Welcome to our collection of quotes by Benjamin Disraeli. We hope you enjoy pondering them and please share widely.
Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield (21 December 1804 – 19 April 1881) was a British statesman and Conservative politician, who twice served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He played a central role in the creation of the modern Conservative Party, defining its policies and its broad outreach. Disraeli is remembered for his influential voice in world affairs, his political battles with the Liberal Party leader William Ewart Gladstone, and his one-nation conservatism or "Tory democracy". He made the Conservatives the party most identified with the glory and power of the British Empire. He is the only British prime minister to have been of Jewish birth. He was also a novelist, publishing works of fiction even as prime minister.
Disraeli was born in Bloomsbury, then a part of Middlesex. His father left Judaism after a dispute at his synagogue; young 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. Disraeli became 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 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, his Liberals defeated Disraeli's Conservatives at the 1880 general election. In his final months, Disraeli led the Conservatives in Opposition. He had written novels throughout his career, beginning in 1826, and he published his last completed novel, Endymion, shortly before he died at the age of 76.
Justice is truth in action.
That soul-subduing sentiment, harshly called flirtation, which is the spell of a country house.
It destroys one's nerves to be amiable everyday to the same human being.
Protection is not a principle but an expedient.
Nobody should ever look anxious except those who have no anxiety.
Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so you apologize for truth.
To be concious that you are ignorant of the facts is a great step toward knowledge.
Whenever you see a man who is successful in society, try to discover what makes him pleasing, and if possible adopt his system.
Yes, I am a Jew, and when the ancestors of the Right Honorable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon.
The unfortunate are always egotistical.
Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes.
Judaism is not complete without Christianity and without Judaism, Christianity would not exist.
Destiny is our will, and our will is nature.
London; a nation, not a city.
Free trade is not a principle, it is an expedient.
Seeing much, suffering much, and studying much are the three pillars of learning.
Christianity is completed Judaism or it is nothing.
My idea of an acceptable person is someone that is ready to accept my ideas.
The profound thinker always suspects that he is superficial.
No one but an adventurous traveler can know the luxury of sleep.
The affections are the children of ignorance; when the horizon of our experience expands, and models multiply, love and admiration imperceptibly vanish.
Of all unfortunate men one of the unhappiest is a middling author endowed with too lively a sensibility for criticism.
Those authors who appear sometimes to forget they are writers, and remember they are men, will be our favorites.
Never argue. In society nothing must be; give only results. If any person differs from you, bow, and turn the conversation.
One event makes another. What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expected generally happens; and time can only prove which is most for our advantage.
What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expect generally happens.
Enthusiasm is the breath of genius.
There is no greater sin than to be trop prononce.
Extreme views are never just; something always turns up which disturbs the calculations formed upon their data.
There is no wisdom like frankness.
The press is not only free, it is powerful. That power is ours. It is the proudest that man can enjoy.
The press is not only free, it is powerful. That power is ours. It is the proudest that man can enjoy. It was not granted by monarchs, it was not gained for us by aristocracies; but it sprang from the people, and, with an immortal instinct, it has always worked for the people.
Free trade is not a principle, it is an expedient.
The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.
Literature is an avenue to glory, ever open for those ingenious men who are deprived of honors or of wealth.
Novelty is an essential attribute of the beautiful.
Principle is ever my motto, no expediency.
The originality of a subject is in its treatment.
In politics, nothing is contemptible.
Those who cannot themselves observe can at least acquire the observation of others.
To a mother, a child is everything; but to a child, a parent is only a link in the chain of her existence.
I am a Conservative to preserve all that is good in our constitution, a Radical to remove all that is bad.
The difference of race is one of the reasons why I fear war may always exist; because race implies difference, difference implies superiority, and superiority leads to predominance.
He thinks posterity is a pack-horse, always ready to be loaded.
No one for a moment can pretend that printing is so great a discovery as writing, or algebra as a language.
The care of the public health is the first duty of the statesman.
What we call public opinion is generally public sentiment.
Having the courage to live within one's means is respectability.
It is remarkable that when great discoveries are effected, their simplicity always seems to detract from their originality: on these occasions we are reminded of the egg of Columbus!
Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few.
What wonderful things are events! The least are of greater importance than the most sublime and comprehensive speculations.
Demagogues and agitators are very unpleasant, they are incidental to a free and constitutional country, and you must put up with these inconveniences or do without many important advantages.
Variety is the mother of Enjoyment.
You asked me where I generally lived. In my workshop i.e. in his study in the mornings and always in the library in the evening. Books are companions even if you don't open them.
Age is frequently beautiful, wisdom appearing like an aftermath.
The art of governing mankind by deceiving them.
Our domestic affections are the most salutary basis of all good government.
I am bound to furnish my antagonists with arguments, but not with comprehension.
The characteristic of the present age is craving credulity.
I believe that nothing in newspapers is ever true, said Madame Phoebus. And that is why they are so popular, added Euphrosyne; the tast of the age being so decidedly for fiction.
As we retain but a faint remembrance of our felicity, it is but fair that the smartest stroke of sorrow should, if bitter, at least be brief.
What we call the heart is a nervous sensation, like shyness, which gradually disappears in society. It is fervent in the nursery, strong in the domestic circle, tumultuous at school.
A practical man is a man who practices the errors of his forefathers.
A good eater must be a good man; for a good eater must have a good digestion, and a good digestion depends upon a good conscience.
Nature, like man, sometimes weeps from gladness.
Perseverance and tact are the two great qualities most valuable for all those who would climb, but especially for those who have to step out of the crowd.
Man is a being born to believe. And if no church comes forward with its title-deeds of truth to guide him, he will find altars and idols in his own heart and his own imagination.
That youthful fervor, which is sometimes called enthusiasm, but which is a heat of imagination subsequently discovered to be inconsistent with the experience of actual life.
The question is this -- Is man an ape or an angel? My Lord, I am on the side of the angels. I repudiate with indignation and abhorrence these new fanged theories.
Women carry a beautiful hand with them to the grave, when a beautiful face has long ago vanished.
I am the blank page between the Old and the New Testament.
Jews show so near an affinity to you... Where is your Christianity if you do not believe in their Judaism?
Coalitions though successful have always found this, that their triumph has been brief.
Be thine own privy counsellor.
Fame has eagle wings, and yet she mounts not so high as man's desires.
When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. But after sitting next to Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest woman in England.
A great thing is a great book; but a greater thing than all is the talk of a great man.
I do not like giving advice: it is incurring an unnecessary responsibility.
You never observe a great intellectual movement in Europe in which the
Jews do NOT greatly participate. The first Jesuits were Jews.
When I want to read a novel, I write one.
You know who the critics are? The men who have failed in literature and art.
There is anguish in the recollection that we have not adequately appreciated the affection of those whom we have loved and lost.
Experience is the child of thought, and thought is the child of action.
Trust not overmuch to the blessed Magdalen; learn to protect yourself.
There are so many plans, so many schemes, and so many reasons why there should be neither plans nor schemes.
Books are the curse of the human race.
Nine-tenths of existing books are nonsense, and the clever books are the refutation of that nonsense.
Next to the assumption of power was the responsibility of relinquishing it.
The feeling of satiety, almost inseparable from large possessions, is a surer cause of misery than ungratified desires.
We have legalized confiscation, consecrated sacrilege, and condoned high treason.
Religion should be the rule of life, not a casual incident in it.
We are indeed a nation of shopkeepers.
The world is devoted to physical science, because it believes theses discoveries will increase its capacity of luxury and self-indulgence. But the pursuit of science only leads to the insoluble.