Front Page Titles (by Subject) 140.: W.E. Gladstone  14 NOVEMBER, 1868 - The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII - Public and Parliamentary Speeches Part I November 1850 - November 1868
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140.: W.E. Gladstone  14 NOVEMBER, 1868 - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII - Public and Parliamentary Speeches Part I November 1850 - November 1868 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII - Public and Parliamentary Speeches Part I November 1850 - November 1868, ed. John M. Robson and Bruce L. Kinzer (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1988).
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W.E. Gladstone 
Daily Telegraph, 16 November, 1868, p. 3. Headed: “The General Election. / Greenwich.” Abbreviated versions of the same report appeared in The Times and the Daily News. The Saturday evening meeting of the electors of Deptford was held in the hall of the Mechanics’ Institute, High Street, the purpose being to hear Mill’s speech. A letter was read from Alderman David Salomons (1797–1873), the sitting Liberal M.P. for the borough, now running with Gladstone, in favour of his candidature. The densely crowded meeting greeted Mill with loud cheers.
after a few prefatory remarks, he observed, in reference to Mr. Gladstone not taking an active part in the contest in that borough, that he had heard there were some few among the electors who thought that gentleman should have given his assent to become their representative if elected; but although he was not surprised that they should regret the loss of those splendid specimens of oratory which they would have heard from Mr. Gladstone had he been present among them, yet they knew how impossible it was that Mr. Gladstone should have taken any other than a passive part, seeing the immense importance of the contest then taking place in South-West Lancashire, where, had Mr. Gladstone shown any sign of taking part in the contest for Greenwich, his enemies in Lancashire would at once have put the falsehood forward that he despaired of success in that division of their county; for no falsehood was too false to be taken up and spread by his enemies. (Hear, hear.) That was the reason why the electors of Greenwich had not the pleasure of receiving from Mr. Gladstone an expression of his adhesion in their borough contest. (Hear.) But Mr. Gladstone was entitled not only to the warmest support from the constituency of Greenwich, but to the warmest support of all Liberal constituencies. (Loud cheers.) He was entitled to that support on many grounds. (Hear, hear.) It was not necessary that he should dilate on that occasion at length upon all the claims that Mr. Gladstone had to the support of every Liberal constituency—(cheers)—and therefore he would pass a few only in review. (Hear, hear.) The first claim he had was, that he was the only possible leader of the Liberal party. (Loud cheers.) They all knew how difficult it was, and it had often been found most difficult, to induce the Liberal and the Radical party to act together. (Hear, hear.) They had had experience at times of how one class would not trust those who were trusted by other classes; but there was no such state of things when they had seriously determined that their cause should be led by Mr. Gladstone, who was more popular with, and had more the confidence of, the middle and working classes of the country, than any other statesman. (Loud cheers.) They had in Mr. Gladstone a statesman whom they all trusted. (Cheers.) He would be a Minister who knew his business well, and would do it for the good of the country, without being forced to do it. (Cheers.) Mr. Gladstone possessed the friendly connection and co-operation of the old Liberal party; and even those who were lukewarm accepted him as the best man—not that there was no rival to him, but because they knew that, however much Mr. Gladstone wished to do, he would not consent to do anything unjust to any class. (Hear, hear.) No class wished for injustice. (Hear, hear.) He (Mr. Mill) did not think the Tories wished for anything unjust, knowingly. (Hear, hear.) But they had in Mr. Gladstone a leader in whom they could all confide. (Cheers.) These were not all the points upon which Mr. Gladstone ought to receive their support. Mr. Gladstone was the only statesman within their own time who knew properly the duties of leader of a party; and he was distinguished by that characteristic, that he did not stand still and wait to be summoned by the loud voice of people out of doors, by the thundering demands of the people for some measures of public good. (Hear, hear.) Mr. Gladstone asought fora , arduously and continuously, things which had not been thought of before. (Hear, hear.) When Chancellor of the Exchequer, so soon as it was seen anything was wanting, he was not for leaving things alone, but he was a singular exception to all others, and there was scarcely a year during which he did not bring some plan forward, from his own knowledge and ability, and important for the benefit of the poor and labouring classes. (Cheers.) It was not from compulsion that Mr. Gladstone introduced the Post Office Savings Bank Bill.1 (Hear.) It was not from compulsion that he introduced, also, the Post Office Life Insurance system2 —(hear, hear)—and it was not from compulsion that he succeeded in making reductions in the expenditure of the country, by means of which to pay off some portion of their National Debt. (Cheers.) Neither was it from compulsion that Mr. Gladstone took the duty off paper,3 thus securing the spread of knowledge among the people. (Loud cheers.) Mr. Gladstone was not content with making those improvements in departments only, but he sought improvement in Parliamentary Government. (Cheers.) He (Mr. Mill) would venture to say that there was no other member in Lord Palmerston’s Government but Mr. Gladstone who would have dared to have got up and raised the signal for Parliamentary Reform. (Cheers.) No one knew that he was going to do it; and although he would not vote against a measure of Reform as then proposed, he gave warning that Parliamentary Reform had been solemnly promised, and the people expected that promise to be kept.4 (Loud cheers.) That was the beginning of the Reform which they now had. (Hear, hear.) It was Mr. Gladstone who had given them the power they now possessed, and not Mr. Disraeli—(loud cheers)—for the moment Mr. Gladstone was in power he kept to his word, and tried to do it; but the Tories opposed, and, in succeeding to power, had kept office for two years by granting that, and more than they had before denied to the people. (Hear, and cheers.) That which he had named did not make Mr. Gladstone popular with the Palmerston party. (Hear.) It was a sort of thing which made them say, “Gladstone is not a safe man”—(laughter)—that was, a man who would not give himself the trouble of doing anything—(hear, hear)—or a man who would leave questions alone. An unsafe man was a Minister in whom it was high treason to bring forward good measures, or who threw out ideas for good measures. (Cheers.) He hoped that in the future, with Mr. Gladstone, they would not be without such a man. (Hear.) It was Mr. Gladstone who had brought forward the great Irish Church question, when he reminded the House it was a question which would have to be taken up, for it could not be permitted to wait much longer5 —(cheers)—and as soon as the question of Reform was settled he took the question up of the Irish Church,6 and in which they were now called upon to support him. (Loud cheers.) If they did not support him, what would be the consequences? (Hear, hear.) To act wisely would be to give reparation to Ireland for the many wrong laws which had existed for many centuries; for until a recent period they had not treated Ireland like a sister, but more like a slave—(cheers)—and even worse than many slaves; for there were such things as petted slaves, but Ireland had been trampled on. (Hear, hear.) Having referred to the tenure of land in Ireland, where no man was safe from being turned out of possession at the end of six months without compensation, Mr. Mill said it was a difficult question, what exact system of legislation was required to meet it; but Mr. Gladstone was the man who had the mind to solve it, and he was the man to do it. (Hear, hear.) If they did not answer the appeal made to them at the coming elections, and place the right man in the right place, the opportunity for reconciliation with Ireland would be lost. (Hear, hear.) If they did not choose this opportunity to be lost, they would return Mr. Gladstone with a triumphant majority. (Loud cheers.) But there was still a great deal more depending upon what they might do. There was a vast deal to be done, not only in England, but Ireland also. (Hear.) They had to turn over an entire life of half a century, and to undo what former Governments had done. (Hear.) In a country where there existed so much wealth with so much poverty, there were difficulties to be got over by the help of brain, energy, and earnestness—(hear)—and if they wanted either brain, energy, or earnestness, they would not lay their claim for them on those who had opposed them. (Hear, hear.) There were also the questions of national education, and capital, and labour, which required the same brain, energy, and earnestness; and it was for the constituencies to say whom they would have for their leader. (Cries of Gladstone!) It was very much to be hoped that Mr. Gladstone would be returned for South-West Lancashire, and that he would not need to take his seat for Greenwich. (Hear, hear.) But he might require the seat. If he did not need it, they would have done honour to themselves and bgivenb valuable support, showing to other great constituencies that they had given their adhesion in supporting the most illustrious Liberal representative they could select. (Cheers.) If Mr. Gladstone should not succeed, and should require their suffrages—and it was said that Lord Derby had consented to spend £20,000 to prevent his election—(Shame)—but if only £10,000, or £5,000, he (Mr. Mill) believed they would agree with him that the money might be more wisely spent—(hear, hear)—if, as he had said, Mr. Gladstone should require their suffrages, it would be a joy of triumph to the constituency that they had provided a harbour of refuge for him, to enable him to take his seat at the assembling of the new Parliament, as the head of the Liberal party. (Cheers.) In conclusion, Mr. Mill called on all the Liberal electors in the borough to be early at the poll on Tuesday morning, and to split their votes by voting for Salomons and Gladstone, resuming his seat amid considerable applause.
[A motion was unanimously accepted pledging support to Salomons and Gladstone, and the meeting concluded.]
[a-a]DN] DT thought of] TT thought for
[1 ]“A Bill to Grant Additional Facilities for Depositing Small Savings at Interest,” 24 Victoria (11 Feb., 1861), PP, 1861, III, 781–8 (enacted as 24 Victoria, c. 14 ).
[2 ]By 27 & 28 Victoria, c. 43 (1864).
[3 ]By 24 Victoria, c. 20 (1861).
[4 ]E.g., in his speech of 11 May, 1864.
[5 ]E.g., in his speeches of 28 Mar., 1865, and 7 May, 1867.
[6 ]In his speech of 23 Mar., 1868.