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Chancellor of the Exchequer letters patent of Gladstone, 1873
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The son of a Scottish trader and owner of sugar plantations, William Gladstone studied at Eton and Christ Church College, Oxford, where he received his degree in Classics and mathematics. He was returned as MP for the first time in December 1832 (MP, 1832-1895). Gladstone was President of the Board of Trade (1843-1845) under Sir Robert Peel and Chancellor of the Exchequer (1852-1855) under the Earl of Aberdeen and again (1859-1866) under Viscount Palmerston and Earl Russell, contributing significantly to the development of this office. Initially a Conservative MP, Gladstone turned to Liberals and became Leader of the Liberal Party (1865-1875).
Following the Liberal victory at the 1868 General Election (Liberal 387, Conservative 271) Benjamin Disraeli resigned and Queen Victoria called on Gladstone to form a government. He was appointed First Lord of the Treasury on 3 Dec 1868. His first administration passed an Act to disestablish the Church of Ireland (26 Jul 1869) and his first Irish Land Act (Aug 1870), but he was defeated on the Irish University Bill, proposing a new university at Dublin open to both Catholics and Protestants. As a result, Gladstone resigned (13 Mar 1873) but was forced back into office by Disraeli's refusal to form a minority government. In August 1873 he reshuffled the Cabinet and again took on the chancellorship of the Exchequer himself (1873-1874). He dissolved Parliament in January 1874, but his party was heavily defeated (Conservative 350, Liberal 242) and Gladstone resigned (17 Feb 1874). He also retired as Leader of the Liberal Party in favor of Lord Hartington.
After the victory of Liberals at the 1880 General Election (Liberal 352, Conservative 237) the Queen, who personally disliked Gladstone, asked Lord Hartington to form a Government (22 Apr 1880), but the latter persuaded her to send for Gladstone, who was again appointed First Lord of the Treasury (23 Apr 1880) and assumed the chancellorship of the Exchequer (1880-1882). Gladstone was also restored as Leader of the Liberal Party (1880-1894). Under his second administration an Act was passed to strengthen the coercion powers of the Irish Viceroy (Feb 1881), together with a second Irish Land Act (22 Aug 1881). He extended the franchise, but overseas, the revolt in Sudan led to the loss of British control and the death of General Gordon at Khartoum (Jan 1885). When the 1885 Budget was defeated, Gladstone resigned (9 Jun 1885). The Queen offered Gladstone an earldom, which he declined.
In January 1886 Gladstone and the Irish Nationalists joined forces and defeated the Salisbury's Government. Gladstone was made First Lord of the Treasury (1 Feb 1886), combining it with the office of Lord Privy Seal (1886). During this short administration Gladstone introduced an Irish Home Rule Bill (8 Apr 1886), which was debated for 16 days and was defeated on 8 Jun 1886. Gladstone asked the Queen to dissolve Parliament, but the Conservatives were victorious at the 1886 General Election (Conservative 393, Liberal 192, others 85), and Gladstone resigned his offices on 20 Jul 1886.
The 1892 General Election returned no overall majority (Liberal 272, Conservative 313, others 85), but when Marquess of Salisbury resigned after a vote of no confidence Gladstone was appointed First Lord of the Treasury (15 Aug 1892), again combining it with the office of Lord Privy Seal (1892-1894). The fall of Parnell, leader of the Irish Home Rule Party, was a serious blow, but Gladstone introduced another Home Rule Bill, which was rejected in the Lords (8 Sep 1893) by the largest majority ever recorded there to that time, 419-41. Gladstone refused to accept Naval estimates and, finding himself isolated in the Cabinet, resigned on 2 Mar 1894. [1, pp. 195-204]
 "Facts About the British Prime Ministers: A Compilation of Biographical and Historical Information", ed. by Dermot Englefield, Janet Seaton, Isobel White (New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1995).
Awards of Outstanding International Importance to Statesmen and Heroines
The Great Seal of the Realm or Great Seal of the United Kingdom is a
VICTORIA DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM REGINA FIDEI DEFENSOR, Latin for
Victoria, by the grace of God, Queen of the Britains, Defender of the Faith.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British
Included with this item are numerous biographical books about Gladstone, and a modern reprint of Mr. Gladstone as Chancellor of the Exchequer: A Study, by Sydney Buxton, 1901.
William Ewart Gladstone
(29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a British Liberal Party statesman and four times Prime Minister (1868–74, 1880–85, 1886 and 1892–94). His tenures as Chancellor of the Exchequer are seen as models of wise budgeting.
Gladstone's career marked the high point of the Pax Britannica; his successors would govern in more troubled times, this in the first instance due to the increasingly belligerent agressiveness of German foreign policy. He is also famous for his intense rivalry with the Conservative Party Leader Benjamin Disraeli. This rivalry was one of the most famous in human political history, comparable to Stalin vs. Trotsky, Nixon vs. the Kennedys, and Caesar vs. Pompey.
The British statesman was famously at odds with Queen Victoria for much of his career. Gladstone was known affectionately by his supporters as the "Grand Old Man" or "The People's William". He is still regarded as one of the greatest British prime ministers, with Winston Churchill and others citing Gladstone as their inspiration.
His Midlothian campaign of 1880, through which he was returned to the highest office, is one of the most famous such campaigns in the history of representative government, as it is often cited as the first modern political campaign. It was a series of foreign policy speeches inspired by outrage over Disraeli's continued support for Ottoman Turkey, despite her suppression of the Bulgarian Uprising of April 1876. It takes its name from the Midlothian constituency in Scotland where Gladstone successfully stood for his seat in Parliament. Gladstone toured a series of cities giving speeches of up to five hours on the subject. The nature of his orations has often been compared to that of sermons, and his fiery, emotive, but logically structured speeches are credited with swaying a large number of undecided voters to the Liberals in the 1880s, and ousting Disraeli's last Conservative government.
Equally important to the large scale of attendance at these meetings (several thousand came to each, and given the relatively narrow scale of the franchise, this meant Gladstone could address a large proportion of electors in each district) was the widespread reporting of Gladstone's speeches and the public reaction to them.
Document dated 9 September , one page, oblong folio (approx. 530 x 695 mm.), manuscript on vellum, two paper tax stamps in left margin, with Queen Victoria's pendant wax seal (weighs c. 680 g.; diameter of 162 mm.), housed in round black metal case. Entire set housed in black leather box of issue (220 x 290 x 80 mm.), the lid stamped in gilt with Royal Coat of Arms and inscription 'Her Majesty's Patent'.
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The Right Honourable William Ewart Gladstone FRS FSS
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
15 August 1892 - 2 March 1894
1 February - 20 July 1886
23 April 1880 - 9 June 1885
3 December 1868 - 17 February 1874
Leader of the Opposition
20 July 1886 - 11 August 1892
9 June 1885 - 28 January 1886
17 February 1874 - 21 April 1880
Chancellor of the Exchequer
28 April 1880 - 16 December 1882 (Prime Minister Himself)
11 August 1873 - 17 February 1874 (Prime Minister Himself)
18 June 1859 - 26 June 1866 (Prime Minister: The Viscount Palmerston, The Earl Russell
28 December 1852 - 28 February 1855 (Prime Minister: The Earl of Aberdeen, The Viscount Palmerston)
Born: 29 December 1809(1809-12-29), Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died: 19 May 1898(1898-05-19) (aged 88), Hawarden Castle, Flintshire, Wales
Political party: Conservative, Peelite and Liberal
Alma mater: Christ Church, Oxford
Religion: Church of England (High church)
In popular culture:
A Gladstone bag, a light travelling bag, is called after him.
In fiction, Gladstone features prominently in the history of the fantasy Bartimaeus trilogy, in which the British government is run by magicians. Gladstone is said to have been the most powerful magician to ever become Prime Minister, and though he is not included as a character, several objects of his are central plot points. The book provides an alternate history of Gladstone, in which he killed Disraeli in a duel and assisted British forces in colonial expansion....
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Ewart_Gladstone :
In a career lasting over sixty years, he served as Prime Minister four times (1868–1874, 1880–1885, February–July 1886 and 1892–1894), more than any other person. Gladstone was 84 years old - still physically vigorous albeit with failing hearing and eyesight - when he resigned for the last time, making him Britain's oldest Prime Minister. He also served as Chancellor of the Exchequer four times (1853–1855, 1859–1866, 1873–1874, and 1880–1882).
Gladstone first entered Parliament in 1832. Beginning his career as a High Tory, Gladstone served in the Cabinet of Sir Robert Peel, during which time he became more liberal. In 1846 he supported Peel's repeal of the Corn Laws, which led to the split of the Conservatives - Gladstone was a Peelite and never again served with the main body of the Conservative Party; in 1859 the Peelites merged with the Whigs and the Radicals to form the Liberals who were in power for much of the years up to 1915.
As a Peelite, Gladstone served in Lord Aberdeen's government as a notably efficient Chancellor. After that government fell in 1855 he refused to serve under Lord Derby or Lord Palmerston, a Whig, and went into opposition. In 1859, however, when Palmerston succeeded Lord Derby's brief second government, Gladstone accepted the office of Chancellor and held a position of great influence. During this time he opposed Palmerston's aggressive foreign policy (begrudging financing his fortifications), and became committed to electoral reform, earning him the sobriquet "The People's William". He was noted for his support of classical liberalism, and his intense opposition to socialism.
Gladstone's first ministry saw the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, the introduction of secret voting, and Britain's refusal to intervene in the Franco-Prussian War. After his electoral defeat in 1874, Gladstone resigned as leader of the Liberal Party, but from 1876 began a comeback based on opposition to Turkey's Bulgarian atrocities. The Midlothian Campaign of 1879-1880 was based around Gladstone and was the birthplace of many modern political campaigning techniques. Despite not being the official Liberal leader when they won the 1880 election, he was nonetheless appointed Prime Minister again.
His second ministry saw crises in Egypt (culminating in the death of General Gordon in 1885), in Ireland, where the government passed repressive measures, and in mainland Britain, where socialist and Communist violence took place. The government did however pass the Third Reform Act. Lord Salisbury defeated the Gladstone government and formed a Conservative government in 1885 but the election held a few months later resulted in a Liberal victory.
Back in office in early 1886, Gladstone decided that Home Rule was the only way to solve the mounting chaos in Ireland; however, this was defeated in the House of Commons in July and Salisbury re-entered Downing Street and called and won an election.
In 1892 Gladstone formed his last government at the age of 82. The Irish Home Rule Bill was defeated in the Lords in 1893 and effectively ended Gladstone's last crusade. The Liberal Party was moving to the left and adopting measures of state welfare provision while also containing an imperialist wing. Due to his opposition to increased naval expenditure, Gladstone resigned in March 1894 and was succeeded by his Foreign Secretary, Lord Rosebery. He left Parliament in 1895 and died three years later aged 88....
The Austrian economist, Joseph Schumpeter, described Gladstonian finance in his History of Economic Analysis:
...there was one man who not only united high ability with unparalleled opportunity but also knew how to turn budgets into political triumphs and who stands in history as the greatest English financier of economic liberalism, Gladstone... The greatest feature of Gladstonian finance... was that it expressed with ideal adequacy both the whole civilization and the needs of the time, ex visu of the conditions of the country to which it was to apply; or, to put it slightly differently, that it translated a social, political, and economic vision, which was comprehensive as well as historically correct, into the clauses of a set of co-ordinated fiscal measures... Gladstonian finance was the finance of the system of 'natural liberty,' laissez-faire, and free trade... the most important thing was to remove fiscal obstructions to private activity. And for this, in turn, it was necessary to keep public expenditure low. Retrenchment was the victorious slogan of the day... it means the reduction of the functions of the state to a minimum... retrenchment means rationalization of the remaining functions of the state, which among other things implies as small a military establishment as possible. The resulting economic development would in addition, so it was believed, make social expenditures largely superfluous... Equally important was it... to raise the revenue that would still have to be raised in such a way as to deflect economic behavior as little as possible from what it would have been in the absence of all taxation ('taxation for revenue only'). And since the profit motive and the propensity to save were considered of paramount importance for the economic progress of all classes, this meant in particular that taxation should as little as possible interfere with the net earnings of business... As regards indirect taxes, the principle of least interference was interpreted by Gladstone to mean that taxation should be concentrated on a few important articles, leaving the rest free... Last, but not least, we have the principle of the balanced budget....
In the 1860s and 1870s, Gladstonian Liberalism was characterised by a number of policies intended to improve individual liberty and loosen political and economic restraints. First was the minimisation of public expenditure on the premise that the economy and society were best helped by allowing people to spend as they saw fit. Secondly, his foreign policy aimed at promoting peace to help reduce expenditures and taxation and enhance trade. Thirdly, laws that prevented people from acting freely to improve themselves were reformed....
Gladstone's first premiership instituted reforms in the British Army, Civil Service, and local government to cut restrictions on individual advancement. The Local Government Board Act 1871 put the supervision of the Poor Law under the Local Government Board (headed by G. J. Goschen) and Gladstone's "administration could claim spectacular success in enforcing a dramatic reduction in supposedly sentimental and unsystematic outdoor poor relief, and in making, in co-operation with the Charity Organization Society (1869), the most sustained attempt of the century to impose upon the working classes the Victorian values of providence, self-reliance, foresight, and self-discipline". Gladstone was associated with the Charity Organization Society's first annual report in 1870....
He instituted abolition of the sale of commissions in the army as well as court reorganisation. In foreign affairs his overriding aim was to promote peace and understanding, characterised by his settlement of the Alabama Claims in 1872 in favour of the Americans. The issue of disestablishment of the Church of Ireland was used by Gladstone to unite the Liberal Party for government in 1868. The Act was passed in 1869 and meant that Irish Roman Catholics did not need to pay their tithes to the Anglican Church of Ireland. He also instituted the Cardwell Reforms in 1869 that made peacetime flogging illegal and, in 1870, the Irish Land Act and the Forster's Education Act. In 1871, he instituted the Universities Tests Act. In 1872, he secured passage of the Ballot Act for secret voting ballots. In 1873, his leadership led to the passage of laws restructuring the High Courts. He also passed the 1872 licensing act.
Gladstone unexpectedly dissolved Parliament in January 1874 and called a general election. In his election address to his constituents on 23 January, Gladstone said:
Upon a review of the finance of the last five years, we are enabled to state that, notwithstanding the purchase of the telegraphs for a sum exceeding £9,000,000l., the aggregate amount of the national debt has been reduced by more than £20,000,000l.; that taxes have been lowered or abolished (over and above any amount imposed) to the extent of £12,500,000l.; that during the present year the Alabama Indemnity has been paid, and the charge of the Ashantee War will be met out of revenue; and that in estimating, as we can now venture to do, the income of the coming year (and, for the moment assuming the general scale of charge to continue as it was fixed during the last Session), we do not fear to anticipate as the probable balance a surplus exceeding rather than falling short of £5,000,000l...The first item...which I have to set down in the financial arrangements proper for the first year is relief, but relief coupled with reform, of local taxation...It has...been the happy fortune of Mr. Lowe to bring it [the income tax] down, first from 6d. to 4d., and then from 4d. to 3d., in the pound. The proceeds of the Income Tax for the present year are expected to be between £5,000,000l. and £6,000,000l., and at a sacrifice for the financial year of something less than £5,500,000l. the country may enjoy the advantage and relief of its total repeal. I do not hesitate to affirm that an effort should now be made to attain this advantage, nor to declare that, according to my judgment, it is in present circumstances practicable...we ought not to aid the rates, and remove the Income Tax, without giving to the general consumer, and giving him simultaneously, some marked relief in the class of articles of popular consumption...I for one could not belong to a Government which did not on every occasion seek to enlarge its resources by a wise economy.
Gladstone's proposals went some way to meet working-class demands, such as the realisation of the free breakfast table through repealing the duties on tea and sugar, and reform of local taxation which was increasing for the poorer ratepayers. According to the working-class financial reformer Thomas Briggs, writing in the trade unionist newspaper The Bee-Hive, the manifesto relied on "a much higher authority than Mr. Gladstone...viz., the late Richard Cobden".
The dissolution was reported in The Times on 24 January and on 30 January the names of the first fourteen MPs for uncontested seats were published; by 9 February a Conservative victory was apparent....
The Liberals received a majority of the vote in each of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom and 189,000 more votes nationally than the Conservatives. However they obtained a minority of seats in the House of Commons.
Gladstone; and a political cartoon about him becoming his own Chancellor of the Exchequer
"this Ninth day of September in the thirty seventh year of our Reign...."
(The first year of Victoria's reign was 1837.)
Royal grants: letters patent and charters from 1199
Grants of official positions, or land, or commissions are made by the Crown as letters patent (i.e. open letters) issued under the Great Seal. They are addressed 'To all to whom these presents shall come'. Copies were and are enrolled (to act as a record) on the Patent Rolls, now in The National Archives, in C 66 .
The Patent Rolls run in almost unbroken series from 1201 to the present day (although there are significant gaps for the Civil War and Interregnum period). Latin is the usual language in the early period, but some entries are in English even in the sixteenth century. In the 1650s and after 1733 all entries are in English.
They record a huge variety of documents issued under the Great Seal - treaties, charters, grants of land, offices, titles and pensions, judicial commissions, pardons, patents for inventions, licences, leases of crown lands, presentations to churches, grants of markets and fairs, etc. Modern patent 'rolls' (now in fact, books) contain entries as diverse as the constitution of Southern Rhodesia and the appointment of judges in India.
On the back of the Patent Rolls royal proclamations and commissions were enrolled (up to c.1665; from 1595 commissions are more comprehensively recorded in the Crown Office Docket Books and Miscellaneous Books in C 231 and C 193 ).
Not every document issued under the Great Seal was necessarily enrolled - grants to private persons were enrolled for a fee and not all were willing to pay. Some grants were enrolled but never formally issued; others were amended after enrolment or cancelled...
"Fidelity Fiduciary Bank", from the movie "Mary Poppins"
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