- Cowgate, Edinburgh – Born
- September 19, 1778 – Born
|Lord Henry Brougham|
|Born||September 19, 1778(1778-09-19) Edinburgh, Scotland|
|Died||May 7, 1868(1868-05-07) (aged 89) Cannes, France|
|Resting place||Cimetière du Grand Jas, Cannes, France|
|Spouse||Mary Anne Eden|
|Mother||Eleanora Syme Brougham|
Life Sketch from The Other Eminent Men of Wilford WoodruffCopyright © Taken from the book: The Other Eminent Men of Wilford Woodruff. Special thanks to Vicki Jo Anderson. Please do not copy. Special thanks to Vicki Jo Anderson. Statesman/Lord Chancellor of England 1778-1868 The most indomitable man of his time Lord Henry Brougham was responsible for making slave-trade a felony and he insured Negro emancipation in all his majesty’s colonies. His efforts on behalf of reform were indefatigable, and his energy never waned throughout his long life. Upon success of the Slave Trade Bill. Brougham turned his energies to the education of the poor. He was instumental in the foundation of the University of London and in establishing the Society of Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. Some criticized his strong will and drive, but Brougham was also responsible for breaking up the East India British monopoly, which was destroying the economy of India. He was also credited with defeating the continuance of the income tax in England. In 1825, he was elected to the honorary office of Lord Rector of the Universeity of Clasgow over Sir Walter Scott. Brougham wrote on a variety of subjects, from mathematics, to science to politics. His collected works fill ten volumes. After reading his first paper before the Royal Society of the age eighteen, Brougham went on to write eighty articles of the Edinburgh Review, for which he was a contributing editor. For many years the magazine would affect the public opinion of the British Isles.
“God grant that we may not live and die under the present system of things – but I am much afraid.” – Lord Henry Brougham
Early LifeLord Henry Brougham was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, 19 September 1778, where he spent the first twenty-five years of his life. His family was of middle-rank but not wealthy. His great-uncle on his mother’s side was the famous Scottish historian, William Robertson, who often guided certain areas of the young man’s study. Henry’s father taught him to read at a preschool age, and the boy soon began to show signs of precociousness and boundless energy. Indeed, it was a wonderful time in Scotland for a great mind to be educated. Scotland was basking in the sunshine of Scotish Enlightenment. Scotland had already froduced such great minds as Adam Smith, David Amy, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns, Reverend Thomas Chalmers, and others.
Relationship with Mother and SonOf her son Bougham’s mother wrote “From a very tender age he excelled all his contemporaries. Nothing to him was a labor.”1 He uttered his first intelligible words at eight and a half months old. At the age of thirteen he translated a five-volume work into English for his great-Uncle William. His schooling was a wonderful advantage for him, but he seemed to blossom most when he took ill and had to remain home for some time. During this time he read incessantly, assited by his maternal grandmother, and accomplished woman in her own right besides being sister to William Roberston, the historian. It is to this lady the Brougham gives credit for his success in public life:
“I owe [her] all my success in life. From my earliest infancy till I left the college with the exception of the time we passed at Brougham with my tutor, Mr. Mitchell, I was her companion. Remarkable for beauty, but far more for a masculine intellect and clear understanding she instilled in me from my cradle the strongest desire for information, and the first principle of that persevering energy in the pursuit of every kind of knowledge, which more than any natyral talents I may possess, has enabled me to stick to, and to accomplish, how far successfully it is not for me to say, every task I every undertook.”2
EducationBrougham’s grandmother, like her historian brother, ardently championed the cause of the American colonists. When Brougham was about twelve, a cousin found him walking with an original volume of mathematics by the Grench mathematician, La Place, and queried, “What sort of lad [must this] be who not only studied mathematics for pleasure, but through the medium of a foreign tongue.”3 Broughham entered the university at the age of fourteen. His professors were astounded by his extraordinary memory, which could recall details of battle and individuals in history. At the university a group of Henry’s friends organized a debating society call the “Juvenile Literary Society” and debated such topics as the existence of inate ideas in the human mind, and the character of Mary Queen of Scots, the act of Brutus in slaying Caesar, and other moral and esconomic subjects. It was about this time that Henry invited to present his paper on light and color to the Royal Society. He resented greatly the fact that the secretary made him edit portions of his paper on the grounds that those parts related to art rather that the sciences and he said:
“This was very unfortunate; because I had observed the effect of a small hole in the window shutter of a darkened room, when a view is formed on white paper of the external objects. I had suggested that if the view is formed, not on paper, but on ivory permanent…Now this is the origin of photography; and had the note containing the suggestion in 1795appeared, in all probability it would have set others on the examination of the subject, and given up photography half a ventury earlier that have had it.”4Brougham finished his courses at the university and enter law school. He practiced for about one year, but by the end of the year he was “dusgusted with law.”5
His TravelsIn 1804, Brougham traveled to the continent under an American passport because of the enmity between England and France. His travel served to further prepare him for his work in Parliament. During this time Brougham was appointed to act as secretary to an army headed to Portugal sent to sustain her against a French invasion. The general took ill and Brougham directed most of the affairs. It was this experience that led to his later efforts to reform military discipline, particularly the abuse of flogging in the army and navy.
Counselor of Queen CarolineIn 1812, Brougham became counselor to the future Queen, Caroline, and she began to consult him on her private affairs. Her husband, the Prince (later George IV) disliked Caroline and separated from her soon after the birth of their daughter. The public thought she had been badly treated by her socializing husband, and the sympathies of the people were strongly in her favor. In 1814, she left England for extended travel on the continent. Ultimately, she mate Italy her headquarters. On the death of the King George III, the English Ambassadors were given orders to prevent her return and to prevent her recognition in foreign courts as queen. Her name was also omitted in all public ceremonies. These acts stirred up strong public support of the queen, and in spite of all efforts made by the king, Caroline did return to England to claim her rights. The office of the crown tried to buy her silence for 50,000 pounds per year. Failing to accomplish this, a bill was introduced to Parliament to dissolve her marriage with the king on charge of infidelity to her husband. These actions drew the attention of the people to the distressed queen and more particularly to the man who came to her aid as he attorney-general. Brougham, as he counsel, came to be regarded as the chivalrous champion of the much-injured lady. By his boldness in denouncing a series of acts of oppression by the highest officers in the land, the queen was fully acquitted. Thus Brougham’s reputation rose to the highest esteem in England. Although Caroline was vindicated and allowed to assume her title, she was refused admittance to Westminster Hall on Coronation Day. She died less that a month later. Lord Henry Brougham’s educaion and experiences prepared him so well that when he was placed in governmental position, his old friend Sydney Smith, initiator of the Edinburgh Review, wrote:
“Look at the gigantic Brougham, sword in at twelve o’clock, and before six P.M. he has a bill on the table abolishing the abuses of the courst…This is the man who will help to govern you–who [bases] his reputation on doing good to you … and he is a terror to him who doth evil to the people.”6Copyright © Taken from the book: The Other Eminent Men of Wilford Woodruff. Special thanks to Vicki Jo Anderson. Please do not copy. 7
- Duycknick, Evert A. Portrait Gallery of Eminent Men and Women, New York: H.J. Johnson, 1873, p. 494.
- Ibid., p. 495.
- Stewart Robert. Henry Brougham 1778-1868: His Public Career. The Bodley Head, London, n.d. p. 6
- Ibid., p. 7-8
- Aspinall, Arthur. Lord Brougham and the Whig Party. n.p.: Archon Books, 1972, p. 4.
- Duycknick, p. 505
- Anderson, Vicki Jo. (1994). The Other Eminent Men of Wilford Woodruff. Cottonwood, AZ: Zichron Historical Research Institute.