„Some think that we are approaching a critical moment in the history of Liberalism... We hear of a divergence of old Liberalism and new... The terrible new school, we hear, are for beginning operations by dethroning Gladstonian finance. They are for laying hands on the sacred ark. But did any one suppose that the fiscal structure which was reared in 1853 was to last for ever, incapable of improvement, and guaranteed to need no repair? We can all of us recall, at any rate, one very memorable admission that the great system of Gladstonian finance had not reached perfection. That admission was made by no other person than Mr. Gladstone himself in his famous manifesto of 1874, when he promised the most extraordinary reduction of which our taxation is capable. Surely there is as much room for improvement in taxation as in every other work of fallible man, provided that we always cherish the just and sacred principle of taxation that it is equality of private sacrifice for public good. Another heresy is imputed to this new school which fixes a deep gulf between the wicked new Liberals and the virtuous old. We are adjured to try freedom first before we try interference of the State. That is a captivating formula, but it puzzles me to find that the eminent statesman who urges us to lay this lesson to heart is strongly in favour of maintaining the control of the State over the Church? But is State interference an innovation? I thought that for 30 years past Liberals had been as much in favour as other people of this protective legislation. Are to we assume that it has all been wrong? Is my right hon. friend going to propose its repeal or the repeal of any of it; or has all past interference been wise, and we have now come to the exact point where not another step can be taken without mischief?... other countries have tried freedom and it is just because we have decided that freedom in such a case is only a fine name for neglect, and have tried State supervision, that we have saved our industrial population from the waste, destruction, destitution, and degradation that would otherwise have overtaken them... In short, gentlemen, I am not prepared to allow that the Liberty and the Property Defence League are the only people with a real grasp of Liberal principles, that Lord Bramwell and the Earl of Wemyss are the only Abdiels of the Liberal Party.“

— John Morley, Annual presidential address to the Junior Liberal Association of Glasgow (10 February 1885), quoted in 'Mr. John Morley At Glasgow', The Times (11 February 1885), p. 10.

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John Morley1
1838 - 1923
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