[ 28 March 2014 - GLADSTONE Blog ]
In 1888 Thomas Alva Edison recorded William Ewart Gladstone’s voice and added an introduction by a certain Colonel Charles Gouraud. Gladstone himself is almost unintelligible. Apparently he was standing too far from the recording equipment. But still, this is what the great man sounded like more than 125 years ago:
London, 18th December 1888. To Edison from Colonel Gouraud, introducing Mr Gladstone. The Phonograph Salutation.
The latest-born of science and American genius bends its knee of steel and bows its neck of iron in reverential homage before the veteran statesman of England. Mr Gladstone, the phonograph salutes you, and through the medium of the phonograph, Mr Edison greets you. Now, Edison, listen to a voice that has electrified its generation – the voice of William Ewart Gladstone;
Dear Mr Edison, I am profoundly indebted to you for, not the entertainment only, but the instruction and the marvels of one of the most remarkable evenings which it has been my privilege to enjoy. The request, that you have done me the honour to make – to receive the record of my voice – is one that I cheerfully comply with so far as it lies in my power; though I lament to say that the voice which I transmit to you is only the relic of an organ, the employment of which has been overstrained. Yet I offer to you as much as I possess and so much as old age has left me, with the utmost satisfaction, as being, at least, a testimony to the instruction and delight that I have received from your marvellous invention. As to future consequences it is impossible to anticipate them. All I see is that wonders upon wonders are opening before us. Your great country is leading the way in the important work of invention. Heartily do we wish it well. And to you, as one of its greatest celebrities, allow me to offer my hearty good wishes and earnest prayers that you may long live to witness its triumphs in all that appertains to the well-being of mankind. William Ewart Gladstone.