Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Brougham, Henry Peter

260059Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 06 — Brougham, Henry Peter1886William Hunt

BROUGHAM, HENRY PETER, Baron Brougham and Vaux (1778–1868), lord chancellor, eldest son of Henry Brougham and Eleanor, daughter of Mrs. Syme, widow of James Syme, a minister of Alloa, and sister of Dr. W. Robertson, the historian, was born in a house at the corner of the West Bow and the Cowgate, Edinburgh, on 19 Sept. 1778. Although in after life he claimed to be descended from the De Burghams, the ancient lords of Brougham Castle, and from the barons of Vaulx, his pedigree cannot be traced with certainty beyond Henry Brougham described in 1665 as of Scales Hall, Cumberland, gentleman, whose eldest son John in 1726 purchased a portion of the manor of Brougham, Westmoreland. This estate descended to the purchaser's great-nephew Henry, the father of the chancellor (Nicholson and Burn, History of Cumberland and Westmorland, i. 395; Lord Campbell, Lives of the Chancellors, viii. 214-18). When barely seven years old Brougham was sent to the high school at Edinburgh; he rose to the head of the school and left in August 1791. The next year he spent with his parents under the care of a tutor at Brougham Hall, and in October 1792 entered the university of Edinburgh. He delighted in the study of mathematics and physics, and at the age of eighteen sent a paper to the Royal Society on 'Experiments and Observations on ... Light,' which was read and printed in the society's 'Transactions.' This was followed by another on the same subject, and in 1798 by one on 'Porisms' (Philosophical Transactions, lxxxvi. 227; lxxxvii. 352; lxxxviii. 378). He also distinguished himself in the debating societies of the university. After finishing the four years' course of humanity and philosophy in 1795, he began to read law. As a student he often indulged in riotous sports, and took part in twisting off knockers as eagerly as in philosophical discussions (Lord Brougham's Life and Times, i. 87). He spent his vacations in making walking tours, and in September 1799 visited Denmark, Sweden, and Norway (ib. 547). Having passed advocate on 1 June 1800, he went the southern circuit, and for the sake of practice acted as counsel for the poor prisoners. During the circuit he behaved in a boisterous and eccentric fashion, and unmercifully tormented old Lord Eskgrove, the judge of assize. He disliked the profession of law. With an extraordinarily wide range of knowledge, with an excellent memory, a ready wit, and unbounded self-confidence, he aimed at outshining others in everything. In 1802 he joined the small company engaged in setting on foot the 'Edinburgh Review.' He had already attained a high place in the literary society of Edinburgh, and it was expected he would shortly 'push his way into public life' (Cockburn, Life of Jeffrey, i. 138). The first number of the 'Review' was published the following October, and Brougham contributed three of its twenty-nine articles. In 1803 he brought out his 'Colonial Policy of European Nations,' a work which did not meet with any great success. On 14 Oct. of that year he was admitted a member of Lincoln's Inn, though he continued to reside in Edinburgh for about two years longer. He took a warm interest in the movement for the abolition of slavery, and in 1804 went to Holland to gain information on the subject, extending his tour to Italy and other parts of the continent. In this year too he organised a volunteer corps at Edinburgh, but the government slighted its offer of service, and the corps was dissolved. His early articles in the 'Review' were generally scientific; he now wrote much on political and economical subjects with the avowed intention of adopting a political career (Memoirs of F. Horner, i. 274, 279).

In 1805 Brougham settled in London. There he read English law and supported himself mainly by writing for the 'Edinburgh Review.' His versatility and his power of despatch were extraordinary. He never considered any subject out of his line. In the first twenty numbers of the 'Review' he had as many as eighty articles. Eager to write everything himself, he was so jealous of new contributors that the editor, Jeffrey, took care not to let him know of any addition to the staff (Napier, Correspondence, 3). His reviews were slashing, but his work was often superficial and his criticisms were sometimes scandalously unjust. His contemptuous notice of the experiments by which Dr. Young arrived at the theory of undulation is a famous instance of his unfairness (Edin. Rev. ii. 450, 457, ix. 97; Dr. Young, Works, i. 195-215; Peacock, Life of Dr. Young, 174; Campbrll, Life, viii. 247). Brougham was soon introduced to Lord Holland, and became a frequent visitor at Holland House. The service he was able to render the whigs with his pen, his witty conversation, and his agreeable manners secured him a good position in society. In 1806 he was appointed secretary to Lords Rosslyn and St. Vincent on their mission to the court of Lisbon, and although on his return at the end of the year he found himself considerably out of pocket, his able conduct in Portugal increased his reputation. He was further brought into notice by his sympathy with the anti-slavery agitation, which secured him the good opinion of Wilberforce and the party he led. When in March 1807 the Grenville ministry was forced to resign, the whig press was in Brougham's hands, and in the course of ten days, with some slight help from Lord Holland and one or two others, he produced 'a prodigious number' of articles, pamphlets, and handbills, appealing chiefly to the dissenters to uphold the whigs in the impending election (Lord Holland, Memoirs of the Whig Party, ii. 229). On the defeat of the whigs Brougham turned to legal study and became the pupil of Mr. (afterwards chief justice) Tindal. In July 1808 he applied for a special call to the bar to enable him to go the ensuing circuit, and the benchers were willing to grant his petition. In order, however, to avenge their party, the attorney-general and solicitor-general came down and procured its rejection. On the following 22 Nov. he was called in the ordinary course and joined the northern circuit. Although his study of civil law in Scotland had to some extent 'legalised his mind,' he was not and never became master of the subtleties of English law, and he had little success in the courts until he had made his mark in politics (Campbell, Life, 233, 254). His first triumph as a barrister was political rather than legal. As counsel for the Liverpool merchants who petitioned against the orders in council he was heard before both houses of parliament on many successive days, and though the petition was dismissed his powers as an advocate were universally acknowledged, and the case may be said to have made his fortune.

Through the influence of Lord Holland, the Duke of Bedford offered Brougham a seat for Camelford, and he was returned to parliament on 5 Feb. 1810. His first speech, delivered on 5 March, in support of the vote of censure on the Earl of Chatham, was not a success, though he was not dissatisfied with it (Parl. Debates, 16, 7**; Life and Times, i. 500; Campbell, Life, 262). During the course of the session he spoke repeatedly, almost usurping Ponsonby's place as leader of the opposition in the commons; nor was he thought to be taking too much upon himself when only four months after he entered the house he moved an address to the crown on the subject of slavery (Quarterly Review, cxxvi. 42). His reputation as an advocate was increased by his triumphant defence of J. and J. L. Hunt on 22 Jan. 1811. The defendants were indicted for libel for publishing an article in the 'Examiner' on military flogging, and the case was especially suited to Brougham's peculiar power (Speeches, i. 15). Three weeks later he failed to procure the acquittal of the proprietor of a country newspaper who was indicted on a similar charge at Lincoln, and on 8 Dec. 1812 unsuccessfully defended the Hunts when indicted for a libel on the prince regent. These and other like cases in which Brougham was retained for the defence were of great public importance, and his success was declared 'more rapid than that of any barrister since Erskine' (Memoirs of F. Horner, ii. 123). Following the line he had already adopted as an advocate, Brougham on 3 March 1812 moved for a select committee with reference to the orders in council, and carried on his attack with such vigour that on 16 June Castlereagh announced that the orders would at once be withdrawn. This victory gained him immense popularity, especially with the commercial interest, which had suffered severely from the orders (Bentham, Works, x. 471). In the arrangements made by Lords Grey and Grenville in view of their possible return to office he was to have been president of the board of trade. As Camelford had passed into other hands, he was, at the dissolution on 29 Sept., forced to seek for a seat elsewhere, and the good service he had done to commerce led to an invitation to stand for Liverpool. He was, however, forced to retire from the poll on 16 Oct., and, after making an unsuccessful effort to secure a seat for the Inverkeithing burghs, found himself shut out from the house. He was very sore at this exclusion, he declared that he 'was thrown overboard to lighten the ship,' and he wrote bitterly of Lady Holland (Life and Times, ii. 92, 101). It would of course have been easy enough for the whigs to find him a seat, and his exclusion was caused partly by jealousy and partly by distrust. This distrust was not without foundation, for his letters to Lord Grey at this period show want of ballast and political insight. At last Lord Darlington offered him a seat for Winchelsea, and he returned to the house on 21 July 1815. Although not acknowledged as the leader he soon became the most prominent member of the opposition in the commons. He attacked the Holy Alliance; in March 1816 he succeeded in defeating Vansittart's income-tax bill; and on 9 April, in moving for a committee, made a powerful speech on the character and causes of the agricultural distress—one cause of the distress, he declared, was that the area of cultivation had been extended unduly. In a speech on the depression in trade delivered on 23 March 1817 he severely blamed the foreign policy of the ministry, and pointed out the evils of restriction and prohibition. He made another attack on the ministry on 11 June in the form of a motion for an address to the prince regent on the state of the nation, which was defeated by only thirty-seven votes, a defeat which was reckoned a triumph (Life and Times, ii. 312). He constantly advocated retrenchment and a sound commercial policy, and he vigorously opposed the repressive measures known as the Six Acts. At the same time he looked on the radicals with dislike, and in a letter to Lord Grey of 1 Nov. 1819 urged that the whigs should declare their separation from them (Life and Times, ii. 351). He did good service both in drawing attention to the importance of popular education and in devising means for its attainment. Having obtained the reappointment of the education committee in 1818, he instituted an inquiry into charity abuses, which he extended to the universities and to Eton and Winchester. Some scandalous revelations were made, and the governing bodies bitterly resented the inquisition. In 1819 Brougham was kept from the house for some weeks by a dangerous illness. On his return on 23 June Peel made an attack on the conduct of the committee, which he met with a full defence (Speeches, iii. 180). In June 1820 he brought in two bills providing for the compulsory building, the government, and the maintenance of parochial schools. His proposals were disliked by the dissenters and fell through. After the death of his father in 1810, Brougham when not in London made his home at Brougham Hall. In 1821 he married Mary Anne, daughter of Thomas Eden, and widow of John Spalding. By her he had two daughters; the elder died in infancy, the younger in 1839.

From 1811 and perhaps from an earlier date Brougham was constantly consulted by the Princess of Wales. His statement that he was also the constant adviser of the Princess Charlotte is certainly exaggerated (Life and Times, ii. 145). He seems, however, to have given her some prudent advice in 1813 (ib. 174), and to have been consulted by her, through Lady Charlotte Lindsay, respecting her marriage in 1814. When the princess escaped from Warwick House to her mother's residence in Connaught Place on the evening of 11 July, the Princess of Wales sent for Brougham, who helped to persuade her to return (Autobiography of Miss Knight, i. 307, 309). The dramatic story he tells of his leading the young princess to a window and showing her the crowds gathering for a Westminster election (Edin. Rev. April 1838, lvii. 34; Life and Times, ii. 230) has been denied and ridiculed by another Edinburgh reviewer, on the ground that 'on the day in question there was neither a Westminster election nor nomination' (Edin. Rev. April 1869, cxxix. 583). The story may or may not be true, but that on that day Sir Francis Burdett nominated Lord Cochrane as member for Westminster before 'a very numerous meeting in Palace Yard' is beyond question (Times, 12 July 1814), and the circumstances of Cochrane's candidature are sufficient to account for the popular excitement to which Brougham refers.

He strongly advised the Princess of Wales not to go abroad. In July 1819 he proposed acting on her behalf, though in this case without authority from her, that she should reside permanently abroad, should consent to a separation, and not use her husband's title on condition that her allowance (35,000l.), then dependent on the king's life, should be secured to her (Yonge, Life of Lord Liverpool, ii. 16). When the princess became queen, she appointed Brougham her attorney-general, and he was accordingly called within the bar on 22 April 1820. A few days before he received a proposal from Lord Liverpool offering the queen 50,000l. a year on the same conditions that Brougham had named the year before. This proposal he did not make known to the queen, who was then at Geneva. On 4 June he and Lord Hutchinson, who acted for the king, met her at St. Omer, being sent to propose terms of separation and to warn her against coming to England. It was then too late, and the queen crossed to Dover the next day. Even when at St. Omer, Brougham forbore to inform her of the proposal made by the minister the preceding April, nor did Lord Liverpool become aware that his proposal had been withheld from her until 10 June (ib. 53-62). Had Brougham delivered the message with which he was entrusted, the whole scandal of the queen's trial would probably have been avoided. In that case, however, he would have lost the opportunity of playing the most conspicuous part in a famous scene. He never gave any satisfactory explanation of his conduct. Brougham was called before the lords in the matter of the bill of degradation and divorce on 21 Aug. when he exposed the untrustworthiness of Majocchi, the principal witness for the crown. His speech for the defence took up 3 and 4 Oct.; the peroration, so he told Macaulay, he had written over seven times. The result of the trial brought him an extraordinary amount of popularity, and the 'Brougham's Head' became a common tavern sign. On 3 and 4 July 1821 he unsuccessfully argued the queen's right to coronation before the privy council, and tried in vain to prevent her from attempting to force her way into the abbey. He attended her funeral in August. The next month he obtained the conviction of one Blacow, a clergyman, for libelling her, and in January 1822 delivered his speech on the Durham clergy, the finest specimen of his powers of sarcasm and invective, in defence of a printer accused of libelling them in some reflections on their conduct on the queen's death. Brougham had now lost his official rank, and owing to the king's personal spite against him he was debarred from receiving a patent of precedence. This persecution did him no harm, for in one year he made 7,000l. in a stuff gown.

When in 1822 the death of Lord Londonderry made it seem possible that the whigs might come into office. Lord Grey proposed that, should the administration be changed, Brougham should be 'really and effectively if not nominally' leader of the house and a member of the government (Life and Times, ii. 453). This and other negotiations were brought to an end when the king accepted Canning as foreign secretary. With Canning Brougham was far more at one as regards foreign affairs than he had been with Castlereagh. Nevertheless, on 23 April 1823 he made a violent attack upon him for refusing to press the catholic claims. Canning declared he spoke falsely, and a motion was made that both the disputants should be committed to the custody of the serjeant-at-arms. The dispute, however, was at last composed (Parl. Deb. new series, viii. 1089-1102). On 3 Feb. 1824 Brougham made a remarkable speech urging the government to resist the dictation of the Holy Alliance in Europe, dwelling on the iniquity of the French invasion of Spain and the tyranny of the Austrians in Italy. This speech, which excelled all his former political efforts in bitterness of sarcasm and severity of attack, was received with immense applause (ib. x. 53-70; Stapleton's Life of Canning, i. 296). On the news of the condemnation and death of the missionary Smith, he proposed a vote of censure on the government of Demerara, and his speech of 10 June forms an epoch in the history of the abolition of slavery {Speeches, ii. 42-128). In the course of this session he was violently assaulted in the lobby of the house by a lunatic named Gourley. Having been elected lord rector of Glasgow University in 1825, Brougham on his way thither visited Edinburgh on 5 April. A banquet was given in his honour, at which he made several violent and extravagant speeches (Speeches . . . on 5 April 1825; Napier, Correspondence, 42). When in 1827 Canning succeeded Lord Liverpool, Brougham, feeling himself generally in accord with the new minister's principles, left the opposition benches and on 1 May took his place on the ministerial side of the house. He brought over with him a body of moderate whigs, who thus for a time separated themselves from Grey. Canning had no wish to be overridden, and offered Brougham the post of lord chief baron, which would have removed him from the house. Brougham, however, objected to being 'shelved,' and refused the offer. He now at last obtained a patent of precedence, and on going circuit was greeted with much rejoicing by his brother barristers, among whom he was popular. His reappearance in 'silk' brought him a large number of cases. This influx, however, did not last long. He was 'deficient in nisi prius tact,' was apt to treat juries with impatience, and seemed to think more of displaying his own powers than of getting verdicts for his clients. During the short time that he continued at the bar his practice declined (Campbell; Law Magazine, new series, l. 177).

As early as 8 May 1816 Brougham first attempted an improvement in the law; in bringing forward a bill for securing the liberty of the press, he proposed an amendment of the law of libel. On 7 Feb. 1828 he brought forward a great scheme of law reform. In a speech of six hours' length he dealt exhaustively with the anomalies and defects in the law of real property and in proceedings at common law. His extraordinary effort bore ample fruit, for it caused a vast improvement in our system of common law procedure, and overthrew the cumbrous and antiquated machinery of fines and recoveries. The accession of the Duke of Wellington to office in the January of this year sent Brougham back to the opposition; for while, in common with his party, he cordially upheld the duke and Peel in carrying the Catholic Emancipation Bill of 1829, he was not prepared to accord them his general support. Brougham in 1830 vacated his seat for Winchelsea, the borough of the earl of Darlington (created Marquis of Cleveland in 1827), and accepted the offer of the Duke of Devonshire to return him for Knaresborough. At the same time he by no means relished sitting for a close constituency: it consorted ill with his desire to be known as a popular politician, and it kept him back from taking part in the movement for parliamentary reform. While sitting for Winchelsea, he had made unsuccessful attempts in 1818, 1820, and 1826 to gain a seat for Westmoreland. Now, however, a speech he made on 13 July, on bringing forward a motion against slavery, gained him an invitation to stand for Yorkshire. He was triumphantly elected, and in the parliament of 1830 took his seat for the county instead of for Knaresborough, where he was also returned. In the course of the election he pledged himself to reform (Quarterly Review, April 1831, xlv. 281). He prepared a scheme of reform which gave the franchise to all householders, leaseholders, and copyholders, and took one member from each of the rotten boroughs (Roebuck, Whig Ministry of 1830, i. 420), and on 16 Nov. gave notice that he would lay it before the house. On that day Lord Grey received the king's command to form a ministry. The whig leaders would have been glad to leave Brougham out of the cabinet. On the 17th he was invited to become attorney-general. He indignantly declined, and the next night announced, with an implied threat, his intention of proceeding with his motion. This made him to some extent master of the situation. He wished for the rolls, for he did not want to leave the commons. The king, however, would not hear of this, for he knew that Brougham's presence would render Lord Althorp's leadership impotent (Croker, ii. 80). He was therefore offered the chancellorship. He received the great seal on 22 Nov., was elevated to the peerage with the title of Baron Brougham and Vaux on 23rd, and on 25th was sworn as chancellor.

He worked with extraordinary energy in his new office. He had often, and especially in 1825, reproached Lord Eldon for the delays in his court, and he was determined to bring in a wholly new system. At the rising of the court for the long vacation he was able to announce that he had not left a single appeal unheard. While he did much, and certainly far more than any other chancellor had done, to expedite proceedings in chancery, he gave some offence by boasting publicly and repeatedly of achievements that he had not performed, and that were indeed beyond mortal power. Moreover, both now and at other times, he was singularly negligent of professional courtesy (Campbell). Pursuing the work of law reform, he was the means of effecting considerable improvements in the court of chancery, the abolition of the court of delegates, the substitution for it of the judicial committee of the privy council, and the institution of the central criminal court. The foundation of these two courts alone would entitle him to be remembered as a great legal reformer. He brought in a bankruptcy bill, which eventually became the basis of a statute; and though his Local Courts Bill of 1830 fell through, it prepared the way for the present system of county courts. Since 1820 the subject of education had occupied much of his attention. In conjunction with Dr. Birkbeck, he helped to set on foot various mechanics' institutes. In 1825 he published his 'Observations on the Education of the People,' which before the end of the year reached its twentieth edition. In this pamphlet (Speeches, iii. 103) he proposed a plan for the publication of cheap and useful works, which he carried out by the formation of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. The first committee of this society was formed in April 1825. After some delays it recommenced its work November 1826, and published its introductory volume, written by Brougham, in March 1827 (Edin. Rev. June 1827, xlvi. 225). The 'Observations' also contain a reference to the need of scientific education for the upper classes (151). Brougham sought to supply this need by the foundation of the London University, a work which he brought to a successful conclusion in 1828. He took the leading part in the debates on education in 1833, and on 14 March announced that he saw reason for abandoning the plan of a compulsory rate he had hitherto advocated. On 23 March 1835 he moved that parliament should vote grants for education, and that a board of commissioners should be appointed to control the application of the money granted, and on 1 Dec. 1837 brought forward two bills further developing the system of national education. In April 1831 the defeat of the ministry necessitated a dissolution, and political circumstances made it equally necessary that the dissolution should be immediate, and that the prorogation should be pronounced by the king in person. The extraordinary account that Brougham has given through Roebuck (Hist. of the Whig Ministry, ii. 148-52) of his saving the country by taking on himself to order the attendance of the troops and the like, and of his almost compelling the king to go down to the house, and the whole story of what passed in the interview he and Grey had with the king on 22 April, are apocryphal. In the exciting scene in the House of Lords which followed the announcement of the king's arrival, the chancellor's self-importance caused him to lose his head (Grey Correspondence, i. 234-6; Greville Memoirs, 1st ser. ii. 135-7). On 7 Oct. Brougham made a speech on the second reading of the Reform Bill that has been held to be his masterpiece: it is full of sarcasm on the tory lords. As in most of his great speeches, the peroration is studied and unnatural. Brougham ended with a prayer; he fell on his knees, and remained kneeling. He had kept up his energy with draughts of mulled port, and his friends, who thought that he was unable to rise, picked him up and set him on the woolsack (Speeches, iii. 559; Campbell, Life, 398). In the crisis which followed the victory of the opposition on 17 May 1832, Brougham represents himself as playing the most important part. This is by no means borne out by other evidence. Lord Grey was not a man to allow the chancellor to take his place, and William IV certainly never forgot what was due to him as his first minister (Roebuck, History, ii. 331; Life and Times, iii. 192-201, with which compare Grey Correspondence, i. 422-44; Edin. Rev. cxxv. 546).

In June 1834 Lord Grey retired from office. His retirement is said by Brougham to have been caused by the indiscretion of Littleton, the Irish secretary. It was at least as much Brougham's own work. Without Grey's knowledge he persuaded Lord Wellesley, the lord-lieutenant of Ireland, to withdraw from his recommendation that certain clauses of the Coercion Bill should be retained. This underhand proceeding led to complications both with O'Connell and between the whig leaders in the two houses. Brougham had not the honesty to acknowledge what he had done when he might have cleared Littleton from O'Connell's charges, and he has disguised the truth in his autobiography. Grey felt he had been ill used. Brougham knew that he wished to resign office, and seems to have schemed to separate him from his followers, in order that he himself and the party generally might retain office—for himself he probably hoped for the treasury, after Grey had gone out (Letter of Henry, Earl Grey, July 1871, Edin. Rev. cxxxiv. 291-302; Parl. Deb. xxiv. 1019, 1308, xxv. 119; Lord Hamerton (Littleton}, Memoir of 1834, p. 85, and passim). Brougham continued chancellor when Lord Melbourne took office. Up to this time his popularity and his success were unabated. It was during his chancellorship that he used to drive about in a little carriage specially built for him by Robinson, the coachmaker, which excited much wonder by its unusual shape, 'an old little sort of garden chair,' Moore the poet called it (Diary, vi. 196); it was the ancestor of all broughams. For years the 'Times' had flattered him outrageously, and he was accused of using the 'Edinburgh Review' as a means of puffing himself and his projects (Napier, 110. The extraordinary tyranny Brougham exercised over the management of the 'Edinburgh Review' is constantly illustrated by incidental passages in the correspondence of Macvey Napier, the editor; it was grievously, though for the most part vainly, complained of, and was bitterly resented by Macaulay). Now, however, the 'Times' changed its tone, and attacked him. In August he made a tour in Scotland. He displeased the king by taking the great seal across the border, and made matters worse by indulging in extravagances that excited the disgust of all sensible persons (Greville Memoirs, 1st ser. iii. 133; Campbell). The ministers were dismissed on 11 Nov. That evening Melbourne, under a promise of secrecy, told Brougham the result of his interview with the king. Brougham at once sent the news to the 'Times,' and his brief communication, ending with the words, 'The queen has done it all,' appeared in the issue of the next morning. The king declared that he had been 'insulted and betrayed' (Torrens, Memoirs of Melbourne, ii. 43, 44). Although Brougham knew that Scarlett was to succeed Lyndhurst as chief baron of the exchequer, he offered to take the judgeship without any pay beyond his ex-chancellor's pension. This offer brought him into contempt, and he retreated to the continent (ib. 51; Greville Memoirs, 1st ser. iii. 157, 158). He visited Cannes, then a mere village, and on 3 Jan. 1835 bought land there to build a house (H. Retournay).

Although Melbourne returned to office in April 1835, he, and indeed the proposed ministers generally, were determined not to have Brougham among them again after the follies of which he had been guilty, and in order to conciliate him the great seal was put in commission. He gave the government an independent support, and was especially useful in enabling them to carry the Municipal Reform Bill. His activity in parliament was extraordinary. In the course of this session he delivered 221 speeches that are reported in 'Hansard' (Parl. Deb. xxx. Index quoted by Campbell). The appointment of Pepys (Lord Cottenham) as chancellor early in 1836 wounded him deeply. He considered, probably not without reason, that Melbourne had deceived him (Torrens, ii. 174; Napier, 251, 316). His health was shaken by his vexation, and he spent a year in retirement at Brougham Hall. During the early years of Queen Victoria's reign, Brougham, though sitting on the ministerial side of the house, often opposed the government. Adopting a radical tone, he stigmatised his former colleagues as courtiers, and on 11 Dec. 1837, when criticising the allowance to the Duchess of Kent, engaged in a sharp altercation with Melbourne (Greville Memoirs, 2nd ser. i. 33). During the next year he did much literary work, editing the four volumes of his 'Speeches' and writing books, reviews, and other articles. At the same time he continued to make his presence felt in parliament. On 20 Feb., in a speech of great eloquence, he moved resolutions recommending the immediate abolition of slavery. Of his work during this session Macaulay, an old enemy of his, wrote: 'A mere tongue, without a party and without a character, in an unfriendly audience and with an unfriendly press, never did half as much before' (Napier, 270). In the debate of 21 May 1839 on the bedchamber question he made a violent attack on the whigs and spoke somewhat disrespectfully of the queen as 'an inexperienced person.' After the re-establishment of the Melbourne ministry he virtually led the opposition in the lords, and on 6 Aug. succeeded in carrying five resolutions censuring the government policy in Ireland. On 21 Oct., while he was at Brougham Hall, it was reported and generally believed in London that he had met his death by a carriage accident. All the newspapers of the 22nd except the 'Times' contained obituary notices of his career, one or two of them of an uncomplimentary character. It soon became known that the report was false, and Brougham was accused, not without reason, of having set it abroad himself. It was true that he and two friends were thrown from a carriage on the 19th, but none of the three was injured (Campbell, 505-11; Napier, 312, 313). The loss of his only surviving daughter on 30 Nov. of this year caused him deep grief. He named the house he built for himself at Cannes the Château Eleanor Louise, in memory of her. From 1840 onwards he spent some months in each year at Cannes. His habit was to go to Brougham Hall as soon as parliament was prorogued, and at the approach of winter to visit Paris, where he took the opportunity of attending the meetings of the Institute—he had been elected an associate by the Academy of Moral and Political Science in 1833—and thence to proceed to Cannes, where he stayed until the next session recalled him to London.

Although on the defeat of Melbourne's ministry Brougham changed his seat to the opposition side of the house, he nevertheless gave Peel's government considerable support, and when the Ashburton treaty, concerning the Maine boundary, was attacked by his former colleagues, he brought forward a motion on 7 April 1843 expressing approval of it and thanking Lord Ashburton for his services. He was in favour of free trade, though at the same time he disliked the Anti-Corn-law League, for he looked with suspicion on all movements outside parliament. Although he tried to avert the disruption of the Scotch kirk, he has been accused of, in the end, sacrificing the cause to the interests of the tory government by yielding to Lord Aberdeen (Cockburn, Journal, ii. 44). In this year a member of the family of Bird, the former owners of Brougham Hall, set up a claim to the estate. The case, which was one of trespass, was heard at Appleby assizes on 11 Sept., and the verdict ousted Bird's claim. Brougham was never happier than when acting as judge; he sat constantly in the supreme court of appeal, and in the judicial committee of the privy council, the court he had himself founded, and over which he desired to hold permanent sway. In the hope of acquiring the judicial headship of this court he constantly, and especially in the spring of 1844, endeavoured to obtain the appointment of a vice-president, who should be a judge (Greville Memoirs, 2nd ser. ii. 225). He continued to press the subject of law reform as president of the Law Amendment Association and director of its organ, the 'Law Review,' as well as in parliament. On 19 May 1845 he made a long speech on this subject, rehearsing, as his custom was, all he had effected during the seventeen years that had passed since his motion of 1828, urging the establishment of 'courts of conciliation,' a scheme he had propounded in his bill of 1830, and of other local courts, and recommending that additional facilities should be provided for the sale and transfer of land by the use of a formula of conveyance and by a system of registration; and as regards criminal law, that more frequent commissions of oyer and terminer should be held. He ended by laying nine bills on the table (Parl. Deb. 3rd ser. lxxx. 493-516). Old as he now was, and notwithstanding the position he had achieved and the good work he had done, his constant thirst for admiration led him 'to desire to flourish away among silly and dissolute people of fashion.' Ever anxious to impress others with a sense of his superior ability, 'he had no idea how to converse or live at ease' (Greville Memoirs, 2nd ser. ii. 235). When the French provisional government of 1848 summoned the National Assembly, Brougham was seized with a desire to be returned as a deputy, and applied to the minister of justice for a certificate of naturalisation. After some difficulty he was made to understand that if he became a French citizen he would lose his English citizenship, and with it his rank, offices, and emoluments, and he accordingly withdrew his request. On 11 April, while this matter was still pending, he made a long speech in the house on foreign affairs, attacking Charles Albert, the king of Sardinia, for having promised to help the Milanese, and the pope for his concessions to the liberals, and severely blaming the conduct of the French provisional government. He found, however, that his extraordinary proposal had not escaped notice, and Lord Lansdowne answered him with a sarcastic remark (Parl. Deb. xcviii. 138). On the accession of the whigs to office under Lord John Russell, Brougham remained on the opposition side of the house, and in the session of 1849 strenuously opposed the repeal of the navigation acts. On 20 July he again reviewed the state of affairs on the continent, and, no longer moved with the sentiments he had expressed in 1824, blamed the government for sympathising with Victor Emmanuel, spoke strongly against the revolutionary party in Italy, defended the action of the French, and complained of prejudice against Austria and of unfair dealings with the King of Sardinia (Parl. Deb. cvii. 616).

Although Brougham gradually withdrew from politics, he continued active in the cause of law reform, urging his schemes in parliament, in the 'Law Review,' and through the Law Amendment Society. He took a large share in hearing appeals, and Lord-chancellor Truro left the administration of the appellate jurisdiction of the lords in his hands. This caused considerable dissatisfaction, and on 5 Aug. 1850 Brougham complained of the comments of the 'Daily News' as a breach of privilege and a libel on himself. The experiment of reinforcing the law lords by creating a peer for life brought him in haste from Cannes in 1856, and he greatly contributed to the defeat of Lord Wensleydale's claim. He took the opportunity of moving for returns to state his opinion on the movement for further parliamentary reform on 3 Aug. 1857. In 1850 he again turned to scientific studies. He read a paper on experiments in light before the French Institute, and in later years contributed various other papers on kindred subjects (Comptes Rendus, Nos. 30, 34, 36, 44, 46). He was also constantly busy writing, arranging, and editing literary work of various kinds. The wide and indefinite area which the Social Science Association proposed to occupy greatly pleased him. The committee held their first formal meeting at his house in Grafton Street on 29 July 1857; he was chosen president for the year, and on 12 Oct. delivered the inaugural address at the first congress at Birmingham. For some years the meetings of the association were held to be events of no small importance, and the prominent part Brougham took in the proceedings brought him great fame. He was again chosen president in 1860, and held the office during the five succeeding years. He was entertained at a public banquet at Edinburgh in October 1859, and two days afterwards was elected chancellor of the university. He delivered his installation address on 18 May 1860. In that year he received a second patent of peerage with remainder to his younger brother William and his heirs male, an honour conferred on him in recognition of his eminent services in the cause of education and in the suppression of slavery. Lady Brougham died at Brighton on 12 Jan. 1865. Brougham attended the meeting of the Social Science Association held at Manchester in 1866. The next year his mental powers, which had been gradually failing, gave way altogether. He died quietly at his château at Cannes on 7 May 1868. He was an honorary D.C.L. of Oxford, and a fellow of the Royal Society. In spite of a gaunt ungainly figure and an ungraceful habit of action he was a remarkably successful speaker. His memory was excellent, and his self-possession not easily disturbed. His words came readily, he had great powers of sarcasm, and an unfailing store of humour. Eloquent, however, as many of his speeches are, his perorations often bear the marks of over-careful preparation. Although his health was never strong, his power of application was extraordinary, and even when he appeared to be utterly worn out he was always able to call up a fresh supply of energy to meet any new demand upon him. His style of writing was slovenly, and, setting aside his speeches, nothing that he wrote can now be read with much pleasure except his private letters and some of his 'Sketches of Statesmen.' His attainments were manifold, and he wrote and spoke as a teacher on almost every subject under the sun. His mind ranged over so wide an area that he never acquired a thorough knowledge of any particular division of learning. It has been said of him that if he had known a little law he would have known a little of everything. Nevertheless he has left his abiding mark in the improvement of our legal system, and his work in the judicial committee of the privy council was of considerable importance both in upholding liberal principles in ecclesiastical matters, and in creating a body of precedents which have served as a kind of foundation of Indian law (Encyclop. Brit., art 'Brougham'). In almost all public questions—his speeches on foreign politics in 1848 and 1849 excepted—he upheld the cause of humanity and freedom; yet he had little moral influence; such weight as he had was simply due to his intellectual powers. Genial in society, with great power of enjoyment, a keen perception of what was ludicrous, and a ready wit, he was at the same time an unamiable man, a bitter enemy, and a jealous colleague. His temper was irritable, he was easily excited, and from whatever cause his excitement arose it led him to speak and act unadvisedly. Brougham was buried in the cemetery of Cannes. His residence there and the interest he took in the welfare of the place raised it from a mere fishing village to its present position. The inhabitants were not ungrateful. The hundredth anniversary of his birth was kept with many marks of respect, and the foundation of a statue to him was laid on 19 Dec. 1878 (Retournay).

Lord Brougham's brother William (born 26 Sept. 1795) succeeded to the title as second baron. He was educated at Jesus College, Cambridge (B.A. 1819), was M.P. for Southwark 1831-5, and a master in chancery 1835-52. He died 3 Jan. 1886, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Henry Charles (Times, 5 Jan. 1886).

A bibliographical list, describing 133 of Brougham's literary productions, has been drawn up by Mr. Ralph Thomas, and will be found at the end of the eleventh volume of the second collected edition of his works. Only his larger and more important books will therefore be mentioned here. His critical, historical, and miscellaneous works were published under his own direction in a collected edition, 11 vols. 8vo, 1855-61, a second edition 1872-3. His chief productions, many of which are included in the collected editions, are:

  1. 'An Enquiry into the Colonial Policy of European Powers,' 2 vols. 1803.
  2. Practical Observations on the Education of the People,' edits. 1-20, 1825, at Boston, U.S., 1826, 'Praktische Bemerkungen,' Berlin, 1827.
  3. 'A Discourse on Natural Theology, with an edition of Paley's work, 1835, 1845.
  4. 'Select Cases decided by Lord Brougham in the Court of Chancery,' edited by C. P. Cooper, 1835.
  5. 'Speeches upon Questions relating to Public Rights,' 4 vols. 1838, 1845, with introductions which, though written in the third person, are really Brougham's own work (Cockburn, Diary, i. 190).
  6. 'Historical Sketches of Statesmen … in the time of George III,' 1839, second series 1839, third series 1843, in 6 vols. 12mo, 1845, 'Esquisses Historiques … traduites … par U. Legeay,' Lyon, 1847.
  7. 'ΠΕΡΙ ΤΟΥ ΣΤΕΦΑΝΟΥ,' 'Demosthenes upon the Crown, translated,' with notes, 1840, a most unfortunate production, was made the subject of a severe review in the 'Times,' 21 and 28 March, and 3 and 4 April, which was reprinted in a separate form, and on which see 'Gent. Mag., March 1841, p. 265.
  8. 'Political Philosophy,' and other essays published by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, 2 vols. 1842, 3 vols. no date; to the ill-success of this publication Lord Campbell ascribes the break-up of the society; for a contradiction of this statement see 'Notes and Queries,' 4th series, ix. 489.
  9. 'Albert Lunel; or, the Château of Languedoc,' 3 vols. 12mo. 1844, described by Brougham as a philosophical romance, written 'as a kind of monument to her I had lost' (his daughter, who is made the heroine); it was not published, and, after a few copies had been distributed, was suppressed by the author; it is not included in the 'bibliographical list,' but the authorship is now certain (Brougham, Letters to Forsyth, 69-71, 73, 80; Notes, and Queries, 4th series, vii. 277), it was reprinted and published, 3 vols. 8vo, 1872.
  10. 'Lives of Men of Letters and Science … in the time of George III,' 1845, second series 1846; some of these lives are translated into French.
  11. 'History of England and France under the House of Lancaster,' 1852 anon., 1861 with name.
  12. 'Contributions to the Edinburgh Review,' 3 vols. 1856, contains merely a selection from Brougham's numerous articles.
  13. 'Lord Brougham and Law Reform,' acts and bills introduced by him since 1811, edited by Sir J. E. Eardley Wilmot, 1860; contains forty statutes carried and fifty bills introduced, on which, however, see Campbell's 'Life,' 587.
  14. 'Tracts, Mathematical and Physical,' collected edition 1860. 15. 'Life and Times of Henry, Lord Brougham,' written by himself, 3 vols. posthumous, 1871.
[References to special passages in most of the authorities here named are given in the text. Brougham's Life and Times of Henry, Lord Brougham, 3 vols., must be read with caution, and its statements compared with other authorities; it is chiefly valuable for the letters it contains; for notices of some curious misstatements in these volumes, besides those mentioned in the above article, see the Times for 12 Jan. 1871, and Notes and Queries, 4th ser. vii. 277; Brougham's Speeches, 4 vols.; Brougham's Letters to W. Forsyth, privately printed; Lord Campbell's Life of Brougham, in Lives of the Chancellors, viii. 213-596, is to be read with due allowance for its spiteful tone—compare Lord St. Leonards on Some Misrepresentations in Lord Campbell's Lives; F. A. M. Mignet has an able summary of Brougham's Life and Work in his Nouveaux Éloges Historiques, 1877, 165-237; Nicholson and Burn's History of Cumberland and Westmorland, i. 395; Hutchinson's History of Westmorland, i. 301; Memoirs and Correspondence of Francis Horner, ed. L. Horner, 2 vols. 2nd edit.; Selections from the Correspondence of Macvey Napier; Lord Cockburn's Life of Lord Jeffrey, 2 vols.; Cockburn's Journal, 2 vols.; G. Peacock's Life of Dr. Young, p. 174; Lord Holland's Memoirs of the Whig Party, 2 vols.; Return of Members of Parliament; Parliamentary Debates, xvi.—3rd ser. cxlvii. passim; Jeremy Bentham's works contain a few notices, especially in the correspondence, x. and xi.; Sir G. C. Lewis's Administrations of Great Britain 1783-1830, pp. 344, 351; Autobiography of Miss E. Cornelia Knight, 2 vols.; C. D. Yonge's Life and Administration of Robert, second Lord Liverpool, 3 vols.; Report of the Speeches at the Edinburgh dinner, 5 April 1825; A. G. Stapleton's Political Life of Canning, i. 296, 377-383, iii. 348; Roebuck's History of the Whig Ministry of 1830, 2 vols., was largely inspired by Brougham, and for that and other reasons must not be implicitly trusted; Papers of J. Wilson Croker, ed. Jenings, 3 vols.; Correspondence of Earl Grey and William IV, ed. Henry Earl Grey, 2 vols.; Lord Hatherton's Memoir and Correspondence relating to June and July 1834; the Greville Memoirs, ed, H. Reeve, 1st and 2nd ser.; W. M. Torrens's Memoir of Lord Melbourne, 2 vols.; Edinburgh Review, xlvi. 225, xlvii. 35, xlviii. 34, cxxv. 546, cxxix. 583, cxxxiv. 291; Quarterly Review, xlv. 281, cxxvi. 91; Times, 11 May 1868; Law Magazine and Law Review, August 1868, new series, l. 177; Horace Retournay's Lord Brougham et le centenaire. Of the many squibs written on Brougham the most famous is T. L. Peacock's description of him in Crotchet Castle, where he figures as 'the learned friend.']

W. H.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.38
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line
452 ii 19-18 f.e. Brougham, Henry P., Lord Brougham: omit As Lord Cleveland . . . tories
17 f.e. for felt bound in 1830 to vacate read in 1830 vacated
16 f.e. omit accordingly
14 f.e. after Knaresborough insert in succession to Tierney
456 i 15 for Italy read Sardinia
457 i 14 for 1835-40 read 1835-52