Lest this debate lead to never-ending yet uninformed bar fights, I will try to present the relevant facts:

Lord Palmerston was born in 1784, the son of Viscount Palmerston, and already by the age of 22, at the cost of £1,500, became an MP. As Secretary of State for Foreign affairs, he performed the crucial role of negotiating neutrality and independence for Belgium between 1830-1832, while brokering cooperation between the whigs and tories at home. Personally, he was known for his lush and rakish behaviour; Queen Victoria accused him of seducing ladies at court, and tried to have him dismissed, despite his overwhelming popularity in the House of Commons . Nevertheless, he kept his position, and engaged a firm policy of increasing Britain's influence as an international power.

He became Prime Minister in the year 1850, and again in 1859. Aside from his foreign relations during the American Civil War and Napoleon III's wars with Austria, he was instrumental in blocking the parliamentary reforms of William Gladstone, saying he refused to extend the franchise. He died of ill health in 1865. Famous last words: "Die, my dear doctor? That's the last thing I shall do." It was.

William Pitt the Elder, first Earl of Chatham, born in 1708; whig politician known as "The Great Commoner". His first post was as paymaster general, remarkably refusing to take advantage of the position to increase his own wealth. He served rather nobly as Prime Minister from 1756-1761, during the Seven Years' War against France, blockading French ports and supporting the Prussian Frederick the Great, leading to a victory in Canada, India, and on the seas. He resigned when George III refused to extend the war to finish off the French and declare war on Spain as well.

His next term as PM, from 1766-1768, was a disaster. He supported the American cause against the British (though stopping short of promoting Independence), but met with strong opposition, and was unable to effect any of his policies at home or abroad. He resigned in 1768, and spent the last years of his life criticizing government policy. He died in 1778, a month after collapsing during his last speech in the House of Lords.

From that speech: "If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country I would never lay down my arms - never, never, never!"

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.