Home  »  Respectfully Quoted  »  William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham (1708–78)

Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

AUTHOR: William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham (1708–78)
QUOTATION: The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail—its roof may shake—the wind may blow through it—the storm may enter—the rain may enter—but the King of England cannot enter!—all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement!
ATTRIBUTION: WILLIAM PITT, the elder, Earl of Chatham, speech in the House of Lords.—Henry Peter Brougham, Historical Sketches of Statesmen Who Flourished in the Time of George III, vol. 1, p. 52 (1839).

Lord Brougham notes, “There are other celebrated passages of his speeches in all men’s mouths…. Perhaps the finest of them all is his allusion to the maxim of English law, that every man’s home is his castle,” given above.

According to Francis Thackeray, A History of the Right Honorable William Pitt, vol. 2, p. 29 (1827), the speech was delivered in 1763 in opposition to an excise tax on perry and cider.