Lord Melbourne: British Prime Minister to Queen Victoria

Born: March 15, 1779
Died: November 24, 1848

Lord Melbourne was a unique individual in a unique time. He rose to power at the end of the tragic era of the mad Hanoverian kings and was the political midwife at the birth of the Victorian era. As Prime Minister under the ancient King William IV, he watched an old man from the 18th century die away. As Prime Minister under the young Queen Victoria, he shaped the policies of the 19th Century. Few men could have done as well as he.

Nonetheless, Melbourne remained concerned for his short comings throughout his life.

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.

As a consummate politician and the survivor of not one but two major sex scandals, he left behind a piece of advice that we can all find useful.

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.