Gladstone's Library-St Deniols-has an article 'In Defense of Liberalism'. It is well worth a read. St Deniol's has in the past not always been a comfortable place for modern day Liberals but it certainly is now. The article can be found in full here. In it he asserts:
We should remember him (Gladstone) for all sorts of reasons, for instance, universal primary education. That's due to Gladstone. The shift from a democracy being run by the aristocracy to a meritocracy, that's due to Gladstone. The whole concept of human rights—he was certainly not the inventor of human rights, but he was one of the prime movers in our modern concept of human rights, and the sense of "crimes against humanity"—that's a phrase that originates with Gladstone.