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International Miscellany of Literature, Art and Science, Vol. 1, No. 3, Oct. 1, 1850   By:

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Of Literature, Art, and Science.

Vol. 1. NEW YORK, OCTOBER 1, 1850. No. 3.



It is generally understood that this most illustrious Englishman now living, will, in the course of the present year, visit the United States. Whatever may be the verdict of the future upon his qualities or his conduct as a statesman, it is scarcely to be doubted that for the variety and splendor of his abilities, the extent, diversity and usefulness of his labors, and that restless, impatient and feverish activity which has kept him so long and so eminently conspicuous in affairs, he will be regarded by the next ages as one of the most remarkable personages in the age now closing the second golden age of England. Lord Brougham is of a Cumberland family, but was born in Edinburgh (where his father had married a niece of the historian Robertson), on the 19th of September, 1779. He was educated at the University of his native city, and we first hear of him as a member of a celebrated debating society, where he trained himself to the use of logic. He was not yet sixteen years of age when he communicated a paper on Light to the Royal Society of London, which was printed in their transactions; and before he was twenty he had written discussions of the higher geometry, which, appearing in the same repository of the best learning, attracted the general attention of European scholars. In 1802, with his friends Jeffrey, Francis Homer, and Sidney Smith, he established the Edinburgh Review. In 1806 he published his celebrated "Inquiry into the Colonial Policy of the European Powers," and soon after was called to the English bar, and settled in London, where he rapidly rose to the highest eminence as a counselor and an advocate. On the 16th of March, 1808, he appeared in behalf of the merchants of London, Liverpool, Manchester, &c., before the House of Commons, in the matter of the Orders in Council restricting trade with America, and greatly increased his fame by one of the most masterly arguments he ever delivered. In 1810 he became a member of Parliament, and he soon distinguished himself here by his speeches on the slave trade and against the Orders in Council, which, mainly through his means, were rescinded. Venturing, at the general election of 1812, to contest the seat for Liverpool with Mr. Canning, he was defeated, and for four years he devoted himself chiefly to his profession. In this period he made many of his most famous law arguments, and acquired the enmity of the Prince Regent by his defense of Leigh Hunt, and his brother, in the case of their famous libel in " The Examiner ." In 1816 he commenced those powerful and indefatigable efforts in behalf of education, by which he is perhaps best entitled to the gratitude of mankind. As chairman of the educational committee of forty, he drew up the two voluminous and masterly reports which disclosed the exact condition of British civilization, and induced such action on the part of government as advanced it in ten years more than it had been previously advanced in a century. In 1820 he displayed in their perfection those amazing powers of knowledge, reason, invective, sarcasm, and elocution, on the trial of Queen Caroline, which more than anything else have made that trial so memorable among legal and forensic conflicts. In 1822 he made his unparalleled speech in the case of the Dean and Chapter of Durham against Williams, and in the following year was elected Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow. On the downfall of the Wellington administration, in 1830, and the consequent general election, he was returned to Parliament as one of the members for Yorkshire, and a few weeks afterward was made Lord High. Chancellor, and elevated to the peerage under the title of Lord Brougham and Vaux. He continued in the office of Lord Chancellor until the dissolution of the Melbourne cabinet, in 1834... Continue reading book >>

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