William Harcourt

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William Harcourt

Sir William George Granville Venables Vernon Harcourt (14 October 18271 October 1904) was a British lawyer, journalist and Liberal statesman.


  • Socialism is the legitimate and inevitable corollary of Mr. Bright's doctrine. If want is the crime of the Government, then the duty of the Government must be to provide against want. This is Socialism pure and simple. It begins with national workshops, and ends with what Mr. Carlyle calls a "whiff of grapeshot." Mr. Bright may pretend to direct his attacks against the aristocracy alone, but it is the possessors of capital, the employers of labour, the great middle class of this country who have real cause to dread his revolutionary language.
    • William Harcourt, ‘Pot and Kettle’, Saturday Review (21 March, 1857).
    • A. G. Gardiner, The Life of Sir William Harcourt. Volume I (1827-1886) (London: Constable, 1923), p. 90.
  • ...the principle of three acres and a cow, on which the election of 1885 was fought. The principle was that the local authority was to have power to acquire land by compulsion for the benefit of the community, in letting it out or otherwise disposing of it to individuals...It was on this proposal that the great charge of Socialism was made; but we were all Socialists now.
    • Speech on the Labourers' Allotments Bill (11 August, 1887).
    • 'House Of Commons, Thursday, Aug. 11', The Times (12 August, 1887), p. 6.
    • Harcourt said "we are all Socialists now" but The Times reported his speech in past tense.

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