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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

John Bright

  • [A distinguished English orator and statesman; born 1811; entered Parliament, 1843; president of the Board of Trade, 1868; chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, 1880–82.]
  • The angel of Death has been abroad throughout the land: you may almost hear the beating of his wings.

  • Against the continuance of the Crimean war; in the House of Commons, Feb. 23, 1855.
  • The right honorable gentleman is the first of the new party who has retired into what may be called his political cave of Adullam.

  • Of Mr. Horsman and a few other Liberals, who disapproved of the Reform Bill introduced in 1866 by Earl Russell’s administration; a reference to the discontented and distressed, who gathered about David in the cave of Adullam (1 Sam. xxii. 1, 2). He alluded to Mr. Lowe and Mr. Horsman, the most distinguished of the Adullamites, as reminding him of “the Scotch terrier, which was so covered with hair that you could not tell which was the head and which was the tail of it.” Disraeli once advised Mr. Robert Lowe to retire “not to his cave, but to a more cynical place.”—Debate on Irish Church Bill, 1868.
  • And he adores his maker.

  • When told that he ought to give Mr. Disraeli credit for being a self-made man.
  • He said of a gentleman’s ancestors, who came over with the Conqueror, “I never heard that they ever did any thing else.”
  • Being told, while temporarily indisposed, that a nobleman had declared that Providence had inflicted upon him a disease of the brain by way of punishment for the misuse of his talents, Mr. Bright quietly observed, “It will be some consolation to the friends and family of the noble lord to know that the disease is one which Providence could not inflict upon him.”
  • He once declared of the Tories, “Had they been in the wilderness, they would have complained of the Ten Commandments.”
  • He used the expression “a free breakfast-table,” in addressing the Edinburgh Chamber of Commons in 1868, advocating the repeal of the remaining duties on tea, coffee, and sugar.
  • Mr. Bright made an assertion during the land troubles in Ireland in 1880, which has often been repeated, “Force is no remedy.”