A friendship factured
Dep. Hughenden 113/2, fols. 38r-9r
In April 1877 Russia went to war against Turkey. Nine months later the Russians were closing in on Constantinople. War fever swept Britain and the term 'jingo' was coined. Disraeli and Derby diverged over the means to avoid war. Disraeli was willing to threaten force. Alarmed by the prospect of war and close to breakdown, Derby had resorted to the extraordinary device of leaking cabinet discussions to Shouvaloff. Lady Derby did likewise.
In this letter written on 23 January 1878 Derby explains that he could not defend the decision to send the fleet to Constantinople. At Disraeli's request he postponed the announcement. A temporary recall of the fleet undercut Derby's argument but he finally left office on 27 March. After more than thirty years of collaboration, spanning two generations, the Disraeli-Derby link was broken.
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