Thursday, March 03, 2011

02May1881, Gladstone Eulogizes Disraeli

LONDON, May 2nd, 1881.
Uncle W. made a most faultless speech, moving for a monument to Dizzy in Westminster Abbey—generous, appreciative, unreserved, and yet scrupulously true and with no blinking of their long antagonism. He ended with a hearty declaration that he never saw in Lord B.'s attitude towards himself any personal antipathy (and indeed, tho' in one who hates what he thinks evil "right sore," as Uncle W. does, there almost must be hot personal feeling, yet I am certain, with him also, the hatred was of Dizzy's political principles, not of himself). I heard afterwards that many Conservatives were moved to tears, and Sir Stafford followed in an excellent speech in which he said Mr. G.'s words had already supplied Ld. B. with a noble monument. Certain Radicals who had intended to oppose refrained from voting, and some votes were given in support which would have gone the other way but for the speech. One of these converts was Herbert Gladstone!...

A bill for rendering the Parliamentary oath permissive has been proposed by Government. There is no other way of getting rid of the wretched Bradlaugh mess. Uncle W. sticks to it, and I believe he is quite right, that the H. of Commons has no legal power to prevent any duly-elected member taking the oath. The law won't let him affirm: while the Conservatives (and I do feel with them) won't allow him to break the 3rd Commandment in the face of heaven and earth by publicly taking to witness God whom he has explicitly denied the existence of. Nothing is left but legislation, and so the Tories have said; but they can't resist making party capital out of the whole confession, and are now obstructing the bringing in of the Bill. The peculiarly odious worry of this, and also the great effort of preparing the Beaconsfield speech, lately made Uncle W. ill. It is sadly clear that he cannot stand wear and tear as he used. Bradlaugh has begun a course of presenting himself at the bar to swear, and getting handed out.

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