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Database: William Gladstone

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ACS DB William Gladstone

Date of Birth: 29 December 1809.

Known as "The People's William" by his supporters - which has to be one of the weirdest nicknames I've ever heard - William Ewart Gladstone was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom four times and ranked one of the greatest Prime Ministers of all time.

Born in Liverpool, young "Willy" was the fifth of six children to Anna Mackenzie and Sir John Gladstone. He attended Christ Church at Oxford where he studied Mathematics and Classics, served as president of the Union debating society, and became an advocate for Toryism.

Gladstone was elected to Parliament in 1832. In the House of Commons he was a member of High Toryism and opposed the abolition of slavery. Eek. Later, when slavery was abolished, he helped his father collect over £100,000 from the government for having owned over two thousand slaves across nine plantations in the Caribbean. During his time in Parliament, he met and began to despise his lifelong rival, Benjamin Disraeli, appalled by his "foppish attire."

Whereas he excelled in the House of Commons, he struggled in his social life: Gladstone had a difficult time finding a wife. After being rejected by both Caroline Eliza Farquhar and Lady Frances Harriet Douglas, he met the charming Catherine Glynn. The two were later married, and stayed together for fifty-nine years, until he passed away, because fifty-nine years must have been tiring.

In 1840, Gladstone took it upon himself to "rescue and rehabilitate" prostitutes, a practice he continued for the next several decades, despite the backlash from his peers.

After leaving and returning to Parliament several times, Gladstone serves as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1859, and leader of the Liberal Part in 1868. He served his first premiership later that year until 1874, and then promptly retired. Angry with Disraeli's changes during his retirement, he returned to Parliament and served another three times as Prime Minister (1880-1885,1886, and 1892-1894).

Unlike his rival, Gladstone was known for his poor relations with Queen Victoria. She is quoted having complained about him saying, "He always addresses me as if I were a public meeting."

William Gladstone died of heart failure in old age in 1898 and was buried in Westminster Abbey, his wife later laid next to him.

After she'd died, too, I mean.

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