A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Brougham And Vaux, Henry, 1st Lord

Brougham And Vaux, Henry, 1st Lord (1778-1868).—S. of Henry B. of Brougham Hall, Westmoreland, b. in Edin., and ed. at the High School and Univ. there, where he distinguished himself chiefly in mathematics. He chose a legal career, and was called to the Scottish Bar in 1800, and to the English Bar in 1808. His chief forensic display was his defence of Queen Caroline in 1822. In 1810 he entered Parliament, where his versatility and eloquence soon raised him to a foremost place. The questions on which he chiefly exerted himself were the slave trade, commercial, legal, and parliamentary reform, and education, and in all of these he rendered signal service. When, in 1830, the Whigs, with whom he had always acted, attained power, B. was made Lord Chancellor; but his arrogance, selfishness, and indiscretion rendered him a dangerous and unreliable colleague, and he was never again admitted to office. He turned fiercely against his former political associates, but continued his efforts on behalf of reform in various directions. He was one of the founders of London Univ. and of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. In literature he has a place as one of the original projectors of and most voluminous contributors to The Edinburgh Review, and as the author of a prodigious number of treatises on science, philosophy, and history, including Dialogues on Instinct, Lives of Statesmen, Philosophers, and Men of Science of the Time of George III., Natural Theology, etc., his last work being an autobiography written in his 84th year, and pub. 1871. His writings were far too numerous and far too diverse in subject to be of permanent value. His fame now rests chiefly on his services to political and specially to legal reform, and to the diffusion of useful literature, which are his lasting monuments.