Wednesday, December 29, 2010

William Ewert Gladstone

William Ewert Gladstone was a very successful public servant, serving four times as Chancellor of the Exchequer, as a member of Parliament, and as Prime Minister, retiring at the age of 84.  He was also an enthusiastic Walter Scott fan.  According to Clayton Windscheffel, in his article for The Scottish Historical Review titled Gladstone and Scott: family, identity and nation:

'Amongst the poet-novelist's nineteenth-century political admirers, William Ewart Gladstone was possibly the most ardent, genuine, and significant. Scott's poems and novels were amongst the earliest texts Gladstone read; he read no works (in English), except the Bible, so consistently or completely over such a length of time. They offered him a plethora of inspirations, ideas, and language, which he imbibed and appropriated into his public and private lives. His concept of self, his understanding of family, and his sense of home, were all forged and conducted within a Scottian frame of reference. Scott's life and works also crucially influenced Gladstone's political understanding of the Scottish nation and its people, and his conception of how he could best serve their political interests. ...'

It is the long-lived Gladstone's birth that is celebrated on December 29.  The year was 1809.

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