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William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898) entered Parliament as a Conservative MP in 1832 and remained there until 1895, serving under successive Tory and Liberal governments, except for a period spent as Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1845-1847. He was made President of the Board of Trade, 1843, Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1858-1866 and leader of the Liberal Party, 1867. In 1868 he was elected Prime Minister.
As Prime Minister he oversaw Cardwell's Army Reform, 1868, which made peacetime flogging illegal, the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, 1869, the Irish Land Act, 1870 which protected tenants from arbitrary eviction and provided compensation for improvements, Forester's Education Act, 1870 which provided elementary schooling for children between the ages of five and thirteen, and the 1872 Ballot Act, which instituted secret ballots for Parliamentary elections. Gladstone was replaced as Prime Minister by Disraeli, 1874. He returned to lead the country in 1879 during a period which witnessed British military defeat at the hands of the Afrikaners in 1881 and the death of General Gordon at Khartoum, 1885. During his third ministry, 1886, he supported Irish home rule and resigned when the home rule bill was defeated. His final term as Prime Minister also ended with his resignation, in 1894, when a further Irish home rule bill was defeated in the Lords.
Paper entitled Gladstone at the Colonial Office, 1846, by Professor Alan Shaw of Monash University, presented at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies Australian Studies Centre, 1986.
The papers were donated to the library by Professor Colin Matthew on 19th March 1997.Access Conditions
Bodleian reader's ticket required.Reproduction Restrictions
No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.
The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room.Related Units of Description
Papers of Frances Sarah Colenso, including copy of letters, 1884, from B. Jowett and others to W.E. Gladstone, requesting a pension (ref. MSS. Afr. s. 1284); three letters from Gladstone to Francis Fulford, Bishop of Montreal, 1853, concerning the Church in the colonies (ref. (B) MS. Eng. lett. d. 298, ff. 159-165).
Gladstone | William Ewart | 1809-1898 | Statesman
Great Britain. Colonial Office | Biography
Great Britain. Colonial Office | History
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