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PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

This is a reprint of the first edition. The pressure of the public demand for a new edition, and other circumstances, have prevented me making some corrections which I had intended introducing. Those corrections would have been, in most cases, of an almost typographical character. Here and there, for instance-as happens in even the most carefully revised work—a misspelled proper name, or a misplaced accent in a foreign word, called for change. Such trivial errors may be the more readily excused in face of the fact that, though the book has been necessarily and properly subjected to severe scrutiny, no misstatement or inaccuracy of any importance has been pointed out. This affords a reasonable ground for satisfaction to the author of a work which deals with all the prominent events of public life in England for a period of nearly fifty years. Objection, it is true, has been made to a few of my statements in reference to subsidiary matters. Dr. B. A. Kennedy regards my references in pp. 190–193 to the part he played in the Shrewsbury election of 1841 as “false,". . viii

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

“libellous,” and “scandalous." On examining, however, the reasons by which Dr. Kennedy endeavoured to justify such harsh epithets, I found that his own admissions afforded additional proof of the general accuracy of my representation of his conduct. He showed, on the other hand, that I had erred in two or three minor matters of detail. He did not invite Mr. Disraeli to the speech-day ; Mr. Disraeli came of his own accord. He is not a “staunch Tory,” but a “Constitutional Whig,” though in 1841 he was a supporter of Sir Robert Peel. And he did not—as the Shrewsbury Chronicle statedoppose the emancipation of the Jews. Those errors I gladly correct. A relative of Rogers the poet has written me a courteous letter, throwing doubt on the report that the poet stood godfather to young Disraeli when he was baptized. He also thinks that some of my casual references to Rogers give an unduly unfavourable view of the character of his celebrated relative. This is possible: all my statements with regard to Rogers are necessarily secondhand.

LORD BEACONSFIELD:

A BIOGRAPHY.

CHAPTER I.

BIRTH AND EARLY YEARS.

THERE are two stories with regard to the date of Lord Beaconsfield's birth : the one given by him. self, the other by Mr. Picciotto. According to “ Dod,” - that is, Lord Beaconsfield, — the future Premier was born on December 21, in the year 1805 : Mr. Picciotto fixes the date of the birth in 1804a year earlier.* There is the same uncertainty as to where Lord Beaconsfield was born: some say it was in Hackney; but the generally accepted tradition is that it was in the house at the south-west corner of Bloomsbury Square, facing Hart Street.

He was the son of Isaac D’Israeli, and of Maria, daughter of George (or Joshua) Basevi, of Brighton, and was the second of four children. His sister,

• "Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History,” p. 300.

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