The Gladstone Diaries: With Cabinet Minutes and Prime-Ministerial Correspondence: Volume 12: 1887-1891

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The last two volumes of Gladstone's diaries depict the extraordinary energy of a remarkable octogenarian: Gladstone was eighty-four when he resigned the Premiership in 1894 to close his fourth administration. His pursuit of 'justice for Ireland' through the successful passage of a Home Rule Bill through the Commons in 1893 forms the political centrepiece of these volumes. But there is also a wealth of material on imperial, foreign, domestic, and religious politics contained in the daily diary enteries, the minutes of the Cabinets of the 1892-4 government, and the five hundred letters which accompany the enteries for the governmental period. Gladstone's life-style made few concessions to his age: his reading, writing, theatre-going, and trips abroad continue, as do his speech-writing and his church-going. His declining eyesight eventually curtailed his reading and led to the end of regular diary-writing in 1894. His vast diary, which he began in 1825, ends in 1896. Its final entries are a moving conclusion to one of the most remarkable and one the most curious documents of British history.