S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.
[Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, and Marquis of Londonderry, a British statesman; born in Ireland, 1769; entered the British House of Commons, 1794; president board of control, 1802; secretary for war, 1805; for foreign affairs, 1812; represented England at the Congresses of Vienna, Paris, and Aix-la-Chapelle; committed suicide Aug. 12, 1822.]
When the income-tax was thrown out in 1816. Mr. Gladstone quoted this expression on introducing his commercial treaty budget in 1860; saying, that, if the author of that phrase could again take his place in the House, he would be more likely to complain of an ignorant patience of taxation.
While Lord Castlereagh never showed the least symptom of any information extending beyond the more recent volumes of the Parliamentary Debates, says Lord Brougham, or possibly the files of the newspapers only, his diction set all imitation, perhaps all description, at defiance.Historical Sketches of Statesmen. Thus he once spoke of the right honorable gentleman turning his back upon himself. On another occasion, says Earl Russell, he had gone on for an hour, speaking upon what subject no man could guess, when he exclaimed of a sudden, So much, Mr. Speaker, for the law of nations. At another time, when he had spoken for an hour, tediously and confusedly, he declared, I have now proved that the Tower of London is a common law principle. Thomas Moores answer, says Jennings (Anecdotal History of Parliament), to the question, Why is a pump like Viscount Castlereagh? will be remembered:
Because it is a slender thing of wood,
That up and down its awkward arm doth sway,
And coolly spout and spout and spout away,
In one weak, washy, everlasting flood.
When some one asked Talleyrand, at the Congress of Vienna, who that personage was, undistinguished by decorations, the French representative replied that it was Lord Castlereagh; and added, and sufficiently distinguished (cest bien distingué).