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BY T. P. O'CONNOR, M.P.
BENNETT BROTHERS, LONDON AND DUMBARTON
210. m. 893.
The production of this work in the present shape is the result of
a desire to make it more accessible to the general public.
Editions have already been published; but as the price was high,
the book could not reach the mass of the people. Hence this
It is well to state that the cheaper is a reprint
of the more expensive work.
Indeed, it is somewhat larger : a
few additions to the text having been found advisable.
BIRTH AND EARLY YEARS.
THERE are two stories with regard to the date of Lord Beaconsfield's birth : the one given by himself, 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 1804-a year earlier. 1 There is the same uncertainty as to where Lord Beaconsfield was born : some say it was in Hackney, and some, in Upper St. Islington; 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, Sarah, was the eldest child : Ralph and James were younger than he. Sarah accompanied her brother on one of his Eastern tours, and there are strong traces of her influence in "Alroy.” She died in 1859, and her tomb may be seen in Willesden Cemetery, Paddington. 2 James was appointed by Lord Beaconsfield
1 “Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History,” p. 300. 2 Miss D’Israeli plays an important part in the life of her father. “Towards the end of the year 1839, still in the full vigour of his health and intellect," writes Lord Beaconsfield of his father, “he suffered a paralysis of the optic nerve; and that eye, which for so long a term had kindled with critical interest over the volumes of so many literatures and so many languages, was doomed to pursue its animated course no more.” “Unhappily, ** proceeds Lord Beaconsfield, “his previous habits of study and composition rendered the habit of dictation intolerable, even impossible to him. But with the assistance of his daughter, whose intelligent solicitude he has commemorated in more than one grateful passage, he selected from his manuscripts three volumes." (“Curiosities of Literature" of Isaac D'Israeli, edited by his Son. Introduction, lviii., lix.) Let me give one or two specimens from the “grateful passages” in which Isaac D'Israeli speaks of the “ intelligent solicitude" of his daughter. In the Preface to the “ Amenities of Literature" (Moxon, 1841), occurs the following passage:-“There is one more remark in which I must indulge: the author of the present work is denied the satisfaction of reading a single line of it, yet he flatters himself that he shall not trespass on the indulgence he claims for any slight ipadvertencies. It has been confided to ONE whose eyes unceasingly pursue the volume for him who can no more read, and whose eager hand traces the thought ere it vanish in the thinking; but it is only a father who can conceive the affectionate patience of filial devotion." (ix.-x.)
“ Public favour," he writes again in the “Miscellanies of Literature" (Moxon, 1840, Prefaco • vi.), “ has encouraged the republication of these various works, which often referred to have long been difficult to procure. It has been deferred from time to time with the intertion of giving the subjects a more enlarged investigation; but I have delayed the task till it cannot be performed. One of the Calamities of Authors falls to my lot, the delicate organ of vision with me has suffered a singular disorder--a disorder which no oculist by his touch can heal, and no physician by his experience can expound; so much remains concerning the trame of man unrevealed to man! In the midst of my library I am as it were distant from