William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne

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William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne

William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (15 March 1779 – 24 November 1848) was a British Whig statesman who served as Home Secretary (1830–1834) and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1834 and 1835–1841).


  • 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.
    • Letter to Lord Holland (10 December 1815).
    • Philip Ziegler, Melbourne. A Biography of William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbounre (London: Collins, 1976), p. 70.
  • 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.
    • E. Jane Whately (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Richard Whately, D.D. Late Archbishop of Dublin. Volume II (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1866), pp. 451-452.
  • The possession of great power necessarily implies great responsibility.
    • T.C. Hansard (ed.), The Parliamentary Debates From The Year 1803 To The Present Time. Vol. 36. (London: T.C. Hansard, 1817) p. 1227.


  • I wish I were as cocksure of anything as Tom Macaulay is of everything.
    • Lloyd C. Sanders (ed.), Lord Melbourne's Papers (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1889), p. xii.
  • What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass.
    • W. M. Torrens Memoirs of William Lamb, Second Viscount Melbourne (1890), p. 234

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