The Diaries of John Bright

By John Bright; R. A. J. Walling | Go to book overview
Save to active project



"I SPOKE for an hour with ease and freedom," says Bright, recording the annual meeting of his constituents at Birmingham in January, 1885. Those who heard him in his prime declared that the measured and mellow eloquence of his old age, charming and finished as it was, quite lacked the electrical magic of the orations on the Crimea and America and India. None are left who listened to these, but personal testimony can be given to the effect of his later speeches on ardent youths in the 'eighties. He seemed to them very wise, very authoritative, very benign--and, until the keen sword of racial and religious strife sliced through the body of the Liberal Party, very modern and very radical. And there is no doubt that now, at 73, he still looked forward to triumph for the principles of peaceful democracy founded in political equality, freedom of speech and thought, freedom of trade and individual liberty. His correspondence of the time betokens an undimmed zest in all these causes.

But the shadows were soon to descend. The last Ministry in which he served expired within six months of the Birmingham meeting, notwithstanding the administration of successive doses of oxygen--the recruiting of Campbell-Bannerman to the Irish Office, the bringing of Lord Rosebery into the Cabinet, and Shaw-Lefevre, the Radical, as Postmaster-General. Difficulties crowded on. Should Ireland have another draught of coercion, or a Land Bill--or both? Or should the scheme of a Central Council, fathered by Bright and Chamberlain, be tried? How to pacify the raging country when it heard of Gordon's death? How to reconcile the taxpayers to a huge Budget of expenses on expeditions that had failed?

The crisis that came on the Budget might have come on any question. The Government was moribund. "When the same heart hath two mortal wounds given it together, it is hard to say which of them killeth." Bright, however, had no hesitation in attributing the death


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Diaries of John Bright


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 594

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?