15_155 14/11/68
WILLIAM RATHBONE

35 South Street, Park Lane W
14 Nov. 1868
Private; 'I cannot help writing my little "God Speed" to you who will need so many - for Tuesday and Wednesday. So sure as I aam that your Electioni will be conducted, as far as you are concerned - not only in the spirit of God but directly for the service of God - I cannot but look upon it as a great religious ceremony - for politics & administration are the highest department of God's service '... the issues which hang upon the election are 'of unspeakable & eternal, weight; so much social reform, so much financial reform, so much administrative reform, & reform in conducting our great dependencies ... has followed, directly or indirectly, the political reform of six & thirty years ago - may we not trust & believe that equally great or greater may be the Reforms now hidden in the womb of the great constitutional change of 1868' .. as a piece of bathos tells of the W.O.s frantic efforts of get rid of Sir J. Pakington.
4p B.M. Add.MSS.47754.f.200
1. The General Election of 1868, carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Reform Act of 1867 which widened the franchise, resulted in the defeat of Disraeli's Tory party and the return of the Liberals under Gladstone. F.N. was delighted with the overall result 'the most glorious event of our Parliamentary History - the grandest story of our times' as she wrote to Sir Harry a few days later when the results were known. (see 161).

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