Disraeli and Gladstone lock horns again: - I
Letter from Gladstone, 30 July 1878
Dep. Hughenden 129/1, 89r-90r
The antipathy between Disraeli and Gladstone resurfaced in the summer of 1878. Disraeli and Salisbury had returned from the Congress of Berlin (held to settle the Russo-Turkish war) as national heroes, having secured the reform of the Turkish Administration, acquiring Cyprus and 'Peace with Honour' - a term later fatefully used by Neville Chamberlain on his return from meeting Hitler in 1938. Disraeli was irritated by Gladstone describing the Cyprus acquisition as an 'act of duplicity'. In a speech in Knightsbridge a few days before this exchange of letters he'd famously characterised Gladstone as 'inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity... command[ing] interminable ...series of arguments to malign an opponent and glorify himself' (Jenkins, Gladstone, p. 405). Disraeli complained in the House of Lords about the attacks on his character. Gladstone replied the following day in the Commons. These letters give a flavour of their stances, Disraeli seeking to elevate his by referring to the pressing demands of office, but conceding that the term 'devilish' had been used by one of Gladstone's colleagues.
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