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between France and Prussia taking place. The right honourable gentleman is a powerful speaker, particularly excelling in point and sarcasm. He has been in Parliament more than thirty years, during twenty of which he has been the leader of one of the great political parties of the state.
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE W. E. GLADSTONE.
The Right Honourable William Ewart Gladstone was born at Liverpool on the 29th December, 1809. He was educated at Eton and Oxford, and gained great distinction in the university examinations, having obtained what is called a double first-class, which signifies the highest degree of excellence in both classics and mathematics.
After Mr. Gladstone had left Oxford he proceeded on a short tour across the continent, accompanied by two of his friends, the late Duke of Newcastle and the late Lord Herbert of Lea, both of whom afterwards sat with him in Liberal cabinets. In December 1832, he entered the House of Commons as an adherent of Conservative policy, for the borough of Newark. In 1834 he was made a junior Lord of the Treasury, in Sir Robert Peel's first administration. Shortly afterwards he was appointed Under Secretary for the Colonial Office, an appointment which he did not hold long, owing to the resignation of Sir Robert Peel and his cabinet in 1835. In 1839 and 1840, Mr. Gladstone strongly resisted the proposal to allow the Jews the same political privileges as their Christian fellow-countrymen, and was disinclined to allow state aid to Dissenters for the education of their children. In 1839, he married Miss Catherine Glynne, a daughter of Sir Stephen Glynne, of Hawarden Castle, Flintshire, by whom he has had seven children, one of whom is a member of the House of Commons.
In the same year Mr. Gladstone published a work on the connection of Church and State, which Lord Macaulay criticised at length in the Edinburgh Review. With regard to the writer he remarked : “ The author is a young man of unblemished character and of distinguished parlia
mentary talent. His ability and his demeanour have gained for him the respect and goodwill of all parties. We dissent from his opinions, we admire his talents, we respect his integrity and benevolence, and we trust he will not let political avocations so entirely engross him as to leave him no leisure for literature and philosophy.”.
In 1841, the Conservatives, under Sir Robert Peel, again returned to power, with a large parliamentary majority. Mr. Gladstone was made in this cabinet a Privy Councillor, and Vice-President of the Board of Trade. In 1843 he was promoted to the office of President of the Board of Trade. At the commencement of 1845, Mr. Gladstone resigned his position in the ministry of Sir Robert Peel, because that minister had brought in a bill to endow the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth in Ireland, and for the establishment of other colleges, termed Queen's Colleges, which were unsectarian in principle. These measures being contrary to Mr. Gladstone's views, as enunciated in his work on Church and State, he felt bound to resign, though he had materially modified them since the publication of that work, and was not, at that particular time, opposed to these measures.
On the reconstruction of Sir Robert Peel's cabinet, in 1845, Mr. Gladstone occupied the important position of Secretary of State for the Colonies, an appointment which had been previously held by the late Earl of Derby. He appears to have taken no active part in the great discussions on Free Trade and the Abolition of the Corn Laws, which at this time agitated the House of Commons and the country. When Sir Robert Peel finally retired from power, in 1846, he remained in opposition until, six years later, he became Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the administration of Lord Aberdeen.
In 1850, Mr. Gladstone paid a visit to Naples, and examined into the state of the political prisoners in that country. On his return to England he issued a pamphlet, in which he described the horrible condition in which he found these unfortunate persons to an indignant and sympathetic public. In 1852, it is stated that Mr. Gladstone was offered a post in Lord Derby's administration ; but if
this be the case he declined it, and thus finally severed his connection with the Conservative party.
When Lord Aberdeen was summoned to form a ministry, in 1852, the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer was offered to Mr. Gladstone. In his first budget he commenced the great work of fiscal reform, which he has since well-nigh completed. He reduced the duty on tea to a shilling in the pound, abolished altogether the duty on soap, and exempted from taxation a large number of insignificant articles, the receipts from which served not so much to replenish her Majesty's treasury as to vex and irritate her Majesty's subjects.
In 1854, the Russian war broke out. It was generally thought that Lord Aberdeen was not firm enough in his negociations before the war had commenced, and it was loudly complained that it was not prosecuted with vigour. In 1855, a hostile motion of Mr. Roebuck’s was carried by a majority of 157, and Lord Aberdeen immediately resigned his office. As Lord Derby and Lord John Russell were unable to form an administration, the Queen summoned Lord Palmerston to undertake this responsibility, and in this cabinet Mr. Gladstone resumed his position as Chancellor of the Exchequer. A few days afterwards, however, on learning that Mr. Roebuck intended to persevere with his motion, he withdrew from the cabinet, and while a private member of the House of Commons did his best to bring the war to a close. In 1856 peace was concluded between England, France, and Russia.
In 1857, Lord Palmerston's government were defeated in the House of Commons, that body expressing its disapproval of the policy that had been followed towards China, On appealing to the country, however, Lord Palmerston found himself at the head of a large majority ; but in the commencement of 1858 he was defeated on his attempt to make a law to prevent persons in England from conspiring to murder foreign princes. Lord Derby then became Prime Minister.
On the retirement of Lord Derby from the Premiership, in 1859, Lord Palmerston was summoned to form a government, and Mr. Gladstone was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer. He occupied this position till the resignation of Lord Russell (Lord Palmerston's successor) in 1866. He was chiefly engaged during this period in effecting important fiscal reforms, the chief of which were the abolition of the paper duty and the reduction of the duty on tea.
În 1866, on behalf of Lord Russell's government, he introduced a Reform Bill into the House of Commons, which was defeated on one of its main clauses, and thus led to the resignation of the Ministry. In the following year he vehemently opposed the measure which Mr. Disraeli introduced ; but the majority of the House, wearied out by the continual failures of bills of this kind, resolved to pass this Reform Bill into law if the Government were willing to admit necessary changes.
In 1868, Mr. Gladstone introduced his Irish Church Resolutions into Parliament, which were carried in the House of Commons by large majorities. Mr. Disraeli having resolved, by the permission of the Queen, to dissolve Parliament, the result showed a majority of more than a hundred in his opponent's favour.
The Conservative Government, seeing that it would be impossible to continue in office with such a large majority against them, at once tendered their resignations to Her Majesty, who summoned Mr. Gladstone to form a new ministry.
Mr. Gladstone has thus attained the highest position within the grasp of a statesman, that of First Minister of the Crown. In 1869, he introduced into Parliament his Irish Church Bill, by which the Protestant Church of Ireland is disestablished and disendowed. This measure passed through Parliament, with some modifications, and received the royal assent about the middle of the year. In 1870, he carried a measure entitled the Irish Land Bill, securing certain rights to tenants in that country, with the view of making them more contented with their position. A measure far more important to the people of this country was also passed into law—the Education Bill—by which, we trust, no poor child will henceforth be brought up in this country in such a state of ignorance and incapacity as would serve to force him, by a cruel necessity, into paths of vice and crime.
ODE TO DUTY. Stern daughter of the voice of God !
O Duty ! if that name thou love,
To check the erring, and reprove ;
Be on them ; who, in love and truth,
Upon the genial sense of youth : Glad hearts, without reproach or blot, Who do thy work and know it not ; May joy be theirs while life shall last ! And thou, if they should totter, teach them to stand fast. Serene will be our days, and bright
And happy will our nature be,
No sport of every random gust,
Too blindly have reposed my trust;
Or strong compunction in me wrought,
But in the quietness of thought,