The Gladstone Diaries

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Andrew Roberts reviews

  • The Gladstone Diaries, Volumes XII, XIII & XIV (The Index)
    edited by H.C.G. Matthew - Oxford University Press, 1995 - 622 pp., 494 pp. & 875 pp. - £65, £60 & £65

The colossus of William Gladstone has been awarded a memorial far more impressive than any statue. His diaries, which he kept every day from 1825, when he was sixteen, until failing eyesight forced him to lay down his pen seventy years later, have finally reached the last volumes. They are now published in their entirety, along with many of his Cabinet minutes and much of his correspondence.

With these final three volumes, Colin Matthew, Professor of Modern History at Oxford, has at last finished the project he began working on twenty-four years ago. It has not just been him; twenty-seven part-time or full-time helpers are mentioned in the roll of honour at the end of volume thirteen. But Matthew has been the driving intellectual and administrative force behind this vast enterprise, starting off as a lecturer in Gladstone Studies at Christ Church, Oxford in the summer of 1970.

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