This was unacceptable to the British, who protested, hoping to get the Russians to agree to attend an international conference which German Chancellor Bismarck proposed to hold at Berlin. The cabinet discussed Disraeli's proposal to position Indian troops at Malta for possible transit to the Balkans  and call out reserves. Derby resigned in protest, and Disraeli appointed Salisbury as Foreign Secretary.
Amid British preparations for war, the Russians and Turks agreed to discussions at Berlin. In advance of the meeting, confidential negotiations took place between Britain and Russia in April and May The Russians were willing to make changes to the big Bulgaria, but were determined to retain their new possessions, Bessarabia in Europe and Batum and Kars on the east coast of the Black Sea.
To counterbalance this, Britain required a possession in the Eastern Mediterranean where it might base ships and troops, and negotiated with the Ottomans for the cession of Cyprus. Once this was secretly agreed, Disraeli was prepared to allow Russia's territorial gains. The Congress of Berlin was held in June and July , the central relationship in it that between Disraeli and Bismarck. In later years, the German chancellor would show visitors to his office three pictures on the wall: "the portrait of my Sovereign, there on the right that of my wife, and on the left, there, that of Lord Beaconsfield".
By one account, the British ambassador in Berlin, Lord Odo Russell , hoping to spare the delegates Disraeli's awful French accent, told Disraeli that the congress was hoping to hear a speech in the English tongue by one of its masters. Disraeli left much of the detailed work to Salisbury, concentrating his efforts on making it as difficult as possible for the broken-up big Bulgaria to reunite.
Nevertheless, the Cyprus Convention ceding the island to Britain was announced during the congress, and again made Disraeli a sensation. Disraeli gained agreement that Turkey should retain enough of its European possessions to safeguard the Dardanelles. By one account, when met with Russian intransigence, Disraeli told his secretary to order a special train to return them home to begin the war.
At the door of 10 Downing Street , Disraeli received flowers sent by the Queen. In the weeks after Berlin, Disraeli and the cabinet considered calling a general election to capitalise on the public applause he and Salisbury had received.
Parliaments were then for a seven-year term, and it was the custom not to go to the country until the sixth year unless forced to by events. Only four and a half years had passed since the last general election. Additionally, they did not see any clouds on the horizon that might forecast Conservative defeat if they waited.
This decision not to seek re-election has often been cited as a great mistake by Disraeli. Blake, however, pointed out that results in local elections had been moving against the Conservatives, and doubted if Disraeli missed any great opportunity by waiting.
As successful invasions of India generally came through Afghanistan, the British had observed and sometimes intervened there since the s, hoping to keep the Russians out. In the Russians sent a mission to Kabul; it was not rejected by the Afghans, as the British had hoped. The British then proposed to send their own mission, insisting that the Russians be sent away. The Viceroy of India Lord Lytton concealed his plans to issue this ultimatum from Disraeli, and when the Prime Minister insisted he take no action, went ahead anyway.
The British installed a new ruler, and left a mission and garrison in Kabul. The governor of Cape Colony, Sir Bartle Frere , believing that the federation could not be accomplished until the native tribes acknowledged British rule, made demands on the Zulu and their king, Cetewayo , which they were certain to reject. As Zulu troops could not marry until they had washed their spears in blood, they were eager for combat. Frere did not send word to the cabinet of what he had done until the ultimatum was about to expire.
Disraeli and the cabinet reluctantly backed him, and in early January resolved to send reinforcements. Before they could arrive, on 22 January, a Zulu impi , or army, moving with great speed and stealth, ambushed and destroyed a British encampment in South Africa in the Battle of Isandlwana. Over a thousand British and colonial troops were killed. Word of the defeat did not reach London until 12 February. On 8 September Sir Louis Cavagnari , in charge of the mission in Kabul, was killed with his entire staff by rebelling Afghan soldiers.
Roberts undertook a successful punitive expedition against the Afghans over the next six weeks. Gladstone, in the election, had been returned for Greenwich , finishing second behind a Conservative in the two-member constituency, a result he termed more like a defeat than a victory. In December , he was offered the Liberal nomination at the next election for Edinburghshire , a constituency popularly known as Midlothian.
The Earl, a friend of both Disraeli and Gladstone who would succeed the latter after his final term as Prime Minister, had journeyed to the United States to view politics there, and was convinced that aspects of American electioneering techniques could be translated to Britain.
On his advice, Gladstone accepted the offer in January , and later that year began his Midlothian campaign , speaking not only in Edinburgh, but across Britain, attacking Disraeli, to huge crowds. Conservative chances of re-election were damaged by the poor weather, and consequent effects on agriculture. Four consecutive wet summers through had led to poor harvests. In the past, the farmer had the consolation of higher prices at such times, but with bumper crops cheaply transported from the United States, grain prices remained low.
Other European nations, faced with similar circumstances, opted for protection, and Disraeli was urged to reinstitute the Corn Laws. He declined, stating that he regarded the matter as settled. Protection would have been highly unpopular among the newly enfranchised urban working classes, as it would raise their cost of living. Amid an economic slump generally, the Conservatives lost support among farmers. Disraeli's health continued to fail through Owing to his infirmities, Disraeli was three-quarters of an hour late for the Lord Mayor's Dinner at the Guildhall in November, at which it is customary that the Prime Minister speaks.
Though many commented on how healthy he looked, it took him great effort to appear so, and when he told the audience he expected to speak to the dinner again the following year, attendees chuckled—Gladstone was then in the midst of his campaign. Despite his public confidence, Disraeli recognised that the Conservatives would probably lose the next election, and was already contemplating his Resignation Honours.
Despite this pessimism, Conservatives hopes were buoyed in early with successes in by-elections the Liberals had expected to win, concluding with victory in Southwark , normally a Liberal stronghold. The cabinet had resolved to wait before dissolving Parliament; in early March they reconsidered, agreeing to go to the country as soon as possible.
Parliament was dissolved on 24 March; the first borough constituencies began voting a week later. Disraeli took no public part in the electioneering, it being deemed improper for peers to make speeches to influence Commons elections. The election was thought likely to be close. The final result gave the Liberals an absolute majority of about Disraeli refused to cast blame for the defeat, which he understood was likely to be final for him. He wrote to Lady Bradford that it was just as much work to end a government as to form one, without any of the fun.
Queen Victoria was bitter at his departure as Prime Minister. Among the honours he arranged before resigning as Prime Minister on 21 April was one for his private secretary, Montagu Corry , who became Baron Rowton. Returning to Hughenden, Disraeli brooded over his electoral dismissal, but also resumed work on Endymion , which he had begun in and laid aside before the election. The work was rapidly completed and published by November When Parliament met in January , he served as Conservative leader in the Lords, attempting to serve as a moderating influence on Gladstone's legislation.
Suffering from asthma and gout, Disraeli went out as little as possible, fearing more serious episodes of illness. In March, he fell ill with bronchitis, and emerged from bed only for a meeting with Salisbury and other Conservative leaders on the 26th. As it became clear that this might be his final sickness, friends and opponents alike came to call. Disraeli declined a visit from the Queen, saying, "She would only ask me to take a message to Albert. One card, signed "A Workman", delighted its recipient, "Don't die yet, we can't do without you.
Despite the gravity of Disraeli's condition, the doctors concocted optimistic bulletins, for public consumption. The Prime Minister, Gladstone, called several times to enquire about his rival's condition, and wrote in his diary, "May the Almighty be near his pillow. Disraeli had customarily taken the sacrament at Easter; when this day was observed on 17 April, there was discussion among his friends and family if he should be given the opportunity, but those against, fearing that he would lose hope, prevailed.
Despite having been offered a state funeral by Queen Victoria, Disraeli's executors decided against a public procession and funeral, fearing that too large crowds would gather to do him honour. The chief mourners at the service at Hughenden on 26 April were his brother Ralph and nephew Coningsby, to whom Hughenden would eventually pass.
Queen Victoria was prostrated with grief, and considered ennobling Ralph or Coningsby as a memorial to Disraeli without children, his titles became extinct with his death but decided against it on the ground that their means were too small for a peerage. Protocol forbade her attending Disraeli's funeral this would not be changed until , when Elizabeth II attended the rites for the former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill but she sent primroses "his favourite flowers" to the funeral, and visited the burial vault to place a wreath of china blooms four days later.
Disraeli is buried with his wife in a vault beneath the Church of St Michael and All Angels which stands in the grounds of his home, Hughenden Manor, accessed from the churchyard. There is also a memorial to him in the chancel in the church, erected in his honour by Queen Victoria. His literary executor was his private secretary, Lord Rowton. Disraeli carried on a long correspondence with Mrs. Willyams, writing frankly about political affairs.
At her death in , she left him a large legacy, which helped clear up his debts. Disraeli has a memorial in Westminster Abbey. This monument was erected by the nation on the motion of Gladstone in his memorial speech on Disraeli in the House of Commons. Gladstone had absented himself from the funeral, with his plea of the press of public business met with public mockery.
His speech was widely anticipated, if only because his dislike for Disraeli was well known, and caused the Prime Minister much worry. In the event, the speech was a model of its kind, in which he avoided comment on Disraeli's politics, while praising his personal qualities. Disraeli's literary and political career interacted over his lifetime and fascinated Victorian Britain, making him "one of the most eminent figures in Victorian public life", and occasioned a large output of commentary.
He began as a pioneer in dress and an aesthete of words Disraeli actually made his novels come true. Blake comments that Disraeli "produced an epic poem, unbelievably bad, and a five-act blank verse tragedy, if possible worse. Further he wrote a discourse on political theory and a political biography, the Life of Lord George Bentinck , which is excellent The writer R. Stewart observed that there have always been two criteria for judging Disraeli's novels—one political and the other artistic.
The critic Robert O'Kell, concurring, writes, "It is after all, even if you are a Tory of the staunchest blue, impossible to make Disraeli into a first-rate novelist. And it is equally impossible, no matter how much you deplore the extravagances and improprieties of his works, to make him into an insignificant one.
Disraeli's early "silver fork" novels Vivian Grey and The Young Duke featured romanticised depictions of aristocratic life despite his ignorance of it with character sketches of well-known public figures lightly disguised. Of the other novels of the early s, Alroy is described by Blake as "profitable but unreadable",  and The Rise of Iskander , The Infernal Marriage and Ixion in Heaven made little impact.
In the s Disraeli wrote a trilogy of novels with political themes. Coningsby attacks the evils of the Whig Reform Bill of and castigates the leaderless conservatives for not responding. These themes are expanded in Tancred He was troubled by the growth of elaborate rituals in the late 19th century, such as the use of incense and vestments, and heard warnings to the effect that the ritualists were going to turn control of the Church of England over to the Pope.
He consequently was a strong supporter of the Public Worship Regulation Act which allowed the archbishops to go to court to stop the ritualists. Disraeli's last completed novels were Lothair and Endymion Lothair was "Disraeli's ideological Pilgrim's Progress ",  It tells a story of political life with particular regard to the roles of the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches.
It reflected anti-Catholicism of the sort that was popular in Britain, and which fueled support for Italian unification "Risorgimento". Disraeli had, for example, stressed the need to improve the lot of the urban labourer. The memory of Disraeli was used by the Conservatives to appeal to the working classes, with whom he was said to have had a rapport. In B H Abbott stressed that it was not Disraeli but Lord Randolph Churchill who invented the term "Tory democracy", though it was Disraeli who made it an essential part of Conservative policy and philosophy.
He rejected the concept in its entirety. Disraeli's enthusiastic propagation of the British Empire has also been seen as appealing to working class voters. Before his leadership of the Conservative Party, imperialism was the province of the Liberals, most notably Palmerston, with the Conservatives murmuring dissent across the aisle.
Disraeli made the Conservatives the party that most loudly supported both the Empire and military action to assert its primacy. This came about in part because Disraeli's own views stemmed that way, in part because he saw advantage for the Conservatives, and partially in reaction against Gladstone, who disliked the expense of empire.
Blake argued that Disraeli's imperialism "decisively orientated the Conservative party for many years to come, and the tradition which he started was probably a bigger electoral asset in winning working-class support during the last quarter of the century than anything else". Gladstone's biographer Philip Magnus contrasted Disraeli's grasp of foreign affairs with that of Gladstone, who "never understood that high moral principles, in their application to foreign policy, are more often destructive of political stability than motives of national self-interest.
During his lifetime Disraeli's opponents, and sometimes even his friends and allies, questioned whether he sincerely held the views he propounded, or whether they were adopted by him as essential to one who sought to spend his life in politics, and were mouthed by him without conviction. Lord John Manners, in at the time of Young England, wrote, "could I only satisfy myself that D'Israeli believed all that he said, I should be more happy: his historical views are quite mine, but does he believe them?
Stanley Weintraub , in his biography of Disraeli, points out that his subject did much to advance Britain towards the 20th century, carrying one of the two great Reform Acts of the 19th despite the opposition of his Liberal rival, Gladstone. He articulated an imperial role for Britain that would last into World War II and brought an intermittently self-isolated Britain into the concert of Europe. The debate about his place in the Conservative pantheon has continued since his death.
Disraeli fascinated and divided contemporary opinion; he was seen by many, including some members of his own party, as an adventurer and a charlatan and by others as a far-sighted and patriotic statesman. As an actor on the political stage he played many roles: Byronic hero, man of letters, social critic, parliamentary virtuoso, squire of Hughenden, royal companion, European statesman.
His singular and complex personality has provided historians and biographers with a particularly stiff challenge. Historical writers have often played Disraeli and Gladstone against each other as great rivals. Indeed initially they were both loyal to the Tory party, the Church and the landed interest. Although their paths diverged over the repeal of the Corn Laws in and later over fiscal policy more generally, it was not until the later s that their differences over parliamentary reform, Irish and Church policy assumed great partisan significance.
Even then their personal relations remained fairly cordial until their dispute over the Eastern Question in the later s. Peel shown as Julius Caesar surrounded by his assassins, with Disraeli on the left, Gladstone on donkey representing reform is held back by Disraeli aided by the English Working Man, Derby and Disraeli outflank and "dish" their opponents, Disraeli and Gladstone as Box and Cox , Disraeli as the man in white paper in Through the Looking-Glass , Disraeli's ghost overshadowing Lord Randolph Churchill , Historian Michael Diamond reports that for British music hall patrons in the s and s, "xenophobia and pride in empire" were reflected in the halls' most popular political heroes: all were Conservatives and Disraeli stood out above all, even decades after his death, while Gladstone was used as a villain.
The films created "a facsimile world where existing values were invariably validated by events in the film and where all discord could be turned into harmony by an acceptance of the status quo. Fielding says Arliss "personified the kind of paternalistic, kindly, homely statesmanship that appealed to a significant proportion of the cinema audience Even workers attending Labour party meetings deferred to leaders with an elevated social background who showed they cared.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. For other uses, see Disraeli disambiguation. The Right Honourable. Photo by Cornelius Jabez Hughes , Mary Anne Lewis. Isaac D'Israeli Maria Basevi. John Murray and J. Main article: Who? Main article: Second Derby—Disraeli ministry. Main article: Third Derby—Disraeli ministry.
Main article: Congress of Berlin. Main article: United Kingdom general election. Disraeli's death mask. Religious conservatism. National variants. Related topics. The maternal grandfather, Naphtali Basevi from Verona , settled in London in He married in Rebecca Rieti, born in England, the daughter of Sarah Cardoso and granddaughter of Jacob Aboab Cardoso who was already born in London from this line, Disraeli had already four generations born in the UK.
Kuhn puts his starting age as early as four. He refused the post, partly lest it interfere with his literary research, and partly because he was ideologically much more liberal than the ruling orthodox group. He refused to pay. She devoted the rest of her life to her family.
Bradford refers to the couple's "reckless openness". The Times ' s parliamentary reports were in the third person: its account is, "He would sit down now, but the time would come when they would hear him. Blake's view is that at this point in his career Disraeli was simply too junior and lacking in political clout to qualify for office.
Peel had so many party grandees to accommodate that there was never any question of finding room for Disraeli. The historian Roy Douglas writes, "Perhaps the safest way to think about party origins is to consider that, around , the Whig and Tory Parties both began to disintegrate, and it was not until the late s that the Liberal and Conservative Parties had come into existence in a fully recognisable form.
Disraeli seems to have held out the possibility that Bright, Richard Cobden and Thomas Milner Gibson might eventually join the cabinet in exchange for the support of the Radicals. Of the Commons seats, Blake gives the distribution as Liberals , Conservatives and 61 Home Rulers ;  Bradford gives the figures as , and 62;  Aldous gives , and Of these surnames, Shiprut de Gabay, Cardoso, Aboab, and, most likely, Israeli are Sephardic, Basevi is of Ashkenazic origin, while Rieti was originally taken by a family whose ancestors lived in Italy for centuries; see Beider, Alexander.
May The Journal of the Academy for Jewish Religion. ISSN D'Israeli and Mr. O'Connell", The Times , 6 May , p. Retrieved 5 July Benjamin Disraeli Letters: — University of Toronto Press. Dramatic Decisions, - Retrieved 29 December Retrieved 2 February UK Government. Retrieved 7 August The End of a Chapter. Scribner's sons. Stewart" , Nineteenth-Century Fiction , June , pp. Weeks, "Disraeli as political egotist: a literary and historical investigation. Barbe in Disraeli's Endymion: Revenge on Whom?
Retrieved 24 March For the historiography see Roland Quinault, "Gladstone and disraeli: a Reappraisal of their Relationship. Abbott, B. Gladstone and Disraeli. London: Collins. ISBN Aldous, Richard . Blake, Robert . New York: St Martin's Press. OCLC Blake, Robert London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. Bradford, Sarah New York: Stein and Day.
Conacher, J. New York: John Wiley and Sons. Davis, Richard W. London: Hutchinson. ISBN X. Dickins, Gordon An Illustrated Literary Guide to Shropshire. Shrewsbury: Shropshire Libraries. Disraeli, Benjamin Swartz, Helen; Swartz, Marvin eds. Disraeli's Reminiscences. London: Hamish Hamilton. Gunn, J. Benjamin Disraeli—Letters, — Toronto and London: University of Toronto Press. Douglas, Roy London and New York: Hambledon and London.
Endelman, Todd M. In Richmond, Charles; Paul, Smith eds. The Self-Fashioning of Disraeli, — Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Gash, Norman Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman and Littlefield. Glassman, Bernard Harris, Robin The Conservatives—A History. London: Bantam. Hibbert, Christopher Disraeli: A Personal History. London: HarperCollins. Hurd, Douglas; Young, Edward Disraeli, Or The Two Lives. Jenkins, Roy . Gladstone: A Biography. Kirsch, Adam Benjamin Disraeli.
Jewish Encounters. New York: Schocken. Kuhn, William London: The Free Press. Magnus, Philip London: John Murray. I, — Parry, Jonathan Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ridley, Jane The Young Disraeli. London: Sinclair-Stevenson. Roberts, Andrew . Salisbury: Victorian Titan. London: Phoenix. Schwarz, Daniel R Disraeli's Fiction.
Swartz, Helen M; Swartz, Martin Trevelyan, G. The Life of John Bright. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin. Weintraub, Stanley Disraeli: A Biography. New York: Truman Talley Books. Braun, Thom. Disraeli the Novelist Routledge, Bright, J. A History of England. Period 4: Growth of Democracy: Victoria — online pp; highly detailed political narrative Cesarani, David. Clausson, Nils. The Review of English Studies. Endelman, Todd M May Modern Judaism.
Ghosh, P R April The English Historical Review. Disraeli or The Two Lives. Kalmar, Ivan Davidson. Disraeli and the Eastern Question. Mahajan, Sneh British Foreign Policy, — Magnus, Sir Philip. Malchow, Howard LeRoy. Agitators and Promoters in the Age of Gladstone and Disraeli: A Biographical Dictionary of the Leaders of British Pressure Groups founded between and 2 vol , includes thousands of activists.
Arthur Patchett Martin Australia and the Empire : 63— Wikidata Q Matthew, H. September The Historical Journal. JSTOR Random House. London: John Murray, , a famous classic; contains vol 1—4 and vol 5—6 of the original edition Life of Benjamin Disraeli volume 1 —, Volume 2 —, Volume 3 —, Volume 4 —, Volume 5 —, Volume 6 — Vol 1 to 6 are available free from Google books: vol 1 ; vol 2 ; vol 3 ; vol 4 ; vol 5 ; and vol 6 Morley, John London: Macmillan.
Napton, Dani. O'Kell, Robert P. Disraeli: The Romance of Politics. Parry, J. Seton-Watson, R. Disraeli, Gladstone, and the Eastern Question. New York: W. Shannon, Richard. The crisis of imperialism, — , pp — Winter, James January Primary sources [ edit ] Letters of Benjamin Disraeli. Pharand, et al.
Illustrated by Frederick Waddy. London: Tinsley Brothers. Retrieved 13 September Hicks, Geoff, et al. Temperley, Harold and L. Penson, eds. Vincent, John ed. Hassocks, Sussex. Historiography [ edit ] Parry, Jonathan P. Quinault, Roland. John, Ian. Listen to this article 2 hours and 3 minutes.
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