William Gladstone chairs his last cabinet meeting

Although Gladstone described it in his diary as ‘a very moving scene’, he always after referred to it as the ‘blubbering Cabinet’. Looking back 30 years later H.H. Asquith wrote, ‘Before the Cabinet separated Lord Kimberley…, who was genuinely moved had uttered a few broken sentences of affection and reverence, when Harcourt produced from his box and proceeded to read a well thumbed manuscript of highly elaborate eulogy. Of those who were present there are now few survivors but which of them can forget the expression on Mr Gladstone’s face, as he looked on with hooded eyes and tightened lips at this maladroit performance.’