William Ewart Gladstone was a Victorian Prime Minister
When and Where was he Born?
29th December 1809, Liverpool, England. Christened William Ewart Gladstone.
William Ewart Gladstone was the fourth son of a Scottish merchant and parliamentarian Sir John Gladstone.
Eton College. Christ Church, Oxford. (Became a noted orator in the Oxford Union Debating Society).
Chronology/Biography of William Ewart Gladstone:
1832: The Duke of Newcastle was looking for a Conservative Candidate for his Newark Constituency and his friend Sir John Gladstone suggested his son would be a good MP.
1834: The Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel appoints him as his junior Lord of the Treasury.
1835: Gladstone loses his post with the resignation of Peel.
1841: The Tory’s oust the Whigs in August and Gladstone is promoted to vide President of the Board of Trade.
1843: Promoted to President of the Board of Trade.
1844: He was responsible for the introduction of the Railway Bill which meant that railway companies had to carry Third Class passengers at less than one penny per mile.
1845: The Duke of Newcastle now refused to support his candidacy for Newark as he was upset by Gladstone’s support of the Corn Laws. Although he was no longer an MP he was still allowed to remain in the cabinet as Colonial Secretary.
1847: The Whig Lord John Russell ousted the Tories and became Prime Minister, thus Gladstone was out of a job. At the following General Election he was returned as an MP by Oxford University but his party remained in opposition. Eventually a coalition Government was formed by Lord Aberdeen with Lord John Russell as Foreign Secretary and Gladstone as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
1852: Gladstone makes his first really great speech against Disraeli’s budget.
1859: The Whig Lord Palmerston became Prime Minister in June and offered Gladstone the position of Chancellor of the exchequer again. He was responsible for many reforms including the abolition of paper duty which meant the newspapers could be printed more cheaply. He also spoke up in favour of Edward Baine’s plan to give the vote to more people in the working class although they were heavily defeated.
1865: The voters at Oxford University were annoyed by Gladstone’s defection to the Whigs in July and he lost his seat. He now moved to Lancashire. Lord John Russell the new Prime Minister asked him to become the Leader of the House as well as Chancellor of the exchequer.
1866: Gladstone introduced the Government’s new Reform Bill. Failing to get their reforms past the House of Commons Russell’s government resigned on the 19th June. The Conservatives under Lord Derby now became the Government. Benjamin Disraeli the Leader of the House of Commons argued that the Conservative’s now looked as if they were anti-reform.
1867: Disraeli proposed a new Reform Act”. Despite resignations by some Tories such as Lord Cranborne, the Conservatives were supported by Gladstone and his followers and the Bill was passed. The “Reform Act” gave the vote to every male adult householder living in a borough constituency. Male lodgers paying over £10 for unfurnished rooms were also granted the vote. Altogether all this was over one and a half million men. The reforms also took away MP’s from constituencies where there were less than 10,000 inhabitants and redistributed them to the new thriving towns of Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds.
1868: At the General Election the Conservative’s were defeated and Gladstone became the new leader of the Liberals and Prime Minister.
1870: The Education Act was passed which set up school boards in Britain.
1872: The Ballot Act was brought in to bring secret voting to stop landlords and factory owners intimidating their men into voting against their wishes.
1874: The Conservative’s regained Government with a majority of 46.
1880: Gladstone, now MP for Midlothian, and the Liberals were returned to power with an overwhelming majority.
1884: The “Reform Act” became law after the Conservative led House of Lords finally allowed it. This added another 6 million men to the amount of people who could vote.
1886: Gladstone and the Liberals win another General Election. Gladstone tried to get Parliament to accept Irish Home Rule and there was much opposition within his own party. He was defeated in the polls later in that year.
1892: Gladstone wins the General Election.
1893: Irish Home Rule Bill was eventually passed in the House of Commons but was defeated by the Lords.
1894: Gladstone resigned from office in March.
1839 to Catherine Glynne of Hawarden.
When and Where did he Die?
19th May 1898, Hawarden, Flint, Wales.
Age at Death:
Site of Grave:
Westminster Abbey, London, England.
Places of Interest:
The House of Commons.
Fusque, Fettercairn, Laurencekirk, Kincardineshire, AB30 1DN.
Gladstone’s Land, 477B, Lawn Market, Royal Mile, Edinburgh.