Mr Gladstones cabinet was as unstable as the public opinion it sought to conciliate.
In the course of the discussion on the bill in the House of Commons, the securities on which its authors had relied to enable them to stem the tide of democracy were, chiefly through Gladstones exertions, swept away.
The history of Disraelis second administration affords an exact reverse to that of Gladstones first cabinet.
They did something to meet the wishes of the publicans, Dis~drs whose discontent had contributed largely to Gladstones defeat, by amending some of the provisions of Bruces licensing bill; they supported and succeeded in passing a measure, brought in by the primate, to restrain some of the irregularities which the Ritualists were introducing into public worship; and they were compelled by the violent insistence of Plimsoll to pass an act to protect the lives of merchant seamen.
It was, no doubt, possible to say a good deal for Gladstones indignant denunciation of his predecessors policy in annexing the Transvaal; it would have been equally possible to advance many reasons for reversing the measures of Lord Beaconsfields cabinet, and for conceding independence to the Goer War, Transvaal in 1880.
Unfoi~unate1y this reasoning was n~t suited to Gladstones temperament.
- Gladstones government declined in popularity from the date of the earliest of these concessions.
Arne These tactics were destined to be raised to a fine art by Parnell, who succeeded to the head of the Irish party about the time of the formation of Gladstones government.
Anxious as Gladstones ministry was to restrict the sphere of its responsibilities, it was compelled to send an expedition to relieve General Gordon; and Lord Wolseley, who was appointed to the command, decided on moving up the Nile to his relief.
Gladstones great age, and the marvellous powers which he displayed at a time when most men seek the repose of retirement, were the chief causes which affected the results.
Many condemnations followed, and hundreds of politicals were immured in hideous dungeons, a state of things which provoked Gladstones famous letters to Lord Aberdeen, in which Bourbon rule was branded for all time as the negation of God erected into a system of government.
Place in 1895, and Lord Salisburys cabinet, which had consistently assailed the Egyptian policy of the old, was not unwilling to consider whether the flourishing condition of Egyptian finance, the prosperity of the country and the settled state of its affairs, with a capable and proved little army ready to hand, did not warrant an attempt being made to recover gradually the Sudan provinces abandoned by Egypt in 1885 On the advice of Mr Gladstones government.