Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux

Henry Peter Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux, PC, QC, FRS (/ˈbr(ə)m...ˈvks/; 19 September 1778 – 7 May 1868) was a British statesman who became Lord High Chancellor and played a prominent role in passing the 1832 Reform Act and 1833 Slavery Abolition Act.


The Lord Brougham and Vaux

Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
In office
22 November 1830  9 July 1834
MonarchWilliam IV
Prime MinisterEarl Grey
Preceded byLord Lyndhurst
Succeeded byLord Lyndhurst
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
22 November 1830  7 May 1868
Hereditary Peerage
Preceded byPeerage created
Succeeded byThe 2nd Lord Brougham and Vaux
Member of Parliament
for Knaresborough
In office
February 1830  August 1830
Preceded byGeorge Tierney
Succeeded byHenry Cavendish
Member of Parliament
for Winchelsea
In office
1815  February 1830
Preceded byWilliam Vane
Succeeded byJohn Williams
Member of Parliament
for Camelford
In office
1810  November 1812
Preceded byLord Henry Petty
Succeeded bySamuel Scott
Personal details
Born(1778-09-19)19 September 1778
Cowgate, Edinburgh
Died7 May 1868(1868-05-07) (aged 89)
Cannes, Second French Empire
NationalityBritish
Political partyWhig
Spouse(s)Mary Anne Eden
(1785–1865)
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh
Sir Henry Brougham by John Adams Acton 1867

Born in Edinburgh, Brougham helped found the Edinburgh Review in 1802 before moving to London, where he qualified as a barrister in 1808. Elected to the House of Commons in 1810 as a Whig, he was Member of Parliament for some constituencies until becoming a peer in 1834.

Brougham won popular renown for helping defeat the 1820 Pains and Penalties Bill, an attempt by the widely disliked George IV to annul his marriage to Caroline of Brunswick. He became an advocate of liberal causes including abolition of the slave trade, free trade and parliamentary reform. Appointed Lord Chancellor in 1830, he made a number of reforms intended to speed up legal cases and established the Central Criminal Court. He never regained government office after 1834 and although he played an active role in the House of Lords, he often did so in opposition to his former colleagues.

Education was another area of interest. He helped establish the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge and University College London, as well as holding some academic posts, including Rector, University of Edinburgh. In later years he spent much of his time in the French city of Cannes, making it a popular resort for the British upper-classes; he died there in 1868.