THIS distinguished character, whose ancestor, Sir Thomas Vaux, bears a conspicuous part in Sir Walter Scott's tale of the Talisman, is descended from an ancient family of Cumberland, which has since settled in Westmoreland. His father was proprietor of Brougham Hall, in the latter county, and his mother niece of the celebrated historian, Robertson. The birth of Henry Brougham took place in St. Andrew's Square, Edinburgh, in the year 1779; and he received the rudiments of education at the high school of the town, then under the superntendence of Dr. Adam. In 1795, he entered the university, where he distinguished himself, not so much by diligent application, as by the aptness and energy of mind he displayed in grasping any subject which he made the object of his studies. Becoming a member of a debating society, he soon gave proofs of his oratorical powers, and whilst under twenty years of age, communicated to the Royal Society of London some papers on geometry, which were inserted in the Transactions of that body, and favourably commented upon in foreign publications.

"The crowning-stone, however," says his biographer, in the National Portrait Gallery, "to the vast extension of his mental edifice, we would ascribe to the share he had taken in the production of the Edinburgh Review." At the commencement of this periodical, in 1802, Mr. Brougham, in conjunction with his schoolfellows, Jeffrey, Francis Horner, and other since distinguished characters, were its principal contributors and supporters. Indeed, the subject of our memoir seems to have furnished employment for the press at a much earlier period than that last mentioned, if the following exclamation of an old Edinburgh printer may be relied on; "Lord sauf us! did I ever think to see the laddie, who used to sit kicking his heels and whistling, in my office, till a proof was thrown off, make such a stir in the world as Henry Brougham bas done?"

After having been called to the Scots' bar, where he made a considerable figure, Mr. Brougham accompanied Lord Stuart de Rothsay on a tour to the North of Europe, and on his return commenced practice in the court of King's Bench, in London. Here, as well as on the northern circuit, which he regularly went, his reputation rapidly rose, and obtained for him that degree and quality of practice by which he acquired both popularity and emolument. He first entered parliament in February, 1810, as member for the borough of Camelford, through the influence of the Duke of Bedford, and in June of the same year, introduced a bill to make the practice of the slave trade felony. In 1812, he contested, but unsuccessfully, the representation of Liverpool, with Mr. Canning. He did not at first make any very great impression in the house of commons, although it was soon apparent that he had there found the field best fitted for his exertions. In the discussion relative to the orders in council, he particularly distinguished himself; and, in 1815, he strenuously opposed the corn law bill; supported Mr. Grattan's motion in favour of the catholic claims; and introduced his own bill for the better education of the poor. By this time he had also added to his fame as an advocate, having, in 1811, obtained the acquittal of John and Leigh Hunt, the editors of the Examiner, for a political libel; and, in 1814, he acted as counsel for the celebrated Mary Ann Clarke.

In 1816, he made a tour on the continent, and visited the Princess of Wales at Como; an introduction which led to his being employed by her royal highness in the proceedings subsequently instituted against her as Queen of England. His parliamentary efforts in the last named year were principally with reference to the distresses of the country, and to the liberty of the press, for the better securing of which he obtained leave to bring in

a bill. He was complimented for his speech, on this occasion, by Lord

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In 1820, at the general election which followed the death of George the Third, Mr. Brougham made a second attempt to secure his election as one of the representatives of the county of Westmoreland; but failing, though only by sixty-four votes, he, a third time, took his seat in the house of commons as member for Winchelsea. On the 5th of May, he moved a resolution declaratory of the expediency of the house with a view to the settlement of the civil list, taking into consideration the droits of the crown and admiralty; and, in the course of the session, he also obtained leave to bring in a bill for the better education of the poor; although he was ultimately induced to abandon this measure. On the third day of Easter term, he took his seat in the court of King's Bench, as attorney-general for Queen Caroline; on the announcement of whose intention to visit England, he, in the beginning of June, proceeded, in company with Lord Hutchinson, to meet her at St. Omers. Her majesty, having rejected the proposals made to her, on condition of her remaining abroad, came to London; and, on the commencement of the proceedings against her in the house of lords, Mr. Brougham appeared as her attorney-general, at the head of her legal defenders. His bearing, on this occasion, was such, as almost to awe the accusers of his royal client, whilst his skilful cross examination of the witnesses against her, and


his masterly speech in her behalf, had such an effect, that Lord Liverpool thought it advisable to abandon the prosecution. He spoke in the queen's defence for nearly two days, and concluded one of the most masterly and eloquent speeches ever delivered in either house of parliament, by characterising the evidence offered against his royal client as "inadequate to prove a debt; impotent to deprive of any civil right; ridiculous to convict of the lowest offence; scandalous, if brought forward to support a charge of the highest nature which the law knows; monstrous to ruin the honour of an English queen. You have willed, my lords," he added, "the church and the king have willed, that the queen should be deprived of its solemn service. She has, indeed, instead of that solemnity, the heartfelt prayers of the people. She wants no prayers of mine; but I do here pour forth my supplications at the throne of mercy, that that mercy may be poured down upon the people of this country in a larger measure than the merits of its rulers may deserve, and that your hearts may be turned to justice."

In 1821, he supported the motion of Lord A. Hamilton, respecting the omission of the queen's name from the liturgy; advised with respect to the quantity of her allowance, and to all measures generally affecting her. "The queen," he observed, in the course of one of the debates, "has been acquitted,-she must be treated as if she had never been tried; or there is no justice in England."

In the course of the following year, he opposed the introduction of the insurrection act, and the measure for the suspension of the habeas corpus act, in Ireland; supported the motion of Lord John Russell, for a reform in parliament; and, about the same time, moved for a diminution of taxes on agriculturists, as a proper method for relieving them. In the August of 1822, he also excited considerable sensation by his bold and energetic defence of Mr. Williams, the proprietor of the Durham Chronicle, on his trial for inserting in his paper a libel reflecting on the clergy, for omitting to order the bells of the churches in that city to toll on the death of Queen Caroline. On the


4th of February, 1823, he delivered his celebrated speech on the situation of Spain, and expressed his unqualified abhorrence and detestation at the audacious interference of the continental sovereigns in the affairs of that country; declaring it as his opinion, that if the King of France dared to persevere in what he termed that "unholy war," judgment would that moment go forth against him and his family, and the dynasty of Gaul be changed at once and for ever."

In the following April, during the discussion of the catholic claims, Mr. Brougham strongly reprobated Mr. Canning's defection from the cause of catholic emancipation; declaring his conduct to be "the most incredible specimen of monstrous truckling for the purpose of obtaining office, that the whole history of political tergiversation could furnish." Mr. Canning declaring It"false," an altercation followed, and both gentlemen would have been committed to the custody of the sergeantat-arms, had they not disclaimed all intention of personal allusion.

Towards the end of 1823, the subject of our memoir had the gratification of seeing the London Mechanics' Institution established; in the formation of which he had greatly assisted; and he shortly afterwards published, for the benefit of the institution, a very influential pamphlet, entitled, Practical Observations upon the Education of the People, addressed to the working classes and their employers. In June, 1824, he brought before the house the circumstances relative to the treatment of the missionary, Smith, in Demerara; and continued to denounce the slave trade, and to advocate the cause of catholic emancipation, on every opportunity.

In the course of the debate respecting Smith, Mr. Brougham excited a great sensation in the house, by the calm but keen and cutting sarcasm with which he exposed the indifference of certain members to the fate of Smith, and their backwardness in recording their votes against his persecutors. "When," said Mr. Brougham, "there came before the legislature a case remarkable in itself, for its consequences yet more momentous, resembling the present in many points, to the very letter, in

something, resembling it,-I mean the trial of Sidney,-did our illustrious predecessors, within these walls, shrink back from the honest and manly declaration of their opinion, in words suited to the occasion, and screen themselves behind such tender phrases as are resorted to,- Don't be too violent -pray be civil-do be gentle; there has only been a man murdered, nothing more-a total breach of all law, to be sure; an utter contempt, no doubt, of justice, and every thing like it in form as well as in substance; but that's all.' Surely, then, you will be meek and patient and forbearing, as were the Demerara judges to this poor missionary; against whom, if somewhat was done, a great deal more was meditated than they durst openly perpetrate; but who, being condemned to die, in despite of law and evidence, was only put to death by slow and wanton severity."

In the early part of 1825, Mr. Brougham was elected lord rector of the University of Glasgow, in opposition to Sir Walter Scott; he gained the election by the casting vote of Sir James Mackintosh; and, at the installation, is said to have delivered one of the most exquisite and finished orations ever composed, although it had been written during the bustle and fatigue of the northern circuit. At the general election, in 1826, he, a third time, unsuccessfully, contested the representation of Westmoreland, and again took his seat in the new parliament for Winchelsea. In May, 1827, he, for the first time, occupied a place on the ministerial benches, as a supporter of Mr. Canning's ministry; and, in the Trinity term of the same year, he received a patent of precedence, and again assumed a silk gown. On the death of Mr. Canning, and the appointment of the Duke of Wellington as premier, Mr. Brougham removed to the opposition side of the house, and took every opportunity of venting his sarcasm on the incapacity of the duke as prime minister.

In the spring of 1828, he made his memorable speech on the subject of reform in the law administration, on which occasion "he spoke," says the authority before quoted, "six hours and a half; during all that time

rivetting the attention of his hearers. The way in which he relieved this dry subject, into the details of which he was obliged to enter; the vast body of information he brought forward; and the enlightened nature of the amendments he proposed, render the speech altogether one of the most remarkable in parliamentary history."

From this splendid oration we quote one of its most impressive passages, as a fair specimen of the peculiar style of eloquence of the speaker, without which our memoir of this great man would be incomplete.

our sovereign's boast, when he shall have it to say, that he found the 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 twoedged sword of craft and oppression, left it the staff of honesty, and the shield of innocence. To me, much reflecting on these things, it has always seemed a worthier honour to be the instrument of making you bestir yourselves in this high matter, than to enjoy all that office can bestow-office, of which the patronage would be an irksome incumbrance, the emoluments superfluous to one who had rather, with the rest of his industrious fellow-citizens, make his own hand minister to his own wants; and as for the power supposed to follow it, I have lived half a century, and I have seen that power and place may be severed. But one power I do prize, that of being the advocate of my countrymen here, and their fellow-labourer elsewhere, in those things which concern the best interests of mankind. That power I know full well no government can give-no change can take away."

"Whether," said Mr. Brougham, "I have the support of the ministers or no, to the house I look, with confident expectation, that it will controul them, and assist me. The course is clear before us; the race is glorious to run. You have the power of sending your name down through all times, illustrated by deeds of higher fame and more useful import, than ever were done within these walls. You saw the greatest warrior of the age-the conqueror of Italy-the humbler of Germany-the terror of the North-account all his matchless victories poor, compared with the triumph you are now in a condition to win; saw him contemn the fickleness of fortune, while, despite of her, he could pronounce his memorable boast I shall go down to posterity with the code in my hand.' You have vanquished him in the field; strive now to rival him in the sacred arts of peace. Outstrip him as a lawgiver, whom in arms you overcame! The glories of the regency will be eclipsed by the more solid and enduring splendours of the reign. The praise which fawning courtiers feigned for our Edwards and Harrys, the Justinians of their day, will be the just tribute of the wise and good, to that monarch under whose sway so mighty a work shall be accomplished. Of a truth, sceptres are most chiefly to be envied, for that they bestow the power of thus conquering, and ruling thus. It was the boast of Augustus-it formed part of the lustre in which the perfidies of his earlier years were lost-that he found Rome of brick, and left it of marble; a praise not unworthy a great prince, and to which the present reign is not without claims. But how much nobler will be

"Let the reader," says a writer in the New Monthly Magazine, "stretch his imagination to conceive a manner of delivery to the utmost extent of possibility energetic, earnest, and appropriate to this noble piece of composition, and he will yet fall short of the manner in which it was actually delivered."

In the course of the same session, Mr. Brougham spoke upon the debates respecting the address in reply to the speech from the throne, the change in the administration, the repeal of the test and corporation acts, the slave trade, delays in the court of Chancery, the stamp duties in India, the catholic claims, &c. In answer to the king's speech, he expressed himself in terms of indignation at the regret manifested relative to the battle of Navarino, saying that he looked upon the apathy displayed towards such a brilliant and immortal achievement as a bad omen. During the debate on the repeal of the test and corporation acts, Sir Robert Inglis having expressed a great deference towards the wisdom of our ancestors," he was thus answered by


Mr. Brougham:-"The honourable baronet says, I do not like to talk so slightingly of-I do not like to disparage the wisdom of our ancestors.' Far be it from me, sir, to disparage the praise thus bestowed by the honourable baronet on the wisdom of our ancestors.' The phrase, however, I consider to have been one of the most fruitful sources of mischief to the country; but I must inform the honourable baronet, that that phrase had been disparaged long before the existence of the test and corporation acts,-not by ridicule, but by sound argument,-not by the sneers of the senseless, but by the soundest wisdom, the greatest knowledge, the highest intellect, that England ever produced. I commend the phrase to the mitigated censure of the honourable baronet. For it was a lord high chancellor of England-a person by the name of Bacon, or some such name-a name, perhaps, which has no respect in the eyes of the honourable baronet-who first stamped the seal of disparagement on the phrase which the honourable baronet brings forward this evening to fright the house from its propriety.' He it was, sir, who first reprobated the eternally recurring phrases of the wisdom of our ancestors.' He it was who laughed at the phrase experience of past ages.' In truth," said he, "if not a contradiction in terms, it is the grossest abuse of language; for it proceeds upon this basis, that the world was older and wiser when it was younger, than it now is, when every youth knows more than the grey hairs of former times."


In the session of 1829, Mr. Brougham spoke in support of the catholic relief bill, introduced by the ministry, and explained the proceedings of the commissioners appointed for inquiring into public charities, in pursuance of the act introduced by him eleven years previously; and who, it appeared, had then investigated no less than nineteen thousand charities, being more than half the number in the whole kingdom. Towards the end of this year, in consequence of the Marquess of Cleveland, the patron of the borough of Winchelsea, having given his support to the Duke of Wellington's administration, the subject of our memoir vacated his seat; but, in February,

1830, he was again returned to parliament for Knaresborough, a borough in the patronage of the Duke of Devonshire. On the 23rd of the same month, he supported Lord John Russell's motion for transferring the franchise of boroughs convicted of corruption, to large and populous towns. On the 29th of April, he brought forward his motion for establishing courts for local jurisdiction, for the recovery of small debts. He also spoke against the vote by ballot, and, in the following July, moved, in an eloquent speech, for the house taking into its early consideration, effectual means for the abolition of the slave trade. As important features in the career of Mr. Brougham, it should also be mentioned, that he was one of the principal promoters of the London University, and a founder and patron of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.

The character of this great man is acknowledged in all parts of the civilized world, as an ornament not only to his own country, but to the age in which he flourishes. Gifted in an extraordinary degree, with mental energy and acumen, which experience has taught him even to improve, as well as to apply, he stands forth amid his political contemporaries, a sun, by which his followers are dazzled and his opponents confounded. The senate is his grand arena; he is there without a rival, although his eloquence is distinguished neither by imagination, nor even the common graces of rhetoric. Nevertheless, his forcible mode of reasoning, his overwhelming vehemence, his impressive and earnest manner of delivery, and his tremendous powers of sarcasm, gain him a degree of attention in the house which is accorded to no other member, and render him a fearful antagonist.

Indeed, either in or out of parliament, his powers of invective were, perhaps, never equalled, and wherever directed, have been most bitterly felt; of which the most remarkable instance on record, is the attack he made on Mr. Canning, in 1823. Upon that occasion, says the author of Attic Fragments," he careered over the whole annals of the world, and collected every instance in which genius had degraded itself at the footstool of power, or principle had

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