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The Grand Old Man by Richard B. Cook

Part 3 out of 6

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problems about foreign tariffs and the exportation of machinery; waxing
eloquent over the regulation of railways and a graduated tax on corn;
subtle on the momentary merits of half-farthings and great in the
mysterious lore of quassia and cocculus indicus."

In the short session of Parliament, in 1841, that which followed the
accession of Sir Robert Peel to the office of Prime Minister, he was
questioned by his opponents as to his future policy. The Premier
declined to state the nature of the measures he intended to present, or
which he contemplated making, in the intervening months of the recess
of Parliament so near at hand. He wanted time for the arrangement of his
plans and the construction of his political programme. An effort was
made to embarrass the administration by refusing to vote the necessary
supplies, until inquiry should be made into the existing distress, but
it was defeated. Three weeks later Parliament was dissolved by Royal
commission. In the following sitting of Parliament several measures of
high practical character were presented.

Sir Robert Peel acceded to office in very critical times. The condition
of the country was truly lamentable. Distress and discontent were
widespread and the difficulties of the government were greatly enhanced
by popular tumults. The Free Trade agitation was already making great
headway in the land, and when the Premier brought forward his new
sliding scale of duties in the House of Commons it was denounced by Mr.
Cobden as an insult to a suffering people. The Premier said that he
considered the present not an unfavorable time for discussing the corn
laws; that there was no great stock on hand of foreign growth to alarm
the farmers; that the recess had been marked by universal calm; that
there was no popular violence to interrupt legislation; and that there
was a disposition to view any proposal for the adjustment of the
question with calmness and moderation.

The Premier's view of the situation did not seem to be wholly in accord
with the well-known facts, for the Queen even, on her appearance at the
London theatres, had been hooted, and the Prime Minister himself was
burnt in effigy during a riot at Northampton; great excitement prevailed
throughout the country, and Lord John Russell moved as an amendment
"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."

It was incumbent upon Mr. Gladstone to lead the opposition to this
motion. He showed that the proposed plan was not founded on the same
principle of the existing one, except that both involved a sliding
scale; that the present distress was caused by fluctuation of the
seasons and not by the laws; that high prices of food were chargeable to
successive failures of the crops; that these unavoidable fluctuations
were not aggravated by the corn laws; that Sir Robert Peel's plan of
working was far superior to that of Lord John Russell; that the drains
upon the currency, caused by bad harvests, were not to be prevented by a
fixed duty; that a uniform protection could not be given to corn, as to
other articles, because at high prices of corn no duty could be
maintained, and that, therefore, at low prices, it was but just to give
a duty which would be an effectual protection. The debate which followed
was characterized by vigorous speeches from Mr. Roebuck and Lord
Palmerston. Lord John Russell's amendment was lost by a large majority.
A motion presented by Mr. Villiers, the Free Trade advocate, for the
immediate repeal of the corn laws was also lost by a majority of over
three hundred.

On the 11th of March Sir Robert Peel introduced his budget. The budget
for 1842 was produced under depressing circumstances. There was a
deficit of Ł2,750,000, or about $15,000,000, and taxation upon articles
of consumption had been pushed to its utmost limit. Peel was a great
financier, but the fiscal difficulties by which he was now surrounded
were enough to appall the most ingenious of financial ministers.

Mr. Gladstone rendered the Premier invaluable service in the preparation
both of his budget and of his tariff scheme. The merit of the budget was
its taxation of wealth and the relief of the manufacturing industry. The
second branch of the financial plan, the revised tariff--a customs
duties scheme--was very important, and it was understood to be mainly
the work of Mr. Gladstone. Out of nearly 1200 duty-paying articles, a
total abolition, or a considerable reduction, was made in no fewer than
750. This was certainly a great step towards the freedom of
manufacturers, Sir Robert Peel's boast that he had endeavored to relieve
manufacturing industries was more than justified by this great and
comprehensive measure. The very best means for relieving the
manufacturing industries had been devised.

But while this great relief to industry was welcomed the Opposition did
not relax their efforts for the abolition of the corn laws, which were
continued into the session of 1843. Sir Robert Peel acknowledged, amidst
loud cheers from the Opposition, that all were agreed in the general
rule that we should purchase in the cheapest market and sell in the
dearest; but he added, "If I propose a greater change in the corn laws
than that which I submit to the consideration of the House I should only
aggravate the distress of the country, and only increase the alarm which
prevails among important interests." Mr. Hume hailed with joy the
appearance of the Premier and his colleagues as converts to the
principles of Free Trade; Mr. Gladstone replied, that, whoever were the
authors of the principles on which the government measures rested, he
must protest against the statement that the ministry came forward as
converts to principles which they had formerly opposed.

During the progress of the debate of 1842, on the revised Tariff Bill,
Mr. Gladstone's labors were very great. He was called upon to explain or
defend the details of the scheme, and had something to say about every
article of consumption included in, or excluded from, the list. He spoke
one hundred and twenty-nine times, chiefly on themes connected with the
new fiscal legislature. He demonstrated his capacity for grasping all
the most complicated details of finance, and also the power of
comprehending the scope and necessities of the commercial interests of
the country. No measure with which his name has since been connected has
done him more credit. He spoke incessantly, and amazed the House by his
mastery of details, his intimate acquaintance with the commercial needs
of the country, and his inexhaustible power of exposition. On March 14th
Greville wrote, "Gladstone has already displayed a capacity which makes
his admission into the Cabinet indispensable." A commercial minister had
appeared on the scene, and the shade of Hoskisson had revived.

Though engrossed in schemes of practical legislation, and in all the
excitements and interests of office, he could, as he has ever done
during his long career, turn aside for the discourse on social and
educational questions with much earnestness and eloquence, as if they,
and only they, possessed his mind. In January, 1843, he spoke at the
opening of the Collegiate Institute of Liverpool, and delivered a
powerful plea for the better education of the middle classes, which was
one of the most forcible speeches he ever delivered. He said:

"We believe that if you could erect a system which should present to
mankind all branches of knowledge save the one that is essential, you
would only be building up a Tower of Babel, which, when you had
completed it, would be the more signal in its fall, and which would bury
those who had raised it in its ruins. We believe that if you can take a
human being in his youth, and if you can make him an accomplished man in
natural philosophy, in mathematics, or in the knowledge necessary for
the profession of a merchant, a lawyer, or a physician; that if in any
or all of these endowments you could form his mind--yes, if you could
endow him with the science and power 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 purposes of our
existence--nay, worse, worse--with respect to the sovereign purpose--
than if he had still remained in the ignorance which we all commiserate,
and which it is the object of this institution to assist in removing."

It was admitted on all hands that great fiscal reforms had been
conceived and executed; and speaking of the session of 1842, a writer,
not favorable to the Tories, wrote: "The nation saw and felt that its
business was understood and accomplished, and the House of Commons was
no longer like a sleeper under a nightmare. The long session was a busy
one. The Queen wore a cheerful air when she thanked Parliament for their
effectual labors. The Opposition was such as could no longer impede the
operations of the next session. The condition of the country was fearful
enough, but something was done for its future improvement, and the way
was now shown to be open for further beneficent legislation."

The corn law reformers renewed their efforts, led by Lord Howick, as
soon as the parliamentary session of 1843 opened. An inquiry by the
whole House was demanded into the causes of the long continued
manufacturing depression referred to in the Queen's speech. Mr.
Gladstone replied that while the Opposition proposed to repeal the corn
laws, they offered no measure of relief in their place. The corn laws
were at the root of the distress in the country, but the difficulty was
to unite the ranks of the Opposition in opinion as to what ought to
follow the repeal of the corn laws. The question between the government
and the Opposition was not really so great as the latter wished to make
out. It was simply as to the amount of relaxation the country could bear
in the duties. It was the intention of the First Lord of the Treasury to
attain his object "by increasing the employment of the people, by
cheapening the prices of the articles of consumption, as also the
articles of industry, by encouraging the means of exchange with foreign
nations, and thereby encouraging in return an extension of the export
trade; but besides all this, if he understood the measure of the
government last year, it was proposed that the relaxation should be
practically so limited as to cause no violent shock to existing
interests, such as would have the tendency of displacing that labor
which should be employed, and which, if displaced, would be unable to
find another field." The measure of the previous year had nothing but a
beneficial effect, but the repeal of the corn laws would displace a vast
mass of labor. Lord Howick's motion was defeated and so were others
offered by Mr. Villiers and Lord John Russell, by diminishing
majorities, and Mr. Gladstone protested against the constant renewal of
uneasiness in the country by successive motions of this kind in

The year 1843 was one destined to witness a great advance in Mr.
Gladstone's progress towards the front rank among statesmen. June 10th,
Lord Ripon, who was President of the Board of Trade, left this place for
the Board of Control, and Mr. Gladstone was appointed to the position,
and thus became a member of the Cabinet at the age of thirty-three Mr.
Gladstone now became in name what he had been already in fact--the
President of the Board of Trade. He states that "the very first opinion
which he was ever called upon to give in Cabinet" was an opinion in
favor of withdrawing the bill providing education for children in
factories; to which vehement opposition was offered by the Dissenters,
on the ground that it was too favorable to the Established Church. It
seemed that his position was assured and yet in October he wrote to a
friend: "Uneasy, in my opinion, must be the position of every member of
Parliament who thinks independently in these times, or in any that are
likely to succeed them; and in proportion as a man's course of thought
deviates from the ordinary lines his seat must less and less resemble a
bed of roses." Mr. Gladstone possibly felt when he penned these lines
that the time was at hand when his convictions would force him to take a
position that would array against him some of his most ardent friends.

During the session of 1844 Mr. Gladstone addressed the House on a
variety of subjects, including rail ways, the law of partnership, the
agricultural interest, the abolition of the corn laws, the Dissenters'
Chapel Bill and the sugar duties. One very valuable bill he had carried
was a measure for the abolition of restrictions on the exportation of
machinery. Another was the railway bill, to improve the railway system,
by which the Board of Trade had conditional power to purchase railways
which had not adopted a revised scale of tolls. The bill also
compulsorily provided for at least one third-class train per week-day
upon every line of railway, to charge but one penny a mile, regulated
the speed of traveling, compelled such trains to stop at every station,
and arranged for the carrying of children under three years of age for
nothing and those under twelve at reduced fares. This measure, conceived
so distinctly in the interests of the poorer classes, met with
considerable opposition at first from the various railway companies, but
it was ultimately passed into law. These were measures passed in the
spirit of reform, though by a Conservative government.

There was another matter legislated upon which shows how Mr. Gladstone's
mind was undergoing changes in the direction of religious toleration.
Lady Hewley had originally founded and given to Calvinistic Independents
certain charities which had gradually passed to Unitarians, who were
ousted from their benefits. A bill was proposed to vest property left to
Dissenting bodies in the hands of that religions body with whom it had
remained for the preceding twenty years. The measure was passed, but
when it was discussed in the House of Commons Mr. Gladstone said that it
was a bill which it was incumbent upon the House to endorse; that there
was no contrariety between his principles of religious belief and those
on which legislation in this case ought to proceed; that there was a
great question of justice, viz., whether those who were called
Presbyterian Dissenters, and who were a century and a half ago of
Trinitarian opinions, ought not to be protected at the present moment in
possession of the chapels which they held, with the appurtenances of
those chapels? On the question of substantial justice he pronounced the
strongest affirmative opinion. "After this speech there were those who
thought, and expressed their hope and belief in words, that the
'champion of Free Trade' would ere long become the advocate of the most
unrestricted liberty in matters of religion. Their hope, if sanguine as
to its immediate fulfillment, was far from groundless."

However, in December of the same year Mr. Gladstone wrote to his friend
Archdeacon, afterwards Bishop Wilberforce, about the prospects of the
Church of England: "I rejoice to see that your views on the whole are
hopeful. For my part I heartily go along with you. The fabric
consolidates itself more and more, even while the earthquake rocks it;
for, with a thousand drawbacks and deductions, love grows larger, zeal
warmer, truth firmer among us. It makes the mind sad to speculate upon
the question how much better all might have been; but our mourning
should be turned into joy and thankfulness when we think also how much
worse it _was_."

The next event in the life of Mr. Gladstone is marked by a momentous
change in his political position. Scarcely had Parliament met in
January, 1845, when it was announced to the astonishment of everyone
that Mr. Gladstone had resigned his place as President of the Board of
Trade in the Cabinet. He set a good deal of speculation at rest by the
announcement made in his speech on the address of the Queen, that his
resignation was due solely to the government intentions with regard to
Maynooth College. Before, however, he had resigned, Mr. Gladstone had
completed a second and revised tariff, carrying further the principles
of the revision of 1842.

In the session of 1844 Sir Robert Peel, in response to the requests of
Irish members, had promised that the Government would take up the
question of academical education in Ireland, with the view of bringing
it more nearly to the standard of England and Scotland, increasing its
amount and improving its quality. In fulfillment of this pledge the
government, at the beginning of the session of 1845, proposed to
establish non-sectarian colleges in Ireland, and to increase the
appropriation to Maynooth. The College of Maynooth, which was
established for the education of Roman Catholic priests and laymen, had
fallen into poverty and decay. In order to gratify the Irish, the
government offered to increase the grant already made from $45,000 to
$150,000 a year. This appropriation was not to be subject to any annual
vote, and the affairs of the College were to be executed by the Board of
Works. These proposals placed Mr. Gladstone in a position of great
difficulty. He must either support Sir Robert Peel's measure, or retire
from the Cabinet into isolation, if not subject to the imputation of
eccentricity. He took council with his friends, Archdeacon Manning and
Mr. Hope, who advised him to remain, and with Lord Stanley who warned
him that his resignation must be followed by resistance of the proposals
of the government, which would involve him in a storm of religious
agitation. But Mr. Gladstone persisted in his intention, in what seemed
like giving up his brilliant prospects, but said it would not
necessarily be followed by resistance to the proposal about Maynooth.

Mr. Gladstone said that the proposed increase in the Maynooth endowment
and the establishment of non-sectarian colleges were at variance with
views he had written and uttered upon the relations of the Church and
State. "I am sensible how fallible my judgment is," said Mr. Gladstone,
"and how easily I might have erred; but still it has been my conviction
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 painful to myself in respect to personal feelings, and have
separated myself 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 I continue
to regard them with unaltered sentiments both of public regard and
private attachment."

Then again he said: "My whole purpose was to place myself in a position
in which I should be free to consider any course without being liable
to any just suspicion on the ground of personal interest. It is not
profane if I now say, '_with a great price obtained I this freedom_.'
The political association in which I stood was to me at the time the
_alpha_ and _omega_ of public life. The government of Sir Robert Peel
was believed to be of immovable strength. My place, as President of the
Board of Trade, was at the very kernel of its most interesting
operations; for it was in progress from year to year, with continually
waxing courage, towards the emancipation of industry, and therein
towards the accomplishment of another great and blessed work of public
justice. Giving up what I highly prized, aware that

male sarta
Gratia nequicquam coit, et rescinditur.

I felt myself open to the charge of being opinionated and wanting in
deference to really great authorities, and I could not but know that I
should inevitably be regarded as fastidious and fanciful, fitter for a
dreamer, or possibly a schoolman, than for the active purposes of public
life in a busy and moving age."

There were some of his party angry and others who thought that there was
something almost Quixotic in Mr. Gladstone's honorable resignation,
because so soon as he felt himself free he gave his support to the
Maynooth Bill and also to the scheme for the extension of academical
education in Ireland, which latter was described by Sir R. Inglis as a
"gigantic scheme of godless education." In Greville's "Memoirs" we find:
"Gladstone's explanation is ludicrous. Everybody said that he had only
succeeded in showing that his resignation was unnecessary. He was
criticised as the possessor of a kind of supernatural virtue that could
scarcely be popular with the slaves of party, and he was considered
whimsical, fantastic, impracticable, a man whose 'conscience was so
tender that he could not go straight,' a visionary not to be relied
on--in fact, a character and intellect useless to the political
manager." "I am greatly alarmed at Gladstone's resignation. I fear it
foretells measures opposed to the Church truth," wrote Wilberforce; and
Peel told Gladstone beforehand that his reasons for his resignation
would be considered insufficient. But Mr. Gladstone's resignation, when
understood, elicited the liveliest expressions of regret from friend and
foe, as well as the most flattering testimonies as to his ability and
character. His chief, Sir Robert Peel, and Lord John Russell, the leader
of the Opposition, were alike complimentary in their remarks.

Dr. Russell, the biographer of Mr. Gladstone, says: "Mr. Gladstone's
retirement, by impairing his reputation for common sense, threatened
serious and lasting injury to his political career, But the whirligig
of time brought its revenges even more swiftly than usual. A conjunction
of events arose in which he was destined to repair the mischief which
the speculative side had wrought; but for the moment the speculative
side was uppermost."

Mr. Gladstone was fast leaving his Toryism behind. To show how far his
views had changed in the course of seven years, it may be said that in
his speech on these measures he observed how that exclusive support to
the Established Church was a doctrine that was being more and more
abandoned. Mr. Burke considered it contrary to wise policy to give
exclusive privileges to a negative creed like that of Protestantism.
They could not prove their religious scruples for denying this grant to
Roman Catholics, because they gave their votes of money to almost every
Dissenting seat. He hoped the concession now made--which was a great and
liberal gift, because unrestricted and given in a spirit of
confidence--would not lead to the renewal of agitation in Ireland by Mr.
O'Connell. It might be well for him to reflect that agitation was a
two-edged sword. Being conformable to justice and not contrary to
principle, he hoped the measure proposed would pass into a law.

W.T. Stead, in a recent article, said, in relation to Mr. Gladstone's
retirement from the Cabinet, that "It is ridiculous to pretend, with
Mr. Gladstone's career before us, that his course has been swayed by
calculating self-interest. He has been the very madman of politics from
the point of view of Mr. Worldly Wiseman. 'No man,' said he, the other
day, 'has ever committed suicide so often as I,' and that witness is
true. The first and perhaps the most typical of all his many suicides
was his resignation of his seat in Sir Robert Peel's Cabinet, not
because he disapproved of the Maynooth Grant, but because, as he had at
one time written against it, he was determined that his advocacy of it
should be purged of the last taint of self-interest. As Mr. George
Russell rightly remarks, 'This was an act of Parliamentary Quixotism too
eccentric to be intelligible. It argued a fastidious sensitiveness of
conscience, and a nice sense of political propriety so opposed to the
sordid selfishness and unblushing tergiversation of the ordinary
place-hunter as to be almost offensive.' But as Mr. Gladstone was then,
so he has been all his life--the very Quixote of conscience. Judged by
every standard of human probability, he has ruined himself over and over
and over again. He is always ruining himself, and always rising, like
the Phoenix, in renewed youth from the ashes of his funeral pyre. As was
said in homely phrase some years ago, he 'always keeps bobbing up
again.' What is the secret of this wonderful capacity of revival? How
is it that Mr. Gladstone seems to find even his blunders help him, and
the affirmation of principles that seem to be destructive to all chance
of the success of his policy absolutely helps him to its realization?"

From a merely human standpoint it is inexplicable. But

'If right or wrong in this God's world of ours
Be leagued with higher powers,'

then the mystery is not so insolvable. He believed in the higher powers.
He never shrank from putting his faith to the test; and on the whole,
who can deny that for his country and for himself he has reason to
rejoice in the verification of his working hypothesis?

'We walk by faith and not by sight,' he said once; 'and by no one so
much as by those who are in politics is this necessary.' It is the
evidence of things not seen, the eternal principles, the great invisible
moral sanctions that men are wont to call the laws of God, which alone
supply a safe guide through this mortal wilderness.

'Men of a thousand shifts and wiles, look here!
See one straightforward conscience put in pawn
To win a world; see the obedient sphere
By bravery's simple gravitation drawn!
Shall we not heed the lesson taught of old,
And by the Present's lips repeated still?
In our own single manhood to be bold,
Fortressed in conscience and impregnable.'

"Mr. Gladstone has never hesitated to counter at sharp right angles the
passion and the fury of the day. Those who represent him as ever strong
upon the strong side, wilfully shut their eyes to half his history. He
challenged Lord Palmerston over the Don Pacifico question, and was
believed to have wrecked himself almost as completely as when in 1876 he
countered even more resolutely the fantastic Jingoism of Lord
Beaconsfield. It is easy for those who come after and enter into the
spoils gained by sacrifices of which they themselves were incapable to
describe the Bulgarian agitation as an astute party move. The party did
not think so. Its leaders did not think so. Some of those who now halloo
loud enough behind Mr. Gladstone were then bitter enough in their
complaint that he had wrecked his party. One at least, who was
constrained to say the other thing in public, made up for it by bitter
and contemptuous cavilings in private. Now it is easy to see that Lord
Beaconsfield was mistaken and that Mr. Gladstone held the winning card
all along. But no one knew it at the time when the card had to be
played, certainly not Mr. Gladstone himself. He simply saw his duty a
dead sure thing, and, like Jim Bludsoe on the burning boat, 'He went for
it there and then.' It turned up trumps, but no one knew how heavy were
the odds against it save those who went through the stress and the
strain of that testing and trying time by his side."

In the summer of 1845 Mr. Gladstone proposed to his intimate friend, Mr.
J.R. Hope, that they should spend the month of September in a working
tour in Ireland, giving evidence of his characteristic desire always to
come in personal contact with any question that he had to discuss. He
suggests "their eschewing all grandeur, and taking little account even
of scenery, compared with the purpose of looking, from close quarters,
at the institutions for religion and education of the country, and at
the character of the people. It seems ridiculous to talk of supplying
the defects of second-hand information by so short a trip; but although
a longer time would be much better, yet even a very contracted one does
much when it is added to an habitual, though indirect, knowledge." The
projected trip, however, had to be abandoned.

Towards the close of the year 1845 Mr. Gladstone issued a pamphlet
entitled "Remarks upon recent Commercial Legislation," in which he not
only discussed the salutary effects of the late commercial policy, but
used arguments clearly showing that he was advancing to the position of
a free-trader. His general conclusion was that English statesmen should
use every effort to disburden of all charges, so far as the law was
concerned, the materials of industry, and thus enable the workman to
approach his work at home on better terms, as the terms in which he
entered foreign markets were altered for the worse against him.

While Mr. Gladstone was so willing to deal generously more than ever
before with the Irish Roman Catholics, his confidence in the Established
Episcopal Church of Ireland was growing less. "I am sorry," he wrote to
Bishop Wilberforce, "to express my apprehension that the Irish Church is
not in a large sense efficient; the working results of the last ten
years have disappointed me. I may be answered, Have faith in the
ordinance of God; but then I must see the seal and signature, and these,
how can I separate from ecclesiastical descent? The title, in short, is
questioned, and vehemently, not only by the Radicalism of the day, but
by the Roman Bishops, who claim to hold succession of St. Patrick, and
this claim has been alive all along from the Reformation, so that lapse
of years does nothing against it."

The name of Dr. Döllinger, the distinguished reformed Roman Catholic,
has been mentioned already in connection with that of Mr. Gladstone. In
the fall of 1845 Mr. Gladstone went to Munich and paid his first visit
to Dr. Döllinger. For a week he remained in daily intercourse with this
eminent divine, and the foundation was laid of a friendship which was
sustained by repeated visits and correspondence, and which lasted until
the doctor's death in 1890.

In the winter of 1845 Mr. Gladstone met with a painful accident that
resulted in a permanent injury to his hand. He was by no means what is
termed a sportsman, yet he was somewhat fond of shooting. His gun was
prematurely discharged while he was loading it, and shattered the first
finger of his left hand, so that amputation was necessary.

[Illustration: Loyal Ulster]



"Mr. Gladstone's career," says his biographer, G.W.E. Russell,
"naturally divides itself into three parts. The first of them ends with
his retirement from the representation of Newark. The central part
ranges from 1847 to 1868. Happily the third is still incomplete." The
first division, according to Dr. Russell, of this remarkable life, we
have considered, and we now pass on to the development of the second
period. The causes which led up to Mr. Gladstone's retirement from the
representation for Newark to that of Oxford we will now proceed
to trace.

The agitation by the ablest orators against the corn laws had been going
on for ten years, when an announcement was made in the "Times" of
December 4, 1845, that Parliament would be convened the first week in
January, and that the Queen's address would recommend the immediate
consideration of the corn laws, preparatory to their total abolition.
This startling news took the other daily papers by surprise, for there
had been recently a lull in the agitation, and several of them
contradicted it positively. Yet the newspapers had noticed the unusual
occurrence of four cabinet meetings in one week. The original statement
was confirmed. The ministry was pledged to support the measure. The hour
had come, the doom of the corn laws was sealed. Mr. Gladstone's thoughts
and labors for some years past had been leading him away from
Protection, in which he had been brought up, in the direction of Free
Trade; and although he was unable to participate in the last part of the
struggle in Parliament, because he was not a member of the House, he was
yet in harmony with Sir Robert Peel, and indeed is said to have
converted the Premier to Free Trade views. Such a change of views was
not the sudden impulse of an hour. The next step was to announce his
changed convictions. And so upon other occasions in his life, his
attitude on the question of the corn laws led to his separation from
some old and greatly cherished political and personal friends, and among
the first to disapprove of his new departure must have been his own
father, who would think his son was going to ruin the country.

The Duke of Buccleuch and Lord Stanley informed Sir Robert Peel that
they could not support a measure for the repeal of the corn laws, and
Sir Robert Peel, being doubtful whether he could carry through the
proposed measure in the face of such opposition, tendered his
resignation as premier to the Queen. Lord John Russell was called upon
to form a new ministry, but, having failed in this, the Queen desired
Sir Robert Peel to withdraw his resignation, and resume the head of the
government again.

It was found when the list of the new Peel Cabinet was published, that
Mr. Gladstone was a member of it; having accepted the office of Colonial
Secretary, in the place of Lord Stanley, who had resigned because not in
sympathy with the proposed movement and of repeal. Accepting office in a
ministry pledged to repeal the corn laws led to the retirement of Mr.
Gladstone from the House of Commons as the representative for Newark.
The Duke of New Castle, the patron and friend of Mr. Gladstone, was an
ardent Protectionist, and could not sanction the candidature of a
supporter of Free Trade principles. His patronage was therefore
necessarily withdrawn from Mr. Gladstone. Indeed, the Duke had turned
his own son, Lord Lincoln, out of the representation of Nottinghamshire
for accepting office under Sir Robert Peel, and he naturally showed no
mercy to the brilliant but wayward politician, whom his favor had made
member for Newark. Besides, Mr. Gladstone felt he held opposite
principles from those he held when elected, and that unless the
constituency had changed with him, he could no longer honorably continue
to represent them, even if the influence and friendship of the Duke
permitted it.

Accordingly he did not offer himself for re-election, but retired and
issued an address to the electors of Newark, dated January 5, 1846, of
which the following is an extract: "By accepting the office of 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 conduct, 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 good reason to believe that a candidate recommended to
your favor through local connections may ask your suffrages, 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." Mr. Gladstone further goes on to explain that he accepted
office because he held that "it was for those who believed the
Government was acting according to the demands of public duty to testify
that belief, however limited their sphere might be, by their
co-operation." He had acted "in obedience to the clear and imperious
call of public obligation."

It was in this way that Mr. Gladstone became a voluntary exile from the
House of Commons during this important season, and took no part in the
debates, his personal powerful advocacy being lost in the consideration
of the great measure before the House. He was a member of the Cabinet,
but not of the House of Commons. It was no secret, however, that he was
the most advanced Free Trader in the Peel Cabinet, and that the policy
of the government in regard to this great measure of 1846 was to a large
extent moulded by him.

It is also known that his representations of the effects of Free Trade
on the industry of the country and the general well-being of the people
strengthened the Premier in his resolve to sweep away the obnoxious corn
laws. His pamphlet on recent commercial legislation had prepared the way
for the later momentous changes; and to Mr. Gladstone is due much of the
credit for the speedy consummation of the Free Trade policy of the Peel
Ministry. Mr. Gladstone may be regarded as the pioneer of the movement.

Just at this time a calamity occurred in Ireland which furnished Sir
Robert Peel an additional argument for the prompt repeal of the corn
laws; namely, a prospective famine, owing to the failure of the potato
crop. With threatened famine in Ireland, such as had never been
experienced, the Prime Minister saw clearly that corn must be admitted
into the country free of duty. The Anti-Corn Law League was growing
powerful and even irresistible, while both in England and Ireland many
landlords of influence, who did not belong to the League, were in
sympathy with the movement started by the Premier and ready to extend to
him a hearty support.

But the friends of Protection did not leave the Premier without
opposition. Knowing that Sir Robert Peel's personal influence was
greater than that of any minister who had "virtually governed the
empire," they used every means at their command, fair and unfair, to
defeat the bill. However, their efforts were destined to failure. Some
contended that the presentation and passage of the corn law repeal bill
ought to be left to the Liberals. But Free Trade had not received the
support of every member of the Liberal party, and Sir Robert Peel was in
a position to carry out the measure, and it was not in accordance with
the wisdom of practical politics to halt. Indeed, at this very juncture,
Mr. Cobden wrote to the Premier that he had the power, and that it would
be disastrous to the country for him to hesitate. Writing from
Edinburgh, Lord John Russell announced his conversion to total and
immediate repeal of the corn laws. Sir Robert Peel hesitated no longer,
but, feeling that the crisis had arrived, determined to grapple with it.
It was duty to country before and above fancied loyalty to party to be
considered. It is strange what remedies some men deem sensible,
suggested to prevent famine in Ireland.

"Obviously the Government was in difficulties. What those difficulties
were it was not hard to guess. In the previous autumn it had become
known that, after a long season of sunless wet, the potatoes had
everywhere been attacked by an obscure disease. The failure of this crop
meant an Irish famine. The steps suggested to meet this impending
calamity were strange enough. The head of the English peerage
recommended the poor to rely on curry-powder as a nutritious and
satisfying food. Another duke thought that the government could show no
favor to a population almost in a state of rebellion, but that
individuals might get up a subscription. A noble lord, harmonizing
materialism and faith, urged the government to encourage the provision
of salt fish, and at the same time to appoint a day of public
acknowledgment of our dependence on Divine goodness. The council of the
Royal Agricultural Society, numbering some of the wealthiest noblemen
and squires in England, were not ashamed to lecture the laborers on the
sustaining properties of thrice-boiled bones."

When Parliament assembled the Premier entered into an explanation of the
late ministerial crisis, and unfolded his projected plans. He said that
the failure of the potato crop had led to the dissolution of the late
government, that matters now could brook no further delay; that prompt
action must now be taken on the Corn Laws; that the progress of reason
and truth demanded it; that his opinions on the subject of Protection
had undergone a great change; that the experience of the past three
years confirmed him in his new views; that he could not conceal the
knowledge of his convictions, however much it might lay him open to the
charge of inconsistency; that, though accused of apathy and neglect, he
and his colleagues were even then engaged in the most extensive and
arduous inquiries into the true state of Ireland; and that, as these
inquiries progressed, he has been forced to the conclusion that the
protection policy was unsound and consequently untenable.

It is worthy of note that Mr. Disraeli, the future Parliamentary rival
of Mr. Gladstone, took part, as a member of the House of Commons, in the
discussion of the question under consideration. The following words show
his attitude: "To the opinions which I have expressed in this House in
favor of Protection I adhere. They sent to this House, and if I had
relinquished them I should have relinquished my seat also." "It would be
an unprofitable talk," writes Barnett Smith, "to unravel the many
inconsistencies of Lord Beaconsfield's career; but with regard to this
deliverance upon Protection, the curious in such matters may turn back
to the records of 1842, when they will discover that at that time he was
quite prepared to advocate measures of a Free Trade character. But we
must pass on from this important question of the Corn Laws, with the
angry controversy to which it gave rise. Sir Robert Peel brought forward
his measure, and after lengthened debate in both Houses, it became law,
and grain was admitted into English ports under the new tariff."

After all their success in carrying through the important Corn Law
Repeal scheme, the ministry of Sir Robert Peel was doomed to fall upon
an Irish question. The very day that brought their victory in the
passage of the Corn Law Repeal Act in the House of Lords saw the defeat
of the ministry in the House of Commons on their bill for the
suppression of outrage in Ireland. Sir Robert Peel found himself in a
minority of 73 and therefore tendered his resignation. It was accepted
and Sir Robert Peel went out of office forever. Lord John Russell was
sent for by the Queen, and he succeeded in forming a Whig Ministry.

Mr. Gladstone's return to the Cabinet of Sir Robert Peel, as we have
seen, cost him his seat in the House of Commons. It was not until the
brief session of 1847, that he appeared again in Parliament. The Queen
dissolved Parliament in person, July, 23d. The election succeeding
turned in many instances upon ecclesiastical questions, and especially
upon the Maynooth grant.

It was announced early in 1847 that one of the two members of the House
of Commons for the University of Oxford intended to retire at the next
general election. Mr. Canning had pronounced the representation of the
university as the most coveted prize of public life, and Mr. Gladstone
himself confessed that he "desired it with an almost passionate
fondness." Mr. Gladstone, as a graduate of Oxford, was looked upon not
only by his contemporaries, but by his seniors and those who came after
him, with feelings of enthusiastic admiration. The feeling then was
reciprocal, and he was proposed for the vacant seat. Sir R.N. Inglis was
secure in his seat, and so the contest lay between Mr. Gladstone and Mr.
Round, who was of the ultra-Protestant and Tory school. The contest
excited the keenest interest and was expected on all hands to be
very close.

Mr. Gladstone in his address to the electors of his _Alma Mater_
confessed that in the earlier part of his public life he had been an
advocate for the exclusive support of the national religion of the
state, but it had been in vain; the time was against him. He said: "I
found that scarcely a year passed without the adoption of some fresh
measure involving the national recognition and the national support of
various forms of religion, and, in particular, that a recent and fresh
provision had been made for the propagation from a public chair of Arian
or Socinian doctrines. The question remaining for me was whether, aware
of the opposition of the English people, I should set down 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 the 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."

This address intensified the determination of those opposed to Mr.
Gladstone to defeat him. A great portion of the press was, however, in
his favor. Some of the journals that were enthusiastic for Mr. Gladstone
were very bitter against Mr. Round. Mr. Gladstone's distinguished talent
and industry were lauded, as well as his earnest attachment to the
Church of England. He had, however, renounced the exclusiveness of his
politico-ecclesiastical principles, and no longer importuned Parliament
to ignore all forms of religion but those established by law, or which
were exactly coincident with his own belief. "His election," declared
one journal, "unlike that of Mr. Round, while it sends an important
member to the House of Commons, will certainly be creditable, and may be
valuable to the university; and we heartily hope that no negligence or
hesitation among his supporters may impede his success." Even outside of
church circles the election was regarded with great interest.

The nomination took place July 29th. After the usual ceremony, the
voting commenced in convocation-house, which was densely crowded. So
great was the pressure of the throng that men fainted and had to be
carried out. Mr. Coleridge, afterward Lord Coleridge, was the secretary
of Mr. Gladstone's committee. Distinguished men, among them Sir Robert
Peel, his colleague in the Cabinet, came from a great distance to
"plump" for Mr. Gladstone. The venerable Dr. Routh, then nearly
ninety-two years old, came forth from his retirement at Magdalen College
to vote for him. Mrs. Gladstone, according to Mr. Hope-Scott, was an
indefatigable canvasser for her husband. At the close of the poll the
vote stood: Inglis, 1700; Gladstone, 997; Round, 824. Of course Sir
Robert Inglis, with his "prehistoric Toryism," stood at the head. To the
supporters of Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Round must be added 154 who were
paired. Mr. Gladstone received a majority of 173 over his
ultra-Protestant opponent. The total number of those polled exceeded
that registered at any previous election, showing the intense and
general interest in the result.

This period of Mr. Gladstone's life has been very properly styled by one
of his biographers, as the transition period. "On one side the
Conservative Free-trader clings fondly and tenaciously to the Toryism of
his youth, on another, he is reaching out toward new realms of Liberal
thought and action. He opposes marriage with a deceased wife's sister on
theological and social grounds, asserting roundly that such marriage is
'contrary to the law of God, declared for three thousand years and
upwards.' He deprecates the appointment of a Commission to enquire into
the Universities, because it will deter intending benefactors from
effecting their munificent intentions. He argues for a second chamber in
Australian legislatures, citing, perhaps a little unfortunately, the
constitutional example of contemporary France. In all these utterances
it is not hard to read the influence of the traditions in which he was
reared, or of the ecclesiastical community which he represents in

"Yet even in the theological domain a tendency towards Liberalism shows
itself. His hatred of Erastianism is evinced by his gallant but
unsuccessful attempt to secure for the clergy and laity of each colonial
diocese the power of self-government. Amid the indignant protests of his
Tory allies, and in opposition to his own previous speech and vote, he
vindicates the policy of admitting the Jews to Parliament. He defends
the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Court of Rome; he
supports the alteration of the parliamentary oath; and, though he will
not abet an abstract attack on Church Rates, he contends that their
maintainance involves a corresponding duty to provide accommodation in
the church for the very poorest of the congregation.

"On the commercial side his Liberalism is rampant. With even fanatical
faith he clings to Free Trade as the best guarantee for our national
stability amid the crash of the dynasties and constitutions which went
down in '48. He thunders against the insidious dangers of reciprocity.
He desires, by reforming the laws which govern navigation, to make the
ocean, 'that great highway of nations, as free to the ships that
traverse its bosom as to the winds that sweep it.'

"And so the three years--1847, 1848, 1849--rolled by, full of stirring
events in Europe and in England, in Church and in State, but marked by
no special incidents in the life of Mr. Gladstone. For him these years
were a period of mental growth, of transition, of development. A change
was silently proceeding, which was not completed for twenty years, if,
indeed, it has been completed yet. 'There have been,' he wrote in later
days to Bishop Wilberforce, 'two great deaths, or transmigrations of
spirit, in my political existence--one, very slow, the breaking of ties
with my original party.' This was now in progress. The other will be
narrated in due course."

One of the features of the general election of 1847 that excited the
wildest popular comment was the election of Baron Rothschild for the
City of London. There was nothing illegal in the election of a Jew, but
he was virtually precluded from taking his seat in the House of Commons,
because the law required every member to subscribe not only to the
Christian religion, but to the Protestant Episcopal faith. To obviate
this difficulty, Lord John Russell, soon after Parliament assembled,
offered a resolution affirming the eligibility of Jews to all functions
and offices to which Roman Catholics were admissible by law. Sir R.H.
Inglis opposed the resolution and Mr. Gladstone, his colleague,
supported it.

Mr. Gladstone inquired whether there were any grounds for the
disqualification of the Jews which distinguished them from any other
classes in the community. They contended for a "Christian Parliament,
but the present measure did not make severance between politics and
religion, it only amounted to a declaration that there was no necessity
for excluding a Jew, as such, from an assembly in which every man felt
sure that a vast and overwhelming majority of its members would always
be Christian. It was said that by admitting a few Jews they would
un-Christianize Parliament; that was true in word, but not in
substance." He had no doubt that the majority of the members who
composed it would always perform their obligations on the true faith of
a Christian. It was too late to say that the measure was un-Christian,
and that it would call down the vengeance of heaven. When he opposed the
last law of the removal of Jewish disabilities, he foresaw that if he
gave the Jew municipal, magisterial and executive functions, we could
not refuse him legislative functions any longer. "The Jew was refused
entrance into the House because he would then be a maker of the law; but
who made the maker of the law? The constituencies; and into these
constituencies had been admitted the Jews. Now were the constituencies
Christian constituencies? If they were, was it probable that the
Parliament would cease to be a Christian Parliament?"

Mr. Gladstone admitted the force of the prayer in Bishop Wilberforce's
petition, that in view of this concession measures should be taken to
give greater vigor to the Church, and thus operate to the prevention of
an organic change in the relations between Church and State. In
concluding his defence of Lord John Russell's resolution Mr. Gladstone
expressed the opinion that if they admitted Jews into Parliament,
prejudice might be awakened for awhile, but the good sense of the people
would soon allay it, and members would have the consolation of knowing
that in case of difficulty they had yielded to a sense of justice, and
by so doing had not disparaged religion or lowered Christianity, but
rather had elevated both in all reflecting and well-regulated minds. The
logic of this speech could not be controverted, though Mr. Newdegate
declared that Mr. Gladstone would never have gained his election for the
University of Oxford had his sentiments on the Jewish question been then
known. The resolution of Lord John Russell was carried by a large
majority, whereupon he announced first a resolution, and then a bill, in
accordance with its terms.

The year 1848 was a year of excitement and revolution. All Europe was in
a state of agitation, and France by a new revolution presented another
one of her national surprises. The news of a revolution in France caused
the greatest perturbation throughout England, and disturbances in the
capital of the country. Great demonstrations were made at Trafalgar
Square and Charing Cross, March 6th, but the meetings assumed more of a
burlesque than of a serious character. In Glasgow and other parts of the
country there were serious riots. Shops were sacked, and the military
was called out to quell the disturbance, which was not effected until
the soldiers fired with fatal results upon the rioters. There were
uprisings and mob violence also at Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle, but
they were of a less formidable character. A Chartist meeting was held on
Kennington Common, March 13th, but, though the meeting had been looked
forward to with great apprehensions by all lovers of law and order, yet
it passed off without the serious results anticipated.

Though great preparations were made in view of the demonstration, yet,
fortunately it passed off without loss of life. The meeting however had
furnished a pretext for the gathering of a lawless mob, although but few
were politically concerned in it. It was deemed necessary, to provide
against every emergency, so special constables in great numbers were
sworn in previous to the meetings, and it is interesting to observe that
amongst the citizens who came forward in London to enroll themselves as
preservers of the peace of society were William Ewart Gladstone, the
Duke of Norfolk, the Earl of Derby, and Prince Louis Napoleon,
afterwards Emperor of France.

The people were becoming dissatisfied with the government of the
country, particularly with its financial measures. A deficiency of two
million pounds appeared, and additional taxation would be necessary
owing to the Caffre War. It was therefore proposed to continue the
income tax for five years and increase it slightly. Owing to the
distress in Ireland it was not proposed to extend the operation of this
measure to that country. The property tax was defended on the same
principles laid down by Mr. Pitt, and in 1842, by Sir Robert Peel. But
this scheme was bitterly opposed and many attributed the depressed
condition of the finances to free trade. Sir Robert Peel decided to
support the proposed tax for three years. Mr. Disraeli desired the
success of Sir Robert Peel's policy, and described himself as a
"free-trader, but not a free-booter of the Manchester school;" and he
dubbed the blue-book of the Import Duties Committee "the greatest work
of imagination that the nineteenth century has produced." He said that
the government, by acting upon it, and taking it for a guide, resembled
a man smoking a cigar on a barrel of gunpowder.

This epigrammatic speech of Mr. Disraeli brought Mr. Gladstone to his
feet. He said, by way of introduction, that he could not hope to sustain
the lively interest created by the remarkable speech of his
predecessor--a display to which he felt himself unequal--he would pass
over the matters of a personal description touched upon by the
honorable gentleman, and confine himself to defending the policy which
had been assailed. Mr. Gladstone then demonstrated, by a series of
elaborate statistics, the complete success of Sir Robert Peel's policy.
He also said, that the confidence of the public would be greatly shaken
by an adverse vote, and he alluded to the unsettled condition of affairs
in the Cabinet. "I am sure," said Mr. Gladstone, "that this House of
Commons will prove itself to be worthy of the Parliaments which preceded
it, worthy of the Sovereign which it has been called to advise, and
worthy of the people which it has been chosen to represent, by
sustaining this nation, and enabling it to stand firm in the midst of
the convulsions that shake European society; by doing all that pertains
to us for the purpose of maintaining social order, the stability of
trade, and the means of public employment; and by discharging our
consciences, on our own part, under the difficult circumstances of the
crisis, in the perfect trust that if we set a good example to the
nations--for whose interests we are appointed to consult--they, too,
will stand firm as they have in other times of almost desperate
emergency; and that through their good sense, their moderation, and
their attachment to the institutions of the country, we shall see these
institutions still exist, a blessing and a benefit to prosperity,
whatever alarms and whatever misfortunes may unfortunately befall other
portions of civilized Europe."

"It was fortunate for the future interests of the country," says Dr.
Smith, his biographer, "that the proposals of the government were at
this juncture supported by a great majority of the House of Commons. In
a moment of unreasoning panic there was some danger of the adoption of a
reactionary policy--a step that would have lost to the country those
blessings which it subsequently enjoyed as the outcome of Free Trade."

May 15, Mr. Labouchere, President of the Board of Trade, proposed a plan
for the modification of the navigation laws. Reserving the coasting
trade and fisheries of Great Britain and the Colonies, it was proposed
"to throw open the whole navigation of the country, of every sort and
description." But the Queen claimed the right of putting such
restrictions as she saw fit upon the navigation of foreign countries, if
those countries did not meet England on equal terms; and that each
colony should be allowed to throw open its coasting trade to foreign
countries. Mr. Gladstone made a lengthy speech, examining closely the
operation of existing laws, and showing the necessity for their repeal.
With regard to the power claimed by the Queen in Council, with a view to
enforcing reciprocity, Mr. Gladstone said, "I confess it appears to me
there is a great objection to conferring such a power as that which is
proposed to be given to the Queen in Council." He contended also for a
gradual change in the laws. The policy of excluding the coasting trade
from the measure he also condemned. "It would have been much more frank
to have offered to admit the Americans to our coasting trade if they
would admit us to theirs." If England and America concurred in setting
an example to the world, he hoped we should "live to see the ocean, that
great highway of nations, as free to the ships that traverse its bosom
as the winds that sweep it. England would then have achieved another
triumph, and have made another powerful contribution to the prosperity
of mankind." The bill was postponed until the following year.

During the session of 1848 Mr. Gladstone spoke upon the proposed grant
of Vancouver's Island to the Hudson's Bay Company; and upon the Sugar
Duties Bill; but the most important speech delivered by him at that time
was upon a measure to legalize diplomatic relations with the Court of
Rome. It was objected that thus recognizing the spiritual governor of
Rome and of all the Roman Catholic population of the world, would
neither conciliate the affections of the Protestants, nor satisfy the
wishes of the Roman Catholics, who had denounced it strongly to
the Pope.

Mr. Gladstone took broad and comprehensive views of the question. To
some features of the Bill he was opposed, but was in favor of its
principle. It was unfortunate as to time, owing to the condition of
affairs in Italy. England must take one of two positions. If she
declined political communication with the See of Rome, she had no right
to complain of any steps which the Pope might take with respect to the
administration of his own ecclesiastical affairs; but an act so directly
in contravention of the laws of the land as the partitioning of the
country into archbishoprics and bishoprics was a most unfortunate
proceeding; wrong because it was generally and justly offensive to the
feelings of the people of England, and totally unnecessary, as he
believed, for Roman Catholic purposes, but also because it ill assorted
with the grounds on which the Parliament was invited by the present bill
to establish definite relations with the See of Rome. For one hundred
years after the Reformation the Pope was actually in arms for the
purpose of recovering by force his lost dominions in this country. It
was only natural, therefore, that we should have prohibited relations
with the See of Rome when it attacked the title of the Sovereign of
these realms, but there was no such reason for continuing the
prohibition at the present moment.

Those who have studied Mr. Gladstone's career carefully attest that this
speech would have been impossible from his lips ten years before the
time it was delivered; and early in the next session of Parliament he
delivered another speech which furnishes us an example of the growth of
his liberal views in matters of conscience. Lord John Russell proposes
further relief upon the matter of oaths to be taken by members of
Parliament. Mr. Gladstone said that the civil political claims of the
Jew should not be barred, and he deprecated the tendency to degenerate
formalism in oaths, but he was glad that the words, "on the true faith
of a Christian" in respect to all Christian members of the House of
Commons had been retained. He also, later in the session, favored
correcting the enormous evils growing out of the Church rate system,
with taxation of all the further support of the State Church. He did not
believe in imposing an uncompensated burden upon any man. Every man
contributing his quota was entitled to demand a free place in the house
of his Maker. "But the centre and best parts of the Church were occupied
by pews exclusively for the middle classes, while the laboring classes
were jealously excluded from almost every part of light and hearing in
the Churches, and were treated in a manner most painful to
reflect upon."

When Mr. Labouchere re-introduced the ministerial bill for the repeal of
the Navigation Laws, in the session of 1849, Mr. Gladstone supported
generally the measure in a full and exhaustive speech. He favored the
bill with certain modifications. The Marquis of Granby expressed fears
at the consequences of the change proposed, and Mr. Gladstone answered
him: "The noble Marquis," he observed, "desired to expel the vapours and
exhalations that had been raised with regard to the principle of
political economy, and which vapours and exhalations I find for the most
part in the fears with which those changes are regarded. The noble
Marquis consequently hoped that the Trojan horse would not be allowed to
come within the walls of Parliament. But however applicable the figures
may be to other plans, it does not, I submit, apply to the mode of
proceeding I venture to recommend to the House, because we follow the
precedent of what Mr. Huskisson did before us. Therefore more than one
moiety of the Trojan horse has already got within the citadel--it has
been there for twenty-five years, and yet what has proceeded from its
bowels has only tended to augment the rate of increase in the progress
of your shipping. Therefore, let us not be alarmed by vague and dreamy
ratiocinations of evil, which had never been wanting on any occasion,
and which never will be wanting so long as this is a free State, wherein
every man can find full vent and scope for the expression, not only of
his principles, but of his prejudices and his fears. Let us not be
deterred by those apprehensions from giving a calm and serious
examination to this question, connected as it is with the welfare of our
country. Let us follow steadily the light of experience, and be
convinced that He who preserved us during the past will also be
sufficient to sustain us during all the dangers of the future."

Mr. Disraeli seized the opportunity to make a caustic speech, in which
he fiercely attacked both Mr. Labouchere and Mr. Gladstone, and alluded
sarcastically to their "great sacrifices," and said that the latter was
about to give up that good development of the principle of reciprocity
which the House had waited for with so much suspense. Mr. Gladstone
replied, "I am perfectly satisfied to bear his sarcasm, good humoured
and brilliant as it is, while I can appeal to his judgment as to whether
the step I have taken was unbecoming in one who conscientiously differs
with him on the freedom of trade, and has endeavoured to realize it;
because, so far from its being the cause of the distress of the country,
it has been, under the mercy of God, the most signal and effectual means
of mitigating this distress, and accelerating the dawn of the day of
returning prosperity."

Mr. Gladstone spoke also during the session upon the subject of Colonial
Reform which came before the House on several occasions, and especially
in connection with riots in Canada; and on a bill for the removal of
legal restrictions against marriage with a deceased wife's sister. He
opposed the latter measure upon theological, social, and moral grounds,
and begged the House to repeat the almost entire sentiment of the
country respecting the bill. To do otherwise would be to inflict upon
the Church the misfortune of having anarchy introduced among its
ministers. He hoped they would do all that in them lay to maintain the
strictness of the obligations of marriage, and the purity of the
hallowed sphere of domestic life. The bill was rejected.

In the Parliamentary session of 1850 one of the chief topics of
discussion was the great depression of the agricultural interests of the
country. The country was at peace, the revenues were in a good
condition, foreign trade had increased, but the farmers still made loud
complaints of the disastrous condition, which they attributed to
free-trade measures, which they contended had affected the whole of the
agricultural interests. Consequently, February 19th, Mr. Disraeli moved
for a committee of the whole House to consider such a revision of the
Poor Laws of the United Kingdom as might mitigate the distress of the
agricultural classes. Some thought that this was a movement against
free-trade, but Mr. Gladstone courted the fullest investigation, and
seeing no danger in the motion, voted for it. However, the motion of
Mr. Disraeli was lost.

Mr. Gladstone likewise favored the extension of the benefits of
Constitutional government to certain of the colonies,--for example as
set forth in the Australian Colonies Government Bill; and twice during
the session he addressed the House on questions connected with slavery,
and upon motion of Mr. Haywood for an inquiry into the state of the
English and Irish universities, and the government unexpectedly gave
their consent to the issuing of a Royal Commission for the purpose. Mr.
Gladstone said that any person who might be deliberating with himself
whether he would devote a portion of his substance for prosecuting the
objects of learning, civilization and religion, would be checked by the
prospect that at any given time, and under any given circumstances, a
minister, who was the creature of a political majority, might institute
a state inquiry into the mode in which the funds he might devise were
administered. It was not wise to discourage eleemosynary establishments.
It would be better for the Crown to see what could be done to improve
the colleges by administering existing laws.

In reviewing the past ten years we exclaim, truly has the period from
1841 to 1850, in the political life of Mr. Gladstone, been called a
memorable decade.

It was in the year 1850, as we have seen, that the Gladstones were
plunged into domestic sorrow by the death of their little daughter,
Catharine Jessy; and it was this same year that brought to Mr. Gladstone
another grief from a very different source. This second bereavement was
caused by the withdrawal of two of his oldest and most intimate friends,
the Archdeacon of Chichester and Mr. J.R. Hope, from the Protestant
Episcopal Church of England and their union with the Roman Catholic
Church. Mr. Hope, who became Hope-Scott on succeeding to the estate of
Abbotsford, was the gentleman who helped Mr. Gladstone in getting
through the press his book on Church and State, revising, correcting and
reading proof. The Archdeacon, afterwards Cardinal Manning, had, from
his undergraduate days, exercised a powerful influence over his
contemporaries. He was gifted with maturity of intellect and character,
had great shrewdness, much tenacity of will, a cogent, attractive style,
combined with an impressive air of authority, to which the natural
advantages of person and bearing added force. Besides having these
qualifications for leadership, he had fervid devotion, enlarged
acquaintance with life and men, and an "unequalled gift of
administration;" though a priest, he was essentially a statesman, and
had at one time contemplated a political career. He was Mr. Gladstone's
most trusted counsellor and most intimate friend.

The cause, or rather occasion for these secessions from the Church of
England to the Church of Rome, is thus related: "An Evangelical
clergyman, the Rev. G.C. Gorham, had been presented to a living in the
diocese of Exeter; and that truly formidable prelate, Bishop Phillpotts,
refused to institute him, alleging that he held heterodox views on the
subject of Holy Baptism. After complicated litigation, the Judicial
Committee of the Privy Council decided, on March 8, 1850, that the
doctrine held by the incriminated clergyman was not such as to bar him
from preferment in the Church of England. This decision naturally
created great commotion in the Church. Men's minds were rudely shaken.
The orthodoxy of the Church of England seemed to be jeopardized, and the
supremacy of the Privy Council was in a matter touching religious
doctrine felt to be an intolerable burden."

Mr. Gladstone, as well as others, was profoundly agitated by these
events, and June 4th he expressed his views in a letter to Dr.
Blomfield, Bishop of London. The theme of his letter was, "The Royal
Supremacy, viewed in the light of Reason, History and the Constitution."
He contended that the Royal Supremacy, as settled at the Reformation,
was not inconsistent with the spiritual life and inherent jurisdiction
of the Church, but the recent establishment of the Privy Council as the
ultimate court of appeal in religious causes was "an injurious and even
dangerous departure from the Reformation settlement."

In this letter Mr. Gladstone said, in summing up: "I find it no part of
my duty, my lord, to idolize the Bishops of England and Wales, or to
place my conscience in their keeping. I do not presume or dare to
speculate upon their particular decisions; but I say that, acting
jointly, publicly, solemnly, responsibly, they are the best and most
natural organs of the judicial office of the Church in matters of
heresy, and, according to reason, history and the constitution, in that
subject-matter the fittest and safest counsellors of the Crown."

But this view regarding the Church of England did not suit some minds,
and among them the two friends with whom Mr. Gladstone had, up to this
time, acted in religious matters. These troubles in the Church so
powerfully affected them that they withdrew.

The following quotation shows Mr. Gladstone's firmness in regard to his
own choice of the Protestant Christianity over and above Catholicism, In
a letter, written in 1873, to Mrs. Maxwell-Scott, of Abbotsford, the
daughter of his friend Hope, he thus writes of an interview had with
her father: "It must have been about this time that I had another
conversation with him about religion, of which, again, I exactly
recollect the spot. Regarding (forgive me) the adoption of the Roman
religion by members of the Church of England as nearly the greatest
calamity that could befall Christian faith in this country, I rapidly
became alarmed when these changes began; and very long before the great
luminary, Dr. Newman, drew after him, it may well be said, 'the third
part of the stars of Heaven.' This alarm I naturally and freely
expressed to the man upon whom I most relied, your father."

[Illustration: Gladstone in Wales; addressing a meeting at the foot of



In considering Mr. Gladstone's exposure of the cruelties practiced in
the prisons of Naples, we are confronted with his attitude in the House
of Commons just before, in a case where the same principles seemed to be
involved, and in which Mr. Gladstone took the directly opposite course.
We refer to the Don Pacifico case. Both were at first merely personal
questions, but finally became international. Mr. Gladstone to many
appeared to take an inconsistent course in these seemingly similar
cases, in that while opposing national intervention in the affairs of
Don Pacifico, he tried to stir up all Europe for the relief of the
sufferers in the Neapolitan prisons. "It is not a little remarkable that
the statesman who had so lately and so vigorously denounced the 'vain
conception that we, forsooth, have a mission to be the censors of vice
and folly, of abuse and imperfection, among the other countries of the
world,' should now have found himself irresistibly impelled by
conscience and humanity to undertake a signal and effective crusade
against the domestic administration of a friendly power."

The most memorable debate in the new chamber of the House of Commons,
which was first occupied in 1850, was that associated with the name of
Don Pacifico. It is however conceded that the circumstances from which
it all proceeded were comparatively trivial in the extreme. Don Pacifico
was a Maltese Jew and a British subject, dwelling at Athens. He had made
himself distasteful to the people of Athens, and consequently his house
was destroyed and robbed by a mob, April 4, 1847. He appealed to the
government at Athens for redress, demanding over $150,000 indemnity for
the loss of his property, among which "a peculiarly sumptuous bedstead
figured largely." Don Pacifico's claim was unheeded, probably because it
was exorbitant and the Greek government was poor. Lord Palmerston was
then the Foreign Secretary of the English Government. He was rash and
independent in his Foreign policy, and often acted, as the Queen
complained, without consultation and without the authority of the

The Foreign Secretary had had other quarrels with the Government at
Athens. Land belonging to an English resident in Athens had been seized
without sufficient compensation; Ionian subjects of the English Crown
had suffered hardships at the hands of the Greek authorities, and an
English Midshipman had been arrested by mistake. Lord Palmerston looked
upon these incidents, slight as they were in themselves, as indicative
of a plot on the part of the French Minister against the English, and
especially as the Greek Government was so dilatory in satisfying the
English claims. "This was enough. The outrage on Don Pacifico's bedstead
remained the head and front of Greek offending, but Lord Palmerston
included all the other slight blunders and delays of justice in one
sweeping indictment; made the private claims into a national demand, and
peremptorily informed the Greek Government that they must pay what was
demanded of them within a given time. The Government hesitated, and the
British fleet was ordered to the Piraeus, and seized all the Greek
vessels which were found in the waters. Russia and France took umbrage
at this high-handed proceeding and championed Greece. Lord Palmerston
informed them it was none of their business and stood firm. The French
Ambassador was withdrawn from London, and for awhile the peace of Europe
was menaced." The execution of the orders of Lord Palmerston was left
with Admiral Sir William Parker, who was first to proceed to Athens with
the English fleet, and failing to obtain satisfaction was to blockade
the Piraeus, which instructions he faithfully obeyed.

The debate began in Parliament June 24, 1850. The stability of the Whig
administration, then in power, depended upon the results. In the House
of Lords, Lord Stanley moved a resolution, which was carried, expressing
regret that "various claims against the Greek Government, doubtful in
point of justice and exaggerated in amount, have been enforced by
coercive measures, directed against the commerce and people of Greece,
and calculated to endanger the continuance of our friendly relations
with foreign powers." A counter-resolution was necessary in the House of
Commons to offset the action of the Lords, so a Radical, Mr. Roebuck,
much to the surprise of many, came to the defense of the Government and
offered the following motion, which was carried: "That the 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."

The debate which followed, and which was prolonged over four nights, was
marked on both sides by speeches of unusual oratorical power and
brilliancy. The speeches of Lord Palmerston, Sir Robert Peel, Mr.
Cockburn, Mr. Cobden, Mr. Disraeli and Mr. Gladstone were pronounced as
remarkable orations. Sir Robert Peel made a powerful speech against the
Ministers, which was made memorable not only for its eloquence, but
because it was his last. Lord Palmerston defended himself vigorously in
a speech of five hours' duration. "He spoke," said Mr. Gladstone, "from
the dusk of one day to the dawn of the next." He defended his policy at
every point. In every step taken he had been influenced by the sole
desire that the meanest, the poorest, even the most disreputable subject
of the English Crown should be defended by the whole might of England
against foreign oppression. He reminded them of all that was implied in
the Roman boast, _Civis Romanus sum_, and urged the House to make it
clear that a British subject, in whatever land he might be, should feel
confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England could
protect him. This could not be resisted. _Civis Romanus sum_ settled
the question.

Mr. Gladstone's reply was a masterpiece. It was exhaustive and
trenchant, and produced a great effect. He first spoke upon the position
of the Government and the constitutional doctrines which they had laid
down in regard to it, and then severely condemned the conduct of the
Premier for being so heedless of the censure of the House of Lords and
in trying to shield himself behind the precedents which are in reality
no precedents at all. With reference to the Greek question, he
repudiated precedents which involved the conduct of strong countries
against weak ones. The Greek Government had put no impediment in the way
of arbitration. Instead of trusting and trying the tribunals of the
country and employing diplomatic agency simply as a supplemental
resource, Lord Palmerston had interspersed authority of foreign power,
in contravention both of the particular stipulations of the treaty in
force between Greece and England and of the general principles of the
law of nations. He had thus set the mischievous example of abandoning
the methods of law and order, and resorted to those of force.
Non-interference had been laid down as the basis of our conduct towards
other nations, but the policy of Lord Palmerston had been characterized
by a spirit of active interference.

Mr. Gladstone's words were in part as follows: "Does he [Lord
Palmerston] make the claim for us [the English] that we are to be lifted
upon a platform high above the standing-ground of all other nations?...
It is indeed too clear ... that he adopts, in part, the vain conception
that we, forsooth, have a mission to be the censors of vice and folly,
of abuse and imperfection among the other countries of the world; that
we are to be the universal schoolmasters, and that all those who
hesitate to recognize our office can be governed only by prejudice or
personal animosity, and shall have the blind war of diplomacy forthwith
declared against them."

Again: "Let us recognize, and recognize with frankness, 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, resident in Greece,
let us do as we would be done by, and let us pay all respect to a feeble
State and to the infancy of free institutions.... 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 practiced toward ourselves."

In this address Mr. Gladstone evinces his inclination to appeal to the
higher and nobler nature of man, to the principles of brotherhood among
nations, to the law of God and nature, and to ask as a test of the
foreign policy of the government, not whether it is striking, or
brilliant, or successful, but whether it is right.

This speech of Mr. Gladstone's was recognized as the finest he had
delivered in Parliament, and its power was acknowledged by both sides of
the House, by political opponent and friend. Lord Chief Justice
Cockburn, then a member of the House, referring in a speech the
following evening to Mr. Gladstone and his remarkable speech, uttered
these words: "I suppose we are now to consider him as the representative
of Lord Stanley in the House--Gladstone _Vice_ Disraeli, am I to say,
resigned or superseded?" The government was sustained.

We have already stated that it was during this memorable debate that Sir
Robert Peel made his last speech.--On the following day, 29th of June,
1850, Sir Robert called at Buckingham Palace for the purpose of leaving
his card. On proceeding up Constitution Hill on horse back he met one of
Lady Dover's daughters, and exchanged salutations. Immediately
afterwards his horse became restive and shying towards the rails of the
Green Park, threw Sir Robert sideways on his left shoulder. Medical aid
was at hand and was at once administered. Sir Robert groaned when lifted
and when asked whether he was much hurt replied, "Yes, very much." He
was conveyed home where the meeting with his family was very affecting,
and he swooned in the arms of his physician. He was placed upon a sofa
in the dining-room from which he never moved. His sufferings were so
acute that a minute examination of his injuries could not be made. For
two or three days he lingered and then died, July 2d. An examination
made after death revealed the fact that the fifth rib on the left side
was fractured, the broken rib pressing on the lung, producing effusion
and pulmonary engorgement. This was probably the seat of the mortal
injury, and was where Sir Robert complained of the greatest pain.

The news of Sir Robert's death produced a profound sensation throughout
the land. Great and universal were the tokens of respect and grief.
There was but one feeling,--that England had lost one of her most
illustrious statesmen. Even those who had been in opposition to his
views, alluded to the great loss the nation had sustained and paid a
fitting tribute to his memory. The House of Commons, on motion of Mr.
Hume July 3d, at once adjourned. In the House of Lords the Duke of
Wellington and Lord Brougham spoke in appreciative words of the departed
statesman. "Such was the leader whom Mr. Gladstone had faithfully
followed for many years."

Supporting Mr. Hume's motion, Mr. Gladstone said: "I am quite sure that
every heart is much too full to allow us, at a period so early, to enter
upon a consideration of the amount of that calamity with which the
country has been visited in his, I must even now say, premature death;
for though he has died full of years and full of honors, yet it is a
death which our human eyes will regard as premature; because we had
fondly hoped that, in whatever position he was placed, by the weight of
his character, by the splendor of his talents, by the purity of his
virtues, he would still have been spared to render to his countrymen the
most essential services. I will only, sir, quote those most touching and
feeling lines which were applied by one of the greatest poets of this
country to the memory of a man great indeed, but yet not greater than
Sir Robert Peel:"

'Now is the stately column broke,
The beacon light is quenched in smoke;
The trumpet's silver voice is still;
The warder silent on the hill.'

"Sir, I will add no more--in saying this I have, perhaps, said too much.
It might have been better had I confined myself to seconding the motion.
I am sure the tribute of respect which we now offer will be all the more
valuable from the silence with which the motion is received, and which I
well know has not arisen from the want, but from the excess of feeling
on the part of members of this House."

Upon the death of Sir Robert Peel began the disintegration of the party
distinguished by his name--Peelites. Some of its members united with the
Conservatives, and others, such as Sir James Graham, Sidney Herbert, and
Mr. Gladstone held themselves aloof from both Whigs and Tories.
Conservative traditions still exercised considerable influence over
them, but they could not join them, because they were already
surrendering to strong liberal tendencies. It is said that Mr. Gladstone
at this time, and for a decade thereafter, until the death of Sir James
Graham, was greatly indebted to this statesman, not only for the growth
of his liberal principles, but for his development as a practical
statesman. Sir James wielded great influence over his contemporaries
generally, because of his great knowledge of Parliamentary tactics, and
the fact that he was the best educated and most thoroughly accomplished
statesman of his age. "If he could be prevailed upon to speak in the
course of a great debate, his speech was worth fifty votes," so great
was his influence and power. "However great may have been the
indebtedness of Mr. Gladstone to Sir James Graham, if the former had not
been possessed of far wider sympathies--to say nothing of superior
special intellectual qualities--than his political mentor, he never
could have conceived and executed those important legislative acts for
which his name will now chiefly be remembered."

The other case occupying the attention of Parliament, to which we have
alluded, we must now consider--Mr. Gladstone and the prisons of Naples.
Owing to the illness of one of his children, for whom a southern climate
was recommended, Mr. Gladstone spent several months of the Winter of
1850-1 in Naples. His brief visit to this city on a purely domestic
mission was destined to assume an international importance. It came to
his knowledge that a large number of the citizens of Naples, who had
been members of the Chamber of Deputies, an actual majority of the
representatives of the people, had been exiled or imprisoned by King
Ferdinand, because they formed the opposition party to the government,
and that between twenty and thirty thousand of that monarch's subjects
had been cast into prison on the charge of political disaffection. The
sympathies of Mr. Gladstone were at once enlisted in behalf of the
oppressed Neapolitans. At first Mr. Gladstone looked at the matter only
from a humanitarian and not from a political aspect, and it was only
upon the former ground that he felt called and impelled to attempt the
redress of the wrongs which were a scandal to the name of civilisation
in Europe. And it was not long before England and the Continent were
aroused by his denunciations of the Neapolitan system of government. Mr.
Gladstone first carefully ascertained the truth of the statements made
to him in order to attest their accuracy, and then published two letters
on the subject addressed to the Earl of Aberdeen. These letters were
soon followed by a third. In the first of these letters, dated April 7,
1851, he brings an elaborate, detailed and horrible indictment against
the rulers of Naples, especially as regards their prisons and the
treatment of persons confined in them for political offenses. He
disclaimed any thought of having gone to Naples for the purpose of
political criticism or censorship, to look for defects in the
administration of the government, or to hear the grievances of the
people, or to propagate ideas belonging to another country. But after a
residence of three or four months in their city he had returned home
with a deep feeling of the duty upon him to make some endeavor to
mitigate the horrors in the midst of which the government of Naples was
carried on.

There were chiefly three reasons that led him to adopt the present
course: "First, that the present practices of the Government of Naples,
in reference to real or supposed political offenders, are an outrage
upon religion, upon civilization, upon humanity and upon decency.
Secondly, that these practices are certainly, and even rapidly, doing
the work of Republicanism in that country--a political creed which has
little natural or habitual root in the character of the people. Thirdly,
that as a member of the Conservative party in one of the great family of
European nations, I am compelled to remember that party stands in
virtual and real, though perhaps unconscious alliance with all the
established Governments of Europe as such; and that, according to the
measure of its influence, they suffer more or less of moral detriment
from its reverses, and derive strength and encouragement from its

He passed over the consideration of the all important question whether
the actual Government of the Two Sicilies was one with or without a
title, one of law or one of force, and came to the real question at
issue. His charge against the Neapolitan Government was not one of mere
imperfection, not corruption in low quarters, not occasional severity,
but that of incessant, systematic, deliberate violation of the law by
the power appointed to watch over and maintain it.

Mr. Gladstone, with impassionate language, thus formulates his fearful
indictment: "It is such violation of human and written law as this,
carried on for the purpose of violating every other law, unwritten and
eternal, human and divine; it is 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 stimulants 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
wilfully and deliberately, by the immediate advisers of the Crown, for
the purpose of destroying the peace, the freedom, aye, and even, if not
by capital 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 expression used, 'This is the negation of God erected
into a system of Government.'"

It was not merely the large numbers imprisoned unjustly, to which public
attention was directed, that called for righteous indignation and made
Mr. Gladstone's words create such a sensation in Europe, but the mode of
procedure was arbitrary in the extreme. The law of Naples required that
personal liberty should be inviolable, except under warrant from a court
of justice. Yet in utter disregard of this law the authorities watched
the people, paid domiciliary visits, ransacked houses, seized papers and
effects, and tore up floors at pleasure under pretense of searching for
arms, imprisoned men by the score, by the hundred, by the thousand
without any warrant whatever, sometimes without even any written
authority whatever, or anything beyond the word of a policeman,
constantly without any statement whatever of the nature of the offense.
Charges were fabricated to get rid of inconvenient persons. Perjury and
forgery were resorted to in order to establish charges, and the whole
mode of conducting trials was a burlesque of justice.

He thus describes the dungeons of Naples, in which some of the prisoners
were confined for their political opinions: "The prisons of Naples, as
is well known, are another name for the extreme of filth and horror. I
have really seen something of them, but not the worst. This I have seen,
my Lord: the official doctors not going to the sick prisoners, but the
sick prisoners, men almost with death on their faces, toiling up stairs
to them at that charnel-house of the Vicaria, because the lower regions
of such a palace of darkness are too foul and loathsome to allow it to
be expected that professional men should consent to earn bread by
entering them." Of some of those sufferers Mr. Gladstone speaks
particularly. He names Pironte, formerly a judge, Baron Porcari, and
Carlo Poerio, a distinguished patriot. The latter he specially speaks of
as a refined and accomplished gentleman, a copious and elegant speaker,
a respected and blameless character, yet he had been arrested and
condemned for treason. Mr. Gladstone says: "The condemnation of such a
man for treason is a proceeding just as conformable to the laws of
truth, justice, decency, and fair play, and to the common sense of the
community--in fact, just as great and gross an outrage on them all--as
would be a like condemnation in this country of any of our best known
public men--Lord John Russell, or Lord Lansdowne, or Sir James Graham,
or yourself."

There was no name dearer to Englishmen than that of Poerio to his
Neapolitan fellow-countrymen. Poerio was tried and condemned on the sole
accusation of a worthless character named Jerrolino. He would have been
acquitted nevertheless, by a division of four to five of his judges, had
not Navarro (who sat as a judge while directly concerned in the charge
against the prisoner), by the distinct use of intimidation, procured
the number necessary for a sentence. A statement is furnished on the
authority of an eye-witness, as to the inhumanity with which invalid
prisoners were treated by the Grand Criminal Court of Naples; and Mr.
Gladstone minutely describes the manner of the imprisonment of Poerio
and six of his incarcerated associates. Each prisoner bore a weight of
chain amounting to thirty-two pounds and for no purpose whatever were
these chains undone. All the prisoners were confined, night and day, in
a small room, which may be described as amongst the closest of dungeons;
but Poerio was after this condemned to a still lower depth of calamity
and suffering. "Never before have I conversed," says Mr. Gladstone,
speaking of Poerio, "and never probably shall I converse again, with a
cultivated and accomplished gentleman, of whose innocence, obedience to
law, and love of his country, I was as firmly and as rationally assured
as your lordship's or that of any other man of the very highest
character, whilst he stood before me, amidst surrounding felons, and
clad in the vile uniform of guilt and shame." But he is now gone where
he will scarcely have the opportunity even of such conversation. I
cannot honestly suppress my conviction that the object in the case of
Poerio, as a man of mental power sufficient to be feared, is to obtain
the scaffold's aim by means more cruel than the scaffold, and without
the outcry which the scaffold would create.

Mr. Gladstone said that it was time for the veil to be lifted from
scenes more fit for hell than earth, or that some considerable
mitigation should be voluntarily adopted. This letter was published in
1851--the year of the great Exposition in London--and a copy was sent to
the representative of the Queen in every court of Europe. Its
publication caused a wide-spread indignation in England, a great
sensation abroad, and profoundly agitated the court of Naples.

In the English Parliament Sir De Lacy Evans put the following question
to the Foreign Secretary: "If the British Minister at the court of
Naples had been instructed to employ his good offices in the cause of
humanity, for the diminution of these lamentable severities, and with
what result?" In reply to this question Lord Palmerston accepted and
adopted Mr. Gladstone's statement, which had been confirmed from other
quarters, expressing keen sympathy and humanitarian feeling with the
cause which he had espoused, but Lord Palmerston pointed out that it was
impossible to do anything in a matter which related entirely to the
domestic affairs of the Government at Naples. He said: "Instead of
confining himself to those amusements that abound in Naples, instead of
diving into volcanoes, and exploring excavated cities, we see him going
into courts of justice, visiting prisons, descending into dungeons, and
examining great numbers of the cases of unfortunate victims of
illegality and injustice, with the view afterwards to enlist public
opinion in the endeavor to remedy those abuses." This announcement by
the Foreign Secretary was warmly applauded by the House. "A few days
afterwards Lord Palmerston was requested by Prince Castelcicala to
forward the reply of the Neapolitan Government to the different European
courts to which Mr. Gladstone's pamphlet had been sent. His lordship,
with his wonted courage and independent spirit, replied that he 'must
decline being accessory to the circulation of a pamphlet which, in my
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.' He also informed the Prince that information received from
other sources led him to the conclusion that Mr. Gladstone had by no
means overstated the various evils which he had described; and he [Lord
Palmerston] regretted that the Neapolitan Government had not set to work
earnestly and effectually to correct the manifold and grave abuses which
clearly existed."

The second paper of Mr. Gladstone upon the same subject was a sequel to
the first. His wish was that everything possible should be done first
in the way of private representation and remonstrance, and he did not
regret the course he had taken, though it entailed devious delays. In
answer to the natural inquiry why he should simply appear in his
personal capacity through the press, instead of inviting to the grave
and painful question the attention of the House of Commons, of which he
was a member, he said, that he had advisedly abstained from mixing up
his statements with any British agency or influences which were
official, diplomatic, or political. The claims and interests which he
had in view were either wholly null and valueless, or they were broad as
the extension of the human race and long-lived as its duration.

As to his general charges he had nothing to retract. His representations
had not been too strongly stated, for the most disgraceful circumstances
were those which rested upon public notoriety, or upon his own personal
knowledge. It had been stated that he had overestimated the number of
prisoners, and he would give the Neapolitan Government the full benefit
of any correction. But the number of political prisoners _in itself_,
was a secondary feature of the case, for "if they were fairly and
legally arrested, fairly and legally treated before trial--fairly and
legally tried, that was the main matter. For the honor of human nature
men would at first receive some statements with incredulity. Men ought
to be slow to believe that such things could happen, and happen in a
Christian country, the seat of almost the oldest European civilization."
But those thus disposed in the beginning he hoped would not close their
minds to the reception of the truth, however painful to believe. The
general probability of his statements could not, unfortunately
be gainsaid.

Many replies were made to Mr. Gladstone's pamphlet that were violent and
abusive. They appeared not only in Naples, Turin, and Paris, but even
in London.

All these answers, were in truth no replies at all, for they did not
disprove the facts. These professed corrections of Mr. Gladstone's
statements did not touch the real basis of the question. It was
necessary to say something if possible by way of defense, or justice,
which had as yet not been done.

There was one reply that was put forth that Mr. Gladstone felt demanded
some attention, namely, the official answer of the Neapolitan Government
to his charges. To this he replied in a letter, in 1852. In his reply he
placed, point by point, the answers in the scales along with his own
accusations. There was in the Neapolitan answers to the letters really a
tacit admission of the accuracy of nine-tenths of Mr. Gladstone's
statements, Mr. Gladstone enumerated the few retractions which he had
to make, which were five in number. That the prisoner, Settembrine, had
not been tortured and confined to double chains for life, as was
currently reported and believed; that six judges had been dismissed at
Reggio upon presuming to acquit a batch of political prisoners, required
modifying to three; that seventeen invalids had not been massacred in
the prison of Procida during a revolt, as stated; and that certain
prisoners alleged to have been still incarcerated after acquittal had
been released after the lapse of two days. These were all the
modifications he had to make in his previous statements. And as to the
long list of his grave accusations, not one of them rested upon hearsay.
He pointed out how small and insignificant a fraction of error had found
its way into his papers. He fearlessly reasserted that agonizing
corporal punishment was inflicted by the officials in Neapolitan
prisons, and that without judicial authority. As to Settembrine, the
political prisoner named, he was incarcerated in a small room with eight
other prisoners, one of whom boasted that he had murdered, at various
times, thirty-five persons. Several of his victims had been his prison
companions, and "the murders of this Ergastolo" had exceeded fifty in a
single year. It was true that at the massacre at Procida the sick had
not been slain in the prisons, yet prisoners who hid under beds were
dragged forth and shot in cold blood by the soldiery after order had
been restored. The work of slaughter had been twice renewed, and two
officers received promotion or honors for that abominable enormity.

Mr. Gladstone found in the reply of the Government of Naples no reason
to retract his damaging statements in reference to Neapolitan
inhumanity, on the other hand he discovered grounds for emphasizing his
accusations. And as to his statement regarding the number of the
sufferers from Neapolitan injustice and cruelty, he defended at length
his statement as to the enormous number of the prisoners.

It was clear to all candid minds that all the replies had failed to
prove him wrong in any of his substantial changes, which retained their
full force. "The arrow has shot deep into the mark," observed Mr.
Gladstone, "and cannot be dislodged. But I have sought, in once more
entering the field, not only to sum up the state of the facts in the
manner nearest to exactitude, but likewise to close the case as I began
it, presenting it from first to last in the light of a matter which is
not primarily or mainly political, which is better kept apart from
Parliamentary discussion, which has no connection whatever with any
peculiar idea or separate object or interest of England, but which
appertains to the sphere of humanity at large, and well deserves the
consideration of every man who feels a concern for the well-being of
his race, in its bearings on that well-being; on the elementary demands
of individual domestic happiness; on the permanent maintenance of public
order; on the stability of thrones; on the solution of that great
problem, which, day and night, in its innumerable forms must haunt the
reflections of every statesman, both here and elsewhere, how to
harmonize the old with the new conditions of society, and to mitigate
the increasing stress of time and change upon what remains of this
ancient and venerable fabric of the traditional civilization of Europe."

Mr. Gladstone also said, that the question had been asked, whether a
government "could be induced to change its policy, because some
individual or other had by lying accusations held it up to the hatred of
mankind," yet he had the satisfaction of knowing that upon the challenge
of a mere individual, the government of Naples had been compelled to
plead before the tribunal of general opinion, and to admit the
jurisdiction of that tribunal. It was to public sentiment that the
Neapolitan Government was paying deference when it resolved on the manly
course of a judicial reply; and he hoped that further deference would be
paid to that public sentiment in the complete reform of its departments
and the whole future management of its affairs.

After a consideration of the political position of the throne of the
Two Sicilies, in connection with its dominions on the mainland, Mr.
Gladstone thus concluded his examination of the official reply of the
Neapolitan Government: "These pages have been written in the hope that,
by thus making, through the press, rather than in another mode, that
rejoinder to the Neapolitan 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 this may be
my closing word. 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 showing mercy, and in the blessed work of
restoring Justice to her seat, the Government 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 these 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 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 original purpose of these letters, though at first not gained, was
unmistakable in the subsequent revolution which created a regenerated,
free and united Italy. The moral influence of such an exposure was
incalculable and eventually irresistible. The great Italian patriot and
liberator of Italy, General Garibaldi, was known to say that Mr.
Gladstone's protest "sounded the first trumpet call of Italian liberty."
If France and England had unitedly protested against the Neapolitan
abuse of power and violation of law, such a protest would have been
heard and redress granted, but such joint action was not taken. The
letters reached the fourteenth edition and in this edition Mr. Gladstone
said that by a royal decree, issued December 27, 1858, ninety-one
political prisoners had their punishment commuted into perpetual exile
from the kingdom of the two Sicilies, but that a Ministerial order of
January 9, 1859, directed that they should be conveyed to America; that
of these ninety-one persons no less than fourteen had died long before
in dungeons, and that only sixty-six of them embarked January 16, 1859,
and were taken to Cadiz, where they were shipped on board an American
sailing vessel, which was to have carried them to New York, but
eventually landed them at Cork. "Eleven men were kept behind, either
because it was afterwards thought advisable not to release them, as in
the case of Longo and Delli Franci, two artillery officers, who were
still in the dungeons of Gaeta. Whenever the prisoners were too sick to
be moved, as was the case with Pironti, who was paralytic; or because
they were in some provincial dungeons too remote from Naples." Such was
the fate of some of the patriots officially liberated by Ferdinand's
successor, Francis II.

The charges of Mr. Gladstone against the Neapolitan Government met with
confirmation from another source nearer home. In 1851 Mr. Gladstone
translated and published Farini's important and bulky work, entitled,
"The Roman State, from 1815 to 1850." The author, Farini, addressed a
note to his translator, in which he said that he had dedicated the
concluding volume of his work to Mr. Gladstone, who, by his love of
Italian letters, and by his deeds of Italian charity, had established a
relationship with Italy in the spirit of those great Italian writers who
had been their masters in eloquence, in civil philosophy and in national
virtue, from Dante and Macchivelli down to Alfieri and Gioberti. Signor
Farini endorsed the charges made by Mr. Gladstone against the Neapolitan
Government. He wrote: "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 citizens 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 Ferdinand II. But, in truth, nothing more was needed to press
home the indictment."

At the period of Mr. Gladstone's visit to Naples there was a growing
sentiment throughout Italy for Italian independence and union. The
infamous measures adopted by the King of Naples to repress in his own
dominions every aspiration after freedom, only succeeded in making the
people more determined and the liberty for which they sighed surer in
the end. His system of misgovernment went on for a few years longer and
was the promoting cause of the revolutionary movements which continually
disturbed the whole Italian peninsula. A conference was held in Paris
upon the Italian question, which failed to accomplish anything, against
which failure Count Cavour addressed a protest to the French and British
Governments in April, 1856. Afterwards the King of Naples and his
Ministers were remonstrated with, but this was of no avail, only drawing
forth an assertion that the sovereign had the right to deal with his own
subjects as he pleased. France and England finally withdrew their
representatives from Naples, and the storm soon afterwards broke. The
brilliant success of Garibaldi in 1860 filled Francis II with terror. He
was now, like all evil men, ready to make the most lavish promises of
liberal reform to escape the consequences of his misdeeds. However, his
repentance came too late. The victorious Garibaldi issued a decree
ultimately, stating that the Two Sicilies, which had been redeemed by
Italian blood, and which had freely elected him their dictator, formed
an integral part of one and indivisable Italy, under the constitutional
King Victor Emmanuel and his descendants. Francis II was dethroned and
expelled from his kingdom by the legitimate fruits of his own hateful
policy and that of his predecessor. "Count Cavour was the brain as
Garibaldi was the hand of that mighty movement which resulted in the
unity of Italy," says an English writer, "but as Englishmen we may take
pride in the fact that not the least among the precipitating causes of
this movement was the fearless exposure by Mr. Gladstone of the
cruelties and tyrannies of the Neapolitan Government."




The precise date at which Mr. Gladstone became a Liberal cannot be
determined, but during the Parliamentary sessions of 1851 and 1852 he
became finally alienated from the Conservative party, although he did
not enter the ranks of the Liberals for some years afterward. He himself
stated that so late as 1851 he had not formally left the Tory party,
nevertheless his advance towards Liberalism is very pronounced at this
period. It is well for us to trace the important events of these two
sessions, for they also lead up to the brilliant financial measures of
1853, which caused Mr. Gladstone's name to be classed with those of Pitt
and Peel. Mr. Gladstone's trusted leader was dead, and he was gradually
coming forward to take the place in debate of the fallen statesman.

When Mr. Gladstone returned home from Italy he found England convulsed
over renewed papal aggressions. The Pope had, in the preceding
September, issued Letters Apostolic, establishing a Roman Catholic
Hierarchy in England, and in which he had mapped out the whole country
into papal dioceses. This act of aggression produced a storm of public
indignation. It was regarded by the people generally as an attempt to
wrest from them their liberties and enslave them. It was looked upon by
the Protestants indignantly as an attack upon the Reformed Faith.
Anglicans resented it as an act which practically denied the
jurisdiction and authority of the Church of England, established already
by law. Englishmen, faithfully devoted to the British Constitution,
which guaranteed the Protestant Religion, were incensed by this
interference with the prerogative of the Crown; while all ardent
patriots were influenced by the unwarranted and unsolicited interference
of a foreign potentate. Every element of combustion being present,
meetings were held everywhere, inflammatory speeches were made on every
public occasion, and patriotic resolutions were passed. Pulpit and
platform rang with repeated cries of "No Popery," and echoed at the Lord
Mayor's banquet, at the Guildhall, and even at Covent Garden Theatre in
Shakesperian strains. The Prime Minister, Lord John Russell, published
his famous Durham letter, addressed to the Bishop of Durham, rebuking
and defying the Pope, and charging the whole High Church Party of the
Church of England with being the secret allies and fellow-workers
of Rome.

In the beginning of the Parliamentary session of 1851 Lord John Russell
moved for permission to bring in a bill to counteract the aggressive
policy of the Church of Rome, on account of which aggression of the Pope
the whole country was well-nigh in a condition of panic. The measure was
debated for four days, and was entitled the Ecclesiastical Faiths Bill.
It was designed to prevent the assumption by Roman Catholic prelates of
titles taken from any territory or place in England. Severe penalties
were attached to the use of such titles, and all acts done by, and
requests made to, persons under them were to be void. The bill was not
well received by some, being thought, on one side too mild and on the
other as too stringent. Mr. Disraeli and Mr. Gladstone both opposed it;
the latter because the change was wanted by English Catholics rather
than by the Vatican. He condemned the vanity and boastful spirit of the
papal documents, but contended that his fellow Catholic countrymen
should not suffer for that. The difficulty of applying it to Ireland,
where the system objected to already existed, was pointed out. However
the preliminary motion was passed by 395 votes against 63, "this
enormous majority," says an English author, "attesting the wide-spread
fear of Romish machinations." The measure became a law, but it was a
dead letter, and was quietly repealed twenty years afterwards at Mr.
Gladstone's request.

Before, however, the bill was passed a ministerial crisis had
intervened. During this session other difficulties were encountered by
the Ministry. The financial as well as this ecclesiastical question was
a problem. The Conservatives were strong and compact, and enjoyed the
adhesion of the Peelites, while the Ministerial party was to a great
extent demoralized. Mr. Disraeli, owing to the deep distress that
prevailed in the agricultural districts, renewed his motion upon the
burdens on land and the inequalities of taxation, and consequently he
presented a resolution that it was the duty of the government to
introduce measures for the alleviation of the distress without delay.
The government admitted the distress, but denied that it was increasing.
They attempted to prove that pauperism had decreased in all parts of the
kingdom--England, Ireland and Scotland. Commerce was in a most
prosperous condition, while the revenues had reached the unexampled
amount of $350,000,000. "Sir James Graham stigmatized the motion as an
attempt to turn out the administration, to dissolve Parliament, and to
return to Protection." The Ministry was sustained by a small majority,
and was successful in some measures, but soon suffered several minor
defeats and finally was forced to retire.

One of the successful measures was that introduced by Mr. Loche King,
and opposed by Lord John Russell, for assimilating the country franchise
to that of the boroughs. The budget of the government introduced January
17th was unpopular. It demanded a renewed lease for three years of the
obnoxious income-tax, but promised a partial remission of the window
duties, which was a tax upon every window in a house, together with some
relief to the agriculturists. The first budget having been rejected a
second financial statement was offered later in the session. It imposed
a house-tax, withdrew the bonus to agriculturists, repealed the
window-tax, but re-demanded the income-tax for three years. The main
features of the budget were acceptable to the House, but the Government
suffered defeat on minor financial questions, which tendered still
further to diminish the popularity of the ministry.

Upon the resignation of Lord John Russell and his Cabinet, in February,
1851, Lord Stanley was called upon to form a new administration, and Mr.
Gladstone was invited to become a member of the Cabinet. Lord Stanley
having failed, Lord Aberdeen was invited to form a new Cabinet, by the
Queen, with like results. Both these gentlemen having declined the task
of forming a new administration, Lord John Russell and his colleagues
resumed office, but the reconstructed ministry was soon to receive a
fatal blow through Lord Palmerston, the foreign Secretary.

On the 2d of December, 1851, Louis Napoleon, Prince President of the
French Republic, by a single act of lawless violence, abolished the
constitution, and made himself Dictator. The details of this monstrous
deed, and of the bloodshed that accompanied it, created a profound
sensation in England. The Queen was very anxious that no step should be
taken and no word said by her ministry which could be construed into an
approval by the English government of what had been done. Indeed the
Queen who knew the failing of her Foreign Secretary to act hastily in
important matters of State without the consent or advice of Queen or
Cabinet, questioned the Premier and was assured that nothing had been
done in recognition of the new government in Paris. Indeed the Cabinet
had passed a resolution to abstain from the expression of opinions in
approval or disapproval of the recent _coup d'état_ in France. But it
soon leaked out that Lord Palmerston who thought he understood full well
the foreign relations of England, and what her policy should be, had
both in public dispatches and private conversation spoken favorably of
the policy adopted by Louis Napoleon. He had even expressed to Count
Walewski, the French Ambassador in London, his entire approval of the
Prince President's act. This was too much for the Queen, who had as
early as the August before, in a memorandum sent to the Premier,
imperatively protested against the crown's being ignored by the Foreign
Secretary, so Lord Palmerston was dismissed from office by Lord John
Russell, Christmas Eve, 1851. He bore his discharge with meekness, and
even omitted in Parliament to defend himself in points where he was
wronged. But Justin McCarthy says: "Lord Palmerston was in the wrong in
many if not most of the controversies which had preceded it; that is to
say, he was wrong in committing England as he so often did to measures
which had not the approval of the sovereign or his colleagues."

In February following, 1852, Lord Palmerston enjoyed, as he expressed
it, his "tit-for-tat with Johnny Russell" and helped the Tories to
defeat his late chief in a measure for reorganizing the militia as a
precaution against possible aggression from France. The ministry had not
saved itself by the overthrow of Lord Palmerston.

Upon the retirement of Lord John Russell from office, in 1852, the Earl
of Derby, formerly Lord Stanley, succeeded him as Prime Minister. Mr.
Gladstone was invited to become a member of the new Tory Cabinet, but
declined, whereupon Lord Malmesbury dubiously remarked, November 28th:
"I cannot make out Gladstone, who seems to me a dark horse." Mr.
Disraeli was chosen Chancellor of the Exchequer, and became Leader in
the House of Commons, entering the Cabinet for the first time. "There
was a scarcely disguised intention to revive protection." It was Free
Trade or Protection, and the Peelites defended their fallen leader,
Peel. "A makeshift budget" was introduced by Mr. Disraeli and passed. It
was destined, it seems, that the Derby Administration was not to be
supported, but to be driven out of power by Mr. Gladstone, who was to
cross swords before the nation with his future parliamentary
rival, Disraeli.

Mr. Disraeli seemed now bent upon declaring the Free Trade Policy of Sir

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