GLADSTONE'S FIRST GOVERNMENT
When Shaftesbury's Life appeared in 1886 with long extracts from his diaries, Gladstone, who had been judged very severely in its pages, remarked that reading it had been an excellent discipline for him. He treated it as he often treated books he read, marking and noting passages that had a special interest for him. He also wrote a short paper on the book, saying that though he had been pained to find how badly Shaftesbury thought of him, its revelations had raised Shaftesbury higher than ever in his esteem.
It is not surprising that Gladstone found a great many reflections in these diaries that attracted his sympathy. For the two men had much in common. Each of them believed that he was serving God in public life in a special sense, and that he had been chosen as the agent or instrument of the divine purpose.1
"May I say to you," Shaftesbury wrote to Canon Wilber- force at the end of his life, "as a spiritual friend, that I very sincerely and conscientiously declare, that in my long career my highest consolation has been to know that I was the servant of our Lord, and my highest honour that I was believed to be such."2
So Gladstone wrote in his Diary about his Bulgarian campaign, on December 29, 1878.
"In the great physical and mental effort of speaking, often to large audiences, I have been as it were upheld in an unusual manner and the free effective use of voice has been given me to my