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

Lord Brougham

  • [Henry Brougham, born 1779; entered Parliament, 1810; lord chancellor, 1830; raised to the peerage under the title of Baron Brougham and Vaux; retired 1834; died 1868.]
  • The schoolmaster is abroad.

  • In a speech on the address to the crown, Jan. 28, 1828, after the Duke of Wellington had become prime minister, Brougham said that “the country sometimes heard with dismay that the soldier was abroad. Now there is another person abroad,—a less important person; in the eyes of some, an insignificant person,—whose labors had tended to produce this state of things. The schoolmaster is abroad! and I trust more to the schoolmaster armed with his primer, than to the soldier in full military array, for upholding and extending the liberties of my country.”
  • Brougham refused Canning’s offer of the office of chief baron of the exchequer, on the ground that it would keep him out of Parliament. “True,” said Canning, “but you will be only one stage from the woolsack.”—“Yes,” rejoined Brougham, “but the horses will be off.”—JENNINGS: Anecdotal History of Parliament.
  • Measures, not men.

  • Brougham said in the House of Commons, November, 1830, “It is necessary that I should qualify the doctrine of its being not men, but measures, that I am determined to support. In a monarchy it is the duty of parliament to look at the men as well as at the measures.” In Goldsmith’s “Good-natured Man,” one of the characters says, “Measures, not men, have always been my mark.” Canning said in a speech against the Addington ministry, in 1801, “Away with the cant of ‘Measures, not men’!—the idle supposition that it is the harness and not the horses that draw the chariot along. No, sir: if the comparison must be made, if the distinction must be taken, men are every thing, measures are comparatively nothing.” Burke, in “Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents,” spoke of “the cant of ‘not men, but measures.’”
  • Of Lord Liverpool, who was premier for fifteen years, Brougham said, “The noble lord is a person of that sort, that, if you should bray him in a mortar, you could not bray the prejudices out of him.”
  • His self-sufficiency is seen by a remark concerning the cabinet in which he was lord chancellor from 1830–34: “The Whigs are all ciphers: I am the only unit in the cabinet that gives a value to them.”
  • On Brougham’s elevation to the woolsack, Daniel O’Connell declared, “If Brougham knew a little law, he would know a little of every thing.” Emerson, “New Essays,” quotes it from Eldon, Brougham’s predecessor as lord chancellor: “What a wonderfully versatile mind he has! he knows politics, Greek, history, science: if he only knew a little of law, he would know a little of every thing.” Louis XVI. made a similar remark of the Abbé Maury, who preached at the Tuileries in 1781, and touched upon government, finance, politics, etc.: “If he had said something about religion,” remarked the king, “he would have said something about every thing” (Si l’abbé Maury nous avait parlé un peu de religion, il nous aurait parlé de tout).
  • As Samuel Rogers saw Brougham drive away from a country-house, he remarked, “There go Solon, Lycurgus, Demosthenes, Archimedes, Sir Isaac Newton, Lord Chesterfield, and a great many others, in one post-chaise.” Sydney Smith, seeing Brougham in a carriage, on the panel of which was the letter B surmounted by a coronet, observed, “There goes a carriage with a B outside and a wasp inside.”