Benjamin Disraeli Quotes
Disraeli was born in Bloomsbury, then a part of Middlesex. His father left Judaism after a dispute at his synagogue; Benjamin became an Anglican at the age of 12. After several unsuccessful attempts, Disraeli entered the House of Commons in 1837. In 1846 the prime minister at the time, Sir Robert Peel, split the party over his proposal to repeal the Corn Laws, which involved ending the tariff on imported grain. Disraeli clashed with Peel in the House of Commons, becoming a major figure in the party. When Lord Derby, the party leader, thrice formed governments in the 1850s and 1860s, Disraeli served as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons.
Upon Derby's retirement in 1868, Disraeli became prime minister briefly before losing that year's general election. He returned to the Opposition before leading the party to winning a majority in the 1874 general election. He maintained a close friendship with Queen Victoria who, in 1876, elevated him to the peerage, as Earl of Beaconsfield. Disraeli's second term was dominated by the Eastern Question—the slow decay of the Ottoman Empire and the desire of other European powers, such as Russia, to gain at its expense. Disraeli arranged for the British to purchase a major interest in the Suez Canal Company in Egypt. In 1878, faced with Russian victories against the Ottomans, he worked at the Congress of Berlin to obtain peace in the Balkans at terms favourable to Britain and unfavourable to Russia, its longstanding enemy. This diplomatic victory over Russia established Disraeli as one of Europe's leading statesmen.
World events thereafter moved against the Conservatives. Controversial wars in Afghanistan and South Africa undermined his public support. He angered British farmers by refusing to reinstitute the Corn Laws in response to poor harvests and cheap imported grain. With Gladstone conducting a massive speaking campaign, the Liberals defeated Disraeli's Conservatives at the 1880 general election. In his final months, Disraeli led the Conservatives in Opposition.
Disraeli wrote novels throughout his career, beginning in 1826, and published his last completed novel, Endymion, shortly before he died at the age of 76.
The European talks of progress because by the aid of a few scientific discoveries he has established a society which has mistaken comfort for civilisation.
Demagogues and agitators are very unpleasant but they are incidents to a free and constitutional country and you must put up with these inconveniences or do without many important advantages.
Beware of endeavoring to become a great man in a hurry. One such attempt in ten thousand may succeed. These are fearful odds.
I am a Conservative to preserve all that is good in our constitution, a Radical to remove all that is bad. I seek to preserve property and to respect order, and I equally decry the appeal to the passi...
We live in an age when to be young and to be indifferent can be no longer synonymous. We must prepare for the coming hour. The claims of the Future are represented by suffering millions and the Youth...
Man is not the creature of circumstances, circumstances are the creatures of men. We are free agents, and man is more powerful than matter.