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THE PRIME MINISTER

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PENGUIN

  
  

CLASSICS

THE PRIME MINISTER

ANTHONY TROLLOPE
was born in London in 1815 and died in 1882. His father was a barrister who went bankrupt and the family was maintained by his mother, Frances, who resourcefully in later life became a bestselling writer. His education was disjointed and
his childhood generally seems to have been an unhappy one.

Trollope enjoyed considerable acclaim as a novelist during his lifetime, publishing over forty novels and many short stories, at the same time following a notable career as a senior civil servant in the Post Office.
The Warden
(1855), the first of his novels to achieve success, was succeeded by the sequence of ‘Barsetshire’ novels
Barchester
Towers
(1857),
Doctor Thorne
(1858),
Framley Parsonage
(1861),
The Small House at Allington
(1864) and
The Last Chronicle of Barset
(1867). This series, regarded by some as Trollope’s masterpiece, demonstrates his imaginative grasp of the great preoccupation of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century English novels – property – and features a gallery of recurring characters, including, among others,
Archdeacon Grantly, the worldly cleric, the immortal Mrs Proudie and the saintly warden, Septimus Harding. Almost equally popular were the six Palliser novels comprising
Can You Forgive Her?
(1865),
Phineas Finn
(1869),
The Eustace Diamonds
(1873),
Phineas Redux
(1874),
The Prime Minister
(1876) and
The Duke’s Children
(1880). Among his other novels are
He Knew He Was Right
(1869) and
The Way
We Live Now
(1875), each regarded by some as among the greatest of nineteenth-century fiction.

DAVID SKILTON
was educated at King’s College, Cambridge and Copenhagen University, and until 1992 was Head of the School of English, Communication and Philosophy at Cardiff University. He is Literary Adviser to the Trollope Society and General Editor of the Trollope Society/Folio Society edition of
Trollope’s novels. His books include
Anthony Trollope and his Contemporaries
(1972, 1996),
Defoe to the Victorians
(1985),
The Early and Mid-Victorian Novel
(1993), and numerous editions of Victorian works, including Trollope’s
An Autobiography
(1996) in Penguin Classics.

 

ANTHONY TROLLOPE

The Prime Minister

Edited with an Introduction and Notes by

DAVID SKILTON

PENGUIN BOOKS

PENGUIN BOOKS

Published by the Penguin Group
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Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London
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, England

www.penguin.com

First published 1875–6
Published in Penguin Classics 1994
Reprinted with a new Chronology and updated Further
Reading 2004
12

Introduction and notes copyright © David Skilton, 1994
All rights reserved

The moral right of the editor has been asserted

Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject
to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent,
re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s
prior consent in any form of binding or cover
other than that in
which it is published and without a similar condition including this
condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser

CONTENTS

Acknowledgements

Chronology

Introduction

A Note on the Text

Further Reading

THE PRIME MINISTER

Notes

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The editor’s thanks are due to the New York Public Library for access to the manuscript of
The Prime Minister
, which is in the Arents Collection; to Robin Moffet, to Claire Connolly, to Christopher Skelton-Foord, to the Secretary of the MFH Association, and to the staffs of the London Library and the University Library, Cardiff

 

CHRONOLOGY

1815  Battle of Waterloo

Lord George Gordon Byron,
Hebrew Melodies

Anthony Trollope born 24 April at 16 Keppel Street, Bloomsbury, the fourth sea of Thomas
and Frances Trollope. Family moves shortly after to Harrow-on-the-Hill

1823  Attends Harrow as a day-boy (–1825)

1825  First public steam railway opened

Sir Walter Scott,
The Betrothed
and
The Talisman

Sent as a boarder to a private school in Sunbury, Middlesex

1827  Greek War of Independence won in the battle of Navarino

Sent to school at Winchester College. His mother sets sail for the
USA on 4 November with three of her children

1830  George IV dies; his brother ascends the throne as William IV

William Cobbett,
Rural Rides

Removed from Winchester. Sent again to Harrow until 1834

1832  Controversial First Reform Act extends the right to vote to approximately one man in five

Frances Trollope,
Domestic Manners of the Americans

1834  Slavery abolished in the British Empire.
Poor Law Act introduces workhouses to England

Edward Bulwer-Lytton,
The Last Days of Pompeii

Trollope family migrates to Bruges to escape creditors. Anthony returns to London to take up a junior clerkship in the General Post Office

1835  Halley’s Comet appears. ‘Railway mania’ in Britain

Robert Browning,
Paracelsus

His father dies in Bruges

1840  Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
Penny Post introduced

Charles Dickens,
The Old Curiosity Shop
(–1841)

Dangerously ill in May and June

1841   Thomas Carlyle,
On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History

Appointed Postal Surveyor’s Clerk for Central District of Ireland. Moves to Banagher, King’s County (now Co. Offaly)

1843  John Ruskin,
Modern Painters
(vol. I)

Begins to write his first novel,
The Macdermots of Ballycloran

1844  Daniel O’Connell, campaigner for Catholic Emancipation, imprisoned for conspiracy; later released

William Thackeray,
The Luck of Barry Lyndon

Marries Rose Heseltine in June. Transferred to Clonmel, Co. Tipperary

1846  Famine rages in Ireland. Repeal of the Corn Laws

Dickens,
Dombey and Son
(–1848)

First son, Henry Merivale, born in March

1847  Charlotte Brontë,
Jane Eyre;
Emily Brontë,
Wuthering Heights

A second son, Frederic James Anthony, born in September

The Macdermots of Ballycloran

1848  Revolution in France; re-establishment of the Republic. The ‘Cabbage Patch Rebellion’ in Tipperary fails

Trollopes move to Mallow, Co. Cork

The Kellys and the O’Kellys

1850  Alfred, Lord Tennyson,
In Memoriam

La Vendée
. Writes
The Noble Filt
, a play and the source of his later novel
Can You Forgive Her?

1851  The Great Exhibition

Herman Melville,
Moby Dick

Sent to survey and reorganize postal system in southwest England and Wales (–1852)

1852  First pillar box in the British Isles introduced in St Helier, Jersey, on Trollope’s recommendation

1853  Thackeray,
The Newcomes
(–1855)

Moves to Belfast to take post as Acting Surveyor for the Post Office

1854  Britain becomes
involved in the Crimean War (–1856)

Appointed Surveyor of the Northern District of Ireland

1855  David Livingstone discovers Victoria Falls, Zambia (Zimbabwe) Dickens,
Little Dorrit
(–1857)

Moves to Donnybrook, Co. Dublin

The Warden
. Writes
The New Zealander
(published 1972)

1857  Indian Mutiny (–1858)

Thomas Hughes,
Tom Brown’s Schooldays

Barchester Towers

1858  Irish Republican Brotherhood
founded in Dublin

George Eliot,
Scenes of Clerical Life

Travels to Egypt, England and the West Indies on postal business

Doctor Thorne

1859  Charles Darwin,
On the Origin of Species

Leaves Ireland to settle in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, after being appointed Surveyor of the Eastern District of England

The Bertrams
and
The West Indies and the Spanish Main

1860  Dickens,
Great Expectations
(–1861)

Framley Parsonage
(–1861, his first serialized fiction) and
Castle Richmond

1861  American Civil War (–1865)

John Stuart Mill,
Utilitarianism
. Mrs Beeton,
Book of Household Management

Travels to USA to research a travel book

Orley Farm
(–1862)

1862  Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
Last Poems

Elected to the Garrick Club

The Small House at Allington
(–1864) and
North America

1863  His
mother dies in Florence

Rachel Ray

1864  Elizabeth Gaskell,
Wives and Daughters
(–1866)

Elected to the Athenaeum Club

Can You Forgive Her?
(–1865)

1865  Abraham Lincoln assassinated

Lewis Carroll,
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Fortnightly Review
founded by Trollope (among others)

Miss Mackenzie, The Belton Estate
(–1866)

1866  Eliot,
Felix Holt the Radical

The Coverings
(–1867),
Nina Balatka
(–1867) and
The Last Chronicle of Barset
(–1867)

1867  Second Reform Act extends, the franchise further, enlarging the electorate to almost two million

Algernon Charles Swinburne,
A Song of Italy

Resigns from the GPO and assumes editorship of
St Paul’s Magazine

Phineas Finn
(–1869)

1868  Last public execution in London

Wilkie Collins,
The Moonstone

Visits the USA on a postal
mission; returns to England to stand unsuccessfully as a Liberal candidate for Beverley, Yorkshire

He Knew He Was Right
(–1869)

1869  Suez Canal opened

Richard Doddridge Blackmore,
Lorna Doone

The Vicar of Bullhampton
(–1870)

1870  Married Women’s Property Act passed

Dickens,
The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Resigns editorship of
St Paul’s Magazine

Ralph the Heir
(–1871),
Sir Harry Hotspur of
Humblethwaite
, and a translation of
The Commentaries of Caesar

1871  Eliot,
Middlemarch
(–1872)

Gives up house at Waltham Cross and sails to Australia with Rose to visit his son Frederic

The Eustace Diamonds
(–1873)

1872  Thomas Hardy,
Under the Greenwood Tree
and
A Pair of Blue Eyes
(–1873)

Travels in Australia and New Zealand and returns to England via the USA

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