"Embrace your principles or your mistress"

I’ve heard, more than once, of a legendary verbal exchange between two adversaries, that may have occurred in Parliament, that may have gone like:

Oooo…snap! (as the kids would say).

So did this exchange ever really take place? (Sounds too perfect to be true.) If so, what are the details? If not, where did this come from?

This site attributes it to John Wilkes, talking to the Earl of Sandwich.

Many other sites, including this BBC one, attribute it to Benjamin Disraeli, talking to W.E. Gladstone.

It’s often attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, but actually originated with John Wilkes putting the Earl of Sandwich in his place.

That was quick. Thanks, all.

One wonders about the reliability of verbal exchanges; did Wilkes have a biographer who chronicled this? Or was it just passed down by word of mouth?

According to my Oxford Dictionary of Quotations this IS(falsely) attributed to Wilkes in this exchange:

So, there is no contemporary proof that this is attributed correctly. It probably isn’t.

One invented a popular food, the other had a presidential assassin named after him. Who won? :slight_smile: