WILLIAM EWART GLADSTONE (1809-98)
Fifty autograph letters and post-cards signed ("W. E. Gladstone" or "WEG") to his election agent, the Rev. P. W. Campbell, at Castle Street, Edinburgh, 8vo, ranging from brief notes to more detailed summaries of events or schedules, the majority from Hawarden, but also from various London addresses, and in the case of one letter from Naples, dated 15 May 1878 to 12 August 1892, the correspondence being busiest in the years 1885-90.
Among the matters, great and small, that Gladstone touches upon in this correspondence with his political agent are arrangements for meetings and speeches, planned visits to Midlothian, constituency concerns such as the restoration of the Cross at Edinburgh, the publication and distribution of pamphlets, English and Scottish Disestablishment, the Irish Question, the forthcoming election (in December 1885) and the dissolution of the new Parliament after only 7 months.
(17 Harley St., 21 May 1878) "I am sorry ... to say that the rooms of my present residence are not large and more than 25 to 30 reporters included would not I think be here received with comfort."
(16 James St., 27 February 1882) "I know the case of an English paper mill where the parties having been stopped from polluting the River turned the refuse to account & made out of it a clear profit of /p3,000 a year. No movement of this kind would have any effect unless undertaken by the body of papermakers at large."
(Hawarden, 31 October 1885) "If the meeting is a small one, there will be no need of refreshments before it, as I shall have had luncheon on the way and shall have a drop of portwine in my hands as this is in favour with my doctors."
(Hawarden, 9 December 1885) "The indications you give me as to the Election charges appear to be most honourable to the Constituency in general and to youself ... in particular. Your accounts of the aged men, my bretheren, are indeed full of touching interest. Now the difficulty which seemed so formidable, about the promises of the working man to the polls has been overcome throughout the land by their energy and spirit. The latest telegram from headquarters in London gives us a majority of three ...."
(Secret, 10 Downing Street, 9 June 1886) "Tomorrow it will be my duty to announce to the House of Commons that before the end of the month this seven-months Parliament will be dissolved ... Though naturally shrinking from new labours I am disposed to think 1, that I should issue at once a short but pointed address to the constituency and 2, that it may be desirable for me to run down very soon for one or two speeches by way of early blasts of the horn for the coming battle."
(postcard, 13 December 1888) "Without being able to explain myself the reasons I never felt myself very much drawn towards the deceased Principal. I think a bigotry of Establishment dries up a man. Tomorrow we go to London ... on Wednesday we are to start for Naples."
The collection also includes 2 telegrams, and 26 other letters to Campbell from various correspondents, including Lord Rosebery (5), Arthur Ballfour (2), Gladtsone's secretary, H. W. Primrose (4), Catherine Gladstone (2) and W. H. Gladstone (2), all of related interest. (78)