William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne biography

William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne


1779 – 1848


Who was William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne?

William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, usually referred to as Lord Melbourne, PC, FRS was a British Whig statesman who served as Home Secretary and Prime Minister. He is best known for his intense and successful mentoring of Queen Victoria, at ages 18–21, in the ways of politics. Historians conclude that Melbourne does not rank high as a prime minister, for there were no great foreign wars or domestic issues to handle, he lacked major achievements and enunciated no grand principles. "But he was kind, honest, and not self-seeking."

Famous Quotes:

  • If it was not absolutely necessary, it was the foolishest thing ever done.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It is not much matter which we say, but mind, we must all say the same.
  • Neither man nor woman can be worth anything until they have discovered that they are fools. This is the first step towards becoming either estimable or agreeable; and until it be taken there is no hope. The sooner the discovery is made the better, as there is more time and power for taking advantage of it. Sometimes the great truth is found out too late to apply to it any effectual remedy. Sometimes it is never found at all; and these form the desperate and inveterate causes of folly, self-conceit, and impertinence.
  • The whole duty of government is to prevent crime and to preserve contracts.
  • Nobody ever did anything very foolish except from some strong principle.
  • That is no use at all. What I want is men who will support me when I am in the wrong.
  • 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.


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Mar 15, 1779
  • United Kingdom
  • Trinity College, Cambridge
  • Eton College
Nov 24, 1848
Brocket Hall

on July 23, 2013

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