A British banker and writer, who wrote widely on economics, the constitution, politics, biography, and literary criticism. He was editor of the magazine The Economist from 1860 until his death in 1877, and the editorial column is still put out under his name. His 1867 book The English Constitution is one of the most influential of all works on the common law and the rights and powers of monarch, parliament, and people.
He was born in Langport in Somerset in 1826. The surname is pronounced BAJJot. After graduating in mathematics at University College London he was called to the bar in 1852, and joined his father's business in Langport, which involved shipping as well as the law.
He became joint editor of the National Review in 1855, and succeeded his father-in-law James Wilson at The Economist in 1860.
Other books include Physics and Politics (1872), an application of natural selection to the field of politics; Lombard Street (1873), an analysis of the money market; Literary Studies (1879 onward); Economic Studies (1880); and Biographical Studies (1881).
In politics he was favourable to reform. He advocated the creation of life peers, which though attempted in the mid nineteenth century, was not successfully introduced until the 1960s. He reported the remark that 'the cure for admiring the House of Lords was to go and look at it'.
Perhaps his most often quoted dictum from The English Constitution is that 'The Sovereign has, under a constitutional monarchy such as ours, three rights - the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn.'
This rhetorical repetition is typical of his written style, and can occur so often that it becomes a mannerism (see Fowler, The King's English, pp.219-221 for abundant examples).