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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 48

Speech at Railway Station, Dunfermline

Speech at Railway Station, Dunfermline.

Mr. Gladstone, who, on accepting the address, was enthusiastically cheered, said:—

Mr. Provost and Members of the Town Council, and Ladies and Gentlemen,—

page 80

I have to thank you very heartily for the address that has been placed in my hands, and I feel that even that address affords not so striking a testimony of your feelings as the numbers in which you have gathered together before me. Believe me, that though I am grieved to pass by this historic spot with such rapidity, yet I shall carry away with me a long and lively recollection of the remarkable demonstration you have been pleased to give me of your sympathy and kindness. I do not receive it, ladies and gentlemen, as a personal matter. I receive it as a tribute to a common cause, in which we are all alike engaged. The Provost has well said that we are endeavouring to strike a blow on behalf of Liberalism in the stronghold of Toryism. I trust that blow will be effective. At any rate the delivery of it will be as earnest, as steady, and as strong as I, for one, can help to make it. For you, the men of Fife, I have only to say that you may be satisfied with the position, the happy position, in which you have hitherto been, of returning to Parliament a member acting in conformity with your views, and promoting the progress of sound Liberal opinions. For, ladies and gentlemen, if all had done as Fife has done, if England and Ireland had done as Scotland has clone, even the Scotland of 1874, which I trust will be greatly improved upon by the Scotland of 1879 and 1880, if they had done even as the Scotland of 1874 did, we should not now have had to face a deficiency of six millions in England, confusion of finance in India, war in South Africa, war in Afghanistan, and in Europe a state of turbulent expectation, which, if it do not bear the name of war yet, unfortunately, too much resembles it in effect and substance.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bid you farewell, cordially hoping that your industries may continue to flourish, and that, under the shade of that ancient church whose melodious bells we now hear in the distance, you may prosecute those industries with satisfaction and with advantage; further, that you may prosecute another industry which at this moment I do not undervalue—the industry of maintaining those sound political principles which, depend upon it, lie at the root of our national greatness and our national prosperity.

Mr. Campbell-Bannerman, M.P., then presented sets of damask table linen, in the name of the manufactories of the town, to Mrs. Gladstone, the gifts being acknowledged by Mr. Gladstone, amid continuous cheering, which lasted until the train left the platform. Crowds had assembled at various wayside stations, but only at Cowdenbeath was a stoppage made to take up the Right Hon. W. P. Adam, M.P.