1844 | Manchester

Among the Best

Disraeli marvels at the glory that is Manchester.

A great city, whose image dwells in the memory of man, is the type of some great idea. Rome represents conquest, faith hovers over the towers of Jerusalem, and Athens embodies the preeminent quality of the antique world, art.

In modern ages, commerce has created London; while manners, in the most comprehensive sense of the word, have long found a supreme capital in the airy and bright-minded city of the Seine.

What art was to the ancient world, science is to the modern: the distinctive faculty. In the minds of men the useful has succeeded to the beautiful. Instead of the city of the violet crown, a Lancashire village has expanded into a mighty region of factories and warehouses. Yet, rightly understood, Manchester is as great a human exploit as Athens.


Benjamin Disraeli

From Coningsby; or The New Generation. Statesman, novelist, and two-term prime minister, Disraeli in 1824 unwisely speculated on a South American mining company and only emerged from debt in middle age. When he was made prime minister in 1868, he remarked to a friend, “I have climbed to the top of the greasy pole.”