GLADSTONE, William Ewart, British statesman, orator and author: b. Liverpool, 29 Dec. 1809; d. Hawarden, England, 19 May 1898. He was of purely Scottish ancestry, the fourth son of John (afterward Sir John) Gladstone, a merchant of Liverpool and mem ber of Parliament for the city, by his second wife, Anne, daughter of Andrew Robertson, of Stornoway. He was educated at Eton and at Christ Church, Oxford. He greatly im pressed his contemporaries at school and col lege by his earnestness and piety, was president of the Oxford Union, and made his first notable speech before that society in opposition to the Reform Bill. As nominee of the Duke of Rut land, he was returned in the Conservative in terest for the ducal burgh of Newark on 13 Dec. 1832. His maiden speech was in vindica tion of his father's treatment of his slaves in Demerara. On 26 Dec. 1834 he was appointed one of the junior lords of the treasury under Sir Robert Peel, and in the following year was for a few months under secretary for the colonies. In 1838 he published a volume that aroused some controversy, 'The State in its Relations with the Church,> which showed its writer to be at that time a zealous church-and state man. On 25 July 1839 he married Cath erine Glynne, the elder daughter of Sir Stephen Glynne. On the accession of Peel to office in September 1841 he became vice-president of the Board of Trade and president in May 1843. In January 1845 he resigned office on w4iat was regarded at the time as the quite inadequate ground that the proposed increased grant to the Catholic College of Maynooth was incon sistent with his views as expressed in 'The State in its Relations with the Church.> He returned to office in December of the same year as Secretary of State for the Colonies. His ap pointment as Colonial Secretary necessitated his re-election for Newark; he resigned his seat, but did not seek re-election, and as a conse quence was not in the House of Commons during the eventful session when the great battle for free trade was fought and won.
But he rendered magnificent service to Peel in preparing and adjusting fiscal arrange ments—a work of extraordinary difficulty. On the defeat of Peel shortly after the triumph of free trade, he vacated office.
Up to the time of the abolition of the corn laws, or at least until the movement for their abolition, Gladstone had been regarded as the ((rising hope of the stern, unbending Tories,° and was regarded as in sympathy with that party for years after. In 1847 he was returned as one of the members for Oxford University. He visited Italy in 1849, and in 1851 he startled the whole civilized world by the terrible description he gave of the condition of the prisons of Naples, under the king who was known by the nickname of °Bomba,° and the cruelties which were inflicted on political prisoners. His dis closures and the denunciations with which he accompanied them helped to prepare the way for the revolutionary movement in Italy and the establishment of the kingdom of Italy.
The death of Sir Robert Peel in 1850 raised Gladstone to a commanding position in the House of Commons, and from that time may be said to have dated his almost unrivalled par liamentary eminence. An unpremeditated reply to Disraeli on the budget of 1852 was followed by the defeat and resignation of the Derby ministry. In the coalition of Whigs and Peelites that then came into office under Lord Aberdeen, Gladstone was Chancellor of the Ex chequer. His budget of 1853 marked an epoch in finance, and the speech in which it was in troduced was one of the greatest of its kind ever made in the House of Commons. He im posed for the first time a succession duty, the preparation of which, he afterward declared, was the most laborious task he ever undertook. He also proposed the extinguishing of the in come tax after an interval of seven years; but the breaking out of the Crimean War inter vened to prevent this from being done.