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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 9 (February 25, 1927)

William Ewart Gladstone

William Ewart Gladstone.

William Ewart Gladstone was born on 29th December, 1809, and was educated at Eton and Oxford where he gained high scholastic honours. At the age of twenty-three he entered Parliament as Conservative member for Newark. In 1843 he became a member of the Cabinet as President of the Board of Trade. With the coming into power of the Liberal Party in 1868 he became Prime Minister and put through the fampus Education Act of 1870 and other measures of reform. In 1874, for reasons of age—he was then sixty-four—Gladstone retired from politics and devoted himself to literature. Moved, however, by aspects of the Eastern question, he renewed his interest in politics and in 1879 commenced his famous Midlothian campaign, which culminated in 1880 in his becoming Prime Minister for the second time. In 1885 he was defeated in the Commons over the issue of Home Rule, yielding place to Lord Salisbury. However, he became Prime Minister again in 1886, and for the fourth time in 1892, at the age of eighty-two. Gladstone administered the affairs of state and devoted himself to the advancement of social reform with a courage and a genius seldom surpassed. He was a profound classical scholar, a writer and linguist, and one of the greatest orators of his day. After his death on 19th May, 1898, a grateful country laid him to rest in its Valhalla, Westminster Abbey.

Earl Balfour was born on 25th July, 1848, at Whittinghame, in Haddingtonshire. He was educated at Eton and at Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1874 he was returned to Parliament unopposed, as Conservative member for Hertford. He was Prime Minister from 1892 to 1905. In 1916 he became Foreign Secretary under Mr. Lloyd George. As Foreign Secretary his consummate tact and skill were of immense value to the allied cause not only in his mission to the United States in connection with that country's entry into the European War, but later at the Paris Peace Conference and at the Washington Conference where he was one of Britain's delegates. His latest notable work for the Empire was at the Imperial Conference of 1926 when the famous declaration of Dominion Status was made, placing each one of Britain's Dominions on an equality with the Mother Country—one of the most impressive developments of modern British history. Earl Balfour is one of the most accomplished speakers and thinkers in the Empire. He is seventy-eight years of age.