Disraeli, Benjamin by Faye Huntington
December 21, 1805, there came into the
home of a Jewish family in London a little
boy baby. They gave this little boy a long
name, but it is a good name, and you will at
once, upon hearing it, recall one of the most interesting
stories of the Old Testament. Perhaps
you have already guessed the name—Benjamin.
The father was Isaac Disraeli, a wealthy
Jew, and the author of several valuable books.
The young Benjamin grew up and began to
write, publishing his first work when he was
twenty-one years old. And this first book is
considered a work of remarkable merit.
He soon became interested in politics and
was a candidate for Parliament when he was
about twenty-seven years old. But he was
defeated not only the first time but again and
again. But not discouraged, he continued to
work towards the point which he desired to gain,
and in 1837 he took his seat in the House of
Commons. He continued to hold his seat in
that legislative body until his death, when he
was not attending to the duties of higher offices.
He was called to very high positions; indeed
to the highest honors that England has
to offer her subjects. He was Chancellor of the
Exchequer, which is an office corresponding to
the Secretary of the Treasury in the United
States. He was also prime minister in the
He was a man of great industry, and in addition
to his public labors he wrote several
novels which rank high as specimens of literary
excellence. However, as a statesman and an
orator he will be longest remembered. And
right here I want to tell the boys an incident of
his career which interests me, showing his determination
and persistence in overcoming his own
The first speech he made after becoming
a member of Parliament was a very poor one.
It is said that his manner as well as his words
were so pompous and pretentious and his gestures
so absurdly ridiculous that the House was
convulsed with laughter. In the midst of his
speech he closed abruptly and took his seat, saying
with the ring of resolve:
"I shall sit down now and you may laugh,
but the time will come when you will listen to
And that time did come! He delivered some
famous speeches in the House of Commons, and
as a debater he led his party.
Boys, we build oftentimes upon our failures!
We need not be discouraged if we are not successful
at first. Many of our great men have
made wretched work of their first efforts in the
line of their ambition. But rising above their
despondency, setting themselves at work anew
with increased energy, they have conquered.
So may you! Disraeli was admitted to the
peerage in 1876, and was known as Lord
Beaconsfield. Afterwards, because of some great
service rendered to his country while he was a
member of the Congress of Berlin, the Queen
made him a Knight of the Garter. This is the
very highest order of knighthood in the gift of
Perhaps some of you boys know something
about the "Reform Bill" which passed the
House of Commons in 1876, and which gave to
every householder the right to vote. By this
law a great many thousand men, nearly all of
them working men, were made voters. Disraeli
was the originator, and, the most earnest advocate
as well, of that bill, which, by his energy
and power in debate was pushed through.
Disraeli died a few years since, and perhaps
no statesman or author's death has ever called
forth more newspaper notices and eulogies than
You will find it interesting to study the life
and character of this man, whom not only England
and England's sovereign honored, but who
received many tributes of respect from the press
of our own land.