Benjamin Disraeli

Benjamin Disraeli ALS Mentioning Queen Victoria

Benjamin Disraeli ALS Mentioning Queen Victoria

 

2pp ALS inscribed overall and signed by then British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) as "Beaconsfield." on the bottom of the second page. Written in London, England on August 4, 1879 on mourning stationery embossed with British royal seal and "10, Downing Street, Whitehall" at top. Expected light paper folds and minor mounting traces to blank third and fourth bifold pages, else near fine. Each page measures 4.25" x 6.875."

 

Prime Minister Disraeli wrote Sir William Stephenson (1811-1898) in the summer of 1879. He addressed the letter to "Sir Wm. Stephenson K.C.B.," this last an honorific meaning "Knight of the Commander of the Bath."

 

"Private

 

Aug 4 79

 

Dear Sir William,

 

It would give me much pleasure, were you to permit me to submit your name to the Queen, as a member of the Royal Commissions to inquire +c. into the causes of the present Agricultural depression.

 

Yours very faithfully,

 

Beaconsfield."

 

One of Queen Victoria's favorite Prime Ministers, Disraeli had led a Conservative government since 1874. He did not know it, but the issue of the agricultural depression and his party's handling of it would cost him the reelection in 1880. In 1879, British agriculture was depressed due to a combination of wet weather, increased taxes, and cheap imported grain flooding in from the United States. Disraeli's Conservative Party failed to implement protective measures for British farmers, and Disraeli's arch rival and Liberal politician William E. Gladstone (1809-1898) would take over the premiership in April 1880. Disraeli served as Leader of the Opposition until his death in 1881.

 

The "Royal Commissions" to which Disraeli refers in his letter was the Royal Commission on the Depressed State of the Agricultural Interest, initiated in 1879 to investigate the causes of the downturn. The 17-member committee was comprised mostly of wealthy landowners whose findings were influenced by their own self-interests.

 

Sir William Stephenson was indeed appointed as one of the royal commissioners. Stephenson was a career politician whose career began as a 16-year-old Treasury clerk. He served as the private secretary of another British Prime Minister, Robert Peel, and served as the chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue between 1862-1877.

 

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Item: 64341

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Benjamin Disraeli
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