The Death of
Mr. Gladstone

William Ewart Gladstone was born on 29th December 1809. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, where he gained a double first in classics and maths. He was elected as Tory MP for Newark in December 1832, aged 23.

In 1841 Gladstone was appointed Vice-President of the Board of Trade, and President in 1843. In 1845 he resigned over the Prime Minister's decision to make a grant to a Roman Catholic seminary in Ireland but returned a year later as Colonial Secretary. When the Tory Party broke apart in 1846 Gladstone became a Liberal, now believing strongly in free trade. In 1847 he returned to Parliament as MP for Oxford University, having lost his Newark seat and became Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1863 in Lord Aberdeen's coalition of Whigs, Peelites and Radicals. He was very successful and his first budget was an outstanding success. He reduced income tax but the cost of the Crimean War forced him to raise it again, as well as to add duty to important commodities. 

Gladstone was Chancellor again under Palmerston between 1859 and 1865, and under Russell between 1865 and 1866. In 1868 he became Prime Minister for the first time and started to tackle Ireland's oppressive landlordism. A heavy defeat in Parliament after the start of the Franco-German War led to his resignation in 1874. He returned in 1875 and became Prime Minister of the Liberal Government for a second time in 1880. His popularity waned after his failure to rescue General Gordon from Khartoum and he resigned after a budget defeat in 1885.

Gladstone formed his third government in 1886 and failed to push his Irish Home Rule Bill through Parliament. The Liberals won the 1892 election and Gladstone became Prime Minister for the fourth time. His Home Rule Bill again failed and he became increasingly at odds with his cabinet. He retired in 1894 and died of cancer on 19th May, 1898. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

In Memoriam       
The Rt. Hon. W.E. Gladstone       

Illustrious chief, thy great career is closed,
In silent state thy body lies reposed,
Thy soul, we hope, has gone to realms of bliss,
To live with God in peace and happiness.

Thy cloquence has spread from shore  to shore,
Whilst noble sayings from thy lips did pour
On those around, and some who heard thy voice
Were filled with joy, which made their hearts rejoice.

Although thy path's not always been serene,
Thou'st nobly served thy country and thy Queen,
Thou'st done thy best to help us in the land,
And o'er thy death grief reigns on every hand.

Thy countrymen in every walk of life
Will show respect, and pass o'er former strife,
Thy countrywomen, ever kind and true,
Shall deck thy tomb with flowers of every hue.

Thy noble works shall pass from age to age,
And be admired by critic and by sage,
And mighty rulers, o'er the deep blue sea,
Shall tokens send, to show their sympathy.

Farewell, great man! our nation bids adieu
To one beloved, and likewise honoured, too,
And those on whom thy labour has been spent,
Shall raise to thee a noble monument.

Thomas Bratt

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