William Gladstone research papers report Gladstone, leader of the Liberal Party in England during the Victorian Era, became Prime Minister four times during his public life. Gladstone led the government from 1868-1874, 1880-1885, 1886, and 1892-1894. Originally elected to House of Commons in 1832 as a Tory (Conservative), Gladstone made a name for himself opposing any and all reform measures set before the government. After the fall of Sir Robert Peel (1846), Gladstone drifted towards liberalism.
During his tenures as Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, the equally legendary Conservative Prime Minister, opposed Gladstone. Gladstone stood for relief for the working class, and tried to solve the Irish problem, passing the disestablishment of the Anglican Church there, freeing the Roman Catholic Irish to worship freely.
In December, 1880, the Boers of Transvaal revolted. British Prime Minister William Gladstone wanted negotiations, not war. But, Sir George Colby, acting without orders, became decisively engaged with the Boers at Majuba Hill on 27 February 1881. The Boers, using new weapons and modern fire and movement tactics, inflicted a stunning defeat on the British. Negotiations were resumed and concluded with the Convention of Pretoria in March, 1881. The convention gave Transvaal self-rule and gave control of foreign relations, native affairs, and several other agencies to the British.