William Ewart Gladstone (1809 - 1898)
Mr. Gladstone was one of the most central and representative politician statesmen of the later nineteenth century, and it will be worth while to devote a paragraph or so to his ideas and intellectual limitations. They will help us to understand better the astonishing irrelevance of the political life of this period to the realities that rose about it. He was a person of exceptional intellectual vigour; he had flashes of real insight; but his circumstances and temperament conspired against his ever attaining any real vision of the world in which he lived.
He was the son of Sir John Gladstone, a West Indian slave-holder, the mortality among whose slaves was a matter of debate in the House of Commons; he was educated at Eton College, and at Christ Church, Oxford, and his mind never recovered from the process