Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux

Last updated

An advocate, in the discharge of his duty, knows but one person in all the world, and that person is his client. To save that client by all means and expedients, and at all hazards and costs to other persons, and amongst them, to himself, is his first and only duty; and in performing this duty he must not regard the alarm, the torments, the destruction which he may bring upon others. Separating the duty of a patriot from that of an advocate, he must go on reckless of consequences, though it should be his unhappy fate to involve his country in confusion.

The speech has since become legendary among defence lawyers for the principle of zealously advocating for one's client. [5]

The bill passed, but by the narrow margin of only nine votes. Lord Liverpool, aware of the unpopularity of the bill and afraid that it might be overturned in the House of Commons, then withdrew it. The British public had mainly been on the Princess's side, and the outcome of the trial made Brougham one of the most famous men in the country. His legal practice on the Northern Circuit rose fivefold, although he had to wait until 1827 before being made a King's Counsel. [1]

In 1826, Brougham, along with Wellington, was one of the clients and lovers named in the notorious Memoirs of Harriette Wilson . Before publication, Wilson and publisher John Joseph Stockdale wrote to all those named in the book offering them the opportunity to be excluded from the work in exchange for a cash payment. Brougham paid and secured his anonymity. [6] [7]

Lord Chancellor

The Lord Brougham and Vaux
Portrait of Henry Brougham, Lord Brougham and Vaux (2550754469).jpg
Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
In office
22 November 1830 9 July 1834


You honourably distinguished yourselves


by your zealous support of


Who can be more worthy of your choice as a


the enlightened friend and champion of Negro Freedom


by returning him




Brougham remained a member of Parliament for Winchelsea until February 1830 when he was returned for Knaresborough. However, he represented Knaresborough only until August the same year, when he became one of four representatives for Yorkshire. His support for the immediate abolition of slavery brought him enthusiastic support in the industrial West Riding. The Reverend Benjamin Godwin of Bradford devised and funded posters that appealed to Yorkshire voters who had supported William Wilberforce to support Brougham as a committed opponent of slavery [8] However, Brougham was adopted as a Whig candidate by only a tiny majority at the nomination meeting: the Whig gentry objecting that he had no connection with agricultural interests, and no connection with the county. [9] Brougham came second in the poll, behind the other Whig candidate; although the liberals of Leeds had placarded the town with claims that one of the Tory candidates supported slavery, this was strenuously denied by him. [10]

In November the Tory government led by the Duke of Wellington fell, and the Whigs came to power under Lord Grey. Brougham joined the government as Lord Chancellor, although his opponents claimed he previously stated he would not accept office under Grey. [11] Brougham refused the post of Attorney General, but accepted that of Lord Chancellor, which he held for four years. On 22 November, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Brougham and Vaux, of Brougham in the County of Westmorland. [1] [12]

Brougham as Lord Chancellor (1830-1834) Lord Brougham & Vaux mezzotint.jpg
Brougham as Lord Chancellor (1830–1834)

The highlights of Brougham's time in government were passing the Reform Act 1832 and 1833 Slavery Abolition Act but he was seen as dangerous, unreliable and arrogant. Charles Greville, who was Clerk of the Privy Council for 35 years, recorded his "genius and eloquence" was marred by "unprincipled and execrable judgement". [13] Although retained when Lord Melbourne succeeded Grey in July 1834, the administration was replaced in November by Sir Robert Peel's Tories. When Melbourne became Prime Minister again in April 1835, he excluded Brougham, saying his conduct was one of the main reasons for the fall of the previous government; Baron Cottenham became Lord Chancellor in January 1836. [1]

Later life

Bust of Henry Brougham in the Playfair Library of Edinburgh University's Old College Henry Brougham bust.jpg
Bust of Henry Brougham in the Playfair Library of Edinburgh University's Old College
The title page of British Constitution (1st ed., 1844), written by Brougham Henry, Lord Brougham, British Constitution (1st ed, 1844, title page).jpg
The title page of British Constitution (1st ed., 1844), written by Brougham

Brougham was never to hold office again. However, for more than thirty years after his fall he continued to take an active part in the judicial business of the House of Lords, and in its debates, having now turned fiercely against his former political associates, but continuing his efforts on behalf of reform of various kinds. He also devoted much of his time to writing. He had continued to contribute to the Edinburgh Review , the best of his writings being subsequently published as Historical Sketches of Statesmen Who Flourished in the Time of George III.

In 1834, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In 1837, Brougham presented a bill for public education, arguing that "it cannot be doubted that some legislative effort must at length be made to remove from this country the opprobrium of having done less for the education of the people than any of the more civilized nations on earth". [14] [ page needed ]

In 1838, after news came up of British colonies where the emancipation of the slaves was obstructed or where the ex-slaves were being badly treated and discriminated against, Lord Brougham stated in the House of Lords:

The slave ... is as fit for his freedom as any English peasant, aye, or any Lord whom I now address. I demand his rights; I demand his liberty without stint.... I demand that your brother be no longer trampled upon as your slave! [15]

Brougham was elected Rector of Marischal College for 1838. [16] He also edited, in collaboration with Sir Charles Bell, William Paley's Natural Theology and published a work on political philosophy and in 1838 he published an edition of his speeches in four volumes. The last of his works was his posthumous Autobiography. In 1857 he was one of the founders of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science and was its president at some congresses. [3]

In 1860, Brougham was given by Queen Victoria a second peerage as Baron Brougham and Vaux, of Brougham in the County of Westmorland and of Highhead Castle in the County of Cumberland, with remainder to his youngest brother William Brougham (died 1886). The patent stated that the second peerage was in honour of the great services he had rendered, especially in promoting the abolition of slavery. [3]


Brougham was said [ clarification needed ] to be the father of writer Marie Blaze de Bury. Her last name was Stuart or Stewart and she was born in Oban, Scotland in 1813. [17] She was sent to France when she was nine where she completed her education.[ citation needed ]

Brougham married Mary Spalding (d. 1865), daughter of Thomas Eden, and widow of John Spalding, MP, in 1821. They had two daughters, both of whom predeceased their parents, the latter one dying in 1839. Lord Brougham and Vaux died in May 1868 in Cannes, France, aged 89 and was buried in the Cimetière du Grand Jas. [1] The cemetery is up to the present dominated by Brougham's statue, and he is honoured for his major role in building the city of Cannes. [18] His hatchment is in Ninekirks, which was then the parish church of Brougham.

The Barony of 1830 became extinct on his death, while he was succeeded in the Barony of 1860 according to the special remainder by his younger brother William Brougham. [19]


A brougham, of the style built to Lord Brougham's specification Brougham.jpg
A brougham, of the style built to Lord Brougham's specification
Dedication to Brougham in Mechanism of the Heavens (1831) by Mary Somerville Somerville-3.jpg
Dedication to Brougham in Mechanism of the Heavens (1831) by Mary Somerville

As the designer of the brougham, a four-wheeled, horse-drawn style carriage that bears his name, Brougham's patronage brought renown to the French seaside resort of Cannes. In 1835, when little more than a fishing village on a picturesque coast, Brougham purchased a tract of land and built on it, leading it to become a popular sanitorium of Europe. Owing to his influence the beachfront promenade at Nice became known as the Promenade des Anglais (literally, "The Promenade of the English"). [20] The baron inspired others to winter in Cannes and own a second home there. He oversaw the construction of 'Villa Elenore-Louise' which he named after his daughter, living in the villa himself. One of his friends became the riviera's de facto estate agent owing to the building of Château Vallombrosa. The newly built villas made popular by Brougham attracted royalty, including as Queen Victoria and the Russian Czar. [21]

A statue of Lord Brougham stands at the Cannes waterfront, across from the Palais des festivals et des congrès. [21]

Brougham holds the House of Commons record for non-stop speaking at six hours. [22]

Brougham was present at the trial of the world's first steam-powered ship on 14 October 1788 at Dalswinton Loch near Auldgirth, Dumfries and Galloway. William Symington of Wanlockhead built the two-cylindered engine for Patrick Miller of Dalswinton. [23]

Brougham Street and Brougham Place in Edinburgh are named in his memory. [24]


Brougham wrote a prodigious number of treatises on science, philosophy, and history. Besides the writings mentioned in this article, he was the author of Dialogues on Instinct; with Analytical View of the Researches on Fossil Osteology, Lives of Statesmen, Philosophers, and Men of Science of the Time of George III, Natural Theology, etc. His last work was an autobiography written in his 84th year and published in 1871.

Brougham's Political Philosophy was included on the Cambridge syllabus for History and Political Philosophy, where it was considered among the major works on the topic along with Aristotle's Politics, François Guizot's Histoire de la civilization en Europe, and Henry Hallam's Constitutional History. [25]


The papers of the Brougham family were deposited at University College London in 1953, having previously been purchased by C.K. Ogden. [26] The majority of the collection is formed by Henry Brougham's extensive correspondence, totalling over 50,000 items. [26] The University also holds the archive of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, which Brougham helped to establish. [27]


Coat of arms of Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux
Coronet of a British Baron.svg
Brougham and Vaux Escutcheon.png
A dexter arm in armour embowed Proper the hand holding a lucy fessewise Argent and charged on the elbow with a rose Gules.
Gules a chevron between three lucies hauriant Argent.
Dexter a lion Vert armed and langued Gules gorged with a Vaux collar checky Or and of the second, sinister a stag Argent attired and unguled Or holding in the mouth a rose Gules barbed and seeded Vert.
Pro Rege Lege Grege (For The King The Law And The People) [19]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville</span> British advocate and politician (1742–1811)

Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, PC, FRSE, styled as Lord Melville from 1802, was the trusted lieutenant of British prime minister William Pitt and the most powerful politician in Scotland in the late 18th century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey</span> Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1830 to 1834

Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, known as Viscount Howick between 1806 and 1807, was a British Whig politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1830 to 1834. He was a descendant of the House of Grey and the namesake of Earl Grey tea. Grey was a long-time leader of multiple reform movements. During his time as prime minister, his government brought about two notable reforms. The Reform Act 1832 enacted parliamentary reform, greatly increasing the electorate of the House of Commons.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville</span> Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1806 to 1807

William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville, was a British Pittite Tory politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1806 to 1807, but was a supporter of the Whigs for the duration of the Napoleonic Wars. As prime minister, his most significant achievement was the abolition of the slave trade in 1807. However, his government failed to either make peace with France or to accomplish Catholic emancipation and it was dismissed in the same year.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Spencer, 3rd Earl Spencer</span> British statesman, 1782–1845

John Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl Spencer,, styled Viscount Althorp from 1783 to 1834, was a British statesman and abolitionist. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer under Lord Grey and Lord Melbourne from 1830 to 1834. Due to his reputation for integrity, he was nicknamed "Honest Jack".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne</span> British politician (1780–1863)

Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne,, known as Lord Henry Petty from 1784 to 1809, was a British statesman. In a ministerial career spanning nearly half a century, he notably served as Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer and was three times Lord President of the Council.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Campbell, 1st Baron Campbell</span> Scottish politician

John Campbell, 1st Baron Campbell, PC, FRSE was a British Liberal politician, lawyer and man of letters.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas Denman, 1st Baron Denman</span> 18th/19th-century British lawyer and politician

Thomas Denman, 1st Baron Denman, was an English lawyer, judge and politician. He served as Lord Chief Justice between 1832 and 1850.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry Vassall-Fox, 3rd Baron Holland</span> English politician (1773–1840)

Henry Richard Vassall-Fox, 3rd Baron Holland of Holland, and 3rd Baron Holland of Foxley PC, was an English politician and a major figure in Whig politics in the early 19th century. A grandson of Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland, and nephew of Charles James Fox, he served as Lord Privy Seal between 1806 and 1807 in the Ministry of All the Talents headed by Lord Grenville and as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster between 1830 and 1834 and again between 1835 and his death in 1840 in the Whig administrations of Lord Grey and Lord Melbourne.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lord Sinclair</span> British noble title

Lord Sinclair is a title in the Peerage of Scotland. According to James Balfour Paul's The Scots Peerage, volume VII published in 1910, the first person to be styled Lord Sinclair was William Sinclair, 3rd Earl of Orkney and 1st Earl of Caithness. However, according to Roland Saint-Clair writing in the late 19th century, William Sinclair's father, Henry II Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, who died in 1420, is the first person recorded as Lord Sinclair by public records.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Baron Brougham and Vaux</span> Extinct barony in the Peerage of the United Kingdom

Baron Brougham and Vaux, of Brougham in the County of Westmorland and of High Head Castle in the County of Cumberland, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1860 for Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux, a lawyer, Whig politician, and formerly Lord Chancellor, with remainder to his younger brother William Brougham. He had already been created Baron Brougham and Vaux, of Brougham in the County of Westmorland, in 1830, also in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, with normal remainder to the heirs male of his body.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anti-Slavery Society (1823–1838)</span> British abolitionist organization

The Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery Throughout the British Dominions, founded in 1823 and known as the London Anti-Slavery Society during 1838 before ceasing to exist in that year, was commonly referred to as the Anti-Slavery Society.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Michael Brougham, 5th Baron Brougham and Vaux</span> British politician (1938–2023)

Michael John Brougham, 5th Baron Brougham and Vaux,, was a British peer and a member of the House of Lords from 1968 until his death.

James Brougham was a British Whig politician.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">George Byng, 2nd Earl of Strafford</span> British politician

George Stevens Byng, 2nd Earl of Strafford, PC, styled Viscount Enfield between 1847 and 1860, of Wrotham Park in Middlesex and of 5 St James's Square, London, was a British peer and Whig politician.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stephen Lushington (judge)</span> British judge and Member of Parliament (1782–1873)

Stephen Lushington, generally known as Dr Lushington, was a British judge, Member of Parliament and a radical for the abolition of slavery and capital punishment. He served as Judge of the High Court of Admiralty from 1838 to 1867.

William Brougham, 2nd Baron Brougham and Vaux, known as William Brougham until 1868, was a British barrister and Whig politician.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry Brougham, 3rd Baron Brougham and Vaux</span> British aristocrat and civil servant

Henry Charles Brougham, 3rd Baron Brougham and Vaux, was a British aristocrat and civil servant.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Edward Harbord, 3rd Baron Suffield</span> British liberal politician, anti-slavery campaigner and prison reformer

Edward Harbord, 3rd Baron Suffield, styled The Honourable Edward Harbord between 1786 and 1821, was a British liberal politician, anti-slavery campaigner and prison reformer.

Henry Bonham was an English merchant and Member of Parliament.

Donald Horne (1787–1870) was a Scottish lawyer, known as a political agent for the 5th Duke of Buccleugh.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Chisholm (1911).
  2. W. Herschel, Phil.Trans., 1801, vol. 91, p. 265.
  3. 1 2 3 "BROUGHAM, Henry Peter (1778-1868), of Brougham Hall, Westmld. and 5 Hill Street, Mdx". historyofparliament. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  4. Kelly, Jon, "The art of the filibuster: How do you talk for 24 hours straight?", BBC News Magazine, 12 December 2012.
  5. Uelmen, Gerald. "Lord Brougham's Bromide: Good Lawyers as Bad Citizens", Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, November 1996.
  6. Stockdale, E. (1990). "The unnecessary crisis: The background to the Parliamentary Papers Act 1840". Public Law: 30–49. p. 36.
  7. Bourne (1975).
  8. 1 2 Historical Perspectives on the Transatlantic Slave Trade in Bradford, Yorkshire Abolitionist Activity 1787–1865, James Gregory, Plymouth University, History & Art History, Academia.edu. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  9. "Meeting of the Freeholders in the Whig Interest in York". Yorkshire Gazette. 24 July 1830. p. 3.
  10. "General Election: Yorkshire Election". Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser. 7 August 1830. p. 3.
  11. "NEW WRITS.—CONDUCT OF LORD BROUGHAM". Hansard House of Commons Debates. 1: cc636-49. 23 November 1830. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  12. "Grosvenor Prints, "A matter of credit"". grosvenorprints.com.
  13. Greville, Charles (2005). Edward, Pearce (ed.). The Diaries of Charles Greville. London: Pimlico. p. xi. ISBN   978-1844134045.
  14. Green, Andy (1990). Education and State Formation: The Rise of Education Systems in England, France and the USA. Macmillan. ISBN   978-0333571033.
  15. Quoted in the "Lawyers on the Edge" website
  16. Officers of the Marischal College & University of Aberdeen, 1593-1860.
  17. Egloff, Rachel Margaret (February 2020). "A Study of the Life and Works of Blaze de Bury: A Counter-Narrative of a Transcultural Woman's Involvement in Nineteenth Century European Politics" (PDF). PhD Thesis for Oxford Brookes University.
  18. "Historian hails Edinburgh-born slavery abolitionist who 'invented' Cannes". edinburghnews.scotsman.com. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  19. 1 2 Debrett's peerage 1921. p. 143. Retrieved 8 November 2021 via archive.org.
  20. "Cadillac Terms and Definitions A-C". Cadillacdatabase.net. 1996. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  21. 1 2 "Cannes History: The celebrity who made Cannes". iconicriviera.com. 22 November 2019.
  22. "Hansard, 8 May 1989, Column 581". HMSO. Retrieved 14 October 2008.
  23. Innes, Brian (1988). The Story of Scotland.. v. 3, part 33, p. 905.
  24. By The Three Great Roads, Aberdeen University Press
  25. Collini, Stefan (1983). That Noble Science of Politics: A Study in Nineteenth-Century Intellectual History. Cambridge University Press. p. 346.
  26. 1 2 UCL Special Collections. "Brougham Papers". UCL Archives Catalogue. Retrieved 10 January 2024.
  27. UCL Special Collections. "Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge Archive". UCL Archive Catalogue. Retrieved 13 May 2024.


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Camelford
With: Robert Adair
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Winchelsea
With: Calverley Bewicke, until 1816
Viscount Barnard, 1816–1818
George Galway Mills, 1818–1820
Lucius Concannon, 1820–1823
William Leader, 1823–1826
Viscount Howick, from 1826
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Knaresborough
With: Sir James Mackintosh
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Yorkshire
With: William Duncombe
Viscount Morpeth
Richard Bethell
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by Rector of the University of Glasgow
Succeeded by
New office Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh
Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Brougham and Vaux
of Brougham
Baron Brougham and Vaux
of Brougham and High Head Castle
Succeeded by