Benjamin Disraeli’s Visit to Manchester - April 1872


 

Print of Benjamin Disraeli Addressing a Large Manchester Crowd. (See King William III banner on left of image)

Print showing thousands of Orangemen in their traditional sashes, some with
top hats and large Orange Banners watching Bro. Benjamin Disraeli address them.

 

 

 

In April 1872 Disraeli visited Manchester for a demonstration held in the Great Hall, Pomona Gardens.  Twenty thousand people marched through Manchester in the rain accompanied by bands and banners.
 
A report in ‘The Daily News’ wrote: 

‘Mr Disraeli has had a characteristic Lancashire reception – characteristic in more ways than one.  A raw, biting atmosphere and steady drenching rain – in fact, a ‘regular Manchester day’, as the people said to me – greeted him today; but Lancashire people are too accustomed to wet weather to feel the damp, and the wretchedness of the day was by no means reflected in the countenance of the people ... The afternoon demonstration was an immense one.  The Constitutional and Conservative Associations and the Orange Lodges of Lancashire all sent their flags and banners to Manchester, with deputations of enthusiastic Conservatives and Orangemen.  The various processions formed at the railway station and elsewhere, and converged to the new Albert-Square, and marched thence to Pomona Gardens, a distance of nearly two miles.  The crowds along the line of route were by no means dense, and very few of the houses had exposed any of their bunting to the rain.  There was very little cheering, very little enthusiasm, and not even half the curiosity which would certainly have been exhibited had the weather been fine.  In the gardens themselves, however, the excitement was immense ... Into this vast building the procession marched with band playing and colours flying.  Many of the banners must have been new for the occasion.  There were at least three with full-length portraits of Mr Disraeli; one, which belonged to the Bacup Conservative and Constitutional Association, created a great deal of enthusiasm.  It was of dark blue silk, with a rich orange border, and in the centre a full-length portrait of Mr Disraeli ... In point of numerical attendance and of enthusiasm the demonstration was of the most magnificent character.  Mr Disraeli was rather late, and the vast crowd swayed to and fro with some impatience till the Orangemen started ‘Rule Britannia’ and the meeting took it up’.
 


The Illustrated London News of 13 April 1872, reported: 

‘The visit of Mr Disraeli, last week, to the metropolis of the cotton-manufacturing district was made the occasion for extraordinary demonstrations of Conservative political sentiment ... Mr Disraeli was conducted by his friends to the Pomona Gardens, Cornbrook ... which had been hired for the assembly of local deputations to present addresses of political fealty from all parts of the county.  These marched into the vast hall in a long procession, with banners and bands of music ... The deputations were arranged in fourteen groups; Mr Disraeli shook hands with the leaders of each and said a few words to them.  They represented about 300 different bodies, with the Orange lodges, and presented 124 addresses.  The first group represented seven associations of the northern division of Lancashire, including the Conservative Registration Association, the Preston Conservative Club, and the Northern Star Loyal Orange Lodge.  The north-eastern division of the county was represented by about twenty-four Conservative and Orange bodies in two groups’.
 


The Manchester Weekly Times wrote:  

‘The bands attached to the Orange lodges excited great enthusiasm by striking up ‘Boyne Water’, and displaying their splendid banners, emblazoned with the insignia of their order and portraits of such good Orangemen as the Prince after whom the institution takes its name, the late Earl of Derby, and Mr Disraeli himself.  Some enthusiastic members distinguished themselves by shouldering their umbrellas like pikes with oranges stuck upon the points’.
‘The formal nature of the proceedings was here interrupted by the appearance of a lodge of loyal Orangemen from Salford, which somehow had succeeded in edging itself among the great county deputations.  To this enthusiastic deputation Mr Disraeli remarked, ‘I trust you will support my friend Mr Charley;’ to which the members of the deputation chorused in reply, ‘We will do’.’


‘The crowning honour of the day, however, was reserved for a Salford Orange Lodge named the Disraeli Loyal Orange Lodge, to whom the right hon. gentleman, exhibiting a due sense of the honour conferred upon him in the adoption of his name, said, ‘That was one of the greatest distinctions I ever received, and I hope I shall be a loyal brother’.’

A Royal Black Preceptory Banner Featuring Disraeli

 

Another report in The Daily News said:

The gorgeous sashes of blue and blue and orange worn by many of the chief personages and the favours pinned on the coats and dresses of the lesser luminaries, were, together with the elegant banners carried at the head of the several deputations, sadly injured by the pelting rain ... the tedium of waiting for the completion of arrivals was beguiled by the company taking advantage of the bands playing the tunes of the ‘Boyne Water’, ‘Rule Britannia’, ‘God bless the Prince of Wales’, and other airs common upon such occasions to give vent to numerous demonstrations of loyalty.’          
At the demonstration, Disraeli said that it was ‘one of the most remarkable incidents, perhaps I may say an unparalleled one, in the life of any public man’.

 

 A Portrait of Benjamin Disraeli

Who was Benjamin Disraeli?
Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, KG, PC, FRS, (21 December 1804 – 19 April 1881) was a British Prime Minister, parliamentarian, Conservative statesman, Orangeman and literary figure. He served in government for three decades, twice as Prime Minister in the 19th Century.* Visit Wikipedia for more information.

*SOURCE: Wikipedia.

 

Further reading:

Example of a satirical cartoon published in Punch magazine following Disraeli's Manchester speech.

Read Disraeli's Manchester speech as published in The Newfoundlander Newspaper in May 1872.







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