Sunday, March 17, 2013

General Election April 1880

A General election in April 1880 returned a Liberal government after six years of Conservative rule. In the grip of both an industrial and agricultural depression, the country at large was disappointed and disillusioned with the Conservative government. With 112 seats and a majority of over 50, Gladstone was Prime Minister for the second time.

The promise of a reform of the property law to ease the burden on tenant farmers and with Joseph Chamberlain as President of the Board of Trade, modernisation became the buzz word of 1880 politics.

Silvanus and George continue the topical political debate in their letters. It is difficult to assess how much of the discussion is gentle banter between the two brothers, especially in the incomplete letter written by Silvanus on 27th April.

Overton, Gower
April 27th 80

My dear Brother

We are all quite well at present and have been expecting to hear from you since your last, because Mother wrote about three weeks ago to enquire about the measurement of your drawers etc as I suppose you want new ones, please let us know per return whether you received her letter or not, we are not surprised at your delay in answering it, because it is characteristic of conservation to neglect home duties, for the brag and bunkum! Of her foreign policy, no doubt you are very despondent now you have suffered such an unparalleled defeat you certainly are valiant fellows with all your great and grand achievements in maintaining the integrity and raising the glory of our nation to be able, only to return 2 to members for the principality of Wales.  So you see your leader has had the sack.  Without a character the nation would not be led on in blindness any further.  You remember the secrecy brought to light through the publication of a confidential clerk, just before the Berlin congress & that we evidently would have been at war with Russia had not it been for the zealous efforts of the Liberals who brought such a pressure to bear on the turn of events that happily we escaped a disastrous war & now the country has gratefully repaid them for their untiring energy in attempting to protect her trade and commerce and general welfare & now we feel thankful that

          Once more the flow of manly fervour rules,
          And checks the bloody, fratricidal strife,
          Redeems our Manhood from the clutch of fools,
          And lightens up the peaceful charms of life.

I am verily grevied that you are so blindly mislead by Jingoism & would urge you to turn from the evil of your ways, for you are fast becoming (instead of your father’s pride and Mother’s joy) your fathers shame and mother’s sorrow, by your darkness through unbelief in ……. (incomplete)

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