Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/338

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Gladstone
Gladstone
326

due to fear of invasion had become greater with the progress of extravagance. In 'Kin beyond Sea' Gladstone compares the British and American constitutions, and insists that the cabinet, which constitutional historians ignore, is an essential element in the working of the constitution.

The best portrait of Gladstone was painted by Millais in 1879, and hangs in the National Gallery. It was sold by the first Duke of Westminster to Sir Charles Tennant, who gave it to the nation. Millais painted in 1885 a second portrait which is at Christ Church, Oxford. Other portraits and busts are very numerous. In 1833 he was painted by (Sir) George Hayter; in 1837 by W. Bradley; in 1840 by Joseph Severn; in 1843 by George Richmond (chalk drawing); in 1857 by Mr. G. F. Watts, R.A.; in 1880 by (Sir) W. B. Richmond; in 1887 by Frank Holl; in 1893 by Colin Forbes, a Canadian artist. A marble bust by Onslow Ford is in the National Liberal Club, as well as a bronze statuette by Bruce Joy. A portrait and a bust are at the Reform Club, London. A statue in Carrara marble, by Mr. F. W. Pomeroy, is in the central hall of the Houses of Parliament. Another statue was erected in 1900 in University Square, Athens. Shortly after Gladstone's death a committee was formed to commemorate him by the erection of other statues of him in London, Edinburgh, and Dublin. The corporation of Dublin declined to accept the committee's offer.

Gladstone, though not tall, was above the middle height, broad-shouldered, but otherwise slight in figure, and muscular, with no superfluous flesh. He was gifted with an abundance of physical strength, and enjoyed throughout his life remarkably good health. His hair, in his youth and the prime of his manhood, was black. His complexion was pale, almost pallid, and an artist compared it to alabaster. His eyes were large, lustrous, and piercing; not quite black, but resembling agate in colour. His face, always handsome, acquired in old age an expression of singular dignity, majesty, and power. His voice, naturally musical and melodious, gained by practice an almost unexampled range of compass and variety. His manners were courteous, even ceremonious, and to women habitually deferential. He was punctilious on the matter of social precedence, and would not go out of the room before a peer of his own creation. Bishops, and indeed all clergymen, he treated with peculiar respect. His temper, though quick, and as he himself said 'vulnerable,' was in private life almost invariably under perfect control. In parliament he sometimes gave way to indignation, for his wrath was kindled by public causes, and not by anything petty or personal. His talk was copious, lucid, and full of phrases which stamped themselves upon the memory. He was earnest and eager in argument, tenacious of his proposition, but ready to hear anything which could be said against it. Hard to convince at the time, he often came round afterwards to the view of an opponent, and would then make the admission with the utmost candour. He was a good listener as well as a good talker, and he had the instantaneous rapidity of perception supposed to be characteristic of great lawyers. His range of study, though it excluded physical science, was very wide, and his acquaintance with a subject was hardly ever superficial. He used to say that he had not a good verbal memory; but he was seldom guilty of a misquotation, and he retained in his mind with accuracy an enormous number of facts. No scholar in Europe had a more thorough knowledge of Homer, and few, even of Italians, were so well versed in Dante. He was an acute and learned theologian. The defect of his conversation was that he could not help being earnest on all subjects, and failed to see that his views on the making of violins were less interesting than his experience of government by cabinet. In combined breadth and subtlety of intellect no statesman of his own age surpassed him. He was equally at home in drawing up a great measure like the Irish Land Act of 1881, and in refining upon the point whether the retention of the Irish members with home rule was a principle or an 'organic detail.' Sometimes his subtlety led him to draw sophistical distinctions. His minute and punctilious scrupulosity in the smallest things often led to charges of equivocation, and the very completeness with which he defended himself against them produced a vague sense of distrust. Though he was himself the best abused man in England, his own judgments were uniformly charitable, and he was seldom heard to say anything harsh of a political opponent in private. It has sometimes been alleged that Gladstone had no humour. Such a broad and unqualified statement is certainly false. Irony is a form of humour, and of irony he was a master. But it is true that his sense of humour was fitful and capricious. Many forms of it did not appeal to him. With all his love of poetry he had a literal mind, and was too apt to assume that people meant exactly what they said. Two of Gladstone's speeches may be mentioned which, read in cold blood at a great distance of