Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
Benjamin Disraeli (180481)
For nearly five years the present Ministers have harassed every trade, worried every profession, and assailed or menaced every class, institution, and species of property in the country. Occasionally they have varied this state of civil warfare by perpetrating some job which outraged public opinion, or by stumbling into mistakes which have been always discreditable, and sometimes ruinous. All this they call a policy, and seem quite proud of it; but the country has, I think, made up its mind to close this career of plundering and blundering.
BENJAMIN DISRAELI, letter to Lord Grey de Wilton, October 3, 1873.W. F. Monypenny and George Earl Buckle, The Life of Benjamin Disraeli, vol. 5, chapter 7, p. 262 (1920).
Lord Grey was standing for Parliament, and was a personal friend of Disraelis, who wrote for publication a full-blooded letter, conceived in the hustings spirit, but it only restated, in pointed fashion, charges which Disraeli had often brought against Ministers in public speeches and [in] the House of Commons. A vehement outcry was, however, raised against its tone and language; and even many of his own party attributed to this indiscretion Grey de Wiltons failure by a small majority to win the seat. Disraeli was quite impenitent (p. 262).
A footnote indicates that the plundering and blundering phrase had been used before by Disraeli, in Coningsby, book 2, chapter 4.