Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 6.djvu/263

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.


was a message of sympathy for Ireland and of hope for her future.

His was a great and deep nature. He loved the people with a wise and persevering love. His love of the people and his abiding faith in the efficacy of liberty and of government based on the consent of the people, as an instrument of human progress, was not the outcome of youthful enthusiasm, but the deep-rooted growth of long years, and drew its vigor from an almost unparalleled experience of men and of affairs. Above all men I have ever known or read of, in his case the lapse of years seemed to have no influence to narrow his sympathies or to contract his heart. Young men felt old beside him. And to the last no generous cause, no suffering people, appealed to him in vain, and that glorious voice which had so often inspirited the friends of freedom and guided them to victory was to the last at the service of the weak and the oppressed of whatever race or nation. Mr. Gladstone was the greatest Englishman of his time.

He loved his own people as much as any Englishman that ever lived. But through communion with the hearts of his own people he acquired that wider and greater gift—the power of understanding and sympathizing with other peoples. He entered into their sorrows and felt for their oppressions. And with splendid courage he did not hesitate, even in the case of his much-loved England, to condemn her when he thought she was wronging others, and in so doing he