry, mere 
outcry and rant, but hardly any attempt to discuss the facts. Of like charac- 
ter was another pamphlet published in Paris by Alphonse Valleydier. In 
this production there was much personal abuse. The writer seemed to think 
that by denouncing Gladstone he could disprove his charges — this being 
indeed the universal and invariable method of the flippant politician in 
whatever part of the world. Like papers appeared in Turin and Naples ; 
but there was not one of them of sufificient dignity to require an answer, or 
even permit it, with the exception of the official paper issued by the Neapol- 
itan government. 

Gladstone, in his third publication, that is, in An Examination of the 
Official Reply, courageously and severely placed side by side his own 
allegations and the admissions, either expressed or implied, of the 
Neapolitan critic, and showed that his own charges had not been refuted 
at all. He found only five points in the whole contention in which he 
had been in error. He had made a mistake relative to Settembrinis 
being tortured. He had also erred in saying that that prisoner had 
been put into double irons for life. He had made an overstatement in 
regard to the number of patriot judges who, at Reggio, had been driven 
from office for acquitting some innocent political prisoners ; of the judges 
so dismissed there were only three instead of six, as he had stated. He 
admitted a fourth error respecting seventeen sick prisoners, who were 
said to have been murdered in the jail of Procida. Finally, he had erred 
in saying that certain prisoners were still confined in dungeons, though 
they had been openly acquitted of the crimes for which they had been 
arrested. These prisoners had been liberated a short time after their 
acquittal. Beyond these admissions of mistake Gladstone actually made 
good all that he had published in his first letters, and then proceeded 
to intensify his charges with additional proofs, and added instances of 
barbarity which in our times would be sufficient to drive even the Turk 
from his throne. 

The Gladstonian publications could not really be answered at all. The 
government at Naples was put under the necessity of apologizing for its 
apology rather than attempting further to confute what the English states- 
man had written. His* appeal had been made simply to the public opinion 
of Europe. Though there had been attempted replies, the sentiment of 
every enlightened government was against that of King Ferdinand to the 
extent that he must either reform or suffer universal reprobation. Conclud- 



FIRST INTERNATIONAL EPISODE. I9I 

ing his review of all the facts and his special answer to the Neapolitan 
official reply, Mr. Gladstone said : 

" And now I have done ; have uttered, as I hope, my closing word. 
These pages have been written without any of those opportunities of per- 
sonal communication with Neapolitans which, twelve months ago, I might 
have enjoyed. They have been written in the hope that, by thus making 
through the press, rather than in another mode, that rejoinder to the Nea- 
politan reply which was doubtless due from me, I might still, as far as 
depended on me, keep the question on its true ground, as one not of politics, 
but of morality, and not of England, but of Christendom and of mankind. 
Again I express the hope that it may not become a hard necessity to keep 
this controversy alive until it reaches its one only possible issue, which no 
power of man can permanently intercept. I express the hope that while 
there is time, while there is quiet, while dignity may yet be saved in show- 
ing mercy, and in the blessed work of restoring Justice to her seat, the gov- 
ernment of Naples may set its hand in earnest to the work of real and 
searching, however quiet and unostentatious, reform ; that It may not 
become unavoidable to reiterate these appeals from the hand of power to 
the one common heart of mankind ; to produce those painful documents, 
those harrowing descriptions, which might be supplied in rank abundance, 
of which I have scarcely given the faintest idea or sketch, and which, if 
they were laid from time to time before the world, would bear down like a 
deluge every effort at apology or palliation, and would cause all that has 
recently been made known to be forgotten and eclipsed in deeper horrors 
yet ; lest the strength of offended and indignant humanity should rise up as 
a giant refreshed with wine, and, while sweeping away these abominations 
from the eye of heaven, should sweep away along with them things pure 
and honest, ancient, venerable, salutary to mankind, crowned -with the 
glories of the past, and still capable of bearing future fruit.'* 

The controversy thus begun and thus ended, so far as Gladstone was 
concerned, diffused itself through England and a large part of the Conti- 
nent. The publications which were made against the government of Naples 
were able and based on facts ; those in defense of that government were 
simply denunciatory, and were based on vague assertions. The only ques- 
tion remaining to be considered was whether Ferdinand and his ministry 
would reform or whether they would defy the civilized sentiment of the 
world. 

For the time being they chose to defy. They coupled their unsup- 
ported denials with persistency in the wrong and a covert defense of their 
policy. There \iras no immediate relaxation of the barbarism which had 
prevailed in the kingdom of Naples. For several years things went on as 
before, and the cries of the imprisoned patriots were swallowed up in silence. 



1 



192 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

 

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of the incarcerated died in dungeons*. Many 
distinguished men thus perished. In some cases banishment was substi- 
tuted for death. One shipload of convicts, who should have graced the 
Chamber of Deputies, was sent to America ; but the vessel was landed at 
Cork instead. The greater part of the sixth decade went by, and the day 
of the regeneration of Italy under Mazzini, Garibaldi, Cavour, and Victor 
Emmanuel dawned before the wretched victims of political persecution 
reached the end of their fate. The doctrine of noninterference which Eng- 
land had so long professed would hardly permit her to take up the cause of 
the Neapolitan patriots ; and by the same reason other governments were 
also restrained. 

This condition dragged itself along until 1856, when both England and 
France, becoming wearied at last of holding diplomatical intercourse with 
such a government as that of Francis II (who had now succeeded his 
father Ferdinand on the throne of the Two Sicilies), withdrew their repre- 
sentatives from the court of Naples, leaving the king and his effete despot- 
ism to the sharpening sword of Garibaldi. 

With the beginning of the revolution of i860 the Italian patriots came 
on as an army with banners. Vainly did King Francis make believe that he 
would now reform ; that he would grant a new constitution ; that he would 
keep faith and behave affectionately toward his beloved subjects. He could 
not appease their anger with overtures and sophistical pledges. They knew 
him too well — him and his antecedents. 

**The devil was sick, the devil a monk would be I" 

He was treated accordingly. His kingdom was absorbed into United Italy. 
William E. Gladstone had combined his energies and indignation with 
the purposes of Count Cavour and the audacious patriotism of Garibaldi 
to make all Italy free, from the Alps to Sicily. 

The reader of this work must be surprised at the ceaseless activities 
which marked the career of Gladstone at every stage of his progress. He 
was strong and industrious. In constitution he was as robust as an oak. 
Idleness with him was impossible. Lord Palmerston very significantly 
referred to the fact that Mr. Gladstone, instead of devoting himself to those 
Neapolitan amusements ^ure ad animum effeminandum pertinent, gave his 
whole energies while residing at Naples to the good of his country and the 
welfare of mankind. It was while living at that ancient city in the winter 
of 1850-51 that he undertook and completed the translation of the first two 
volumes of Luigi Carlo Farini's history, entitled The Roman State from 
181 5 to 1850. This work came into his hands while he was making an 
examination of the progress of Italian events in the first half of our century. 

Gladstone was a student. He found in Farini an excellent account of 
the ecclesiastical and civil chaos which remained to the nineteenth century 



r^' 



FIRST INTERNATIONAL EPISODE. 1 93 

from ancient Rome and the mediaeval papacy. Farini, moreover, was one 
of those patriotic men who must needs be in sympathy with all the friends 
of progress. He knew and admired Gladstone and corresponded with him, 
and to him dedicated the concluding volume of his history of the Roman 
State. He supported the English statesman in his attack on the abuses 
and despotism of the Neapolitan government. He added his own authority 
to that of Gladstone in his contention with the apologists for Ferdinand H, 
saying in one of his communications relative to the condition of affairs in 
the kingdom of the Two Sicilies : " The scandalous trials for high treason 
still continue at Naples ; accusers, examiners, judges, false witnesses, all are 
bought ; the prisons, those tombs of the living, are full ; two thousand citi- 
zens, of all ranks and conditions, are already condemned to the dungeons, 
as many to confinement, double that number to exile — the majority guilty 
of no crime but that of having believed in the oaths made by Ferdi- 
nand n." It is thus that history with a burning pen writes everlasting 
contempt on the brazen forehead of every tyranny in the world. 

Mr. Gladstone did excellent work in his translation of TAe Roman State. 
He not only translated the work, but reviewed it elaborately in the Edin- 
burgh Review for April, 1852. In the course of this critique the writer 
considers the reforming period in the life of Pius IX ; the diplomacy of the 
court of Rome ; the powerless condition of the pope in temporal matters ; 
the relations of the civil and spiritual power ; the seeming impossibilities 
of making the Roman State constitutional ; ecclesiastical caste and influ- 
ence in Italy ; the moderation of the Roman people ; the Italian insurrec- 
tions and the Roman debt ; the allocution of the holy father, of 1848 ; the 
Constitution of the same year ; the papacy in the Middle Ages ; a compari- 
son of Rome in the years 1809 and 1849 ! ^^ temporal sovereignty of the 
pope ; the difficulty of replacing it with secular authority ; the extension of 
the Italian question into Europe, etc. In the course of the article he touched 
upon nearly all of the leading issues that were then becoming uppermost 
in Europe, and showed his ability to handle the largest interests in a states- 
manlike manner. In one paragraph he proceeds thus : 

" I. Can the temporal government of the popes accommodate itself to 
constitutional forms ? 

"2. If not, can it or ought it to endure ? 

"3. If not, then in what manner should the political void be filled and 
the see of Rome provided for with a view to the interests of the Roman 
subjects, the disappointment of the revolutionary speculations in Italy or 
elsewhere, and the just claims of the see itself as the ecclesiastical center of 
the largest among Christian communions ? " 

The reader need not be told of the overwhelming importance of such 
questions as those here presented. At the middle of the century they were 

n 



194 ^IFE AND TIMES OF N\aLLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

paramount to almost every other question whatsoever. How far-reaching; 
were his views might be seen in the paragraph touching the proposition 
that the affairs of Italy were national rather than international — that they 
related to herself and not to other States. On this subject he says : 

" Let us now examine the assertion that the settlement of Roman 
affairs is the concern solely of the Roman Catholic powers. In 1849 ^^^ 
meaning of this doctrine was that the decision should lie with France and 
Austria, Spain and Naples. Now it should be considered who are excluded 
and who are included by this principle. It excludes at a stroke three of 
the five great powers of Europe — England, Russia, and Prussia; of those 
powers by whom, and by whom alone, European questions, properly so 
called, have of late years usually been weighed. It includes, on the other 
hand, Spain and Naples, neither of which can without qualification be called 
even independent powers ; the latter of them vibrating, not only to every^ 
shock, but to every rumor, to every whisper of change, in whatever part of 
Europe, at the beck of Austrian and Russian influence even for the pur- 
poses of internal government, and depending on their armed strength in the 
last resort for the maintenance of what must be called, however abusively, 
her institutions. England, Russia, Prussia shut out ; Spain and Naples 
taken in : the first is foolish, the latter ludicrous. States never dreamt of 
in the settlement of ordinary European questions have but a feeble claim, 
indeed, to intermeddle with that which is the most delicate and difficult of 
them all, requiring at once the finest finger and the strongest arm. But if 
Naples and Spain are thus to interfere, where are Belgium and Sardinia ? 
Do not, at any rate, allow the Roman question to become the game of those 
whose only title, as compared with others, to a share in it must be the wish 
to intermeddle, to intrigue, to promote covert purposes, under the mask of 
such as can more easily be avowed. If Belgium and Sardinia be inferior 
in population to Spain and Naples they are not so much inferior in 
strength, as they are certainly superior in intelligence and independence." 

Mr. Gladstone was himself aware of the breadth and outreaching 
antenncB of the questions which he was considering! He saw clearly enough 
that on the civil as well as the ecclesiastical side the general disturbance 
in Italy might be felt with more or less distinctness to the outposts of the 
civilized world. In the conclusion of his article in the Edinburgh Review 
he says : 

" We have thus endeavored, with great rapidity, to traverse or skim an 
almost boundless field. Many of its tracks which we have barely touched, 
such as the details of the Pian reforms, the policy of France in 1849, ^^^ 
actual condition of the Roman States, and the enormous difficulties in 
which the friends of the popular cause in Italy entangle themselves by 
their views of the question of national independence, demand and would 



FIRST INTERNATIONAL EPISODE. I95 

well repay the pains of a separate discussion. But we must close with a 
recommendation to the reader to avail himself of the lights thrown upon 
Italian history and politics by the recent literature of the country. We do 
not refer only to well-known names, such as those of Balbo, Gioberti, and 
D'Azeglio, but to some yet more recent works. Gualterio is of the Consti- 
tutional party, like Farini ; his work abounds in valuable documents, and is, 
we believe, trustworthy, but it is too bulky for our common literature. 
Farini is admirable, both for general ability and moral tone and for the 
indulgent fairness with which he states the case of the popedom and the 
pope. In other matters, especially, for instance, when he deals with the 
more advanced shades of liberalism, he can lay about him with considerable 
vigor ; but, upon the whole, we believe that his history has quite enough 
of the judicial tone to secure to it the place of a high permanent authority 
in Italian questions. The Memorie Storiche of Torre are the production of 
a writer about halfway between Farini and Mazzini in opinion. They are 
written with a lively clearness and with every appearance of sincere inten- 
tion ; they likewise contain important military details. Ricciardi's Histoire 
de la Revolution (T Italic en 1848 is the production of an intelligent, straight- 
forward, and thoroughgoing Republican, and may be consulted with advan- 
tage in order to obtain the prospect of the whole subject from his point of 
view. As a Neapolitan he deals most copiously with that portion of the 
case which is well handled, in the constitutional sense, by Massari, in the 
Casi di Napoli. As to the literature of the late struggle on the reactionary 
side we know not where to look for it. The Ultimi 69 Giorni delta 
Republica in Romana has absolutely nothing but extravagant party spirit 
to recommend it. But all genuine historical memoirs of Roman affairs well 
deserve a peculiar attention from English readers, for their importance 
extends far beyond the range of mere local interest; they belong to a 
chapter of human history only now beginning to be opened, but full of 
results of deep and as yet uncertain moment to every country in Chris- 
tendom." 

, Here, then, at the conclusion of what may well be denominated the 
first international episode in the career of Gladstone, we make a pause in 
following this aspect of his activity and purpose, and return to the consid- 
eration of his parliamentary life in England. 



n 



196 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 



CHAPTER XII. 
Durham Letter and Ecclesiastical Titles Bill. 
'' the middle of the century William E. Gladstone had become, 
politically speaking, no man's man. For this there were sev- 
eral reasons. Some of these were found in himself; others, in 
his conditions. His progress was reaching from conservatism 
to liberalism — and had almost arrived. The intermediate 
stages might be defined, first, as liberal conservatism, and then as conserva- 
tive liberalism. He had been lately a sincere and thoroughgoing Peelite. 
After the death of Sir Robert, parliamentarians of this following wot not for 
a season what to do with themselves. Meanwhile, the whole landscape of 
British politics was suffering transformation. We will follow here at least 
one of the lines of change. 

Pius IX, from being the most liberal, had become one of the most con- 
servative, as well as one of the most ambitious, of the popes. He aimed at 
nothing less than the extension and restoration of the ecclesiastical suprem- 
acy of the Roman Catholic Church throughout the world, and the reestab- 
lishment of the temporal dominion of the see of Rome in all Christian 
nations. More and more he avowed this policy, set it forth in his public 
papers, and enforced it practically as far as he could. In doing so he must 
needs encounter the greatest obstacles. Such obstacles would be found in 
the most powerful Protestant nation — and that was England. 

One specification in the pope's policy was the making of favor for 
Rome by enlarging the hierarchy in every country where he might. This 
he did in Great Britain. In the fifth decade the Roman priesthood in Eng- 
land was greatly honored, elevated, and confirmed. Whig statesmanship, 
strongly devoted to the Church of England, awoke to find itself actually 
endangered by the aggressions of Rome. More and more the ancient 
hierarchy arose, and more and more the ritual and usages of the Catholic 
Church prevailed. These influences extended into the Episcopal Establish- 
ment ; for the ceremohial of Rome is more glorious than that of the Church 
of England. 

At length there was a reaction against the Romanizing process. In 
1850, just about the time that Gladstone went abroad for temporary resi- 
dence in Naples, Lord John Russell, Premier of England, wrote a letter to 
the Bishop of Durham, deprecating, and indeed strongly denouncing, the 
recent honors conferred by Rome on her hierarchy in England and Wales. 
The communication was a Church of England letter through and through, 
radical, aggressive, pointed. Its publication produced a deep impression, 
and led immediately to heated controversy. The document passed into 



DURHAM LETTER AND ECCLESIASTICAL TITLES BILL. 1 97 

history under the name of " The Durham Letter." It was followed with 
political consequences of the greatest significance. 

By the time of Gladstone's return from Italy, and before the completion 
of his contention about the Neapolitan prisons, the ministry of Lord John 
Russell staggered and fell across the battered ramparts. His ascendency as 
premier and first lord of the treasury extended from 1846 to 1852. The 
trouble in Parliament which nearly preceded his overthrow related almost 
wholly to his effort in opposing the aggressive policy of Rome in England. 
Parliament and the English nation had become alarmed over the great 
gains and threatened ascendency of the Mother Church, 

Lord Russell, at the session of 185 1, introduced into the House of Com- 
mons a bill to counteract the influence and manifest purposes of the papacy. 
The bill was the essence, so to speak, and logical deduction of the Durham 
letter. The measure proposed struck a popular chord ; only a few members 
of Parliament dared to vote against it. For the momqnt it seemed that the 
Russell ministry was riding the highest wave. But while government 
seemed in its ecclesiastical policy to have all England at its back, in the 
secular concern it suddenly lost favor and began to disintegrate. 

Unfortunately for the Whigs, they were held responsible for the agri- 
cultural distress which continued in a large part of the kingdom. The old 
Tory aristocracy was reinforced by the hardships which had fallen on the 
farmers. They claimed that the distress of the country outside of the man- 
ufacturing and commercial centers was increasing to the extent that the 
hardy yeomanry of England was threatened with pauperism. The govern- 
ment was able to defend itself in part against these assertions. Statistics 
were adduced to show that since the adoption of free trade pauperism had 
diminished. Even in Ireland the poor — the starving poor — were not so 
numerous as they had been before the abolition of the Corn Laws. 

It was also shown that the revenues had increased. The shipping and 
commercial interest had been built up. Manufactures flourished. Never- 
theless, the sore spot was only filmed over with these plausibilities. At 
bottom the fact remained that the farmers were suffering and impoverished. 
As has been recently the case in America, the agricultural interest was dis- 
tanced in the race for sufficiency and content. Perhaps the farmers were 
not much worse off" than they had been before, but relatively they were 
greatly disparaged. 

The situation afforded opportunity in Parliament for an attack by the 
opposition. Who should lead the assault but the brilliant and spectacular 
Disraeli ? No man was readier than he to discover an opportunity. He 
rose to greatness in the political history of England and of Europe by dis- 
covering opportunities that were about to be undiscovered by others. Here 
was a case in which the landed interests of Great Britain had suffered for 



CE 



>5^ V \ 



=. i 



198 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

the promotion of manufactures. The prevailing system of taxation was cor- 
respondingly unequal. The resolution which Mr. Disraeli offered was to 
the effect that the government should at once bring forward a bill to relieve 
the distresses of the English nation. 

In his speech he alleged that such distresses were increasing from day 
to day, and that pauperism was impending over the English peasantry. The 
government could hardly make an issue with him on the first proposition, 
namely, the prevalent distress ; but on all other points the ministers were 
able to reply with at least a show of plausibility. They denied that the 
hardships of the agricultural classes were greater than hitherto. They 
pointed to the fact that the revenues of Great Britain had risen to seventy 
millions annually. They were able to show that British commerce was 
never before at so high a stage of development They were also able to 
assume the aggressive, and to show that Disraeli's motion, stripped of all 
disguises, meant a renunciation of the free-trade policy of 1846, and a return 
to the abandoned system of the age of the Georges. 

This defense by the government was sufficiently plausible; but the 
country had already grown restless of the Russell ministry. Disraeli's motion 
was voted down by a very small majority in a full House. A few days 
afterward a ministerial motion to conform the franchise of the counties to 
that of the boroughs was actually lost, though this was not decisive. 

In the next place, on the introduction of the budget for 1852, the House 
and the country were alarmed and angered to note the retention of the 
income tax. That expedient, when it was adopted, had been accepted as 
temporary. Now government asked that it be continued for another 
period of three years. As if to alleviate this unwholesome feature it was 
proposed to remit in part the tax on windows. There were also incorporated 
some features calculated to please and benefit the farmers. 

So hardly was the ministry now pressed that the budget could not be 
carried. It was modified in many particulars, and another finally proposed 
instead. In the latter the aid promised to the farmers was omitted and the 
tax on windows retained. The income tax was also included for three years 
longer. Even in this modified form the chancellor of the exchequer had the 
greatest difficulty in securing the adoption of his scheme. Time and again 
in the course of the debates he was met with adverse votes on exceptionable 
features of the budget. The pressure became so extreme that Lord John 
Russell was obliged to resign. Lord Stanley was summoned by the queen, 
and that statesman made an attempt to organize a new government, but 
failed. 

Then the Earl of Aberdeen was called ; but he had offended the faction 
of Sir Robert Peel. The followers of Sir Robert were knowti for their 
friendliness to the Roman Catholics. They could hardly be charged with 



r 



DURHAM LETTER AND ECCLESIASTICAL TITLES BILL. 1 99 

prejudice in favor of Catholicism itself; but they were more tolerant of the 
Catholics than any other party. The Earl of Aberdeen was a strenuous 
Protestant, and quite uncompromising in his hostility to the Romanists. For 
this reason the Peelites would not support him, and he was obliged to give 
up his unsuccessful effort to form a ministry. Indeed, he saw the impos- 
sibility of doing so, and declined the queen's call. These movements were 
favorable to Lord John Russell, and he reoccupied his place as premier. He 
at once resumed the suspended measures of his late ministry. One of these 
was the bill forbidding the granting by foreign authority of ecclesiastical 
titles in England. It was found impracticable to carry out the measure in 
such form as had been foreshadowed in the Durham letter. Many amend- 
ments were offered and adopted, until the bill became so particolored and 
inane that it was almost as repugnant to one party as the other. 

Many of the ablest men in the British Parliament set themselves against 
the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill in sternest opposition. In general, the Peelites, 
or Independent party, opposed the measure in toto, Mr. Gladstone was of 
this number. Speaking in the debate on the second reading, he made a long 
and able and liberal speech. In beginning he struck down to the root of all 
such questions with the allegation that the Constitution of England and the 
whole frame of her civilization were so firmly established and thorough in 
development as to throw off and reject whatever was hostile thereto. No 
foreign power or interruption of the kind complained of in the Ecclesiastical 
Titles Bill could successfully enter in and confuse the institutions of England. 

The whole question, he further said, looked to the regulation of spirit- 
ualities by law. It was the true province of law to deal with temporalities. 
An act of Parliament made in defense of the Church of England — an act 
such as that proposed — must necessarily end in failure and confusion. No 
doubt the See of Rome had interfered with the affairs of England; but they 
were not her temporal affairs. It was the religious affairs of England that 
had been disturbed by the aggressive policy of the papacy. If the Catholic 
power had attempted to touch the secular concerns of Great Britain, there 
could be and would be but one voice among Englishmen as to the remedy. 
In such a case Parliament ought to act speedily and decisively against the 
interference. Considering the nature of the thing done by Rome in Eng- 
land, there was really no right of an action against her. 

The speaker readily agreed that the tone and sentiments of the late 
utterances of the Vatican directed to the Catholic leaders in England were 
arrogant, mediaeval, and impudent; but these utterances and pronuncia- 
mentos had not sprung from the Roman Catholic citizens of Great Britain. 
Such citizens could not be held responsible for the misjudgment and insult- 
ing spirit of the papacy. The pope must be acknowledged as the spiritual 
head of Catholic Christendom ; but his ecclesiastical subjects in various coun- 



200 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

tries could not be logically punished for the sins of the Vatican. It must be 
shown that there was temporal interference as well as spiritual before the 
Parliament would be called to act in the manner indicated in the pending 
measure. 

Moreover, there was a line of policy, as well as a line of principle, that 
ought to be followed in this question. There were parties in the Roman 
communion. There was a moderate party of Catholics, including the greater 
number of the secular clergy. The laity must be considered. This mod- 
erate party had been contending for a long time that diocesan bishops 
should be appointed. Against this the high party of the Vatican, including 
the cardinals, had argued and thundered. If Parliament should pass the 
Ecclesiastical Titles Bill then the moderate Catholics, the secular clergy, and 
the laity at large would be forced out of accord with a principle which was 
not repugnant to the Church of England in her methods of appointment 
All such moderates would be driven to covert under the eaves of Rome. 
He was aware that the principle which he advocated and the practice which 
he proposed were unpopular for the time ; but the cause for which he con- 
tended was a true cause, and would ultimately prevail. 

The event showed that Mr. Gladstone rightly estimated the popular 
prejudice. It was in vain at that time to try to stem the overwhelming sen- 
timent against the impudence and pretensions of the Roman see. The Peel- 
ites, following Gladstone and Sir James Graham in the debate, were able to 
muster only ninety-five votes in a full House. They might console them- 
selves with numbering on their side some of the ablest and most liberal men 
in England ; but the popular prejudice, like a vast sheet of plastering over- 
head, loosed itself and fell upon them with noise and dust and smothering 
confusion sufficient to break down and bury any but the strongest. In such 
cataclysms, however, the strongest allow the falling mass to break itself over 
their heads and shoulders; but they stand sublimely up. 

Lord John Russell might succeed with his Ecclesiastical Titles Bill ; for 
he had three centuries of overwhelming prejudice at his back. But on all 
other questions he waned and receded. Already, near the close of the year 
before. Lord Palmerston, whose will and personality were so strong as to 
forbid his accord with those who were not his equals, was driven from his 
office of secretary of foreign affairs. As a matter of fact the ministry was 
justified in proceeding against him. He would not obey the wishes of the 
government of which he constituted so great a part. 

The reader will bear in mind that just at this juncture the great coup 
ditat of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was preparing itself silently but 
powerfully in Paris. Great Britain was on record with a pledge never to 
acknowledge any Bonaparte on the throne of Europe. The whole family 
was under her official and recorded ban. But circumstances had changed 



DURHAM LETTER AND ECCLESIASTICAL TITLES BILL. 20I 

greatly since 1815. True, the Duke of Wellington yet lived ; but he was 
in the last year of his life. The British cabinet met on the occasion of the 
coup d'etat and passed a reso- 
lution to refrain for the present 
from all comments respecting 
the thing done in France. The 
government of Great Britain 
would not express either ap- 
proval or disapproval of the 
event It was wise to wait and 
see. Therefore the ministers 
resolved to remain silent — at 
least until the thing done in 
Paris by revolution should 
further declare itself. 

But not so Lord Palmer- 
slon. Not only in private con- 
versations, but in his foreign 
correspondence as well, he 
spoke with approval of Prince 

Louis Napoleon and of the Lomg napoleon. 

methods which he was employ- 
ing to confirm his government in France. This business was quite intoler- 
able to the ministry, and Lord Palmerston was dismissed. In a few months, 
however, he made all things even by defeating the government on an 
amendment of his own offered to the Militia Bill of 1852. Ministers chose 
to regard this defeat as decisive, and Lord John Russell resigned. The 
queen hereupon summoned Lord Derby to form a new ministry. That 
statesman proceeded to do so, and offered an important place to Mr. 
Gladstone ; but the latter would not accept. The failure of the Peelites to 
go heartily with Lord Derby soon left him in a minority, and the govern- 
ment was again dissolved. Only unimportant measures could, be passed 
during the spring and summer session of 1852. 

The historians of this year are justified in not passing over to the re- 
newal of parliamentary disputes at the ensuing session without noting the 
death of the greatest remaining hero of Great Britain. The Duke of 
Wellington, revered and beloved by the British nation, passed away on the 
14th of September, 1852. That nation carried him with loud outcry and 
show of grief to his last resting place by the side of Lord Nelson, under the 
dome of St. Paul's. It was the greatest pageant thus far witnessed in the 
whole history of British sepulture. The hero was about three months older 
than Napoleon, the date of his birth not being precisely known. But the 



202 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE, 

events of his life will be known forever. England might well bury with 
loudest acclaim of sorrow that resolute and iron form that had withstood 
the tempests of the Peninsular War and had remained upright and glorious 
on the heights of Mont St. Jean, looking tranquilly toward Hougoment and 
La Haie Sainte through the uproar and cataclysm of Europe. Well might 
the laureate celebrate his final passage from the activities of life : 

" Bury the great duke 

With an empire's lamentation, 
Let us bury the great duke 

To the noise of the mourning of a mighty nation. 
Mourning when their leaders fall, 
Warriors carry the warrior's pall, 
And sorrow darkens hamlet and hall. 

** Where shall we lay the man whom we deplore? 
Here, in streaming London's central roar. 
Let the sound of those he wrought for 
And the feet of those he fought for 
Echo round his bones for evermore. 

" Lead out the pageant : sad and slow, 

As fits an universal woe, 

Let the long, long procession go, 

And let the sorrowing crowd about it grow, 

And let the mournful martial music blow ; 

The last great Englishman is low." 

Among the parliamentary eulogists on this great occasion Gladstone 
held a conspicuous place. Before his address, however, his present and 
future competitor, Disraeli, had spoken on the duke's death, and had made 
perhaps the most unfortunate break in his whole public career. It chanced 
that some years previously, namely, in 1829, on the occasion of the funeral of 
Marshal Gouvion Sl Cyr, M. Adolphe Thiers, destined to be President of 
the Third Republic, had delivered an oration of striking character. On the 
1st of July, 1848, the Morning Chronicle newspaper of London, in an article, 
incidentally quoted a considerable section from Thiers s eulogy. It was sub- 
sequently shown that Disraeli had himself called the attention of the editor 
of the Chro7iicle to the eloquent paragraph in French. In the course of 
his oration he had the unhappiness, either intentionally or unintentionally, 
of falling into the exact language of the oration of Thiers, and of following 
it so far as to constitute a flagrant plagiarism. 

The public was astounded, and claimed to be scandalized that the 
leader of the House of Commons should do a thing so much beneath the 
dignity of manhood, to say nothing of statesmanship and literary honor. 
The Globe newspaper said of it, with burning sarcasm : ** The Duke of 



r 



DUKHAM LETTER AND ECCLESIASTICAL TITLES BILL. 203 

Wellington has experienced the vicissitudes of either fortune, and his calam- 
ities were occasionally less conspicuous than the homage which he ulti- 
mately secured. He was pelted by a mob. He braved the dagger of 
Cantillon. The wretched Capefigue even accused him of peculation. But 
surely it was the last refinement of insult that his funeral oration, pro- 
nounced by the official chief of the English Parliament, should be stolen 



DUKE OF WEl.LIMOTON. 
(Frani an oiiginal portrait by Sailer.) 

word for word from a trashy panegyric on a second-rate French marshal." 
To this arraignment the spectacular stoic who was most concerned deigned 
no word of explanation. 

The eulogy of Gladstone was one of the last to be delivered in Parlia- 
ment. His address was broad and general in Its tone. Without descend- 
ing to particulars he adduced the abstract and heroic quality of the duke's 
life and character. " It may never be given," said he, "to another subject 
of the British crown to perform services so brilliant as he performed ; it 
may never be given to another man to hold the sword which was to gain 



204 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

the independence of Europe, to rally the nations around it, and while 
England saved herself by her constancy, to save Europe by her example ; it 
may never be given to another man, after having attained such eminence^ 
after such an unexampled series of victories, to show equal moderation in 
peace as he has shown greatness in war, and to devote the remainder of his 
life to the cause of internal and external peace for that country which he 
has so served ; it may never be given to another man to have equal 
authority both with the sovereign he served and the senate of which he was 
to the end a venerated member ; it may never be given to another man 
after such a career to preserve even tp the last the full possession of those 
great faculties with which he was endowed, and to carry on the services of 
one of the most important departments of the State with unexampled regu- 
larity and success even to the latest day of his life." 

The Duke of Wellington had held a unique position in the public life 
of Great Britain. He could not be said to belong to any party ; neverthe- 
less his influence to the day of his death was far greater than that of any 
other Briton. He had been a father to Victoria when she was a maiden 
queen. He had always held toward her a sentiment of chivalric devotion 
which amounted almost to worship ; and the queen for her part repaid the 
hero with undisguised admiration and affection. Her majesty was at the 
date of the duke's death (September 14, 1852) at Balmoral. There the sad 
news was borne to her by express and telegram. Her grief broke out in 
these words : " We got off our ponies at the Dhu Loch, and I had just sat 
down to sketch when Mackenzie returned, saying my watch was safe at 
home, and bringing letters ; amongst them there was one from Lord Derby^ 
which I tore open, and alas ! it contained the confirmation of the fatal news 
— that England's, or rather Britain's pride, her glory, her hero, the greatest 
man she ever produced, was no more ! Sad day ! Great and irreparable 
loss ! Lord Derby inclosed a few lines from Lord Charles Wellesley say- 
ing that his dear, great father had died on Tuesday at three o'clock, after a 
few hours* illness and no suffering. God's will be done ! The day must 
have come. The duke was eighty-three. It is well for him that he has 
been taken when still in the possession of his great mind, and without a 
long illness ; but what a loss ! One cannot think of this country without 
'the duke' — an immortal hero! In him centered almost every earthly 
honor a subject could possess. His position was the highest a subject ever 
had. Above party, looked up to by all, revered by the whole nation, the 
friend of the sovereign ; and how simply he carried these honors ! With 
what singleness of purpose, what straightforwardness, what courage were all 
his actions guided ! The crown never found, and I fear never will, so 
devoted, loyal, and faithful a subject or stanch a supporter." 



DURHAM LETTER AND ECCLESIASTICAL TITLES BILL. 



:% 



206 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 




CHAPTER XIII. 

Coup d'Etat and First Budget. 

HOMAS ARCHER has remarked that the year 1852 was bar- 
ren and suggestive ; that is, it was not fruitful in immediate 
results, but promised much in the hints that it afforded of com- 
ing changes. The opening of Parliament, in November of 
that year, found Disraeli chancellor of the exchequer. When 
he accepted the office he demanded time to study financial conditions before 
venturing to prepare a budget. Such was the Statfe' of affairs that the task 
imposed on him was almost impossible of performance. The changes 
which had supervened in the industries of Great Britain within the past six 
years had rehdered it well-nigh hopeless to propose anything in the way of 
a financial scheme that would satisfy the country. The country was torn 
with conflicting interests. The shipping interest was one. X^e agricul- 
tural interest was another. The landed gentry was another, and the 
farmers and their interests were a fourth. The commercial interest was a 
fifth, and so to the end of classes and factions. 

This condition Disraeli had to face. At lenoih he came forward with 
his budget. He proposed to leave the county taxes as they had been ; also 
the taxes for the support of the poor — in English parlance, the poor ra^es — 
were passed over without change. As to the general system of taxation, 
the chancellor launched out by proposing to reduce by one half the tax on 
malt, and to abolish the discrimination against the malt of Scotland. He 
proposed a reduction of one shilling four and a half pence per pound in the 
existing tea tax. The next recommendation was the extension of the income 
tax to the funded properties and salaries in Ireland. In laying this impost he 
drew a distinction between permanent and precarious incomes. All indus- 
trial incomes were to be exempt to the limit of a hundred pounds a year, 
and all incomes on property to the limit of fifty pounds a year. 

As to the general reduction in the revenues, the chancellor thought he 
must add a proposition for large expenditures on the defenses of the 
country. For the following year he urged that the expenditure must be 
increased by as much as six hundred thousand pounds. Any deficit that 
might arise he proposed to provide for by doubling and extending the 
house tax, so that all houses rated at ten pounds and upward (instead of 
twenty pounds, as hitherto) should be taxed, and the rate should be 
increased from ninepence to eighteen pence on the pound. Shops, instead 
of paying sixpence, should pay a shilling a pound. The chancellor thought 
that the ensuing fiscal year would bring him, as against extra expenditures, 
about two million five hundred thousand pounds. By the following year 



COUP DETAT AND FIRST BUDGET. 207 

he reckoned that the sum would be three and a half million pounds. For 
more than four hours Disraeli occupied the attention of the House with 
explanations of the provisions of his budget and arguments in its favor. 

Hereupon a lengthy and acrimonious debate ensued. Every faction by 
its spokesman must be heard. Sir Charles Wood opposed the budget on 
the score of the extension of the income tax to poor people and of the 
house rate to the houses of humble farmers. Cobden declared that the 
measures proposed would cause to break out again the dormant feud of town 
and country. Mr. Robert Lowe denounced the proposition to reduce the 
malt tax, showing that the sole result of it would be a reduction in revenue, 
without other salutary effects. Mr. Hume held that producers and not 
consumers would be benefited by reducing the tax on malt. Instead of this 
circuitous method of doubtful expediency he would have a system of direct 
taxation reaching all property. As to the house rate, that was simply a tax 
on the domestic life of poor people. 

Sir James Graham, member for Carlisle, spoke at length, analyzing the 
scheme and pointing out its weaknesses in a manner so spirited as to make 
Disraeli wince. The chancellor, however, rallied to the defense of his 
scheme, and spoke with great vehemence and audacity. He handled the 
question with as much ability as bravado, being assured, no doubt, that jn 
any event the House would reject his measure. In his reply to Sir James 
Graham, Disraeir said : " We had last night from the member for Carlisle a 
most piteous appeal to the House upon the hardship of taxing poor clerks 
of between one hundred pounds and a hundred and fifty pounds a year. He 
stated that a hundred and fifty pounds is exactly the point where skilled labor 
ends. You can recall the effective manner in which the right honorable 
gentleman said that: — an unrivaled artist, in my opinion, when he tells us 
that this is the point where the fustian jacket ceases to be worn and the 
broadcloth becomes the ordinary attire. Such, sir, was the representation 
of that eminent personage, for whom I have a great regard — I don't so much 
respect him, but I greatly regard him!** 

This manner and matter were not of the kind to carry a budget through 
Parliament It was supposed that the debate would end with the chancel- 
lor's reply to his assailants; but not so. No sooner had Disraeli taken his 
seat than Gladstone rose to answer. It had been noted by some of the 
members that, when the chancellor was presenting the budget to the House, 
Gladstone listened with profound attention and made notes. It was not less 
the argument, however, than the attack on his friends, the Peelites, that 
brought him to the challenge. In the first place, he made what was for him 
a pointed and personal delivery on some parts of Mr. Disraelis method. 
"The right honorable gentleman," said he, "must permit me to tell him that 
he is not entitled to charge with insolence men of as high position and of as 



208 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

high character in this House as himself. I must tell him that he is not 
entitled to say to my right honorable friend, the member for Carlisle, that he 
does not respect him ; and I must tell him that whatever else he may have 
learned, he has not learned to keep within those limits, in discussion, of 
moderation and forbearance that ought to restrain the conduct and language 
of every member of this House ; the disregard of which, while it is an offense 
in the meanest amongst us, is an offense of tenfold weight when committed 
by the leader of the House of Commons/* 

The speaker then took up the discussion of the question, and consid^ 
ered first the house-tax feature of the budget. He made the point that 
householders of small means, including many clergymen, would be gathered 
in the chancellor's net. It was a bad policy to compensate the revenue by 
imposing a house tax in place of the reduction of one half of the tax on 
malt. He thought that the price of beer to the consumer would not be per- 
ceptibly affected. The brewers would gain the whole advantage. The 
policy of substituting one tax for another was a dangerous expedient. 
The income tax proposed was equally objectionable. The measure indi- 
cated in the budget was rather an abstraction than a practical scheme, and 
England was not founded on abstractions. The chancellor had proposed to 
use four hundred thousand pounds taken from the loan fund, and to count 
this as a surplus. The chancellor had no right to charge his opponents 
with collusion against him. On the whole, he believed that the scheme set 
forth by Disraeli was in its tendency, and would prove to be in its results, 
•* the most perverted budget " of which he had any knowledge. If the House 
should approve such a scheme the day would come when it would rue its 
rashness and folly. 

We may mark this sharp encounter of Gladstone and Disraeli as the 
beginning, not indeed of their rivalry, but of their historical antagonism; for 
both had now become historical characters. From this date, November of 
1852, to the death of Lord Beaconsfield, was a period of twenty-eight years 
and six months; and during the whole of this time, nearly an average life- 
time, there was no day in which the two men were not the leading competi- 
tors for the primacy of England, and therefore pronounced rivals in the 
highest regions of statesmanship. 

For the nonce Gladstone was victorious. When the House was called 
to division on the question of the budget there was a majority of nineteen 
against the ministry. The resignation of that body followed as a matter 
of course.* The queen called the Earl of Aberdeen to conduct the govern- 

*It was on tliis occasion that Disraeli produced one of his most celebrated mots. On the morning of his set- 
ting out from Westminster Hall, to put his resignation into the queen's hands, the weather was cold and wet. 
Getting into the coach with some friends, he glanced out at the window and said, with entire nonchalance, ** It 
will be an unpleasant day for going to Osborne I " 



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COUP D ETAT AND FIRST BUDGET. 2O9 



ment, and that nobleman found himself under the necessity of creating a 
ministry by coalition. The factions had to be united, and several of them 
were represented in the new cab- 
inet. Gladstone was appointed 
Chancellor of the Exchequer ; Lord 
Cranworth, Lord Chancellor ; Earl 
Granville, Lord President of the 
Council ; Sir James Graham, First 
Lord of the Admiralty ; the Duke 
of Argyle, Lord Privy Seal ; Sir 
Charles Wood, President of the 
Board of Control; Sir William 
Molesworth, First Commissioner of 
Public Works; Edward Cardwell, 
President of the Board of Trade ; 
Sir Alexander Cockburn, Attorney 
General; Richard Bethell, Solicitor 
General ; and Lord Lansdowne, 
member without office. To the 
cabinet proper we may add the sec- 
retaries, as follows ; Duke of New- 
castle in the Colonial Office ; Lord 
John Russell for Foreign Affairs; 

, - u 11 WILLIAM E, GLADSTONE AS CHANCELLOR OF 

Lord Palmerston m the Home the exchequer under the earl or 

Office; Sidney Herbert, Secretary Aberdeen, age fortv-two. 

of War. Thus on a foundation of conflicting interests was established the 
coalition government of 1852. 

just at this time, namely, in December of the year last named, was com- 
pleted in France the counter-revolution which, expressing itself in many 
forms, at last wafted Louis Napoleon Bonaparte to the imperial throne. We 
have already referred to the coup d'itat o{ December 2, 1851. By that event 
the President of the Republic of 1848 got himself to be the Prince President 
of a republic of his own. The system at the head of which he was placed, 
we must say by the almost unanimous choice of his countrymen, was no 
more than a stepping-stone from one estate to another. It was known to be 
so, not only in France, but throughout the world. After the coup d'etat the 
rest followed as a matter of course. 

In September and October of 1852 the prince president made a tour 
through the provinces of the south of France. As he went from place to placi: 
his progress became an ovation. It wasintended to be such. How muchofic 
was spontaneous and how much factitious cannot be welt known; but the 
French are facile in such matters, and the spontaneity came on like a wave 



2IO LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

of the sea. The prince president went to Avignon and Marseilles and 
Toulon and Aix. Along the route the tide rose higher and higher. At 
Sevres his mission was declared to be divine, and ''Dieu le Veutl* the cry of 
the old crusaders, was strangely heard in the streets as the modern Qodfrey 
passed along. At Bordeaux a great banquet was given by the Chamber of 
Commerce, and there the imperial scheme was openly revealed. The prince 
president made a speech, most able and conciliatory, but with* unhesitating 
avowal of the will of France respecting himself, and acceptance on his part 
of the trust. His address showed the diplomatist, the manager, the imperial 
adventurer at his best estate. "At present," said he, "the nation surrounds 
me with its sympathies because I do not belong to the family of ideologists. 
To promote the welfare of the country it is not necessary to apply new 
systems, but the chief point, above all, is to produce confidence in the pres- 
ent and security for the future." 

" For these reasons, it seems, France desires a return to the empire. 
There is one objection to which I must reply. Certain minds seem to 
entertain a dread of war ; certain persons say the empire is only war. But 
I say the empire is peace \l' empire cest la paix — a phrase that became the 
motto of the Second Empire,] for France desires it, and when France is 
satisfied the world is tranquil. Glory descends by inheritance, but not war. 
Did the princes who justly felt pride. that they were the grandchildren of 
Louis XIV recommence his wars ? War is not made for pleasure, but 
through necessity ; and at this epoch of transition, where by the side of so 
many elements of prosperity spring so many causes of death, we may truly 
say. Woe be to him who gives the first signal to a collision, the conse- 
quences of which would be incalculable! I confess, however, that, like the 
Emperor, I have many conquests to make. I wish, like him, to conquer by 
conciliation all hostile parties, and to bring into the grand popular current 
those hostile streams which now lose themselves without profit to anyone. 
I wish to restore to religion, morality; and opulence that still numerous 
part of the population which, though in the bosom of the most fertile coun- 
try in the world, can scarcely obtain the common necessaries of life. We 
have immense waste territories to cultivate, roads to open, ports to dig 
rivers to render navigable, a system of railroads to complete ; we have oppo- 
site to Marseilles a vast kingdom which we must assimilate to France ; we 
have to bring all our great western ports into connection with the American 
continent by a rapidity of communication which we still want ; lastly, we 
have ruins to restore, false gods to overthrow, and truths to be made 
triumphant. This is the sense which I attach to the empire, if the empire 
is to be restored. Such are the conquests which I contemplate ; and all 
you who surround me, and who, like me, desire your country's welfare — you 
are my soldiers." 



COUP D^TAT AND FIRST BUDGET. 211 

After the Bordeaux banquet everything went on in a blaze of glory. 
It is not our part here to recount the rapid and brilliant stages in the prog- 
ress by which the Prince President was converted into the Emperor Napo- 
leon III. It was on the 2d of December of 1852, a year to a day from the 
coup ditat, that the empire was proclaimed. The vote of the people had 
been announced on the first of the month, and was as follows : ** For the 
imperial regime, 7,864,189 ; in the negative, 263,145 ; votes of the indifferent 
and the like, 63,326. The Church rallied, and in every cathedral was heard 
the chant, " Save, O Lord, our Emperor Napoleon." 

This great and withal peaceable revolution in France had a marked 
effect throughout Europe. It was in the nature of a sensation on a vast 
scale. In England there was a conflict of political and social emotions. 
England knew well the adventurous character of the Bonaparte who had 
been raised by the voice of millions to the imperial throne. As to the 
empire itself the governing powers in England might well sympathize with 
that, for it seemed to terminate that continental republic which could but 
be a menace to the existing political order so long as it should abide. But 
Great Britain was solemnly on record never to recognize any Bonaparte on 
a European throne. This record had been made at a time when there 
was good reason on the part of the Hanoverian monarchy and the English 
people to have a dread of Bonapartism in all its forms. After thirty-seven 
years, however, a new state and a new sentiment and interest had super- 
vened, and there was less cause to dread such title as Napoleon III. His- 
tory had prepared a condition which must soon lead not only to a recon- 
ciliation, fcut to the alliance of the two powers, insular and peninsular, in a 
common cause against Slavic aggression in the east of Europe, 

The beginning of the year 1853 found Gladstone chancellor of the 
exchequer in the ministry of Aberdeen. As such the very duties and diffi- 
culties before which the preceding ministry had broken to pieces were 
devolved on him. He must now take up the very work in attempting 
which Disraeli, by the judgment of the country, had failed. The first two 
months of the year were spent by him in perhaps the hardest study of his 
life. In addition to his own business instincts, inherited from his fathers 
line, and in addition to all that he had learned of the finances of his coun- 
try after his entrance into public life, he had now, under the immense 
weight of public responsibility, to review the tremendous question before him 
and to plant himself on a solid foundation under peril of speedily following 
his predecessor into the limbo of failures. The ordeal was by much the 
greatest of all that he had thus far encountered; but his strong purpose, 
rising steadily from a calm and equable mind, enabled him not only to mas- 
ter the situation, but to emerge from the- trial with a choru§ of applauses. 

It was on the 8th of April, 1853, two months after the opening of the 



2 12 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

new Parliament, that Gladstone made his first public utterance on the great 
questions with which he had to deal. On that night he presented his plan 
for the reduction of the public debt. He prepared and submitted fifteen 
resolutions, covering nearly all the elements of the debt, and proposing the 
means whereby the same might be reduced. This he deemed expedient 
before presenting his first budget. Some of his resolutions looked to the 
liquidation of the South Sea stocks and of certain bank annuities, some of 
which had existed for a hundred and twenty-three years. He found that 
there was a total of the minor stocks carried along in the business of Great 
Britain amounting to nine and a half million pounds. To cover this com- 
plicated mass of indebtedness he proposed the issuance of a new fund on 
which the interest would be reduced by a quarter of one per cent, and that 
the new fund should be subject to payment, involving its total extinction. 

In the second place, the chancellor boldly proposed that the exchequer 
bonds of the government should be refunded with a reduction of one per 
cent. The third part of the plan contemplated the refunding of the three 
per cent consols at a lower rate. The funds included under this part of the 
scheme amounted to about two and a half billions of dollars in our account- 
ing. The ultimate motif of the whole scheme was the unification of the 
national debt of Great Britain in a permanent fund at two and a half per 
cent, the existence of which was to be accepted in theory as perpetual. 

Ten days after the presentation of the project relative to the national 
debt Mr. Gladstone brought forward his first budget. The reading of the 
same and the explanation of it — the proposition of successive measures and 
th edemonstration of their advisability — occupied fully five hours. It was 
noticed that from the beginning of the presentation the House gave the 
profoundest attention. The interest rose as the speaker proceeded. 
Applause broke out at this point and that. It was evident that a master 
had appeared on the scene. It is doubtful whether any form of public 
appearance was ever more consistent with the Gladstonian manner and 
method than was the delivery of his budget, and it may be safely alleged 
that no other of his budgets ever exhibited more cogency or was inter- 
spersed with a greater number of paragraphs worthy to be classed as par- 
liamentary oratory than was this first, of April i8, 1853. The budget seemed 
to be evolved from the principle known as " elasticity of revenue." 

The basis of the budget was Gladstone's estimate of the revenue 
required for the ensuing fiscal year. This he set at ;^5 2,990,000. His 
estimate of the expenditures were less by ;^8o7,ooo. Part of the sufplus 
thus arising, however, the speaker would not consider, since not all of 
the surplus was derived from permanent sources. As to the principle of 
taxation, he accepted, first of all, the income rates, and would retain them — 
this for the reason that by the resources thus provided the government 



r 



» * 



COUP DETAT AND FIRST BUDGET. 213 



might in case of war be prepared at any time for a great increase in the 
armies and navies of the kingdom. He proposed, however, a sliding scale 
in the income tax, by which the same should run for two years at seven- 
pence the pound, then for two years at sixpence the pound, and then for 
three years at fivepence the pound, at the end of which time, namely, in 
April of i860, the tax should expire altogether. 

In order to compensate the revenue for certain reductions in other 
parts of the schedule of taxation, the speaker proposed that the income tax 
should reach down and include all those whose incomes amounted to a hun- 
dred and fifty pounds per annum, and that below this all whose incomes 
amounted to a hundred pounds per annum should be taxed thereon at the 
rate of fivepence the pound. In the case of Ireland, that country, which 
had profited so much by late reductions in taxation, should be subject to a 
part of the burden sufficient to produce a revenue of ;^46o,ooo a year. The 
chancellor then took up the question of taxing legacies, and proposed a 
rate thereon which should yield for the ensuing fiscal year about five hun- 
dred thousand pounds, and for the following year about four times that 
sum ; and it was suggested that the principle of taxing legacies should 
become permanent as the means of replenishing the public revenues. In 
the next place, the speaker took up the special laws relating to the taxation 
of spirits in Scotland and Ireland. Under this head he proposed to relieve 
the Irish people of a burden of about four and a half million pounds. 

If the first part of the Gladstonian scheme included several items of 
increase in the burdens of the people the other part embraced a larger num- 
ber of items in the way of reduction. He agreed that the soap tax should 
be remitted to the extent of more than a million pounds. The tax on life 
assurances should be reduced by two shillings in the pound. He would also 
reduce the cost of the receipt stamps, so as to make them uniformly of the 
value of a penny each. The tax of apprenticeship was reduced from a pound 
to two shillings sixpence on each indenture. In like manner the taxes on 
certificates, on coaches, on post-horses and dogs were reduced. The tea 
tax was lessened by more than one half. On the whole the reductions 
amounted by estimate to more than five and a quarter million pounds, 
covering one hundred and thirty-three items in the list of abatements. 

The one point in the whole scheme about which the chancellor had 
greatest anxiety was the tax on incomes. He aimed to ameliorate the 
feature of income taxes by placing a limit of time upon them. He showed 
that according to his scheme they were to expire in i860. He aimed to 
fortify his position with arguments, establishing the justice and expediency 
ofVesorting to the income tax in times of necessity. He showed that he 
could not — indeed, that no government could — enter into a measure for 
exactly equalizing the income rates among all whom the law might touch. 



214 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

He proved out of history the necessity of such an expedient to meet the 
emergencies that from time to time afflicted the public life of nations. He 
appealed to such instances in the history of Great Britain, selecting his sub- 
ject-matter from such events as would be likely to touch the patriotism of 
his countrymen. " It was/' said he, " in the crisis of revolutionary war that 
when Mr. Pitt found the resources of taxation were failing under him his 
mind fell back upon the conception of the income tax; and when he pro- 
posed it to Parliament that great man, possessed with his great idea, raised 
his eloquence to an unusual height and power." 

The chancellor showed that in the whole period between the rupture 
of the Treaty of Amiens and the downfall of Napoleon the income tax had 
lifted the revenues of Great Britain from about twenty million pounds to 
more than three times that sum, and that the deficiency in the period 
referred to was reduced by the same expedient from a figure that would 
have been ruinous to a minimum of about two million pounds annually. 
Against such benefits the alleged inequality of the tax could not stand. 
Besides, the hardship, whatever it was, was temporary, and would soon pass 
away. No man of patriotic temper and moderate in his opinions could 
rightly adduce the supposed inequalities of the income tax in bar of a 
method which produced so great benefits. Besides, to relinquish the tax 
was to throw the government back upon chimerical schemes which might 
please the visionary, but which could only end in disaster. He admitted 
the undesirability of retaining the income tax as a part of the permanent 
scheme of government finances. He admitted that it was impossible in 
preparing a public budget to reach results that should be satisfactory to all. 

In such a question, moreover, the spirit of indecision would never do. 
There must be a bold, rational, and temperate method of finance, as well as 
a just, considerate, and prudent method. " Whatever you do," said the 
chancellor of the exchequer, " in regard to the income tax, you must be 
bold, you must be intelligible, you must be decisive. You must not palter 
with it. If you do I have striven at least to point out, as well as my feeble 
powers will permit, the almost desecration, I would say, certainly the gross 
breach of duty to your country, of which you will be found guilty, in thus 
jeopardizing one of the most valuable among all its material resources. I 
believe it to be of vital importance, whether you keep this tax or whether 
you part with it, that you should either keep it or leave it in a state in 
which it would be fit for service in an emergency, and that it will be impos- 
sible to do if you break up the basis of your income tax. 

" If the committee have followed me, they will understand that we stand 
on the principle that the income tax ought to be marked as a temporary 
measure ; that the public feeling that relief should be given to intelligence 
and skill as compared with property ought to be met, and may be met; 



COUP d'etat and first budget. 215 

that the income tax in its operation ought to be mitigated by every rational 
means compatible with its integrity, and, above all, that it should be asso- 
ciated in the last term of its existence, as it was in the first, with those re- 
missions of indirect taxation which have so greatly redounded to the profit 
of this country, and have set so admirable an example — an example that has 
already in some quarters proved contagious to other nations of the earth. 

"These are the principles on which we stand, and the figures. I have 
shown you that if you grant us the taxes which we ask, the moderate 
amount of two and a half million pounds in the whole, and much less than 
that sum for the present year, you, or the Parliament which may be in ex- 
istence in i860, will be in the condition, if you so think fit, to part with the 
income tax. 

" These are the proposals of the government. They may be approved 
or they may be condemned, but I have this full confidence, that it will be 
admitted that we have not sought to evade the difficulties of the position ; 
that we have not concealed those difficulties either from ourselves or from 
others ; that we have not attempted to counteract them by narrow or flimsy 
expedients ; that we have prepared plans which, if you will adopt them, will 
go some way to close up many vexed financial questions, which, if not now 
settled, may be attended with public inconvenience, and even with public 
danger in future years and under less favorable circumstances ; that we 
have endeavored, in the plans we have now submitted to you, to make the 
path of our succesors in future years not more arduous, but more easy ; and 
I may be permitted to add that, while w^e have sought to do justice to the 
great labor community of England by furthering their relief from indirect 
taxation, we have not been guided by any desire to put one class against 
another. We have felt we should best maintain our own honor, that w^e 
should best meet the views of Parliament, and best promote the interests of 
the country, by declining to draw any invidious distinction between class 
and class by adopting it to ourselves as a sacred aim to diffuse and dis- 
tribute the burdens with equal and impartial hand ; and we have the con- 
solation of believing that by proposals such as these we contribute, as far as 
in us lies, not only to develop the material resources of the country, but to 
knit the various parts of this great nation yet more closely than ever to 
that throne and to those institutions under which it is our happiness to live." 

Notwithstanding the length of the address the speaker held the sympa- 
thetic attention of the House to the close, and was greatly applauded. It is 
doubtful whether there had ever been so masterful an exhibition of finan- 
cial talents by any chancellor of the exchequer in Great Britain. The applause 
with which the address — and that meant the budget — was received indicated 
clearly its acceptance by Parliament. It signified the acceptance of the 
scheme without modification. The formality of the House, however, required 



2l6 LIFE AND TIMES OK WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

debate. It is. the proper thing under such circumstances that the leader of 
the opposition shall have his say. Custom has even indicated the general 
tenor of what he shall urge upon the attention of the House. This duty, or 
formality, as the case may be, was devolved on Disraeli, who rose in reply 
and expressed in general terms his approval of the scheme which the 
chancellor of the exchequer had presented. He claimed that the princi- 
ples on which the budget was founded were virtually the same as underlay 
the scheme which he had the honor twice to present to the House of 
Commons. He claimed, however, that the particular evolution of the 
budget touching this question and the other was not in accord with sound 
policy, and could not be accepted by her majesty's opposition. Hereupon 
he entered into an arraignment of several clauses of the budget, particularly 
that clause which related to the income tax. The income tax, the speaker 
claimed, was repugnant to the British Constitution, and should be eliminated 
from the scheme of taxation just as soon as possible. If the tax should be 
continued at all for the present it ought to be reduced in rate and strictly 
limited in the time to run. All surplus in the treasury ought tobe applied 
to the reduction and extinction of a system of taxation which no minister 
could control and which no people could long endure. 

Mr. Disraeli then proceeded to the question of the land taxes and the 
taxes on legacies, as indicated in the Gladstonian scheme. He claimed that 
the general tendency of the budget was against the landed properties of the 
kingdom and in favor of the commercial interests. Taxation ought not to 
lie heavily on real property. Government, instead of relieving the farmers 
of Great Britain, was proposing to put them under still heavier burdens. 
He pointed out inconsistencies in the course of several statesmen who were 
now supporting the ministerial scheme. He attacked Lord John Russell for 
having denounced the income tax in Sir Robert Peel's day, while now he 
was in the attitude of supporting the same measure. He claimed with some 
reason that the favor which he had aimed to extend to Ireland was omitted 
from the budget, and that the Irish people were afflicted thereby. 

The Gladstonian report was before Parliament for two months and 
nine days. During that period the questions involved were discussed from 
time to time, and many motions were made for amendment and substitu- 
tion ; but all to no avail. On the 27th of June, 1853, ^he matter came to a 
vote. At one time a motion made by Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton to recon- 
sider the part of Mr. Gladstone s scheme relating to the income tax on 
farmers was near meeting the approval of the House, but even that proposi- 
tion was defeated by a majority of twenty-one. The budget as a whole, and 
without modification, was accepted by a large majority. The vote signified 
the approval of the principles and methods of the chancellor and the ulterior 
purpose to prepare in advance for war, which was even now at the door. 



r 



FRENCH ALLIANCE AND CRIMEAN WAR. 21 7 




CHAPTER XIV. 

French Alliance and Crimean War. 

N the remote horizon of the present age, hidden from the scenes 
that now are by the far-off smoke clouds of the civil war in 
America and the similar darkness of the Franco- Prussian con- 
flict in Europe, lies the drama of the Crimean War. The ante- 
cedents of that struggle were as peculiar as those of any other 
contention among the nations of modern times. The causes of the war 
were so complicated and reached so far as to involve, sooner or later, the 
larger part of modern history. The disputes, indeed, out of which the 
Crimean War followed as a result reached down into the religious condi- 
tions of Europe and along the lines of those conditions backward to the age 
of Constantine, if not to the age of Augustus. The so-called Eastern Ques- 
tion has so many aspects that a biographical history extending through the 
period cannot be expected to set them forth with anything like completeness. 
The principal parties to the controversy were Great Britain, France, 
Turkey, and Russia ; but all the powers of Europe were more or less con- 
cerned. As to Great Britain, she had adopted the policy of upholding the 
status in quo in Europe. She had her own motives, not a few, for wishing 
that the Ottoman power, though an Islamite dominion, should hold its own 
as a kind of barrier against the growing ambitions of Rtissia. Commercial 
reasons and political reasons alike prevailed with her to desire the indirect 
control of the eastern outlets of the Mediterranean into the Black Sea. 
This involved the desire on the part of Great Britain that the power of 
Russia should not be established and confirmed on the Black Sea ; for that 
would involve an early forcing of the way by that power through the straits 
and into the Mediterranean. As to religious prejudices. Great Britain does 
not allow these to stand in the wind of her commercial interests and politi- 
cal ambitions ; albeit she makes great capital before the world of her claim 
to be the defender of the Protestant faith. 

As to Turkey, that power was in its decadence. She had in her prov- 
inces, notably in Greece, a large population of professing Christians. 
Between these and the prevailing Moslemite dominion there was no accord 
of sympathy and but little common interest. The Christians in Turkey 
belonged for the most part to the Eastern Church, so that Russia might 
claim to be their champion and protector. These conditions were highly 
favorable to edge on the rising conflict. 

As to France, though the "empire was peace," according to the dec- 
laration of the new emperor, he himself needed participation, and if possible 
leadership, in the coming war. He needed it in order to manifest his 



1 



2l8 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

Strength and capacities. He needed it in order to confirm his throne. He 
needed it as one of those dazzling circumstances in which the French nation 
so much delights. He needed it to show that he was a true Napoleon. He 
had obtained recognition from all the crowned heads of Europe, with the 
exception of Czar Nicholas. That potentate had deigned to designate 
Napoleon as cousin, but not as brother — a circumstance that rankled more^ 
we doubt not, in the breast of the empress than in the heart of Napoleon. 
So the emperor set about to make an alliance with England. Great Britain, 
having declared that she would never assent, assented ; and with the growth 
of the war portent in the East Napoleon HI found himself side by side with 
Victoria and the sultan. Though royal enough, it was one of the most 
motley teams that ever went to war ! 

The particular grievance that led to the rupture was the dispute between 
the Latin and Greek Churches over the claim to precedence in the guardian- 
ship of the holy places in Palestine. The age will come when the absurdity 
of such a contention will strike the reader as verging closely to the impos- 
sible. But as late as the middle of our century such questions were still very 
real, and in their decision the great nations of Europe drew the sword. 

By his elevation to the imperial throne Napoleon HI became the politi- 
cal head of the Roman Catholic, or Latin, Church in Europe. By like rela- 
tion Czar Nicholas was the head of the Greek Catholic, or Eastern, Church. 
Any dispute between the two great divisions of Christendom would place 
the French emperor and Russian czar in diametrical antagonism. 

The arrangements made in Palestine between the Christians and the 
Mussulmans conceded to the former the possession of certain holy places; 
but the Christians disputed among themselves as to which faction should be 
the ^M^xd\2c^% par excellence. There was a church in Bethlehem, and through 
this the Latin monks must pass to reach the Sacred Grotto. There was a 
principal door to the church and a door to the manger, and these doors were 
locked. Should a Latin monk carry the key, or should a Greek priest have 
it.'^ Should the Latin monks have the right to place in the sanctuary of the 
nativity a silver star bearing the arms of France, or should those Western 
symbols be excluded } The French minister at Constantinople, in Decem- 
ber of 1852, secured from the sultan permission to place the silver star in the 
sanctuary of Bethlehem, and to have the keys of both church and manger. 
This concession was resented by the Russian ambassador, and the czar 
declared that the change contemplated in the management of the holy places 
was unjust and would be resisted. The thing conceded by Islam to Rome 
was hateful to the Greek cross. 

Meanwhile the czar had in a conversation with Sir Hamilton Seymour 
declared that "we [meaning England and Russia] have on our hands a sick 
man — a very sick man ; it will be a great misfortune if one of these days he 



FRENCH ALLIANCE AND CRIMEAN WAR. 



219 



should slip away from us before the necessary arrangements have been 
made." The "necessary arrangements" to which Nicholas referred hinted 
at what England and Russia ought to do in a friendly way on the occasion 
of the funeral ! It was thus that Turkey, in the parlance of the day, and even 
to the present, came by the czar's wit to be called the Sick Man of the East. 




ALBERT, OP SAXE-C06URG AND COTHA, THE LATE PRIIICE CONSORT. 



But the overtures of Nicholas to Great Britain were not acceptable; 
the alliance of France was chosen instead, and the czar sent an army corps 
into the Danubian provinces as a precautionary measure, demanding at the 
same time of Austria that the Turkish troops should be required to withdraw 
from Montenegro. At this juncture it was believed that both Austria and 
Prussia would join the alliance in support of Turkey against the aggressions 
of Nicholas. But the central German powers decided to remain neutral, at the 



220 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

same time declaring against the policy of the czar. The alliance contented 
itself with receiving Sardinia as a member of the league. This made the 
combination fourfold — English, French, Sardinian, Turkish — against Russia, 
single and alone. There were futile efforts at negotiation, but these came to 
naught, and the Eastern Question was left to the arbitrament of the sword. 

The precise reason for going to war was differently stated by the dif- 
ferent parties to it. Some said that it was to maintain the traditional policy 
of upholding the Ottoman empire, to which England in particular had sub- 
scribed. Albert, the prince consort, said in a semiofficial way that Great 
Britain went to war with Russia because that power menaced the Otto- 
man empire, and at the same time sought to convert the various prov- 
inces on the Black Sea into Russian dependencies. This, the prince claimed, 
would be in violation of that system of balance of power to which all Europe 
was agreed. Mr. Gladstone held this view, namely, that the public law of 
Europe was defied and violated by the course of the czar, and that such 
violation must be punished, not so much by England alone as by the united 
powers of Europe. 

As for France, that nation went to war for religious sentiment and 
human glory. It is inconceivable that the claim of the Greek Church to pos- 
sess and control certain places in and about Jerusalem should provoke a great 
people to the pitch of war. That, however, was assigned as the reason — a 
reason that did not greatly prevail in England. Lord John Russell declared 
in a public paper, in January of 1853, that the Church quarrel was in the bot- 
tom of the difficulty; but Lord John contended that so far as this quarrel 
extended Russia was in the right / So there was a period of negotiation. 
Prince Menshikoff demanded of the Sublime Porte a guarantee that the 
Greek Church should not be impeded in the exercise of her prerogatives 
about the holy places. This demand the sultan would not grant, where- 
upon the Russian ambassador went away and the czar sent an ultimatum. 

It was in the beginning of July that a Russian army, crossing the Pruth, 
entered Moldavia and Wallachia- The czar issued a proclamation justify- 
ing his course as necessary to secure from the porte a recognition and 
guarantee of Russian rights. He disclaimed the intention of going to war. 
For several months Great Britain sought in a desultory way to prevent the 
conflict; but on the 4th of October, 1853, Turkey declared war against 
Russia. The news produced great excitement throughout England. There 
were many public meetings. The English nation demanded to know the 
attitude of the government. Just at this juncture, namely, on the 12th of 
October, Mr. Gladstone was invited to Manchester to deliver an address 
on the occasion of the dedication of a statue to the memory of Sir Robert 
Peel. He must, in the nature of the case, at least refer to the subject that 
was uppermost in all minds. 



FRENCH ALLIANCE AND CRIMEAN WAR. 221 

In doing so the chancellor of the exchequer spoke of the ambitions 
and aggressions of Russia, which threatened to break the peace of the whole 
world. In the nature of the case the czars policy must first strike and 
undo the Ottoman empire. / It was best to resist Russia at the start. Great 
Britain would set herself to uphold Turkey as a bulwark against Slavic 
ambition. Great Britain did not desire war, and for that reason was willing 
to negotiate. War was a horror not to be rashly provoked. Negotiation 
might result in nothing. " Negotiation," said the speaker, ** is beset with 
delay, intrigue, and chicane ; but these are not so horrible as war, if negotia- 
tion can be made to result in saving this country from a calamity which 
deprives the nation of subsistence and arrests the operations of industry. 
To attain that result if possible — still to attain it, if still possible, which is 
even yet their hope — her majesty's ministers have persevered in exercising 
that self-command and that self-restraint whicli impatience may mistake for 
indifference, feebleness, or cowardice, but which are truly the crowning great- 
ness of a great people, and which do not evince the want of readiness to 
vindicate, when the time comes, the honor of this country." 

In this expression the reader may discover the cautious spirit of Glad- 
stone, resolute enough to undertake even war, but always disposed to con- 
sider well before saying, and to say in such terms and phrases as to signify 
much, but heat little. The temper of the British nation at this very time 
was highly offended at the policy of Russia, and the public voice was crying 
out for decisive action and war. 

Great Britain in going to war with Russia put herself into a remark- 
able relation. Czar Nicholas was not unpopular in western Europe — unless 
in France. He had married the Princess Charlotte of Prussia, eldest daugh- 
ter of Frederick William III. Nicholas was a temperate and frugal auto- 
crat, working from fourteen to sixteen hours daily. He was a Christian 
czar, and in this respect was at least as near to the sympathies of Great 
Britain as was Napoleon III. Moreover, in going to war with Russia, Eng- 
land had to ally herself with the Sultan Abdul-Medjid, of whom it might be 
said there was nothing in him to be desired. His government was one of 
the most corrupt and wicked imaginable. He was at the head of the Mus- 
sulman faith, and was the front of that offending in both Europe and Asia. 
The existence of such a power and such a ruler in Europe required — as it 
has ever since required — both apology and explanation. That Great 
Britain could be in alliance with a creature such as the porte seemed incredr 
ible enough ; but the Eastern Question required just such bedfellows. Eng- 
land was in the attitude of supporting the cause of a thing without support- 
ing the thing of the cause ! 

For a while, however, there was no further declaration of war than that 
of Turkey. It was a little more than a year, namely, on the ist of Novem- 



^ 



222 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

ber, 1853, that Nicholas answered with a manifesto the challenge of the 
porte. He declared in a paper to his people that the blindness and the 
obstinacy of the Ottoman empire obliged him to take up arms. Just after- 
ward a paper called " The Vienna Note " was prepared by the powers and 
sent to both Russia and Turkey as a proposed basis of settlement. It was 
accepted by the former country, but rejected by the latter. Hereupon 
another note was prepared, which in its turn was rejected by the czar. 
This furnished the final offense, and on the 28th of March, 1854, England 
declared war. Matters had gone so far and the public mind was so greatly 
inflamed that only a few voices were lifted against the declaration. 

Already the allied fleets had entered the Black Sea. On that water 
had occurred, on the 30th of November previously, the battle of Sinope 
between the Turks and the Russians. A Russian fleet hovering about 
Sinope provoked the Turks, who sailed out to the trial and were over- 
whelmed. Their squadron was annihilated. About four thousand of the 
Turks were reduced by slaughter to as many hundreds, and it was said that 
not a single Ottoman of those engaged escaped without a wound. The 
Russians after their victory on the water proceeded to bombard and destroy 
Sinope. The news of this fight was carried to western Europe, and pro- 
duced a fever of excitement The reports of the conflict were exaggerated 
by the correspondents and messengers into the phrase " Massacre of Sinope," 
by which the battle was ever afterward designated. 

It cannot be denied that at this juncture Napoleon HI made a praise- 
worthy effort to verify his motto, " the empire is peace." On the 29th of 
January, 1854, he wrote a dignified and conciliatory letter to Czar Nicholas, 
as follows : " Your majesty has given so many proofs of your solicitude for 
the tranquillity of Europe, and by your beneficent influence has so power- 
fully arrested the spirit of disorder, that I cannot doubt as to the course you 
will take in the alternative which presents itself to your choice. Should 
your majesty be as desirous as myself of a pacific conclusion, what would be 
more simple than to declare that an armistice shall now be signed, that all 
hostilities shall cease, and that the belligerent forces shall retire from the 
places to which motives of war have led them ? Thus the Russian troops 
would abandon the principalities, and our squadrons the Black Sea. Your 
majesty, preferring to treat directly with Turkey, might appoint an ambassa- 
dor who could negotiate with the plenipotentiary of the sultan a convention 
which might be submitted to a conference of the four powers. Let your 
majesty adopt this plan, upon which the Queen of England and myself are 
perfectly agreed, and tranquillity will be reestablished and the world satis- 
fied. There is nothing in the plan which is unworthy of your majesty, 
nothing which can wound your honor; but if, from motives difficult to under- 
stand, your majesty should refuse this proposal, then France as well as 



FRENCH ALLIANCE AND CRIMEAN WAR. 223 

England will be compelled to leave to the fate of arms and the chance of 
war that which might now be decided by reason and justice." 

To this the czar replied ten days afterward that he had done as much 
for the maintenance of peace as was compatible with his honor ; that he was 
the guardian of the Greek Christians in Turkey ; that the porte had been 
overborne by evil influences; that his confidence was in God and the right. 
Then he added, '* Russia, as I can guarantee, will prove herself in 1854 what 
she was in 18 12." The response, as a whole, was not calculated to mend 
matters in the least, and the phrase about 181 2 was manifestly a deji, if not 
an insult. The French so regarded it, and the war craze in France became 
as feverish as it was already in Great Britain. The French ambassador at 
St. Petersburg left that capital and sent to his master this dispatch : " I 
return with refusal." 

In England the Aberdeen ministry was loath in the extreme to go to 
war. Lord Aberdeen was himself of a conservative and peaceable disposi- 
tion. He was in sympathy with the Peace Society of the kingdom. That 
society sent a committee to St. Petersburg, in the hope of stemming the tide 
and preventing hostilities. Mr. Gladstone was almost as anxious as was the 
premier to avoid war. He, too, was by nature strongly inclined to peace. 
As chancellor of the exchequer and a man of business by the whole 
course of his life, he must needs contemplate with aversion the horrible 
expenditure as well as the havoc of war. He saw in such an event a great 
increase in the burdens which must be borne by the people of Great 
Britain. He saw the probable ruin of the financial scheme which he had 
proposed two years before, and which had been adopted as the policy of 
the kingdom. That scheme was intended for peace. Or, if it looked to 
war 5it all, it merely provided for the remote contingency of it. Kinglake, 
the historian of the Crimean war, has fully described the Gladstonian 
sentiment and character at this time : 

"If he [Gladstone] was famous for the splendor of his eloquence, for 
his unaffected piety, and for his 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 iYnagine 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 crimirtal 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 



224 L'^^ ^^^ TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

the practical politicians, perceiving that he was not to be depended upon 
for party purposes, and was bent upon 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 any event, it remained for Gladstone to provide for the financial 
affairs of Great Britain at the outbreak of the Crimean War and during 
a considerable section of that conflict. His duties were onerous. The 
statesman and financier justified himself in supporting the government, in 
defending the war, in doing his best to furnish the means requisite for 
its prosecution, on the ground that it 
was a defensive war, undertaken by Eng- 
land in the interest of universal peace, 
against the aggressions of Russia. How- 
ever much he may have deplored the 
fact of war, he nevertheless accepted it 
as necessary to the honor of his country. 
The principal events in the progress 
of that struggle may here be briefly 
summarized : 

The allied powers sent with all 

expedition an army of sixty-five thousand 

men, with five thousand horse and eighty 

pieces of artillery, to the Black Sea. 

FIELD MARSHAL LORD RAGLAN. The expedition reached its destination 

on the 14th of September, 1854. In a 

short time the allies — English, French, 

Turks — concentrated at Varna, from which place a descent on the Russians 

in the Crimean peninsula was contemplate^ Already the Turks in Europe 

had made considerable headway against the enemy. It was at this juncture 

that Omar Pasha appeared as the leader and hero of the Ottoman forces. 

The Russians were under command of Prince Menshikoff, the English 
under Lord Raglan, and the French under Marshal Pelissier. On the 20th 
of September, 1854, a bloody battle was fought on the river Alma. Here 
the Russians were defeated, and were compelled to fall back in the direction 
of their strong fortress, Sebastopol, at the southeastern extremity of the 
peninsula. Here the war was foclused. The Russians were strongly rein- 
forced late in the autumn, and Menshikoff united his divisions behind the 
works of Sebastopol. On the 25th of September the heights of Balaklava, 
south of the Russian position, were seized by the British under Lord Raglan, 
and on the 9th of October the siege of Sebastopol was begun. 

For nearly eleven months the allies held that strong fortress in their 
grip. They succeeded before winter in bringing their batteries to bear on 



FRENCH ALLIANCE AND CRIMEAN WAR. 225 

*"etown; but the Russians for their part succeeded in blockading with 
sunfcen vessels and other obstructions the entrance to the harbor. The 
^'^ge that ensued was one of the most remarkable in history. The Russians 
made two tremendous sallies, the first on the night of the 25th of October, 
a' Balaklava. This place was held by a combined force of Turks and 
tng/jsJi. The former gave way from four redoubts, which were carried by 
the assailants ; but at the crisis of the battle the British Highlanders came 



into action, and the Russians were driven back. It was here that the 
charge of the Light Brigade occurred, memorable in song and story. 

The other sortie of the Russians was against the village of Inkerman, 
at the head of the harbor. This occurred on the 5th of November, 1854. 
A strong force of Russians descended from the high grounds which they 
occupied, and were confronted by the allies on the slope opposite, near the 
ruins of an ancient town mentioned by Strabo. Here the Russian attack 
fell with great violence on the English and French; but the latter were 



LIFE AND TIMES OF WTI.I.IAM E. GLADSTONE. 



/^ 
? 



r 



FRENCH ALLIANCE AND CRIMEAN WAR. 22/ 

victorious. Many like movements of a minor character occurred in the 
beginning of winter, and then the rigor of the season fell on the combatants. 
In the month of January came such cruel privations and sufferings as have 
rarely been borne by soldiers in modern times. Hunger, disease, and cold 
did their worst on the allied camps. The genius of Elizabeth Butler has 
seized upon the morning " Roll Call " in the Crimean snows to depict the 
excess of human suffering and devotion to duty. 

Before the winter was passed the allied lines around Sebastopol were 
considerably contracted. On the 23d of February the French assailed with 
great valor the stronghold called the Malakhoff, but were repulsed. On 
the 1 8th of the following June, being the fortieth anniversary of Waterloo, 
the assault was desperately renewed, but without success. On the i6th of 
August was fought the bloody battle of Tchernaya, being the last effort of 
the Russians to raise the siege. With a force of fifty-six thousand men 
they threw themselves against the allied position, but could not break 
throuofh. 

All the while the trenches of the allies were drawn nearer and nearer 
to the Russian defenses. On the 5th of September a terrible cannonade 
was opened, and when this had lasted three days both English and French 
sprang from their intrenchments and carried, the one the Redan and the 
other the Malakhoff, by storm. The losses of the combatants were 
immense. The Russians blew up their fortifications on the south side of 
the harbor and retreated across the bay. The victors destroyed the docks, 
arsenals, and shipyards of Sebastopol, going as far as they could toward 
making impossible the future occupancy of the place by the Russians as a 
seat of commerce and war. 

By this great success of the allies a permanent check was given to 
the ambition of Czar Nicholas. The Russian empire was reined back on 
its haunches by the hands of France and England out of the West. On ' 
the 2d of March, 1855, the czar -died, as was believed, of disappointment 
and a broken heart. The allies went on to capture Kertch, at the entrance 
to the Sea of Azov, which they effected on the 25th of May. Soon after- 
ward hostilities ceased and the epoch of negotiation followed. Commis- 
sioners met at Paris, and on the 30th of March, 1856, a treaty was 
concluded, called the Treaty of Paris, to which Russia was obliged to give 
her reluctant consent. 

The greater part of these events were accomplished, so far as England 
was concerned, under the auspices of the Aberdeen ministry. However 
reluctantly that government had gone into the war it nevertheless rallied 
in the English manner to prosecute the conflict to a successful termination. 
There was in the kingdom a remaining sentiment against the war, and ever 
favorable to its cessation. It is in evidence that the chancellor of the 



1 



228 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

exchequer was hard pressed in his feelings between the conflict of duty and 
sentiment To him remained the painful part of abandoning the tax 
scheme which he had prepared with so much care on entering upon his 
office and of preparing another to meet the exigencies of war. He was 
obliged to extend his rates to incomes and spirits and malt He was 
also obliged to consume the more than million pounds of surplus which he 
had provided. It had been his intention to grant release from taxation, and 
instead of this he must greatly increase it This would necessarily be 



THE FALL OF SEBASTOPOL— CAPTURE OF THE MALAKHOFF TOWER. 

followed with popular discontent and complainings. He had expected to 
remit the duty on sugar ; but this pleasing measure had to be abandoned. 

At this juncture Gladstone and Disraeli were again brought into con- 
flict The former conceived the plan of providing the extraordinary 
expenses of the war from the current revenues of the kingdom. He thought 
this might be done by increasing the tax rates so as to secure ten millions 
sterling above the usual expenditure. This he boldly proposed. The 
measure was approved by Prince Albert, and the people at large 
responded favorably to the plan. In opposition to this Mr. Disraeli pro- 
posed to borrow, and to increase the national debt by as much as might be 
required. 



r 



FRENCH ALLIANCE AND CRIMEAN WAR. 229 

The issue was sharply drawn. The public opinion was so strongly with 
the chancellor that he went forward to propose on the plan indicated his 
war budget of i854. He was able to report a surplus of more than a 
million pounds from the previous year. In addition to this he could show 
that the expenditures were by more than another million less than had been 
estimated. This gave the chancellor over two million pounds to begin 
with. He accordingly, on the 6th of March, 1854, brought forward the 
budget, in which he proposed a vote of a million and a quarter pounds for 
the extraordinary military expenditures of the year. He strongly defended 
the policy of paying as fast as expenditure was necessary. He opposed 
with all his might the increase of the national debt, holding that future 
generations should not be mortgaged to the present. It was the present 
that made war in the interest of England and of civilization ; let the 
present, therefore, demonstrate its patriotism by paying as it went the nec- 
essary expense of the conflict. Nor may we pass from this episode in the 
career of Gladstone without emphasizing it as the most important feature 
of all the financial policies that he ever proposed. ' 

The theory of making the war period pay its own way is one of 
universal application. No nation is ready to engage in war or ought to 
engage in it, except in extreme cases, unless it is ready also to pay. The 
Gladstonian policy dominated the financial management of Great Britain 
during the Crimean War, and to that circumstance the kingdom was 
indebted for the inconsiderable increase in the national indebtedness on the 
score of the expensive and distressing contest which she was obliged to 
wage with a powerful enemy in Asia.. 

Gladstone had to face a deficit for the current year (1853-54) ^^ 
nearly three million pounds — this in addition to the surplus which had 
accumulated. To meet this large demand and to provide for the ensuing 
year he placed himself stubbornly on the ground of raising .the revenue 
by a sum equivalent to that demanded, and to do it within the year. He 
would not resort to a loan. He boldly declared that England, more than 
any other country, had resorted to the dangerous expedient of laying 
mortgages on the industries and enterprises of future generations. He 
declared with equal boldness that a nation ready to go to war ought 
to be ready to make the sacrifices necessary to support it. He held 
that this policy, if rigorously adhered to, would bridle the spirit of war 
and reduce that monster's devastations to a minimum. He called attention 
of Parliament to the fact that England had entered on the great struggle 
under favorable circumstances. He praised the House for the noble 
efforts already made in support of the treasury. He called attention to 
the fact that the military establishment had been increased by forty 
thousand men, and urged this circumstance as a proof that the government 



1 



230 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

was prosecuting the war against Russia with decision in council and vigor 
in the field. 

The sentiment of Europe — all Europe — was, said the speaker, with 
England in this emergency. Everything seemed to indicate a prosperous 
conclusion of the war at an early date. It was the duty of the House of 
Commons to adhere strictly to the rule of making each year raise its own 
supplies. Finally the chancellor laid before Parliament his actual estimates 
for 1854-55, placing the income at a little more and the expenditure at a 
little less than fifty-six and a half million pounds. To all this he added a 
recommendation relative to the equal taxation of domestic and foreign bills 
of exchange. 

The discussions which followed the presentation of the budget were 
nearly all favorable thereto. It was noted that Mr. Disraeli's opposition at 
the outset on the motion to consider, and his proposal to borrow funds and 
increase the national debt, had been n\z.A^ pro forma rather than with inten- 
tion seriously to obstruct the ministry. That statesman, after Gladstone 
had concluded, addressed the House, stating that her majesty's opposition 
was bound, notwithstanding any divergence of views from those upon which 
the budget was founded, to support the measure as a whole, since it was 
necessary to prosecute the war. He entered a protest, however, that in case 
the war should be long continued it could not be conceded that the requisite 
supplies should be raised year by year by taxation. So on the 20th of 
March, 1854, the budget came to a vote and w^as carried without a division 
of the House. This included the proposition to double the income tax for 
the ensuing year. 

Hereupon Lord Willoughby offered an amendment suspending the 
increased rate for the first half of the year following. The debate broke out 
anew, and Disraeli made a spirited and effective speech, marked with his 
usual wit, sarcasm, and casuistry. He concluded with the assertion that the 
ministry was not a unit, and had not been a unit, either in declaring the war 
or in prosecuting it. The ministry was rightly designated as a coalition 
ministry, and the war was therefore a coalition war! This spirited sally^ 
however, did not avail. . Gladstone replied with great vigor and success^ 
He challenged the opposition to propose a vote of want of confidence. The 
sentiment of the House was so strongly with the chancellor that the Wil- 
loughby amendment w^as rejected by a large majority, and on the 30th of 
March the bill as a whole was passed. 

This highly successful and radical expedient of the chancellor of the 
exchequer met the expectation of its projector, but the enlarging proportions 
of the war soon demanded additional outlays. Already before the adoption 
of the budget an army of twenty-five thousand men had been sent forward 
by the Duke of Newcastle to the Crimea, and this was followed by other 



FRENC14 ALLIANCE AND CRIMEAN WAR. 



I. Before Si.UAaK)ii,L. Tlie ktdun, from Ihe Old Advanred Trench, July 14. 1855. 

3. The BiTTLE of the TcicehnaVa. Tlie Atiaek uprni ihc Sardinian Ticliet, September 5, 1855. 

3. The Vali.cV of Death. Before Scbabtupol, Jure 3, 1855. 



232 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

divisions to the same field. The war was undertaken in dead earnest. Mr. 
Gladstone on the 8th of May found himself under necessity of presenting a 
supplemental budget, wherein he proposed to raise an addition of nearly 
seven million pounds to meet the extraordinary expenses of the war. 
He went at the question boldly, but with his usual circumspection and 
prudence. He declared himself unwilling to increase the income taxes 
further, and also unwilling to alter the postal system with a view to increas- 
ing revenue. It had become necessary, so the speaker urged, to lay duties 
on articles of consumption and manufacture. . 

The articles on which he would recommend additional taxation were 
spirits, sugar, and malt. He proposed as the principal item in the increase a 
duty of four shillings the bushel on malt. He estimated the consumption of 
that commodity at forty million bushels, which under his proposal would 
yield nearly two and a half millions. He would increase the duties on 
Scotch and Irish spirits, in the former country by one shilling and in the 
latter by eightpence the gallon. From this source he would derive four 
hundred and fifty thousand pounds. From the increase of the sugar duties 
he thought that seven hundred thousand pounds might be derived. He 
urged that there should be no delay in granting the additional levies. The 
fact of his asking for them could not be adduced as evidence of a want of 
foresight relative to the expenses of the war. He defended his propositions 
each and several, and stood strongly to his position against borrowing and 
increasing the national debt. He quoted from Pitt the warning which that 
statesman had uttered on the score of national loans. If Great Britain 
would stand stoutly to the principle of making the annual revenues equal to 
the expenditures, then the vigor of the English race in commerce, manufac- 
tures, and productive industries would be sufficient to meet even the enor- 
mous outlays of a war in Asia. 

The event showed that Parliament was not expecting so bold and 
withal so radical a measure of financial policy. The debates were spirited. 
There was an effort to defer the second reading of the bill. Several dis- 
tinguished parliamentarians strongly opposed the chancellors measures. 
The cautious Disraeli, affirming all the while that he was in favor of a vig- 
orous prosecution of the war, nevertheless opposed the tax on malt as a 
thing ruinous to one of the leading industries of Great Britain. It was a 
measure, said he, directed against agriculture, and could not be borne. Nev- 
ertheless the House supported the proposition of the chancellor by a 
majority of more than a hundred votes. 

After this the principal debate of the session was on a proposition to 
make a temporary loan of six million pounds. It was necessary for the gov- 
ernment to have an abundance of ready funds in advance of the revenues 
which had just been provided. It was already in July before this question 



r 



FRENCH ALLIANCE AND CRIMEAN WAR. 233 

came to a vote in the House. There was much acrimonious discussion, in 
which DisraeH participated with his wonted brilliancy of attack. Lord John 
Russell strongly supported the government, but the principal defense of the 
ministerial policy was left to Gladstone himself. In a perfectly equable 
temper he took up the charges against the management of the war and the 
objections against the war itself, and showed the falsity of the one and the 
hollowness of the other. The event demonstrated the strong hold which 
the chancellor of a coalition ministry might have on the nation at large. 
Ag^in his policy was approved by a majority of more than a hundred, and 
on the 1 2th of August, 1854, Parliament was prorogued. 



1 



234 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE, 



1 






^ 




rr^ 






b 

L>^ 

1 



CHAPTER XV. 

Accession of Palmerston and Treaty of 

E have already seen and marked the course of events in the 
East, thus forerunning somewhat that part of the drama in 
Great Britain in which Mr. Gladstone was one of the principal 
actors. We should here remark that the peace party in Eng- 
land, though only a small minority, prosecuted its views with 
great activity. John Bright was at the head of those who were willing to 
avoid war, or to cause the cessation of war at almost any hazard. Nor 
may we deny that there was a certain cogency in the argument of the 
peace advocates. They were able to point out the monstrous, character of 
an alliance between Great Britain and Turkey ; between progress and 
inertia ; between enlightenment and darkness ; between Protestantism and 
Islam. They were also able to show that Russia, in addition to being a 
Christian nation, was a nation tending strongly to progress and enlighten- 
ment. How, therefore, could Great Britain prefer the Ottoman to the Mus- 
covite ? How could she join the former in making war on the tatter ? 

These arguments, however, could not avail. The peace commission 
that went to St. Petersburg had found there an angry and irreconcilable czar. 
The hostile elements were loose, and a petition for peace could not be heard 
until the powers had expended their animosity in violence and blood. 

We are here to note the decadence and final disruption of the Aber- 
deen ministry. That ministry, as the reader knows, was a coalition of many 
elements. It was such a combination of forces as might well endure the 
trials and controversies of peace, but could hardly bear the strain of war. 
All along Lord Aberdeen was accused of lukewarmness in England's cause 
against Russia. None could doubt his loyalty and devotion, but he was at 
heart a man of peaceable disposition, and that did not well accord with the 
temper of England militant. The opponents of the ministry were able to 
mark the discordant parts of the ministerial body and to emphasize a^d 
exaggerate its disagreements. 

There, for instance, were the Peelites, of whom Gladstone was one, who 
were accused of being in the government for expediency, and. of having. no 
actual sympathy with their colleagues. Besides, there were at least two 
members of the ministry who aspired almost openly to the leadership which 
was held by the moderate Aberdeen. These two were Lord Palmerston 
and Lord John Russell. These bold and aggressive spirits had a strong 
following, both in the cabinet and out of it. The temper of Lord Palmer- 
ston in particular was almost the exact expression of the belligerent temper 
of Great Britain. When he spoke England spoke more truly than in the 



ACCESSIUN OF PALMEKSTON AND TREATY OF PARIS. 235 

-Utterance of any other. These disagreements did not proceed as far as 
■downright quarreling and dissensions in the government, but they were a 
weakness and source of anxiety to all typ- 
ical Englishmen, from the queen to the 
Cornish miner. 

To this was added a circumstance or 
two of popular discontent having a deep 
foundation in fact. The condition of the 
British army in the Crimea after the bat- 
tles of Balaklava and Inkerman was de- 
plorable. Authentic information of the 
state of the troops, of their suffering in 
camp and hospital, was borne back to the 
mother country, and produced a furor of 
sympathies and not a little denunciation 
•of the military authorities. In this denun- 
ciation General Fitzroy Somerset, com- jcihn bkight. 
mander in chief, better known by his title 

-of Lord Raglan, came in for a large share. Private enterprise was sum- 
moned to provide for the men in the field. 

It was at this juncture that Florence Nightingale, Angel of the Bivouac 
and Hospital, with thirty-seven assistants, set out for the Crimea, where they 
fortunately arrived in time to minister to the sick and wounded after Bala- 
klava. Another contingent of fifty nurses was sent soon afterward, and 
private subscriptions of many thousands of pounds were made to back up 
the humane work of the heroic British women. Queen Victoria found 
-occasion to write in mingled grief and reproof to Lord Raglan, saying: 
" The sad privations of the army, the bad weather, and the constant sickness 
..are causes of the deepest concern to the queen and prince. The braver our 
noble troops are, the more patiently and heroically they bear all their trials 
and sufferings, the more miserable we feel at their long continuance. The 
queen trusts that Lord Raglan will be very strict in seeing that no unneces- 
sary privations are incurred by any negligence of those whose duty it is to 
watch over their wants. The queen earnestly trusts that the large amount 
of warm clothing sent out has not only reached Balaklava, but has been dis- 
tributed, and that Lord Raglan has been successful in procuring means of 
hutting for the men. Lord Raglan cannot think how much we suffer for 
the army, and how painfully anxious we are to know that their privations 
are decreasing." 

This condition of affairs produced great excitement and much bitter- 
ness in Parliament and throughout the country. An attack was made on 
.the government of Lord Aberdeen all along the line. Denunciations were 



236 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E, GLADSTONE. 

heard in both the Commons and the House of Lords. Lord Palmerston, the 
home secretary, could not and would not restrain himself. It became 
evident to all that he more truly represented the sentiment of England than 
any other personage in the cabinet, from the premier to the last secretary. 
Day by day he grew in popular favor. True, he had just at this time 
offended with his radicalism the staid and commonplace orthodoxy of the 
realm by insisting that natural means, extending all the way from ordinary- 
cleanliness to the highest applications of science, are better preservatives of 
the public health than fastings and prayers. He had made the greatest 
ecclesiastics and the greatest cities dance to his sanitary music in a way to 



MISS NIGHTINGALE IN THE HOSPITAL AT SCUTARI. 

make the heads of the fearful swim. He had said to the Presbytery of Edin- 
burgh, asking that a day of fasting and humiliation be appointed to stay the 
approach of cholera : " Lord Palmerston would therefore suggest that 
the best course which the people of this country can pursue, to deserve that 
the further progress of the cholera should be stayed, will be to employ the 
interval that will elapse between the present time and the beginning of 
next spring in planning and executing measures by which those portions of 
their town and which are inhabited by the poorest classes, and which, from 
the nature of things, most need purification and improvement, may be freed 
from those causes and sources of contagion which, if allowed to remain, will 



ACCESSION OF PALMERSTON AND TREATY OF PARIS. 237 

infallibly breed pestilence and be fruitful in death in spite of all the prayers 
and fastings of a united but inactive nation. When man has done his 
utmost for his own safety then is the time to invoke the blessing of 
Heaven to give effect to his exertion." 

To the people of London Lord Palmerston said : " The practice of 
burying dead bodies under buildings in which living people assemble in 
large numbers is a barbarous one, and ought to be at once and forever put an 
end to. . . . And why, pray, should archbishops and bishops and deans and 
canons be buried under churches, if other people are not to be so ? What 
special connection is there between church dignities and the privilege of 
being decomposed under the feet of survivors ? " 

This way of braving public odium and of saying what all men knew 
ought to be said, but what all other men were afraid to say, was precisely 
the method of catching the confidence of the British nation. Palmerston 
proceeded with his lecture thus: " England is, I believe, the only country in 
which in these days people accumulate putrefying dead bodies amid the 
dwellings of the living; and as to burying bodies under thronged churches, 
you might as well put them under libraries, drawing-rooms, and dining 
rooms.** This was an open defiance to the prejudices of the English race ; 
but the English race likes to be defied. 

Meanwhile news came and came again from the Crimea that was oil to 
the bonfire in England. Lord Palmerston urged the cabinet to press the 
war with all possible vigor. When that body did not move forward with 
the decision which he demanded he resigned his office For the time his 
reasons were dissembled or concealed ; but the country came to understand 
that he had gone out because he could not sufficiently impress his views on 
the ministry. Public opinion was so overwhelmingly for the policy which 
Palmerston represented that he was at once recalled to office, where he 
became for the greater part of the year a bull in the ministerial china shop 
of Great Britain. 

To all this must be added the usual intrigues of British politics. 
Partyism, in the midst of the public commotion, was as busy as ever. The 
prince consort, writing to his friend. Baron Stockmar, of the evil reputation 
which had recently come to him, said : " One main element is the hostility 
and settled bitterness of the old High Tory or Protectionist party against 
me on account of my friendship with the late Sir Robert Peel, and of my 
success with the exhibition. . . . Their fury knew no bounds when by 
Palmerston's return to the ministry that party (which is now at variance 
with Disraeli) lost the chance of securing a leader in the lower House, who 
would have overthrown the ministry with the cry for English honor and 
independence, and against parliamentary reform, which is by no means 
popular. Hatred of the Peelites is stronger in the old party than ever, and 



1^ 



238 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

Aberdeen is regarded as his representative. To discredit him would have- 
this further advantage, that, if he could be upset, the keystone of the arcli 
of coaHtion would be smashed, and it must fall to pieces ; then Palmerston 
and John Russell would have to separate, and the former would take the 
place he has long coveted of leader to the Conservatives and Radicals. 
For the same reason, however, it must be our interest to support Aberdeen, 
in order to keep the structure standing. Fresh reason for the animosity 
toward us. So the old game was renewed which was played against 
Melbourne after the queen's attacking the court, so as to make it clear, both 
to it and to the public, that a continuance of Aberdeen in office must 
endanger the popularity of the crown." 

Whatever may have been the merits of the imbroglio prevailing in 
England in the after part of 1854, it is certain that hostility to the existing" 
ministry reached as high as the prince consort and the queen herself. It 
is noteworthy that the animosities of the day found but feeble expression 
against the chancellor of the exchequer. We here recite so much of the 
history of the times as will make the line of his personal and official life 
distinct through the obscurities and confusion of the stormy paragraph. 

As for the ministry, the year 1854 closed, and 1855 opened darkly. On 
the reassembling of Parliament the queen went in person to present her 
address. She was accompanied by Prince Albert. The latter was almost 
at the nadir of popular esteem. He was greatly calumniated as being more 
European than English. He had been denounced as the chief agent of 
" the Austro-Belgian-Coburg-Orleans clique, the avowed enemies of England 
and the subservient tools of Russia." It was proclaimed that he was in the 
habit of being present at the interviews of the queen and her ministers, and 
of influencing the policy of the kingdom against its best interests. It was 
considered necessary that Lord Aberdeen and his fellow-ministers should 
reassure her majesty in someway, even before the House of Commons, with 
an effectual denial of the slanders which had been promulgated against her 
husband and herself. The premier declared in a letter to the queen that 
the conduct of the prince had been invariably devoted to the public good, 
and his life perfectly unattackable. Lord Aberdeen declared that there 
was no ground to apprehend serious consequences from the contemptible 
exhibitions of malevolence and factional feeling toward the prince consort 

Nevertheless the ministry of the Earl of Aberdeen fell rapidly into 
disruption. Of those who supported that government only Lord John 
Russell and Mr. Gladstone retained a measure of public confidence. 
Against the latter not much could be urged in any form ; for his abilities in 
financial management were as great as his patriotism, and neither could be 
gainsaid. Lord Palmerston went back into the ministry. The explanations 
of his break with his colleagues were lame and inconsequential. It was 



ACCESSION OF PALMERSTON AND TREATY OF PARIS. 239 

said officially that the reason for his going out was his failure to agree to a 
scheme of parliamentary reform proposed by Lord John Russell. He 
himself declared that he could not take up a bill which contained material 
things against his judgment and conscience. In a letter to his brother-in- 
law he added this postscript : " The Times says there has been no difference 
in the cabinet about Eastern affairs. This is an untruth, but I felt it 
would have been silly to have gone out because I could not have my own 
way about Turkish affairs, seeing that my presence in the cabinet did good 



by modifying the views of those whose policy I thought bad." A little 
later, in another letter to the same person, Lord Palmerston said of the 
members of the government : " Their earnest representations and the 
knowledge that the cabinet had on Thursday taken a decision on Turkish 
affairs in entire accordance with opinions which I had long unsuccessfully 
pressed upon them, decided me to withdraw my resignation, which I did 
yesterday. Of course, what 1 say to you about the cabinet decision on 
Turkish affairs is entirely for yourself, and not to be mentioned to anybody. 
But it is very important, and will give the allied squadrons the command of 
the Black Sea." 



240 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

With the opening of Parliament many severe strictures were made in 
both Houses on the conduct of the war. The Earl of Derby addressed the 
Lords in criticism and condemnation of the military management in the 
Crimea, The Duke of Newcastle spoke in reply. In the House of Com- 
mons Disraeli renewed his attacks on the ministerial methods and results. 
His assault was sharp and bitter. " I believe," said he, " that this cabinet of 
coalition flattered themselves, and were credulous in their flattery, that the 
tremendous issues which they have had to encounter and which must make 
their days and nights anxious, which have been part of their lives, would 
not have occurred. They could never dream, for instance, that it would be 
the termination of the career of a noble lord to carry on war with Russia, 
of which that noble lord had been the cherished and spoiled child. [This 
sally was made at Lord Aberdeen, who had been a favorite at St. Peters- 
burg.] It has been clearly shown that two of you are never of the same 
opinion. You were candid enough to declare this, and it is probable that no 
three of you ever supposed the result would be what it has been found to 
be. . . . No Austrian alliance ; no Four Points ; * no secret articles — but 
let France and England together solve this great question and establish and 
secure a tranquilization of Europe." 

Against these assaults members of the government defended them- 
selves as best they could. Thus did Lord John Russell, in direct reply to 
Disraeli. When the Queen's Address was before the House, Mr. Gladstone 
entered into a general discussion of the military management. He gave a 
^sjjmrnary ,Qf the Britisl; fprces in the East, and warded off" the allegations of 
the opposition. He said that the government were not impeccable, but the 
errors which they had committed were not those which had been laid to 
their charge. He admitted that an army of fifty thousand British soldiers 
in Asia was not able to cope with the Russian empire ; but that force was 
only the advance division which had been sent forward from Varna to the 
Crimea. Besides, there were the allies. The French already had at the 
seat of war more than ninety thousand men. It was unjust, in view of such 
facts, to allege that the government had not been sufficiently active in send- 
ing forces to the East. 

*The ** Four Points " referred to by Disraeli were those under contention at the Vienna Conference, and were 
as follows : 

** I. Russian protectorate over the principalities of Wallachia, Moldavia, and Servia to cease ; the privileges 
granted by the sultan to these provinces to be placed under a collective guarantee of the powers. 

'* 2. Navigation of the Danube at its mouth to be freed from all obstacles and submitted to the application of 
the principles established by the Congress of Vienna. 

*' 3. The treaty of the 13th of July, 1841, to be revived in concert by all the high contracting parties in the 
interest of the balance of power in Europe, and so as to put an end to the preponderance of Russia in the Black Sea. 

" 4. Russia to give up her claim to an official protectorate over the subjects of the Sublime Porte to whatever 
rite they may belong ; and France, Austria, Great Britain, Prussia, and Russia to assist mutually in obtaining 
from the Ottoman government the confirmation and the observance of the religious privileges of the different 
Christian communities, and to turn to account, in the common interests of their coreligionists, the generous inten- 
tions manifested by the sultan, at the same time avoiding any aggression on his dignity and the independence of 
his crown." 



ACCESSION OF PALMERSTON AND TREATY OF PARIS. 24I 

In the next place, an acrimonious debate ensued over what was 
known as the Foreign Enlistment Bill. The opposition rallied in both the 
Commons and the Lords. The premier, in defending the proposed measure, 
urged that the foreign recruits contemplated by the bill were not to be con- 
sidered as substitutes for English volunteers. Neither were they to be 
used in Great Britain. The pressure, however, was so great that the gov- 
ernment agreed to reduce the number of foreign enlistments to ten thou- 
sand men. The situation gave Mr. Disraeli another opportunity to speak 
against the ministry and to portray in strong colors the horrible situation of 
the British army in the East. John Bright also spoke, and budged not 
from his well-known advocacy of peace. In the course of his speech he 
declared that Great Britain in alliance with Turkey was fighting for a hope- 
less cause and with a worthless ally. The Foreign Enlistment Bill, however, 
was passed, though the ministerial majority was reduced from more than a 
hundred, at which figure it had stood during the previous session, to only 
thirty-eight. 

After this measure Parliament adjourned for the holidays, and on reas- 
sembling the temper of hostility to the government was still more strongly 
manifested. So powerful had the pressure become that the opposition went 
forward to move an inquiry into the condition of military affairs in the 
Crimea, and at this the government weakened before its adversaries. The 
resolution was offered by the Honorable John Arthur Roebuck of Sheffield. 
Lord John Russell suddenly resigned his office as president of the council. 
Hereupon the Duke of Newcastle, minister of the war department, offered 
himself as a sacrifice ; for it was believed that the animosity of the country 
was most of all directed against the duke, and that his retirement would 
suffice. A wreck of the whole ministry seemed imminent, but the members 
of the cabinet were for the time dissuaded from their purpose, and with the 
exception of Lord John Russell remained in office. That statesman with- 
drew, and was followed by the anathemas of the opposition, charging him 
with cowardice in thus saving himself at the expense of his colleagues. 

The question now came whether the resolution of inquiry into the man- 
agement of the war would pass. The Honorable Sidney Herbert, speaking 
for the government, denied that the condition of the. British army in the 
East was so terrible as had been portrayed. Moreover, if the resolution of 
inquiry should pass, the effect of it would be not to stimulate, but rather to 
paralyze the military management. To this Mr. Stafford replied in a power- 
ful, if not unanswerable, speech. He himself had been recently at the seat 
of war, and was able to speak from personal observation. He declared that 
the hospitals at Scutari and Abydos had been established in unhealthy 
places, and that their management was as defective as the situation was dan- 
gerous. In such' a situation her majesty's soldiers, wounded or sick, had 
16 



LIFE AND TIMKS OF WIl.I.IAM E. GLADSTONE. 







ACCESSION OF PALMERSTON AND TREATY OF PARIS. 243 

-small chance of recovery. The hospitals referred to, however, were better 
than that at Balaklava. The latter was as bad as could well be imagined. 
The bedclothing was not washed when the sick or dead were removed. New 
sufferers coming into the place of the old caught the diseases with which the 
miserable berths were infected. The fevers and other contagions of the 
camp were transmitted from one patient to another, until all chance of 
recovery was ended. The accommodations were not sufficient. The sick 
and dying were crowded together. In one room he had seen fourteen suf- 
ferers, and in another nine prostrate British soldiers on the floor — this, too, 
when there were bedsteads standing in the passageways, the putting up of 
which would scarcely have occupied three minutes* time of an attendant. 

Mr. Stafford said that he had witnessed special cases of neglect amount- 
ing to cruelty. He had seen three hundred sick in a hospital without sup- 
plies. Not even wine could be had. He had seen the soldiers begging for 
their own knapsacks, in the hope of finding therein the remnants of their 
former supplies. He had seen men sick or wounded almost to death lying 
uncared for on naked floors. The speaker then narrated the remark made 
to him in bitter sarcasm by a French officer, who was with him a fellow-wit- 
ness of the scenes described in the Crimean bivouacs. " You see, sir," said 
he, " you carry on war according to the system of the Middle Ages; and our 
regret for our own backwardness is increased because we see the noble lives 
you are losing." Against all this horror the speaker contrasted the ministra- 
tions of Florence Nightingale and her assistants. He also spoke of the devo- 
tion and loyalty of the soldiers and of the magic effect of the queen's letter 
of sympathy which was read to them. 

The effect of such a speech as that of Stafford in the House of Com- 
mons may well be imagined. The tone and manner of it were precisely of 
a kind to overthrow any ministry that could be shown to be blameworthy 
in the matters referred to. It devolved upon Mr. Gladstone to make the 
best rally he could in defense of the government. He very rarely appeared 
to a better advantage than in the reply which he made on the question of 
Roebuck's resolution. In beginning his remarks he animadverted severely 
upon the conduct of Lord John Russell, not, indeed, in the administration 

-of his office, but in resigfiing from the ministry in a time of trial and under 
the fire of the opposition. 

A short time before this Lord Russell had pronounced a eulogium on 
Gladstone, not undeserved. This fact did not deter the speaker, however, 
from strongly censuring his lordship for his conduct. He showed that as 
late as the preceding November there had been no formal complaints 
against the Duke of Newcastle in the administration of his office as war 
minister. Lord John Russell had himself approved of that administration, 

'declaring his conviction that the war office had been as well administered as 



244 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

might be by anyone under the circumstances. Besides this, Lord Russell 
had hardly acted with good faith toward the Earl of Aberdeen ; for as late 
as the middle of December he had assured him that he would not urge 
any changes in the department of war. It had thus happened that Lord 
John Russell's colleagues in the ministry had not known of hts intentions 



LORD PALMERSTON. 



to press his purpose of a change, or of his alternative of resignation from 
the cabinet Under such conditions to resign from the government without 
first attempting or advising a reorganization was to treat that government 
with injustice and contempt. 

Mr. Gladstone then broke into a passage of extraordinary eloquence. 
What he said in conclusion was perhaps as powerful as any of his utter- 
ances. Speaking for the ministry he said that " he felt it was not for them 
either to attempt to make terms with the House by a reorganization or to 



ACCESSION OF PALMERSTON AND TREATY OF PARIS. 245 

shrink from a judgment of the House upon their past acts. If they should 
shrink what sort of epitaph would be written over their remains ? He 
himself would write it thus : * Here lie the dishonored ashes of the ministry 
which found England at peace and left it in war, which was content to 
enjoy the emoluments of office and to wield the scepter of power so long 
as no man had the courage to question their existence- They saw the 
storm gathering over the country ; they heard the agonizing accounts which 
were almost daily received of the state of the sick and wounded in the 
East. These things did not move them. But so soon as the honorable 
member for Sheffield raised his hand to point the thunderbolt they became 
conscience-stricken with a sense of guilt, and, hoping to escape punishment, 
they ran away from duty/ " 

This courageous rally stayed the torrent of invective and gained a 
hearing for the ministry. It is seldom that a keener thrust had been made 
by one parliamentarian at another than that which Gladstone delivered to 
Lord John Russell ; but the speaker by no means paused after delivering 
his philippic against his late colleague. He went on to declare that he 
would not resist the resolution of inquiry if he believed that the same 
would be beneficial to the army and the country ; but he did not so believe. 
He was assured that the evils complained of would be aggravated by the 
adoption of the motion before the House. If an investigation had been 
needed at any time it was now needed no longer. It was manifest to all 
that the condition of the army in the East had been bettered of late. The 
supplies sent out had been received. If the huts for the soldiers had not 
already been set up they were in process of construction. The clothing 
had actually been distributed. Within three weeks the railway would be 
completed. An arrangement had been made between the British and 
French officers by which a relay of sixteen hundred French soldiers should 
relieve a like number of British soldiers in the trenches. 

Besides all, continued the speaker, the allegations about the strength 
and condition of the British army in the Crimea were untrue. There were 
before Sebastopol more than thirty thousand men. Members of the House 
had made unfavorable comparisons between the military management of 
Great Britain and that of her ally, France. He believed that such compar- 
ison would, on the whole, be favorable to Great Britain ; but he thought 
such questions ought not to be discussed relative to the merits of allies in 
war. The department of war had improved in its methods, and was not 
deserving of censure. The Duke of Newcastle ought to be praised rather 
than denounced for his conduct of the military affairs of the kingdom. 

This defense of what remained of the Aberdeen ministry might have 
sufficed, and doubtless would have sufficed if the question had been only 
an issue of peace ; but neither Parliament nor the British public was in a 



246 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

humor to allow such a matter as allegred abuses in the manaqrement of a 
British army in Asia to go by without satisfying itself as to the facts and 
merits of the controversy. It became manifest that the resolution of inquiry 
would prevail in some form or other. Mr. Disraeli made the point that the 
ministry admitted itself to be in need of reorganization. Then he remarked 
sarcastically that the House was expected to pass a vote of confidence in 
an administration with the personnel of which it was not acquainted ! 
Employing his own peculiar manner, he rather defended the Duke of New- 
castle, urging the assertion that the duke was only a member of a cabinet 
whose policy, as a whole, was reprehensible. Neither might the military 
system of Great Britain be assailed ; for that system, in the hands of com- 
petent men, was not only unassailable, but victorious. The speaker 
attacked Lord John Russell with extreme violence, and finally characterized 
his policy as a profligate intrigue. He asserted that the strifes and quarrels 
of the English cabinet had disgraced the nation in the eyes of Europe. 
Under the auspices of the coalition ministry England was no longer the 
leading power. Only two years previously she had been such a power, but 
now she held that proud position no longer. 

Lord John Russell attempted to defend himself, but not very happily. 
In the course of his speech he averred that if he should reveal the actual 
intercourse between himself. Lord Aberdeen, and the minister of war, then 
Parliament would hardly hold toward himself the attitude of censure. This 
admission, however, and implication of secret difficulties, though it might 
explain, could hardly excuse. The tide rose higher and higher against the 
government, and when the House came to vote on the resolution to inves- 
tigate the conduct of the war the government was overwhelmed with a 
majority of a hundred and fifty-seven ! The victory of the opposition was 
so complete as to astonish and almost terrify those who had achieved it. 
The government of the Earl of Aberdeen went down with a crash, burying 
its several parts in the ruins. 

Of those who were overwhelmed Mr. Gladstone was least of allaffected. 
It could hardly be said that he was humiliated by the result. He had 
foreseen the inevitable, and was prepared for it. His speech on the 
occasion of the secession of Lord John Russell showed that he clearly 
foresaw the inevitable dissolution of the existing order. Gladstone was 
himself the greatest of the so-called Peelite faction in the government. 
The remainder wa^ mostly Whig. It was really the Whig portion of the 
structure that collapsed. The Peelite abutment was hardly moved from its 
place. 

On the 1st of February, 1855, the ministry of Lord Aberdeen resigned 
from office. When the announcement was made in the House of Commons 
the Duke of Newcastle told that body that it had been his purpose for 



ACCESSION OF PALMERSTON AND TREATY OF PARIS. 247 

some time to resign the office of secretary of war. He had not been 
driven to this step so much by \h^ passage o{ the Roebuck resolution as 
by the offering of such a resolution. He had been prevented from resigna- 
tion by the wishes of his colleagues in the ministry. 

After Aberdeen, whom ? Her majesty must have a ministry, and the 
political conditions were chaotic. She first sent for the Earl of Derby. 
That nobleman, on being summoned, expressed his willingness to accept 
Lord Palmerston as minister of war ; but he told the queen that he could 
not construct a government without the aid of the Peelites. To these he 
appealed — ^but in vain. The party of Gladstone and Sidney Herbert offered , 
indeed to enter the ministry of the Earl of Derby, but must do so as 
independents. With this Lord Derby could not be satisfied. Indeed, the 
story goes that he told her majesty that to his mind an " independent " in 
the British cabinet signified a member who could not be depended on — a mot 
not wanting in wit. 

The queen in the next place called Lord Lansdowne; but that 
statesman directed her majesty to Lord John Russell. To him the queen 
made the next appeal, suggesting to Lord Russell that Lord Palmerston 
should be included as a member of the cabinet. The latter «»eemed to be a 
necessity of the situation. It was also reckoned essential that Lord 
Clarendon should be included, but the latter was irreconcilable with Lord 
Russell, on the ground that Lord Russell, while a member of the Aberdeen 
ministry, had refused to support that ministry. 

The effort of Lord John Russell to form a new government thus came 
to nothing. Everything drifted powerfully in the direction of Palmerston. 
That able and eccentric leader was accordingly called, and by retaining 
Gladstone and a few of his friends was enabled to construct a cabinet of 
great abilities. At the first Mr. Gladstone declined to be a member of the 
new government, on the ground that his fortunes as well as his sympathies 
were involved with the Earl of Aberdeen and the Duke of Newcastle. 
These scruples, however, were overcome, and he resumed his duties as chan- 
cellor of the exchequer. The ministry was constituted as follows : First Lord 
of the Treasury, Viscount Palmerston ; Lord Chancellor, Lord Cranworth ; 
President of the Council, Earl Granville; Privy Seal, Duke of Argyle; 
Foreign Secretary, Earl of Clarendon ; Colonial Secretary, the Right 
Honorable Sidney Herbert; Home Secretary, Sir George Gray; Secretary 
for War, Lord Panmure ; Chancellor of the Exchequer, Right Honorable 
W. E. Gladstone; First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir James Graham; Public 
Works, Sir William Molesworth. In the cabinet, but without office, the 
Marquis of Lansdowne ; President of the Board of Control, Sir Charles 
Wood. 

The House of Commons, after the manner of that body, looked around 



248 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

to scan the new cabinet and measure its capacities. At the first the 
judgment was favorable to that body, but the discovery was soon made 
that the government was, after all, too much like that which had been 
recently discarded. It was not long until challenges were openly made by 
leaders in the House, demanding that the new ministry should justify its 
existence. On the 19th of February, 1855, Mr. Layard spoke on the 
condition of the country, asserting that Great Britain was standing on the 
brink of ruin. He declared that the nation had fallen into the abyss 
of disgrace, and had become a laughing stock in Europe. He ended by 
interrogating the government on the following points : Whether Lord 
Palmerston was willing to accept peace on any terms ? Whether the 
country was going to engage in prolonged hostilities ? Whether it was 
proposed to engage on our (Great Britain's) behalf oppressed nationalities ? 
Whether the Circassians would be assisted or not? And, in general, what 
was going to be the foreign policy of the government ? 

The speaker continued by instituting a comparison between the 
management of Great Britain and that of the French Convention of 1 792. 
That body watched the military proceedings of the republic with the 
greatest vigilance, and sent out their own members to different parts of the 
field, to accompany the generals, and to report to the convention the 
progress of events, and in particular. any failure on the part of commanders 
to meet the expectations of the country. In Great Britain no such measure 
as this, or indeed any efficient measure, had been adopted whereby Parlia- 
ment might be well informed of the actual state of affairs in the East. 

Hereupon Lord Palmerston — who from beginning to end of his 
administration showed himself a master of fence — suggested that it would 
be the pleasure of Parliament to send Mr. Layard himself to the seat of 
war in Asia, and to retain him there until the end of the conflict ! The 
premier, continuing, expressed his own profound sympathy and that of the 
House for the British army that had suffered so many hardships, and also 
his regrets for any errors and mismanagement that might have occurred. 
The present government, however, had been called in a time of e^mergency, 
and had accepted the trust from a sense of duty, which he did not doubt the 
country would understand and appreciate. 

The Honorable John Arthur Roebuck would not by any means allow 
his resolution to investigate the military management to go by default. He 
presently reported his committee of inquiry, and his purpose was approved 
by the House. Mr. Gladstone strongly opposed the revival of this measure, 
and when he could not stem the adverse tide of public opinion he resigned 
from the ministry. With him went Sir James Graham and Sidney Herbert. 
It would appear, however, that the retirement of this, the Peelite wing of 
the government, only awaited an occasion, the cause being already operative 



ACCESSION OF PALMERSTON AND TREATY OF PARIS. 249 

out of the past. At any rate the chancellor of the exchequer, the first lord 
of the admiralty, and the colonial secretary retired and were succeeded, the 
first by Sir G. C. Lewis, the second by Sir Charles Wood, and the third by 
Lord John Russell. The breach in the cabinet was thus closed up; the 
committee of inquiry was constituted ; but before it could enter upon its 
duties Great Britain, and indeed all Europe, were startled by the report 
that the Emperor Nicholas, struck with mortal chagrin by the events at 
Sebastopol, had fallen dead of apoplexy. The imperial crown was trans- 
ferred immediately to the head of his son, Alexander II. 

For the moment there was universal expectation relative to the 
purpose of the new autocrat in pursuing the war or ceasing from its 
prosecution. He seemingly did both. His 
proclamation on taking the throne was in 
the same tone and manner as the mani- . 
festoes of his father. At the same time, 
however, he expressed his willingness to 
send an ambassador to participate in the 
Vienna Conference. That highly diplo- 
matical body had not yet convened, but 
was soon to do so. England, for her part, 
just after the reorganization of the cabinet, 
appointed Lord John Russell to represent 
the British view at the Vienna meeting. 
The Conference entered on its work on 
the 15th of March, 1855. It was not long 
until the position of Russia was thoroughly 

understood. She refused to accept the lord john russell. 

third of the four points,* hitherto ex- 
plained. That clause of the proposals made by the allies related to the 
revision of the treaty of the 13th of July, 1841, so that it should become an 
acknowledged principle of the balance of power in Europe that the pre- 
ponderance of Russia in the Black Sea should end. But Russia was by no 
means willing that her preponderance on that sea should either end or be 
limited. As to the other three points, there was not so much disagreement 
as seriously to impede the negotiations. 

Prince Gortchakof, representing the czar, stubbornly refused to yield 
the point of limiting the power of his master on the coveted coast 
Speaking for Russia, he submitted proposals which were unacceptable to 
England and France. A proposition was made by the representative of 
Austria, which for the moment promised a basis of settlement ; but this 
also was not satisfactory to England and France. For the time, however, 



250 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

the Austrian measure was favored by the French and English ambassadors, 
but they gained thereby only loss of prestige in their respective countries, 
with the necessity of resigning their posts. 

The Vienna Conference virtually came to naught The effect of the 
movement was still further to fan the animosity of the opposition in Parlia- 
ment and to increase the agitation of the country. It appeared that a 
peace which was regarded as dishonorable had been well-nigh brought 
about through the weakness of Lord John Russell. This fact was well 
calculated to rouse English sentiment to the highest pitch. The queen 
and the country were at one in the opinion that the failure of the Vienna 
Conference was a narrow escape from humiliation. 

It was an emergency of this kind that always brought forth the 
strongest elements and profoundest resources in the character of Benjamin 
Disraeli. On the 24th of May, 1855, he brought before the House of 
Commons the following resolution : " That this House cannot adjourn for 
the recess without expressing its dissatisfaction with the ambiguous 
language and uncertain conduct of her majesty's government in reference 
to the great question of peace or war; and that under these circumstances 
this House feels it a duty to declare that it will continue to give every 
support to her majesty in the prosecution of the war, until her majesty 
shall, in conjunction with her allies, obtain for this country a safe and 
honorable peace." 

This resolution the leader of the opposition supported with one of his 
characteristic speeches. He assailed Lord John Russell with mingled 
argument and invective. He showed that that statesman had denounced 
Russia and her policy in as strong terms as any other member of the 
House. Now, when it came to the responsibilities of an ambassador, 
representing her majesty's government abroad in the all-important negotia- 
tions pending at Vienna, he had shown himself weak and incompetent. 
Lord Russell had come nearly concluding a peace that was impossible. 
The dishonor to England of the proposal made by Austria, of which Lord 
John had approved, had extended into the House of Commons, and a 
member in that body had offered a resolution to the effect that the proposi- 
tions of Russia, being reasonable, ought not to have been refused by the 
government. Here we have, continued the speaker, the spectacle of 
diplomacy and war existing at the same time, and neither the one nor the 
other prosecuted in a way to reflect anything but distress and shame on 
Great Britain. 

We here reach a passage in the life of W. E. Gladstone which has 
never been approved or justified by a considerable number of his country- 
men. It would appear to an American author that the statesman at this 
juncture was led by the method and manner of his opponent, Disraeli, to 



ACCESSION OF PALMERSTON AND TREATY OF PARIS. 25I 

take a position of which his better judgment, not so influenced by the 
personal equation, could not have approved. Besides, the challenge of 
Disraeli was necessarily retrospective, reaching back to the administration 
of Lord Aberdeen and censuring that administration by implication even 
more strongly than that of Palmerston. In any event, Mr. Gladstone in his 
reply put himself into the attitude of favoring, not only the first, second, 
and fourth of the four points of the Vienna agreement, but into the attitude 
of defending the position of Russia relative to the third point He said 
that he had been in favor of laying a restriction on the power of Russia in 



M. dcTiioff. Kari of WaitnonUnd. Drouyo de Lhuyl. 

Bhoii Hcyuobufg. M. Von Himinir, Turkish iDlcrpnler. Riu Bef. Loid John Ruucll. Count BaoU 

Prince Goftchiliof. Arif Efftndi. Uaron Prokmch-Ouen. 

VIENNA CONFERENCE. 

the Black Sea, but that in the light of a revised judgment and of existing 
facts he now thought that the third point, if gained by the allies, would 
be a great indignity to Russia. He had thought, moreover, that the 
proposal made by Russia to give to the porte the power of opening and 
shutting the straits was one that might be used as a basis of settlement. 
In the existing situation of affairs he was not able to recall an instance out 
of history in which one of the parties to a war had more fully gained the 
political objects of the war than had the allies in the present contest with 
Russia; that is, he had known no instance of a war that had accomplished 



252 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

its political purposes any more completely without the absolute prostration 
of the other party thereto. Here, then, was an opportunity of returning to 
the happiness of peace, of concluding the bloody drama of war, and he 
should be derelict in his duty if he did not incline to the opportunity of 
peace rather than to the continuance of war. A great nation might not 
battle for mere military success. The House, looking at this question with 
the dispassion of reason, would perceive that war for military success only 
is immoral, inhuman, and unchristian. Should the war be continued in 
order to reap military glory the British nation would tempt the justice of 
God, in whose hands was the fate of armies. 

This pacific and not unworthy plea moved the House of Commons 
more to aversion than to sympathy. The speaker had struck a chord 
which would not vibrate while the winds of war were blowing through the 
British harp. The world knows well the English ire when it is once pro- 
voked to battle. Whatever vices may exist in the English race — and they 
are many — cowardice and easiness of temper under real or imaginary insult 
and provocation are not among them. Let not man think that the Briton 
will not fight 

The* history of the House of Commons might well be interpreted into 
a history of human nature more exact than may be found in the metaphys- 
ics of Sir William Hamilton. The incident we have just described brought 
out a reply also from Lord John Russell, who put himself, as it were, 
between Gladstone and Disraeli. To the former he answered that it had 
now become necessary, under the system of balance of power in Europe, 
to restrict both the political and military ambition of Russia. As to the 
indignity to Russia implied in insisting on the third of the four points, 
namely, a revision of the treaty of 1841, that indignity could not be greater 
now than it was during the administration of Mr. Gladstone, when he had 
urged the very same measure ! Great Britain, after expending so much, 
could not be expected to accept less than she had insisted upon in going 
to war. Granted that the third point might be waived by the allies, and 
Russia have her way, then there would be no guarantee for the Ottoman 
power in the first place, or for any European power afterward. So the 
question came to an issue on the adoption of Disraeli's resolution, and the 
vote showed that the government of Palmerston had the confidence of the 
House by a majority of a hundred votes. 

We may here note a matter of considerable importance to a right 
understanding of Gladstones life. It is well known, wherever political 
information is abundant, that Mr. Gladstone was rarely, if ever, a favorite 
with the Queen of England and her immediate supporters. On the con- 
trary, he was nearly always under her majesty's disfavor. In the times of 
his greatest ascendency, when as the head of the government he must be 



ACCESSION OF PALMERSTON AND TREATY OF PARIS. 253 

deferred to and honored, the deference and the honor were both coldly 
conferred, and only according to the measure of royal etiquette. This con- 
dition of personal relationship must be traced, we think, to the mistake and 
weakness of Mr. Gladstone's speech in the Commons in May of 1855. 

A great deal of side light is thrown upon the question in hand by the 
private correspondence of Prince Albert That royal gentleman was a 
perfect mirror of the sentiments of the queen. She confided in him 
implicitly, and he was discreet ; but his private letters now reveal to us 
many things that then to know would have set the world to talking. In a 
letter which the prince addressed at this juncture to Lord Aberdeen he 
declared : " Any such declaration as Mr. Gladstone has made upon Mr. Dis- 
raeli's motion must not only weaken us abroad in public estimation and give 
a wrong opinion as to the determination of the nation to support the queen 
in the war in which she has been involved, but render all chance of obtain- 
ing ah honorable peace without great fresh sacrifices of blood and treasure 
impossible, by giving new hopes and spirit to the enemy." What is here 
said was certainly the sentiment of the crown, and the opinion of her maj- 
esty relative to the weak and un-English spirit of her late chancellor of the 
exchequer was doubtlessly never revised. 

Other speakers in the course of the debates pressed Mr. Gladstone 
hardly. Among these one of the ablest and least merciful was Sir Edward 
Bulwer-Lytton, whose peroration and attack on Gladstone created a furore 
in the House. " When," said Sir Edward, " Mr. Gladstone was dwelling in 
a Christian spirit that moved us all on the gallant blood shed by England 
and her allies and by her foemen in that quarrel, did it never occur to him 
that all the while he was speaking this one question was forcing itself upon 
the minds of his English audience, * And shall all this blood have been shed 

m vam .'' 

The next parliamentary passage of importance also arose from the dis- 
satisfied opposition. It was on the loth of July, 1855, that Sir Edward 
Bulwer-Lytton brought before the Commons the following resolution : 
" That the conduct of our ministry in the recent negotiations at Vienna 
has, in the opinion of this House, shaken the confidence of this country in 
those to whom its affairs are intrusted." Here was a challenge indeed ! 
The Lytton resolution was equivalent to a direct motion of want of confi- 
dence. Perhaps Lord Lytton did not intend to condemn the ministry as a 
whole. His shaft was leveled at Lord John Russell, late ambassador of 
Great Britain, with full power, in the Vienna Conference. Lord John was, 
as it were, singled out, and he could not stand fire. Unwilling to face the 
impending debate, he resigned from the cabinet, and when the Lytton reso- 
lution was called up the resignation was announced in Parliament. 

Lord Russelli in retiring, explained that he had not given away the 



254 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

cause of his country at Vienna by supporting or promising to support the 
Austrian propositions. Those propositions had been rejected by the Brit- 
ish cabinet. He submitted to the decision of his government, and any favor 
that he had shown to the Austrian method of settlement was only such as 
he had given in fulfillment of a promise made to Count Buol. In conclud- 
ing his address he turned the argument which had been so mercilessly used 
against himself against his professed friends, whom he accused, whenever 
there was a rub in his fortunes, of flowing from him like water. Such sup- 
porters were calculated only to sink him whom they supported, and for such 
he had nothing to offer but contempt. 

Whatever may have been the merit of the controversy, the act of Lord 
Russell in resigning robbed Lytton s thundercloud of its lightning. That 
statesman was obliged to content himself with withdrawing his resolution, , 
which he did with certain intimations about the existence of a remnant of 
the peace party in the ministry which might bear watching. Of course Mr. 
Disraeli could not allow such an opportunity to go by unimproved. When 
Lord Palmerston announced to the House that Lord Russell's resignation 
had been in his hands and declined before the offering of the Lytton reso- 
lution, and that he (Palmerston) was willing to stand with his colleague or 
fall with him, then Mr. Disraeli could not forbear. He intimated that no 
doubt Lord Palmerston was very devoted to Lord John Russell, but that he 
had managed, notwithstanding, to get him out of oflfice ! Of Lord Russell 
himself Mr. Disraeli said : " The noble lord, with the reputation of a quarter 
of a century — a man who for all that time had given a tone and a color to 
the policy of this country, who had met the giants of other times in debate^ 
who had measured rapiers with Canning and divided the public admiration 
with Sir Robert Peel — had mysteriously disappeared, and did not dare 
to face this motion ; while as to the noble lord now at the head of the 
cabinet, he had addressed the House that night in a tone and with accents 
which showed that if the honor and interests of this country were much 
longer intrusted to him the first would be tarnished and the last would be 
betrayed." 

One of the fighters of this inflamed and inflammatory epoch was the 
Honorable John Arthur Roebuck, whom the reader will recall as the author 
of the successful resolution for a committee of inquiry on the conduct of 
the war. That committee at length brought forward its report, and the 
report was so inculpatory as to warrant Mr. Roebuck in renewing his assault 
upon the defunct ministry of the Earl of Aberdeen. The committee found 
that the then existing government was answerable for the hardships, 
exposures, and sufferings of the army during the horrible winter of 1854-55. 
Mr. Roebuck offered a vote of censure of such character as to include all the 
members of the Aberdeen cabinet. The author of the motion made an inflam- 



ACCESSION OF PALMEKSTON AND TREATY OF PARIS. 255 

matory speech. "It is said," he declared, " that we have got rid of all the 
elements of the administration that were mischievous. That I am very far 
from believing. It is also said, *Are not Aberdeen and Newcastle and Her- 
bert and Gladstone out ? And what more can you expect or do you want ? 
Do you want to see everybody punished.'^' I say yes; everyone who has 
been proved guilty.'' The result, however, showed that Parliament was not 
in accord with Mr. Roebuck, whose motion was decisively defeated. 

On the 3d of August, 1855, M^- Gladstone again appeared in the arena 
and made a really powerful speech in favor of peace. The bottom principle 
of his argument was that the further prosecution of the war must be merely 
for glory, or at best to cover the recollection of the diasters of the previous 
winter. He showed that the proposition of Austria might well be accepted 
as a basis for permanent settlement. That was the judgment of a disinter- 
ested power. It was not safe to reject as unjust a measure proposed by a 
neutral State, such as Austria. Finally he urged that it would be outside of 
the historical possibilities for the powers of western Europe permanently to 
curtail the power of Russia in the East. He declared in his peroration that 
his utterances were inspired by patriotism as it regarded his countrj^ and 
loyalty as it regarded his queen. 

A few days after this address of Mr. Gladstone Parliament was pro- 
rogued. Meanwhile the war went forward to its own conclusion. The cam- 
paign against Kertch was measurably successful. At the Tchcrnaya the 
I'Vench and Sardinians gained a great victory a week after the prorogation 
of Parliament. Two months previously Lord Raglan had died, and was suc- 
ceeded in the command of the British army by General Simpson. All inter- 
est centered in the Crimea, and on the 8th of September, Sebastopol, as 
already recounted, was taken and its defenses were destroyed. The success 
of the allies was sufficient to warrant the reopening of negotiations. The 
loss of Sebastopol broke the purpose of the czar to hold out longer against 
the inevitable. 

At this juncture, we do not doubt, the real obstacle to peace was the 
feeling in Great Britain that her prestige, so much impaired by the disasters 
which had attended her arms in the East, had not been fully restored by 
victory. Nevertheless the negotiations for a settlement were renewed with 
great earnestness. The representatives of Great Britain at the Congress of 
Paris were Lord Clarendon and Lord Cowley. Count Buol, the Austrian 
plenipotentiary, again led the negotiations, but the Congress was really held 
under the auspices of Napoleon III. The French emperor had by this time 
gained greatly in the good opinion of Europe. The French military man- 
agement in the Crimea was contrasted with the mismanagement of British 
affairs. Many things combined to suggest Paris as the seat of the Interna- 
tional Congress, and there, on the 16th of January, 1856, the sittings were 



256 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

begun. The reascendency of the Bonapartes was illustrated in the fact 
that the president of the Congress was the French minister of foreign affairs, 
the Count Alexandre Walewski, the natural son of Napoleon the Great 

The first result of the negotiations was the agreement for an armistice, 
to continue until the 31st of March, It was stipulated that unto this date 
the fleets of the powers at war should hold their respective situations with-, 
out aggression or menace on either side. As a matter of fact the treaty of 
peace was not concluded until the day before the expiration of the armistice, 
and the ratifications of the same were not exchanged until the 27th of April. 
The terms of the agreement were substantially these : 

1. All territories conquered or occupied by either party during the war 
to be reciprocally evacuated. 

2. The town and citadel of Kars and any other parts of .Turkish terri- 
tory or defenses, of which the Russian forces were possessed, to be restored 
to the Ottoman empire. 

3. The four allied powers to restore to Russia the towns and ports of 
Sebastopol, Balaklava, Kamiesch, Eupatoria, Kertch, Yenikale, and Kin- 
burn, as well as all other territories occupied by the forces of the allies. 

4. The allied powers, the Czar of Russia, and the Emperor of Austria to 
declare the Sublime Porte admitted to partake^ in the advantages of the pub- 
lic law and system of Europe. The same six powers also to engage, each 
on his part, to respect the independence and territorial integrity of the Otto- 
man empire ; to guarantee in common the strict observance of that engage- 
ment, and to consider any act tending to its violation as a question of gen- 
eral interest. 

5. In case of misunderstanding between the Sublime Porte and one or 
other of the signatory powers, such as might endanger the maintenance of 
their relations, the porte and each of such powers, before having recourse to 
arms, to afford the other contracting parties an opportunity of mediating 
between them. 

6. The sultan, having already issued a firman for the welfare of his 
subjects without distinction of religion or race, and recording his generous 
intentions toward the Christian population of his empire, to communicate to 
the contracting parties the said firman emanating spontaneously from his 
sovereign will. The contracting parties, while recognizing the value of this 
communication, clearly to understand that it does not give them the right, 
either collectively or separately, to interfere between the sultan and his sub- 
jects, or in the internal administration of his empire. As to the ancient rule 
of the Ottoman empire relative to the closing of the straits of the Bosporis 
and the Dardanelles, it is agreed that the rule shall continue in force; that 
no ships of w^ar belonging to foreign powers shall enter the straits of the 
Dardanelles or Bosporus ; that so long as the porte is at peace the sultan 



ACCESSION OF PALMERSTON AND TREATY OF PARIS. . 257 

shall admit no foreign ships of war to enter the said straits ; and, on the 
other hand, the powers engage to respect this determination of the sultan, 
and to conform themselves to the principle therein declared. The sultan 
reserves to himself the right to deliver firmans of passage for light vessels 
under flag of war which shall be employed, as is usual, in the service of the 
missions of foreign powers. The same exception shall apply to the light 
vessels under flag of war which each of the contracting powers is author- 
ized to station at the mouths of the Danube in order to secure the execu- 
tion of the regulations relative to the freedom of that river, the number of 
which vessels is not to exceed two for each power. 

7. It is agreed in separate convention, as between Russia and Turkey, 
that each of these two powers may maintain in the Black Sea six steam 
vessels of eight hundred tons burden each, and four light steam or sailing 
vessels of not more than two hundred tons burden each. The Aland 
Islands shall not be fortified, and no military or naval establishment shall 
be maintained or created in those islands. 

8. The Black Sea is neutralized, and its waters and ports are open to the 
merchant marine of every nation ; the powers possessing its coast are inter- 
dicted from the use of the flag of war upon it, with such exceptions as Russia 
and Turkey may fix by separate convention. The commerce in the ports 
and waters of the Black Sea is subjected only to regulations of health, customs, 
and police ; and to secure such commerce consuls may be admitted into the 
ports on the coast, according to the principles of international law. 

9. No toll shall be levied upon the navigation of the Danube, or duty 
on goods carried by vessels on that river. No obstacle shall be opposed to 
the free navigation of the river except regulations of police and quarantine. 

10. The czar, as compensating for the above concessions, consents to 
the rectification of his frontier in Bessarabia. Said frontier shall begin 
from the Black Sea one kilometer to the east of Lake Bourna Sola, running 
perpendicularly to the Akerman road, following that road to the Val de 
Trajan, passing to the south of Bolgrad, ascending the Yalpuk to the height 
of Saratsicka. and terminating at Katamosi, on the Pruth. 

11. The territory ceded by Russia to be annexed to Moldavia. The 
inhabitants of Moldavia shall enjoy the rights and privileges secured to 
the people of the other principalities ; during the space of three years they 
shall be permitted freely to dispose of their property and to transfer the[r 
domiciles elsewhere. Moldavia and Wallachia are to continue, without 
interference of foreign powers, under the suzerainty of the porte. The 
porte engages to preserve for said principalities an independent national 
administration and full liberty of worship, of legislation, of trade, and of 
navigation. Servia shall be admitted to the same rights and liberties 
granted Moldavia and Wallachia. 

17 



258 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. / 

To these importaat conditions of peace certain other actions relating 
to the law of nations were taken by the Congress of Parisy the effect of 
which was far-reaching and salutary among' the powers of western Europe. 
Our own country was asked to accept these supplementary rules, but re- 
fused to do so, perhaps unwisely. The articles referred to were as follows : 

K Privateering is and remaias abolished. 

2. The neutral flag covers the enemy^s goods, with the exception of 
contraband of war. 

3. Neutral goods, with the exception of contraband of war,, are not 
liable to capture under an enemy's flag. 

4. Blockades in order to be binding must be effective ; that is, they 
must be maintained by an actual force sufficient to prevent access to the 
coast of the enemy. 

Such was the treaty of 1856. The news of the armistice reached the 
Crimea on the last day of February. Hostilities ceased on the following 
day, and the soldiers of the contending armies began to fraternize. On 
the 2d of April the news arrived of the treaty of peace, and the tidings 
were received with a joyful announcement of a hundred and one guns On 
the 1 2th of the following July Sebastopol and Balaklava, both in niins^ were 
surrendered to the Russians, and the country was speedily evacuated by 
the allies. The Crimean War was thus concluded with at least a temporary 
reconfirmation of the Ottoman empire and a like temporary check to the 
ambitious projects of the czars* 



LAST HALF OF THE SIXTH DECADE. 259 




CHAPTER XVI. 
Last Half of the Sixth Decade. 

[HATEVER governmental glory shone on England in bringing 
to a moderately successful conclusion the Crimean War was 
focused on Lord Palmerston. That statesman on the 31st of 
March, 1856, while questions of prosecuting the war were still 
under hot discussion in the Commons, had the honor to 
announce to the House that a treaty of peace had been concluded at Paris. In 
making the announcement he expressed his great gratification that the terms 
were such as to be approved by every loyal Englishman. He informed the 
House that the treaty included the integrity and independence of the Otto- 
man empire ; that all the signatory powers were honored by the terms of 
settlement ; that the conditions of peace, he believed, were permanent ; that 
the British ambassadors, Lord Clarendon and Lord Cowley, had upheld the 
honor, the interests, and the dignity of their country, and that they had also, 
by their diploraatical conduct and statesmanlike abilities, won the profound 
esteem of their colleagues in the Congress. 

It is the custom in the British Parliament on such occasions to vote an 
address to the queen, expressive of the sentiments of the House and the 
nation's approval of the ministerial policy. The address is subject to dis- 
cussion and amendment. In the present instance there was a lively debate, 
but on the whole a sentiment of satisfaction with the terms of the treaty 
was prevalent. It could not be said, however, that the opinion in fisivor of 
the thing done Mras strong or enthusiastic. The most English of the English 
doubted whether the British army in Asia had been permitted by victory to, 
recover its lost prestige. It was believed that another campaign would 
bring back the wonted glory to the banner of St. George. 

Most of the speeches on the address to the queen were those of appro- 
bation and applause, but the enthusiasm did not run high. Several of the 
speakers put themselves in the attitude, of saying, This is all very well, but 
we are glad it is over ! and we are opposed to any other such war. This 
voice found its best utterance in a speech by Milner Gibson, who quoted a 
witty and ironical letter of Sidney Smith to Lady Grey. The humorist, 
speaking sarcastically of the merits of foreign interference in the affairs of 
nations, said to his correspondent : " For God's sake do not drag me into 
another war. I am worn down and worn out with crusading and defending 
Europe and protecting mankind ; I must think a little of myself. I am 
sorry for the Spaniards ; I am sorry for the Greeks ; I deplore the fiaite of 
the Jews ; the people of the Sandwich Islands are groaning under the most 
detestable tyranny; Bagdad is oppressed; I do not like the present state of 



1 



26o LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E, GLADSTONE. ' 

1 

the Delta; Thibet is not comfortable. Am I to fight for all these pcipple? 
No war, dear Lady Grey ! I beseech you secure Lord Grey's sword and 
pistols, as the housekeeper did Don Quixote s armor. If there is another 
war life will not be worth having. . . . May the vengeance of Heaven over- 
take all the legitimates of Verona ! but, in the present state of rent and 
taxes, they must be left to the vengeance of Heaven. I allow fighting in 
such a cause to be a luxury ; but the business of a prudent, sensible man is 
to guard against luxury !" 

As for Mr. Gladstone, we may allow that the three preceding years of 
his life had been unfavorable to his fame. On the whole, his genius was 
never warlike. Rather was it. businesslike, statesmanlike. We may see in 
the retrospect that his great mind while he was occupied with his duties as 
chancellor of the exchequer dwelt upon the disadvantages and mortal hurt 
of war to the prosperity of the British nation. War is waste, destruction 
alike of life and property. Dwelling on this view of the case, it is likely 
that in the ministry of Lord Aberdeen he did not press the military man- 
agement to the limit of efficiency. There were halfway measures and 
measures of expediency, neither of which can be brooked by the genius of 
war. Perhaps the statesman himself felt this defect (or shall we call it 
merit?) of his own character and method. In any event he presently found 
himself on the defensive. He made one ill-timed and costly . speech when 
replying to Disraeli on his resolution of May 25, 1855. Later in the year 
he spoke again to better advantage on Roebuck's inflammatory measure, 
and with still greater success on the address proposed to her majesty on the 
occasion of the treaty of peace. 

Mr. Gladstone in this speech found opportunity to traverse nearly the 
whole of his own relations to the Crimean War, and to illustrate his views 
thereon. He had been blamed much for his place and part in the Aberdeen 
ministry. He proclaimed himself an independent member of the House of 
Commons. He said that the question on which he was speaking, namely, ;^ 
proposed anrjendment to substitute the word "satisfaction" for the word 
"joy" in the address to her majesty was not a great question. He consicjl- 
ered the treaty of Paris an honorable settlement. The ends had beein 
reached for which the war was undertaken. He dwelt in particular on thje 
allegation that the signatory powers had agreed to maintain in its integritly 
the Ottoman empire. He wished to inquire whether the agreement sigrAi- 
fied only that the powers were pledged to support the political governmejot 
of the sultan, or did it mean that they were bound to uphold Turkey a- s a 
Mohammedan State ? 

At the latter suggestion all of Mr. Gladstone's sentiments rebe lied 
He was a man of the Church of England. " If I thought, sir," said he, "' that 
this treaty of peace is to be an instrument which binds this country an'i jour 






I 






I 
i 



262 LIFE AND ^IMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

posterity, as well as our allies, to the maintenance of a set of institutions in 
Turkey which you are endeavoring to reform if you can, but with respect to 
which endeavor few can be sanguine, I should not be content to fall back 
upon the amendment of my noble friend [substituting 'satisfaction' for 
*joy ' in the address to the queen], expressing that I regard the peace with 
satisfaction ; but on the contrary I should look out for the most emphatic 
word in which to express my sense of condemnation of a peace which binds 
us to maintain the law and institutions of Turkey as a Mohammedan State. 
. . . The juxtaposition of a people professing the Mohammedan religion 
with the rising Christian population having adverse and conflicting 
influences presents difficulties which are not to be overcome by certain 
diplomatists, at certain hours, and in a certain place. It will be the work and 
care of many generations — if even then they may be successful — to bring 
that state of things to a happy and prosperous conclusion. But there is 
another danger — the danger of encroachment upon, and the absorption of, 
Turkey by Russia, which may bring upon Europe evils not less formidable 
than those which already exist Such a danger to the peace, liberties, and 
privileges of all Europe we are called upon absolutely to resist by all the 
means in our power/' 

The criticisms of the speaker next extended to the point that the Con- 
gress of Paris had not secured to Moldavia and Wallachia anr independent 
existence. He conceded, however, that Great Britain and France could 
hardly have secured this desideratum. As to the Black Sea, the speaker 
feared that in time of peace the neutralization of those waters would be of 
no effect, while in time of war the neutralization would not be effective, 
because it was in the nature of war to break through an agreement of this 
kind. Furthermore, the Congress ought to have adopted strict rules under 
which the signatory powers might proceed when interfering in behalf of 
oppressed Christian populations. 

^ The movement of the Congress toward arbitration the speaker heartily 
approved. There was danger, however, that arbitration — the right of arbi- 
tration — might be used by weak and unjust States as a cloak for conten- 
tions which were devoid of truth and justice. Great nations, nations recog- 
nizing international justice, might thus be harassed with claims and pretexts 
of not sufficient merit to demand arbitration or any other remedy except 
the sword, in case such causes should be pressed to extremes. The great 
advantage of arbitration was without doubt the impetus which it gave to. 
the movement for reducing the military establishments of Europe. These 
establishments were an incubus on civilization. If the powers represented at 
Paris could under the leadership of England, followed by France and Russia, 
promote the reduction to a minimum of the great military establishments 
of Europe, then the work done would be fraught with happiness to mankind. 



LAST HALF OF THE SIXTH DECADE. 263 

The speaker in the next place discussed at considerable length one of 
the protocols adopted by the Congress. He was anxious, he said, to know 
what was the exact meaning of the particular protocol relative to the posi- 
tion of those States not represented at the conference. He took up the 
somewhat informal declaration of the plenipotentiaries favorable to the sup- 
pression of the freedom of the press in Belgium, and strenuously opposed 
the principle and tendency of such declaration. England could never con- 
sent to be a party to the restriction of the freedom of the press. He 
regretted to note that several of the ambassadors had openly declared them- 
selves in favor of bridling the Belgium press, as though the Belgian Consti- 
tution did not provide for the correction of abuses of the kind complained 
of. " I wish," said the speaker, " to point out as clearly as it is possible for 
an independent member of Parliament to do that this appeal to a people 
gallant and high-spirited as the Belgians are — an appeal which appears to 
be contemplated under the compulsion of foreign and some of them remote 
powers, and having for its object the limitation by the Belgians of their own 
dearest rights and most cherished liberties — is not a policy which tends to 
clear the political horizon, but rather one which will darken and disturb it 

« 

and cast gloom and despondency over a prospect otherwise brilliant and 
joyous." 

The debate ended with a speech by Lord Palmerston and with the 
adoption of the unmodified address to the queen. And thus closed the par- 
liamentary agitation relative to the treaty of Paris and the Crimean War of 

1854-55- 

The attention of the House of Commons was at once turned to ques- 
tions of home policy, more particularly to the subject of the educational 
system of the kingdom. We may refer to this period the beginning of the 
agitation which was subsequently so greatly promoted by William E. 
Forster, vice president of the committee of the council on education in the 
ministry of Gladstone, 1868-74. It was under Lord Palmerston and at the 
hands of Lord John Russell that just after the close of the Crimean War a 
resolution was offered providing for an addition of eighty subinspectors to 
the body then existing in the kingdom. It was to be the duty of the sub- 
inspectors to report a method and means for the education of the poor in 
each district. The same measure provided for enlarging the powers of the 
commissioners of the charitable trusts and for making available the funds 
that were then lying idle in the hands of the trusts. The resolution also 
called for a law giving to taxpayers the right of taxing themselves locally 
for the support of schools ; also a provision that the employers of children 
between the ages of nine and fifteen years should be obliged to furnish them 
schooling for half of each year within the limits named. 

This measure of Lord Russell's was first presented in the House in 



264 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

April of 1856. Upon the question Mr. Gladstone spoke, not unwilling to 
attack whatever was vulnerable in a measure proposed by Lord Russell. 
He, the speaker, strenuously opposed the principles upon which the Russell 
resolutions were offered. They were not really founded on the principle of 
the local autonomy of schools as opposed to the principle of a central con- 
trol. They were not really founded on the assumption of a moral and reli- 
gious initiative in the schools, but rather favored the secular initiative. Mr. 
Gladstone declared that in Great Britain the exactly opposite principles, 
namely, the principle of the local autonomy of the schools and the principle 
of the -moral initiative, ought to prevail. The speaker held that the volun- 
tary system of education is essentially correct, and certainly English in its 
character. Should the opposing system be substituted he believed it would 
degenerate into irreligion. He also held that the propositions of Lord John 
Russell were of doubtful constitutionality. Whether 'they were constitu- 
tional or not, they were of a dangerous character because they tended 
inevitably to centralization and the substitution of secular for religious 
education. 

The contention of Mr. Gladstone prevailed with the House. Lord 
Russell's resolutions failed of adoption. Nor may the reader omit to notice 
the identity of Gladstone's argument with the views which he expressed in 
his celebrated inaugural address at the collegiate institution in Liverpool, in 
the year 1843. ^^ ^^^^ time, when the speaker was but thirty-four years of 
age, he declared that merely secular education, applied even to such a mind 
as that of Newton, would fail of its sovereign purpose, and would leave the 
possessor " in the ignorance which we all declare ourselves to commiserate, 
and which it is the object of this institution to assist in removing from the 
land." Now, at the age of forty-seven, his doctrine was still the same — a 
fact which strongly illustrates the underlying conservatism of Gladstone s 
mind, especially on all subjects relating to the religious order of society. 

Notwithstanding the urgency of Gladstone, while chancellor of the 
exchequer, that the revenues of the kingdom should be made to meet even 
the extraordinary expenditures of war year by year, it was found at the 
close of the recent conflict that a debt of about five million pounds had 
accrued for the last year, and that many times as much was impending 
before the account could be balanced. Mr. George Cornewall Lewis had 
now the office of chancellor of the exchequer, and his budget for 1856 
recommended a loan of five millions sterling. 

In presenting his budget Mr. Lewis gave the usual detailed account 
of expenditures, amounting to a little more than eighty-nine millions stei*- 
ling, with an income of not quite sixty-six millions to meet it. There was a 
disposition in the House to refer this unfavorable showing to the illiberal 
management of the finances during Gladstone's period of responsibility in 



LAST HALF OF THE SIXTH DECADE. 265 

the Aberdeen ministry. This intimation the ex-chancellor resented. He 
repelled the charge that the unsuccess of the British arms in the East and 
the hardships to which the soldiery had been subjected were the results of 
parsimony or incapacity in the former administration of the departments of 
war and the treasury. He was of the opinion that Sir George Cornewall 
Lewis had made his estimates for income too liberal and for expenditures 
too small ; also that the margin which the chancellor allowed for surplus 
was wholly insuflficient. Again he declared emphatically that it was the 
duty of the nation in each crisis to meet it with a suflficient annual increase 
in revenues, and not to " set the pestilent example of abolishing taxes and 
borrowing money in their stead." 

It is within the memory of men still living that the relations of Great 
Britain to our government were shaken to the point of complaint and 
animosity by the conduct of the former at the time of the Crimean War. 
The thing complained of by the American people was the Foreign Enlist- 
ment Act. Mr. Crampton, the British ambassador, came to America and, 
by the agency of three consuls, opened recruiting offices, offering induce- 
ments to American citizens to enlist in the British service; and many' did 
enlist. The result was a serious complaint against the British minister, who 
had concealed from our government the work in which he was engaged. 
On the 30th of June, 1856, a resolution was offered in the House of Com- 
mons declaring, " That the conduct of her majesty's government in the dif- 
ferences that have arisen between them and the government of the United 
States on the question of enlistment has not entitled them [the govern- 
ment] to the approbation of this House." 

On this question Mr. Gladstone spoke in condemnation of the course 
pursued by the ministry. " I am bound to say," said he, " that neither has 
a cordial understanding with America been preserved nor the honor and 
fame of England upheld in this matter. I am bound to say that in regard 
to neither of these points am I satisfied with the existing state of things 
or with the conduct of her majesty's government. A cordial understanding 
with America has not been preserved, and the honor of this country has 
been compromised. The speaker opposed, however, the adoption of such 
resolutions as that before the House, unless, indeed, it was the purpose of 
the House to substitute a new government for the existing one. Other- 
wise the mere declaration of an opinion must work more harm tha.n good. 
The speaker acknowledged that Great Britain had been in the wrong, that 
her agents had broken faith with the government of the United States ; 
but he held that Mr. Crampton had only acted in accordance with the pre- 
scribed policy of his government. Mr. Crampton could not be condemned 
without condemning the government also. It was inconsistent to punish 
the British ambassador and his three subordinates, as had been done, when 



264 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

April of 1856. Upon the question Mr, Gladstone spoke, not unwilling to 
attack whatever was vulnerable in a measure proposed by Lord Russell. 
He, the speaker, strenuously opposed the principles upon which the Russell 
resolutions were offered. They were not really founded on the principle of 
the local autonomy of schools as opposed to the principle of a central con- 
trol. They were not really founded on the assumption of a moral and reli- 
gious initiative in the schools, but rather favored the secular initiative. Mr, 
Gladstone declared that in Great Britain the exactly opposite principles, 
namely, the principle of the local autonomy of the schools and the principle 
of the moral initiative, ought to prevail. The speaker held that the volun- 
tary system of education is essentially correct, and certainly English in its 
character. Should the opposing system be substituted he believed it would 
degenerate into irreligion. He also held that the propositions of Lord John 
Russell were of doubtful constitutionality. Whether 'they were constitu- 
tional or not, they were of a dangerous character because they tended 
inevitably to centralization and the substitution of secular for religious 
education. 

The contention of Mr. Gladstone prevailed with the House. Lord 
Russell's resolutions failed of adoption. Nor may the reader omit to notice 
the identity of Gladstone's argument with the views which he expressed in 
his celebrated inaugural address at the collegiate institution in Liverpool, in 
the year 1843. ^^ ^^at time, when the speaker was but thirty-four years of 
age, he declared that merely secular education, applied even to such a mind 
as that of Newton, would fail of its sovereign purpose, and would leave the 
possessor " in the ignorance which we all declare ourselves to commiserate, 
and which it is the object of this institution to assist in removing from the 
land." Now, at the age of forty-seven, his doctrine was still the same — a 
fact which strongly illustrates the underlying conservatism of Gladstones 
mind, especially on all subjects relating to the religious order of society. 

Notwithstanding the urgency of Gladstone, while chancellor of the 
exchequer, that the revenues of the kingdom should be made to meet even 
the extraordinary expenditures of war year by year, it was found at the 
close of the recent conflict that a debt of about five million pounds had 
accrued for the last year, and that many times as much was impending 
before the account could be balanced. Mr, George Cornewall Lewis had 
now the office of chancellor of the exchequer, and his budget for 1856 
recommended a loan of five millions sterling. 

In presenting his budget Mr. Lewis gave the usual detailed account 
of expenditures, amounting to a little more than eighty-nine millions ster- 
ling, with an income of not quite sixty-six millions to meet it. There was a 
disposition in the House to refer this unfavorable showing to the illiberal 
management of the finances during Gladstones period of responsibility in 



LAST HALF OF THE SIXTH DECADE. 265 

the Aberdeen ministry. This intimation the ex-chancellor resented. He 
repelled the charge that the unsuccess of the British arms in the East and 
the hardships to which the soldiery had been subjected were the results of 
parsimony or incapacity in the former administration of the departments ot 
war and the treasury. He was of the opinion that Sir George Cornewall 
Lewis had made his estimates for income too liberal and for expenditures 
too small ; also that the margin which the chancellor allowed for surplus 
was wholly insufficient. Again he declared emphatically that it was the 
duty of the nation in each crisis to meet it with a sufficient annual increase 
in revenues, and not to " set the pestilent example of abolishing taxes and 
borrowing money in their stead." 

It is within the memory of men still living that the relations of Great 
Britain to our government were shaken to the point of complaint and 
animosity by the conduct of the former at the time of the Crimean War. 
The thing complained of by the American people was the Foreign Enlist- 
ment Act. Mr. Crampton, the British ambassador, came to America and, 
by the agency of three consuls, opened recruiting offices, offering induce- 
ments to American citizens to enlist in the British service ; and many" did 
enlist. The result was a serious complaint against the British minister, who 
had concealed from our government the work in which he was engaged. 
On the 30th of June, 1856, a resolution was offered in the House of Com- 
mons declaring, " That the conduct of her majesty's government in the dif- 
ferences that have arisen between them and the government of the United 
States on the question of enlistment has not entitled them [the govern- 
ment] to the approbation of this House." 

On this question Mr. Gladstone spoke in condemnation of the course 
pursued by the ministry. " I am bound to say," said he, " that neither has 
a cordial understanding with America been preserved nor the honor and 
fame of England upheld in this matter. I am bound to say that in regard 
to neither of these points am I satisfied with the existing state of things 
or with the conduct of her majesty's government. A cordial understanding 
with America has not been preserved, and the honor of this country has 
been compromised. The speaker opposed, however, the adoption of such 
resolutions as that before the House, unless, indeed, it was the purpose of 
the House to substitute a new government for the existing one. Other- 
wise the mere declaration of an opinion must work more harm than good. 
The speaker acknowledged that Great Britain had been in the wrong, that 
her agents had broken faith with the government of the United States ; 
but he held that Mr. Crampton had only acted in accordance with the pre- 
scribed policy of his government. Mr. Crampton could not be condemned 
without condemning the government also. It was inconsistent to punish 
the British ambassador and his three subordinates, as had been done, when 



266 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

their actions were the direct result of orders which they had received and 
were indeed indorsed by the government that had sent the ambassador and 
the British consuls to America. 

Finally the speaker broke into a memorable passage, in which he 
referred in a tone of deprecation to the chaotic condition of political senti- 
ment and action in the House of Commons. He referred, by way of con- 
trast, to the efficiency and solidarity which had formerly been manifested in 
the party divisions of the House. " I believe," said he, "that the day for 
this country will be a happy day when party combinations shall be restored 
on such a footing as they occupied in the times of Sir Robert Peel. But 
this question, instead of being a party question, is a most remarkable illus- 
tration of the disorganized state of parties and of the consequent impo- 
tency of the House of Commons to express a practical opinion with respect 
to the foreign policy of the country. Under these circumstances the only 
resource left to me is the undisguised expression of the opinions which I 
strongly and conscientiously (perhaps erroneously) feel after the study of 
these papers [the papers relating to the trouble with the United States]. 
I have had the privilege of expressing these opinions freely and strongly, a 
'privilege which I would not have waived on any account when I consider 
the bearing of the case with respect to the American alliance, which I so 
highly prize, or with respect to that which I still more highly prize and 
more dearly love — the honor and fair fame of my countr)\" 

It remained for the year 1857 to witness the nearest approximation 
ever made of the lives and policies of W. E. Gladstone and Benjamin Dis- 
raeli. Neither was in office. Both were carrying free lances in the House^ 
and each no doubt was awaiting his time and his opportunity. The life 
lines of the, two men, like lines of railway far apart in most places and 
diverging finally to infinity, came nearly together at the opening of Parlia- 
ment in January, 1857. There was the usual address to the crown, and the 
customary debate thereon. Mr. Disraeli, ever vigilant on such occasions, 
gave a sharp review of the address, marked with his usual precision and 
illustrated with his apt aphorisms respecting the proposed address. To 
these criticisms Lord Palmerston in his answer did not reply, but passed 
them over in silence. This was unusual, and was noted by Mr. Gladstone, 
who took up the debate with the inquiry why it was that the chancellor of 
the exchequer had not given courteous notice of answer to the charges of 
Mr. Disraeli touching the foreign affairs of Great Britain. For the nonce 
the rare spectacle was witnessed of the one speaking yi?^ the other. Mr. 
Gladstone said that the address could not be appropriate if the charges 
made by Mr. Disraeli were true ; and if they were not true then they ought 
to be refuted. The address from the throne had not given to the House, and 
had not promised to give, certain information of great importance relative to 



LAST HALF OF THE SIXTH DECADE. 267 

the treaty of Paris. The address had not referred to the facts of the Per- 
sian War or given the terms of settlement of the difficulty with Central 
America. The speaker thought that the recent disastrous break with China 
ought to have been noticed in different terms. Certainly the country had a 
right to know also who was responsible for the war with Persia. Was it 
the directors of the East India Company, or was the government behind the 
company in this measure ? Who was to provide for the expenditures of the 
conflict. If Great Britain must pay the bills then Parliament ought to have 
convened at an earlier date. 

The address, moreover, touched ufK)n the Bank of England, and referred 
to the renewal of the act of 1844. The speaker wished to know whether that 
act was continued in its identical form, and, if so, whether the House should 
not have had the privilege of amendment. The speaker next took up the 
question of the income tax. He himself had been partly responsible for 
that tax, and also for the promise that the same should be extinguished by 
the year i86a One of two things must now be done — there must be a 
new scheme of taxation or another loan by the government. For his own 
part he was not willing to take either horn of the dilemma. Per contra, he 
was firmly convinced that the proper method was to reduce expenditures 
until they should be brought to the level of the revenue. 

Mr. Gladstone then referred to the false charge that the income tax of 
1853 had been obtained by a bargain with other interests. He denied that 
the government was complicated in that matter. " The pledge of the 
government," said he, " referred mainly to something that was to take 
place in i860. Four years of the seven have passed away. It is to my 
mind reasonable and just that the right honorable gentleman [Lord Pal- 
merston] on behalf of his friends, and that every man on his own behalf and 
on behalf of his constituents, should acknowledge the duty of the House of 
Commons to say now in 1857 whether the pledges of 1853 are or are not to 
be fulfilled. . . . As far as my duty is concerned it will be my effort and 
labor to secure a fulfillment of the pledges given in 1853. I understand 
those pledges as the right honorable gentleman understands them. I have 
not forgotten them. I never can forget to the latest day of my life, and I 
shall always remember with gratitude the conduct of the House of Com- 
mons at the period when these measures were adopted, and the generosity 
of the sentiments which they evinced. I must endeavor to answer that con- 
duct at least so far as depends on me ; and I shall endeavor to answer that 
conduct by striving to bring the expenditure of the country and its fiscal 
arrangements into such a shape as will allow the extinction of the income 
tax in i860." 

The debate on the address was not sufficiently adverse to prevent its 
adoption. The discussion of the budget for 1857 was still more important. 



268 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

i 

Sir G. C. Lewis included in his scheme the continuance of the income tax 
to the year i860 at the rate of sevenpence the pound. It was thought that 
this source would yield about twenty-one millions sterling in revenue. As 
against the retention of this tax certain other taxes were remitted. The 
scheme was so computed as to show that if it were carried out the whole 
debt (about forty million pounds) incurred by the recent war would be 
liquidated in a period of twenty years. 

The budget was presented on the 13th of February, and a week later 
Mr. Disraeli offered the following amendment : " That it would be expedient 
before sanctioning the financial arrangements for the ensuing year to adjust 
the estimated income and expenditure in a manner which shall appear best 
calculated to secure the country against the risk of a deficiency in the years 
1858-59 and 1859-60, and to provide for such a balance of revenue and 
charge respectively in the year i860 as may place it in the power of Parlia- 
ment at that period without embarrassment to the finances altogether to 
remit the income tax." To this amendment the principal debate was 
directed. Mr. Disraeli averred that it was not his purpose to assail the gov- 
ernment by offering a vote of want of confidence either directly or indirectly. 
Neither was it his wish to injure the public credit. He did not propose any 
scheme of his own as against that offered by the chancellor of the exchequer. 
He desired only to secure a certain end, namely, the sufficiency of the rev- 
enues for the ensuing three years and the final remission of the income tax 
 in i860. To this the chancellor of the exchequer replied that both of the 
ends sought for by the honorable gentleman would be compassed anyhow— 
that the budget had respect to the very things inquired for, and was suf- 
ficient 

We may perceive in the retrospect that Mr. Gladstone was keenly alive, 
perhaps sensitive, to whatever measures in the financial management of the 
kingdom seemed to traverse those of which he had been the champion when 
in office. He therefore spoke often, criticising those policies which departed 
from his own. The budget of Sir G. C. Lewis had been excogitated from 
principles almost diametrically opposed to those which goveVned the treas- 
ury when Mr. Gladstone was chancellor of the exchequer. Speaking to the 
budget, or rather to Mr. Disraeli's amendment, Gladstone called attention to 
the fact that the aim of treasury management had long been to simplify and 
consolidate the financial laws of the realm. The present chancellor of the 
exchequer, departing from this theory, had presented a scheme more compli- 
cated than ever before. As to the income tax, that burden had been assented 
to during his own administration because of the necessity that was on the 
nation. Then the highest motives existed for retaining a tax that was inim- 
ical to the spirit of British institutions. Now no such motive existed. The 
people had expected that the tax would be reduced and soon remitted alto* 



LAST HALF OF THE SLXTH DECADE. 269 

gether. The estimate which the chancellor of ^he exchequer held out of a 
reduction of nearly twelve millions the speaker considered delusive. The 
real reduction would hardly exceed four and a half millions, and when this 
was reduced by the amount of the proposed tea tax the actual reduction 
would be found but little more than three millions. For his own part he 
should insist that the income tax should, according to the promise made in 
1853, be wholly remitted by the year i860. He claimed that the principal 
error in the budget was an allowance for excessive expenditures. He 
thought that the estimates for expenditure ought to be revised and radi- 
cally reduced. He would call attention of the House to the fact that within 
the last quadrennium the aggregate of expenditures, apart from the burden 
of the war, had been in excess of those before the time named by at least six 
million pounds. The chancellor of the exchequer had presumed to estimate 
the revenue for future years, but had shrunk from making an estimate of the 
expenditures. 

The speaker then went on to give his own estimates for both revenue 
and expenditure up to the year i860. Then, by way of retrospect and as 
illustrative of the fidelity of his memory to the political party under whose 
aegis he had risen to fame, he said: "In Sir Robert Peels time you were 
called upon to remit a million four hundred thousand pounds of indirect 
taxes, now you are called on to impose indirect taxes to that amount ; , then 
you were called on to fill up a deficiency at your own cost, now you are 
called on to create a deficiency at the cost of others ; you were then called 
upon to take a burden on yourselves to relieve the great mass of your 
fellow-countrymen, now you are called upon to take a burden off the 
shoulders of the wealthier classes in order that you may impose indirect 
taxes upon the tea and sugar which are consumed by every laboring family 
in the country. I can only say that for my own part I entertain on this sub- 
ject a most decided opinion, and nothing shall induce me to refrain from 
giving every constitutional opposition in my power to such a proposition. ' 
Before the speaker leaves the chair, if health and strength be spared me, I 
shall invite the House to declare that whatever taxes we remove we will 
not impose more duties upon the tea and sugar of the workingman. When 
we are in committee there will be no. other opportunities of renewing this 
protest. These things, if they are to be done, shall at least not be done in 
a corner. The light of day shall be let in upon them, and their meaning and 
consequences shall be well understood. . . . No consideration upon earth 
would induce me by voice or by vote to be a party to a financial plan with 
regard to which I feel that it undermines the policy which has guided the 
course of every great and patriotic minister in this country, and which is 
intimately associated, not only with the credit and with the honor, but even 
with the safety of the country." 



270 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

Such was the tenor of the debates about the financial management at 
this epoch in parliamentary history. Sir G. C. Lewis's budget was accepted. 
That minister then went forward and moved for a reduction^ by a sliding 
scale, of the duty on tea To this Mr. Gladstone amended by a propositioa 
for stilt greater reduction ; and to his amendment he made a speech on the 
6th of March, 1857. The purport of his argument was that art c)es of pop- 
ular consumption ought to be relieved from taxation. This he contended 
had been the British principle of economy, and he regretted to see the 
chancellor of the exchequer endeavoring to substitute another system. The 
speaker still claimed that the right way to amend the present situation was 
by a reduction of expenditures. This must be done. The chancellor of the 
exchequer had been able to figure out for the ensuing year a surplus of only 
eight hundred thousand pounds. Now that minister was moving for a 
reduction on tea to the extent of an aggregate of a half a million pounds. 
This would leave him with only three hundred thousand pounds of surplus, 
even if his estimates should hold good But they would not hold good. 
The minister had taken no account of expenditures necessary on the score 
of the war witH Persia and the war with China. Finally, the speaker said 
that the present opportunity was a good one for moving a thorough reform 
in the management of the finances of the kingdom. 

The result of the debate showed that the ministry of Palmerston was 
thoroughly intrenched, and could not be moved with argumenL The vote 
of the House accepted the budget. The debate broke out anew, however, 
when it came to the consideration of the supplemental scheme for reducing 
the tax on tea. On this subject Mr. Gladstone again spoke, though he 
could not hope to prevail against the policy of the government Two or three 
other questions also demanded his attention. One of these was the repcwrt of 
the committee of supplies for the navy. Once more Mr. Gladstone urged 
the reduction of expenditures. He adduced figures to show that the expienses 
of the military and naval establishments were rising rapidly from year to 
year. Unless expenditures should be reduced there must inevitably come 
a deficiency. Sir G. C. Lewis, however, was aUe by argument and assertion 
to support the report of the committee, and the same was accepted by the 
House. 

At this session Mr. Gladstone also distinguished himself by defending 
in a conspicuous manner the equality of woman with man as it respected 
her rights under marriage. A divorce bill had been presented modifying 
somewhat the existing law, but hardly abating the atrocious discriminations 
which English custom and statute had long enforced against the woman in 
the matter of divorce. Mr. Gladstone spoke almost passionately against 
this injustice. He made an argument in which he showed on theological 
grounds the equal rights of woman in marriage. He argued that kiw 



LAST HALF OF THE SIXTH DECADE. 2*]l 

and society growmg out of the theological foundation on this subject ought 
to be equally just. The debate was animated, and nothing but the compact- 
ness of the ministerial majority prevented the success of Gladstone s attack 
on the proposed bill 

It was at this juncture that one of the ever-recurring difficulties with 
China came up for discussion in the House of Commons. One of those 
hybrid vessels to be seen on the coast of China — European as to the hull 
and Chinese as to the rigging — called a lorcha, and named the Arrvw, had 
been seized by the Chinese at Canton, although the ship carried, or pre- 
tended to carry, the British colors. The circumstance was precisely similar 
to probably a hundred others in which, by this method or by that, a difficult}^ 
has been raised by interested and perhaps criminal parties on coasts and in 
countries thousands of miles from Great Britain ; which circumstance has 
been made a pretext for rallying the bully in England and for continuing her 
career of conquest and aggrandisement at the expense of civilized, half- 
civilized, and barbarous nations. Great Britain permits her subjects to go 
where they will, even to the heart of the remotest barbarism, and there, fol- 
lowing their inherent instincts, they raise a difficulty with the natives and 
get themselves justly killed in retribution. Hereupon Great Britain knows 
but one method, namely, to make war upon those who have maltreated 
British subjects ! She makes war accordingly, slaughters thousands, takes 
possession of the country% reduces the native races to subjection, uses them 
for her own purposes of profit until what time, should they be in her way, 
she destroys them altogether. This she calls colonizing and civilizing the 
world \ 

in the instance under consideration the half-breed ship was a vessel 
which had been built in China and subsequently captured by pirates. After- 
ward it was retaken by the Chinese, It was owned by Chinese traders and 
manned by a Chinese crew. The license to carry the English flag had 
expired a good while before the vessel was finally seized by the Chinese 
authorities. In order to save itself the vessel put up the British flag. 
Therefore the Chinese had violated international law and defied the treaty 
of 1842 with Great Britain \ 

The whole affair was one of which almost any civilized State would 
have been heartily ashamed; but not so Great Britain. The ministerial 
policy was reprisal and punishment. Sir John Bowring, the British repre- 
sentative at Canton, had made reports which, fairly interpreted, showed that 
he, and not the Chinese anthorities, had been at fault But the ministry 
supported him and the House of Lords supported the ministry In the 
Commons, however, Mr. Cobden introduced the following resolution : " That 
this House has heard with concern of the conflicts which have occurred 
between the British and Chinese authorities in the Canton River; and, with- 



272 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

out expressing an opinion as to the extent to which the government of 
China may have afforded this country cause of complaint respecting the 
nonfulfillment of the treaty of 1842, this House considers that the papers 
which have been laid upon the table fail to establish satisfactory grounds for 
the violent measures resorted to at Canton in the late affair of the Arrow ; 
and that a select committee be appointed to inquire into the state of our 
commercial relations with China." 

On this proposition a vigorous debate ensued. The purport of Cob- 
den s argument was an arraignment of Sir John Bowring, whom he charged 
with having violated international law, against his instructions, thus involv- 
ing the country in a difficulty the end of which might not be foreseen. 
Night after night the discussion broke out anew, until it was finally con- 
cluded by Lord Palmerston and a last speech by Cobden in support of his 
resolution. 

Among the arguments that of Mr. Gladstone was conspicuous for its 
ability. He denied that Sir John Bowring was on trial before the House, 
nor would the speaker allow the case of Sir John to c6nceal the real issue. 
It was the duty of the House to treat the absent representative of the gov- 
ernment with respect and justice, however much he might have erred in his 
relations with the Chinese. The great business of Parliament was to have 
respect to the honor of England in her relations with other governments. 
For his own part he was convinced that Sir John Bowring had committed a 
wrong, but he thought that that wrong had been done in excessive zeal for 
the cause which he represented. Whether it were or were not so done, the 
actions of Sir John Bowring were known to her majesty's government. His 
policy had not been reprehended or disapproved. He thought that the 
allegation made by honorable gentlemen of deep-seated wrongs done by the 
Chinese and treasured up in memory against them was not true. Why had 
not reparation in case of the ship Arrow been sought by means of reprisals } 
It could not be claimed that all the residents of Hong-Kong were British 
subjects ; and as to our treaty stipulations with China, what were they ? Had 
not the British nation itself broken the treaty by permitting the trade in 
opium to go on unchecked } Was not that trade prosecuted illicitly under 
the British flag by a fleet of lorchas differing not from buccaneers ? 

Such use of the British ensign was a shame to England. The people 
of Canton had suffered the greatest wrongs, and it was the duty of Parlia- 
ment to put an end to them. Had such a course been pursued by the gov- 
ernment there would have been no war with China. " Is it," said the speaker, 
" too late to disavow the wrongs that have been committed } Do we fear 
the moral effect of such disavowal? It behooves the House to consider 
what will be the moral impressions produced by refusing to disavow injus- 
tice and wrong. Every member of the House of Commons is proudly 



LAST HALF OF THE SIXTH DECADE. 273 

conscious that he belongs to an assembly which in its collective capacity is 
the paramount power of the State. But if it is the paramount power of the 
State it can never separate from that paramount power a similar and para- 
mount responsibility. The vote of the House of Lords will not acquit us; 
the sentence of the government will not acquit us. It is with us to deter- 
mine whether this wrong shall remain unchecked and uncorrected ; and at 
a time when sentiments are so much divided every man, I trust, will give his 
vote with the recollection and the consciousness that it may depend upon 
his single vote whether the miseries, the crimes, the atrocities that I fear are 
now proceeding in China are to be discountenanced or not. We have now 
come to the crisis of the case. England is not yet committed. With you, 
then, with us, with everyone of us, it rests to show that this House, which is 
the first, the most ancient, and the noblest temple of freedom in the world, 
is also the temple of that everlasting justice without which freedom itself 
would only be a name or only a curse to mankind. And I cherish the trust 
and belief that when you, sir, rise to declare in your place to-night the num- 
bers of the division from the chair which you adorn, the words which 
you speak will go forth from the walls of the House of Commons, not only 
as a message of mercy and peace, but also a message of British justice and 
British wisdom to the farthest corners of the world." 

Mr. Gladstone s address was so powerful and the impression produced 
by it so distinct that Lord Palmerston felt the necessity of a strong rally 
lest the majority should declare against the government on the Cobden 
resolution. The premier, always adroit and effective, spoke to the point 
that many factions were in union against the administration without other 
cause than the common cause of opposing the government. The House 
of Commons was the custodian of the lives and property of all British 
subjects. More than this, it was the custodian of the honor and fame of 
Great Britain herself. In that capacity the House must resist both the fact 
and the tendency of the pending motion. The reputation of Great Britain 
was at stake, and Lord Palmerston could not doubt that that reputation 
was sacred in the estimation of Parliament. 

At this juncture Mr. Disraeli saw his opportunity for a home thrust at 
the premier. For his part he said that he accepted the view that the 
pending resolution was in character a vote of censure on the government. 
As for the deprecatory remarks of Lord Palmerston relative to the combi- 
nation of factions against the administration, those remarks came with ill 
grace from a noble lord who had himself been the archetype of just such 
political combinations without principle as that which he now complained 
of. If the premier was about to be made a victim of the system of com- 
bining many parties against the party in power, then he was about to be 
victimized by a system of which he had been the greatest patron. More- 
18 



2 74 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

over, if Lord Palmerston did not approve of the act and judgment of 
the House in the matter now pending he had a right of appeal to the 
country. 

It is evident that Mr. Disraeli scented die disposition of the House to 
vote against the government on the Cobden resolution. The debate was 
closed, according to custom, by the author of the resolution. The result 
showed that his attack, powerfully supported by Gladstone and Disraeli, 
had prevailed. The resolution was adopted by a majority of sixteen. Lord 
Palmerston, however, regarded this vote as only an incidental expression of 
opposition, and not as a general condemnation of his policy. He announced 
this judgment to the House, and instead of accepting the adverse vote as 
an overthrow and resigning his office he declared that, since the recent 
divisions did not show want of confidence, he would dissolve Pariiament 
and appeal to the country. This was accordingly done, and the result 
showed that Lord Palmerston had not miscalculated public opinion. The 
government, instead of losing a part of its forces, gained considerably in 
the elections over the opposition. What was worse for the opposition was 
the fact that five of the most distinguished Liberals, namely, Cobden, Bright, 
Gibson, Fox, and Layard, were all defeated by the ministerial candidates. 
An effort was made to prevent the reelection of Gladstone for Oxford Uni- 
versity, but the effort was unsucoessfijl. The greater number of the remain- 
ing Peelites escaped the condemnation of the electors. 

At this juncture the financial history of England was again touched by 
that of our own country. The year 1857 witnessed a bank panic in the 
United States, and the contagion of it was felt abroad as high as the Bank 
of England. The directors of that institution appealed to the ministry to 
suspend the operation of the Bank Charter of 1844 so as to enable the 
hank to increase its issuea To this appeal the cabinet assented ; but die 
action thus taken had to be approved by Parliament by a resolution to 
indemnify the bank against the results of suspending the charter. On 
this question Mr. Gladstone spoke again, not in opposition to what was 
done, but father upon correlated questions which arose in connection there- 
with. He showed the House that the Charter Act related only to the issue 
of notes, but he believed that Parliament ought now to inquire by its 
committee into other questions. *" Instead of directing the committee," said 
he, ** to go round again the circle of inquiry into the currency and the law 
of issue it would be better employed in investigating the commercial causes 
of the late panic, and how far they were connected with the state of bank- 
ing. The effect of referring a heap of subjects to an overburdened com- 
mittee would be to postpone legislation and obstruct inquiries into the 
causes of the recent panic and the present embarrassment" In this debate, 
however, the government was ablq to liold its own ; the Gladstonian views 



LAST HALF OF THE SIXTH DECADE. 275 

did not take the form of specific action, and an amendment oiiered by Dis- 
raeli was rejected. 

Thus closed the parliamentary history for 1857, ^^^ ^^^ until Great 
Britain had been convulsed by the rebellion of the Sepoys in India. It was 
on the loth of May, in the year just named, that the dreadful insurrection 
broke out at Meerut. The insurgents were the native troops of Hindustan, 
organized, equipped, disciplined, and for the most part commanded by 
British officers^ They were called in their own language Sepakees, easily 
corrupted into Sepoys. The Hindus had made comparatively a good sol* 
diery. The government had recently adopted the policy of admitting the 
high-class Brahmans into the service, mostly in the capacity of officers. 
This brought into the ranks the confusion of caste. It also added ability 
and pride to the native ranks and complicated the problem with which 
Great Britain had to deal. 

Meanwhile, under the administration of the Earl of Dalhousie, the 
British dominion in India had been extended far in many directions. 
Empires had been annexed with multiplied millions and tens of millions 
of inhabitants. The method was the usual one of getting embroiled with 
the native princes and then reducing them to submission. In this manner^ 
within ten years of the time now under consideration, five great provinces 
had been invaded, either by intrigue or violence of arms, and annexed 
to the 'British dominions. These were the Punjab, Magpore, Jattani, 
Jhansi, and Oudh. The princes of these provinces, of ancient and illus- 
trious rank, had accepted the position of subordinates to which their con- 
querors assigned them. This process of conquest was attended with glory 
and profit. When the Punjab was taken the Kohinoor diamond, greatest 
gem of the world, was sent to England by the Maharajah of Lahore as 
his token of submission. The Governor General of India rose to the rank 
of a great potentate, and if his administration and that of his subordinates 
had not been characterized with the rapacity, injustice, and insolence for 
which British rule all over the world is proverbial, then all might have 
been well ; but the administration was well calculated to be both cause and 
occasion of a rebellion, and only an exciting cause was necessary to pro- 
duce it 

The whole world knows the story of the introduction of the Enfield 
rifles into the Anglo-Hindu army. The world knows also the story of the 
greased cartridges, and how the Sepoys at Meerut, finding that they must 
bite ofiF the cartridges, greased as they were said to be with the tallow of 
sacred cows and the odious fat of filthy swine, suddenly mutinied, rose upon 
their officers, broke into wild frenzy and perpetrated cruelties the memory 
of which still chills the blood. Those British officers who did not save them- 
selves as they might when the rebels came upon them were shot down or 



276 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

Stabbed to death. The women and children who got into the bastion of the 
Cashmere gate at Meerut were horribly butchered, though they were only 
defenseless refugees. Those who surrendered or put themselves in the 
power of the enraged Sepoys met the same fate as those who stood and 
fought. 

The mutiny spread like fire running in stubble before the wind. From 
Meerut it extended to Delhi, where the same horrid scenes were reen- 
acted. From Delhi the insurrection reached Lahore, and then extended to 
the cantonments at Lucknow, where the Seventy-first National Infantry was 
stationed. The British commander, Sir John Lawrence, and Sir Henry 
Lawrence, Governor of Oudh, and others, made the most strenuous efforts 
to save the garrisons and defend the exposed outposts. On the 2d of July 
Sir Henry Lawrence received a fatal wound. Expiring he left for his 
epitaph, " Here lies Henry Lawrence, who tried to do his duty." The task 
of relieving Lucknow had to be assumed by General Henry Havelock, of 
great memory. 

Meanwhile the insurrection broke out at Cawnpore, with a ferocity 
unequaled in any other part of the field. Cawnpore was a first-class mili- 
tary station. Here was situated the bridge by which reinforcements must 
pass on the highway to Lucknow, capital of the province. At Cawnpore 
there were about three thousand native soldiers. The place was inhabited 
by a mixed population of natives and Europeans, the latter numbering 
about a thousand. These included the women and children, the official^ of 
the government, the railway officers, merchants, and shopkeepers. The gar- 
rison was commanded by the venerable Sir Hugh Wheeler, already in his 
seventy-fifth year. 

Within the intrenched camp were the hospital and barracks. The non- 
military part of the population made their headquarters in a church and 
other buildings near the intrenchments. The commandant sent to Sir 
Henry Lawrence for aid ; but none could be given. Then it was that Sir 
Hugh Wheeler appealed to the chief of Bithoor, son of a Brahman of the 
Deccan, for assistance. He resided about twelve miles from Cawnpore. 
He was known as the Prince Nana Sahib, and was one of the most treach- 
erous and cruel villains that ever lived. He had a retinue of soldiers and 
three pieces of artillery. On receiving Sir Hugh's appeal he came speedily, 
and pretended to espouse the cause of the garrison ; but on reaching 
Cawnpore the mutineers summoned him to be their leader and to lead them 
against Delhi. 

The subtle chieftain turned against the English and ordered Sir Hugh 
Wheeler to surrender. This refused, the mutineers assaulted the intrench- 
ments and were repulsed. At this juncture the news came from Lucknow 
that not a man could be spared from the defense of that place. The 



LAST HALF OF THE SIXTH DECADE. 277 

mutineers gathered by thousands around the intrenchments. Reinforce- 
ments came from Oudh. The garrison was weakened day by day. The 
supplies began to fail. The insurgents could see that the fire of the garrison 
was weakening; but the defense continued 
desperately against the odds of thousands and 
the decree of fate. At last there was a nego- 
tiation, and Nana Sahib agreed that the 
garrison on surrendering might retire to 
Allahabad. Nothing else remained for the 
unfortunates but to accept this proposal, which 
was accordingly done. 

The story of what followed has been given 
to the fame of immemorial tragedy. It was 
determined to destroy the last one of the cap- 
tives. The poor wretches were put or begun 
to be put into boats, but before they could get 
away they were attacked at the shore and shot 
and butchered until all were destroyed. The 

remainder of the Europeans were confined in a s,^ colin Campbell. 

building, which was assailed, and here the 

crowning diabolism of butchery was accomplished. Then it was that the 
dry well behind the trees growing near by was stuffed to the curb with the 
mutilated bodies of men, women, and children, some of whom were still 
living when they were thrown in. It was reported that in some instances 
the Sepoys, by preference, threw in the children alive ! 

All this was at length discovered by Havelock's column coming to the 
rescue. Nor need we recite again the story of the horrors of Lucknow, or 
of how the mutiny was finally extinguished, or of the signal vengeance which 
the enraged British commanders took upon those who fell into their power. 
The Sepoy rebellion as a whole will long remain conspicuous as one of the 
most bloody and furious episodes in the history of war and human slaughter. 

The general result of the outbreak was to seal the fate of the British 
East India Company. That company had existed for more than two and 
a half centuries. Its original charter was granted by Elizabeth in i6oa It 
was now clearly perceived that no such corporation was fit for the govern- 
ment of India. The company existed for the prosecution of commerce. Its 
political functions had been acquired gradually, according to the enlarged 
demands which had fallen on the corporation. The smoke of the mutiny 
had not cleared away until one India bill after another was introduced for 
the better government of the races and nations that had been brought under 
the sway of the English scepter in the East 

The first measure of this kind was brought before the Commons in 



2/8 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

February of 1858, and had for its bottom principle to end the existing form 
of government in India. In the next place, a measure was introduced by 
the chancellor of the exchequer to abolish the political powers of the East 
India Company and to transfer the same to the crown. After some discus- 
sion this measure was withdrawn, and the third India bill was brought for- 
ward, which was discussed at considerable length, and was passed by the 
House on the 8th of July, 1858. By this act the entire political machinery 



GtlNEKAL HAVELOCK GREETED BV THE CHRISTIANS ^ 



and administrative powers of the company were transferred to the crown of 
Great Britain. It was enacted that India should be henceforth governed . 
by, and in the name of, the sovereign of England through one of the princi- 
pal ^secretaries of state, assisted by a council of fifteen members. . The gov- 
ernor general was to be entitled Viceroy of India. The British troops, act- 
ing hitherto under the company, and numbering about twenty-four thousand 
officers and men, were absorbed in the royal army of India, and the existing 
Indian navy was abolished as a separate service. Thus was constituted that 
empire of which, at a subsequent date, under the auspices of Benjamin Dis- 
raeli, now in office as chancellor of the exchequer, but then to be Premier of 
England, Victoria was to-be declared empress. 



LAST HALF OF THE SIXTH DECADIu 279 

The transfer of India, however, by the acts referred to from the com- 
pany which had so long controlled the destinies of that country to the 
crown of England was not effected without many acrimonious discussions 
and much opposition in Parliament We cannot be sure but that the posi- 
tion taken by Mr. Gladstone on this all-impoitant question was taken rather 
because he was in opposition than on the merits of the case. At any rate 
he spoke on several occasions in the session beginning in February' of 1858 
against the legislation of the government with reference to Indian affairs. 
He seemed to deprecate the agitation of the change. At first he opposed 
the abolition of the political prerogatives of the East India- Company. The 
India bill number two he also opposed, alleging the great difficulty in 
attempting to govern one people by another people separated, not only by 
distance, but by blood and institutions. 

Mr. Gladstone alleged that the directors of the East India Company 
had been practically a body protective of the people of India, and that he 
was unable to see in either of the plans thus far proposed an evidence of a 
better method than that already existing. The people of India should be 
protected, not only from those dangers to which they were exposed in their 
own environment, but against the errors and indiscretion of the people and 
Parliament of England. He believed that the liberties of the people of 
England as well as the people of India were endangered by the overreach- 
ing of parliamentary and executive prerogatives ; and in evidence of this he 
cited the fact that war had been made or undertaken in foreign countries, 
and debt incurred, without the knowledge or consent of the House of 
Commons. 

Later in the session Mr. Gladstone sought to prevent the renewal of 
the agitation for the transfer of the government of India to the crown of Eng- 
land. When the ministerial measure for Such transfer was finally matured 
he thought that the time had not arrived ; that there had not been oppor- 
tunity for consideration ; that the question of governing the millions of 
Hindustan was too great a question to be undertaken and completed in the 
manner proposed. He finally moved an amendment to the bill before Par- 
liament, providing that the British forces maintained out of the revenues of 
India should not be employed except for repelling actual invasion or beyond 
the frontier of India; but the amendment was negatived and the govern- 
mental measure became a law. 

In this opposition to the progressive measures so strongly suggested by 
the Sepoy rebellion Mr, Gladstone may have been impelled by his conserva- 
tive disposition to move slowly in a direction which he would have been 
willing to take under other conditions. But the British manner of antag- 
onizing^ whatever proceeds from the ministry, even if the antagonism goes 
no further than criticising mildly the given policy, was also^a moving motive 



28o LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

with the statesman. It may be allowed that his' opposition to the legisla- 
tive enactments by which India became an empire under the scepter of 
England was hardly in the interest of good policy, and certainly not in the 
interest of British civilization in the East. 

We here revert to the circumstances which brought about the over- 
throw of the Palmerston government. Early in the session of 1858 the 
premier brought before Parliament his measure called " The Conspiracy to 
Murder Bill." Recently a certain Felice Orsini, out of Forli, Italy, had 
attempted with certain confederates to assassinate Napoleon III with a 
bomb. This occurred on the 14th of January, 1858, The thing attempted 
was dastardly enough. Orsini had lived for some years in England and had 
been employed by Mazzini, the Italian patriot. From that vantage he had 
published ^ brochure on The Austrian Dungeons in Italy. He was a revolu- 
tionist and anarchist. The attempt on Napoleon s life awakened not a little 
sympathy. The Imperialists in France were rampant, saying among other 
things that England was a den of refuge for just such creatures as Orsini. 

The ministerial party in England had long been accused of strong 
sympathies with the imperial rigime across the Channel. In this condition 
of affairs Lord Palmerston introduced his bill proposing to make it a felony 
to conspire against the lives of rulers. At first the proposition was received 
with applause, but presently a wave of reaction went over the country, origi- 
nating in the peculiarly English sentiment that the proposed bill was really 
an instance of Lord Palmerston's toadying to the Emperor Napoleon. This 
distrust was fatal. The reaction came on like a wave of the sea. Milner 
Gibson offered to amend the ministerial measure as follows: "That this 
House hears with much concern that it is alleged the recent attempts upon 
the life of the emperor of the French have been devised in England, and 
expresses its detestation of such guilty enterprises ; that this House is ready 
at all times to assist in remedying any defects in the criminal law which, 
after due investigation, are proved to exist ; and that this House cannot but 
regret that her majesty's government, previously to inviting the House to 
amend the law of conspiracy at the present time, have not felt it their duty 
to reply to the important dispatch received from the French government, 
dated Paris, January 2q, 1858, which has been laid before Parliament." 

Hereupon a critical debate began. The mover of the resolution spoke 
thereto with great spirit. He attacked Lord Palmerston on the score of not 
having answered the Paris dispatch. That dispatch from the Count Alex- 
andre de Wale\yski. President of the Corps Legislatif, was an affront to Eng-^v^ 
land. Besides, the Due de Morny, recently ambassador to Russia, had 
declared that England was a den of savages, a nest of assassins. The 
speaker then read a paragraph from the London Times, to the effect that 
when Lord Palmerston made up his mind to court the good will of a foreign 




i 



LAST HALF OF THE SIXTH DECADE. 28 1 

power no sacrifice of principle or of interest was too great for him. The 
excerpt went on as follows : " From first to last his [Lord Palmerston*s] 
character has been the want of a firm and lofty adherence to the known 
interests of England, and it is precisely from a want of such guiding laws 
of conduct that our foreign policy has degenerated into a tissue of caprices, 
machinations, petty contentions, and everlasting disputes." These allega- 
tions against the head of the ministry were precisely of the kind to destroy 
it. A charge of being un-English directed against the cabinet, if not 
immediately and overwhelmingly refuted, is always fatal to an existing gov- 
ernment in Great Britain. 

Gibson's speech was followed with another of like purport, but still 
more able, by Mr. Gladstone. He began by expressing his approval of the 
recent alliance with France and the hope that that alliance might continue. 
He then alluded to the bickerings that had occurred between France and 
England since the treaty of Paris. He next interrogated the government 
to know whether the Count de Walewski s dispatch had been answered, 
and if not, why not ? To this Lord Palmerston, brought into a strait place, 
replied that he had given a verbal answer to the message referred to. 
Gladstone replied with much spirit that a verbal answer was not satisfactory 
to the House of Commons. The House demanded an explicit and une- 
quivocal answer to the French dispatch. That message had been inimical 
to the reputation of England. It behooved the government to answer 
these charges in no equivocal terms. An explanation should have been 
sent to the Count Walewski of the nature of the English Constitution and 
the customs of the realm with respect to domiciliated foreigners. 

This duty, the speaker said, had been neglected, and following this 
neglect the House was asked to pass the Conspiracy to Murder Bill. The 
request to do so did not consist with English dignity. Let none be led 
away, urged the speaker, with vagu'e statements about reforming the 
criminal law. Rather should there be an insistence on the necessity of 
vindicating the law. "As far as justice requires," said the speaker, "let us 
have the existing law vindicated, and then let us proceed to amend it if it 
be found necessary. But do not let us allow it to lie under a cloud of 
accusations of which we are convinced that it is totally innocent. These 
times are grave for liberty. We live in the nineteenth century ; we talk of 
progress ; we believe that we are advancing ; but can any man of observation 
who has watched the events of the last few years in Europe have failed to 
perceive that there is a movement indeed, but a downward and backward 
movement } There are a few spots in which institutions that claim our 
sympathy still exist and flourish. They are secondary places — nay, they are 
almost the holes and corners of Europe so far as mere material greatness is 
concerned, although their moral greatness will, I trust, insure them long 



282 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

prosperity and happiness. But in these times more than ever does responsi- 
bility center upon the institutions of England ; and if it does center upon 
England, upon her principles^ upon her laws, and upon her governors, then 
I say that a measure passed by this House of Commons — the chief hope of 
freedom — ^which attempts to establish a moral complicity between us and 
those who seek safety in repressive measures, will be a blow and a discour- 
agement to that sacred cause in every country in the world." 

Other speeches followed in like vein, but none so able or effective. 
The premier in his reply to these severe strictures of the opposition was 
less happy, though hardly less sarcastic, than usual. No doubt he 
apprehended the result. He assailed Milner Gibson for having become a 
patriot pro tempore. Formerly that gentleman had been the most sub- 
servient of any to foreign powers. The sjjeaker charged that Mr. Gibson 
was a member of a faction the attitude of which had been that it made no 
difference if England should be conquered by a foreign ^X^X^^ provided the 
English mills should siill keep running f This sally, though it was bitter 
enough, failed of effect because of the injustice of the charge, and when 
Lord Palmerston closed the impending result was already manifested. 
The Conspiracy to Murder Bill was defeated by a majority of nineteen votes. 

The ministry of Lord Palmerston went down with a crash. The usual 
resignations followed, and the usual reconstruction. Affairs seemed to hang 
for a while in medio. It appeared doubtful whether a new government 
could be constructed by either party out of materials that were sufficiently 
sympathetic to cohere. Her majesty sent, however, for the Earl of Derby. 
and to him assigned the task of reconstruction. That statesman succeeded 
fairly well with the work in hand. To Mr. Gladstone he offered the place 
of secretary for the colonies, but the offer was declined. Mr. Disraeli was 
a second time made chancellor of the exchequer. The composition of the 
cabinet was as harmonious as might be under the circumstances; but there 
was little promise of permanence. Upon the Derby government was 
devolved the duty of settling the all-important questions which arose out of 
the great insurrection in India — an account of which and of the terms of 
pacification we have already given. 

Once more at this epoch, namely, in the autumn of 1858, Mr. Gladstone 
and his future rival were almost at one. When Mr. Disraeli presented his 
budget for the year just named there was direct recognition of the 
Gladstonian plan of finance, outlined five years previously, and Mr. 
Gladstone expressed his thanks in the House to the chancellor of the 
exchequer for recommending certain measures which he regarded as highly 
important. Among these was the proposition to equalize the duties on 
spirits. If he were disposed to criticise any part of the budget it would be 
the failure of the chancellor of the exchequer to insist that the expenditures 



LAST HALF OF THE SIXTH DECADE. 283 

of the nation should be kept within the provisions of the income. The 
whole speech was so kindly in its manner as almost to produce an 
atonement between the two great men who were so long to divide the 
honors of their country. 

Though Mr. Gladstone would not accept the proffered place in the 
Derby cabinet he did accept the appoint- 
ment of lord high commissioner extraordin- 
ary to the Ionian Islands. This group, 
consisting of Corfu, Santa Maura, Cepha- 
lonia, Zante, Paxo, Ithaca, and Cerigo, with 
a few smaller islands, had a history extend- 
ing back at least as far as the Crusades. 
They had been annexed to France in 1797, 
conquered by the Russians and the Turks 
two years afterward, made a republic in 
1800, annexed to France in 1807, and put 
under the protection of Great Britain by the 
Congress of Vienna in 1815. The question 
of their annexation to Greece— 'which was 
destined to be effected in 1864— was already 
agitated. There were political difficulties 
among the lonians, and Mr. Gladstone was sent as the representative of 
Great Britain to inquire into the actual condition of affairs. 

In the meantime the secretary for the colonies had in a dispatch 
which got to the public hinted at the willingness of Great Britain to 
relinquish the protectorate. Another communication by Sir John Young, 
former high commissioner to Ionia, recommended the abandonment of the 
islands to their own way, with the exception of Corfu, which the lord high 
commissioner thought ought to be retained as a British fortress. The 
lonians were greatly excited and angered at these reports, and their 
Legislative Assembly, in January of 1859, prepared a petition to the 
British government for annexation of the Ionian Islands to Greece. Mr. 
Gladstone, to whom the petition was presented, was obliged to inform his 
government that the Ionian people were unanimous in favor of their union 
with Greece. Mr. Gladstone remained in his office of lord high commis- 
sioner until the 19th of February, 1859, when he embarked on his return to 
England, and was succeeded by General Sir Henry Storks. The question 
of annexation continued to be agitated until Great Britain finally yielded, 
withdrew her garrisons, and assented to the union of Ionia with Greece. 

In a future chapter of this work we shall consider somewhat in extenso 
the literary work and genius of William E. Gladstone. Vox the present we 
make note of the fact that in the year 1858 he published his remarkable 



284 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

book entitled Studies on Homer and the Homeric Age. The work bears 
the imprint of Oxford, and is regarded by most critics as the best and most 
scholarly production of its author. The appearance of the book greatly 
enhanced the reputation of Mr. Gladstone among his countrymen. Critics 
gave him a large measure of commendation. It was seen that a British 
statesman much occupied with affairs, a parliamentarian, a responsible 
leader, and an aspirant for the highest honors of his country, could never- 
theless find time and inspiration for the composition of a scholarly, even a 
profound, treatise on the Homeric problems. To this question we shall 
revert in future pages. 

History had provided a short life for the administration of Lord 
Derby. The public mind of Great Britain had by the year 1859 suffi- 
ciently cooled from the heats of the Crimean War and the East Indian 
insurrection to turn to the consideration of certain reforms relative to Par- 
liament. Public opinion now ran strongly in this direction. On the assem- 
bling of Parliament in February of 1859 ^ Reform Bill which had been 
prepared was announced to the House of Commons. The tide of public 
sentiment could no longer be stemmed. John Bright, before great assem- 
blies of the people in Birmingham, Manchester, and Glasgow, had denounced 
the existing system of representation in terms so scathing that ministerial 
notice must be taken of the abuses complained of, and a Reform Bill had 
to be brought in^ as a panacea. 

It fell to the part of Mr. Disraeli to introduce and defend the proposed 
measure. By it it was proposed to establish a new rule of suffrage on a basis 
of personal property. Every person having ten pounds yearly from the 
public funds or a pension of twenty pounds, as well as ministers, graduates 
of the university, lawyers, and doctors should have the right of suffrage. 
The principle of suffrage should be extended impartially to the counties 
and the towns. It was estimated that about two hundred thousand suffrages 
would by this means be gained by the country districts. This was well 
enough, but the gain made by the country was thought to be at the expense 
of the towns. Members of both parties attacked the measure on the ground 
that freeholders in towns were robbed by the proposed scheme of the votes 
which they were then entitled to cast in the counties. 

The dissension over the bill extended into the cabinet. Two of the 
ministers refused to support the measure. Lord John Russell introduced 
an amendment, " That this House is of opinion that it is neither just nor 
politic to interfere in the manner proposed by this bill with the freehold 
franchise as hitherto exercised in counties in England and Wales ; and that 
no readjustment of the franchise will satisfy this House or the country 
which does not provide for a greater extension of the suffrage in cities and 
boroughs than is contemplated in the present measure." 



LAST HALF OF THE SIXTH DECADE. 285 

This expression from Lord John Russell, now in his seventy-second 
year, created a profound impression. Lord John advocated his measure 
briefly, and ended with this remarkable declaration, '* With regard to this 
great question of reform I may say that I defended it when I was young, 
and I will not desert it now that I am old." The Liberals and Progressives 
caught at the question eagerly. Herbert and Bright both made effective 
speeches. Gladstone took up the theme in a cautious way. Within certain 
limits he would assent to the governmental plan. He made note of the 
fact that the political parties were not divided on the general question of a 
reform. He thought if the amendment should be adopted little good would 
arise, but rather harm, in unsettling a government that was not strongly 
fortified. As matters stood the administration had strong claims upon the 
support of the House. 

The speaker proceeded almost humorously to present a sketch of the 
vicissitudes of reform during the decade. " In 185 1," said he, "my noble 
friend, then the first minister of the crown, approached the question of 
reform and commenced with a promise of what was to be done twelve 
months afterward. In 1852 he brought in a bill, and it disappeared together 
with the ministry. In 1853 we had the ministry of Lord Aberdeen, which 
commenced with a promise of reform in twelve months' time. Well, 1854 
arrived ; with it arrived the bill, but with it also arrived the war, and in the 
war was a reason, and I believe a good reason, for abandoning the bill. 
Then came the government of my noble friend the member for Tiverton, 
which was not less unfortunate in the circumstances that prevented the 
redemption of those pledges which had been given to the people from the 
mouth of the sovereign on the throne. In 1855 my noble friend escaped 
all responsibility for a Reform Bill on account of the war; in 1856 he 
escaped all responsibility for reform on account of the peace; in 1857 he 
escaped that inconvenient responsibility by the dissolution of Parliament ; 
and in 1858 he escaped again by the dissolution of his government." 

Mr. Gladstone proceeded in a spirited discussion of the question, crit- 
icising here and approving there'the principles involved. As a true towns- 
man he objected to the loss by freeholders in boroughs of their franchise 
in the counties. He also held back from the principle of making the fran- 
chise uniform, but he favored the reduction of the suffrage now allowed to 
boroughs. He insisted that this must be done if any genuine reform was 
to be instituted. He agreed that the seats in Parliament, as the same were 
now conceded to the constituencies, would have to be redistributed. He 
pleaded for the small boroughs of England and for the maintenance of 
their liberties. He ventured to think that from this quarter the great men 
of England were largely derived. He favored a committee of the whole 
for the consideration of the question. He wished to see the issue settled. 



286 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E, GLADSTONE. 

in casting his vote against the ajnendment proposed by Lord Russell he 
would not be understood as voting for the government or for any party. 

It was evident at this juncture that the House was under the dominion 
of chaos. When it came to the second reading of the ministerial bill that 
measure was negatived by a majority of thirty-nine votes. The decision of 
the House was sufficiently^ distinct, but Lord Derby was of opinion that 
the House did not represent the country on the pending issue. He there- 
fore dissolved Parliament on the 19th of April, 1859, ^^^ made the usual 
appeal to the constituencies. The result showed that the judgment of Lofxl 
Derby had been well grounded- The new elections gave the government a 
considerable majority. Oxford University continued its support of Mr. 
Gladstone. Parliament was reconvened on the last day of May, and for the 
moment all seemed well for the existing order. When, however, the 
address to the queen was pnesented the debate broke out with more than 
the usual sharpness. An amendment, changing the tone and contradicting 
the statements of the address, was made by the Marquis of Hartington. 
To this several members spoke, and when it came to a vote of the House 
the government was again in the minority. 

Under English usage there was nothing left for the Earl of Derby 
but to resign his offioe. Whom should the queen send for in his stead 
but Lord Paimerston ? That eccentric statesman, again in full feather, 
came to the fore and successfully organized a new government, in which 
the place of chanoeilor of the exchequer was assigned to Mr. Gladstone. 
Thus at the close of the sixth decade' the statesman whose life and work 
are the subject of this treatise, being then fifty years of age, found himself 
for the second time in a position of responsibility inferior by but a little to 
that of Prime Minister of England 



MINISTER OF FINANCE UNI>ER PALMERSTON. 2&7 




CHAPTER XVII. 

Minister of Finance under Palmerston. 

[Y his acceptance of office under Lord Palmerston, Mr. Glad- 
stone raised a storm of opposition among- his constituents. It 
could be said agr^inst him that in the )ate ministerial crisis he 
had voted to sustain the Earl of Derby ; now he had accepted 
office under the successor of Lord Derby. This must signify 
that he had turned his political coat — of which there had been vague susr- 
prcion for some years — and had gone over to Liberalism, a thing intolerable 
to Oxford. 

The cry against the new chancellor of the exchequer rose high in that 
sacred seat of the past. Mr. Gladstone must submit his case to his con- 
stituency before assuming office under Palmerston* The Conservative party 
at Oxford rose up against him and proposed as its candidate the Marquis 
of Chandos. The contest became spirited and was marked with some 
animosity. It seemed in vain for Mr. Gladstones friends to explain that his 
late vote in favor of Lord Derby was on)y given /ro /or ma. In vain did they 
urge that he had not been guilty of changing- his political affiliations^ The 
clamor was so great that it seemed Mr. Gladstone would be here and now 
defeated; but when it came to the nomination on the 27th of June, ^&59t 
the vote showed a safe but not overwhelming majority in his favor. Under 
this indorsement of his constituents he was again able to take up his duties 
as chancellor of the exchequer. This he did by presenting his budget in 
the House of Conwnons on the i8th of July. He did so in his usual happy 
manner, commanding the closest attention of the members. 

The aggregate results of Mr. Gladstone's recommendation pointed to a 
revenue of a little over sixty-four million pounds and an expenditure of a 
little more than sixty-nine million pounds for the current year. The balance 
showed a deficit of nearly five million pounds. The chancellor in present- 
ing the budget intimated that the same had been prepared in the short 
space of time at his disposal, and that the measures recommended were not 
to be considered as a finality. The time was near at hand, even at the door, 
when the income tax must cease. This would make a large reduction in the 
revenues. Another reduction would follow the abatement of the war duties 
on tea and sugar. Against this he was able to point to the coming^ in of the 
duties on annuities ; but for the present there would be a deficiency. As he 
had ever been, he was still opposed to increasing the national debt He 
would Ttot assent to do so unless he were forced by an implacable necessity. 
He should oppose the method of making* loans. Rather would he prefer 
the system of taxation. England was now prosperous. The people were 



i 



^ 



288 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

well satisfied with the demands made upon them in the way of taxation. If 
it should be necessary to increase the tax schedule it must be done in the 
form either of a direct or an indirect imposition. 

The chancellor did not think it wise to increase the duty on malt or 
that on distilled spirits. He should also oppose an increase in the customs 
or excises. What remained? Only the income tax ; and that was about to 
expire. The deficit which the treasury must meet was nearly five millions. 
By a readjustment of the tax on malt the treasury could gain at once the 
sum of seven hundred and eighty thousand pounds. The remaining four 
million pounds he proposed to meet by increasing the income tax from five- 
pence to ninepence the pound. By this means he could obtain the requisite 
four million pounds. Beginning with the incomes of a hundred and fifty 
pounds and upward he would make the addition to the rate fourpence the 
pound ; but for incomes under a hundred and fifty pounds he would increase 
the rate by only one and a halfpence the pound. He would postpone the 
falling of the tax for a half year after the adoption of a new schedule. By 
this means, instead of a deficit, the treasury might obtain a surplus of a 
quarter of a million. Concluding his presentation the speaker said : " Instead 
of ascribing to the great English people a childish impatience to meet the 
necessary demands with w^hich they were never chargeable, I, on the con- 
trary, shall rely on their unyielding, inexhaustible energy and generous 
patriotism, and shall be confident that they will never shrink from or refuse 
any burden required in order to sustain the honor or provide for the security 
of the country." 

Here then the tables were completely turned. It was now Mr. Dis- 
raeli's opportunity to give back the compliment of the limited support which 
he in office had received from Mr. Gladstone. But Benjamin Disraeli was 
not that sort of a statesman. He, however, had good. grounds for the opposi- 
tion which he now made to the Gladstonian budget. He took up the very 
argument which Mr. Gladstone had himself so many times employed, 
namely, that the expenditures were enormous and ought to be reduced. He 
protested against the scale by which the public funds were consumed. The 
revenues derived from the income tax, said he, were wasted. The expendi- 
tures in support of enormous military and naval establishments ought to be 
reduced by reducing the establishments themselves. Great Britain could not 
be taxed seventy million pounds annually. It behooved Great Britain and 
France to reduce their armaments, and thus to obviate the charge of hypoc- 
risy when pretending to desire universal peace. If such a policy should be 
adopted then Great Britain, the government of Great Britain, could make 
good its oft-repeated pledge with respect to the income tax, namely, that 
that odious tax should cease with the year i860. 

Mr. Gladstone agreed with a part of what his rival had said. He con- 



MINISTER OF FINANCE UNDER PALMERSTON. 289 

curred in as much as related to the reduction in the armaments of Europe. 
He declared that England would be in duty bound to favor a movement of 
this kind. He objected, however, to Disraeli s denunciation of international 
congresses. In the recent cabinet of which Mr. Disraeli had been a mem- 
ber international conferences had been promoted. Such bodies might be 
regarded with favor as agencies for the establishment of peace. Mr. Glad- 
stone insisted that the income tax might be effectively and justly extended 
so that one half of the additional levy might rest on the year 1860-6 1. The 
debate ended by the adoption without amendment of the budget as it came 
from the hands of the chancellor of the exchequer. 

It was in the summer of this year that Free Italy began to be by war. 
A conflict between that country, supported by France, and the Austrian 
empire had been impending since the beginning of the year. The Austrian 
dbmination in Italy could not be longer endured. Victor Emmanuel 
appeared as the champion of the Italian cause in the field and Count 
Cavour as its champion in the cabinet. On the 3d of May, 1859, Napoleon 
III espoused the Sardinian cause, declaring his purpose to make Italy free 
from the Alps to the Adriatic. A week later he left Paris for Genoa. The 
French and Italians combined against the Austrians, and on the 20th of 
May a severe battle was fought at Montebello. 

Strategic movements on the part of the allies were now made, and the 
second battle successful to them was fought at Palestro. On the 31st of 
May the French moved on Novara. Next was fought the great battle of 
Magenta, lasting through the greater part of the 4th of June, and ending in 
a complete victory for the allies. The Emperor of the French and the 
King of Sardinia entered Milan four days afterward and were received with 
wild demonstrations by the people. The next engagement occurred at 
Malegnano, where the Austrians were defeated and driven back across the 
plains of Lombardy to the line of the Mincio. The allies pursued them, 
and the advance divisions came together near the village of Solferino, where 
on the 24th of June, 1859, ^he decisive battle of the war was fought. On 
the one side the allies were commanded by the Emperor of the French and 
the King of Sardinia. The Austrians were under command of the Emperor 
Francis Joseph, and were defeated with a loss of about twenty thousand 
men. Such was the severity of the fighting that the allied losses were 
nearly as great. 

Just afterward, while expectation was on tiptoe throughout Europe as 
to the next stage of the war, the two emperors, Austrian and French, met at 
Viilafranca and concluded a treaty of peace the overtures of which were 
made by Napoleon. That astute ruler perceived that should he press his 
vantage further the whole Germanic confederation would probably rise 
against him. He therefore adroitly brought the war to an unexpected 

19 



290 LIFE AUp TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 



WILLIAM £. GLADSTONE, 18J9. 






MINISTER OF FINANCE UNDER PALMERSTON. 29 1 

close. An armistice was signed on the 8th of July, and the treaty was pro- 
claimed just afterward. The principal features of the settlement were as 
follows : 

1. The two sovereigns will favor the creation of an Italian confederation. 

2. That confederation shall be under the honorary presidency of the 
holy father. 

3. The Emperor of Austria cedes to the Emperor of the French his 
rights over Lombardy, with the exception of the fortresses of Mantua and 
Peschiera, so that the frontier of the Austrian possessions shall start from 
the extreme range of the fortress of Peschiera, and shall extend in a direct 
line along the Mincio as far as Grazio ; thence to Scorzarolo and Luzana to 
the Po, whence the actual frontiers shall continue to form the limits of Aus- 
tria. The Emperor of the French will hand over {remettra) the ceded terri- 
tory to the King of Sardinia. 

4. Venetia shall form part of the Italian confederation, though remain- 
ing under the crown of the Emperor of Austria. 

5. The Grand Duke of Tuscany and the Duke of Modena return to 
their States, granting a general amnesty. 

6. A full and complete amnesty is granted on both sides to persons 
compromised in the late events in the territories of the belligerent parties. 

These important events occurred on the Continent without the partici- 
pation of England. Great Britain feels herself disparaged under such cir- 
cumstances. If history seems at any time to go forward without her helping 
hand she conceives that history is neglectful and mankind in error. At this 
juncture the project of a peace conference to settle the status of Italy was 
agitated. The measure got utterance in the House of Commons. Lord 
Elcho in that body introduced a resolution : "That in the opinion of the 
House it would be consistent neither with the honor nor the dignity of this 
country to take part in any conference for the purpose of settling the details 
of a peace the preliminaries of which have been arranged between the 
Emperor of the French and the Emperor of Austria." An effort was made to 
avoid the discussion of this issue, but Mr. Gladstone boldly met it with a 
declaration that the House was willing to reject the resolution by a direct 
vote, or if the opinion prevailed that the time was inopportune for consider- 
ing the resolution then the House was equally ready to concur in a motion 
which had been made for the previous question. 

In English usage the previous question is debatable. The speaker 
accordingly went on to review Lord Elcho's proposition. " It might be 
well," he said, " that the details of the peace, so far as they relate singly to 
questions of the war, shall be determined by the participants therein ; but if 
questions of international import arise out of the conflict then there is no 
reason why Great Britain and other neutral States may not with honor and 



292 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

dignity confer about the conditions of settlement." The present govern- 
ment in this respect was not, the speaker thought, departing from the policy 
of its predecessor. The government had preserved its neutrality. It 
appeared that the mover of the resolution before the House had a fear lest 
Great Britain participating in a conference should show herself the enemy 
of Austria. Great Britain was not the enemy of Austria. Such an assump- 
tion was gratuitous. Great Britain wished well to Austria and the Austrian 
people. True, the government might suppose Austria to be in the wrong 
in the Italian complication. He did not hesitate to say that Austria had 
repressed Italian liberty with an iron hand. The political abuses of Italy 
were under the patronage and promotion of Austria. In so far as Great 
Britain might participate in a peace conference it would be to consider 
whatever was best for Europe as a whole, and not only what might be best 
for Italy or Austria. He would suggest that the last*named power would 
be the stronger for a withdrawal from Italy and Italian affairs. The true 
policy for Great Britain might be the policy of nonintervention ; but the 
speaker appealed to the records to show that the policy must have its limi- 
tations. It had been said that England either confided in the Emperor of 
the French, and might therefore trust him to determine the conditions of 
peace — in which event there would be no call for participation in the peace 
conference — or else England did not confide in the Emperor of the French, 
in which event she should not participate. Mr. Gladstone would agree 
with Lord Elcho on the last proposition ; but why not participate in a con- 
ference with Napoleon I II, if that ruler possessed the confidence of England ? 

The debate continued with sharp fire all along the line. In the discus- 
sion speeches were made by several of the strongest parliamentarians, 
including Mr. Disraeli and Lord Palmerston. None of them, however, were 
thought to equal in force the chancellor of the exchequer, whose explication 
of the subject was so clear that Lord Elcho withdrew his resolution, and 
the matter ended. 

It was at this juncture that the first symptoms of the great religious 
question which was to play sc large a part in the history of England for the 
next two decades' were seen in parliamentary debates. England was Prot- 
estant and Episcopalian; Ireland, Roman Catholic. During the current ses- 
sion of Parliament an amendment bill was offered to the Roman Catholic 
Relief Act, declaring the eligibility of a Roman Catholic to the office of Lord 
Chancellor of Ireland. Such a proposition was a red flag to a considerable 
faction in the House of Commons. This party was composed of extreme 
Church of England men and of such Irish members as were affiliated or in 
sympathy with the society of Orangemen. Two members in particular, Mr. 
Newdegate and Mr. Whiteside, made inflammatory speeches against the 
proposed measure. They denounced the proposition as inimical to the 



MINISTER OF FINANCE UNDER PALMERSTON. 293 

British Constitution. They attempted to show that the passage of such a 
measure would undo the guarantees of 1829. 

It appears that the argument of these gentlemen against the enlarge- 
ment of religious toleration in Ireland was exceedingly distasteful to Mr. 
Gladstone, who awaited his opportunity to speak. It was noticed by all 
that he had been much improved in person and spirits by his recent sojourn 
and rest in the Ionian Islands. His vigorous health was remarked upon, 
and when he began his speech an unusual fire appeared in his oratory. He 
spoke for only a short time, but his effort was so powerful as to arouse the 
House to an unusual pitch of excitement It was said by eyewitnesses that 
the effect of the address was as marked as any which had been delivered in 
Parliament since the days of Sir Robert Peel. So conservative, however, 
was the temper of the House and of the British nation that some time 
elapsed before the pending proposition was accepted. 

It was at the close of the sixth decade, or rather in the first year of the 
seventh, that Great Britain was confirmed in her policy of free trade by a 
commercial alliance with France, on the basis of that principle and practice. 
It appears that the Emperor Napoleon III had, during his long sojourn in 
England, studied the question of free trade and protection with the greatest 
interest. His residence in London coincided with that period when Great 
Britain was passing from her immemorial policy of protection to the then 
untried method of free trade. The Bonaparte was convinced that the 
change was of an expedient and salutatory character. On his accession to 
power he was virtually a free trader ; but not so the French nation. The 
first years of his reign were occupied with the adjustment of the imperial 
relations, with the Crimean War, and with the Italian complication. Not 
until the latter difficulty was settled was there opportunity for him, either 
singly or in conjunction with Great Britain, to promote a change in the 
commercial theory and practice of France. 

It appears that the alliance about to be effected between England and 
France originated with the powerful speaking of John Bright -It happened 
that the report of the arguments and appeals made by Bright fell into the 
hands of M. Chevalier, the French ambassador at London, who, convinced 
of the validity of the reasoning, signified to Richard Cobden his belief that 
a commercial policy on the principle of free trade might then be negotiated 
between France and England. The result was that Cobden himself was, by 
the advice and under the auspices of the chancellor of the exchequer, sent 
to Paris, where, after interviews with the emperor, he entered into formal 
negotiations with Count Walewski, Minister for Foreign Affairs. 

Full accounts have been preserved by Cobden of his repeated inter- 
views with Napoleon and the leading statesmen of the imperial government 
Gladstone himself was, as chancellor of the exchequer, behind the movement 



294 



LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 



on the English side, or at least a strong supporter of it. He was the most 
powerful official factor in the negotiations, though the skill of management 
was Cobden's. A paragraph from the diary of Cobden for the 21st of 
December, 1859, shows clearly enough the bottom element in the move- 
ment: " Had an interview with the emperor at the Tuileries. I explained to 
him that Mr. Gladstone, the chancellor of the exchequer, was anxious to 



RICHARB COBDtN. 



prepare his budget for the ensuing session of Parliament, and that it would 
be a convenience to him to be informed as soon as possible whether the 
French government was decided to agree to a commercial treaty, as in that 
case he would make arrangements accordingly ; that he did not wish to be 
in possession of the details, but merely to know whether the principle of a 
treaty was determined upon. The emperor said he could have no hesitation 
in satisfying me on that point ; that he had quite made up his mind to enter 



MINISTER OF FINANCE UNDER PALMERSTON. 295 

into the treaty, and that the only question was as to the details. He spoke 
of the difficulties he had to overcome, owing to the powerful interests that 
were united in defense of the -present system, * The protected industries 
combine [said Napoleon], but the general public do not/ " 

The success of Mr. Cobden in negotiating the commercial treaty was 
complete. The extract just given shows how profound was Mr. Gladstone's 
interest in the thing accomplished. The preparation of his budget for i860 
depended upon whether or not France could be induced to abandon her 
system of import duties. Cobden at Paris was Gladstone's agent. He was 
there at first in a wholly unofficial capacity. All he could say to the Emperor 
of the French was that the English nation would be favorably disposed 
toward a commercial treaty. At length the matter proceeded so far that 
Cobden received official instructions from Lord John Russell, and in the 
subsequent proceedings was a representative of the government. 

The treaty in question was framed with great concessions to the prin- 
ciple of free trade. The duties which had been previously laid by the two 
governments on importations of each others goods were either wholly 
abolished or greatly reduced. On the F^rench side the tariff on English coal 
and coke, wrought iron, tools, machinery, yarns, flax, and hemp was so 
reduced as ^o make the importation of these articles into France virtually 
free. On the other hand, and on the English side, the duties on light French 
wines were abolished — a measure which led at once to a great increase in 
the consumption of such drinks in Great Britain. It was noticed, moreover, 
that the consumption of the heavy alcoholic beverages, hitherto used in such 
excessive quantities in England, was reduced in a corresponding ratio. 

The relation of Gladstone to this important stage in the economic 
progress of Europe illustrates the history of his whole life. He had not 
been an original agitator for free trade. That work had been accomplished 
by Cobden, Bright, and their coworkers of the Manchester school. Glad- 
stone always rose on the crest of movements which he followed rather than 
led, and controlled because those who had originated the impulse could not 
command the opinion of Great Britain sufficiently to be the leaders of 
the very progress which they had initiated. The commercial treaty with 
France was of vast importance, not only to the immediate measures which 
the chancellor of the exchequer wished to devise in the department of 
finance, but bore powerfully upon the whole policy of Great Britain, fixing 
and confirming it in that forni which it has ever since maintained. 

It was as early as February, in i860, that Mr. Gladstone came forward 
with that budget about which a good deal of his financial fame hangs like a 
halo. He had suffered a temporary illness at the time, and was not able to 
present his statement until the tenth of the month. Old parliamentarians 
long retained a memory of the extraordinary scene then witnessed. Rarely 



296 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E, GLADSTONE. 

has the hall of the House of Commons been so packed as on that occasion. 
Mr. Gladstone came to his task and kept the closest attention of the House 
and of the throng of spectators for fully four hours. His immense will 
stood him well in hand, and his hearers were not able to detect in his voice 
or manner the evidences of his recent indisposition. 

All the biographers of the statesman agree with common tradition in 
making the occasion of the budget of i860 memorable in the annals of the 
financial history of Great Britain. We may not doubt that the happy 



MEMBERS LOBBY, HOUSE OF COMMONS. 



faculty had been reserved for Gladstone to combine with the mere statistics 
and bare recommendations of the budget a method of exposition, illustra- 
tion, argument, and even appeal which converted the document into an 
address of the highest order and the occasion of its delivery into an 
oratorical fite. 

The House of Commons, having resolved itself into Committee of the 
Whole, was ready to hear the finance minister in his address on the budget. 
Beginning, he said: "Sir, public expectation has long marked out the year 
]86o as an important epoch in British finance. It has long been well known 



MINISTER OF FINANCE UNDER PALMERSTON. 297 

that in this year, for the first time, we were to receive from a process not of 
our own creation a very great relief in respect of our annual payment of in- 
terest upon the national debt — a relief amounting to no less a sum than two 
million one hundred and fort)'-six thousand pounds — a relief such as we 
never have known in time past, and such as, I am afraid, we shall never 
know in time to come. Besides that relief other and more recent 
arrangements have kdded to the importance of this juncture. A revenue of 
nearly twelve million pounds a year, levied by duties on tea and sugar, 
which still retain a portion of the additions made to them on account of the 
Russian war, is about to lapse absolutely on the 31st of March, unless it 
shall be renewed by Parliament. The income tax act, from which during 
the financial year we shall have derived a sum of between nine million 
and ten miUion pounds, is likewise to lapse at the very same time, although 
an amount not inconsiderable will still remain to be collected in virtue of the 
law about to .expire. And lastly, an event of not less interest than any of 
these, which has caused public feeling to thrill from one end of the country 
to the other — I mean the treaty of commerce, which my noble friend the 
foreign minister has just laid on the table — has rendered it a matter of 
propriety, nay, almost of absolute necessity, for the government to request 
the House to deviate, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, from its 
usual, its salutary, its constitutional practice of voting the principal charges 
of the year before they proceed to consider the means of defraying them, 
and has induced the government to think they would best fulfill their duty 
by inviting attention on the earliest possible day to those financial arrange- 
ments for the coming year which are materially affected by the treaty with 
France, and which, though they reach considerably beyond the limits of 
that treaty, yet, notwithstanding, can only be examined by the House in a 
satisfactory' manner when examined as a whole." 

These strong and comprehensive utterances were but the prelude of 
the address that followed. Mr. Gladstone in the next place declared his 
satisfaction with the announcement which he was able to make that for the 
past year the revenues of the government had surpassed the estimates by 
more than half a million pounds. The expenditures had been less than the 
estimated income by about half a million. He was therefore pleased to 
announce on the face of the balances a surplus of a million six hundred 
and twenty-five thousand pounds. There had, however, been an ex- 
traordinary expenditure of nine hundred thousand pounds incident to 
the Chinese war, and also an unforeseen expense of the navy of two 
hundred and seventy thousand pounds. These two items were a virtual 
offset to the surplus. But there was another item of six hundred and 
forty thousand pounds, in the way of a reduction on the score of the 
abolished duties on French wines. The speaker was able, however, to 



-^^ 



298 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

report the payment of an old debt due from Spain, amounting to a half 
million pounds. . . 

Mr. Gladstone next referred to the charge against the government on 
the score of the interest of the public debt and to the annuities which were 
about to expire. This brought him to the particulars of revenue to be 
expected from various sources for the following year. He made compara- 
tive showings reaching back not only to the period when he had first held 
the place of chancellor of the exchequer, but as far as 1842, demonstrating 
how greatly the country had grown in its resources and capabilities. All 
kinds of industry had been promoted. Agriculture had gained most of all. 
Wealth had increased more rapidly than the aggregate of expenditures. 
Notwithstanding the great revenues that might be expected he must 
announce a deficit of nine million four hundred thousand pounds to be 
provided for. He thought that a maximum of a shilling a pound in the way 
of income tax would meet the demand of the treasury and at the same time 
relieve consumers of the tax on sugar and tea. The income tax which had 
been so burdensome had been met without complaint. Now, that the 
commercial treaty with France had been effected, the country would rest 
assured of an early relief from the tax on incomes. There might have been 
incidental, but there certainly was no general discontent on the score of the 
tax referred to, though here and there the voice of the caviler had been 
heard. 

In the next division of his oration Mr. Gladstone discussed the general 
question of the relation of reduced taxation to the aggregate of revenues, 
showing by examples that in all cases the removal of the burdens from 
trade and commerce resulted, in no great time, in swelling the revenues of 
a State. This brought the speaker to the immediate consideration of the 
recent commercial treaty with France. He told the House that he should 
confidently recommend the adoption of the treaty as fulfilling and satisfying 
the conditions of the most beneficial kind of change in commercial legisla- 
tion. He enumerated the articles exported from Great Britain to France, 
on which the duties had been either reduced or abolished, namely, coal, 
iron, yarn, flax, hemp, etc. Part of the duties were to cease in the current 
year; others were to expire in 1861. Within four years there should be 
no duty remaining at a higher figure than twenty-five per cent ad valorem. 

As reciprocal with these great advantages Great Britain would agree 
to the immediate abolition of all duties on imported manufactures from 
France ; to a reduction of the duty on brandy to eight shillings twopence to 
the gallon ; on French wines, to three shillings the gallon, with a sliding 
scale according to quality down to one shilling the gallon, etc. This sug- 
gested the question whether the great advantages gained in these respects 
for British commerce had been purchased with a sacrifice of dignity or 



MINISTER OF FINANCE UNDER PALMERSTON. 299 

national honor. This intimation the speaker rejected as unfounded. There 
had been no subserviency to France. The time had come when the two 
powers found it mutually to their interest to dwell in peace and amity. 
This had not always been so. There had been a time when the alliance of 
the two nations had been coupled with the shame of England. There was 
one former instance in which close relations of amity had been established 
between the two governments, but that instance was a dark spot in English 
annals. " The spot is dark," said the speaker, " because the union was a 
union formed in the spirit of domineering ambition on the one side and of 
base and most corrupt servility on the other. But that, sir, was not a 
union of nations; it was a union of the governments. This is not to be a 
union of the governments apart from the countries ; it is, as we hope, to be 
a union of the nations themselves ; and I confidently say again, as I have 
already ventured to say in this House, that there never can be any union 
between the nations of England and France, except a union beneficial to 
the world, because directly that either the one or the other of the two begins 
to harbor schemes of selfish aggrandizement that moment the jealousy of 
its neighbor will be aroused and will beget a powerful reaction ; and the 
very fact of their being in harmony will of itself at all times be the most 
conclusive proof that neither of them can be engaged in meditating any- 
thing which is dangerous to Europe." 

Mr. Gladstone next urged that the fears that might arise in the minds 
of some lest the commercial treaty might be in principle and effect an imped- 
iment to free trade were entirely unfounded. The treaty could not imply 
anything of the kind unless it should contain provision for exclusive privi- 
leges to one or the other of the high contracting parties. No such privileges 
were contemplated. On the contrary, the whole tenor of the compact was 
favorable to free trade and against the principle of protection. He remarked 
with some humor that Protection, dwelling formerly in palaces and other 
high places of the earth and more recently finding refuge in certain corners 
dnd holes of the commercial world, was now about to be ejected from his 
last hiding places. He showed in the next place that the duties which were 
struck off by the provisions of the treaty were not revenues in fact, but pro- 
tective tariffs. He demonstrated with facts and figures the advantage both 
to England and France of the system of free interchange which had been 
adopted. He pursued the subject, in illustration of the effects of the treaty, 
the duties on spirits, and showed how the removal of duties brought those 
articles on which the duties had rested within reach of an ever-enlarging 
class of consumers. 

Thus had it been in the case of tea. Only a century ago that article 
had been a luxury of the rich, selling at twenty shillings the pound. Tea, 
by the reduction of the duties thereon, had become the poor man's as well 



300 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

as the rich man's beverage. So might it be in the case of wine. There was 
in England a great demand for French wines, and the high price at which 
they were sold tended to suggest the adulteration of the wines and other 
frauds on the part of wine merchants. With the removal of the duty pure 
wines would be imported at a greatly reduced price. 

The speaker next reverted to the magnificent work accomplished by 
Mr. Cobden in negotiating the treaty. He declared that he was unwilling 
to pass from the subject of the French treaty without paying a deserved 
tribute to the hvo persons who had been chiefly instrumental in obtaining 
it. " I am bound," said Mr. Gladstone, " to bear this witness, at any rate, 
with regard to the Emperor of the French : that he has given the most 
unequivocal proofs of sincerity and earnestness in the progress of this great 
work, a work which he has prosecuted with clear-sighted resolution, not, 
doubtless, for British purposes, but in the spirit of enlightened patriotism, 
with a view to commercial reforms at home and to the advantage and hap- 
piness of hi^ own people by means of those reforms. With regard to Mr. 
Cobden, speaking as I do at a time when every angry passion has passed 
away, I cannot help expressing our obligations to him for the labor he has, 
at no small personal sacrifice, bestowed upon a measure which he — not the 
least among the apostles of free trade — believes to be one of the most mem- 
orable triumphs free trade has ever achieved. Rare is the privilege of any 
man who, having fourteen years ago rendered to his country one signal and 
splendid service, now again, within the same brief span of life, decorated 
neither by rank nor title, bearing no mark to distinguish him from the people 
whom he loves, has been permitted again to perform a great and memorable 
service to his sovereign and to his country." 

Passing on from the consideration of the French treaty, Mr. Gladstone 
took up the serious and most difficult question of the proposed reduction 
in the customs duties of the kingdom. He said that his scheme provided 
for such reduction over and above that already referred to by an aggregate 
of nine hundred and ten thousand pounds. He then gave a list of com- 
modities on which the duties were to be abrogated, namely, butter, tallow, 
cheese, oranges, lemons, eggs, and several other articles of like character. 
On these he proposed to throw off a duty amounting to three hundred and 
eighty thousand pounds annually. He presented another list, including 
timber, currants, raisins, figs, and hops, on which the duty would be relin- 
quished to an aggregate of six hundred and fifty-eight thousand pounds. 
To meet the sum of these two reductions he would introduce certain penny 
rates, to be explained farther on, amounting to nine hundred and eighty- 
two thousand pounds. He estimated the loss from the abolition of the 
French duties at two million one hundred and forty-six thousand pounds, 
against which he hoped to offset at least a half by the penny rates referred to. 



MINISTER OF FINANCE UNDER PALMERSTON, 3OI 

Coming directly to articles of English manufacture, Mr. Gladstone said 
that he would abolish the excise duty on paper. This was touching on 
dangerous ground. The speaker held that the cheapening of paper by the 
removal of the duty would greatly promote the dissemination of cheap lit- 
erature. He was able to say that the newspaper press of Great Britain 
favored this measure. The House of Commons had already passed judg- 
ment on the principle of the paper excise, and had condemned it. The 
retention of the duty tended to make literature a luxury of the rich. The 
speaker showed that the removal of the duty referred to, since it affected 
all maufactures of fiber convertible into paper, would extend to a vast range 
of articles of which at least sixty-nine trades were in demand. He argued 
that the institution of the duty had destroyed the small paper factories of 
England and had substituted the great concerns located here and there. 
This process would be reversed by the removal of the tax, and local enter- 
prise would again flourish. In proportion as these local enterprises should 
flourish the poverty which existed here and there would be alleviated ; the 
taxes for the support of the poor would be lessened. He cited instances to 
establish the truth of this argumentation. His proposition, therefore, was 
that from and after the ist of July, i860, the duty on paper should be 
abolished. 

The speaker next took up the question of the excise on hops. Instead 
of the present system he would remove the prohibition on malt, and fix a 
duty on that commodity of three shillings the bushel. By these means he 
reckoned that the consumers in Great Britain would be relieved of taxation 
to the extent of nearly four million pounds, and that the revenue would 
lose, according to his calculations, but little over two million pounds. The 
latter sum was just about what the treasury would gain in the following 
year by the expiration of the annuities paid by the government. 

Thus the speaker proceeded with the exposition of his scheme. 
" There would be," he said, " for the following year forty-eight articles under 
customs duty, and for the year after that forty-four articles. Of these the 
most important were distilled spirits, tea, tobacco, sugar, wine, coffee, corn 
(that is the cereal grains), currants, and timber. He thought that he could 
realize from the malt and hop taxes about a million four hundred thousand 
pounds in the fiscal year ensuing. This completed the explication of the 
major division of his subject relating to the abolition of duties. It remained 
to consider by what means he intended to make up the loss to the aggre- 
gate revenues of the kingdom. 

Here the speaker came to the subject of the income tax. He said 
that out of the necessity of the case that tax must be retained. The total 
deficiency which must be provided for he estimated at nine million four 
hundred thousand pounds. To meet this he proposed that the income 



302 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

tax should be continued at the rate of tenpence the pound for all incomes 
of a hundred and fifty pounds a year and over, and at sevenpence the 
pound for incomes below the sum just named. This tax he would fix for 
a single year, and would require within that year the payment of three 
fourths of the amount accruing, leaving the other fourth to be collected in 
the following year. From this source he would expect to realize eight mil- 
lion four hundred and seventy-two thousand pounds. Adding this to the 
revenues otherwise provided, he would have a total income of seventy 
million five hundred and sixty-four thousand pounds. The expenditure he 
estimated at seventy million one hundred thousand pounds ; the balance 
showing four hundred and sixty-four thousand pounds in favor of the 
treasury. 

In conclusion Mr. Gladstone reverted to the fact that the budget before 
the House involved a great if not a complete reform in the tariff system of 
Great Britain. His proposals, he said, embraced a large remission of taxa- 
tion, and last of all, though not least, they included as a part of their sub- 
stance the commercial treaty with France. To that treaty he did not 
doubt there would be objections ; but, he continued, we confidently recom- 
mend it not only on moral and social and political, but also on economical 
and physical grounds. Finally the speaker concluded what was, without 
doubt, the most remarkable budget scheme and striking representation of 
the same ever thus far made before the British House of Commons, as 
follows : " There were times, now long gone by, when sovereigns made 
progress through the land, and when, at the proclamation of their heralds, 
they caused to be scattered whole showers of coin among the people who 
thronged upon their steps. That may have been a goodly spectacle ; but 
it is also a goodly spectacle, and one adapted to the altered spirit and 
circumstances of our times, when our sovereign is enabled, through the 
wisdom of her great council, assembled in Parliament around her, again to 
scatter blessings among her subjects by means of wise and prudent laws, 
of laws which do not sap in any respect the foundations of duty or of 
manhood, but which strike away the shackles from the arm of industry, 
which give new incentives and new rewards to toil, and which win more 
and more for the throne and for the institutions of the country the grati- 
tude, the confidence, and the love of a united people. Let me say, even 
to those who are anxious, and justly anxious, on the subject of our national 
defenses, that that which stirs the flame of patriotism in men, that which 
binds them* in one heart and soul, that which gives them increased confi- 
dence in their rulers, that which makes them feel and know that they are 
treated with justice and that we who represent them are laboring incessantly 
and earnestly for their good, is in itself no small, no feeble, and no tran- 
sitory part of national defense. We recommend these proposals to your 



MINISTER OF FINANCE UNDER PALMERSTON. 303 

impartial and searching inquiry. We do not presume, indeed, to make a 
claim on your acknowledgments ; but neither do we desire to draw on your 
unrequited confidence nor to lodge an appeal to your compassion. We 
ask for nothing more than your dispassionate judgment, and for nothing 
less ; we know that our plan will receive that justice at your hands, and we 
confidently anticipate on its behalf the approval alike of the Parliament 
and the nation." 

Though there might be great differences of opinion in the House of 
Commons as to the merit and expediency of the recommendations made by 
the chancellor of the exchequer, differences with respect to the ability with 
which the budget was presented there could be none. Long since the 
speaker had established his claim to be one of the foremost, if not the fore- 
most, British orator of his epoch. His bearing was parliamentary by the 
highest definition of that term. He had all the accessories of the ideal min- 
ister. His voice, his gesticulation, his occasional humor, his flight from the 
prosaic into the oratorical and the poetical, his dignity and courtesy, all 
combined to win for hi'm the unbounded applauses of his party and the 
admiration of all liberal-minded Englishmen. The signs of such admiration 
were abundant on the great occasion just described. Notwithstanding his 
recent illness he bore the stress and exhaustion of a four hours' oration 
without apparent weakening or loss of effectiveness. It was said for long 
by those who were present that he concluded the presentation of his budget 
with the easy air and manner of one who had just finished a few extempo- 
raneous remarks on a trivial topic of the hour. 

Would the budget be accepted by the House? If there should be a 
battle would it be victorious for the chancellor of the exchequer or defeat 
for him and his cause ? It was soon manifest that there would be spirited 
debate and vigorous opposition. In the first place the shipowning business 
broke out with the allegation that the Gladstonian scheme would weaken 
the British marine by strengthening that of France. The plan, it was said, 
did not put the shipping interests of Great Britain and France on an equal 
footing, but rather disparaged the home industry in favor of the foreign. In 
the next place, the eating house managers of London and other leading 
cities protested because the budget contained a provision for licenses to 
their establishments. Other especial interests joined the chorus, but the 
general opinion seemed to be well satisfied with the result. 

The boards of trade in the leading cities, particularly in the manufac- 
turing centers, gave emphatic approval and sent petitions to Parliament in 
favor of the budget. The English radicals, the old agitators and free 
traders, as far down the column of democracy as the station of John Bright, 
assented to the scheme, and the heart of the country seemed ready for the 
reform budget of i860. In the House of Commons Mr. Disraeli, without 



304 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

directly assailing any principle or recommendation of the budget, moved, 
" That this House does not think fit to g^o into committee on the Customs 
Act with a view to the reduction or repeal of the duties referred to in the 
treaty of commerce between her majesty and the Emperor of the French 
until it shall have considered and assented to the engagements in that 
treaty/' 

In supporting his resolution Mr. Disraeli argued against the treaty with 
France, against the method of making it, against the government for using 
such a method, against Richard Cobden as the author of the method. It 
could not be expected, however, that Cobden could gain by any means the 
approval of one who differed from him toto ccbIo in the universe of British 
politics. 

The reply of Mr. Gladstone was brief and brilliant. He made a coun- 
tercharge on Mr. Disraeli, showing that it was absurd to suppose that her 
majesty and her majesty's government would make an illegal compact with 
a foreign power. He disclaimed for himself a certain intimation of a char- 
itable sort that his rival had sarcastically offered, claiming that the treaty of 
France had not been inadvertently made, but with prudence and forethought 
He went on to show that there were well-established and undeniable prec- 
edents which her majesty's government had followed. No less a personage 
than William Pitt in office had established the principle on which the recent 
commercial treaty had been effected. The result of the debate showed 
something more than the party majority in the vote against Disraeli's 
resolution. 

Another attack came from Mr. Du Cane, who proposed to impeach the 
principle on which the budget rested. When his friends induced him to 
withhold a motion to this intent he found opportunity to introduce another 
declaring that the proposed abolition of duties was inexpedient, and that 
the continuance of the income tax at an increased rate would prove a shock 
to the country. To this resolution the mover spoke at considerable length, 
and found the usual arguments to fortify his position. The chancellor of the 
exchequer, however, w^as able to destroy the Du Cane resolution, or at least 
to bury it under a majority of a hundred and sixteen votes. 

The real point of danger, however, to the Gladstone scheme lay in the 
recommendation for the abolition of the duty on paper. This part of the 
scheme touched and tended to transform an important home industry of 
Great Britain. Not only the interest thus disturbed, namely, the interest 
engaged in the manufacture of paper, but several other correlated interests 
were excited and alarmed ; and the party in opposition was strengthened 
with a few recruits. Sir Stafford Henry Northcote offered a resolution to 
the effect that the existing state of the finances of the country made it unde- 
sirable to proceed further with the bill repealing the duty on paper. That 



MINISTER OF FINANCE UNDER PALMERSTON. 305 

bill had now come to its third reading, and the time was critical. The 
opposition gained considerably, and the majority against the Northcote 
amendment was only nine votes. 

This decision of the House, however, did not settle the matter finally. 
The debate broke out anew on the critical examination of the recommenda- 
tion abolishing the paper tariff. It was found that the duty on domestic 
paper was to be removed, and the duty on foreign paper also. This involved 
the question of the relative cheapness of rags in England and on the Con- 
tinent. It was held by the opposition that continental rags were cheaper 
than British rags ; for which reason the French manufacturers of paper 
would be able, under a system of absolute freedom in the paper trade, to 
undersell the manufacturers of England. And so the argument went on and 
on; the party of the ministry contending that th^ principle of absolute free 
trade should not be abandoned by Great Britain, whose toes soever were 
pinched, and the orators of the opposition contending that British interests 
must not be disparaged or put at disadvantage by British legislation. 
Finally the budget as a whole came to the crisis of a vote, and was accepted 
by a fair party majority in the House of Commons. 

But now an ordeal of another kind had to be met. There was the 
House of Lords. That conservative body, always opposed to change, 
always arraying itself against reform, always in the way of progress and 
transformation, showed itself in its accustomed mood. The paper interest 
of the kingdom w^as easily able to find a voice among their lordships. Lord 
Monteagle, supported by Lord Derby, started a movement to defeat at 
least so much of the budget as related to the abolition of the duty on paper. 

As soon as this was known the country was aroused. The general 
interests of manufacture and industry arrayed themselves against the special 
interest of paper. Committees from several places, including representative 
men from a variety of industrial concerns, appealed to Lord Derby to with- 
draw his opposition. It appears that his lordship was surprised at this 
manifestation of public sentiment ; at any rate, he began to hedge against 
the results by saying that his opposition extended, not to the principle of 
removing the tax on paper, but to the question of the advisability of doing 
it in the present state of the public revenues. This admission that the sup- 
porters of the budget in its entirety were right at least in principle was fatal 
to Lord Derby's position, and the breach in his defenses was still further 
widened by the admission that all taxes must originate in the House of 
Commons, be determined by that body, be abrogated by that body if at all 
— this under the principles of the British Constitution. 

This was really to give away the whole argument against the removal 
of the duty. The friends of that measure made a strong rally. The whole 
ministerial party, from its most radical to its most conservative member, 
20 



306 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

Strongly defended the logic of the governmental position. There was no 
doubt that the House of Commons was fixed in its determination favoring 
the budget as a whole, and that the country was with the House ; but in the 
Lords an adverse fate awaited. The bill for the approval of the new scheme, 
coming to the crisis of a vote in that august body, was rejected by a majority 
of eighty-nine. 

The issue was thus sharply made up. The situation was sufficiently 
critical. The House must either recede from its position or the Lords must 
yield to the will of the nation. It was not likely that the lower House, 
fortified as it was by the voice of the country, would yield. On the 5th of 
July, i860, Lord Palmerston offered the following three resolutions : 

** I. That the right of granting aids and supplies to the crown is in the 
Commons alone, as an essential part of their constitution, and the limitation 
of all such grants as to matter, manner, measure, and time is only in them. 

•* 2. That although the Lords have exercised the power of rejecting bills 
of several descriptions relating to taxation by negativing the whole, yet the 
exercise of that power by them has not been frequent, and is justly regarded 
by this House with peculiar jealousy as affecting the right of the Commons 
to grant the supplies, and to provide the ways and means for the service 
of the year. 

" 3. That to guard for the future against an undue exercise of that 
power by the Lords, and to secure to the Commons their rightful control 
over taxation and supply, this House has in its own hands the power so to 
impose and remit taxes and to frame bills of supply that the right of the 
Commons as to the matter, manner, measure, and time may be maintained 
inviolate." 

One object of Lord Palmerston in offering these resolutions was to 
restore and consolidate the majority in the House favorable to the abolition 
of the duty on paper. While the budget was under discussion and passing 
through its readings the ministerial majority had in one instance fallen as 
low as nine votes, and that particular vote had been given on the question 
of the paper duty. This decline in the majority favorable to the budget as 
a whole had encouraged the Lords in their attitude of hostility. The Pal- 
merston resolutions restored the full majority of the House and put that 
body in the position of standing stoutly for its rights. 

Mr. Gladstone made another speech before the House on the subject 
of the disagreement with the Lords. He declared that the resolutions of 
Lord Palmerston did not go far enough in asserting the rights of the House 
of Commons. Indeed, he thought that the precedents which the noble lord 
had cited did not reach the principle involved in the subject of disagreement 
between the two Houses. The House of Lords might well advise changes 
in a bill covering expenditure from the public treasury. That was one 



MINISTER OF FINANCE UNDER PALMERSTON. 307 

question. Quite another question was the assumption by the House of 
Lords of the right to reject a reduction or repeal of taxes. Recently the 
question had suggested itself to her' majesty's government whether a cer- 
tain reduction of the revenues to the amount of a million a hundred and 
twenty-five thousand pounds would better be effected by striking off the 
duty on tea or by removing that on paper. The House had chosen to 
remove the duty on paper. This had been done with strict reference, not 
to the popularity of the measure, but to the interest and honor of Great 
Britain. The right of the House to act in this manner was single and abso- 
lute. The House could not relinquish its exclusive prerogative to deal with 
such questions. The speaker concluded by giving notice of his purpose to 
take up the question again and to offer a plan of practical solution. 

This Mr. Gladstone did soon afterward. Before a full House he offered 
a resolution to reduce the duty on foreign paper. He showed that this 
course had now become necessary under the provision of the commercial 
treaty with France. It could not be doubted that the very action which he 
now proposed was contemplated when that treaty was made. Moreover, it 
had become a simple question of justice to the dealers in paper and the 
makers of it. Neither could the manufacture be carried on nor the trade 
in paper continue unless the question of the duty should be definitely set- 
tled. The government was now under obligation to observe the terms of 
the French treaty. Moreover, the issue here and now presented was the 
final contest between free trade and protection in Great Britain. Protection 
was sprawling its last ; free trade had become the policy of the empire. The 
friends of that policy must now stand out and be counted in their places as 
against the friends of the abandoned system of the past. The House of 
Commons, the speaker said, was bound by both honor and policy to adopt 
the resolution which he proposed. The House acted accordingly. A stout 
majority declared in favor of the Gladstonian proposition. The other para- 
graphs of his resolution were passed in like manner, and the controversy 
was ended for the present by the reaffirmation of the Commons in their 
stand against the Lords. 

The reader will recall the fact that before the presentation of the 
budget of i860 Lord John Russell had introduced a measure looking to a 
parliamentary reform. The proposal was to add to the " ten-pound occupa- 
tion franchise" in country districts a security that said franchise should be 
actual, and not fictitious, and at the same time to make a six-pound franchise 
for the boroughs. It had been claimed that this measure would add about 
two hundred thousand suffrages to the boroughs of the kingdom. Lord 
Russell's measure also included the reapportionment of the seats in Parlia- 
ment, and made one condition of the suffrage to be that the elector should 
be a taxpayer for the support of the poor. 



I 



308 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

While this bill was under discussion Mr. Gladstone went so far in its 
support as to justify Lord Russell on the score of consistency. He showed 
that the pending measure had been frequently promised. It had come to 
the House, not unexpectedly, but under pledge that it would be presented. 
He showed the groundlessness of that alarm which made the Russell Bill 
an element of danger to the county constituencies. He showed that those 
who were to become electors under the provisions of the bill were in rank 
and intelligence fully capable of having and exercising the right of suffrage. 
He compared the new classes contemplated with the electors of the 
boroughs, and found no disparagement of the former. He held that the 
suffrage might be enlarged with perfect safety so as to include the six-pound 
qualification for voters in the boroughs. The argument was sufficiently con- 
clusive, and from the American point of view so obvious as to require no 
confirmation. Nevertheless the signs of opposition and indifference in the 
House were so manifest that Lord Russell withdrew his measure from 
further consideration. 

Near the close of the spring session of Parliament, i860, namely, on the 
1 6th of April in that year, Mr. Gladstone was honored with installation as 
Lord Rector of the University of Edinburgh. The university gave him on 
the occasion the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. The English and 
Scotch usage on such occasions is that the newly installed rector shall 
deliver an address suitable to the event. Mr. Gladstone, appearing before 
the assembled university, was introduced by Sir David Brewster, and in 
beginning his address said: 

" Principal, professors, and students of the University of Edinburgh, I 
cannot estimate lightly the occasion on which I meet you, especially as it 
regards the younger and larger part of my academical audience. The 
franchise, which you have exercised in my favor, is itself of a nature to 
draw attention ; for the Legislature of our own day has, by a new delibera- 
tive act, invested you, the youngest members of the university, with a 
definite and not inconsiderable influence in the formation of that court 
which is to exercise, upon appeal, the highest control over its proceedings. 
This is a measure which would hardly have been adopted in any other land 
than our own. Yet it is also one, in the best sense, agreeable to the spirit 
of our country and of its institutions ; for we think it eminently British to 
admit the voice of the governed in the choice of governors ; to seek, through 
diversity of elements, for harmony and unity of result ; and to train men for 
the discharge of manly duties by letting them begin their exercise betimes.*' 

The speaker took for his subject " The Work of Universities." He 
referred the students to the fact that he was widely separated from them in 
the scale of years, and that their future was his past. He said that each 
generation of men labors for that which succeeds it, and that the present is 






MINISTER OF FINANCE UNDER PALMERSTON. 3O9 

therefore always a sum total of the past. The present is indebted to the 
past. There is a sense in which each human being begins life as though he 
were the firstborn of his race. In another sense each one is an epitome of 
the past. Each generation transmits a modified nature to the next. The 
progress of mankind is thus a checkered and, intercepted progress. The 
progress of the world is the advancement of mankind rather than the pro- 
motion of the individual. Each generation of men is bound to accumulate 
new treasures for the race, and to leave the world richer on its departure. 
The university is an institution for the promotion of the common move- 
ment. In modern times it is a Christian institution. Great as were the 
Greeks, their better nature was scarcely developed at all, and indeed was 
rather maimed in its supreme capacity ; that is, in its relation to God. We 
watch with trembling hope the course of the Christian civilization which has 
succeeded the pagan. The question arises whether our civilization will go 
the same course as its predecessors, and perish like its older types. 

The speaker then went on to discuss the strength and the weakness of 
Christian civilization and the place of the university therein. ** I do not," 
said he, "enter into the question from what source the university etymo- 
logically derives its name. At the very least it is a name most aptly sym- 
bolizing the purpose for which the thing itself exists. For the work of the 
university as such covers the whole field of knowledge, human and divine ; 
the whole field of our nature in all its powers ; the whole field of time, in 
binding together successive generations as they pass onward in the prosecu- 
tion of their common destiny; aiding each, both to sow its proper seed, and 
to reap its proper harvest from- what has been sown before ; storing up into 
its own treasure house the spoils of every new venture in the domain of 
mental enterprise, and ever binding the present to pay over to the future an 
acknowledgment at least of the debt which for itself it owes the past. . . . 

" The idea of the university, as we find it historically presented to us in 
the Middle Age, was to methodize, perpetuate, and apply all knowledge which 
existed, and to adopt and take up into itself every new branch as it came 
successively into existence. These various kinds of knowledge were applied 
for the various uses of life, such as the time apprehended them. But the 
great truth was always held, and always kept in the center of the system, 
that man himself is the crowning wonder of creation ; that the study of his 
nature is the noblest study that the world affords ; and that, to his advance- 
ment and improvement, all undertakings, all professions, all arts, all knowl- 
edge, all institutions, are subordinated, as means and instruments to their 
end. . . . 

" We can hardly expect that human institutions should, without limit 
of time, retain the flexible and elastic tissues of their youth. Moreover, 
universities in particular, as they have grown old and great, have come to 



3IO LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

interlace at many points with the interests and concerns of that outer world 
which has but little sympathy with their proper work. But for these and 
such like causes they might have displayed at this day an organization as 
complete, relatively to the present state of knowledge and inquiry, as was 
that which they possessed some centuries ago. . . . 

" Universities were, in truth, a great mediating power between the high 
and the low, between the old and the new, between speculation and practice, 
between authority and freedom. Of these last words, in their application 
to the political sphere, modern history and the experience of our own time 
afford abundant exemplification. In countries which enjoy political liberty 
the universities are usually firm supports of the established order of things, 
but in countries under absolute government they acquire a bias toward 
innovation. Some excess may be noted in these tendencies respectively ; 
but, in the main, they bear witness against greater and more pernicious 
excesses. To take instances: the University of Edinburgh did not very 
easily accommodate itself to the revolution of 1688 ; it was long in the 
eighteenth century before Cambridge returned Whig representatives to 
Parliament, and I believe the very latest of the Jacobite risings and riots 
occurred in Oxford. On the other hand, in some continental countries it 
has been the practice, during the present century, when the political hori- 
zon threatened, at once to close the universities as the probable centers of 
agitation — a proceeding so strange, according to our ideas and experience, 
that the statement may sound hardly credible. Even within the last few 
weeks we may all have seen notices in the public journals of movements in 
the University of Rome itself adverse to the pontifical government. . . . 

*' It is indeed a fashion with some to ridicule the method of disputation 
which was in use in the Middle Age universities for testing talents and 
acquirements. I demur to the propriety of the proceeding. It might be as 
just to ridicule the clumsiness of their weapons or their tools. These dis- 
putations were clumsy weapons, but the question, after all, is, How did the 
men use them ? Let us confess it, the defect was more than made good 
by the zeal with which in those times learning was pursued. Their true 
test is in the capacity and vigor which they gave to the mind, and this trial 
they can well abide. Further, they involved a noteworthy tribute to the 
principle of freedom. And there was something, not sound only, but felic- 
itous, in the opening they afforded for the inquiring mind to range freely 
over the field of argument without more than a provisional adherence to a 
thesis; whereas our modes of individual authorship, working through the 
press, have a tendency prematurely to wed us to our conclusions before 
we have had an opportunity of weighing the objections that others n^^^ . 
oppose to them. . . . ^^^^ 

" The question how far endowments for education are to be desired is 



MINISTER OF FINANCE UNDER PALMERSTON. 3II 

beset with peculiar difficulty. Where they are small and remote from 
public observation they tend rapidly to torpor. They are admirable where 
they come in aid of a good will already existing, but where the good will 
does not exist beforehand they are as likely to stifle as to stimulate its 
growth. They make a high cultivation accessible to the youth who desires 
it and who could not otherwise attain his noble and worthy end ; on the 
other hand, they remove the spur by which Providence neutralizes the 
indolence of man and moves him to supply his wants. . . . 

" And now, my younger friends, you to whom I owe the distinction of 
the office which enables and requires me to ^address you, if I have dwelt 
thus at length upon the character and scope of universities and their place 
in the scheme of Christian civilization it is in order that, setting before you 
the dignity that belongs to them, and that is reflected on . their members, 
and the great opportunities which they ofl"er both of advancement and 
improvement, I might chiefly suggest and impress by facts, which may be 
more eloquent than precepts, the responsibilities that are laid upon you by 
the enjoyment of these gifts and blessings. . . . 

" Let me remind you how Sir Robert Peel, choosing from his 
quiver with a congenial forethought that shaft which was most likely to 
strike home, averred before the same academic audience what may as safely 
be declared to you, that ''there is a presumption, amounting almost to cer- 
tainty, that if any one of you will determine to be eminent in whatever 
profession you may choose, and will act with unvarying steadiness in pursu- 
ance of that determination, you will, if health and strength be given you, 
infallibly succeed.' 

" The mountain tops of Scotland behold on every side of them the 
witness ; and many a one of what were once her morasses and moorlands, 
now blossoming as the rose, carries on its face the proof how truly it is in 
man, and not in his circumstances, that the secret of his destiny resides. 
For most of you that destiny will take its final bent toward evil or toward 
good, not from the information you imbibe, but from the habits of mind, 
thought, and life that you shall acquire during your academical career. 
Could you with the bodily eye watch the moments of it as they fly you 
would see them all pass by you, as the bee that has rifled the heather bears 
its honey through the air, charged with the promise, or it may be with the 
menace, of the future. • In many things it is wise to believe before expe- 
rience ; to believe until you may know ; and believe me when I tell you 
that the thrift of time will repay you in after life with a usury of profit 
beyond your most sanguine dreams, and that the waste of it will make you 
dwindle, alike in intellectual and in moral stature, beneath your darkest 
reckonings. . . . 

" I would not confound with the sordid worship of popularity in 



^ 



312 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

after life the graceful and instinctive love of praise in the uncritical period 
of youth. On the contrary, I say, avail yourselves of that stimulus to good 
deeds ; and, when it proceeds from worthy sources and lights upon worthy 
conduct, yield yourselves to the warm satisfaction it inspires. But yet, 
even while young, and even amidst the glow of that delight, keep a vigilant 
eye upon yourselves, refer the honor to Him from whom all honor comes, 
and ever be inwardly ashamed for not being worthier of his gifts. . . . 

"And, gentlemen, if you let yourselves enjoy the praise of your teach- 
ers, let me beseech you to repay their care and to help their arduous work 
by entering into it with them, and by showing that you meet their exertions 
neither with a churlish mistrust nor with a passive indifference, but with 
free and ready gratitude. Rely upon it, they require your sympathy, and 
they require it more in proportion as they are worthy of their work. The 
faithful and able teacher, says an old adage, is in loco parentis. His charge 
certainly resembles the mother's care in this, that, if he be devoted to his 
task, you can measure neither the cost to him of the efforts which he makes 
nor the debt of gratitude you owe him. The great poet of Italy, the pro- 
found and lofty Dante, had had for an instructor one whom, for a miserable 
vice, his poem places in the region of the damned ; and yet this lord of 
song, this prophet of all the knowledge of his time, this master of ever)' 
gift that can adorn the human mind, when in those dreary regions he sees 
the known image of his tutor, avows in language of a magnificence all his 
own that he cannot, even now, withhold his sympathy and sorrow from his 
unhappy teacher, for he recollects how, in the upper world, with a father's 
tender care that teacher had pointed to him the way by which man becomes 
immortal. 

" Gentlemen, I have detained you long. Perhaps 1 have not had time 
to be brief; certainly I could have wished for much larger opportunities 
of maturing and verifying what I have addressed to you upon subjects 
which have always possessed a hold on my heart and have long had 
public and palpable claims on my attention. Such as I have I give. And 
now, finally, in bidding you farewell let me invoke every blessing upon your 
venerable university in its new career, upon the youth by whom its halls are 
gladdened, and upon the distinguished head and able teachers by whom its 
places of authority are adorned." 



BUDGET OF 1861 AND AMERICAN COMPLICATIONS. ' 



313 



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CHAPTER XVIII. 
Budget of 1861 and American Complications. 

E here carry the line of the life of William E. Gladstone into 
the great years of the seventh decade. This period was des- 
tined to be one of the most important in his career. It was to 
carry him far in several directions that neither he nor others 
might well foresee. Indeed, no man is able to forecast the 
future. In this consists the weakness of history as a science. In the nat- 
ural sciences we know with approximate exactitude what will occur. Know- 
ing the conditions we are able to foretell the results. The astronomer 
counts hi^ eclipses forward and backward with equal facility. The chemist 
understands the exact phenomena that will follow the combination of certain 
elements, and he knows that those phenomena will under the same condi- 
tions occur in the year 4000 just as they occur at the present year. But the 
statesman, the philosopher, the historian, cannot forecast. They can inter- 
pret what /las happened in the vast man-play of the world. They can ex- 
plain with tolerable certainty the existing state ; they can feel the draught 
and tendency in the direction of certain events, but they can forecast 
nothing. 

The seventh decade was great in its historical movements. Nearly all 
the nations of the civilized world had action, power, and a measure of trans- 
formation at this epoch. In France it was the heyday of the Second Em- 
pire. The middle of the period referred to brought the Franco-Austrian 
War. This was the age of the political regeneration of Italy. Garibaldi 
and Victor Emmanuel fought for and achieved Italian unity. In America 
we know too well the heat of this transforming and agitated epoch. Into 
it, as into a furnace, was cast the old slaveholding and localized America, 
and out of it arose the New America, with freedom for all men and a Union 
energized and perfected into one. In England there were also great events 
in which the ministry of Lord Palmerston, remaining in power until 1865, 
was one of the living, potential factors ; and in this ministry William E. 
Gladstone was becoming — and became — the principal figure. 

As chancellor of the exchequer Mr. Gladstone had now to vindicate 
and perfect the policy which he had initiated in the year i860. Circum- 
stances were somewhat against him. Plenty came not Englandward to 
invert her golden horn. The crops failed. The voice of the evil prophet 
was heard wailing like Jeremiah in the fields and markets. Those who had 
opposed the change from the old industrial and commercial policy to the 
new turned up their eyes and charged the ^parsimony of nature to the blun- 
der of free trade. 



\ 



314 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

Nevertheless, things went not ill with England in the year 1861. The 
results of the new commercial treaty with France were such as to meet the 
most sanguine expectations of those who had favored and promoted that 
compact There was a revival of trade. Just at this time the hardships 
that came in the wake of the Crimean War ceased to be felt The liberation 
of many industries from the duties which had been charged on the products 
thereof sent all manner of enterprise forward with accelerated strides. So 
that if Mr. Gladstone at the head of the financial management had to face 
the parsimony of nature shown in the half harvest of i860 he might also be 
encouraged with the cheerful clang of industry and the far-off vision of 
commerce. 

England at this time was at peace. She adopted her usual policy of 
neutrality with respect to the Italian war. The States of Europe rn general 
held aloof from that complication and permitted it to solve itself as it 
would. The French and English cooperated in a military movement 
against the Chinese, and that movement, whether just or unjust, was highly 
successful to the allies. Peking, as all the world knows, was occupied by 
them, and a new treaty was extorted from the head of the Celestial Empire. 
Meanwhile the secession of the Southern States of the American Union 
was undertaken and carried forward with a zeal and rapidity of execution 
worthy of a nobler cause. All of these things were referred to in her 
majesty's address at the opening of Parliament in 1861. 

Scarcely had the session begun when a question arose that was des- 
tined to extend far and to demand great changes in its solution. There 
appeared a disposition in England to abolish the rates for the support of 
the Church. The religious condition of the United Kingdom was of a 
character to bring the frequent revival of this issue, and we may say once 
for all that the end of it is not yet Of course general society will not ulti- 
mately permit itself to be taxed for the support of any denominational 
organization. 

The reader will remember that early in Gladstone's career he had 
sought to get a logical basis on which to build up and justify the theory of 
State taxation for the support of the Established Church. In search for an 
argument which would satisfy his own mind he went back and back, finding 
none until he came to the assumption that religion and the maintenance of 
religion are proper and essential functions of the State. On this thesis he 
produced his work on The State in its Relations with the Church, and on 
this thesis Macaulay proceeded to bray that book in the mortar of criticism. 
From that contention unto the present day the battle has gone more 
and more against the advocates of any kind of State support for religious 
organizations. 

At the time of which we speak a bill was introduced into the House of 



BUDGET OF 1861 AND AMERICAN COMPLICATIONS. 315 

Commons by Sir John Trelawny for the total abolition of Church rates. 
An odd and almost inexplicable condition of sentiment existed in different 
parts of England on this subject. There was a provision of the statute 
already that the Dissenters, who were a majority in some of the parishes, 
might be exempt on theif own vote from the Church tax. Experience had 
shown, however, that the pride of such religionists as Englishmen generally 
forbade them to avail themselves of the law and escape taxation for the 
support of the English Church. There was another reason also, and that 
was that the poorer classes had few religious opportunities or none save 
those which were furnished by the Church establishment. To support it, 
therefore, seemed an expedient thing to many Dissenters. 

Mr. Gladstone made a speech in February, 1 861, on Sir John Trelawny s 
resolution. He said that the people of England desired to maintain the 
union of Church and State, and that that union could hardly be supported 
without the Church rates. It was evident that in the country districts of 
England the abolition of the rates would signify the abolition, or at least 
the abandonment, of the Church, and for that England was not prepared. 
He hoped that some compromise measure might be adopted combining the 
voluntary principle with the legal requirement — such as the privilege con- 
ceded to each parish to tax itself by a majority vote. Moreover, it was 
hardly worth while to agitate a question of this kind in the House of 
Commons, for the reason that whatever action might be taken by that body 
the House of Lords would certainly support the existing order against 
innovation and change. 

The event showed that on this subject there was a division of senti- 
ment, not very emphatic, of course, between Mr. Gladstone and all the other 
members of the Palmerston cabinet. They favored an amendment which 
had been offered, postponing the consideration of the subject for six months. 
He thought that the question might as well be met and solved at once, with 
a decision in the negative as to the Trelawny Bill. On this issue he was 
defeated by the majority of the House, supported by all the members of 
the government except himself 

A very important measure of this session was the establishment of a 
system of post-ofifice savings banks. It had become notorious that the 
accommodations in England for small depositors were altogether inadequate. 
Statistics showed that there were in England and Wales no more than six 
hundred savings banks of a kind to accommodate the humbler people. 
These were open to depositors only for a few hours twice a week. 
The project was conceived of making nearly three thousand post offices in 
the kingdom depositories for small savings. Mr. Gladstone took up this 
cause with his usual ability and introduced a bill known as the Post-office 
Savings Bank Bill. The management of the concern was to be given to the 



3l6 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

postmaster-general, who was to be assisted by a body of commissioners. 
The postal depositories were to be kept open every day in the week except 
Sunday for ten hours a day. The government was to pay the depositors 
two and a half per cent on their deposits. It was believed that the system 
would support itself and perhaps yield a revenue ; but in case it should not 
do so the chancellor of the exchequer provided in his bill that any deficiency 
arising from this postal bank system should be met out of what was called 
the Consolidated Fund. The measure soon went into operation and proved 
to be one of the most salutary economies that had ever been invented. 
While Mr. Gladstone could not claim to be the originator of the system, to 
him might nevertheless be assigned the place of its principal author and 
promoter. 

Parliament in 1861 was seriously agitated by the condition of affairs in 
Italy. In that country a revolution was on in the full sense of the term. 
Francis II, King of the Two Sicilies, inert, reactionary, oppressive, had been 
driven from his dominions in the previous year. The patriots under the 
lead of Garibaldi were successful in their insurrection, and Victor Emmanuel 
was proceeding on the basis of the revolution to create a united Italy. His 
ambitions extended to and included the State of Venice. In England there 
was great diversity of opinion as to whether the government should put 
itself in active sympathy with the revolutionary party or whether it should 
stand in favor with the past by supporting Francis II and the Pope of Rome. 

It was claimed that the policy of the British government had been too 
active in favor of the national cause in Italy. This sentiment was voiced by 
a resolution introduced into the Commons on the 4th of March, 1861, by 
Mr. Pope Hennessy. In support of his resolution Mr. Hennessy attacked 
the government, praised the old order in Italy, and condemned the new. 
Hereupon a hot debate ensued. Mr. Layard replied to Hennessy in good 
set terms. He declared that the government was in accord with the senti- 
ments of the English people. For himself the cause of United Italy was 
his cause, in sympathy and hope. He was followed, however, by Sir George 
Bowyer, who renewed the attack on the governmental policy and attempted 
to show that that policy was only a continuation of the well-known purpose 
and predilection of Lord Palmerston for the Emperor of the French! In 
pursuance of that policy the government had come to shame and grief, and 
the European friends and allies of Great Britain had suffered much. The 
British flag was no longer the emblem of justice and honor throughout the 
earth. The friends of England had come to look upon her with distrust 
and dread. None now did her honor. None now followed her lead except 
the revolutionary party on the Continent, and that party was engaged only 
in overthrowing legitimate sovereigns and making a ruin of the peace of 
peoples. 



BUDGET OF 1861 AND AMERICAN COMPLICATIONS. 317 

Tojall this Mr. Gladstone spoke in answer with unusual cogency. He 
said that it was the excess of the debate which induced him to say anything. 
So far as Francis of Sardinia was concerned animadversions on that per- 
sonage might pass. Nor would he undertake an apology or defense of the 
British foreign minister; but when the criticisms of speakers extended 
unjustly to the policy of the government of Great Britain he would reply. 
Her majesty's government was in thorough accord with the English people, 
and they in accord with the government. It was charged that the foreign 
policy of England was unjust and dishonorable, also that her majesty's 
government was supporting an unjust cause in Italy. It had been said that 
the rising of the Neapolitans and Italians was a conspiracy of wickedness, 
headed by a crafty minister and an unscrupulous king. The constitutional 
administration and laws of Naples had been commended by the honorable 
gentleman who had preceded him. If the Constitution of Naples had any 
worth in it that worth was trodden in the mire by the King of the Two 
Sicilies and his party. Francis II, as well as his predecessor, Ferdinand II, 
had shamelessly overridden the Constitution and the laws, and had brought 
untold sufferings on the people. We had lived to hear Francis II praised 
in the British House of Commons ! It had been averred that he was a 
courageous king. That might be true ; but the courage required by the 
king and shown by him, as was said, in the casemates, where he was protected 
from the shells, at the siege of Gaeta, was, according to his (Mr. Glad- 
stone's) opinion, nothing in comparison with the courage of honorable gen- 
tlemen who, in the British Commons, the great arena of freedom, had the 
audacity to uphold the Neapolitan despotism. 

This flight was said by those who heard it to have thrown the House 
into such an uproar of applause that the speaker was unable for several 
minutes to proceed. He then went on to review the character of the papal 
government in the States of the Church. He called attention t6 the out- 
rages and crimes which had been committed, if not under the sanction, at 
least under the toleration of that government. He was prepared with doc- 
uments and indisputable proofs to show that in Perugia and Modena crimes 
all the way from base favoritism to legal murders had been committed. As 
to the general movement for a United Italy, it was not so much the 
praiseworthy sympathy of Great Britain and France, not so much the pop- 
ular revolt headed by Garibaldi, not so much the triumphant leadership of 
Victor Emmanuel, as it was the abuses and maladministration of Austria in 
Italy that had done the work. 

As to the character of the Italian revolution the speaker was ready to 
justify it in all its stages. He declared that never before had changes so 
great and important been effected with so little to raise a blush on the 
cheeks of those who promoted them. " They recall to my mind," said he, " the 



3l8 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

words with which Mr. Fox greeted the first appearance of the French Revo- 
lution when he said that it was the most stupendous fabric that had ever 
been erected on the basis of human integrity in any age or country of the 
world. Sadly indeed was that prophecy falsified by subsequent events from 
causes which were not then suspected; but I believe the words were not far 



\\ 



VICTOR EMMANUEL, KING OF 1 



from the truth at the time when they were spoken, and whether they were 
or not they are the simple and solid truth in their application to Italy. 
For long years have we been compelled to reckon Italy in its divided state 
— Italy under the friends of the Austrians, Italy the victim of legitimacy, 
Italy with a spiritual sovereignty as its center — to reckon it as one of the 
chief sources of difficulty ^and disturbance in European politics. We are 
now coming to another time. The miseries of Italy have been the danger 
of Europe. The consolidation of Italy — her restoration to national life (if 



BUDGET OF 1861 AND AMERICAN COMPLICATIONS. 3I9 

It be th% will of God to grant her that boon) — will be, I believe, a blessing 
as great to Europe as it is to all the people of the peninsula. It will add 
to the general peace and welfare of the civilized world a new and solid 
guarantee." 

The effect of this speech was so overwhelming that the mover and sup- 
porters of the resolution before the House did not press it to a vote. Other 
speakers followed, most of them in support of the governmental policy. 
Lord John Russell, the secretary for foreign affairs, against whom most of 
the animadversions had been directed, replied in conclusion, vindicating his 
policy, showing that it was a truly English policy, and that the country 
was in accord therewith. Later in this session of Parliament the question 
reappeared, and Mr. Gladstone made another short speech on the subject. 
He repelled the charge that Great Britain, through her ministry, had 
fomented the Italian insurrections. He repeated his charges as to the des- 
potism and criminality of the administration in Perugia and Modena, and 
was able to fortify his assertions with indisputable proofs. 

Mr. Gladstone did not bring forward his budget at this session until 
the 15th of April. The same interest was manifested on the occasion as 
hitherto, and the interest was not disappointed. The chancellor of the 
exchequer entered a full House, of which he commanded the confidence. 
Besides, there was a great throng of visitors drawn to his audience in expec- 
tation of a master effort. He came to his task with the same confidence 
and pleasing manner which the public had come to anticipate. There was 
thought to be a touch of natural pride in his demeanor, but no undue mani- 
festation of self-consciousness. 

On this occasion the chancellor of the exchequer began by a reference 
to a saying in Schiller s Mary Stuart, that if she had been in her time much 
hated she had also been much beloved. He applied this saying to the 
financial legislation of the year i860. That also had been much hated and 
much beloved. He acknowledged that the policy which he had introduced 
had been displeasing to many people ; but that policy had gained the con- 
fidence of the country more and more. He begged to revert once more to 
the commercial treaty with France, and to call attention of the House to 
what that treaty involved. It involved the completion and perfection of the 
policy of free trade, extending that policy from Great Britain to her neigh- 
bors. The protective tariffs to which the people of Great Britain had been 
subjected had been removed. Nature during the last year had not been 
auspicious to England. The expenditures of the nation had been the largest 
that ever came in time of peace. The aggregate was more than seventy- 
three and a half million pounds ; but he was able to report a balance in the 
treasury of eight hundred and twenty-two thousand pounds. He then 
reviewed the balances in a comparative way for several preceding years. 



^ 



320 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

He presented the usual detailed statements of revenue, including ^e arti- 
cles on which the duties had been abolished, and showing how much loss 
had arisen from the changed policy of the government. In nearly every 
case the losses on the various articles had been much less than the estimates 
which he had presented to the House in i860. As to the excises, he must 
allow that there had been a deficiency in the aggregate duties on hops, malt, 
and distilled spirits of about a million and a half pounds. The speaker 
next gave the statistics of expenditure as far back as 1853, showing how the 
same had increased, the reasons of the increase, and the causes of occa- 
sional deficiencies. 

The chancellor of the exchequer once more took up the question of 
the French treaty. He showed the perfect concord of that agreement and 
the legislation of Great Britain. He praised the French government for 
its "loyal, thorough, intelligent, unflinching determination" to carry out the 
new policy. That policy had greatly improved the export trade of both 
countries. In Great Britain the exports had been increased by at least six 
million pounds in a single year. Imports had also increased, particularly 
in the lines of those commodities from which the duties had been removed. 
The importation of grains had been more than doubled The country 
instead of suffering from this had been greatly benefited. 

For the ensuing year Mr. Gladstone estimated the expenditure at 
sixty-nine million nine hundred thousand pounds ; the revenue at seventy- 
one million eight hundred and twenty-three thousand pounds. It was not 
the disposition of the government to accumulate a surplus, but to reduce 
the rates of taxation. This might be safely done. He would recommend 
the remission of the tenth penny of the income tax ; also the duties on tea 
and sugar, and the remaining duty on paper. He hoped that though he 
might not himself be able to accomplish everything in this direction that he 
aspired to do yet some future chancellor of the exchequer would accom- 
plish this result, and by so doing would build himself an everlasting fame. 
He said that the remission of the penny in the income tax would reduce the 
revenue by eight hundred and fifty thousand pounds. The proposed remis- 
sion of the paper duty would amount to six hundred and sixty-five thousand 
pounds ; but the aggregate of the two great reductions would still leave in 
the treasury a surplus of nearly half a million. 

Counting safely on this surplus, the government might remit other 
minor burdens that commerce and industry were still bearing here and there. 
The treasury would soon be replenished with the Chinese indemnity, which 
would goto the credit of the revenues, and at the same time the expenses of 
the military establishment would be materially reduced by the withdrawal 
of the army from eastern Asia. As to the income tax, the tea tax, and the 
sugar tax, he would retain them one year. He congratulated the House 



BUDGET OF 1 86 1 AND AMERICAN COMPLICATIONS. 32 1 

that Great Britain was about to escape finally from the burdens of taxation 
she had borne so long. The country was no longer at war. True, there had 
been a season of blight such as hardly any living man could recollect ; " yet." 
said he, " on looking abroad over the face of England no one is sensible of 
any signs of decay, least of all can such an apprehension be felt with regard 
to those attributes which are perhaps the highest of all, and on which most 
of all depends our national existence — the spirit and courage of the country. 
It is needless to say that neither the sovereign on the throne, nor the 
nobles and the gentry that fill the place of the gallant chieftains of the 
Middle Age, nor the citizens who represent the invincible soldiery of Crom- 
well, nor the peasantry who are the children of those sturdy archers that 
drew the crossbows of England in the fields of France — none of these 
betray either inclination or tendency to depart from the tradition of their 
forefathers. If there be any danger which has recently in an especial man- 
ner beset us, I confess that, though it may be owing to some peculiarity in 
my position, or some weakness in my vision, it has seemed to me to be 
during recent years chiefly in our proneness to constant, and apparently 
almost boundless, augmentations of expenditure and in the consequences 
that are associated with them. " . 

We have remarked on the splendid bearing of Mr. Gladstone on the 
occasion of his formal appearances before the Commons. No other finance 
minister has ever had so great success in the presentation of his budgets 
and in the explication of them before an audience, the applause of one half 
of whom was well calculated to betray him to the hungry watchfulness of 
the other half. It has been claimed that his manner in presenting the 
budget of 1 86 1 was the acme of his achievement in this rdle of statesmanship. 
Never once on such occasions did he lose his balance ; never once surren- 
der his self-control. His ability to combine statistics with the pleasantries 
of familiar oratory and to make that the basis and concrete of a really 
splendid structure was, without doubt, greater than that of any other states- 
man of his century. 

On the occasion just described Mr. Gladstone concluded thus : " The 

spirit of the people is excellent. There never was a nation in the whole 

history of the world more willing to bear the heavy burdens under which 

it lies, more generously disposed to overlook the errors of those who have 

the direction of its affairs. For my own part I hold that if this country 

can steadily and constantly remain as wise in the use of her treasure as 

she is unrivaled in its production, and as moderate in the exercise of her 

strength as she is rich in its possession, then we may well cherish the hope 

that there is yet reserved for England a great work to do on her own part 

and on the part of others, and that for many a generation yet to come she 

will continue to hold a foremost place among the nations of the world." 
21 



i 



1 



322 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

If the government of Lord Palmerston was now consolidated, if it was 
supported, as it was, by a majority of about fifty in the House of Commons, 
it was nevertheless confronted by a well-organized opposition, numbering 
much more than two hundred members. The belligerency of the English 
nature asserts itself powerfully in Parliament Nothing goes unchallenged. 
There is nearly always an opportunity for an aspiring orator to make of 
himself the hero (or the fool) of the hour. The presentation of a budget 
almost invariably brings out a display of this kind. Not only is the leader 
of the opposition expected to say something in criticism of the plans pre- 
sented, but other members also may have their say. 

On the occasion just described an angry attack was made on the chan- 
cellor of the exchequer by the honorable Mr. Bentinck, who declared that 
the measures proposed were but a continuation of the lifelong policy of 
Mr. Gladstone against the interests of agriculture in Great Britain. It was 
a policy that might do well enough for trade, but Great Britain was a 
country, and not a shop. The budget was planned with a cold-blooded 
indifference to the producing interests of British farmers and landlords. 
In the same strain spoke Lord Robert Montagu, also a representative of 
the landed interest; It could but be that the country squires of England 
should imagine themselves mortally hurt, or at least mortally insulted, with 
the new scheme of political economy which confirmed in toto the policy 
of Sir Robert Peel, virtually leaving all industries, all trades, and all con- 
cerns in the realm on the basis o( laissez /aire. 

To these attacks Mr. Gladstone made small allusion in his reply. To 
those criticisms, however, which were directed to his pet measure of the 
abolition of the duty on paper he spoke fully in answer. Of those who 
appeared as the champions of the paper interest Mr. Francis Thornhill 
Baring was the ablest and most influential. He argued strongly that 
unless there was to be a corresponding reduction of expenditures the House 
ought to refuse to enact the abolition of the paper duty. In the same strain 
spoke Sir Stafford Henry Northcote, who also commanded a following, 
and who in the next year amplified his views in a work called Twenty Years 
of Financial Policy. 

To the criticisms of these distinguished speakers Mr. Gladstone replied, 
demonstrating that the surplus which he had shown in the figures of his 
estimates was actual. He again went over the items of his table, and 
showed that the expectation which he had deduced therefrom was not only 
arithmetical and logical, but as much of a verity as anything could be 
which had in it a future contingency. He again traversed certain argu- 
ments which had been adhered to since the beginning of the agitation in 
favor of free trade. Finally he challenged the opposition, should there be 
a disposition to do so, to come to the direct test of a vote, or otherwise 



BUDGET OF 1861 AND AMERICAN COMPLICATIONS. 323 

allow that the debate was only a dallying expedient, wasting the time of 
the House of Commons. 

As for Mr. Disraeli, on this occasion, he was as cautious and adroit as 
usual. He did not directly attack the budget or challenge its merit by 
calling for a division of the House He proposed, however, in a mild criti- 
cism, that any abolition of the indirect tax should not touch the existing 
duty on tea. But he was unable to prevail even in this small effort at a 
diversion, and the part of the budget calling for the continuance of the 
income tax was voted without a call of the House. Mr. Gladstone then 
went forward to demand that the tea tax and sugair tax, which he declared 
had been misnamed war taxes, should be extended for another fiscal year. 
He argued the point that the system of protection had already fallen before 
the advanced legislation of the period, and that it was now simply a ques- 
tion of temporary expediency in what manner the taxes referred to should 
be dealt with. As to an amendment which was before the House for the 
reduction of the tea duty to a shilling a pound, that could not be accepted, 
as it would destroy the very surplus which he had been abje to show as the 
expected result of his scheme for the ensuing year. He held that the 
argument he was now presenting was entirely consistent with the policy 
which he had long advocated and harmonized even with the views of that 
prince of free traders. Sir Robert Peel. As between the retention of the 
tea tax and the abolition of the paper duty the former would stimulate 
foreign enterprise, while the latter would give an impetus to the home indus- 
tries of Great Britain. After further debate the plan of the chancellor of 
the exchequer was adopted without amendment. 

Mr. Gladstone in the management of his budget of 1861 adopted a new 
plan of procedure. Instead of offering as many bills as there were provi- 
sions to be covered in the budget, he prepared one bill only for the whole. 
He was moved to this course, no doubt, by the spirit which had been shown 
just previously in the House of Lords relative to the paper duty. The 
Lords had been able in that instance to negative a single clause of the 
budget without objection to other parts. Gladstone plainly intended by his 
new method to force the upper House to accept or reject the budget as a 
whole. 

This method, however, was also a restriction on the House of Com- 
mons. That body, as well as the upper House, was brought to the alterna- 
tive of accepting or rejecting the whole, under the provision of a single bill. 
The opposition was greatly excited over this turn in the ministerial policy. 
It was claimed that that policy was against the Constitution of Great 
Britain. It was a movement on the part of the House, said the opposition 
orators, to destroy one of the prerogatives of the House of Lords. Several 
violent speeches were made, the most inopportune of all being that of Lord 



i 



1 



324 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE, 

Robert Cecil, destined after more than thirty years, under his title of the 
Marquis of Salisbury, to be Gladstone's successor in the office of prime 
minister. 

On the occasion referred to Lord Cecil charged the chancellor of the 
exchequer with having brought before the House of Commons a merely 
" personal budget," for which and for the promises of which there was no 
other pledge than the honorable gentleman's word. For his part he thought 
the budget such a document as might have emanated from the office of a 
county attorney. Aye, more than that, he was constrained to say that it 
would be an injustice to the county attorneys to suppose them capable of 
producing such a document ! So the harangue continued until the House 
was in the act of calling Sir Robert down. 

Episodes of this kind rarely affected Mr. Gladstone's temper. His 
almost unvarying policy was to pass by personal attacks and to confine his 
speech to real issues, whether coming from his own side or from the opposi- 
tion. In the further discussion of the question he averred that his plan of 
covering the whole budget with a single bill was not without great and fre- 
quent precedents in the past usage of the House of Commons. He defied 
his critics to point to any constitutional provision that was violated by his 
method. More than this, the plan which he had proposed, of adopting or 
rejecting as a whole, was more accordant with the real Constitution of Great 
Britain — that ancient Constitution which had its roots deep down in Anglo- 
Saxon England — than was the more recent usage of dividing a proposition 
into many parts. In so far as the proposition referred to affected the House 
of Lords he was willing to defend that also as consistent with the Constitu- 
tion. " I think that Constitution," said he, " will be all the better for the 
operation. As to the Constitution laid down by my right honorable friend, 
under which there is to be a division of function and office between the 
House of Commons and the House of Lords — with regard to fixing the 
income and charge of the country from year to year, both of them being 
equally responsible for it, which means that neither would be responsible — 
as far as that Constitution is concerned, I cannot help saying that in my 
humble opinion the sooner it receives a mortal stab the better." 

Meanwhile the veto of the abolition of the paper duty by the House of 
Lords, as hitherto narrated, came back for consideration in the Commons. 
Along this line of contention the opposition made its strongest rally. There, 
was a fear that the attitude of the Lords would be so strongly supported in 
the lower House as to prevail. The principal speakers who appeared in 
the arena at this juncture were Lord Palmerston, Lord John Russell, Mr 
Disraeli, Mr. Cobden, and Mr. Baring. The onus of the defense of the bill 
for the abolition of the duty rested most of all on Mr. Gladstone. He found 
occasion in the speech which he now made to support the authority of 



BUDGET OF 1861 AND AMERICAN COMPLICATIONS. 325 

Cobden against that of Baring, No one could doubt, said he, that Mr. Cob- 
den was the best informed and most influential of those statesmen who had 
conduced to the present advanced commercial and industrial condition of 
Great Britain. That gentleman was therefore an authority whose advice 
the House of Commons ought to heed. 

The repeal of the duty on paper, said the speaker, had come in the 
course of events. It was really a popular measure. The people of Eng- 
land had come to understand that the removal of such -duties as that under 
consideration was in their interest. The opposition had taunted him with 
having become the champion of a system that had originated with the ultra 
radicals of the Manchester school. This the speaker denied. While he 
was in accord with Mr. John Bright in many of his principles and policies 
he did not fully agree with that gentleman's opinions. As to the doctrine 
of free trade — its general benefits as a commercial principle — his views and 
those of Mr. Bright harmonized. He did not doubt that the House would 
support him in the position which he now occupied, and thus complete vic- 
toriously the last act in the drama by which Great Britain was attaining her 
commercial freedom. 

The result proved it even so. The House voted with the chancellor of 
the exchequer, though the opposition succeeded in reducing the ministerial 
majority to fifteen. The bill, including the abolition of the duty on paper, 
was sent to the House of Lords, where it again encountered serious opposi- 
tion. It was not now the Earl of Derby, however, who led that opposition, 
but the Duke of Rutland. Lord Derby, who had hedged at the previous 
session, now became convinced that it was better that the House of Lords 
should not persist in opposition to the will of the nation. He accordingly 
refused to join the movement for a second rejection of the pending measure, 
but satisfied himself with the delivery of an ill-timed philippic against the 
chancellor of the exchequer. Thus the bill for the abolition of the duty on 
paper \^z.^ permitted Xo become a law"; and thus another of the ever-recur- 
ring questions between the two Houses of the British Parliament was 
adjusted to the satisfaction of the popular branch. 

As a part of the history of this epoch through which the life line of 
William E. Gladstone was distinctly drawn we may now revert to the 
American complication arising from the attitude taken by Great Britain 
toward our country at the outbreak of the civil war. The events of that 
day are quick in the memories of men still living. In what we shall here 
offer we shall, as it were, put ourselves in the position of Great Britain, in 
order to explain a crisis, the portent of which was dark enough to cast a 
shadow for a season over the best parts of the civilized world. 

In the first place, there was a great misunderstanding between England 
and America — between the peoples of the two countries. Great Britain 



I 



326 LIFE AND TIMBS OF WILLIAM E, GLADSTONE. 

could not well realize that a nation, great and independent as herself, had 
been constituted west of the Atlantic under a republican form of govern- 
ment She was ready to believe that such a nation would fall asunder at a 
touch. She was not greatly concerned to have it the one way or the other ; 
but her belief was that a large republic could not endure. 

In America exactly the opposite opinion prevailed. It prevailed so 
strongly that millions of brave men were willing to fight for it and die for it 
America supposed that Great Britain would want her to survive. There 
was a moral conviction in the United States that England ought to be in 
sympathy and accord with an English-speaking race and nation on this side 
of the sea. The American people knew well enough that Great Britain had 
long pretended to be in favor of the abolition of slavery, and that she had 
supported a propaganda against the peculiar institution in the United States. 
Here now a great civil war had broken out, which Great Britain must per- 
ceive clearly enough to have originated from the institution of slavery. 
But, on the other hand, Great Britain was astonished to find the government 
of the United States making war, not — according to its own declaration — 
for the destruction of African slavery, but simply and solely to uphold and 
reestablish the Union ; that is, to force the Union back again on the seceded 
States. Great Britain thinks — has always thought — that she is the friend of 
the oppressed. It is not true that she is so, but so she believes. It is a 
good profession to make in that High Court of Casuistry which she has 
established and maintained for centuries, as the final appeal in matters affect- 
ing the greater part of her political, social, and historical conduct Great 
Britain is indeed the friend of the weaker party in all the States of the 
world, except one — herself. When it comes to insurrection of any of her 
own subjects, with the prospect of losing territory and population by suc- 
cessful rebellion against the strong rule which she has laid upon them, then 
she is no longer the friend of the oppressed, the champion of the weaker 
side, the avenger of the wrongs of those who suffer. Then she is the friend 
of order and good government ! 

Much of this spirit exists in America also. Our nation, in like 
manner, is the friend of insurgents and democrats and progressive 
freemen in all countries of the world except one — the United States. 
Nor is it difficult to see how the rebellion of the Confederate States 
would appear to be a heinous crime to the American people and at 
same time appear to be a justifiable resort to insurrection to the peoj 
Great Britain. 

The fact is that among nations it is each one for itself. We are not j 
aware that the principles of a high philanthropy, of an unselfish humanity, | 
of an altruistic moral code, have ever prevailed in such relations as those 
which existed between the United States and Great Britain in 1861. Each 



at^^t^e^ 
►pie oi^ 



BUDGET or 1 86 1 AND AMERICAN CX)MPLICATIONS. 327 

nation seeks its own aggrandizement and is not hurt at witnessing the calam- 
ities of others. 

To this add the peculiar incidents of the great drama which was then 
enacting. We might well have been spared the ordeal which cam6 with the 
arrest on the high sea, under the British flag, of Mason and Slidell. Cer- 
tainly Captain Wilkes, of the San Jacinto^ was in the right in that matter; 
but he was also seriously in the wrong. It was one of the most wrong-right 
actions of modern times. Perhaps only the great deed of John Brown at 
Harper's Ferry rises above it in that immortal wrong-righteousness which 
history strives in vain to understand and interpret. 

Then came the prodigious offense of Great Britain in opening her ship- 
yards for the fitting out of war vessels intended for the service of a navy 
that did not exist and that never could exist. The vessels in question were 
to become Confederate cruisers; that is, freebooters of the sea; that is, 
buccaneers and semipirates. To all this was added the wise but drawling 
correspondence of the American secretary of state. He had to explain 
everything and to argue everything. He admitted that the seizure of 
Mason and Slidell was wrong, and in the same communication proved that 
it ought to have been right ! Great Britain, with an unseemly and stupid 
animosity that refused to restrain itself for an hour, made haste to prepare 
for war, just as she had made haste to recognize the belligerency of the 
Confederate States. She went to hobnobbing with France on the question 
of recognizing the independence of the Confederacy. She did everything 
that was calculated to offend the sense of justice in the United States, and 
nothing to conciliate the good opinion of our people. 

Hurt indeed Great Britain certainly was by our civil war. Her com- 
merce with the Southern States was cut off. It was seen that if those States 
should be independent then British trade with the ports of the South would 
not only be reopened, but greatly increased. In the year i860 England 
had sent to America twenty millions of- exports. All of this was now to be 
interdicted so far as the South was concerned by the Union blockade, and 
so far as the North was qoncerned was to be taxed with heavy import 
duties to the extent of becoming in many instances prohibitory. The city 
of Birmingham by this means was to lose nearly four million pounds on her 
export of cutlery to the United States. 

Our country, in order to raise revenues, turned quickly to protective 
tariffs. It was heavy duties on imports or nothing. In March of 1861 the 
London Times said : " The period between the election of the new Presi- 
dent [Lincoln] and the surrender of office by the old is a sort of interreg- 
num, in which it may be said all legislative and executive activity is para- 
lyzed. But, though unable to do anything for the cause of the Union, the 
Senate and the Congress have employed the interregnum to strike a second 



328 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E, GLADSTONE, 

blow at the commerce, the finance, and the general prosperity of the coun- 
try infinitely more fatal than any abstraction of territory or diminution of 
population. They employed the last weeks of what is probably the last 
session df the last Congress of the United States of America [How now, 
evil prophet?] in undoing all the progress that has been made in the direc- 
tion of free trade and in manacling their country once more in the fetters 
of a protection amounting to prohibition." 

We need not enlarge on these conditions and dangers. The peace of 
our country, already struggling to the death with the Confederacy, was seri- 
ously, imperiled with Great Britain. But historical causes helped us and the 
danger was averted. The under man in Great Britain was on our side. 
Strange to narrate that in the very places where we should have expected 
the greatest animosity to our cause to exist there was the greatest friendli- 
ness, the greatest sympathy. In the swarming manufacturing centers, where 
the supply of cotton from America was cut off, and the sale of British manu- 
factured goods to our country destroyed by the disaster of our war, the 
people, notwithstanding their losses and sufferings, sympathized strongly 
with the national cause and hoped for the restoration of the Union, John 
Bright, as representative of these classes, was outspoken in his defense of 
the Union and the Union cause. 

Higher up in the circles of British life there was a certain policy which 
tended to the same end. When it came to the issue of recognizing the 
Confederacy Great Britain was wary. Lord John Russell, the foreign 
secretary, hesitated to rush in and recognize something that might need 
defending. When Mason, the Confederate envoy to England, urged the 
recognition of the Southern States as a separate and independent power, 
Earl Russell replied: " In order to be entitled to a place among the inde- 
pendent nations of the earth a State ought not only to have strength and 
resources for a time, but afford promise of stability and permanence. Should 
the Confederate States of America win that place among nations it might 
be right for other nations justly to acknowledge an independence achieved 
by victory and maintained by a successful resistance to all attempts to 
overthrow it. That time, however, has not, in the judgment of her majesty's 
government, arrived. Her majesty's government, therefore, can only hope 
that a peaceful termination of the present bloody and destructive contest 
may not be far distant." This could not be regarded as a highly philan- 
thropic view of the duty of one great nation to another, but it was highly 
prudential and conservative. 

On the whole, however, the government of Lord Palmerston, corre- 
sponding almost exactly in its time relations with the civil war in the 
United States, was not in sympathy with the Union cause, and was in 
sympathy with the Confederacy. The aristocracy of Great Britain antici- 



BUDGET OF 1 86 1 AND AMERICAN COMPLICATIONS. 329 

pated our national end, and wished to see it As high as the court this 
feeling and sentiment prevailed. It can hardly be wondered, therefore, that 
Mr. Gladstone, chancellor of the exchequer, on whom the duty was 
devolved of providing the annual scheme for revenue, of guarding against 
deficits, of calculating accurately the expenditures of the kingdom, and all 
this on the peril ever present in the British House of Commons of being 
deposed from his place in case of failure, should, follow the drift of his 
time and condition and commit himself almost fatally to the secession 
cause. 

That the statesman did so was perhaps the greatest break, the greatest 
misfortune, of his career. True, he recovered himself, and corrected his 
bearings, as he did in many other instances of less historical importance. 
But the sentiment with which he was regarded in America was greatly 
cooled by his attitude, and the end of the century and the close of his life 
could not witness the total extinction in the memories of old Union soldiers 
and their fellow-patriot civilians of the evil thing that William E. Gladstone 
said against us in the darkest days of our national catastrophe. True it is 
that he saw his well-planned budget of 1 86 r coming to grief under the evil 
results which fell on British commerce at the outbreak of the war. True it 
is that he could not view with equanimity the dreadful losses to the British 
revenues. He had to remember that the cutlery trade of Birmingham 
would be reduced three million eight hundred thousand pounds annually ; 
that the American duties on the cotton goods of Manchester would virtually 
destroy that trade; that the exports of Newcastle to our country would be 
stopped ; that the steel trade of Sheffield would be checked and the iron 
trade of Wolverhampton would be ruined. That all of this should annoy a 
chancellor of the exchequer and lead him into error may well be conceded 
as an explanation, but is hardly satisfactory as an apology for Mr. Glad- 
stone's attitude. 

It was in August of 1862 that he went to Newcastle, and delivered a 
speech which was heard on both sides of the Atlantic. It became memo- 
rable in both England and America. It was repeated with rising hope 
throughout the Confederacy, and read in gloom and wrath by the Union 
people of the great North. In this speech Mr. Gladstone declared that 
Jefferson Davis and his fellow-patriots had created a nation in a day. They 
had led the insurrection, of the Southern States of America in their cause 
against the old government, and had made themselves independent. He 
spoke of the matter as though it were fait accompli. He went so far as to 
indicate the advantageous results which must arise to Great Britain. He 
echoed the sentiments of the London Times, showing how the Southern 
Confederacy would of course desire no better than to make Charleston, 
Savannah, Mobile, and New Orleans depots of English manufactures, " to be 



330 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

smuggled across the long and imperceptible frontier which separates them 
from the United States." 

Such declaration gave great offense in the United States and for the 
time injured Mr. Gladstones reputation in his own country. Many strong 
men in England never wavered in their conviction that the cause of the 
Union would ultimately prevail and that that cause should be supported 
with the active sympathy of England. Such were the views of John Bright, 
Richard Cobden, John Stuart Mill, Milner Gibson, William E. Forster, and 
the Earl of Clarendon. To this strong phalanx of statesmen and publicists 
Mr. Gladstone's utterance was almost as offensive as it was to the upholders 
of the Union cause in America. 

It could not be said that this unfortunate circumstance in Gladstone's 
career was ineffaceable. Time modifies much, and obliterates much more. 
After a lifetime, there is fortunately but little remaining bitterness in the 
hearts of any portion of the American people springing from the far-off 
boiling fountains of our bloody national tragedy. Besides, in Mr. Gladstone's 
case he had become, or was rapidly becoming, not only a liberal statesman, 
so called, but the great leader of the Liberal party. This word liberal has 
been a magic word in America. It has signified to the great majority of 
Americans all that is good and all that is prophetic in the public and social 
life of a nation. 

To be liberal in Gladstone's case was to be popular in the United 
States; the more liberal the better, from bur point of view. His attitude 
oh all questions of policy, whether national or international, after the period 
of the civil war, was greatly acceptable to a large majority of the American 
people. Meanwhile a "new generation arose, knowing little of the old 
memory and score against the British statesman. They of this generation 
joined, therefore, with the greater number of their fathers in accepting the 
sobriquet of the " Grand Old Man," and of applauding him even to the 
doorway of his exit from the world. 

'»'Mr. Gladstone was very far from failing to und^erstand his faux pas on 
the American issue. The event of our conflict, foreshado^ving itself by the 
beginning of 18641 helped him to a clearer apprehension of his mistake. 
The critrcfems of his own countrymen piromoted the same favorable rectifi- 
cation of his judgment. Just five years after the Newcastle speech he made 
the amende Ju>myrable as fully as possible, in a letter written to a friend, 
Mr. Cyrii^ W; Field, in New York city.' In that communication, among 
other things, he said: "I must confess that I was wrong; that I took too 
much upon myself in expressing such aaopi&ion. Yet the motive was not 
bad. My sympathies were then— ^whete. they had long before been, where 

^ _„ ^__^_ ^ ^, ike many 

Europeans, did not understand the. iiature' and* working 6f the American 



BUDGET OF 1861 AND AMERICAN COMPLICATIONS. 331 

Union. I had imbibed conscientiously, if erroneously, an opinion that 
twenty or twenty-four millions of the North would be happier and would be 
stronger (of course assuming that they would hold together) without the 
South than with it, and also that the Negroes would be much nearer to 
emancipation under a Southern government than under the old system of 
the Union, which had not at that date [August, 1862] been abandoned, and 
which always appeared to me to place the whole power of the North at the 
command of the slaveholding interests of the South. As far as regards the 
Special or separate interest of England in the matter, I, differing from many 
others, had always contended that it was best for our interest that the Union 
should be kept entire." 



332 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

CHAPTER XIX. 
Other Budgets of the Palmerston Regime. 

IE come now to the subject of the budget of 1862. The same 
was presented to Parliament on the 3d of April in that year. 
The document was conservative, and was somewhat less elab- 
orate than its predecessor. Indeed, there was little occasion for 
the oratorical methods that the chancellor of the exchequer had 
hitherto employed ; for the new policy of Great Britain might now be 
regarded as an established fact, and need not be argued further. More- 
over, the circumstances were not such as to make Mr. Gladstone at all 
jubilant. The evil effects of the civil war in America were discoverable in 
the British revenues. The exports from our mother island lo the United 
States had fallen off from twenty-one million six hundred and sixty-seven 
thousand pounds to nine million fifty-eight thousand pounds. Here was an 
appalling commercial loss of more than twelve and a half millions. Idle- 
ness in England had become enforced and distress a necessary consequence. 
Another bad harvest had supervened. Every large town and city in Great 
Britain swarmed with mendicants. London was overrun with them until 
the municipal provisions for the poor had to be supplemented with private 
charities and organized social aid. 

Nevertheless Mr. Gladstone came boldly and cheerfully to his task. 
He showed that the working of the commercial treaty with France had been 
salutary, and that the revenue from that source had increased by at least 
two million pounds. He regretted to say that there had been a correspond- 
ing increase in the expenditures. Certain supplementary grants of 1861 had 
to be added to the aggregate of expenses. A division of British troops had 
been necessarily retained in eastern Asia It had become necessary to send 
a small army to Canada. The total expenditures for the fiscal year 1860-61 
amounted to seventy-two million five hundred and four thousand pounds. 
This had to be met with a revenue of sixty-nine million six hundred and 
seventy thousand pounds. The revenue had decreased by eight hundred 
and nine thousand pounds ; for the income tax had been reduced a penny a 
pound, and the abolition of the paper duty had involved a loss of six hun- 
dred and sixty-five thousand pounds. A change in the credits, or the system 
of credits, had left the treasury short a million a hundred and twenty-two 
thousand pounds on the score of the malt duty. 

It could not be said, however, that the revenues were actually declining. 
There had been an increase in the customs within nine months of four hun- 
dred and sixty-eight thousand pounds, being by that much in excess of the 
estimates. The reduction of the taxes on distilled spirits, hops, and paper 



OTHER BUDGETS OF THE PALMERSTON REGIME. ^ 333 

had brought a loss of four hundred and .fifty-six thousand pounds. Nor had 
the amount realized from the Chinese indemnity been as great as was antici- 
pated by two hundred and seventy-two thousand pounds. The total esti- 
mate of expenditure for the ensuing year was seventy million and forty 
thousand pounds, and the total revenue seventy million a hundred and 
ninety thousand pounds. This would bring the estimated expenditures 
within the estimated revenues, but would leave no considerable surplus. 
The government would run this risk rather than impose new taxes. 

The chancellor of the exchequer regretted to say that the existing taxes 
could not for the present be reduced ; but the reductions already provided 
for would relieve the people during the next fiscal year of not less than six 
hundred thousand pounds. The duties on spirits might remain as they 
were ; so also the duties on sugar. Nor would the speaker make any rec- 
ommendations as to a change in the case of malt. The wine trade had 
increased under the freer system of commerce. Nevertheless he suggested 
the raising of the scale of duty on certain wines, by which there would be a 
gain of fifteen thousand pounds a year. On the whole the budget was less 
elaborate and radical than was its predecessor, and the presentation of it 
somewhat less confident and spectacular. 

The existing condition of affairs gave full opportunity for criticism and 
assault Mr. Disraeli was now able to make a direct attack. He began his 
speech as leader of the opposition with the charge that Mr. Gladstone had 
been profuse in his expenditures. He had repealed the duty on paper 
against the judgment of the House of Lords and the better judgment of the 
English people, and had thereby lost a million and a half pounds. He 
had done this for the sake of a barren triumph over the House of Lords. 
The chancellor of the exchequer had thought that the loss from the aboli- 
tion of the paper duty would be six hundred and fifty-five thousand pounds. 
As matter of fact it was eight hundred and fifty thousand pounds. 

Continuing his philippic Mr. Disraeli said : " The right honorable gen- 
tleman never proposes a vote — and it falls to him to propose the most pro- 
fuse votes that any minister in time of peace ever brought forward — he 
never does this without an intimation that he does not in his heart sanction 
the expenditure he recommends. . . . How is it that the party which 
preaches retrenchment and reduction — who believe all our estimates, 
especially the naval and military estimates, are much too extravagant — ^who 
are opposed to fortifications and who do not much like iron ships — how is it 
that this party always support a minister who is bringing forward these 
excessive estimates and who provides for this enormous expenditure ? Well, 
that is a great question. This at least we know, that while the spendthrift 
is weeping over pence — while this penurious prodigal is proposing this enor- 
mous expenditure — he always contrives to repeal some tax to gratify the 



334 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

interests or prejudices of the party .of retrenchment No wonder, then, we 
hear no longer the same character of the income tax ; no wonder we are no 
longer reminded of that compact entered into by the House and accepted 
by the country for its gradual and permanent abolition. Unless the House 
expresses, on a fitting occasion, its opinion, there is very little hope of our 
obtaining any redress in this respect . . . Who will deny that this position 
of affairs is peculiar and perilous ? I remember some years ago, when the 
right honorable gentleman was at the head of a small party, not then 
absorbed in the gulf of Liberalism, that we heard much prattlfe about politi- 
cal morality. What then most distinguished the right honorable gentleman 
and his friends was their monopoly of that admirable quality. They were 
perpetually thanking God that they were not as other men, and always 
pointing their fingers at those unfortunate wights who sat opposite to them. 
Now we see the end of * political morality.' We see the position to which 
political morality has brought the finance of a great nation. I denounce 
this system as one detrimental to the character of public men and most 
injurious to the fortunes of the realm." 

The speeches of Disraeli were never wanting in pith. Whether they 
were deduced from substantial fact, or evolved out of his own consciousness, 
they were equally shrewd, witty, and effective. On the present occasion he 
knew, perhaps, that it was useless to attack the provisions of the budget, and 
he was probably more concerned to make a dramatic and oratorical display 
than to accomplish any definite result 

Gladstone in answer was able to remind the House that, as to the 
alleged extravagant expenditures in the matter of fortifications, he had him- 
self forewarned the Commons and protested against it He again referred 
to the alternative which had been before the House of removing the duty 
either on paper or on tea. Choosing the latter the loss to the revenues 
would have been much greater than choosing the former. As to the charge 
of profusion in expenditure brought by the leader of the opposition, that 
charge was more fit for himself than for the speaker. He said, in a tone 
approaching bitterness, that better men than himself had been vituperated 
by the right honorable gentleman who had preceded him. In this manner 
he went on to refute the charges made by his opponents. 

Sir Stafford Northcote, who had been Mr. Gladstone's secretary when 
President of the Board of Trade under Sir Robert Peel, was answered in 
the same stiff and effective manner which the chancellor of the exchequer 
had employed against Mr. Disraeli. Sir Stafford had committed the indis- 
cretion of making a garbled excerpt from a speech delivered by Mr. 
Gladstone at Manchester, and the latter punished him by exposing and 
repudiating the false construction put upon his words. He continued the 
refutation till his opponents were silenced, and the bills covering the recom- 



L 



OTHER BUDGETS OF THE PALMERSTON REGIME. 335 

mendations of the budget were passed by the House and sent for approval 
or disapproval to the Lords. 

Once more the Italian question flared up in the Commons. The par- 
ticular champions of the old order in Italy were, as we have seen before, 
Sir George Bowyer and Mr. Pope Hennessy. The former sought to make 
himself the champion of the papal interest and the latter to display his 
powers as an advocate of political reaction and general Bourbonism in 
Europe. When Parliament was about to adjourn, in April of 1862, these 
gentlemen sought strenuously to evoke the sympathy, or at least the atten- 
tion, of the House to the cause for which they were anxious to plead. It 
seemed astonishing, in consideration of the^ct that the revolution in Italy 
had already abolished the old order and substituted the new, that English 
parliamentarians should still hug th^ delusion of dethroning the present, 
bastardizing the future, and reinstating the past. The effort of the gentle- 
men referred to provoked little else besides derision in the House, but 
furnished an opportunity to Mr. Gladstone to speak effectiv>ely and conclu- 
sively in answer to their evil prophecies. 

In the first place the chancellor of the exchequer said that there was a 
serious general objection to the discussion of the internal affairs of Italy 
in the British House of Commons. The two countries were at peace. 
There was no reason to break the peace or to mar it Each nation had 
its own concerns, its own rights, and its own destiny. If the question were 
international instead of national then it might be a proper theme of discus- 
sion in Parliament, but it was not international. He characterized the 
speech of Sir George Bowyer as an astonishing example of the power of 
paradox. The honorable gentleman had seemed to play upon the credulity 
of the House. The speech to which they had just listened was an astound- 
ing example of that kind of address which could be built upon alleged 
facts. Sir George Bowyer had related marvels which would be regarded 
by the House as marvels, and no more ! He might cite a particular 
instance in the case of the downfall of the late kingdom of the Two Sici- 
lies. " My honorable and learned friend," said Mr. Gladstone, with some 
sarcasm in his tone, " was so kind as to ascribe to me some infinitesimal 
share in removing from the world the sorrow and iniquity which once 
oppressed that unhappy country. I should take it as a favor if the charge 
were made truly',T)ut I claim or assume no such office. Here is a country' 
which my honorable and learned friend says is, with a few miserable excep)- 
tions amongst the middle classes, fondly attached to the expelled dynasty, 
and what happerted there? An adventurer, Garibaldi, clothed in b, red 
shirt, and some volunteers also clothed in red shirts, land at a point in the 
peninsula, march through Calabria, face a sovereign with a well-disciplined 
army of thirty thousand men and a fleet probably the best in Italy, and 



i 



336 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE, 

that sovereign disappears before them like a mockery king of snow ! And 
yet such is the power of paradox that my honorable and learned friend still 
argues for the affectionate loyalty of the Neapolitans, as if such results 
could have been achieved anywhere save where the people were alienated 
from the throne." 

In this manner Mr. Gladstone continued to throw larger shells into 



GARIBALDI ADDRESSING THE ITALIAN PARLIAMENT. 

the enemy's camp than were needed for its demolition. Sir George Bow- 
yer had very inaccurately complained that the revolutionary results in Italy, 
that is, United Italy, had not been recognized by the continental powers, 
with the exception of France, and that, subserviently following the lead of 
France.'Great Britain had acknowledged the kingdom of Italy. This was 
so far from the well-known facts as to create derision in the House. Glad- 
stone replied that, admitting the correctness of the honorable gentleman's 



OTHER BUDGETS OF THE PALMERSTON REGIME. 337 

history, it was nevertheless sufficient that England and France should 
recognize a new State to make it so ! The speaker said that not only did 
he approve the things thus far accomplished by the revolution in Italy, 
but that he also hoped to see that revolution move forward with steady 
strides until the Eternal City should fall before it He cherished this hope 
because he desired the peace of Europe and the humanizing of mankind. 
He spoke in urgent criticism of the policy of the pope in attempting to 
prolong a temporal power which history no longer recognized. The papal 
claim was inimical, not only to the Italians, but in a sense to all Europe.^ 

As for Italy, that great power was marching on to a high rank among 
the nations. He declared that he had no hesitation in saying that he 
believed it a special part of the duty and mission of her majesty's govern- 
ment to be the true expositor and reflex of the sentiment of the people of 
England on a question of so great importance as that of the revolution in 
Italy. He believed that this view would tend to preserve a high and sacred 
principle of British polity and at the same time promote the future tran- 
quillity of Europe. " I believe, too," said he, " so far as the judgment of 
England is concerned, never was that judgment pronounced on any public 
question at home or abroad with greater unanimity or clearness, and that 
there will not be any chapter of the life of my noble friend [Lord Palmer- 
ston] on which Englishmen will probably dwell with greater satisfaction 
than that in which it shall be recorded that, not now alone, but for many 
years past, before the question had arisen to the magnitude of its present 
position, through evil report and through good report, he sustained and 
supported the cause of Italy." 

We may here dismiss the Italian question from further consideration. 
The revolution headed by Garibaldi and organized into victory by Victor 
Emmanuel worked out its own salutary results. Rome did fall before the 
movement, and became the capital of United Italy. The new order con- 
firmed itself and was recognized throughout Europe and the world. Nor 
is it likely that the Italian transformation was either greatly promoted or 
seriously retarded by the attitude of the other European powers with 
respect thereto. The movement was born of conditions that were south of 
the Alps. The age was ripe for the great change by which the dissevered 
and hostile fragments of Italy were aroused from their petty localisms and 
fused into one, under the enthusiasm of a common cause. 

Mr. Gladstone never lost his hold upon the general confidence and 

admiration of his fellow-countrymen. He was a popular man, and was in 

demand by society for many ends and aims that were not political. His 

life was peculiarly happy in the invitations which he received and accepted 

to participate in the social and moral affairs of England. An instance of 

this kind, belonging to the year 1862, was the part which he was called to 
22 



338 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GIJLDSTONE. 

take as spokesman in the presentation of a memorial to the tragedian 
Charles John Kean^son and successor of the great Edmund Kean, on the 
English stage. The popularity and influence of the younger Kean rivaled 
but did not equal that of his father. His reputation was enhanced by bis 
marriage, in 1842, with the distinguished actress Ellen Tree, who shared 
with him afterward his histrionic honors^ much as in the case of the Kenr 
dalls in our own day. 

There was something peculiarly appropriate in the choice of Mr. Glad- 
stone as speaker on the occasion of the testimonial. A silver service of 
great value and beauty had been subscribed by the fellows and students of 
Eton, of which school Mr. Kean, as well as Gladstone, was a graduate. The 
ceremony took place in Sl James's Hall. It had been intended that the 
Duke of Newcastle, also an Etonian, should make the presentation address; 
but that statesman, having been called to attend the queen, could not per- 
form the duty assigned, which was assumed, on invitation, by Mr. Gladstone. 

His speech was pleasing and appropriate^ He praised Mr. Kean as one 
of tliose actors who had done much to preserve the dignity and classical 
character of the English stage. He had been a promoter of the Shakes- 
perean revival, and* had contributed a powerful influence to rescue dramati- 
cal representations from buffoonery and immorality. The recipient had been 
single-minded in the prosecution of his professional career. All England 
admired him, and he (Mr. Gladstone) cherished the hope that other actors 
would imitate his great and salutary example^ 

We need not dwell at length upon the budget presented by Mr. Glad- 
stone at the session of 1863. It is to be noted, however, that his policy, 
fairly instituted only three years before, by this time began to show its 
beneficial effects on the revenues of the kingdom. Notwithstanding all the 
drawbacks of the time and circumstances the chancellor of the exchequer 
was now able to show a surplus over expenditures. This fact was seen to 
foretoken another contest in Parliament ; for a surplus always suggests to 
the British mind the reduction of taxation. Whatever else may be said of 
the Briton, he is a good economist. One of his most striking peculiarities 
is his dislike of taxation. Having the constitutional right of taxing himself 
he exercises that right as sparingly as possible. And why should he not? 
Man, being human, does not cane to give something for nothing. 

We must allow that the greater part of the enormous taxes in civilised 
nations are in the nature of something for nothing ; that is, so far as the 
people are concerned. At the juncture of which we speak the two fonhs 
of taxes most likely to be assailed were the income tax and the duty on tea. 
Opposition to these two forms of rating the people arose from the appwsfte 
extremes of British society.' The aristocracy hated the income tax, and the 
people bated the tax on tea. 



OTHER BUDGETS OF THE PALMERSTON REGIME. 339 

It was on the 1 6th of April, 1863, that Mr. Gladstone appeared in the 
House with his budget for that year. In beginning his statement he 
referred to the absorbing interest which his former documents had possessed, 
on account of the peculiar circumstances out of which they had been pro- 
duced. He called attention to the fact that it had been the purpose of the 
House and the country that certain extraordinary expenditures incurred in 
the last few years on the score of the national defenses should cease at the 
earliest practiqable date. To this effect the House of Commons had passed 
a resolution. The government was now prepared to make its answer to the 
demand of the country. 

The speaker said that in three years, from 1858 to 1861, the national 
expenditures had increased more than eight million pounds. This increase 
was traceable to the charge for fortifications. Including that charge the 
present annual aggregate of expenditure was seventy-one million a hun- 
dred and ninety-five thousand pounds. He then traced the gradual rise in 
this aggregate for several preceding years, extending his calculation as far 
back as 1853. The speaker said that it had been necessary in accordance 
with the will of the nation to improve the national defenses. He was con- 
fident that her majesty's government had not overstepped the public wish 
in this matter. Following the sentiment of the nation the treasury had been 
hard pressed for at least four years. He was now prepared to present a 
more pleasing prospect for the finances. 

There were certain circumstances, however, which must still be regarded, 
such as the hardships of the people in Lancashire. The people of that prov- 
ince were true Englishmen. Among them were to be seen the symbols and 
tokens of English progress and greatness. There, too, might be seen the 
evidences of moral strength. There had been hardship and suffering aris- 
ing from commercial and industrial conditions; and out of the hardship 
great and salutary lessons might be learned. The power of endurance 
under distress could not be too highly commended. The manufacturing 
material of the artisans of Lancashire had so increased in price as to close 
the factories. Cotton had advanced in a single year from eightpence to 
two shillings a pound. It seemed impossible for the prosperity or even 
the comfort of a manufacturing center to be maintained under such 
conditions. 

There was similar hardship in Ireland. The agricultural interests in 
that country were greatly depressed. Within a period of seven years prod- 
ucts had fallen off by nearly a third of the whole All of these troublous and 
distressing conditions had impaired the revenue. Mr. Gladstone thought 
that for the ensuing fiscal year the expenditures would amount to sixty- 
seven million seven hundred and forty-nine thousand pounds ; and the rev- 
enue he estimated at sevefity-one million four hundred and ninety thousand 






340 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

pounds. This showed a balance in favor of the treasury of three million 
seven hundred and forty-one thousand pounds. 

Mr. Gladstone then went on to deal with the question of the. surplus. 
How should the surplus be applied ? Prima facie there would be an expec- 
tation of a large reduction in taxation. The House must, however, consider 
certain anomalous conditions by which the treasury was bound. He thought 
it well in the first place to raise the duty on chicory so as to prevent the 
adulteration of coffee with that article. He thought that clubs, being large 
consumers of spirits, ought to pay thereon the same duties as were paid by 
the keepers of hotels and coffee houses. Those who held licenses to sell 
beer under the general provisions of a license to sell distilled spirits should 
pay for an additional license. As to wholesale dealers, he recommended 
that they might, under a general license of one pound, be permitted to sell 
in quantities or packages of less than two dozen bottles. 

Common carriers might be permitted to ply their vocation under license 
costing one half as much as that charged for the stage-carriage licenses. 
Railways ought to be charged a general rate of three and a half per cent for 
all their traffic, including excursion trains. He recommended the equaliza- 
tion of duties on Jegacies, whether in Ireland or in England ; also that 
endowed charities should not be exempt from the provisions of the income 
tax, though the buildings and grounds of such institutions should still have 
the benefits of exemption. 

More particularly the chancellor of the exchequer recommended the 
abolition of the duty of one penny on packages of goods, and also the duty 
of one shilling sixpence on each bill of lading. He proposed in the next 
place to set free all incomes between one hundred pounds and two hundred 
pounds. As to the great question of a reduction of the taxes on tea and 
sugar, he thought that it would be better to strike off the duty on one of the 
articles rather than to reduce it on both. He therefore recommended a 
reduction of one shilling a pound in the duty on tea, whereby he thought 
the revenue would be decreased for the ensuing year by a million three hun- 
dred thousand pounds. The loss from the reductions in the income tax 
would be about two million three hundred and fifty thousand pounds 
annually. Besides this he would recommend that the general rate of tax- 
ation be reduced by twopence the pound. From these several items he 
would secure a total relief to the taxpayers for the ensuing year of three 
million three hundred and forty thousand pounds. This he thought he 
might accomplish and still have a working surplus of about four hundred 
thousand pounds for the following year. 

After this Mr. Gladstone again reviewed the history of the revenues 
and expenditures of Great Britain during the period of his incumbency in 
office. In several matters he went back further, adducing many facts of 



OTHER BUDGETS OF THE PALMERSTON REGIME, 34 1 

interest to the House and the people of Great Britain. He was able to 
make a favorable comparison between the financial progress of the country 
and that of other nations. He urged that it was the business of a finance 
minister in making his annual reports to keep ever in view the honor, the 
interests, and security of the country; "and next to that honor," said he, 
"those interests and that security, the deliberate judgment given by the 
House of Commons in the last session of Parliament. But, subject to these* 
considerations, as I trust I may also say both on my own behalf and on that 
of my colleagues, it is to us a riiatter of additional satisfaction, after reading 
the eloquent denunciation of the finance minister of France, if, while we 
submit a plan which offers no inconsiderable diminution of the burdens of 
the people, we can also minister ever so remotely to the adoption of like 
measures in other lands ; if we may hope that a diminished expenditure for 
England will be construed across the Channel as the friendly acceptance of 
a friendly challenge, and that what we propose, and what Parliament may be 
pleased to accept, may act as an indirect, yet powerful, provocative to sim- 
ilar proceedings abroad. Gratifying it must ever be to the advisers of the 
British crown that the British people should enjoy an alleviation of their 
burdens ; but, over and above the benefit to them, and the satisfaction to 
us, there will be a further benefit, and a further pleasure, if we may hope 
that we are allying ourselves with, and confirming such tendencies as may 
exist elsewhere on behalf of peace, of order, and of civilization, and that we 
are assisting, in however humble a degree, to allay unhappy jealousies, to 
strengthen the sentiments of good will, and to bring about a better and 
more solid harmony among the greatest of the civilized nations of the world." 

So far as the budget of 1863 proposed the removal of a part of the 
income tax and the duty on tea it commended itself to the House and the 
country. If the men of large incomes were in a frame of mind to applaud 
the favor to their interest then certainly the man who drank tea might 
applaud — he and his family. As to the aristocratic clubs of London and 
other great cities, they raised a clamor, after their manner, against that part 
of the budget which recommended a license to each club for the sale of 
liquors in the same manner as for hotels and coffee houses. After a good 
deal of hot discussion in the House, and a still more furious uproar among 
the swells of the clubhouses, Gladstone reluctantly assented to the with- 
drawal of his proposition. 

His recommendation, however, to tax the clubs for their drinks, or for 
the privilege of them, was by no means the occasion of so great odium as 
was the recommendation to remove the exemption of charitable donations 
from the reach of taxation. This might well provoke an outcry and wail 
throughout the kingdom. While the budget was still before the House 
there came up a tremendous deputation, headed by the Archbishop of Can- 



342 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

terbury, the Earl of Shaftesbury, and the Duke of Cambridge, to intercede 
with Mr. Gladstone on the score of the impolicy and inhumanity of taxing 
the endowments of charitable institutions. Certainly the chancellor of the 
exchequer had to face a formidable array. He might well have been 
influenced by such an appeal from such a committee ; but he calmly heard 
and as calmly answered the delegation that their representations should be 
properly heard by the House of Commons and the country, but that he 
should state to the House the grounds upon which he had made his recom- 
mendation, and then leave the representatives of the people to decide the 
question at issue. 

It appears that this movement against what Mr. Gladstone conceived 
to be a measure of justice aroused him to the point of strong controversy 
with his adversaries. He went into the House of Commons and defended 
his measure with great vehemence and ability. He said that he knew well 
how his proposition had been received and that he fully appreciated the 
outcry that had been raised against him. He believed the measure to be 
wise and prudent, and was little disposed to recede from his position, but 
was willing to accept the adverse judgment of the Commons if such judg- 
ment should come. He was sure that there was a misapprehension as to the 
intent of the measure which he had recommended. What was the exemp- 
tion which he wished to have removed ? He assured the House that nineteen 
twentieths of the charitable endowments to which his measure was directed 
were deathbed bequests made by the rich as memorials of themselves, in the 
hour of their going forth, with a view to exempting their posthumous estate 
from the equitable burdens of taxation. 

Why should the privilege be thus extended to a man to immortalize 
himself as the founder of a charity, under a system that gave him the power 
thus to withdraw his property in toto from the common provision of prop- 
erty, namely, that it should be taxed for the public good ? He showed that 
the actual loss to the revenues on the score of this exemption was two hun- 
dred and sixteen thousand pounds a year. Besides this it cost the govern- 
ment forty-five thousand pounds annually to administer properly on the 
bequests thus made to charities. He was sure that the whole loss to the 
treasury of England by this memorial business was hardly less than a half a 
million pounds annually. He then proceeded to classify the charitable 
endowments, dividing them into three groups, according to their magnitude. 
He showed that in the group embracing the small charities there vras 
scarcely a trace of virtue or efficiency. On three separate occasions the 
condition of these charities had been investigated and adversely reported by 
commissioners sent out by the House of Commona It had been proved 
conclusively that the tendency of such institutions was to convert thousands 
of people into paupers and to reclaim none. The tendency was to weaken 



OTHER BUDGETS OF THE PALMERSTON REGIME. 343 

poor people on the border line of want, to destroy their independence, and 
to make them beggars. 

In the middle group Mr. Gladstone put those charitable endowments of 
which the proceeds were distributed in money. He called attention of 
the House to the abuses which arose, full fledged and naturally, out of such 
provisions. Finally he showed that the great charities endowed in the man- 
ner above described were set up for the bene6t and glory of their patrons 
rather than for the relief and promotion of those to whom the proceeds were 
said to be directed. He declared that he had not recommended the removal 
of the exemption of the endowed charities because the treasury had need of 
such a measure, but he had made the recommendation because justice 
demanded it. He would not revert to the clamor which had been raised 
outside, to the animadversions which had been indiscreetly and unjustly 
applied to the recommendation he had had the honor to offer. Nor was 
he the originator of the project to make the endowed charities bear their 
part of the public burden. A former chancellor of the exchequer (meaning 
Sir George Cornewall Lewis) had supported and promoted a like measure. 
" We do not," said Mr. Gladstone, " presume as a government by any means 
which a government might dream of to press it [the above recommenda- 
tion] on an adverse House. The House is responsible ; we do not wish to 
show undue obstinacy ; we defer to its opinions ; we reserve to ourselves 
the power of deciding upon the way in which this question is at a future 
time to be considered We have proposed this measure to the House as 
consistent with every principle which has governed administration for 
the last twenty years; as being just to the taxed community and fair to the 
laboring poor ; favorable to the great object of elevating their character as 
well as of improving their condition. In proposing this measure we feel 
ourselves impregnable and invulnerable to all rude reproaches, and we rec- 
ommend it to the courage, the wisdom^and the justice of the House of 
Commons." 

There could not be much doubt of the general truth, the substantial 
correctness, of this argument ; but in the political world the naked truth 
rarely prevails in a contest with expediency. Many members of the House 
of Commons, who understood well enough the essential justice of Mr. Glad- 
stone's recommendation, quailed before the outcry which they knew would 
be raised against the promotion and the promoters of such a measure. 
They perceived that they who should vote against it, whatever might be 
their convictions, would get themselves armed with clubs and swords against 
those who favored the proposition pending. So with the progress of debate 
and the elevation of expediency, Mn Gladstone, though upheld by the cab- 
inet and defended in particular by Lord Palmerston, decided to withdraw — 
and did withdraw — his measure from further consideration. 



344 ^^^^ AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

No further, however, could the chancellor of the exchequer be driven. 
There were those who believed and hoped that the remission proposed in 
the income tax might be carried further. Among these was Mr. Hubbard, 
who presently moved, " That the incidence of an income tax touching the 
products of invested property should fall upon net income, and that the net 
amounts of industrial earnings should, previous to assessment, be subject to 
such an abatement as may equitably adjust the burden thrown upon intelli- 
gence and skill as compared with property." Mr. Hubbard was not alone 
in his advocacy of the views expressed in his resolution ; but the chancellor 
of the exchequer declared that the method suggested by the mover of the 
resolution was only a shift and a substitution, which, if conceded, would work 
out no beneficial results. 

He then informed the House that the committee of which Mr. Hub- 
bard was a member had rejected this very proposition and that the House 
had passed the same judgment upon it at the previous session. He demon- 
strated that those who were to be favored by the resolution just offered were 
precisely those who, on account of the rapid increase in their fortunes, were 
least needful and deserving of an advantage. On the other hand, those who 
were really in need of favor under the provisions of the income tax were 
not touched by Mr. Hubbard's resolution. The speaker admitted that there 
was a sentiment quite natural in its origin favorable to such a motion as 
that proposed ; but it was not practicable to put such a sentiment into law. 
Abstract principles could not often be brought into the statute for the prac- 
tical relief of the public. Thus the debate ended, and the resolution was 
rejected. 

At this session of the House was introduced a measure called The 
Dissenters' Burials Bill. The resolution proposed to give to Nonconform- 
ists the right of performing their funerals with the ceremonies and services 
of their own religion and by ministers of their own faith, but in the ceme- 
teries of the Established Church. The proposed bill was offered by Sir 
Morton Peto, and brought out in full heat the hostility of the opposition. 
Speeches were made by Mr. Disraeli and by Lord Robert Cecil, afterward 
Earl of Salisbury. Mr. Gladstone gave a qualified indorsement to the pro- 
posed measure, saying that he could not see any sufficient reason, or indeed 
any reason at all, why, after having granted, and most properly granted, to 
the entire community the power of professing and practicing what form of 
religion they pleased during life. Parliament should say to them, or to their 
relatives, when they were dead, " We will at the last lay our hands upon 
you and not permit you to enjoy the privilege of being buried in the church- 
yard, where, perhaps, the ashes of your ancestors repose, or, at any rate, in 
the place of which you are parishioners, unless you appear there as mem- 
bers of the Church of England, and, as members of that Church, have her 



OTHER BUDGETS OF THE PALMERSTON REGIME. 345 

service read over your remains." " That," said Mr. Gladstone, " appears to 
me an inconsistency and an anomaly in the present state of the law, and is 
in the nature of a grievance." 

To the American reader this argument is so obvious that he cannot 
well understand that it should have been objectionable in England. But so 
strongly was the England of the first years of the seventh decade wedded 
to her Church Establishment that anything which seemed to intimate an 
abatement of her rights and prerogatives was resisted and resented. Mr. 
Gladstone's view was such an intimation. It was not indorsed by the gov- 
ernment, and the resolution of Sir Morton Peto was rejected by a large 
majority. 

We may here refer to one other measure of importance which was 
debated at the same session of Parliament. It had been determined to pro- 
mote with governmental support the International Exhibition at South Ken- 
sington. The House of Commons took Up the measure with considerable 
enthusiasm and made an appropriation of a hundred and twenty-three thou- 
sand pounds for the purchase of the grounds necessary as a site for the 
exhibition buildings. In the next place a proposition was introduced for an 
appropriation to purchase and retain the building itself. Mr. Gladstone, 
acting for the government in the absence of Lord Palmerston, who was now 
rapidly approaching the end of his days, proposed a resolution for the pur- 
pose mentioned. 

The measure included an appropriation of a hundred and five thousand 
pounds for the purchase of the buildings at Kensington and for making in 
them certain alterations. He told the House that the proposition was to 
be regarded as an item of business. He thought that the present appropri- 
ation logically followed the one recently voted for the purchase of grounds. 
It would be illogical, after purchasing the grounds, not to make provision 
for the requisite building. He said that the government had already offered 
eighty thousand pounds to certain contractors for the work contemplated. 
The bill provided for an additional twenty-five thousand pounds to keep the 
buildings in repair and for completing them. The public wants as it respected 
the building were to provide a national portrait gallery, a patent museum, 
and a hall of natural history for the collections of the British Museum. 

These propositions seemed obvious enough, but for some reason a whirl 
of opposition came on in the House, amounting to an uproar. From the 
American point of view it would appear that the members came all at once 
to suspect that there was a job lurking in the measure before the House. 
Some of the leaders of the opposition rather generously sought to support 
the ministerial proposition, but the effort was futile. The prejudice of the 
House rose so high that Mr. Gladstone's resolution, although emanating from 
the government, was voted down by a large majority. 



34^ LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

By the close of the year 1863 the premonitions might be seen of great 
changes that were impending in the party life of Great Britain. The 
government still seemed to hold tne confidence of the majority ; but that it 
was growing old could not well be denied. Perhaps the ministers no longer 
concealed from themselves the fatal truth that their days in oflfice were 
numbered. If there could be any exception to this general apprehension of 
the evil to come it was in the case of Mr. Gladstone, who by this date had 
become by far the tallest member of the ministerial order. He was so 
regarded in governmental circles and among the opposition. The ster- 
ling qualities of his character were now recognized by all, and time and cir- 
cumstance seemed to conspire in ratifying his methods and policies as a 
statesman. His financial management had been superb. The year 1864 
came in under favorable auspices. Financial and commercial prosperity had 
returned. The trade of* the nation had gone forward with rapid strides. 
The expenses of the government had fallen below and the revenues above 
the estimates of the chancellor of the exchequer, insomuch that the chief 
question arising in the finance office was how to dispose of the surplus. 

It was on the 7th of April, 1864, that Mr. Gladstone brought fon^^ard 
his budget for that year. The document was in the same manner as its pre- 
decessors. The same intense interest was manifested in the budget and in 
the explication thereof by its author. His friends were disposed to believe 
that the public enthusiasm relative to the formal appearance of the chan- 
cellor of the exchequer in this year was greater than ever before. It may 
not be doubted that he himself came to the task of the day in full confi- 
dence and with a proud sense of the showing which he was able to make 
in the finances of the richest government ever created by man. 

Mr. Gladstone began his financial oration by calling attention to the 
previous condition of the country. He spoke of the years of hardship that 
had just gone before, of the failure of the crops, of the suffering in the agri- 
cultural districts of Ireland and in the manufacturing districts of England. 
This, he was glad to say, had in great measure passed away. The condition 
of the country had improved in a marked degree. The improvement in 
the finances was conspicuously gratifying. The expenditures for the fiscal 
year had been sixty-seven million fifty-six thousand pounds, being less by a 
million and a quarter than had been estimated and provided for by Parlia- 
menf. The revenue had risen above the estimate, amounting to seventy 
million and three thousand pounds. There was thus a surplus of three mil- 
lion pounds in round numbers. Even after deducting the heavy expense of 
improving the fortifications of the kingdom there was a surplus of more 
than two million pounds. 

Within three years, the chancellor said, there had been a saving to the 
taxpayers of England of more than six and a half million pounds. The 



OTHER BUDGETS OF THE PALMERSTON REGIME. 347 

• 

falling off in the revenue from the abolition of duties had been only one 
million seven hundred and sixty thousand pounds. He was thus able to 
show an aggregate saving to the people of Great Britain of about five mil- 
lion pounds. For ten years past the revenues had been increasing at the 
average rate of more than a million a year. The government had been 
able to turn its attention to the payment of the national debt In the past 
eight years the debt had been decreased by sixty-nine million pounds. The 
management had been such as to reduce the annual interest by about six 
million pounds. Recently the treasury had taken up and canceled a mil- 
lion of exchequer bonds. There had also been paid out over a million in 
discharge of what were called the terminable annuities. 

Mr. Gladstone next turned to the topics of the imports and exports 
of the nation. These showed for the year an aggregate of nearly four 
hundred and forty-five million pounds. The exports for the preceding year ' 
were a hundred and ninety-five million pounds. The speaker pointed out 
the fact that the commercial transactions of the nation thus amounted to 
nearly a million and a half pounds for each working day of the year. These 
totals of trade were so greatly in excess of anything hitherto known in the 
history of Great Britain as to point unmistakably to the hew commercial 
policy of free trade as the source of the vast augmentation of British com- 
merce The same fact indicated the general prosperity of England. 

At one point Mr. Gladstone seemed to be hard pressed in holding his 
position. The statistics showed that the importation of foreign paper had 
increased enormously since the reduction in duty on that commodity. It 
looked as though the argument made on the rag question by his opponents 
at the previous session of Parliament were about to be established by facts, 
but Mr. Gladstone denied that the increase in the importation of paper, 
though very great, had been attended with a corresponding decrease in the 
paper manufacture of Great Britain. That, he contended, was not in evi- 
dence. He could show, moreover, that there had been a great increase in 
the demand for the raw material of paper, and also that British paper was 
exported in large quantities ; also that the price of paper had fallen even 
below the figures indicated in his estimate ; also that the recent law had 
prevented the further diminution in the number of paper makers in Eng- 
land ; also that the cost of making paper had been reduced — and that, 
therefore, taken all in all, the abolition of the paper duty had worked the 
same salutary results which had been reached in all other departments by 
the removal of the restrictions on trade. Finally he informed the House 
that France was moving in the proper direction with a proposed reduction 
or abolition of the duty on rags. This done, the equipoise of trade in 
paper would be perfectly restored. 

As to the duties on spirits, the revenue from that source had increased 



348 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

by more than eight hundred thousand pounds. At the same time the 
exportation of spirits was greater than hitherto. The benefit in this direc- 
tion had extended to a social and moral aspect of the case. There was a 
smaller consumption of strong liquors and a greatly increased consumption 
of wines and light drinks. More wine was used in England by fifty-five 
per cent than had been consumed five years previously. The tobacco 
trade had improved. As between England and France, the imports from 
the latter country had increased in five years a little more than a hundred 
per cent, while the exports from England to that country had increased 
about a hundred and forty per cent. Meanwhile the social as well as the 
industrial and commercial condition of the people had been improving, as 
was clearly shown in the decrease of vagrancy and pauperism. 

Passing to the present and the future, Mr. Gladstone next gave his 
estimates for the fiscal year 1864-65. He placed the revenue at sixty-nine 
million four hundred and sixty thousand pounds, and the expenditure at 
sixty-six million eight hundred and ninety thousand pounds. This he 
thought would afford the treasury for the next year a net surplus of about 
two million five hundred and sixty thousand pounds. This suggested a 
further reduction in taxation ; that is, in the duties on articles of public 
consumption. For his part he believed that sugar was the next commodity 
from which the duty should be removed. He thought that there should be 
a scale of duties adjusted to the ^different grades of sugar, and that this 
should be arranged in a manner to interfere as little as possible with the 
importers and dealers in the article. 

On the whole the speaker would reduce the average rate on sugar by 
one shilling the hundredweight. This would diminish the revenue by about 
a million seven hundred thousand pounds ; but the increase in the sugar 
trade would be such as to make the diminution about a million three hun- 
dred and thirty thousand pounds. The remaining surplus of a million two 
hundred and thirty thousand pounds he thought pointed to a further reduc- 
tion in the income tax. It might be suggested that the duty on malt 
should be reduced instead, but he thought otherwise. He should recom- 
mend that the income tax be subjected to a further reduction of one 
penny the pound. From this source the revenue would be reduced for 
the ensuing year by about eight hundred thousand pounds, and for the fol- 
lowing year by a million two hundred thousand pounds. 

The last-named reduction would still leave a surplus in the treasury of 
four hundred and thirty thousand pounds for the year 1864-65. As against 
this he would recommend a reduction in the rate of fire insurance of one 
half; that is, from three shillings to one shilling sixpence on stock in 
tradp. By this reduction the surplus, he thought, would be cut down to 
about two hundred and thirty-eight thousand pounds — a sum which the 



OTHER BUDGETS OF THE PALMERSTON R^GIMfi. 349 

chancellor of the exchequer reckoned a sufficient balance for all contin- 
gencies of the treasury. 

This showing of the finances of the kingdom was excellent as it related 
to the facts, and skillful as it related to method. Very little opposition was 
provoked on the different parts of the budget. It looked as though the 
long-continued battle of Mr. Gladstone for the establishment of a rational 
and consistent policy of treasury management had gone completely in his 
favor. The usual small fire of formal criticism was indulged in, but without 
effect. One member thought that the reduction of the rates on fire insur- 
ance ought to be greater, but the House did not agree with him. When it 
came to the consideration of the clause relating to the duties on sugar 
another member moved, " That the consideration of these duties be post- 
poned until the House has had an opportunity of considering the expediency 
of the reduction of the duty upon malt." 

Hereupon a little debate ensued, springing from the opposition, among 
whom there was a notion that the paper duty ought to be restored. This 
opinion, however, was wholly reactionary, and had little hold in the senti- 
ment of the House. Mr. Gladstone replied firmly that the abolition of the 
paper tax was now a part of the general policy that could not be reversed. 
He would point the House to the splendid results which had followed the 
abolition of the said tax in the establishment of a cheap free press for the 
people. Besides, the mover of the amendment had not considered that the 
sum of the surplus reported was so small that any material reduction in the 
duty on malt would engulf it ten times over. Besides, the malt tax had 
immediate relation to the drinks of the people, and if the tax was to be 
tinkered then the whole question of the taxes on spirituous liquors would 
have to be opened again. The objections of the opposition were then swept 
away by adverse votes of the House. 

At this juncture Mr. Gladstone found opportunity to conciliate the pro- 
ducers of barley somewhat by himself adding a clause to the effect that such 
malt as was used for feeding stock should be exempt from the duty. This 
done, members of the opposition next assailed the sugar schedule, offering 
first one and then another amendment for changing the rates ; but these 
were opposed by Mr. Gladstone in brief but conclusive arguments, and were 
adversely voted by the House. 

Another matter of no small importance was the proposition of the 
chancellor of the exchequer relative to the law for the purchase of govern- 
ment annuities through the medium of the postal savings banks. He offered 
an amendment to enable the banks referred to, under auspices of the gov- 
ernment, to grant policies of life assurance. The object of the measure was 
to extend the opportunities for assurance to the poor and the humble. The 
companies had generally offered assurance only in such sums as to put the 



1 



350 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

advantage beyond the reach of the working people. The mover thought 
that the post-office savings banks, which had now been extended through- 
out the kingdom, under a measure initiated by himself, might be used as a 
sort of governmental life assurance offices for the poor. Mr. Gladstone was 
of opinion that the measure proposed was consistent with the spirit of 
British legislation, since it merely afforded to humble citizens the opportu- 
nity of making valuable provision for themselves. 

Hereupon, however, an opposition arose, blowing strongly over the 
House. The objections came from two quarters. In the first place, it was 
urged that the pending measure was a kind of paternalism — ^a sort of method 
of taking care of the English people, as though they were infants. The 
other objections arose from the existing assurance companies designated in 
England as ** Friendly Societies." To these the measure seemed dangerous; 
for it might take away a portion of their trade and profits ! Their cry was 
in the usual tone that Diana of the Ephesians is great. 

For the time it looked as though Mr. Gladstone might be forced to 
recede ; but in his reply to the objections and objectors he was able to 
declare that never before in his public life had he received so many letters 
of approval and commendation relative to any single measure that he had 
had the honor to propose in the House of Commons as he had recently 
received indorsing the project under consideration. This kind of argument 
generally prevails in that body; for, say what we will of the British Parlia- 
ment, it is an instrument that vibrates most sensitively to the public breeze 
of the natioa 

Oddly enough, in the matter now under contention, the House of Lords 
concurred in the Gladstonian measure ; for to the members of that august 
body the proposal to assure the lives of the common people, as if under 
governmental patronage, seemed to accord perfectly with the theory of the 
Lords about the nature of government in general. Mr. Gladstone was 
able to carry through his measure, and indeed to secure the approval of the 
whole budget of 1864, with the exception only of such modifications as he 
himself chose to suggest and promote. 



PROGRESS TOWARD LIBERALISM, AND REJBCTION BY OXFORD. 35 1 




CHAPTER XX. 

Proj^ress toward Liberatisniy and Rejection by Oxford. 

E here arrive at the beginning of a great upheaval in British 
politics, in which William £. Gladstone was both cause and 
effect He may be regarded as the prime mover, or one of the 
prime movers, of a great agitation, on the wave of which he 
was destined to rise to the acme of his influence and fame. The 
preliminary swirl of the storm that was to come seems to have occurred on 
the 1 ith of May, 1864. A measure had been introduced into the House by 
Mr.. Baines to lower the parliamentary franchise in boroughs ; that is, to 
extend the franchise to new classes of the common people. The bill came 
to its second reading, to which it failed to pass ; but the majority against it 
was not great 

Mn Gladstone made a speech on this occasion which may be regarded 
as the opening of the dike through which the floods of a political revolu- 
tion were destined to rush in. While he did not positively advocate the 
adoption of the resolution proposed by Baines he nevertheless concurred in 
the general view that there ought to be a considerable extension of the fran- 
chise to the working classes of the nation. He was unwilling to advocate 
a measure of wholesale suffrage thrown broadcast to the laboring men« but 
he did advocate an enlargement of the franchise in that direction. He said 
that the right of suffrage under the present system hardly reached the 
woricing classes at all ; the great mass were disfranchised, and this ought 
not to be. 

Then Mr. Gladstone broke into the remarkable part of his speech. 
He replied vigorously to the assertion that the working classes were not 
themselves moving for the right of suffrage ; that they were not agitating 
the question of their right to vote. He inquired whether it was a true 
policy for the British Parliament to wait for an agitation among the working 
classes before undertaking the duty of reform. "In my opinion," said Mr. 
Gladstone, " agitation by the working classes upon any political subject 
whatever is a thing not to be waited for, not to be made a condition pre- 
vious to any parliaunentary movement, but, on the contrar}% is to be depre- 
cated, and, if possible, prevented by wise and provident measures. An 
agitation by the working classes is not like an agitation by the classes above 
them having leisure. The agitation of the classes having leisure is easily 
conducted. Every hour of their time has not a money value ; their wives 
and children are not dependent on the application of those hours to labor. 
When a workingman finds himself in such a condition that he must abandon 
that daily labor on which he is strictly dependent for his daily bread, it is 



1 



352 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

, only because then, in railway language, the danger signal is turned on, and 
because he feels a strong necessity for action and a distrust of the rulers 
who have driven him to that necessity. The present state of things, I 
rejoice to say, does not indicate that 
distrust ; but if we admit that we must 
not allege the absence of agitation on 
the part of the working classes as a 
reason why the Parliament of Eng- 
land and the public mind of England 
should be indisposed to entertain the 
.discussion of the question. 

To the American reader this speech 
would seem to be mildly conservative 
on the question of suffrage. That it 
should, as late as the middle of the 
seventh decade, be regarded in any civil- 
ized country as a radical challenge to 
the existing order appears from our point 
of view an astonishing, if not an absurd, 
proposition. So also of the rest of the 
speech, which was in the same tenon 
He showed that the middle classes in 
England , are not divided from those 
GLADSTONE IN 1864. ACE FiPTv-FivE. below thcm by any well-marked line of 
virtue or capacity, such as might indi- 
cate the right of suffrage to them and the withholding of It from their 
humbler neighbors. He favored the enlargement of the franchise as a 
measure calculated indeed to obliterate somewhat the artificial lines in Brit- 
ish society, and to promote that social and civil unity of the English people 
as a whole which he was glad to say was indicated by the signs of the times 
and the progress of humanity. 

Had this argument of Mr. Gladstone, relating wholly to secular reform, 
been the sum of his offending the probabilities are that he would have 
remained in virtually the same relations as hitherto with the existing politi- 
cal parties. But he presently went further in a matter relating to the 
Church. On that side also he veered away from the opinions held by his 
constituents of Oxford University, and, as we shall presently see, alienated 
a majority of them from his support. 

In the meantime other questions arose that, for the present, postponed 
the break between the chancellor of the exchequer and his old party associ- 
ates. All along a strong tide of opposition had beaten against the govern- 
ment of Lord Palmerston on the score of his foreign policy. For years it 



PROGRESS TOWARD LIBERALISM, AND REJECTION BY OXFORD. 353 

had been alleged that that statesman with respect to the imperial regime in 
France was a toady. To this offense he was said to have added many an 
odious favor to the revolutionary party existing widely in other European 
nations. 

At this particular juncture Germany had summoned Denmark to give 
up Schleswig-Holstein to the military occupation of Prussia and Austria, 
until what time the claims of the Duke of Augustenburg might be settled 
Driven to close quarters, the Danish government appealed to England and 
France for support, and received from those governments what the Danes 
thought were sufficient assurances, and war was declared against Germany ; 
but the war was not successful. The line of the Dannewerk was taken by 
the enemy, and the Danes in panic found that the expected backing of Eng- 
land and France was not in evidence. They rallied, however, in a splendid 
manner, but could not stand against the overwhelming power of the Ger- 
mans. They were obliged to accept such terms as were meted out to them 
by the peace of Vienna, concluded in October of 1864. For awhile Europe 
waited for Prussia to render back North Schleswig artd the island of Alsen 
to Denmark, and when this was not done, as Austria had demanded, the 
break came between that power and Prussia, so lately in alliance, in the 
great conflict of 1866, ending in the humiliation of Austria and in the begin- 
ning of the ascendency of Prussia and the house of HohenzoUern. 

The course of Great Britain toward Denmark in this emergency gave 
opportunity to the opposition in Parliament to challenge the ministerial 
management On the 4th of July, 1864, Benjamin Disraeli offered a resolu- 
tion, " To thank her majesty for having directed the correspondence on 
Denmark and Germany, and the protocol of the conference recently 
assembled in London to be laid before Parliament; to assure her majesty 
that we have heard with deep concern that the sittings of the conference 
have been brought to a close without accomplishing the important purpose 
for which it was convened ; and to express to her majesty our great regret 
that, while the course pursued by her majesty's government has failed to 
maintain their avowed policy of upholding the integrity and independence 
of Denmark, it has lowered the just influence of this country in the capitals 
of Europe, and thereby diminished the securities for peace." 

He who ran might read that Mr. Disraeli in this resolution intended in 
a covert way to carry if possible a vote of want of confidence in the minis- 
try through the House of Commons. As soon as the resolution was before 
the House Mr. Alexander W. Kinglake offered an amendment or substitute 
for the last clause of Disraeli's propositions, as follows : " To express the 
satisfaction with which we have learned that at this conjuncture her majesty 
has been advised to abstain from armed interference in the war now going 
on between Denmark and the German powers." The presentation of this 



354 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

amendment made a sharp issue, and Mr. Disraeli came with great spirit and 
wit to the support of the resohition, declaring that forbearance had ceased 
to be a virtue, and that a crisis was now on in which the government might 
not any longer evade their responsibility to the crown and to the nation. 

This situation was well calculated to bring into combat the two great 
statesmen who were destined for so many years to divide the admira- 
tion of their countrymen. Mr. Gladstone went into the arena with more 
than his usual spirit. He declared that never before had the British House 
of Commons been asked to degrade the country in the hope of overthrow- 
ing a government ! He jirished to know why the right honorable gentleman 
(Mr. Disraeli) had not come plainly and openly to the charge. The resolu- 
tion before the House was a subterfuge. The mover was aiming to accom- 
plish one end by promoting another end, and that other end was the affixing 
of a stigma on Great Britain. The resolution before the House read as 
though it might have been composed in the office of an obscure newspaper 
in Germany ! Certainly the inspiration of it had come from that remote and 
disreputable source. Why should not the right honorable gentleman adopt 
the language of the British forefathers, who, when dissatisfied with a govern- 
ment, said so in unambiguous language ? The fathers were wont in such cases 
to address the crown and to pray that the offending government might be 
dismissed. " They said boldly," the speaker continued, " that the conduct of 
the government was open to such and such charges, and they prayed that 
other men might be put in their places. But the right honorable gentleman 
was afraid to raise that issue. He has, indeed, plucked up courage to pro- 
pose this motion ; but why has he not done it in the proper constitutional 
form in which votes of want of confidence have hitherto been drawn ? Never 
before, as far as I know, has party spirit led gentlemen in this country 
to frame a motion which places on record that which must be regarded as 
dishonorable to the nation. I go back to the time of Sir R. Walpole, 
of Lord North, and Mr. Fox, but nowhere do we find such a sterile and 
jeJHne affair as this resolution. Those charges were written in legible and 
plain terms ; but the right honorable gentleman substitutes language which 
might indeed be sufficient for the purpose of rendering it impossible for the 
government to continue in office, but which cannot transfix them without its 
sting first passing through the honor of England. For the reasons Lhave 
stated I look forward with cheerfulness to the issue which has been raised 
with regard to our conduct. Nay, more, I feel the most confident anticipa- 
tion that both the House and the country will approve of the course taken 
in this difficult negotiation by her majesty's government, and that they will 
reject a motion which both prudence and patriotism must alike emphatically 
condemn." 

The issue thus sharply made up was further debated by several mem- 



PROGRESS TOWARD LIBERALISM, AND REJECTION BY OXFORD. 355 

bers. Among those may be mentioned Mr. Bernal Osborne, who spoke with 
much wit against the government. The British cabinet, he said, seemed to 
him much like a museum of curiosities. In it there were birds of many 
plumages, some rare and some noble; some alive and some stuffed ! There 
was a breed or two that had been preserved with the greatest difficulty — one 
in particular that had to be crossed with the genus Peelite! The speaker, 
however, would do the cabinet the justice to say that there was one great 
and able minister in the body, namely, the chancellor of the exchequer ; to 
him and to him alone it was that the government owed " the little popularity 
and the little support that they get from this Liberal party." 

If the speaker made an exception complimentary to Mr. Gladstone he 
did not except Mr. Milner Gibson, whom he described as being a fly in 
amber, and then declared his astonishment over the problem of how the devil 
he got there ! And so on and on through t\i^ persiflage of the hour. When 
the matter came to the issue of a vote the Disraeli resolution was rejected 
and the amendment of Mr. Kinglake adopted by a majority of eighteen, 
that vote being a tolerable test of the existing ministerial strength. 

In the following spring, namely, in March of 1865, a resolution was 
offered in the House by Mr. Dillwyn to this effect: "That the present 
position of the Irish Church Establishment is unsatisfactory and calls for 
the early attention of her majesty's government." These were ominous, 
words. They were the foreshining of a great issue that could be settled in 
only one way. The author of the resolution was a member of the opposi- 
tion. It devolved on Mr. Gladstone rather than on Lord Palmerston, who 
was now within a few months of the end of his life, to state the position of 
the government in the matter which had been brought to the attention of 
the House. He said that the government could not accept the resolution, 
but significantly added that th^y were not prepared to deny the abstract truth 
of the first clause. This clause was that the present position of the Irish 
Church Establishment was unsatisfactory. The government could not 
affirm that that establishment was satisfactory. Mr. Gladstone then branched 
out on the merits of the question, speaking to the general condition of the 
Irish Church and its relations to the people to whom it was expected to 
minister. The general tenor of his argument was favorable to the theory 
that the Episcopal Establishment in Ireland was out of its natural and just 
relations with the people of that country ; that the Church was really in a 
false position, logically and historically. 

" There is not," said the speaker, "the slightest doubt that the Church 
of England is a national Church, and that if the conditions upon which the 
ecclesiastical endowments are held were altered at the Reformation, that 
alteration was made mainly with the view that these endowments should be 
intrusted to a body ministering to the wants of a great majority of the 



356 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

people. I am bound to add my belief that those who directed the govern- 
ment of this country in the reign of Queen Elizabeth acted in the firm con- 
viction that that which had happened in England would happen in Ireland ; 
and they would probably be not a little surprised if they could look down 
the vista of time and see that in the year 1865 the result of all their labors 
had been that, after three hundred years, the Church which they had endowed 
and established ministered to the religious wants of only one eighth or one 
ninth part of the community." 

The speaker then referred to the great difficulty of prescribing or even 
suggesting a remedy that might meet the evils which he had pointed out. 
He said that many other political problems were closely involved with that 
before the House. He went so far as to become the spokesman of the Irish 
people, the interpreter of their thoughts, and declared that while they were, 
out of the nature of the case, utterly opposed to the maintenance of the 
Church Establishment in their country when that Establishment was ben- 
eficial to only a small fraction of the people, they were not covetous of the 
Church endowments for themselves. They had no idea of availing them- 
selves of the revenues which were now bestowed on the Episcopal Church 
in Ireland. 

But the question was in what manner the administration might meet 
the condition of affairs here set forth. Mr. Gladstone confessed that no 
satisfactory way appeared of meeting it. He said that the government 
could not follow the honorable gentleman (Mr. Dillwyn) into the lobby and 
declare it to be the duty of the government to give their early attention 
to the subject. No such promise or hint of a promise as that could be 
made. And why not } It could not be made for the reason that a govern- 
ment so promising could not fulfill. While the abstract truth of the honor- 
able gentleman^s proposition was admitted it related to a kind of subject- 
matter which the government, not being omnipotent, could not manage. 
The government could not reduce history to logical conditions. 

This outgiving of an opinion, added to the speech which Mr. Gladstone 
had made on the Baines Bill relative to the borough franchise, was a cry 
that signified much in Great Britain. The speech was read with the great- 
est interest by all classes of people, and by some it was discerned that if 
history were not logical it might become the duty of a government in Great 
Britain to contribute something toward abolishing its illogical character 
and results. How far Mr. Gladstone in his utterance was deliberate, how 
far he had excogitated the matter beforehand, reducing it to a form of 
expression by which he was willing to stand or fall, we do not know. At 
any rate he put himself in the attitude of admitting the truth, and if the 
truth, then the justice, of an open indictment of the Irish Church. As to 
the debate, that passed without further results. 



PROGRESS TOWARD LIBERALISM, AND REJECTION BY OXFORD. 357 

Sir George Grey spoke for the government, saying that a measure 
could not be brought forward calculated to promote the object that Mr. 
Dillwyn had in view. That object was nothing less than the disestablish- 
ment of the Irish Church, Mr. Gathome Hardy also attacked the Dillwyn 
resolution with his usual force and acerbity. Mr. Whiteside, whilom the 
Conservative attorney-general for Ireland, in his turn attacked the opinions 
presented by Mr. Gladstone ; and so the debate was at length adjourned. 

Soon afterward, however, Mr. Gladstone, when pressed by one of his 
correspondents at Trinity College to take up the cause of the disestablish- 
ment of the Irish Church, gave his reasons why he could not as follows: 
" First, because the question is remote and apparently out of all bearing on 
the practical politics of the day, I think it would be for me worse than 
superfluous to determine upon any scheme, or basis of a scheme, with respect 
to it. Secondly, because it is difficult ; even if I anticipated any likelihood 
of being called upon to deal with it I should think it right to take no deci- 
sion beforehand on the mode of dealing with the difficulties. But the first 
reason is that which chiefly weighs. ... 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 gave promise of satisfactorily closing it. 
For this reason it is that I have been so silent about the matter, and may 
probably be so again ; but I could not, as a minister and as member for 
Oxford University, allow it to be debated an indefinite number of times and 
remain silent One thing, however, I may add, because I think it a clear 
landmark. In any measure dealing with the Irish Church I think (though 
I scarcely expect ever to be called on to share in such a measure) the act 
of union must be recognized and must have important consequences, espe- 
cially with reference to the position of the hierarchy." 

Here, then, were laid the foundations of the great controversy which 
was soon to arise. History can say only thus much, that the time had come 
when the anachronism of the English Church Establishment in Ireland 
must be rectified, and, with her usual care, she had provided her antecedent 
conditions and her man. The personal and historical results of Mr. Glad- 
stones utterances were soon to appear, stirring England to her depths, 
transforming somewhat the political landscape and bringing in the new era 
of liberalism. 

The existing Parliament was now rapidly approaching its constitutional 
limitations. At the opening of the session of 1865 the presentation of the 
budget was withheld for a while, the same not being presented until the 
27th of April in that year. Nor will the American reader fail to remember 
the great events that were just then completing themselves in America. 
The drama of secession had reached its bloody end. Appomattox was 
passed by only eighteen days, and the assassination of Lincoln — dark be the 



358 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

day in the annals of mankind ! — had occurred only thirteen days previously. 
Not our own country only, but the whole civilized world, stood for a time 
aghast when that tall patriot, that homely genius, that tremendous spirit 
of the age, fell prone and lay still in his sarcophagus under the crash of the 
bullet of an infamous dastard. 

As for Mr. Gladstone, he had now reached a period in his financial 
career when he was virtually master of the situation. He had the confi- 
dence of Great Britain to a remarkable degree. His recommendations 
carried with them as they came almost the force of law. On the occasion 
just referred to he addressed the House in his usual manner, pointing out, 
first of all, the contrasts that existed as between that day so near the close 
of the current Parliament and that other day when that body first convened 
" When the Parliament met," said he, " we had been involved — although we 
did not know it at the time — in a costly and difficult war with China 
The harvest of the year which succeeded ^was the worst that had been known 
for half a century. The recent experience of war had led to costly, exten- 
sive, and somewhat uncertain reconstructions ; and clouds hung over the 
continent of Europe, while the Italian war had terminated in such a man- 
ner as to occasion vague but serious alarms in the public mind. 

" Since that period those clouds have moved westward across the Atlan- 
tic, and have burst in a tempest, perhaps the wildest that ever devastated 
a civilized country, a tempest of war distinguished, indeed, by the exhibition 
of many of the most marvelous and extraordinary qualities of valor, hero- 
ism, and perseverance ; and on the whole, perhaps, no scenes have been so 
entirely painful as that of which the intelligence has last reached us, which 
now causes one thrill of horror throughout Europe. 

" But so far as this country is concerned we have been mercifully spared. 
We see the state of the public mind tranquil and reassured, and the condi- 
tion of the country generally prosperous and satisfactory. The financial 
history of the Parliament has been a remarkable one. It has raised a larger 
revenue than I believe, at any period, whether of peace or war, was ever 
raised by taxation. After taking into account the changes in the value of 
money within an equal time the expenditure of the Parliament has been 
upon a scale that has never before been reached in time of peace. The 
amount and variety of the changes introduced into our financial legislation 
have been greater than within a like number of years at any former time. 
And I may say, lastly, that it has enjoyed the distinction that, although 
no Parliament ever completes the full term of its legal existence, yet this is 
the seventh time on which you have been called upon to make provisioifi for 
the financial exigencies of the country." • 

These paragraphs aptly illustrate the manner of Mr. Gladstone on; the 
occasion of presenting a budget. Year after year he delivered what may be 



PROGRESS TOWARD LIBERALISM, AND REJECTION BY OXFORD. 359 

called fiscal orations, putting into them the necessary statistics and practical 
recommendations; but he did this with a skill which hardly marred the flow 
of his eloquence. On the present occasion he was able in a business way to 
report another diminution of expenditures. The estimate on this score had 
not been reached by six hundred and eleven thousand pounds. On the 
other hand, and still more gratifying, was the excess of the revenue over the 
estimates. Under this head there was an increase of three million a 
hundred and eighty-five thousand pounds ; indeed, the surplus which had 
accumulated was well up to four million pounds. 

During the year there had been a large reduction in the national debt. 
^The average of such reductions in the last six years had been about three 
million pounds annually. In the next place the speaker referred with 
pleasure to the paper trade and to the general commercial relations between 
England and France. While the trade of the latter country had increased 
more rapidly than that of England during the past year British trade had 
also increased in a satisfactory measure. There was also a very gratifying 
trade balance with Belgium and Holland. Once more he emphasized the 
great advantage which the country had gained by making trade as free as 
the winds and seas. Here again he turned aside to repeat and vary the 
eulogy which he had more than once pronounced on Richard Cobden, the 
Father of Free Trade. 

Turning to the question of the fiscal management for the ensuing 
year, he presented an estimate of expenditure of sixty-six million a 
hundred and thirty-nine thousand pounds. He calculated the total revenue 
at seventy million a hundred and seventy thousand pounds. This would 
produce a surplus of more than four million pounds. How should this 
large sum be applied } Should it be used to extinguish the duty on malt? 
That, the speaker thought, would be the end of the system of indirect 
taxation in Great Britain. This might be done, but it was not the most 
desirable method of balancing the surplus. He admitted that beer was 
twenty per cent higher than it would be if the duty were removed from 
malt ; but he showed that it would require a reduction of only one farthing 
the quart to consume one half or more of all the expected surplus for the 
ensuing year. Was it worth while to attempt at such a cost so small a 
reduction in the price of beer to consumers? 

The House must remember in this connection that while beer was 
taxed twenty per cent the wines which met the greatest consumption in 
England were taxed fully fifty per cent. If it was a question of cheapening 
the popular drinks then why not begin with the duty on wine ? Moreover, 
the growing consumption of beer in England showed conclusively that the 
tax did not perceptibly impede the use of the article. Again, the tax on 
tea was forty per cent by the chest ; wherefore the common drink of the 



360 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E, GLADSTONE. 

poorer classes at the domestic board was taxed twice as heavily as beer ! 
To his mind it was clear that the next reduction of duty ought to be a 
reduction of the tea tax, and this he recommended by sixpence a pound. 
He showed that the aggregate loss to the revenue from this source would 
be» at the present rate of importation, two million three hundred and 
seventy-five thousand pounds. But with a reduction of the tax a much 
larger quantity of tea would be consumed, from which he thought the 
actual loss would not exceed a million eight hundred and eight thousand 
pounds. 

Mr. Gladstone next came to the ever-present and all-important 
question of the income tax. What should be done with that ? He would 
recommend the reduction of the same from sixpence to fourpence the pound. 
This would diminish the sum total of that tax to a little over five million 
pounds. It would also bring the rate to fourpence, which the chancellor of 
the exchequer thought was as small a figure as need to be retained at all. 
If there were to be further reduction it might be made a total abolition, 
and have done. That question he would leave to the next Parliament, to 
be dealt with according to its wisdom. 

Adding together the loss from the reduction of the duty on tea and 
that from the reduction of the income tax Mr. Gladstone was still able to 
show a surplus that would justify a further reduction in the expense of fire 
insurance. Hitherto a duty of a shilling had been charged on each policy; 
he would recommend that this duty be reduced to a penny stamp for each 
policy. To sum up, the budget showed a reduction of taxation to the 
amount of five million four hundred and twenty thousand pounds. There 
would be a total loss to revenue in the following year of three million seven 
hundred and seventy-eight thousand pounds, and for the ensuing year 
(1866-67) of a million four hundred and seventeen thousand pounds. After 
all balances were made there would still remain a surplus of a little more 
than two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, whith Mr. Gladstone urged 
the necessity of retaining against the contingencies of the treasury. 

The document thus presented was less elaborate than its predecessors. 
It also invaded less the grounds of controversy. Only on one question was 
there a serious objection to the budget, whether in the house or out of it 
That related to the duty on malt The maltsters and barley farmers were 
of course dissatisfied, and their representatives were ready to declaim. 
Nevertheless the opposition was ineffectual. The bill for the adoption of 
the budget was readily passed without amendments. In many respects the 
measures proposed were met with great popular favor. The reduction of 
the tea tax was something to appeal to the common people. At the other 
extreme of society the payers of large sums on incomes cheerfully accepted 
the reduction that was offered. Moreover, the recent heavy expenditures 



PROGRESS TOWARD LIBERALISM, AND REJECTION BV OXFORD. 361 

for fortifications and for the maintenance of navies in distant seas were 
either at an end or greatly reduced. -Mr. Gladstone was able to pass his 
annual ordeal with more than the usual applause. 

The Parliament so long in existence was now drawing rapidly to a 
close. It would reach its constitutional limitation on the 6th of July, 1865. 
Lord Palmerston had already announced the termination of the session and 
the end of the existing Parliament at that date. Already the members of 
the House were busy with preparation for going to the country on the 
records made. It was noted that political excitement^ was for the time 
running low. There could hardly be found a single question of general 
importance on which the electors might divide. There were, however, many 
local questions, and the seats of great numbers of members were to be 
vigorously contested. What about William E. Gladstone? 

The statesman made the usual appeal to his constituency of Oxford 
University. He inight well expect that his great success as a finance minis- 
ter and his widening reputation, extending to alK civilized lands, would ap« 
peal strongly for indorsement to the electors on whom he must depend for 
his return to Parliament. Now it was, however, that his advanced and ad- 
vancing opinions on both secular and ecclesiastical concerns began to tell 
seriously on his prospects in the ancient seat of learning. There was a por- 
tentous defection from his interest. A clamor was raised against his prin- 
ciples. His speech on the Baines Bill and his more offending utterance on 
the Dillwyn resolution were brought forth against him. He had become a 
dangerous man ! Opposition put on a bold front It was noted that the 
enemy was not so strong in the very seat of the university as it was among 
those electors who were nonresident at Oxford. The older Fellows and 
others whose opinions had been fixed at an earlier date were mortally 
offended at their representative, and were determined to prevent his re- 
flection. 

It chanced at this particular juncture that a new system of voting had 
been adopted, by which the electors of Oxford were authorized to send their 
ballots through the mail to the vice chancellors, thus obviating the necessity 
of going to the poll in person. The same measure extended the time of 
voting to a period of five days. The scheme had been devised by the 
Liberals as a matter of convenience and popularity, and with little expecta- 
tion that on the very first trial it would return to plague the inventors by 
giving an advantage to the nonresident opponents of Mr. Gladstone. But 
so it was. 

The Conservatives came to the contest in full feather. Their candi- 
date in direct opposition to Mr. Gladstone was Gathorne Hardy, whose wit 
and force of character made him by no means an opponent to be despised. 
As to Sir William Heathcote, the other representative of Oxford, he was to 



362 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

be returned by common consent of both parties. The election, or in English 
parlance, the nomination, began on -the 13th of July. Dr. Liddell, Dean of 
Christ Church College, proposed Mr. Gladstone; Sir William Heathcote 
was named by the warden of All Souls' College ; and Mr. Hardy was an- 
nounced by the public orator of St. John's. 

As the election proceeded it was found that Mr. Gladstone was falling 
behind his competitor. At the end of the first day s voting there was a 
serious difficulty involving a question of law. Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop 
of Winchester, son of William Wilberforce, the philanthropist, came to the 
poll to vote. On announcing his name he was informed that by a new law 
of Parliament peers of the realm were not permitted to vote at elections 
for members of the House of Commons. The bishop said he was informed 
of the law, but offered his vote none the less ; and the ballot was accepted. 
Two or three other peers, of whom one was the Bishop of Durham, also 
voted for Mr. Gladstone ; but even this powerful — if illegal — support could 
not avail ; and before the five days' voting was out it became evident that 
Mr. Gladstone would be defeated. 

An appeal was sent out at this crisis by Sir John Taylor Coleridge, 
recently Justice of the King's Bench, in which he set forth the danger of the 
defeat of the Liberal candidate, saying : " The committee do not scruple to 
advocate his cause on grounds above the common level of politics. They 
claim for him the gratitude due to one whose public life has for eighteen 
years reflected a luster on the university herself. Thej' confidently invite 
you to consider whether his pure and exalted character, his splendid abilities, 
and his eminent services to Church and State do not constitute the highest 
of all qualifications for an academical seat and entitle him to be judged by 
his constituents as he will assuredly be judged by posterity." 

The event justified the growing expectation. On the last day of the 
voting the Liberals made a rally; but the election had already gone against 
their candidate. Sir William Heathcote received virtually the whole vote 
of the Oxford constituency; that is, 3,226. Mr. Gathorne Hardy had 1,904, 
and Mr. Gladstone 1,724, leaving the latter in a minority of 180 votes. The 
total of ballots cast showed that the constituency was aroused. Of the 
votes 415 had no other name than that of Mr. Gladstone, while of this kind 
there were but 43 for Sir William Heathcote, and only 16 for Mr. Gathorne 
Hardy. 

The friends of the candidates, particularly the adherents of Mr. Glad- 
stone, were quick to analyze the votes, and to point out the peculiarities of 
the contest. It was found that a fair majority of the resident Oxonians were 
for Gladstone, and, what was more important, this majority included nearly 
every name of men whose support in America from that seat of learning 
would be regarded as an honor. Among these were the great scholar, Pro- 



PROGRESS TOWARD LIBERALISM, AND REJECTION BY OXFORD. 363 

fessor Max Mailer; Sir John Taylor Coleridge, Justice of the King's Bench; 
the poet Francis Turner Palgrave ; Professor John Conington, the trans- 
lator of Vergil ; Edward Augustus Freeman, the historian ; Profeissor Ben- 
jamin Jowett, the translator of Plato ; Dr. Jelf, custodian of the Bodleian 
Library ; and the three Bishops (be it said to their honor !) of Durham, Ox- 
ford, and Chester. This array of scholarship, character, and progress, 
standing firmly in his support, might almost compensate Mr. Gladstone for 
the loss of his election. 

Indeed, of the whole college body, properly so-called, the chancellor 
of the exchequer had as his supporters the great majority. Twenty-four 
of the professors gave him their votes, while only ten supported Mr. Hardy. 
In Lincoln College seven of the ten Fellows voted for Gladstone, and only 
three for his opponent. Moreover, it must have been — and was — when the 
business was done, that they who compassed Mr. Gladstone's defeat should 
feel a certain inward wilting over their triumph. It is in human nature to 
do such things and to repent afterward. 

The election at Oxford was decisive of much. The chancellor of the 
exchequer was cast forth to seek what constituency he might in a more 
congenial field. To him there was in the event a mingled sense of regret 
and exultation. For how long a time he had felt hampered and constrained 
by the views and political purposes of his constituents we know not. That 
he was heartily tired of the necessity that was on him to be true to the wishes 
and opinions of his electoral body may well be believed. Now, in any event, 
he was set free. He might seek among the numerous bodies of English 
electors a new support, whose purposes and motives back of him might 
better accord with his own. He was not the man to be cast down by re- 
verse — if reverse that mig^ht be called which had made him a free man. 

To the British Liberals the result at Oxford seemed a happy deliver- 
ance. They perceived at a glance that the liberalizing tendencies in Glad- 
stone s mind would be accentuated by the thing done. Throughout England 
there was a general opinion that Oxford had made a sad muss of her oppor- 
tunity. That a great academic institution should discard a man like Glad- 
stone appeared to reason as a thing well-nigh impossible. The public 
sentiment ran strongly to the notion that Oxford had fallen down in the 
dirt. The newspapers — at least the leading journals — echoed this opinion 
far and wide. The London Times suggested that the enemies of Oxford 
would make the most of her recent disgrace. " It has hitherto been sup- 
posed," said that great organ, " that a learned constituency was to some 
extent exempt from the vulgar motives of party spirit, and capable of form- 
ing a higher estimate of statesmanship than common tradesmen or tenant 
farmers. It will* now stand on record that they have deliberately sacrificed 
a representative who combined the very highest qualifications, moral and 



364 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

intellectual, for an academical seat, to party spirit, and party spirit alone. 
Mr. Gladstone's brilliant public career, his great academical distinctions and 
literary attainments, his very subtlety and sympathies with ideas for their 
own sake, mark him out beyond all living men for such a position. How- 
ever progressive in purely secular politics, be has ever shown himself a 
stanch and devoted Churchman, wherever Church doctrine or ecclesiastical 
rights were concerned." The Times went on to enlarge upon this state- 
ment, and to establish it with citations from Mr. Gladstone s past histor)^ 
showing his loyalty to the existing religious order. Continuing, the paper 
said : " Henceforth Mr. Gladstone will belong to the country, but no longer 
to the university. Those Oxford influences and traditions which have so 
deeply colored his views, and so greatly interfered with his better judgment, 
must gradually lose their hold on him." 

Such was the decision of the Thunderer on this important personal and 
historical episode. Other great organs of opinion ratified the same notion 
relative to Oxfgrd's mistake and Gladstone's emancipation. The London 
Daily NewSy^t that time the mouthpiece of the Liberal party in the metrop- 
olis, said : " Mr. Gladstone s career as a statesman will certainly not be 
arrested, nor Mr. Gat home Hardy's capacity be enlarged by the number of 
votes which Tory squires or Tory parsons may inflict upon Lord Derby's 
cheerful and fluent subaltern, or withhold from Lord Palmerston's brilliant 
colleague. The late Sir Robert Peel was but the chief of a party until, 
admonished by one ostracism, he became finally emancipated by another. 
Then, as now, the statesman who was destined to give up to mankind what 
was never meant for the barren service of a party could say to the honest 
bigots who rejected him : 

* I banish you: 
There is a world elsewhere.' 

Mediocrity will not be turned into genius, honest and good-natured insig- 
nificance into force, fluency into eloquence, if the resident and nonresident 
Toryism of the University of Oxford should prefer the safe and sound Mr. 
Hardy to the illustrious minister whom all Europe envies us, whose name is 
a household word in every political assembly in the world." 

So the expressions of public opinion drew in this direction and in that. 
The journals of the Church Establishment for the most part justified the 
thing done by Oxford ; and therein lay the secret of the whole business. 
Political conservatism Mr. Gladstone was able to drag after him somewhat, 
and to plant it slowly in more liberal fields; ecclesiastical conservatism, 
never. The former might forgive him for advancing in the direction of new 
truth ; the latter would forgive neither him nor any man for leaving the old 
camping ground or for suggesting that by any possibility a better station 
might be found on the other side of the mountain. 



PROGRESS TOWARD LIBERALISM, AND/ REJECTION BY OXFORD. 365 

The chancellor of the exchequer took his defeat with perfect good 
humor. We may discover in what he said and wrote just afterward some 
evidence of suppressed excitement, but no sign of mortification or resent- 
ment. On the 1 8th of July, the day after the closing of the poll at Oxford, 
he sent to the members of the Convocation his valedictory address, saying : 
" After an arduous connection of eighteen years I bid you, respectfully, 
farewell My earnest purpose to serve you, ray many faults and shortcom- 
ings, the incidents of the political relation between the university and myself, 
established in 1847, so often questioned in vain, and now, at length, finally 
dissolved, I leave to the judgment of the future. It is one 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 h6norable from the character and distinctions of those who have 
given it, as has, in my belief, ever been accorded by any constituency to 
any representative." 

After the Oxonians, whom ? Mr. Gladstone immediately surveyed the 
landscape, and saw in South Lancashire his open opportunity. The election 
there had not yet been held. On the last day of the balloting at Oxford, 
the electors in South Lancashire, foreseeing what was to come in the Oxo- 
nian complication, proposed the name of William E. Gladstone as their rep- 
resentative* After sending his brief note to his former constituency Mr. 
Gladstone, on the same day, made all haste to Manchester, and there had an 
interview with the local leaders of that party of which he was himself to 
become the leader par excellence. 

The interview was highly satisfactory, and the chancellor of the 
exfchequer at once prepared and sent out his address to the electors. " I 
appear before you," said he to the voters of South Lancashire, " as a candi- 
date for the suffrages of your division of my native county. Time forbids 
me to enlarge on the numerous topics which justly engage the public 
interest. I will bring them all to a single head. You are conversant — few 
so much so — with the legislation of the last thirty-five years. You have 
seen, you have felt its results. You cannot fail to have observed the verdict 
which the country generally has within the last eight days pronounced upon 
the relative claims and positions of the two great political parties with 
respect to that legislation in the past and to the prospective legislation of 
public affairs. I humbly, but confidently, without the least disparagement 
to many excellent persons, from whom I have the misfortune frequently to 
differ, ask you to give your powerful voice in confirmation of that verdict, 
and to pronounce with significance as to the direction in which you desire 
the wheels of the State to turn. Before these words can be read I hope to 
be among you, in the hives of your teeming enterprise." 



366 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

And SO he was. He was received on the following day on the Man- 
chester Exchange. The hum of excitement swelled to a roar as the distin- 
guished candidate was borne away to the Free-Trade Hall, in which he was 
to address his intending constituents. There the throng had gathered to 
the number of many thousands. The people poured in like a flood, and the 
orator, as he began, struck fire with his first sentence. He said : " 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 
among you unmuzzled !^^ The vast crowd caught the reference and broke 
into a universal shout. The speaker had already, with that one word, car- 
ried Manchester. The whole drama of the contest at Oxford, with the sug- 
gestion of long constraint now ended, was revealed at a stroke in the word 
unmuzzled. It was equivalent to saying, " I shall now speak out my best 
thought on the political and ecclesiastical polity of Great Britain." 

Mr. Gladstone went on to say that after an anxious struggle of eighteen 
years, during which time he had been upheld by the unbounded devotion 
and partiality of his friends, the electors of the University of Oxford, who 
had maintained him in the arduous position of their representative, he had 
been pushed from his seat. " I have loved the university," said he, "with a 
deep and passionate love, and, as long as I breathe, that attachment will 
continue ; if my affection is of the smallest advantage to that great, that 
ancient, that noble institution, that advantage, such as it is. and it is most 
insignificant, Oxford will possess as long as I live. But do not mistake the 
issue which has been raised. The university has at length, after eighteen 
years of self-denial, been drawn, by what I might, perhaps, call an overween- 
ing exercise of power, into the vortex of mere 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 impossible for me to aban- 
don them. Could they have returned me by a majority of one, painful as it 
is to a man of 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 
that university to which I had so long ago devoted my best care and attach- 
ment. 

" But by no act of mine," continued the speaker, " I am free to come 
among you. And having been thus set free, I need hardly tell you that it is 
with joy, with thankfulness and enthusiasm, that I now, at this eleventh 
hour, a candidate without an address, make my appeal to the heart and the 
mind of South Lancashire, and ask you to pronounce upon that appeal. As 
I have said, I am aware of no cause for the votes which have given, a 
majority against me in the University of Oxford, except the fact that the 
strongest conviction that the human mind can receive, that an overpowering 
sense of the public interests, that the practical teachings of experience, to 



1 



PROGRESS TOWARD LIBERALISM, AND REJECTION BY OXFORD. 367 

which from my youth Oxford herself taught me to lay open my mind — all 
these had shown me the folly, and, I will say, the madness of refusing to 
join in the generous sympathies of my countrymen, by adopting what I must 
call an obstructive policy." 

The speaker then adverted to the magnificent legislation that had been 
enacted under the direct and indirect influence of the Liberal party. " With- 
out entering," said he, " into details, without unrolling the long record of all 
the great measures that have been passed — the emancipation of Roman 
Catholics ; the removal of tests from Dissenters ; the emancipation of the 
slaves ; the reformation of the Poor Law ; the reformation — I had almost 
said the destruction, but it is the reformation — of the Tariff; the abolition of 
the Corn Laws ; the abolition of the Navigation Laws ; the conclusion of 
the French treaty; the laws which have relieved Dissenters from stigma 
and almost ignominy, and which in doing so have not weakened, but have 
strengthened, the Church to which I belong — all these great acts accom- 
plished with the same, I had almost said sublime, tranquillity of the whole 
country as that with which your own vast machinery performs its appointed 
task, as it were, in perfect repose — all these things have been done. You 
have seen the acts. You have seen the fruits. It is natural to inquire who 
have been the doers. In a very humble measure, and yet according to the 
degree and capacity which Providence has bestowed upon me, I have been 
desirous, not to obstruct, but to promote and assist, this beneficent and 
blessed process. And if I entered Parliament, as I did enter Parliament, 
with a warm and anxious desire to maintain the institutions of my country, 
I can truly say that there is no period of my life during which my con- 
science is so clear, and renders me so good an answer, as those years in 
which I have cooperated 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." 

This speech, of which the extracts are but a hint, was the beginning of 
a short, swift campaign that roared along with enthusiasm to its end. From 
the Free-Trade Hall of Manchester the candidate went next and spoke on 
the same evening in the Royal Amphitheater at Liverpool. There he was 
met with the same popular approval. It was evident that he was already 
becoming the idol of the great middle classes of the English people. For 
the time he was visited with what Whittier calls " the angel of the backward 
look," who reminded him ever and anon of the academic shades at Oxford. 
At Liverpool he referred again to the university which had sent him forth 
in his youth and had novisent him forth in a different sense. " If I am told," 
said he, " that it is only by embracing the narrow interests of a politi- 
cal party that Oxford can discharge her duties to the country, then, 
gentlemen, I at once say I am not the man for Oxford. We see repre- 



368 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. 

sented in that ancient institution — represented more noj^ly, perhaps, and 
more conspicuously than in any other place, at any rate with more remark- 
able concentration — the most prominent features that relate to the past of 
England. I come into South Lancashire, and I find here around me an 
assemblage of different phenomena. I find development of industry ; I find 
growth of enterprise ; I find progress of social philanthropy ; I find prev- 
alence of toleration ; and I find an ardent desire for freedom." 

The speaker went on to elaborate the aspects of the social and indus- 
trial condition in the great centers of Liverpool and Manchester. He spoke 
in commendation of the tremendous social, industrial, and commercial forces 
that were here displayed, and in profound sympathy with the teeming cities 
and progressive people that had evolved so auspicious a civic life. Then 
he continued : " I have honestly, I have earnestly, although I may have 
feebly, striven to unite in my insignificant person that which is represented 
by Oxford and that which is represented by Lancashire. My desire is that 
they should know and love one another. If I have clung to the representa- 
tion of the university with desperate fondness, it was because I would not 
desert that post in which I seem to have been placed. I have not 
abandoned it. I have been dismissed from it, not by academical, but by 
political agencies. 

" I do not complain," said the speaker, " of those political influences by 
which I have been displaced. The free constitutional spirit of the country 
requires that the voice of the majority shall prevail. I hope the voice of 
the majority will prevail in South Lancashire. I do not for a moment 
complain that it should have prevailed at Oxford ; but, gentlemen, I come 
now to ask you a question whether, because I have been declared unfit 
longer to serve the university on account of my political position, there is 
anything in what I have said and done in the arduous office which I hold 
which is to unfit me for the representation of my native county." 

The reader may discover in this appeal the deep anxiety of a great 
and earnest mind not to be again stranded on the rocks. The orator did 
not fail, however, to lay sound logical foundations also for his intending 
constituents to build upon. He took up the course of legislation as 
promoted by the liberal ministry of Lord Palmerston, and enacted by 
the House of Commons, and defended that policy against the arguments ofv 
Conservative politicians and statesmen. But he had no time for much 
speaking. The day of the poll was already at hand. On the 20th of July the 
election was held, and resulted in the choice of two Conservatives and one 
Liberal, the latter being William E. Gladstone. The candidate having the 
highest number of votes (9,171) was Mr. A. Egerton ; the second in rank 
was Mr. Turner, who received 8,806 votes ; and the third was Mr. Gladstone, 
who received 8,786 votes. The majority of the last named over his 



J 



PROGRESS TOWARD LIBERALISM, AND REJECTION BY OXFORD. 369 

 

Conser\'ative competitor, Mr. Leigh, was only 310 votes. In Liverpool and 
Manchester, however, the balloting showed better results for the Liberal 
candidates. In these great cities Mr. Gladstone led all the others, with so 
large a majority as to carry him back to the House of Commons, as if in 
triumph — though he was only third on the general poll of South Lancashire. 

The general complexion of the new Parliament was Liberal. The 
majority, which had been barely a working majority at the late session, was 
emphasized by the gain of a number of seats. Of the 657 members of 
Parliament returned at the elections 367 were set down as Liberals, and 290 
as Conservatives. The Liberal party, as the exponent of those commercial and 
reformatory tendencies described in the preceding pages, had the manifest 
approval of the country. The time had come, however, when the leadership 
of that party must pass from its late head, Lord Palmerston, to another. 

Henry John Temple, the Viscount Palmerston, died at Brocket Hall, 
near Hatfield, in Hertfordshire, on the i8th of October, 1865. He was 
within two days of completing his eighty-first year. He was descended 
from the Irish Temples. When he was in his eighteenth year he succeeded 
to his fathers title. His education was obtained at Harrow School. He 
first appeared in public life as a member of Parliament for Newton, Isle of 
Wight, in the year 1807. ^^ ^^^ Duke of Portlands cabinet he held the 
place of junior lord of the admiralty. Afterward, from the year 1808 to 
1828, he was secretary of war. In politics he was in youth a Tory disciple 
of Pitt, and advocated Catholic emancipation. At the age of forty-six he 
accepted the place of minister of foreign affairs in the Whig cabinet of 
Earl Grey. 

It was at this juncture that Palmerston acquired his strong taste — ^and 
some said his strong sympathy — for continental affairs and tendencies. He 
favored the establishment of Prince Leopold as King of the Belgians, and 
advocated the maintenance, under the auspices of the great Powers, of the 
Ottoman empire, as a breakwater against the Russian floods. From the 
year 1840 to 1845 Lord Palmerston was out of office. In 1848 he appeared 
again in the ministry of Lord John Russell, and made himself conspicuous 
as the champion of the revolutionary cause on the Continent. He regarded 
the coup d'Hat in France as a part of the general movement, and strongly 
supported the cause of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte — until what time he was 
virtually dismissed from office. 

We have seen Lord Palmerston again as home secretary in the ministry 
of the Earl of Aberdeen. Finally, on the 5th of February, 1855, he became 
Prime Minister of England, and remained in that high office, omitting the 
brief interregnum of the Derby administration in 1858, until the day of his 
death. He made a powerful political and social impression upon his 
countrymen. He might almost be regarded as the founder of the Liberal 
24 



370 LIFE AND TIMES OF WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE. \ 

party ; for it was under his wing that the erstwhile belligerent factions were 
unified and brought to a common purpose under the name of Liberals. 
Lord Palmerston had been greatly admired by the majority of his country- 
men and greatly disliked by the rest. He was a man of strong and peculiar 
characteristics, a wib, an epigrammatist, a satirist, almost a skeptic, but withal 
a thorough Englishman, jovial and self-confident, believing in the attainment 
of success, the champion of progressive ideas, and the hero of Punch. 

The death of Lord Palmerston did not pass without appropriate public 
notice. It fell to Mr. Gladstone in the House of Commons to move an 
address to the queen, praying her majesty to order a monument for the late 
minister in Westminster Abbey. In the formal commemoration of the death 
of the statesman Mr. Gladstone said in the House: "All who knew Lord 
Palmerston knew his genial temper and the courage with which he entered 
into the debates in this House; his incomparable tact and ingenuity ; his 
command of fence ; his delight, his old English delight, in a fair stand-up 
fight. Yet, notwithstanding the possession of these powers, I must say I 
think there was no man whose inclination and whose habit were more fixed, 
so far as our discussions were concerned, in avoiding whatever tended to 
exasperate, and in having recourse to those means by which animosity might 
be calmed down. He had the power to stir up angry passions, but he chose, 
like the sea god in the ^neid, rather to pacify ! 

/ * Quos ego — sed motos prcBsiai componere fiuctus^ 
[* Whom I — but it is first needful to pacify the perturbed seas.'] 

That which, in my opinion, distinguished Lord Palmerston's speaking from 
the oratory of other men, that which was its most remarkable characteristic, 
was the degree in which he said precisely that which he meant to express." 
In concluding his remarks the speaker emphasized the noble quality of Lord 
Palmerston in refusing to nurse the anger and animosity which were so 
frequently the incidents of public life. The leader of the opposition fol- 
lowed in a similar vein, speaking of the social character of Lord Palmerston 
and of the enviable tradition of a great and generous personality which he 
had left to his countrymen. 

Nor may we pass from this event and epoch without referring also to 
the death of Richard Cobden. That statesman expired in London, almost 
in sight of the House of Commons, on the 2d of April, 1865, lacking two 
months of having completed his sixty-first year. His fame in Great Brit- 
ain and throughout the world as a political economist, as an advocate of 
free trade, and as an incorruptible statesman had become immense. He was 
an explorer in the domain of untried reforms. We have seen him as the 
chief supporter of the Anti-Corn-Law League in 1838-46 ; also as the 
unaided negotiator of the commercial treaty with France ; also as the 



PROGRESS TOWARD LIBERALISM, AND REJECTION BV OXFORD. 37I 

uncompromising friend of the American Union in the day of our greatest 
trials. He was a man of the very highest abilities. His genius was 
acknowledged in his own day, and is now an unchallenged fact in the per- 
sonal history of the age. 

Mr. Cobden's conscience was acute and mandatory. He seems to have 
had no ambition beyond the welfare of his countrymen. In the first min- 
istry of Lord Palmerston the place of president of the Board of Trade was 
offered to Mr. Cobden, but he refused to accept the place on the ground 
that he could not support the foreign policy of Lord Palmerston. When 
urged by a committee to accept the place, and when it was pointed out to 
him that Lord John Russell, who had just accepted the office of minister 
for foreign affairs, had been as severe as ever Cobden was in denouncing 
Palmerston and his policy, Cobden simply repli