chapter  5
28 Pages

Material Gladstones

William Gladstone is largely remembered as a statesman whose objectives peace, retrenchment and reform' were incompatible with war. Gladstone's advocacy of financial retrenchment appeared to confirm his anti-war credentials because military spending was the largest item of government expenditure. Gladstone's concern with the morality of war partly reflected the influence of his four masters': Aristotle, St Augustine, Dante and Bishop Butler. He described Aristotle's Politics as a work of immense value for all governors and public men. During the two Opium Wars, Gladstone was out of office and thus free to attack the government's policy, but when a third war with China broke out, in 1859, he was Chancellor of the Exchequer in Palmerston's second ministry. Gladstone's naive optimism that war had lost its charms for the public was soon disproved, for when Turkey declared war on Russia, British opinion sided with the Turks.