Sunday, January 16, 2011

02Oct1876, Gladstone and the Eastern Matter

CASTLE HOWARD, October 2nd-8th, 1876.
—The most magnificent rainbow I ever saw on Saturday just before sunset, bending over the mausoleum right across the whole sky; the colours fairly dazzling, which I never saw before in a rainbow. While we were gazing at it, we became gradually aware of cheers, and at last took it into our heads to guess what was up; rushed to the N. front, and sure enough, there was the omnibus containing the W.E.G.s being dragged up to the door by a multitude of men; with Aunt Lizzy and dear old Bob (kindly asked over from Escrick) sharing the honours, and no doubt sadly conscious of their extra weight. The W. E. G.s have been paying various visits in the N. and undergoing many receptions and addresses, in spite of efforts to dodge them. . . .

Morning Church at Welborne; walked back with F. and Uncle W. If I was but a Boswell, my journal might be worth reading! but I can never trust my memory. He has the most absolute disbelief in the Government upon the Eastern matter, considering Dizzy to be Dizzy, and Ld. Derby, from his hatred of responsibility, Dizzy's mere tool. Much of the press is open-mouthed against. Uncle W. for impatient and factious action; but he thinks that he gave Government all imaginable rope and hoped against hope to the last moment; this being Oct. and their course having been obstructive and pro-Turk and neutral and shilly-shally for many months. I don't think he weighs the great difficulties ahead as to bringing about local self-government in these partially (and only partially) Christian provinces; he is absorbed in the one strong feeling that the Turkish Government is so execrable and hopelessly vile and bad, that it must be put a stop to in the oppressed provinces at all hazards—just as slavery had to be abolished. "Only," says he, "the present case is so far worse than slavery that it is no inferior race which is being abused."

I said something of the Pall Mall and the World's supreme contempt for the national indignation, warning statesmen against "mob rule," and this set him off upon a grand burst of "When did the Upper Ten Thousand ever lead the attack in the cause of humanity? Their heads are always full of class interests and the main chance"; or words to that effect. Of one thing I am as certain as I have been all my life —that there is no personal ambition or any motive but love of justice and mercy (and utter disbelief in Dizzy, I allow) in his present course.

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