While researching the quote "nothing more permanent than something temporary", I stumbled upon this quote from the "Royal United Service Institution Journal" from 1888:

I fear they will verify Lord Palmerston's saying, that nothing is so permanent as a temporary appointment, not improbably our grand-children, visiting the Cape on pleasure or on business, will see this astounding, this everlasting memento, of our foresight.

I presume that the attribution was apocryphal rather than a literal quote but why was Lord Palmerston chosen for the attribution? Was there a famous episode in his career that resulted in him being associated with temporary appointments? Or perhaps he really did use this phrase and was directly famous for it?

I tried checking Lord Palmerston's biography but couldn't find any relevant episodes.

  • 3
    It seems quite possible that someone actually heard him say that. Which of course would not mean that he hadn't in turn heard it from someone else.
    – T.E.D.
    May 7, 2021 at 21:39
  • It might be based on a misremembered bit of debate in 10 Dec 1813; see google.com/books/edition/The_Parliamentary_Register/… at about p.158. May 16, 2021 at 20:46


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