2 NOVEMBER 1907, Page 38


Mn. L A.THBURY sets himself in his preface to answer the objection, made, as he acknowledges, "with some reason," that Gladstone was not, properly speaking, a "Leader of the Church." He justifies the inclusion of his name in this series on the ground of the great influence exercised by the fact of his being what he was in theological matters. The man who was so great in the life of politics was necessarily great in that life of religion which every one knew to be so real to him. There is force in the argument. On the other hand, it may be urged that, almost certainly, Gladstone himself would have repudiated the title. Nor can it be said that be was a leader in the way that Lord Halifax is a leader. But after all there is no reason why we, who are probably somewhat too Erastian in Mr. Lathbury's opinion, should object to this extension of the term. Why should not laymen be leaders P In early days • Mn Glsdaton..r By D. C. Lathbnry. "Leaders of the Char* 18004900." London I Mowbray and Co. [3a. Od. not.]

such men were made into Bishops, even against their will. That is uo longer possible. But the leadership remains a fact, and a fact which certainly does not make for sacer- dotalism.

Mr. Lathbury's book is, in the main, a plea, and a very able plea, for Mr. Gladstone's consistency in ecclesiastical matters. One great change there was in him,—he went up to Oxford an Evangelical and he left it a High Churchman. After that his convictions, though from time to time they found a. varying, and it might even seem a contradictory, expression, were substantially unchanged. In supporting this thesis Mr. Lathbury makes a quite masterly analysis of the Church history of the time, and of the part which Mr. Gladstone took in making it. Sometimes he gives us at considerable length his own views of the subjects which occur, as in his discussion of the Gorham trial and the position and powers of the Privy Council tribunal. Into these discussions we cannot attempt to follow him. On the whole, he makes out his case. We are far from accepting all his arguments, and now and then he omits, we think, to make the criticism which circumstances call for. Surely Mr. Gladstone's conduct in the matter of the Divorce Bill was unjustifiable. It was obstruction, and obstruction, though at the opposite pole to "passive resist- ance," is equally contrary to good citizenship. And there ia a suspicion of special pleading in the remarks on Mr. Glad- stone's anti-Vaticanism. Practically in the Syllabus the Pope denounced toleration.