The World’s Famous Orations, Vol 6

Author: John Dillon

John Dillon

On the Death of Gladstone*

He loved his own people as much as any Englishman that ever lived. But through communion with the hearts of his own people he acquired that wider and greater gift—the power of understanding and sympathizing with other peoples. He entered into their sorrows and felt for their oppressions. And with splendid courage he did not hesitate, even in the case of his much-loved England, to condemn her when he thought she was wronging others, and in so doing hefearlessly faced odium and unpopularity among his own people, which it must have been bitter for him to bear; and so he became something far greater than a British statesman, and took a place amid the greatest leaders of the human race. Amid the obstructions and the cynicism of a materialistic age he never lost his hold on the "ideal." And so it came to pass that wherever throughout the civilized world a race or nation of men were suffering from oppression, their thoughts turned toward Gladstone, and when that mighty voice was raised in their behalf Europe and the civilized world listened, and the breathing of new hopes entered into the hearts of men made desperate by long despair.

In the years that have gone by England has lost many men who served their country splendidly and round whose graves the British people deeply mourned; but round the death-bed of Gladstone the people of this island are joined in their sorrow by many peoples, and to-day throughout the Christian world—in many lands and in many tongues—prayers will be offered to that God on whom in his last supreme hour of trial Mr. Gladstone humbly placed his firm reliance, begging that He will remember to His great servant how ardently he loved his fellow men, without distinction of race, while he lived among them, and how mightily he labored for their good.

* Delivered in the House of Commons May 20, 1898. Printed here by kind permission of the London Times.

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Chicago: John Dillon, The World’s Famous Orations, Vol 6 in The World’s Famous Orations, ed. William Jennings Bryan (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, December, 1906), 254–255. Original Sources, accessed July 23, 2024,

MLA: Dillon, John. The World’s Famous Orations, Vol 6, in The World’s Famous Orations, edited by William Jennings Bryan, Vol. The World#8217;s Famous Orations, New York, Funk and Wagnalls, December, 1906, pp. 254–255. Original Sources. 23 Jul. 2024.

Harvard: Dillon, J, The World’s Famous Orations, Vol 6. cited in December, 1906, The World’s Famous Orations, ed. , Funk and Wagnalls, New York, pp.254–255. Original Sources, retrieved 23 July 2024, from