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William Henry Maule

British politician

Sir William Henry Maule PC KC (25 April 1788 – 1858) was an English lawyer, member of parliament and judge.


  • Nominal damages are in effect, only a peg to hang costs on.
    • Beaumont v. Greathead (1846), 3 D. & L. 636.
  • There is no presumption in this country that every person knows the law: it would be contrary to common sense and reason if it were so.
    • Martindale v. Falkner (1846), 2 C. B. 720, and characterised by Blackburn, J., in The Queen v. Mayor of Tewkesbury, L. R. 3 Q. B. 629.
  • Common sense still lingers in Westminster Hall.
    • Crosse v. Seaman (1851), 11 C. B. 525.
  • In the eye of the law no doubt, man and wife are for many purposes one: but that is a strong figurative expression, and cannot be so dealt with as that all the consequences must follow which would result from its being literally true.
    • Wenman v. Ash (1853), C. B. 844.
  • "As the crow flies"—a popular and picturesque expression to denote a straight line.
    • Stokes v. Grissell (1854), 23 L. J. Rep. Part 7 (N. S.), Com. PL 144.
  • After a hard frost a man might wake in the morning and find he was breaking a covenant.
    • Stokes v. Grissell (1854), 2 W. R. 466.
  • If a man go into the London Docks sober without means of getting drunk, and comes out of one of the cellars very drunk wherein are a million gallons of wine, I think that would be reasonable evidence that he had stolen some of the wine in that cellar, though you could not prove that any wine was stolen, or any wine was missed.
    • Reg. v. Burton (1854), Dearsly's C. C. 284.
  • An enactment for the favour and liberty of the subject ought to have a liberal construction.
    • Johnson v. Harris (1854), 3 W.R. 104.
  • Fictions of law must be consistent with justice.
    • Whitaker v. Wisbey (1852), 6 Cox, C. C. 111.


  • You silly old fool, you don't even know the alphabet of your own silly old business.
    • Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 86.
  • My lords, we are vertebrate animals, we are mammalia! My learned friend's manner would be intolerable in Almighty God to a black beetle.
    • On the Authority of Lord Coleridge; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 493.

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