The earliest of the letters is addressed to a J. Hamilton, esq., suggesting the recipient read a article on Vienna and diplomacy in the upcoming issue of Saturday Review. "It is very ably written and the section of the history, sad and even scandalous enough, is I feel not far from the truth." Gladstone is likely referring to the Vienna Conference of 1855, which involved a good deal of hypocrisy on both sides—neither Britain nor France thought the summit would solve anything, but each wanted to use it as a means to bring Austrian into the Crimean War on their side.
The latter Italian correspondence is to a Signor Dotti, regarding the shipment of books Britain. "I received the crate addressed to London: books in good condition," Gladstone begins. "But the 1477 Dante that I bought from you cannot be found. It may be my error, and this book was packed in the other (bigger) crate at Howarden? Please let me know the reason for the mistake, and please send the Dante as soon as possible."
The earliest of the letters was written while Gladstone was serving as a Member of Parliament for Oxford University, and the latest whilst serving as a Member of Parliament
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