W.E. Gladstone is invited to form his first government

Following the Liberal victory in the general election, Gladstone is invited by Queen Victoria to form a government. When the telegram arrived, Gladstone was felling trees on his Hawarden estate. Evelyn Ashley, son of Lord Shaftesbury, was staying with the Gladstones at the time and was present when the telegram arrived. Gladstone opened it and passed it to Ashley saying only ‘very significant’. After a few more blows, he rested on his axe and said, ‘My mission is to pacify Ireland’ and said nothing else until the tree was down.