The Life of William Ewart Gladstone, Vol. 3
In the field where mastery had never failed him, Mr. Gladstone achieved an early success, and he lost no time in justifying his assumption of the exchequer. The budget (June 10) was marked by the boldness of former days, and was explained and defended in one of those statements of which he alone possessed the secret. Even unfriendly witnesses agreed that it was many years since the House of Commons had the opportunity of enjoying so extraordinary an intellectual treat, where "novelties assumed the air of indisputable truths, and complicated figures were woven into the thread of intelligible and animated narrative." He converted the malt tax into a beer duty, reduced the duties on light foreign wines, added a penny to the income tax, and adjusted the licence duties for the sale of alcoholic liquors.