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Lord George Bentinck and the Jews

Sir Henry d'Avigdor-Goldsmid

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Lord George Bentinck and the Jews* SIR HENRY D'AVIGDOR GOLDSMID, M.C., D.S.O., M.P. The sixth Duke of Portland was a Subaltern aged 22 in the Goldstream Guards when he woke up one day to find that he had inherited the titles and the vast estates of his highly eccentric kinsman the fifth Duke; there is an account by his sister, who later was famous as Lady Ottoline Morrell, of the arrival of these two young people at that famous palace of Welbeck inhabited seemingly only by the hundreds of workmen engaged in carrying out the great subterranean excavations and con? structions on which the fifth Duke had laid such immense store. Lady Ottoline's account is included in an anodyne book of reminiscences by her brother1 but this book does not include a particularly revealing anecdote on which Mr. Robert Blake in his distinguished and authorita? tive study of Disraeli2 has conferred the acco? lade of historic recognition. The story is one of which Mr. Harold Macmillan used to be par? ticularly fond and from whose mouth I and many others must first have heard it. DINING AT HUGHENDEN Not long after his arrival at Welbeck the young Duke received a letter from Disraeli's secretary, Monty Corry, inviting him to dinner with the Prime Minister at Hughenden. It was in the closing months of Disraeli's last ad? ministration and it must have been a major ordeal for any young man to find himself in? vited to a tete-?-tete dinner by the greatest man in England, a man who had never been considered as approachable and who now on top of everything else was known to be in failing health. The Duke described how they sat down in the dining-room at Hughenden, the Prime Minister wearing his Garter ribbon, crumbling a biscuit, and saying nothing while he and Gorry got through their meal. Finally he rose to his feet and addressed his guest in these terms: 'My Lord Duke', he said ceremoniously, 'it is indeed an honour and a special pleasure for me to welcome your Grace to this house of mine, which the kindness of your Grace's kins? men3 enabled me to purchase many years ago. I come, my Lord, of an ancient race, we do not forgive an injury but we never forget our friends. Such success as I have achieved in my life I owe mainly to two people; one is my dear wife, who lies buried so near us, the other is your Grace's famous kinsman, Lord George Bentinck. And so it is a special delight for me to tell your Lordship that I have it on Her Majesty's express command that in future your Lordship's stepmother, Mrs. Cavendish Ben? tinck, shall be designated as Baroness Bolsover in her own right and that an announcement to this effect will appear in the next edition of the London Gazette1.* So yet another title was added to the many with which the Dukes of Portland are invested and Disraeli had the pleasure of discharging in a specially characteristic fashion some at least of that debt of gratitude he rightly owed to Lord George. Queen Victoria, as so often in their relationship, did not get the full story but was no doubt relieved to learn that it was not intended to establish this as a precedent in favour of the stepmothers of Dukes. At the beginning of their short-lived associa? tion (it began in January 1846 and ended with Bentinck's death in September 1848) George Bentinck and Disraeli were known as the Jockey and the Jew, an incorrect appellation, as Bentinck was no jockey and Disraeli could not * Paper read before the Jewish Historical Society of England, 2 December 1969. 1 Lady Ottoline Morrell's contribution is included in Memoirs of Racing and Hunting, by 6th Duke of Portland (Faber, 1935). 2 Disraeli, by Robert Blake (Eyre and Spottis woode, 1966). 3 Hughenden was bought for Disraeli by Lord Titchfield and Lord Henry Bentinck, the brothers of Lord George Bentinck. 4 Baroness Bolsover of Bolsover Castle in the County of Derby: Cr. 23 April 1880. 44</page><page sequence="2">Lord George Bentinck and the Jews 45 have sat in Parliament had he been a practising Jew. Short-lived as it was, it had momentous consequences and the strange combination of circumstances that brought them together became the background for a triumph of the will that has had no parallel since in British history. Disraeli's position at the beginning of 1846 was, politically speaking, pretty hopeless. Entering the House of Commons with high hopes in 1837, he allowed himself to be un? reasonably cast down by his failure to achieve office in Peel's administration in 1841 and became instead afrondeur on the Conservative side, one of those back-bench activists who are described in the newspapers as constituting either a ginger group or a squalid nuisance according to the personal predilections of edi? tors and reporters. Disraeli, incidentally, at this stage in his career usually had the press on his side. There was, however, no doubt in the minds of the Conservative Party managers as to what he represented, and after the Young England movement had fizzled out?its only epitaph Lord John Manners' famous couplet: 'Let laws and learning, art and commerce die But leave us still our old nobility' ?Disraeli lost the Conservative Whip, which meant that he would likewise most probably lose also his seat at High Wycombe. DISRAELI'S INDIFFERENCE When Peel took his momentous decision to repeal the Corn Laws5 (it was rotten potatoes that gave Peel his damned fright, as the Duke of Wellington commented), Disraeli did not even bother to hurry home from Paris for the beginning of the Parliamentary session. The country members represented that section of the Tory Party with whom he had least in common and their not yet appointed leader, Lord George Bentinck, was known to him only for having refused in 1834 to consider Disraeli as his running-mate in the representation of King's Lynn. It could scarcely have crossed even his romantic and imaginative mind that within a month he would have become the Parliamentary spokesman and the de facto leader of the gentlemen of England. Lord George Bentinck, on the other hand, was a natural for the part. Born in 1802, the third son of the fourth Duke of Portland, he numbered among his closest relatives a grand? father who had been Prime Minister and an uncle, George Canning, who was the most famous Foreign Secretary of his time. He fol? lowed another uncle in the representation of King's Lynn in 1828 and it is clear that it was only his intense absorption in the affairs of the turf that prevented him with such a background from achieving minor or even major office in the subsequent years. His turf activities are not altogether irrelevant to his political life: he showed himself on the turf to be a bold innova? tor and a redoubtable administrator; while in common parlance he cleaned up the turf he did not allow his passion for equity and fair play to mitigate his determination as a punter to en? sure that he and his friends should alone profit from the many successes of his horses. Charles Greville, who was his cousin, confederate, and intimate friend, also later his most violent critic, used a phrase of him that Disraeli later cribbed ?namely, that after some great race he counted his winnings as a general counts his cannon and his captives.6 It was not surprising, therefore, that when in January 1846 Conservative back-benchers saw that their leader had repudiated the Protec? tionist principles on which they had been re? turned to power, they should turn to the man who was recognised as the Lord Paramount of the turf. These knights of the shire, squires and aldermen, furious though they were, were basically inarticulate; abandoned by their political leaders, they turned to one who had shown leadership in a field that most of them understood?namely, racing; they offered Ben? tinck the poisoned chalice. Bentinck was not quick to take it, for he had so little belief in his own powers of political exposition that his first thought was to engage an attorney, get him in for a vacant seat, and get him to make the speeches. The debate of 22 January 1846 5 Repealed in 1846, to take effect in 1849. 6 Greville Diaries, edited by Lytton Strachey and Roger Fulford (Macmillan, 1938), Vol. VI, p. 117.</page><page sequence="3">46 Sir Henry d'Avigdor-Goldsmid changed his view as it also changed the history of England. This was the day chosen by Peel to open the Corn Law debate with a speech both tedious and confused that ranged from the price of salt beef to an involved account of the Cabinet meetings in November. He ended offensively by remarking that he would continue as Minis? ter on no servile tenure and sat down in dead silence. He was followed by Russell, who made very heavy weather of explaining to his Party why he had not taken office when it had been offered to him in December. Robert Blake refers to him as 'reading copious extracts from dull documents in that thin nasal drawl which made him such an unattractive speaker'7 and it looked as if the debate would fizzle out without anyone putting the Protectionist case. Disraeli rose to do this and delivered one of his greatest speeches, lambasting Peel, the speech for the first time in his political life being punctuated by the intoxicating sound of applause from his own benches.8 It lasted over three hours, which even by the standards of that time is pretty good for an impromptu, and when he sat down Bentinck knew he did not need to import a spokesman for the Protectionist case and even his followers?feeling perhaps like the Court of the Bank of England engaging a Public Rela? tions Officer?knew that the Protectionist case would not now go by default. 'THE LORD HIGH ADMIRAL' The speech itself is rather crude knockabout stuff but it does include the famous passage where he compared Peel to the Lord High Admiral who, fitted out by the Sultan with the greatest fighting fleet the Ottoman Empire had ever known, sailed it straight into the enemy's port, giving as his explanation that he objected to war and saw no use in prolonging the struggle. Also later on he said of Peel that 'he is no more a great statesman than the man who gets up behind a carriage is a great whip. Cer? tainly both are disciples of progress, both may get a good place, but how far the original momentum is indebted to their powers and their guiding prudence it is not necessary for me to notice'. From this moment the association between these unlikely companions grew in strength. And what an unlikely association it was. Dis? raeli was over the sartorial excesses of his youth but even in subfusc he looked an alien and prodigious interloper in the Tory benches. George Bentinck was over six feet tall and dramatically well dressed; he would not have been out of place in the company of Brummell. Contemporaries noted his skin-tight buckskin trousers, simple neck-ties, white or black, and a total absence of ornamentation in his dress. He had a reputation for rudeness?in the coffee room at Crockfords he once told the waiter at the top of his voice not to serve another mem? ber with an elaborate meal because the latter not having settled his gambling debts could obviously not afford to pay for it.9 He also had a name as a duellist. With what today we would call film-star good looks, he joined noble birth and seemingly ample means. He was a man of relentless energy who with unbounded per? severance followed up and caused to be brought to book the rogues who had perpetrated the famous Running Rein swindle in the Derby of 1844; it was considered that no professional barrister or private detective combined could have surpassed his efforts in that case. He now turned on Peel with the same violent per? tinacity that he would have devoted to exposing a defaulting bookmaker. He literally lived in his House of Commons place while the big Corn Law debates were on and no nervous supporter of his could leave without encountering his flashing and basilisk eye. With Disraeli a real intimacy developed slowly. In March 1846 he was still writing to him as 'My dear Sir': not till December did they become 'My dear D' and 'Yours Ever.' Although he was intensely quar? relsome, he never quarrelled with Disraeli? Disraeli was always loyal to him and to his memory.1 o 7 Blake, p. 226. 3 Hansard, 3rd series, lxxxiii, cols. 111/123. 9 The victim of this rudeness was Sir St. Vincent Cotton. The incident is described in My Life and Recollections by the Hon. Grantley F. Berkeley (1865-66). See Crockfords, by A. L. Humphreys. i? Hughenden papers.</page><page sequence="4">Lord George Bentinck and the Jews 47 The sad, fierce session of 1846 wore on and despite everything that Bentinck and Disraeli could do Corn Law Repeal achieved its third reading in the Commons on 16 May by a majority of 98: there was no concerted effort to stop its progress in the Lords, where it got a second reading on 28 May by a majority of 47. The Protectionist case was lost and so was the Protectionist Party, having lost its raison d'etre. The great majority of the Party, having done their best to maintain the sanctity of their elec? tion pledges, would if left to choose have opted to return to Peel. Bentinck and Disraeli were determined not to give them that choice. 'Peel must be punished' was the slogan; how could it be carried out ? A simple vote of no confidence in Peel would have failed because the Liberals, who needed to get the Repeal Bill through the Lords before allowing the Government to fall, would not have supported it. The measure chosen for Peel's defeat was an Irish Coercion Bill which most of the Protectionists, including Bentinck (but not Disraeli), had supported on first reading. The Liberals and Irish were of course opposed to it and if sufficient of the Protectionist rump were willing to join them in the lobby Peel's fate would be sealed. How many would? The debate on the second read? ing of the Coercion Bill began on 8 June and continued uninterruptedly till 25 June, when the Speaker told the House that the Lords had passed the Corn Law Bill without amendment. This meant that the Liberals were now free to vote against the Government and the Division was called almost immediately. Only 70 of the 242 Protectionists who had originally voted against repeal now supported Bentinck; nearly three times as many had been persuaded by electoral and other considerations to withhold their support. But it was enough, Peel was broken and a future Prime Minister had emerged.11 A DIM LOT I referred earlier to a triumph of the will. This it was. Though Disraeli later devoted a panegyric to 'the country gentlemen, the men of metal and large-acred squires',12 who fol? lowed Bentinck and himself into the lobby with the Irish and Liberals, they were in fact a dim lot and with very few minor exceptions totally unknown to history. It was not Disraeli's elo? quence but Bentinck's fanatical fervour that kept them in line. This is the last occasion in British history that the unprincipled front?i.e., a coalition united only by its opposition to the Minister, has achieved success. Had Peel won the division, as up to the very last moment he expected to do, it would have meant the end of the political lives of his two opponents. Bentinck would have gone back to the racing world he had not yet abandoned, Disraeli would have been known today, if at all, as a Victorian litterateur and novelist of minor standing. That this was not the case we have to thank, as Disraeli did in the anecdote I have quoted, the memory of Lord George Bentinck.13 ****** Bentinck, as Disraeli later admitted, did not have the temperament essential to a successful Party leader, and their partnership was not destined for fame in the legislative field. Russell and the Whigs took office on the defeat of Peel in July 1846 and the general election of June 1847 confirmed very roughly the existing dis? tribution of seats. The Whigs, Liberals, Radi? cals and Irish, totalling about 325, were pre? pared to support the Government, and al? though there were 330 Conservatives these were split between Protectionists and Peelites; although the latter segment was much the smaller of the two it included almost all the men of Ministerial capacity or experience. Russell's Government could therefore only be put at risk by the Conservatives coming together again and personal considerations cut far too deep to allow of this. Bentinck was not magnanimous and he was too intent on harrying and perse? cuting Peel's followers to grasp that only by reconciliation with them would his Party ever come to power. Bentinck even had had illusions that the Protectionists by themselves could have won the 1847 election. Disraeli was more u 25 June 1946. Hansard, 3rd series, Vol. 87, cols. 1027/31. 12 Lord George Bentinck: a political biography (Constable &amp; Co. 1905), p. 195. 13 Blake, p. 706.</page><page sequence="5">48 Sir Henry d'Avigdor-Goldsmid far-seeing than that?he was playing for the eventual reuniting of the Conservative Party under his leadership and this is the background to his relations with Bentinck during the very few months that they shared the leadership, titularly Bentinck, strategically Disraeli. This period lasted only until December 1847, when Bentinck resigned the leadership of the Protec? tionist Party on receiving complaints from his back-benchers that they resented his support for John Russell's Jew Bill. It has to be explained that, although the nature of the oath precluded Jews from taking a seat in Parliament, the issue was forced into special prominence through Lord John Russell's successful Liberal running companion in the representation of the City of London at the General Election of June 1847 being Baron Lionel de Rothschild. Having been returned to power, Russell was in honour bound to seek to remove his running-mate's disability; hence the Jew Bill. Bentinck was an old-fashioned Whig who naturally favoured religious tolera? tion but he was also sufficiently astute Parlia mentarily not to want to offend his followers gratuitously by supporting a cause that the bulk of them rejected. To give an up-to-date instance, I think it is correct to say that on such controversial but non-party topics as abortion, divorce law reform, and homosexuality both Party leaders usually find it convenient to abstain not so much now because of the implications of a vote in either lobby on their followers in the House but rather for fear of alienating otherwise reliable voters outside it. Bentinck's decision not to abstain, as he could so easily have done, was governed entirely by his personal feelings for Disraeli?he wrote to Lord John Manners, T don't like letting Dis? raeli vote by himself apart from the party: otherwise I might give in to the prejudices of the multitude'.14 Bentinck regarded it as his duty to take part in the Jew Bill debate and I hope I may be acquitted of immodesty if I make one quotation from his otherwise not particu? larly memorable utterance on this occasion, which nevertheless caused such offence to his followers. This was on 11 December 1847, at Hansard, third series, vol. 95, columns 1381/ 1390. I should explain that although in these days it is not usual or even considered to be good manners to refer to the presence of indi? vidual spectators in the gallery, Bentinck saw nothing wrong with the practice and on one celebrated occasion commented adversely in the presence of the Prince Consort at a debate opened by Peel.15 TRIBUTE TO I. L. GOLDSMID Bentinck said: T saw this evening under that gallery one of the wealthiest and most dis? tinguished Jews in this country and of him I remember that he was the President of no less than 28 Christian charities . . . Well, when you can trust a wealthy Jew and are glad to have him as the President of your Christian charities, will you refuse him the right of sitting and legislating in this Parliament for fear that he may bring destruction on the Christian re? ligion ? I am speaking of Sir Lionel Goldsmid, and I believe that at this moment there is not a Christian charity in the City of London to which Sir Lionel Goldsmid is not a subscriber.' The Sir Lionel Goldsmid referred to is un? doubtedly my distinguished ancestor Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, who worked so hard for Jewish emancipation and who died in 1858 after it had been won, though he was probably too ill to take in the victory. I have lent to the Mocatta library two volumes of his correspondence with distinguished (and undistinguished) Parlia? mentarians of the day soliciting their aid to this object. The Government motion in favour of the re? moval of Jewish disabilities was carried by 253 votes to 186 (virtually the whole of the Pro? tectionist Party being Noes) but as usual was thrown out by the Lords. Bentinck wrote on 26 December to Croker,16 T have ceased to be the leader of the House of Commons Opposition. My vote and speech on the Jew Bill gave dire offence to the Party and 14 Charles Whibley: Lord John Manners and his Friends (1925), Vol. 1, p. 283. 15 27 Feb. 1846, Hansard, 3rd series, lxxxiv, col. 348. 16 Correspondence and Diaries of J. W. Croker, edited by Louis Jennings (John Murray, 1884), Vol. Ill, c. XXV, pp. 156/166.</page><page sequence="6">Lord George Bentinck and the Jews 49 on the Monday morning I got a long letter from Beresford, who is the Whipper in of the Party, the long and short of which was an inti? mation that for daring to make that speech I must be prepared to receive my dismissal. I need not tell you that this was quite enough for me to proffer a resignation with a good grace without waiting to be cashiered. 'Appointed on account of my uncompromis? ing spirit, I am dismissed for the same reason: that which was my principal virtue in 1846 is my damning vice in 1847. In April 1846 they would have me nolens volens for their leader. I in vain warned them that my religious differences from them as well as my want of capacity to lead a party alike disqualified me for the office. I foretold all that has since come to pass?all in vain; they would not listen to me and now I read in their Morning Post that "Lord George Bentinck has thrown over his party". 'However, the great Protectionist party having degenerated into a No Popery No Jew party, I am still more unfit than I was in 1846 to lead it. A party that can muster 140 on a Jew Bill and cannot muster much above half those numbers in any question essentially connected with the great interests of the Empire can only be led by their antipathies, their hatreds, and their prejudices, and I am the unfittest man in the world to lead them. Beresford, Newdegate, and Mr. Phillips of the Morning Herald have raised all this artificial zeal in the cause of re? ligion and fanned the flickering embers of bigotry till they have raised a flame of which as a matter of course I am necessarily the first victim. NEW LEADER WANTED T think it very unfortunate but things have been brought to that pass that I see no chance of the party being kept from melting away except by the choice of a new leader and he a No Popery man. T have resigned with good grace and in a tone of good feeling and I hope that the result will be that the party will henceforth act with more command and zest and may thus be led by their prejudices to muster more strongly than when they were led by a man who en deavoured to lead them by their understanding, but knew not how to sympathise in or pander to their religious prejudices.' In answer to a polite reply to this he wrote on the following day, 27 December: T have no thought of deserting or sulking as my late party have done: on the contrary I do not yet despair of putting them to shame by my example. I find all the leading men of the party are indignant: it is the bigoted rump that has created the dissension. I cannot imagine what Stanley is to do. In 1830 he was one of those who conspired to make the Jew question the great trial of strength of the session against the Wellington-Peel administration. In 1833 he voted for the same measure and was one of the Government in 1843 who removed those dis? abilities far more general and important than this petty and trivial question, for he admitted them to every office in the state and it only requires that a Jew should be forthcoming of sufficient ability to entitle him to hold these offices for a Jew to be Chief Justice of England, a Cabinet Minister, Chancellor of Ireland, Keeper of the Great Seal and of the Queen's Conscience with 800 Protestant livings in his gift. As I think I wrote to you, I could not have looked the House of Commons and certainly not Peel in the face if I had turned my back on all my former voters and had joined in 1847 in the cry of unchristianising the Parliament. 'As for the question itself I look upon it just of about as much national importance as Lord Ellenborough's divorce Bill or the Duke of Beaufort's or the late Lord Donegal's Marriage Bill [in those days it took an Act of Parliament to divorce a peer], indeed I am here over? estimating the importance of the Jew Bill and as for the Jews themselves I don't care two straws about them and heartily wish they were all back in the Holy Land.' A fortnight later he was writing to Disraeli17 about the succession and urging the claims of Lord Granby, who, although an agreeable nonentity, was the eldest son of the Duke of Rutland and the brother of Disraeli's steadfast ally Lord Manners. He wrote on 10 January: T think the happiest thing for the Party 17 Hughenden papers.</page><page sequence="7">50 Sir Henry d'Avigdor-Goldsmid would be that Granby should be made Leader. T think his high station, noble bearing, mild and conciliatory manners would combine and rally the whole Party under his banner and then you and I sitting one on each side of him would easily, where he required help which I do not think would be often?carry him through. I think under Granby the Party would be stronger than ever and such a selection would save the necessity for superseding Beresford and Newdegate and disavowing the Morning Herald two sine qua non conditions of my attempting to continue the lead. I am convinced that Lord Lonsdale and Billy Holmes as well as Stafford O'Brien Spooner (I don't think Plumptre) Golquhoun are at Beresford's and Newdegate's back. 'All that clique I have no doubt are "irre? concilable in heart to me"; such a split as that in the Party would play the devil with it. 'And as far as I am personally concerned I would submit to anything short of having my ears cut off and appearing as a "Croppy" to be free again. My Pride can not stand leading an unwilling Party; I would just as soon thrust myself into a dinner room where I was at once an uninvited and an unwelcome guest'.? and on 12 January: T have a letter from Bankes in which in answer to one I wrote to him suggesting after himself and Miles Herries?Henley &amp; Granby as men who might be selected to fill my place. He says "I should have no hesitation in naming Lord Granby as your successor". I can not refrain from saying that if this could be effected it would afford me the greatest delight, and would be the first moment of real satisfaction I shall have enjoyed since in an evil hour the Office of Leader was imposed on me. NEW LIFE FOR PARTY T have not a doubt myself that with Granby for a leader entire new life would be given to the Party. ' Granby's high position, the prestige of such a name, and his gallant bearing (so mild, modest, and conciliatory withal) would have a wonderful effect in rallying and reuniting the Party and I do not see in all the Party a single man who should not rally round Granby with the same feeling he did round me. 'As for my rallying a personal party round myself as Mr. Canning did I have no preten tion to do anything of the kind; when Mr. Can? ning did that the House of Commons and England too acknowledged him to be the greatest Orator who had survived Pitt and Fox; he had been Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and had taken a conspicuous part in rousing the Country to carry on the war against France. T think Granby would hold the Party to gether and successfully keep Peel out. T don't know what to say about Beresford and Newdegate?the mischief has been done entirely through them; the John Bull of Sunday week in the same article in which it charged me with "having betrayed" the Party contains ex? pressions word for word identical with those to be found in Beresford's letter to me. 'The first wish of my heart is to see Granby installed as Leader of the Party'. Bentinck must have changed his mind, for Robert Blake says18 that he wanted Disraeli to succeed him and wrote furiously to Stanley on 9 February, 'None of this could have happened had you played a generous part'. He also wrote to Croker19 on 2 March. 'Mark my words spite of Lord Stanley, Major Beresford and Mr. Phillips and the Herald it will end before two sessions are out in Disraeli being the cursed leader of the party: but I think it will not be under Lord Stanley's banner whether he turns his coat on the Jew Bill or not'. Bentinck died suddenly that September, and as a tribute to his efforts on behalf of the colonial trade all the ships in the London docks from London Bridge to Gravesend flew their flags at half-mast on the morning of his burial. His departure from the political scene was now without significance. In a very real sense he had served his generation. In conversation with Greville, Disraeli admitted that if his party had come in Bentinck would not have succeeded as a Leader or Government Minister. 'There was is Blake, p. 261. 19 Groker, III, p. 165 (Derby papers).</page><page sequence="8">Lord George Bentinck and the Jews 51 besides the defect of his education a want of flexibility in his character. In his speaking there were physical defects he could never have got over, and as it had been proved that he could not lead an opposition, still less would he have been able to lead a Government'.20 This of course was not the view expressed by Disraeli in his rather grandiose life of Lord George Bentinck first published in 1851. This piece of spectacular special pleading is now rarely read and much of it is barely readable? it is indeed an over-elaborate sarcophagus. True it contains an admirably executed and basically sympathetic character study of Peel. It also contains the famous passage about the gentlemen of England which still reads like a roll-call of Homeric warriors.21 'But it was not merely their numbers that attracted the anxious observation of the treasury bench as the protectionists passed in defile before the minister to the hostile lobby. It was impossible that he could have marked them without emotion: the flower of that great party which had been so proud to follow one who had been so proud to lead them. They were men to gain whose hearts and the hearts of their fathers had been the aim and exultation of his life. They had extended to him an unlimited confidence and an admiration without stint. They had stood by him in the darkest hour, and had borne him from the depths of political despair to the proudest of living positions. Right or wrong, they were men of honour, breeding, and refinement, high and generous character, great weight and station in the country, which they had ever placed at his dis? posal. They had been not only his followers but his friends; had joined in the same pastimes, drank from the same cup, and in the pleasant? ness of private life had often forgotten together the cares and strife of politics. 'He must have felt something of this, while the Manners, the Somersets, the Bentincks, the Lowthers and the Lennoxes passed before him. And those country gentlemen "those gentlemen of England", of whom, but five years ago, the very same building was ringing with his pride of being the leader?if his heart were hardened to Sir Charles Burrell, Sir William Jolliffe, Sir Charles Knightly, Sir John Trollope, Sir Ed? ward Kerrison, Sir John Tyrrell, he surely must have had a pang when his eye rested on Sir John Yarde Buller, his choice and pattern country gentleman, whom he had himself selected and invited but six years back to move a vote of want of confidence in the whig government, in order, against the feeling of the court, to install Sir Robert Peel in their stead. LARGE-ACRED SQUIRES 'They trooped on: all the men of metal and large-acred squires, whose spirit he had so often quickened and whose counsel he had so often solicited in his fine conservative speeches in Whitehall Gardens: Mr. Bankes, with a par? liamentary name of two centuries, and Mr. Christopher from that broad Lincolnshire which protection had created; and the Mileses and the Henleys were there; and the Dun combes, the Liddells, and the Yorkes; and Devon had sent there the stout heart of Mr. Buck?and Wiltshire, the pleasant presence of Walter Long. Mr. Newdegate was there, whom Sir Robert had himself recommended to the confidence of the electors of Warwickshire, as one of whom he had the highest hopes; and Mr. Alderman Thompson was there, who, also through Sir Robert's selection, had seconded the assault upon the whigs, led on by Sir John Buller. But the list is too long; or good names remain behind. 'When Prince Metternich was informed at Dresden, with great ostentation, that the em? peror had arrived?"Yes; but without his army", was the reply. Sir Robert Peel was still first minister of England, as Napoleon remained emperor for a while after Moscow. Each per? haps for a moment had indulged in hope. It is so difficult for those who are on the pinnacle of life to realise disaster. They sometimes contem? plate it in their deep and far-seeing calculations, but it is only to imagine a contingency which their resources must surely baffle; they some? times talk of it to their friends, and oftener of it to their enemies, but it is only as an insurance of their prosperity and as an offering to propitiate their Nemesis. They never believe in it. 20 Greville, VI, 307/8. 21 See supra, note 11.</page><page sequence="9">52 Sir Henry d'Avigdor-Goldsmid 'The news that the government were not only beaten, but by a majority so large as 73, began to circulate. An incredulous murmur passed it along the treasury bench. ' "They say we are beaten by 73", whispered the most important member of the cabinet in a tone of surprise to Sir Robert Peel. 'Sir Robert did not reply or even turn his head. He looked very grave, and extended his chin as was his habit when he was annoyed and cared not to speak. He began to comprehend his position, and that the emperor was without his army.' ****** To my mind, the whole point of the bio? graphy was to win for Disraeli the confidence of the Conservative members whose leader, faute de mieux, as they thought, he had become. As part of his effort to wean the Party away from the sterile policies of Protection he deliberately underplays the part played by the Agricultural Societies in stimulating the opposition to Re? peal. He also considerably overplays the very modest part played by the Protectionists in the House in securing the downfall of Peel, and the famous passage quoted above must have given the more ribald descendants of these honour? able but undistinguished men cause for surrep? titious laughter. What is not so easily intelligible is the famous twenty-fourth chapter, which be gins, 'The relations that subsist between the Bedouin race that under the name of Jews is found in every country of Europe and the Teutonic, Slavonic, and Celtic races, which have appropriated that division of the globe, will form hereafter one of the most remarkable chapters in a philosophical history of man'. He then proceeds to adumbrate the views that were so much resented by his colleagues as to the superiority of the Jewish over the Christian faith and ends by proclaiming that Jesus of Nazareth, the Incarnate son of the most High God, is the eternal glory of the Jewish Race. This is doubtful philosophy; when he says that all countries that refuse the cross wither, while the whole of the new world is devoted to the Semitic principle, one wonders whether he believed such nonsense himself. The chapter as a whole is irrelevant to the biography: its inclusion must be taken as a testi? monial to his moral courage rather than to any metaphysical percipience, especially as the burden of the chapter is the very theme that in 1847 had given such offence to his party. As usual Disraeli has the last word: 'The views expressed in the preceding chapter', he says 'were not those which influenced Lord George Bentinck'. I feel I can claim without immodesty to have shown that they were not.</page></plain_text>

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