William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne

William
Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne
1779
1848

British Whig Statesman, Home Secretary and Prime Minister of England, Mentor for Queen Victoria

Author Quotes

A doctrinaire is a fool but an honest man.

Agitate, agitate, agitate.

Friends praise your abilities to the skies, submit to you in argument, and seem to have the greatest deference for you; but, though they may ask it, you never find them following your advice upon their own affairs; nor allowing you to manage your own.

I say, Archbishop, all this reforming gives a deuced deal of trouble, eh? eh? I wish they'd let it all alone.... I say, Archbishop, what do you think I'd have done about this slavery business, if I'd had my own way? I'd have done nothing at all! I'd have left it all alone. It's all a pack of nonsense! Always have been slaves in all the most civilised countries; the Greeks and Romans had slaves; however, they would have their fancy, and so we've abolished slavery; but it's a great folly.

I wish I was as cocksure of anything as Tom Macaulay is of everything.

If it was not absolutely necessary, it was the foolishest thing ever done.

It is safest to take the unpopular side in the first instance. Transit from the unpopular is easy... but from the popular to the unpopular is so steep and rugged that it is impossible to maintain it.

It is tiresome to hear education discussed, tiresome to educate, and tiresome to be educated.

My principles are, as I believe, the Whig principles of the revolution. The main foundation of them is the irresponsibility of the crown, the consequent responsibility of ministers, and the preservation of the power and dignity of parliament as constituted by law and custom. With a heap of modern additions, interpolations, facts and fictions, I have nothing to do.

Neither man nor woman can be worth anything until they have discovered that they are fools. The sooner the discovery is made the better, as there is more time and power for taking advantage of it.

What I want is men who will support me when I am in the wrong.

What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass.

I look upon the whole system of giving pensions to literary and scientific people as a piece of gross humbug. It is not done for any good purpose; it ought never to have been done. It is gross humbug from beginning to end.

That is no use at all. What I want is men who will support me when I am in the wrong.

It is not much matter which we say, but mind, we must all say the same.

Wealth is so much the greatest good that Fortune has to bestow that in the Latin and English languages it has usurped her name.

You should never assume contempt for that which it is not very manifest that you have it in your power to possess, nor does a wit ever make a more contemptible figure than when, in attempting satire, he shows that he does not understand that which he would make the subject of his ridicule.

A doctrinaire is a fool but an honest man.

It wounds a man less to confess that he has failed in any pursuit through idleness, neglect, the love of pleasure, etc., etc., which are his own faults, than through incapacity and unfitness, which are the faults of his nature.

Your friends praise your abilities to the skies, submit to you in argument, and seem to have the greatest deference for you; but, though they may ask it, you never find them following your advice upon their own affairs; nor allowing you to manage your own, without thinking that you should follow theirs. Thus, in fact, they all think themselves wiser than you, whatever they may say.

Once is orthodox, twice is puritanical.

The whole duty of government is to prevent crime and to preserve contracts.

If it was not absolutely necessary, it was the foolishest thing ever done.

My esoteric doctrine, is that if you entertain any doubt, it is safest to take the unpopular side in the first instance. Transit from the unpopular, is easy ... but from the popular to the unpopular is so steep and rugged that it is impossible to maintain it.

Nobody ever did anything very foolish except from some strong principle.

Author Picture
First Name
William
Last Name
Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne
Birth Date
1779
Death Date
1848
Bio

British Whig Statesman, Home Secretary and Prime Minister of England, Mentor for Queen Victoria