Biography of Benjamin Disraeli Earl of Beaconsfield
Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-1881), was Rector of the University from 1871 until 1877.
Born in London, Disraeli trained as a lawyer but wanted to be a novelist. He became a politician in the 1830s and is generally acknowledged to be one of the key figures in the history of the Conservative Party. He was Prime Minister in 1868 and from 1874 to 1880. He famously acquired for Britain a large stake in the Suez Canal, and made Queen Victoria Empress of India. In 1876 he was raised to the peerage as the Earl of Beaconsfield.
Disraeli was an unsuccessful candidate in the rectorial elections of 1854 and 1859 but in 1871 he defeated the critic John Ruskin. He delivered his rectorial address in the Kibble Palace in the Botanic Gardens on 19 November 1873 and he was made a Freeman of the City of Glasgow the following day.
In the 1874 election, Disraeli defeated the American writer Ralph Waldo Emmerson to become Rector for a further three years.
Now available: A pdf version of Benjamin Disraeli's Rectorial Address (24 pages, 4.1mb. GUAS Ref: UGC 57/25/1. Copyright reserved.), delivered to the University of Glasgow on the 19th November 1873.