once gave the lie to an opponent.
An imputation which Brougham had made upon Melbourne's government was flatly denied by the latter, and it was for the interest of Brougham's argument to sustain what he had said without directly accusing Lord Melbourne of falsehood. "My noble friend, " he remarked, "though but a novice "in office, made the denial with a glibness and "readiness that might have done honor to the "moderate habits of official assertion, only acquired by those who are born at Whitehall "and bred in Downing street." The element of unexpectedness in though and statement has been regarded a considerable charm of invective.
It has been observed that the best criticism on Harriet Martineau's atheistical book is the remark of a London wit, who was asked what was the doctrine which it inculcated.
He replied: "The doctrine seems to be this: there is no God, and Harriet is his prophet."
The following example is given of a peculiar kind of invective by epigram, which spri