Life and Character of Hon. David L. Swain (1877)

University of North Carolina School of Law
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The Congress of Berlin was held in June and July , the central relationship in it that between Disraeli and Bismarck.

Calhoun, David S.

David L. Swain, late president of the University of North Carolina: a memorial oration June 7, , at the request of the trustees and Faculty of the University . Life and character of the Hon. Thomas Ruffin, late and character of Hon. David L. Swain, late president of the University of North Carolina: a memorial oration /.

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.

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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.

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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.

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The American Enlightenment, For him, the process by which the decision is reached is as important as the result in the case. Divorced from her, he married Mrs. Then accepted a situation in Buffalo; contracted measles. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, Memorial presented to his Grace, my Lord the Duke of Newcastle. Refine List.

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 , 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.

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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 could be translated to the United Kingdom. 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 United Kingdom. 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. 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.

Benjamin Disraeli

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.

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