Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/349

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261
MR. BROUGHAM IS MADE CHANCELLOR.

of Pains and Penalties" had not closed the door of professional advancement against him, he had most effectually locked it against himself so long as her husband lived by the intemperate and ill-judged language in which he alluded to that event in the speech which he delivered at Edinburgh on the 5th of April, 1825.[1] But Brougham was constantly on the watch for its being opened, and on the very day when George the Fourth died, that is to say on the 20th of June, 1830, he spoke in the House of Commons in eulogistic terms of the new sovereign, praising him for allowing the Speaker to take the oaths at an unusually early hour in order to suit the convenience of members, a graceful act, which Mr. Brougham declared he hailed as a happy omen of the commencement of an auspicious reign. The astute K. C.'s object did not escape the penetrating eye of HB, who forthwith represented him as The Gheber Worshipping the Rising Sun, in whose smiling face we recognise the unmistakable lineaments of William the Fourth. The sun proved not unmindful of the attention; for, on the formation of Earl Grey's ministry in 1830, Mr. Brougham was made Lord Chancellor, with the title of Baron Brougham and Vaux. The appointment took the nation by surprise; for although a consistent upholder of Whig principles, he had always maintained a peculiar and independent position with his party, and was expected to prove rather an embarrassment than otherwise. These expectations were fully realized, and there can be no doubt that the sentiments which Lord Brougham's bearing as Chancellor excited among his colleagues and contemporaries, excluded him for the remainder of his life from all official life and employment.

With all his wonderful powers, however, Lord Brougham could make, as O'Connell asserted of him, as inconsiderate a speech as any man. One of these speeches, which was delivered on the 14th of August, 1833, in a debate on the bill for the abolition of slavery in the West Indies, suggested to HB a happy subject. His lordship is reported to have said that, "the object of the clause [then under discussion] was to make the black, from the moment that he arrived

  1. For the silly and spiteful observations made in this speech, see "Annual Register," 1825, p. 43.