Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Henry Brougham
BROUGHAM, Henry, first Lord Brougham and Vaux, man of letters, man of science, advocate, orator, statesman, and Lord High Chancellor of England, was born at Edinburgh on the 19th September 1778, and died at Cannes in France on the 7th May 18G8. During a great portion of a life extended to the unwonted term of ninety years, but espe cially in the third and fourth decades of the present century, from 1820 to 1840, no Englishman in any civil career played so conspicuous a part in public affairs or enjoyed so wide a fame as Henry Brougham. His indomitable energy, his vehement eloquence, his enthusiastic attachment to the cause of freedom, progress, and humanity, to which he rendered so many signal services, caused him to be j ustly regarded as one of the most extraordinary and illustrious men of his age and of his country. He brought to all he undertook a vigour and variety of intellect almost un paralleled ; for his ambition was to excel in all things, and he seemed to aspire to universal fame. " There go," said Mr Rogers, as he drove off one morning from Panshanger, " Solon, Lycurgus, Demosthenes, Archimedes, Sir Isaac Newton, Lord Chesterfield, and a great many more in one post-chaise." No man ever commanded with more effect the applause of listening senates, or could better rouse the depths of popular enthusiasm. His boundless command of language, his audacity, his memory stored with every sort of knowledge, his animal spirits and social powers, gave him the lead everywhere, and he was not slow to take advantage of his splendid talents and acquirements in every mode of life. His striking and almost grotesque personal appearance added to the effect of his voice and manner ; a tall disjointed frame, with strong bony limbs and hands, that seemed to interpret the power of his address ; strange angular motions of his arms ; the incessant jerk of his harsh but expressive features ; the exquisite modulations of his voice, now thundering in the loudest tones of indig nation, and now subdued to a whisper which penetrated to the very walls of the House of Commons and riveted the attention of the audience ; a power of mingling tenderness and scorn, argument and invective, in sentences which rose in accumulated involutions, but righted themselves at last, all contributed to give him the magical influence which a great actor exerts over a crowded theatre. Yet in the midst of all his triumphs, the companions of his early life and those who were best acquainted with his cha racter, knew that his extraordinary gifts and powers did not include all the elements of true greatness. He wanted that moral elevation which inspires confidence and respect, and which is even more essential than genius to the highest achievements and the most lasting fame. At times his eccentricity rose to the verge of insanity, as if the reins by which he guided his fiery temper had slipped from his hand. At the bar there were greater and better advocates ; on the bench there were more sure and learned judges ; in science he made no real discoveries ; in letters, notwithstanding the prodigious activity of his pen, he has left no work of lasting celebrity ; and although as an orator he was in his best days unequalled, he himself outlived the evanescent glories of his eloquence. Hence it has come to pass, that within fifty years of his most brilliant period, and within ten years of his death, the figure of Lord Brougham has already become somewhat indistinct. The generation which was fascinated by his eloquence and amused by the endless coruscations and evolutions of his character is passing away, and it has become a task of difficult) to preserve a faithful record of so strange and wonderful a phenomenon. That, however, which remains, and must ever remain as the noblest memorial of his life, is his unvarying devotion to the pro gress of liberal opinions, to the reform of the law, to popular education, to the emancipation of the negro race from slavery, and to the maintenance of peace. In this sense, he was, as he was once portrayed by an accomplished caricaturist of the day, a citizen of the world. Of every human right, Brougham was a champion ; of every human wrong, an avenger.
We shall not attempt in this notice of his life to follow the innumerable incidents of his long and varied career, or to enumerate the speeches and writings which he threw off like sparks on every imaginable occasion. Our object is rather to convey to the reader a just impression of the man, as he appeared to those who knew him as he was, and who still recall the transcendent effects of his energy. Lord Brougham has been unfortunate in his biographers. The memoir of him prepared by Lord Campbell, and published after the death of the author and of the subject of it, is written in a carping and derisive tone, unworthy of a distinguished rival. Lord Brougham s autobiography, which also appeared after his death, was begun when he had passed his eightieth year ; his faculties were impaired, his memory was failing, and the work is full of inaccuracies, which his successors were not authorized to correct. Yet we are indebted to it for some interesting particulars of his early life, which no one but himself could have preserved.
In his later years, after Lord Brougham had taken his seat in the House of Peers, he was wont to trace his paternal descent to Udardus de Broham, in the reign of Henry II. , and some memorials of that doughty crusader still decorate the baronial hall at Brougham. He claimed, besides, an infusion of pure Norman blood from Harold, Lord of Vaux in Normandy, whose title he added to his own. But these were the delusions of an enthusiastic mind. No real connection has been established between the ancient lords of Brougham Castle, whose inheritance passed by marriage from the Viponts into the family of the De Cliffords, and the Broughams of Scales Hall, from whom the chancellor was really descended. Brougham Hall was purchased from one James Bird by Brougham s great-grand- uncle, who, left it to his grandfather, an active attorney and agent to the duke of Norfolk for his grace s Cumberland property. His father, Henry Brougham, was sent to Eton, and afterwards travelled on the Continent. The sudden death of a young lady to whom this gentleman was about to be married, deeply affected him : he started in 1777 for a short tour in Scotland, but as fate would have it he never recrossed the border or revisited Brougham. In Edinburgh he took lodgings at the house of Mrs Syme, the widow of a clergyman, and a sister of Principal Robertson, the historian. This lady had a daughter of singular beauty and merit. Mr Brougham fell in love with her and agreed to settle in Edinburgh as a condition of obtaining her hand. They were married by Dr Robertson, and in the following year the eldest son, the illustrious subject of this notice, was born at No. 19 St Andrew Square. No feeling in life was more deeply rooted in the heart of Lord Brougham than his intense affection and veneration for his admirable mother. He repaid her early care and judicious guidance by the most ardent and unvarying demotion. He will ingly laid all the triumphs of his career at her feet ; and she lived to see him attain the proudest heights of fame and power. Nor was he less attached to the memory of his great uncle, the principal. To his dying day he would retrace with affectionate emotion the influence that accom plished scholar and excellent man had upon his own education. He well remembered his person and his precepts, for Dr Robertson only died in 1793, and nearly seventy years afterwards Lord Brougham, presiding over the Social Science meeting at Glasgow, was touched by hearing a " paraphrase," by his great kinsman, sung in Glasgow cathedral, the authorship of which was probably known only to himself. His parentage on his mother s side being Scotch, and Scotland the place of his birth and education and, indeed, of his entry into life he naturally retained many Scottish peculiarities of manner and intona tion ; yet Brougham was not a Scotchman, he was some what eager to throw off his Scottish character, and he said in after life that there was no place he should visit so unwillingly as Edinburgh.
From his earliest age Brougham showed signs of extra ordinary talents and energy. His mother averred that he spoke distinctly several words when he was eight months and two weeks old. In his cradle he was the terror of his nurses, and as he grew older his grandmother compared him to the admirable Crichton from his excelling in every thing he undertook. When barely seven he was sent to the High School of Edinburgh, where he gained a triumph over Luke Eraser, his tutor, by successfully justifying the use of some Latin words which Eraser had condemned in an exercise, and in August 1791, when he was not yet thirteen, he left the school as dux, or head of the fifth form, taught by the headmaster, Dr Adam. He entered the university of Edinburgh in the winter of 1792, and in addition to the study of Greek under Professor Dalzell, he applied himself to the natural sciences under Professor Playfair, and especially to mathematics. At twelve one of his cousins met him with a huge quarto under his arm, which turned out to be Laplace s Mecanique Celeste, in French. In the mathematical class he hit upon the binomial theorem before he had been taught it ; and he was soon conversant with the Principia of Newton. It was characteristic of his astonishing memory that he carried with him through life all he had learned in boyhood. We have seen him in later years vary the monotony of a legal argument by working a problem in algebra, or exchanging a Greek epigram with .Lord Wellesley, in the midst of grave debates of politics or of laws. In 17.94 he set to work to master the fluxional calculus ; and in the following year he sent a paper to the Royal Society on some new phenomenon of light and colours, which was printed in the Transactions of that learned body. A paper on porisms was published in the same manner in 1798, and in 1803 his scientific reputation was so far established that he was elected a fellow of the society. But these efforts were more remarkable for their precocity than for their novelty. In spite of his taste for mathematical reasoning Brougham s mind was not an accurate or exact one and his pursuit of the physical sciences was rather a favourite recreation than a solid advantage to him. He continued his experiments in optics through life, however, and would sometimes impart observations, which he took for discoveries, to the French Academy of Science. An enthusi astic discourse on Newton and the Newtonian philosophy was written by him in his eighty-fifth year, when a statue of the great philosopher was erected at Grantham, and at that age he was still fond of commenting upon the Principia.
But whilst Henry Brougham was following lectures in every branch of knowledge at the university, his inherent animal spirits and sociable nature made him the ring leader of the gayest and wildest youths of the time. Practical jokes, wrenching knockers, braving the watch, and wasting the small hours of the night, were pastimes as familiar to him as the gravest discussions. " Looking back," says he, in his Memoirs, " to these pranks reminds me of the inexhaustible fund of spirits one possessed, and how that capital foundation of never- tiring energy and endless restlessness enabled some of us to work on with unfailing strength to the end of life ; and even now, writing at nearly ninety years of age, I can recall them not boys but young men s freaks with pleasure and even exulta tion ; yet I agree with the old beggar Ochiltree, in the best of all Scott s works, saying Aye, aye ! they were daft days thae, but they were a vanity and waur. " The spirit of these " daft days," these mad-cap hours, clung to Brougham through life; and long after he had held his great seal of England, perhaps while he held it, he was just as ready to play his part in scenes of the wildest merriment as he had been at the university.
As early as 1792 he founded a debating society of a very juvenile character, to which several persons afterwards distinguished in life belonged. This society, however, sub sequently merged in the " Speculative Society," which had a hall and library of its own in the college. Here Brougham, Horner, Jeffrey, Cockburn, Murray, and Moncreiff tried their early powers, and gave the promise of that eloquence which eventually placed them all in Parliament or on the bench of justice. Brougham surpassed them all, not, indeed, in depth of knowledge or soundness of reasoning, but in the astonishing flow of his language, his readiness in reply, the grace of his elocution, and his withering gift of sarcasm and ridicule, Of all the remarkable powers he possessed that of oratory was unquestionably the first. Conscious of his natural strength and of the advantages to be derived from this faculty in a country which is largely governed and swayed by rhetoric, he applied himself with peculiar zeal to the art of public speaking. He made himself perfectly conversant with the great masterpieces of ancient eloquence, which he knew to a great extent by heart ; he ever maintained that the highest effects of the orator could only be achieved by diligent preparation and constant study ; he bestowed extreme care upon the modulation of his voice, which was one of extraordinary compass and strength ; even his gestures and attitudes were the result of thought, and it was remarked that in concluding thg elaborate peroration of his speech on the queen s trial, he assumed the majestic bearing with which a minister of the Scottish Church invokes the blessing of God in dismissing his congregation. Both by study and by practice, then, oratory was his chief art, and he con tinued through life to cultivate it with the enthusiasm of an actor, who never entirely attains to the fulfilment of his own ideal. No doubt, in the resistless torrent of his invective, in appeals to the passions of his audience, in the rapid and lucid exposition of facts, in the skilful arrange ment of his discourse, which was highly artificial, and in the power of wielding enormous and intricate sentences, Brougham was unrivalled. He entered the House of Commons, as we shall presently see, soon after the voices of Pitt and Fox had been hushed for ever. Except Canning, there was no one in Parliament who could be compared to Brougham, and he rapidly rose to a height of distinction which became at one moment supremacy. Yet on looking back, even to the most celebrated and successful of his efforts, subsequently revised and published by himself, little remains which can lay any claim to the dignity of classic eloquence. Notwithstanding Lord Brougham s study arid enthusiastic admiration of Demosthenes, nothing was more unlike the stern simplicity and grandeur of the great Athenian " Densiis, et brevis, et semper iastans sili " than the declamation of Lord Brougham. The force of the current was wasted in a flood which overleapt its banks and broke its barriers. The effect was more intense than permanent. Even in the judgment of his own con temporaries, Canning surpassed him in wit ; Plunket in felicity of diction ; Lyndhurst in terseness, policy, and cogency of argument ; Ellenborough in dignity : but none of them possessed his marvellous versatility, arid it seemed as if he had borrowed from each of these great speakers a share in some gift, which they possessed in higher perfec- tion than himself. Of all the branches of human knowledge to which Brougham directed his attention, and in which he attained to more or less proficiency, the study of the law was the least congenial to him. He speaks of it in early life as " the cursedest of all cursed pro fessions," and even in 1808, when he had come to England and acquired a certain degree of fame, he writes to Lord Grey : " Odious as that profession is (as God knows there are few things so hateful), I am quite clear that it would be folly in me to neglect so certain a pro spect." He added that he was setting out on the Northern Circuit with too slender a provision of law, his stock of practice being so small that he had never yet seen a nisi jjrius trial, but thought he might push through the thing with a little presence of mind and quickness. Fortunately for his future career, he had followed for two years the lectures of the professor of civil law in the university of Edinburgh ; and, as Lord Campbell admits, so far legalized his mind that he had gained a considerable insight into both Roman and feudal jurisprudence. These seeds of law, implanted in a powerful intellect, gave him a breadth of view not always combined with the techni calities of the English bar.
On the 23d May 1800 he was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates. It does not appear that he ever held a brief in the Court of Session, but he went a circuit or two, where he defended or prosecuted a few prisoners, and played a series of tricks on the presiding judge, Lord Esk- grove, which almost drove that learned person to distrac tion. The Scottish bar, however, as he soon perceived, offered no field sufficiently ample for his talents and his ambition. He resolved to transfer himself to London. He had already appeared as junior counsel in a Scotch appeal to the House of Lords. In 1803 he was entered at Lincoln s Inn, and on the 22d November 1808 he was called to the English bar by that learned society. It is a curious indication of the importance already attached to him as a party man, that the Tory attorney-general and the solicitor-general of the day thought it worth while to come down to Lincoln s Inn to endeavour to oppose his special call, which had been asked for, but was defeated by a single vote. He was called in the ordinary course in the ensuing term.
In this interval of time, however, he had struck a fresh vein which ensured to him power, popularity, celebrity, and for the time a subsistence. The Edin burgh Review was founded in the autumn of 1802, under circumstances which have often been related, by the young and aspiring lights of the northern metropolis. The polished style and judgment of Jeffrey, the wit of Sydney Smith, the wisdom of Homer, were suddenly brought to bear on the literature and politics of the day, and amongst them all Brougham was the most ready, the most versatile, the most satirical, and eager to fly at any game which might be on foot. To the first four numbers of the Review Brougham contributed twenty-one articles; to the first twenty numbers eighty articles, wandering through every imaginable subject science, politics, colonial policy, literature, poetry, surgery, mathematics, and the fine arts. The article on Lord Byron s Hours of Idleness, which stung the poet into a satirist, and gave the world English Jlarch and Scotch Reviewers, was attributed to his pen ; and Lord Cock burn used to relate that on one occasion Brougham wrote off an entire number, including one article on the operation of lithotomy and another on the music of the Chinese. What, however, was of more importance to the youthful author and to the world, was that Brougham stood henceforth itidissolubly pledged to the cause of the Liberal party, and to those principles of progress and reform to which he was destined to render so many signal services. The Edinburgh Review is the standard of that cause, and Brougham never rested until he had planted it on the loftiest battlements of the fortress. The prodigious success of the Review, and the power he was known to wield in it, made him a man of mark from his first arrival in London. He was welcomed at Holland House. He obtained the friendship of Lord Grey and the leading Whig politicians. His wit and gaiety made him an ornament of society, and he sought to extend his literary reputation by the publication of an elaborate work on the colonial policy of the empire. But his hopes of obtaining a seat in Parliament were not yet realized. He was still eating his commons at Lincoln s Inn. He was still in search of a career. Thus it fell out that, in 1806, Mr Fox being then Secretary of State, he was appointed secretary to a mission of Lord Rosslyn and Lord St Vincent to the court of Lisbon, with a view to counteract the anticipated French invasion of Portugal. The mission lasted two or three months ; it led to no results. Brougham came home out of humour and out of pocket ; and meantime the death of Mr Fox put an end to the hopes of the Whigs and to the broad-bottomed administration. The party to which Brougham had attached himself remained out of office for three-and-twenty years.
Brougham was disappointed by the abrupt fall of the ministry, and piqued that his Whig friends had not provided him with a seat in Parliament, the more so as some of his early friends and rivals were already launched on their political career. Nevertheless, he exerted his pen with prodigious activity during the election of 1809 ; and Lord Holland declared that he had filled the booksellers shops with articles and pamphlets. The result was small. No seat was placed at his own disposal. He was too poor to contest a borough ; and Perceval and Eldon obtained a majority greater than the majorities of Addington or Pitt. Fortunately for Brougham two questions at this time arose, which gave him a strong hold on the feelings and com mercial interests of the country ; and he was not slow to take advantage of them and lend them all the support of his energy and genius. When he entered public life the abolition of the slave-trade was well-nigh carried by the untiring exertions of Wilberforce, Thornton, Clarkson, Macaulay, and others. An immense organization had been formed, more especially by the Quakers and other non conformists, to bring the whole force of public opinion, awakened by the call of humanity and justice, to bear upon the horrors of a system which was still defended by the West India interest and the Government. Brougham allied himself to the leaders of this movement, and he remained through life not only faithful, but passionately attached to the cause. He combated, in and out of Parliament, every attempt to elude the restrictions on the trade in man. One of the first measures he carried in the House of Commons was a bill to make the slave-trade felony. He laboured incessantly to induce foreign countries to abolish the abhorred traffic, and he had at length the happiness, as Chancellor of England, to take a part in the final measure of negro emancipation throughout the British colonies. These services endeared him to a class of highly conscientious and influential persons, with whom he might not otherwise havebeen closely connected, and their support was of no small effect on the greatest triumph of his life, his election for the county of York in 1830.
Although till 1808 Brougham had no practice at the English bar, he had argued some Scotch appeals in the House of Lords and some prize cases at the " Cock-pit." He had acquired some knowledge of international law, and some experience of the prize courts. This circumstance probably led to his being retained as counsel for the Liverpool merchants who had petitioned both Houses of Parliament against the Orders in Council, framed in retalia- tion for the Berlin and Milan decrees. Brougham con ducted the lengthened inquiry which took place at the bar of the House, and he displayed on this occasion a mastery over the true principles of political economy and interna tional law which at that time no one else possessed. It saems incredible (though even now the delusion is not entirely dissipated) that the Government of a great com mercial nation should ever have thought that one of the most effectual and essential modes of carrying on war and destroying an enemy is to shut out the trade of neutrals, not perceiving that such measures rea.t with at least equal force against ourselves, and destroy the very sinews by which the burden of war can be sustained. The trade of the country was in truth suffering more from these fatal restrictions than from the war itself ; and nothing in the whole collection of Lord Brougham s harangues is more forcible or more ably reasoned than the speeches in which he described those sufferings, and denounced the cause of them.
Nevertheless, in 180S, he was unsuccessful. Neither the evidence taken during a six months inquiry nor the eloquence of the impassioned advocate prevailed. It was not until 1812, when Brougham was himself in Parliament, that he resumed his attack on the Orders in Council with increased authority and vigour, aided by Mr Baring, and still more, perhaps, by the peril and disgrace of the quarrel with America, and he ultimately conquered. No answer was made to his great speech on that occasion, except an intimation from the Treasury bench that the Orders in Council would be revoked. Of this great triumph Brougham afterwards said : " It was second to none of the efforts made by me, and not altogether without success, to ameliorate the condition of my fellow-men. In these I had the sympathy and aid of others, but in the battle against the Orders in Council I fought alone."
and so popular as Brougham hail now become should remain out of Parliament, and by the influence of Lord Holland, the duke of Bedford was induced to return him to the House of Commons for the borough of Camelford. He took his seat early in 1810, having made a vow that he would not open his mouth for a month. The vow was kept, but kept for that month only. He spoke on the fifth March in condemnation of the conduct of Lord Chatham at Walcheren, and he went on speaking for the rest of his life. In four months, such was the position he had acquired in the House that he was regarded as a candidate for the leadership of the Liberal party, then in the feeble hands of George Ponsonby. Some little time before a squib of infinite drollery was published in the New Whig Guide, by Lord Palmerston, under the significant title of "Trial of Harry Brougham for Mutiny." The mutiny consisted in his calling the Plight Honourable George Ponsonby an "old woman." When the negotiation took place in 1812 between the Prince Regent and Lords Grey and Grenville for the formation of a Whig Government, it was expected that the presidentship of the Board of Trade would be accepted by Brougham, who was not unwill ing to quit the bar altogether for political office. But this gleam of parliamentary success and official anticipation soon vanished. The Tories continued in power. Parliament was dissolved. Camel- ford had passed into other hands. Brougham was induced to stand for Liverpool with Mr Crecvy against Canning and General Gas- coyne. The Liberals were defeated by a large majority, and what made the sting of defeat more keen was, that another seat was speedily provided for Creevy, whilst Brougham was left out in the cold. He remained out of Parliament during the four eventful years, from 1812 to 1816, which witnessed the termination of thewar, and he did not conceal his resentment against the AVhigs.
Burning with political ambition, and conscious that he had no superior in the arena of the House of Commons, he had lost his seat in Parliament ; he was distrusted and feared by some of the leading members of the Liberal party, and, as he said himself in a letter to Lord Grey, "it is their pleasure to consider me as flung overboard to lighten the ship." Yet he stood aloof, not only from the extreme views of demagogues like Hunt and Cobbett, but also from the milder radicalism of Hobhouse and Burdett. Indeed, it deserves to be remarked, that fond as Brougham was of popular applause, and deeply imbued as he was with Liberal opinions, he never conde scended to flatter the Radical party or to ally himself with them ; but, on the contrary, when in later years differences arose between himself and the Whigs, he leaned rather to the Conservative side, and he was uniformly opposed to any measure which might overthrow the balance of the constitution.
place which gave ample employment to his bustling activity, and led the way to one of the most important passages in his life. He had been introduced in 1809 by Lord Dudley and Sir William Drummond to the society of the Princess of Wales, whose house at Kensington, and afterwards at Blackheath, was the resort of the most agreeable society in London. Canning, Granville Leveson, Dudley, Rogers, and Luttrell were constantly there. But it was not till 1812 that the princess consulted him on her private ail airs, alter the rupture between the Prince and the Whigs had become more decided. From that time Brougham, in conjunction with Mr Whitbrcad, became one of the princess s chief advisers ; he was attached to her service, not so much from any great liking or respect for herself, as from an indignant sense of the wrongs and insults inflicted upon her by her husband. We shall not attempt to follow the details of these deplorable transactions, which are fully related elsewhere, but one memorable scene, as related by Lord Brougham, cannot be passed over in silence. The Princess Charlotte, irritated and alarmed by her father s threats to break up her household and to marry her to the Prince of Orange, escaped in July 1814 from Warwick House, flung herself into a hackney coach in Cockspur Street, and drove to her mother s residence in Connaught Place. Mr Brougham, who was dining with a friend, was imme diately sent for, and on his arrival, half asleep from fatigue, found with extreme surprise what had occurred. The duke of Sussex, tho duke of York, Lord Chancellor Eldon, the bishop of Salisbury, and others subsequently arrived, but except the royal dukes, none of these personages were admitted to an audience. Brougham, a young barris ter of thirty-six, became and remained the chief adviser of this young princess of eighteen, the heiress to the crown . H is advice to her was, "Return at once to Warwick House orCarlton House, and on no account pass a night elsewhere." The debate was long and painful ; the grievances of the princess were numerous. At length, as day began to dawn, Brougham took her to the window, and pointing to the empty street and park, said, "In a few hours these, thorough fares will be crowded. I have only to show you from this window to these multitudes, they will rise in your behalf ; Carlton House will be attacked ; troops will be called out ; blood will be shed ; and whatever be the result, it will be known that your running away was the cause of this mischief. You would never get over it." This remonstrance prevailed, and the princess returned to Carlton House with her uncle the duke of York at five in the morning. This anecdote is so graphically told by Lord Brougham in several places that we preserve it. But it has not been corroborated by any of the other persons present ; and in a letter written by Brougham himself to Earl Grey on the following day, he said nothing of this touching appeal, but relates that the princess went back be cause the duke of York came, armed with full powers from the Regent to fetch her away. It is not improbable that the scene thus described is apocryphal, or at least embellished by Lord Brougham s imagination, for in his later years he was apt to mistake for actual occurrences the creations of his own fancy.
Charlotte from attending the drawing-rooms given to the allied sovereigns on their visit to England, resolved to go abroad. This unfortunate scheme was strongly opposed by the Princess Charlotte, and not less so by Mr Whitbread and Mr Brougham. The latter addressed a letter to the Princess of Wales on the eve of her departure, in which he pointed out with great sngacity and good sense the fatal consequences of her withdrawal from England. "As long as you remain in this country," he said, "I will answer for it that no plot can succeed against you. But if you are living abroad, surrounded by the base spies and tools who will always be planted about you, ready to invent and swear as they may be directed, who can pretend to say what may happen ? I declare, I do not see how a proposition hostile to your Royal Highness s marriage could be resisted if you continued living abroad." How completely these predictions were fulfilled is sufficiently known. Brougham appears to have had but little correspondence with the princess during her residence in Italy. But in 1820, when she resolved to return to England on the accession of George IV., he was sent by the Government conjointly with Lord Hutchinson, to dissuade her from that step and to offer her terms. Brougham certainly disapproved of her return ; but for some mysterious reason he withheld the proposed terms of compromise until it was too late, and when they were laid before the queen at St Omer she rejected them with scorn. The death of Mr Whitbread and of the Princess Charlotte, which had occurred in the interval, had removed two important checks on the rashness of the queen ; and Brougham, who had failed to prevent her from going away, was equally unable to prevent her return. It has even been surmised that, from a loveof mischief and of power, he desired it.
and he instantly resumed a commanding position in the House of Commons. He sueeecded in defeating the continuance of the income tax; ho distinguished himself as an advocate for the education of the people ; and on the death of Komilly he took up with ardour the great work of the reform of the law. It has taken half a century to workout the plans of these early law reformers, and the last year or two have given us a national system of education and a new judicature with an entirely new form of procedure. But not the less glorious and valuable were the services of those who first engaged in these great tasks. Nothing exasperated the Tory party more than the select committee which sat, with Mr Brougham in the chair, in 1816 and the three following years, to investigate the slate of education of the poor in the metropolis. The inquiry w.i.s extended so far as to include the great collegiate foundations of Eton, Winchester, and the Charter House ; and the report of the committee was attacked with great virulence by Bishop Monk in the Quarterly Review and by Sir Robert Peel in the House of Commons. In time, however, the exposure of abuses bore fruit, and we owe to it some of the most important improvements of the age. Brougham, however, was as far as ever from obtaining the leadership of the party to which lie aspired. Indeed, as was judiciously pointed out by Lord Lansdowne in 1817, the opposition had no recognised ellicient leaders ; their warfare was carried on in separate courses, indulging their own tastes and tempers, without combined action. Nor was Brougham much more successful at the bar. The death of George III. suddenly changed this state of things. Queen Caroline at once, in April 1820, appointed Mr Brougham to be Her Majesty s attorney -general, and Mr Denman her solicitor- general. They immediately took their rank in court accordingly ; and, indeed, this was the sole act of royal authority which marked the queen s brief and unhappy reign. In July Her Majesty came from St Omer to England ; ministers sent down to both Houses of Parliament the secret evidence which they had long been collecting against her ; and a bill was brought into the House of Lords for the deposition of the queen and the dissolution of the king s marriage. The long repressed spirit of opposition in the nation against a bigoted and tyrannical Government was inflamed to a conflagration by the sense of the queen s wrongs. Guilty or innocent (and no one could dispute the excessive levity of her conduct), she was regarded by the people of England as a persecuted woman, a deserted wife, an outraged mother ; and these charges were brought against her by those who were guilty of far greater offences. "My mother would not have been so bad," the Princess Charlotte is reported to have said, " if my father had not been much worse." Themes such as these, worked upon by the eloquence of Brougham and the activity of the queen s friends, produced a popular commotion, which in any other country would have causedbloodshed, and perhaps revolution.
by Denman, Lushingtou, and Wilde, with equal courage and ability. He hurled back defiance on the prosecutors, and threatened, if driven to the last extremity, to retaliate on the person of the sovereign ; though if he had set up the marriage of the Prince with Mrs Fitzherbert as a valid marriage (which it certainly was not), he would thereby have annulled the subsequent marriage of his royal client. He demolished piece by piece with merciless severity the whole fabric and tissue of Italian evidence, raked together and paid for by the Milan commission; and he wound up the proceedings by a speech of extraordinary power and elfort. The peroration was said to have been written and rewritten by him seventeen times. At moments of great excitement such declamation may be of value, and in 1820 it was both heard and read with enthusiasm. But to the calmer judgment of another generation this celebrated oration seems turgid and overstrained. The truth is, that there were moments in the course of the trial when the evidence pressed so hardly on the queen that her counsel were on the point of throwing up the case. But a generous feeling, impelled by an immense popular sympathy, prevailed. It was certain the bill could never pass the Hoxise of Commons, where the same appeals might be made to a less judicial assembly. The final majority in the Lords dwindled to nine ; and Lord Liverpool announced that he shouldnot proceed with the bill.
Brougham at once to the pinnacle of fame. He shared the triumph of the queen. His portrait was in every shop window. A piece of plate was presented to him, paid for by a penny subscription of peasants and mechanics. With his wonted disinterestedness in money matters, he refused to accept a sum of 4000 which the queen herself placed at his disposal. He took no more than the usual fees of counsel, while his salary as Her Majesty s attorney-general re mained unpaid, arid was discharged by the Treasury after her death. But from that moment his fortune was made at the bar. His practice on the northern circuit instantly quintupled. One of his finest speeches was a defence of a Durham newspaper which had attacked the clergy for refusing to allow the bells of the churches in Durham to be tolled on the queen s death ; and by the admis sion of Lord Campbell, a rival advocate and an unfriendly critic, he rose suddenly to a position which no man has before or since attained to in the profession. The meanness of George IV. and Lord Eldon refused him the silk gown to which his position at the bar entitled him, and for some years he led the circuit as an outer barrister, to the great loss of the senior members of the circuit, who could only be employed against him. His practice rose to about 7000 a year,but it was again falling off before he became Chancellor.
The death of Lord Castlereagh in 1822, and the advance ment of Canning to the office of Foreign Secretary, materi ally changed the character of Lord Liverpool s Govern ment. Canning and Brougham sat on opposite benches the one a follower of Pitt, the other of Fox ; and they were constantly pitted against each other. Sometimes their rhetorical conflicts assumed an intense violence, as when Brougham accused the minister of " the most monstrous truckling for the purpose of obtaining office that the whole history of political tergiversation could furnish." Canning indignantly exclaimed, "It is false ;" and the quarrel was with some difficulty appeased, though Brougham was not supposed to be very ready to employ any weapon sharper than his tongue. But Canning and Brougham were in truth rivals rather than antagonists ; and the more liberal influence of the former in the ministry had almost brought them into union upon the leading questions of the day, always excepting that of parlia mentary reform. Had Canning lived and maintained himself in power, it might have fallen to his lot to carry Catholic Emancipation and a more moderate measure of parliamentary reform. But if, as is believed, Earl Grey was excluded from Mr Canning s Government by an ex press stipulation of the king, it follows a fortiori that the attorney-general of Queen Caroline could never be a minister of George IV. That sovereign had shown on several occasions that the attacks made on him by Brougham were never forgotten or forgiven; and Canning, whose own position at court was difficult enough, had certainly not the power to overcome the king s resentment. Brougham, however, promised and gave his shortlived administration an independent support unlike Lord Grey, who fiercely and ungenerously attacked it.
To this period of his life belong two occurrences which cannot be passed over in silence. In 1825 the first steps were taken, under the auspices of Brougham, for the establishment of a university in London, absolutely free from all religious or sectarian distinctions, a scheme which has grown and ripened in half a century into no unworthy rival of the other universities of northern and southern Britain. In 1827 Brougham contributed to found the " Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge," an S. D. U. K. association which gave an immense impulsion to sound popular literature. Its first publication was an essay on the " Pleasures and Advantages of Science," written by himself. One can hardly imagine at the present time with what avidity this paper was read, for it had no novelty of substance and no great merit of style. But a thirst for knowledge seemed suddenly to have seized the nation. It broke forth in mechanics institutes and every form of instruction. To use his own language on a cele brated occasion " the schoolmaster was abroad ;" and the excitement he had contrived to kindle on these subjects tended to hasten a great crisis in our political life. In the following year (1828) he delivered his great speech on " Law Reform," which lasted six hours in the delivery in a thin and exhausted House, a marvellous effort, which embraced every part of the existing system of judicature, and concluded with one of his noblest perorations. " It was the boast of Augustus," he said, " and it formed part of the glory in which his early perfidies were lost, that he found Rome of brick and left it of marble, a praise not unworthy of a gre^t prince, and to which the present reign also has its claims. But how much nobler will be the sovereign s boast, when he shall have it to say that he found law dear and left it cheap ; found it a sealed book, left it a living letter ; found it the patrimony of the rich, left it the inheritance of the poor ; found it the two-edged sword of craft and oppression, left it the staff of honesty and the shield of innocence ! "
The death of Canning, the failure of Lord Goderich, and the accession of the duke of Wellington to power, again changed the aspect of affairs ; but the resolution of mini sters to carry Catholic Emancipation disarmed the Opposi tion, whilst it split the Tory party. Graver events were impending. The French Revolution of 1830, following close upon the death of George IV., awakened a passionate excitement throughout Europe, and especially in this country. The days of Tory government were numbered. The cry of " Reform " was raised; and the leader to " ride the whirlwind and direct the storm" was Henry Brougham. Then it was that the united county of York spontaneously returned him to the new House of Com mons as their representative. It was the proudest moment of his life, for he was literally not only the representative of the county of York, but of the people of England. A stranger by birth to that great province, and without an acre of land in it, he, by his talents, eloquence, public services, and love of freedom alone, triumphed over the proud Yorkshire families, and took his seat in the House of Commons with a power no Englishman of this age has possessed. The Parliament met in November. Brougham s first act was to move for leave to bring in a bill to amend the representation of the people ; but before the debate came on the Government was defeated on another question; the duke resigned, and Earl Grey was commanded by William IV. to form an administration.
Amongst the difficulties the new premier and the Whig party had to encounter and to surmount, none was greater than that arising from the position, the attitude, and the talents of Mr Brougham. He was not the leader of any party ; he had no personal following in the House of Com mons ; he was distrusted by the Whigs, who looked up to Lord Althorp as their chief ; he was dreaded alike by friends and foes ; but there stood, in solitary might, the formidable member for the county of York, armed with invincible eloquence, and backed by the suffrages of the people. He himself had repeatedly declared that nothing would induce him to exchange his position as an inde pendent member of Parliament for any office, however great ; and, no doubt, as an independent member of Parlia ment he exercised at that moment a power greater than any office could give. On the day following the resigna tion of the Government, he reluctantly consented, in low and angry tones, to postpone for one week his motion on parliamentary reform. The attorney-generalship was offered to him by Lord Grey ; it was indignantly rejected. Brougham himself affirms that he desired to be master of the rolls, which would have secured him a large income for life, and left him free to sit in the House of Commons. But this was positively interdicted by the king, and objected to by Lord Althorp, who declared that he could not undertake to lead the House with so insubordinate a follower behind him. Meanwhile Brougham had discovered, at a meeting of several leading members of his party at Holland House, that he was not taken freely into their counsels ; he came home exasperated and vowing venge ance against them. Lord Grey, personally, would have preferred to retain Lord Lyndhurst as his chancellor ; but it was impossible to leave Brougham out, and he was only to be brought into the ministry by the offer of the great seal. When the question was considered at the first meet ing of the inchoate ministry at Lansdowne House, Lord Holland said to his colleagues, " I suppose it must be so, but this is the last time we shall meet in peace within these walls." Brougham himself hesitated, or affected to hesitate. He was undoubtedly reluctant to quit the House of Commons and his seat for Yorkshire. His mother, with great wisdom, dissuaded him from accepting these treacher ous gifts and honours. He alleged that, as the ministry might be of short duration, he was making a large sacrifice in giving up his professional income for a pension of .4000 a year and a peerage which he had no other means to support. But he yielded to the representations of Lord Grey and Lord Althorp, that without him as Chancellor the Government could not be formed. On the 22d November 1830 the great seal was delivered to him by the king, and he took his seat on the Woolsack that evening as speaker of the House of Lords, being still a commoner. On the following day, after he had sat to hear a Scotch appeal, the patent of his peerage as Baron Brougham and Vaux was brought down. The Lord chancellor then quitted the woolsack, robed, and was introduced as a baron by the Marquis Wellesley and Lord Durham.
The mind of man can conceive nothing more vivid and more various than the chancellorship of Lord Brougham. It lasted in all exactly four years no more ; but the times were burning with excitement, and the chancellor embodied and expressed the fervour of the times. To rival Lord Bacon in the philosophy of the closet and Lord Hardwicke in the courts of equity, to declaim like Chatham in the House of Lords, and jest like Sheridan at Lord Sef ton s dinners, seemed alike easy tasks to Brougham. He never doubted of his own capacity to play every part in turn, judge, statesman, orator, philosopher, buffoon; and he did play them all with as much success as an imitation can bear to a reality. Unhappily the verdict of time has proved that there was nothing of permanence, and little of originality, in the prodigious efforts of his genius. He affected at first to treat the business of the Court of Chancery as a light affair, though in truth he had to work hard to master the principles of equity, of which he had no experi ence. His manner in court was desultory and dictatorial. Sometimes he would crouch in his chair, muffled in his wig and robes, like a man asleep ; at other times he would burst into restless activity, writing letters, working problems, interrupting counsel, Mortal offence he gave to Sugden, then the leader of the Equity bar, who detested his person and despised his law. But upon the whole Brougham was a just and able judge ; and if few of his decisions are cited as landmarks of the law, still fewer of them have been overruled. His wonderful powers of despatch enabled him to work off the arrears of the court in ten months, a thing which had never before occurred in human memory, and in September 1831 he boasted that not a cause re mained for hearing before the Lord Chancellor. Yet towards the close of his tenure of office in the spring of 1834, he complained to his colleagues of the tremendous drudgery he had undergone ; he had sat up all the nights of winter, he said, to write seventy elaborate judgments, and he conceived that he was ill requited for the sacrifices he had made.
His duties as a judge, however, ranked second in his eyes to his duties as a politician and a legislator; and he took a most active and prominent part in the defence of all the great measures of Lord Grey s Government. We say in the defence of them, for he had less hand in the preparation of them than he wished it to be believed. His own statement that he had called his friends together and submitted to them a complete scheme of parliamentary reform is entirely unsupported, and, indeed, formally contradicted. The draft of the Reform Bill was prepared by a committee of four other members of the Cabinet, and accepted with some hesitation by Brougham. But once launched in the contest, especially in the House of Peers, it owed a great deal to the vigour with which he defended it. The king, William IV., appears at first to have been amused and nattered by the attentions of his chancellor, who made infinite exertions to ingratiate himself with the court. But his manner, which was at first obsequious, became dictatorial ; his restless eccentricity and his passion for interfering with every department of state, alarmed and irritated the king, and at last the former liking was turned into bitter aversion.
It would be superfluous in this place to follow the fortunes of the Reform Bill of 1832, and we shall confine ourselves to a brief notice of the part which Lord Brougham took in promoting it The first grand crisis in the con test occurred in April 1831, when General Gascoyne s amendment was carried against the Government. A cabinet was held, and ministers agreed to advise the king to dissolve Parliament. The king not only assented, but expressed his readiness to go down to Westminster in a hackney coach if necessary. The elaborate narrative com municated by Lord Brougham to Mr Roebuck, and adopted by Mr Moles worth in his History of the Reform Bill, by which it would appear that Lord Grey and the Lord Chancellor resorted to management and a species of mild compulsion in making this proposal to William IV., Lord Brougham having taken upon himself to order out the royal carriages and the guards, is found on more exact inquiry to be unfounded. Unquestionably it was the duty of the prime minister to take the king s pleasure on such an occasion, though the chancellor, contrary to the usual practice, did accompany him, but the whole correspondence of the king on the subject of reform is addressed to Eaii Grey alone. The second great crisis in the passage of the bill was in May 1832, when it became necessary to obtain from the king his consent to make peers in sufficient number to carry the bill, if the majority in the Upper House persevered in the attempt to defeat it, It has been stated, apparently on Lord Brougham s aitthority, that in the course of an audience granted to Lord Grey and himself, he succeeded in extorting from the king, in writing, the following paper:—
" The king grants permission to Earl Grey, and to his chancellor Lord Brougham, to create such a number of peers as will be sufficient to ensure the passing of the Reform Bill, first calling up eldest sons.
(Signed) William R.
" Windsor, May 17, 1832."
It is enough to say that this extraordinary document has never been seen by any one, and is not known to exist, therefore its exact tenor must be a mystery. The king was not at Windsor on the 17th May, but at St James s ; and the Cabinet asked for an assurance of His Majesty s inten tions on the following day (the 18th), which they would not have done if a written promise had been given the day before. This story, therefore, is incredible, and in Lord Brougham s autobiography nothing is said of this written paper Lord Grey and Lord Brougham were both of them strongly averse to the creation of peers, which was fiercely urged on them by some of their colleagues, such as Lord Durham and Sir John Hobhouse. Lord Brougham has even intimated a doubt whether at the last extremity they should have used the power the king had at one time most reluctantly given them. But they both knew that their honour, and possibly their lives, were staked on carrying the bill ; and, fortunately, they were relieved from the dire necessity of swamping the House of Lords by the influence of the king and the duke of Wellington over the Tory majority.
It is surprising that Lord Grey s administration, which had achieved so great a work in passing the Reform Bill, and was supported by an immense majority in the reformed Parliament, should so soon have come to an end. But Lord Grey was perpetually threatening to resign office; Lord Althorp longed for retirement ; the question of the Irish Church led to the secession of four important mem bers of the Cabinet; the queen was hostile; and the kin"- was alarmed and dissatisfied with the Whig ministers. InJuly 1834 the crisis arrived, and having carried on the govern ment for three years and 231 days, Lord Grey resigned. Lord Brougham had contrived to monopolize the authority and popularity of the Government, and no doubt his in satiable activity contributed to this result ; and there were those who accused him of having intrigued to bring it about, with a view to superseding Lord Grey himself. But this imputation is unjust. Brougham, however, had caused Mr Littleton, the Irish secretary, to suggest to Lord Wellesley, the lord-lieutenant, that some of the clauses in the Irish Coercion Bill might be withdrawn on its renewal, with a view to conciliate O Connell. Lord Althorp was of the same opinion ; but Lord Grey refused to entertain the proposal, and on this rock the ship struck. Brougham declared with great vehemence that it was madness to resign, and that for his own part he had not tendered his resignation. Very much by his exertions the Cabinet was re constructed under Lord Melbourne, and without Lord Grey; and he appeared to think that his own influence in it would be increased. He laboured at the time under extreme mental excitement, and in this state he unfortunately pro ceeded to make a journey or progress to Scotland, where his behaviour was so extravagant that it gave the final stroke to the confidence of the king. At Lancaster he joined the bar-mess, and spent the night in an orgy. In a country house he lost the great seal, and found it again in a game of blindman s-buff. At Edinburgh, in spite of the coldness which had sprung up between himself and the Grey family, he was present at a banquet given to the late premier, and delivered a harangue on his own services and his public virtue. All this time he continued to correspond with the king in a strain which created the utmost irrita tion and amazement at Windsor. He seemed totally un conscious of the abyss which was opening at his feet. He was not the Bacon but the Wolsey of the 19th century.
The term opened in November with the usual formalities. But on the 16th of that month the king dismissed his ministers. The chancellor, who had dined at Holland House, called on Lord Melbourne in his way home, and learned the intelligence. Melbourne made him promise that he would keep it a secret till the morrow ; but the moment he quitted the ex-premier, he sent a paragraph to the Times relating the occurrence, and adding that " the queen had done it all." That statement, which was totally unfounded, was the last act of his official life. The Peel ministry, prematurely and rashly summoned to power, was of no long duration, and Brougham naturally took an active part in overthrowing it. Lord Melbourne was called upon in April 1835 to reconstruct the Whig Govern ment with his former colleagues. But, formidable as he might be as an opponent, the Whigs had learned by ex perience that Brougham was even more dangerous to them as an ally, and with one accord they resolved that he should not hold the great seal or any other office. The great seal was put in commission, to divert for a time his resentment, and leave him, if he chose, to entertain hopes of recovering it. These hopes, however, were soon dissipated ; and Later par- although the late chancellor assumed an independent Hamentary position in the House of Lords, and even affected to protect lat)0urs - the Government, his resentment against his "noble friends" soon broke out with uncontrolled vehemence. Throughout the session of 1835 his activity was undiminished. .Bills for every imaginable purpose were thrown by him on the table of the House, and it stands recorded in Hansard that he made no less than 221 reported speeches in Parliament in that year. But in the course of the vacation a heavier blow was struck. Lord Cottenham was made Lord Chancellor. The breach had manifestly become irrepar able. Even Lord Brougham s buoyant and daring spirit sunk for a time under the shock. A dreadful period of depression succeeded to the wild frenzy of the preceding years, and during the year 1836 the voice of Lord Brougham was unheard. He passed the spring and summer in AYest- moreland, and avoided all political conversation and corre spondence. Fifty-six years of his life were spent, and not much more than twenty of them had been spent in Parlia ment, where he had earned the most prodigious reputation and influence of modern times. " What is the House of Lords without Brougham 1 " we have heard Lord Lynd- hurst say " Brougham is the House of Lords." For more than thirty years after his fall he continued to take an active part iu its judicial business and in its debates. There was still a power in the tone of that voice, raised as it always was in the cause of peace, humanity, and freedom ; but it would have been better for his fame if he had died in the midst of his glory His reappearance in Parliament on the accession of Queen Victoria was marked by sneers at the Court, and violent attacks on the Whigs for their loyal and enthusiastic attachment to their young sovereign; and upon the outbreak of the insurrection in Canada, and the miscarriage of Lord Durham s mission, he overwhelmed his former colleagues, and especially Lord Glenelg, with a torrent of invective and sarcasm, equal in point of oratory to the greatest of his earlier speeches. But why pursue the painful narrative of these writhings of a wounded spirit and a broken ambition 1 Without avowedly relinquish ing his political principles, Brougham had estranged him self from the whole party by which those principles were defended. Flattered, and not unwilling to be flattered, by the Tories, he fought side by side with Lyndhurst, and paid the most fulsome court to the duke of Wellington and a long train of women of quality and men of fashion.
Amongst the humorous expedients resorted to in order to keep his name before the public, a false report of his death was sent up from Westmoreland in 1839, which obtained credence from the persons to whom it was addressed, The newspapers published articles on the melancholy event, and in the Morning Chronicle Mr Sheil exclaimed—
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" The extravagant and erring spirit hies To his confine," whilst he paid a just tribute to the splendid talents and services of the deceased.
It is more agreeable to dwell on the judicial services he continued assiduously to render in the Privy Council and the House of Lords. The Privy Council, especially when hearing appeals from the Colonies, India, and the courts maritime and ecclesiastical, was his favourite tribunal. He had practised a good deal before it (or, as he always called it, " the Cock-pit," so named because the cock-pit of Henry VIII. was the site of the present council chamber) when a young man, before he was called to the English bar ; its vast range of jurisdiction, varied by questions of foreign and international law, suited his discursive genius. He had remodelled the judicial committee in 1833, and it still remains one of the most useful of his creations ; and he at one time aimed at making himself the president of this committee. To this board Lord Brougham devoted for about sixteen years a very considerable amount of time and labour, and many of his most able and elaborate judgments are recorded in the Privy Council reports which have contributed to build up and perfect the modern jurisprudence of India, and to main tain principles of toleration in the Church of England. He ceased to attend the Privy Council in 1850. But he continued to the close of his life to hear appeals in the House of Lords, where his early knowledge of Scotch law was of peculiar value.
In the year 1860, a second patent was conferred upon him by Her Majesty Queen Victoria, with a reversion of his peerage to his youngest brother William Brougham. The preamble of this patent stated that this unusual mark of honour was conferred upon him by the Crown as an acknowledgment of the great services he had rendered, more especially in promoting the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of the negro race. The peerage is thus perpetuated in a junior branch of his family. Lord Brougham s marriage with Mrs Spalding had given him no male heirs, and his only daughter died in early life unmarried.
Upon the portal of one of those delightful villas which nestle amongst the olive trees and the carob trees at Cannes, along the shores of the Mediterranean, are inscribed the lines—
Inveni portura : spes et fortuna valeto.
Sat me lusistis ; ludete mine alios."
Such was the haven, such the abode, in which Lord Brougham found repose from the triumphs and the dis appointments of his agitated existence. The pure and genial air of the South calmed his nerves and perhaps prolonged his life. There he returned with uudiminished pleasure to the head-springs of science, philosophy, and literature. His spirits were more equable ; his mind more calm ; his society charming. There, then, he spent a con siderable part of the later years of his life ; and there, when the hour of departure came, his remains mingled with the dust. An accident had attracted his attention to the spot about the year 1838. He bought a tract of land ; he built on it ; and the Villa Louise Eleonore recalled by its name the adored memory of his lost and only child. Cannes, when he first visited it, was little more than a fishing village on a picturesque coast. His choice and his example made it the sanatorium of Europe.
The fame of Lord Brougham had long extended far beyond the frontiers of his native land. The generous and lofty sentiments which he clothed in forcible language touched the heart of mankind. But there was something peculiarly congenial to his own mercurial temperament in the life and genius of France. In 1833 the Academy of Moral and Political Science had conferred upon him the high rank of an associate of the Institute. The Academy of Science did not disdain to listen to his demonstrations. The French, with their lively sympathy for brilliant intellectual power, forgave him all his eccentricities. He has been known to tutoyer M. Guizot. He once asked the French Government to give him an island with a state prison on it. He would drop in to tea at the Tuileries in his checquered trousers, and sometimes bring a friend with him, utterly regardless of social usages and etiquette. His French, though fluent enough, was as barbarous and dissonant a brogue as ever tortured the ears of a Parisian. Nobody knew what he would do next. After the revolution of 1848 he asked M. Cremieux (in utter forgetfulness of French law) to have him made a French citizen. But friendship in France is warm and tenacious. Lord Brougham had contributed as much as any man to efface old hatreds and to establish a lasting alliance between France and Great Britain. He judged even her faults in a kindly and indulgent spirit ; and of all the tributes to his memory which have issued from the press, none is at once more truthful and more tender than the discourse pronounced by M. Mignet in the Institute of France in honour of their great associate. Upon that southern coast the last days of this veteran combatant in the fields of law and politics were spent. There at Cannes, upon the 7th May 18G8, in the ninetieth year of his age, he expired ; and if Westminster proffered no sepulture to the greatest orator of our times, he rests, at least, in the spot which had his latest affections.
To what precedes we have little to add, for who can attempt to portray so multifarious, inconsistent, and variable a being ] The irritability of his temper and the egotism of his character made him not only formidable as an antagonist but dangerous as a friend. Yet at bottom he had genuine warmth of heart and good nature. He was a devoted son, an affectionate parent and brother ; covetous to a degree of power and patronage, but prodigal in the use of it ; disdaining money, yet happy to bestow it on others ; fond of courting the great, yet not insensible to the sufferings and the sympathy of the humble and the poor. With unbounded self-confidence, he wanted self-con trol, and at times under the influence of grief, of resentment, of ambition, of disappointment, or of success, he was scarcely accountable for his actions, still less for his language. His imagination conjured up occurrences which had never taken place ; and he changed as rapidly as a chameleon, uncon scious of the transformation. Hence it came to pass that whilst men marvelled at his astonishing gifts, they ceased to trust his character ; and the splendid promise of the morning of his life was overcast before its close.
The activity of Lord Brougham s pen was only second to the volubility of his tongue. He carried on a vast and incessant correspondence of incredible extent. For thirty years he contributed largely to the Edinburgh JRevieiv, and lie continued to write in that journal even after he held the great seal. The best of his writings, entitled " Sketches of the Statesmen of the time of George III., "first appeared in the Review. These were followed by the " Lives of Men of Letters and Science " of the same period. Later in life he edited Palcy s Natural Theology ; and he published a work on political philosophy, besides innumerable pamphlets and letters to public men on the events of the day. He published an incorrect translation of Demosthenes s Oration for the Crou n. A novel entitled Albert Lunel was attributed to him. A fragment of the History of England tinder the House of Lancaster employed his retirement, but we think it was published without his name, and certainly without success. In 1838 Messrs Black of Edinburgh published an edition of his speeches in four volumes, Svo, elaborately corrected by himself. The last of his works was his posthumous Antolnographij. Yet ambitious as he was of literary fame, and jealous of the success of other authors, he failed to obtain any lasting place in English literature. His style was slouching, involved, and incorrect. Like his handwriting, which was precipitate and almost illegible, except to the initiated, his composition bore marks of haste and carelessness, and nowhere shows any genuine originality of thought. The collected edition of his works and speeches published by Griffin in 1857, and reissued by Black, of Edinburgh, 1872, is the best; and .it was carefully revised by himself, with introductions to the different pieces. His autobiography is of some value from the original letters with which it is interspersed. But Lord Brougham s memory was so much impaired when he began to write his recollections, that no reliance can be placed on his statements, and the work abounds in mani fest errors.
- Mr Greville records in his Journal a conversation with Lord Mel bourne of the 23d September in this year, from which it is clear that Melbourne was perfectly aware of the state the chancellor was in, and that he hardly thought him of sound mind. He added, " The king can t bear these exhibitions in Scotland,"
- Thus the judgment on the case of Escott v. Martin, which estab lished the validity of baptism administered by a Wesleyan minister or a layman, was prepared and delivered by Lord Brougham.