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VOL. vm. 












GeobgeL, 1714—1727. 

Survey of the Reign - - - - 1 — 13 

Biographical Notices • - - . 14 — 76 

Geobge II., 1727—1760. 

Survey of the Reign • - - - 77— 94 

Biographical Notices - - - - 95 — 197 

George IH., 1760—1820. 

Survey of the Reign - - - - 198—227 

Biographical Notices - ... 228 — 420 

Index, in which the names of the Judges are given - 421—423 




Reigned 12 jean, 10 months, and 10 days; from Aognst 1, 1714, to 
Jane 11, 1727. 


One of the most important events connected with the law 
that distinguished the reign of George I., was the impeach- 
ment of Lord Chancellor Macclesfield and the reform which 
resulted from it. The principal offence with which the earl 
was charged was one which had been committed by his pre- 
decessors for many generations. The sale of the lucrative 
offices of the Court of Chancery was a subject of notoriety, 
and was considered as part of the legitimate profit of its 
heads, and had even been in some sort recognised in par- 
liament. Roger North (Life, 226) notices the objection 
which his brother Lord Guilford had to the practice in the 
reign of Charles II., and the reasons which induced him 
*' to follow the steps of his predecessors." 

The chiefs of the other courts also claimed and exercised 
the same privilege with regard to offices in their gift. For 
examples it is not necessary to go beyond the Revolution, as 
it is certain that the practice was not first introduced at that 
sera, but that the judges then appointed merely pursued a 
system long established. And, indeed, it cannot be a 



matter of much surprise, that when in the times of the first 
James and the first Charles (to go no higher) such large 
sums were exacted as the price of the highest judicial offices, 
the purchasers should consider that they were justified in 
reimbursing themselves by turning the offices that were 
within their own gift to similar account. Since the Revo- 
lution we have Luttrell's testimony that the practice 
prevailed, and that the price was well understood. He 
mentions that a philazer's place had ** fallen" to Chief Justice 
Treby in 1695, and another in 1696, " worth lOOOt ; " and 
in the latter year he records the death of one of the six 
clerks, " which," he says " being in the disposal of Sir John 
Trevor, the Master of the Rolls, will be worth to him 6000 
guineas." * 

By the evidence produced on Lord Macclesfield's trial it 
appears that Lord Harcourt received 250/. for the appoint- 
ment of clerk of the custodies; and that two of the masters 
in Chancery gave him, one 700/., and the other 800/,, for 
their places ; and that from a third. Lord Cowper, although 
he had abolished the equally pernicious custom of New 
Year's gifts, received a similar sum.* These three masters 
were the only surviving ones who could give direct evidence; 
and indirect evidence of the prices given by their prede- 
cessors was not allowed, though no denial of the previous 
long established practice was attempted. The office of 
master in Chancery was extremely profitable, not only from 
the fees to which the holder of it was entitled, but from the 
interest he made by the speculative use of the suitors' money 
placed under the orders of the Court in his hands ; the 
practice being for each master in turn to attend the Court, 
and to have the funds involved in the causes in dispute on 
the days of his attendance intrusted to his care. These 

> Lattrell, iii. 535, iv. 81, 159. 

• State Trials, xti. 1140, 1151, 1152, 1154. 

1714—1727. SALE OF OFFICES. 3 

sums in the progress of time largely increased^ so that each 
master became the banker of the Court to an immense 
amount^ no less than 120^000/. being delivered up at the death 
of one of them to his successor. The profits of the place 
being therefore proportionably large, the price demanded 
for it was naturally enhanced, and there is proof that one 
retiring master would not accept less for it than 6000/. 
besides the "present" of 1500 guineas which the purchaser 
had to offer to the chancellor for his admission ; and that 
when a master died Lord Chancellor Macclesfield received 
6000 guineas for the new appointment The inevitable 
consequence of this vicious system was that, as soon as the 
funds entrusted to the retiring or the deceased master were 
transferred into the new master's possession, the first thing 
he would do would be to reimburse himself out of them the 
smn he had paid or borrowed to pay for the place : so that 
had the suitors' money been all called in, the assets of many 
of the twelve masters would have been deficient at least 
in that amount. 

It is probable that this arrangement, bad as it was, would 
never have been interrupted, and that these twelve bankers 
would still have retained the use of the funds had they all 
been prudent and honest. But one of them, partaking of the 
madness of the age, had suffered so largely in the South Sea 
scheme, that on the failure of his banker, who had been 
guilty of the same imprudence and to whom he had entrusted 
a large balance, he was obliged to abscond. Lord Maccles- 
field was charged not only with being cognisant of these 
practices and with endeavouring to patch up and conceal the 
deficiency of the absconding master, but also with extor- 
tionately increasing the price of the place, and appointing 
persons willing to pay the sum demanded, who were not 
sufliciently responsible. 

Whether the latter charge was substantiated may be a 

B 2 


question^ but be his condemnation just or not^ the result was 
highly beneficiaL The twelve masters were ordered to 
deposit all the funds and securities in their hands in the 
Bank of England ; those who were deficient were made to 
dispose of their private estates and effects; the ultimate 
deficiency, amounting to more than 51,000/. was provided 
for by an additional stamp duty ; and by Statute 12 George I. 
c. 32, the suitors' cash being then and for ever after secured 
in the Bank, the whole accounts were placed under the 
direction of a new oflScer called the accountant-general, 
who was altogether interdicted from meddling with the 
money. This office has ever since been filled by one of the 
masters, who is reckoned as one of their number. 

Lord Chancellors. 

Simon, Lord Harcourt, continued to exercise the 
functions of Lord Chancellor till September 21, 1714, the 
day after King George's entry into London; when the 
Great Seal was taken away from him and delivered to 

William, Lord Cowper, on the next day with the 
titie of Lord Chancellor, which he had held for some time 
in the reign of Queen Anne. On his resignation three years 
and a half afterwards. 

Sir Robert Tract, Just. C. P., 

Sir John Pratt, Just K.B., and 

Sir James Montagu, B. E. were appointed lords com- 
missioners of the Great Seal on April 18, 1718. They held 
it for little more than three weeks, when 

Thomas, Lord Parker, lord chief justice of the King's 
Bench, was made Lord Chancellor on May 12, 1718. He 
was created Earl of Macclesfield on November 5, 1721 ; and 
continued to hold his place till January 4, 1725; when he 

1714— 1727, CHANCERY. 6 

resigned^ and within three weeks was impeached for cor- 

The Great Seal was on January 7, 1725, placed in com- 
mission, the commissioners being 

Sib Joseph Jekyll, M.R., 

Sib Jeffrey Gilbert, B. E., and 

Sib Bobebt Baymond, Just K. B. who held it for 
nearly five months, when 

Peteb, Lobd King, chief justice of the Common Pleas, 
was appointed Lord Chancellor on June 1, 1725 ; and held 
that office during the remainder of the reign. 

Mastebs of the Bolls. 

Sib John Tbeyob, the master of the rolls in the reign 
of James II., and again in that of William III., and 
throughout Queen Anne's reign, was not removed by 
George I., under whom he filled the office for nearly three 
years. Soon after his death 

Sib Joseph Jekyll was appointed, his patent being 
dated July 13, 1717, granting him the office for life. He 
was still in possession of it at the death of the king. 

Mastebs in Chanceby. 

Sir John Trevor, M. R. - - - - lto8 Geo. I. 

Thomas Geiy - - - - - lto6 — 

William Rogew - - - - - lto8 — 

John Hiccocks - - - - - lto9 — 

James Medlycott - - - - - lto3 — 

William Fellows - - - - - ItolO — 

JohnMeUor lto6 — 

JohnOrlebar lto7 — 

Fleetwood Donner* - - - - lto7 — 

Samuel Browning - - - - lto6 — 

Robert Holford 1 to 13 — 

Henry Lovibond - - - - -ItolS — 

John Bennett* 3 to 13 — 

6 king's B£NCH. Gbobge I. 

Sir Joeepli Jekyll, M. R. - - - - 8 to 13 Geo. I. 

Ricliard Godfrey* - - - - 6tol3 — 

James Lightboun - - - - - 6tol3 — 

John Borrett* - - - - - 6toll — 

Edward Conway* - - - - 7tol3 — 

Henry Edwards, A. G. from July 1726 - - 7 to 13 — 

William Kynaston* - - - - 8 to 13 — 

Thomas Bennett* - - - - 0tol3 — 

Francis Elde - - - - - 10 to 13 — 

Mark Thurston - - - - - 11 to 13 — 

Francis Cudworth Masham, A. G. from Dec. 1726 13 — 

Samuel Burroughs - - - - 13 — 

Robert Yard ----- 13 — 

Those marked* were found deficient. Dormer had ab- 
sconded and Borrett had died insolvent. They, together with 
Godfrey, Conway, and Kynaston, are mentioned in the Act 
12 George L, c. 33, as, after all that could be produced 
from their estates and effects, still debtors for the suitors' 
money to the amount of 51,851Z. 19*. ll^A, to be provided 
for by the additional stamp duty thereby imposed. 

The office of accountant-general was first appointed by 
Stat. 12 Geo. I., c. 32, enacted in consequence of the ex- 
posures on the impeachment of Lord Chancellor Maccles- 

Chief Justices op the King's Bench. 

Sib Thomas Parker's patent as chief justice was 
renewed on the accession of George I. ; and he was created 
a baron on March 10, 1616, by the title of Lord Parker of 
Macclesfield. On his being made lord chancellor he was 
succeeded by 

Sir John Pratt, one of the justices of the same 
court, on May 15, 1718 ; on whose death, nearly six years 

Sir Robert Batmond^ another of the judges of that 
courl^ was appointed chief justice on March 2, 1725, and so 
continued till the end of the reign. 

1714—1787. kino's BENCH. 7 

Justices of the King's Bench. 

L 1714. Aug. Littleton Powvfl, ^ , . , ^ 

Robert Eyre, [ *^« J"^«^f ** Q^^° 
Thomas P0WT8, J Anne 8 death. 

Nov. 22. John Pratt, vice T. Powya. 
IV. 1718. May 16. John Fortescue Aland, vice J. Pratt 
X. 1724 Feb. 1. Robert Raymond, vice R. Eyre. 

XL 1725. March 16. James Reynolds, vice R. Raymond. 
XDX 1726. Nov. 3. Edmund Probyn, vice L. Powys. 

The judges of the fling's Bench at the end of the 
reign were 

Sir Robert Raymond, chief justice. 

Sir John Fortescue Aland, James Reynolds, Esq., 

Sir Edmund Probyn. 

Chief Justices op the Common Pleas. 

Thomas, Lord Tkevor, the chief justice at the time 
of Queen Anne's death, remained so till nearly a month 
after King George arrived from Hanover, when on October 
14, 1714, he was superseded. 

Sir Peter King, recorder of London, was sworn chief 
justice on November 22, 1714. After presiding more than 
ten years, he was made lord chancellor, having been pre- 
viously created Lord King of Ockham ; and 

Sib Robert Etre, chief baron of the Exchequer, 
succeeded him as chief justice of this court on June 3, 1725. 

Judges op the Common Pleas. 

I. 1714. Aug. John Blencowe, i 

Robert Tracy, Y were continued in office. 
Robert Dormer, J 
Vn. 1722. June. Alexander Denton, vice J. Blencowe. 

ym, 1726. Oct 16. Robert Price, rice R. Dormer. 
Nov. 4. FranciB Page, vice R. Tracy. 

The judges of this court at the end of the reign were 
Sir Robert Eyre, chief justice. 
Robert Price, Esq., Sir Francis Page, 

Alexander Denton, Esq. 

8 EXCHEQUER. Gkobob I. 

Chief Baboks of the Exchequer. 

At the accession of George I. the place of lord chief 
baron was vacant by the death of Sir Edward Ward, a fort- 
night before the queen's demise. 

Sir Samuel Dodd was sworn chief baron on November 
22, 1714, but onlj survived the appointment a few months, 

Sir Thomas Burt, one of the puisne barons, was 
raised to the presidency of the court on June 10, 1716. On 
his death he was succeeded by 

Sir James Montagu, also one of the puisne barons, 
on May 4, 1722. He died when he had enjoyed the office 
little more than a year ; and in his place 

Sir Robert Eyre, a judge of the King's Bench, was 
appointed on November 16, 1723 ; but being promoted in 
the next year to be chief justice of the Common Pleas, 

Sir Jeffrey Gilbert, one of the barons of the court, 
was raised to its head on June 3, 1725. Fifteen months 
after he died, and 

Sir Thomas Pengelly, the king's prime serjeant, 
became the sixth chief baron in this short reign on October 
16, 1726, and held the office at the end of iU 

Barons of the Exchequer. 

I. 1714. Aug. Thomas Buiy, \ 

Robert Price^ ^ , 

John Smith, [^^ ^"^°« ** ^^ 

William Banister, [ ^^'« accession. 

William Simpson, cursitor,/ 
Nov. 22. James Montagu, vice W. Banister, 

ni. 1717. Jan. 24. John Fortescue Aland, vice T. Bury. 

rV. 1718. May 15. Francis Page, vice J. F. Aland. 

Vin. 1722. May 24. Jeffrey Gilbert, vice J. Montagu. 

XL 1725. June 1. Bernard Hale, vice J. Gilbert 

Xll. 1726. May. William Thomson; cursitor, vice W. Simpson. 




Xm. 1726. Not. 7. 

Jjawrence Carter^ rice R. Price. 
John Comyns, vice F. Page. 
The four barons at the end of the reign were 
Sir Thomas PengeUj, chief baion. 
Sir Beinard Hale, Sir Lawrence Caitery 

Sir John Comyns. 
The cnndtor baron was Sir William Thomson. 

CouBT OF Chancery. 



Mactbm op thb Rotts. 





1714. Ang. 

Sept 22 

1717. July 13 

1718. April 18 

1721. Not. 5 
1725. Jan. 7 

Jane 1 

Simon, Lord Harcoort 
William, Lord Cowper 

Sir Robert Tracy 1 r5«.«;. 
Sir John Pratt ^^' 
Sir James Montagu J •«^*^' 
Thomas, Lord Parker 
cr. Earl of Macclesaeld. 

Sil J^rey QUbert . ^^jf! 
Sir Robert Raymond J '*^'^' 
Peter, Lord King 

Sir John Trevor. 
Sir Joseph Jekyll. 


Court of King's Bench. 



Chibp Joanoia. 

JuuoBa or thb Kino's Bsmcb. 


1714. Aug. 

Thomas Park«r 

Robert Eyre 

Not. 93 




John PraU. 


1716. Mar. 10 

er. Lord Parker 





1718. May IS 

made Lord Ch. 





John Pratt 





17M. Feb 1 


Robert Raymond 


1729. March 9 

Robert Raymond 

— . 

miKfeCh. K. B. 





Jamet Reyuoldi 



179& Not. a 




Court of Common Fleas. 



Cbibt JDmcn. 

JuDOBi or TBI Common Plbas. 




1799. June 
173A. June 3 
1796. Oct. 16 
Not. 4 

Lord TreTor 
Peter King 

Robert Eyre 

John Blencowe 
Alexander Denton 

Robert Tracy 
Francti Page 

Robert Dormer. 
Robert Price. 



George L 

Court op Exchequer. 



Chief Barons. 

Baroiti op thr Exchrqcrr. 


1714. Aug. 

John Smith* 
Thomas Bury 

Robert Price 

William Banister. 

Not. 22 

Samuel Dodd 



James Montagu. 


1716. June 10 

Thomas Bury 

nuuU B. E. 



1717. Jan. 24 

J. ForteacueAland 




1718. Maj 15 


Francis Page 




1722. May 4 

Jamet Montagu 



Jeffrey Gilbert. 


1723. Not. 16 

Robert Eyre 
Jeffrey Gilbert 





1725. June 3 



Bernard Hale. 


1726. Oct. 16 

Thomas Pengeily 





John Comyns 

Lawrence Carter 


• John Smith continued nominallr a baron here till Jane 1796, though chief baron of the 

The cunitor baron 

Ki*\.»«n|wc( ■!( i.iwvi.iiiu. 

The salaries of the judges were increased at the commence- 
ment of this reign from 1000/. to 2000/. for the three chiefs, 
and from 1000/. to 1500/. for all the others.* 

To the profligate Duke of Wharton are attributed the 
following satirical lines, written while Lord Parker, after- 
wards Earl of Macclesfield, was lord chancellor, which 
profess to describe some of the peculiar characteristics of the 
judges : — 

When Parker shall pronounce upright decrees. 

And Hungerford refuse his double fees; 

When Pratt with justice shall dispense the laws, 

And King once partiallj decide a cause ; 

When Trac/s generous soul shall swell with pride, 

And Eyre his haughtiness shall lay aside ; 

When good old Price shall trim and truckle under, 

And Powys sum a cause without a blimder ; 

When Page an uncorrupted finger shews, 

And Fortescue deserves another nose — 

Then will I cease my Coelia to adore, 

And think of love and politics no more.* 


L 1714 August 
IV. 1718. March 18. 
VI. 1720. May 7. 

X. 1724. Feb. 1. 

Edward Northey. 

Nicholas Lechmere. 

Robert Raymond, made Just E. B. 

Philip Yorke. 

' Lord Raymond, 1319. » Wharton's Works (1740), ii. App. 




L 1714 August. 
Oct. 14. 
n. 1716. Dec 6. 
m. 1717. Jan. 24. 
IV. 1720. March 23. 
X. 1724. Feb. 1. 
XII 1726. April 23. 

Robert Raymond. 

Nicbolas Lecbmere. 

John Fortencue Aland, made B. E. 

William ThomRon. 

Philip Yorke, made attorney-general 

Clement Wearg. 

Charles Talbot 



The added initial marks the inn of court to which they 

belonged ; and these who became judges have a * prefixed. 

L 1714. 'Peter King (I.) 'James Montagu (L.) 

•Samuel Dodd (I.) 

Motto, ^< Plus quam speravimus." 
1716. •Francis Page (I.) William Brainthwaite (M.) 

William Erie (M.) John Darnell (M.) 

Henry Stevens (I.) John Benfield (I.) 

John Cuthbert (M.) William Salkeld (M.) 

William Brydges (M.) Edward Millar (L.) 

Thomas Hanbuiy (M.) Nathaniel Mead (M.) 

Edward Whitaker (M.) •James Reynolds (L.) 
Motto, " Omnia tuta vides," 
m. 1717. 'John Fortescue Ahmd (I.) 
Vm. 1722. •JeflBrey Gilbert (I.) 'Alexander Denton (M.) 

X. 1724. •Robert Raymond (G.) •Edmund Probyn (M.) 

Motto, " SalvA Libertate potens." 

•Lawrence Carter (L.) 

Richard Cummyns. 

Thomas Morley. 

Williams Hawkins. 

Fettiphice Nott 

•William Chappie. 

Joseph Girdler. 

James Sheppard. 

John Baines. 

Giles Eyre. 

John Baby. 

Matthew Skinner. 

II. 1726. 

•Bernard Hale. 

King's Serjeants. 

L 1714 

•Joseph Jekyll(M.) 

•Thomas Powys (L.) 


•Francis Page (I.) 

John Cheshire (I.) 

V. 1719. 

•Thomas Pengelly (I.) 

X. 1724 

♦Lawrence Carter (L.) 


King's Counsel. 

No regular lists of the king's counsel occur in this reign ; 
but mention is made of Winnington Jeffreys and John 

Sir John Cheshire who was made a seijeant in 1706, and 
queen's serjeant in 1711, and in 1727 became the king's 
premier seijeant, has left a fee-book conmiencing in Michael- 
mas Term 1719 : by which it appears that for the next six 
years his fees amounted on an average to 32417. per annum. 
He then, being sixty-three years old, reduced his practice 
and confined himself to the Court of Common Pleas, and 
during the next six years his fees averaged 1320Z. a year. 

The fees of the counsel's clerks form a great contrast with 
those that are now demanded, being only threepence on a 
fee of half a guinea, sixpence for a guinea, and one shilling 
for two guineas.* 

Babnabd's Inn. — A new lease of this inn for forty years 
at the rent of 6/. 13^. 4 J., was granted in 1723 by the dean 
and chapter of Lincoln to this society, who thereupon 
repaired their haU and rebuilt the bow window of it in what 
the books describe as '^ a fashionable manner." They contain 
also an order to deliver up a bond to Julius Lambert, a 
member, because he was a practiser in the spiritual court and 
not at common law. 

Westminster Hall was still occupied by tradesmen and 
won^en. In the British Museum there is a petition from 
them, which appears to relate to the coronation of George I., 
praying that, as their shops are boarded up by the prepara- 
tions for the ceremony, the leads and outsides of the windows 
of the west side of the hall may be granted for their use 
and advantage. The frontispiece of a satirical poem called 
" Westminster Hall," from a drawing by Gravelot, represents 
> Notes and Queries, Second Series, rii. 493. 

1714—1727. WESTMINSTER HALL. 13 

the hall with shops for books, prints, gloves, &c., on each 
side of the whole length, the judges sitting in open court ; 
and the courts being partitioned off from the body of the 
hall to the height of eight or nine feet, with side bars on 
the outside, at which the attorneys moyed for their rules of 
court. The judges must have been occasionally interrupted 
by the conversation and noise in the hall, and the solemnity 
of the place in no small degree destroyed by the flirtations 
with the sempstresses and the shopwomen.' 

* G^nt. Mftg. Not. 1S58, p. 480; Hone's Ancient Mysteries. 






B. E. 1716. Just. E. B. 1718. 
See under the reign of George 11. 


B. E. 1714. 

See under the Reign of Anne. 

The family of William Banister resided at Turk Dean in 
the County of Gloucester in possession of a very considerable 
estate. Of his early history we have no information except 
that he received his legal education at the Middle Temple 
and that he was honoured with the degree of the coif in 
1706. He was then appointed one of the judges of South 
Wales ; from which position he was advanced on the recom- 
mendation of Lord Harcourt to be a baron of the Exchequer 
on June 8, 1713, when he was knighted. He occupied this 
seat for little more than a year, being superseded on October 
14, 1714, not three months after the accession of George L, 
having been reported by Lord Cowper as ^' a man not at all 
qualified for the place.'' So brief a period of judicial exist- 
ence can supply little worthy of record.* 

* Atkyns* Gloucestersh. 413; Lord Raymond, 1261, 1318; Lord Cmmpbell'f 
Chancellors, iv. 350. 

1714—172:. JOHN BLENCOWE. 15 


Jd8T. C. p. 1714. 

See under the Beigns of William UL and Anne. 

The manor of Marston St. Lawrence on the Oxford border 
of Northamptonshire, where this judge was bom in 1642, 
was granted in the reign of Henry Y I. to Thomas Blencowe, 
whose family originally came from a place of that name in 
Cmnberland. John Blencowe was the eldest son of Thomas 
Blencowe, the great-great-great-grandson of the grantee, 
by his second wife, Anne the daughter of the Bey. Dr. 
Francis Savage of Bipple in Worcestershire. He was 
educated at Oriel College, Oxford; and having been admitted 
a student at the Inner Temple in 1663 he was called to the 
bar by that society in 1673 and elected a bencher in 1687. 
So successftil was he in his practice that he was raised to 
the degree of the coif in 1689, and was elected member for 
Brackley in his native county in the parliament of 1690. 
Though not a prominent debater, he was, during the five 
years of its continuance, a firm supporter of the government. 
To his marriage with Anne the daughter of Dr. John Wallis, 
the celebrated Savilian professor of geometry and " custos 
archivorum " of Oxford, and the great decipherer of his day, 
he probably owed in some measure his advancement to the 
bench. When the professor was offered the deanery of 
Hereford in 1692 he declined the advancement, but in his 
letter of refusal he intimated that a favour to his son-in-law 
would be more acceptable to him. " I have," he said, " a 
son-in-law, Mr. Serjeant Blencowe of the Inner Temple, a 
member of the House of Commons, an able lawyer and not 
inferior to many of those on the bench, of a good life and 
great integrity, cordial to the Government and serviceable 
in it." » 

* Baker's NorthamptonBhire, 639-646; Inner Temple Books. 

16 JOHN BLENCOWE. George I. 

It was not however till four years afterwards that the 
recommendation produced the desired effect. In September 
1696 the Serjeant was constituted a baron of the Exchequer 
in the place of Sir John Turton removed to the King's 
Bench ; but in Michaelmas Term of the following year he 
was further promoted to the Court of Common Pleas and 
knighted. He sat in that court for the next five-and-twenty 
years ; though several memorialists of the judge, as Baker, 
Noble and others, have represented him as having been re- 
moved to the Queen's Bench, for the whole of Queen Anne's 
reign from 1702 to 1714. Luttrell records that in the 
beginning of her reign such removal was intended : but it is 
clear from Lord Raymond's Reports that he was then re- 
appointed to the Common Pleas, and that he was still in 
that court 'at the end of it ; and he is never mentioned as 
acting in the Queen's Bench. ^ On the accession of George I. 
he was replaced in the same seat, and in 1718 he concurred 
with most of the other judges in favour of the king's prero- 
gative over the marriage and education of the royal family. 
On June 22, 1722, being then eighty years of age, he obtained 
permission to resign ; and a pension was granted to him for 
the remainder of his life, which terminated on May 6, 1726. 
He was buried at Brackley, where there is a monument to 
his memory. 

Sir John is represented as an honest, plain, blunt man, 
with no brilliancy of genius nor any extraordinary attain- 
ments. He outlived his faculties, and conceived that he had 
discovered the longitude. A story is told of him that once 
he ordered his servant to lay him out, insisting that he was 
dead. Indulging his whim the trusty fellow laid him on the 
carpet ; and after some time came to him and observed that 
he thought his honour was coming to life again ; to which 
the old judge, tired of his position, assented. A proof of 

* Ix>rd Raymond, 769, 1317; Lnttrell, y. 183. 

1714—1787. THOMAS BURT. 17 

his considerate kindness of heart appears in another anec** 
dote. Ladj Blencowe having suggested to him to pension 
off a hewer of stones who was so old that he spoiled the 
work he was employed on ; he replied^ " No, no, let him 
spoil on ; he enjoys a pleasure in thinking that he earns his 
bread at four-score years and ten ; but if you turn him off, 
he will die of grief." 

He lefb a numerous family. His third son William was 
taught the mystery of deciphering by his maternal grand- 
father Dr. Wallis, and was employed to give evidence of the 
letters written in cipher which were produced on the pro- 
ceeding against Bishop Atterbury. He was the first person 
to whom a salary was granted as decipherer to the govern- 
ment, his allowance being 200/. a year. The judge's second 
daughter became the wife of Chief Baron Probyn. The 
estate of Marston St Lawrence remains in the possession of 
Sir John's lineal descendant, to whom I am indebted for 
many of the foregoing particulars.* 


B. E. 1714. Ch. B. £. 1716. 

See nnder the Reigns of ^Uiam III. and Anne. 

Thomas Burt was the youngest son of Sir William Bury, 
knight, of Linwood in Lincolnshire. He was bom in 1655, 
and was brought up to the law, entering Gray's Inn in 1668, 
and called to the bar in 1676. After twenty-four years' 
practice he obtained the degree of Serjeant in 1700, and on 
January 26 in the next year he was made a baron of the 
Exchequer on the removal of Sir Littleton Powys to the 
Court of Bang's Bench. Speaker Onslow in his notes to 
Burnet states that it was said that it appeared by Bury's 
« Book of Accounts " that Lord Keeper Wright had 1,000/. 

' Noble's Cont. of Granger, ii. 180 ; Nichols' Lit. Anecdotes^ ix 273, 


for raising him to the bench. This discreditable story how- 
ever depends on very slight testimony. The new baron 
was of course knighted ; and sat in that court during the 
remainder of his life ; for fifteen years as a puisne baron^ and 
for six as chief baron, to which he was advanced on June 10, 
1716, to supply the vacancy occasioned by the death of Sir 
Samuel Dodd. In the famous Aylesbury case in the House 
of Lords he supported the opinion of Chief Justice Holt ; 
when the judgment which he had opposed was reversed. 
So little further is recorded of Sir Thomas, either in praise 
or censure, that he may be presumed to have filled his 
judicial seat with undistinguishing credit. 

He died on May 4, 1622, and was buried at Grantham, 
where there is a handsome monument to his memory. He 
left no issue, his estate descending to his great-nephew and 
heir William Bury.' 


B. E. 1726. 

See under the reign of George H. 


B. E. 1726. 
See under the reign of George II. 

COWPER, WILLIAM, Earl Cowpkr. 

Lord Chakcellor, 1714. 

See under the Reign of Anne. 

That branch of the pedigree of the Cowpers from which 
the lord chancellor descended held a respectable position 
among the county families of Sussex in the reign of Edward 
IV., and then resided at Strode in the parish of Slingfield. 

" Pat. 12 Will. iiL p. 5 ; Lord Raymond, 622 ; Burnet, v. 219 n.; Wotton's 
Baronet. It. 99; Lord Campbell's Chief Just. ii. 160; Monumental Inscription. 

1714—1727. WILLIAM COWPER. 19 

His immediate ancestor became an alderman of London in 
Elizabeth's time^ and had a son^ Sir William^ who was created 
a baronet by Charles I., and suffered imprisonment for his 
loyalty to that unfortunate king. His grandson the second 
baronet represented Hertford, in the castle of which he 
resided, in several parliaments of Charles II. and William 
in., adopting the Whig side in politics and taking a promi- 
nent part in the proceedings against James II. when Duke 
of York. By his wife Sarah, daughter of Sir Samuel Hoiled 
of London, he had two sons, William and Spencer, both of 
whom claim a place in these pages ; one, the subject of the 
present sketch, as lord chancellor, and the other as a judge 
of the Common Pleas in the reign of George II. 

William Cowper was bom at Hertford Castle about four 
or five years after the Restoration. There is no other trace 
of his education than that he was some years at a school at 
St Albans till he became a student at the Middle Temple 
on March 8, 1681-2. His years of probation were divided 
between his law-books and his pleasures, the latter it is 
reported claiming the greatest share, but the former evi- 
dently not neglected. Whatever were his excesses during 
that interval it may be presumed that before the end of it he 
terminated them by his marriage about 1686 with Judith, 
daughter of Sir Robert Booth, a merchant of London living 
in Walbrook. He was called to the bar on May 25, 1688, 
and in the next month he made his dibut in the court of 
King's Bench. Bred up in the principles of political 
liberty and with a deep hatred of popery, it is not to be 
wondered at that his youthful ardour prompted him a few 
months later to offer his personal aid in resisting the obtuse 
tyranny of James II. He and his brother Spencer, " with 
a band of thirty chosen men," joined the Prince of Orange 
in his march to London : but on the peaceful establishment 
of William and Mary on the throne he returned to the stage 



of his profession ; on which whether on the home circuit, or 
in the courts of Westminster, he soon became a favourite 
performer. Collins in his " Peerage " says that he was 
chosen recorder of Colchester, and his familiar letters leave 
no doubt that he got into considerable practice, both in com- 
mon law and equity, within the first five years after his call. 
Before Easter 1694 he had been raised to the position of 
king's counsel ; and by his assistance to the attorney and 
solicitor general in the prosecutions arising out of the 
assassination plot in 1696, he conspicuously demonstrated 
his superiority as an advocate. In the only other state trial 
in which he appears, that of Lord Mohun for the murder of 
Kichard Coote, the peers recognised the powers which he 
was afterwards to display on their own benches, and paid 
him the compliment of naming him particularly to sum up 
the evidence instead of Sir John Hawles the solicitor- 
general, whom from his dullness and lowness of voice they 
could not understand. But as it was contrary to the 
etiquette of the bar. Sir John was allowed to proceed.' 

In 1695 he was returned with his father to parliament for 
Hertford, and tradition reports that on the day of his entrance 
into the house he spoke three times, and with such effect as 
to establish his character as an orator and to foreshadow the 
position he was soon to acquire as the senatorial leader of his 
party. He represented the same constituency in the parlia- 
ment of 169S, but in the following year the family interest 
in the borough was disturbed, and his own professional 
success materially endangered, by the unfounded charge 
l»x)ught against his brother Spencer of the murder of a 
young Quaker named Sarah Stout, the extraordinary circum- 
stances attending which will be related in the memoir of the 
future judge. Notwithstanding the acquittal that followed, 

" Collins, IT. I6«j Lord Raymond's List; State Trials, xii. U46, xiii. 
J23, 1055. 

1714—1727. WILLIAM COWPEB. 21 

the influence of the Cowpers in Hertford was so damaged 
that they did not venture to stand in the election of 1701 ; 
but William was too useful a member not to be immediately 
provided with a seat in the house, and was accordingly 
returned for Beeralston in that and the last parliament of 
William III. and in the first of Queen Anne ; at the end of 
which he ceased to be a commoner. High as was his repu- 
tation as an orator, the parliamentary history affords very 
few examples of his powers. It records only two important 
speeches delivered by him while in the House of Commons; 
one on the bill of attainder against Sir John Fenwick in 
1696, and the other on the Aylesbury case in 1704. In 
defending the former, though he may shine as a rhetorician, 
he falls very far short of the argumentative power manifested 
by Sir Simon Harcourt in opposing it : but in the latter he 
has the advantage of his rival in his resistance of the uncon- 
stitutional claim of privilege advanced by the commons, and 
in his support of the right of the subject to seek redress at 
law against a returning officer for corruptly refusing to 
receive his legal vote. Other authorities inform us that he 
defended Lord Somers when impeached, and that in 1704 he 
was censured by the house for pleading for Lord Halifax.' 

When the Tory ascendency which had distinguished the 
first years of the reign of Queen Anne began to be dimi- 
nished, the removal of Lord Keeper Wright, the weakest 
and most inefficient man of the party, was determined on. 
Passing over the attorney and solicitor general, Cowper, at 
the urgent instigation of the Duchess of Marlborough, was 
selected from the Whig ranks to hold the Seal. It was 
delivered to him as lord keeper on October 11, 1705, with an 
assurance of a retiring pension of 2000Z. a year. The com- 
mencement of his judicial career was illustrated by a noble 
reform. It had been a custom of long standing for the 

■ Pari HisL v. 1007, 1141; vi. 279; fiurnet, iv. 480 ; LaUrell, v. 488. 

22 WILLIAM COWPER. George 1. 

oflScers of the court and the members of the bar to present 
new-year's gifts to the chancellor or keeper ; a practice, 
which if not actual bribery, he considered looked very like 
it. These he at once refused to receive ; and the extent of 
the sacrifice may be estimated, if not by his wife's calculation 
that they amounted to nearly 3000/., by Burnet's more 
probable computation of 1500Z. With such a proof of his 
moderation and delicacy it is curious that he did not abolish 
the equally obnoxious custom of selling the offices in the 
chancellor's gift. By the evidence on the trial of the Earl 
of Macclesfield it appears that he received 500/. on the 
admission of a master in chancery. Although it is difficult 
to perceive the distinction between the two customs, it is 
clear that he did not consider them as coming under the 
same category ; and that he did not anticipate the evil con- 
sequences to which the latter might lead. At the same time 
he forbad the clerks to demand any extra fee for the per- 
formance of their duties. On the death of his father in 
November 1706 the lord keeper succeeded to the baronetcy; 
and on the 9th of the same month he was ennobled with the 
title of Lord Cowper of Wingham.* 

His first wife having died six months before his elevation, 
leaving no surviving issue, he married secondly Mary, 
daughter of John Clavering, Esq. of Chopwell in the 
bishoprick of Durham. This marriage was for some months 
kept secret from the world; having been solemnised in 
September 1706, and not acknowledged till the end of 
February 1707 ; when Luttrell in his Diary (vL 143) states 
that " The lord keeper, who not long since was privately 
married to Mrs. Clavering of the bishoprick of Durham, 
brought her home this day." The reason for the concealment 
does not appear in the Diary of Lady Cowper which has 

> Lord Raymond, 12G0; Evcljo, iii. 407; Burnet, y. 243; Lord Campbell's 
Chanc. It. 299; Lutirell. vi. Ill; State Trials, xti. 1154. 

1714—1727. WILLIAM COWPEB. 23 

been recently published^ though the fact is stated; but it 
may not improbably be explained by the lord keeper's desire 
not to disturb the last days of his father^ who might per- 
haps have been disappointed that the selection had not 
fallen on some other lady to whom he had wished his son 
to be united. 

Lord Cowper was one of the commissioners for the Union 
with Scotland^ and zealously assisted Lord Somers in the 
n^otiations. Upon its being completed the queen invested 
him on May 4, 1707, with the title of lord high chancellor 
of Great Britain; and from that time the designation of 
lord keeper fell into desuetude, only one other possessor of 
the Great Seal having been so distinguished up to the pre- 
sent day. For the next three years the Whig party retained 
its influence ; but at last by its own folly the popularity it 
had acquired was transferred to its political opponents. The 
suicidal error of the Whigs was the unwise and useless 
measure of the impeachment of Dr. Sacheverell for a ser- 
mon, which, if it had been unnoticed by the ministry, would 
probably have fallen dead from the press. The prosecution 
stirred up all the dormant feelings of the people, revived the 
cry of ^< The church in danger," and so strengthened the 
efforts of the Tory advisers of the queen that the Whig 
members of the government were soon after dismissed. The 
Duke of Marlborough had during the contest ambitiously 
demanded to be made captain-general for life: but Lord 
Cowper, though united with him in politics, represented to 
the queen that such an appointment would be highly uncon- 
stitutional ; and by his advice the application was rejected. 
In the new arrangement Harley the Tory leader admiring 
Lord Cowper's honesty and talents, and conscious of his 
popularity, was desirous of retaining him in his post as lord 
chancellor ; but his lordship, though strongly pressed by the 
queen to keep the Seal, was firm in his resolve to follow the 


fate of his colleagues, and resigned on September 23, 1710.^ 
He then entered at once into an avowed and it must be 
acknowledged sometimes a factious opposition to the new 
ministry ; and, according to the fashion then prevalent, 
occasionally sui)ported his views and answered the attacks of 
his opponents in the periodical publications of the day. He 
remained unemployed for the four remaining years of Queen 
Anne's reign : but on her death he was found to be one of 
the lords justices nominated by the Elector of Hanover, who 
showed the tendency of his opinions by selecting them prin- 
cipally from the Whig party. The queen died on August 
1, 1714, and King George arriving in England on September 
18, immediately formed his ministry and reinstated Lord 
Cowper in the oflSce of lord chancellor on the 21st, 

On his appointment he presented to the king a long paper 
which he called *^An Impartial History of Parties," but 
which is anything but what its title imports. In professing 
to describe the two parties. Whig and Tory, into which the 
people were divided, he artfully depreciates all the acts and 
principles of the latter, and represents the former as the only 
one which it would be expedient or safe for his majesty to 
trust. The antipathy of one faction against the other was 
at its height; and was exhibited by the vindictive course 
which the new ministry pursued against the leaders of the 
party they had supplanted. Lord Cowper took too prominent 
a part in these proceedings, and it may not be improbable 
that the extremes to which their animosity was carried, hur- 
ried on the Rebellion of 1 7 1 5. To his energetic representation 
to the king may perhaps be attributed the speedy suppression 
of that rebellion. His conduct on the trial of the rebel 

* Lord Cowper commenced a Diary when he received the Great Seal in 1705, 
which was priyatelj printed and presented in 1833 hj Dr. Hawtrey to the 
Roxburgh Clab. It contains little of general interest, and, with long interrals, 
terminates with his entering on his Eecond chancellorsbip in 1714. 

1714— 17i7. WILLIAM COWPER. 25 

lords, when he acted as lord high steward, supported his 
previous reputation ; and when he afterwards presided in the 
same character at the pretended trial of his old antagonist 
the Earl of Oxford, it is not unlikely that, his enmity having 
subsided after two years' reflection, he did not regret the 
resolution of the commons not to proceed. 

During his second chancellorship the Biot Act, the Sep- 
tennial Bill, and the Mutiny Bill, after violent opposition, 
became law, and to the passing of them he gave his powerful 
aid. But though a zealous partisan, a judicious and active 
statesman, and extremely popular both with the bar and 
with the public, and apparently with the king himself, in- 
trigues were formed early for his removal. The Diary of 
Lady Cowper, who held a position in the household of the 
Princess of Wales, proves that they began as early as October 
1715, and continued in the two succeeding years ; till at last, 
though his party remained in power, and without any appa- 
rent or publicly acknowledged cause, he resigned the Seal 
on April 15, 1718 ; having been on the 18th of the preceding 
month honoured, as a special mark of the royal approbation, 
with the additional title of Viscount Fordwich and Earl 
Cowper. He lived more than four years afterwards, and 
continued to the last days of his life to take a prominent 
lead in the debates, and a deep and impartial interest in the 
various measures proposed on the one side or the other. He 
died after a few days' illness at his seat at Colne Green on 
October 10, 1723 ; and was buried in the parish church of 
Hertingfordbury. His wife followed him four months after- 
wards, literally dying of a broken heart. 

Of Lord Cowper's character as a statesman there will 
always be two opinions. The course of his conduct that 
would excite Burnet's or Wharton's applause, would cer- 
tainly be decried by Swift and the Tory writers. But all 
would allow that he was a firm adherent to the principles 


he professed, and that those principles tended to civil and 
religious liberty, and that the motives which guided him 
were pure and straightforward, though occasionally tainted 
with a little too much of party prejudice. Of his extraordi- 
nary oratorical powers, of the singular gracefulness of his 
elocution, of the sweetness of his disposition, and of his 
integrity and impartiality as a judge, there has never been 
any question ; and though the term "Cowper-law " has been 
sometimes applied to his decisions by those who were arguing 
against them, it was merely used in joke, in allusion to an 
indecent expression of the Earl of Wintoun, one of the rebel 
lords, on his trial before Lord Cowper as lord high steward, — 
hoping that the lords would do him justice, " and not make 
use of Cowper (Cupar)-law, — hang a man first, and then 
judge him." * Of his urbanity and consideration for the 
feelings of others we have a striking instance in his repress- 
ing the harsh personal remarks made by a counsel against 
Richard Cromwell, in a cause to which he was a party, by 
immediately addressing the old protector, and kindly begging 
him to take a seat beside him on the bench. 

The observations of other writers compel the acknowledg- 
ment that his moral character is not so clear. Setting aside 
the calumnies of Mrs. Manley as totally unworthy of atten- 
tion, the nickname of Will Bigamy fixed on him by Swift, 
though not to be considered as proof of his guilt, must be 
received as an evidence that there were stories afloat that 
were detrimental to his fame. That they did not apply to 
his union with his two acknowledged wives is certain, as the 
first. Miss Booth, had been dead nearly eighteen months 
when he married Miss Clavering his second and last wife. 
Mr. Welsby states that he had two children by a Miss Cul- 
ling of Hertingfordbury Park while very young; but he 
does not say whether before or after his first marriage. 
* State Tfials, xy. 347. 

1714—1727. WILLIAM COWPER. 27 

Swift intimates that the bigamy was perpetrated by convinc- 
ing the party of the lawfulness of such a union ; while Mr. 
Welsby says that " it was alleged that he deceived her by an 
informal marriage " ; * so that we are left in doubt which lady 
was the deceived one. His marriage with Miss Booth took 
place in 1686 or 1687, when he was two or three-and-twenty, 
and the intercourse between them seems to have been most 
affectionate and uninterrupted. If he had two children by 
Miss Culling before his marriage with Miss Booth, his con- 
nection with her must have commenced some time before he 
was of age ; which, together with the fact that no contest is 
alluded to as occurring between the ladies during their lives, 
conveys a sufficient discredit, if not a complete contradiction, 
to the slander. It probably arose from the notoriety of his 
youthful license, and in some measure acquired strength 
from the mysterious concealment of his marriage with 
his last wife. To that lady, who was a very superior and 
amiable person, he was evidently most devotedly attached ; 
and no one has ventured to impugn the correctness of his 
conduct during their nuptial intercourse, nor indeed to 
have laid any charge on his morals since he entered into 
public life. 

Though not particularly eminent for classical learning, he 
was well versed in the literature of his country, and was a 
generous patron to its professors. John Hughes, the author 
of many popular pieces in verse and prose, owed much to his 
bounty and encouragement ; which he repaid by a glowing 
preamble to the patent of the earl's last peerage, and by a 
couple of panegyrical odes. The Whig poet Ambrose Philips 
also devoted some graceful lines to his memory. Among 
his prose eulogists were Burnet, Steele, Lords Chesterfield 
and Wharton, and a host of other minor authors. Even 
Swift himself, in his " Four Last Years of Queen Anne," 
» Examiner, No. 22; Welsby *b Lives, 136. 

28 SAMUEL DODD. Geobob I. 

is compelled to speak of him with as much praise as his 
crabbed nature and party prejudices would allow. 

The earl's London residences were in Russell Street and 
Powis House, Lincoln's Inn Fields, and subsequently in 
Great George Street ; and his country one was at a spot 
called Colne Green in the parish of Hertingfordbury, the 
manor of which he had purchased. The house which he 
built there was pulled down in the beginning of this century, 
and replaced by the present stately mansion of Penshanger, 
where his successors flourish. The lord chancellor left two 
sons, from the eldest of whom, William, the present earl 
lineally descends. The second son, Spencer, became dean of 


Jd8T. C. p. 1722. 

See under the reign of George 11. 

Ch. B. E. 1714. 

Samuel Dodd was the first of the six chief barons of the 
Exchequer during the short reign of George I., which seems 
to have been peculiarly fatal to those officers, since no less 
than four of them died in the thirteen years of its continuance. 
He was descended from a Cheshire family. There is a monu- 
ment to his grandfather and grandmother, Randall and 
Elizabeth Dod (both aged nearly ninety) at Little Budworth 
in that county, erected by their son Ralph Dod, who 
describes himself " Civis et Pellio Londini." Samuel Dodd 
was the son of Ralph and was bom about 1652. The Inner 
Temple was his school of law, which he entered in 1670, 
and was called to the bar in 1679, and admitted to the bench 
of that society in 1700. His progress was very successful ; 

* Collinfl' Peerage, iv. 162; Lives, by Mr. Welsby and Lord Campbell. 

1714—1727. BOBERT DORMER. 29 

but the only public trial in which he la recorded as being 
engaged is the ill-judged impeachment of Dr. Sacheverell in 
1710, where he appeared as counsel for the doctor, and 
pleaded so manfully and ably, leading the defence of the 
three last articles, that he obtained a great amount of popu- 
larity among the high-church party. 

On the accession of George I. there was a vacancy in the 
office of lord chief baron. Mr. Dodd being nominated to 
supply it was knighted on October 11, 1714, made a serjeant 
on the 26th, and sworn into office on November 22. He 
had very little opportunity of exhibiting his judicial powers, 
since he occupied his seat barely seventeen months. He 
died on April 14, 1716, and was buried in the Temple 
Church, where there is a monumental inscription giving a 
very favourable account of his character. He left a manu- 
script volume of Reports, which is preserved among the 
Hargrave Collection in the British Museum. 

By his wife Elizabeth, sister and coheir of Sir Robert 
Croke of Chequers, Bucks, he had two sons, who both died 
without issue. Surviving her husband six years Lady Dodd 
founded the Almshouses at Ellesborough in that county.^ 


JUBT. C. P. 1714. 
See nnder the Beign of Qaeen Anne. 

Robert Dobmer was a descendant of the Buckinghamshire 
family of that name, a branch of which was ennobled by 
James I., with the title of Lord Dormer of Wenge, which 
has flourished ever since. The judge was the grandson of 
Sir Fleetwood Dormer, and the second son of John Dormer 
of Ley Grange and Purston, a barrister, by Katherine, 
daughter of Thomas Woodward of Ripple in Worcestershire. 

> State Trials, xt. 213, &c.; Lord Raymond, 1319. I am indebted for the 
pedigree of the family to Robert Phipps Dodd, Egq. 

30 ROBERT DORMER. Geoboe I. 

To hiB elder brother John, Charles II. in 1661 presented a 
baronetcy, which became extinct in 1726. Robert was bom 
in 1649, and was brought up to his father's profession at 
Lincoln's Inn, which he entered in May 1669, and was 
called to the bar in January 1675. He is mentioned as 
junior counsel for the crown in the trial of Sir Thomas Gas- 
coigne in 1680 on an indictment for high-treason, in which 
there was an acquittal ; and again in the same year on the 
trial of Mr. Cellier for a libel. He soon afterwards was 
constituted Chancellor of Durham. 

He entered Parliament in 1698 as a member for Ayles- 
bury. In 1701 he represented the county of Bucks, and in 
1702, Northallerton. In the great question of Ashby and 
White he opposed the assmned privilege of the House of 
Commons, which would have prevented an elector from pro- 
ceeding at conmion law for the injury he sustained by the 
returning officer refusing his vote. Before the next par- 
liament he received his call to the bench, and on January 8, 
1706, he kissed hands as a judge of the Common Pleas in 
the place of Sir Edward Nevil deceased. He sat there nearly 
one-and-twenty years; and died on September 18, 1726. 

His seat was at Arle Court near Cheltenham, a property 
which came to his grandfather. Sir Fleetwood, by marriage ; 
and he inherited Lee Grange and Purston from his nephew 
the last baronet. Sir William, whose death preceded his own 
about six months. His marriage with Mary daughter of 
Sir Bichard Blake of London produced him four daughters 
only, one of whom married Lord Fortescue of Credan, and 
another John Parkhurst of Catesby in Northamptonshire, 
the father of the author of the Greek Lexicon to the New 

> Atkyns' Gloacestersh. 174; State Trials, vii. 967, 1188; Pari. Hist. vi. 267; 
Lord Raymond, 1260, 1420; Luttrell, yi. 15; Gent Mag. Ixx. 615; Burke's 
Ext Baronet. 162; Lord Campbell's Chancellors, ir. 306. 

1714—1727. JEFFREY GILBERT. 31 

Just. K. B. 1714. Ch. B. E. 1723. Ch. C. P. 1725. 
t See under the reigns of Anne and George 11. 

B. E. 1722. Com. Q. S. 1725. Ch. C. B. 172S. 

Of the ancestors or descendants of this eminent jurist there 
is no certain account. From his arms being somewhat 
similar to those of Sir Humphrey Grilbert, the noted sea- 
man and discoverer in Queen Elizabeth's reign^ he is 
supposed to have belonged to a branch of that family. His 
birthplace is said to be Burr's Farm, a manor in the parish 
of Goudhurst in Kent, which he afterwards purchased. In 
the baptismal registry there is the following entry, ** 1674, 
Oct. 10. Jeffrey son of William Gilbert and Elizabeth his 
wife." But of these parents nothing is known, except that 
in his admission to the Inner Temple on December 20, 1692, 
the father is designated ^^ esquire." He was called to the 
bar in June 1698 ; and, judging from the numerous treatises 
of which he was the author, he must have been indefatigable 
in his early studies. He commenced taking notes of cases 
in 1706, when his Equity Reports begin. It is evident that 
he had established a good legal reputation before 1714, as 
on November 8 of that year he was appointed one of the 
judges of the King's Bench in Ireland ; from which he was 
promoted on the 16th of the following June to be chief baron 
of the Exchequer there. In the year 1719 he and the other 
barons were committed by the Irish House of Lords to the 
custody of the usher of the black rod, for granting an injunc- 
tion in pursuance of an order of the English House of Lords 
in an appeal from the Irish courts ( Annesley r. Sherlock.) * 
In the next year an act of parliament was passed putting an 

> Smyth'B Law Off. of Ireland, 109, 143; State Trials, zt. 1301-16 


end to the dispute by excluding the Irish House of Lords from 
any jurisdiction ; and though this act was afterwards repealed, 
the whole question is since settled by the Act of Union. 
How long the barons remained in custody is not mentioned ; 
but the conduct of the chief was evidently approved by the 
English Government His epitaph says that he was offered 
the Great Seal of Ireland, and that he refused the honour, 
and resigned his place upon being made a baron of the Eng- 
lish Exchequer in May 1722. He was of course previously 
invested with the coif, but did not receive the honour of 
knighthood till January 1724. On the resignation of Lord 
Macclesfield he was nominated second commissioner of the 
Great Seal, and filled that position from January 7 to June 
1, 1725, when Lord King became lord chancellor. On the 
same day he was promoted to the place of chief baron, on 
the elevation of Sir Robert Eyre to the presidency of the 
Common Pleas; which seat he only occupied for fifteen 
months ; being snatched away by an early death on October 
14, 1726. This event occurred at Bath ; in the abbey church 
of which he was buried. A tablet to his memory is placed 
in the Temple Church with an elegant eulogium in Latin of 
his legal and scientific attainments. 

Of all the works that appear under his name, and which 
exhibit so much learning in almost every variety of legal 
investigation that they are still constantly referred to as 
authority, it is extraordinary that none were published in 
his lifetime. They comprehend Reports in Equity, histories 
of the courts of Exchequer, Common Pleas and Chancery, and 
treatises on Uses and Trusts, Tenures, Devises, Ejectment*, 
Distresses, Executions, Rents, Remainders, and Evidence. 
This latter Blackstone describes as excellent, and calls it '' a 
work which it is impossible to abstract or abridge, without 
losing some beauty and destroying the chain of the whole.'' Most 
of these works were published soon after his death, and many 

1714—1727. SIMON HARCOURT. 33 

of them have been several times reprinted, edited by men 
eminent in the law. He was a fellow of the Boyal Society, 
and was equally famous for his mathematical as for his legal 
studies ; and for his refined taste in polite literature. The 
modesty he showed in not himself publishing any of his 
works distinguished him throughout his career; and he was 
held in as much esteem by his contemporaries, as he is 
r^arded with respect and admiration at the present day. 

Though, according to Lord Campbell, Sir Jeffrey had a 
" scolding wife," her name has not come down to us. That 
he left no children seems probable, as he bequeathed his 
manor of Frensham, in Rolvenden in Kent, to Phillips 
Gybbon, Esq., one of his executors who put up his monu- 
ment in the Temple Church.' 


B. £. 1725. 

See under the reign of George II. 

HARCOURT, SIMON, Lord Harcourt. 
LoBD Cbahcbllob, 1714. 
See ander the reign of Anne. 

Few members of the House of Lords could boast a more 
ancient lineage or a more noble ancestry ihai^ the subject of 
this sketch, when he entered that august assembly. Directly 
descended from Bernard, of the royal blood of Saxony, who 
with other lordships received that of Harcourt near Falaise 
from Bollo on his settlement in Normandy in the ninth 
century, and whose descendant Bobert de Harcourt accom- 
panied William the Norman on his invasion of England, his 
family had flourished during the succeeding period in knightly 

> Lord Rajmord, 1380-1420; Noble's Contin. of Granger. Hi. 198; Capel 
liOfifi'fl Life, prefixed to the La«r of Evidence; Hastcd's Kent, Tii. 77, 195; Lord 
CampbeU's Ch. Just. ii. 177. 



distinction, and had been resident during the twelfth century 
at Stanton near Oxford, from that time called Stanton- 
Harcourt* The chancellor's grandfather, Sir Simon Har- 
court, loyally distinguished himself in the Irish rebellion of 
1641, and was killed at the siege of Carrick Main in the 
following year ; leaving a son. Sir Philip, who by his first 
wife, Anne daughter of Sir William Waller the parliamentary 
general, was the father of the subject of the present memoir. 
The family estate, from the one side or the other in the pre- 
vious troubles, had been seriously diminished at the time of 
the Restoration. 

Simon Harcourt' was bom in 1660, and while receiving 
his education at Pembroke College, Oxford, was, according 
to the entry in the Inner Temple books, "specially" admitted 
on April 16, 1676, as a member of that society at the request 
of Mr. HoUoway of Oxford, his father's neighbour in the 
country, who was then reader, and afterwards one of the 
judges excluded from the Act of Indemnity at the Revolution. 
After the usual seven years' probation he was called to the 
bar on November 25, 1683 ; and before his father's death in 
1688 he was elected recorder of Abingdon.^ That borough 
returned him to parliament in 1690, and so fully did his con- 
stituents approve his political sentiments that they returned 
him their representative in all the future parliaments of King 
William's reign. That he was strongly imbued with Tory 
principles he evinced on his first entrance into the house, by 
the objections he then raised in the discussions on the bills 
for the settlement of the government; and afterwards in 
1696 by powerful speeches in opposition to the bill of 

■ There was another Simon Harconrt, who was conspicuous about this time 
as a successful claimant of the office of clerk of the peace for Middlesex. He 
was afterwards clerk of the crown and member for Aylesbury in the Parlia- 
ment of 1702. Luttrell frequently mentions him. 

* Inner Temple Books; Wood's Ath. Oxon. iy. 214. 

1714—1727. SIMON HARCOURT. 35 

attainder against Sir John Fenwick^ as a proceeding both 
unconstitutional and unjust He carried his party feeling so 
far^ that he declined in the first instance to subscribe the 
Association of the Commons on the discovery of the assassi- 
nation plot 

The tide of party turned^ however, towards the latter end 
of King William's reign ; and the Whigs declined in popu- 
larity till they became a minority in the House of Commons. 
The consequence of this was first the removal, and then the 
impeachment, of Lord Somers ; the duty of carrying up the 
charge against whom to the House of Lords was intrusted 
to Harcourt, to whose management or mismanagement (as it 
may be variously considered) may probably be attributed the 
non-^appearance of the prosecutors at the trial.' At this 
time he had acquired a complete ascendency not only in the 
house but in general estimation. His wit and eloquence, in 
addition to his legal ability, were so universally acknowledged 
that in after years they were specially brought forward in a 
public document as a principal reason for his advancement 
In the preamble to his patent of peerage '' his faculty in 
speaking " is prominently noticed, with the addition that " it 
is unanimously confessed by all, that among the lawyers he 
is the most eloquent orator, and among the orators the most 
able lawyer." 

But whatever his popularity may have been with the 
general public, it did not exempt him from the attacks of 
those who set all law at defiance. He is identified by a 
memorandum in Luttrell's Diary (iv. 631) as the subject 
of the following curious extract given by Mr. Welsby from 
the "London Post" of June 1, 1700:— 

" Two days ago a lawyer of the Temple coming to town 
in his coach was robbed by two highwaymen on Hounslow 
Heath of 50/., his watch, and whatever they could find 

> Furl Hist. V. 582, 596, 606, 958, 1016, 1067, 1136, 1246, 1314. 
D 2 


valuable about him ; which being perceived by a countryman 
on horseback, he dogged them at a distance ; and they taking 
. notice thereof, turned and rid up towards him ; upon which 
he, counterfeiting the drunkard, rid forward making antic 
gestures, and being come up with them, spoke as if he clipped 
the king's English with having drunk too much, and asked 
them to drink a pot, offering to treat them if they would but 
drink with him ; whereupon they, believing him to be really 
drunk, left him and went forward again, and he still followed 
them till they came to Cue (Kew) ferry, and when they were 
in the boat, discovered them, so that they were both seized 
and committed ; by which means the gentleman got again all 
that they had taken from him." 

With the accession of Queen Anne the Tories were esta- 
blished in power, and Harcourt was at once admitted to 
partake it. He superseded Sir John Hawles as solicitor- 
general on June 1, 1702, was immediately knighted, and 
called to the bench of his inn of court. On the queen's visit 
to Oxford in the following August, he was in her suite and 
was honoured by that university with the degree of LL.D. 
In the first parliament of that reign he was again returned 
for Abingdon, but in the second and third he sat for Bossiney 
in Cornwall. He supported the extraordinary claims of the 
Commons to decide on the rights of electors in the famous 
Aylesbury case ; and has the credit of drawing the bill for 
the Union with Scotland in such a manner as to prevent a 
discussion of the articles upon which the commissioners had 
agreed. While solicitor-general he acted as chairman of the 
Buckinghamshire quarter sessions ; and of his charges to the 
grand jury there are manuscript notes in the British Museum. 
In April 1707 he succeeded to the post of attorney-general, 
but before a year elapsed he resigned it, in February 1708, 
on the change of ministry and the admission of the Whigs 
into the cabinet. In the new parliament called in November 

1714—1727. SIMOK HABCOURT. 37 

of that year he was returned again by his former constituents 
for Abingdon^ but on a petition against him by his Whig 
opponent, the house, notwithstanding the majority of legal 
votes at the close of the election were palpably in his favour, 
decided against him. He thus became the victim of an 
iniquitous system- he had himself encouraged when in power 
in former parliaments, by which the faction in the ascendant 
decided on all petitions in favour of their own partisan. The 
Duke of Marlborough soon after removed him from the 
stewardship of the manor of Woodstock which he had held 
for some time.^ 

Before the close of that parliament he was elected member 
for Cardigan; but during his recess from the house the 
absurd impeachment of Dr. Sacheverell was resolved on, and 
Sir Simon was thus enabled to appear as his leading counsel 
at the bar of the House of Lords, and by a powerful argu- 
ment to expose the folly of prosecuting his vain and silly 
client No sooner had he delivered his opening speech than 
the announcement of his return for Cardigan prevented him 
from taking any further part in the trial, as being a member 
of the commons who had instituted the proceedings. He 
was obliged soon after this to submit to the operation of 
couching one of his eyes, which was performed with success 
by Sir William Read. The prosecution of Sacheverell was 
the deathblow of the Whigs. The Tories were restored to 
power, and Sir Simon on September 19, 1710, resumed his 
office of attorney-general. He was returned to the new 
parliament for Abingdon ; but before it met the Great Seal 
was delivered into his hands on October 19, with the tide of 
lord keeper. He then took up his residence in Powis House, 
Lincoln's Inn Fields.* 

Of his professional exertions while at the bar there is little 

' Burnet, v. 10, 48, 287, 345; Pari. Hist. vi. 264, 778; Luttrell, vi. 442. 
> State Trials, xv. 196; Luttrell, vi. 620, 630, 644; Barnet, vi. 10, 11. 


record. He probably practised principally in the court of 
Chancery, in the Reports of which the names of the counsel 
were then rarely noted. John Philips seems to refer to this 
employment in his invocation to Sir Simon's son, which opens 
the second book of his poem on Cyder, published in 1706 : 

" Let thy father's worth excite 
Thirst for pre-eminence ; see how the cause 
Of widows and of orphans he asserts 
With winning rhetoric and well-argued law." 

Before he was solicitor-general his name only once occurs 
in the State Trials ; as the last of five counsel engaged for 
the defence in the prosecutions against Duncombe in 1699 for 
falsely indorsing exchequer bills ; and after he obtained office 
there are only three cases in which he acted besides that of 
Dr. Sacheverell : viz. Swensden for forcibly marrying Plea- 
sant Bawlins ; David Lindsay for high treason ; and John 
Tutchin for a libel, ^ 

The new lord keeper presided in the House of Lords for 
nearly a year without a title: but on September 3, 1711, 
he was raised to the peerage as Baron Harcourt of Stanton- 
Harcourt. The preamble to his patent was expressed in such 
glowing terms of eulogy that it is impossible to believe that he 
himself, as Lord Campbell (Chancellors, iv. 462) more than in- 
sinuates, was its author. On April 7, 1713, the queen changed 
his title of lord keeper to lord chancellor, which he retained 
till her death on August 1, 1714, steering cautiously amidst 
the dissensions in the cabinet and through the agitating 
scenes by which the last months of her reign were troubled. 
Although as chancellor he was forced to take the formal 
proceedings necessary for proclaiming the Hanoverian king, 
there was too much reason for believing that he had pre^ 
viously joined in the intrigue with Bolingbroke and Atter- 
bury to restore the exiled family. 

* Stat© Trial*, xiii. 1084; xiy. 561, 989, 1100; xv. 196. 

1714—1727. SIMON HAKCOURT. 39 

The lords justices howeyer replaced him in his position as 
lord chancellor ; and notwithstanding the suspicion attaching 
to him, he escaped the consequences with which his col- 
leagues were visited, and received no other punishment than 
an immediate discharge from his office on the arrival of 
George I. The king made his first entry into London on 
September 20, and on the next day he sent to Lord Har- 
court for the Seal, which was delivered to Lord Cowper. 
Towards his old coadjutors he acted a friendly part; 
managing to defeat the impeachment of Oxford, and pro- 
curing a qualified pardon for Bolingbroke.^ 

After some years, when the Hanoverian succession was 
recognised by the great majority of the people, he joined the 
Whig party under Sir Robert Walpole, which while it 
accounts for the modified praise awarded to him by Whig 
writers, either throws a considerable doubt over the sincerity 
of his previous professions, or loads him with the imputation 
of deserting his principles from unworthy and avaricious 
motives. It procured him from his old allies the nickname of 
the Trimmer. His change of politics was accompanied on 
July 24, 1721, by an advance in the peerage to the dignity 
of viscount, and an increase of his retiring pension from 
two to four thousand a year. To that administration he 
continued his support through the remainder of the reign ; 
though he never held any other official position than that of 
one of the lords justices during the king's occasional visits to 
his German dominions. He survived George L not quite 
two months, when being seized with a paralysis he died at 
his house in Cavendish Square on July 28, 1727. His 
remains were removed to the family cemetery at Stanton- 

With undoubted abilities and a power of eloquence uni- 
versally acknowledged. Lord Harcourt's reputation as a 
> Lord Raymond, 1318; Pari. Hist. vii. 4S5. 


judge is not very great. During the four years that he 
presided in equity, no insinuations of bribery were .levelled 
against him, nor was a whisper heard against the honesty of 
his judgments ; but his decisions are not held in high esti- 
mation at the present day. That he was kind and amiable 
in his disposition, polished in his manners, and of social 
habits, may be inferred from the number of firiends that 
circled around him, from his being a frequenter of several 
literary and political clubs, and from his intimate association 
with Pope, Swift, Philips, Gay, and the other wits by which 
that age was distinguished. No published work of his 
enables us to judge of his learning ; and his poetic efiusions 
are confined to his commendatory lines prefixed to Pope's 
collected Poems, if they be his, and not his son's, as appears 
not unlikely, aa they are subscribed, not with the title 
"Harcourt" only, but with " Simon Harcourt," the son's 
name at length. That son had already proved his poetic 
inclinations by the complimentary verses recited on the 
queen's visit to Oxford; and Pope's intimacy with him is 
testified by the graceM lines inscribed by the poet on his 
tomb when he died in 1720: — 

" To this sad shrine, wh(^'er thou art, draw near ; 
Here lies the friend most loved, the son most dear, 
Who ne*er knew joy, but Mendship might divide, 
Or gave his father grief, but when he died. 

How vain is reason, eloquence how weak I 
If Pope must tell what Harcourt cannot speak. 
Oh I let thy once-lov'd friend inscribe thy stone, 
And, with a father's sorrows, mix his own." 

Lord Harcourt was married three times : first, to Rebecca, 
daughter of Mr. Thomas Clark; secondly to Elizabeth, 
daughter of Bichard Spencer, Esq., and widow of Richard 
Anderson, Esq. ; and lastly, to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir 
Thomas Vernon of Twickenham Park, and widow of Sir 

1714—1727. JAMES MONTAGU. 41 

John Walter of Saresden in Oxfordshire, Bart. He had 
issue by his first wife only ; and his son Simon having died 
before him, he was succeeded by his grandson, to whose 
other titles an earldom was added in 1749. These honours 
became extinct on the death of the third earl without issue 
in 1830.^ 


M.R. 11717. 

See under the reign of George II. 

KING, PETER, Lord King. 
Ch. C. p. 1714. Lord Chang. 1725. 
See under the reign of George II. 


B. £. 1714. Com. G. S. 1718. Ch. B. £. 1722. 

James Montagu was the grandson of Sir Henry, the 
first Earl of Manchester^ chief justice of the King's Bench 
in the reign of James I. ; being the son of tiie Hon. George 
Montagu, of Horton in Northamptonshire, one of the earl's 
children by his third marriage. His mother was Elizabeth, 
daughter of Sir Anthony Irby; and his brother Charles, the 
eminent statesman and poet, was created Baron Halifax in 
1710, to which was added an earldom in 1714 : but the latter 
title became extinct on the death of the third earl in 1771. 
Four of the judge's family having attained high dignities in 
the law, James as a younger son naturally selected the same 
profession, no doubt hoping to acquire some of those honours 
to which he might consider he had a sort of hereditary claim. 
He was therefore entered of the Middle Temple, by which 

' I owe much of this sketch to the excellent memoir of Lord Harcourt by 
W. N. Welsby, Esq. Lives, 172. 

42 JAMES MONTAGU. George I. 

society he was called to the bar. On attaining the rank of 
solicitor-general he removed to Lincoln's Inn, of which he 
was elected a bencher on May 2, 1707. 

The register of St. Andrew's, Holborn, records his mar- 
riage "at the Rose" with "Tufton Ray" on October 6, 
1694. This lady was the daughter of Sir William Wray of 
Ashby, Bart., a descendant of chief justice Sir Christopher 
Wray, and died in 1712. Soon after this marriage he entered 
into parliament, being elected for Tregony in 1695, and for 
Beeralston in 1698; in which year he was appointed chief 
justice of Ely. He did not obtain a seat in the two remain- 
ing parliaments of William, nor in the first parliament of 
Anne ; devoting himself entirely to professional avocations 
in which he was very generally employed. In 1704 he 
made a bold and successful fight in defence of John Tutchin 
(a former intended victim of Jeffrey's in his western cam- 
paign), who was indicted for a libel published in *^ The 
Observator." In Michaelmas Term of the same year he 
was one of the counsel who moved for a habeas corpus in 
favour of the Aylesbury men committed to Newgate by the 
House of Commons for bringing actions against the return- 
ing ofiicer, and pleaded strongly against the absurd privilege 
claimed by the house. For the mere exercise of this 
duty as a barrister, the commons on February 26, 1705, 
committed him and his colleagues to the custody of the 
seijeant-at-arms, where he remained till March 14, when the 
queen felt compelled to prorogue, and afterwards to dissolve 
the parliament, in order to prevent the collision between the 
two houses, of which there was every appearance. In the 
following April the queen conferred the honour of knight- 
hood upon him at Cambridge ; and in November appointed 
him one of her majesty's counsel.* 

' Stote Trials, xiv. 808, 850, 1119; Luttrell, v. 524, 542, 609. 

1714—1727. JAMES MONTAGU. 43 

In the second parliament of Queen Anne he was elected 
member for the city of Carlisle, which he continued to repre- 
sent till 1714 ; but of his speeches in the house little record 
remains, though he became solicitor-general on April 28, 
1707, and attorney-general on October 6, 1708. From the 
latter office he was removed in September 1710, but the 
queen granted him a pension of 1000/. This pension, which 
was represented by Colonel Gledhill as intended to defray 
the expenses of Sir James's election at Carlisle, was in 1711 
made the subject of a complaint to the house, which resulted 
in the complete disproval of the charge. Sir James, how- 
ever, was not returned for Carlisle in the queen's last 
parliament of 1714; and before the first parliament of 
George I. he was raised to the judicial bench. In 1705 he 
was leading counsel in the prosecution of Robert Fielding 
for bigamy in marrying the Duchess of Cleveland ; in 1710 
while attorney-general he opened the charges against Dr. 
Sacheverell in the House of Lords ; and when that trial was 
concluded he conducted the prosecutions of the parties who 
were found guilty of high treason, for pulling down meeting- 
houses in the riots that followed.^ 

On the arrival of George I. in England and his settlement 
of the judges. Sir James received the degree of the coif on 
October 26, 1714, and on November 22 was sworn a baron 
of the Exchequer. While holding that position he was 
nominated one of the lords commissioners of the Great Seal, 
on the resignation of Lord Cowper, and held it from April 
18 till May 12, 1718, when Lord Parker was appointed lord 
chancellor. On May 4, 1722, Chief Baron Bury died, and 
before the end of the month Sir James was sworn as his 
successor. He presided in the Exchequer little more than a 
year, his death occurring on October 1, 1723. 

* Pari. Hist. vi. 1009; Staie Trials, xiv. 1329, xv. 53, 549-680. 

44 THOMAS PARKER. Georoe I. 

His second wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Robert third 
Earl of Manchester ; by whom he had a son, Charles, who 
was afterwards member for St. Albans.^ 


R E. 1718. Just. C. P. 1726. 

See under the reign of George II. 

PARKER^ THOMAS, Lord Parker, Eaul of 


Ch. E. B. 1714. Lord Chako. 1718. 

See under the reign of Anne. 

The efforts too universally made to give heraldic distinction 
to persons who have been elevated to high honours solely by 
their own merits and exertions, are often laughable and some- 
times contemptible ; as if the eminence to which they have 
climbed is rendered more luminous by the occurrence of a 
name similar to their own in possession of an estate in the 
time of the Plantagenets. Few men, however humble may 
be their present state, will fail to find among their ancestors, 
if they will take the trouble to search, some such owner of 
property ; but they will soon discover that it will have no 
effect, nor much influence, in procuring their advancement, 
unless aided by energy and industry on their own behalf. 

Though Thomas Parker may not be able to trace a connec- 
tion (as the peerages insinuate) with the William le Parker 
who had a grant of free warren over his lands in Norfolk in 
the reign of Henry IIL, it is enough to record of him that 
he belonged to a branch of a respectable family long seated 
at Norton Lees in Derbyshire. His father Thomas Parker, 
a younger son of George Parker of Park Hall in Stafford- 
shire, high sheriff of that county in the reign of Charles I., 

* Lord Raymond, 1310, 1331; Collins' Peerage, ii.83; Gent. Mag. v. 151. 

1714—1727. THOMAS PARKER. 45 

was an attorney practising In the neighbouring town of 
Leek ; and his mother was Anne^ daughter and co-heir of 
Robert Venables of Wincham in Derbyshire. He was bom 
at Leek, and his birthday, July 23, 1666, was commemorated 
in a fiiture year by the poet John Hughes, to whom both he 
and Lord Cowper had been munificent benefactors, in the 
following eulogistic lines : — 

''Not fair July, tho' Plenty clothe his fields, 
Tho' golden sunfl make all Us mornings smile, 
Can boast of aught that such a triumph yields, 
As that he gave a Parker to our isle. 

Hail, happy month I secure of lasting fame I 
Doubly distinguished thro' the circling year : — 

In Home a hero gave thee first thy name, 
A patriot's birth makes thee to Britain dear." 

After receiving the rudiments of his education at New- 
port in Shropshire and at Derby, his father sent him to 
complete it at the university of Cambridge, where he was 
entered a pensioner at Trinity College on October 9, 1685.' 
He had already been admitted a student at the Inner Temple 
on February 14, 1683-4, before which time his father had 
removed to Newcastle-under-Lyne ; but there is no record 
of the course of his studies at the one, nor of his taking 
any degree at the other. It is not impossible, though very 
unlikely, that he might have been articled to his father at 
the time he became a member of the Inner Temple ; but his 
subsequent entry at Cambridge, and still more his call to the 
bar on May 21, 1691, seem completely to negative the story 
mentioned by Lysons, and asserted as a fact by Lord Camp- 
bell, that he was placed on the roll of the junior branch of 
the profession, or practised as an attorney at Derby, " at the 
foot of the bridge next the Three Crowns." * He could not 

* Collins* Peerage, ir. 190 ; Quartcrij Review, Ixxxii. 594. 

* Inner Temple Books; Lysons' Derbysh, 111; Campbell's Chanc. iv. 503. 


at the same time be a barrister and an attorney; and though 
nine years elapsed after his call to the bar before his name 
appears in the Reports, yet from the importance of the cases 
in which we find him engaged, amongst which was the famous 
prosecution against John Tutchin for libel, he must have had 
many previous opportunities of making his name known and 
respected.* He attended the Midland circuit, and probably 
acted as a provincial counsel in the town of Derby, of which 
he was soon elected recorder. The statement that he was 
designated the " silver-tongued counsel " is merely a second 
edition of the title given forty years before to Heneage 
Finch, afterwards Earl of Nottingham ; — and seems to have 
been a compliment not uncommonly paid to legal dignitaries, 
since we have found a chief justice above two hundred years 
before spoken of as the ** sweet-tongued Bryan." 

The town of Derby returned him as one of its represen- 
tatives to the parliament of November 1705, and again 
in the two following parliaments ; but though he sat as a 
member for the five years he continued at the bar, there is 
no record of any speech he delivered in the house, nor of 
any part he took, except in the proceedings against Dr. 
SacheverelL He owed his first election probably to the 
interest of the Duke of Devonshire, as his colleague was 
Lord James Cavendish, and as in the previous June he was 
by the recommendation of that duke, and of the Dukes of 
Newcastle and Somerset, not only raised to the degree of 
the coif, but immediately made one of the queen's Serjeants 
and knighted. In the previous month he had been called to the 
bench of his inn, as a compliment on his intended promotion. 
Attached to the Whig party, he was naturally appointed 
one of the managers in the unpopular impeachment of Dr. 
Sacheverell in 1710, when his speeches were so effective, and 
his denunciations against the vain and factious doctor were 
> Lord Raymond, 812, 856; Stato Trials, xiy. 1173. 

1714— 1:27. THOMAS PARKER. 47 

80 strongs that in his return to his chambers he with difficulty 
escaped from the mob^ which since the commencement of 
the trial had been furiously excited against the prosecution. 
His exertions were soon rewarded and his fright quickly 
compensated by the chief justiceship of the Queen's Bench, 
which became vacant by the death of Sir John Holt during 
the progress of the trial; and on March 13, before the 
sentence was pronounced. Sir Thomas Parker was sworn 
into the office. 

Within a month after his appointment he was called upon 
to preside at the trial of Dammaree, Willis, and Purchase, 
who had been engaged in the riots arising out of Sacheve- 
rell's trial, and were charged with pulling down dissenting 
meeting-houses ; and though he summed up for the convic- 
tion, and they were found guilty of high- treason, he inter- 
ceded for them and procured their pardon. During the 
eight years of his presidency he fully justified the wisdom 
of the choice ; for though immediately following so renowned 
a lawyer as Sir John Holt, he escaped any injurious 
comparison, and conducted the business of his court with 
discrimination and learning ; though of course Swift and the 
other Tory writers of the day did not fail to charge him with 

Two years after the accession of George I., on March 10, 
1716, he was raised to the peerage by the title of Baron 
Parker of Macclesfield ; being the second chief justice of 
the King's Bench ennobled while holding that office ; and at 
the same time he received the grant of a pension for life of 
1,200/. a year. This is a sufficient proof of the estimation 
with which he was regarded by the king, whose favour was 
two years after firmly established by the opinion which the 
chief justice gave, that his majesty had the sole control over 
the education and marriages of his grandchildren ; ^ an 

* Sute Trials, xv. 1222. 

48 THOMAS PARKER. George f. 

opinion which, though subsequently confirmed, insured the 
enmity of the Prince of Wales. The fruits of the king's 
favour were immediate ; the effect of the prince's animosity 
was for some time concealed. 

A month after the resignation of Lord Cowper, the 
interval being filled up by the appointment of commissioners, 
the Great Seal was presented to Lord Parker on May 12, 
1718, with the title of lord chancellor, accompanied by the 
extraordinary present of 14,000/. from the king. To his 
son also a yearly pension of 1,200/. was at the same time 
granted till he obtained the place of teller of the Exchequer, 
to which he was appointed in the following year. Lord 
Parker held the Seal for nearly seven years, and proved 
himself as able in equity as he had shown himself in law, 
his decisions being regarded to this day with as much respect 
as those of any of his predecessors. On November 5, 1721, 
he was created Viscount Parker of Ewelme and Earl of 
Macclesfield, with a remainder, failing his issue male, to his 
daughter Elizabeth, the wife of William Heathcote, Esq., 
and her issue male. This unconmion limitation may have 
been caused by his son's absence abroad and the uncertainty 
of the father as to his existence. The earl had been already 
made lord lieutenant of the counties of Warwick and 
Oxford, in the latter of which he had purchased Sherburn 
Castle near Watlington. In September 1724 he was chosen 
lord high steward of the borough of Stafford. Yet with 
these and other proofs of the king's countenance and favour, 
with the reputation of an able dispenser of justice, in the full 
possession of his faculties and without any change, or any 
dissension in the ministry, he suddenly resigned the Great 
Seal on January 4, 1725. 

His high position for the last four years in which he filled 
it had been anything but a bed of roses. In the latter end 
of 1720 Mr. Dormer, one of the masters in chancery, had 

1714—1727. THOMAS PARKER. 49 

absconded in consequence of the failure of a Mr. Wilson his 
goldsmith or banker^ in whose hands he had deposited a 
large amount of the suitors' cash. The deficiency this 
occasioned, added to his own losses hj speculating with the 
same cash in the South Sea bubble, which at that time 
burst, amounted to nearly 100,0007., which it was impossible 
for him to meet from his own private means. Those means 
were applied as far as they would go, and various palliatives 
were adopted by the chancellor, to satisfy the incoming 
claims ; such as by applying for that purpose the price given 
by the successor for the mastership ; by obtaining a contri- 
bution of 500/. from each of the other masters, except one ; 
and by some payments out of his own pocket. But these were 
not nearly sufficient ; and the refusal of the masters to make 
any further contribution, with the urgency of unsatisfied 
applicants, determined the chancellor to put an end to his 
anxiety by resigning the Seal. 

Then did he experience the effect of the prince's dis- 
pleasure. He had not resigned three weeks before petitions 
were presented to the House of Commons by his royal 
highness's friends from parties complaining of non-payment 
of the moneys they were entitled to; addresses^ to the king were 
voted ; commissions of inquiry granted ; and reports made, 
which resulted in the earl's impeachment for corruption on 
February 12. The charges were not like those against Lord 
Chancellor Bacon for taking bribes of the suitors, but the 
twenty-one articles were confined to his selling offices con- 
trary to law, and for taking extortionate sums for them, with 
the knowledge that the payment was defrayed out of the 
suitors' money. The trial lasted thirteen days, from the 5th 
to the 27th of May ; and the report occupies no less than 
632 columns of the " State Trials" (vol. xvi. 767, et seg.). 
The proceedings were most tiresome, and the repetitions and 
the quibblings do no credit either to the managers for the 


50 THOMAS PARKER. George I. 

commons or to the accused earl. The lords unanimously 
found him guilty and fined him 30,000/. This sum the king, 
though he was obliged to strike his name from the privy 
council, intimated to him that he would pay out of his privy 
purse as fast as he could spare the money ; and actually gave 
him lOOOZ. towards it in the first year, and in the second 
directed 2000Z. more to be given to him ; but before the earl 
applied for it the king died, and Sir Robert Walpole evaded 
the payment, probably from his fear of offending the implac- 
able successor. 

This prosecution was attended with important results. 
Though many will consider that the earl was treated harshly 
and made to suffer for irregularities introduced by his pre- 
decessors, all must rejoice in the exposure and removal of 
them which the investigation produced. A vicious system 
had prevailed for a long series of years, not only in the court 
of Chancery, but in the other courts also, of disposing of 
the various oflSces in the gift of the chiefs to any person who 
would offer what was called " a present " to the bestower. 
In the court of Chancery not only the executive and hono- 
rary officers who were entitled to fees were expected to 
contribute to the purse of the chancellor, but the system 
extended to the masters in Chancery, who were the chancel- 
lor's judicial assistants, and moreover were entrusted with 
the care of the moneys, the right to which was disputed, or 
the application of which was to be determined, in the various 
causes that came within the jurisdiction of the court. The 
practice had been notoriously acted upon for many years by 
the chancellor's predecessors, and, though the equally objec- 
tionable custom of receiving new-year's gifts had been 
abrogated by those whom he immediately succeeded. Lords 
Cowper and Harcourt, yet even they had not hesitated to 
receive payment from those masters whom they had ap- 
pointed. Bad as the system was, the blot would not have 

17U— 1727. THOMAS PABKEB. 51 

been removed but for the accident of Mr. Dormer's insol- 
vency, and even with that discovery Lord Macclesfield would 
probably have escaped censure had he confined himself to the 
former practice, which had been in some sort recognised by 
the legislature, — inasmuch as at the Revolution a clause 
prohibiting the sale of the office of master of Chancery, which 
had been proposed to be inserted in a bill then before the 
house, had been negatived by the lords. Either his acquittal, 
or his condemnation, would have equally resulted in the 
abolition of that practice, and in a more safe investment of the 
suitors' money. But unfortunately for the accused earl the 
investigation proved that he had not been content with the 
accustomed honorarium, but had increased the price so enor- 
mously, that it became next to impossible for the appointees 
to refund themselves, or even to pay the amount, without 
either extorting unnecessary fees by delaying causes before 
them, or using the money deposited with them, to defray the 
sum demanded. That he employed an agent to bargain for 
him and to higgle about the price there is no doubt, and 
that he was aware of the improper use that was made of the 
suitors' money and took means to conceal the losses that 
occasionally occurred, there is too much evidence. Though 
therefore his friends might assert that he was made to suffer 
for a system of which he was not the author, and which had 
been knowingly practised by his predecessors with impunity, 
it is impossible to acquit him entirely of the charge of carry- 
ing that system to an exorbitant extent, and of corruptly 
recognising, if not encouraging, practices dangerous to the 
public credit and destructive of that confidence which should 
always exist in the judicature of the country. The contrar- 
dictions sometimes found in human nature are extraordinary ; 
for wliile the disclosures of the trial tend to exhibit an 
avaricious disposition in the earl, the evidence he produced, 
with questionable delicacy, satisfactorily proves that he was 



at the same time extremely liberal, dispensing with an almost 
extravagant hand large sums in the promotion of learning 
and in aid and encouragement of poor scholars and distressed 
clergymen. That the price paid by the masters for their 
places was considered a legitimate part of the profit of the 
chancellor, received a curious confirmation in the grant to 
Lord Macclesfield's immediate successor. Lord King, of a 
considerable addition to his salary, as a compensation for the 
loss occasioned by the annihilation of the practice consequent 
upon this investigation. 

Lord Macclesfield lived seven years afterwards, but mixed 
no more in public affairs. He spent his time between Sher- 
burn Castle, his seat in Oxfordshire, and London, where at 
the time of his death he was building a house in St James's 
Square, afterwards inhabited by his son. He died at his 
son's house in Soho Square on April 28, 1732, and was buried 
at Sherburn. 

His wife, Janet, daughter and coheir of Charles Carrier of 
Wirksworth in Derbyshire, Esq., brought him two children 
only, a son and a daughter. The daughter married William 
(afterwards Sir William) Heathcote ; and the son, who suc- 
ceeded to the earldom, was renowned as a philosopher, and 
had a principal share in preparing the act of parliament for 
the alteration of the style. The present earl is the sixth 
who has borne the title. 


Ch. B. £. 1726. 

See under the Reign of George TL 


Jd8T. K. B. 1714. 

See under the Beigns of William IIL and Anne. 

The pedigree of Sir Littleton Powys is authentically traced 
up to the Princes of Powys in the twelfth century by 

1714—1727. LITTLETON POWYS. 53 

veracious genealogists, who carry it down tlirough a multi- 
tude of Aps, Barons of Main-yn-Meifod in Powys-land, till 
the reign of Edward IL ; about which time the Welsh 
appendage was discarded, and the more pronounceable name 
of Powys adopted. The family subsequently divided into 
several branches, one of which settled in Shropshire. 
Thomas Powys of Henley in that county, who was autumn 
reader of Lincoln's Inn in 1667, and serjeant-at-law in 1669, 
fcy his first wife Mary daughter of Sir Adam Littleton, 
Bart., was the father of four sons, the eldest of whom, who 
was baptized with his mother's maiden name, and the second, 
Thomas, both became judges.* 

Littleton Powys was bom about the year 1648, and was 
instructed in the mysteries of law at Lincoln's Inn, where 
he was admitted in 1664, his father being at that time a 
bencher there, and was called to the bar after the customary 
period of preparation in May 1671. He obtained no rank 
in the profession before the Revolution, when he took arms 
in favour of William with three servants, and read aloud 
that prince's declaration at Shrewsbury. He was rewarded 
for his zeal by being made in May 1689 second judge on the 
Chester circuit In 1692 he was raised to the degree of the 
coif, and soon after knighted; and on October 29, 1695, he 
was promoted to the bench as a baron of the Exchequer. 
In that court, and afterwards in the King's Bench, to which 
he was removed on January 29, 1701, he sat during three 
reigns till October 26, 1726, when being then seventy-eight 
years old he was allowed to retire on a pension of 1500/.* 

On the accession of George I. in 1714 Lord Cowper had 
represented to the king that as the judge and his brother fre- 
quently acted in opposition to their two colleagues in the 

' CoUing' Peerage, viii. 577; Borke ; Dugdale's Orig. Jar. 256. 
' 9 Bcp. Pub. Rec. App. ii. 252; Lord Rajmood, 622, 1420; Pat. 12 
WiU. in. p. 5. 


court, it was expedient to remove one of them, and recom- 
mended that Sir Littleton should be retained as a blameless 
man, though " of less abilitys and consequence." * 

He was a good plodding judge, though, according to Duke 
Wharton's satire, he could not "sum a cause without a 
blunder," and was somewhat too much inclined to take a 
political view in the trials before him. In the absurd prose- 
cution in 1718 of Hendley a clergyman, for preaching at 
Christchurch a charity sermon for the children of St. Ann's, 
Aldersgate Street, whom he caused to be convicted; and 
particularly in his letter of explanation to Lord Chancellor 
Parker, he was evidently influenced, not by the real question 
of law, but by a spirit of antagonism to Bishop Atterbury, 
who had authorised' the sermon, and by a ridiculous pretence 
that such charitable collections might be applied to the injury 
of the Protestant Church and to the furtherance of the 
objects of the pretender. With moderate intellectual powers 
he filled his office with average credit, but was commonly 
laughed at by the bar for commencing his judgments with 
"I humbly conceive," and enforcing his arguments with 
" Look, do you see." He is the reputed victim of Philip 
Yorkers badinage, who dining with the judge and being 
pressed to name the subject of the work which he had 
jokingly said he was about to publish, stated that it was a 
poetical version of Coke upon Littleton. As nothing would 
satisfy Sir Littleton but a specimen of the composition, Yorke 
gravely recited, 

" He that Iioldeth his lands in fee 

Need neither to shake nor to shiver, 

I humbly conceive ; for look, do you see, 

They are his and his heirs' for ever." 

That Sir Littleton was ridiculed by the bar, appears in 
another metrical lampoon written by Philip Yorke called 

* Lord Campbeirs Chancellors, iv. 349, 634. 

1714—1727. THOMAS POWYS. 55 

"Sir Lyttleton Powis's Charge la Rhyme, 1718," humor- 
ously quizzing his insipid phraseology.' 

The judge lived nearly six years after his retirement, and 
died on March.l6, 1732. 


JuBT. K B. 1714. 

See under the Keign of Anne. 

Thomas Powys was the brother of Sir Littleton, and only 
a year his junior. He filled a larger space in the history of 
his time, though he occupied a judicial position for the brief 
period of a year and a quarter. After being educated at 
Shrewsbury school, he became a student at Lincoln's Inn 
in February 1665, and was called to the bar in April 1673. 
Burnet calls him a young aspiring lawyer ; and he certainly 
outstripped his elder brother in the race for legal honours, 
though neither of them had any eminence in legal attain- 

When James II. found that his law officers declined to 
comply with his arbitrary requirements, he selected Thomas 
Powys on April 23, 1686, to fill the post of solicitor-general 
in the place of Heneage Finch, and thereupon knighted him. 
Offering no objection to the issue of warrants to avowed 
papists to hold office, and arguing Sir Edward Hale's case in 
favour of the power assumed by the king to dispense with 
the test, he was advanced in December of the next year to 
the attorney-generalship on the discharge of Sir Robert 
Sawyer. In that character he conducted the case against 
the seven bishops in June 1688, when the moderation, 
if not lukewarmness of his advocacy contrasted strongly 
with the indecent intemperance of Williams, the solicitor- 

> State Trials, xv. 1407-1422; Cooksey's Essays on Lords Somen and 
Hardwicke, 57, 66; Harris's Life of Lord Hardwickc,-i. 84. 

66 THOMAS POWYS. George I. 

j general. It may readily be believed, as he expressed himself 

I in a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury in the following 

January, excusing his acting in that " most unhappy perse- 
cution," that " it was the most uneasy thing to him that ever 
in his life he was concerned in." ' 

The abdication of James of course brought his official 
career to a close ; and during William's reign, though he was 
a fair lawyer and fully employed, especially in the defences 
on state prosecutions, he remained on the proscribed list. In 
the latter part of that reign he became a member of parlia- 
ment representing Ludlow in 1701, and was returned for the 
same place till 1713. At the beginning of Queen Anne's 
reign he was made at one step seijeant and queen's Serjeant; 
and before the end of it, on June 8, 1713, was promoted to 
a seat in the Queen's Bench, where his brother was then 
second judge. He did not long remain there, for the queen 
dying in August 1714, King George on his coming to Eng- 
land superseded him on October 14, at the instigation of 
Lord Chancellor Cowper, who, though he allowed that he 
had " better abilitys " than his brother, objected to him as 
zealously instrumental in the measures that ruined King 
James, and as still devoted to the pretender. He was, how- 
ever, restored at the same time to his rank as king's Serjeant.' 
He survived his dismissal nearly five years, and dying on 
April 4, 1719, he was buried under a splendid monument at 
Lilford in Northamptonshire, the manor of which he had 
purchased in 1711. 

Though strongly opposed in politics, Burnet had evidently 
a high opinion of him ; and the following extract from his 
epitaph, written by Prior, gives a graceful sunmiary'of his 
legal character : 

" Barnet, iii. 91, 223; State Trials, xii. 280; aarendon Corresp. ii. 507. 
« Lord Baymond, 1318; Lord Campbcirs Chancellor*, iv. 349. 

1714—1727. JOHN PRATT. 67 

*' As to his profession, 

In Accusing cautious, in defending vehement. 

In his pleadings sedate, clear, strong ; 

In all his decisions unprejudiced and equitable; 

He studied, practised, and governed the law 

In such a manner, that 

Nothing equfilled his knowledge 

Except his eloquence ; 

Nothing excelled both 

Except his justice ; 

And whether he was greater 

As an advocate or a judge 

Is the only cause he left undecided." 

He married twice. His first wife was Sarah, daughter of 
Ambrose Holbech of Mollington in Warwickshire ; his 
second was Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Philip Medows, 
knight; by both of whom he had a family. His great- 
grandson Thomas Powys was created Lord Lilford in 1797, 
and his descendants still enjoy the title.' 

Just. K. K 1714. Con. G. S. 1718. Ch. K. B. 1718. 

The name of Pratt is highly distinguished in legal annals, 
having been borne both by a lord chief justice, and by a 
lord chancellor, father and son. None of the biographers of 
the family state who the chief justice's father was ; but they 
record that his grandfather, Richard Pratt, was ruined hj 
the civil wars and obliged to sell his patrimonial estate at 
Carcwell Priory near Collumpton in Devonshire, which had 
been long in possession of his ancestors. The parents of 
John Pratt, however, had sufficient means to afford him a 
liberal education. He was sent to Oxford and eventually 
became a fellow of Wadham College. He studied the law 
at the Inner Temple from November 18, 1675, till February 

> Burnet, ut guprai Collins' Peerage, viu 579. 

58 JOHN PRATT. George I. 

12, 1681, when he was called to the bar. His name does 
not appear during the succeeding eventful period, but he 
obtained sufficient prominence in his profession to be in- 
cluded in the batch of Serjeants who were honoured with 
the coif in 1700, and to be employed in 1711 to defend the 
prerogative of the crown in granting an English peerage to 
the Scotch Duke of Hamilton ; against which the lords 
decided by a small majority. Speaker Onslow calls him a 
man of parts, spirits, learning and eloquence, and one of the 
most able advocates of that time.* Lord Campbell says he 
went by the name of the " lively serjeant " in Westminster 
Hall. Whatever authority his lordship has for this, his suc- 
cess in that arena must have been very considerable to have 
enabled him to purchase in 1703 the manor and seat of 
Wilderness (formerly called Stidulfe's Place) in the parish 
of Scale in Kent. In the parliament of November 1710 he 
was returned for Midhurst, of which he was again the repre- 
sentative in that of February 1714, after the first session of 
which the queen died. In neither parliament did he take 
any prominent part in the debates, nor is there any appear- 
ance of his being specially connected with either of the 
political parties in the state ; except that on the accession of 
George I. he was recommended by Lord Cowper to be a 
judge of the King's Bench, as one " whom the chief justice, 
Mr. Justice Eyres, and every one that knows him, will 
approve." * 

He was accordingly sworn into office on November 22, 
1714, and knighted. In Hilary Term 1718 he gave a decided 
opinion in favour of the crown respecting the education and 
marriage of the royal family ; and on the resignation of the 
Seals by Lord Cowper in the same year he was appointed 
one of the lords commissioners ; holding that office from 

' Collins* Peerage, t. 264; Bamet, vl 80, note. 

' Lord Rttjrmond, 1319; State Triala, xt. 1216; Strange, 86. 

1714—1727. JOHN PBATT. 59 

April 18 to May 12. Three days after he was elevated to 
the post of lord chief justice of the King's Bench^ made 
vacant by Lord Parker's being appointed the new chan- 

He presided over the court for nearly seven years, and 
ably supported its dignity. In the only two reported 
criminal cases that came before him^ those of Reason and 
Tranter for murder, and Christopher Layer for high treason, 
he acted with equal patience and fairness ; and in the exer- 
cise of his civil jurisdiction his rulings are looked upon with 
respect and consideration. One of them, which has how- 
ever been partially overruled, formed a subject for the wits 
of Westminster Hall. A woman who had a settlement in a 
certidn parish had four children by her husband, who was a 
vagrant with no settlement The chief justice decided that 
the wife's settlement was suspended during the husband's life, 
but that it was revived on his death, and that the children 
were then chargeable on the mother's parish. This judg- 
ment, though not regularly reported, is preserved and quoted 
in the following catch : 

"A woman having a settlement 
Married a man with none : 
The question was, he being dead, 
If that she had were gone. 

Quoth Sir John Pratt . . . '^ Iler settlement 

Suspended did remain 
Living the husband ; but he dead, 

It doth revive again." 

Chorus of puisne judges : 
"Living the husband; but he dead, 
It doth revive again.'* * 

Sir John died at his house in Ormond Street on February 
14, 1725. He married twice. His first wife was Elizabeth 

I State Trials, xvi. 45, 290; Burrow's Sett Cases, 124. 


daughter and co-heir of the Rev. Henry Gregory, rector of 
Middleton Stoney in Oxfordshire. By her he had four 
daughters (one of whom married Sir John Fortescue Aland, 
a judge of the Common Pleas), and five sons, three of whom 
died in infancy, and the fourth married for his second wife 
a daughter of Robert Tracy, also a judge of the Common 
Pleas. Sir John's second wife was Elizabeth daughter of 
the Rev. Hugh Wilson, canon of Bangor. She produced to 
him, besides four daughters, four sons, the third of whom, 
Charles, became lord chief justice of the Common Pleas and 
lord chancellor in the reign of George III.' 


B. E. 1714. Just. C. P. 1726. 

See under the Reigns of Anne and George II. 


Just. E. B. 1726. 

See under the Reign of George IL 


Jdst. E. B. 1724. Com. G. S. 1725. Ch. K B. 1725. 

See under the Reign of George II. 


Just. K. B. 1725. 

See under the Reign of George II. 


Cubs. B. E. 1714. 

See under the Beigns of William III. and Anne. 

Of William Simpson, who was cursitor baron of the 

Exchequer under three sovereigns, from the ninth year of 

William III. to the last year of George I., there is the 

> Lord Raymond, 1381; Collins' Peerage, y. 'S64 

1714—1727. JOHN SMITH. 61 

usual deficiency of information. In his admission to the 
Inner Temple in November 1657 he is described as of 
Bromsgrove in the county of Worcester. His call to the 
bar did not take place till November 1674, seventeen years 
after ; and he was not elected a bencher of the society till 
he was constituted cursitor baron. He succeeded Richard 
Wallop in that office on October 2, 1697, receiving the 
honour of knighthood on December 12, and filled it nearly 
nine-and-twenty years, when his great age obliged him to 
surrender it on May 23, 1726.^ 


B. £, 1714. 
See nnder the Reign of Anne. 
This judge is distinguished by having held a judicial seat in 
each of the three kingdoms. He was the son of Roger 
Smith, Esq. of Frolesworth in Leicestershire, and went 
through his legal training at Gray's Inn, to which society he 
was admitted on June 1, 1678, and was called to the bar on 
May 2, 1684. From his reputation in the profession he 
obtained a seat on the Irish bench, and receiving the degree 
of the coif in 1700, was sent as a judge of the Common 
Pleas to that country on December 24 of that year. In less 
than a couple of years he was recalled and made a baron of 
the English Exchequer on June 24, 1702. 

In the great case of Ashby and White on the Aylesbury 
election, he opposed the judgment of the three puisne judges 
of the Queen's Bench, concurring in the opinion of Chief 
Justice Holt in favour of the voter who had been deprived 
of his franchise by the returning officer. The reversal of 
that judgment and the confirmation of Holt's opinion by the 
House of Lords, was then represented as a Whig triumph, 

> Pat. 9 WilL in. p. 5; Lord Raymond, 748, 1317; Luttrell, iv. 287, 319; 
6 Report Fab. Re^. App. ii. 117. 

62 ROBERT TRACY. George I. 

but must be considered, now that party spirit no longer is 
predominant, as a triumph of common-sense over a fanciful 
claim of privilege by the House of Commons. In May, 
1708, he was selected to settle the Exchequer in Scotland, 
and was sent as lord chief baron for that purpose ; being still 
allowed, though another baron was appointed here, to retain 
his place in the English court, and receiving 500Z. a year in 
addition to his salary. He enjoyed both positions till the 
end of his life, being resworn on the accession of George I. 
in his office of baron of the English Exchequer, although he 
performed none of its duties. His death occurred on June 
24, 1726, and by his will he founded and endowed a hos- 
pital at his native village of Frolesworth for the maintenance 
of fourteen poor widows of the communion of the Church of 


Curs. B. £. 1726. 

See under the reign of George II. 


Jdst. C. p. 1714. Com. G. S. 1718. 

See under the Bcigns of William III. and Anne. 

The Hon. Robert Tracj was the eldest son of Robert, 
second Viscount Tracy in Ireland (of whose ancestor Henry 
de Tracy some account has been given as a baron of the Ex- 
chequer in the reign of Henry III.), by his second wife 
Dorothy daughter of Thomas Cocks, Esq. of Castleditch in 
Herefordshire. He was bom at his father's seat at Tod- 
dington in Gloucestershire, in 1655, and acquired the 
rudiments of law in the Middle Temple from 1673 to 1680^ 
when he was called to the bar.* 

' Nichols' Leicestersh. 185; Smyth's Law Off. Ireland, 130; Lord Raymond, 
769, 1317; Lord Campbell's Ch. JusL ii. 160; Gent. Mag. Uiii. 1131; Luttrell, 
iv. 713, T. 184, tI 299. 

' Atkyns' Gloncestersh. 410; Middle Temple Books. 

1714-1727. ROBEBT TRACY, 63 

In July 1699 King William made him a judge of the 
King's Bench in Ireland^ but Boon translated him from that 
C5ountry to be a baron of the Exchequer in England. This 
appointment took place on November 14^ 1700 ; but in less 
than two years he had a second removal, replacing Mr. 
Justice Powell in the Common Pleas in Trinity Term, 1702, 
soon after the accession of Queen Anne. Here he remained 
for four-and-twenty years, during which period he was 
selected both by that Queen and by George I. to be one of 
the commissioners of the Great Seal on vacancies in the 
office of Lord Chancellor. The first occasion was from 
September 14 to October 19, 1710, between the resignation 
of Lord Cowper and the appointment of Lord Harcourt ; 
and the second was from April 15 to May 12, 1718, between 
the second resignation of Lord Cowper and the appointment 
of Lord Parker. He resigned his place on the bench on 
October 26, 1726, on the plea of ill health, but he lived 
nine years afterwards in the enjoyment of a pension of 
1500/. a year. He died on September 11, 1735, aged 
eighty, at his seat at Coscomb in the parish of Didbrooke, 

He is described as '^ a complete gentleman and a good 
lawyer, of a clear head and honest heart, and as delivering 
his opinion with that genteel affability and integrity that 
even those who lost a cause were charmed with his beha- 
viour." This character, as it was written at the time of his 
death, may be regarded, with some allowance for its affected 
phraseology, as substantially true, especially when the Duke 
of Wharton in one of his satires declares that he will be con- 
stant to his mistress until the time — 

" When Tracy's generous soul shall swell with pride." * 

> Smyth's Law Off. Ireland, 100; Pat. 12 Will. HI. p. 2; Lord Baymond, 
605, 769, 1420; Lattrell, iv. 707, v. 184, tl 633; Gent. Mag. y« 659. 

64 JOHN TREVOR. George I. 

He married Anne, daughter of William Dowdeswell of 
Pool Court in Worcestershire ; and had, besides two 
daughters, three sons, Robert, Richard, and William. By 
the failure in 1797 of the line of descent from the judge's 
father's first marriage, the Irish peerage would of course 
have devolved on a descendant of the judge, as the eldest 
son by his father's second marriage. Of Robert and 
Richard, the two elder sons of the judge, the former had 
died without issue ; and the latter together with his only son 
had died long before the death of the last viscount. William, 
the judge's third son, was said to have so deeply offended his 
father by marrying a woman of low degree in Ireland, that 
he was not even mentioned in his will. A person however, 
who professed to be the great-grandson of this William, 
claimed the peerage in 1843 : but the House of Lords after 
various hearings, which extended to 1849, were not satisfied 
with the evidence in support of his claim. 


M. R 1714. 

See under the Reigns of James IL, Williagi IIL, and Anne. 

From an elder branch of the old Welsh family from which 
Thomas Trevor the baron of the Exchequer in the reign of 
Charles I. sprung, the subject of the present sketch may 
claim a descent; his ancestor (who first adopted the name) 
being seated at Brynkynalt in Denbighshire at his death in 
1494. John Trevor was second, but eldest surviving son 
of John Trevor of that place by Mary daughter of John 
Jeffireys of Helen in the same county, the aunt of the Judge 
Jeffireys of infamous memory. At the time of his admission 
to the Inner Temple in November 1654 his father is described 
of Ross-Trevor in Ireland, whither he had probably retired 
in reduced circumstances, if Roger North's statement be 

]7U— 1727. JOHN TREVOR. 65 

true, that the son " was bred a sort of clerk in the chambers 
of old Arthur Trevor, an eminent and worthy professor of 
the law in the Inner Temple." ^'A gentleman," he adds, 
<' that observed a strange-looking boj in his clerk's seat (for 
no person ever had a worse sort of squint than he had), asked 
who that gentleman was : ' A kinsman of mine,' said Arthur 
Trevor, ' that I have allowed to sit here to learn the knavish 
part of the law.' " ' That he was bettered hj the instruction 
may be doubted; but that he became an able proficient 
there is evidence in the reputation he gained of being the 
best judge in all gambling transactions, of the tricks and 
intricacies of which he had personal experience. 

He was called to the bar in May 1661, two years before 
the commencement of the novitiate of his cousin George 
Jeffireys, who soon distanced him in the race of advance- 
ment, having been elected common Serjeant of London in 
March 1671, and recorder in October 1678. That he was 
indebted to his cousin (with whom he contracted an early 
friendship, repaying it according to common report by in- 
triguing with his wife) for some of his future preferments 
is indisputable ; but it is not so clear that he owed his 
knighthood to his cousin's recommendation, since it was 
conferred in January 1671, before Jeffreys could boast 
much ascendency at court That Trevor had acquired some 
eminence in the law is apparent from his being elected 
treasurer of his inn in October 1674, and autumn reader in 
1675. In the parliament of March 1679 he was elected for 
the borough of Beeraiston, which returned him again for 
that called in October of the same year, but which did not 
meet till October in the next. In the Oxford Parliament of 
March 1681 he represented his native county of Denbigh : 
but during the whole of the reign of Charles II. the parlia- 
mentary history does not record one speech that he delivered. 

» Collins* Peerage, in. 292; Life of Lord Keeper North, 218. 

66 JOHN TREVOR. George L 

Sir John Bramston, however^ informs us that he was the 
only man who spoke in favour of Jeflfreys, when the com- 
plaint against him as recorder of London was discussed in 
the house.* 

On the accession of James II., his cousin, who was then 
chief justice, had an opportunity of showing his gratitude. 
Trevor having obtained a seat in that king's only parliament 
for the town of Denbigh, Jeffreys, in opposition to Lord 
Keeper North, succeeded in recommending him to be . the 
speaker. So inefficient was he in the requirements of the 
office, that he was even obliged to read from a paper the few 
formal words in which he announced to the house the king's 
approbation ; and was guilty of some other irregularities that 
were inexcusable in one who had had so long a senatorial 
experience. He showed more boldness and self-possession 
on the occasion of presenting the revenue bill on May 30, 
when he assured the king that the commons entirely relied 
on his majesty's sacred word to support and defend the 
religion of the Church of England. Of this reminder of 
the royal promise the king took not the slightest notice, nor 
apparently any offence, as on the 20th of the following 
October he promoted Sir John to the office of master of the 
rolls, then vacant by the death of Sir John Churchill.^ 

This elevation occurred at the period when his relative 
and patron had returned from his bloody campaign and been 
rewarded with the Great Seal. The court of Chancery was 
then presided over by two judges of kindred spirit, and it 
might be a question which of the two exceeded the other in 
want of principle, or in the use of coarse vituperation. Yet 
they both deserve praise in the exercise of their judicial 
functions, and the decrees they pronounced in private causes 
were able and just. A sort of rivalry, however, soon rose 

* Koble*6 Cromwell, ii. 116; Dttgda1e*s Chron. Ser. 122; Bramston, 208. 
» BramBton, 197, 207; Pari. Hist. ir. 1359; Pat. 1 Jac. II. p. 9, n. 32. 

1714—1727. JOHN TBEVOR. 67 

up between them. Jeffreye sometimes reversed his coadju- 
tor'a decrees and adopted other irritating measures against 
him. Trevor, who could on occasion imitate not unsuccess- 
fully the objurgatory style of his patron, now feeling himself 
no longer a dependent, assumed a dictatorial manner, found 
fault with the chancellor's proceedings, and very early after 
his appointment told him that if he pursued Alderman 
Cornish to execution it would be no better than murder. 
Indeed, Boger North tells us, '^ like a true gamester, he fell 
to the good work of supplanting his patron and friend, and 
had certainly done it, if King James's affairs had stood right 
much longer ; for he was advanced so far with him as to 
vilify and scold with him publicly at Whitehall.'' 

He was not admitted to the privy council till July 6, 
1688 ; and on August 24 he was sent for in a hurry from 
"the Wells" to be present at that meeting when the king 
resolved to have another parliament He was again present 
in October, when proof was given of the genuineness of the 
birth of the Prince of Wales: and after the king's first 
escape he was one of the faithful councillors who attended 
at his levee on his return from Rochester.' 

At the Revolution he, with all the other judges, lost his 
place, which was given to Henry Powle, the speaker of the 
Convention Parliament. But he managed by his open pro- 
fessions of adherence to the extreme doctrines of the Church 
of England to keep up some degree of popularity with that 
party which was gradually superseding the ministers, who, 
though they had been chiefly instrumental in effecting the 
great change in the government of the kingdom, soon disgusted 
the king by assuming too great a control over him. To the 
Convention Parliament he did not venture to offer himself: 
but the borough of Beeralston, which had originally returned 
Sir John Maynard as its member .and on his election to sit 

> BramBtOD, 311-^12; State Trials, xii. 123. 
F 2 


68 JOHN TREVOR. Gbobqb I. 

for Plimpton had chosen Sir John Holt, now, on the latter 
being raised to the bench, put Sir John Trevor in his place. 
Before the end of the year he entered into the debates as 
boldly as if he had never been connected with King James's 
court In the next parliament of March 1690 he was re- 
turned for Yarmouth; and was selected hj the minister 
Carmarthen to be the speaker of it, as the most fit instru- 
ment in the practice too openly encouraged and too long 
continued, of buying off those members who opposed the 

At this time Lord Macaulay (iii. 547) thus graphically 
describes him : — " It was necessary for the lord president to 
have in the House of Commons an agent for the purchase of 
members; and Lowther was both too awkward and too 
scrupulous to be such an agent But a man in whom craft 
and profligacy were united in a high degree was without 
difficulty found. This was the master of the rolls. Sir John 
Trevor, who had been speaker in the single parliament held 
by James. High as Trevor had risen in the world, there 
were people who could still remember him a strange-looking 
lawyer's clerk in the Inner Temple. Indeed, nobody who 
had ever seen him was likely to forget him. For his 
grotesque features and his hideous squint were far beyond 
the reach of caricature. His parts, which were quick and 
vigorous, had enabled him early to master the science of 
chicane. Gambling and betting were his amusements ; and 
out of these amusements he contrived to extract much busi- 
ness in the way of his profession. For his opinion on a 
question arising out of a wager or a game of chance had as 
much authority as a judgment in any court in Westminster 
HalL He soon rose to be one of the boon companions whom 
Jeffireys hugged in fits of maudlin friendship over the bottle 
at night, and cursed and reviled in court the next morning. 

' Burnet, iv. 74. 

1714— 1787. JOHN TBEVOB. 69 

Under such a teacher, Trevor rapidly became a proficient in 
that peculiar kind of rhetoric which had enlivened the trials 
of Baxter and of Alice Lisle. Report indeed spoke of some 
scolding^matches between the chancellor and his friend, in 
which the disciple had been not less voluble and scurrilous 
than the master. These contests, however, did not take 
place till the younger adventurer had attained riches and 
dignities such that he no longer stood in need of the patron- 
age which had raised him. Among high churchmen Trevor, 
in spite of his notorious want of principle, had at this time 
a certain popularity, which he seems to have owed chiefly to 
their conviction that, however insincere he might be in 
general, his hatred of the dissenters was genuine and hearty. 
There was little doubt that, in a House of Commons in which 
the Tories had a majority, he might easily, with the support 
of the court, be chosen speaker. He was impatient to be 
again in his old post, which he well knew how to make one 
of the most lucrative in the kingdom; and he willingly 
undertook that secret and shameful oflice, for which Lowther 
was altogether unqualified." 

Being " a bold and dexterous man," Trevor soon after had 
a renewal of his legal honours. On May 14 he was made 
one of the lords commissioners of the Great Seal on the 
retirement of Sir John Maynard ; an office which he enjoyed 
for nearly three years till the nomination of Somers as lord 
keeper on March 23, 1693. On the 13th of the previous 
January he had been replaced in his old position as master 
of the rolls vacant by the death of Henry Powle. Not 
satisfied with all these honours and the emoluments that 
flowed from them, Trevor with imblushing rapacity partici- 
pated largely in the corruption that then too universally 
prevuled. In the investigation instituted by the parliament 
it was found that he had, among other bribes suspected but 
not proved, received a present from the city of London for 

70 JOHN TKEVOR, GeoroS I. 

getting the orphans' bill passed, which had several times 
before been brought into the house without success. He 
was condemned to sit for six hours hearing himself abused, 
and at last was obliged to put the question and to declare 
himself guilty of " a high crime and misdemeanor." A new 
speaker was immediately appointed, and he was expelled the 
house on March 16, 1695; having only a fortnight before 
attended in all state the queen's funeral in Westminster 
Abbey.* No further punishment being awarded, the wits re- 
marked "that Justice was blind, but Bribery only squinted." 
He never afterwards offered himself as a member; but so 
little was he abashed by his expulsion, that soon after on 
meeting Archbishop Tillotson he muttered loud enough to 
be heard, " I hate a fanatic in lawn sleeves." The archbishop 
answered, " And I hate a knave in any sleeves." 

This disgrace did not deprive him of the mastership of the 
rolls, that office having been conferred upon him for life. 
Though Lord Raymond (p. 566) names him as joined with 
the three chiefs as commissioner of the Great Seal on the 
dismissal of Lord Somers in 1700, the "Crown Office 
Minute-book " (p. 141) proves that the appointment was to 
the three chiefs alone ; his commission being solely to hear 
causes till a new lord keeper was appointed. He continued 
master of the rolls for twenty-two years after his expulsion ; 
possessing so high a reputation as a lawyer that he was 
frequently appealed to as authority in doubful points by 
Lord Chancellor Harcourt ; but with the character of being 
dead to every sense of shame, and of treating the counsel 
who attended his court with coarse and unfeeling brutality. 
So rough were his public reproaches to a nephew of his, that 
it is said the sensitive young barrister sunk under them and 
never recovered. The only honour he received in the reign 
of Queen Anne was that of constable of Flint Castle in 

* Fat. 4 W. & M. p. 8, n. 20; Pari. Hist. y. 901-910; Bramston, 386. 

1714—1727. THOMAS TBEVOB, 71 

1705^ in the place of his father-in-law Sir Boger Mostyn. 
He died on May 20^ 1717, at his house in Clement's Lane, 
and was buried in the Bolls Chapel, his memorial stone very 
wisely recording nothing more than the date of his death.' 

The avarice for which he was notorious was not redeemed, 
as it often is, by occasional fits of generosity. Various 
stories are told of his meanness. One of them is that on a 
relation calling upon him while he was drinking his wine, he 
exclaimed to the servant, " You rascal, you have brought my 
cousin Roderick Lloyd, Esq., prothonotary of North Wales, 
marshal to Baron Price, and so forth, up my back stairs. 
Take him down again immediately, and bring him up my 
front stairs." During the operation, the bottle was removed 
and Sir John saved his wine.' 

He married Jane the daughter of Sir Boger Mostyn, 
Bart., and the widow of Boger Puliston of Emeral in Flint- 
shire ; and had by her four sons and a daughter, who by her 
marriage with Michael Hill of Hillsborough in Ireland was 
the mother of Arthur, first Viscount Dungannon, who suc^ 
ceeding to his grandfather's estates took the name of Trevor. 
Anne the daughter of Arthur was the mother of the great 
Duke of Wellington.' 

TEEVOR, THOMAS, Loed Teevob. 

Ch. C. p. 17U. 
See under the Beigns of William III. and Anne. 

Thomas Trevob the future chief justice was the grandson 
of Sir John Trevor of Trevallyn in Flintshire, an elder 
brother of Sir Thomas Trevor the baron of the Exchequer 
under Charles I. His father, also Sir John, became secre- 
tary of state to Charles 11. and died in 1672, leaving by his 

» Lnttrell, iv. 641, y. 540; Collins' Peerage, vL 292, note. 

« Yorke'8 Royal Tribes of Wales, 109. 

' Townsend*8 Ho. of Commons, ii. 53; Woolrych's Judge Jeffreys. 

72 THOMAS TREYOB. Geobos I. 

wife Ruth^ a daughter of the celebrated John Hampden^ 
four soDSj of whom this Thomas was the second. Bom about 
the year 1659, he entered the Inner Temple on May 1, 1672 
(just before the death of his father who had been a bencher 
of the inn), and was called to the bar on November 28, 
1680. So early did he distinguish himself in the courts that 
he was elected a bencher in 1689, and was elevated to the 
post of solicitor-general on May 3, 1692; and thereupon 
knighted. He refused the attorney-generalship in 1693 
when his official colleague Sir John Somers was promoted ; 
but on the next change on June 8, 1695, he accepted the 

During the six years that he filled that responsible place 
he had to conduct the trials of the persons implicated in the 
Assassination Plot, in all of which he acted with a fairness 
and candour that formed a remarkable contrast to the cri- 
minal proceedings in the late reigns. In the progress of 
those trials the Act of Parliament (St. 7 Will. III. c. 3) for 
regulating trials for treason, which gave to the prisoners so 
charged the privilege of having counsel, came into operation, 
and Sir Thomas met the multiplied objections that were 
consequently urged by the defending advocates with temper, 
ability and learning. On the removal of Lord Somers in 
May 1700, he declined the offer to be made lord keeper; 
but on June 28, 1701, he accepted the more permanent place 
of chief justice of the Common Pleas, which had been vacant 
for six months since the death of Sir George Treby. He 
was member of one parliament only, that of 1695, in which 
he represented Plimpton, and according to Speaker Onslow 
he divided against Sir John Fenwick's attainder, although 
he was an officer of the government.* 

On the accession of Queen Anne he was reappointed 

' LuttreU, iii. 68 ; Lord Raymond, 57. 

' State Trials, vols. zii. xiii.; Lattrell, iy. 645; Burnet, iy. 334. 

1714— 1727, THOMAS TBEYOB. 73 

chief justice and presided in the Court of Common Pleas 
during the whole of her reign. In the short interval be- 
tween the chancellorships of Lords Cowper and Harcourt, 
from September 26 to October 19, 1710, he was entrusted 
with the Great Seal as first commissioner; and on December 
31, 1711, he was called to the peerage bj the title of Baron 
Trevor of Bromham in Bedfordshire, being one of the 
twelve peers whom Queen Anne by an unusual exercise of 
her prerogative created at once, to secure a majority for the 
proposed peace in the House of Lords. He was the first 
chief justice of the Common Pleas who was ennobled while 
holding that office. Though commencing his professional 
career as a Whig, and being united in office with Somers, he 
gradually joined the Tory party, and attached himself to it 
while Queen Anne reigned. He is thus described in the 
account of the judges of the different Courts giyen by Lord 
Cowper to George L on his accession : — 

*' The first [the chief justice] is an able man, but made 
one of the twelve lords, w** the late ministry procured to be 
created at once (in such haste, y^ few, if any, of their patents 
had any preamble, or reasons of their creation), only to 
support their peace, w^ the House of Lords, they found, 
would not without that addition. From that time, at least, 
he went violentiy into aU the measures of that ministry, and 
was much trusted by tiiem ; and when they divided, a llttie 
before tiie queen's death, he sided w^ L^ Bolingbr. ; and for 
so doing, 'tis credibly said, was to have been made 1^ pre- 
sident. Many of y^ lords think his being a peer an obj*^ to 
his being a judge ; because, by y* constitution, y* judges 
ought to be ussistants to the House of Lords, w^ they can't 
be, if a part of that body. Ther is but one example known 
of the like ; w^ is that of L^ Jefferys, ch. just, of the Song's 
Bench, and after chancellor to K. Ja. y* 2^"^. 'Tis natural 
to think, y* other judges stomach y^ distinction, while he is 


among them : and tis said y* y* suitors dislike y* difference 
they find in his behaviour to them since he had this dis- 
tinction. He is grown very wealthy. If it be thought fit 
to remove him, S"" Peter King, record*^ of the City of London^ 
I should humbly propose as fit to succeed him." * 

Upon the hint thus given Lord Trevor was removed on 
October 14, 1714. As his appointment was " quamdiu se 
bene gesserit," he said he would have tried the question as to 
the king's power to eject him, if Chief Justice Holt had not, 
by taking out a new commission when Queen Anne came to 
the throne, decided that in his opinion his former com* 
mission had expired on the demise of the crown.' Lord 
Trevor lived sixteen years afterwards; and changing his 
party again became in 1726 Lord Privy Seal, and in the 
next year was one of the lords justices during the last 
absence of George I. He retained the Privy Seal under 
George II., by whom he was raised on May 8, 1730, to the 
high office of lord president of the council, an honour which 
he did not enjoy for more than six weeks, as he died on 
the 19th of the next month at his seat at Bromham, where 
he was buried under a monument with an elegant Latin 

He was generally admitted to have been an able and 
upright judge, though Chief Justice Holt is said to have 
disparaged his law. But the facility with which he deserted 
one party to side with the other, and returned again to the 
party he had left, could not but be detrimental to his cha- 
racter. Yet Speaker Onslow says, " he was the only man 
almost that I ever knew that changed his party as he had 
done, that preserved so general an esteem with all parties 
as he did. When he came back to the Whigs he was made 

■ Lord Campbeirs Chancellors, it. 349. 

' Lord Raymond, 1318} Burnet, y. 12, Speaker Onslow's note. 

1714—1727. THOMAS TREVOR. 76 

lord privy «eal and afterwards president of the council^ and 
had much joy in both. He liked being at court and was 
much there after he had these offices, but was very awkward 
in it, by having been the most reserved, grave, and austere 
judge I ever saw in Westminster Hall." Lord Hervey de- 
scribes him as being " by principle (if he had any prin- 
ciple) a Jacobite. However, from interest and policy he 
became like his brother convert and brother lawyer. Lord 
Harcourt, as zealous a servant to the Hanover family as any 
of those who had never been otherwise ; for as these two 
men were too knowing in their trade to swerve from the 
established principles of their profession, they acted like 
most lawyers, who generally look on princes like other 
clients, and without any regard to right or wrong — the 
equity or injustice of the cause — think themselves obliged to 
maintain whoever fees them last and pays them best." ^ 

This is a very prejudiced portrait and a most unfair 
judgment of lawyers. Trevor, like most sensible men, did 
not approve of the extreme views of either party; and seeing 
the impossibility of restoring the exiled family, and that any 
attempt to do so would inevitably be accompanied by all the 
horrors of a civil war, wisely lent his aid in supporting the 
Hanoverian princes in the peaceful possession of the throne 
to which they had been called. 

He married twice. By his first wife Elizabeth, daughter 
and co-heir of John Searle, Esq., of Finchley, he had two 
sons and three daughters: and by his second wife Anne, 
daughter of Robert Weldon, Esq., and widow of Sir Robert 
Bernard, Bart, (whom he married in 1704, and who died in 
December 1746), he had three sons. The fourth of these 
five sons became Bishop of Durham in 1752, and the three 
elder brothers held the title of Lord Trevor successively. 

> Burnet, iv. 344, note; Lord Hervey's Memoirs, i. 114. 


The last of them^ Robert fourth Lord Trevor, adopted the 
name of Hampden in 1754, in compliance with the will of his 
relative John Hampden, and in 1776 was advanced to the 
dignity of Viscount Hampden ; both titles becoming extinct 
in 1824.> 

■ CoUina' Peerage, yi. 802; Nicolas' Sjnopdi; Lnttrell, t. 421, 468; 
Gent Mag. xvi. 668. 



Reigned 33 jean, 4 monthi, and 14 days ; from June 11, 1727, 
to October 25, 1760. 


The beneficial iimovation which had been introduced in the 
time of the Commonwealth^ and which had been captiously 
repealed at the Bestoration^ was now acknowledged to be a 
great necessity. Complaints were so loudly made of the 
inconvenience and injustice of carrying on legal proceedings 
in Latin^ which scarcely any of the litigants understood, that 
it was resolved at once to remedy the evil. Accordingly by 
Statute 4 George II. c 26, it was enacted that aU proceedings 
in the courts should be in the English language, and should 
be written in common legible hand and in words at length. 
This valuable improvement was not generally acceptable to 
the old lawyers, and Sir James Burrow in the preface to his 
Beports thus records his objections : — '' A statute," he says, 
now took place for converting them [common-law pleadings] 
from a fixed dead language to a fluctuating living one ; and 
for altering the strong BoUd compact hand (calculated to last 
for ages), wherein they used to be written, into a species of 
handwriting so weak, flimsy, and difiuse, that (in consequence 
and corruption of this statute, though undoubtedly contrary 
to its intention) many a modem record will hardly outlive 
its writer, and few perhaps will survive much above a 
century.'' Lord Baymond opposed the bill in the House of 


Lords ; and Judge Blackstone and Lord Ellenborough have 
objected to its provisions : but few in our day have expe- 
rienced the resulting mischiefs anticipated by either of 

Michaehnas Term, which had commenced on October 23 
for above one hundred years, being shortened in 1640 by the 
cutting off of two returns, was in 1751 still fiirther abbre- 
viated by Stat. 24 Geo. II. c. 48, and its commencement 
fixed to be on November 6; the reason assigned in the 
preamble of the Act being that " very little business can be 
done by reason of the several holidays that are observed by 
the High Courts of Record between the first day of the said 
Term and the sixth day of November following." After this 
Act had continued in operation for eighty years, a further 
change was enacted in 1831, by which the commencement of 
Michaelmas Term was fixed to be on November 2 ; and thus 
it still remains. 

During the thirty-three years of this reign there were only 
three lord chancellors. Lord King, Lord Talbot, and Lord 
Hardwicke, the latter holding the Great Seal for nearly 
twenty years. Lord Henley held it for three years with the 
title of lord keeper only ; and it was placed in the hands of 
commissioners for seven months. The sittings in Chancery 
during the vacations were in Lincoln's Inn Hall. 

Lord Chancellors, Keepers and Commissioners of 
THE Great Seal. 

Peter, Lord King, who had been lord chancellor for 
two years at the end of the last reign, was continued for 
upwards of six years in this. On his resignation, 

Charles Talbot, Esq., the solicitor-general, received 
the Great Seal, with the same title, on November 29, 1733 ; 
and on December 5 was created Baron Talbot, of Hensol in 

1727—1760. ROLLS. 79 

Glamorganshire. He died ou February 14, 1737^ in posses- 
sion of the of&ce ; and was succeeded in it by 

Philip, Lord Hardwicke, lord chief justice of the 
King's Bench, on February 21, 1737. After presiding in 
the court of Chancery for nearly twenty years, during which 
he was advanced in the peerage to the earldom of Hard- 
wicke, his second title being Viscount Royston, he resigned 
on the breaking up of the Duke of Newcastle's administrar- 
tion ; and the Seal was placed in the hands of 
Sir John Willes, Ch. C. P., 
Sir Sidney Stafford Smythe, B. E., and 
Sir John Eardley Wilmot, Just. K. B., 
as lords commissioners, on November 19, 1756. They held 
it for seven months, when 

Sir Robert Henley, the attorney-general, was ap- 
pointed lord keeper on June 30, 1757. He retained the 
Seal till the king's death ; a few months before which he was 
ennobled by the title of Baron Henley of Grange in Hamp- 

Masters of the Rolls. 

Sir Joseph Jekyll filled the office of master of the 
Rolls for one-and-twenty years, ten in the last reign, and 
eleven in this. On his death he was succeeded by 

The Hon. John Verney, chief justice of Chester, on 
October 9, 1733. After enjoying his office for three years 
he died, and 

William Fortescue, Esq., a judge of the Common 
Pleas, received the appointment on November 5, 1741, and 
retained it till his death eight years after. His successor. 

Sir John Strange, one of the king's counsel, and who 
had formerly been solicitor-general, received his patent on 
January 11, 1760. He Uved little more than four years. 

Sir Thomas Clarke, also king's counsel, succeeded him 
on May 29, 1754, and held the office at the king's death. 

80 CHANCERY — KING's BENCH. Gbobob 11. 

The patent to John Vemey is the first in the English 
language ; and includes the grant of *' one tunn or two pipes 
of Bordeaux wine " every year. 

Masters in Chanceet. 

Sir Joeeph Jekyll, M. R. - - - lto7 Geo. II. 

Robert Holford 1 to 24 — 

Henry Lovibond - - - - l — 

John Bennett - - - - - ltol2 — 

James Lightboun - - - - Itoll — 

William Kynaston - - - - 1 to 22 — 

Thomas Bennett - - - - lto34 — 

Francis Elde - - - - - lto88 — 

Mark Thurston, A. G. 1731-1749 - - 1 to 28 — 

Francis Cudworth Masham, A, G. 1727-1781 - 1 to 4 — 

Samuel Burroughs - - - - lto84 — 

Robert Yard 1 — 

Anthony Allen - - - - - lto27 — 

JohnTothill - - - - - lto6 — 

William Spicer 4to84 — 

Richard Edwards - - - • 5to84 — 

John Vemey, M.R. - - - - 7tol5 — 

Edmund Sawyer - - - - llto88 — 

Henzy Montague - - - - 12tod4 — 

William Fortescue, M. R. - - - 15 to 28 — 

Thomas Lane - - - - - 22to84 — 

John Waple, A, G. 1740-1769- - - 28to33 — 

Sir John Strange, M. R. - - - 28 to 27 ~ 

Peter Holford - - - - - 24to84 — 

Thomas Harris - - - - - 27to84 — 

Sir Thomas Clarke, M. R. - - - 27 to 84 — 

Peter DavaU, A. G. 1769-1760 - - - 88 to 84 — 

Peter Bonner 88to84 — 

John Browning - - - - - 88to84-^ 

Chief Justices op the King's Bench. 

Sir Robert Baymond, the chief justice at ihe end of 
the reign of George I., retained his seat till his death ; hav- 
ing been created Lord Baymond on January 15, 1731. He 
died on March 19, 1733 ; but his successor, 

1727—1760. KINGS BENCH — COMMON PLEAS. 81 

Sir Philip Yobke, the attorney-general^ was not ap- 
pointed till October 31, 1733. He was created Lord 
Hardwicke on November 23 in the same year ; and on his 
being made lord chancellor on February 21, 1737, he filled 
both offices for nearly four months ; when 

Sir William Lee, a judge of this court, was raised to 
the head of it on June 8, 1737. After presiding for seven- 
teen years, he was succeeded on his death by 

Sir Dudley Rtder, the attorney-general, on May 2, 
1754 ; on whose death on May 28, 1756, the office remained 
vacant for nearly six months ; when 

The Honourable William Murray, the attorney- 
general, became chief justice on November 8, 1756, and was 
on the same day created Lord Mansfield, under which title 
he presided during the remainder of the reign. 

Justices of the King's Bench. 

L 1727. June. John Fortescue Aland, ^ the judges at 

James Reynolds, > the end of the 

Edmund Probyn, J last reign. 
Sept. Francis Page, vice J. F. Aland. 

in. 1730. June 1. William Lee, vice J. Reynolds. 

XL 1737. June 16. William Chappie, vice W. Lee. 

XIV. 1740. Nov. 28. Martin Wright, vice E. Piobyn, 

1741. Feb. 10. Thomas Denison, vice F. Page. 

XVIIL 1746. April 22. Michael Foster, vice W. Chappie. 
XXVm. 1756. Feb 3. John Eardley Wilmot, vice M. Wright. 

The judges of the King's Bench at the end of the 
reign were 

Lord Mansfield, chief justice. 
Sir Thomas Denison, Sir Michael Foster, 

Sir John Eardley Wilmot 

Chief Justices of the Common Pleas. 

Sir Robert Etre kept his seat as chief justice of the 
Common Pleas till his death ; when 

Sir Thomas Reeve, a judge of the same court, was 



raised to its head in January 1736. Dying the next year, 
his place was filled by 

Sir John Willes, the attorney-general, from January 
1737 till the king's death. 

Judges of the Common Pleas. 

I. 1727. June. Robert Price, 1 . , 

FranciflPage, I Judges under 
Alexander Denton, J George I. retained. 
Oct 24. Spencer Cowper, vice F. Page. 

IT. 1729. Jan. 27. John Fortescue Aland, vice S. Cowper. 

VL 1733. April Thomas Reeve, vice R. Price. 

IX, 1736. Jan. John Comyns, vice T. Reeve. 

XII. 1738. July 7. William Fortescue, vice J. Comyna. 

XTTT. 1740. April 21. Thomas Parker, vice A. Denton. 
XV. 1741. Oct. Thomas Burnet, vice W. Fortescue. 

XVI. 1743. Feb. Thomas Abney, vice T. Parker. 

XIX. 1746. June. Thomas Birch, vice J. F. Aland. 

XXni. 1750. May. Nathaniel Gundry, vice T. Abney. 

XXVL 1763. Jan. Edward Olive, vice T. Burnet. 

XXVn. 1754. May 2. Henry Bathurst, vice N. Gundiy 

XXX. 1757. March. William Noel, vice T. Birch. 

The Common Pleas judges on the death of George II. 

Sir John Willes, chief justice, 
Sir Edward Clive, Hon. Hemy Bathuist, 

Hon. William Noel. 

Chief Babons of the Exchequeb. 

Sib Thomas Pengellt^ chief baron in the last year of 
the reign of George 1., was continued in his place^ but 
enjoyed' it less than three years. On his death 

James Reynolds, Esq., a judge of the King's Bench^ 
was appointed on April 30, 1730. After presiding eight 
years he resigned, and 

Sib John Comyns, a judge of the Common Pleas, suc- 
ceeded him on July 7, 1738. On his death two years after. 

Sib Edmund Pbobyn, a judge of the King's Bench, was 
appointed on November 28, 1740. Within eighteen months 
he died also, and 

1 727^1 760. EXCHEQUER. 83 

Sir Thomas Parker, a judge of the Common Pleas, 
was made chief baron on November 29, 1742, and presided 
in the court during the remaining eighteen years of this 

Barons of the Exchequer. 

L 1727. June. Bernard Hale, i , 

Lawrence Carter, P««>nfl of the last 
John Comyns, J ^^ign continued. 
William Thomson, cursitor baron, 
m. 1729. Nov. 27. Ditto made B. E., vice B. Hale. 

Dec 11. John Birch, curator, vice W. Thomson. 

IX. 1785. Nov. 6. Geoige Olive, cursitor, vice J Birch. 

1786. Feb. 9. William Fortescue, vice J. Comyns. 

XIL 1788. July 7. Thomas Parker, vice W. Fortescue. 

Xm. 1789. Nov. Martin Wright, vice W. Thomson. 

1740. Feb. (P) William Eynaston, cursitor, vice G. 

May. James Reynolds (2), vice T. Parker. 

XIV. Nov. Thomas Abney, \ice M. Wright. 

XVL 1748. Feb. Charles Clarke, vice T. Abney. 

XVn. 1744. May. Edward Barker, cursitor, vice Q. Clive or 

(P) W. Kynaston. 
XVm. 1746. April. Edward Clive, vice L. Carter. 

XXI. 1747. June. Ileneage Legge, vice J. Reynolds. 

XXTTL 1750. May. Sidney Stafford Smythe, vice C. Clarke. 

XXVI. 1768. Feb. 8. Richard Adams, vice E. Clive. 

XXVm. 1766. April. 22. JohnTracy Atkins, cursitor, vice E. Barker. 
XXXin. 1769. Sept. Richard Lloyd, vice H. Legge. 

At the end of the reign the barons of the Exchequer 

Sir Thomas Parker, chief baron. 
Sir Sidney Stafford Smythe, Sir Richard Adams, 
Sir Richard Lloyd, John Tracy Atkins, Esq., 


Cursitor Baron George Clive having died on December 
31, 1739, the '* Gentleman's Magazine ** announced that 
William Kynaston, the master in Chancery, was appointed 
to the office in February 1740 ; — and in *' Beatson's Political 
Index'' (ed. 1788) his name is so recorded. But in the 
absence of any patent to Mr. Kynaston, and in the omission 

o 9 



Geobge II. 

of his name in the agenda book of the Exchequer^ it seems 
probable that^ if he held the office at all^ he only officiated 
temporarily till the vacancy was supplied^ especially as the 
patent to Edward Barker in 1744 refers to George Clive as 
" lately deceased/' and does not mention Mr. Kynaston. 

The removal of Cursitor Baron Thompson to a seat on the 
bench as a baron of the coif^ is the only instance of such a 

When the court of Exchequer sat in equity the chancellor 
of the Exchequer was constitutionally chief judge ; and on 
the day of his being sworn into o£Sce he takes his seat on the 
bench and some motion of course is made before him. In 
1732^ whilst Sir Robert Walpole held the office^ he heard a 
cause in which Chief Baron Reynolds and Baron Comyns 
were of one opinion, and Barons Carter and Thomson were 
of the contrary, and in a learned speech gave his decision. 
In 1735 an equal division of the ordinary court obliged him 
to pursue the same course.^ 

Court op Chancery. 






Peter, Lord King, Chancdhr 

Sir Joseph JekyU. 



Oct. 9. 


Hon. John Vemey. 

Nov. 29. 

Charles Talbot, Chancellor 


Dec. 6. 

cr. L(»rd Talbot 




Feb. 21. • 

Pfailip,Lord Bardwkikt,Chance!lor 




Nov. 5. 


William Fortescne. 



Jan. 11. 


Sir John Strange. 



April 2. 

cr. Earl of Hard wicke 


May 29. 


Sir Thomas Clarke. 



Nov. 9. 

Sir Sidney Stafford 


Sraythe, B. E. 

- sionerM 

SirJ.Eardley Wilmot, 

Just. K. B. J 



Jane 30. 

Sir Robert Henley, Keeper 




March 27. 

ct. Lord Henley 

Manning's Scrv. ad legem, 174; Gent Mag. il 825, v. 618. 


CouBT OF King's Bench. 



Canr Jomcn. 

JuDOn OP rum Kwa*M Bnov. 


1787. JtmA 

Bobort lUjmood 

James BejnoMs 

Edmund Probyn. 



Francii Page 




1790. June. 





1731. Jan. 31. 

er. Lord Baymond 
Philip H irdwicke 




1733. Oct. 81. 





cr. Lord Hardwicke 





1787. Juno 8. 

William Lee 


William Chappie 



1740. No? . 98. 




Martin Wright. 

1741. F«b. 10. 


Thomas Denlaon 




174*. Aprfl ». 
I7M. Max 8. 


Michael Foifr 



Dodlej Byder 




1786. Feb. 8. 





1756. Not. 8. 









Jddois op tbb Commom Plbas. 


1787. June. 


Bobert Price 

Francis Page 


Oct. 94. 
1799. Jan. 97. 



Spencer Cowper 



1738. AprU. 




1786. Jm. 

Thomas Beere 

John Comyns 




1787. Jan. 

John WiUes 





1788. July 7. 

William Forteacue 




1740. AprU 91. 



Thomas Parker. 


1741. Oct. 




1748. Feb. 




1746. Jomi. 



Thomas Birch 



1750. May. 



Nathaniel Gondry. 


1783. Jan. 


Bdward cure 




1784. May 9. 




Henry Bathurst. 


1787. Marefa. 



William Noel 





Cbibp Babons 

Babons op thb Ezchkqubb. 

1797. June. 

Thomas Pengelly 

Bernard Hale 


John Comyns. 

1719. Not. 97. 





1780. April 30. 



.1736. Feb. 9. 




William Fortescae. 


1738. July 7. 

John Comyns 



Thomas Parker. 


1739. Not. 


Martin Wright 



1740. May. 





Not. 98. 

Edward Probyn 
Thomas Parl^er 

Thomas Abney 




• 1749. Not. 99. 

Charles Clarke 




1748. April. 

Edward CUto 



1747. June. 




Heneage Legge. 


1750. May. 



— ■ 


1788. Feb. 3. 



Bichard Adams 



1759. Sept. 




Bichard Lloyd. 


1797. Jane. 

William Thomson. 1740. 

Feb. Wllliaro Kynaston(?). 

1799. Dec. 11. 

John- Birch. 1744. 

May. Edward Barker. 

1738. No?. 6. 

George aiTe. 1785. 

April 29. John Tracy Atkins. 


The salaries of the puidne judges and barons received an 
increase of 500/. a year by Stat. 32 Geo. II., c. 35, s. 9 ; 
and of the chief baron of 1000/. a year. 

The custom of knighting the judges upon their appoint- 
ment was not at this time universally practised. Chief Baron 
James Reynolds and Justices Robert Price, Alexander 
Denton, Spencer Cowper, William Fortescue, Charles 
Clarke, Nathaniel Gundry and William Noel, do not appear 
to have ever received the distinction ; besides some, who as 
sons of peers were of course omitted ; and the knighthood 
of Sir William Lee, Sir Martin Wright, Sir James Rey- 
nolds (the baron). Sir Thomas Burnet, and Sir Thomas 
Denison, was delayed till several years afler their promotion 
to the bench ; the last four receiving it together, upoH going 
up with the inns of court to present an address on the occa- 
sion of the rebellion in 1745. Towards the winter relief and 
support of the soldiers engaged in the suppression of that 
rebellion, the judges afterwards subscribed 1200ZL' 

An engraving from a painting by Gravelot represents the 
interior of Westminster Hall during this reign, with three 
of the courts in the hall ; the courts of Chancery and King's 
Bench at the upper end, and the court of Common Pleas on 
their left hand side. That part of the wall, not occupied by 
the latter court, was filled with shops or stalls for the sale of 
books and fancy articles, as well as the whole length of the 
opposite side. 

In March 1735 the Thames rose so high that the Hall was 
overflowed, and the lawyers were conveyed away in boats. 
Henry Fielding alludes to this event in his dramatic satire 
of " Pasquin," where Law says : 

<' We have our omens too. The other day 
A mighty deluge swam into our Hall, 
As if it meant to wash away the law : 

* Gent. Mag. xv. 612, 666. 

1737—1760. WESTMIKSTEB HALL. 87 

lAvryen were forc'd to ride on poitera' shoulders ; 

One, O prodigious omen ! tumbled down, 

And he and iJI his briefs were sous'd together/" 

In July in the following year the hall was frightened out 
of its propriety by a sudden explosion in the court of Chan- 
cery. Under the idea that there was another gunpowder 
plot the judges, counsel, attorneys, and clients started from 
their places, and took to their heels in such confusion that 
wigs and gowns were discarded and left in the scuffle. On 
recovering their senses and examining into the cause of the 
tumult, the remains of a bag were found, in which gunpowder 
had been placed, for the purpose of blowing up five unpopu- 
lar acts of parliament, and of dispersing vast numbers of a 
handbill describing them '^as destructive of the product, 
trade and manufacture of the kingdom, and tending to the 
utter subversion of the liberties and properties thereof." 
These five acts were, the Gin Act, — the Mortmain Act, — 
the Act for building Westminster Bridge,— the Smugglers 
Act,— and the Act to apply 600,000/. of the Sinking Fund 
to the service of the year. How the fire was applied to the 
gunpowder nobody could discover ; but so indignant were 
Lord Chancellor Talbot and Lord Hardwicke at this insult, 
that a royal proclamation was issued, and a strict inquiry 
instituted for its perpetrator. He was at last discovered to 
be one Nixon, a poor half-mad, non-juring parson, who was 
fined and imprisoned for the offence. The whole affair was 
the subject of a debate in the ensuing parliament. 

The wits of Westminster Hall seem to have been pecu- 
liarly lively, and give us an idea that there were as many 
briefless barristers in the reign of George II. as encumber 
the back seats of the different courts at the present day. 
One of them produced a satire entitled ^^ The Causidicade, a 

* Ireland's Inns of Court, 251. 

* Lord Herrey'a Memoirs, M 136; Pari. Hist ix. 1281, e< $eq. 


Pfuiegyri-eerio-comic-drainatical Poem, on a Strange Resign 
nation, and a stranger Promotion ; by Porcupine Pelagius :'* 
on the occasion of Sir John Strange resigning the oflSce of 
solicitor-general in 1742, and the appointment of the Hon. 
William Murray (afterwards Lord Mansfield) as his suc- 
cessor. It professes to give the pleadings of the various 
candidates, detailing their difi*erent claims and qualifications 
for the post, before the president of the supposed court, the 
then Lord Chancellor Hardwicke. It quizzes no less than 
thirty-four individuals, five of the then existing judges being 
incidentally introduced, and seven who were afterwards pro- 
moted to the bench ; the respective victims being portrayed 
with their distinguishing characteristics; apd the whole 
forming a very amusing picture. Two lines of it prove that 
a custom then existed which has only been discontinued 
within the latter half of the present century. The chan- 
cellor is represented as daintily wielding 

''A nosegay composed of the flow'n of the field, 
And eke of the garden." 


I. 1727. June Sir Philip Yorke, made Ch. K. B. 

VII. 1734. Jan. John WiUee, Esq., made Ch. C. P. 

X. 1737. Jan. Dudley Ryder, Esq., made Ch. E. B. 

XXVII. 1754, May. Hon. William Murray, made Ch. E. R 

XXX. 1766. Nov. Sir Hohert Henley, made lord keeper. 

XXXT. 1767. June. Sir Charles Piratt 


I. 1727. June Charles Talbot, Esq., made lord chancellor. 

VIL 1734. Jan. Dudley Ryder, Esq., made attomey-generaL 

X. 1737. £QL John Strange, Esq., resigned. 

XVT. 1742. Hon.William Murray, made attomey-generaL 

XXVn. 1764. May. Sir Richard Lloyd, removed. 

XXX. 1756. Nov, Hon. Charles Yorke. 

1727—1760. s£bjeants-at*law. 89 


The added initial marks the inn of court to which they 
belonged ; and those who became judges are distinguished 
by a*. 

I. 1727. •Spencer Cowper (L.) Edward Corbet (L.) 

m. 1729. •William Thomson (M.) 
IV. 1730. •William Lee (I.) •Thomas Birch (I.) 

VII. 1738. ThiMp Yorke (M.) 'Thomas Reeve (M.) 

•Martin Wright (I.) 
IX, 1736. •Thomas Parker (I.) John Agar (M.) 

Thomas Hussey (M.) Richard Draper (G.) 

Abraham Gapper (L.) R. Johnson Kettleby (M.) 

•Robert Price (M.) William Haywrard (M.) 

•Michael Foster (M.) Samael Prime (M.) 

•Thomas Burnet (M.) Thomas Bamardiston (M.) 

William Wynne (M.) Edward Bootle (li.) 

Motto, '' Nunquam lihertas gratior.'' 
•William Fortescue (L) 
X. 1737. -JohnWrnesCL.) 
XIV. 1740. •James Reynolds (L.) •Thomas Abney (I.) 

XV. 1742. •Thomas Denison (I.) Edward Leeds. 

XVL 1743. •Charles Clarke (L.) 
XVHL. 1746. •Edward CHve (L.) WilUam Eyre. 

XXI. 1747. •Heneage Legge (I.) David Poole. 

MottO| "Mens bona, fama, fides.*' 
XXIV. 176a •Nathaniel Gundry (L.) 'Sidney Stafford Smythe(L) 

MottO; '' Libertasy fides, Veritas." 
XXVI. 1753. •Richaid Adams (L) George Wilson. 

XXVIL 1754. •Dudley Ryder (M.) •Henry Bathurst (L.) 

Motto, " Venture prospicit asvo." 
XXVm. 1765. •JohnEardleyWilmot(L) ♦James Hewitt (M.) 
Lomaz Martin. William Davy. 

Motto, '' Diu interat populo." 
XXX. 1766. ♦William Murray (L.) 

Motto, " Servate Domum." 
1757. •WiUiam Noel (M.) Thomas Stanyforth (I.) 

James Foster (G.) 

Motto, " Avi munerentur avorum." 
XXXIL 1769. William Whitaker •George Nares (I.) 

Anthony Eeck. 

Motto, " Te metuant tyranni." 
XXXITI. •Richard Lloyd. 

Motto, " In dubiis rectus." 

90 8EHJEANT8. Geobgb II. 

King's Serjeants. 

in. 1729. •William Cliapple. 
IX. 1736. •Thomas Parker (I.) Giles Eyre. 

XIV. 1740. •Thomas Burnet (M.) 
XVin. 1746? •Thomas Birch (L) Matthew Skinner. 

Samuel Prime. Edward Willes. 

XX. 1747. Edward Leeds. 
XXX. 1757. David Poole. 
XXXn. 1769. ♦James Hewitt (M.)» William Whitaker. 

♦George Nares (I.) 

A proposition was made in 1755 by Lord Chief Justice 
Willes that the Court of Common Pleas should be opened 
to all barristers : but the rest of the judges, as well as 
Lord Hardwicke, strongly opposed this encroachment on 
the ancient privileges of the seijeants, and unanimously 
rejected the scheme. Before another century had elapsed 
however the alteration was effected without any practical 

During this reign there seems to have been only one general 
call; the remaining Serjeants, with some few exceptions, 
being appointed on promotion to the bench. At that call 
the feast was in Middle Temple Hall, and it appears from 
Serjeant Wynne's account, that the expense to each of the 
fourteen Serjeants was 185/. ; the aggregate bill for robes 
being 360/. ; for the dinner 315/. ; for the rings (1409 in 
number) 773/. ; for wine 334/. ; for the use of Serjeants' Inn 
500/. ; the rest being made up by the cost of biscuits, music, 
and small fees.^ 

The lease of Serjeants' Inn, Fleet Street, which was 
granted by the dean and chapter of York in 1670 for sixty 
years, came to a termination in September 1730. Up to 
that time it had been inhabited by some of the judges and 
Serjeants, and occasionally used for judicial conferences : but 

> He resigned his patent in 1764. 

' Wynne's Serj. at Law, 10, 114; Manning's Serv. at Legem, 22. 

17S7— 1760. king's COUNSEL. 91 

then the diyision of the order into two bodies being found to 
be inconvenient^ it was determined not to renew the lease. 
Two years previous to the expiration of the term^ a con- 
ference was held between the judges and Serjeants of this 
society and that of Chancery Lane^ in which the expediency 
of erecting a public building on some convenient spot for 
the benefit of both societies, was discussed. This project was 
however given up ; and the result was the junction of the 
two societies in Serjeant's Inn, Chancery Lane. That in 
Fleet Street being evacuated, the whole was pulled down, 
and the site was devoted to private dwellings, as it now 

About this time a custom was introduced of granting 
patents of precedence to such barristers as the Crown con- 
sidered prQper to honour with that mark of distinction, 
instead of appointing them king's counsel. It probably 
originated in the division of parties, and the disinclination of 
the sovereign to name those as his own counsel who were 
opposed to his ministry, and yet who by their talents or 
command of business had obtained a lead in the courts. 
They were entitled to wear a silk gown and to sit within the 
bar ; and their places were generally assigned next after the 
existing king's counsel The only real distinction between 
them and the king's counsel was the privilege of being 
retained in causes against the crown. The fees payable on 
these patents in the reign of Queen Victoria amounted to 
63/. lis. 6d. 

In the following list of king's counsel, those who held 
patents of precedence as ranking with them, are included ; 
and for greater convenience, an alphabetical arrangement 
has been adopted. 

Thomas Abney. Henry Bathurst 

Richard Aston. Thomas Bootle. 

Henry Banks. A. Hume Campbell. 

92 Lincoln's inn— inner temple. Gsobgb u. 

Thomas Clarke. William NoeL 

William De Grey. Fletcher Norton. 

William Fortescue. George Perrott. 

Hewry Gould. Charles Pratt. 

Nathaaiel Gundxy. Thomas Reeve. 

Eliab Harvey. Thomas SewelL 

Robert Henley. Sidney Stafford Smythe. 

Paul Joddrell. John Strange. 

Matthew Lamb. John Trevor. 

Heneage Legge. John Vemey. 

Richard Lloyd. Edward Willes. 

John Morton. Charles Yorke. 

Lincoln's Inn. — A tremendous fire occurred in the New 
square of this Inn in June 1752, destroying the chambers 
of several eminent lawyers^ among which were those of the 
Hon. Charles Yorke^ the son of the chancellor, and with 
them unfortunately a large collection of the MSS. of Lord 
Somers. The inconvenience occasioned by it was so great 
that Lord Hardwicke was obliged to suspend all proceedings 
in his court.^ 

The Temples. — The deed of 1732 between the two 
societies declaratory of the property belonging to each, 
has been already noticed in Vol. V. p. 26. 

Inner Temple. — A great fire also occurred in the 
Temple in January 1737, by which upwards of twenty 
chambers were destroyed. 

This society commemorated the elevation of Lord Talbot, 
a member of their house, to the chancellorship, by one of 
those ancient revels, which had been for some time past 
discontinued. It took place on Ci^idlemas day, 1734, Mr. 
Wollaston acting as master of the revels, and Mr. Baker as 
master of the ceremonies ; and commenced between two and 
three o'clock with a grand dinner, fourteen students of the. 
house attending as waiters, among whom was Mr. Talbot, 
the chancellor's son. By means of these honorary attendants, 

> Gent. Mag. xxii. S87» 333. 

1727—1760. INNER TEMPLE. —STAPLE INN. 93 

the barristers and students, for whom only the customary fare 
was provided, obtained ail ample supply of the good things 
from the upper table ; and were further feasted with a flask 
of claret for each mess, besides the common allowance of 
port and sack. As soon as the dinner was ended, Congreve's 
tjomedy of ** Love for Love " was performed, followed by 
Coffey's farce of " The Devil to Pay " then recently pro- 
duced : the actors coming ready dressed in chau-s from the 
Haymarket, and refusing to receive any gratuity for their 
trouble. After the play the old ceremony of the solemn 
dance, or rather march, round about the coal fire three times 
was revived ; the master of the revels taking the lord chan- 
cellor by the hand, and he the eldest judge, and so through 
the whole company of judges, Serjeants, and benchers: 
the procession being enlivened by the ancient French song, 
accompanied by music, sung by Toby Aston in a bar gown. 
The Prince of Wales came incog, to witness the ceremony 
from the music gallery. Retiring as soon as it was over, 
his absence was speedily supplied by a large company of 
ladies, who had graced the entertainment with their presence 
in the gallery, and then came down into the hall, and joining 
in minuets and coimtry dances with the younger students 
earned the "very fine collation," with which the evening 
concluded.' The prince was the last royal personage who 
honoured the Inns of Court by attending at their entertain- 
ments for more than a century. In 1845 Queen Victoria 
opened the new Hall in Lincoln's Inn; and her son the 
Prince of Wales in 1861 paid the same compliment on 
opening the new library of the Middle Temple. 

Staple Inn. — There seems to have been an epidemic of 
conflagration among the haunts of the lawyers during this 
reign. In 1756 the pension chamber and several other 

> Notes to Wynne's Eanomus, ir. 105. 

94 coke's BEPORTS in terse. Gxobob II. 

buildings of this Inn were consumed by fire. They were 
insured for 680/. I6s, 6d., and the rebuilding cost 1053/. 

A curious volume was published by Henry Lintotin 1742, 
of " The Reports of Sir Edward Coke, Knt, in verse, where- 
in the name of each case, and the principal points are con- 
tained in two lines." We are not aware that this abridg- 
ment has ever been quoted in Court, but it assisted the 
memory of the student, and was made more useful by the 
tables and references which are annexed to it. 






B. B. 1740. JUBT. C. P. 1748. 

The Abneys were originally seated^ almost from the time of 
tlie Conquest^ at a village of that name in Derbyshire. They 
afterwards settled at Willesley in the same county; and the 
judge was the son of Sir Edward Abney, LL.D., of that 
place^ an eminent civilian and member of parliament for 
Leicester in 1690 and 1695, and the nephew of Sir Thomas 
Abney the famous lord mayor of London in 1701, whose 
virtues are celebrated in an elegy by Dr. Isaac Watts." His 
mother was Judith, daughter and co-heir of Peter Barr, a 
London merchant. He commenced his career in the legal 
profession at the Inner Temple in 1697, put on his bar gown 
in 1713, and was made a bencher of that society in 1733. 

Being placed on the commission of the peace for Middle- 
sex he was so well reputed among his colleagues that in 
February 1731 he was chosen for their chairman of the 
quarter sessions at Hicks's Hall. In 1733 he was one of the 
commissioners to inquire into the fees, &c. of the officers of 
the Exchequer; and in the same year he received the 
appointment of attorney-general for the Duchy of Lancaster, 
with the grade of king's counsel. From this he was advanced 

> Funeral Sennon, hy Jer. Smith, 1722. 


in December 1735 to be judge of the Palace Court and 
steward of the Marshalsea^ and was then knighted. At the 
same time he was in full practice, and among the causes in 
which he distinguished himself was that of Moore v. The 
Corporation of Hastings, in which he established the right 
of the eldest son of a freeman to be admitted a freeman of 
the borough.* 

By this progressive advance in the honours of his profes- 
sion, his ultimate elevation to the bench at Westminster 
might easily be foreseen. It was not long delayed, for on 
the transfer of Mr. Baron Wright from the Exchequer to 
the King's Bench, Sir Thomas Abney was selected to supply 
his place in the former court in November 1740. In little 
more than two years he was removed in February 1743 to the 
Common Pleas. There he sat for the rest of his life, which 
was terminated by one of those afilicting visitations, too 
commonly occasioned by the infamous manner in which the 
common gaols were then conducted, and the confined con- 
struction of the criminal courts. The Black Sessions at the 
Old Bailey in May 1750 will be long remembered. An 
unusually large number of prisoners were arraigned, all most 
uncleanly and some suffering from the gaol distemper ; and 
a great concourse of spectators were crowded in the narrow 
court to hear the trial of Captain Clarke for killing Captain 
Innes in a dueL These, added to the filthy state of the 
rooms in connection with the court, so tainted the air, that 
many of those assembled were struck with fever, of whom 
no less than forty died. Of the judges in the commission 
only the chief justice (Lee) and the recorder (Adams) 
escaped. Those who fell a sacrifice to the pestilence were 
Mr. Justice Abney, who died May 19, Mr. Baron Clarke, 
who died on the 17 th, Sir Samuel Pennant, lord mayor, and 

' Strange, 1070; State Triali, ZTii. 845. 

1727—1760. THOMAS ABNEY. 97 

Alderman Sir Daniel Lambert ; besides several of the counsel 
and jurymen. 

The following lines^ taken from a copy of verses published 
soon after the moumfal event,. afford some evidence of the 
estimation in which Sir Thomas's character was regarded : — 

" Yes, 'tis a glorious thought I The worthy mind, 
Matur'd by wisdom, and from vice refin'd, 
In various scenes of social life approved. 
Of men the lover, and by men belov'd, 
Must, sure, divested of its kindred clay, 
Soar to the regions of empyreal day. 

*' Such Abney shone ; to deck whose mournful hearse, 
The Muse lamenting pays her grateful verse, 
The Muse long wont to love, as to revere, 
The judge impartial, and the friend sincere I 
How has she oft with fix*d attention hung 
On the great truths that grac'd his flowing tongue ! 
Truths, that he joy'd with candid warmth to draw 
Fair from the moral, as the Christian law. 
How oft beheld him glad the friendly scene, 
Without all cheerful, and all calm within; 
And, far frt>m mad ambition's noisy strife, 
Taste the pure blessings of domestic life I 
How oft in him, with pleasing wonder, viewed 
A soul, where lawless passions sank subdued. 
Where virtue still her rightful rule maintain^. 
While generous zeal, by bigotry unstained. 
And freedom, that protects with watchful care 
Man's sacred rights, serenely triumphed there ! '' 

Though this may seem the effusion of personal affection^ 
the truth of the delineation is confirmed hj the more dis- 
passionate testimony of that eminent judge, Sir Michael 
Foster, who in his report of the Trial of the Rebels (p. 75), 
after designating Sir Thomas Abney as **a very worthy 
man, learned in his profession, and of great integrity," pro- 
ceeds thus : — " He was through an openness of temper, or a 
pride of virtue habitual to him, incapable of recommending 
himself to that kind of low assiduous craft, by which we 



have known some unworthy men make their way to the 
favour of the great. ... In his judicial capacity he con- 
stantly paid a religious regard to the merits of the question 
in the light the case appeareij to him ; and his judgment very 
seldom misled him. In short when he died, the world lost a 
very valuable man, his majesty an excellent subject, and the 
public a faithful able servant." 

He married Frances, daughter of Joshua Burton of Bra<5k- 
ley in Northamptonshire, and by her he left a son, Thomas, 
whose only daughter married General Sir Charles Hastings, 
Bart Their descendants have assiuned the name of Abney, 
in addition to their own, and possess Willesley Hall, the 
judge's seat Another branch of the Abney family is seated 
at Measham Hall in the same county.^ 


R K 1753. 

See under the Reign of George III. 

ALAND, JOHN FORTESCUE, afterwards Lord Fortescue. 

Ju8T. K. B. 1727. Just. C. P. 1729. 

See under the Beign of George L 

Hugh Fortescue, the grandfather of this judge, was the 
seventh in lineal descent from the illustrious chief justice of 
Henry VI. His second son, Arthur, was the grandfather of 
the first Lord Fortescue of Castle Hill, to which the earldom 
now enjoyed by his successors was added in 1789. Hugh's 
third son, Edmond, by his marriage with Sarah, daughter of 
Henry Aland, Esq., of Waterford, whose name he added to 
his own, was the judge's father. 

John Fortescue- Aland was bom on March 7, 1670. Ox- 
ford has been supposed to be the place of his education, as 
he received from that university the honorary degree of 

* Gent. Mag. at the respectire dates ; Burke's Landed Gentry. 

1727—1760. JOHN FORTE8CUE- ALAND. 99 

doctor of civil law on May 4, 1733. But the language of 
that diploma leads to a different conclusion, and no trace is 
to be found of him in the register of matriculations.* In 
1688 he became a member of the Middle Temple, but after- 
wards removed to the Inner Temple ; and having been called 
to the bar in 1712, arrived at the post of reader in 1716. In 
October 1714, immediately after the arrival of George I., he 
was appointed solicitor-general to the Prince of Wales (after- 
wards George II.), from which he was promoted in December 
of the following year to be solicitor-general to the king.* 
He was chosen member for Midhurst in the first parliament 
of George I., but only sat during its first session, being 
raised to the bench before the commencement of the next* 
This event occurred on January 24, 1717, when he was 
sworn a baron of the Exchequer and knighted ; having but 
two days before assisted at the trial of Francis Francia for 
high treason. He occupied that seat for little more than a 
year ; and one of his last duties as a baron was to give his 
opinion respecting the education and marriage of the royal 
family, his argument on which is folly reported by himself, 
and, though he had been one of the law officers of the Prince 
of Wales, was decidedly in favour of the prerogative of the 
crown. Soon after, on May 15, 1718, he was removed to 
the King's Bench on the elevation of Chief Justice Sir John 
Pratt In that court he sat till the death of George I. on 
June 11, 1727; but George 11. about the middle of Sep- 
tember, perhaps on account of the above opinion against his 
claim, superseded him.' 

Sir John's retirement having lasted fifteen months, he was 
restored to favour, and on the death of Mr. Justice Cowper 

' Chalmers* Biog. Diet; Professor Stanley (now Dean of Weatminster) 
kindly furnished me with the only passages in the diploma which have any 
relation to the University. 

' Lord Raymond, 1318; Strange, 1. 

" State Trials, xt. 975, xvL 1206; Strange, 86; Lord Raymond, 1610. 

H 2 


was placed in the Common Pleaa on January 27, 1729. 
There he continued for above seventeen years, when his age 
and infirmities warned him to resign ; which he did in June 
1746. He had for some time previously been in such a state 
of health that he could not go the circuit, even in the sum- 
mer season; and so long before as 1741 he had petitioned 
for leave to retire with a pension, accompanied by the incon- 
sistent request that a seat in the House of Commons might 
be obtained for him.^ When at last permitted to resign, 
after a service in all the three courts extending to twenty- 
eight years, his senatorial ambition was gratified by the grant 
of a barony in the Irish peerage in August following his 
resignation. His title was Lord Fortescue of Credan in the 
county of Waterford ; but he enjoyed it for little more than 
four months, dying in his seventy-seventh year on December 
19, 1746. 

In addition to his reputation as an excellent lawyer and 
an able and impartial judge, he had the character of being 
well versed in Norman and Saxon literature. This he fully 
maintained in the introductory remarks to his edition of 
the treatise of his illustrious ancestor Sir John Fortescue, I 

v-ti-v&r er/HSii^^^T^ Difference he^ir;^ iS^^^fc'^PjJM&.^fe^^ 

^ of the Royal Society, i His Law Reports of Select cases '^t^^^E^^w^^ 

were prepared for publication before his death, but not*^^^^^*^;^^^ 
printed till 1748. His judgments may be found in Lordv^^^ a^^ 
Raymond, Strange, and other reporters. Of his manner on '•j^ix^^ *^ 
the bench the folloi;?ing illustration in Bentley's case may^< 
serve as an example. " The laws of God and man," he said, 
" both give the party an opportunity to make his defence if-r^J^-^S^*^ 
he has any. I remember to have heard it observed by a^^^'^^^j 
very learned man, that even God himself did not pass sen- 
tence upon Adam, before he was called upon to make his 

' Harria's life of Lord Hordwicke, i. 484, 487, 511. 

1727—1760. JOHN TRACY ATKYNS. 101 

defence. Adam (says God) where art thou? Hast thou 
not eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou 
shouldest not eat ? And the same question was put to Eve 
also." Of his appearance, the " Conveyancer's Guide " 
(p. 107) gives this description while he was in the Exche- 
quer: — "The baron had one of the strangest noses ever 
seen ; its shape resembled mucK the trunk of an elephant. 
* Brother, brother,' said the baron to the counsel, * you are 
handling the cause in a very lame manner.' * Oh ! no, my 
lord,' was the reply, ' have patience with me, and I'll make 
it as plain as the nose in your lordship's face.' " 

He was himself long involved in law, the Reports detail- 
ing proceedings from 3 Geo. I. to 19 Geo. 11. between him 
and Aland Mason, relative to some property of his maternal 
grandfather. The " Gentleman's Magazine" for 1741 also 
notices the termination in the House of Lords of a suit 
which had been depending for ten years between him and 
John Dormer, a relation of his second wife, concerning the 
property of her father, in which he was unsuccessfuL^ 

Lord Fortescue's first wife was Grace, daughter of Chief 
Justice Pratt, by whom he had two sons, who died unmar- 
ried in their father's lifetime. His second wife was Elizabeth, 
daughter of Mr. Justice Dormer, by whom he l^t a son, his 
successor in his title and estates, one of which was Lamborn 
Hall in Essex; on whose death in 1781 without issue, the 
peerage expired.* 


Curs. B. £. 1755. 

See under the Reign of George IIL 

> Strange, 567, 861, 1258; Lord Rajmond, 1433) Gent. Mag. xi. 106. 
' Collins' Peerage, r. 344; Biog. Diet, by Ciialmen and by Bo«e. 

102 JOHN BIRCH. George II. 

Curs. B. E. 1744. 

Of the lineage of this oflScer I am ignorant. He was born 
at Wandsworth in 1678, and was called to the bar at the 
Inner Temple, of which he was not admitted a member till 
1724 ; but was one of the benchers of that society when he 
was appointed cursitor baron of the Exchequer on May 9, 
1743. He resigned the place on April 19, 1755, and was 
succeeded by John Tracy Atkyns. He died in 1759.' 


Just. C. P. 1754. 

See under the Reign of George HI. 

Cdrs. B. E. 1729. 

The pedigree of the family of Birch of Birch, near Man- 
chester, can be traced from the latter part of the reign of 
King John : and one of its branches settled at Ardwick in 
the same neighbourhood. The representatives of both in the 
Great Rebellion distinguished themselves on the parliament 
side. That of Birch was Colonel Thomas Birch, member 
for Liverpool in the Long Parliament ; and that of Ardwick, 
with which this memoir is more immediately concerned, was 
the more famous Colonel John Birch, whose eminent services 
were rewarded with many important distinctions and com- 
mands, and with the appointment at various times of high 
steward of Leominster and governor of Bridgewater and 
Hereford, both of which towns he had been instrumental in 
taking. He was elected to represent the borough of Leo- 
minster in the Long Parliament on a vacancy in 1646, but 
was excluded from it and imprisoned, by Pride's Purge in 

* LysonB, i. 507, 570; Gent. Mag. xiii. 390, xxt. 184, 237. 

1727—1760. JOHN BIRCH. 103 

1648, for voting " that the kmg's answers to the propositions 
of both houses were a ground of peace." He of course was 
not one of Cromwell's Barebones' Parliament, but was mem- 
ber of every other during the interregnum, either for the 
city of Hereford or for Leominster ; and took an active part 
in preparing for the king's return. In the Convention 
Parliament of 1660 he represented Leominster, and was 
elected for Weobly in the three last parliaments of Charles 
II. ; and again in the Convention Parliament of 1689, and 
then till his death in 1691. By his will he bequeathed his 
estates to his youngest daughter, Sarah, on condition that she 
should marry her cousin John, the subject of this sketch ; 
who soon after the marriage had taken place threatened to 
bring an action against the Bishop of Hereford for defacing 
the inscription on the colonel's monument, which the bishop 
thought contained words " not right for the church institu- 
tion." ' 

This John was the second son of the Colonel's brother, 
the Bev. Thomas Birch, rector of Hampton Bishop in Here- 
fordshire, and afterwards vicar of Preston in Lancashire, by 
his wife Mary. He commenced his legal career at Gray's 
Inn in 1680, but in 1686 he transferred himself to the Mid- 
dle Temple, by which society he was called to the bar in 
1687. His uncle's former constituents at Weobly returned 
him as their member to the parliament of 1700, and to all 
the subsequent parliaments, except one, till his death. His 
senatorial exertions have not been deemed worthy of record, 
and the only mention of his name in parliamentary history 
is connected with a disreputable transaction. He had been 
appointed one of the commissioners for the sale of the estates 
forfeited by the rebels of 1715; and in reference to those 
belonging to the Earl of Derwentwater had assisted in a most 
corrupt and illegal transfer. The transaction was declared 

> Whitelocke'8 Mem. 184; Pari Hist til 1428; Ath. Ozon. Life, cxyiii. 

104 THOMAS BIRCH. Georok II. 

void, and for the notorious breach of trust Birch was expelled 
the house in March 1732. He however had suflScient in- 
fluence with his constituents to be re-elected in the new 
parliament that met in January 1735, but he died before the 
end of the year.^ 

In the progress of his profession he had been included in 
the batch of Serjeants called in 1706 ; and before the dis- 
covery of the above disgraceful transaction had been, on 
December 11, 1729, made cursitor baron of the Exchequer, 
in the place of Sir William Thomson, then removed from that 
office to a judicial seat in the same court. For neither of 
these appointments was there any precedent, no previous 
cursitor baron having been raised to the higher judicial 
position ; and no serjeant-at-law having been placed in the 
court of Exchequer except as a baron of the coif. He re- 
mained in the office till his death in October 1735, when he 
was succeeded by George Clive, Esq., of Lincoln's Inn.* 

After the death in 1701 of his first wife Sarah, he mar- 
ried secondly Letitia Hampden of St. Andrew's, Holbom ; 
but had no children bv either.' 

Just. C. P. 1746. 

BiBCH of Birchfield in the parish of Handworth near 
Birmingham, the family from which this judge sprang, 
flourished in the early part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. 
Thomas Birch was born at Harbome in the same neighbour- 
hood in 1690, and was the eldest son of George Birch and 
Mary his wife, the daughter of Thomas Foster, Esq. Des- 
tined for the law, he took his barrister's degree at the Inner 
Temple, and receiving the coif in June 1730, was made one 

1 Pari. Hist Tiii. 1026, 1065; Pari. Beg. (1741), 251. 

« Pat. 3 Geo. IL p. 1. 

' Chapel of Birch (Chetham See.) 70, 113, 120. 

1727—1760. THOMAS BURNET. 105 

of the king's Serjeants before November 23, 1745. He is so 
named on going up with the judges' address to the king on 
occasion of the rebellion ; when he received the honour of 
knighthood. In that year he served the office of high 
sheriff of Staffordshire; and in June following he was 
raised to the bench as a judge of the Common Pleas^ on the 
resignation of Sir John Fortescue- Aland ; and retained his 
seat for eleven years. He resided at Southgate near Lon- 
don ; and (Ued on March 15, 1757, leaving by his wife Sarah, 
daughter and co-heir of J. Teshmaker, Esq., three sons and 
two daughters. The family is still represented by his lineal 
descendant, who now resides at Wretham near Thetford in 

Just. C. P. 1741. 

Thomas Burnet was not the first of his family who 
obtained a seat on the judicial bench ; his grandfather hav- 
ing acquired high legal eminence in the Scottish tribunal as 
Lord Cramond. His father was the celebrated Whig pre- 
late, Gilbert Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury, whose exertions 
at the Revolution, the piety of whose life, and the value of 
whose works have thrown around him a lustre, which is 
rather brightened than diminished by the controversies which 
the latter occasioned. His mother was the bishop's second 
wife, Mrs. Mary Scott, a wealthy and accomplished Dutch 
lady of Scottish and noble extraction. Thomas Burnet was 
their third and youngest son, and was bom about the year 
1694. After being grounded at home in the elementary 
parts of learning, he was first sent to Merton College, Ox- 
ford, and afterwards in 1706 to the University of Leyden, 
where he studied for two years, and then visited Germany, 

' Oent Mag. xv. 612, zri. 329, xxvii. 142} Burke's Land. Gentry. 

106 THOMAS BURNET. George II. 

Switzerland, and Italy. On his return he chose the law for 
his profession, entering himself at the Middle Temple in 

His student life was divided between law and politics, and 
he acquired equal notoriety for the wildness of his dissipa- 
tions, and for his genius and wit. Swift in one of his letters 
to Stella of 1712, speaking of the Mohocks when they 
terrified the town by their lawless and mischievous exploits, 
reports that " the Bishop of Salisbury's son is said to be of 
the gang," This, however, may have been only a current 
calumny of the day, which the Tory dean found pleasure in 
promulgating. The groundlessness of the report seems the 
more probable, inasmuch as at this period Burnet was issuing 
from the press no less than seven pamphlets against the 
administration, and in defence of the Whigs ; and was 
engaged in the composition of several poetical pieces, which 
were not given to the world till long after his death; — 
occupations which would leave him little leisure for the 
imputed connexion. One of the pamphlets, entitled '*A 
certain Information of a certain Discourse, that happened at 
a certain gentleman's house, in a certain county, written by 
a certain person then present, to a certain friend now in 
London ; from whence you may collect the great certainty 
of the accoimt," so stung the ministers that they imprisoned 
the author. There is no doubt that his course of life at this 
time was dissolute and licentious. A story is told that his 
father one day seeing him uncommonly grave, asked him the 
subject of his thoughts. " A greater work," replied he, " than 
your lordship's * History of the Reformation.' " " "WTiat is 
that, Tom ? " " My own reformation, my lord." The bishop 
expressed his pleasure, but at the same time his despair of it. 

On the accession of George I. he wrote some other political 
squibs, now forgotten ; and at his father's death he published 
the "character" of the bishop, with his last will. In 1715 

1727— 1760, THOMAS BURNET. 107 

he and Mr. Ducket wrote a travestle of the first book of the 
Iliad, under the title of " Homerides," which naturally pro- 
cured them a place in Pope's " Dunciad." On the Whig 
party regaining power he was sent as consul to Lisbon, where 
he got involved in some dispute with Lord Tyrawley, the 
ambassador, and adopted a curious mode of ridiculing his 
noble antagonist Having learned what dress his lordship 
intended to wear on a birthday, he provided liveries for his 
servants of exactly the same pattern, and appeared himself 
in a plain suit. He continued at Lisbon several years, and 
on his recall to England he published his father's " History 
of his own Time ;" to the last volume of which he added a 
life of the Bishop. 

Resuming his original profession, he was called to the bar 
in 1729, twenty years after his admission to the Middle 
Temple. He showed so much ability and met with such, 
success that in 1736 he received the degree of the coif, and 
in 1740 was appointed king's serjeant. In October of the 
next year he succeeded Mr. Justice Fortescue on the bench 
of the Common Pleas, where he administered justice with a 
great reputation for learning and uprightness for nearly 
twelve years. He was not knighted till November 1745, 
when he and three of his brethren, who had not previously 
received that dignity, submitted to the ceremony, on the 
occasion of all the judges, Serjeants, and barristers presenting 
an address to the king expressive of their " utter detestation 
of the present wicked and most ungrateful rebellion." He 
died unmarried on January 5, 1753, of the gout in his 
stomach, and was buried near his father in St. Jameses 
Church, Clerkenwell. 

Whatever were the frailties of his youth, he redeemed 
them by his after life, commanding in the latter period the 
respect of the wise, as he had gained in the former the 
admiration of the wits who distinguished the reign of Queen 


Anne. He rejoiced in the esteem of many friends, and his 
merits and his worth were recorded after his death in several 
publications. The declaration in his will that he had lived, 
as he trusted he should die, " in the true faith of Christ as 
taught in the Scriptures, but not as taught or practised in 
any one visible church that he knew of," occasioned much 
speculation at the time. But that he was a sincere Christian, 
unbiassed by sectarian prejudices, there can be little doubt, 
judging from the purity of his latter life, and his unosten- 
tatious bounty to the poor.* 


B. E. 1727. 
See under the Reign of George I. 

Lawrence Carter was bom at Leicester about 1672, of a 
family which originally came from Hitchin in Hertfordshire, 
where gravestones and other monuments to its members still 
remain. His father, who bore the same names, having pro- 
jected the scheme of supplying Leicester with water, was 
chosen the representative of the borough in several parlia- 
ments of William III., of whom he was a firm supporter. 
His mother was Mary the daughter of Thomas Wadland, 
Esq., of the Neworke at Leicester, an eminent solicitor, in 
whose office her husband had been articled. Their son, after 
being called to the bar by the society of Lincoln's Inn, was 
elected recorder of his native town on September 1, 1697, 
and entered the House of Commons as its representative in 
the next year, and sat there till the death of William III. 
In 1710, and in the two following parliaments of 1714 and 
1715, he was returned for Beeralston ; and at the dissolution 
of the latter in 1722 he was again elected for Leicester: but 
history has preserved no record of his senatorial eloquence. 
His professional career was distinguished by his being ap- 

* Life of Bishop Burnet; ChalmerB' Blog. Diet &c. 

1727—1760. WILLIAM CHAPPLE. 109 

pointed in 1717 solicitor-general to the Prince of Wales, 
afterwards George II. ; by receiving in 1724 the degree of 
the coif; and by being made soon after one of the king's 
Serjeants ; when he was knighted. 

On September 7, 1726, he succeeded Mr. Baron Price as 
a baron of the Exchequer ; retaining his recordership for the 
next three years. Thoresby relates of him that "a man 
whom the baron in a circuit condemned to die, escaped from 
the cart by the assistance of the multitude, going to the place 
of execution, and afterwards settled at Leicester near the 
baron ... in Redcross Street, and became a useful member 
of society." The baron continued on the bench till his 
death on March 14, 1745, with the reputation of an upright 
judge. He was buried in the church of St. Mary de Castro, 
Leicester, where his monument is still to be seen ; and dying 
a bachelor he left his estates to his half-brother Thomas 
Carter, Esq.* 

Jd8t. K. R 1737. 

This judge was of a Dorsetshire family, and resided at 
Waybay House in the parish of Upway. Bom about 1677, 
and adopting the law as his profession, he pursued the ordinary 
course of study with industry and intelligence. In 1722 he 
entered parliament as member for the borough of Dorchester, 
which he continued to represent till he was raised to the 
bench. We have no means of judging of his talents as a 
senator ; but as a lawyer his reputation was high. Having 
been included in the call of Serjeants in 1724, he was made 
a judge on the North Wales circuit in 1728 ; and on his 

' £x inf. William Kellj, Esq., of Leicester, who has kindlj supplied me with 
extracts from the Boroagh Books, &c. Pari. Hist. v. 219, 255; Lord Bay- 
mond, 1420; Gent. Mag. xv. 164; Nichols* Leicester, i. 318; Thoresby *s 
Leicester, 184. 


appointment as king's serjeant in the following year he was 
knighted. On June 16, 1737, he was constituted a judge of 
the king's bench to fill the vacancy occasioned by the eleva- 
tion of Sir William Lee ; and occupied the seat for nearly 
eight years with credit and distinction. He died on March 
15, 1745, aged sixty-eight, leaving by his wife, Trehane 
Clifton of Green Place, Wonersh, Surrey, four sons and two 
daughters, one of whom married Sir Fletcher Norton, after- 
wards Lord Grantley.* 


B. E. 1743. 

Charles Clarke was the son of Alured Clarke of God- 
manchester in Huntingdonshire, by Ann the fourth daughter 
of the Rev. Charles Trinmell, rector of Abbots Repton in 
Hampshire, and sister to the Bishop of Winchester of that 
name. In 1719 he was sent to Corpus Christi College, 
Cambridge, under the care of his brother Dr. Alured Clarke, 
then fellow, and afterwards Dean of Exeter. He took no 
degree, but in 1717 he entered Lincoln's Inn, and was in 
1723 called to the bar, at which his previous application was 
rewarded by so large a share of practice, that he amassed a 
considerable fortune, enabling him to enlarge his paternal 
inheritance and to rebuild his residence at Godmanchester 
in a substantial and elegant manner. The neighbouring 
borough of Huntingdon elected him recorder in 1731 ; and 
he was returned member for the county on a vacancy occur- 
ring in 1739. In the new parliament called in December 
1741 he was elected for Whitchurch in Hampshire; and in 
its second session he was raised to the bench, succeeding Sir 
Thomas Abney as baron of the Exchequer in Hilary Term 
1743. At this time he was counsel for the Admiralty and 

> Hntchina' Dorsetshire, i. 373, 596; Manning and Braj's Sarrej, ii. 112; 
Strange, 1075; Burrow's S. C. 105, 177. 

1727—1760. GEORGE CLIVE. Ill 

auditor of Greenwich Hospital^ in which he was succeeded 
by Heneage Legge. 

His judicial career was terminated seven years afterwards 
by an infectious fever caught at the Black Sessions at the 
Old Bailey in May 1750^ already described in the memoir of 
Sir Thomas Abney, another victim of the uncleanliness of 
the prisons. His death occurred on the 17th^ and he was 
buried at Godmanchester. His first wife was Anne, a 
daughter of Dr. Thomas Green, Bishop of Ely; and his 
second was Jane, daughter of Major MuUins of Winchester, 
who survived him. By both ladies he left issue.' 


M. R. 1754. 
See under the Reign of George III. 


B. E. 1745. Just. C. P. 1753. 

See under the Reign of George III. 

Curs. B. E. 1735. 

Fbom the reign of Henry II. to the present time the family 
of Olive have flourished in honour and renown in Shrop- 
shire, deriving their name from the village of Clive in that 
county. At the end of the seventeenth century George, its 
representative, became possessed of Wormbridge in Here- 
fordshire, by his marriage with Mary the daughter of Martin 
Husbands, Esq. They had three sons, of whom the eldest, 
Robert, was the grandfather of the great Lord Clive, whose 
son assumed the name of Herbert, and was created Earl of 
Powis, a title still graced in its present possessor. The third 
son, Edward, was the father of Sir Edward Clive, baron of 

* Masters* Hist of Corpos Christi Coll. Cambridge. 

112 JOHN COM YNS. Gkorge IF. 

the Exchequer in this and the following reign: and the 
second son, George, was the cursitor baron. 

Of him little that is worthy of record is known. He was 
born about 1666, and being destined for the law, he studied 
its rudiments at Lincoln's Inn, but obtained no eminence in 
the practice, though he was called to the bench of the society 
in October 1719. 

His appointment to the office of cursitor baron of the 
Exchequer, succeeding John Birch deceased, took place on 
November 6, 1735. He filled it for four years, and dying 
unmarried on December 31, 1739, was buried in Lincoln's 
Inn. The patent granted to Edward Barker, of the same 
office, on May 9, 17 Geo. IL, which would be May 9, 1744, 
states George Clive to have lately deceased. This would 
make a vacancy of more than five years; so that either 
the date of George Olive's death must be incorrect, or there 
must have been some other person (probably William Ky- 
naston) appointed in the interim.^ 


B. E. 1727. Just. C. P. 1736. Cn. B. E. 1738. 

See UDder the Reign of George I. 

This distinguished judge, whose excellent Digest of the 
Laws of England is daily referred to and recognised as 
authority by the bar and the bench, was bom about the year 
1667. His father William Comyns, a barrister of Lincoln's 
Inn, was descended from a family of that name seated at 
Dagenham in Essex ; and his mother was Elizabeth daughter 
and co-heir of Matthew Rudd of Little Baddow in the same 
county. Their son John was educated in Queen's College, 
Cambridge, and became a student in his father's Inn In May 
1683, where he took his degree of barrister in May 1690. 
Elected member of the House of Commons in the last par- 
1 Collins* Peerage, t. 543; Pat 9 Geo. IL; Gent Mag. x. 36. 

1727—1760. JOHN COMYNS. 113 

liament of William III. for Maiden^ he represented that 
borough during the whole of the reign of Queen Anne, 
except from 1708 to 1710; and again in the second parlia- 
ment of George I. in 1722, till he was promoted to the 
bench. During this long parliamentary life none of his 
speeches have been considered important enough to be re- 

As a lawyer he early laid the foundation of that character 
for learning and industry which he ultimately attained. The 
first case in his Reports is dated so soon as Hilary Term 
1695. His reputation was soon established, and in 1706 he 
was summoned to the degree of serjeant. He travelled the 
Home circuit ; and in 1719 he was counsel for the defence in 
the absurd prosecution for vagrancy instituted against a 
clergyman for preaching a charity sermon at Chislehurst in 
behalf of the poor children of a parish in London, four or 
five of them being present. 

Notwithstanding his high repute as a lawyer, it was not 
till twenty years after he assumed the coif that he was 
promoted to the bench. On November 7, 1726, he was 
appointed a baron of the Exchequer, in the place of Sir 
Francis Page, who was removed into the Common Pleas. 
He remained in that court upwards of nine years, when on 
the death of Sir Robert Eyre he requested Lord Hardwicke, 
with whom he was on terms of intimacy, to procure his pro- 
motion to the chief justiceship of the Common Pleas. His 
lordship having discountenanced this application. Sir John, 
on the- expected removal of Chief Baron Reynolds to the 
Common Pleas, applied for the post of chief baron ; but 
that removal not taking place, he effected an exchange from 
the Exchequer to the Common Pleas in January 1736. On 
the resignation of Chief Baron Reynolds two years and a 
half after this. Sir John Comyns was at last gratified by 
being placed, on July 7, 1738, at the head of the court of 


1 14 SPENCER COWrER. George IL 

Exchequer, Lord Hardwicke being then chancellor. His 
presidency lasted little more than two years, his death 
occurring at the age of seventy-three on November 13, 
1740. He was buried in the chancel of the church of 
Writtle near Chelmsford, where there is a monumental in- 
scription to him, surmounted by his bust J 

The two works, the labour of his life, on which his fame 
as one of the greatest lawyers of his time is permanently 
established, did not see the light till some years after his 
death. His Reports, which terminate in his last year, were 
first published in 1744: and his Digest of the Laws of 
England was delayed till 1762. By the unanimous assent 
of the most eminent men in the profession, the latter is 
acknowledged to be tlie most accurate, methodical, and com- 
prehensive abridgment of the law, profound in its learning 
and easy of reference to the authorities cited. Both of these 
works were edited on their last publication by Samuel Kose, 
Esq., the uncle of the present author, who too early was 
snatched from the prospect of a successful career. 

Sir John married three times. His first wife was Anne, 
daughter and co-heir of Dr. Nathaniel Gurdon, rector of 

Chelmsford; his second was Elizabeth, daughter of 

Courthope of Kent ; and his third was Anne, daughter of 

Wilbraham. Neither brought him any issue, and the 

last survived him for eighteen years. His estates passed 
after her dealli to his nephew John Comyns, who published 
his works.' 


JUBT. C. P. 1727. 

Spencer Cowper was the second son of Sir William Cowper, 
Bart, and the younger brother of Earl Cowper, the eminent 
chancellor of Queen Anne and George I. Bom in 1669, he 

* State Trials, xv. 1412; Lord Raymond, 1420; Comyns' Reports, 587j 
Ilarrid's Lord Hardwicke, i. 291, 305. 

* Morant's Essex, ii. 60; Gent Mag x. 571, Ix. 390. 

1727—1760. SPENCER COWPEB. 115 

received his education at Westminster School, and having 
been called to the bar by the Society of Lincoln's Inn, he 
was fortunate enough to be immediately appointed by the 
corporation of London, in June 1690, comptroller of the 
Bridge House estates, a post of considerable responsibility, 
which entitled him to a residence at the Bridge House, in 
the parish of St Olave, South wark. There he lived for some 
years, and gained the respect of his neighbours by his exem- 
plary conduct and social manners. There, too, he executed 
with great usefulness the duty of a magistrate, having been 
soon placed on the commission of the peace ; and there he 
filled many offices of trust connected with the locality. 

In the midst of these prosperous circumstances he was 
suddenly charged with a crime, which threatened not only 
to blast the character he had acquired, but to consign 
him to an ignominious end. In the course of the Home 
circuit which he travelled he was in the habit of visiting 
Hertford, where his family interest lay, and of which both 
his &ther and his brother were representatives in parliament. 
Kesiding with her mother in that town was a young woman 
named Sarah Stout, the daughter of a respectable Quaker 
deceased, who had been a firm friend of the Cowpers ; and 
both the brothers and their wives had shown a kind interest 
in her welfare. At the spring assizes of 1699 Spencer had 
dined with her on March 13, and after supper had gone 
home to his lodgings about eleven o'clock. On the next 
morning she was found in the river, and an inquest was im- 
mediately held on the body, at which Spencer Cowper was 
present and gave his evidence, which resulted in a verdict 
that the deceased drowned herself, being non compos mentis. 
About a month after this, with no further evidence than was 
submitted to the coroner's jury, the mother and brother 
commenced a prosecution, charging not only Spencer Cowper 
but two attorneys and a scrivener, who had been heard 

I s 


making some loose rcmai'ks at their lodgings about the 
girl, with first strangling her and then throwing her into 
the water where she was found. The parties were sum- 
moned before Lord Chief Justice Holt, who at first 
dismissed them ; but after two subsequent examinations, 
was induced on May 19 to commit Mr. Cowper for trial 
to the King's Bench prison, where he remained till the 
next assizes. The prisoners were arraigned at Hertford on 
July 16, and after a long trial were acquitted, as LuttrcU 
remarks, ** to the satisfaction of the auditors." Every one 
who reads the trial must join in this satisfaction, for 
a more unfounded charge could not be made. The pro- 
secutors did not attempt to show any motive for the com- 
mission of the crime; it was plainly proved that the 
young woman was not strangled at all; and as to the 
question whether she went into the water alive or was 
thrown into it when she was dead, there was much conflicting 
evidence ; that affirming the latter supported by the medical 
men of the place (all opponents of the Cowper interest), 
aided by some seamen who professed to give their own 
experience, but clearly contradicted by the most positive 
testimony of the most eminent physicians, surgeons, and 
anatomists in London, who came forward to expose the 
absurd hypothesis of their country brethren. Dr. Garth, 
when reminded of the seamen's evidence, laughed at it, and 
said, '^ The seamen are a superstitious people ; they fancy 
whistling at sea will occasion a tempest ; " and Dr. Crell, on 
being stopped by the judge when he offered to give the 
opinion of several ancient authors, said, '^ I do not see any 
reason why I should not quote the fathers of my profession 
in this case as well as you gentlemen of the long robe quote 
Coke upon Lyttelton in others." 

Even if the girl was strangled, there was not the slightest 
evidence to implicate Cowper in the deed, except that he 

1727—1760. SPENCEB COWPER. 117 

had supped with her ; but on the contrary, it was demon* 
strably proved that from the short time that elapsed between 
his leaving her house to the time he arrived at his lodgings, 
it was impossible that he could have been concerned. Not 
satisfied with these proofs, evidence was brought forward 
showing that the girl had lately had fits of melancholy in 
which she often threatened self-destruction ; and it appeared 
that she had indulged a passion for Mr. Cowper, though a 
married man, that she had offered to come to his chambers, 
which he with the assistance of his brother had eluded, and 
that on the occasion of this very assizes she had invited him 
to lodge at her house, and written to him saying, " I assure 
you I know of no inconvenience that can attend your co- 
habiting with me." Not choosing to be drawn into such an 
intrigue, he had left her house after supper, and she, it is 
presumed, driven to frenzy by her disappointment, had gone 
out and drowned herself. As for the other prisoners, there 
was not a scintilla of evidence against them connecting them 
with the transaction, beyond loose words that passed between 
them jokingly as to the character of the girl. Judge Hatsel 
presided, and by his querulousness at the trial and the 
stupidity of his summing up, the prisoners had certainly no 
cause to thank him for their acquittal. 

But Cowper's persecution was not yet over. Whether 
from a conviction of his guilt and a thirst for revenge, which 
seems scarcely possible ; or from a desire to clear the Society 
of Friends from the imputation that one of their body could 
be affected by worldly passions, which no doubt in some 
measure operated; or from the excitement of party spirit 
prompting the opponents of the Cowpers to endeavour to 
destroy the interest of the family in the borough, which is 
far more likely, as a new election was near at hand ; for one 
or the other of these reasons the question was kept alive, at 
first by pamphlets, and subsequently by much more unjusti- 


fiable means. The law allowed an appeal for murder to be 
instituted within a year and a day after the death by the 
next heir of the deceased. Such an heir was inmiediately 
found, who was an infant ; but instead of at once obtaining 
the necessary writ, the prosecutors purposely delayed 
issuing it till three or four days before the expiration of the 
term ; and this they did without the knowledge or consent 
of the infant heir, the nominal appellant, or of his mother, 
who were not even made acquainted with the proceeding 
for a month afterwards. Naturally disgusted at the prose- 
cutors' conduct, they applied for and obtained from the 
sheriff the writ and return, which they forthwith put into 
the fire. This the prosecutors endeavoured to remedy by 
applying to the lord keeper for a new writ, which he, assisted 
by four learned judges, very properly refused, on the ground 
that the first writ had been clandestinely and fraudulently 
procured, that it was absolutely renounced by the pretended 
plaintiff, and the delay in its issue showed that the pro- 
secutors did not design justice, but to spin out a scandal as 
long as they could, maliciously and vexatiously. Mr. 
Cowper during these discussions appeared in court, and 
declared his readiness to answer. Thus this affair terminated ; 
but the principal object was answered, by the dissolution for 
the time of the Cowper interest in the town.* 

Every impartial man acquitted Cowper, whose professional 
success was only temporarily impeded. He steadily ad- 
vanced at the bar, and in 1705, when he resigned the office 
of comptroller, he succeeded his brother as member for 
Beeralston, which he continued to represent in the two fol- 
lowing parliaments. During the last of them he was one of 
the managers in the impeachment of Dr. Sacheverell, and had 
to conduct the second article.' This prosecution lost him 

» State Trials, xiii. 1105; Luttrell, i?. filS, 539, 635, 650; Lord Rav- 
mond, 555. ' Lultrcll, vi. 551, 555; State Triads, xv. 152. 

1727—1760. ALEXANDER DENTON. 119 

his election for the next parliament; and he did not sit 
again till the accession of George L^ when he was returned 
for Truro. He then became^ on October 22, 1714, attorney- 
general to the Prince of Wales; and in 1717 chief justice of 
Chester. In 1722, still representing Truro, he moved that 
the suspension of the habeas corpus act should be limited to 
six months only instead of a year, but failed in his motion. 

On George II. coming to the crown he at once promoted 
his old servant, raising him first to the attorney-generalship 
of the Duchy of Lancaster, and then to the bench at West- 
minster. He was constituted a judge of the Common Pleas 
on October 24, 1727 ; but had little opportunity of exhibiting 
his judicial capacity, death overtaking him in the next year, 
on December 10, at his chambers in Lincoln's Inn. He was 
buried at Hertingfordbury, where there is a beautiful monu- 
ment to his memory by Roubilliac, erected by order of his 
second wife, Theodora, widow of John Stepney, Esq. By 
her he had no issue, but by his first wife, Pennington, 
daughter of John Goodeve, Esq., he left three sons, the 
second of whom, the Rev. John Cowper, D.D., was the 
father of the delightful poet, William Cowper.* 


Just. K. B. 1742. 

See under the Beign of George HI. 

Just. C. P. 1727. 
See nnder the Reign of George I. 

The manor of Hillesden near Buckingham was granted by 
Edward IV. to a member of the ancient family of Denton ; 
whose descendant Sir Alexander fell a victim to his loyalty 

1 Lord Baymond, 1318, 1510; Pari Hist, viil 38. 


in the civil wars. One of his sons, Sir Edmund, was created 
a baronet in 1699, and represented sometimes the county, 
and sometimes the town, of Buckingham in several parlia- 
ments; and dying in 1714 without issue the title became 
extinct* Alexander Denton, the future judge, was I believe 
the baronet s nephew, being the son of another Alexander of 
Hillesden. When Sir Edmund was returned for the county 
in 1708 his nephew succeeded him in the town, and was 
again elected for it in 1714 ; but he does not seem to have 
taken an active part in either parliament. 

He received his legal education at the Middle Temple 
from 1698 to 1704, when he was called to the bar. In 
February of the next year he was committed to the custody 
of the serjeant-at-arms by the House of Commons for 
pleading for the plaintiffs in the Aylesbury case, and does 
not appear to have been released till the parliament was 
prorogued in the following month. He took so high a rank 
in his profession that when Sir William Thomson was dis- 
missed from the office of solicitor-general in 1720, the 
Attorney- General Lechmere recommended him for the 
place ; but he was obliged to give way to Sir PhiKp Yorke.* 
Though then disappointed he had not long to wait for pro- 
motion. On June 25, 1722, he was appointed a judge of 
the Common Pleas in the room of Sir John Blencowe : and 
after filling it with respectability for eighteen years he died 
on March 22, 1740; holding at his death the office also of 
chancellor to the Prince of Wales. 

He married a lady with a fortune of 20,000/., named 
Bond ; but leaving no issue, his property devolved on his 
nephew, George Chamberlayne, Esq., of Wardington, his 
successor as M.P. for Buckingham, and a descendant of Sir 
Thomas Chamberlayne the judge in the time of Charles I.^ 

' State Trials, xiv. 809, 817; Cooksey'a Lord Somers and Hardwicke, 161. 
' Noble's Ck)nt. Granger, iil. 197; WottDu*8 BaroiicL fi. 37C. 

1727—1760. ROBEKT EYRE. 121 


Ch. C. p. 1727. 

See under the Reigns of Anne and George I. 

Robert Eyre was the son and heir of Sir Samuel Eyre of 
Newhouse in Wiltshire, and a cousin of Sir Giles Eyre of 
Brickworth, both judges of the King's Bench in the reign 
of William III. He was bom in 1666, and with such con- 
nections he was naturally destined for the profession in which 
they became eminent. He accordingly entered upon his 
legal studies at Lincoln's Inn, where they had matriculated, 
in April 1683, and was admitted to the bar in February 

Before his father's death in 1698 he had suc<5eeded his 
cousin Sir Giles in the recordership of Salisbury ; and he 
represented that city in the last three parliaments of William 
III. and the first four of Queen Anne, from 1698 to 1710, 
He was sworn Queen's counsel in May 1707, and in October 
of the following year he was made solicitor-general. In the 
interim he was overturned while going the western circuit 
and broke his arm. In March 1710 he was one of the active 
managers of the unwise impeachment of Dr. Sacheverell; 
and was afterwards engaged in the trials of the parties con- 
nected with the Sacheverell riots.* 

The Whig ministry by which he was appointed fell a 
sacrifice to this prosecution ; but fortunately for him, before 
their dismissal, the death of Mr, Justice Gould occasioned a 
vacancy in the court of Queen's Bench, which he was ap- 
pointed to supply. Having first received the degree of the 
coif, he was sworn in on March 13 and knighted ; and sat in 
that court during the remainder of Queen Anne's reign. On 
the arrival of George I. he was appointed chancellor to the 
Prince of Wales, his patent containing a dispensation for 

» LiUtrcU, vi. 166. 202, 263; State Trials, xv. 396, 622-702. 

122 ROBERT EYRE, Geobge 11. 

Inm to give counsel and advice to, and to receive fees, &c. 
from, his royal highness, non obstante his judicial character. 
As in duty bound, on the great question agitated before the 
judges in 1718 as to the king's prerogative in regard to the 
education and marriage of the royal family. Sir Robert gave 
an opinion differing from the majority of his brethren, in 
favour of the prince his client. So satisfactory was his per- 
formance of his judicial functions, and so high his legal 
reputation, that, notwithstanding this opposition to the royal 
claim, the king on November 16, 1723, promoted him to the 
head of the court of Exchequer as lord chief baron ; and 
eighteen months after, on May 27, 1725, raised him to the 
still higher dignity of lord chief justice of the Common 
Pleas.* He maintained the reputation he had earned for 
the ten years that he continued to preside in that court : his 
whole career on the three benches extending over one-and- 
twenty years. 

Sir Robert, however, did not escape calumny. In 1729 
a committee was appointed on the suggestion of Mr. (after- 
wards General) Oglethorpe to inquire into the state of the 
gaols of the kingdom. In one of its reports the iniquitous 
proceedings carried on in the Fleet Prison, and the cruelty 
and extortion practised by Thomas Bambridge the warden 
towards the prisoners under his charge, were exposed in full 
detail; for which he was committed to Newgate by the 
House of Commons and prosecuted by the attorney-general. 
Though he narrowly escaped conviction for actual murder, 
there was ample proof of his brutality and corruption. 
When the trials were over, some infamous and profligate 
persons brought a charge against Chief Justice Eyre for 
visiting this Bambridge in prison, and of otherwise aiding 
and abetting him in his atrocities. On a strict investigation, 
however, the committee came to a resolution that it was a 
* Lord Raymond, 1309, 1331 ; State Trials, xv. 1217. 

1727—1760. WILLIAM FORTE8CUE. 123 

wicked conspiracy to vilify and asperse the chief justice, and 
that the informations against him were ''false, malicious, 
scandalous, and utterly groundless." ^ 

That Sir Kobert was somewhat haughty in his demeanour 
may be inferred from the Duke of Wharton's satire. He 
vows constancy to his mistress until the time 

When Tracy's generous soul shall swell with pride, 
And Eyre his haughtiness shall lay aside. 

As a set-off against this there is evidence of the general 
estimation of his character in the intimacy which existed 
between him and Godolphin, Marlborough, and Walpole; 
and of his kind and generous disposition a testimony is 
afforded by a legacy of 400/. bequeathed to his daughter by 
an old domestic, in grateful acknowledgment that he owed 
all his good fortune in life to his deceased master. The 
chief justice died on December 28, 1735, and was buried in 
St Thomas's Church, Salisbury. By his wife, Elizabeth, 
daughter of Edward Kudge, Esq., of Warley Place, Essex, 
he left a large family, to the representative of one of which 
I am indebted for several of the particulars mentioned in 
this memoir.^ 

FORTESCUE, LORD. See J. Fortescuk- Aland. 

B. £. 1736. Just. C. P. 1738. M. R. 1741. 

William Fobtebcue was lineally descended from the cele- 
brated judge Sir John Fortescue through a grandson named 
William. His father was Hugh Fortescue of Buckland- 
Filleigh, and his mother was Agnes, daughter of Nicholas 
Dennis, Esq., of Barnstaple. He was admitted to the 
IVIiddle Temple in September 1710, but removing to the 

» Pari. Hist. viii. 707 et seq. ; State Triftls, xvii. 619-626. 

* Sir li. C. Uoare's South Wilts.; FnistHcld; Gent. Mag. Ixix. 463. 


Inner Temple in November 1714, he was called to the bar 
by the latter society in July 1715. 

Sir Robert Walpole, when chancellor of the Exchequer, 
made him his secretary ; and he was returned to parliament 
as member for Newport in Hampshire at the beginning of 
the reign of George II. Though he sat for that borough 
till 1736, his speeches are nowhere recorded. He became 
attorney-general to the Prince of Wales, and king's counsel 
in 1730 ; and on the removal of Sir John Comyns from the 
court of Exchequer to that of the Common Pleas, he was 
made a baron of the former on February 9, 1736. On July 
7, 1738, he succeeded the same judge in the Common Pleas, 
when he was elevated to the post of chief baron ; and after 
nearly six years' experience on both these benches he re- 
ceived the appointment of master of the rolls on November 
5, 1741 ; and sat there till his death on December 15, 1749, 
when he was buried in the Rolls Chapel. 

Though considered a good lawyer, he is better known for 
his intimacy with the wits and literary men of the time. 
The friendship that existed between him and Pope appears 
in their correspondence, and he is reputed to have furnished 
the poet with the famous case of Stradling versus Stiles in 
Scriblerus's Reports. His mother after his father's death 
married Dr. Gilbert Budgell, who by his first wife was the 
father of the unfortunate poet Eustace BudgelL Mr. For- 
tescue married Mary, the daughter and co-heir of Edmund 
Fortescue, Esq., of Fallapit, and left an only daughter, who 
after marrying John Spooner, Esq., died without issue.* 

Ju8T. E. B. 1745. 
See under the Reign of George HI. 

' Collins* Peerage. ▼. 342; Burko^s Landed Gcntiy, 432; Pari. Hist, viil 619; 
Pat. ]5 Geo. IL p. 6, ii. 22; Noble's Granger, iii. 296. 

1727—1760. NATHANIEL GUNDRY. 125 

Jd8T. C. p. 1750. 

Nathaniel Gundrt was of a Dorsetshire family. He was 
bom at Lyme Regis^ and entered the Middle Temple as a 
member in 1720, but after being called to the bar in 1725, 
removed to Lincoln's Inn ; and was made a king's counsel in 
July 1742. He represented Dorchester in his native county 
from 1741 till his elevation to the bench. That he was 
considered stiff and pretentious by his brethren may be pre- 
sumed from the following character given of him in the 
Causidicade, as a supposed candidate for the office of 
solicitor-general vacant in 1742 by the resignation of Sir 
John Strange : — 

" In the front of the crowd then appeai**d Mr. G — ^nd — y, 
"To this ofRce," quo' he, "my pretensions are sundry; 
Imprimis my merit, e*en great as t' attract 
His M— j — ^y's notice, so nice and exact, 
As lately to call me inside of the har. 
From among the rear-guard — ^poor souls, how they stare I 
Which is plain that he meant me some further preferment. 
More worthy my learning; parts, and discernment. 
More claims I might urge, hut this I insist on 
Is sufficient to merit the office in question.'' 
Then the president thus, " You're too full of surmises; 
The man who is stiff, like an oak, seldom rises. 
As witness T — m B— tie ; but he who can hend 

Like a reed, or T — m P r, ne'er wants a good friend. 

To rise you must fall, 'tis the way thro' the doors 
Now-a-days to preferment, to creep on all-fours." 

He waited eight years for his advancement ; when on the 
death of Sir Thomas Abney, in May 1750, he was appointed 
a judge of the Common Pleas. He enjoyed the post less 
than four years, dying on the circuit at Launceston on 
March 23, 1754. He was buried at Musbury in Devon- 
shire. His widow survived him above thirty-seven years, 
' Hntchins' Dorset, i. 249, 379; Gent. Mng. xxiv. 191, Ixt. 1159. 

126 BERNARD HALE. Gkouce II, 


B. E. 1727. 

See under the Reign of George I. 

The estate of King's Walden in Hertfordshire, where this 
judge was born, had been in the possession of the family 
since the time of Queen Elizabeth. Several of his ancestors 
had been sheriffs of the county, and his father, William Hale, 
was its representative in parliament in 1661 and 1678. His 
mother was Mary, daughter of Jeremiah Elwes, Esq., of 
lloxby in Lincolnshire ; and the judge was their eighth son. 
He was born in 1677, and adopting the usual course of 
education for the legal profession, he entered the society of 
Gray's Inn in October 1696, and took his degree of barrister 
in February 1704. He gained so considerable a reputation 
as an able lawyer, that on June 28, 1722, he was selected to 
succeed Sir Geoffrey Gilbert as lord chief baron of the Irish 
Exchequer, where he remained for nearly three years. From 
this position he was removed on June 1, 1725, to the Eng- 
lish court of Exchequer as one of the puisne barons, again 
succeeding Sir Geoffrey Gilbert, when he was knighted. 
He sat there little more than four years; and died on 
November 7, 1729, at Abbots Langley, in the church of 
which his remains are interred. 

He married Anne, daughter of J. Thoresby, Esq., of 
Northamptonshire, and left a large family, several of whom 
distinguished themselves in the army. The estate of King's 
Walden eventually devolved on his eldest son, whose 
descendant still enjoys it.^ 

" Smyth's Law Off. Ireland, 143. For ii»formaiion about this familj I am 
indebted to my active friend, William Durrant Cooper, Esq., F.S.A., whose 
services throughout this work I have had repeatedly to acknowledge. 

1727—1760. JOSEPH JEKYLL. 127 


HENLEY, ROBERT, Lord Hknlkt. 

Lord Eeepkb, 1757. 

See uuder the Reign of George II li 


M. B. 1727. 

See under the Reign of George L 

After the death of Sir John Trevor in 1717 the office of 
master of the rolls was held for one-and-twenty years by 
Sir Joseph Jekyll, whom Pope describes as an 

Odd old Whig, 
Who never changed hia principles or wig. 

He waa the fourth son of the Rev. Dr. Jekyll, a beneficed 
clergyman in Northamptonshire, and was bom about the 
year 1663. Having one brother who was brought up to the 
clerical profession, he chose that of the law ; and becoming a 
member of the Middle Temple in 1680, he was called to the 
bar in 1687. Ten years afterwards he was promoted to tlie 
bench of that society, and was autumn reader in 1699. 
While yet a student he was present in the Bolls Chapel in 
1684 when Gilbert Burnet (afterwards Bishop) preached 
that sermon on the 5th of November against Popery, which 
occasioned his being silenced by the court. When Burnet 
had preached out the hour-glass, he took it up and held it 
aloft in his hand and turned it up for another hour ; upon 
which, Jekyll says, the audience set up almost a shout of 

The talent which the youthful barrister exhibited, added 
to the identity of political feeling, gained him the honour of 

* Buructy ii. 439; Speaker Oii8low*s No:c8. 

] 28 JOSEPH JEKYLL. George IT. 

an intimacy with Lord Chancellor Somers, which led to his 
marriage with that nobleman's sister Elizabeth, a lady several 
years his senior. This connection was no doubt the origin 
of his early and progressive advance ; procuring him in the 
first place the post of chief justice of Chester in June 1697, 
followed soon after by the honour of knighthood, when his 
noble brother-in-law was in the height of his power. He 
was further promoted to the degree of the coif in 1700, and 
immediately made king's serjeant From his Welsh judge- 
ship the Tory party on the accession of Queen Anne 
endeavoured to remove him ; but on his withstanding the 
attempt, and insisting that his patent appointed him for life, 
the government did not think proper to try the question, but 
submitted to his continuing in the office, which he held till 
he changed it for the more honourable and lucrative post of 
master of the rolls. ^ 

This decision was probably influenced in some measure by 
his position in parliament, of which he had been an. active 
member from 1698, representing the borough of Eye; for 
which he was returned up to the year 1714, when he was 
elected for Lymington till 1722, and then for the remainder 
of his life for Reigate (the grant of the manor of which was 
one of the articles of charge against Lord Somers); so that 
his senatorial career extended over forty years. During that 
long period he steadily adhered to his party, and in the pro- 
secution of its objects introduced and supported several 
useful measures. When Queen Anne in the session of 1704 
proposed by a royal message to grant the first fruits and 
tenths for the augmentation of the livings of the poorer 
clergy. Sir Joseph moved that the clergy might be wholly 
relieved from the tax, and that another fund might be raised 
to augment the small benefices. The act however was passed 
carrying out the queen's suggestion ; and a corporation 

> XiUttrell, iv. 238, 319, 702, 704; Burnet, v. 12 ; Onslow's Note. 

1727—1760. JOSEPH J£KTLL. 129 

thereupon formed for adminiBtering what is properly desig- 
nated as Queen Anne's Bounty.' In the debate on the 
famous Aylesbury case in the same year he ably maintained 
the right of injured electors to seek redress at law; and at 
the end of that year he risked the censure of the house^ by 
pleading in behalf of Lord Halifax. In the absurd impeach- 
ment of Dr. Sacheverell in 1710 he distinguished himself 
by his opening of the first article ; and was so sore on the 
impotent result, that he caused an indictment to be preferred 
against a clergyman in Wales, who in a sermon before him 
arraigned the proceedings and reflected on the managers. 
The grand jury, however, very sensibly threw out the bill.* 
On the accession of George I., when the Whigs regained 
power. Sir Joseph was chosen of the committee of secrecy 
to inquire into the conduct of the late ministry, and on their 
report beiag printed he stated, in opposition to it, that though 
there was sufficient evidence to convict Lord Bolingbroke of 
high treason, there was not sufficient to implicate the Earl of 
Oxford in such a charge. The earl notwithstanding was 
committed to the Tower in July 1715, and remained a 
prisoner for two years without trial. So late as June 1717 
Sir Joseph reiterated his objections, yet in less than a fort- 
night after he appeared as a manager, prepared to make 
good the first article of the impeachment. In the farce with 
which that trial terminated it looks as if Sir Joseph was in- 
duced to take a part in opposition to his openly avowed 
opinion, by the hope, and perhaps by the promise, of 
succeeding Sir John Trevor, who was lately dead, in the 
office of master of the Bolls ; to which he was appointed in 
less than three weeks, on July 13. Indeed he had amply 
deserved this advance, not only for the constant support he 
gave to his party, but for his zealous assistance in the pro- 

* Burnet, v. 120; St. 2 aud 3 Aiiue, ell. 

> i:»arl. HUt. vi. 271; Luttrell, t. 488, vi. 563; State Trials, nv. 95. 


130 JOSEPH JEKYLL. Geoboe 11. 

secution of those concerned in the rebellion of 1715^ in 
conducting the impeachment of the Earl of Wintoun, and 
the indictment against Francis Francia.' 

In addition to the judicial duties which now devolved upon 
him^ he devoted himself to affairs of state^ and took a promi- 
nent lead in the debates of the house. He energeticallj 
exposed the South Sea Bubble^ and led the van of those who 
sought to punish the peculators. His age, his position, and 
the apparent impartiality with which he discussed the various 
questions that arose, gave his opinions much weight and 
influence ; and though a frequent speaker he was always 
listened to with deference and respect But with the people 
he risked his popularity by introducing a bill for increasing 
the tax on spirituous liquors and for licensing the retailers* 
This produced great disorders among the lower classes, 
who were thus deprived of their customary enjoyment; 
and Sir Joseph was obliged to have a guard at his house 
at the KoUs to resist their violence. As it was, he was 
hustled and knocked down in Lincoln's Inn Fields, then an 
open space and the common resort of the mob. Arising 
from this misadventure, which was nearly fatal to him, a 
great improvement was luckily effected, for, in order to pre* 
vent the recurrence of similar accidents, palisades were 
erected around the fields and a pleasant garden laid out. 
Another useful measure which he originated was the Mort- 
main Act of 1736, by which the indiscriminate disposition 
of lands to charitable uses was restrained.' 

His presidency at the Soils was distinguished by legal 
ability, integrity, and despatch. On the retirement of the 
Earl of Macclesfield in 1725 the Great Seal was put into 
the hands of three commissioners, of whom Sir Joseph was 
the principal; and they held it from January 7 to June 1, 

> Pari. Hist. vii. 67, 7S, 478, 485; State Trials, xv. 830, 904. 
* Lord Uervey's Mem. ii. 88, 139; Lord Macaalajr's Hist i. 359. 

1727—1760. JOSEPH JEKYLL. 131 

when Lord King was appointed lord chancellor. The work 
on " The Judicial Authority of the Master of the Rolls," 
published in 1727, and occasioned by a controversy with Lord 
Chancellor King, who maintained that that officer was only 
the first of the masters in Chancery, has been usually 
attributed to Sir Joseph ; but, though he no doubt supplied 
some of the materials, it was really written by his nephew 
Sir Philip Yorke, at that time attorney-general ; with whom 
he always lived on terms of the greatest intimacy, and to 
whom he left part of his estates.^ 

He died of a mortification in the bowels on August 19, 
1738, and was buried in the Rolls chapel. His lady survived 
him ; but leaving no issue, he bequeathed 20,000/., part of 
his large fortune, after her death to the sinking fund towards 
paying off the national debt ; a bequest which Lord Mans- 
field said was a very foolish one, and that he might as well 
have attempted to stop the middle arch of Blackfriars Bridge 
with his full-bottomed wig. In consequence however of his 
munificent expenditure in the erection of the large and con- 
venient mansion at the Rolls for himself and his successors, 
and the contiguous buildings in Chancery Lane, and of his 
being disappointed in having a long lease of them, the 
government, to make good the loss, restored the money to 
his relations. Lord Hervey in his memoirs, though giving 
him a very prejudiced character, is obliged to allow that he 
was impracticable to the court, learned in his profession, and 
had " more general weight in the House of Commons than 
any other single man in that assembly.'' ^ 

* Harris's I/}rd Hardwicke, i. 198, 416. 

* Gent. Hag. Iziii. 886; Legal Obser?er, ii. 96; Lord Hervey, i. 473. 

K 2 

132 PETER KING. George U. 

KING, PETER. Lord King. 

Lord CeANa 1727. 

See nnder the Reign of George I. 

The career of this eminent judge affords another striking 
instance of how genius and industry may overcome the most 
unpromising beginnings, and, when united with modesty and 
good conduct, may raise the possessor from a subordinate 
position to the highest dignity in the state. Peter King's 
father, Jerome King, was a thriving and respectable grocer 
and Salter in Exeter, and he himself was compelled reluc- 
tantly to pursue the same business for some years. His 
mother was Anne, daughter of Peter Locke of a Somerset- 
shire family, and first cousin of the great philosopher John 
Locke.* Peter King was bom in 1669, and after receiving 
the ordinary education at the grammar school of his native 
city, he had no other apparent prospect than was opened to 
him by his father's trade. Though faithftilly and diligently 
discharging the duties of this unattractive avocation, his 
mind, which was serious and contemplative, sought more 
congenial employment ; and instead of occTipying his leisure 
hours in the usual amusements of youth, he devoted them to 
literary pursuits. Encouraged by his celebrated relative, 
who saw with surprise and pleasure the progress in learning 
of one who could command so few opportunities for study, 
he published anonymously in 1691 a work suggested to him 
by the discussions in parliament on the scheme of Compre- 
hension, which about that time agitated the reli^ous world. 
This was entitled an "Enquiry into the Constitution, 
Discipline, Unifcy, and Worship of the Primitive Church that 
flourished within the first 300 years after Christ : faithfully 
collected out of the extant writings of those ages.'' He 

> Collins' Peerage, vii. 2S3; Notes and Queries, First Scries, xl 327 ; Second 
Scries, i. 141. 

1727—1760. PErER KING. 133 

Boon afterwards produced a second part; leading to a corre- 
spondence between him and Mr. Ellis, which was published 
by the latter. In 1702 he issued pother theological work, 
called " The History of the Apostles' Creed," which greatly 
increased his reputation. Bred up among Dissenters, King 
had in his first work naturally advocated the claims of the 
Presbyterians ; but when Mr. Sclater's book called " Original 
Draught of the Primitive Church " appeared, so late as 1717, 
he is said to have acknowledged that his principal arguments 
had been satisfactorily confuted. However tliis may have 
been, his early work attracted the notice of the learned world, 
and it displayed such an extent of reading and research,that his 
relative induced his father to release him from his commercial 
engagements, and, by sending him to complete his education 
at the University of Leyden, prepare him for a position more 
suitable to his talents. He resided at Leyden for three 
years, and having selected the law as his profession, returned 
in 1694 and applied himself diligently to its study at the 
Middle Temple, of which he was admitted a member in 
October of that year. His legal pupillage was greatly cur- 
tailed, for before four years had expired he was called to the 
bar on June 8, 1698, the entry adding, "upon the recom- 
mendation of Lord Chief Justice Treby." To this learned 
judge and to his other Whig connections King probably 
owed his early introduction into practice, in which he was 
soon successfully and extensively established, both in West- 
minster Hall and on the Western circuit By the same 
interest he was almost immediately provided with a seat in 
the senate, being, in both the parliaments of February and 
December 1701, elected for Beeralston, a close borough, 
the patron of which invariably returned Whig representa- 
tives. He sat for the same constituency till he ascended 
the bench, having for his colleagues successively William 
Cowper, the future chancellor, and Spencer Cowper and 

134 PETER KING. Gkorge II. 

Lawrence Carter, both future judges, and all professed 
"Wliigs. During the whole of this time, although we know 
from bis correspondence with Locke that he was an active 
partisan and an occasional speaker, the records of parlia- 
mentary oratory are so scanty that his name very seldom 
appears. The first occasion on which he is noticed is in 
January 1704, when he delivered an able and effective argu- 
ment in support of the rigbt of electors to appeal to the 
common law for redress against the returning officers of 
Aylesbury for refusing to receive their votes.* This year 
was an eventful one to bim, being marked by his marriage 
in September with Anne, daughter of Richard Seyes, Esq., 
of Boverton in Glamorganshire, and by the death in the 
next month of his cousin John Locke, who had been his 
affectionate guide and adviser, and who proved his confidence 
and love by making him his executor and leaving him his 
MSS., and a great part of his property. 

In 1705 he received his first promotion, that of recorder 
of Glastonbury; which was succeeded by his election on 
July 27, 1708, to the recordership of London, and his 
knighthood in the following September. At this time his 
reputation was so high that he was designed for speaker of 
the new parliament ; but his claims were withdrawn in favour 
of Sir Richard Onslow.* He was one of the managers for 
the commons in the impeachment of Dr. Sacheverell in 1700, 
and opened the second article in a most elaborate speech ; 
replying also to the doctor's defence in one as able and as 
long. In these orations he displayed all his theological 
learning ; but he could not effectively support a prosecution 
like this, which itself in some measure contravened the 
principles of that toleration which he had advocated. This 
however was a party affair, in which he probably was com- 
pelled to assist ; but he soon after showed his adherence to 
' Pdrl. Hist. vi. 264. » Letters, &c., William III. 366. 

1727—1760. P£T£K KING. 135 


his old opinions by his energetic defence of Whiston and of 
Fleetwood, bishop of St, Asaph.* 

When George I. came to the throne the Whigs regained 
their power, and Sir Peter was at once promoted. From the 
Whig leader in the House of Commons and the acknow- 
ledged head of the bar, though undignified with office, he 
was raised on November 14, 1714, by the recommendation 
of his old parliamentary colleague Lord Cowper, to the post 
of chief justice of the Common Pleas, in the place of Lord 
Trevor who was then superseded. On his consequent resig- 
nation of the recordership, the corporation of London voted 
him a piece of plate ^' as a loving remembrance of his many 
good services done to the city." ' He sat in the Common 
Pleas for more than ten years with the approbation of law- 
yers for his learning, and of suitors for his impartiality. 
Though he presided on the trials of the persons implicated 
in the rebellion of 1715, they are not recorded; but Lord 
Campbell gives some extracts from his report to the govern- 
ment, which show a humane desire to save the lives of those 
of the condemned prisoners who were deserving of mercy. 
The State Trials report only two criminal trials before him 
at a later period ; and in both of them his summing up of 
the evidence and his statement of the law are most careful, 
clear, and distinct ; and though his construction of the 
Coventry Act in that of Woodbum and Cope did not meet 
with universal acquiescence, it was agreed on all sides that 
the prisoners were most deservedly condemned.' 

On the resignation of Lord Chancellor Macclesfield in 
January 1725, Sir Peter King was appointed speaker of the 
House of Lords ; in which character he presided at the trial 
of that nobleman, and pronounced sentence against him on 

I State Trials, xv. 134, 418, 703; Pari. Hist. yL 1155. 

' Lord Campbell's Chancellors, iv. 349; City List of Recorders. 

* Lord Campbell, iv. 595; SUte Trials, xv. 1386, xri. 74. 

136 PETER KING. Georgi: II. 

the 27th of the following May. Five days after, on June 1, 
the Great Seal was placed with universal approbation in 
his hands as lord chancellor, he having three days before 
been raised to the peerage by the title of Baron King of 
Ockham in Surrey. His pension of 6000/. was increased 
by 1200/., avowedly to compensate for the loss of the sale of 
certain offices in the Court of Chancery ; thus in effect 
acknowledging that to have been theretofore a recognised 
privilege, for the exercise of which Lord Macclesfield had 
been punished. He had held the Seal for two years when 
George I. died ; yet, though he had given his opinion on the 
subject of the marriage and education of the royal family in 
favour of that king's prerogative, and against the claim of 
the Prince of Wales, the latter when he came to the crown 
was so convinced of his unbiassed integrity that he was con- 
tinued in his high trust for the first six years of the reign. 

His earliest labours were devoted to the construction of a 
plan by which the frauds and misapplications of the suitors' 
money, as lately exposed, might be for the future prevented; 
and this was satisfactorily effected by the appointment of a 
new officer called the accountant-general, in whose name all 
the funds brought into court were immediately placed, to be 
dispensed under strict regulations to those found to be 
entitled to them. In the daily exercise of his judicial func- 
tions, though he exhibited the same learning, care, and 
impartiality, he did not sustain the same reputation he had 
won by his presidency of the Common Pleas. He had not 
had any experience in equity practice, and consequently was 
diffident, irresolute, and dilatory. So many of his decrees 
were appealed against, and so many of his decisions were 
reversed or controverted, that the admiration which he had 
earned as a judge cannot be extended to him as a chancellor. 
Lord Hervey relates that the queen once said of him, that 
" he was just in the law, what he had been in the gospel — 

1727—1760. PETER KIK6. 137 

making creeds upon the one without any steady belief, and 
judgments in the other without any settled opinion." ' 

During the latter part of his career his health failed^ and 
he became so lethargic ^^ that he often dozed over his causes 
when on the bench;" a circumstance which, according to 
Jeremy Bentham (an eye-witness), "was no prejudice to 
the suitors," owing to the good understanding between Sir 
Philip Yorke and Mr. Talbot, who, though opposed to each 
other as counsel, arranged the minutes of the decrees between 
them " so as that strict justice might be done." * No wonder 
then that this mode of settling their claims was unsatisfactory 
to the litigants. Lord King's infirmities increased so much 
that on November 29, 1733, he felt himself compelled to 
resign the Seal, after having held it for nearly nine years. 

From this time he gradually sank till the close of his life. 
He died on July 29, 1734, and was buried at Ockham, 
where a handsome monument bears record of his many 

From the liberal principles in which he was educated he 

never swerved during the whole of his career, though 

Whiston, when disappointed in one of his applications, 

charges him with being corrupted by his elevation. Against 

his private character no word has ever been whispered, and 

the general estimation in which it was regarded may in some 

measure be judged from the following lines, paraphrasing 

the motto he had chosen for his arms. — Labor ipse vo- 

luptas : — 

Tip not the splendour of the place, 
The gilded coach, the purse, the mace, 
Nor all the pompous train of state, i 
The crowd that at your levee wait, |- 
That make you happy, make you great : J 
But while mankind you strive to bless 
With all the talents you possess; 

' Lord Hcnrey*8 Memoirs, i. 281. ■ Cookscy, 60. 


While the chief pleasure you receive, 
Comes from the pleasure that you give ; 
This takes the heart and conquers spite, 
And makes the heavy burden light, 
For pleasure, rightly understood. 
Is only labour to be good. 

A punning epitaph in Ockham Churchyard on a carpenter 
named Spong has been attributed to Lord King, but he has 
been acquitted of the imputation by the claim of another. 

He left four sons, each of whom successively enjoyed the 
title. The great grandson of the fourth brother was created 
by Queen Victoria in 1838, Earl of Lovelace, and is now 
Lord Lieutenant of Surrey.' 

(?) Curs. B. E. 174a 

William Kynaston was a member of the family of that 
name long established at Ruyton-of-the-eleven-towns, in 
Shropshire. He purchased in 1721 the office of master in 
Chancery from Mr. William Sogers, to whom, according to 
the vicious practice of the period, he paid 6000/. for the 
place, besides 1500 guineas to Lord Chancellor Macclesfield 
for his admission. When the investigation took place in 
1725-6 into the malpractices of the court, among the defi- 
ciencies in the accounts of several of the masters, that of 
Mr. Kynaston was found to be above 26,000/. He suffered 
imprisonment in the Fleet for his debt, and was exposed in 
two acts of parliament, St. 12 Geo. I. c. 32 and 33. After- 
wards making good his deficiency from his private estate, he 
was not excluded from his office, in which he still continued 
till his death. The "Gentleman's Magazine" announces 
his appointment as cursitor baron of the Exchequer, in the 
room of George Clive deceased, in February 1740; but as 

» Lives by Mr. Weluby aud Lord Campbell. 

1727—1760. WILLIAM LEE. 139 

there is no patent nor other proof of his holding that office, 
and as Edward Barker had the grant of it in January 1744, 
it is probable that he only performed the duties temporarily 
during the vacancy. In 1733 he was elected recorder of 
Shrewsbury, and represented that borough in the parliaments 
of 1735, 1741, and 1747. He died in 1759, and was buried 
in the family vault at Ruyton.^ 

Ju8T. K. B. 1730. Ch. K. B. 1737. 

One of the branches of the family of Lee settled in Buck- 
inghamshire in the reign of Henry IV., and through a 
marriage acquired the estate of Hartwell in that county at 
the beginning of the seventeenth century. King Charles II. 
at his restoration conferred a baronetcy on its possessor ; but 
the title, after being enjoyed for a hundred and sixty-seven 
years, became extinct on the death of the sixth baronet in 
1827. The chief justice was the second son of Sir Thomas, 
the second baronet, and of his wife Alice, daughter and heir 
of Thomas Hopkins, a merchant of London.* He was born 
in 1688, and was educated at the University of Oxford, where 
he took his bachelor's degree. The law being selected as his 
profession, he was entered in July 1703 at the Middle Temple, 
whence he removed in February 1717 to the Inner Temple, 
from which in due course he proceeded as barrister. 

His classical attainments may be inferred from his being 
appointed Latin secretary to the king in 1718;' and his 
forensic talents from his success at the bar and his being 
made one of the king's counsel, an office in those times of 
far greater distinction than it holds at the present day, when 

» Genu Mag. x. 93; State Trials, xtI. 858, 907; Pari. Hist. xiv. 76. 
' Wotton*8 Baronet, iii. 149 ; Burke*8 Ext. Baronet. 305. 
' 6 Report Pub. Records, App. ii. p. 119. 

140 WILLIAM LEE. George IL 

the multiplicity of courts requires an almost infinite number 
of silken leaders. In the first parliament of George II., 
which met in January 1728, he was elected member for 
Chipping Wycombe, and between its third and fourth sessions 
he was raised to the bench. One of the last recorded 
appearances of Mr. Lee as a barrister was as leading counsel 
for Mrs. Castell in an appeal for the murder of her husband 
by Bambridge, the warden of the Fleet Prison, the result of 
which, as was commonly the case, was a confirmation of the 
former acquittal. This proceeding was not often resorted 
to even in those times, and is now entirely abolished, as 
prompted more by feelings of revenge than by the love of 

On the promotion of Judge Reynolds to be chief baron, 
Mr. Lee was selected to supply his place in the Bang's Bench 
in June 1730. During the seven years that he sat in that 
court as a puisne judge he refused the customary honour of 
knighthood ; but on his elevation to the head of it on June 
8, 1737, in the place of Lord Hardwicke (with whom he 
lived on terms of the greatest intimacy), he was induced to 
accept the honorary distinction. He presided as lord chief 
justice of the King's Bench for seventeen years ; and though 
succeeding so eminent a judge as Lord Hardwicke, his im- 
partial administration of justice and his perfect mastery of 
the science of law secured to him the respect and admiration 
of his contemporaries. It fell to his lot to try the persons 
implicated in the rebellion of 1745; and he performed the 
obnoxious duty with dignity and firmness. In March 1754, 
shortly before his death, the oflSce of chancellor of the 
Exchequer having become vacant by the sudden death of 
Mr. Pelham, the seals were placed in his hands as chief 
justice of England till the ofiSce should be filled up. This 
was done in compliance with a custom which had been acted 
on from time immemorial, and originated in the fact that the 

1727—1760. WILLIAM LEE. 141 

chief justiciary in former ages was the president of the Ex- 
chequer. Chief justice Lee died on April 8^ 1754, and 
was buried at Hartwell, under a monument erected to his 

Lord Campbell, though with an ineffectual attempt to 
place his character in a ridiculous light, is obliged to speak 
highly of his legal and intellectual powers, and to acknow- 
ledge the purity of his intentions, the suavity of his manners, 
and the justice of his decisions. In the obituary account of 
him in the " Gentleman's Magazine " some deductions must 
perhaps be made from the terms of eulogy there used :* but 
the fullest confidence may be placed in the description of 
him, fourteen years after his death, by one who had sat under 
him during the whole period of his career. Sir James Bur- 
row in his Settlement Cases (p. 328) thus expresses himself: 
'^ He was a gentleman of most unblemished and irreproach-* 
able character, both in public and in private life ; amiable 
and gentle in his disposition ; affable and courteous in his 
deportment; cheerful in his temper, though grave in his 
aspect ; generous and polite in his manner of living ; sincere 
and deservedly happy in his friendships and family connec- 
tions ; and to the highest degree upright and impartial in his 
distribution of justice. He had been a judge of the court 
of King's Bench for nearly twenty-four years, and for near 
seventeen had presided in it In this state the integrity of his 
heart and the caution of his determination were so eminent 
that they never will, perhaps never can, be excelled." 

While Sir William was at the head of the highest com- 
mon law court, his brother. Sir George, became the president 
of the highest court of civil law, being appointed dean of the 
Arches and judge of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury ; 
a coincidence of ^hich we have witnessed another example 

> State TriaU, xvii. 401 ; xviiL 329; Barrow's a C. 105, 364. 
» Lord CampbcIVs Ch. Ja«t. ii. 213; Gent. Mag xlix. 483. 

142 HENEAGE LEGGE. Geoboe II. 

in Lord Eldon and his brother Sir William Scott, Lord 

Sir William Lee married, first, Anne daughter of John 
Goodwin of Barley in Suffolk ; and secondly, Margaret 
daughter of Roger Drake, Esq. and widow of James Mel- 
moth, Esq. By his first wife only he had issue. 

B. E. 1747. 

The Hon. Heneage Legge was the second son of William, 
first Earl of Dartmouth, by Lady Anne Finch, third daugh- 
ter of Heneage, first Earl of Aylesford ; and great grandson, 
through his mother, of the celebrated lord chancellor of 
Charles II., the Earl of Nottingham. He was bom in 1704, 
and prepared himself for the profession of his maternal 
family at the Inner Temple, into which he was admitted a 
student in 1723, and assumed the grade of a barrister in 
1728. He was chosen high steward of the city of Lichfield 
in 1734 ; and in 1739 became one of the king's counsel, when 
he was raised to the bench of his inn. In 1743 he was 
appointed counsel to the admiralty and auditor of Greenwich 
Hospital ; and in the same year was engaged to defend 
William Chetwynd, indicted for the murder of his school- 
fellow Thomas Bicketts by stabbing him with a knife for 
taking away a piece of cake. The jury found a special 
verdict, but the question whether it was murder or man- 
slaughter was never decided, the king granting a firee pardon, 
and the vindictive efforts of the deceased's friends to sue out 
an appeal not being successful. 

In June 1747 Mr. Legge was raised to the bench as a 
baron of the Exchequer in the place of Sir James Reynolds, 
and sat there for twelve years, respected as well for his 
learning as for his impartiality and moderation. The latter 

1 727—1760. FBAKCI8 PAGE. 143 

qualitiea were manifested in his able summing up on the 
^al in 1752 of Mary Blandy for the murder of her father. 

He died on August 30, 1759, leaving issue by his wife 
Catherine, daughter and co-heir of Mr. Jonathan Fogg, a 
merchant of London, who survived him but two months.' 


a £. 1759. 
See under the Reign of George III. 

MANSFIELD, Earl of. See W. Murray. 

MURRAY, WILLIAM, Earl of Mansfield. 

Ch. K K 1756. 
See under the Reign of George III. 


Just. C. P. 1757. 

See under the Reign of George II L 


Just. C. P. 1727. Just. K. B. 1727. 

See under the Beign of George L 

This unpopular judge was the son of the Rev. Nicholas 
Page, the vicar of Bloxham in Oxfordshire, and was bom 
about 1661. Admitted at the Inner Temple in June 1685, 
he was called to the bar in the same month in 1690, and was 
raised to the bench of that society in May 1717. He varied his 
legal studies by entering into the political controversies of 
the time, taking the Whig view of the subjects in discussion, 
and adding some pamphlets to those which then almost daily 
issued from the press. In 1705 he appeared as one of the 

1 CoUinB* Peerage, iv. 121; State Trials, xriii. 290, 1170. 

144 FRANCIS PAGE. Geobqk II. 

counsel for the electors of Aylesbury who had been com- 
mitted by the House of Commons for proceeding at law 
against the returning oflScers who had illegally refused their 
votes. The commons having then resolved that the counsel 
had thereby been guilty of a breach of privilege, ordered 
their committal to the custody of the serjeant-at-arms. Page 
evaded the arrest ; and Queen Anne was obliged to dissolve 
the parliament in order to prevent a collision between the 
two houses on the question. 

Though he was member for Huntingdon in the two par- 
liaments of 1708 and 1710, his name does not once appear 
in the debates of either. Soon after the accession of George 
I. he received the honour of knighthood, and was not only 
made a serjeant, but also king's Serjeant, on January 28 
1715. An early opportunity was taken of promoting him 
to the bench, and on May 15, 1718, he took his seat as a 
baron of the Exchequer. He purchased an estate and built 
a. mansion at Steeple Aston in Oxfordshire, not many miles 
from Banbury, with the elections of which borough he inter- 
fered so much that he was charged in the House of Conunons, 
in February 1722, with corrupting the corporation by bribery; 
and the evidence was so nearly balanced, that he was only 
acquitted by a close majority of four votes. On November 
4, 1726, he was removed from the Exchequer to the Com- 
mon Pleas; and in the middle of September 1727, three 
months after the accession of George II., he was again 
translated to the King's Bench in the room of Sir John 
Fortescue-Aland, who was superseded. Though then sixty- 
six years of age he remained on the bench fourteen years 
more, dying at the age of eighty on October 31, 1741. He 
was buried at Steeple Aston under a monumental pile with 
full-length figures of himself and his second wife by the 
eminent sculptor Scheemacker. This he caused to be 
erected during his life, and in order to its construction he 
destroyed the ancient monuments in the church. 

1727—1760. FRANCIS PAGE. I45 

Sir Francis Page has left behind him a most unenviable 
reputation. Without the abilities of Judge Jeflfreys, he was 
deemed as cruel and as coarse. The few reported cases in 
the State Trials at which he presided do not indeed appear 
to warrant this character, nor does his learned judgment in 
Ratcliffe's case, reported in 1 Strange, 269 ; but he could 
not have been known among his contemporaries by the 
sobriquet of the " hanging judge," nor have obtained the 
inglorious distinction of being stigmatised by some of the 
best writers of the age, unless there had been pregnant 
grounds for the imputation. Pope in his Imitation of the 
First Satire of the Second Book of Horace thus introduces 
him: — 

*^ Slander or poison dread from Delia's rage, 
Hard words or hanging, if your judge be Page." 

Long before Page's death Pope had gibbeted him in the 
" Dunciad " (book iv. lines 26-30) :— 

"Morality, by her false guardians drawn, 
Chicane in furs^ and Casuistry in lawn. 
Gasps, as they straighten at each end the cord. 
And dies, when Dullness gives her [Page] the word ; " — 

leaving blank the name in the last line. If it were not 
vouched by Dr. Johnson in his Life of Pope, it would be 
scarcely credible that the conscious judge had the folly to fit 
the cap on himself, and to send a complaint to the poet by 
his clerk, who told the poet that the judge said that no other 
word would make sense of the passage. The name is now 
inserted at full length. 

Dr. Johnson also enlarges in his Life of Savage on the 
vulgar and exasperating language by which Judge Page 
obtained the conviction of the unfortunate poet for the mur- 
der of Mr. Sinclair. No wonder that Savage, after he was 
pardoned, revenged himself by penning a most bitter " cha- 
racter " of the judge ; who escapes no better under Fielding's 

VOL. VIII. li 

146 FRANCIS PAGE. George II. 

lash. In " Tom Jones " (book viii. c. xi), Partridge is made 
to tell a story of a trial before the judge of a horse-stealer, 
who, when in his defence he said that he had found the 
horse, was insultingly answered, '*AyI thou art a lucky 
fellow ; I have travelled the circuit these forty years, and 
never found a horse in my life : but, I'll tell thee what, 
friend, thou wast more lucky than thou didst know of; for 
thou didst not only find a horse, but a halter too, I promise 
thee." Partridge adds, *^ Nay, and twenty other jests he 
made." When Crowle the punning barrister was on the 
circuit with Page, on some one asking him if the judge was 
just behind, he replied, " I don't know, but I am sure he 
never was just hefore^^ 

When old and decrepit, the judge perpetrated an uncon- 
scious joke on himself. As he was coming out of court one 
day shuffling along, an acquaintance inquired after his 
health. ^* My dear sir," he answered, " you see I keep 
hanging on, hanging on" Among other stories Noble gives an 
example of his tautology and the meanness of his language, 
from a charge to a grand jury ; in which he used the words 
" in that kind " no less than nine times in a passage not 
occupying more than six lines. 

He was very desirous of founding a family, but though he 
was twice married he left no issue. The name of his first 
wife, who was buried at Bloxham, has not been preserved ; 
that of his second was Frances, daughter of Sir Thomas 
Wheate, of Glympton, Bart. He left his estates to Francis 
Bourne (afterwards M.P. for the University of Oxford) on 
condition that he took the name of Francis Page only ; but 
his object of perpetuating his name was frustrated by his 
devisee dying unmarried, and his property passing away to 

> Noble's Cont. of OraDger, iii. 203 ; Notes and Queries, 3rd Series, i. 153- 

1727—1760. THOMAS PENGELLY. 147 


B. £. 1738. Just. C. F. 1740. Ch. B. £. 1742. 

See under the Reign of George UI. 


Ch. B. E. 1727. 
Set under the Beign of George L 

Mystebt involves the birth of Sir Thomas Pengelly. 
Genealogy gives him no place in a pedigree ; but tradition 
tells that he owes his origin to an illicit amour of the fallen 
protector, Richard CromwelL This story seems principally 
to be founded on the fact that Pengelly showed uncommon 
zeal in a suit between Richard and his daughters ; and that 
the protector died in Pengelly's house at Cheshunt. That 
Richard's will bequeathed only " 10/. for mourning " to his 
*^ good friend Mrs. Pengelly," and does not name her son, 
which is suggested in contradiction, affords no solution either 
way ; for even if the fact were true, few testators would 
desire to give evidence against themselves. That this 
parentage was credited in his own times appears probable 
from the sly answer given by a witness to his question, how 
long a certain way through Windsor Park had been so 
used ; — " As far back as the time of Richard Cromwell." 
The register states his birth to have taken place in Moor- 
fields on May 16, 1675, and records him as the son of Thomas 
Pengelly, who in the son's admission to the Inner Temple is 
described of Finchley, Middlesex ; but who this father was 
is nowhere explained. The name is not of frequent occur- 
rence, but a Francis Pengelly was M.P. for Saltash in 
Cornwall in 1695. 

Of Pengelly's early years nothing is told, except that he 
entered the Inner Temple in December 1692, and was called 
to the bar in November 1700. His success in the courts 



may be presumed from his being the only man selected to be 
dignified with the coif, in conjunction with Sir Robert Eyre 
on his being made a judge in 1710, He was elected member 
for Cockermouth in both the parliaments of George I., in 
the latter of which, as one of the managers on the impeach- 
ment of the Earl of Macclesfield, he undertook the duty of 
replying to that nobleman's defence. In a long and laboured 
harangue he with great ability and force answered all the 
legal points raised by the earl, and with more harshness than 
was requisite aggravated the offences with which he was 
charged. He is said to have felt a personal enmity to the 
earl, and to have been specially indignant at the preference 
shown in court to the arguments of Sir Philip Yorke. At 
this time he was the king's prime Serjeant, to which he had 
been appointed on June 24, 1719, having been knighted in 
the previous month ; and in this character he, with the other 
law oflicers of the crown, had the conduct of the indictment 
of Christopher Layer for high treason in conspiring against 
the king in 1722, very ably and eflSciently performing his 
duty on that important trial. A few months before the death 
of George I., the oflSce of chief baron of the Exchequer 
becoming vacant, Sir Thomas was appointed to fill it on 
October 16, 1726.* He presided in that court for four years 
and a half, and during that time he is only noticed in the 
State Trials as having tried William Hales on some of the 
numerous indictments found against him in 1729 for forgery; 
in which he exhibited that patience and firmness as well as 
legal knowledge and discrimination, by which a good judge 
is distinguished. He fell a victim to the cruel and disgust- 
ing manner in which prisoners were treated in that age. 
Travelling the Western Circuit, some culprits were brought 
before him from Ilchester for trial at Taunton, the stench 

1 Lord Baymond, 1309, 1410; State Trials, ZTi. 140, 1330. 

1727—1760. ROBERT PRICE. 149 

from whom was so bad^ that an infection was spread which 
caused the death of some hundreds of persons. Among 
them was the lord chief baron, who died at Blandford on 
April 14, 1730.1 

He was considered when at the bar as a florid speaker 
and bold advocate, though perhaps at times too vehement. 
Steele's quibble on his name — " As Pen is the Welsh term 
for head, guelt is the Dutch for money, which with the 
English syllable /y, taken together, expresses one who turns 
his bead to lye for money," — must be wholly disregarded, as 
it was prompted by anger at having the license of his theatre 
taken away. As a judge he held a high reputation for his 
learning and his equal distribution of justice; and in his private 
character he was esteemed for his probity and cheerfulness. 
His charity was not confined to his life, for by his will he 
left a considerable sum for the discharge of prisoners confined 
for debt* 


Just. C. P. 1727. 

See under the Reigns of Anne and George I. 

From the ancient stock of one of the noble tribes of Wales 
the immediate ancestors of Robert Price descended. They 
were located at Geeler in Denbighshire, of which one of 
them was high sheriff. The judge's father was Thomas 
Price of Geeler, and his mother was Margaret, daughter and 
heir of Thomas Wynne of Bwlch-y-Beyde in the same 
county. He was their second son, and was bom in the 
parish of Kerid-y-Druidion on January 14, 1653 ; and after 
receiving his education at Wrexham and St. John's College, 
Cambridge, he entered Lincoln's Inn in May 1673. Having 
devoted three or four years in laying a good substratum of 

1 State Trials, xvii. 219-250; Gent. Mag. la.. 235. 
' Noble's Cromwell, i. 175; Cont. of Granger, iu. 194. 

150 BOBERT PRICE. George II. 

law, he adopted in 1677 for his amusement and improvement 
the then fashionable practice of taking the grand tour, and 
in company with some noble friends spent two years in visit- 
ing all parts of France and Italy. In this period of relaxation 
he did not forget his professional studies, and among the books 
which he took with him was Coke upon Lyttelton. This 
mysterious work the scrutinising officers at Rome thought 
was an heretical English Bible, and seizing it carried off its 
possessor to the Pope. Mr. Price soon satisfied his holiness 
that the laws it illustrated, though not divine, were orthodox; 
and presenting it to the holy father, it is to be hoped that it 
still graces the Vatican Library. On his return he was called 
to the bar in July 1679. 

In the September of that year he married Lucy, one of 
the daughters and co-heirs of Robert Rodd, Esq. of Foxley 
in Herefordshire. After being the mother of three children, 
it seems that her misconduct dissolved the connexion. 
Under the date of November 21, 1690, Luttrell records that 
" Robert Price, Esq. got 1500Z. damages in an action against 
Mr. Neal for crim. conJ*^ * He did not obtain a divorce, but 
though she survived her husband, the *^ Life " that was pub- 
lished of him immediately after his death omits all subsequent 
allusion to her; and the judge's will, which speaks with 
affection of, and provides with liberality for, all his other con- 
nexions, only coldly mentions her in a legacy of 20/. *' for 
mourning," and in a charge on his estates of an annuity of 
120/. '^ pursuant to a former agreement and settlement be- 
tween us." 

He soon became known at the bar, and being of the then 
court-party he was made attorney-general of South Wales 
in 1682, and recorder of Radnor in the following year. He 
was complimented also by being elected alderman of Here* 

* Lnttrell, ii. 231. l^oble (Cont of Granger, iii. 200) alludes to the sepa- 
ration, and gives her violent temper as the cause. 

1727—1760. ROBERT PRICE. 151 

ford, about five miles from his seat at Foxley. It is stated 
in his '^ Life," and repeated by subsequent biographers, that 
he voted against the bill of exclusion in 1682; but this is 
palpably an error, as no parliament sat in that year, and he 
was not a member of either of the parliaments in which the 
bill was introduced. His sentiments however were probably 
known, as on the death of Charles II. King James appointed 
him steward to the queen dowager, ,and king's counsel at 
Ludlow. The corporation of Gloucester also elected him 
town clerk in 1687, in the place of Mr. (afterwards Justice) 
John Powell ; but upon the latter appealing to the court of 
King's Bench, Mr. Price consented to his restoration (2 
Shower, 490). In James's short and only parliament, in 
which he represented Weobly, he does not appear to have 
taken any active part. 

King William removed him from his Welsh attorney- 
generalship. Although of course he was not returned to the 
Convention Parliament, he was elected by his former con- 
stituents to that summoned in the next year ; and also for 
the two following in 1695 and 1698 ; and that which met in 
December 1701. In 1695 he distinguished himself by strenu- 
ously opposing the exorbitant grant made by the king to the 
Earl of Portland of extensive lands and lordships in Wales, 
and enforced his objections with such power and effect that 
upon an address of the house the king was obliged to annul 
it. In the next year he took an active part in the proceed- 
ings in Sir John Fenwick's case. The only state trial in 
which he was engaged as counsel was that of Lord Mohun 
in the House of Lords for the dastardly murder of William 
Mountford the actor, which resulted in the acquittal of his 
client; and the only promotion he received was that of a 
Welsh judgeship in 1700, when the Tories had regained 
power ; which appointment he held to the end of the reign.* 

> Pari. Hist t. 979, 1016, 1041, 1045; State Trials, xii. 1020. 

152 ROBERT PRICE. George II. 

On the accession of Queen Anne, some of the judges 
being removed, Mr. Price was constituted a baron of the 
Exchequer on June 14, 1702, in the place of Sir Henry 
Hatsel, he and Sir Thomas Powys being made Serjeants on 
the day before and giving rings with the motto ** Regina et 
lege gaudet Britannia." In this court he remained the whole 
of that reign and nearly to the end of the next ; when he 
obtained a removal into the Common Pleas on October 16, 
1726, in the place of Mr. Justice Dormer deceased. The 
anticipation of less labour in this new arena, which is 
attributed to him, could scJarcely have been the cause of this 
change ; and his disappointment in this respect in the alleged 
increase of business in the Common Pleas in consequence of 
his accession to that bench, has not much probability ; though 
the following lines in some eulogistic verses written after his 
death seem to point to such a consequence : — 

" When Price revived the crouding suitors* sight, 
The Hall of Rufus was the seat of Right 
In all her arts was Fallacy beg^'d, 
The orphan gladdened, and the widow smil'd ; 
Sure to behold, in ev'ry just decree, 
The friend, the sire, the consort, shine in thee. 
Mild Equity resumed her gentle reign, 
And Bribery was prodigal in vain." 

In 1718 he and Mr. Justice Eyre were the only two 
judges who gave an opinion adverse to the king's claim of 
prerogative with regard to the education of the royal grand- 
children^ and supported their view by an able argument 
delivered to his majesty. George 11. was of course im- 
pressed in his favour^ and on coming to the crown continued 
him in his place ; which he filled during the remainder of his 
life. After a long judicial career of no less than thirty-one 
years he died on February 2, 1733, at Kensington; and was 
buried in the church of Yazor in the county of Hereford. 

The " Life " of Mr. Justice Price, written by its pub- 

1727—1760. ROBERT PIIICE. 153 

lisher^ the notorious Edmund CurH, within a year of his 
death, is the foundation of all the biographical notices that 
have sibce appeared. As it was compiled " by the appoint- 
ment of the ffmiily," it cannot fail to be regarded as little 
more than an extended epitaph ; and the eulogies of which 
it is full would naturally be received with considerable 
qualifications. Yet, making due allowance for its party 
exaggerations and for some errors in facts and dates, which 
its copyists have carelessly repeated, from all that can be 
collected of his career, the character that it gives him is sub- 
stantially true. Though a steady Tory in politics, no Whig 
pen writes a word in his dispraise ; his courage in opposing 
the royal wishes receives no check, in consequence of the 
known honesty of his principles; his desire and paii:^ to get 
at the truth of matters on whicli his opinion was required 
is evidenced by letters recently published by the Camden 
Society * ; and his charity is man! ed by his erection and 
endowment of an almshouse for six poor people in the parish 
of his birth, and by the care that he took in his will not 
only for the perpetuation of that institution, but for the con- 
tinuance also of his other benefactions. His will, by its 
provisions for his issue to the third generation, is the best 
proof of his aifectionate disposition, and of the love with 
which he was regarded by the whole of his family. 

As he never received the knighthood by which the judges 
were usually distinguished, it may be presumed that he 
declined the honour. His three children were, Thomas, the 
eldest, who died on his travels in Italy during his father's 
life ; Lucy, the second, who married her cousin Bampfylde 
Bodd, Esq. ; and Uvedale, the third, who succeeded to the 
judge's estates, and whose grandson received a baronetcy in 
1828, which became extinct in 1867.* 

> Ellis's Letters to Eminent Literary Men, 315, 328, 335. 

' Life of Judge Price, 1734; Noble's Cont. of Granger, iii. 200. 



Jd8T. K B. 1727. Ch. B. E. 1740. 

See under th« Reign of George L 

The name of Probyn was long known and esteemed among 
the gentry of the county of Gloucester, and the Probyn 
Aisle in the church of Newland in the Forest of Dean con- 
tains many memorials of the respectability of a long line of 
residents in the parish. The chief baron's ancestors possessed 
considerable property there, to which his father William 
Probyn was heir. His mother was Elizabeth, daughter of 
Edmund Bond of Walford in Herefordshire. The elder of 
two sons, he was bom about the year 1678, and went through 
the legal curriculum at the Middle Temple, where he was 
admitted in 1695, and took the degree of barrister in 1702. 

After spending nearly twenty years in the usual forensic 
drudgery of the profession, he occupied the position of a 
Welsh judge in 1721. Called serjeant in 1724, he was 
employed in January of the next year by the Earl of Mac- 
clesfield to conduct the defence against his impeachment; 
but notwithstanding the pains he took and the lucid argiunent 
he delivered, he failed to satisfy the peers of his client's in- 
nocence.^ The ability he showed on that occasion no doubt 
pointed him out for promotion ; and accordingly on November 
4, 1726, he was constituted a judge of the King's Bench 
in the room of Sir Littleton Powys ; and was thereupon 
knighted. He displayed so much learning and judgment in 
the exercise of this office for fourteen years, that he was 
selected on November 28, 1740, to succeed Sir John Comyns 
as lord chief baron of the Exchequer ; a dignity which he 
held less than eighteen months ; his death occurring on May 
17, 1742. He was buried in Newland church. The tra- 
dition of his benevolence and kindness among his neighbours 

> Notes and Queries, 2nd Series, x. 443; State Trials, xtL 1080. 

1727—1760. ROBEBT BAYMOND. 155 

and dependents is still the subject of many a tale in the 
district where he resided. 

He married Elizabeth, daughter of Mr. Justice Blencowe, 
but leaving no issue he devised his estates in Gloucestershire 
to his nephew John Hopkins, Esq. of Lincoln's Inn, provided 
he assumed the name of Probyn. One of this gentleman's 
grandsons became dean of Llandaff, whose son still preserves 
the name and family estates, and has kindly furnished me 
with several particulars of the family.' 

RAYMOND, ROBERT, Lord Raymond. . h 


Ch. K B. 1727. 
See nnder the Beign of George I. 

Robebt, the only son of Sir Thomas Raymond, a judge in 
each of the three courts in the reign of Charles IL, by his 
wife Ann, daughter of Sir Richard Fish, Bart, was destined 
to be a lawyer from his infancy. Bom in 1673, his father 
was so determined to bring him up to the profession, that 
nine months before his death he induced the Society of Gray's 
Inn, where he began his own career, to admit the boy on 
November 1, 1682, when only nine years old. No doubt 
.the young student was excused attendance on the usual 
exercises until he had completed the rest of his education ; 
but the devotion which he paid to his father's wishes is shown 
by his early adoption of the most efficient course of acquir- 
ing practical legal knowledge. He constantiy attended the 
courts, and his successors at the bar benefit to the present 
day by the fruits of his industry. His Reports commence 
in Easter Term, 1694, when he was but twenty years old, 
and more than three years before he was called to the bar. 
They finish in Trinity Term, 1732, a year before his death; 
thus extending over thirty-eight years, during the reigns of 

> Noble's Cont. of Granger, iii. 197; Gent Mag. zii. 275. 


four sovereigns. They were not published till ten years 
after his death ; but are so highly valued, and still regarded 
as such high authority, that they have been several times re- 
printed under the editorial care of eminent lawyers. 

His call to the bar did not take place till November 12, 
1697, fifteen years after his admission: but he got into 
immediate practice, he himself reporting a case in which he 
was engaged in a learned argument in Michaelmas 1698. 
In 1702 we find him employed as junior counsel in the pro- 
secution of Richard Hathaway as a cheat and impostor in 
pretending to be bewitched by Sarah Murdock, whom he 
brought to trial for her life. By the conviction in this case, 
indictments for witchcraft almost entirely ceased. In 1704 
he very ably and strenuously (and in the event effectually) 
defended David Lindsay on a charge of high treason in 
returning to England from France without leave; and in 
1706 he was of counsel for the prosecution of Beau Fielding 
for bigamy, in marrying the Duchess of Cleveland, his first 
wife being alive.* 

In Queen Anne's parliaments of 1710 and 1714 he was 
returned for Bishop's Castle, having been knighted on May 
13 in the former year on being made solicitor-general; an 
oflSce from which he was removed on October 14 in the latter 
year by the advice of Lord Cowper on the arrival of George 
I. in England. In that king's first parliament of 1715, Sir 
Robert was elected for Ludlow, and in the second of 1722 
for Helston. In the former he joined with the Tories in 
opposing the Septennial Bill in 1716, which was however 
passed by a large majority. While still a member he was 
again taken into the king's service, and appointed attorney- 
general in May 1720, in which character he conducted the 
prosecution against Christopher Layer for high treason in 
November 1722. At the end of the following year he was 

1 Lord Raymond, 354; State Trials, xiy. 642, 989, 1329. 

1727—1760. BOBERT RAYMOND. 157 

designated to be the successor of Sir Robert Eyre as a 
judge of the King's Bench, into which office he was. sworn 
on January 31, 1724, having on the same day received the 
degree of the coif.* 

On the removal of Lord Chancellor Macclesfield, Sir 
Robert was appointed one of the three commissioners of the 
Great Seal, which they held from January 7 to June 4, 1725. 
During the interval the death of Sir John Pratt occurred, 
and Sir Robert Raymond was put in his place as chief 
justice of the King's Bench on March 2 ; still continuing to 
act as commissioner till Lord King became chancellor. The 
judgments delivered by him during the eight years he pre- 
sided in the King's Bench are most elaborate, and display a 
great fund of legal knowledge. In the state trials before 
him he was patient, impartial, careful, and discriminating. 
In one of them, that against Curll, the bookseller, he esta- 
blished the doctrine that to publish an obscene libel is a 
temporal ofience ; and the delinquent was punished on this 
confirmation of his conviction. George II. on his accession 
continued him in his place, and so highly appreciated his 
character and judicial talent, that in acknowledgment of his 
services he raised him to the peerage on January 15, 1731, 
by the title of Lord Raymond of Abbots Langley in Hert- 
fordshire. In the House of Lords he distinguished himself 
by opposing the bill enacting that all proceedings in courts 
of justice should be in the English language ; alleging that 
if the bill passed the law must likewise be translated into 
Welsh, as many in Wales understood not English. Though 
the alteration was unpopular among lawyers (even Lord 
Ellenborough thought it tended to make attorneys illiterate), 
it happily became law, to the great benefit and comfort of 
the community.^ 

1 Lord RaTmond, 1309, 1318, 1331; FarL Hist vii. 335; State Trialfl^ XTi.97. 
* Lord Raymond, 1380, 1381; Pari. Hi«t yiil 861. 

158 THOMAS REEVE. George II. 

Lord Raymond died at his house in Ked Lion Square on 
March 19, 1733, and was buried at Abbots Langley, in which 
parish his country seat was situate, and where a handsome 
monument was erected to his memory. By his wife Anne, 
daughter of Sir Edward Northey, the attorney-general, he 
left an only son of his own name, upon whose death in 1753 
the title became extinct.^ 

JuBT. C. P. 1733. Ch. C. p. 1736. 

The real name of this judge was Reeve, though he is fre- 
quently called Reeves. He was the son of Richard Reeve, 
Esq., of New Windsor, who erected four almshouses in the 
parish. Admitted first a member of the Inner Temple in 
1709, he transferred himself to the Middle Temple, and was 
called to the bar by the latter society in 1713. He had such 
success that he was made king's counsel so early as 1718, 
and soon afterwards attorney-general for the duchy of Lan- 
caster. He became a bencher of the Middle Temple in 
1720, and was appointed Lent reader in 1722. In the latter 
year he was counsel for the crown in support of the bill of 
attainder against Bishop Atterbury and the other parties 
implicated in the same conspiracy ; and in 1730 he most ably 
advocated the cause of the widow of Robert Castell in the 
appeal of murder against Bambridge the warden of the Fleet 
Upon the death of Mr. Justice Price he was constituted a 
judge of the Common Pleas in April 1733, and knighted; 
and after sitting there for nearly three years he was advanced 
to the head of the court in January 1736 in the place of 
Chief Justice Sir Robert Eyre. His enjoyment of this, post 
was limited to a single year, as on January 13, 1737, he died, 
and was succeeded by Sir John Willes.' 

* Strange, 948 ; CollinB'a Peerage, ix. 432. 

' State Triala, xW. 469, 607, xvii 398; Gent Mag. ill SI 5, yi. 56, viL 60. 

1727-1760. THOMAS BEEVE. 159 

Learned himself^ he was an encourager of the aspirants to 
learning ; and that he was a favourite among the literary 
men of the day is apparent, not only from the dedications to 
him of the poems on the king's birthday in 1718 and 1723, 
one of which was the production of Henry Nevil, but also 
from numerous printed and manuscript verses written in his 
laudation. Among the latter is the following acrostic, com- 
posed after his death by a William Sidney, who certainly 
does not shine as a poet : — 

T hrough the wide world Britannia is admir'd; 
H er happy form of goyenunent desir'd ; 
UT righteous laws numberless ills prevent, 
M ake yillains fear, and guard the innocent : 
A 11 our chief blessings they increasei 
S ecnring right, sweet liberty, and peace. 

R eeves, long among the leam'd in Britain's laws, 

£ steemM has shone ; and many a knotty cause 

E xplain'd so true, he gain'd repute and fame : 

V irtues and parts adorn his valued name ; 

E xalted justly to A^tnea's seat, 

S uperior in his trust, his merit great 

He resided at Eton and at Gey's House, Maidenhead; 

and at his death his personal estate was estimated at 22,675/. ; 

besides real estates of considerable rental ; among which was 

a moiety of the playhouse in Lincoln's Inn Fields, let to 

Kich at lOOZ. per annum. His wife was Annabella, sister of 

Richard Topham, Esq. of New Windsor, keeper of the 

records in the Tower, who bequeathed his Kbrary to Eton 

College. Leaving no issue, the property she had from her 

brother devolved to Lord Sidney Beauclerk ; and the judge's 

nephew Thomas Reeve succeeded to his uncle's estates, and 

left two daughters, on the death of whom the family became 


■ For much information and the inspection of many documents relating to 
this judge, I am indebted to the kindness of John Payne Collier, Esq., F.8.A., 
who occupied the family residence, Qey's House. 

160 JAMES REYNOLDS (l). George II. 


Just. K. B. 1727. Ch. B. E. 1730. 

See under the Reign of George I. 

There are two judges of the name of James Keynolds in 
this reign ; one lord chief baron, and the other baron of the 
Exchequer. They were not contemporaries in Westminster 
Hall, the former being dead before his namesake ascended 
the English bench, although he had been chief justice of the 
Common Pleas in Ireland for nearly thirteen years before. 
The chief baron's great-grandfather (who was also the baron's 
ancestor) was Sir James Reynolds of Castle Camps in Cam- 
bridgeshire, who flourished in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, 
and died in 1650, aged eighty. His grandfather and father 
were also named James, both residing at Bumstead Helions 
in Essex. The estate of the former, who married Dorothy, | 

a daughter of Sir William De Grey of Merton in Norfolk 
(the ancestor of his namesake the future chief justice and 
Lord Walsingham), was decimated during the Rebellion, on 
account of his loyalty and great zeal for King Charles. The 
latter in 1655, at the age of twenty-two, married Judith the I 

eldest daughter of Sir ^. . illiam Hervey of Ickworth near 
Bury St. Edmunds, ancestor of the Marquis of Bristol. By 
this Indy, who was thei. forty years of age, he had three 
sons ; and after her death in 1679, he took for his second 

wife in 1682, Bridget, daughter of Parker, who sui^ 

vived her husband thirty-three years, and died in 1723. 
Both the ladies were bu/jJ at Castle Camps. 

By the latter marriage he had an only son, James, the 
future chief baron, who was bom on January 6, 1686, at the 
house of his mother's aunt Gibbs in Clerkenwell. His pre- 
cise relationship to the other judge I cannot trace with 
certainty ; but as by his will he bequeathed -a large legacy 
to his niece, bearing the family name of Judith, — and as the 

1727—1760. JAMES EETK0LD8 (l). 161 

other judge (to whom the chief baron had before his second 
marriage devised his estates in Cambridgeshire) had a sister 
named Judith^ it would seem, if she were the same Judith, 
that he was the nephew of the clyef baron, and perhaps the 
son of the chief baron's half-brother, Robert.* 

The chief baron was initiated into the mysteries of the 
law at Lincoln's Inn, which he entered in May 1705. He 
was called to the bar in 1712 ; and was included in the batch 
of seijeants created by George I. in the first year of his 
reign. Having been in 1712 elected recorder of Bury St. 
Edmunds, probably by the influence of the Hervey family, 
then ennobled, that borough returned him as its representi^ 
tive in 1717 to supply a vacancy; and again elected him to 
the second parliament of that king in 1722. In 1718 he 
was selected by the Prince of Wales to argue in favour of 
his royal highness's claim to educate his own children ; but 
the judges, with only two dissentients, decided that the care 
and education of the king's grandchildren belonged to his 
majesty by the royal prerogative." 

His argument did not prevent George I. from promoting 
him. On the elevation of Sir Robert Raymond to the pre- 
sidency of the King's Bench, Mr. Seijeant Reynolds was 
appointed a judge of that court in March 1725. Neither 
did his old client George II. forget him, but on the death of 
Sir Thomas Pengelly in April 1730 raised him to the oflSce of 
lord chief baron. After presiding in the Exchequer for eight 
years he resigned in July 1738; and about seven months 
afterwards died on February 9, 1739. He was buried in St. 
James's church, Bury St. Edmunds, where there is a splendid 
monument to his memory, with a Latin inscription alluding 
to an attack of paralysis which impeded his professional 
career for a year while he was serjeant, and the renewal of 

I CoUins's Peerage, iv. 149; Gage's Suffolk, 287$ Morant's Essex, ii 533,532. 
* State Trials, ztL 1203. 


162 JAMES REYNOLDS (j). Gbobgb II. 

which compelled his resignation. In it he is called " Armi- 
ger," showing that he never accepted the customary honour 
of knighthood. 

That the graceful account of his merits as a judge and as 
a man which that inscription records is not exaggerated, may 
well be believed from the prayer (still in existence) which he 
was in the daily habit of using, petitioning for " that measure 
of understanding and discernment, that spirit of justice, and 
that portion of courage, as may both enable and dispose me 
to judge and determine those weighty affairs, which may this 
day fall unto my consideration, without error or perplexity, 
without fear or affection, without prejudice or passion, without 
vanity or ostentation, but in a manner agreeable to the obli- 
gation of the oath and dignity of that station to which Thou 
in Thy good providence hast been pleased to advance me." 

The chief baron was twice married. His first wife was 
Mary, one of the two daughters and co-heirs of Thomas 
Smith, Esq., of Thrandeston Hall, Suffolk. She died in 
July 1736 ; and on September 11 of that year he made his 
will, leaving his Cambridgeshire estates to James Reynolds, 
chief justice of the Irish Common Pleas. His second wife 

was Alicia, daughter of Rainbird, whom he married 

just a year after his first wife's death ; for by a codicil to his 
will dated September 12, 1737, he revokes his previous 
devise to the chief justice, and devises his estates to her. 
He left no issue by either wife. On his elevation to the 
bench he resigned the recordership of Bury, but showed his 
affection for that borough by leaving 200/. to its corporation. 
His widow afterwards became the wife of Mr. Richard 
Markes of Famham St. Genevieve; and then of Robert 
Plampin, Esq., of Chadacre Hall in Suffolk, whom she also 
survived, and died in 1776.* 

' For many of the paiticalars in thia and the tacceeding memoir, I am 
indebted to the kindness of the Venerable Archdeacon Hale, of the Rev. J. G. 

1727—1760. JAMES BEYNOLBS (2). 163 

K E. 1740. 

This judge, who was bom in 1684, was, according to the 
inscription on his monument at Castle Camps, Cambridge- 
shire, "the last male descendant of Sir James Reynolds, 
Knight, who flourished in these parts in the reign of Queen 
Elizabeth." Though I am unable to state with certainty the 
real connection by relationship between him and Chief Baron 
James Reynolds, I conceive, for the reasons already given in 
the life of the latter, that he was the nephew of the chief 
baron, although bom two years before that judge. They 
both had property in the manor of Castle Camps, which lies 
on the borders of Essex in the neighbourhood of Bumstead- 
Helions. The baron is described in the books of Lincoln's 
Inn, to which he was admitted in February 1704, as the son 
and heir-apparent of Robert Reynolds of Bumstead in Essex. 
This gentleman I believe was the half-brother of Chief Baron 
James Reynolds, and a son of James Reynolds of Bumstead 
by his first wife Judith, the daughter of Sir William Hervey 
of Ickworth. Robert married Kesiah Tyrrell, the grand- 
daughter of Sir William Hervey, another of whose daughters, 
Kesiah, married Thomas Tyrrell of Gipping in Suffolk. 

The baron was called to the bar in May 1710 ; but nothing 
is recorded of him till he was sent to Ireland on November 
3, 1727, as chief justice of the Common Pleas. In that 
court he sat for thirteen years, and by his professional talents 
and accomplished manners endeared himself to all parties. 
On retiring from this honourable post he was appointed a 
baron of the English Exchequer, and took his seat there in 
May 1740, in the place of Mr. Baron Parker, removed to 

Bode of Castle Camps, of the Bey. A. H. Wratislaw, and of Mr. Herbert Frere 
of Great Yarmoath, a connection of the famil/. See also Notes and Qneries, 
3rd Series, I 235, iii. 54. 

M 2 

164 DUDLEY RYDER. Geohgb II. 

the court of Common Pleas. He was not knighted till May 
23, 1745, on going up with the judges' address. He ad- 
ministered justice on the English bench for seven years, and 
dying on May 20, 1747, he was buried in the church of 
Castle Camps ; and as his monument there was erected by 
his sister Judith, it is probable that he never married.* 


Ch. E. B. 1754. 

The excellence of the English constitution in opening the 
door of honour for the entrance of merit, without regard to 
pedigree, obtains another illustration in the advance of Dud- 
ley Ryder, by the force of talents and industry, to the head 
of the highest court of law, and to the threshold of the House 
of Peers, which a sudden death only prevented him from 
entering. His grandfather was the Rev. Dudley Ryder, a 
nonconformist minister living at Bedworth in Warwick- 
shire. His father was Richard Ryder, a respectable mercer 
in the Cloisters, West Smithfield, London ; where his elder 
brother carried on the same business. His mother was 

Elizabeth, daughter of Marshall. He was their second 

son, and was born on November 4, 1691. His education 
commenced at a dissenting school at Hackney, whence he 
was sent first to the University of Edinburgh and then to 
that of Leyden. By two lines in the satirical poem, the 
" Causidicade," which has been before referred to, he appears 
to have been designed for the ministry. The author makes 
a Puritan candidate for the solicitor-generalship say, 

" The Cloak and the Band, it is very well known, 
I've, like R — d— r, declined for the sake of this gown." 

That this had some foundation seems probable, from his not 

choosing the law as his profession till he was twenty-two 

1 Smyth's Law Off. of Ireland, 121,309; Gent. Mag. at the dates. See note 
to the last life. 

1727—1760. DUDLEY ETDEB. 165 

years of age. He delayed his admission to the Middle 
Temple as a student till 17 IS^ and was not called to the bar 
till 1719. Like Lord Talbot he subsequently remored to 
Lincoln's Inn, where he was called to the bench in 1733, and 
made treasurer in the following year. 

His success in prosecuting his forensic duties was secured 
by his abilities, his attention, and his punctuality; which 
met their reward in December 1733 when Sir Philip Yorke 
and Mr. Talbot received their promotion. Mr. Ryder, who 
had been in the early part of that year elected representative 
in parliament for St. Germains in the place of one of their 
deceased members, was then appointed solicitor-general. He 
filled this office till January 1737, when he succeeded Sir 
John Willes as attorney-general. In the next year he seems 
to have been designed for the successor of Sir Joseph Jekyll 
as master of the EoUs, and his appointment was actually 
announced ; but probably on account of his disinclination to 
the post, it was given to the Hon. John Vemey. Mr. Ryder 
was knighted in May 1740; and for more than seventeen 
years he filled this important office, no vacancy in the head- 
ship of either of the principal common law courts occurring 
in the interval. One of the most unpleasant duties he had 
to perform was that of conducting the trials of the noblemen 
and others who were concerned in the Rebellion of 1745, the 
details of which are narrated in pp. 529-864 of vol. xviii. of 
Howell's " State Trials." He represented Tiverton in the 
parliaments of 1735, 1741, and 1747; and was a fi'equent 
speaker ; principally on subjects connected with his official 
position, and defending bills introduced by the government. 
None of his speeches were particularly brilliant, but all 
showed extreme good sense and temperance in judgment. 

The death of Sir William Lee at length gave the ministers 
the opportunity of rewarding the long services of Sir Dud- 
ley, who was accordingly, with the approbation of Lord 

166 JOHN STRANGE. George II. 

Chancellor Hardwicke, inaugurated as lord chief justice of the 
King's Bench on May 2, 1754. He presided in that court 
for little more than two years ; but long enough to prove 
himself so efficient and accomplished a judge, that his eleva- 
tion to the peerage was determined upon, the warrant signed, 
and a day appointed for him to kiss hands as Lord Ryder of 
Harrowby. But being taken ill on the same day he could 
not attend; and dying on May 25, 1756, the day after, 
before the patent was completed, the creation of course fell 
to the ground. That his son's name was not immediately 
substituted was considered by some as a hardship ; and the 
omission, which was probably occasioned by his minority, 
was not supplied till twenty years afterwards, when being 
ennobled by the same title, he adopted the happy motto 
" Servata fides cineri." The chief justice was buried at 
Grantham, where there is a handsome monument erected to 
his memory. 

By his wife Anne, daughter of Nathaniel Newnham of 
Streatham in Surrey, he left an only son, who, having been 
created Baron Harrowby in 1776, was succeeded by his son 
Dudley, who for his services to the crown in various impor- 
tant offices was promoted to an earldom in 1809, to which* 
was added the Viscounty of Sandon in Staffordshire.^ 


B. £. 1750. CoK. Q. S. 1756. 

See under the Reign of George HI. 

M. B. 1750. 

Sir John Strange, who was bom about 1695, is described 
in his admission to the Middle Temple in 1712 as the son and 

CqUins's Peerage, t. 717; Walpole*8 Memoirs, ii. 46; Strange, 1183; 
Barrow's S.C. 365, 368; Qeat. Mag. at dates. 

1727—1760. JOHN STBAK6E. 167 

heir of John Strange of Fleet Street, gentleman. He was for 
Bome time a pupil of Mr. Salkeld of Brooke Street, Holbom, 
the attorney in whose chambers Lord Hardwicke had before 
had a seat ; and Mr. Harris relates that he used to carry his 
master's bag to Westminster (which in my time clerks did 
not consider an indignity) and witnessed Sir Joseph Jekyll's i 

first appearance as master of the Rolls in 1717, little think- i 

ing that he himself should eventually fill the same office.^ 
He was called to the bar in the next year, and appears as 
junior counsel for the Crown in 1722 and for several years 
after. In 1725 he was engaged for the defence in the im- 
peachment of the Earl of Macclesfield, the result of which, 
notwithstanding the able advocacy of himself and his col- 
leagues, was so disastrous to his noble client. 

His Reports, which were not published till after his death, 
were commenced in Trinity Term 1729. He maintained 
such a reputation at the bar that he was appointed king's 
counsel in February 1736, when he was called to the bench 
of his inn, and elected autumn reader in the following year. 
In the previous Hilary Term he became solicitor-general, on 
tiie promotion of Sir Dudley Ryder, and succeeded Sir John 
■ Willes, the new chief justice of the Common Pleas, as the re- 
presentative of West Looe ; commencing his senatorial career 
by a long speech against the provost and city of Edinburgh 
arising out of the murder of Captain Porteous. In Novem- 
ber 1739 he was elected recorder of London in the place of 
Mr. Baron Thomson, the citizens thinking that an office 
which a judge had condescended to hold, might with equal 
propriety be filled by a solicitor-general. In the next year 
he received the honour of knighthood. 

To the surprise of Westminster Hall he resigned both 
these offices in December 1742 ; when Mr. Seijeant Urling 
succeeded him as recorder, and the Hon. William Murray 

> Harris's life of Lord Hardwicke, i. 33. 

168 JOHN STRANGE. GeoroeXJ:^, 

(afterwards Lord Mansfield) as solicitor-general. Sir John 
in his Reports (p. 1176) thus accounts for his retirement: 

" Memorandum. — Having received a considerable addition 
to my fortune, and some degree of ease and retirement being 
judged proper for my health, I this term resigned my offices 
of solicitor-general, king's counsel, and recorder of the city 
of London, and left off my practice at the House of Lords, 
Council Table, Delegates, and all the courts in Westminster 
Hall except the King's Bench, and there also at the afternoon 
sittings. His Majesty, when at a private audience I took 
my leave of him, expressed himself with the greatest goodness 
towards me, and honoured me with his patent to take place 
for life next to his attorney-general. Anno setatis mesB 47." 

Other motives than those he here assigns are attributed to 

him in the following lines in the before-cited poem, called 

the " Causidicade " (p. 3), in which the claims of the various 

supposed candidates for the vacant office are satirised. 

'' The inquisitor-general resigning his place, 
As wisely foreseeing approaching disgrace i , 

Or to cross his proud rival, and so raise his brother^ 
In fee with the S — ^I's,— or, for some cause or other, 
Ohlig*d from his post to advance or retreat, 
He chus'd e'en the last, for merely the state 
And parade of appearance in speaking the second, 
In his cap a mere feather, as most people reckoned. 
Thus a captain of horse his commission gives up 
To he only the dexter*hand man of the troop," 

A certain forwardness of pretension is afterwards (p. 14) 

imputed to him, in the address of the Lord Chancellor to 

Mr. W — br — m, a modest applicant: 

''But there's an objection, I own of the oddest, 
Which stands in your way, — ^you are really too modest 
It requires an assurance, and one that can push on, — 
As witness the wight who was last in possession.'^ 

The only occasion on which he appears not to have per- 
aisted in his resolution to confine his practice to the Court of 

1727—1760. CHARLES TALBOT. 169 

King's Bench^ was in aseifitlng at the trialfl in 1746 at St. 
Margaret's Hill, Southwark, and in the House of Lords, of 
the prisoners implicated in the theQ late rebellion. 

His last promotion was on January 11, 1750, when he was 
selected to supply the vacancy in the office of master of the 
BoUs, occasioned by the death of William Fortescue. After 
enjoying it for about four years he died on May 18, 1754, 
and was buried in the Bolls Chapel. He continued in par- 
liament till his death, representing Totness since 1741 ; but 
no speech of his is reported except that before mentioned in 
1737. Five years after his decease his son published his 
Reports in all the four courts, extending from 1729 to 1748 ; 
which were considered of so much value as to require three 
subsequent editions. Whatever the satirist may say, it is 
clear that he enjoyed the esteem and friendship of Lord 
Hardwicke ; and the Duke of Newcastle on his death speaks 
of him as " one whom he honoured and loved extreamly for 
his many excellent publick qualities and most amiable private 
ones." He adds, " I scarce know any man with whom I 
had so little acquaintance that I should more regret." 

He married Susan, daughter and co-heir of Edward Strong, 
Esq., of Greenwich, by whom he had two sons and seven 
daughters. His eldest son John became British resident at 
Venice, and was a very distinguished antiquary and naturalist.^ 

TALBOT, CHARLES, Lord Talbot. 
LoKD CHAva 1733. 

From illustrious ancestors, ennobled almost from the time of 
the Conquest, Charles Talbot traces his descent. The branch 
to which he directly belonged was that of Sir Gilbert Talbot, 
the third son of John, second Earl of Shrewsbury, who 

1 State Trials, zH-xviii.; Pari Hist. z. 275; Strange, 1068, 1133, 1176; 
City List of Recorders; Pat 23 Geo. IL p. 3, n. 15; Hanis's Hardwicke, 
iii. 1 1 ; Notes and Qaeries, 3rd Series, i. 353. 


flourished in the reign of Henry VIII. In lineal succession 
from Sir Gilbert came William Talbot, bishop successively 
of Oxford (1699), of Salisbury (1715), and of Durham (1722), 

who, by his second wife, Catherine, daughter of King, 

an alderman of London, was the father of a large family of 
sons and daughters. His eldest son was the future lord 
chancellor, who was bom in the year 1684, and was sent in 
1701 to complete his education at Oriel College, Oxford, 
where he stayed three years. Having then proceeded to his 
bachelor's degree, he was elected fellow of All Souls' College, 
and purposed to devote himself to the clerical profession. 
But by the recommendation of Lord Chancellor Cowper he 
was induced reluctantly to forego this intention, and to enter 
the legal arena, as more calculated to exhibit and turn to 
useful account the extraordinary talents with which he had 
been gifted. ^ 

He accordingly entered the Inner Temple in June 1707, 
and waa called to the bar in September 1711. His abilities 
were soon recognised, and before many years he had acquired 
the leading practice in the Equity Courts, to which the 
countenance of Lord Cowper no doubt contributed. Before 
his lordship retired from the chancellorship, Mr. Talbot was 
appointed, in May 1717, solicitor-general to the Prince of 
Wales, and in April 1726 he was promoted to the same office 
in the service of the king. In that year he was elected 
bencher, treasurer, and Lent reader to his original inn of 
court, the Inner Temple ; and also bencher, treasurer, and 
master of the library to Lincoln's Inn, to which society he 
had been ako admitted in 1718, for the purpose of occupying 
chambers there. ^ He became a member of parliament in 
1719, on a vacancy in the borough of Tregony ; but in the 
next parliament of 1722 he was returned for Durham, of 

' Lord Campbeirs Cbancellors, iy. 654. 

1727—1760. CHABLE8 TALBOT. 171 

which his father had then been made bishop ; and was again 
elected its representative in the first parliament of George II. 

That king continued him in his office of solicitor-general, 
and he and the attorney-general, Sir Philip Yorke, exercised 
im almost absolute supremacy in the practice of the Court of 
Chancery, remedying, it is said, even when engaged on 
opposite sides, the somnolency of Lord Chancellor King, by 
settling the minutes in the causes with justice to both parties. 
Mr. Talbot's professional income at this time must have been 
very large; but he was unworthily taxed by the munificent 
extravagance of his father, being obliged on two several 
occasions to pay the debts which the bishop had incurred in 
excess of his splendid revenue. 

So meagre are the accounts of forensic or parliamentary 
eloquence at this time, that few examples remain of that 
which Mr. Talbot displayed either as an advocate or a senator ; 
and those only of an official character. But there can be no 
doubt, not only of his general reputation as an orator, but of 
the esteem and respect in which he was held both as a lawyer 
and as a man, since his elevation to the highest judicial 
dignity in the State met with universal approbation. That 
occurred on the resignation of Lord King, when the Great 
Seal was delivered to him as lord chancellor on Novem- 
ber 29^ 1733 ; a few days after which he was ennobled with 
the title of Baron Talbot of Hensol in Glamorganshire, an 
estate formerly belonging to the celebrated Welsh judge 
David Jenkins, which he had acquired by his marriage in 
1711 with the judge's descendant, Cecil, daughter and heir 
of Charles Matthews, Esq., of Castle Mynach in that county. 
His promotion was celebrated at the Inner Temple by a 
splendid entertainment, described in a former page, and 
noted as the last of the ancient revels, in the performance 
of which the Inns of Court were wont to take so much pride* 

No man ever occupied the high position he had attained 

172 CHARLES TALBOT. Geobge U. 

with more unmixed admiration ; nor did the death of any 
great judicial dignitary ever cause so much general lamenta- 
tion. Living too short a time to excite the jealousy of his 
colleagues in the ministry, or to become obnoxious to the 
Opposition, he presided long enough in his court to prove 
himself a most efficient and impartial judge. His patience 
in listening to arguments, his discrimination in sifting facts, 
his readiness in applying precedents, and the reasons upon 
which he founded his judgments, made his decrees acceptable 
to the legal community, and prevented murmurs even among 
the unsuccessful litigants. The purity of his life, his unble- 
mished integrity, his humanity to the distressed, his liberality 
to all, his gentleness of manners, his urbanity, cheerfulness 
and wit, gained him so many friends, and were so universally 
recognised, that he not only escaped the vituperation of 
^political writers during his life, but both parties after his 
death vied with each other, both in prose and verse, in 
unqualified encomiums on his character. 

A story is told of him, that after he had promised a valuable 
living to a friend of Sir Robert Walpole^ the curate of the 
late incumbent called upon him with a petition from the 
parishioners, testifying to his merits and his poverty, and 
entreating his lordship to use his influence with the new 
rector to continue him in the curacy. After some little 
conversation with him and finding that his stipend was only 
60i. a year, his lordship kindly promised not only to comply 
with the request, but also to do what he could to get the 
salary raised. When the rector-expectant came to thank 
him for his promise, his lordship mentioned the curate's 
petition, and begged it might be granted. " I should be 
happy to oblige your lordship," replied the clergyman, " but 
I have promised my curacy to a particular friend." " Pro- 
mised your curacy 1 what, sir, before the living is yours ? " 
"Yes, my lord." "Then, sir," exclaimed the chancellor. 

1727— 1760, WILLIAM THOMSON. 173 

with warmth^ " I will afford you an admirable opportunity of 
dismissing your friend^ — I will dispose of the living else- 
where ; " and without suffering a reply^ dismissed him. On 
the curate's waiting upon him to know the result of his 
application^ he told him that he was sorry to say that he could 
not get him the curacy ; but on the poor man bowing and 
offering to retire^ the chancellor stopped him and said, 
" Though I cannot give you the curacy, I can give you the 
living, and yours it is ; so you may write to your family and 
tell them that although you applied only for the curacy, your 
merit and your modesty have obtained for you the living." ^ 

His short but illustrious career was terminated on Febru- 
ary 14, 1737, by an attack of inflammation on the lungs. 
His remains were removed from his house in Lincoln's Inn 
Fields to be interred in the church of Barrington in Glou- 
cestershire, where his residence was situated. 

By his lady he left five sons. His successor William was 
created Earl Talbot in 1761, but dying without male issue 
in 1782 the earldom became extinct, and the barony devolved 
on his cousin John Talbot; in whom the earldom was revived 
in 1784, with the addition of the viscounty of Ingestrie; 
titles which are still borne by his descendant, together with 
that of Earl of Shrewsbury, to which the present peer 
succeeded in 1856.* 

Cubs. B. E, 1727. B. K 1729. 
See ander the Beign of George I. 

The life of this judge presents both an uncommon succession 
of offices, and an extraordinary combination of them. First, 
he was recorder of London, and then solicitor-general, — a 

> Law and lawyers, ii. 147. Lord Campbell Bays (Chanc v. 636) (hat Lord 
Thurlow was the chancellor who so acted. 
' Wclsby's Judgea, 263; Birch's Lives, 148; CoUins's Peerage, v. 234. 


legitimate advance ; — next, on being dismissed from the latter, 
he accepted the insignificant ofiice of cursitor baron of the 
Exchequer ; and lastly, he was raised to the bench of that 
court as an actual judicial baron. But what was most 
remarkable was that he retained the place of City recorder 
after his appointment to his three other posts, and held it till 
his death ; — a plurality which was either forced upon him by 
the general impression of his superior abilities, — of which 
there is no evidence, — or was the effect of a greediness of 
gain, which blinded him to the impropriety of filling positions 
in some measure incompatible with each other, and certainly 
with respect to his last promotion differing greatly in their 
dignity and degree. 

William Thomson was the second son of a barrister and 
bencher of the Middle Temple of the same names, and, with 
his elder brother Stephen, was admitted into that society 
in 1688, but not called to the bar till 1698. In 1708 he was 
returned to parliament as member for Orford in Suffolk, and 
to him the Whig party entrusted the enforcement of the third 
charge in their suicidal impeachment of Dr. SacheverelL He 
performed this duty with sufiicient point, and so satisfactorily 
to the promoters of the prosecution that he was employed as 
junior counsel in the proceedings against the rioters, whom 
the popular disgust had inflamed to the commission of unjus- 
tifiable outrages. The consequence was that he lost his seat 
in the new parliament of 1710, and that a Tory house voted 
his petition against the candidate returned instead of him to 
be frivolous and vexatious. In the following parliament of 
February 1714, called within a few months before the death 
of Queen Anne, he was elected for Ipswich, which he con- 
tinued to represent till he was raised to the bench ; and on 
March 3 of that year he was chosen recorder of the city of 
London ; but so nearly were parties divided that it was only 
by the casting vote of the lord mayor that he succeeded. In 

1727—1760. WILLIAM THOMSON. 175 

this character it vas his fortune to read the addresses of 
congratulation to both George I. and George II. On the 
former occasion probably he was knighted, as he is desig- 
nated with the title shortiy after, when acting as one of the 
managers on tiie trial of the Earl of Wintoun for the part 
taken by him in tiie Rebellion of 1715.^ 

In February 1717 he succeeded Sir John Fortesoue- Aland 
as solicitor-general ; but by his jealous and grasping disposition 
he lost it in three years, and was expeUed £rom the office with 
disgrace. In the numerous charters of incorporation granted 
to the joint-stock companies by which the public were then 
tempted and tric'ked, the attorney-general Lechmere had 
benefited by tiie fees more largely than himself. Sir 
William, envious of his colleague's advantages, had the folly 
to denounce him as guilty of corruption before the committee 
appointed to enquire into all tiiose companies ; alleging that 
he had not only pocketed large bribes, but had permitted 
public biddings for charters at his chambers as at an auction. 
Lechmere of course could not allow such an imputation to 
remain upon him ; a searching investigation was made into 
its trutii; and the result was a unanimous vote that the 
charges were malicious, false, scandalous and utterly ground- 
less. For this disgraceful slander Sir William was dismissed 
on March 17, 1720; and the office of solicitor-general was 
given to Sir Philip Yorke, a man who became the ornament 
of his time and the pride of his court Sir WiUiam, in no 
ways abashed, still kept his seat in parliament and his place 
as recorder; and in 1724 so far recovered his position as to 
obtain the grant of an annuity of 1200/., and a patent of 
precedence in all courts after the attorney and solicitor- 

Not yet content, he accepted on June 27, 1726, the inferior 

> State Trials, xt. 157, 438, 595, 645, 683, 869; Citjr List of Recorden* 
' Towxuend's Hoase of Commons, i. 451 ; Pat 10 Geo. L pb 2. 

176 JOHN VERNET. George II. 

place of cursitor baron of the Exchequer, yacant by the death 
of Sir William Simpson, who had held it during three reigns. 
This office he occupied for the remainder of the reign, of 
George I., and for two years in that of George II., still 
acting as recorder by himself or his deputies, Seijeants Raby 
and Urling. On November 27, 1729, he was, by a very 
unusual step, advanced from the executive office of cursitor 
baron, to that of a judicial baron, having been on the previous 
day made a Serjeant for the purpose, and his present patent 
differing from the former by designating his new appointment 
as that of baron ** of the coife." Even with this honourable 
office of one of the twelve judges of England, he would not 
deprive himself of the profits of the inconsistent place of 
recorder : but after sitting in the Exchequer for nearly ten 
years, he died in the possession of both, on October 27, 1739, 
at Bath.* By his will he left a ring to all the aldermen of 
London, and his portrait to the corporation. He married 
Julia, daughter of Sir Christopher Conyers of Horden in 
Durham, and widow of Sir William Blackett of Wallington 
in Northumberland, Bart.^ 

H. B. 1738. 

The Honourable John Vemey was the youngest of the four 
sons of George fourth Lord Willoughby de Broke, by Mar- 
garet, daughter and heir of Sir John Heath of Brasted in 
Kent, the son of Sir Robert, the persecuted judge in the 
reign of Charles I. He studied the law at the Middle 
Temple, where he was entered in 1715, and called to the bar 
in 1721. He represented Downton in the last parliament 
of George I. and in the first of George II. ; and while a 

* Pat. 12 Geo. I. p. 2; Pat 3 Geo. II. p. 1 ; Gent Mag. iz. 554. 
' Wotton*s Baronet, iii. 552. For manj of these facts I have to repeat my 
thanks to my indefatigable friend W. Darrant Cooper, Esq. F.S.A. 

1727—1760. MARTIN WEIGHT. 177 

member of the former he was made a judge of South Wales. 
George II. selected huu to be one of his counsel^ and in 1729 
appointed him attorney-general to Queen Caroline. His 
next promotion was in December 1733 as chief-justice of 
Chester in the place of John Willes^ Esq. ; and on the death 
of Sir Joseph Jekyll he succeeded as master of the Rolls on 
October 9, 1738. After enjoying this comfortable judicial 
seat not quite three years, he died on August 5, 1741. 

He married Abigail, only daughter of Edward Harley of 
Eyewood in Herefordshire, and sister of the first Earl of 
Oxford ; and by her he left a son, John Pey to Verney, who, 
upon the death of his uncles without issue, became sixth Lord 
Willoughby de Broke,* 


Ch. C. p. 1737. Com, G. S. 1756. 

See ander the Beign of George HI. 


Just. K. B. 1755. Cox. Q. S. 1756. 

See under the Reign of George HI. 

B. E. 1739. JuBT. K B. 1740. 

Of Sir Martin Wright's lineage I have no information; but 
believe him to have been of a Hampshire family, his posses- 
sions and his purchases being principally in that county. 
He was bom on March 24, 1691, and was the younger 
brother of Thomas Wright, Esq., whose daughter Elizabeth 
married Sir John Guise of Highnam, Bart. Very little is 
told of him beyond his legal education at the Inner Temple, 
which he entered in November 1709, and his call to the bar 
in June 1718. 

" Collins's Peerage, it. 71, vi. 701 ; Pat. 12 Geo. n. p. 1, n. 42. 

178 PHILIP TORKE. Geoboe II. 

He published in 1730 " An Introduction to the Law of 
Tenures," which went through many editions, and no doubt 
assisted his elevation to the bench of the Exchequer in No- 
vember 1739 in the place of Baron Sir William Thomson, and 
his removal to the Court of King's Bench on November 28, 
1740, in the place of Sir Edmund Probyn. He was not 
knighted till November 23, 1745, when he went up with the 
judges' address on the rebellion; and after being nearly 
sixteen years on the bench he resigned his seat on February 
1, 1755. He lived more than twelve years after, and died at 
Fulham on September 26, 1767, leaving by his wife, Eliza- 
beth, one of the two daughters and co-heirs of Hugh Wil- 
loughby, Esq., M.D., of Barton Stacey in Hampshire, two 
sons and two daughters, who all died without issue. The 
youngest son, an eccentric character, on his decease in 1814, 
at the age of eighty-seven, bequeathed his estates amounting 
to 3,000Z. a year to Lady Frances Wilson, the wife of Sir 
Henry Wilson of Chelsea Park, with whom he was totally 
unacquainted, but had seen and admired her at the opera 
nearly twenty years before, when she was Lady Frances 

YORKE, PHH^IP, Eabl of Haedwioke. 
Ch. K. B. 1733. Lord Chang. 1737. 

The character of this great man and distinguished judge 
has had scanty justice done to it by his biographers. Living 
when party spirit ran extravagantly high, it is not surprising 
that the estimate formed of it by the opposing factions should 
be as wide apart as their political opinions; but even his 
greatest vituperators, while criticising, and perhaps con- 
demning, his proceedings as a statesman, are forced to 
acknowledge his transcendent abilities as a magistrate. It 

" Strange, 1148; Watt's Bibliog. Brit.; Gent. Mag. ix. 606, x. 571, xv. 612, 
xxxvii. 524, IxxxiT. 308. 

1727— 1760, PHILIP TOBKE. 179 

is, however, curious to see two of his opponents differ widely 
in their remarks. Lord Chesterfield says that Lord Hard- 
wicke ''was never in the least suspected of any kind of 
corruption ; " that " he was an agreeable eloquent speaker 
in parliament;" and that "he was a cheerful instructive 
companion, humane in his nature, decent in his manners, 
and unstained by any vice (except avarice)." Horace 
Walpole, to whom he was a subject of personal aversion, on 
the contrary insinuates the reverse of all this, speaking of 
''the extent of his baseness;" and asserting that "in the 
House of Lords he was laughed at — in the cabinet despised : " 
thus carrying his inveteracy to. so absurd a degree that no 
reliance can be placed on anything that he relates. The best 
memoir is the one in Mr. Welsby's collection ; but both that 
and Lord Campbell's give too much weight to the "sketch" 
published by Mr. Cooksey in 1791, and to the gossiping and 
malicious stories contained in the letter introduced in the 
sketch from an anonymous correspondent, who vents the 
most virulent abuse, and even commits the gross extra- 
vagance of charging Lord Hardwicke with causing his 
nephew to be sent on a fatal expedition, in order that by his 
death he might succeed to his property — in short, accusing 
him of a conspiracy to murder. Lord Campbell, though of 
the same party and approving his political principles, and of 
the same profession and cognisant of the veneration with 
which his memory is regarded by its members, seems to 
grudge the encomiums he is obliged to bestow, attenuating 
them by so many qualifications, that the reader cannot but 
regret that his lordship did not recollect his own remark, that 
" historians and biographers make sad mistakes when they 
begin to assign motives — which however they often do as 
peremptorily as if they lived in famiUar confidence with those 
whose actions they narrate." A subsequent Life has been pub- 
lished by Mr. George Harris in three volumes, which is written 

N S 

180 PHILIP YORKE. George IX. 

in so lengthy and uninteresting a style, and interlarded with 
so much extraneous matter and so many insignificant details, 
that it has not met with the favour to which it would have 
otherwise been entitled, for the valuable materials and 
authentic documents which the author has had an opportunity 
of furnishing. 

Simon Yorke, the grandfather of Lord Hardwicke (de- 
scended, according to the inscription on his grave in St. 
James's Church, Dover, from the ancient family of Yorke 
long settled in North Wiltshire), left his native county at 
the time of the Great Kebellion and established himself as a 
merchant at Dover. By the council books of that corpora- 
tion, it appears that at the Restoration he was restored to the 
office of common councilman. At his death in 1682 he left 
several sons, one of whom, Philip, pursued the profession of 
the law with great success in the same town, where he filled 
the office of town clerk, and occupied one of the handsomest 
houses, the antique beauty and great extent of which are 
remembered by some of its present inhabitants. This 
Philip married Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Richard 
Gibbon of Dover, and widow of her cousin Edward Gibbon 
of Westcliffe near that town, whose namesake and descendant 
became illustrious in literature as the historian of the ^^ De- 
cline and Fall of the Roman Empire." Of the numerous 
family he had by her only three survived him, one son, the 
subject of the present sketch, and two daughters. That his 
death did not occur till June 1721, is a pregnant refutation 
of the report that he was distressed in his circumstances and 
died in despair ; inasmuch as his son had long before that 
date gained an eminent position at the bar, had for the seven 
previous years been a inember of parliament, and for more 
than a year had held the prominent and profitable post of 
solicitor-general. This report originated as far as I can 
trace, for no allusion is made to the alleged indigence of the 

1727—1760. PHILIP TORKE. 181 

father by any of the son's contemporaries^ in the anonymous 
letter before mentioned, which Mr. Cooksey thought fit to 
publish, although containing a variety of frivolous details 
not tending, as the writer candidly professes, " to flatter his 
lordship's memory." The tale, without any better authority, 
has been subsequently repeated ; and Lord Campbell per- 
petually harps upon the penury under which the chancellor 
commenced his career. Its improbability is apparent from 
the fact that several estates belonging to the father have 
remained in the family till the present generation ; and it is 
contrary to all likelihood that a prosperous son who inscribed 
a tablet in the church to the memory of his parents at the 
death of his mother in 1727, concluding with the expressive 

'' Qao0 amor in viti conjunzit, non ipsa mors diyisit/' 

would suffer poverty to overtake them during their lives. 
This monument still exists in old St. James's Church, 

Philip Yorke, the son, was bom at Dover on December 1, 
1690 ; and received his education at a school of considerable 
reputation at Bethnal Green, kept by Mr. Samuel Morland^ 
a man of great classical attainments. He continued there 
till Christmas 1706, when he was sixteen years of age, 
having by his diligence, his talents and general behaviour, 
earned the affection of his master, who for some years after- 
wards kept up a Latin correspondence with him. Two of 
Mr. Morland's letters are preserved: the first is dated 
in February, 1706-7, written soon after Yorke left the 
school, in which the proud tutor not only predicts his pupil's 
future celebrity, but declares that he reputes that the 
happiest day of his life on which he was entrusted with his 
education. The other is dated October 1708, and addressed 
to his pupil at Mr. Salkeld's in Brooke Street, Holbom ; to 

182 PHILIP YORKE. Georor II. 

whom his father had sent him for his elementary legal studies. 
Mr. Salkeld was not, as some biographers have stated, the 
learned serjeant of that name (a natural mistake, as he was 
then in full practice, and lived for several years after, and as 
his well-known Reports were first published under the care 
of Lord Hardwicke) ; but he was the Serjeant's brother, and 
an eminent attorney, who must have held a high rank among 
his brethren, since in his office Viscount Jocelyn, lord chan- 
cellor of Ireland, Sir Thomas Parker, lord chief baron, 
and Sir John Strange, master of the Bolls, besides Lord 
Hardwicke, the most eminent of all, were at different times 
seated as pupils. 

That Mr. Salkeld was Mr. Yorke's London agent, or that 
he received the son as his " gratis clerk," there is no other 
authority than the gossip of Mr. Cooksey's anonymous cor- 
respondent. The improbability, if not the falsehood, of both 
stories, is evident from the fact that Mr. Yorke, two months 
before his son left school, commissioned a relative in London 
to find an eminent attorney with whom to place his son ; 
which would have been quite unnecessary had he had any 
previous connexion with Mr. Salkeld : and in the same let- 
ter, so far from alluding to his supposed poverty or intimating 
a wish to avoid the expense, he desires his friend ^^ to learn 
the termes on which he may be disposed of.'' Neither does it 
appear at all, though generally asserted, that the son was 
intended for his father's branch of the profession ; but on the 
contrary, the expression used by his father in the above 
letter is that he is " desirous to place him with an eminent 
attorney in the Common Pleas for three years, that by the 
practis of the lawe he may be better qualified for the study 
of it." This term was not a sufficient service then^ any 
more than it is now, to enable a clerk to be admitted an 
attorney ; and the father's expression seems clearly to show 
his inclination to bring his son up to the bar. Jeremy 

1727—176?. PHILIP YORKE. 183 

Bentham also, in a letter to Mr. Cooksey, states expressly 
that the father " intending him for the bar, very judiciously 
placed him with Mr. Salkeld ;" ^ and that he did so intend 
is confirmed by the fact that before the young student had 
been two years with Mr. Salkeld, he was on November 29, 
1708, actually admitted a member of the Middle Temple. 

The anecdote told of Mrs. Salkeld sending him on family 
errands, and to fetch in little necessaries from the markets ; 
and of the ingenious mode he took for putting a stop to the 
practice by charging Mr. Salkeld with coach-hire for the 
carriage, has little bearing on the question. Besides the 
recollection that youth was not so tenacious and dignified as 
in the present age, it proves nothing more than that the lady 
took too great advantage of the extreme good-nature, for 
which the young pupil was no doubt then as famous as he 
was in after life. 

Soon after his admission he left Mr. Salkeld^s and took 
chambers in Pump Court in the Temple, where he not only 
pursued with assiduity his legal studies, attending the courts, 
and noting cases, but employed his leisure hours in polite 
literature and philosophical inquiries. There he composed, 
there is little reason to doubt though it has been disputed, 
the letter which appeared in the " Spectator " of April 28, 
1712, under the signature Philip Homebred, ridiculing the 
common practice of sending unfledged youth on foreign 
travel ; the only literary, not legal, performance on which he 
ever ventured. About this time he was introduced to Lord 
Macclesfield, lord chief justice of the King's Bench, either 
(for the narrations vary) by Mr. Salkeld, or Mr. George 
Parker, the chief justice's son, or by Mr. Thomas Parker, 
the chief justice's nephew. The latter was a clerk in Mr. 
Salkeld's ofiice, but probably not at the same time, as he was 
five years Yorke's junior ; so that if he was the introducer, 
I HarriB*! Lord Hardwickc, L 27, 29; Cooksej, 54» 72. 

184 PHILIP YORKE. Okorge II. 

it would appear that Yorke frequented Mr. Salkeld's office 
after his admission to the Middle Temple^ and also was a 
brother-student with Parker in that society. Whatever was 
the object of the introduction, it led to an intimacy most 
beneficial to the young man when he went to the bar. It 
turned out, however, very injurious to the peer, as, it is 
asserted, the favour he showed to Yorke in the court of 
Chancery excited the jealousy of some of his seniors so much 
that it gave additional inveteracy to the earl's prosecution. 

Having passed through the customary period of study, 
Yorke was called to the bar on May 6, 1715, and almost 
immediately obtained considerable employment. That for 
this success he was partly indebted to his legal connexion, 
and partly to the influence of his patron, there can be no 
doubt ; but neither would have availed him had he not shown 
himself competent to improve the opportunities thus put in 
his way. His superiority of talent was soon recognised; 
and that it procured him a large accession of business is 
proved by the anecdote related in the memoir of Sir Little- 
ton Powys. Other and better testimonies of the estimation 
in which he was regarded are to be found in the two following 
facts. Before he had been four years at the bar he was sent 
down by the Government to supply a vacancy in the borough 
of Lewes, and was returned its member on May 2,. 1719. 
And, secondly, his marriage later in the same month with 
Margaret, the daughter of Mr. Charles Cocks of Worcester 
by the sister of Lord Somers, and the young widow of 
Mr. William Lygon of Maddresfield. This lady he had met 
at her uncle's. Sir Joseph Jekyll, whose strong recommenda- 
tion of him and his future prospects overcame the objections 
of the father to a suitor who had no present means of making 
a settlement. 

He kept up constant intercourse with his family and 
friends at Dover, and was appointed recorder or steward of 

1727—1760. PHILIP YOBKE. 185 

that corporation. Nothing appears in this intercourse that 
gives the slightest insinuation of the imputed penury of his 
father. The correspondence to which Mr. Harris has had 
access contains the strongest proofs of Yorke's affection for 
both his parents^ and of his kindness to his sister^ and 
liberality to her and her unfortunate husband, whose indi- 
gence was caused by his dissipation and misconduct. It also 
affords ample evidence that throughout Yorke's career in life 
he never deserted the friends of his youth, but did what he 
could to advance them : thus manifestly showing the malice 
of Mr. Cooksey's anonymous correspondent in inventing tales 
of a contrary tendency ; which it is to be regretted have 
been too easily repeated by Lord Campbell, without sufficient 
inquiry into their truth. His father lived to see the first 
fruits of his son's success, and died in June 1721, fifteen 
months after his first promotion. 

That promotion took place in less than two years after 
his marriage, when he was selected as the successor of Sir 
William Thomson in the office of solicitor-general, to which 
he was appointed on March 22, 1720, being knighted in the 
following month ; and soon after becoming bencher, treasurer^ 
and autumn reader of the Middle Temple. On the retire* 
mentof Attorney-General Lechmere two months afterwards. 
Sir Philip was too wise to claim the succession to the office, 
but prudently gave way to Sir Robert Baymond, who had 
been solicitor-general at the beginning of the reign. To this 
circumstance it is probable that he alludes when in a letter 
to Baron Comyns about 1735 he speaks of himself as one 
** who knows experimentally what it is to decline a higher 
station, and be content with a lower." ^ But on Sir Robert's 
promotion to the bench four years afterwards, he felt himself 
sufficiently experienced to undertake the vacant office, and 
he accordingly became attorney-general on January 31, 

> Harris, i. 308, 

186 PHILIP YORKE. Gboboe IL 

1724. Thus within nine years after his call to the bar^ and 
before he had attained thirty-four years of age, he had out- 
stripped all his colleagues and become the leader in 
Westminster Hall. If he had been a scion of nobility, or 
surrounded with the highest connexions, it would be idle to 
suppose that he could have attained this eminence by means 
of mere patronage. Had it been so, as recent insinuations 
would have us believe, there would have been some evidence 
in contemporary writers expressive of the dissatisfaction of 
the bar at this last promotion. Whatever misgiving and 
jealousy might have been occasioned by the first advance of 
so young a man, the ability with which he performed the 
duties devolving upon him, his unassuming bearing, with the 
general appreciation of his merits, made the latter promotion 
universally acceptable. 

He filled this office for above ten years, four under George 
I. and six under George II. ; and his excellence both as an 
advocate and as a public prosecutor was acknowledged as 
well by his political opponents as his friends. The first is 
evidenced by the frequent recurrence of his name in the 
Reports of the time, and by the anxiety expressed in many 
private letters from parties desirous of his aid. The last is 
proved by his speeches, remarkable at the same time for their 
humanity and temperance, and for their force and effect ; and 
is unmistakably confirmed by the applause of both sides of 
the House of Commons on an accidental allusion by him to 
his conduct while in office. A magistrate against whom he 
was engaged as counsel thought proper to challenge him, 
and was obliged to ask his pardon in open court in order 
to prevent a criminal information.' His general success is 
manifested by his being enabled to purchase in 1725 the 
manor and estate of Hardwicke in Gloucestershire, which 
cost him about 24,000/. 

> Gent. Mag. L 29. 

1727—1760. PHILIP YORKE. 187 

He continued in parliament from his first election for 
Lewes in 1719 till he was promoted to the upper house in 
1733, being returned for Seaford in the two intervening 
parliaments of 1720 and 1727. Each of these seats he owed 
to the patronage of the Duke of Newcastle, who from the 
first saw his merit and to the last never deserted him. With 
whatever disregard the character of his grace may be treated, 
he cannot be refused the credit of discrimination in this early 
recognition of the talents of a young man who became one 
of the most eflicient supports of his administration. Sir 
Philip's reported speeches as a commoner exhibit that power 
of argument and lucid arrangement for which he was always 
remarkable, and fuUy justify the respect and deference which 
were paid to his opinion in the house. To this feeling on 
the part of his senatorial colleagues may be attributed his 
being excused from taking any part in the impeachment of 
the earl of Macclesfield, on account of the close friendship 
that existed between them. That he took no more steps in 
the Earl's behalf than by speeches in his place in parliament, 
has been unjustly made the ground of animadversion, without 
a suggestion of what more he could have done, and without 
considering that, being a member of the House of Commons, 
he could not take a professional part in the defence of one 
whom that house had chosen to prosecute. It is rather 
laughable that, more than a century after the earl's death, 
he should be pitied for the desertion of a friend — of which 
he himself was never conscious — with whom he kept up a 
cordial intercourse from the time of his trial till his death, 
and to whom in his last letter he describes himself as his 
^' most affectionate and most faithful humble servant." ^ 

In 1727 he published anonymously a work, which has 
been erroneously fathered on Sir Joseph Jekyll, entitled "A 
Discourse on the Judicial Authority belonging to the Master 

I Harria, i 179,222. 

188 PHILIP YORKE. Gbobob U. 

of the Rolls in the High Court of Chancery." It was appa- 
rently in answer to " The History of the Chancery," 
published the year before by Mr. Samuel Burroughs, 
whom Lord Chancellor King rewarded with a mastership in 
Chancery. Sir Philip's book evinced great learning and 
research, and on being answered by Burroughs, with the 
assistance of Warburton, afterwards bishop of Gloucester, 
in a work called " The Legal Judicature in Chancery Stated," 
was republished in a second edition with a preface containing 
an elaborate reply to all the opposing arguments.^ 

Lord Chief Justice Raymond died on March 19, 1733, 
and his place in the court of King's Bench remained vacant 
for nearly eight months, although Sir Philip Yorke was 
regarded as the only competent successor, and although the 
Duke of Somerset was assured by the Duke of Newcastle 
that it was at his own choice to succeed.* It is not unlikely 
that there was some prudent hesitation on his own part to 
leave the profitable position of attorney-general, for he says 
to the Duke of Somerset, '' I am doubtful how suitable the 
office of chief justice of the King's Bench may be to my 
circumstances at this time of life, and with a numerous 
family." Some time probably elapsed in overcoming that 
hesitation, and the rest may be well accounted for in arrang- 
ing the means of doing so. It was at last effected by 
increasing the salary of 2000/. to 4000Z. a year, which Sir 
Philip insisted should not be for himself alone, but for his 
successors also. He was also to be raised to the peerage. 
He was accordingly appointed chief justice on October 31, 
1733, and created Lord Hardwicke on November 23. 

Much credit cannot be placed on the statement made by 
some that he umed at the Seals, but gave way to his friend 
the Solicitor-General Talbot; and still less to the assertion 
made by others, that they were actuaUy offered to him and 

« HarriB, i. 195. « Ibid. I 130. 

1727—1760. PHILIP YORKE. 189 

declined. In the first place^ Lord Chancellor King did not 
resign till a month after Lord Hardwicke had taken his seat 
as chief-justice^ and though he had a fit of illness in August, 
there was no thought of his resignation at the time of Lord 
Raymond's death in the previous March : and secondly, it is 
not likely that a man who felt hesitation on account of his 
large family to accept a permanent place, should be willing 
to risk the chances attending one from which he was liable 
to be removed in a year or a month by political caprice. The 
letter on which Mr. Harris foimds his assertion that Lord 
Hardwicke declined the Seals has a more natural reference 
to his not accepting the attorney-generalship on Lechmere's 
resignation, when his patron the Earl of Macclesfield had the 
nomination. In 1734 he was elected recorder of Gloucester, 
and continued to hold the office till his death, when he was 
succeeded in it by his son Charles Yorke. 

During the three years and a half that he presided over 
the King's Bench he more than satisfied the expectations of 
those who had formed the most favourable opinion of him. 
His legal knowledge, his habitual caution, his firmness and 
discrimination, gave weight to his decisions, and excited 
unquestioned admiration from even those to whom they were 
adverse. In the House of Lords also he shone with equal 
brilliancy. In the speeches he delivered there was so much 
solidity, argument, and eloquence, that his brother peers 
welcomed him as an accomplished colleague. With this 
superiority both as a judge and as a senator, his advance to a 
higher dignity could not but be anticipated. The opportunity 
soon occurred. Lord Talbot died after a short and brilliant 
career ; and on the very day oi^.he event, the Great Seal 
was pressed upon Lord Hardwicke. He hesitated to accept 
the precarious honour, and to give up a permanent position, 
to the duties of which he was accustomed, and in which 
he had the opportunity of providing for his family by the 

190 PHILIP YOBKE. Okobge 1 1. 

expected falling in of a valuable office. This difficulty being 
Boon overcome bj giving him an equivalent in a grant in 
reversion to his eldest son of a tellership of the Exchequer, 
he undertook the office and was constituted lord chancellor 
on February 21, 1737, Horace Walpole tells us that Sir 
Kobert Walpole, " finding it difficult to prevail upon Lord 
Hardwicke to quit a place for life for the higher but more 
precarious dignity of chancellor, worked upon his jealousy, 
and said that " if he persisted in refusing the Seals he must 
offer them to Fazakerley/' " Fazakerley I" exclaimed Lord 
Hardwicke ; " impossible : he is certainly a Tory, perhaps a 
Jacobite.** " It's all very true," replied Sir Robert, taking 
out his watch ; '^ but if by one o'clock you do not accept my 
offer, Fazakerley by two becomes lord keeper of the Great 
Seal, and one of the staunchest Whigs in all England,^ " 
Whatever truth there may be in the joke, the story proves 
that his lordship hesitated to make the change. 

For the next four months Lord Hardwicke held both the 
offices of lord chancellor and lord chief-justice, and occasion- 
ally sat in the King's Bench till June 8, when the appoint- 
ment of Sir William Lee to the latter court took place. 

He retained the Great Seal for nearly twenty years of his 
life, and rendered his name illustrious both as a statesman 
and a judge. The acts and policy of the government, for 
which as a member of it he was responsible, and which he 
moderated by his prudent counsel and supported by his 
powerful eloquence, belong more to the history of the country 
than to the biography of the man. But under Sir Robert 
Walpole's ministry, and those that succeeded it, he still 
maintained his influence, aeaommodating the personal disputes 
and feuds in the cabinet, and looked up to with respect and 
deference by all parties in the senate. He seems to have 
excited the animosity of no one except Horace Walpole, who, 
for some cause or other, takes every opportunity to vilify 

1727—1760. PHILIP TOEKE. 191 

lilm by putting fSsdse oonstructiona on his actions and false 
colouring to his opinions. For his character as a judge, 
whether estimated hj his decisions, or by the arguments by 
which he supported them, or by the principles on which they 
were founded, or, to take a lower standard, by the unadorned 
eloquence in which they were delivered, we have only to 
refer to the satisfaction they gave to his contemporaries, to 
the deference with which they are still always quoted, and 
to the yeneration with which his very name is regarded, even 
at this distance of time, by the ablest practisers of the law. 

Lord Hardwicke's entrance into the chancellorship was 
anything but auspicious. He at once was made to expe- 
rience the disagreeables of office, by being forced to enter 
into the personal disputes of the royal family. He was 
commanded by the king on the very day of his appointment 
to carry an unwelcome message to the Prince of Wales ; the 
sting of which however he managed to make less poignant ; 
and in the future progress of the quarrel, harsh on one side, 
and foolish and insolent on the other, he exerted himself as 
much as possible to effect a reconciliation. 

In the frequent absences of the king from England, Lord 
Hardwicke was always left as one of the lords justices ; and 
with the Duke of Newcastle and his brother, after Sir Robert 
Walpole's resignation, had the principal management of the 
affairs of the kingdom. During one of these intervals com- 
menced the Rebellion of 1745, which was treated at first with 
apathy and indifference, and as of trifling moment, till the 
success of the young Pretender at Preston Pans and his 
march into England roused the country from its lethargy, 
and led to the retreat of the rebel army and its subsequent 
defeat at Culloden. In the trials of the lords engaged in the 
conspiracy. Lord Hardwicke acted as lord high steward; 
conducting them with dignity and firmness; and, though 
some writers have, considered his address to Lord Lovat as 

192 PHILIP YOBKE. George II. 

unnecessarily harsh and personal, it should not be forgotten 
that the occurrence of a second rebellion so soon after that 
of 1715 required a more solemn and circumstantial exposition 
of its enormity, while the vile character and disgraceful 
conduct of the titled criminal justified any severity of remark. 
In July 1749 he was unanimously elected high steward of 
the University of Cambridge ; an honour for which he had 
reason to be proud, conferred as it was on one who, without 
the claim of an academical education, had acquired the repu- 
tation of high classical attainments, in addition to the eminent 
intellectual powers with which he was endowed. After 
having several times declined an advance in the peerage, 
though pressed upon him by ministers, he was at last induced 
to accept it, and on April 2, 1754, was created Earl of Hard- 
wicke and Viscount Royston, dignities which were univer- 
sally recognised as fitting rewards for his long and valuable 
services. For two years and seven months after this elevation 
he continued to execute the duties of his high office, and to 
be one of the most active and efficient advisers in the admi- 
nistration. But when the Duke of Newcastie was forced to 
succumb to the opposition and give way to the Duke of 
Devonshire as first lord of the Treasury, Lord Hardwicke 
took the opportunity to retire with his friend, and notwitii- 
standing all the efforts of the new ministry to retain him, on 
November 19, 1766, resigned the Great Seal, after holding 
it, according to his own computation, '^ nineteen years, eight 
months, and sixteen days." Only two previous holders of the 
Seal, whether as keeper or chancellor, had exceeded this 
length of service, — Sir Nicholas Bacon, who was keeper for 
twenty years, and Sir Thomas Egerton, Lord Ellesmere, who 
retained the Seal as keeper and chancellor twenty years and 
ten months ; and only one subsequent lord chancellor, John 
Lord Eldon, whose occupation of office extended to twenty* 
four years, ten months and twenty-four days, with an interval 
of about a year. 

1727—1760. PHILIP TORKE. 193 

On the return of the Duke of Newcastle to power and his 
junction with Mr. Pitt in the following June, Lord Hard- 
wicke again refused the Great Seal, but aided the ministerial 
counsels in the cabinet ; and it is a curious circumstance that 
he prepared all the speeches from the throne till the year 
1762, as he had previously done while in o£Sce. On Lord 
Bute's accession to the ministry. Lord Hardwicke, though 
offered the Privy Seal, retired altogether into private life. 
His health began to decline in October 1763, and gradually 
sinking he died on March 6, 1764, at his house in Grosvenor 
Square in the seventy-fourth year of his age. He was buried 
in the church of Wimpole in Cambridgeshire, where he had 
purchased in 1740 the large estate of the Earl of Oxford, 
the mansion on which he had greatly improved. A handsome 
monument to him and his lady by Scheemakers adorns the 

Lord Chesterfield, his opponent in politics, acknowledges 
that he was ** unstained by any vice (except avarice) ; " but 
brings no proof to sustain the exception ; neither do we find 
anything in his career that substantiates it. That he was 
careful of his gains, and neither profuse nor wasteful in his 
expenditure, are rather proofs of his prudence as a man who 
has first to establish himself in the world, and next, to support 
the prominent position to which he was called at an early 
period. That he kept up the dignity of the various stations 
which he filled, that he showed no penuriousness in the 
education of his seven children, that he was liberal in his 
charities, and, above all, that he declined the offer made to 
him of a pension on his retirement, leave a very contrary 

It is not too much to say that the reputation gained and 
deserved by Lord Hardwicke as a lawyer and a judge, was 
not exceeded by any previous holder of the Great Sealj and 


194 PHILIP TOBKE. Geobob II. 

has never been equalled, except perhapB in one instance, by 
any of his successors. The justice of his decisions no one 
has ventured to impugn; all have been satisfied with the 
equitable principles they established, and have admired the 
reasoning by which he supported them. That only three of 
those pronoimced in the course of nearly twenty years were 
the subject of appeal, and that none of them w^re reversed 
either during or after the termination of his chancellorship, 
must, notwithstanding the depreciating remarks of Lord 
Campbell, be regarded at the present time as a substantial 
proof of the excellence of his decrees, as it was in his own 
time acknowledged by the president Montesquieu to be '^ un 
^loge au dessus de toute la flatterie." ^ One of his contem* 
poraries who practised under him and became the ablest 
common law judge that ever sat upon the bench. Lord 
Mansfield, said that ^^when his lordship pronounced his 
decrees. Wisdom herself might be supposed to speak." Even 
Horace Walpole, whose personal antipathy is apparent in all 
he writes of him, does not deny his claims in this respect ; 
and the depreciating characteristics, which he malignantly 
seeks to attach to him, need no other refutation than the 
contradictions which the writer himself unconsciously pro- 

Every contemporary account shows how great was the 
influence he exercised both in the House of Commons and in 
the House of Lords. His ascendency in the cabinet is manifest 
by the deference paid to his opiQion by Sir Robert Walpole 
and the Duke of Newcastle, and by the respect and affection 
with which he was regarded by his sovereign. Some critics 
have objected to him that he was not a law reformer, seeming 
to consider that it is incumbent on every lord chancellor to 

1 Hanrie, iL 398. 


1727—1760. PHILIP TOBKE. 195 

distingaiah his Beason of power by some legislative alteration 
in the existing laws ; while at the same time they complain 
of the onerous multiplicity and the absorbing nature of his 
Tarious avocations. Lord Hardwicke probably thought that 
he was better employed and doing more essential good to 
his country by establishing that system of equitable juris- 
prudenccj of which he has the renown of being the framer, 
than in attempting to remove some slight defects which 
might encumber the proceedings. He no doubt pur- 
posely refrained from the well-grounded apprehension that 
the variations which he might substitute would introduce 
greater inconveniences than those he professed to remedy ; 
reflecting, with Hamlet^ that it was better to 

" bear those ills we haye. 
Than fly to others that we know not of/' 

His justification has been made apparent by tiie many abor- 
tive attempts at amelioration that have recently seen the 
light. But though he abstained from interfering in these 
minor grievances, he devoted his attention as a legislator to 
those of more importance. By him was the bill for abolish- 
ing the feudal powers and the separate jurisdiction in Scotland 
framed. He succeeded in passing an act for the naturalisa- 
tion of the Jews, with a view to remove civil disabilities on 
account of faith ; which, however, popular prejudice induced 
parliament to repeal in the following year. And he put an 
end to the miseries to which every English family was liable^ 
by introducing the act for the prevention of clandestine 
marriages, — a measure for which all parents, — ay, and all 
youths, masculine and feminine— have reason to bless his 

The beauty of his person, the urbanity of his manners, 
and the peculiar sweetness of his voice, enhanced the admi- 


196 PHILIP YORKE. George II 

ration which could not fail to be excited by his excellence as 
a judge. His popularity among those who practised under 
him could not be exceeded, and few would deny the truth of 
the expression of one of them, that when he quitted his high 
station ^^ he left a name that will be mentioned with honour 
as long as Westminster Hall lasts.** ' The unfortunate poet, 
Eichard Savage, in his " character " of Judge Page, thus 
alludes to him : — 

'^ Were all, like Yorke, of delicate address. 
Strength to discern^ and sweetness to express, 
Leam'd, just, polite, bom ev'ry heart to gain, 
Like Cummins mild, like Fortescue humane, 
All-eloquent of truth, divinely known, 
So deep, so clear, all Science is his own." 

The Countess of Hardwicke, after a happy union of forty- 
two years, died before her husband, leaving five sons and 
two daughters. The eldest son, Philip, succeeded his father 
and died without male issue ; but by his marriage with Lady 
Jemima Campbell, grand-daughter of Henry Grey, first 
Duke of Kent, was the father of two daughters, who by 
special limitations became successively Baronesses Lucas 
and Countesses De Grey, titles which are now united with 
the earldom of Bipon. 

The chancellor's second son, Charles, will be noticed as 
himself ascending to the same station, in a subsequent page. 
His son became the third Earl of Hardwicke, and his de- 
scendants still inherit that title. 

The third son, Joseph, was eminent as a soldier and 
diplomatist, and in 1788 was raised to the barony of Dover, 
which at his death in 1792 became extinct. 

The fourth son, John, was clerk of the Crown, F.B.S., 
and M.P. for Byegate : and the fifth son, JameSj enjoyed 

' Wynne's Serjeant at Law, 103. 

727—1760. PHILIP YORKE. 197 

in succession the bishoprics of St. David's^ Gloucester^ and 

Elizabeth^ the elder of the chancellor's daughters^ married 
Admiral Lord Anson ; and Margaret^ the younger daughter 
married Sir Gilbert Heathcote^ Bart ; but both died child- 

' Cookfley'f Sketch; and Liyes by Mr. George Harrifl; and inWelBbj's 
Collection; and in Lord Campbell's lires of the Chancellors, &c. 



Reigned 59 jreara, 3 months, and 4 dajrs ; from October 25, 1760, 
to Jannoiy 89, 1880. 


Though George III. reigned nominally near sixty years, 
his actual reign terminated nine years earlier. By the 
decay of his mental powers, a regency became necessary, 
and from February 5, 1811, George, Prince of Wales 
(afterwards George IV.), exercised the royal functions as 
Regent of the United Kingdom till his father's death. 

At the commencement of this reign the independence of 
the judges was still further secured. Although the statute 
12 & 13 Will. III. c. 2, s. 3, enacted that their commission 
should be no longer '^ Durante bene placito," but ** Quamdiu 
se bene gesserint,'' yet, by a most extraordinary interpretation, 
it was decided, at the accession of Queen Anne, that their 
patents terminated at the demise of the crown: and the 
practice had been adopted in the two following reigns. The 
inconvenience arising from this decision, which necessitated 
a renewal of the patents of all the judges as the first act of 
a reign in order to prevent a total failiu*e of justice, had been 
partially remedied by the statute 6 Anne, c. 7, s. 8, which 
enacted that all officers, including the judges, should act 
upon their former patents for the space of six months after 
any demise of the crown, imless sooner removed by the next 
successor. Now, however, by the express recommendation 

1760--1820. SALARIES OF THE JUDGES. 199 

of George IIL, full effect was given to the statute of 
William, hy an act of parliament passed in the first year of 
his reign, chapter 23, continuing the judges in their office, 
notwithstanding the demise of the crown, with the enjoTment 
of their full salaries. 

These salaries were augmented by several enactments of 
this reign. In 1779 (stat 19 Geo. III. c. 65) 400/. a year was 
added to the salary of each of the puisne judges and barons, 
and 500/. to that of the chief baron. Another act in 1799 
(stat. 39 Geo. III., c. 110) made a further advance, and 
fixed the salaries of 

The master of the Rolls at 4000/. a year. 

The lord chief baron at 4000/. a year, and 

Each of the puisne judges and barons at 3000/. a year. 
The same statute also contained a wise provision of adequate 
allowances on their retirement or superannuation ; thus ren- 
dering unnecessary the discreditable bargains which had been 
too frequently made for the purpose of softening the down- 
fall of an inefficient member of the bench. His majesty was 
empowered to grant an annuity of 4000/. for life to a 
retiring lord chancellor or lord keeper; and the following 
annuities to the judges on retirement, subject to their having 
respectively served in one or more of the said offices for 
fifteen years, or being afflicted with some permanent in- 
firmity: viz* 

3000/. to the chief justice of the King's Bench ; 

2500/. to the master of the Rolls, the chief justice of the 
Common Pleas, and the chief baron ; and 

2000/. to each other judge of those courts, or baron of 
the coif; 
which sums were afterwards, in 1813, increased by 800/. 
to the chiefs and the master of the Bolls, and by 600/. to 
the puisne judges and barons (53 Geo. III. c. 153). In 1809 
(stat 49 Geo. III. c. 127) the salary of the lord chief baron 

200 JUDGES. Gkobgb III. 

was raised to 5000/. ; and of the puisne judges and barons 
to 4000/. 

The second judge of the King's Bench had besides 40/. 
per annum in respect to his labour and trouble in giving the 
charge to the grand jury in each term^ and in pronouncing 
judgment on malefactors. 

The ancient rule that none but a seijeant can be made a 
judge had been invariably acted upon ; and when the person 
intended to be promoted to the bench was not previously of 
that degree, he was always summoned to undergo the neces- 
sary ceremony, which could only be performed in term time. 
In the summer vacation of 1799, however, a vacancy occurred 
by the death of Mr. Baron Perryn, which, on account of the 
circuits, it was desirable to fill up inmiediately ; and none of 
the existing Serjeants being thought of for the place, a tem- 
porary act of parliament was passed on July 1st (stat. 39 
Geo. III. c. 67) enabling the king to issue a writ returnable 
immediately commanding a barrister to take upon himself 
the degree of a seijeant; and to appoint such barrister to be 
a baron of the coif. The gentleman thus favoured was Mr. 
Alan Chambre, who was accordingly appointed. The expe- 
dient was found so beneficial that twelve days after another 
act was passed (stat. 39 Geo. III. c. 113) with a general 
power, whenever any new judge was required, to make a 
Serjeant in vacation. The first appointment under the last 
act was John, Lord Eldon, as successor to Sir James Eyre 
in the oflGice of chief justice of the Common Pleas^ on July 
18, 1799. 

It was only during the eighteenth century that the puisne 
judges began to be addressed by the title of " your lordship." 
In the year-books they are constantly addressed by the 
title of « Sir;"—" Sir, vous voyez bien," &c. The late 
Serjeant Hill was, it is believed, the last who persisted in 
using the ancient fashion. But they are only properly 

1760—1820. CHANCERY. 201 

designated " My lord" when on the bench or on the circuit. 
The author was in early days officially connected with a 
committee^ of which one of the judges was a member, whom 
he addressed with the title, *^ My lord," and " Your lord- 
ship." The judge kindly took the author aside, and said to 
him, " I know you wish to be correct, and that you will 
therefore excuse my informing you that I am entitled 
to that address only while on the bench." Being about 
the same time in correspondence with another judge who 
was more fond of the title, it cost the author some trouble 
to avoid expressions which would lead to the use of the 

The complaints, which had long been made, of the delays 
in the court of Chancery, were so greatly aggravated by the 
continued increase of its business, that towards the end of 
this reign a remedy was attempted by appointing a new 
judge to assist the chancellop in his labours. An act was 
accordingly passed in March 1813 (stat. 53 Geo. III. c. 24), 
empowering the king to appoint a fit person, being a bar- 
rister of fifteen years standing, to be an additional judge- 
assistant to the lord chancellor, to hold during good 
behaviour. He was to be called vice-chancellor of England ; 
and his decrees, &c. were to be subject to reversal or altera- 
tion by appeal to the chancellor. His rank was fixed to be 
next the master of the Rolls, and his salary was 5000/. a 
year, 2500/. of which was to be paid to the Bank of Eng- 
land out of the fees due to the lord chancellor. 

The title of lord keeper was entirely disused during this 
reign ; Lord Henley, who held it under George II., being 
immediately named lord chancellor by George III. ; and it 
has never since been revived. In this long reign there were 
only eight lord chancellors, two of whom were restored to 
their office after retiring on a change of ministry. These 
two were the longest holders, one for the space of thirteen 


years, and the other for eighteen. One chancellor sat for 
fourteen months, and another held the Seal only three days. 
The remaining four retained the post respectively for six, 
four, seven, and eight years. For the two years and four 
months in which there was not a chancellor, the Seal was 
deposited with three sets of commissioners at different periods 
of the reign. 

During the trials of Earl Ferrers in 1760, and of Warren 
Hastings, which lasted from February 1788 to April 1795, 
the court of Chancery, which was at the upper end of West- 
minster Hall, was obliged to be removed ; and it accordingly 
sat in Lincoln's Inn Hall in term, as well as in the vacation. 

Lord Chancellors. 

Robert, Lord Henley, lord keeper at the death of 
George II., was made lord chancellor on the accession of 
George III., who further honoured him by creating him Earl 
of Northington on May 19, 1764. On his voluntary resig- 

Charles, Lord Camden, chief justice of the Common 
Pleas, succeeded him on July 30, 1766; and after holding 
the Seal for three years and a half, retired. 

The Honourable Charles Yorke, who had been 
twice attorney-general, received the Seal as lord chancellor 
on January 17, 1770, but dying suddenly on the 20th it was 
delivered on the next day to 

Sir Sidney Stafford Smtthe, B. E., 

Hon. Henry Bathurst, Just C. P., and 

Sir Richard Aston, Just. K. B., 
IS lords commissioners. They held it for a year ; when one 
of them, 

Hon. Henry Bathurst, created Lord Apsley, was 
appointed lord chancellor on January 23, 1771. He sue- 

1760—1820. LOBD CHANCELLORS. 203 

ceeded his father in 1775 as Earl Bathurst; and held the 
Seal for above seven years ; when, on his resignation, 

Edward Thurlow, the attorney-general, then created 
Lord Thurlow, was nominated lord chancellor on June 3, 
1778. On the accession of the Coalition Ministry he was 
removed, and the Seal was placed in the hands of 

Alexander, Lord Loughborough, Ch. C. P., 

Sir William Hekrt Ashhurst, Just K. B., and 

Sir Beaumont Hotham, B. E., 
as lords commissioners on April 9, 1783. They held it 
during the nine months' existence of that ministry ; and on 
the formation of Mr. Pitt's administration, the Seal was re- 
stored to 

Edward, Lord Thurlow on December 23, 1783; but 
after retaining it for upwards of eight years he was again 
removed, and the Seal again placed in commission on June 
15, 1792, with 

Sir James Etre, Ch. B. E., 

Sir William Henrt Ashhurst, Just. K. B., and 

Sir John Wilson, Just. C. P., 
as lords commissioners. After holding it for above seven 

' Alexander, Lord Loughborough, chief justice of the 
Common Pleas, was on January 28, 1793, made lord chan- 
cellor. He retained the place above eight years during the 
remainder of Mr. Pitt's first ministry, and on its termination 
was created Earl of Rosslyn. 

John, Lord Eldon, was appointed lord chancellor on 
April 14, 1801. Kesigning on Mr. Pitt's death, the Whig 
ministry appointed 

The Honourable Thomas Erskine, then created 
Lord Erskine, a counsel with a patent of precedence, lord 
chancellor on February 7, 1806, a title which he retained for 
little more than a year ; when the ministry being dissolved. 

204 GREAT SEAL. Geobgk IlL 

John, Lord Eldon, resumed the Seal on April 1, 1807, 
and retained it during the remaining thirteen years of the 

The usual alterations of the Great Seal were made at the 
beginning of this reign : but an extraordinary accident hap- 
pened to it on March 24, 1784. The Lord Chancellor 
Thurlow's house in Great Ormond Street was on that morn- 
ing broken into, and the Seal was stolen from a drawer in 
his private study. It was suspected that the robbery was 
contrived by the Whig party, then in tlie extremes of 
political rage, in order to prevent the dissolution of parlia- 
ment on the following day; and as a confirmation it was 
stated that nothing else was taken but the Seal, although 
there must have been many valuables in the house. It 
seems very unlikely that any political party should have 
ventured on so dangerous a manoeuvre ; but if it was so, the 
energy of the new minister, Mr. Pitt, at once counteracted 
it. An order in council was immediately made for a new 
Great Seal, with certain minute alterations (rendered neces- 
sary for the purpose of preventing the old one from being 
used), to be prepared by the following day ; when it was 
actually produced, and was used for dissolving the parliament 
on the 25th. That this new Seal was only a temporary one, 
got up hurriedly for the emergency, is apparent from another 
order of council made a week after on April 2, for a new 
Great Seal, which took more than a year to complete — it not 
being delivered to the lord chancellor till April 15, 1785. 
The perpetrators of this outrage totally escaped detection.' 

Masters of the Bolls. 

Sir Thomas Clarke, after enjoying the office for more 
than six years in the last reign, held it for four years in this; 
when he died, and 

' Welsby'fi Judges, 508; Lord Campbeirs Cbancellon. y. 563. 


Sir Thomas Sewell^ one of the king's counsel, was 
appointed on December 4, 1764. He retained it nearly 
twenty years, and on his death 

Sir Lloyd Kenyok, the attorney-general, became his 
successor on March 30, 1784. On being appointed four 
years afterwards lord chief justice of the King's Bench, 

Sir Bichard Pepper Arden, the attorney-general, was 
selected on June 4, 1788, to fill the office. He was removed 
to the chief justiceship of the Common Pleas after sitting at 
the Bolls for nearly thirteen years, and 

Sir William Grant, the solicitor-general, was appointed 
on May 27, 1801. He filled the office for above sixteen 
years and then resigned. 

Sir Thomas Plumer, the vice-chancellor, received the 
appointment on January 6, 1818; and held it at the death 
of George III. 

Vice-Chancellors op England. 

Sir Thomas Plumer, then attorney-general, was the 
first appointed vice-chancellor of England under the statute 
53 Geo. III., c. 24, on April 14, 1813. On the resigna- 
tion of Sir William Grant he was made master of the Bolls ; 

Sir John Leach, a king's counsel, was appointed vice- 
chancellor on January 13, 1818, and remained so at the end 
of the reign. 

Masters in Chancery. 

Sir Thomas Clarke, M.R. - - - 1 to 6 Geo. HI. 

Thomas Bemiett - - - - lto4 — 

Samuel Burroughs - - - - lto2 — 

William Spicer ----- 1 — 

Richard Edwards - - - - lto7 — 

Henry Montague - - - - lto6 — 


Thomas Lane - - - - - ItolS Geo. UL 

Peter Holfopd lto44 — 

Thomas Hams - - - - - ltol8 — 

Peter Davall, A. G. - - - - 1 to 3 — 

Peter Bomier - - - - - lto6 — 

John Browning - - - - - lto20 — 

Thomas Anguish, A. G. 176a-1786 - - 1 to 26 — 

William Graves - - - - 2 to 41 — 

Samuel PecheU - - - - 8 to 22 — 

John Eames - - - - - 4to35 — 

Sir Thomas Sewell, M. R. - - - 6 to 24 — 

Edward Montagu - - - - 6to36 — 

Thomas Cuddon - - - - 6toie — 

Robert Pratt 7tol6 — 

Edward Leeds - - - - - 13to43 — 

William Weller Pepjs - - - - 16 to 47 — 

JohnHett 16to31 — 

Francis Old - - - - - 18to60 — 

Robert Bicknell - - - - 20 to 21 — 

JohnWihnot 21to44 — 

Alexander Thomson, A.G. 1786-1787 (afterwards 

lord chief baron) - - - - 22to27 — 

Sir Lloyd Kenyon, M.R. - - - 24to28 — 

Alexander Popham - - - • 26to49 — 

Thomas Walker, A. G. - - - - 27 to 42 — 

Sir Richard Pepper Aiden, M. R. - - 28 to 41 — 

John Spranger - - - - - dlto44 — 

Nicholas Smith, A. G. - - - - 86to60^ 

John Simeon - - - - -^to60 — 

Sir William Grant, M. R. - • - 41 to 68 — 

John Campbell, A. G. 1819^1820 - - 41 to 60 >- 

Nicholas Ridley - - - - 42to46 — 

Francis Paul Stratford - - - - 43toe0 — 

John Springett Harvey - - - - 44to60 — 

Samuel Compton Cox - - - - 44to60 — 

James Stanley - - - - - 44to61 — 

Robert Steele 46to67 — 

Edward Morris - - - - - 47to66 — 

CharlesThomacm - - • - 49to60 — 

WiUiam Alexander (afterwards lord chief baron) 60 to 60 — 

James Stephen - - - - - 61to60 — 

Joseph JekyU 66to60 — 

William Courtenay - - - - 67to60 — 

Sir Thomas Plumer, M. R. - - - 68to60 — 

1760— I8i0. BEGISTBAB — KIKG'S BENCH. 207 

The grant made by Charles II,, and confinned by William 
III., of the office of registrar of the court of Chancery, in 
trust for the Duke of St Alban's, was continued by fresh 
patents, the last of which expired at the end of the 
eighteenth century; and the office of chief registrar was 
never filled up. But by an act in 1805 (46 Geo. III. c. 75) 
the appointments of deputy-registrar, made by the lord chan- 
cellor or lord keeper during the vacancy, were declared 
valid; and by the Chancery Regulation Act of 1833 (3 & 4 
WilL IV. c. 94) the deputy-registrars were constituted re- 
gistrars of the court ; and the number by that and a sub- 
sequent act (5 Vict. c. 5) was increased to ten.' 

Chibf Justices of the King's Bench. 

William, Lobd Mansfield, the chief justice for four 
years during the last reign, presided for nearly eight-and- 
twenty years in this, and was elevated to an earldom in 
1776. His infirmities obliged him to resign on June 4, 
1788, when 

Sir Lloyd Kenton, then created Lobd Kenton, the 
master of the Kolls, was promoted to the head of this court. 
In that character he died after not quite fourteen years of 
service, and was succeeded by 

Sib Edwabd Law, then ennobled by the title of Lobd 
Ellenbobough, the attorney-general, on April 11, 1802. 
He served rather more than sixteen years, and then re- 

Sib Chables Abbott, one of the judges of that Court, 
was promoted to be its chief on November 2, 1818, and still 
continued to preside at the death of the king. 

1 Hardy*! Catalogne, U9. 

208 king's bench- common pleas. Geobge hi. 

Justices of the King's Bench. 

I. 1760. Oct, Thomas Denison, i judges at the 

Michael Foster, j- commencement 

John Eardley Wilmot, J of the reign. 
IV. 1764. Jan. 24. Joseph Yates, vice M. Foster. 

V. 1765. April 19. Richard Aston, vice T. Denison. 
VII. 1766. Nov. 6. James Hewitt, vice J. E. Wilmot 

Vm. 1768. Jan. 27. Edward Willes, vice J. Hewitt 

X. 1770. Feb. 12. William Blackstone, vice J. Yates. 

June 22. William Henry Ashhurst, vice W. Black- 

XVin. 1778. May 6. Francis Buller, vice R. Aston- 

XXVII. 1787. Feb. 9. Nash Grose, vice E. Willea. 

XXXIV. 1794. April. Soulden Lawrence, vice F. Buller. 

XXXIX. 1799. June 6. Simon Le Blanc, vice W. H. Ashhurst 

XLVIIL 1808. May. John Bayley, vice S. Lawrence. 

LIII. 1813. June 23. Henry Dampier, vice N. Grose. 

LVI. 1816. Feb. Geoi^SowleyHolroyd, vice H. Dampier. 

April. Charles Abbott, vice S. Le Blanc. 

LIX. 1818. Nov. William Draper Best, vice C. Abbott. 

The judges of the King's Bench at the end of the 
reign were 

Sir Charles Abbott, chief justice. 

Sir John Bayley, Sir George Sowley Holroyd, 

Sir William Draper Best 

Chief Justices op the Common Pleas. 

Sir John Willes, who had already presided in this 
court for more than three-and-twenty years, occupied the 
seat for nearly fourteen months in this reign. On his 

Sir Charles Pratt, the attorney-general, succeeded 
on January 23, 1762, and was ennobled by the title of Lord 
Camden in July 1765. At the end of four years and a half, 
being made lord chancellor. 

Sir John Eardley Wilmot, a judge of the King's 
Bench, was on August 21, 1766, put in his place, which he 
filled for upwards of four years, and then resigned it to 

1760—1820. COMMON PLEAS. 209 

Sir William de Grey, the attorney-general, on 
January 25, 1771. He presided eight years, and soon after 
his resignation was created Lord Walsingham. 

Sir Alexander Wedderburn, created Lord Lough- 
borough, the attorney-general, was promoted to the chief 
justiceship on June 9, 1780. On his being created lord 

Sir James Eyre, the chief baron, was made chief 
justice on January 28, 1793, and remained so till his death ; 

Sir John Scott, then created Lord Eldon, the 
attorney-general, was constituted head of this court on July 
18, 1799. On his being made nearly two years afterwards 
lord chancellor. 

Sir Richard Pepper Arden, raised to the peerage 
as Lord Alvanlet, the master of the Rolls, was appointed 
lord chief justice on May 30, 1801. In less than two years 
he died, and 

Sir James Mansfield, a king's counsel, and who had 
filled the office of solicitor- general in 1780 and 1783, was 
selected as his successor on May 8, 1804. He presided 
about ten years, and on resigning gave place to 

Sir Vicart Gibbs, the chief baron of the Exchequer, 
in Hilary vacation 1814. His ill health obliged him to 
resign in less than five years ; when 

Sir Robert Dallas, one of the judges of the court, 
was appointed chief justice in November 1818; and held 
the office when the reign terminated. 

Justices of the Common Pleas. 

I. 1760. Oct Edward Clive, 

Henry Bathurst, U«dge8 at 1 
William Noel, J«onofG« 

i the acces- 
r George III. 

m. 1703. Jan. 24. Henry Gould, vice W. Noel. 


210 EXCHEQUER. Geobgr III. 

X. 1770. Feb. 16. Jofleph Yates, vice E. Clive. 

June 22. Wiliiam Blackstone, vice J. Yates. 
XL 1771. Jan. George Nares, vice H. Bathurst. 

XX. 1780. July 19. John Heatb, vice W. Blackstone. 

XXVn. 1786. Nov. 7. John Wilson, vice G. Nares. 

XXXIV. 1793. Nov. 13. Giles Rooke, vice J. Wilson. 

1794 March. Soulden Lawrence, vice H. Gould. 

ApriL Francis Buller, vice S. Lawrence. 

XL. 1800. June. Alan Chambre, vice F. Buller. 

XLVIII. 1808. Hil. Soulden Lawrence, vice G. Rooke. 

LIL 1812. May. Vicai-y Gibbs, vice S. Lawrence. 

LIV. 1813. Nov. Robert Dallas, vice V. Gibbs. 

LVI. 1816. Ilil. James Alan Park, vice A. Chambre. 

Feb. Charles Abbott, vice J. Heath. 

May, James Burrough, vice C. Abbott. 

LIX. 1818. Nov. John Richardson, vice R. Dallas. 

On the death of the king the four judges of this 
court were 

Sir Robert Dallas, chief justice, 

Sir James Alan Park, Sir James Burrough, 

Sir John Richardson. 

Chief Babons of the Exchequer. 

Sir Thomas Parker, who had akeady been chief baron 
for twenty years, held the oflfice under George III. for twelve 
yeai-s more, when he retired, and was succeeded by 

Sir Sidnet Stafford Smythe, one of the barons, on 
October 28, 1772. On his resignation five years after- 

Sir John Skynner, a Welsh judge, was promoted to 
the head of the Exchequer on November 27, 1777, where 
he remained about nine years, and on resigning. 

Sir James Eyre, a puisne baron, was put in his place on 
January 26, 1787, which he retained for six years ; when he 
was removed to the court of Common Pleas as chief justice, 

Sir Archibald Macbokald, the attorney-general, was 
appointed chief baron- on February 13, 1793. After pre- 




siding in the court for more than twenty years he resigned, 
his successor being 

Sib Yigaby Gibbs, a judge of the Common Pleas, who 
was appointed in November 1813, but sat there only two 
months, being removed into the court of Common Pleas as 
chief justice. 

Sir Alexander Thomson, one of the puisne barons, 
was then raised to the head of the court in Hilary vacation 
1814. In little more than three years he died, when 

Sir Richard Richards, also a puisne baron, was made 
chief on April 22, 1817, and so remained during the rest 
of the reign. 

Barons op the Exchequer. 

I. 1700. Oct. Sidney Stafford Smythe,\ barons at 

Hichard Adams^ the commence- 

Kichard Lloyd, ment of the 

John TracyAtkjTis, cure., / reign. 

Henry Gould, vice R. Lloyd. 

George Perrot, vice H. Gould. 

James Eyre, vice S. S. Smythe, 

Francis Maseres, cursitor baron, \ice 
J. T. Atkyns. 

John Burland, vice H. Adams. 

Beaumont Ilotham, vice G. Perrot. 

Hichard Perryn, vice J. Burland. 

Alexander Thomson, vice J. Eyre. 

Alan Chambre, vice R. Perryn. 

Robert Graham, vice A. Chambre. 

Thomas Manners Sutton, vice B. Hotham. 

George Wood, vice T. M. Sutton. 

Richard Richards, vice A. Thomson. 

William Garrow, vice R. Richards. 
The barons at the end of the reign were 

Sir Richard Richards, chief baron, 
Sir Robert Graham, Sir William Garrow, 
Sir George Wood, Francis Maseres, Esq., cursitor. 
P 2 




in. 1763, 









April 8. 



May 10. 

XVL 1776. 

April 15. 



Feb. 7. 









Feb. 4. 









May 4. 



George III. 











Lord Chancellors, etc. 

1760. Oct. 

1761. Jan. 16 
1764. May 19 

Dec. 4 

1766. July 30 

1770. Jan. 17 
Jan. 21 

1771. Jan. 23 

1775. Sept. 16 
1778. June 3 

1783. April 9 

Dec 23 
1784. Mar. 30 
1788. Jane 4 
1792. June 15 

Robert, Lord Henley, 


— Chancellor 

er. Earl of Northington 

Charles, Lord Camden, 

Tloa Charles Yorke 
Sir Sidmry Stafford \ 

Sraythe, B. E. j ^ 

Hon. Henry Bathurst, 'e fc 

Jnst. C. P. f I J 

Sir Richard Aston, O ** 

Just. K. B. 
Hon. Henry Bathurst, 

or. Lord Apsley 
8UCC, as Earl Biathurst 
Edward, Lord Thuilow, 

Alexander, Lord 
Loughborough, Ch.) 
C. P. I c 

Sir William Henry y- | | 

Sir Beaumont Ho- 
tham, B. E. 
Edward, Lord Thurlow, 

or THB Rolls. 

Sir Thomas 

Sir Thomas 



Jan. 28 


April 14 

May 27 


Feb. 7 


April 1 


April 10 

1818. Jan. 6 


Sir James Eyre, Ch. 
B. E 

Sir W. H. Ash- 
hurst, Just. K. B. 

Sir John WiUon, 
Just. C. P. 

Alexander Lord Longhbo 
rough, Chancellor 

John, Lord Eldon, 


Thomas, Lord Erskine, 


John, liord Eidon, 


Sir Lloyd 


per Arden. 

Sir William 
^ Grant. 

Sir Thomas 

Bv St 53 
Sir Thomas 

Sir John 




Court op King's Bench. 



Chief Jcstigcb. 

JuDOBs OP THi Kino's Bbnch. 


1760. Oct. 

William. Lord 

Thomas Denison 

Michael Foster 

J. E. WihnoU 


1764. Jan. 24 


Joseph Yates 



1765. April 19 


Richard Aston 




1766. Not. 6 



James Hewitt. 


1768. Jan. S7 




Edward Willes. 


1770. Feb. 12 



Wm. Blackstnne 


June 22 



W. H. Asbburst 



1776. Oct 19 

cr. Earl 





1778. May 6 

Frmncis Buller , 




1787. Feb. 9 



Nash Grose. 


1788. June 4 

Lloyd. Lord 





1704. April 


Soulden Lawrence 




1799. June 6 


Simon Le Olanc 



1802. April 11 

Edward, Lord 





1808. Ma7 


John Bayley 




1811. June 23 




Henry Dampler. 


1816. Feb. 




G. S. Holroyd. 




Charles Abbott 



1818. Nuv. 2 

Cbarlei Abbott 


VV. D. Best 

— " 

Court of Common Pleas. 



Chief Josticbs. 

Jddobs of thb Common Plkas. 

1760. Oct. 

John Willes 

Edward Clive 

Henry Bathurst 

William Noek 


1762. Jan. 23 

. Charles Pratt 





1763. Jan. 24 



Henry Gould. 


1765. July 

cr. Lord Cam- 





1766. Aag. 21 

J. E. Wilmot 





1770. Feb. 16 


Joseph Yates 
W. Blackstone 



June 22 





J771. Jan. 25 

William De Grey 

George Naret 



1780. June 9 

Alexander, Lord 




July 19 


John Heath 




1786. Nof . 7 



John Wilson 



1793. Jan. 98. 

James Eyre 


— . 



Nov. 13 



Giles Rooke 


1794. March 




8. Lawrence. 





Francis Buller. 


1799. July 18 
IHOO. June 

John, Lord Eldon 



Alan Chambre. 


1801. May 30 

Richard Pepper, 
Lord Alvanley 





'804. May 8 
1808 Hil. 

James Mansfield 







S. Lawrence 



1812. May 



Vicary Gibbs 



1813. Not. 



Robert Dallas 



1814. Hil. Vac. 
1816. Hil. 

Vicary Gibba 



James Alan Park. 



Charles Abbott 



1818. Nor. 


James Burrough 




Robert Dallas 


John Richardson 




Court of Exchequer. 



Chief Barons. 


1760. Oct. 

Thoma* Parker 

Sidney Stafford 

Richard Adams 

Rlchird Lloyd. 



17fil. Mich. 




Henry GouUL 


1703. Jnn. 


— . 


(ieorge Pcrrut. 


1772. Oct. 28 

S. S. Smythe 

James Eyre 



1774. April 8 

— . 


John Burland 



1775. May 10. 






1776. Aprils 



Richard Perryn 


1777. Nor. V7 

.Tohn Skynncr 




1787. Jan. 26 

Jamet Kyre 



Feb. 7 


Alexander Thorn 




179:1. Feb. 13 

Arch. Macdona'd 



I7!»9. July 


Alan Chsmbre 



l«00. June 


— . 

Robert Grah.-un 



1M05. Ffb 1 




T.MannernS itton. 


18 "7. April 




Oe*>rge Wood. 


1813. Not. 

Vicary GIbbs 



1814. Ftb. 14 


Richard Richard* 




1817. April 22 

Richard Richard* 



May 4. 

William Garrow 
Cursltor Barons. 



BO, Oct., John Trac] 

rAikyn*. 1772, An 

p., FtancisMaxeres. 

There are two privileged barristers in the court of Ex- 
chequer, called the post-man and tub-man ; the earliest 
mention of whom is by Blackstone (iii. 28, note), who 
merely says that they are bo called from the places in which 
they sit, and that they have a precedence in motions. Of 
their origin nothing has been found, though they are evi- 
dently of great antiquity. They are in the appointment of 
the lord chief baron, and are presumed to be elected from 
the most experienced of the barristers attending the court 
They occupy two enclosed seats, one at each end of the 
front row of the outer bar ; the post-man at the left of the 
bar (the right of the court), and the tub-man at the right of 
the bar. The former has pre-audience of all other barristers, 
and even of the attorney-general, in common law business ; 
and the latter has the like privilege in equity business ; and 
they are respectively called upon to make the first motion 
accordingly : the post-^man being second in equity, and the 




tub-man in common law. When the lord treasurer, or the 
chancellor of the Exchequer as first commissioner of the 
Treasury, comes, as senior judge of the equity side of the 
court, to be sworn in and take his seat, he calls upon the 
tub-man to move, who, if he has no other motion, moves 
that ^^ the fact of the chancellor having taken the oaths and 
his seat be entered in the proper book of the Exchequer, as 
hath been used." Some instances of the chancellor of the 
Exchequer having been called upon to exercise his judicial 
functions have been mentioned in the last reign. 

Neither the post-man nor tub-man has any rank or privi- 
lege in any other court than the Exchequer, 


I. 1760. 

II. 1762. 

IV. 1763. 
V. 1765. 

VI. 1766. 

XL 1771. 
XVm. 1778. 

XX. 1780. 

XXn. 1782. 

XXIII. 1783. 













Jan. 25. 
Dec. 10. 
Sept. 17. 
Aug. 6. 
Jan. 26. 
June 11. 
July 21. 
April 18. 
May 2. 
Nov. 22. 
Dec. 26. 
March 31. 
June 28. 
Feb. 14. 
July 18. 
Feb. 14. 
April 15. 
Feb. 12. 
April 1. 
June 26. 
May 4. 
May 7. 

LIX. 1819. July 24. 

Sir Charles Pratt, made Ch. C. P. 
Hon. Charles Yorke, resigned. 
Fletcher Norton, resigned. 
Hon. Charles Yorke again: again resigned. 
William De Grey, made Ch. C. P. 
Edward Thurlow, made lord chancellor. 
Alexander Wedderbum, made Ch. C. P. 
James Wallace, resigned. 
Lloyd Kenyon, resigned. 
James Wallace, died. 
John Lee, resigned. 
Lloyd Kenyon, made M. R. 
Richard Pepper Arden, made M. I?. 
Archibald Macdonald, made Ch. B. E. 
John Scott, made Ch. C. P. 
John Mitford, elected Speaker. 
Edward Law, made Ch. K. B. 
Hon. Spencer Percival, resigned. 
Arthur Piggot, resigned. 
Vicary Gibbs, made Just C. P. 
Thomas Plumer, made vice-chancellor. 
William Garrow, made B. E. 
Samuel Shepherd, made Ch, B. E. 

Robert Gifford. 



George III. 


I. 1700. Oct. 

II. 1702. Jan. 25. 
IV. 1763. Dec. 10. 
VL 1700. Aug. 0. 
VIII. 1708. Jao. 28. 
X. 1770. March 30. 
XL 1771. Jan. 26. 

XVIII. 1778. June 11. 
XX. 1780. Sept. 1. 
XXII. 1782. April 18. 

Nov. 7. 
XXm. 1783. April 18. 
Not. 22. 
Dec. 20. 

XXTV. 1784. April 8. 

XXVm. 1788. June 28. 

XXXIIL 1793. Feb. 14. 

XXXDL 1799. July 18. 

XLI. 1801. Feb. 14. 

XLH 1802. 

XLV. 1805. 

XL\r[. 1800. 

XLVII. 1807. 

LIL 1812. 

LIII. 1813. 


LVII. 1817. 
LIX. 1819. 

May 11. 
Feb. 12. 
Feb. 12. 
April 1. 
June 20. 
May 4. 
Dec. 22. 
May 9. 
July 24. 

Hon. Cliaries Yorke, made attorney- 

Fletcher Norton, made attorney- general. 

William De Grey, made attorney-general. 

Edward Willes, made Just. K. B. 

John Dunning, resigned. 

Edward Thurlow,made attorney-general. 

Alexander Wedderburn, made attorney- 

James Wallace, made attorney-general. 

James Mansfield, resigned. 

John Lee, resigned. 

Hichard Pepper Arden, resigned. 

John Lee, made attorney-general. 

Jsmes Mansfield, resigned. 

Hichard Pepper Arden, made attorney- 

Archibald Macdonald, made attorney- 

John Scott, made attorney-general. 

John Mitford, made attorney-general. 

William Grant, made M. 11. 

Hon. Spencer Perceval, made attorney- 

Thomas ^fanners Sutton, made B. E. 

Vicary Gibbs, resigned. 

Samuel Komilly, resigned. 

Thomas Plumer, made attomey-general. 

William Garrow, made attomey-genernl. 

Hobert Dallas, made Just C. P. 

Samuel Shepherd, made attomey-general. 

Kobert GifTord, made attomey-general. 

John Singleton Copley. 


The Inn of court is noted by the added initial ; and an 
asterisk is added to those who became judges. 

IL 1761. •Henry Gould (M.) Joseph Sayer (M.) 

Motto," Moribus omes." 
1762. •Charles Pratt (I.) •John Burland (M.) 

Motto, "Tu satis ambobus." 

1:60—1820. SERJEANTS-AT-LAW. 217 


IIL 1763. •George Perrot (I.) John Aspinal* 

John Glynn. 

Motto, « Jam fides et pax." 
IV. 17G4. Voseph Yates (I.) 

Motto, according to Wynne, '* Pater et Gustos ; " 
according to the family account, '^ Legale judi- 
cium parium." 
V. 1765. •Richard Aston. Richard Leigh, 

William Jephson. 
Motto, « Tua, Caesar, aetas.** 
X. 1770. •William Blackstone (M.) 

Motto, " Secundis, dubiisque. Rectus." 
WiUiam Henry Ashhurst (J.) 
Motto, " Veterea reyocavit Artes," 
* XL 1771. •WiUiam De Grey (M.) 
XXL 1772. William Kempe. Thomas Walker. 

' Harley Vaughan. 
XIIL •James Eyre, George Hill. 

Motto, "Moset Lex." 
XIV. 1774. •Nash Grose (L.) James Adair (L.) 

Motto, " Imperio regit Unus aequo." 
XV. 1776. •Beaumont Hotham (M.) •John Heath (I.) 
Motto, '^ Populos SBtemo foedere jungat." 
XVL 1776. ♦Richard Perryn (I.) 

Motto, " Tu regere Imperio Populos." 
XVm. 1777. ♦John Skynner. 

Motto, " Morem servare," 
1778. •Francis BuUer (I.) 

Motto, " Vim temperatam." 
XX. 1779. James Clayton Bolton (M.) 

Motto, " Non eget integer." 
1780. 'Alexander Wedderbum, Lord Loughborough (I.) 
XXL 1781. Cranley Thomas Kirby. •Giles Rooke. 
XXVI. 1786. George Bond (M ) 

Motto, '' Hasreditas a legibus." 
XXVIL ♦John Wilson (M.) 

Motto, " Secundis laboribus." 
1787. •Alexander Thomson. •Simon Le Blanc (I.) 

•Soulden Lawrence (1.) 

Motto, " Reverentia legum." 
William Cockell (G.) 
Motto, " Stat lege Coronee." 

XXVIII. Charles Runnington. J AVatsDu. 

S Marshall. 

Motto, " Paribus se leg^bus." 


XXVni. 1788. •Lloyd Kenyon (L.) Ralph Clayton (G.) 

Motto, " Quid leges sine moribus P *' 
XXX. 1789. John William Rose (I.) 

Motto, " Vitium lege regi." 
XXXm. 1793. •Archibald Macdonald. 
XXXV. 1794. Samuel Ileywood (I). John Williams (I.) 

Motto, " Legum servi ut liberi." 
XXXVI. 1790. Arthur Palmer. 

Motto, '^ Evaganti frfena licentiie." 
Samuel Shephed (I.) 
Motto, " Legibus emendes." 
XXX\in. 1798. Baker John Sellon. 

Motto, '' Respice quid moneant leges.*' 
XXXIX. 1799. •John Vaughan (I.) 

Motto, " Paribus se legibus ambie." 
John Lens (L.) Vohn Bayley (G.) 

Motto, " Libertas sub rege pio." 
•Alan Chambre (G.) 

Motto, " Majorum instituta tueri." 
•John Scott, Lord Eldon (M.) 

Motto, '' Rege incolumi mens omnibus una.*' 
XL. 1800. ♦William Draper Best (M.) 

Motto, " Libertas in legibus." 
•Robert Graham (I.) Arthur Onslow (M.) 

Motto, " Et placitum lieti componite Foedus." 
XLL 1801. W^illiam Mackworth Praed (L.) 

Motto, '' Foederi sequas dicamus leges." 
•Richard Pepper Arden (M.) 
XLII. 1802. •Edward Law, Lord Ellenborough (L.) 

Motto, '' Positis mitescunt secula bellis." 
XLIV. 1804. •James Mansfield (M.) 

Motto, " Serus in Coelum redeas." 
XLV. 1805. •Thomas Manners Sutton (L.) 

Motto, " Ilic ames dici Pater atquePrinccps," 
XLVIL 1807. 'George Wood. 

Motto, " Moribus omes, legibus emendes." 
XLVm. 1808. ♦William Manley (M.) W^iUiam Rough (I.) 
Albert PeU (I.) 
Motto, " Pro Rege et Lege." 
XLIX. 1809. Robert Henry PeckweU(L.) William Freie (M.) 
Motto, '' Traditum de antiquis 8er\'are." 
LIL 1812. •Vicaiy Gibbs (L.) 

Motto, '* Leges, juraque." 
Lin. 1813. •Heniy Dampier (M.) 

Motto, '^ Consulta patrum." 

1 760 - 1 820. SERJEANTS. 2 I 

Lm. 1813. •John Singleton Copley (L.) 

Motto, " Studiis yigilare severb." 
LIV. •Robert Dallas (L.) 

Motto, "Moset Lex," 
1814 •Richard Richards (L) 

Motto, " Lex est ratio summa." 
LV. 1814. •John Bernard Bosanquet (L.) 

Motto, "Antiquam exquirite matrem." 
LVL 1816. •James Alan Park (M.) 

Motto, " Qui Leges Juraque servat." 
•Charles Abbott (M.) 
Motto, " Lahore." 
•George Sowley Holroyd (G.) 

Motto, " Componere legibus orbem." 
•James Burrough (I.) 

Motto, '' Legibus emendes." 
•John Hullock (G.) 

Motto, " Auspicium melioris asTi." - 
LVII. 1817. William Firth. 

Motto, '^ Ung Loi, Ung Roi, Ung Foi." 
•William Garrow (L.) 
Motto, " Fas et Jura." 
LVm. 1818. William Taddy (L) 

Motto, ''Moset Lex." 
LIX. 1810. •John Richardson (L.) 

Motto, " More majorum." 
VitniTius Lawes (I.) Thomas D'Oyley (M.) 
John Cross (L.) 
Motto, '^Pro Rege et Lege." 

Kino's Serjeants. 

m. 1763. WiUiam Davy. 
IV. 1764. •John Borland (M.) 
XI. 1771. Richard Leigh. 
Xn. 1772. James Forster (G.) 
Xin. George ffiU. 

XXfl. 1782. James Adair (L.) 
XXXm. 1793. •Giles Rooke. 
XXXV. 1795. George Bond (M.) •Simon Le Blanc (I.) 

XXXVI. 1796. William Cockell (G.) Samuel Shephei^ (I ) 
XLIV. 1804. John Williams (L) 

XLVI. 1806. John Lens (L.) •William Draper Best fM.) 

LVL 1816. ♦John Vaughan (L.) 
LVn. Arthur Onslow (M.) 

LIX. 1819. Albert Pell (L) •John Singleton Copley. 


Until 1813 the two most ancient of the king's Serjeants 
had place and precedence before the attorney and solicitor 
general: but for many years few opportunities had been 
given them .of exercising the privilege, which had become 
little more than a nominal honour. When, however, Sir 
Samuel Shepherd was selected as solicitor-general, he being 
one of the two ancientest Serjeants would have taken rank 
before his superior officer the attorney-general. In order to 
prevent this reversal of the usual order, the opportunity was 
taken of getting rid altogether of a distinction which had 
almost become obsolete. The prince regent issued an order 
in December of that year directing that, "considering the 
weighty and important affairs in which the attorney and 
solicitor general are employed," they should " at all times 
hereafter have place and audience as well before the two 
ancientest of the king's Serjeants as before the other Serjeants 
of the law." ^ 

The Serjeants' feasts were laid aside from the commence- 
ment of this reign. The Serjeants called at the first call in 
Michaelmas Term 1762, after the ceremony of inauguration, 
put off their parti-coloured robes, and put on their silk 
walking-gowns and coifs, and dined in Serjeants' Inn Hall, 
Chancery Lane ; paying lOOZ. in lieu of the usual feast, and 
a fine of 10Z.« 

The presentation of rings to the judges, the bar, and the 
attorneys, was likewise discontinued, by an order of the society 
in 1787 (1 Term Reports, 647); but even with this deduc- 
tion, the number of rings given to officers of state and other 
recipients in 1809, when Mr. Peckwell and Mr. Frere were 
called, was sixty, and the cost 53/. 195. 6d. ; although, when 
two or more Serjeants are called, the same ring serves for all. 

An account of the procedure was minutely recorded by 

■ 2 Maule and Selwyn, 253. 

• Kayncr*s Blackstonc, 30; Wynne, 133. 

1760—1820. king's COUNSEL. 221 

Mr. Peckwell, from which it appears to be the custom of an 
applicant for the coif to write to the lord chancellor and the 
lord chief justice of the Common Pleas intimating his desire 
to take the degree ; and to his seniors on his circuit informing 
them of his application. The chancellor and chief justice 
consenting, a writ of summons is issued and a day fixed for 
the call. A writ and count are also to be prepared at the 
prothonotary's office, naming some manor and its lord, and a 
tenant to be demanded against, — usually two friends of the 
person called. He next names some barrister as his colt, 
whose duty it is to go round to the principal officers of state, 
&C., and present the rings. He then directs the steward of 
his inn to prepare a breakfast on the day of the call, and to 
send invitations to all the benchers. At the breakfast he 
takes his leave of the society, and the treasurer makes him a 
speech, which he concludes by presenting him with a purse 
of ten guineas. The new Serjeant should leave his card at 
the houses of each of the judges a day or two preceding the 
call. The ceremony of the call is as near as may be to that 
which has been already described. 

King's Counsel. 

{Including those Barristern wfut had Patents of Precedence.) 

Anthony Thomas Abdy. Foster Bower. 

William Adam. Francis Btdler. 

William Agar. James Burrough. 

William Alexander. Francis Burton. 

Charles Ambler. Robert Matthew Casberd, 

John Anstruther. Nath. Goodwin Clarke. 

Bichard Pepper Arden. Hichard Clayton. 

Daines Barringfton. William Cooke. 

Edward Bearcroft. Thomas Cooper. 

John Bell. Archibald Cullen. 

Samuel Yate Benyon. Francis Cottayne Cust. 

William Blackstone. George Dallas, 

Nathaniel Bond. Philip Dauncey. 



Geobgb III. 

Thomas Davenport 
Sylvester Douglas. 
Thomas Erskine. 
John Fonblauque. 
William Garrow. 
Stephen Gaselee. 
Vicary Gibbs. 
Kobert Graham. 
William Grant 
John Gurney. 
George Harding. 
Francis Ilargrave. 
William Harrison. 
Anthony Hart 
George Heald. 
Kichard HoUist 
William Home. 
Henry Howarth. 
Richard Hussey. 
Richard Jackson. 
Joseph JekyU. 
Thomas Jervis. 
Lloyd Kenyon. 
Edward Law. 
John Leach. 
John Lee. 
Hugh Leycester. 
John Lloyd. 
Archibald Macdonald. 
John Maddocks. 
Samuel Marryat 
Henry Martin. 
James Mansfield. 
Thomas Milles. 

John Mitford. 
John Morton. 
George Lewis Newnham. 
Michael Nolan. 
William Owen. 
James Alan Park. 
Henry Partridge. 
Spencer Percevjil. 
Richard Perryn. 
Thomas Plumer. 
Charles Pratt 
Griffith Price. 
Jonathan Raine. 
Richard Richards. 
Samuel Romilly. 
James Scarlett 
John Scott 
William Selwyn. 
John Skinner. 
T. Manners Sutton 
Charles Thomson. 
Edward Thurlow. 
James Topping. 
James Trower. 
James Wallace. 
Charles Warren. 
John Richmond W^ebb. 
Alexander Wedderbum. 
Charles Wetherell. 
John Frost Widmore. 
George Wilson. 
Giffin Wilson. 
William Wingfield. 

Till Lord Mansfield's time it had been the custom for the 
chief justice on the last day of term to call on the king's 
counsel in rotation^ until they had exhausted their motions, 
so that the after-bar had little chance of being heard. To 
that great magistrate the credit is due of putting an end to 
this unjust arrangement ; nor must equal credit be denied to 
the seniors, who at once consented to the alteration. He 

1760—1820. counsel's FEES — WESTMINSTER HALL. 22^ 

introduced the practice of going through the whole bar, and 
calling on each counsel to make one motion. 

The gradual profit of a counsel with extraordinary advan- 
tages about the middle of the last centurj, is shown by the 
fee-book of Mr. Charles Yorke, the son of Lord Chancellor 
Hardwicke, and afterwards chancellor himself. He was 
called to the bar in 1746, in which year he made only 121/. ; 
in his second year, 201/. ; in his third and fourth, between 
300/. and 400/. each ; in his fifth year, 700/. ; in his sixth, 
above 800/. ; in his seventh, nearly 1,000/. ; and in his tenth, 
nearly 2,500/. In the next year, 1757, when he was solicitor- 
general, his fees exceeded 3,400/.; and in 1758 they were 
above 5,000/. His largest receipt in any one year was 
7,322/. in 1763, being then attorney-general. * 

In the next twenty-five years the fees to counsel must 
have much increased. From the fee-book of Sir John Scott 
(Lord Eldon) his receipts as king's counsel appear to have 
amounted in 1785 to 5,766 guineas ; in 1786, to 6,833/. 7^. ; 
in 1787, to 7,600/. Is. ; and in 1788, to 8,419/. Us. As 
solicitor-general in 1789 they rose to 9,559/. lOs. ; to 9,684/. 
in 1790; to 10,213/. 13*. 6d. in 1791; and to 9,080/. 9s. in 
1792. In 1793, when he was made attorney-general, his 
profits were 10,330/. Is. 4rf.; in 1794, 11,592/.; in 1795, 
11,149/. 15*. 4cf.; in 1796, 12,140/. 15*. 8d. ; in 1797, 
10,861/. 5s. 6d. ; and in 1798, the last entire year of his 
practice at the bar, 10,557/. 17a.^ 

In 1791 the tide ran so high that the lawyers were con- 
veyed away from Westminster Hall in boats. Their fright 
of course occasioned the wits much amusement, as the fol- 
lowing verse of a song will show: — 

'' Of the fright universal it spread. 

Conception can ne'er form a notion ; 
Wigs bristled upright on each head, 
Each counsellor stood without rtioiton : 

* IlarrU's Lord Ilurdwickc, iii. 440. * Twisty i. a 16. 


The tide that for no man will staj^ 

While the clamour grew louder and louder, 

From ev*ry tie-wig washed away 

Common-sense, with the curls and the powder." 

The squibs that circulate in Westminster Hall are so 
numerous, and often so good, that it is to be regretted that a 
legal album is not kept, and a recorder appointed. Many 
excellent specimens of forensic wit, which have been long 
interred in the tomb of the Capulets, would have been pre- 
served to delight the rising generation, and have proved to 
the civilians that their legal brethren, though not noted for 
such "high jinks" as the Scottish advocates, can mix as 
much fun and frolic with their graver avocations. Could the 
records of some of the English circuits, and the proceedings 
of the convivial meetings that frequently terminated them, 
as the Horse-shoe Club, &c., be produced, they would per- 
haps be found to be not far behind their northern brethren 
in absurdity and burlesque. 

One of the most jocular members of the legal fraternity 
in this reign was Joseph Jekyll, who afterwards became a 
master in Chancery. He was ready on all occasions. When 
some dull serjeant was fatiguing the court with a prosy 
argument, he amused the gaping circle with the following 
epigram : — 

" The seijeants are a grateful race, 
Their dress and language shew it ; 
Their purple garments come from Tyre, 
Their arguments go to it." 

A question of lien being in debate. Lord Eldon pronounced 
the word /ton, while Sir Arthur Pigott always spoke of it 
as lean. This diiference of pronunciation was chronicled by 
Mr. Jekyll in these lines, in which there is a sly hit at the 
reputed economy of his lordship's establishment : — 

1760—1820. L£6AL JOCULARITY. 225 

*' Sir Arthur, Sir Artlmr, why, what do you mean. 
By sayiDg the chancellor's lion is lean ? 
D'ye think that his kitchen 's so bad as all that, 
That nothing within it can ever get fat P " 

On another occasion^ when Mr. Garrow was unsuccessfully 
endeavouring to extract from an old spinster the proof of a 
tender of the money in dispute, Jekyll tossed to him these 
lines : — 

" Garrow, forbear ; that tough old jade 
Will never prove a tend^ tnaid.*^ 

This is also attributed to Mr. Erskine, with whom amidst all 
his business the spirit of fun was never extinguished. 

The dicta of the judges were sometimes turned to frolick- 
some account. The law of libel was very tightly interpreted, 
and it had been determined by the bench that everything 
that in any way caused annoyance to an individual came 
under the description. When, at a Westminster election, 
every voter was called upon to swear to his qualification, &c., 
the following was written on two of the judges not being 
exempted from the ordeal: — 

'' When Grose and Rooke had kiss'd the book. 

The clerk who held the Bible 
Was in a fright, and thought they might 

Convict him of a libel. 
For though, in sooth, they swore the truth. 

Upright in all their dealings, 
Yet still they both might say the oath 

Was 'hurtful to their feelings.* " 

From the jeux (Tesprit of another humorous member of 
the Chancery bar, who had an epigram in every curl of his 
wig, and who, after filling several high judicial positions, 
still lives, the object of esteem and regard, the following 
may be culled. Mr. Beames, the reporter, having had a 
little wooden bar put up to prevent people from jogging his 

VOL. viii. Q 


elbow, and some one observing that it was a very flimsy one, 
Mr. (now Sir George) Rose answered : 

" Yes, — the partition is certainly thin, — 
But thick enough, truly, the Beames within." 

To the same author we are indebted for the following 
characteristic description of some of his contemporaries : 

" Mr. Leach made a speech, 

Pithy, clear, and strong"; 
Mr. Hart, on the other part. 

Was prosy, dull, and long. 
Mr. Parker made that darker 

Which was dark enough without j 
Mr. Bell spoke so well, 

That the chancellor said— ' I doubt' " 

From an order of Quarter Sessions of the city of London 
in January 1782, assessing the inhabitants in the sum of 
28,299/. 17*. Id, for the relief of Thomas Langdale, the 
distiller, and several other persons, whose property had been 
destroyed during the riots of 1780, it appears that the several 
Inns within the city were thus rated : — 

«. d. 

When either of the Inns of court refuses to call a member 
to the bar, the only appeal he has is to the twelve judges 
sitting as visitors; and there are two cases in this reign 
(Douglas, 339) in which the court of King's Bench refused 
a mandamus to the benchers, but referred the parties to the 
twelve judges. 

Lincoln's Inn. — In 1768 Bishop Warburton, who had 
been elected preacher to the society in 1746, transferred 
500/. to trustees * for the purpose of reading a lecture at 

Serjeants* Inn — 

Clifford's Inn . . 

. . 40 

Fleet Street . . 

. 40 

Staple Inn . . . 

. . 17 

Chancery Lane . 

. 30 

Barnard's Inn. . 

. . 80 

Inner Temple . . 

. 237 

Fumival's Inn . 

. . 20 

Middle Temple . . 

. 148 

1760—1820. FURNIVAL's INN— CLEMENT'S INN. 221 

Lincoln's Inn, in the form of a course of sermons, to prove 
the truth of revealed religion from the completion of the 

Furnival's Inn. — A lease of this inn, which ever since 
the year 1547 had been in the possession of the Society of 
Lincoln's Inn, was granted by that body in 1819 to Henry 
Peto for ninety-nine years, at a ground-rent of 500/., and a 
payment in lieu of land-tax of 76/. 

Thavie's Inn. — The Society of Lincoln's Inn, which 
had possessed this inn since 1549, sold it in 1771 to Thomas 
Middleton, Esq., from whom it afterwards passed to Thomas 
Jones, Esq., and was pulled down in 1790. 

Clement's Inn. — In the garden of this inn there is the 
figure of a negro, supporting a sun-dial. On it the following 
bitter lines were said to have been found : — 

" In vain, poor eable son of woe, 

Thou 8eek*8t the lender tear : 
From thee in vain with pangs they flow, 

For mercy dwells not here. 
From cannibals thou fled*8t in vain ; 

Lawyers less quarter give : 
The^r«^ won't eat you till youVe «/atVi, 

The last will do 't alive:' 






ABBOTT, CHARLES, afterwards Lord Tknterden. 

Just. C. P. 1816. Jdst. K. B. 1816. Ch. K B. 1818. 

See under the Reigns of George IV. and William IV. 


B. E. 1760. 

See under the Beign of George II. 

Richard Adams was the son and heir of a gentleman of 
the same name residing at Shrewsbury. He was born in 
1710, and having been admitted a member of the Inner 
Temple, was called to the bar in February 1735. He prac- 
tised as a common pleader of the city of London, until he 
was elected its recorder on January 17, 1748. He obtained 
this honourable post after a severe contest, in which he was 
only successful by the casting vote of the lord mayor. During 
the time he held it he was knighted ; and on February 3, 
1753, he was promoted to the bench of the Exchequer.* 
Miss Hawkins, in the second volume of her Memoirs, relates 
that he owed his elevation to the king's admiration of him in 
his character of recorder. The ministers not agreeing on 
the person who should fill the vacancy occasioned by the 
removal of Mr. Baron Olive to the court of Common Pleas, 

» Inner Temple Books ; City List of Recorclers. 

1760—1820. RICHARD PEPPER ARDEN. 229 

George II. put an end to the discussion by calling out in his 
usual English^ " I vill have none of dese ; give me the man 
wid de dying speech," meaning the recorder, whose duty it 
was to make the report of the convicts under sentence of 

After a judicial service of twenty years he died on March 
15, 1773, at Bedford, while on the circuit, of the gaol dis- 
temper caught a fortnight before at the Old Bailey. In 
Lord Chief Justice Wilmot's Common-place Book his death 
is thus recorded : — " He was a very good lawyer and an ex- 
cellent judge, having every quality necessary to dignify the 
character. I never saw him out of temper in my life, and I 
have known him intimately for forty years." * 

ALVANLEY, LORD. See R. P. Arden. 

APSLEY, LORD. See H. Bathurst. 


M. R 1788. Ch. C. p. 1801. 

Of the family of Arden or Arderne, which is one of the 
oldest in Cheshire, an account has been already given of no 
less than four members, who held judicial positions : two in 
the reigns of Richard I. and John as justices itinerant; and 
two in the reigns of Henry VI. and Edward IV. as barons 
of the Exchequer, one of them being chief baron. The 
connection of Lord Alvanley with the latter has not been 
precisely traced. His great-grandfather was Sir John 
Arderne of Harden; his grandfather was John Ardem, 
buried at Stockport in 1703 ; and his father was John Arden 
of Arden; who by his marriage with Mary, daughter of 
Cuthbert Pepper, Esq., of Pepper Hall in Yorkshire, had 
two sons ; the younger of whom is the subject of the present 

* Gent Mag. xxiii. 53, 100; xl. 142; Life of Wilmot, 199. 


Richai-d Pepper Arden was bom at Bredbury in 1745. 
After receiving his first education at the grammar-school in 
Manchester, he was admitted a gentleman commoner of 
Trinity College, Cambridge, in October 1763, having in the 
preceding year been entered at the Middle Temple. That 
he employed his time diligently while at the university, both 
in the studies which it principally encouraged and in the 
classics, is proved by his being named seventh wrangler in 
1766, when he took his B.A. degree, and by his being 
elected in 1769 fellow of his college, when he proceeded 
M.A. His application did not prevent him from joining in 
society ; and in the True Blue Club as well as in his college, 
his gaiety and good-humour gained him the favour of his 
fellow-students. By the heads of the house he was no less 
respected, and was entrusted by them with the revision of 
their statutes. Keeping his terms at the Middle Temple 
during this time, he was called to the bar in 1769, and after 
a short pupillage with an equity draftsman he took his seat 
in the back rows of the court of Chancery ; and, according 
to the practice of the time, joined the Northern Circuit. At 
a very early period he was, by family interest, appointed 
recorder of Macclesfield, near his native place : and in 1776, 
when he had been scarcely seven years at the bar, he was 
constituted one of the judges on the South Wales Circuit, 
in conjunction with Daines Barrington. His chambers were 
in Stone Buildings, Lincoln's Inn, and it is said that those 
occupied by William Pitt were on the same staircase ; but 
as he was fourteen years the senior of the great minister, the 
intimacy that existed between them must have commenced 
at a later period, and certainly could not have influenced his 
nomination to the Welsh judgeship, nor probably his advance 
to the honour of a silk gown, which he received in Michael- 
mas Term 1780, while Lord Thurlow was chancellor. This 
advance, especially considering that he was no favourite with 

1760—1820. RICHARD P£PP£R ARDEN. 231 

his lordship^ shows that he had gained a considerable stand- 
ing at the bar. What was the origin of their mutual dislike 
is not very clear^ since they were equally free of tongue and 
careless of observation. The chancellor was fond of snub- 
bing Mr. Arden, and one day the latter having in the ex- 
citement of his argument, in a cause in which the age of 
a woman was in dispute, said to the opposing counsel, '^ I'll 
lay you a bottle of wine she is more than forty-five," — at 
once seeing the indecency, apologised to the chancellor, 
declaring that he forgot where he was. Thurlow growled 
forth, "I suppose you thought you were in your own court;" 
— alluding to the free and easy manner in which the pro- 
ceedings in the Welsh courts were then conducted. 

When Lord Shelburne became prime minister on the death 
of the Marquis of Rockingham in July 1782, Mr. Arden, 
no doubt by the instrumentality of his friend Mr. Pitt, then 
chancellor of the Exchequer, was, notwithstanding the dis- 
inclination of Lord Thurlow, appointed solicitor-general on 
November 7 ; and about the same time a seat in parliament 
was procured for him as the representative of Newton in the 
Isle of Wight. On the dissolution of that ministry in the 
following April he of course retired ; but in nine months, 
the Coalition Ministry being in their turn discarded, and 
Mr. Pitt entrusted with the conduct of affairs, Mr. Arden 
was restored to his place in December 1783. He only held 
it for three months, when on March 31, 1784, he succeeded 
Lord Kenyon, both as attorney-general and chief justice of 
Chester. During this time he strenuously opposed Mr. Fox's 
East India Bill, and was an unflinching supporter of Mr. 
Pitt in his memorable contest with the coalesced opposition 
immediately after his appointment. For the new parliament 
of May 1784, which confirmed the ministerial power, Mr. 
Arden was returned member for Aldborough in Yorkshire ; 
and in those of 1790 and 1796 he represented Hastings and 


Bath respectively. In all the parliaments he was a frequent 
and effective, though not a brilliant, speaker. He exposed 
himself in 1784 to some just censure by proposing a loose 
enactment with reference to elections ; and by indiscreet 
acknowledgments he laid himself open to the sarcastic taunts 
of his opponents. The shafts of the writers of the " Rolliad" 
and of the "Probationary Odes" were levelled against him, 
as well for his want of law as of personal beauty. But the 
good-humour with which he met these attacks disarmed them 
of their sting and silenced his assailants. 

On the elevation of Lord Kenyon, he succeeded as master 
of the Rolls on June 4, 1788 ; notwithstanding Lord Thur- 
low's opposition, which was only silenced by a significant 
hint from the king. The animosity and disrespect of the 
defeated chancellor were unhandsomely shown against the 
new master on all occasions, and particularly by calling upon 
Mr. Justice BuUer to sit for him when he was ill, or idle, 
which was frequently the case. The master of the Rolls 
was too goodnatured and too wise to retaliate. He discreetly 
avoided the slightest appearance of any angry feelings exist- 
ing between the judges ; and the only revenge he took for 
the chancellor's dislike was by proving his antagonist mis- 
taken in his estimate of him ; and indeed at the same time 
surprising the legal profession by the excellent manner in 
which he decided the various cases in equity that came 
before him ; his judgments being far the best that were 
pronounced in the court of Chancery during the period in 
which he sat He was knighted at his promotion. After 
enduring philosophically the roughness of Thurlow for four 
years, he worked for nine more with complete harmony 
under Lord Loughborough ; on whose retirement from the 
Seals and the elevation of Lord Eldon to the chancellor- 
ship, Sir Richard was on May 30, 1801, constituted lord 
chief justice of the Common Pleas, which Lord Eldon had 

1760—1820. RICHARD PEPPER ARDEN. 233 

vacated. On the 22nd of that month he had been created 
a peer by the title of Lord Alvanley, a manor in the parish 
of Frodsham in Cheshire, which had been in the possession 
of his family ever since the reign of Henry III. 

He performed the judicial functions of his new position 
with 80 much efficiency and learning that the Serjeants, 
though some of them annoyed him by petty altercations, con- 
gratulated themselves in the prospect of being presided over 
by an esteemed ruler for a long series of years. This from 
his age they were justified in predicting ; but to the regret 
of all in less than three years he was suddenly seized, while 
presiding in the House of Lords for Lord Eldon, with a 
violent attack of inflammation, which after three days of suffer- 
ing terminated fatally on March 19, 1804. He died at his 
house in Great George Street, Westminster, and was buried 
in the chapel of the Rolls. 

As a judge he falsified the jokes of his early opponents 
by proving himself a good lawyer and a conscientious ad- 
ministrator of justice ; — but at the same time he justified 
the insinuation of Lord Thurlow about the practice in his 
Welsh courts, by the familiar and somewhat undignified 
conduct which he permitted and adopted in the Common 
Pleas. To the last he preserved the character he had borne 
from the commencement of his career, of a hearty, good- 
humoured, and entertaining companion, and of a simple, 
steady, and kind-hearted friend. His advance in dignity 
had not the common effect of rendering him either proud, 
formal, or reserved : neither did it have the better effect of 
sobering the quickness of his temper. His occasional irrita- 
bilities indeed made the French interpretation of his name, 
" Mons. Poivre Ardent," peculiarly applicable. These how- 
ever were slight failings, and did not prevent his being 
universally esteemed, or being looked upon with affection 
and respect by " troops of friends ; " one of the earliest. 


most intimate, and steady of whom was the great minister 
William Pitt. 

In 1784 he married Anne Dorothea, daughter of Richard 
Wilbraham Bootle, Esq., of Lathom Hall in Lancashire, the 
father of tlie first Lord Skelmersdale. This lady survived 
her husband till 1825. Of their children the two eldest sons 
held the title successively, which on the death of the latter 
in 1857 became extinct* 

Just. E. B. 1770. Com. G. S. 1783 and 1792. 

The family from which this judge descended derived its 
name from Ashhurst, near Wigan in Lancashire, where it 
was resident soon after the Conquest. Among its members 
were some famous knights, members of parliament, and 
merchants, one of whom was Sir William Ashhurst, lord 
mayor of London in 1693. Henry Ashhurst, one of the 
younger branches, settled at Waterstock in Oxfordshire, 
formerly the property of Sir George Croke the judge, and 
was created a baronet by James 11. in July 1688, but the 
title became extinct on the death of his son in 1732. The 
Waterstock property then devolved on his niece, Diana the 
only child of Sir Richard Allin, Baronet, of Somer-Leighton 
in Suffolk, by the daughter of Sir Henry Ashhurst ; and by 
her marriage with Thomas Henry Ashhurst, vice-chancellor 
of the Duchy of Lancaster, and recorder of Liverpool and 
Wigan, the representative of the elder branch, the two 
estates became united. They were the parents of Several 
children, the third son, and eventually the heir, being 
William Henry the future judge. 

He was bom at Ashhurst on January 25, 1725 ; and was 

' Lives, bj Jardioe, in Biog. Diet. Soc. of Ubefal Knowledge, and by W. C. 
TowDsend, &c 

1760—1820. WILLIAM HENBY A8HHUBBT. 235 

educated at the Charter House. After his admission to the 
Inner Temple in 1750, he practised as a special pleader 
under the bai*, one of his pupils being his future colleague 
on the bench, Mr. Justice BuUer. In 175.4 he became a 
barrister, and in that character pursued an honourable career 
for twenty years ; during which he was appointed to the 
office of auditor of the Duchy of Lancaster. 

On the removal of Sir William Blackstone to the court 
of Common Pleas, Mr. Ashhurst was selected to succeed him 
as a judge of the King's Bench, to which he was appointed 
on June 25, 1770, and at the same time was knighted. He 
sat in that court no less than twenty-nine years, preserving 
the character of an impartial administrator of justice, and a 
careful expounder of the law, united with a benevolent heart 
and polished manners. His countenance was expressive of 
the kindness and amiability of his disposition; but being 
rather lank, was often made a subject for the barristers' jokes. 
Mr. (afterwards Lord) Erskine is said to have indited this 
complimentary couplet on him : 

"Judge Ashhurst, with his lanthom jtiwoy 
Throws light upon our English laws." 

Lord Campbell, with less probability, substitutes the name 
of Sir Nash Grose. 

The best proof of his legal reputation, and of the estima- 
tion in which he was regarded, was that during his judicial 
life he was twice entrusted with the custody of the Great 
Seal as one of the commissioners : the first time from April 
9 to December 23, 1783, during the interval between the 
two chancellorships of Lord Thurlow ; and the second from 
June 15, 1792, to January 28, 1793, between that lord's 
retirement and the appointment of Lord Loughborough. 
While acting in that capacity he still performed his duties in 
the Eang's Bench, and during the latter period he delivered. 


in November 1792, a very able address to the grand jury of 
Middlesex on the subject of the seditious meetings and cor- 
responding societies which were consequent on the French 
Revolution. On June 9, 1799, being then in the seventy- 
fifth year of his age, he resigned his seat on the bench, and 
retired to his residence at Waterstock, where, after surviving 
his resignation a little more than eight years, he died on 
November 5, 1807. 

By his wife, Grace, daughter of John Whalley of Oxford, 
M.D., and sister of Sir John Whalley Smythe Gardiner, 
Bart, (whom he married after he became a judge,) he left 
several children. His eldest son represented Oxfordshire 
for many years, and his descendant now resides on the family 
estate and holds a distinguished position in the county.' 

Just. K. B. 1765. Cou. G. S. 1770. 

The family of Aston of Aston in Cheshire is of great anti- 
quity, dating from the reign of Henry II., and numbering 
among its members many sheriffs of that county, loyal 
knights and soldiers, and officers of the royal household, 
until the reign of Charles I., when that monarch in 1728 
honoured the head of the house with a baronetcy. The judge 
now to be noticed was grandson of the second and brother 
of the fifth baronet, both named Sir Willoughby Aston. 
His father was Richard Aston of Wadley, the sixth son of 
the former ; and his mother was Elizabeth, daughter of John 
Warren, Esq., of Oxfordshire. 

Having gone through all the preliminary steps, and been 
admitted as a barrister, he was so successful in his practice 

> Hist, of Croke Family, 377, 559; Blackslone's Rep. 719; Hardy's Catal. 
83; 8 Tt:rm Rep. 259; Gent. Mng. Ixii. 10'19, IxxyU 1084. 

1760-1820. . RICHARD ASTON. 237 

that he attained in 1759 the rank of king's counsel; from 
which he was advanced two years afterwards to the office of 
chief justice of the Common Pleas in Ireland. Here his 
career was unfortunate. He found that justice was very 
loosely administered ; it being the common practice for grand 
juries to find the bills without examining witnesses, but upon 
the mere inspection of the depositions taken before the com- 
mitting magistrate. Against this and other irregularities the 
chief justice naturally remonstrated ; but his representations 
of the illegality of these proceedings produced no other eifect 
than to create a prejudice against him in the minds of the 
provincial magistrates and squires, which was considerably 
heightened by the rude and overbearing manner in which he 
delivered his admonitions. These disputes frequently occur- 
ring, the judge's position became so disagreeable that he 
solicited a removal. Accordingly,, on the death of Sir 
Thomas Denison, he bade adieu to his Irish antagonists, and 
was transferred to the English court of King's Bench on 
April 19, 1765 ; being at the same time knighted. 

In this new arena his brusque demeanour nearly led to 
more serious consequences. On a motion relative to a libel, 
a barrister had the imprudence to make an affidavit that he 
believed it to be no libel. This being a mere matter of 
opinion. Lord Mansfield and the other judges goodnaturedly 
overlooked the impropriety as a foolish ebullition of the law- 
yer's zeal : but Sir Kichard coarsely declared " that he would 
not believe such a man's oath." The barrister, naturally in- 
dignant, watched for an opportunity to be revenged, and 
tracing the judge's movements succeeded in detecting him 
" in a sale of lottery tickets, presumed to be received as the 
wages of judicial prostitution in the memorable trials about 
Wilkes and Junius." This evidence of guilt was proclaimed 
in a manly pamphlet and believed by every one, being un- 
answered and unnoticed by the subject of the charge. A 


laughable pendent of this story is related, that when Sir 
Richard was upbraided witli such conduct, he coolly replied, 
'^ I think, sir, I have as good a right to sell my tickets as my 
brother Willes." » 

Whether these charges were exaggerated, or wholly true, 
or partially false, they did not prevent Sir Kichard Aston 
from being entrusted with a more responsible oflSce. On the 
sudden death of Lord Chancellor Yorke he was appointed, 
in conjunction with Mr. Baron Smythe and Mr. Justice 
Bathurst, a commissioner of the Great Seal on January 21, 
1770. Though they retained the Seal for a year, yet, as 
neither of them had had much experience in equity, their 
rule was not a very distinguished one, and their decisions 
were supposed to be guided principally by Lord Mansfield's 
advice. Their trust terminated on January 23, 1771, when 
one of their number, Mr. Justice Bathurst, was made lord 
chancellor, and Sir Richard resumed his duties in the King's 
Bench, where he continued till his death on March 1, 1778. 

He married, first, a daughter of — Eldred ; and secondly, 
Rebecca, daughter of Dr. Rowland, a physician of Ayles- 
bury, and widow of Sir David Williams, Bart. ; but he left 
no issue by either.* • 


Cum. B. E. 1760. 
See under the Keign of George II. 

John Tracy Atkyns was the third son of John Tracy, 
Esq., of Stanway in Gloucestershire, (grandson of the third 
Viscount Tracy,) by Anne the daughter of Sir Robert 
Atkyns, lord chief baron in the reign of William III. He 
entered the Society of Lincoln's Inn in 1724, and was called 

> Burrow's S. C. 533: Memoir of Francis Homer, ii. 364; Smyth's Law Off. 
of Ireland, 122, 251, 311; Law and Lawyers, ii. 140. 
' Barke*s Extinct Baronetage, 26, 569. 

1760—1820. UENUY BATHUKST. 239 

to the bar in 1732. It does not appear at what date he 
assumed the name of Atkyns, nor when he discarded it, re- 
suming his father's name ; but under the former he received 
the appointment of cursitor baron of the Exchequer on 
April 22, 1755, and under the latter he made a codicil to his 
will in 1768. He died on July 24, 1773 ; and left no issue 
by his wife, of whom we have no other record than that 
her Christian name was Katherine. 

He had earned the office to which he attained, by the in- 
dustry with which he devoted himself to taking notes of the 
cases in the court of Chancery during the whole period that 
Lord Hardwicke presided there ; the Reports of which he 
had the boldness to publish without the judge's usual allo- 
catur, in three folio volumes, the first volume in 1765, the 
year after the chancellor's death. They are highly valued 
for their correctness, and have passed through several edi- 
tions. Chief Justice Wilmot describes him in his Diary as 
^* a cheerful, good-humoured, honest man ; a good husband, 
master, and friend." ' 

BATHURST, HENRY, Lord Apslet, and 
Earl of Bathurst. ^ 
Just. C. P. 1760. Com. Q. 8. 1770. Lord Chakc. 1771. 
See ander the Reign of George IL 

The Bathursts were originally seated at Bathurst near 
Battel in Sussex, but afterwards removed into Kent One 
member received a baronetcy (of Leachdale in Gloucester- 
shire) in 1643, which is now supposed to be extinct; and 
several others were merchants and aldermen of London. 
The immediate ancestor of the chancellor resided at Staple- 
hurst in the reign of Henry VIIL, and one of his grandsons 

* Case on the Claim of the Tracy Peerage, by James Tracy; Pat 28 Geo. II. 
p. 4; Wilmot's Life of Chief Jast. Wilmot, 199. 


was the father of the celebrated Dr. Ralph Bathurst, presi- 
dent of Trinity College, Oxford, and dean of Wells. The 
dean's brother. Sir Benjamin, was the father of Allen, who, 
after serving in two parliaments for the borough of Ciren- 
cester, was one of the twelve peers created by Queen Anne 
in 1711, for the purpose of obtaining a majority in the House 
of Lords. To his title, Baron Bathurst of Battlesden in 
Sussex, he received sixty-one years afterwards the additional 
rank of an earl, as an acknowledgment and reward for his 
services to the State, and his eminence in the social and lite- 
rary world. He died at the age of ninety-one in 1775, 
having lived to see his son elevated to the peerage and to the 
dignity of lord high chancellor of Great Britain. That son 
was one of the nine children he had by his wife Catherine, 
daughter and heir of Sir Peter Apsley of Apsley in Sussex. 

Henry Bathurst, the second, but eldest surviving son of 
the earl, was born on May 20, 1714. He took the degree 
of B.A. at Christ Church, Oxford, in 1733, and was called 
to the bar by the Society of Lincoln's Inn in Hilary Term 
1736. He had already been returned to parliament in the 
previous year as member for Cirencester, which he continued 
to represent till 1754, adopting the politics of the party of 
which his father had been so long a prominent leader. 
Neither as senator nor barrister did he hold any distinguished 
position ; but, though his business in the courts was by no 
means commanding, he was in 1746 chosen solicitor-general, 
and shortly after attorney-general, to Frederick, Prince of 
Wales. The spirit of his opposition to the court seems to 
have subsided at the prince's death in 1751, although he 
filled the same office to the princess till his elevation to the 
bench. He had on entering the prince's service been ho- 
noured with a patent of precedency; and in 1752 he was the 
leading counsel for the Crown in the trial at the Oxford 
Assizes of Elizabeth Blandy for the murder of her father ; 

176O-.1820. HENRY BATHUBST. 241 

his speech in which has been praised fur its eloquence, but 
is too exaggerated an appeal to the feelings of the jury to 
be approved by modem ears. Soon after the death of Mr. 
Justice Gundry he was raised to the bench^ and took his 
seat as a judge of the Common Pleas on May 2, 1754^ at 
the age of forty. 

Though the l^al quiet of that court is seldom interrupted 
by state questions^ the sham patriot John Wilkes in 1763 
made it the arena for his display, and Mr. Justice Bathurst 
concurred in the constitutional decisions of his chief. Lord 
Camden. After occupying his seat for sixteen years, the 
sudden death of the Hon. Charles Yorke occurred, and the 
Great Seal was, on January 21, 1770, placed in the hands 
of three commissioners, the second of whom was Mr. Justice 
Bathurst. They held it for a year, but their rule met with 
so little approbation that the minister found it necessary to 
appoint a lord chancellor. Though very limited in his choice, 
the profession was greatly surprised on finding Judge Bath- 
urst, who was considered '' the most incapable of the three ^ 
commissioners, selected to fill that high and responsible post. 
The Seal was deUvered to him on January 23, 1771, and he 
was on the same day created Lord Apsley ; and went in state 
from his house in Dean Street to Westminster to take the 
oaths. He naturally found himself in a wrong position, and 
it was said that he never entered his court with a firm 
and dauntless step. Overawed by Thurlow, Wedderbum, 
and other counsel practising at his bar, he was so little con- 
versant with either the principles or practice of equity, that 
his decisions have no value in the profession. But being a 
staunch supporter of Lord North's measures, he was retained 
in his place for more than seven years ; at the end of which, 
from a failure in his health, or perhaps a consciousness of his 
inefficiency, he resigned the Seal on June 3, 1778 ; one of 
bis last and most praiseworthy acts being the appointment of 



his nephew, Francis Buller, to a vacant judgeship. He 
declined any retiring pension ; and was in the following year 
continued in the cabinet with the office of lord president of 
the council, which he held till Lord North's ministry termi- 
nated in 1782. In the twelve years he survived he gradually 
retired from political life, and died from natural decay at his 
seat, Oakley Grove near Cirencester, on August 6, 1794, in 
his eighty-first year. 

In his public life he was honourable and sincere ; as a 
judge he was esteemed by the bar for his kindness of man- 
ner ; and in private life he was thoroughly amiable. Though 
of a cheerful and good-humoured disposition, he was not quite 
so jovial as his father, who took his wine freely to the last day 
of his long life. On one occasion at a party at Oakley, the 
chancellor having retired somewhat early from the convi- 
viality, the old earl chuckled and said to the rest of the 
company, " Now, my good friends, since the old gentleman 
is oiF, I think we may venture to crack another bottle." 
Neither was he so liberal a patron to literature as his father ; 
but it should be remembered to his credit, that he was the 
first to encourage Sir William Jones by substantial tokens 
of regard. 

Apsley House in Piccadilly was built by him, and the 
joke in Lincoln's Inn Hall, that " an old woman could beat 
him in his own court," was founded on his being obliged by 
the threat of a chancery suit to buy off the widow of an old 
soldier, on whose site he had encroached in his new erection. 
Though certainly not distinguished by extraordinary abilities, 
and not holding an eminent rank as a chancellor, there can 
be little doubt that his deficiencies were magnified by Whig 

In 1775, while he was yet chancellor, he succeeded to his 
father's earldom. He married twice. By his first wife, 
Anne, daughter of — James, Esq., and widow of Charles 

i:60— 18S0. WILLIAM BLACK8TONE. 243 

Phillips, Esq., he had no issue ; but by his second wife, 
Tryphena, daughter of Thomas Scawen, Esq., of Maid well 
in Northamptonshire, he left six children. His successor 
held a distinguished place in the government, and the House 
of Lords is still graced by his descendants.' 


Just. K. B 1803. 

See under the Reigns of George IV. and William IV. 

BEST, WILLIAM DRAPER, afterwards Loed Wtnford. 

Just. K. R 1818. 

See under the Reign of George IV. 

Jd8t. K. B. 1770. Just. C. P. 1770. 

The name of Blackstone is inseparably connected with the 
law of England. What Lyttelton and his crabbed expositor 
were to our legal ancestors, Blackstone is to modern students: 
and though some of the more earnest or more ambitious of 
them may seek honours by endeavouring to fathom the mys- 
teries of the " Tenures," the ol iroXKol of the profession are 
content to earn an easy degree by mastering the more 
attractive lessons conveyed in the " Commentaries." So 
popular have they become, that, where the study was con- 
fined in former times to those who pursued it as an avocation, 
few men of rank or fortune now consider their education 
complete without gaining an insight into the constitution of 
the country through Blackstone's easy and perspicuous pages ; 
and Abridgments are even introduced into schools for the 
instruction of the young. Whether this facility is produc- 

' Collins* Peerage, v. 93; Welsby*8 Lives, 3o2; Sirictarcs on T^wycrd, 73. 

B 2 


tive of better lawyers must be left as a question for our 
critical descendants.* 

William Blackstone was the fourth and posthumous son of 
Charles Blackstone, a respectable silkman in Cheapside, 
London, descended from a family originally settled in the 
neighbourhood of Salisbury. His mother, who was Mary, 
daughter of Lovelace Bigg, Esq., of Chilton Foliot in Wilt>- 
shire, also died before he was twelve years old. He was 
bom on July 10, 1723, and from his birth his education was 
undertaken by the brother of his mother, Mr. Thomas Bigg, 
an eminent surgeon in Newgate Street* In 1730 he was 
put to school at the Charter-house ; and in 1735 was admitted 
on the foundation there ; becoming the head of the school at 
the age of fifteen, and distinguishing himself not only in the 
customary oration in commemoration of the founder, which 
he recited on December 12, 1738, but also by obtaining Mr. 
Benson's prize medal for verses on Milton. He had in the 
preceding month been entered at Pembroke College, Oxford, 
and elected to a Charter-house exhibition; to which in 
February following was added one of Lady Holford's ex- 
hibitions, unanimously given by the fellows of the college. 

These honours show the diligence and success with which 
he pursued his juvenile studies. In the university he was 
remarkable for the same assiduity, not confining himself to 
the classics, but devoting himself to those sciences, the investi- 
gation of which tended so much to the simplicity and clear- 
ness of his writings. Among these he was peculiarly fond of 
architecture, and before he was of age he composed a treatise 
on the subject, which, though never published, was much 
admired. His partiality for the Muses, already shown by his 
prize poem on Milton, and afterwards exhibited by several 

> The present writer was author of one of the Abridgments pablished in 
1820, under the name of John Gifford, which, after a consideriible circulation, 
was translated into Qcrman. 

1760—1820. WILLIAM BLACK8TONE. 245 

elegant fugitive pieces^ he found too fascinating and engross- 
ing for the profession to which he was destined ; and^ resolv- 
ing upon ''total abstinence/ he wrote, on entering the Middle 
Temple^ a '' Farewell to his Muse/ in strains which induced 
many to regret he should leave the flowery path of poetry 
for the more rugged and sterile ways of the law. These 
lines were afterwards printed in the fourth volume of Dods- 
ley's Miscellanies. Notwithstanding this formal adieu, he 
could not altogether refrain; and among other pieces he 
wrote some verses on the death of the Prince of Wales in 
1751, which were published int the Oxford collection as the 
composition of his brother-in-law, James Clitherow. He 
amused himself also by annotating Shakespeare, and com- 
municated his notes to Mr. Steevens, who inserted them in 
his last edition of the plays. 

He was admitted a member of the Middle Temple on 
November 20, 1741, and was* called to the bar on November 
28, 1746. But in the intervals of his attendance on the 
courts he still continued his academical studies at the 
university; where he was elected in November 1743 into 
the Society of All Souls, of which he was afterwards ad- 
mitted a fellow, and delivered the anniversary speech in 
commemoration of the founder. There also he took his 
degree of B.C.L. in June 1745. On being appointed bur- 
sar of hia college he reduced the confusion in which he found 
the accounts into lucid order, and left a dissertation on the 
subject tor- the benefit of his successors. He not only 
arranged the muniments of their estates, but greatly assisted 
in the re-edification of the Codrington Library and in the 
classification of its contents ; in gratitude for all which ser- 
vices the college appointed him in 1749 steward of their 
manors. In 1750 he commenced doctor of civil law; and 
in the same year published an '^ Essay on Collateral Con- 
sanguinity," with the view of removing the. inconvenience 


felt by the college of electing any person who could prove 
himself of kin to die founder in preference to any other 
candidate. His arguments had so much weight that soon 
after a new regulation was introduced limiting the number 
of founder's kin. 

His progress at tlie bar in the meantime was so slow and 
unproductive that, though he had been in 1749 elected 
recorder of Wallingford, he determined in 1753 to retire to 
his fellowship, and only practise as a provincial counsel. 
About this time the professorship of civil law in the 
university became vacant, and the Solicitor-General Mr. 
Murray (afterwards Lord Mansfield), with a just appre- 
ciation of Dr. Blackstone's abilities, strongly recommended 
him for the place. The Duke of Newcastle promised it; 
but it is believed was not satisfied with the devotion of the 
candidate to his grace's politics, for after a short interview 
with him, it was given to another. Mr. Murray was 
naturally disgusted, and advised the doctor to read the 
lectures on law he had long been preparing to such students 
as were disposed to attend him. He at once adopted the 
plan and met with immediate success. These lectures form 
the basis of that work, upon which is founded his imperish- 
able fame ; and as a guide to those who listened to them, he 
published in the next year " An Analysis of the Laws of 
England," clearly methodising the intricate science. 

One of the earliest fruits of the acknowledged excellence 
of his lectures was his unanimous election to the first 
professorship of law, on the foundation established under the 
recent will of Mr. Charles Viner, the laborious compiler of 
that "Abridgment of Law and Equity," the twenty-four 
volumes of which must necessarily occupy the shelves of a 
lawyer's library. That election took place in 1758, only 
two years after Mr. Yiner's death ; and the new professor in 
the same year published not only his admired ** Introductory 

1760—1820. WILLIAM BLACKSTONE. 247 

Lecture" but also a treatise entitled '' Considerations on 
Copyholders," which produced an act of parliament estab- 
lishing their rights in the election of members of parliament. 
The fame of his lectures was so great that he was requested 
to read them to the Prince of Wales, an application which, 
though his engagements obliged him to decline it, he so far 
complied with as to transmit copies for his Royal Highness's 
perusaL This was repaid by a present gratuity to the pro- 
fessor, and the future favour of the royal pupil, when he 
became sovereign, towards the judge. Justly conscious that 
his legal character was now established, the professor resumed 
his attendance at the bar in Michaelmas, 1759 ; but declined 
the honour of the coif that was offered to him, and after- 
wards that of chief justice of the Common Pleas in Ireland. 

During the whole of this period he had exerted himself in 
various ways for the benefit of his alma mater in the 
different positions by which his efficiency was recognised. 
He was appointed the archbishop's assessor as visitor of All 
Souls' College; he was elected visitor of Michel's new 
foundation in Queen's College, and by his tact and manage- 
ment put an end to the disputes which had long frustrated 
the original intentions of l^e donor ; and as one of the dele- 
gates of the " Clarendon Press " he introduced new regula- 
tions, the good effect of which are seen at the present day. 
From that press one of the earliest and best specimens of its 
reformed typography was his publication in 1759 of a new 
edition of the Great Charter and Charter of the Forest, 
which led to a controversial correspondence on the authen- 
ticity of a particular copy between Dean (afterwards Bishop) 
Lyttleton and him, addressed to the Society of Antiquaries 
of which he was a fellow. 

By his marriage in 1761 with Sarah daughter of James 
Clitherow, Esq., of Boston House, Middlesex, he vacated 
his fellowship of All Souls ; but in the same year the Earl 


of Westmoreland, then chancellor of the university, appointed 
him principal of New Inn Hall, by which he was enabled to 
continue his residence at Oxford for the delivery of his 
lectures. In the early part of that year he had been elected 
member for Hindon in the parliament then called ; and also 
received a patent of precedence in the courts, to which he 
was well entitled, not only by the fame he had acquired, but 
by the increase of his business. The specimens preserved 
of his advocacy prove the excellence of his argumentative 
powers. In 1763 he was constituted solicitor-general to the 
queen, and became a bencher of his Inn, 

To repress the encroachments of piratical booksellers, who 
were selling imperfect copies of his lectures, he determined 
to issue them himself in the form of '^ Commentaries on the 
Law of England." He accordingly published his first 
volume in 1765, and the three succeeding volumes in the four 
following years ; and from that time to the present the work 
has formed a text book for all students, admired equally for 
its expositions and the eloquence and purity of its language. 
With the applause which it deservedly attained, it was not 
likely that it should escape some amount of critical detrac- 
tion. Some political censors differed from his views of the 
principles of the constitution ; Dr, Priestley animadverted on 
certain of his ecclesiastical positions, which were defended 
by the author ; and to an attack upon him by a member of 
parliament for some observations he bad made in the house, 
which were alleged to be contrary to the principles laid down 
in his work, he also published a reply justifying the position 
he had taken, which was severely commented on by Junius. 
But all, whether opponents or supporters of his doctrines, 
joined in a universal eulogy of the clearness and beauty of 
his style, the aptness of his classical allusions, and the 
allurements with which it enriched a science which had 
previously repelled the student by its rugged exterior. It has 

1760-^1S20. WILLIAM BLAGKSTONE. 249 

become^ and will ever remain the student's mannal ; and the 
continued demand for it has found employment for a long 
succession of accomplished editors, who by introducing the 
subsequent changes in the law, haye made it as necessary 
and useful to its latest, as it was to its earliest, readers. 

In the new parliament of 1768 he was returned for 
Westbury, but sat in it only two years ; for, though from a 
disgust at political controversy he declined the place of 
solicitor-general in January 1770, he readily accepted a 
judgeship which was offered to him in the following month 
on the death of Mr. Justice Clive. He actually kissed 
hands as judge of the Common Pleas on February 9 ; but 
at the request of Mr. Justice Yates, who wished to escape 
collision with Lord Mansfield, he consented to take that 
judge's place in the King's Bench, and again kissed hands 
for that court on the 16th of the same month, when he 
received the honour of knighthood. Mr. Justice Yates died 
four months after, when Mr. Justice Blackstone removed 
into the Common Pleas on June 22.' 

Whoever reads the reports of the period during which he 
sat upon the bench, must acknowledge that he was equally 
distinguished as a judge, as he had been as a commentator. 
Some of the judgments that he pronounced are remarkable 
for the learning they display, and for the clearness with 
which he supports his argument ; and in the few instances 
in which he differed from his colleagues, his opinion was in 
general found to be right. 

He devoted his latter years to the improvement of prison 
discipline, and, in conjunction with Mr. Howard, obtained 
in 1779 an act of parliament for the establishment of peni- 
tentiary houses for criminals. The beneficial effects of the 
system, though not at first sufficiently perceived, are now 
imiversally acknowledged; and the amended condition of 
* Black8tone*8 Reports, 681, 619. 


our gaols^ in the cleanliness^ classification^ and employment 
of the prisoners, is the best proof of the wisdom and bene* 
volence of the projectors. In the same year, having agitated 
the necessity of an augmentation of the judges' salaries, to 
meet the increased taxation and expenditure of the time, he 
obtained for them an addition of 400/. to their stipend. 

Ere he had been long on the bench he experienced the 
bad effects of the studious habits in which he had inju- 
diciously indulged in his early life, and of his neglect to take 
the necessary amount of exercise, to which he was specially 
averse. His corpulence increased, and his strength failed ; 
and after two or three attacks of distressing illness he 
expired on February 14, 1780. He was buried in a vault 
at St. Peter's church at Wallingford, where he possessed a 
seat called " Priory Place." This town, in which, as its 
recorder, he felt a great interest, derived many substantial 
advantages from the improvements he projected and pro- 
moted by his active superintendence ; one of which was the 
rebuilding of its church with its elegant spire, in which he 
displayed his architectural knowledge. A statue of the 
judge, by Bacon, was placed soon after his death in the 
hail of All Souls' College. 

The Reports which he had taken and arranged for pub- 
lication, commencing with the term in which he was called 
to the bar, and continuing with some intervals through the 
whole period of his life, were given to the world in the year 
following his death, under the editorship of his brother-in- 
law and executor James Clitherow, Esq., with an introduc- 
tion detailing all the incidents of his career^ which from its 
fairness and impartiality has formed the groundwork of 
every future memoir. These Reports have not been re- 
printed, and Lord Mansfield declared that they were not 
very accurate. 

The only literary comi)osition which has been preserved 

1760—1820. FRANCIS BULLER. 251 

from Sir William Blackstone's pen, besides those already 
mentioned, is an investigation of the quarrel between Pope 
and Addison, published with the author's permission by 
Dr. Kippis in the *^ Biographia Britannica ; " of which Mr. 
Disraeli speaks in high terms of praise. 

Though thoroughly amiable and cheerful, and much 
beloved by his family and friends, his heavy features and 
his contracted brow so contradicted his real disposition that 
he was considered by the public to be somewhat morose and 
austere. One of his great excellencies was his rigid punc- 
tuality, the neglect of which in others would at once pro- 
duce that irritation of temper, to which from his bodily 
infirmities he was sometimes liable. 

He left behind him seven children, the second of whom 
held all the University preferments of his father, and even- 
tually succeeded to the estate at Wallingford, which is still 
possessed by his representative. 

Henry Blackstone, who reported cases from 1788 to 1796, 
was the judge's nephew ; and his Reports were more popular 
than those of his uncle, three editions having been called for. 

JcBT. K. B. 1778. JnsT. C. P. 1794. 

Sir Francis Buller is equally celebrated among both 
females and males, but not with equal admiration. While 
he is considered by the latter as one of the most learned of 
lawyers, he is stigmatised by the former as one of the most 
cruel of judges ; since to him is attributed the obnoxious 
and ungentlemanly dictum that a husband may beat his 
wife, so that the stick with which he administers the 
castigation is not thicker than his thumb. It may per- 
haps restore him to the ladies' good graces to be told 
that, though the story was generally believed, and even 
made the subject of caricature, yet, after a searching inves- 


tigation by the most able critics and antiquaries^ no sub- 
stantial evidence has been found that he ever expressed so 
ungallant an opinion. Had he committed himself so rashly, 
he would have lost the reputation he enjoyed in Westminster 
Hall ; for neither the Common Law nor the Statute Law of 
England warrants such brutality; and any husband who, 
upon the faith of the judge's reputed doctrine, should venture 
to resort to such a mode of punishment, would infallibly 
be sentenced to six months' imprisonment. 

Francis Buller was of an ancient and renowned Cornish 
family, the members of which were famous in the senate, in 
the Church, and in many distinguished posts in the service 
of the State. One of his uncles was father of Admiral Sir 
Edward Buller of Trenant Park, who was honoured with a 
baronetcy, which expired in 1824. Another uncle became 
bishop of Exeter; and the judge himself had legal blood in 
his veins, some of his ancestors being recorders of boroughs ; 
and another the daughter of Chief Justice Follexfen. His 
mother also was Lady Jane Bathurst, the sister of Lord 
Chancellor Bathurst, the second wife of his father James 
Buller, Esq., of Shillingham, who was one of the representa- 
tives of the county of Cornwall from 1747 till his death in 
1765. Francis was bom on March 17, 1746, and being the 
youngest of the three sons by that lady, was destined to the 
law. At the age of seventeen he was entered at the Inner 
Temple on February 3, 1763 and became a pupil of Mr. 
(afterwards Judge) Ashhurst ; under whom he prosecuted 
his studies with so much energy and success that in 1765 
he felt competent to set up for himself. For seven years he 
was in full practice as a special pleader, and acquired a 
reputation in that character which ensured him a sufficiency 
of business when he determined to be called to the bar. 
His credit was greatly enhanced by the publication in 1767 
of a work (said to be founded on collections made by his 

1760—1820. FRANCIS BULLER. 253 

uncle Mr. Justice Bathurst) entitled " An Introduction to 
the Law relative to Trials at Nisi Prius," which was so much 
esteemed tiiat it went through six editions before his death. 
The great impetus to his industry was his apparently rash 
marriage at the age of seventeen with Susannah the only 
daughter and heiress of Francis Yarde, Esq., and the birth 
of a son in 1767. Besides supplying a motive for exertion, 
the comforts of a home witiidrew him from the temptations 
under which so many men succumb. 

On being called to tiie bar in Easter Term 1772 he imme* 
diately took a high rank among his colleagues. His assist- 
ance and advice were in perpetual requisition, and there was 
scarcely any case of importance in which he was not engaged. 
The Reports of Henry Cowper comprehend the period during 
which he wore a barrister's gown, and they amply show not 
only the extent of his practice but the excellence of his ad- 
vocacy. The more general reader will find in the State 
Trials some few examples of his legal ability. Lord Mans- 
field, who then presided in the King's Bench soon recognised 
his genius and promoted his advancement; which was 
furthered by his uncle Lord Chancellor Bathurst In 1777, 
when he had been only five years at the bar, he was made a 
king's counsel and second judge on the Chester circuit : and 
when Mr. Justice Aston died in the following year he was 
appointed on May 6, 1778, to the vacant seat in the K?ng's 
Bench, being then only thirty-two years of age ; Lord Mans- 
field feeling that he could not have a more competent co- 
adjutor in the labours of his Court, and the lord chancellor 
being not unwilling to second the recommendation of the 
chief justice in the advance of his nephew. Lord Mansfield's 
expectations were fully realised by the effectual assistance 
he received during the ten years he remained on the bench • 
in the last two of which, when his health began to decline 
he found a most efficient and active substitute in Mr. Justice 


Buller^ wlio not only conducted for him the sittings at Nisi 
Prius, but in the absence of the chief took the lead in Banco, 
though Judge Ashhurst was his senior. In those two years, 
in fact, he was little less than chief justice, and in the hope of 
inducing the minister to make him really so, it is understood 
that Lord Mansfield delayed his own resignation. Mr. Pitt 
however from political and other motives would not consent, 
but appointed Lord Eenyon as Lord Mansfield's successor ; 
giving Mr. Justice Buller the very inadequate compensation 
of a baronetcy in January 1790. Under Lord Kenyon he 
remained for six years, and in Easter 1794 he removed into 
the Common Pleas, where he sat for six years more. Being 
then prostrated by physical infirmity he arranged with the 
lord chancellor for the resignation of his seat ; but on June 
5, 1800, the very day after that arrangement and before it 
could be effected, he died at his house in Bedford Square, at 
the age of fifty-four ; and was buried unostentatiously in St. 
Andrew's, Holbom. 

Thus terminated at an age, which had been the commence- 
ment of many a judicial life, the career of a judge who had 
sat on the bench with distinguished merit no less than 
twenty-two years. No one ever denied his extraordinary 
legal capacity, though the correctness of some of his deci- 
sions might be disputed. Not only was he the recognised 
substitute of his celebrated chief in his own court, but he 
won the admiration of that great grudger of praise, Lord 
Thurlow, who had so great a dependence on him, that he 
frequently, when obliged or inclined to be absent, appointed 
him to preside in his place in the court of Chancery, where 
his decrees excited the rough eulogy of his principal. Yet 
with all his 'industry, sagacity, quickness, and intelli- 
gence," and notwithstanding his urbanity to the bar, he was 
not a popular judge. He was considered arrogant in his 

1760^1830. FBAKCIS BULLER. 255 

assumption of superiority^ hasty in his decisions and decrees, 
and, which pressed harder upon him in public estimation, 
prejudiced, severe, and even cruel in criminal trials. But 
his character has outlived all detraction, and at the present 
day, due allowance being made for occasional mistakes and 
shortcomings, there are very few deceased judges whose 
decisions, whose opinions, or whose doubts are received with 
more respect Even in his own day his penetration and im- 
partiality were so far recognised, that it was said of him that 
though no person, if guilty, would choose to be tried by him, 
all persons, if innocent, would prefer him for their judge. 
The personal peculiarities or the momentary petulances of 
such a man are not worthy of remark, unless they disgrace 
his daily life, or impede the course of justice. If Buller 
was sometimes hasty, he was ever prompt to acknowledge 
where he was in the wrong ; and though charged with " an 
appetency for political intrigue," we do not find that it 
interfered with his administration of justice. His amiable 
temper beamed through his handsome features, and his 
encouragement and patronage of the young and diffident 
members of the bar were rendered more valuable by the 
courtesy with which they were administered. Among those 
he befriended were the eminent names of Fearne and Har- 
grave, and the future chief justices, Gibbs, Law, and Abbott, 
the latter of whom, when tutor to his son, he recommended 
to adopt the law. 

His only son, in compliance with the will of his mother's 
brother, assumed the additional surname of Yarde ; and his 
grandson, the third baronet, was raised to the peerage in 1858, 
by the title of Baron Churston in the county of Devon.* 

Townsend's Judges, L 1. 

256 JOHN BURLAin). Geobgb IIL 

B. E. 1774. 

The family of Burland was for a long series of years settled 
at the manor of Steyning in the parish of Stoke Courcy in 
the county of Somerset The judge's father was also named 
John Burland, and his mother was Elizabeth the daughter 
and at length the heiress of Claver Morris of Wells, M.D. 
Their son was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, from 
1740 to 1743, when he entered the Middle Temple, and was 
called to the bar in January 1746. The next year he 
married Letitia, daughter of William Berkeley Portman, 
Esq., of Orchard Portman, by Anne the daughter of the 
Speaker, Sir Edward Seymour. 

In Hilary Term, 1762 he was honoured with the degree 
of the coif, and in Easter 1764 was appointed king's Serjeant 
After he had held the recordership of Wells for some time 
with great reputation, the corporation thought fit to remove 
him ; but on application to the court of King's Bench in 
1767, a peremptory mandamus was ordered to be made out 
for his restoration. On the death of Mr. Baron Adams he 
was constituted a baron of the Exchequer on April 8, 1774 ; 
but had little opportunity of displaying his judicial powers. 
Within two years, by the bursting of a blood-yessel in his 
brain, he died on March 28, 1776; and was buried in 
Westminster Abbey. He left a son^ who became member 
of parliament for Totnes.^ 


Just. C. F. 1816. 

See under the Beign of George IV. 

CAMDEN, LoBD. See C. Pkatt. 

■ CoUin8on*8 Somerset, i. 217; Gent. Mag. xxxvii. 91. 

1760— 18S0. ALAN CHAMBB& 257 


B. R 1799. JuflT. a P. 1800. 

The family of De la Chambrfi, De Camera^ or Chaum- 
beray, was of Norman origin^ and the name of one of ita 
members occurs on the roll of Battle Abbey. Hugh De 
Chambrd, or De Camera, in the reign of Henry III., 
settled in Westmorland, where his descendants haye 
flourished in an uninterrupted lineal succession till the 
present time. Halhead Hall in the parish of Kendal was 
acquired by them by marriage in the reign of Henry VIIL, 
and still remains in their possession. Four successive 
generations became eminent in the law ; this judge's great- 
grandfather and grandfather (both named Alan) having 
been benchers of the Middle Temple, and the latter 
recorder of Kendal, to which office his son, Walter Chambrd, 
was elected on his father's resignation. The judge was the 
eldest son of this Walter, by his marriage with Mary, 
daughter of Jacob Morland of Capplethwaite Hall in the 
same county. 

Alan Chambrd was bom on October 4, 1739, and of course 
was destined to the profession which his progenitors had 
pursued. With this view, reviving an ancient custom which 
had been long discontinued, he first resorted to an inn of 
Chancery, and paid the customary dozen of claret on admis- 
sion into the society of Staple Inn. He was a member of 
that society in 1757, and his arms are emblazoned on a 
window in the Hall. Fxom this inn he removed to the 
Middle Temple in February 1758, but transferred himself 
to Gray's Inn in November 1764, and was called to the bar 
in May 1767. The diligence with which he had devoted 
himself to his studies was proved by the success which he 
achieved; and his independent and upright conduct and 


258 ALAN CHAMBRE. Grorgb III. 

amiable disposition may be estimated by his popularity among 
his colleagues. He selected the northern circuit and soon be- 
came one of its leaders. In June 1 78 1 he was chosen bencher 
and in 1783 treasurer of his inn; and in November 1796 he 
was elected recorder of Lancaster. On the resignation of 
Mr. Baron Perryn in 1799, he was named as his successor; 
the announcement of which was received by the circuit bar 
with " acclamations quite unprecedented." It was of course 
necessary, in order to enable him to be appointed, that he 
should be made a seijeant ; and as Baron Perryn's retirement 
took place in vacation, and Serjeants could not be called 
except in term, a short Act of Parliament was passed on 
July 1, 1799, authorising, for the first time, a seijeant to 
receive his degree in the vacation, so that the vacant office 
might be immediately granted to him. In June of the 
following year he was removed from the Court of Exchequer 
to the Common Pleas on the death of Mr. Justice Buller. 
In that court he remained till his resignation in Michaelmas 
vacation, 1815; when, having filled the judicial office for 
more than fifteen years, he resigned his seat and became 
entitled to a retiring annuity of 2000/. under the Act of 
Parliament passed in the year in which he was appointed. 

In the exercise of his functions he merited and received 
universal praise both for his learning and urbanity. Lord 
Brougham alludes to him in his sketch of Lord Mansfield as 
" among the first ornaments of his profession and among the 
most honest and amiable of men." So extremely careful was 
he of doing anything that could by possibility be misinter- 
preted, that on one occasion he declined the invitation to a 
house, at which the judges had been accustomed to be enter- 
tained during the circuit, because the proprietor was defendant 
in a cause at that assize. 

Sir Alan lived seven years after his retirement, and, dying 
at Harrogate on September 20, 1823, was buried in the 

1760—1820. THOMAS CLARKE. 259 

family vault at Kendal. He was never married and was 
succeeded in his estates by his nephew Thomas Chambr^.^ 

M. R. 1760. 
See under the Beign of George II. 
The Middle Temple books record the admission into that 
society on March 17, 1689, of "Thomas Clarke, son and 
heir of Sir Edward Clarke of the parish of St Foster's, 
London." If this student be the future master of the Bolls, 
his father was sheriff of that city in 1690 and lord mayor in 
1697. That he was extraordinarily young when he was 
admitted is evident from his not being called to the bar till 
sixteen years after, on February 8, 1705. He was elected 
a bencher in 1723, and autumn reader in the following year.' 
But, from the length of time between these dates and the 
appointment of Sir Thomas Clarke as master of the Bolls, 
great doubt has been naturally entertained whether the above 
entry applies to him ; the more especially as Mr. Nichols 
states in his " Literary Anecdotes " (vol. viii. p. 507) that he 
was " generally supposed to be a natural son, and as having 
no relations." 

Of Sir Thomas's early life little is known, beyond his being 
educated at Westminster School, and the performance of his 
forensic avocations. That he was intimate with the second 
Earl of Macclesfield, and was a fellow of the Boyal Society, 
devoting himself to philosophical pursuits, appears from a 
letter of Lord Hardwicke's : — and that he was reputed to be 
deep read in Boman law, is apparent from the description of 
him in the " Causidicade " as a supposed candidate for the 
vacant solicitor-generalship in 1742 : 

> 8 Term Rep. 421-587; 4 Mania and Selwyn, 444; Lord Brougham's Hist. 
Sketches (1845), i. 144. 
' Middle Temple Books; Maitland's London, 1196, 1204. 

8 2 


''Then CI — ^ke, who sat snug all this while in hia place, 
Bose up and put forward his ebony face : 
* I have reason/ quo' he, ' now to take it amiss, 
That your Lordship hadn't called to me long before this. 
If the old Civil Law, on which I would build, 
Is in so much neglect and indifference held, 
Let your Common Law Dunces go on and apply. 
Quoting chapter and sect, insipidly dry I 
A student of moderate parts and discerning, 
With intense application may master such leaming : 
But I, as a genius, the office demand, 
That office my qualifications command ! ' 

* Who contemns Common Law ? ' quo' my lord, ' there are few, 
But such who are ignorant of it, like you ; 
Very little's the use of your Law of t^e Bomans, 
Save abroad, or in Scotland, or our Doctors' Conmions ; 
By whatever person this office is fill'ft, 
Must in Common Law leaming be very well sldll'd.^ " 

It is probable that his advance to the post of king's counsel 
took place before this date. In 1747 he entered parliament 
as member for St. Michael's ; and in 1754 he was elected for 
Lostwithiel, both Cornish boroughs. From anything that 
appears he was a silent member ; and he had no seat in the 
House in 1761. 

On the death of Sir John Strange in 1754, Mr. Clarke 
was immediately pointed out both by Lord Hardwicke and 
the Duke of Newcastle to succeed him as master of the 
Bolls ; to which place he was appointed on May 29, and was 
thereupon knighted. The duke calls him a very deserving 
man, and intimates that he was greatly before his competitors 
in the court of Chancery. He held the office with great 
credit a few months beyond ten years ; dying on November 
13, 1764. He was buried in the Rolls Chapel; and by his 
will he left, among other legacies, 30,000i to St. Luke's 
Hospital, and appointed the Earl of Macclesfield his residuary 
legatee, his whole property being estimated at 200,000/.^ 

> Harris's Lord Hardwicke, ii. 366, iii. 12; Pat. 27 Geo. II. p 4, in. 2; 
Genu Mag. xxxiv. 546. 

1760—1820. EDWABD CLIYE. 261 


Just. C. R 1760. 

^ee nnder the Beign of George IL 

Edwabd Clive was the nephew of Geoi:ge Clive, the cur- 
sitor baron of the Exchequer in the last rcign^ being the 
eldest son of his brother, Edward Clive of Wormbridge in 
Herefordshire, by Sarah, daughter of — Key of the city of 
Bristol, merchant, and was bom in 1704. He was called to 
the bar by thfi society of Lincoln's Inn in 1725, after the 
usual seven years' probation.; but little more is recorded of 
him than that he was returned to parliament in 1741 as mem* 
ber for St. Michael's in Cornwall, for which be sat till his 
elevation to the bench, as a baron of the Exchequer, in April 
1745, in the place of Sir Lawrence Carter. He remained 
in that court nearly eight years without the honour of knight- 
hood, which he did not receive till January 1753, when on 
the death of IVIr* Justice Burnet he was removed into the 
Common Fleas. He sat there for seventeen years more, 
thus extending his judicial service to twenty-five years ; at 
the end of which he resigned in February 1770. The pen- 
sion of 1200/. then granted to him he eqjoyed for little more 
than a year, dying at Bath on April 16, 1771. 

He married twice. His first wife was Elizabeth, daughter 
of Richard Symons, Esq., of Mynde Park in Herefordshire; 
and his second was Judith, the youngest daughter of hift 
cousin the Bev. Benjamin Clive, a son of his uncle Robert 
Clive of Styche in Shropshire. The latter lady survived 
him more than twenty-five years. Leaving no issue by either 
marriage, he bequeathed his estate at Wormbridge, which 
his father had purchased from his elder brother Robert, to 
Robert's great-grandson ; in the possession of whose family 
it still remains. 


The judge's brother George was the husband of that 
eminent actress^ who was unrivalled in her particular walk.^ 

Just. C. P. 1813. Ch. C P. 1818. 
See under the Reign of Greorge IV. 


JufiT. El. B. 1813. 

The Le Dampierres, anciently Counts of Flanders, are the 
reputed ancestors of this amiable judge, who was not more 
distinguished for his learning in the law, than for his emi- 
nence in ^^ literis humanioribus" and in general attainments. 
His father, the Rev. Thomas Dampier, a native of Somer- 
setshire, from being one of the masters at Eton College was 
raised to the deanery of Durham, and having married twice 
was most fortunate in his family. Thomas, the elder of his 
two sons by his first wife, Anne Hayes, became successively 
Bishop of Rochester (1802) and Ely (1808); and John, the 
younger, held a canonry in the latter cathedral, Henry, his 
only son by his second wife, Frances Walker, by attaining 
the high rank of a judge in Westminster Hall, claims a 
notice in these pages. 

Henry Dampier was bom on December 21, 1758, at Eton, 
and having received his early education there, was elected to 
King's College, Cambridge, in 1775. He took his degree 
of B.A. in 1781, and of M.A. in 1784; in the interim 
proving his assiduity and showing his proficiency by gaining 
the members' prizes both in 1782 and 1783. Preferring the • 
legal to the clerical profession, for which he waa at first in- 
tended, he entered the Middle Temple in 1781, and was 
called to the bar in the customary routine. During the 

1 Collins' Peerage, y. 545; Blackstouu's Bep. iL 681; Gent Mag. xt. 221, 
2'xiii. 53, 100, xli. 239, Ixvi. 709. 

1 760^-1820. HENRY DAMPIER. 263 

next thirty years he pursued the rugged paths of the law, 
content with the high character he obtained by his industry 
and inteUigence as an acute counsel, and with the esteem and 
admiration he acquired by his obliging disposition and his 
classical as well as legal learning, made more attractive by 
the brilliancy of his conversation and his wit Not seeking 
the addition either of a coif to his wig or a silk gown to his 
back (honours not then so lavishly bestowed as in the present 
day), he shone as a junior, whose advice might be surely 
depended on, and whose advocacy might be safely trusted ; 
and he was marked out in Westminster Hall as a future 
judge long before the prophecy could be fulfilled. 

The high judicial prizes are " few and far between," and 
the longevity of the then occupants of the bench prevented 
them from being often drawn. But at last Mr. Justice 
Grose retired, and Mr. Dampier was appointed his successor 
in the King's Bench on June 23, 1813, when he was 
knighted. His career as a judge was doomed to be shorter 
than any who had lately preceded him; but it was long 
enough to cause the sincerest sorrow for its termination, not 
only to all his ermined brethren, but to the whole bar who 
practised under him. Ere he had graced the bench for two 
years and a half he died on February 3, 1816. Few have 
left a name so universally respected. 

He married in 1790 Martha, daughter of the venerable 
John Law, archdeacon of Rochester. She and five of their 
children survived him ; one of whom, John Lucius Dampier, 
was recorder of Portsmouth, and became vice-warden of the 
Stannaries in Cornwall, the duties of which he performed 
most exemplarily till his early death in 1853« 

264 WILLIAM D£ GREY. Gbobqb IIL 

DE GREY, WILLIAM, afterwards Lord Walsingham. 
Ch. C. p. 1771. 

The root of this family can be traced to the twelfth century, 
and that branch of it to which the judge belonged possessed, 
with other large estates^ the manor of Merton in Norfolk for 
above four hundred years before he came into the world. His 
father was Thomas De Grey, who represented that county 
in parliament; and his mother was Elizabeth, daughter of 
William Wyndham of Felbrigge. William was their third 
son, and was bom at Merton on July 7, 1719. Destined to 
pursue the law as a profession, he received his education at 
Christ's College, Cambridge ; and entering the Middle Tem- 
ple in January 1738, he was called to the bar on November 
26, 1742. 

After sixteen years he attained the distinction of king's 
counsel to George II. in 1758 ; and in September 1761 that 
of solicitor-general to the queen of George IIL In the lat- 
ter year he was elected member of parliament for Newport 
in Cornwall, and in December 1763 was appointed solicitor- 
general to the king. From this he rose in August 1766 to 
the post of attorney-general, succeeding the Hon. Charles 
Yorke; when he received the honour of knighthood. He 
was also comptroller of the first-fruits and tenths. 

His advance to the honours of his profession, and his 
attainment of its highest forensic dignity, without apparent 
parliamentary interest (for hitherto he is not reported as 
taking any active part in the House of Commons), are evi- 
dence that his rise was obtwied by his eminent legal ability. 
He filled the office of attorney-general for nearly five years; 
and in the parliament following his appointment had the 
honour of being elected by three different constituencies ; at 
first for Newport and Tarn worth, selecting the former ; and 
afterwards, in January 1770, for the university of Cam- 

1760— 1S80. WILLIAM D£ QRET. 265 

bridge, when the Hon. Charles Yorke accepted the Oreat 
Seal. In that parliament he contended against the legality 
of Mr. Wilkes's return for Middlesex ; and on all other 
occasions strenuously supported the measures of Lord North's 
ministry. On a motion to abridge the power of the attorney- 
general in filing ex officio informations, he boldly defended 
himself, and proved that the power was not only constitu- 
tional, but, when discreetly exercised, essentially necessary. 
As solicitor-general he argued ably and ingeniously in favour 
of the king's messengers acting under the general warrant 
issued by Lord Halifax ; but the real question was artfully 
avoided by a submission to a formal objection; and as 
attorney-general he conducted the proceedings against 
Wilkes, when he surrendered in 1768 after his conviction, 
on the question of his outlawry ; in the various discussions 
previous to his sentence ; and in the writ of error before the 
House of Lords, by whom the conviction and sentence were 
confirmed.^ Though sharing of course the unpopularity 
with which all the opponents of that demagogue were 
visited. Sir William De Grey does not seem to have excited 
any special animosity, but to have been regarded as merely 
doing his duty as an officer of the Crown. 

Early in 1771 Sir John Eardley Wilmot resigned, and 
Sir William was immediately, on January 25, appointed his 
successor as lord chief justice of the Common Pleas. One 
of the first public questions which he had to determine was 
whether Brass Crosby, the lord mayor of London, should be 
discharged from the custody of the lieutenant of the Tower, 
where he had been imprisoned by warrant from the Speaker 
of the House of Commons ; and he wisely decided not to 
interfere with the privileges of parliament. After presiding 
over his court for nearly ten years, the failure of his health 
obliged him to resign in June 1780. In acknowledgment of 

> Furl. Hist ZTi. 585, 1182, 1194, 1271; StotoTriab, xix. 1012, 1079, 1146. 


his services the king in the following October called him up 
to the House of Peers by the title of Lord Walsingham. 
He enjoyed his new honours for little more than six months, 
dying on May 9, 1781 ; when he was buried at Merton. 

He was a most accomplished lawyer, and of the most 
extraordinary power of memory. " I have seen him/' says 
Lord Eldon, ^' come into court with both hands wrapped up 
in flannel (from gout). He could not take a note, and had 
no one to do so for him. I have known him try a cause 
which lasted nine or ten hours, and then, from memory, sum 
up all the evidence with the greatest correctness." ' 

He married in 1743 Mary, daughter of William Cowper, 
Esq., M.P. for Hertford, and first cousin of the poet ; and 
by her (who survived him till 1800) he left (besides one 
daughter) an only surviving son, who succeeded to his title 
and estates, which are now enjoyed by the fifth baron in 

Just. K B. 1760. 

Sir Thomas Denison was the younger of two eons of Mr. 
Joseph Denison, an opulent merchant at Leeds. His elder 
brother, William, of Ossington Hall, in Nottinghamshire, 
was the grandfather of the Bight Honourable John Evelyn 
Denison, speaker of the House of Commons since 1857. Sir 
Thomas was bom in the last year of the seventeenth century, 
and received his legal education at the Inner Temple which 
he entered in 1718 and in due course was called to the bar. 
His merits as a lawyer soon procured him a considerable 
practice, and, without having filled any of the minor offices 
of the profession, he was pressed to undertake judicial duties. 
For some time he declined, but at last was prevailed on ; 

1 Twin's life of Lord Eldon, 1113. 

' CuUinB' Peerage, vii. 519; Blackstone's Beports, 734. 

1760—1820. THOMAS DENISON. 267 

becoming a judge of the King's Bench in December 1741, 
in succession to Sir Francis Page ; and receiving the accus- 
tomed honour of knighthood in November 1745, when he 
joined in the lojal address to the king on the rebellion. 
After administering justice in that court for more than 
twenty^three years, his health and his sight failing him, he 
resigned on February 14, 1765. 

He sat under three successive chief justices. Sir William 
Lee, Sir Dudley Ryder, and Lord Mansfield ; the latter of 
whom had so high an opinion of his learning, and so great 
an affection for him, that, when he died on the 8th of the 
following September, he wrote the epitaph on his monument 
in the church of Harewood in Yorkshire, which, as it de- 
scribes the character of the judge in the language of one who 
had the best opportunity of appreciating it, and as it is the 
only example of that kind of composition from his lordship's 
pen, is given entire. 

''To the memory of Sir Thomas Denison, Knt., this 
monument was erected by his afflicted widow. He was an 
affectionate husband, a generous relation, a sincere friend, a 
good citizen, an honest man. Skilled in all the learning of 
the common law, he raised himself to great eminence in his 
profession; and showed by his practice, that a thorough 
knowledge of the legal art and form is not litigious, or an 
instrument of chicane, but the plainest, easiest, and shortest 
way to the end of strife. For the sake of the public he was 
pressed, and at the last prevailed upon, to accept the office 
of a judge in the Court of King's Bench. He discharged 
the important trust of that high office with unsuspected 
integrity, and uncommon ability. The clearness of his 
understanding, and the natural probity of his heart, led him 
immediately to truth, equity, and justice ; the precision and 
extent of his legal knowledge enabled him always to find the 
right way of doing what was right A zealous friend to the 


constitution of his country, he steadily adhered to the fundsr* 
mental principle upon which it is built, and by which alone 
it can be maintained, a religious application of the inflexible 
rule of law to all questions concerning the power of the 
crown, and privileges of the subject. He resigned his office 
February 14, 1765, because from the decay of his health and 
the loss of his sight, he found himself unable any longer to 
execute it. He died September 8, 1765, without ifisue, in 
the sixty-seventh year of his age. He wished to be buried 
in his native country, and in this church. He lies here near 
the Lord Chief Justice Gascoigne, who by a resohite and 
judicious exertion of authority, supported law and govern- 
ment in a manner which has perpetuated his name, and made 
him an example famous to posterity." 

In the same vault lies his wife, Anne, daughter of Bobert 
Smithson, Esq., who died twenty years after him. In the 
failure of issue, his estates passed to his wife's grand-niece^ 
who married Edmund the fifth son of Sir John Beckett^ 
Bart, who assumed the name of Denison.^ _^^ 

ELDON, Eabl op. See J. Scott. \ ;' / 

ELLENBOROUGH, Lord. See E. Law. 

ERSKINE, THOMAS, Lobd Erskinb. 
Lord Coaxckllob, 1806. 

That only one short year of judicial life should have distin- 
guished an advocate who retained for the long space of 
twenty-eight years the most prominent place at the British 
bar, would naturally excite surprise, were it not for the 
recollection that the party, to which he was attached, waa 
during that period wholly deprived of the power of selecting 

* Barrow's & C. 177, 531; Gent Bfag. xt. 612; HoUlday's Lord Mans* 
field, 275. 

1760—1820. THOXAS ERSKINE. 269 

the law officers of the crown, except for an equally short 
interval at the beginning of his career, when he was too 
young and inexperienced, to expect promotion. Such was 
the position of the Hon. Thomas Erskine in 1806, when, 
without a single interruption from his yery first entrance into 
the forensic arena in 1778, his progress had been one con^ 
tinned march of triimiph, he was raised per saltum to the 
highest office of judicial dignity. 

This eminent advocate was the youngest of three sons of 
Henry David, Earl of Buchan, by Agnes daughter of Sir 
James Steuart, Bart., the eldest of whom succeeded to his 
father's title, and the two others, Henry and Thomas, became 
equally distinguished for their extraordinary talents, the 
former being twice lord advocate of Scotland, in 1783 and 
1806, and the latter earning honours in England which are 
now to be recorded. 

Thomas Erskine was bom at Edinburgh on January 21, 
1750, and received his education at the High School of 
Edinburgh and the university of St. Andrew's, the very 
restricted income of the earl his father forbidding any other 
advantage. In 1764 he left his native country as a mid- 
shipman in the Tartar, a ship of war commanded by Lord 
Mansfield's nephew. Sir John Lindsay, and during the four 
years he remained at sea he visited North America and the 
West Indies. Not being able to obtain the promotion he 
expected he retired in 1768 from the service, and entering 
the army in September of that year, as an ensign in the 
Boyals or First Begiment of Foot, attained his lieutenancy 
in April 1773. While yet an ensign in 1770, and when 
little more than twenty years of age, he married Frances, 
daughter of Daniel Moore, Esq. M.P. for Marlow, and spent 
the next two years with his regiment at Minorca, devoting 
his leisure hours to English literature with so much avidity 
that there was scarcely a passage in Shakspeare, Milton, 


Dryden or Pope, which he could not recite from memory. 
He used to relate that while in Minorca he not only read 
prayers to the regiment, but also composed and preached two 

Betuming to England in 1772 his agreeable manners and 
pleasant vivacity soon procured him access to the society of 
the metropolis, among the distinguished members of which 
are the names of Mrs. Montagu, Jeremy Bentham, Dr. 
Johnson, Boswell, Cradock, and Sheridan. He also com- 
menced authorship in a pamphlet '^ On the prevailing abuses 
in the British army," which had a considerable circulation. 
After serving in the army for seven years, he saw too pal- 
pably that without interest that profession would not secure 
a provision for his increasing family ; and he could not but 
feel that his talents were more likely to be productive in a 
wider field for their exercise. Besolving, therefore, to enter 
the legal profession (in which he was not discouraged by 
Lord Mansfield, who paid him some attention at an assize 
town) he was admitted a member of Lincoln's Inn on April 

26. 1775, and sold his lieutenancy in the following September. 
His next step was to be matriculated at one of the univer- 
sities in order that by taking his degree his time of legal 
probation should be shortened from five to three years. With 
this object he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, on January 

13. 1776, as a nobleman's son, which entitled him to a Master 
of Arts degree in two years without examination. This did 
not prevent him from striving for and obtaining the college 
prize for English declamation, the harbinger of his fiiture 
fame. His degree was conferred in June 1778, and on July 3 
he was called to the bar. 

During the interval between his matriculation and his call, 
he kept his terms both at Cambridge and Lincoln's Inn, 
dividing his time between literary and legal studies. For 
the latter purpose he placed himself under the instruction of 

1760—1820. THOMAS EBSKINF, 271 

Sir Francis Buller, and afterwards of Sir George Wood, 
both subsequently raised to the bench; and by steady 
application gained that knowledge of the principles of the 
law, and that mastery of the intricacies of special pleading, 
so necessary for his future success. He also attended a 
debating society in order to obtain fluency and confidence, 
and to accustom himself to the sound of his own voice. His 
circumstances were so straitened during this period that 
Jeremy Bentham remarks on the shabbiness of his dress ; 
and he himself acknowledged, and indeed vaunted, that his 
family were usually fed on cow-beef and tripe, and that when 
he was called to the bar he was almost reduced to his last 
shilling. But his sanguine disposition and his courageous 
self-reliance supported him through all his difficulties. 

No sooner was he called to the bar, than there was a pro • 
pitious change in his circumstances. From being almost 
penniless he became suddenly affluent ; and though a perfect 
novice in Westminster Hall, he was at once recognised as 
one of its brightest ornaments. One happy accident followed 
by another gave him the fortunate opportunity. Happening 
to dine in company with Captain Baillie, against whom a 
rule to show cause in the following Michaelmas Term why 
a criminal information should not be filed for a libel on the 
officers of Greenwich Hospital, had been recently obtained, 
Erskine, in ignorance that the captain was present, expressed 
himself freely on the doomed pamphlet, which was then the 
general subject of conversation. He spoke with so much 
warmth and indignation against the tyranny and abuses im- 
puted to Lord Sandwich, first Lord of the Admiralty and 
the officers of the Hospital, that the captain, inquiring who 
he was, determined to employ him as his advocate. Erskine 
had not then taken his seat in court and his first retainer 
and first brief was as counsel for the defence of Captain 
Baillie. But still as he was the last of five barristers retained 



on that side he could not expect to have any opportunity of 
distinguishing himself; but again fortune favoured him. 
His four seniors expended so much time in their argiunents* i 

and Mr. Hargrave was obliged by illness so often to inter- 
rupt his address, that at the close of it. Lord Mansfield 
adjourned the court Erskine therefore had to commence 
the proceedings on the next morning, and in a speech as . 
powerful and effective as was ever heard in court, he exposed 
and stigmatised the practices of Lord Sandwich and the 
officers of the Hospital, with so much eloquent invective, 
that the rule was dismissed, and Erskine was triumphant. 
The efiect of this brilliant oration was so great that retainers 
flowed in upon him from all quarters ; and from that time 
forward there was scarcely a cause or a trial of importance 
in which he was not engaged. This first appearance oc- 
curred on November 28, 1778, and as a consequence of his 
success he was employed in the following January to defend 
Lord Keppel, on the charges brought against him by Sir 
Hugh Palliser. The trial lasted thirteen days, and though 
from the restricted privileges of a counsel at a court-martial 
he was not allowed to examine witnesses nor to make a 
speech in defence, he suggested the questions to be put, and 
•composed the address which Lord Keppel was to deliver. 
To the excellence of that address his noble client attributed 
his triumphant and unanimous acquital, testifying his grati* 
tude by the noble present of 1000/. 

Though acquiring in less than a year the lead over many 
an elderly aspirant, his success was productive of no jealousy 
or ill wilL His manners were so pleasing and his bearing 
so unpretending that he soon became a universal favourite, 
and his competitors willingly submitted to the superiority of 
his genius. In his first year he was employed as counsel 
against a bill in parliament to vest the monopoly of printing 
almanacks in the two Universities and the Stationers' Com- 

1760—1820. THOMAS ERSKINE. 273 

panj ; and to his eloquence was ascribed the rejection of the 
measure. Soon after he had an opportunity of exhibiting 
his extraordinary powers in the defence of Lord George 
Gordon on a charge of high treason connected with the riots 
of 1780. His speech on this occasion by the clearness of its 
arguments^ the force of its reasonings the eloquence and 
energy of its language, the boldness of its exposures and the 
art which it displayed in applying the evidence to the prin- 
ciples it advocated, raised his fame still higher, and no doubt 
produced the acquittal of the prisoner. His business became 
so extensive that he found it necessary to refuse to hold 
junior briefs; and as none could be employed with him 
except those who had been called after him, numerous were 
the barristers senior to him who were deprived of their 
former share of the business of the court. The only 
remedy for this inconvenience was by giving him the se- 
niority of a silk gown. He accordingly received a patent 
of precedence in May 1783, before he had been five years 
at the bar. 

The coalition ministry of which his Whig friends formed 
a part, had in the previous March come into power, and 
being naturally desirous of the assistance of one so much 
famed for his eloquence, procured his election for Portsmouth 
in the following November. He made his first speech on 
the introduction of Mr. Fox's India bill, and continued to 
support it in its progress through the House. When the 
rejection of that bill by the Lords caused the dismissal of his 
friends from the government, he took a prominent part in 
the vexatious attempts, in the remainder of the session, to 
oust Mr. Pitt the new minister. The natural consequence 
was that, with the dissolution of that parliament in March 
1784, Erskine was made one of " Fox's Martyrs," and his 
senatorial life suffered an interruption of more than six 
years. In truth he had somewhat disappointed public 



expectation. His eloquence was less suited to the setiate 
than to the forum; and though he made some effective 
addresses, he was considered to have been cowed by the 
superior powers of Mr. Pitt, against whom he was indis- 
creetly put in collision. 

During this interval he devoted himself to his profession, 
in the pursuit of which he increased his fame and fortune. 
Besides his command of business in Westminster Hall and 
on the Home Circuit he was called by special retainer to 
prosecute or defend very many important causes in other 
parts of the kingdom. Among those of a more public nature 
was his defence of Dr. Shipley, the Dean of St. Asaph, for 
publishing a tract by Sir William Jones, when, in a contest 
with his former master Mr. Justice Buller, he boldly insisted 
on the verdict of the jury being taken in the very words 
they used ; and afterwards in a speech which Charles Fox 
declared to be the finest piece of reasoning in the English 
language, contended for the power and right of the jury to 
determine whether the publication complained of was or was 
not a libel. Though the judgment was afterwards arrested 
the judges decided against him on this question ; but his 
argimient was the death-blow to their doctrine, and led to the 
enactment of Mr. Fox's libel bill in 1792, which fully esta- 
blished the right of juries to give a general verdict on the 
whole matter in issue. At this time Mr. Erskine had 
regained his seat in parliament for his old borough, and had 
the satisfaction of seconding Mr. Fox's motion on bringiQg 
in thebiUL At this time also he was attorney-general to the 
Prince of Wales who on the formation of his establishment 
had nominated him to that office. Another triumph in libel 
cases was in his inimitable defence of Stockdale, prosecuted 
for publishing Logan's pamphlet against the managers on 
Hastings' trial, when his forcible argument for free discus- 
sion, and his impressive introduction of the celebrated 

1760—1830. . THOMAS EKSKINE. 275 

illustration of the Indian chiefs produced so enthusiastic an 
eflfect on the auditory and induced the jury, even before the 
libel bill was passed, to acquit the defendant 

When the French Revolution electrified the world, a 
schism arose among the Whigs, many of whom, led by 
Burke, supported Government in its efforts to counteract 
the spread of revolutionary principles in this country. The 
Prince of Wales took the alarm with this section, but 
Erskine, though his royal highnesses attorney-general, and 
designed for the same office to the Crown had the regency 
been established, had the spirit and independence to join the 
other section, led by Fox, to whom throughout his life he 
zealously adhered. Opposing in parliament all the extra 
measures introduced for the suppression of sedition he thus 
became obnoxious not only to the Government, but also to 
many who imputed to him a tendency to democratical prin- 
ciples. Happening then to be retained for the defendant in 
the prosecution of Paine's " Kights of Man," attempts were 
' made to induce him to refuse the brief; and on his firm 
refusal to do so, upon the principle that he was bound by 
professional etiquette to defend any man for whom he was 
retained, he received a message from the prince, unwillingly 
requesting him to resign his office, which he accordingly did 
in February 1793. 

This episode of unpopularity was of short duration. In 
the next year he rose to the highest pitch of public admira- 
tion by the noble stand he made against the doctrine of 
constructive treason in his defence of Hardy, Home Tooke, 
and Thelwall, severally indicted for high treason as members 
of societies professing parliamentary reform, but charged 
with conspiring to subvert the existing laws and constitution, 
and thus compassing the king's death. The trial of Hardy 
lasted eight days, that of Home Tooke six days, and that of 

T 2 

276 THOMAS ERSKINE. Geoboe 111. 

Thelwall four days^ in all eighteen days^ and each resulted 
in an acquittal, produced principally by the wondrous ex- 
ertions, the powerful reasoning, the eloquence and the tact 
of their advocate. This triumph was hailed by the general 
public as the preservation of the constitution from the perils 
that would have environed it, if the subjects were liable to 
such proceedings. No further attempt has been since made 
to impute treason by construction or inference. The applause 
which Erskine received could scarcely be exceeded ; honours 
flowed in to him from all quarters in the freedom of corpo- 
rations ; and the sale of his portrait and bust was excessive. 

For the next twelve years he preserved his undisputed 
ascendency in the courts, and was engaged for the plaintiffs 
or defendants in almost every cause. In state trials the 
defence was generally entrusted to him as the advocate of 
liberty of speech, and resulted most frequently in verdicts of 
acquittal. In parliament he was always found on the liberal 
side, supporting Mr. Fox, and joining him in his temporary 
secession from the house. He published a pamphlet entitled 
"A View of the Causes and Consequences of the present 
War with France," of which no less than thirty-seven editions 
were called for. In it he made a violent attack on Mr. Pitt, 
against whom he had a strong animosity, arising, perhaps, 
from his consciousness of fwlure in competition with the 
minister in the senate. On Pitt's resignation in 1801, Mr. 
Addington offered Erskine the attorney-generalship, which 
from a doubt of the prince's approval he declined. He how- 
ever supported that administration till it was superseded in 
1804 by the return of Mr. Pitt; but he seldom addressed 
the house. In the following year the prince revived the 
office of chancellor to the Duchy of Cornwall, and gave it 
to Mr. Erskine ; and on the renewal of the war he for a 
time resumed his old profession by becoming colonel of the 
law association, a corps of volunteers which was familiarly 

1760--1820. THOMAS ERSKINE. 277 

called " The Devil's Own," It is curious that it should have 
fallen to his lot soon after to contend for the right of volun- 
teers to resign^ when the Government wished to deprive 
them of that power ; but as usual he was triumphant^ the 
judges unanimously deciding that the service was entirely 

On Mr. Pitt's death in 1806 the Whigs, after an exile 
from court of more than twenty years, were allowed a tem- 
porary taste of the sweets of office ; and Erskine was cer- 
tain to be a partaker. He would have preferred to preside 
over a common law court, conversant as he was with its rules 
and practice; but the existing chiefs. Lord Ellenborough 
and Sir James Mansfield, wisely resisting the temptation of 
the Great Seal, its possession was given to him on February 
7, 1806, as lord high chancellor of Great Britain; and he 
was at the same time raised to the peerage by the title of 
Lord Erskine of Restormel Castle in Cornwall, a designation 
with which the Prince of Wales complimented him as it had 
been the ancient residence of the Dukes of Cornwall. With 
whatever feelings of pride he went in state from his house 
in Lincoln's Inn Fields to take the oaths, or may have wel- 
comed these rewards for his long public services in the cause 
of liberty, far greater must have been his gratification at the 
recognition of his private worth and personal character, in 
the unprecedented address of congratulation which was 
unanimously voted to him by the whole bar of England. 
That body might well regret his retirement from its ranks, 
for never had they, and never could they expect to have, a 
leader whose hilarity of spirits, whose lively wit, and whose 
uniform kindness, added to such extraordinary powers, could 
secure at once their affection and respect. 

He commenced his new office in the spirit of liberality. 
He removed none of his predecessor's officers ; nor did he 
avail himself of the usual source of patronage, by placing 


any of his own friends as commissioners of bankruptcy in 
the room of others whom he must have displaced. Though 
little acquainted with the rules of equity or the practice of 
his new court, he had the wisdom to avail himself of the 
advice of more experienced men ; and by his natural quick- 
ness of perception, his discretion and caution, he passed 
through his fourteen months of trial in so satisfactory a 
manner that only one of his decrees was appealed against, 
and that one, arising out of Mr. Thelluson's extraordinary 
will, was affirmed. In the trial of Lord Melville, Lord 
Erskine presided as chancellor, and acted with that dignity, 
firmness, and impartiality that excited universal admiration. 
As a peer of parliament he of course supported the measures 
introduced by his party, and had the satisfaction to announce 
the royal assent to the bill for the abolition of slavery. In 
the summer the death of his friend Mr. Fox was a source of 
sincere lamentation to him ; which was followed in the fol- 
lowing spring by the dissolution of the ministry, occasioned 
by the refusal of George III. to sanction a bill allowing 
Boman Catholics to hold commissions in the army. Though 
himself adverse to the measure, he shared in the dismissal, 
and gave up the Great Seal on April 7, 1807. 

In the fifteen years during which he survived his loss of 
office he very rarely took a prominent part in the politics of 
the day ; but on some occasions he exhibited the same com- 
mand of argument and oratorical power which had formerly 
distinguished him. He was remarkable for the interest he 
took in the brute creation, and had always some favourite by 
his side. The bill he introduced into parliament to prevent 
cruelty to animals, after some unsuccessful attempts, even- 
tually became law. When the king's permanent illness 
necessitated a regency in 1810, Lord Erskine opposed the 
restrictions on his patron the Prince of Wales, who, in 1815, 
though he had deserted his old Whig connections, compli- 

1760->18SO. THOMAS ERSKINE. 279 

mented his former chancellor with the green ribbon of the 
order of the Thistle. 

Lord Erskine now amused himself as a man of the world, 
mixing in all gay societies, and being acceptable to all by his 
liveliness and wit. His bon-mots and his vers de societe at 
this time and while at the bar would fill a good-sized volume, 
and Mr. Townsend in his agreeable memoir has made a 
happy selection of them. He again ventured his fame by 
becoming an author on a more extended scale, and published 
a romance called ^^ Armata;" being a clever allegory, in the 
manner of Sir Thomas More's " Utopia** and Dean Swift's 
" Voyage to Laputa," on the politics of England and the 
customs and manners of London life. It had a temporary 
popularity and passed through several editions, but from the 
want of interest in the story it is now almost forgotten. 

When the popular tumults and discontent in 1817 led to 
the introduction of restrictive measures. Lord Erskine ap- 
peared again in the political world, and contended against 
them with all his ancient vigour. He stood boldly and 
prominently forward also in 1820 in defence of Queen Caro- 
line, although by so doing he opposed his old patron and 
friend. But, deeming the queen an innocent and injured 
woman, he cast every personal consideration aside, and 
throughout the investigation battled on her side, and, when 
the Bill of Pains and Penalties was withdrawn, he sounded 
its knell in the last speech he made in parliament. By this 
independent conduct his favour with the people, by whom he 
was almost forgotten, was revived, and was exhibited in 
every shape. His likeness was a treasure universally sought, 
addresses and municipal freedoms were sbowered upon him, 
and public dinners were given to do him honour. One, on 
which he most prided himself, was that at Edinbui^h, which 
he had not visited since his departure from it as a midship- 
man in 1764, a period of fifty-seven years. In 1822 he 


published a " Letter to Lord Liverpool," in support of the 
cause of the Greeks, proving that his love of freedom was 
unabated ; and another pamphlet on agricultural distress, his 
advocacy of increased protection in which is strongly opposed 
to the principle of free trade that now prevails. His career 
was now drawing to its close. In the autumn of 1823, as 
he was proceeding by sea to pay a visit to his brother the 
Earl of Buchan at Dryburgh Abbey, he was suddenly 
attacked with inflammation in the chest. On landing he 
went direct to Ammondell, near Edinburgh, where the 
widow of his deceased brother Henry resided, and where 
the Earl of Buchan joined him. There he breathed his 
last on November 17, 1823 ; and his remains lie in the 
family burying-place at Uphall in the county of Linlithgow. 

He was then within two months of attaining the age of 
seventy-four ; having spent eleven years of his youth in the 
naval and military service, and having filled during the last 
forty-five years of his life so prominent a position in the 
public eye, that the slightest deviation from the direct path 
was certain of observation. From the first to the last of that 
lengthened period he steadily adhered to the party, whether 
in or out of power, to whose political principles he had 
attached himself. No temptations could induce him to swerve 
from them a moment He ever continued, as he began, a 
sincere friend of the constitution, and, as such, a firm sup- 
porter of the prerogative of the crown, and a resolute and 
undaunted defender of the rights of the people. In the 
eloquent words of Lord Brougham, " if there be yet among 
us the power of freely discussing the acts of our rulers ; if 
there be yet the privilege of meeting for the promotion of 
needful reforms ; if he who desires wholesome changes in our 
constitution be still recognised as a patriot, and not doomed 
to die the death of a traitor ; let us acknowledge with grati- 
tude that to this great man, under heaven, we owe this 

1760—1920. THOMAS ERSKINE. 281 

felicity of the times," In his "public character there was not 
a stain ; and in his social intercourse with the world there 
was a charm that enhanced the admiration of those who 
agreed with him in politics^ and which neutralised the hosti- 
lity of those who differed from him. The courtesy of his 
manners, the cheerfulness of his disposition, the geniality of 
his wit, his '^generous impulses and honourable feelings," 
and the wonderful power of his eloquence, live almost as 
vividly among the few who now survive, as they impressed 
those who at his death erected a statue to his memory in 
Lincoln's Inn Hall. Against merits such as these, the only 
failing that is suggested is a charge of egotism and vanity, 
with too great a tendency to introduce himself and the 
incidents of his life upon all occasions. Let those who laugh 
at him on that account ask themselves whether, if they had 
founded their fortunes in the same surprising manner, they 
could themselves have altogether abstained from self-glorifi- 
cation. It was laughed at, and pardoned, even during his 
life, and now will be no longer remembered, when looking at 
his statue, and studying the noble eloquence of his speeches ; 
a collection of which were published under his own super- 

Of the incidents of his private life there are few records. 
If they were mixed with some frailties, we may ask what 
mortal is exempt from them? Whatever they were they 
may be designated by the words of that rigorous moralist. 
Lord Kenyon, ** blots in the sun." The great fortune which 
he must have acquired by his forensic success he lost by 
unfortunate speculations in Transatlantic funds, and by the 
purchase of an estate in Sussex which produced nothing but 
brooms. So that at last he was obliged to part with his 
beautiful seat at Hampstead, and live upon the retiring 
allowance of chancellor. 

He lost his first wife, after a union of thirty-five years, in 


December 1805, just before his attaining the peerage. By 
her he had nine children ; four daughters and five sons. Of 
the latter the eldest died young ; the second succeeded his 
father, and his son is now the grandfather's representative in 
the House of Lords ; the third, Henry David, became dean 
of Ripon ; the fourth, Thomas, will appear in a future page 
as a judge of the Common Pleas ; and the fifth, Esme Stuart, 
lieutenant-colonel and deputy-adjutant-general at Waterloo, 
attracted the approving notice of the Duke of Wellington by 
his gallantry. He was fearfully wounded at that great 
battle, and died in his voyage to Ceylon with a similar 
appointment By his second wife, Miss Mary Buck, Lord 
Erskine also left issue. His brother the Earl of Buchan 
dying without issue was succeeded in that title by the son of 
Lord Advocate Henry Erskine.^ 

B. E. 1772. Ch. R E. 1787. Com. G. S. 1792. Ch. C. P. 1793. 

Sir James Etre was a descendant of the old Wiltshire 
family to which the three judges already noticed belonged, 
but it is uncertain of what branch of it. His great-grand- 
father was of the medical profession, and' died mayor of 
Salisbury in 1685. Dr. Thomas Eyre, Sir James's brother, 
was a canon in the cathedral of that city. The judge was 
bom in 1733 and his father is described in the Lincoln's Inn 
books as Mr. Chancellor Eyre. Having received his classical 
education first at Winchester and then at Oxford he com- 
menced his legal studies at Lincoln's Inn in November 1753 ; 
but two years after removed to Gray's Inn, by which society 
he was called to the bar in 1755. He purchased the place 

* Lives, by Roscoc, Townsend, and Lord Campbell ; Lord Broagham*s 
Historical Sketches; Law and Lawyers; State Trials, rols. xxi. to xziz.; Pari. 
Hist. vol. xxiy. et seq. 

1760^1830. JAMES EYHE. 283 

of one of the four city pleaders of London, and was for some 
time little known beyond the Lord Mayor's and Sheriflfs 
Courts. In them however his attendance was so regular, 
his manners so good^ and his appearance so grave, that Sir 
William Moreton the recorder becoming too old for active 
duties proposed him in February 1761, as deputy; which 
situation he filled till Sir William's death so much to the 
satisfaction of the corporation, that on that event occurring 
in April 1763 he was appointed recorder, being then scarcely 
thirty years of age. 

This gave him a certain precedency in the courts at West- 
minster, where his knowledge and abilities soon procured 
him a considerable practice. In the December of that year 
he was engaged as second counsel for John Wilkes in the 
action against Mr. Wood for entering into the plaintiff's 
house, and seizing his papers under a general warrant from 
the secretary of state. Though he acted in this case with 
great energy and spirit as thinking that it affected the liberty 
of the subject, yet, when a few years after, in 1770, the 
corporation, joining in the political distractions excited by the 
cry of " Wilkes and Liberty," and the call for a new parlia- 
ment, voted a remonstrance to the king, the recorder would 
not attend on its presentation; but on another address in 
harsher terms being voted, he boldly protested against it as 
a most abominable Hbel, and again refused to accompany the 
corporation to the palace. This was the occasion when Lord 
Mayor Beckford is supposed to have replied to his majesty 
in the speech that appears at the foot of his statue in Guild- 
hall ; but the language of which is said to have been subse- 
quently composed by Home Tooke. The common council 
of course resented their recorder's resistance and voted that 
he should no more be advised with or employed in the city 
affairs, he " being deemed unworthy of their future trust and 
confidence." But the court of St. James's looked upon his 

284 JAMES EYRE. George III. 

conduct in a different lights and took an early opportunity 
of rewarding his loyalty, by raising him to the bench of the 
Exchequer in October 1772 ; when he was knighted. On 
resigning the recordership he received the thanks of the 
court of Aldermen for the many eminent services he rendered 
the public, and was presented with a piece of plate with the 
city arms engraved thereon, as a grateful remembrance from 
the court for his faithful discharge of his duties. 

After sitting in the Exchequer as a puisne baron for nearly 
fifteen years, he was raised to. the head of it on January 26, 
1787, on the resignation of Chief Baron Skinner ; and when 
Lord Chancellor Thurlow was removed in 1793, he was 
appointed chief commissioner of the Great Seal, an office 
which he held for seven months from June 15 to January 28, 
in the following year. On retiring from the Seal he was 
promoted to the chief justiceship of the Common Pleas, va- 
cated by the new chancellor. Lord Loughborough; and at the 
end of the next year he was entrusted with the arduous duty 
of presiding at the memorable trials of Hardy, Home Tooke, 
and Thelwall, for constructive high treason. These trials 
lasted fourteen days, and throughout them he acted with the 
greatest patience and impartiality, but in the opinion of 
many, with too great forbearance to the irregularities of 
Home Tooke. In his summing up of the evidence in the 
different cases he carefully described the principles of the 
law, and in the most fair and unexceptionable manner ex- 
plained the bearings of the evidence upon the charges. The 
result was the acquittal of all the prisoners ; and the same 
verdict was given in 1796 in another trial before him of 
Crosfield and others for high treason in conspiring to make an 
instrument from which to shoot a poisoned arrow at the king.* 

With an extensive knowledge of law he united the greatest 
judicial qualities ; and to the unbiassed integrity of the judge 

» State Trials, iv. v. vi. 

1760—1820. MICHAEL FOSTER. 285 

was joined a quickness of apprehension and a natural sagacity 
and candour that secured to him the respect and esteem as well 
of his brethren on the bench, as of the members of the bar, 
whom he never interrupted in their arguments, and towards 
whom he preserved an invariable and unaffected courtesy. 
He presided over the Common Pleas six years and a half; 
and died on July 6, 1799, at his residence, Ruscombe in Berk- 
shire, having filled a judicial seat for little short of twenty- 
seven years. 


Just. K. B. 1760. 

See ander the Beign of George II. 

This amiable judge was of legal descent, both his father and 
grandfather being attorneys in the town of Marlborough 
with the reputation, eminently deserved, of being honest 
lawyers. He was bom on December 16, 1689, and after 
attending the free school at Marlborough entered Exeter 
College, Oxford, in May 1705. In May 1707 he was ad- 
mitted a student at the Middle Temple, by which society, 
after studying for six years, he was called to the bar in May 
1713. In 1720 he published " A Letter of Advice to Pro- 
testant Dissenters," to which class his family belonged. 
Little known in Westminster Hall, he pursued his profession 
principally as a provincial counsel, first in his native town, 
and then at Bristol, to which city he removed after his 
marriage in 1725 with Martha, daughter of James Lyde, of 
Stantonwick in its neighbourhood. In 1735 he committed 
to the press a learned tract entitled " An Examination of 
the Scheme of Church Power, laid down in the Codex Juris 
Ecclesiastici Anglicani," which went through several editions, 
and of course led to a controversy on ecclesiastical law. In 
August of the same year he received the important appoint- 
ment of recorder of Bristol; and to give dignity to that 


office he was included in the call of Serjeants in the following 
Easter Term. 

In his character of recorder several very important ques- 
tions came before him. Among others was the right of the 
city of Bristol to try capital oflfences conunitted within its 
jurisdiction ; and the legality of pressing mariners for the 
public service. The former arose in 1741 in the case of the 
atrocious murder of Sir Dineley Goodere by his brother 
Captain Goodere, who was convicted, and the city authority 
fully established. The latter was the case of Alexander 
Broadfoot, indicted in 1743 for the murder of Cornelius 
Calahan, who was killed in an attempt to press the prisoner. 
On this occasion the recorder delivered a long opinion in 
support of the legality of impressment, but directed the 
jury to find Broadfoot guilty of manslaughter only, because 
Calahan had acted without any legal warrant.^ 

But soon Mr. Serjeant Foster was transferred to a more 
extended sphere of usefulness. On April 22, 1745, by the 
recommendation of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, he was 
sworn in as a judge of the King's Bench in the place of Mr. 
Justice Chappie, and knighted. For the long period of 
eighteen years, during which he sat in that court, he main- 
tained the high judicial character he had established as 
recorder of Bristol. He was equally distinguished for his 
learning, his integrity, his firmness, and his independence. 
Three of his contemporaries who practised under him and 
afterwards gained eminence as judges have given testimony 
of his excellence. Lord Chief Justice De Grey, in the case 
of Lord Mayor Brass Crosby, says of him " he may truly 
be called the Magna Charta of liberty of persons as well as 
of fortune." ^ Sir William Blackstone alludes to him as " a 
very great master of the crown law ; " ^ and Lord Thurlow, 

* State Trials, xviL 1003, xviii. 1323. 
■ 3 Wilson, 203. ■ BIack8tone*8 Comm. iv. 2. 

1 760^-1820. YICABY GIBBS. 287 

in a letter written in 1758, describes his spirited conduct in 
the trial of an indictment for a nuisance in obstructing a 
common footway through Richmond Park.^ The general 
impression of his disposition may be collected from the 
passage in Churchill's Rosciad : — 

*^ Each judge was trae and steady to his trusty 
As Mansfield wise, and as old Foster/ti^." 

He died on November 1, 1763, and was buried in the 
church of Stanton Drew. 

Besides the works mentioned above he published in the 
year before his death his Report of the Proceedings on the 
Commission for the Trials of the Rebels in 1746 and other 
Crown cases, in which the doctrines of the criminal law are 
very learnedly discussed. It is a work of very high autho- 
rity ; and two subsequent and enlarged editions have been 
issued under the superintending care of his nephew Michael 
Dodson, Esq., who was also author of a memoir of the judge^s 
life, from which much has been extracted in the present 


B. B. 1817. 

See under the Reigns of George lY. and William IV. 

Just. C. P. 1612. Ch. B. E. 1813. Ch. C. P. 1814. 

This eminent barrister and judge was the son of George 
Abraham Gibbs, Esq., a member of the medical profession 
practising at Exeter and holding the office of surgeon in the 
infirmary there from 1747 to 1781, when he retired to a 
small estate he had inherited at Clyst St. George. He died 
on November 9, 1794, at a very advanced age, a few days 

> Life of Sir Michael Foster, p. 85. 

288 VICARY GIBBS. Geobqe III. * 

after his son had by his distinguished ability assisted in 
obtaining the acquittal of Thomas Hardy. 

Vicary Gibbs was born in October 1751, and was sent to 
Eton, where, while he formed friendships with several noble 
and eminent men which lasted till the close of his life, he 
pursued his studies with such success that he was elected 
scholar of King's College, Cambridge. At the former he 
contributed some elegant Latin compositions to the Musse 
Etonenses, and at the latter he was notorious for his scholar- 
ship in Greek. Taking his degree of B.A. in 1772 he was 
elected fellow of his college ; and having previously chosen 
the law for his profession he became a member of Lincoln's 
Inn in August 1769. He entered a pleader's chambers and 
applied himself with exemplary diligence and consequent 
success to master the subtleties of practice ; and when he 
commenced business for himself as a special pleader he soon 
acquired a high reputation for ability in the science. The 
most complicated cases were accordingly submitted to him, 
and they flowed in with such abundance that he was wont to 
complain of the absence of easy ones. Yet with the friends 
he had made at Eton he enjoyed the usual pleasures of 
society, accompanying them to the different places of amuse- 
ment. The theatre was one of his favourite relaxations, 
and his love for dramatic literature was evidenced by an 
extensive familiarity with almost every line of Shakspeare, 
and with passages and scenes from the best comedies ; and 
later in life, by Prince Hoare's dedication to him of that 
writer's play of " Indiscretion." 

Having established a large connection as a special pleader 
he was called to the bar in Februa;k*y 1783 ; and in the next 
year he married. Joining the western circuit, by his supe- 
rior knowledge, the fame of which preceded him, he soon 
obtained sufficient employment, leading naturally to equal 
success in Westminster Hall. The estimation for profes- 

1760—1820- VICABY GIBBS. 289 

sional acumen in which he was held was so great that only 
ten years after his call Home Tooke, disregarding Mr. 
Gibbs's known predilections on the side *^of public peace 
and public order/' and no doubt being aware of his energetic 
defence at Exeter of the Rev. Mr. Winterbottham, indicted 
for alleged sedition in two sermons,^ strongly recommended 
him to be employed in aid of Erskine, in the trials for high 
treason that were then about to take place. The soundness 
of the acute clergyman's judgment was soon proved, for dis- 
carding all political prepossessions, Mr. Gibbs threw himself 
into the cases with such zeal, and displayed so much consti- 
tutional learning, that by his exposition of the law and 
application of the facts, almost as much as by the wonderful 
eloquence of his leader, verdicts of acquittal were not only 
gained for all the defendants in those extraordinary trials, but 
also a release from apprehension for the numerous misguided 
men who might have been implicated in the transactions 
which formed the groundwork of the charge. Sir John 
Scott (Lord Eldon) the prosecutor on these trials, sent him 
across the table this written testimony at the termination of 
them : " I say from my heart that you did yourself great 
credit as a good man, and great credit as an excellent 
citizen, not sacrificing any valuable public principle ; I say 
from my judgment that no lawyer ever did himself more 
credit or his client more service ; so help me, God I '' 

This masterly performance at once raised Mr. Gibbs to the 
front rank of his profession, and led to a rapid succession of 
forensic honours. The author of these pages well remembers 
the surprise he felt during his pupilage at the number of 
patents which he saw on the shelves of the then eminent 
barrister. The recordership of Bristol he had received in 
February 1794, before the treason trials, as a recognition 
of his legal merits. In the following years he was made 

> State Trials, xxii. 838, 884. 

290 VICARY GIBBS. Geobge HI. 

king's counsel, and received the appointment of solicitor- 
general to the Prince of Wales; which was followed by that 
of his royal highness's attorney-general In 1804 he was 
promoted to the chief justiceship of Chester; and in 
February 1805 he became solicitor-general in Mr. Pitt's last 
administration, and was then knighted. He held this place 
for a year only, resigning on that statesman's death ; but the 
^Vhig administration that succeeded holding the reins of 
government little more than twelve months. Sir Vicary, on 
their exclusion, was restored to oflBice, but in the higher 
grade of attorney-general. George III. had a great esteem 
for him and a just sense of his abilities, saying to those who 
wanted to perisuade his majesty that he was a disaffected 
man, that he knew him to be too excellent a man to wish 
any harm either to his king or his country, and that every- 
body had a right to his own opinions. 

In the parliament that followed the change of ministry he 
had the honour of being returned for his own university, 
defeating the late chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Henry 
Petty, and also our present prime minister. Lord Palmerston, 
then first entering into political life. As a senator he un- 
doubtedly did not shine, his style of eloquence not being 
adapted to the audience he was addressing. As a legislator, 
the only statute he introduced was one enacting that a 
person against whom an information had been filed might 
be arrested and held to bail (48 Geo. III. c. 58), the provi- 
sions of which were so obnoxious that neither he nor any 
subsequent attorney-general ever put them in force. In the 
exercise of his official functions he is considered to have 
been extremely severe, and there is no doubt that he filed 
many more ex-officio informations than any of his predeces- 
sors. The fact is that while Sir Vicary held office seditious 
libels were the order of the day ; and there was so much 
licentiousness in certain publications of the daily and weekly 

1760—1820. YICABY GIBBS. 291 

press^ that it was deemed necessary to put some restraint on 
them. But it might well be a question whether the 
attorney-general's power was not too freely exercised, when 
by a return made to the House of Commons it appears that 
from 1808 to 1810 no less than forty-two informations had 
been filed, while only fourteen had been filed during the 
preceding seven years. The wisdom of these proceedings 
becomes still more doubtful, when out of these forty-two 
informations no less than twenty-five were not prosecuted, 
but the subjects of them were left in a state of suspense and 
anxiety. The sentences passed on those who were convicted 
shew, by their severity, how strongly the judges felt the 
necessity of stopping the seditious incitements, and how 
clearly they saw the danger that induced the attorney-general 
to prosecute them. 

Among the most important of those convicted were 
Cobbett for an article in the ** Register " ; Hart and White, 
the printer and publisher of the •* Independent Whig " ; and 
John Gale Jones the manager of a debating society called 
the British Forum. Among the acquitted were James 
Perry and John Lambert for an apparently innocent passage 
in the " Morning Chronicle " ; and John and Leigh Hunt 
for a much more questionable article in the " Examiner." 
These defeats seem to have put an end to any further pro- 
ceedings on Sir Vicary's ex-officio informations, but not 
before a general outcry had been excited against the 
frequency of them. Though many will contend with some 
degree of reason that from the temper of the times extreme 
measures were called for, and therefore may approve of the 
policy adopted, the active mover in it no doubt incurred 
great unpopularity, which it cannot be denied was aggravated 
by the personal character of severity and harshness which 
generally but undeservedly attached to him. Few men were 
really more sensitive, more kind-hearted, more anxious to 

o 2 

292 VICARY GIBBS. Gkobge IlL 

atone for an unpremeditated wrong, and more desirous of the 
good opinion of good and moral men. But his manner was 
so caustic and bitter, and sometimes so rude and uncivil, that 
the prevalent feeling would be amply justified; and his. 
assumption of superiority over his brother barristers, which 
on one occasion received a severe rebuke, did not tend to 
remove it. 

At the same time his superior merits as a lawyer were 
universally acknowledged ; and his elevation to one of the 
highest seats on the bench was certain when a vacancy should 
occur. Yet after he had filled his oflSce for five years he 
found its duties, together with his vast accumulation of 
business both in court and in chambers, so much more 
onerous than his strength or his health could bear, that on 
May 28, 1812, he accepted a seat in the Common Pleas as 
puisne judge ; though no doubt with a promise of future 
promotion. Both Lord Brougham and Mr. Townsend 
attribute this sudden and unexpected change to the alarm 
taken by Sir Vicary at the assassination of Mr. Per- 
ceval ; but the idea must not only in its nature be a 
gratuitous one, but is also highly improbable, when his 
courage had not flinched during all his zealous and energetic 
proceedings, exciting as they naturally would the rancour 
of so many individuals. He sat in the Common Pleas only 
eighteen months, when by the resignation of Sir Archibald 
Macdonald he was promoted to be chief baron of the 
Exchequer in November 1813. In less than three 
months Sir James Mansfield's retirement enabled him to 
take the place which he most desired and was best fitted 
for. He was sworn lord chief justice of the Common 
Pleas in Hilary vacation 1814, and presided in that court 
for nearly five years. The attack of ill-health from which 
he had long suiFered, and to which it is charitable to attri- 
bute much of his ill temper, becoming more frequent, he 

1760—1620. VICARY GIBBS. 293 

felt himself compelled to resign his seat on November 5, 
1818^ his friend and college companion^ Lord Ellenborough^ 
retiring at the same time. 

As a judge all competent authorities give him the highest 
praise. The prejudice which undoubtedly existed against 
him personallj is altogether silenced when his judgments 
are the subject of observation. One of the most severe of 
his critics admits that '^ there was but one opinion as to his 
fitness for the situation which he had been selected to fill, 
and that in point of learning and experience no one could be 
better qualified for it ... . His decisions on the bench or 
at Nisi Prius furnished equal proofs of the extent of his 
learning and of the accuracy of his mind." * All indeed 
admit the profundity of his learning and his ready and 
accurate application of it; and even those who complain 
most of his manner as an advocate, allow that his bearing as 
a judge was seldom marked by any asperity of temper. 
Lord Brougham in a depreciating character of him acknow- 
ledges that "his legal arguments were often much to be 
admired; .... he brought out his governing principle 
roundly and broadly ; he put forward his leading idea by 
which the rest were to be marshalled and ruled ; . . . and 
while others left only the impression on the hearer that many 
authorities had been cited, and much reading displayed, his 
argument penetrated into the mind, and made it assent to his 
})ositions, without much regarding the support they found 
from other quarters." 

On quitting the bench he retired altogether from public 
life, his health being too materially affected to enjoy more 
than the company of domestic society. In that society he 
had always shone, and they who partook of it are loud in 
their declaration of the charms he imparted to it. His 
familiar friends, and they were many from both sides of 
' Notes of a retired barrister. 

294 HENBY GOULD. Geoeqe III. 

politics, bear witness to his virtues, his high religious feelings, 
his honourable* principles, his goodness of heart, and the 
kindness of his disposition, notwithstanding occasional irri- 
tabilities of temper. After suffering for fifteen months he 
died on February 8, 1820, and was buried in the family 
vault at Hayes, with a monumental inscription of great 
elegance and truth penned by his friend Sir William Scott, 
Lord Stowell. 

He married on June 1784, Frances Cerjoit Kenneth, 
sister of Francis Humberston Mackenzie, Lord Seaforth, 
who survived him twenty-three years and died in 1843 at 
the age of eighty-eight. Their only child, Maria Elizabeth, 
was married to Major, afterwards Lieutenant-General Sir 
Andrew Pilkington, ELC.B. 

B. EL 1761. JuBT. C. P. 1763. 

This Sir Henry Gould was the grandson of his namesake, 
the judge in the reigns of William IIL and Anne, and the 
son of Davidge Gould, Esq. of Sharpham Park in the county 
of Somerset, a barrister of the Middle Temple, by his wife 

Honora daughter of Hockmore of Buckland Baron in 

Devonshire. He was bom about the year 1710, in which 
his grandfather died. 

The Middle Temple, to which he was admitted in May 
1728, called him to the bar in June 1734 ; and at the end of 
twenty years he arrived at the dignity of a bencher on being 
made king's counsel. His biisiness was considerable, but he 
was distinguished more by the soundness of his law than by 
the power of his oratory. In Michaelmas term 1761 he was 
raised to the bench as a baron of the Exchequer, where he 
sat till the end of the next year, when on the death of Mr. 
Justice Noel he was removed into the Common Pleas on 

1760—1820. WILLIAM GBANT. 295 

January 24, 1763. With acknowledged ability he exercised 
his judicial duties till his death at the age of eighty-four on 
March 5, 1794 ; a period of thirty-three years from his first 

On the motion of John Wilkes for a habeas corpus, he and 
Judge Ashhurst differed from their brethren, and considered 
the return of the messenger to be insufficient ; but upon the 
new writ they all concurred in discharging the prisoner from 
custody. In the riots of 1780 when the king, after Lord 
Mansfield's house had been burnt, offered to all the judges 
the protection of the military. Judge Gould is said to have 
declined the proffered aid, and to have declared that he would 
rather die, than live under any other than the laws of Eng- 

Of an amiable and quiet disposition, few incidents are 
recorded of him, though he lived to see the bench three 
times cleared of his associates. He was buried at Stapleford 
Abbotts in Essex, of which parish his brother Dr. William 
Gould was rector. He married Elizabeth daughter of the 
venerable Dr. Walker, archdeacon of Wells. Their only 
son dying in the judge's life, his large fortune was divided 
between his two daughters, one the wife of the Hon. Temple 
Luttrell, and the other of the Earl of Cavan.* 


6. E. 1800. 
See under the Reign of George IV. 

M. K. 1801. 

Among the judges that distinguished the reign of George III. 

Sir William Grant occupies one of the most prominent places, 

and of his seven countrymen who graced the judicial bench 

> CoUinson'B Somerset, ii. 268; Gent. Mag. in onnis; Barke. 

296 WILLIAM GRANT. Geobge IlL 

he stands next in reputation to Lord Mansfield. He was 
born at Elchies in Morayshire in 1755. His father James 
Grant was a humble member of that branch of the ancient 
clan of the Grants settled at Baldomie^ having been at first 
a small farmer and afterwards collector of the customs in the 
Isle of Man. In consequence of the death of both his parents 
while he was in early youth he was left to the care of his 
uncle a wealthy merchant in London. After passing through 
the grammar school at Elgin he was sent to the college of 
Aberdeen; and then spent two years at Ley den in studying 
the civil law, intending to adopt the legal profession. He is 
said to have resorted for a short time to an attorney's office 
as a useful introduction to practical knowledge. Entering 
Lincoln's Inn on January 30, 1769, he was called to the bar 
on February 3, 1774, and determined to try his fortune in 
Canada, where he went in the next year. Soon after his 
arrival he rendered military service by commanding a body 
of volunteers during the siege of Quebec by the Americans. 
The governor appointed him attorney-general of the colony, 
where for several subsequent years he had the principal lead 
as an advocate. Not satisfied with shining in so limited a sphere 
he then resigned his office and returned to England. Here 
however his colonial fame had not extended ; and his efforts 
in the Common Law courts and on the Home circuit were 
attended with so little success that he contemplated returning 
to his former exile. But his good fortune introduced him to 
two patrons, who were capable both of appreciating and 
rewarding his superior talents. Mr. Pitt requiring some 
information relative to Canada was accidentally referred to 
him, and having found his intelligence useful and abundant 
and his views correct and statesmanlike, he at once saw his 
value and commenced that friendship which secured his 
future promotion. As one of its first fruits he was returned 
to parliament at the general election in November 1790 for 

1760—1820. WILLIAM GRANT. 297 

the borough of Shaftesbury. He soon distinguished himself 
in the debates^ giving an effective support to the minister in 
the political difficulties of that troublous time^ and being 
complimented for his eloquence and ingenuity by the most 
eminent leaders of the opposition. In 1796 he was returned 
for the county of Banff, which he continued to represent 
while he remained in parliament 

His second patron was Lord Thurlow, who after listening 
to his argument on a Scotch appeal in the House of Lords, 
expressed the highest opinion of his reasoning powers, and 
encouraged him to devote himself to the Equity courts. 
There he consequently took his stand, and in April 1793 
receiving a patent of precedence he in a very short time 
acquired a leading business. In the same year he was ap- 
pointed one of the judges of the Carmarthen circuit ; * and 
in 1795 solicitor-general to the queen. In 1798 he succeeded 
Mr. Seqeant Adair as chief justice of Chester; and in July* 
1799, on Sir John Mitford's promotion to the attorney- 
generalship, he was appointed solicitor-general, and was 
knighted. He held this office nearly two years, when that 
of master of the Rolls becoming vacant by the transfer of 
Lord Alvanley to the presidency of the Common Pleas, Sir 
William was with imiversal approval called upon to fill it. 
He entered upon its duties on May 27, 1801, and at once 
justified the expectations formed of him. During the period 
in which he sat in the Rolb Court, extending to nearly 
seventeen years, he was looked upon as a perfect model of 
judicial excellence. No judge ever gave more satisfaction. 
His judgments were not only convincing by their practical 
wisdom, but were remarkable for the clearness with which 
they explained the principles of equity on which they were 
founded. No one who has practised under him can forget 

> Townscnd defers these appointments till 1795; but they are recorded by 
the Gent. Mag. for 1793. 


the patient attention with which he listened to all the state- 
ments and arguments of counsel, or the discrimination he 
evinced in extracting from confused details all that was 
relevant, or the clearness and simplicity of his reasons when 
he pronounced his decision. A passage in Sir Arthur Pig- 
gott's address to him on his retiring from his office will best 
illustrate the feelings both of the bar and the public. ** The 
promptitude and wisdom of your decisions have been as 
highly conducive to the benefit of the suitor as they have 
been eminently promotive of the general administration of 
equity. In the performance of your important and arduous 
duties, you have exhibited an uninterrupted equanimity, and 
displayed a' temper never disturbed, and a patience never 
wearied : you have evinced an uniform and impartial atten- 
tion to those engaged in the discharge of their professional 
duties here, and who have had the opportunity and enjoyed 
the advantage of observing that conduct in the dispensation 
of justice, which has been conspicuously calculated to excite 
emulation, and to form an illustrious example for imitation." 

To the regret of all he retired from his court on December 
23, 1817. The Equity bar testified their respect and vene- 
ration for him by requesting him to sit for his picture, which, 
painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence, now graces the hall in 
which he sat. For a few subsequent years he assisted in 
hearing appeals at the cock-pit; but afterwards altogether 
retired from public life, and lived to attain his eighty-third 
year. He died at Dawlish in Devonshire on May 25, 1832. 

When England was threatened with invasion. Sir William, 
while master of the Rolls, for a second time assumed the 
military habit; and joining the volunteers who embodied 
themselves for the safety of the country, he was called upon, 
no doubt from the tradition of his prowess and experience at 
Quebec, to take the command of the Lincoln's Inn corps, 
which he put into as good a state of efficiency as any in 

1760—1820. WILLIAM GBANT. 299 

London. In 1809 he was elected lord rector of the univer- 
sity of Aberdeen. 

The impression which he made in parliament was wonder- 
ful. Few men have gained a greater ascendency. Lord 
Brougham relates that even Mr. Fox felt it diflScult to 
answer him, and that once, being annoyed by some members 
talking behind him while he was listening to one of Sir 
William's speeches, he tiu*ned round and asked them sharply, 
** Do you think it so very pleasant a thing to have to answer 
a speech like thatf^^ The effect of his addresses are thus 
described at a later period : — " There was one extraordinary 
oration that night — Sir William Grant's ; quite a master- 
piece of his peculiar and miraculous manner. Conceive an 
hour and a half of syllogisms strung together in the closest 
tissues, so artfully clear that you think every successive in- 
ference unavoidable, so rapid that you have no leisure to 
reflect where you have been brought from, or to see where 
you are to be carried ; and so dry of ornament, or illustra- 
sion, or reflection, that your attention is stretched — stretched 
— racked. All this is done without a single note." * He 
participated in the prejudices which prevailed among judicial 
men of that period against any innovations of the law, and 
successfully opposed most of the beneficial alterations sug- 
gested by Sir Samuel Romilly's intellectual and comprehen- 
sive mind, which have since been adopted by the legislature. 
To Sir Samuel's amelioration of the criminal code, however, 
he gave a hearty support 

Though grave and formal, and even cold in his manner, 
he had much enjoyment in social conviviality ; and when in 
friendly intercourse with his eminent contemporaries, whether 
statesmen or judges, a few rounds of his favourite Madeira 
soon conquered his habitual taciturnity. He was fond of 

* Memoirs of f*rancie> Horner, i. 285. 

300 NASH GBOS£. Geobgb HI. 

literature and poetry, and the publications of the day formed 
his relaxation from severer studies. 

Just. K B. 1767. 

Edward Grose, the father of Sir Nash Grose, was a resi- 
dent of London, where his son was born about the year 
1740. He was admitted into Lincoln's Inn in July 1756, 
and called to the bar by that society in November 1766. 
After a short and successful career as a barrister he was 
honoured with the degree of serjeant in Easter Term 1774, 
and soon commanded the leading business in the Common 
Pleas, which he retained till he was raised to the bench. 
That event occurred on the death of Mr. Justice Edward 
Willes, whom he was appointed to succeed as a judge of the 
King's Bench on February 9, 1787, and soon after received 
the usual honour of knighthood. After occupying the same 
seat for twenty-six years his infirmities obliged him to resign 
it in Easter Vacation 1813. His death took place in the 
following year on May 31, when his remains were interred 
in the Isle of Wight, where he had a beautiful seat called 
the Priory.^ 

Both in his private and judicial character he was highly 
respected ; but contemporary critics of course differ as to his 
powers and efficiency. By some he was considered to have 
lost in credit what he gained in rank ; and this couplet was 
perpetrated against him : 

'^ Qualifi sit Grotius Judex uno accipe versu ; 
Exdamat, dubitat, balbutit, stridet et eziat" 

But if he were, as Lord Campbell states, the subject of Lord 
Erskine's epigram quoted in the previous life of Mr. Justice 
Ashhurst, he was regarded by other lawyers with very dif- 

' I Term. Rep. 551; 1 Maule andSelwyn,565; Gent Mag. 1814, p. 629. 

1760—1820. JOHN HEATH. 301 

ferent eyes. Lord Campbell says that his aspect was very 
foolish^ and that he had the ^^ least reputation " among his 
colleagues : but he adds that ^^ this supposed weak brother^ 
though much ridiculed^ when he differed from his brethren, 
was voted by the profession to be right." His charge to the 
grand jury in 1796 was published. But whatever his failings 
or merits were as a judge, he was acknowledged as a man to 
be most amiable and kind ; and he was held by the bar in the 
highest estimation and regard. 

Sir Nash married Miss Dennett of the Isle of Wight, who 
died at the judge's house in Bloomsbury Square in 1794.^ 

Just. C. P. 1780. 

The father of this estimable judge was Thomas Heath, an 
alderman of Exeter ; and his uncle was Benjamin Heath, 
town-clerk and a lawyer of eminence in that city, who was 
the father of Dr. Benjamin Heath, the head-master of Eton. 
Both the brothers were learned men, and several works were 
published by them ; among which was an Essay on the Book 
of Job, by the judge's father.* The judge himself for a 
time filled the office of town-clerk of liis native city ; and 
on his death bequeathed nearly 20,000/. to his friend Mr. 
Gatty, who held the office after him. 

He was a member of the Inner Temple, to which he was 
admitted in May 1759, and was called to the bar in June 
1762. In 1775 he was graced with the dignity of the coif, 
and had a certain prospect of promotion in the friendship of 
Mr. Thurlow, who when he became lord chancellor recom- 
mended him for the first vacancy on the bench that occurred. 
Accordingly, on the death of Mr. Justice Blackstone, Mr. 

1 Lord Campbell's Chief Just, iil 58, 155; Gent. Mag. 1794, p. 388. 
* Nichols' Lit. Anecd. of 18th cent ii. 276. 

302 JOHN HEATH. Gboboe III. 

Heath was appointed to supply his place in the Common 
Pleas on July 19, 1780. In that court he continued to sit 
for nearly thirty-six years, and was accustomed to say that 
he was determined to die in harness. His age at his death 
is recorded in the parish register to have been eighty, but on 
his monument in the church of Hayes in Middlesex, where 
he lived with his sister, he is stated to have been eighty- five. 
That the latter was incorrect is rendered more probable from 
another blunder on the stone, representing his death to have 
taken place on January 23, 1817, when in fact it occurred 
on January 16, 1816. 

That he was somewhat eccentric may be surmised from 
his refusal to accept the honour of knighthood, at that time 
and now almost invariably conferred on the occupiers of the 
judicial bench, declaring that he would die ''plain John 
Heath," — ^a resolution to which he firmly adhered. But his 
excellence in performing the functions of a judge is allowed 
by all who were witnesses of his career. Lord Eldon, who 
was part of the time chief justice of that qourt, took occar- 
sion to remark with admiration and surprise on the extent of 
his professional knowledge. Many also are the testimonies 
to his private worth, and to the universality and accuracy of 
his general knowledge. He was strictly impartial, and on 
the trial of the Bishop of Bangor and others for a riot he 
stated that the evidence proved the case, and summed up 
strongly against them. But their compassion for the bishop 
more than the eloquence of Erskine induced the jury to 
bring in a verdict of acquittal. He was considered a severe 
judge, and Lord Campbell says (Chancellors, vi 154) that 
he used to hang in all capital cases on principle, because he 
knew of no good secondary punishments. Though capital 
punishments were then carried to an outrageous extent, the 
failure of the ticket>of-leave system which too frequently 
follows the penalties since substituted, forcibly confirms the 

1760^1820. ROBEBT HENLEY. 303 

judge's opinion that '* the criminal is soon thrown upon you 
again, hardened in guilt." Though he is said to have held 
this opinion^ in his private intercourse he was kind, chari- 
table, and good-natured; and Mr. Serjeant Shepherd took 
an opportunity of expressing the sentiments of the bar and 
his own, in paying respect to his memory as an able and 
upright judge and a worthy and valuable man. He died 

HENLEY, ROBERT, Lord Henley, Earl of Northington. 

Lord Eeepeb, 1760. Lobd Coaxo, 176L 

See under the reign of George IL 

The family from which this lord chancellor descended was 
originally established at Henley in Somersetshire, of which 
county some members of it were sheriffs. Its elder branch 
was honoured with a baronetcy in 1660 which expired in 
1740. The chancellor's great-grandfather. Sir Eobert 
Henley, master of the court of King's Bench in the reign 
of Charles I., having acquired the estate of the Grange in 
Hampshire, employed Inigo Jones to erect a considerable 
mansion on it. His third son. Sir Robert, and his grandson, 
Anthony, were both successively members of parliament for 
Andover, and the latter was afterwards representative for 
Weymouth till his death in 171 L This Anthony, who was 
one of the most accomplished wits of his day, by his 
marriage with Mary the daughter and coheir of the Honour- 
able Peregrine Bertie, second son of the Earl of Lindsey, 
became the father of three sons, of whom the chancellor was 
the second. The two others died without issue, Anthony in 
1745, and Bertie in 1760. 
Robert Henley was bom about 1708, and was educated 

' Notes and Qacries, Third Series, ii. 11 ; Gent. Mag. Ixzxvi 186; Law and 
Lawyers, ii. 214; State Trials, xxvi. 523. 

304 ROBERT HENLEY. George 111. 

at Westminster, having for his schoolfellows Lord Mansfield 

and Sir Thomas Clarke, afterwards master of the Rolls. In 

1724 he entered St. John's College, Oxford, and was elected 

a fellow of All Souls' in 1727. In the following year he V 

was admitted to the Inner Temple, and was called to the bar | 

in 1732. In 1733 he took his degree of Master of Arts. ", 

As a young man he was jovial and hilarious, and indulged 
so much in the prevailing vice of drinking, that he laid the I 

foundation of that gouty habit from which he subsequently * 

suffered. But he did not neglect the duties of his pro- 
fession, and evidently acquired an early practice in the 
court of Chancery, which increased so much that he was 
compelled in 1745 to take chambers in Lincoln's Inn, where 
equity lawyers " most do congregate." For this purpose he 
was also then admitted a member of that society. It was at 
that time the custom for chancery barristers to attach them- 
selves to a circuit and thus to obtain some insight into the 
course of the common law and criminal courts (a practice 
which had not been altogether discontinued at the beginning 
of the present century) ; and Mr. Henley chose the western 
circuit, his connections being resident within it. Here his 
rough and ready advocacy soon procured him a lead ; and a 
curious story is told of his being obliged to apologise to a 
Quaker of Bristol named Keeve for some indecent liberties 
he had taken with him in cross-examination. It speaks well 
for both, that the Quaker was afterwards employed by the 
chancellor to pay the freight of some wine consigned to him, 
and that the chancellor invited his old antagonist to dine at 
his table, and good-humouredly related to the company the 
particulars of their early fracas. 

He was elected recorder of Bath, where he resided during 
his vacations, and where he formed a romantic attachment to 
Jane the beautiful daughter and one of the co-heiresses of 
Sir Hugh Huband of Ipsley, Baronet She had at that 

1760—1820. BOBERT HENLEY. 305 

time entirely lost the use of her limbs ; but on her recovery 
they were united in 1743. Bath elected him its represen- 
tative in the parliament of 1747^ and he continued its 
member till his elevation to the Equity Bench. Attaching 
himself to the Leicester House party^ he was an active 
debater in support of its line of politics. After the death 
of the Prince of Wales he continued his adherence to 
the Princess^ and on the establishment of the household 
of the young prince (afterwards George III.) in 1751, 
he was appointed his solicitor-general, and in 1754 his 
attorney-general, being on the former occasion admitted 
within the bar as one of the king's counsel, and elected a 
bencher of the Inner Temple. On the elevation of Sir 
William Murray (Lord Mansfield) to the presidency of the 
court of King's Bench, Mr. Henley was appointed on 
November 6, 1756, attorney-general in his place, and 
knighted : and on the Coalition Ministry being formed in the 
following year. Sir Robert, after ineffectual offers of the 
Great Seal had been made to Lords Hardwicke and Mans- 
field, Sir Thomas Clarke, and Chief Justice Willes, was 
nominated lord keeper on June 30, 1757. 

So unacceptable was he to George II. from his connection 
with Leicester House, that he was allowed to preside in the 
House of Lords for nearly three years without a title ; but 
the necessity of appointing him lord high steward for the 
trial of the Earl of Ferrers for the murder of his steward, 
and the impropriety of a commoner holding that high oflSce, 
obliged the king on March 27, 1760, to create him a peer, as 
Baron Henley of the Grange. At that trial, judging from 
the printed account, his conduct was simple and unaffected, 
and the ill-natured and prejudiced assertion of Horace 
Walpole that it wanted dignity is fully refuted by the grave, 
appropriate, and affecting addresses delivered by his lordship 



to the noble prisoner, both on his arraignment and his con* 

George II. died six months afterwards, and soon after the 
accession of George III. Lord Henley's title of lord 
keeper was converted into that of lord chancellor. He waft 
the last person who was designated by the former title ; the 
single holder of the Great Seal being ever since that time, 
now more than a century, distinguished by the latter. It is 
difficult to account for the unmeaning imposition of the two 
titles since the time of Queen Elizabeth, when an Act of 
Parliament took away every essential difference that might 
have existed previously, and declared them to be equal in 
power, jurisdiction, and dignity. The Act was passed when 
Sir Nicholas Bacon was lord keeper, and he retained that 
title till his death. His two successors, both commoners, 
were lord chancellors, but the following two were only lord 
keepers. Since the death of Queen Elizabeth several 
holders of the Great Seal have been first named lord keepers, 
and then lord chancellors, so that the latter title continued to 
be esteemed superior to the former, notwithstanding the 
parliamentary equality. To George III. we are indebted 
for the extinction of the absurd variance, and by him and 
his successors the more constitutional title of chancellor has 
been uniformly adopted. 

This was the first proof that the new king gave of the 
favour with which he regarded his former oflicer ; but it was 
soon followed by other and more distinguished marks. On 
May 19, 1764, he was created Earl of Northington (the 
hamlet in which the Grange estate was situate), and in the 
following August he was made lord lieutenant of his county. 
Shortly after his elevation in the peerage he was again called 
on to preside as lord high steward at the trial of Lord Byron 
for the murder of Mr. Chaworth in a duel, when the 
prisoner was acquitted of the capital charge, but found guilty 

1760->1820. BOBEBT HENLET. 307 

of manslaughter. Though Lord Northington owed his 
appointment of lord keeper to Mr. Pitt, he still retained the 
Great Seal when that minister was succeeded by Lord Bute, 
and also during the two subsequent administrations headed 
by the Duke of Bedford and the Marquis of Bockingham, 
With several points in the policy of the last he differed so 
materially that he induced his majesty to submit the guidance 
of the State to his old patron Mr. Pitt, upon the formation 
of whose administration he retired from the post of lord 
chancellor on July 30, 1766, and took the less onerous 
position of lord president of the council. His principal 
inducement for making this sacrifice was the impossibility 
he found of performing the duties of the office of chancellor, 
enfeebled as he was by repeated attacks of the gout, the 
consequence of his early intemperance. The same cause 
obliged him eighteen months after to resign his new office ; 
and from December 1767 he retired wholly from pubKc life. 
He died on January 14, 1772, and was buried at North- 
ington, where a handsome mural monument has been 

In the judgment of Lord Eldon, '^ he was a great lawyer, 
and very firm in delivering his opinion,'' — an authority which 
few will dispute. Its justice will receive confirmation from a 
collection of his decisions, printed from his own manuscripts 
by his grandson, Bobert Eden, second Lord Henley of that 
name, who afterwards published a memoir of his life which 
has been freely used in the present sketch. As a politician 
one party says he was an intriguer, and the other that his 
opposition was open and avowed. His continuation in office 
in four opposing administrations seems to justify the former 
charge, and his refusal to continue in it when his first 
friends regained the ascendency seems to contradict it. 
The truth is that almost every individual in those intriguing 
times was obliged in some degree to resort to management ; 

X 2 

308 JAMES HEWITT. George III. 

but Lord Northington appears to have been bold and above- 

He retained to the end of his life his love of classical 
literature ; and in his domestic circle he kept up the 
conviviality which distinguished him in his early years; 
tinctured rather too much with warmth and irritability, and 
with the common use of profane expressions, —a vulgar and 
unmeaning habit which then unhappily prevailed, adopted 
more with the view of giving strength to expressions than 
with any thought or intention of being blasphemous. Many 
eccentric stories are told of his indulgence in this propensity, 
sometimes even on grave and solemn occasions. Though he 
was undoubtedly coarse and careless in his language, he has 
not been charged with being incorrect or unmoral in his 
conduct ; and the two beautiful prayers, which Lord Henley 
informs us he composed for the use of his wife, leave the 
impression that he was more deeply imbued with religious 
feelings than he had the credit of entertaining. 

Lord Northington's wife survived him many years. She 
bore him three sons and five daughters. Of the three sons 
only one survived him, Kobert, who was the second and last 
earl, dying in 1786 unmarried. Of his five daughters only 
one left issue, viz. Elizabeth married to Sir Morton Eden, 
K.B., who was created in 1799 Lord Henley of Chardstock 
in the peerage of Ireland. His son, the second lord, was 
the author of the memoir of his grandfather, and assumed 
the name of Henley, which is borne by the present peer. 

HEWITT, JAMES, afterwards Lord Lipford. 
Just. K B. 1766. 

James Hewitt, the eldest son of William Hewitt a mercer 
and draper at Coventry, who served the office of mayor in 
1744, was bom in 1709. He commenced his life in an 

1760—1820. JAMES HEWITT. 309 

attorney's office^ under articles to Mr. James Birch, who 
afterwards became receiver for the county of Warwick ; but 
was subsequently induced to seek his fortune at the bar. 
For this purpose he entered the Middle Temple in September 
1737, and became a barrister in November 1742. His merits 
as a lawyer procured him in 1755 the dignity of the coif, 
and four years afterwards the position of king's Serjeant. In 
1761 he was elected member for his native town, for which 
he had been an unsuccessful candidate in 1754. He seconded 
in 1765 the motion to get rid of informations ex-officio by the 
attorney-general, but his arguments are not recorded, though 
the mover Mr. Nicholson Calvert ushers them in with a 
flourish about his " abilities as a lawyer " and his " integrity 
as a member of Parliament." This is the only debate in 
which he is mentioned in the Parliamentary History ; but 
the style of his oratory may be surmised from the story that 
is told of Charles Townshend, who being met going out of 
the house, when Serjeant Hewitt was thundering away on 
some dull legal question, was asked whether the house was 
up ? " No," said Townshend very gravely, " but the Serjeant 
is." ^ At this time he was in opposition; but in the next year, 
when the Earl of Chatham came in, and his friend Lord 
Camden was made lord chancellor, the latter offered him the 
judgeship of the King's Bench, which would become vacant 
by the advance of Sir John Eardley Wilmot to the head of 
the Common Pleas. The Serjeant at first hesitated, but upon 
a promise by Lord Camden that if he held the Seal when the 
chancellorship of Ireland became vacant, he should be pro- 
moted to that office, he accepted the offer and was sworn in 
on November 6, 1766. Within a year the Irish chancellor 
Lord Bowes died, and after an interval of about six months. 
Lord Camden succeeded in overcoming all obstacles, and Mr. 
Justice Hewitt received his patent as Lord Chancellor of 
* Gent Mag. lix. 571; Pari. Hist, xvl 45; ConTejancer's Guide, 106. 


Ireland on January 9, 1768. In June following he was 
created Baron Lifford in the Irish peerage, to which a vis- 
county was added in 1781. The Journal of the Duke of 
Grafton, then prime minister, in recording his appointment, 
says he ** accepted the Seal, with every good disposition to 
discharge properly the great trust put into his hands, and his 
learning as a lawyer sanctioned our expectations from the 
appointment. He was a true Whig, and bore a character to 
which all parties gave their assent of respect : and though 
his speeches in parliament were long, and without eloquence, 
they were replete with excellent matter and knowledge of 
the law." He filled this high office till his death on April 
28, 1789, a period of more than twenty-two years. With 
few advantages of education, and with no extraordinary 
powers of intellect, he was successful in the exercise of his 
functions as a judge by ihe accuracy of his technical know- 
ledge and his general professional skilL Formal in his 
manner and old-fashioned in his ideas, he yet by his patience 
and urbanity to all, acquired imiversal esteem and respect^ 

He married, first, . • . • the daughter of the Rev. Rhys 
Williams, D.D. rector of Stapleford- Abbotts in Essex ; and 
secondly. Ambrosia, daughter of the Rev. Charles Bayley of 
Knavestock in the same county. By both wives he had 
issue. The viscounty is still held by the descendants of his 
eldest son. His third son Joseph became a judge of the 
King's Bench in Ireland: and his fourth son, John, was 
dean of Cloyne. 


JcBT. K. R 1816. 
See under the Beign of George IV. 

* Burrow's a a 569; Smyth's Law 0£ Ireland, 41, 42, 314. 

1760—1820. BEAUMONT HOTHAM. 311 

HOTHAM, BEAUMONT, afterwards Lord Hotham. 
B. E. 1775. Com. G. S. 1783. 

This judge is of the same family as that to which John de 
Hotham^ bishop of Ely, already noticed as chancellor to 
Edward II. and Edward III. ^belonged. The descendant of 
this prelate's elder brother was created a baronet in 1621. 
The seventh possessor of the dignity was Sir Beaumont 
Hotham, who by his wife Frances, daughter of the Be v. 
William Thomson, had five sons, on four of whom the title 
successively devolved. The third son. Admiral William 
Hotham, for his gallant achievements at the commencement 
of the French Eevolution, was in March 1797 created Baron 
Hotham of South Dalton in the Irish peerage, with a special 
remainder to the heirs of his father. On his death without 
issue in May 1813, his two elder brothers having left no 
representative, the heir to both titles waff his next brother, 
the judge, who is the subject of the present sketch. 

Beaumont Hotham was the fourth son of Sir Beaumont, 
and was bom in the year 1737. He commenced his legal 
studies at the IVIiddle Temple in January 1753, and was 
called to the bar in May 1758. He practised in the Chan- 
cery Courts, but with little success and less distinction ; and 
though a member of the two parliaments called in 1768 and 
1774, in both of which he represented Wigan, he did not 
obtain any of the honours of his profession, till he was ap- 
pointed on May 10, 1775, to succeed Mr. Baron Perrot on 
the Bench of the Exchequer ; when he was knighted. He 
sat in that court for the long space of thirty years ; and the 
only variation in his judicial career was in 1783, when he 
was placed as third commissioner of the Great Seal in the 
interval between the two chancellorships of Lord Thurlow. 
This lasted for nearly nine months from April 9 to Decem- 
ber 23. But when Lord Thurlow resigned about nine years 

312 LLOrD KENTON. Geoboe III. 

afterwards. Sir Beaumont was not replaced in the comnussion 
that then held the Seal for a year. Though he never had 
any business at the bar, by the effect of great natural sense 
and an excellent understanding, he made a good judge, and 
was deservedly esteemed for his polished manners, marked 
by courtesy, kindness, and attention. So circumscribed was 
his knowledge of law that when any difficulty arose he was 
in the habit of recommending the case to be referred ; thus 
acquiring among the wags of Westminster Hall the nick- 
name of " The common friend." In criminal cases he was 
distinguished for his humanity, and for his impressive and 
pathetic addresses to prisoners. 

Feeling the infirmities of age approaching he resigned in 
Hilary term 1805 ; but lived for nine years afterwards. On 
his brother's death on May 2, 1813, he succeeded to the title 
of Lord Hotham, but enjoyed it only ten months, his own 
death occurring on March 4, 1814. By his marriage with 
Susannah, daughter of Sir Thomas Hankey, an alderman of 
London, and widow of James Norman, Esq., he had three 
sons and three daughters. The eldest son having died during 
his father's life, the title devolved upon and is now enjoyed 
by his grandson.^ 

KENYON, LLOYD, Lord Kenton. 

M. R 1784. Ch. E. B. 1788. 

The doubts as to some other legal worthies commencing 
their career with views of entering the lower branch of the 
profession cannot exist with regard to the eminent lawyer, 
whose life is now to be considered. He served the full term 
of his articles with a country attorney, and, but for a dis- 
agreement with his master about entering into partnership 

> Biog. Peerage, iv. 388; Qent, Mag. in annis ; 6 East, 1; Strictores on 
Lawyers, 169. 

1760—1820. LLOYD KENTON. 313 

with him^ might have ended his life in obscurity, instead of 
obtaining the highest rank in the Common Law courts of 
the kingdom. Lloyd Kenyon was the second but eldest 
surviving son of Lloyd Kenyon of Bryn in Flintshire, a 
magistrate of that county, by Jane, daughter of Robert 
Eddowes of Eagle Hall in the county of Chester. He was 
born at Gredington in the parish of Hanmer in Flintshire, 
an estate which his father had acquired by his marriage, on 
October 5, 1732 ; and after passing through Buthin grammar 
school in Denbighshire, then in high repute, and in which 
Lord Keeper Williams was formerly, and Chief Baron 
Richards has been more recently a pupil, was at the age of 
fourteen articled to Mr. Tomkinson an attorney at Nantwich. 
There with extraordinary diligence and assiduity he mastered 
the elements of his profession, occasionally recreating himself 
by some boyish attempts at poetry. Luckily for his fame he 
soon deserted the Muses, and acquired so much credit with 
his master for his proficiency in law and steadiness in con- 
duct, that negotiations were entered into to receive him into 
partnership. Some difference however arising as to terms, 
and his elder brother having lately died, it was determined 
that he should seek his fortune at the bar ; and accordingly 
he was entered at the Middle Temple on November 7, 1750. 
He was called to the bar on February 7, 1756 ; and during 
his years of pupilage and for the long interval after, in which 
his merits and even his name were unknown, he occupied every 
instant of his time in laying in that store of knowledge so es- 
sential for the man who aims at the character of a real lawyer. 
He lived in a small set of chambers in Brick Court in the 
Temple ; and was constant in his attendance in Westminster 
Hall, where he began taking notes of the cases he heard 
there so early as 1753. The small means which his father 
could allow hinf obliged him to live with the greatest eco- 
nomy ; by which he contracted a habit of parsimony which 


stuck to him to the last day of his life ; and he was proud 
even in his prosperity of pointing out the eating-house near 
Chancery Lane in which he and Dunning and Home Tooke 
used to dine together at the cost of V^d. a head. With 
Dunning, who soon discovered his merits, he formed a close 
intimacy, attended with mutual benefit. When, by an un- 
exampled success, Dunning was overwhelmed with cases and 
briefs, Kenyon was employed by him to answer many of the 
former and to look out the law and arrange the arguments 
arising from the latter. By this employment he not only 
improved in the exercise of his powers, but, when his assis- 
tance was discovered, the cases by degrees were sent direct 
to him, till at last he was well employed in that branch of 
business, and his opinions became much sought for and highly 
esteemed. The friendship between them had well nigh come 
to an end by Kenyon's Welsh pride being hurt by a joke of 
Dunning's, who on being asked to frank a letter to one of 
Kenyon's family waggishly added to the direction *^ North 
Wales, near Chester ^ This indignity to the principality so 
irritated the Welshman, that he flung down the cover, and 
exclaimed " Take back your frank, sir, I'll have no more of 
them." Dunning had some difficulty in pacifying him. 

Not confining himself to chamber practice, which extended 
to drawing pleadings in equity and conveyancing, he did not 
relax his attendance on the different courts, particularly the 
Chancery, nor fail to travel the Welsh and Oxford Circuits^ 
which Chancery barristers had not then ceased to do. In- 
terposing sometimes as amicus curiae with some abstruse law 
or forgotten clause in an old act of parliament, he attracted 
the attention of Lord Thurlow, whose idle habits required \ 

the aid of a laborious helper; and he was soon joined with 
Mr. Hargrave in doing privately the work for which the 
great man received the credit. This assistance was well 
rewarded ; for not long after Thurlow became lord chancellor 


1760—1820. LLOYD KENYON. 315 

he gratefully conferred on his "devil" in 1780 the chief 
justiceship of Chester, an office most gratifying to Kenyon, 
as it not only gave him honour in his own country, but con- 
firmed the standing he had attained at the bar. 

His services from this time were before the public eye ; 
and his rise proceeded with such rapidity that in the course 
of the next eight years he became member of parliament, 
attorney-general, master of the Rolls, chief-justice of the 
King's Bench, and a peer. In the same year that he was 
made chief justice of Chester he was returned member for 
Ilindon in Wiltshire. Soon after he made his first prominent 
appearance as leader in the defence of Xiord George Gordon 
for high treason, in reference to the riots of 1780, in which 
his noble client was infinitely more indebted to the zeal and 
eloquence of Mr. Erskine, who acted as junior counsel, than 
to him. In fact though a deeply learned lawyer and a 
forcible arguer he was never, from his want of oratorical 
powers, an e&cient leader in criminal or nisi-prius cases. 

When Lord Thurlow had contrived to continue chancellor 
under Lord Rockingham's administration, he took the oppor- 
tunity of advancing his favourite Kenyon, per saltunij to the 
attorney-generalship in March 1782 ; an advance which, as 
it had very seldom been made without passing through the 
intermediate steps, excited a little surprise and some discon- 
tent among his colleagues at the bar. Partaking of the 
political sentiments of his patron, he was not a very zealous 
assistant to the ministry; but continued in his office till 
April 1783, when both he and Lord Thurlow were turned 
out by the Coalition. His exclusion lasted only till the fol- 
lowing December, when he was reappointed under Mr. Pitt, 
but did not hold the place above three months. The death 
of Sir Thomas Sewell occasioning a vacancy in the office of 
master of the Rolls, Kenyon was called upon to supply it 
on March 30, 1784, receiving also the honour of a baronetcy 

316 LLOYD KENYON. Gkoroe IlL 

on July 24. In the new parliament he was elected for 
Tregony, and fully ingratiated himself with the minister by 
his zealous opposition to Mr. Fox as a candidate for West- 
minster, actually having a bed put up in the loft of his 
stables to give him a vote ; and supporting the scrutiny that 
followed that election with more energy than discretion. 
After presiding at the Rolls for four years, during which he 
was much commended both for eflSciency and despatch, he 
was raised, on the resignation of Lord Mansfield, to the head 
of the court of King's Bench on June 9, 1788, and on the 
same day was created a peer by the title of Lord Kenyon of 

In dignity, urbanity, and grace, there was a sad falling off 
in the court, but in knowledge of law, application of prin- 
ciple, discrimination of character, intuitive readiness, and 
honesty of purpose, the new chief justice need not fear a 
comparison with his great predecessor. The disapprobation 
with which, from the offensiveness of his manner and his 
severity of expression, he was regarded by both branches of 
his profession, was more than counterbalanced by the admi- 
ration which, from the inflexibility of his justice, was 
universally accorded to him by the suitors and the public. 
To his unpopularity with the former is to be attributed the 
multitude of anecdotes about his worn-out habiliments, 
shabby equipage, and bad Latin, circulated by the contem- 
porary jesters of the bar. They have been minutely 
detailed by Mr. Townsend, and repeated by Lord Campbell, 
but whether true or invented they ought now to be for- 
gotten, as the venial frailties of the man, in regard to his 
acknowledged merits as the judge. To make the most of 
them, they were, as he himself considerately declared of the 
errors of Erskine, merely " blots in the sun." He was truly 
honest and independent, and had an absolute abhorrence of 
anything that savoured of irreligion, immorality, or fraud. 

1760-1820. EDWARD LAW. 317 

He was particularly sharp in punishing the misdeeds of un- 
worthy practitioners ; in actions for criminal conversation he 
urged the most exemplary damages ; he made forcible war 
against the spirit of gambling, and neither high nor low 
escaped his invectives ; and to the gross libels of the day, 
both political and personal, he was a stem opponent. Though 
his observations on these subjects might in some instances, 
no doubt, have been tempered with a little less warmth, they 
were dictated by the strictest moral principle, and tended, 
and were intended, to repress the evil practices upon which 
he was called to adjudicate. His addresses to juries were 
clear and distinct, and showed sound common sense and 
great discrimination ; his arguments in banco always exhibited 
soundness of law both technical and material ; and, notwith- 
standing all his minor failings, the decisionis and rulings of 
no judge stand in higher estimation than those of Lord 
Kenyon. His presidency lasted nearly fourteen years, and 
his death, which was hastened by his grief for the loss of his 
eldest son, occurred at Bath on April 4, 1802. He was 
buried in the family vault at Hanmer where there is a 
monument with his effigy by Bacon, jun., with an inscrip- 
tion recording his piety and worth. His notes of cases, 
which only extended from 1753 to 1759, were published 
some years after his death. 

He married in 1773 Mary, daughter of George Kenyon, 
of Peel in Lancashire, the elder branch of the family, and 
had by her three sons. The title is now enjoyed by the 
third baron, the grandson of the chief justice. 

LAW, EDWARD, Lord Ellenborough. 

Ch. K. B. 1802. 

Both clerical and legal honours distinguish the name of 
Law. The father of the chief justice was the learned 

318 EDWARD LAAV. Geobge III. 

Edmund Law, Bishop of Carlisle from 1769 to 1787, who 
witnessed the elevation to the episcopacy of one of his thir- 
teen children ; another of whom attained the same dignity at * 
a later period. John the elder became Bishop of Clonfert 
in 1782, of Killala in 1787, and of Elphin in 1795. George 
Edward was consecrated Bishop of Chester in 1812, and 
was translated to the diocese of Bath and Wells in 1824. 
The chief justice's mother was Mary, the daughter of John 
Christian, Esq. of Unerigge in Cumberland; and, of the 
numerous family she produced, he was the sixth child and 
fourth son. , 
Edward Law was born at Great Salkeld in Cumberland | 
on November 16, 1750. On his mother's death in 1762 he 
was placed on the foundation of the Charter House, where, 
during the six y^ars he remained there, he imbibed copious 
draughts from the stream of knowledge, and rose to the head ^ 
of the school. Proceeding in 1768 to Cambridge, he entered [ 
Peterhouse College, of which his father had been master since | 
the year 1754. There he formed intimacies with several who 
were afterwards his colleagues on the bench. Among his 
other friends was Archdeacon Coxe, by whom his picture at 
that time has been so faithfully drawn that it may be recog- 
nised in all his future career. His disposition is described as 
warm and generous, his thoughts as great and striking, his 
language as strong and nervous, and somewhat inclined to 
express his opinions with a little too much abruptness; 
active and enterprising, and preferring in his studies '^ the 
glowing and animated conceptions of a Tacitus to the softer 
and more delicate graces of a Tully." In 1771 he took his 
degree of B.A., coming out of the school as third wrangler, 
and gaining the gold medal for classical learning. Li the 
next two years he obtained the members' prize for the second 
best dissertation in Latin prose ; and honourably completed 
his university career by being elected fellow of his college* 

1760—1820. EDWABD LAW. 319 

He had been admitted at Lincoln^s Inn on June 10^ 1769, 
and when he left the university he attended at the chambers 
of Mr. (afterwards Baron) Wood, studying the mysteries of 
special pleading for two years, at the end of which he devoted 
himself for five years more to the practice of that science, 
the mastery of which is so essential to all who hope for future 
success and honour. When he had achieved a high reputa- 
tion in that branch he quitted what must have been felt by 
him as an inglorious drudgery for a more expanded arena, by 
being called to the bar in Hilary Term 1780, and joining the 
Northern Circuit In this he was not long before his merits 
were tested. His name, so familiar in the north, added to 
his already-gained repute in London, ensured him an imme- 
diate accession of business. In 1787 he had earned sufficient 
professional credit to be honoured with a silk gown, and in 
the same year held a crown brief on the trials of Lord George 
Gordon and others for libels (22 State Tr. 183). But the 
best proof of the estimation with which his forensic efforts 
were regarded was that before he had been eight years at the 
bar he was entrusted with the conduct of the defence of 
Warren Hastings, his juniors being Mr. Dallas and Mr. 
Plumer, both subsequently raised to the bench. In this 
arduous and deeply-responsible undertaking, opposed to all 
the eloquence, inveteracy, and power of the greatest orators 
of the day, he manfully and successfully struggled during 
the seven years of that famous trial, from February 1788 to 
April 1795, when his exertions were rewarded by the acquit- 
tal of his persecuted client. During the continuance of that 
trial he was, in 1792, made attorney-general of Lancaster; 
and having been for years the acknowledged head of his cir- 
cuit, his speedy promotion in the profession was naturally ex- 
pected. But he still had to wait nearly six years before a 
vacancy occurred. On the termination of Mr. Pitt's first 
ministry the attorney-general. Sir John Mitford, was sent 

320 EDWARD LAW. George HI. 

to Ireland as lord chancellor, and the solicitor-general. Sir 
William Grant, was made master of the Kolls, thus leaving 
at the minister's disposition both oflSces. Mr. Addington 
the new minister at once selected Mr. Law for the higher 
and Mr. Perceval for the lower, and they both entered on 
their duties on February 14, 1801. Mr. Law was knighted 
on the occasion ; and in little more than a year was by the 
death of Lord Kenyon called to the high position of lord 
chief justice of the King's Bench. His promotion took 
place on April 12, 1802, accompanied by his being called to 
the House of Peers with the title of Baron Ellenborough, a 
small village in Cumberland. 

At the time when he was appointed attorney-general for 
Lancaster, the political world was agitated by the excesses 
of the French Revolution, and he became necessarily engaged 
in all the trials that resulted from the seditious attempts of 
its admirers in this country. In conducting the extraor- 
dinary prosecution at Lancaster of Thomas Walker and 
others for a conspiracy, he at once consented to an acquittal, 
on finding that the evidence in support of it was in the 
highest degree suspicious; and prosecuted the perjured 
witness. He succeeded at York in convicting Henry Red- 
head Yorke of conspiracy ; and he assisted in London on the 
trials of Thomas Hardy and John Home Tooke for high 
treason, in which his duties were confined to the examination 
of the witnesses. During the few months in which he held 
the office of attorney-general to the king, besides prosecuting 
to conviction Joseph Wall on a charge of murder conunitted 
twenty years before, while governor of the island of Goree, 
he originated no prosecution for political offences. On com- 
mencing his official career a seat in parliament was provided 
for him, and during the short time that he held it he sup- 
ported the miniBterial measures with a nerve and vigour 
which at once fixed the attention of the House. These 

1760—1820. EDWARD LAW. 321 

characteristics distinguished his oratory in the House of 
Lords. His arguments were enforced with extraordinary 
power, and seemed to be urged without preparation ; but 
his temper being too easily ruffled he was apt to use expres- 
sions the violence of which rather astonished than convinced 
that august assembly ; and their coarseness and intemperance 
frequently called down upon him deserved castigation. 

On the death of Mr. Pitt in 1806, Lord Ellenborough, 
according to established custom, held the Seal of chancellor 
of the Exchequer till the new ministry was appointed. By 
that ministry, composed of the Whigs and a few of Lord 
Sidmouth's friends, he was offered and refused the Great 
Seal, but by unadvisedly accepting a seat in the cabinet 
subjected himself, as Lord Mansfield had done before him, to 
the suspicions which must attach to one who at the same 
time holds a political and a judicial position. However 
honourably and independently the individual may act, there 
is so palpable an indecorum in the connection between the 
two, that it is to be hoped no further example will revive 
the controversy. His adherence to the Whigs lasted only 
till the ministry expired. Thenceforward he disconnected 
himself from party, though all his tendencies were strongly 
towards the support of government, and the resistance of 
innovations. He opposed most of the excellent endeavours 
of Sir Samuel Bomilly to amend the criminal law, but was 
himself the author of an act, which goes by his name, making 
more stringent the punishment for malicious injuries. So 
inimical was he to all changes that he resisted the attempt 
of the same enlightened lawyer to subject real estates to 
the payment of the debts of the proprietor. 

Though the bigotry of his opinions as a legislator incurred 
grave censure, in his character as a judge he won the admi- 
ration of all. At least equal to his predecessor in legal 


322 EDWARD LAW. Georqe III. 

learning, in personal deportment and in judicial eloquence 
he formed a complete contrast to him. His dignified bearing 
bespoke the chief justice, and his forcible language gave 
weight to his judgments ; while the dread of his indignation 
against every attempt to impose upon the court tended 
greatly to improve the practice. His powers of sarcasm 
were very great, sometimes inconsiderately exercised; but 
prevarication by a witness, frivolous objections by a counsel, 
or any appearance of indecorum in the conduct of a case, never 
escaped the severity of his rebukes. In all questions between 
man and man he was inflexibly justj and in the trial of cases 
where the laws of morality were outraged by either party he 
exposed the delinquent with indignant austerity. ' 

During his presidency the press teemed with libels both 
political and personal, and the chief justice partook most 
unjustly of the unpopularity which attended the numerous ^ 

prosecutions for them, particularly in the time when Sir * 

Vicary Gibbs was attorney-general. Unmindful that a 
judge has nothing to do with originating charges, the people 
forgot that he is not answerable for the. cases brought before 
him for trial ; and they were apt to tax his lordship with 
being the promoter of the obnoxious proceedings, as well as 
to blame him for the boldness with which he exposed the 
licentiousness of the press, and the severity with which he 
punished the convicted. His judgments indeed iu all cri- 
minal cases were considered severe, and that pronounced 
against Lord Cochrane, found guilty of a charge of con- 
spiracy (his complicity in which was never positively proved 
and is now more than doubted), was particularly condemned. 
The most, degrading part of it was immediately remitted, ' 

and the sentence led to the abolition of the punishment of 
the pillory, except for perjury. Even Lord Cochrane's own 
counsel acknowledged the judge's strict impartiality on the 
trial, and fairly attributed the sentence to his abomination of . 

1760—1820. EDWAUD LAW. 323 

all fraud, and to his determination to prove that in the eyes 
of the law there can be no distinction of persons. 

Few judges have equalled him in learning, sagacity, and 
unsuspected integrity, and none have surpassed him. His 
rule was resolutely firm and inflexibly just, tmswayed by 
the hope of popular applause, or the fear of popular frenzy. 
Yet though the admiration and respect which must neces- 
sarily attend those qualities could not be withheld from him, 
he failed in securing the affection of those over whom he 
presided. His severity of demeanour, his intolerant manner, 
and his frequent petulance, naturally produced more fear 
than love. In the exercise pf his wit, of which he had a 
large sharcj there was too much sarcasm and ridicule ; and 
in the numerous examples of it, which have been over and 
over again repeated, there is scarcely one of them which, 
however it may amuse the hearers by its humour, does not 
inflict a wound upon its victim. These were but trifling 
blots in his character, the great excellencies of which are 
thus eloquently summed up by one who had long practised 
under him, and had himself suflTered from his attacks : '' He 
could powerfully address the feelings, whether to rouse 
indignation at cruelty, or contempt at fraud, or scorn at 
meanness. For his own nature had nothing harsh in it, 
except his irritable temper, quickly roused, and quickly 
appeased ; his mind was just, abhorring any deviation from 
equity; his nature was noble, holding in utter contempt 
everything low and base ; his spirit was open, manly, honest, 
and ever moved with disgust at anything false or tricky.'' ^ 

At length overcome by his incessant labours .he felt the 
necessity of retiring. His resignation was received by the 
Government with real regret, and the Prince Regent, in an 
elegant and eloquent letter expressed his sorrow. This event 

1 Lord Brougbam's Hist. Sketches (1845), ti. 8. 

T 3 


occurred on November 6, 1818; and in little more than a 
month he ceased to live. He died on December 1 1 , at his house 
in St. James's Square, and was buried in the Charter House, 
the place of his early education, where an excellent statue 
of him has been placed. Of that establishment he is the 
solitary instance of one who from being a scholar on the 
foundation had risen to the rank of a governor. 

In 1789 he married Ann the lovely daughter and heiress 
of George Phillips Towry, Esq., formerly in the royal navy; 
and by that union he was the father of five sons and five 
daughters. Edward, the eldest, for his services to the State 
was in 1844 promoted to an earldom: and Charles Ewan, 
the second son, held the important office of recorder of 
London, and was M.P. for the University of Cambridge, 
at the time of his early death. ^ 


Jd8T. C. p. 1794. Jd8T. K. R 1794; Jc8T. C. P. 1808. 

The heralds trace the Lawrences as far back as a knight 
who was honoured with their present shield of arms, by 
Bichard, Coeur de Lion, for his bravery at the siege of Acre. 
Another of the family was seneschal to Henry, Earl of 
Lancaster, in the reign of Edward III. Two others received 
baronetcies, of Iver and Chelsea in 1628, and of St. Ives in 
1748 ; both of which are extinct! The great-grandfather of 
the judge was physician to five crowned heads and died in 
1714 ; leaving a son, who was a captain in the Royal Navy, 
and the father of Dr. Thomas Lawrence of Essex Street in 
the Strand, president of the College of Physicians ; to whom 
was bom in 1751, Soulden, the future judge. 

After commencing his education at St Paul's School, and 

* Lives, by Townsend, Lord Campbell, &c. See also Law and Lawyers, 
i. 15,32, 193,344; ii. 18. 

1760—1820. SOULi)EN LAWRENCE. 325 

finishing it at St John's College, Cambridge, where he took 
liis degree of B.A. in 1771, coming out seventh wrangler, 
and of M. A. in 1774, he was elected fellow of his college, 
and became a benefactor to its library. Having been called 
to the bar by the Inner Temple in June 1784, he soon at- 
tracted attention by his legal acquirements, and was honoured 
with a Serjeant's coif in 1787. Seven years afterwards, on 
the death of Mr. Justice Gould, he was raised to the bench 
of the Common Pleas in March 1794 ; but in the course of 
a month exchanged his seat with Mr. Justice Buller, for one 
in the Court of King's Bench, receiving of course the honour 
of knighthood. 

The Reports of the time will show how well he justified 
the selection ; and the soundness of his law was not ques- 
tioned when he differed in opinion, as sometimes he did, with 
Lord Kenyon. That chief was succeeded in 1801 by Lord 
EUenborough, who had been Sir Soulden's college friend ; 
but after a few years a difference arose between them, which 
induced the latter to take the opportunity, that the resigna- 
tion of Mr. Justice Booke in 1808 gave him, of returning to 
his original position in the Common Pleas. There he sat for 
the four following years ; when beginning to fail in health, 
and having served full eighteen years, he resigned in Hilary 
vacation, 1812. Surviving his retirement only two years and 
a half, he died on July 8, 1814, and was buried in St. Giles'- 
in-the-Fields, where many of his family are also interred, 
and where there is a monument to his memory. 

He was a great favourite with the bar, who respected him 
for his learning, and loved him for his courtesy, — a habit to 
which there was no exception, unless it was a little roughness 
towards those who were connected with the newspaper press. 
He was so conscientious a judge, that by a codicil to his will, 
he directed the costs to be paid to a litigant, who had been 

326 SIMON L£ BLANC. Geoboe III. 

defeated in an action^ in which he considered that he had 
wrongly directed the jury.* 


V. C. 1817. 

See under the Reigns of George IV. and William FV. 

Just. K. K 1799. 

This amiable judge was the second son of Thomas Le Blanc 
of Charter House Square, London, Esq. and was bom about 
the year 1748. Admitted a pensioner of Trinity Hall^ Cam- 
bridge in January 1766, he became a scholar in November 
following; proceeded LL.B. in 1773, and was elected a 
fellow of his house in January 1779. While at the univer- 
sity he formed friendships with Lord Ellenborough and Sir 
Yicary Gibbs. He entered on the study of the law at the 
Inner Temple in February 177 1, and having been called to 
the bar in February 1773, before many years he gained by 
his knowledge of law so much success, especially on the 
Norfolk circuit, as to warrant him in accepting the degree 
of the coif in Hilary term 1787. In the Common Pleas he 
obtained a considerable lead; and in 1791 he was chosen as 
counsel for his Alma Mater. 

On the resignation of Sir William Henry Ashhurst he 
was promoted on June 6, 1799, to the post of justice of the 
King's Bench, and knighted. In that court he sat for nearly 
seventeen years, with the character of an excellent lawyer 
and a conscientious and impartial judge* The absence of 
incidents worthy of being related in so long a period, — if we 
may except an atrocious libel on him in a newspaper called 

> Hoare'i Wilts.; Freshfield, p. 74; Gent. Mag. Ixxxiy. P. II. p. 92; Luxt. 
P. II. pp. 12-17; Notes and Qaeries, Third Scries, iu. 18, 395. 

I76i)— 1820. RICHARD LLOYD. 327 

" The Independent Whig," in 1808, for which the editor was 
speedily punished by a long imprisonment,^ — is a proof that 
the whole of it was employed in the regular discharge of 
duty, uninfluenced by political bias, or personal prejudice. 
There is not a more graceful testimony that this was the case 
with Sir Simon Le Blanc, than the sentence " lUo nemo 
neque integrior erat in civitate, neque sanctior," with which 
his death at his house in Bedford Square on April 15, 1816, 
is recorded by the respected reporters of his court, Messrs. 
Maule and Selwyn (vol. v. p. i.) 


B. £. 1760. 

See under the Reign of George 11. 

The name of Lloyd is as common in Wales as the name of 
Smith in England, but its pedigree is much longer, extending 
upwards to the royal tribes of that principality. Without a 
clue to guide, the inquirer may search in vain amidst its 
various ramifications for any particular individual bearing 
this patronymic. The only information as to the lineage of 
Sir Richard Lloyd is to be found in the books of the Middle 
Temple, where he was admitted on February 9, 1719, as the 
son and heir of Talbot Lloyd of Lichfield, deceased. He 
was sent for his early instruction to the grammar school of 
that city, where no less than four of his contemporary judges 
were educated, viz. Lord Chief Justice Willes, Chief Baron 
Parker, Mr. Justice Noel, and Sir John Eardley Wilmot 
Called to the bar in 1723, he was elected a bencher of his 
inn in 1728, and autumn reader in 1744. About that time 
he was made one of the king's counsel ; and in the next year 
he is represented as a candidate for the office of solicitor- 
general by the author of the " Causidicade," who thus de- 
scribes his pretensions : 

> State Trials, xxx. 1131-1322. 


" When silence was broke by good Co — ^nc^— Uor LI— d : — 

' K — g*8 C ^1 1 am, and of merit not void, 

I stand, as it were, next oars in my title ; 

Besides my pretensions by blood *s not a little : 

From the Ancient Britons my lineage is sprung, 

The roll of my pedigree's fifty yards long 1 

The first of my ancestors held this same place. 

In the reign of King Lucius, the first king of grace.* 

' Not merit of ancestry here will suffice,' 

Quo' my Lord, 'nor the length of your roll or device ; 

Tho' oft in the papers preferment you get, 

His Majesty hardly has heard of you yet.' " 

In 1746 he opened the indictment against Lord Balmerino 
in the House of Lords ; and is on that occasion designated a 
knight. He was returned to parliament in 1745 for the 
borough of St. Michael's, in 1747 for Maldon, and in 1764 
for Totnes ; but only two of his speeches are recorded, one 
on the Westminster election in 1751, and the other on the 
repeal of the Jew bill in 1753.* In the next year he was at 
last advanced in the king's service, succeeding Sir William 
Murray as solicitor-general in East«r term, 1754. The prime 
minister, the Duke of Newcastle, evidently had not a high 
opinion of him ; for on the death of Sir John Strange in the 
following May he intimated to Lord Hardwicke that if Sir 
William Murray took the oflSce of master of the Rolls, Sir 
Richard Lloyd's character would not support him as attorney- 
general ; and that if Sir William did not take the office, Sir 
Richard would make a very improper master of the Rolls. 
He says in the same letter that he is afraid that Sir Richard 
" would never take the chief justice of Chester," as he doubts 
that " the circuits would be incompatible with his views to 
the chair." On the change of the ministry in November 
1756 he was removed to make way for the Hon. Charles 
Yorke ; but on November 14, 1759, his ambition was obliged 
to be satisfied by being placed on the bench of the Exche- 

I State Trials, xfiii. 463; Pari Hist. xiv. 883, xt. 153. 

1760—1820. ABCHIBALD MACDONALD. 329 

quer, in the room of Mr. Baron Legge who had died in the 
previous August 

His judicial career was very short. Within two years 
after his appointment he died at Northallerton on Septem- 
ber 6, 1761, on his return from the northern circuit. His 
wife, Elizabeth, daughter of William Field, Esq. of Crastwic 
in Essex, survived him for twenty-seven years.' 

LOUGHBOROUGH, Lord. See A. Wedderburn. 

Ch. R £. 1793. 

A LINEAL descendant of the old Lords of the Isles, Sir 
Donald Macdonald of Slate in the county of Antrim, was 
created a baronet of Nova Scotia by Charles I. in 1625. 
The seventh baronet was Sir Alexander, who by his second 
wife, Margaret, daughter of Alexander, ninth Earl of Eglin- 
ton, was father of three sons, the two elder of whom suc- 
ceeded in turn to the title, and the latter was in 1776 raised 
to the barony of Macdonald in the peerage of Ireland, which 
his representative still enjoys. Archibald, the youngest of 
the three sons, was bom soon after his father's death in 
1746, and received his education at Westminster School ; the 
dramatic performances of which he attended till his death. 

On being called to the bar in England, his connection with 
Scotland ensured him liberal employment in appeals from 
that country to the House of Lords ; and in the courts of 
Westminster, though he had not great practice, he acquired 
such a character as a lawyer as to be engaged in the great 
Grenada case in 1775, for his argument in which he was 
highly praised by Lord Mansfield.* His success at the bar 

1 Henley's Lord Northington, II; Harris's Lord Hardwicke, tii. 12, 96; 
Wright's Essex, ii. 790; Gent Mag. in annis. 
* State Trials, xx. 287, 303, 306. 


was sufficient to enable him in 1777 to contract a marriage 
with Louisa^ the eldest daughter of Granville, second Earl 
Gower (afterwards Marquis of StaiTord). Such a union 
was a certain precursor of promotion to one who possessed 
competent legal qualifications, and Macdonald soon reaped 
the advantage of it In the same year he was made one of 
the king's counsel, and was returned to parliament to supply 
a vacancy in the borough of Hindon. In the House of 
Commons he supported Lord North in the American war ; 
but in December 1779 he made what is described in the 
Parliamentary History as ** one of the severest attacks upon 
that minister in his personal character that was ever known 
in a house of parliament," — an attack which seems to have 
been wholly unprovoked, and for which he deemed himself 
called upon to apologise. In the parliament of 1780 he was 
returned for Newcastle-under-Lyne in conjunction with his > 

brother-in-law Lord Trentham ; and continued his support 
to Lord North while he remained prime minister. But when 
that nobleman afterwards joined Mr. Fox in the Coalition 
Ministry, he strenuously opposed the unholy alliance, and 
made an able speech against the famous East India Bill 
in answer to Mr. Erskine. From the very first entrance of 
Mr. Pitt into the senate in 1781 Mr. Macdonald attached 
himself to that remarkable man, anticipating his future great- 
ness ; and fought boldly by his side in the doubtful parlia- 
mentary conflict that raged after the dispersion and ejection 
of the Coalition in December 1783.^ He was not long in 
receiving his reward, being appointed solicitor-general on 
April 8, 1784. To the parliaments of 1784 and 1790 he 
was returned by his old constituents, and while he continued 
in the House^of Commons he was a steady and useful adhe- 

» Pari Hist. xix. 1391, xx. 1228, 1241, xxi. 1269, xxUi. 1297, xxir. 
375, 558. • 


1:60—1820. ARCHIBALD MACDONALD. 331 

rent to the minifiter^ particularlj in reference to the king's 
illness in 1789. 

In his professional career he had previously in 1778 been 
one of the counsel to support the application for a criminal 
information against Captain Baillie, in opposing which Mr. 
Erskine produced so wonderful an effect on his first appear- 
ance at the bar : and in 1780 he had been appointed a Welsh 
judge on the Carmarthen circuit. After filling the office of 
solicitor-general for four years he succeeded Sir Pepper 
Arden as attorney-general on June 28, 1788, and was then 
knighted. It fell to his lot to prosecute Stockdale by order 
of the House of Commons, for publishing Mr. Logan's de- 
fence of Mr. Hastings ; and also Thomas Paine as the author 
of the Rights of Man ; both of them affording Mr. Ers- 
kine opportunities of displaying his extraordinary oratorical 
powers, in the former case with a success which he could not 
expect in the latter. In the exercise of his office Sir Archi- 
bald was distinguished for his prudence and humanity, which 
Mr. Burke acknowledged was a striking feature in his cha- 
racter; though in the latter years of his official life the 
seditious spirit that then prevailed obliged him to institute 
several prosecutions.^ 

On the elevation of Sir James Eyre to the chief-justiceship 
of the Common Pleas, Sir Archibald was promoted to the 
place of lord chief baron of the Exchequer on February 12, 
1793, a post for which his discriminating powers and judicial 
mind peculiarly fitted him. In the next year a charge which 
he delivered to the grand jury of Leicester on the state of 
the times was 'considered so apposite that at their request it 
was published. After a presidency of twenty years, esteemed 
by all for his careful and impartial administration of the law, 
for his patient attention to every argument, never interrupt- 

I State Trials zxi. 61» zxii. 247, 285, 380; Pari. Hist. zxiz. 512. 


ing the speaker^ as well as for the kindness of his disposition 
and the courtesy of his manners, he retired into private 
life in November 1813 ; and in the same month was re- 
warded with a baronetcy. He survived his resignation 
nearly thirteen years, and died on May 18, 1826. His 
grandson is now the third baronet. 

MANNERS, Lord. See T. M. Sutton. 
MANSFIELD, Earl op. See W. Murray. 

Ch. C. p. 1804. 

In the year 1729 an Act was passed for the regulation of 
attorneys (St. 2 Geo. II. c. 23), requiring them among 
other things to be enrolled. Under that statute the father 
of Sir James Mansfield^ who was an attorney practising at 
Kingwood in Hampshire, is entered on the roll, both of the 
Common Pleas and Chancery, in November 1730 as John 
James Manfield. It has been a question when the name 
was altered to Mansfield, and what was the motive. The 
Ringwood attorney was the son of a gentleidan who came to 
England with one of the Georges, and held an appointment 
in Windsor Castle ; and it was asserted that the attorney 
thought it more advantageous to him to anglicise his name 
by calling himself Mansfield. But it is clear that he had 
not formed this determination in 1730, when he was in 
practice. Neither had he done so in 1746, when his son 
then aged thirteen was entered at Eton as James Manfield ; 
nor in 1750 when he appears under the same name on the 
list for King's College, Cambridge; nor in 1751 when 
admitted a scholar, nor in 1754 when nominated a fellow of 
that college. But on taking his degree of B.A. in 1755 he 
signed his name Mansfield. By this date the imputation, 
which has prevailed, that he made the alteration with the 

1760—1820. JAMES MANSFIELD. 333 

hope of being supposed to be connected with the great lord 
chief justice, entirely falls to the ground, inasmuch as Sir 
William Murray did not receive the title of Lord Mansfield 
till the end of the following year, November 1756.* 

He entered the society of the Middle Temple under that 
name in February 1755, and was called to the bar in 
November 1758. He began to practice in the Common 
Law courts, but ultimately removed into Chancery, where 
he was very successful. In 1768 he was one of the counsel 
for John Wilkes on his application to be admitted to bail ; 
and four years after in Michaelmas 1772 he was made king's 
counsel. His university appointed him their counsel, and 
returned him as their representative to the parliament of 
1774. On the trial of the Duchess of Kingston for bigamy 
in 1776 he appeared for the defendant, when, though he 
failed in procuring her acquittal, he succeeded in obtaining 
her release without any punishment at all. In the same 
year he unsuccessfully defended General Smith and Thomas 
Brand HoUis against a charge of bribery in the notorious 
case of the borough of Hindon. He next appeared on the 
part of the crown on the trials of James Hill for setting the 
Rope House at Portsmouth on fire; and of George Stratton 
and others for deposing Lord Piggott, the governor of 
Madras, and assuming the rule of the settlement.' 

From his entrance into parliament in 1774 there ia no 
report of his taking any part in the debates till just at the 
close of the session of 1780 ; and his first appearance was 
somewhat unpropitious, as he excited the risibility of the 
whole house by a careless expression about the civil list In 
September of that year he accepted the solicitor-generalship, 

* William Darrant Cooper, Esq., John Halsey Law, Esq., and Messrs. C. H. 
and Thompson Ck>oper, of Cambridge, hate kindly furnished me with the 
respective entries on the Bolls of Attorneys, and on the Eton College and 
University Records. 

> State Trials, zx. 403, 1240, 1270, 1319; xxi. 1061. 


and held it during the remainder of Lord North's adminis- 
tration. While in oflSce he was engaged in the prosecution 
of those concerned in the riots of 1780, and in that of Lord 
George Gordon he had the disadvantage of replying to the 
splendid speech of Mr. Erskine for the prisoner, resulting 
in an acquittal. The same duty devolved upon him on 
the trial of De la Motte for high treason, whose palpable 
guilt ensured a conviction. On the defeat of Lord North's 
ministry in March 1782, Mr. Mansfield was necessarily su* 
perseded ; and immediately placed himself in the ranks of the 
opposition. He was unfortunate in his first appearance on 
that side, being called to order no less then three times for 
some irrelevant remarks of dangerous tendency, and coming 
into collision with Kenyon, the new attorney-general. 
Soon after the constitution of the Coalition Ministry, which 
quickly supplanted the administration of Lord Shelbume, 
Mr. Mansfield was again appointed solicitor-general in 
November 1783, but was fated to be again removed in less 
than a month, the Coalition having in its turn succumbed to 
the ministry of Mr. Pitt.* 

In the new parliament called in the following May, 
Mr. Mansfield had the mortification of surrendering his seat 
for the university of Cambridge to the popular minister, 
and never afterwards entered the house. He remained un- 
employed for nearly sixteen years, when in 1799 he was 
constituted chief justice of Chester. Five years afterwards, 
at the close of Mr. Addington's administration, he succeeded 
Lord Alvanley as chief justice of the Common Pleas in 
April 1804, and was thereupon knighted. The motto on his 
rings on liis necessarily taking the degree of a Serjeant, 
alludes humorously to his long exclusion : " Serus in ccelum 
redeas." On the death of Mr. Pitt in 1806 and the forma- 

* Pari nist. xxi. 193; zxiii. 9; State Trialit, xxi. 621, 794. 

1760—1820. WILLIAM MURRAY. 335 

tion of the Whig ministry he was pressed to accept the Great 
Seal, but positively declined the honour; and his wisdom in 
the refusal was exemplified by the dismissal of that party in 
little more than a year. 

Though a good average lawyer his promotion occurred 
rather too late in life ; and though anxious to dispense jus- 
tice in the cases that came before him, he was too apt to give 
way to the irritation of the moment Of this deficiency of 
temper the Serjeants were not backward in taking advantage; 
and towards the end of his career they worried him to such 
a degree that he could not always refrain from venting in 
audible whispers curses against his tormentors. He was an 
amiable man, but had not got rid of the habit of swearing, 
which was too prevalent in his earlier years. So great was 
the annoyance that he resigned his post in Hilary vacation 

He lived nearly eight years afterwards, and died on 
November 23, 1821, at his house in Russell Square, in the 
eighty*eighth year of his age.' 

CuRg. B. E. 1773. 
See under the Reign of George IV. 

MURRAY, WILLIAM, Earl op Mansfikld. 

Ch. K. B. 1760. 

See ander the Reign of George IL 

There never has been a judge who was more venerated by 
his contemporaries, nor whose memory is regarded with 
greater respect and affection, than William Murray, Earl of 
Mansfield, and any biographer, even at this distance of time, 

' Gent. Mag. December 1821, p. 572. 


must be conscious that he will fail to give satisfaction to 
those frequenters of Westminster Hall^ who still look upon 
him as the great oracle of law, and the founder of commercial 
jurisprudence. To give a full and true description of his 
excellence as an advocate, a judge, a senator, or as a man, 
would require a far greater space, even if the power existed, 
than can be afforded in a work of this nature. The present 
author feels that he need not venture on the attempt, as the 
task has been already undertaken bj various writers. The 
leading facts in the history of this great man, with a full 
detail, though very unartistically related, of his opinions and 
judgments, by Holliday, published soon after his death, — the 
able and discriminating lives by Burke in the " Law Maga- 
zine," and by Roscoe in " Lardner's Cyclopaedia," — and the 
more recent memoir by Lord Campbell in the " Lives of the 
Chief Justices," in which all that is valuable in the previous 
works is recapitulated, render it unnecessary to trouble the 
reader with another repetition, or to do more tiian give a 
faithful record of the leading events of the chief justice's 
interesting career. 

The antiquity of the Scotch family of Murray is too well 
known to require detail ; and the glory of the titles of 
Viscount Stormont and Lord Balvaird has been eclipsed and 
extinguished by the superior claims of a cadet of the house, 
from whose time the name will be for ever associated with 
law and literature, the titles themselves being merged in the 
superior rank of the Earl of Mansfield, the just reward of 
his merits. 

William Murray was the fourth son of David the fifth 
Viscount Stormont and third Lord Balvaird, being one of 
fourteen children borne to him by Margery, daughter of 
David Scot of Scotstarvet, of the noble family of Buccleugh* 
He was bom at his father's palace of Scone, near Perth, on 
March 2, 1704-5. Lord Campbell contradicts Mr. HoUi- 

1760— 18 JO. WILLIAM MURRAY. 337 

day's account that he was removed to England at three years 
of age, and states on competent authority that he was 
educated at the grammar-school at Perth till he was fourteen 
years old, when he was sent to Westminster School. He 
entered that establishment in May 1718, and was elected 
king's scholar in the next year. Here his proficiency was 
so great, both in his exercises and declamations, that at the 
examination in 1723 he was placed at the head of the list 
selected for Christ Church, Oxford. In his admission there 
on June 18, his place of birth is mistakenly written *^ Bath," 
owing probably to the broad pronunciation of the word 
" Perth " by the giver of his description. Though intended 
for the church, he felt a natural vocation for the bar, in 
which he was conscious that his father with his fourteen 
children could not aiford to indulge him. Fortunately for 
the world he was enabled to gratify his inclination, by the 
assistance of the first Lord Foley, whose son had formed an 
intimacy with him at Westminster, and who had in his visits 
in the holidays been at once taken by his amiable disposition 
and promising abilities. He was accordingly entered at 
Lincoln's Inn on April 23, 1724. In both he pursued his 
studies assiduously. In the former, besides industriously 
mastering the usual academic course, he especially devoted 
himself to the improvement of his natural powers of oratory, 
taking Demosthenes and, above all, Cicero as his models. 
In the latter his sedulous application was successfully em- 
ployed in acquiring that knowledge of practice and of law, 
by which he was enabled so soon to prove himself an accom- 
plished advocate, and to use his eloquence, not in mere 
ornamentation, but in unravelling the contradictory facts 
and the abstruse points of the cases which he might have to 
conduct. At Oxford he took his degree of B.A. in 1727, 
at the same time gaining the prize for a Latin poem on the 
death of George I. ; and in June 1730 he became M.A. and 


338 WILLIAM MURRAY. Geobce 111. 

was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn on November 23. 
Two beautiful and eloquent letters which he addressed about 
this time to the young Duke of Portland, pointing out a 
plan for his grace's study of ancient and modem history, are 
undeniable proofs of his solid attainments and extensive 
learning. HoUiday gives them in his Life ; and they show 
how deep had been his study of the subjects, and how well 
he had prepared himself to discuss any constitutional ques- 
tion that could arise. 

In the interval between his two degrees he familiarised 
himself with the courts by frequenting Westminster Hall, 
and he practised his argumentative and rhetorical powers by 
discussing knotty questions of law at a debating society. 
As a relaxation from his severer studies he amused himself 
with the current works of literature, and by associating 
freely with that class to which his rank and his talents gave 
him an easy introduction. Though strictly temperate in his 
habits, Boswell tells us that he sometimes ^' drank cham- 
pagne with the wits;" introduced probably by Alexander 
Pope, with whom he had from boyhood contracted an inti- 
macy, and who showed his affection for his young friend not 
only by devoting some lines at an early period of his career 
to an eulogistic allusion to his merits, and even by dedicating 
to him the Imitation of the First Book of Horace, but also 
by teaching him to add grace of action to the charm of his 
voice. On one occasion an intimate friend, it is said, sur- 
prised him in the act of practising before a glass, with Pope 
sitting by as his instructor. 

He spent the long vacation previous to his call to the bar 
in travelling on the continent ; and at the end of November 
1730 he commenced his career as a barrister in the court of 
Chancery. That for the first eighteen months he was 
entirely without adequate encouragement, as has been 
asserted, seems scarcely probable, since he is found at the 

1760—1820. WILLIAM MURRAY. 339 

end of that time to be engaged in no less than three appeals 
in the House of Lords, one of which was on the all-absorb- 
ing subject of the South Sea Bubble. He so distinguished 
himself by his arguments in them that, whatever may have 
been his former progress, no doubt of his advance could any 
longer exist. Not only was he immediately engaged in 
numerous cases before the same august tribunal, but he came 
into regular employment in Westminster Hall, where his 
rising fame was universally recognised. This was fully con- 
firmed by his eloquent defence of Colonel Sloper in an 
action of crim, con* brought against him by Theophilua 
Gibber ; and by his argument before parliament against the 
bill to disfranchise the city of Edinburgh on account of the 
Porteous Kiots ; in gratitude for which that corporation pre- 
sented him with the freedom of the city in a gold box. The 
dean and chapter of Christ Church also complimented him 
with the nomination of a student in their college, in acknow- 
ledgment of his successful efforts in the court of Chancery 
on a question of much importance to them. 

Refusing to involve himself in politics he declined a seat 
in parliament offered to him, and diligently applying himself 
to his profession he soon became its head in point of business 
and character, though not honoured with a silk gown. But 
in November 1742, soon after the dissolution of Sir Robert 
Walpole's ministry, he was made solicitor-general, and 
entered parliament as member for Boroughbridge ; succeed- 
ing Sir John Strange in the office, and Colonel Tyrrell in 
the seat. He was immediately elected a bencher of Lincoln's 
Inn. He held the post of solicitor for twelve years, and on 
the promotion of Sir Dudley Ryder in May 1754 took his 
place as attorney-general, which he held for two years 

His success in the House of Commons was as brilliant as 
it was at the bar. During these fourteen years he continued 



to sit for Boroughbridge, and from his entrance Into the 
senate till the hour of his removal from it he acquired by 
the force of his arguments, by the clearness of his exposi- 
tions, and by the eloquence in language, manner, and action 
in which they were clothed, an undisputed ascendency, out- 
shining every other speaker, except his chief antagonist and 
rival Mr. Pitt, whom he equalled in everything but the 
power of invective. To him the Pelham administration 
were indebted for the most effective support of their mea- 
sures ; and in that of the Duke of Newcastle he was the 
trusted leader and almost the entire prop of the Government 
When the weakness of that Government was nearly over- 
come by a powerful opposition, the death of Sir Dudley 
Ryder, chief justice of the King's Bench, occurred, and so 
essential to the existence of the ministry was the continuance 
of the attorney-general deemed in the House of Commons, 
that though Sir Dudley died in May 1756 the office was not 
filled up till November, the interval being occupied by the 
offer to Sir William of every species of inducement in the 
shape of tellerships, reversions, and a large pension, to induce 
him to forego his acknowledged right to the office. Murray 
however resisted all temptation, and at last was obliged to 
tell the duke that, if not immediately appointed chief justice 
and created a peer, he would no longer sit in the house as 
attorney -general. The duke was obliged to submit; but 
with the loss of his able lieutenant, was soon forced to resign 
his command. 

These negotiations account for Trinity Term being allovred 
to pass without the appointment of a chief justice ; for there 
could be no doubt that the attorney-general, as well from his 
prefessional ascendency and official rank, as from his political 
services, had the only legitimate claim to the promotion and 
could not have been passed over except with his own consent 
Not only would the whole of Westminster Hall have been 

1760-1820. WILLIAM MUKRAY. 341 

indignant, but the general public, from whom his superior 
merits could not be concealed, would have been greatly sur- 
prised and disappointed. In the exercise of his official 
duties as solicitor and attorney-general he had never out- 
raged popular feeling by undue severity ; and against the few 
prosecutions which he sanctioned, or his manner of conduct- 
ing them, no possible objection could be raised. His success 
in those he instituted was to be attributed to his rule never 
to prosecute where there was any risk of failure. In the 
proceedings against those implicated in the Bebellion of 
1745 he was necessarily concerned for the Crown, but was 
careful to avoid everything that could aggravate the crimes 
of the prisoners, or inflame the passions of those who were 
to try them. In all the trials, and more particularly in that 
of Lord Lovat, he exercised a degree of candour and hu- 
manity which drew forth the admiration of all his hearers. 
In reference to that rebellion an absurd charge was made 
against him, that he had in his youth joined some Jacobite 
friends in drinking the health of the pretender on his knees. 
Although the king treated the imputation with the contempt 
that it deserved, the folly of one of the parties implicated 
forced an inquiry before the Privy Council, in which Mur- 
ray indignantly denied its truth. The result of course was 
a complete acquittal from every part of it. His last appear- 
ance as a barrister was one of the most graceful of his life. 
On the ceremony of taking leave of Lincoln's Inn for the 
purpose of being caUed to the degree of the coif, he delivered 
a farewell address, in which, after a well-merited and eloquent 
eulogy of Lord Hardwicke, the chancellor under whom he 
had practised, he paid an elegant compliment to the Hon. 
Charles Yorke, the treasurer, who had delivered to him, 
with warm congratulations, the customary offering of the 

He received his appointment as lord chief justice of the 


King's Bench, and his patent of creation as Lord Mansfield 
of Mansfield in the county of Nottingham, on the same day, 
November 8, 1756. From that date for the long period of 
thirty-two years he presided over his court with such extra- 
ordinary power and efficiency that by his learning, discri- 
mination, and judgment he not only gained the admiration of 
all who were competent to appreciate them, but by the 
fairness and impartiality of his decisions, and by the patient 
courtesy of his manners, his private virtues, and the firmness 
he displayed in trying circumstances, he lived down and 
nullified the charges and insinuations which jealousy and 
party spirit at one time raised against him. He introduced 
some reforms in his court, and removed some impediments 
in its practice, which had much delayed the decision of the 
causes and unnecessarily increased the expense of the suitors ; 
and by his punctuality and despatch he kept down all accu- 
mulation of arrears, and thus was enabled to meet the vast 
increase of business which was caused by the advancing 
commerce of the country. In dealing with the numberless 
cases arising from this increasing commerce, he not only 
carefully weighed the justice of the particular claim, but laid 
down the principle upon which all similar questions should 
be in future decided, and in the end established such a system 
that, in the words of Mr. Justice Buller, he acquired the 
character of being " the founder of the commercial law of 
the country.** Though his decisions both in this branch of 
law and on other questions in reference to colonial and inter- 
national principle, are most curious, satisfactory, and in- 
structive, a detail of them would fail to be interesting. But 
some of those which will be ever connected with his name 
deserve to be commemorated. He first pronounced that a 
slave once brought into England became free ; that Turks, 
Hindoos, and others of different faith from our own, may be 
Bworn as witnesses according to the ceremonies of their own 

1760—1820. WILLIAM MURRAY. 343 

religion ; that governors of English provinces are amenable 
in English courts for wrongful acts done while governors 
against individuals ; and that the property of wrecks does 
not belong to the king or his grantee^ where it can be iden- 
tified by the real owner, although no living thing comes to 
shore with the wreck. 

Though, besides the thr^e judges whom he found on the 
bench of his court, there were no less than eight who took 
their places afterwards as his colleagues, it is a strong evi- 
dence of the soundness of his law that during the thirty-two 
years of his presidency there were only two cases in which 
the whole bench were not unanimous : and, what is still 
more extraordinary, two only of his judgments were reversed 
on appeal : but some of them were not entirely approved by 
the legal community. The system on which he acted was 
censured as introducing too much of the Koman law into our 
jurisprudence; and he was charged with overstepping the 
boundary between equity and law, and of allowing the prin- 
ciples of the former to operate too strongly in his legal 
decisions. How far these criticisms were justified still 
remains a question : but recent legislation proves how little 
his system deserved censure. Lord Thurlow used to say 
that Lord Mansfield was "sl surprising man; ninety-nine 
times out of a hundred he was right in his opinions and 
decisions ; and when once in a hundred times he was wrong, 
ninety-nine men out of a hundred would not discover it. 
He was a wonderful man." 

He was particularly attentive to the students who at- 
tended his court, admitting them to sit on the bench with 
him, and explaining the points that happened to be raised. 
In his time the king's counsel used the same courtesy towards 
the young aspirants ; but after the accession of Lord Kenyon 
the practice was discontinued both by the bench and the 


In the upper house of parliament he shone with as much 
brilliancy as he had done in the lower. During the greater 
part of his senatorial life the Parliamentary History contains 
comparatively few of his speeches, because the prohibition 
against reporters was rigidly enforced. But those which 
have been by other means given to the world amply confirm 
the general opinion of their elegance and effectiveness, and 
justify the universal admiration which they elicited. His 
contests with his old antagonist in the House of Commons, 
the Earl of Chatham, were renewed with even more virulence 
than formerly, and, when they were expected to occur, were 
attended by crowds desirous of witnessing the gladiatorial 
exhibition. Though he was as often the victor as the van- 
quished in these trials of strength, it would have been better 
for his fame if he had more strictly confined himself to 
judicial questions. However transcendent his talents, poli- 
tical controversy should be avoided by a judge, whose 
decisions should never be subjected to the suspicion even of 
political bias. The last intended display between the two 
combatants was on the subject of the American war in 1778, 
but was prevented by the fatal seizure of the great statesman 
at the commencement of his address. 

Though several times pressed to accept the office of lord 
chancellor, he persisted in his refusal to change his court, 
from his love of the position he held and his conscious apti- 
tude for its duties, as well as from the uncertainty attendant 
on the possession of the Great Seal. Soon after he became 
chief justice he by virtue of that office received the seal of 
chancellor of the Exchequer during the three months' 
vacancy occasioned by the removal of Mr. Legge ; but he 
performed no other than its formal duties ; and ten years after 
he again temporarily held that office on the death of the 
Hon. Charles Townshend. On the establishment of the 
joint ministry of Mr. Pitt and the Duke of Newcastle in 

1760—1820. y^lhhJAU MURRAY. 345 

1757, the coalition between whom he was the principal 
instrument in effecting, he consented to become, with ques- 
tionable propriety, one of the cabinet council. He remained 
so for some years ; and this was no doubt the cause of the 
unpopularity under which he laboured in the early part of 
the reign of George III. — an unpopularity which was not 
diminished by the suspicion that he was the secret adviser of 
his soTcreign by his continued defence of ministerial measures 
in the House of Lords, and by his acting subsequently for 
a long period as Speaker of that assembly ; — an unpopularity 
which was kept alive and greatly increased by the virulent 
attacks made against him by Junius, which continued till 
that bold, powerful, and impudent writer was in 1772, by 
means yet imknown, effectually silenced. Yet during the 
whole period his fame as a great magistrate was spreading 
over the whole of Europe as well as in his own country ; 
and there even the populace might have seen his disregard 
of political influence, in his affirmation of the verdict against 
those who had illegally acted under the general warrant 
against the " North Briton," and in his reversal of the 
outlawry of the demagogue Wilkes, its disreputable author. 
Though assailed with abuse, lampoons, and personal threats, 
the most uncharitable of his libellers could not but be im- 
pressed by the noble and dignified speech made by him on 
granting that reversal. 

His liberal opinions on the subject of religion, and the 
principles of toleration which he advocated in all cases in 
which the question arose, whether relating to Dissenters or 
Roman Catholics, while they raised him in the estimation of 
the honest and well-disposed, had a contrary effect on the 
bigoted class of society, by whom the old story of his being 
a Jacobite was.revived, with the additional stigma of his being 
a Jesuit in disguise. The sad effect of these mistaken notions 
appeared in the disgraceful No Popery riots of 1780, in 


which he was not only personally attacked and insulted, but 
his house in Bloomsbury Square, containing his valuable 
library, was burnt down to the ground by the mob. Nothing 
more tended than his conduct on that occasion to establish 
his character, and to dissipate and overcome the prejudices 
against him, which some men still continued to foster. The 
courage also which he displayed when the Houses of Par- 
liament were threatened, the philosophic calmness with which 
he met his personal calamity, his generous justification of 
ministers in calling in the military to quell the riots, and 
particularly his impartiality and total absence of resentment 
in the trial of Lord George Gordon, whose violent harangues 
had first evoked the outbreak, excited universal admiration, 
and increased the respect with which he was regarded. 

For six years after this event he continued to exercise, 
almost without a day's intermission, the functions of his high 
office, when, being then eighty-on^ years of age, hia weak- 
ness and infirmity prevented him attending the court. He 
did not immediately resign, but with the expectation of 
being enabled still to act he delayed his retirement for nearly 
two years, leaving a most efficient substitute to perform his 
duties. This was ]VIr. Justice Buller, whom he hoped to 
see, and endeavoured to induce the minister to appoint, his 
successor. But when he found that Mr. Pitt had determined 
otherwise, and that his declining strength totally prevented 
him from again taking his seat, he closed, on June 4, 1788, 
a legal career which had extended over fifty-eight years, 
twenty-six as an advocate, and thirty-two as a judge ; in 
both capacities achieving such a character as few can equal, 
and none will ever surpass. Both branches of the profession 
expressed in affecting addresses their respect, their venera- 
tion, their affection for his person and their regret at his 
retirement — sentiments in which the whole community 

1760—1820. WILLIAM MURRAY. 347 

The aged lord survived for nearly five years, enjoying life 
at his beautiful seat at Caen Wood near Highgate, in social 
and intellectual converse, and with unabated health and 
undecayed memory, but with increasing feebleness ; till the 
exhausted frame at last gave way on March 20, 1793, having 
just entered the eighty-ninth year of his age. He was buried 
in Westminster Abbey, in the same grave as his wife. Lady 
Elizabeth Finch, daughter of the Earl of Winchilsea, whom 
he had married in 1738, and who after a happy union of 
forty-six years had preceded him for nine years. His funeral 
was attended by his relations and private friends only, ac- 
cording to his testamentary directions; to the disappoint- 
ment of all parties in the political world, who, with the 
judges and the bar, were desirous of testifying their respect 
for so great a man by a public funeral. By the gratitude 
of one of those whom he had benefited by his advocacy 
a splendid monument was erected, the work of Flaxman. 

When he had graced the seat of justice for twenty years, 
the king in 1776 rewarded his judicial and political services 
by creating him Earl of Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, and 
as he was childless, gratified him by adding a remainder in 
favour of Louisa the wife of his nephew Lord Viscount 
Stormont and her heirs by the viscount. The peculiarity of 
this remainder was occasioned by the disqualification which 
was then supposed to exist of a Scotch peer from taking an 
English peerage, even in remainder ; but when this doctrine 
was decided to be erroneous a new patent was granted in 
August 1792, with the title of Earl of Mansfield of Caen 
Wood, and with a remainder to his nephew himself. After 
the chief justice's death (when the barony became extinct) 
the Viscountess Stormont, under the first patent, became 
Countess of Mansfield in her own right, while her husband 
held the title under the second, and was succeeded under the 

348 GEORGE NARES. Geobgb III. 

same patent by her son, until the mother's death in 1843^ 
when the two patents were united in his person.* 

Just. C. P. 1771. 

This judge's father, who was for many years steward to the 
second and third Earls of Abingdon, had two sons, both of 
whom became eminent in the professions they selected. The 
elder was Dr. James Nares of musical celebrity ; and the 
younger was Sir George Nares of legal fame. George was 
born at Han well in Middlesex in 1716. His father having 
removed to Aldbury in Oxfordshire, he was first sent to the 
school of Magdalen College, and afterwards was admitted 
into New College.' In 1737 he became a student at the 
Inner Temple, and was called to the bar in 1741. His mar- 
riage in 1751 with Mary, daughter of Sir John Strange, 
master of the Rolls, is an indication of his early success in 
his profession. His practice seems to have been principally 
in the criminal courts, to judge from the speeches he made 
in defence of Timothy Murphy, convicted of forgery in 1753, 
and of Elizabeth Canning, convicted of perjury in 1754 ; 
both of whom were tried at the Old Bailey. 

His professional merit must have been very conspicuous, 
inasmuch as in 1759 he received the degree of the coif, and 
was made king's Serjeant at the same time. From 1763 to 
1770 he was engaged on the part of the Crown in most of 
the cases arising out of the general warrant issued against 
the author, publisher, and printers of No. 45 of the " North 
Briton ;" and the unpopularity which he shared with all the 
opposers of Mr. Wilkes, may perhaps account for Mr. Foote 

> Lives, by Hollidaj (1797), Burke, in Law Mag. (1838), and in Welsby's 
Collection (1846), Lord Campbell (1849), Boscoe (1833). See also Seward's 
Anecdotes, and Law and Lawyers. 

1760—1820. WILLIAM NOEL. 349 

holding him up to ridicule under the character of Serjeant 
Circuit in his farcical comedy of the " Lame Lover." In 
May 1768 he was elected member for the city of Oxford, 
which soon after chose him its recorder. In the fourth 
session of that parliament, the elevation of Mr. Justice 
Bathurst to the office of lord chancellor having occasioned a 
vacancy in the court of Common Pleas, Mr. Serjeant Nares 
was appointed to supply it on January 25, 1771, and was at 
the same time knighted. After filling that honourable post 
with great credit for more than fifteen years, he died at 
Bamsgate of a gradual decay, on July 20, 1786, and was 
buried at Eversley in Hampshire. His cheerfulness of dis- 
position and pleasing manners endeared him to his contem- 
poraries, enhanced as they were by the strict integrity of his 
life and his unaffected piety. 

Sir George left several children, one of whom became 
regius professor of modem history in the university of Ox- 


Just. C. P. 1760. 

See under the Beign of George II. 

The ancestor of the noble family of Noel came into England 
vnth the Conqueror, and was rewarded with several manors 
in Staffordshire. Andrew, one of his descendants who 
flourished in the reign of Henry YIII., was the grand- 
father of Sir Edward Noel, who was created a baronet 
(of Brook) in 1611, and Baron Noel in 1617, and succeeded 
to the viscounty of Campden (by a special limitation) in 
1618 ; dignities which were increased by the grant of the 
earldom of Gainsborough to his grandson in 1682; but all 
of which became extinct on the death of the sixth earl in 

* Chalmers' Biog. Diet; Gent. Mag. lyi. 622; State Trials, xiz. 451, 702, 
1153; Harris's Lord Hardwicke, iii. 349; Blackstone's Bep. 734. 

350 WILLIAM NOEL. George III. 

1798. Another grandson of the above Andrew Noel was 
settled at Kirkby Mallory in Leicestershire, and was sheriff 
of that county. He was the father of Vemey Noel, who 
was made a baronet of that place in 1660. William Noel 
the judge was the second son of Sir John Noel the fourth 
baronet, by his wife Mary, daughter and co-heir of Sir 
John Clobery of Winchestead and Bridstope in Devonshire, 

He was bom in 1695, and educated in the grammar- 
school of Lichfield. Entering the Inner Temple in February 
1716, he took the degree of barrister in June 1721; and 
having been chosen recorder of Stamford, be was elected 
member for that borough in the parliament of 1722 ; and 
continued to represent it till the dissolution of that of 1741. 
In the two next parliaments of 1747 and 1754 he was re- 
turned for the Cornish borough of West Looe. The 
Parliamentary History gives no examples of his senatorial 
labours, and the reports record very few of his forensic 
ones. But whether from his family connection or his legal 
abilities he was nominated one of the king's counsel in 1738, 
when he was made a bencher of his inn. On the trial of 
Lord Lovat in 1746 he was one of the managers for the 
House of Commons, and made a short speech in answer to 
some of the accused lord's objections.* He received the post 
of chief justice of Chester in 1749, which he retained when 
he was appointed a judge in Westminster Hall. The latter 
elevation he owed to the patronage of Lord Hardwicke, who 
even after he had resigned the Great Seal applied to the king 
on his behalf on the expected death of Mr. Justice Birch.* 
Mr. Noel was accordingly constituted a judge of the Com- 
mon Pleas in March 1757 ; and continued in that court till 
his death on December 8, 1762. 

Horace Walpole calls him " a pompous man of little 

» State Trials, xviii. 817. * Harris's Lord Hardwicke, iii. 111. 

reo— 1S20. WILLIAM NOEL. 351 

solidity;" and the satirical author of the " Causidicade " 
seems to regard him in the same lights in his description of 
the pretended contest in 1742 for the o£Bce of solicitor- 
general : 

" As next in pretence up starta Mr. N • • 1 ; 
' Me, your lordahip/ quo' he, 'does certainly know well. 
If a gentleman born, and descent of high blood, 
And knowledge of law, which I think pretty good ; 
If oft being mention'd in all the newspapers, 
At ev'ry promotion, as one of the gapers, 
Can entiUe a man to the place in dispute, 
I presume that, with justice, I can't be left out.' 
' Your gentility, blood,' says my lord, ' nor your skill. 
Nor for good preferment the lust of your will, 
I call not in doubt, but I pray you go home, 
For this time, at least, for your hour is not come.' " 

By his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Trollope, 
Bart., he left only four daughters ; the eldest of whom, by 
her marriage with Thomas Hill of Tern in Shropshire, was 
mother of Noel Hill, created Lord Berwick in 1784; and 
the third of whom married Bennet Sherard, third Earl of 

Sir Edward Noel, the son of the judge's elder brother. Sir 
Clobery Noel, succeeded to the barony of Wentworth in 
1745; when, as one of the sons of a father who, had he 
lived, would have been the heir of that barony, the judge 
was allowed to attach the title of *' honourable" to his name, 
by which he was afterwards distinguished. To the barony 
of Wentworth a viscounty was added in 1762, but the 
viscounty became extinct, with the baronetcy of Kirkby 
Mallory, in 1815. The barony, after remaining in abey- 
ance for many years, at length devolved on Lady Byron, 
and is now held by her grandson the son of the Earl of 

> Collins' Peerage, ▼i.'2Il, ix. 405; WoUon*8 Baronet, iii. 91; Dod's 
Peerage, 577. 


NORTHINGTON, Earl op. See R. Henltst. 


Just. C. P. 1816. 

See under the Reigns of George IV., William IV., and Victoria. 


Ch. B. B. 1760. 

See under the Reign of George IL 

Sir Thomas Parker was a near relation of his namesake. 
Lord Chancellor Macclesfield, George Parker of Park Hall 
in Staffordshire, high sheriff of that county in the reign of 
Charles I., being the grandfather of the chancellor, and the 
great-grandfather of Sir Thomas, whose father, George, 
succeeded to the estate of Park Hall. Besides Sir Thomas 
he had a daughter, who married Swynfen Jervis of Meaford 
in the same county, and was the mother of the famous 
admiral, created Earl St Vincent.* 

Thomas Parker was bom about the year 1695, and re- 
ceived his education at the grammar-school of Lichfield; 
from whence he was removed to the office of Mr. Salkeld, a 
solicitor in Brook Street, Holborn, where three other 
eminent lawyers and judges were at nearly the same time 
initiated into the mysteries of the science. These were 
Lord Jocelyn, lord chancellor of Ireland, Sir John Strange, 
master of the Rolls, and Lord Hardwicke, lord chancellor of 
England. With the latter he contracted a lasting intimacy, 
which was greatly increased by the encouragement given by 
his relative Lord Macclesfield to Lord Hardwicke in the 
early part of his career. Parker was five years Lord Hard- 
wicke's junior, and was not admitted to the Inner Temple 

> Harrises Lord Hardwicke, ii. 400; Barke's Landed Gentry, 998; Collins' 
Peerage, v. 400. 

1760—1820. THOMAS PARKER. 353 

till May 17 18, three years after Lord Hardwicke had been 
called to the bar. He was not himself called till June 1724, 
Lord Hardwicke being at that time attorney-general. This 
was less than a year before his noble relative's disgrace ; of 
whose patronage though he was thus deprived^ he found an 
ample compensation in the friendship of Lord Hardwicke^ 
who never forgot what he owed to the persecuted peer, in 
gratitude to whom he took every opportunity of promoting 
Parker's advancement Thus in June 1736, when Parker 
had been a barrister only twelve years, he was raised to the 
dignity of the coif, and made king's Serjeant at the same 
time; and in two years after, on July 7, 1738, he was 
raised to the bench as a baron of the Exchequer. From 
this court he was removed in April 1740 to the Common 
Pleas, where he remained till November 29, 1742, when, 
having been previously knighted, he was advanced to the 
head of the court of Exchequer as lord chief baron. All 
these promotions he owed to the gratitude of Lord Hard- 
wicke, which his lordship owned in a letter to the Duke of 
Somerset, at the same time adding that "Parker was in 
every way deserving, and has gained a very high character 
for ability and integrity since his advancement to the 

That his previous reputation was not very high appears 
from the " Causidicade," a poem written shortly after his 
advancement. In it he is thus noted in connection with 
Lord Hardwicke : 

^'Befiides the dunce P .... r, at last made Gh . . . B . . . n, 
Your favorite; my lord; indeed a most rare one ; 
A name once detested in the eye of the law, 
But your lordship is grateful — no more — hem, haw." 
And again in a subsequent couplet : — 

" but he who can bend 
Like a reed, or T . m P . . . . r, ne'er wants a good friend." 

> Harris's Lord Hardwicke, ii. 25. 


Lord Hardwicke, even when out of power, did not neglect 
him, but endeavoured on the death of Sir John Willes to 
procure for him the chief justiceship of the Common Pleas^ 
and to the last showed his regard by naming him as a trustee 
under his will.* 

Sir Thomas presided in the Exchequer for thirty years, 
when having arrived at the age of seventy-seven he resigned 
in the summer vacation 1772 ; being gratified with a pension 
of 2400/., and being sworn a privy councillor, a post not then 
usually given to the chief barons while in office. He lived 
for twelve years after his retirement ; during which he pub- 
lished a volume of Reports of Revenue Cases in the Ex- 
chequer from 1743 to 1767, which display considerable 
acuteness. A judgment may also be formed of the manner 
in which he had executed his judicial functions, by the remark 
of Lord Mansfield, who on the frequent absence of his suc- 
cessor Sir Sidney Stafford Smythe from infirmity, observed 
'* The new chief baron should resign in favour of his pre- 
decessor." * 

One of his decisions is thus noted in the " Pleader's 

'' Parker, Ch . . . B . . . . held that bruising, 
Deem'd so delightful and amusing, 
La an illegal, dangerous science, 
And practb'd in the law's defiance." 

He died on December 29, 1784, and was buried in the 
family vault at Park Hall. He was twice married ; first, to 
Anne, daughter and coheir of James Whitehall of Pipe- 
Ridware in Staffordshire ; and secondly, to Martha, daughter 
and coheir of Edward Strong of Greenwich; by each of 
whom he left issue. The estate of Park Hall is still in 
possession of his descendants. His djiughter Martha became 

* Harrises Lord Hardwicke, iii. 269, 394. 

* Lord Campbcirs Chief Jastices» il 571. 

1760—1820. GEORGE PERROT. 355 

the wife of her cousin the Earl of St. Vincent, and the 
family connection was further kept up by the judge's 
granddaughter marrying the earl's successor. Viscount St. 


B. E. 1763. 

George Perrot was the second of the eleven children of 
the Rev. Thomas Perrot, Rector of Welbury and Martin cum 
Gregory in York, and a prebendary of Ripon, by Anastasia, 
daughter of George Plaxton Esq. of Berwick. He was 
initiated in the study of the law at the Inner Temple, of 
which he became a member in November 1728, obtaining 
his grade of barrister in 1732, and of bencher in May 1757, 
Two years after he was made a king's counsel, and in 1760 
he opened the indictment against Lord Ferrers when he 
was tried for murder by the House of Lords. In January 
1763 he obtained a seat on the bench as a baron of the 
Exchequer; and Horace Walpole, soon after his appoints 
ment, says of him ; that " he was so servile as to recommend 
[a congratulatory address on the peace] from the bench on 
the circuit ; " certainly a somewhat unusual dictation. His 
power of discrimination may be estimated by his summing 
up on a trial at Exeter as to the right to a certain stream of 
water, which he concluded thus : ** Gentlemen, there are 
fifteen witnesses who swear that the watercourse used to 
flow in a ditch on the north side of the hedge. On the other 
hand, gentlemen, there are nine witnesses who swear that 
the watercourse used to flow on the south side of the hedge. 
Now, gentlemen, if you subtract nine from fifteen, there 
remain six witnesses wholly uncontradicted ; and I recom- 
mend you to give your verdict accordingly for the party who 
called those six witnesses.'' 

* Gent. Mag. 1?. 77; Bnrke's Peerage. 
A A 2 

356 THOMAS PLUMER. Georcie III. 

His judicial life extended to twelve years, and was termi- 
nated by a fit of the palsy with which he was seized at 
Maidstone during the Lent assizes in 1775, which induced 
him to resign in the following May, receiving a grant of 
1200Z. a year as a retiring pension. He was never knighted. 

He married in 1742 Mary the daughter of William Bower 
of Bridlington in Yorkshire, and the widow of Peter Whitton 
who in 1728 was Lord Mayor of York : but left no issue.' 


B. E. 1776. 

Richard Perryn was the son of Benjamin Perryn Esq. 
of Flint. He commenced his study of the law at Lincoln's 
Inn, but was called to the bar in July 1747 by the society 
of the Inner Temple, to which he had transferred himself 
in the previous year, and became a bencher in April 1771. 
Choosing the court of Chancery for his legal arena, he soon 
acquired such a reputation there as to be employed in almost 
every cause. After a long apprenticeship he obtained a silk 
gown in 1771, and received the appointment of vice- 
chamberlain of Chester. It is insinuated by a contemporary 
that he owed his success more to chance than to merit, and 
that his professional colleagues had no very high opinion of 
his legal acquirements. On April 5, 1776, he was promoted 
to a barony in the court of Exchequer, and knighted. After 
a respectable career of three-and-twenty years as a judge 
he resigned in the summer vacation of 1799.' 


V. C. 1813. M. B. 1817. 

See under the Reign of George IV. 

' Burke's Landed Gentry, 128; State Trials, xix. 894. 
' 8 Term Reports, 421 ; Strictares on Lawyers, 175. 

1760—1820. CHABLES PBATT. 357 

PRATT, CHARLES, Earl Camden. 
Ch. C. p. 1762. Lord Chanc. 1766. 

This eminent and estimable judge, who acquired more 
popularity than any other who ever sat on the bench, was 
the third son of Chief Justice Sir John Pratt by his second 
wife Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev. Hugh Wilson, canon 
of Bangor. He was bom in 1713, and was educated at 
Eton. Among his schoolfellows was William Pitt, after- 
wards Earl of Chatham, with whom he contracted a friendly 
intimacy, at first personal and eventually political, which 
was never interrupted till death closed the minister's career. 
From Eton Charles Pratt proceeded in 1731 to the Uni- 
versity of Cambridge, honourably obtaining his election to 
King's College. Intending to pursue his father's profession 
he had already, in June 1728, been entered at the Middle 
Temple ; and while waiting for his call and his degree he 
devoted himself diligently to the study of constitutional law. 
He took his degree of B. A., as of course, in 1735, and that 
of M.A. in 1740; having been called to the bar in June 
1738, when he was twenty-five years old. 

As the son of a chief justice he might fairly have expected 
early encouragement ; but for some years his merits, though 
highly appreciated by his college associates and his brother 
barristers, failed to attract the dispensers of business, and 
his fee-book exhibited almost a total blank. On the eve of 
riding one of his western circuits he wrote to a friend, 
" Alas 1 my horse is lamer than ever ; no sooner cured of one 
shoulder than the other began to halt. My hopes in horse- 
flesh ruin me, and keep me so poor, that I have scarce 
money enough to bear me out in a summer's ramble : yet 
ramble I must, if I starve for it.'' So disheartening were 
his prospects, that he at last determined to retire on his 
fellowship at King's, and entering the Church to take bis 


turn for one of the college livings. This resolution he com- 
municated to his bar friend Sir Robert Henley (afterwards 
Lord Northington), who strongly dissuaded him from pursu- 
ing it, and induced him at least to try another circuit. Henley 
then contrived to get him retained as junior to himself in an 
important case, and knowing that his talents only wanted an 
opportunity to be recognised, feigned illness at the hearing 
and left his young friend to conduct the cause. This he did 
in so effective a manner as to secure him that full share of 
business which relieved him from any future anxiety. 

He now had the opportunity of showing his soundness as 
a lawyer and his eloquence as an advocate^ both on the 
circuit and in Westminster Hall : and the liberal principles 
which he enforced in those arenas and at the bar of the 
House of Commons, soon marked him as a rising man. In 
the trial in 1752 of William Owen for publishing a libel he 
was engaged for the defence, and boldly insisted on the jury's 
right to judge both the law and the fact, which to the end 
of his life he so strenuously, and at last successfully, main- 
tained. Owen's acquittal was one of the earliest instances 
of a jury adopting the same doctrine. He received a silk 
gown in 1755, and was appointed attorney-general to the 
Prince of Wales. 

When his schoolfellow Pitt came into power, and the 
Great Seal was given to Sir Robert Henley the attorney- 
general on June 30, 1757, Pratt was immediately selected, 
with the consent of Lord Hardwicke, to fill the vacant post, 
and thus to be placed over the head of Charles Yorke the 
solicitor-general. A seat in parliament was found for him 
as member for Downton in Wiltshire. Here he introduced 
a bill to extend the provisions of the Habeas Corpus Act to 
persons under impressment, which though it was almost 
unanimously passed in the House of Commons, was thrown 
out by the Lords, being resisted by Lords Hardwicke and 

1760—1820. CUABLES PBATT. 359 

Mansfield. Though the judges were ordered to prepare 
another bill» it does not appear that they did so ; and the 
remedy it sought to provide was delayed till the year 1803. 
The recordership of Bath was conferred upon him in 1759. 
In the parliament called after the accession of George III. 
he was elected by his former constituents ; but within less 
than two months he vacated his seat for a more prominent 
position. While attorney-general he oonfined his practice to 
the court of Chancery^ except when engaged in state prose- 
cutions. In them he exercised the utmost moderation and 
fairness^ not seeking a conviction for the sake of a triumph, 
but satisfying all men's minds of the delinquency of the 
accused by the force of the testimony adduced against 

The death of Sir John Willes in December 1761 created 
a vacancy in the office of chief justice of the Common Pleas, 
which was pressed upon Mr. Pratt, though his patron Mr. 
Pitt was no longer in power. With some reluctance he was 
obliged to accept it, and was accordingly knighted, and took 
his seat on the first day of Hilary Term, 1762. In the 
following year commenced the important proceedings con- 
nected with the " North Briton " and its author, John 
Wilkes. The question of the legality of general warrants, 
and the actions for damages brought by the sufierers under 
them against those who executed them, were tried in the 
Common Pleas, where the known principles of the chief 
justice led the complaining parties to expect at least an un- 
prejudiced hearing. His independent conduct throughout 
these investigations, his discharge of Wilkes from imprison- 
ment, his boldness in pronouncing the general warrant of the 
secretary of state to be wholly illegal, with other similar 
proceedings in reference to the " Monitor or British Free- 
holder," raised him to the very height of popidar favour. 
Numerous addresses of thanks were presented to him, with 


the freedom of the corporations of Dublin, Norwich, Exeter, 
and Bath, in gold boxes. The city of London added to 
a similar honour the request that he would sit for his 
picture to Sir Joshua Reynolds. This portrait was hung 
up in the Guildhall, with a Latin inscription, written by Dr. 
Johnson, designating him the " zealous supporter of English 
liberty by law." Though these distinctions would seem to 
be a reflection on the general course of justice, as implying 
that in no other court would the same opinions have been 
expressed, it should be remembered for the honour of the 
law, that the court of King's Bench, upon an appeal in one 
of the cases, confirmed the ruling of Sir Charles Pratt. 

A ludicrous story is told of his being on a visit to Lord 
Dacre in Essex, and accompanying a gentleman, notorious 
for his absence of mind, in a walk, during which they came 
to the parish stocks. Having a wish to know the nature of 
the punishment, the chief justice begged his companion to 
open them so that he might try. This being done, his friend 
sauntered on and totally forgot him. The imprisoned chief 
tried in vain to release himself, and on asking a peasant who 
was passing by to let him out, was laughed at and told he 
*^ wasn't set there for nothing." He was soon set at liberty 
by the servants of his host ; and afterwards on the trial of 
an action for false .imprisonment against a magistrate by 
some fellow whom he had set in the stocks, on the counsel 
for the defendant ridiculing the charge and declaring it was 
no punishment at all, his lordship leaned over and whispered, 
"Brother, were you ever in the stocks?" The counsel 
indignantly replied " Never, my lord." " Then I have 
been," said the chief justice, " and I can assure you it is 
not the trifle you represent it." * 

When Lord Rockingham's administration was formed in 
1765, one of the first of its acts was to raise the chief justice 

* Law and lawyers, i. 260. 

1760—1820. CHABLES PBATT. 361 

to the peerage, and on July 17, he was created Lord Camden. 
He commenced his career In the House of Lords by exposing 
the injustice of taxing the unrepresented American colonies 
and by strenuously supporting the repeal of the Stamp Act. 
The Earl of Chatham the next year resumed power, and on 
the resignation of Lord Tforthington gratified himself and 
the public by giving on July 30, 1766, the Great Seal to his 
old friend Lord Camden with the title of lord chancellor, 
who received at the same time the reversion of a tellership 
of the Exchequer for his son, with the usual pension for 
himself upon his retirement from the chancellorship. He 
then resided in Great Ormond Street. Ere long his posi- 
tion in the cabinet was anything but satisfactory to him ; 
and after the secession of the Earl of Chatham he so strongly 
disapproved of many of its measures, especially in regard to 
the American import duties, and the Middlesex election, that 
publicly denouncing them as illegal and arbitrary he was 
removed from his office on January 17, 1770. He was justly 
blamed for continuing so long in a cabinet, whose counsels 
were opposed to the sentiments he entertained. 

His bearing in the two courts of Common Pleas and 
Chancery supported the character he had acquired. To his 
profound legal knowledge and clearness of reasoning were 
added an attractive benignity and a graceful eloquence, 
which, according to Mr. Butler, was " of colloquial kind — 
extremely simple,— diffuse but not desultory. He intro- 
duced legal idioms frequently, and always with a pleasing 
and great effect. Sometimes however he rose to the sublime 
strains of eloquence; but the sublimity was altogether in 
the sentiment, the diction retained its simplicity; this in- 
creased the effect." Many important questions were venti- 
lated before him in both courts, and in parliament; and 
though some of his decisions excited considerable controversy, 
none of them were overturned. 


During the next eleven years he stood in the foremost 
rank of opposition to the ministry of Lord North, uniting 
with the Earl of Chatham in the arraignment of the Ame- 
rican war, and as well in that question as in all others assail- 
ing Lord Mansfield with uniform and somewhat undignified 
acrimony. He evidently felt a deep personal animosity 
against his learned opponent, who undoubtedly quailed under 
the severe eloquence of his antagonist. In March 1782 
Lord North was obliged to retire, and under the next two 
short administrations of Lord Rockingham and Lord Shel- 
bume. Lord Camden filled the post of president of the 
council. During the Coalition ministry, and the first year 
after Mr. Pitt's accession to power he remained out of oflSce, 
but resumed it in December 1784. In May 1786 he re- 
ceived the additional titles of Viscount Bayham and Earl 

He continued to enjoy his oflSce for the ten remaining 
years of his life, actively supporting the measures of his 
leader, without deserting the principles on which he had 
founded his fame. Though a zealous Pittite he still con- 
tinued essentially a Whig — that party becoming every day 
less distinct from the Tories, in consequence of its more 
moderate members not concurring in the factious extremes 
to which the spirit of party led the others. His last appear- 
ance in the House of Lords was as the strenuous assertor 
of the right of juries to decide on all questions of libel ; a 
principle which he had always advocated, and which he lived 
to see triumphant. 

From the conmiencement to the termination of his public 
life he was a universal favourite. His independence of 
character could not fail to secure the respect of his political 
antagonists, and his amiable disposition to engage the affec- 
tion of alL Of social habits, yet of exemplary life, he 
retained the friendship of his youthful companions, and with 

1760—1820. JOHN RICHARDSON. 363 

true wisdom never failed to provide a succession of intimates 
to supply the place of those who were departed. His relax- 
ation^ like that of Lord Keeper Guilford, was a devotion to 
music and the drama, and he did not disdain to vary his 
graver studies with the light literature of the day. In his 
early years he was the author of a " Treatise of the Process 
of Latitat in Wales," published anonymously, but afterwards 

He died at his house in Hill Street, Berkeley Square, on 
April 18, 1794, at the age of eighty, and was buried in Scale 
Church in Kent His wife, Elizabeth, daughter and heir of 
Nicholas Jefferys Esq. of the Priory in Breconshire, left 
him several children. His son succeeded to the earldom, 
and having held with distinguished honour several respon- 
sible employments was created a marquis on August 15, 
1812, with the second title of Earl of Brecknock* To relieve 
the pecuniary pressure of the country he with patriotic and 
magnanimous self-denial gave up to the state the large 
annual income derived from his oflSce of teller of the 
Exchequer. He was elected a knight of the garter; and 
his son, the present marquis, is decorated worthily with the 
same order. ^ 


B. £. 1814. Ch. B. E, 1817. 

See under the Reign of George IV. 


Just. C. P. 1818. 
See under the Reign of George IV. 

* Collins' Peerage, v. 266; Lives, by Welsbjr and Lord Campbell ; Harrises 
Life of liord Hardwicke. 

364 GILES UOOKE. Geobcf. III. 

JosT. C. p. 1793. 
This amiable judge bore the same Christian name as his 
grandfather and father. The former was resident at Kumsey 
in Hampshire ; and the latter a merchant in London^ who 
became a director of the East India Company. He was the 
associate of literary men, and indulged himself in some very 
creditable translations of the classic poets. By his marriage 
with Frances daughter of Leonard Cropp of Southampton 
he had a numerous family. His third child was the future 

Giles Rooke was bom on June 3, 1743 ; and being sent 
at an early age to Harrow, then under Dr. Thackery, arrived 
at the highest class in the school ere he was thirteen. 
Thence he proceeded to Oxford where he was matriculated 
at St. John's College in 1759. There he was an inde- 
fatigable student ; and he used to relate his mortification at 
the only reward he received from the college tutor for the 
great pains he had bestowed on a copy of Latin verses, being 
the cold remark, " Sir, you have forgotten to put your tittles 
to your i's." Having taken his degrees of A.B. in 1763 and 
of A.M. in 1765, he was in 1766 elected to a fellowship of 
Merton College, which he held till his marriage in 1785; 
and in 1777 he was unsuccessful in a contest for the Vinerian 
Professorship of Common Law, his opponent Dr. Woodeson 
beating him only by five votes out of 457. Although 
intended for the legal, it was thought that he preferred the 
clerical, profession, from his devotion to the study of divinity. 
But his motive for pursuing the latter was to get rid of early 
prejudices and a tendency to scepticism, and to satisfy him- 
self of the truths of Christianity. The effects of this study 
and conscientious application were evident in all his future 
life, producing that character for genuine piety by which he 

17C0— 1820. GILES ROOKE. 365 

was ever distinguished. The deep impression they made 
upon him is shown in a small pamphlet containing ^' Thoughts 
on the propriety of fixing Easter Term," which he published 
anonymously in 1792. 

This did not prevent him from preparing for the profession 
he had chosen ; and having been called to the bar he joined 
the western circuit, of which he eventually became the 
leader. His success in business warranted him in accepting 
the dignity of the coif in 1781 ; and he had the honour of 
being made King's Serjeant in April 1793. Soon after he 
succeeded in obtaining verdicts at the Exeter assizes against 
William Winterbotham for preaching two seditious sermons 
at Plymouth, which, as connected with the French Revolu- 
tion, were considered especially dangerous, and for which the 
reverend defendant was sentenced to a large fine and a long 
imprisonment At that troubled period it was Sir Giles's lot 
to be brought very prominently forward. • Having been, on 
November 13 in the same year, appointed a judge of the 
Common Pleas in the place of Mr. Justice Wilson, and 
knighted, he delivered in his first circuit a charge to the 
grand jury at Reading on the excited state of the country ; 
and in July 1795 he presided at York on the trial and con- 
viction of Henry Redhead Yorke for a conspiracy with others 
to inflame the people against the government ; for which a 
severe punishment was inflicted.* 

Though not considered a deep lawyer, nor very highly 
reputed on the bench, he was a mild and merciful judge. A 
story is told of him that a poor girl, having from the pressure 
of extreme want committed a thefts was tried before him and 
reluctantly convicted ; and that, while applauding the jury 
for giving the inevitable verdict, he declared that he so 
sympathised with them in their hesitation that he would 
sentence her to the smallest punishment allowed by the law. 

> Stale Trials, xzii. 82C, xxv. 1049; Gent. Mag. Ixiv. 476. 


He accordingly fined her one shilling, adding, ** if she has 
not one in her possession, I will give her one for the purpose." 
Toward the end of his life he suffered much from illness, 
which was greatly aggravated by his grief for the death of 
his two elder sons. After nearly fifteen years of judicial 
labours, he died suddenly on March 7, 1808, in the dixty- 
fourth year of his life, during the whole of which he gained 
the respect of his contemporaries for his strict integrity, 
his amiable temper, and his love of literature. 

His wife, Harriet Sophia, daughter of Colonel William 
Burrard of Walhampton, Hants, and sister of Admiral 
Sir Harry Burrard-Neale, Bart, survived him till the year 
1839. She brought him a large family. One of their sons, 
the Rev. George Rooke, is vicar of Embleton in Northum- 
berland, and has kindly furnished many of the foregoing 

SCOTT, JOHN, Eabl of Eldon. 

Ch. C. p. 1799. Lord Chakc. 1801, 1807. 

See under the Reign of George IV. 


M. R. 1764. 

The books of the Middle Temple record that Thomas 
Sewell, son and heir of Thomas Sewell of West Ham, Essex, 
Esq. deceased, was admitted to that society on June 6, 1729, 
and was called to the bar on May 24, 1734. It is told of 
him that in his youth he was ^* bred up under an attorney, 
and afterwards engaged in the laborious business of a 
draughtsman in Chancery,*' and that " he was called to the 
bar where he procured a considerable practice." The latter 
fact is confirmed by a letter from William Gerard Hamilton 
to Mr. Calcraft, stating that at the time Sir Thomas was made 

1760—1820. THOMAS 8EWELL. 367 

master of the Rolls he was " in full business at the Chancery," 
making " between 3000/. and 4000/. per annum.'' In 1754 
he was appointed one of the king's counsel. 

He was a member of the two parliaments of 1754 and 
1761, representing Harwich in the former, and Winchelsea 
in the latter. Though the parliamentary history does not 
report any of his speeches in either, a story is told that on 
the debate relative to the illegality of general warrants he 
spoke in favour of an adjournment of the debate, because it 
would afford him opportunity to examine his books and 
authorities, and he should be prepared to give an opinion on 
the subject, " which at present he was not." Appearing on 
the adjournment in his great wig, as his custom was, he 
said that " he had turned the matter over as he lay upon his 
pillow, and after ruminating and considering upon it a great 
deal, he could not help declaring that he was of the same 
opinion as before." On which Mr. Charles Townshend 
started up and said, /* He was very sorry that what the 
learned gentleman had found in his night cap, he had lost in 
his periwig." 

On the death of Sir Charles Clarke he was very unex- 
pectedly offered the place of master of the Bolls, which he 
accepted on December 12, 1764, to the surprise of the bar, 
as his professional income greatly exceeded that attached to 
the office. He was thereupon knighted. He presided most 
efficiently in his court for twenty years ; but in the latter 
part of his career he suffered much from those infirmities, the 
anticipation of which no doubt influenced his determination 
to quit the laborious duties of a leading barrister. His offers 
of resignation were ineffectual, the terms he required being 
too high to be granted. He therefore died " in harness," on 
March 6, 1784, and was buried in the Rolls' chapel. 

He married twice. His first wife, who died in 1769, 
leaving three sons and as many daughters, was Catherine 


daughter of Thomas Heath of Stansted Mountfichet in 
Essex, M.P. for Harwich. His second wife, whom he 
married in 1773, and by whom he had one child who died 
young, was Mary Elizabeth daughter of Dr. Coningsby 
Sibtborp of Canwick in Lincolnshire, professor of botany at 
Oxford. Of his three sons, one married into a noble family 
and succeeded to his father's estates at Chobham in Surrey ; 
another was an officer in the army ; and the third became 
rector of Byfleet. Of his three daughters, one was married 
to the unfortunate General Whitelocke ; another to General 
Sir Thomas Brownrigg ; and the third to Matthew Lewis 
Esq. deputy secretary of war, by whom she was the mother 
of Matthew Gregory (commonly called Monk) Lewis.* 

Ce. B. E. 1777. 

Lord Chief Baron Sktnner had not the advantage of 
a very opulent parentage, but owed his success in life to his 
own exertions. He was one of the sons of John and Eliza- 
beth Skynner, living in the parish of Milton in Oxfordshire, 
on a property which the lady inherited ; and was born about 
1723. I have not found the date of his call to the bar^ nor 
any incidents of his early career ; but he must soon have 
acquired considerable practice and reputation in the courts, 
to enable him to obtain a seat in the parliaments of 1768 and 
1774, as the representative of Woodstock. There, though 
Bot a frequent speaker, he showed his superior qualifications 
in several debates. In 1771 he was made King's Counsel, 
and attorney of the Duchy of Lancaster ; and in the next 
year he was constituted second judge on the Chester circuit 

> Corr. of the Earl of Chatham; Gent Mag. IIt. 237, 257; Notes and 
Qaeries, First Series, Tiii. 388, 521, 621, iz. 86; Second Series, z. 396 ; 
Kanning and Bray's Surrey, i. 498; iii. 196, 224. 

1760— 1820. SIDN£T STAFFORD SMTTHE. 369 

On the resignation of Sir Sidney Stafford Smythe five years 
after, he was promoted on November 27th, 1777, to the head 
of the court of Exchequer, in which he presided with great 
learning and ability for nine years. His want of health 
obliged him to resign his seat in January, 1787, when he 
was honoured with a seat in the Privy CounciL 

The chief baron lived nearly nine years after his retire- 
ment, and died on November 26th, 1805, at Milton, where 
he was buried in the same vault with his wife, Martha, the 
daughter of Edward Bum and Martha Davie, who died 
eight years before him. They left a daughter, Frederica, 
who married Bichard Kyder, brother of the first Earl of 
Harrowby, and afterwards Secretary of State. * 


B. E. 1760. Com. Q. S. 1770. Ch. B. E. 1772. 

See under the Reign of George IL 

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Thomas Smjrthe, com- 
monly called Customer Smythe, from his being Farmer of 
the Customs, first settled himself at Westenhanger, in Kent. 
His eldest son. Sir John, was Lord Strangford's ancestor ; 
and of his second son. Sir Thomas, to whom were devised the 
estates of Bounds near Tunbridge and Sutton at Hone, 
the chief baron Sir Sidney Stafford Smythe was the lineal 
representative. Sir Thomas's grandson, Robert, married 
Waller's Sacharissa, the daughter of Robert Earl of Lei- 
cester, and widow of Henry the first Earl of Sunderland ; 
and their son, also Robert, was Governor of Dover Castle in 
the reign of Charles II. His son, Henry Smythe of Bounds, 
by his marriage with Elizabeth, daughter of Dr. John Lloyd, 
Canon of Windsor, was the father of the chief baron, an 

> Collins' Peerage, v. 718; Gent. Mag. xc. p. i. 107; Pari. Hist xyii. 303, 
1294, 1296; Blackstone's Rep. 1178; 1 Term Rep. 551. 



only child; and, dying in 1706, his widow made a second 
marriage with William Hunt, Esq. 

Young Smythe was an infant at his father's death ; and 
being destined for the law, was admitted to the Inner Temple 
in June 1724, and called to the bar in February 1728. He 
travelled the home circuit, and in 1740 was made steward 
and one of the Judges of the Palace Court at Westminster. 
In June 1747 he received the honour of a silk gown, and 
Us a king's counsel he was engaged for the Crown in 1749 
in the special commission in Sussex for the trial of a band of 
smugglers for the heinous murder of a tide-waiter and ano- 
ther man who was a witness in a transaction in which they 
were concerned. He was returned as member for East 
Grinstead to the parliament of 1747, and between its second 
and third sessions was promoted to the bench, succeeding 
Mr. Baron Charles Clarke in his seat in the Exchequer in 
June 1750, being soon after knighted.' 

He sat as a puisne baron for more than two-and-twenty 
years, during which period he was twice appointed a Com- 
missioner of the Great Seal. On the first occasion he held 
it for eight months, from November 9th, 1756, to June 30th, 
1757, on the resignation of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke; 
and on the second, when he was principal Commissioner, for 
more than a year, from January 21, 1770, to January 28, 

1771, upon the death of Lord Chancellor Charles Yorke. 
These appointments manifest that he held that high reputa- 
tion as a judge that secured him an advance to the higher 
dignity of this court as soon as a vacancy occurred. This did 
not happen till the resignation of Sir Thomas Parker, who 
had filled the place of lord chief baron for upwards of 
thirty years. Sir Sidney succeeded him on October 28th, 

1772, and presided in the Exchequer for the next five years. 
His infirmities then obliged him to resign in December, 

* Gent. Mag. x. 623, xrii. 297, xx. 285, 526; State Trials, XTiii. 1086. 

1760—1820. THOMAS MANNERS SUTTON. 371 

17775 after a judicial life extending to a term nearly as long 
as that of his predecessor. He received a pension of 2400/. 
a year, and was immediately sworn of the Privy Council. 

He died in less than a year afterwards, on October 30, 
1778 ; leaving no issue by his wife, Sarah, the daughter of 
Sir Charles Famaby, Bart, of Eippington in Kent.^ 

SUTTON, THOMAS MANNERS, afterwards Lord Manners. 

B. K 1805. 

Thomas Manners Sutton was the grandson of John 
Manners, third Duke of KuUand, his father Lord George 
being his grace's third son, who assumed the name of Sutton 
when he succeeded to the estate of his mother's father. Lord 
Lexington. Lord George by his first wife Diana, daughter 
of Thomas Chaplin of Blankney in Lincolnshire, Esq., had 
a family of seven sons and six daughters. The fourth of 
these sons became archbishop of Canterbury, and was the 
father of Charles Manners Sutton, who after presiding over 
the House of Commons from 1817 to 1834 was created 
Viscount Canterbury. 

Lord George's fifth son, Thomas, the subject of the pre- 
sent sketch, was bom on February 24, 1756. From the 
Charter House where he was first educated he went to 
Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and distinguished himself in 
that university by being placed as fifth wrangler in 1777. 
He had been admitted a member of Lincoln's Inn in Novem- 
ber 1775, and was called to the bar by that Society in 
November 1780. Well read in the law, he obtained a con- 
siderable practice in the court of Chancery; and received 
the honour of a silk gown in 1800, being at the same time 
appointed solicitor-general to the Prince of Wales. In that 
character he brought before the parliament of 1802, to which 

> Hasted*8 Kent, iil 58, 287, v. 274; Bluckstono's Rep. 858, 1178. 


he waa returned member for the family borough of Newark, 
the claims of his royal highness to the revenue of the Duchy 
of Cornwall, and urged them with so much grace and talent 
that he not only excited the eulogy of both Mr. Pitt and 
Mr. Fox, but was promoted by Mr. Addington, then prime 
minister, in the following May to iiiG office of solicitor- 
general to the king, being knighted on the occasion. He 
executed the duty which soon after devolved upon him of 
replying to the evidence brought forward by Colonel Des- 
pard on a charge of high treason, with great temperance and 
ability. He assisted also in the trial of M. Peltier for a 
libel on Napoleon Bonaparte during the short peace with 
France, the speedy conclusion of which saved the defendant 
from being called up for judgment.^ On the resignation of 
Air. Baron Hotham, Sir Thomas was appointed to fill the 
vacant seat in the Exchequer on February 4, 1805, when he 
resigned the recordership of Grantham which he had held 
for some years. 

He only sat as an English judge for two years, when on 
the dissolution of the short-lived ministry of ''All the 
Talents," he was selected to supersede Mr. Ponsonby as 
lord chancellor of Ireland in April 1807, having been on 
the 20th of that month called up to the House of Peers by 
the title of Baron Manners of Foston in Lincolnshire. He 
presided in the Chancery of that kingdom during the re- 
mainder of the reign of George III. and until the eighth 
year of George IV. ; when in November 1827, being then 
in his seventy-second year, he resigned the Seal to Sir 
Anthony Hart, having for more than twenty years exercised 
the important functions of his high office with universal 
approbation. His decisions as an equity judge were held in 
high estimation ; and so little jealousy had he of criticism 

■ Pari. Hist, xxxvi. 322, 406, 1202; State Trials, xxviii. 469, 530. 

1760—1820. ALEXANDER THOMSON. 373 

that he refused an application for an attachment against an 
attorney for publishing some proceedings in his court, express- 
ing his opinion that the publicity given to law proceedings 
not only prevented unjust sentences, but answered many 
other salutary purposes. His urbanity ensured him popu- 
larity, and his firmness commanded respect. He had a strong 
antipathy to all attempts at Catholic emancipation. Lady 
Morgan (Memoirs, ii. 495) relates that he had given to that 
lively writer her first lesson in salad-making : but when he 
discovered the emancipating tendency of her novel of 
" O'Donnell," he ordered the book to be burned in his ser- 
vants' hall, and vented his spleen by saying to his wife, ^' I 
wish I had not given her the secret of my salad." 

He lived nearly fifteen years after his retirement, and 
occasionally joined in the debates in the House of Peers. 
At the age of eighty-six he died at his house in Brook 
Street on May 31, 1842. By his first wife Anne, the 
daughter of Sir John Copley, Bart, of Sprotborough, he 
left no issue ; but by his second wife Jane, daughter of Lord 
Caher and sister of the Earl of Glengall, he left an only son, 
the present peer. 

B. £. 1787. Ch. B. E. 1814. 

Chief Baron Sir Alexander Thomson was born in 
1744 ; but of his early history, or in what inn of court he 
took his degree of a barrister, I have not been fortunate 
enough to obtain any particulars. Practising in the courts 
of equity, he was promoted on May 11, 1782, to a master- 
ship in Chancery, and continued to act in that character for 
nearly four years, when on January 4, 1786, he succeeded 
Mr. Anguish as accountant-general of that court. In another 
year he was raised to the bench, being sworn a baron of the 


Exchequer on February 9, 1787, and knighted. After 
remaining in that seat for twenty-seven years under Chief 
Barons Sir James Eyre, Sir Archibald Macdonald, and Sir 
Vicary Gibbs, on the elevation of the latter to the presidency 
of the court of Common Pleas, he was appointed the head of 
the Exchequer in Hilary Vacation 1814, a position which he 
fully merited by his legal knowledge and the excellence of 
his judicial decisions. He presided in the court for little 
more than three years; and died at Bath at the age of 
seventy-three on April 15, 1817, being then by many years 
the father of the bench. 

His reputation ss a lawyer and as a judge was of the 
highest order, his acquirements in scholastic literature were 
very great, and his disposition as a'man was eminently social 
and kind. To his deep learning and comprehensive under- 
standing was united a great love of jocularity. On being 
asked how the business proceeded in his court, when sitting 
between Chief Baron Macdonald and Baron Graham, he is 
reported as saying, "What between snufF-box on. one side 
and chatter- box on the other, we get on pretty welL" He 
was very fond of port wine, and some one on the circuit, by 
way of a complimentary palliation, said to him, " I alwayu 
think, my lord, that after a good dinner a certain quantity of 
wine does a man no harm." " Oh ! no," replied the chief, 
" it is the uncertain quantity that does the mischief." The 
jokers of Westminster Hall nicknamed him " The Stay- 
maker," from a habit he had of checking witnesses who were 
going too fast^ 


Lord Cxllnc. 177S, 1783. 

Lord Chancellor Thurlow has been as much praised 

and as much abused as any man who ever held the Great 

> 1 Tcnn Rep. 551; 5 Tannton, 415; 1 Moore, 98. 

1760—1820. EDWARD THUBLOW. 375 

Seal ; and for his different qualities equally deserved both 
the approbation and censure he received. To a coarseness, 
partly natural and partly assumed^ to a presumptuous 
haughtiness of demeanour, to a pretended disregard for the 
opinion of mankind, and to gross looseness of morals, were 
added undoubted talents, courage under diflSculties, love of lite- 
rature, and natural goodnature. With an affected singularity 
he refused to enlighten an inquirer, who asked him whether 
he was connected with the family of Secretary Thurloe, by 
saying that he could claim no relationship with Thurloe the 
statesman, being only descended from Thurlow the carrier. 
In Suckling's " History of Suffolk " (II. 33) however the 
family is traced as possessing an estate at Bumham Ulph in 
Norfolk, from the reign of Henry VIII., which was sol4 
just before the chancellor's birth. His father was the Rev. 
Thomas Thurlow, rector of Ashfield in Suffolk, and after- 
wards of Stratton St. Mary's in Norfolk. His mother was 
Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Smith, Esq., of the former 
place ; and he was the eldest of three sons. The second son 
was successively advanced in the Church during his brother's 
chancellorship to the deanery of Rochester, and the bishop- 
rics of Lincoln and Durham. The third son was a merchant 
at Norwich, of which city he eventually became an alderman 
and mayor. 

Edward Thurlow was bom at Ashfield about 1732. 
From his early childhood he showed a contumacious spirit 
and an overbearing disposition, which he displayed not only 
at home, at Seaming school, and at the King's School at 
Canterbury, but also at Caius College, Cambridge; and 
numerous stories are told of his insolence and insubordination. 
But there was always some humour mixed with his escapades ; 
and amidst his irregularities he did not neglect his studies, 
but succeeded in laying up no inconsiderable store of classical 
learning. His career at Cambridge began in October 1748 


and was terminated in 1751 by what was not far short of 
expulsion ; for having been punished for one of his breaches 
of discipline by an imposition to translate a paper of the 
" Spectator " into Greek, instead of taking it up as was his 
duty, to the dean who inflicted the penalty, he left it with 
the tutor ; and on being called before the authorities of the 
college to explain his conduct, he made the matter worse 
by coolly saying that he had done so from no motive of dis- 
respect to the dean, but simply from a compassionate wish 
not to puzzle him. Rustication being too small, and expul- 
sion too great a retribution for this insult, Thurlow was 
recommended to withdraw his name from the books, a hint 
which he was obliged to take. Before this dean, who is an 
elective and temporary oflScer of the college, he had been 
frequently summoned to appear for various offences, and 
having answered on one occasion with some disrespect, was 
sharply asked '^ whether he knew that he was talking to the 
dean." Thurlow of course answered, " Yes, Mr. Dean," 
and ever after when they met, addressed him as " Mr. 
Dean," and so frequently reiterated the title, that the dean 
felt himself insulted by the banter. If this story be true, 
there is a graceful pendant to it, for on the impudent youtli 
becoming chancellor he sent for his old enemy and on his 
entering the room addressed him as usual. ** How d'ye do, 
Mr. Dean ? " " My lord " replied the other sullenly, " I am 
not now a dean, and do not deserve the title." '^ But you 
are a dean," said his lordship giving him a paper of nomina- 
tion, " and so convinced am I that you will do honour to the 
appointment, that I am sorry any part of my conduct should 
have given offence to so good a man." ^ 

It has been said that Thurlow was at first articled to an 
attorney ; but there is no other authority for this statement 

> Law and Lawyen, i. 94; Notes and Qaeries, Second SerieB, ill 263; Pablic 
Characters (179S). 

1760—1820. EDWARD THURLOW. 377 

than that he attended for some time the office of Mr. Chap- 
man a solicitor^ with William Cowper the poet This was a 
practice then, and it is now frequently adopted by young 
students for the bar, to give them an insight into the prac- 
tical working of the profession. Soon after, or perhaps 
before, he left the University he was entered at the Inner 
Temple, the date being doubtful whether in January 1751 
or 1752. Though he had the character of being an idle and 
dissipated man during his novitiate, it is abundantly clear 
that he employed a sufficient portion of his time in laying 
a solid foundation for those legal acquirements of which his 
subsequent career proved him to be master. Outwardly he 
might ^^ giggle and make others giggle " at Mr. Chapman's, 
and frequent coffee houses, as was then the fashion, and 
be boisterous over his wine, as was his nature; yet when at 
his chambers in the Temple he was always found engaged 
over his books. 

He was called to the bar in November 1754, and for some 
time was straitened for the means of living, which his father 
was little able to supply : and a story is told, not very cre- 
ditable to his honesty, by which he fraudulently obtained 
the use of a horse to travel the circuit without paying or 
intending to pay the dealer. It is to be hoped that this 
is an illnatured invention of his enemies. He went the 
home circuit, and in a letter dated in Fig Tree Court in 
April 1758 he gives a very clear account of the trial at 
Kingston relative to a right of way through Eichmond 
Park, and the independent conduct of Mr. Justice Foster 
on the occasion.* He obtained great credit in one of the 
earliest causes in which he happened to be engaged, Luke 
Bobinson v. the Earl of Winchelsea, for the courage with 
which he resented the accustomed rudeness and arrogance of 

> Life of Sir Michael Foster, 85. 


Sir Fletcher Norton, the opposing counsel. As Sir Fletcher 
was hated by the profession this castigation made Thurlow 
popular among the attorneys, and procured him some briefs. 
His business however was still so small in amount that he 
excited considerable surprise by accepting a silk gown in 
Hilary Term 1762, when he had been little more than 
seven years at the bar. The occasion of his promotion is 
variously stated. The story that he owed it to his great 
speech in the Douglas cause is refuted by the fact that that 
speech was not delivered till seven or eight years after he 
was made a king's counsel. Equally unsatisfactory is the 
narrative that being accustomed to frequent Nando's coffee 
house in Fleet Street, the usual resort of lawyers, and the 
Douglas cause being then the universal topic of conversation, 
he showed so much cleverness in discussing it, and so much 
insight into it43 intricate details, that one of the counsel 
engaged in the case happening to be present, strongly recom- 
mended that he should be employed in sifting and arranging 
the documentary and other evidence necessary to be pro- 
duced ; and that in the course of the investigation he became 
acquainted with and acquired the confidence of several 
persons of rank and influence who participated in the general 
interest excited by the question. These persons were of 
course principally Scotch ; among whom was the Duchess 
of Queensbury whose influence with Lord Bute the prime 
minister is stated to have procured for him his advance. 
This is rendered improbable by the fact that the great liti- 
gation in the Scotch courts did not conunence till December 
1762 ; and is only possible on the supposition that he was 
so employed between the death of the Duke of Douglas in 
December 1761, and Hilary Term 1762 to get up the 
evidence in England ; which seems very unlikely. A third 
statement is that he owed his promotion to his writing ** A 
Refutation " of an attack upon Brigadier-General Townshend 

1760— 1820, EDWARD THUELOW. 379 

(afterwards Marquis Townshend) published in 1760.^ This 
however seems scarcely sufficient to account for Thurlow's 
elevation, though it may perhaps have been a reason for his 
being elected in 1768 for Lord Townshend's borough of 
Tamworth. The most natural inducement operating upon 
Thurlow to seek and to accept a promotion accompanied 
with so much risk, was that confidence he had in his own 
powers, which future events proved was not misplaced. He 
was at the same time elected a bencher of his inn of court. 

In proceeding on his ambitious career he took his 
seat in parliament for Tamworth at the general elec- 
tion of 1768, during the sittings of which he was obliged 
to undergo two re-elections, one in March 1770 when 
he was made solicitor-general on the accession of Lord 
North's ministry, and the other in January 1771, when 
he succeeded Sir William De Grey as attorney-general. 
He represented the same place in the parliament of 
1774, till he was raised to the peerage. During the whole 
time he was in the House of Commons he gave an unflinch- 
ing support to the ministry, and by the boldness of his 
assertions and the audacity of his language, more than by 
the force of his reasoning, he was considered Lord North's 
ablest coadjutor. On the questions relative to the adminis- 
tration of criminal justice and the law of libel, which then 
agitated the public mind, he was a strenuous advocate for 
leaving things as they were, and treated contemptuously 
those by whom alterations were pressed: and in all the 
debates relative to America he asserted the right of England 
to tax it, and stigmatised those who resisted as traitors and 

In his official capacity as solicitor-general he assisted in 
the conduct of the several prosecutions of John Almon, 
H. S. Woodfall, and John Miller for publishing Junius's 

> Notes and Queries, Third Series, iii. 122. 


letter to the king ; and as attorney-general he prosecuted 
John Home Tooke for a seditious libeL In all of these he 
appears to have confined himself strictly to his duty as 
advocate for the crown, and to have argued the cases accord- 
ing to the interpretation of the law as it then existed ; though 
in the last he had to submit to the pertinacious vituperation 
of the defendant. He also conducted the extraordinary 
prosecution of the Duchess of Kingston for bigamy, which 
excited so much public attention. 

On Lord Bathurst's resignation in 1778, Lord North, 
though little able to spare Thurlow from the House of Com- 
mons, where he was one of the most efficient supporters of 
the administration, did not hesitate to reward his services by 
reconunending his promotion. He was accordingly appointed 
lord chancellor on June 3, being at the same time ennobled 
by the title of Baron Thurlow of Ashfield in Suffolk. He 
lived at that time in Great Ormond Street. He held the 
Seal for twelve years, except a short interval of seven 
months during which it was put into commission. 

He maintained in the House of Lords the same energy, 
not to say effrontery, which he had exhibited in the House 
of Commons. He perpetually was rising in his place, speak- 
ing on every subject, and treating the arguments of the other 
peers with coarse sarcasm and indignity, as if he were the 
schoolmaster of a set of boys, instead of the speaker of an 
august assembly. By this course he not only was considered 
a bore by all his brother peers, but excited the indignation 
of those who were the objects of his attacks. All inclina- 
tion, however, to call his conduct in question was subdued 
within a year after his entrance into the house by an incident 
which is related by Mr. Butler in his Reminiscences, though 
no notice is taken of it in the Parliamentary History. The 
Duke of Grafton, stimg by something he had said, most un- 
advisedly reproached him for his plebeian extraction and his 

1760—1820. EDWARD THURLOW. 381 

recent admission into the peerage. *^ His lordship," says 
Mr. Butler, " rose from the woolsack, and advanced slowly 
to the place from which the chancellor generally addresses 
the house ; then fixing on the duke a look of lowering in- 
dignation, < I am amazed,' he said in a level tone of voice, 
* at the attack which the noble duke has made upon me. 
Yes, my lords,' considerably raising his voice, * I am amazed 
at his grace's speech. The noble duke cannot look before 
him, behind him, or on either side of him, without seeing 
some noble peer who owes his seat in this house to his 
successful exertions in the profession to which I belong. 
Does he not feel that it is as honourable to owe it to these 
as to being the accident of an accident? To all these noble 
lords the language of the noble duke is as applicable and as 
insulting as it is to myself. But I don't fear to stand single 
and alone. No one venerates the peerage more than I do, — 
but, my lords, I must say that the peerage solicited me, — not 
I the peerage. Nay more — I can say, and will say, that, as 
a peer of parliament, — as speaker of this right honourable 
house, — as keeper of the Great Seal, — as guardian of his 
majesty's conscience,— as lord high chancellor of England, 
— nay even in that character alone, in which the noble duke 
would think it an affront to be considered, — but which cha- 
racter none can deny me — as a man, — I am at this moment 
as respectable, — I beg leave to add, — I am at this time as 
much respected, as the proudest peer I now look down upon.' 
The effect of this speech," Mr. Butler adds, " both within 
the walls of parliament and out of them, was prodigious. It 
gave Lord Thurlow an ascendency in the house which no 
chancellor had ever possessed : it invested him in public 
opinion with a character of independency and honour." 

Having thus silenced his opponents, the frequency of his 
own speeches was not diminished, though perhaps they were 
more cautious and less vituperative. During the remainder 


of Lord North's ministry he was a hearty and effective jua- 
tifier of all his measures^ and when at last the administration 
was driven from the field in March 1782 it was expected that 
he would retire with his colleagues. But to the surprise of 
every one he still kept the Seal. The king, in whose pre- 
sence alone he dropped his bearish demeanour, forbad the 
mention of any other chancellor. The consequence of submit- 
ting to such an intrusion among men who and whose opinions 
had been the perpetual subject of his abuse was soon felt. 
Before the session was concluded in which the new ministers 
had taken office Lord Thurlow had openly but ineffectually 
opposed two measures introduced by them. Towards the 
close of that session the Marquis of Rockingham died, and 
notwithstanding the division between the surviving members 
of the administration Lord Thurlow still retained the Seal 
under Lord Shelbume, till that nobleman was expelled by 
the Coalition ministry, when it was placed in the hands of 
three commissioners on April 9, 1783. In less than nine 
months that administration was excluded in its turn, and that 
ministry was commenced under Mr. Pitt which defied all 
opposition for nearly eighteen years. Lord Thurlow, who 
claimed the title, and was generally looked upon as the 
king's friend, and who had been all along the private adviser 
of his majesty and the chief instigator of the successful 
opposition to Fox's India Bill in the House of Lords, of 
course resumed his place, and continued to preside for the 
second time in Chancery for more than nine years, from 
December 23, 1783, to June 16, 1792. • The ascendency 
which Mr. Pitt obtained and preserved in the royal counsels 
during the whole of this time excited the jealousy of the 
chancellor, who, conceiving that he had a stronger hold on 
the king's confidence and regard, made various attempts, at 
first guardedly, but at last openly, to destroy the influence 
of the premier. Mr. Pitt, who was well aware that Lord 

1760—1820. EDWABD THUBLOW. 383 

Thurlow, during the agitation of the regency question on 
the insanity of the king in 1788, had been privately nego- 
tiating with the prince's friends, soon felt that he had not 
only a lukewarm, intractable, and inefficient, but a treacher- 
ous counsellor in his cabinet ; but for a time submitted to 
the infliction rather than distress the king by an exposure. 
George III. and the public in general, who were ignorant of 
Thurlow's private dealings with the opposition, believed in 
the solemn professions of affection and gratitude that he 
made as soon as the king's recovery put an end to the hopes 
of the Whigs. But on his attempting the same course he 
had pursued towards the Rockingham administration by 
openly opposing some measures of the government, and 
charging them with attacking the prerogative, Mr. Pitt 
found it absolutely necessary to bring the question to an 
issue. He therefore represented to the king that it was 
impossible that he could conduct the affairs of the kingdom 
if Lord Thurlow continued chancellor. George III., who 
probably had gained an insight into the true state pf affairs, 
at once sacrificed the chancellor, and removed him from his 
office on June 15, 1792. As a mark of royal favour how- 
ever Lord Thurlow, having no children, received a new 
patent of peerage, with a remainder to his brothers and their 
male issue. This dismissal excited the indignation of the 
excluded lord, but no complaints or regrets in any other 
quarter. The Whigs were especially aware of his hypocrisy, 
and Burke, a few days after one of Lord Thurlow's lacry- 
mose efiusions of affection for the king, declared that ** the 
iron tears which flowed down Pluto's cheeks rather resembled 
the dismal bubbling of the Styx, than the gentle murmuring 
streams of Aganippe." 

Lord Thurlow lived fourteen years after his retirement 
from office, but never gained his former ascendency. The 
inconsistency of his political conduct prevented his being 


received into intimate relations with Whig or Tory, or rather 
with Foxites or Pittites ; and though he occasionallj spoke 
in the House of Lords, and at one tame sided with the 
Opposition, he at length fell into the class of those who are 
calle(} independent members. He was a great sufferer from 
the gout, and as his age advanced his increasing infirmities 
obliged him frequently to betake himself to the Bath waters. 
He died at Brighton on September 12, 1806^ and was 
buried at the Temple Church in London. 

With great natural abilities, with a considerable kaow- 
ledge of law, and with undoubted rhetorical powers, he could 
scarcely be considered in any other light than as a political 
chancellor ; and having failed in that character, his reputa- 
tion as a judge does not at the present day stand very high. 
Though some of his judgments exhibit great learning and 
research, their excellence was attributed to the care and 
erudition of that eminent lawyer Mr. Hargrave, whose able 
assistance the chancellor notoriously used. The roughness 
with which he treated those who practised in his court 
tended no doubt to deprive him of such credit as he de- 
served ; for it cannot be supposed that a private prompter 
could always be at hand to advise him in the daily calls for 
his decisions. Mr. Butler, a great contemporary authority, 
speaks of his decrees as '^ strongly marked by depth of legal 
knowledge and force of expression, and by the overwhelming 
power with which he propounded the results ;" but he adds 
that *' they were often involved in obscurity, and sometimes 
reason was rather silenced than convinced." This last 
characteristic may be also given of his orations in parlia- 
ment. The effect of his speeches was greatly enhanced by 
this authoritative bearing and the terrors of his countenance, 
which by its dark complexion, its stern and rugged features, 
and his bushy eyebrows, made him, as Mr. Fox said, " look 
wiser than any man ever was." 


That the retention of power and the acquisition of wealth 
influenced him on two occasions to desert his party, will ever 
be a blot on his character. On the other hand, though not 
affecting to be a good churchman, the disposition of his 
clerical patronage has not been complained of; and there are 
many instances of his encouragement of the men of art and 
literature of the time, and of his great liberality towards 
them in his peculiar rough way. Among those who enjoyed 
his patronage were Shepherd, Potter, Horsley and Johnson, 
Hayley, Romney and Crabbe. The affection with which 
the amiable poet Cowper regarded him goes far to prove that 
he was not so great a bear as he tried to make the world 
believe ; and many anecdotes told of him show the natural 
kindness of his heart 

He was never married ; but had three illegitimate daugh- 
ters, whom he carefully nurtured and handsomely provided 
for. His title, under his second patent, devolved on his 
nephew, the son of the bishop of Durham, who with his own 
poems published some translations from Homer and other 
classics into verse, by which the chancellor had amused his 

WALSINGHAM, Lord. See W. de Grey. 

WEDDERBURN, ALEXANDER, Lord Loughborough, 

afterwards Earl of Rossltn. 

Ch. C. p. 1780. Com. G. S. 1783. Lord Chano. 1793. 

Lord Loughborough is another example of a political 
chancellor, who, although he was gifted with great talents 
and possessed many accomplishments and undoubted elo- 
quence, failed to gain the respect of either party in the state, 

» Lives, by Boscoe (1830), Burke, in WeUb/s Coll (1846), Lord C5amp- 
beU (1846). 



because he was " everything by turns," and his own interests 
and advancement seemed to prompt his various tergiversa- 
tions. According to the coumion custom when a peerage is 
conferred, the descent of Alexander Wedderbum is traced 
from a family that held lands in the county of Berwick at 
the time of the Conquest. Among his ancestors the ** belted 
knight " Walter de Wedderbum is named in the reign of 
Edward I. Then follow a succession of individuals noticed 
in various ways in Scottish history, till we arrive at Alex- 
ander, who accompanied King James VI. on his journey 
from Scotland to assume the English crown. The grandson 
of this Alexander was Sir Peter, Lord of Gosford, an 
eminent lawyer and one of the lords of council and session ; 
who was the grandfather of Peter, Lord Chesterhall, equally 
eminent in the law, and advanced by thai; title in 1755 to be 
one of the senators of the college of justice. Lord Chester- 
hall married Janet, the daughter of Colonel Ogilvie, and 
had by her two sons, Alexander, the future chancellor, and 
Colonel David, who was killed in India ; and one daughter, 
Janet, who married Sir Henry Erskine of Alon, Baronet. 

Alexander Wedderbum was bom at Edinburgh on Feb- 
ruary 13, 1733, and commenced his education at a school at 
Dalkeith, finishing it at the university of Edinburgh, through 
which he passed with great distinction. With such pro- 
genitors he naturally selected the law as his profession, and 
applied himself so successfully to the study of civil law and 
municipal jurisprudence, tiiat he was admitted a member of 
the faculty of advocates in June 1754, being then only 
twenty-one. Before he took this step he had shown a strong 
inclination to the English bar by entering himself at the 
Inner Temple on May 8, 1753, and keeping his terms there. 
He was, however, persuaded to try his fortune at the Scottish 
bar, as his father's present position at it, and still more his 
elevation in 1755 to the Scottish bench, seemed to promise 


prosperous results. The early death of the new lord in the 
next year would have dissipated those hopes, had not the 
young man attained a certain eminence among his col- 
leagues by his association with the literati of his country, 
and by his connection with the general assembly of the 
Church of Scotland. He had been long on intimate terms 
with Robertson, Adam Smith, and particularly with David 
Hume, whom he had lately successfully defended against an 
attack upon him in the general assembly. In that arena, 
too, he soon after strenuously opposed a censure upon Home 
for his tragedy of " Douglas," and upon all persons, lay and 
clerical, who attended the theatre. He had been a promi- 
nent member of the Poker club, and of its successor the 
Select Society, formed for the discussion of questions of 
history, law, and ethics. In that society he had the honour 
of presiding on its first meeting in May 1754, numbering 
among his associates, besides the four eminent men just 
named, Hugh Blair, Sir David Dalrymple, Drs. Alexander 
Munro and John Hope, and other persons famous in the law 
and the church. He had taken a leading part in projecting 
the first " Edinburgh Review," to which he was during its 
short existence both editor and contributor. With the 
prestige arising from all these causes, Wedderbum still con- 
tinued at the Scottish bar, till about a year after his father's 
death, when his connection with it was wholly terminated 
by an incident in the court, originating in a premeditated 
insult to Mr. Lockhart, then the dean of faculty, or chief of 
the advocates. 

Lockhart was so notorious for treating the junior advocates 
with rudeness and insult, that four of them agreed together 
that the first who was the subject of his vituperation should 
publicly resent it. The chance fell upon Wedderbum, whom 
in an argument he called a " presumptuous boy ;" and Wed- 
derbum in his reply was not wanting in the attack that had 

c c 2 


been planned. Among other passages he said, " I do not 
say that the learned dean is capable of reasoning y but if tears 
would have answered his purpose, I am sure tears would not 
have been wanting." On Lockhart's look of vengeance, he 
unwarrantably added, " I care little, my lords, for what may 
be said or done by a man who has been disgraced in his 
person and dishonoured in his bed ;" alluding to some cir- 
cumstances in the dean's private life. The lord president 
very properly stopped him, and said that *^ this was language 
unbecoming an advocate and a gentleman;" on which the 
irate junior exclaimed that " his lordship had said that as a 
judge which he could not justify as a gentleman." The 
indignant court at once called upon him to retract and 
apologise, on pain of deprivation; when Wedderburn de- 
liberately took off his gown, and laying it on the bar, said, 
" My lords, I neither retract nor apologise, but I will save 
you the trouble of deprivation ; there is my gown, and I 
will never wear it more : — virtute me involvo." Then bow^ 
ing to the judges, he quitted the court 

Whether Wedderburn, aware that he had kept nearly all 
his terms at the Inner Temple, and determined to take his 
chance in Westminster Hall, had contrived this scene to 
give greater ^clat to his departure, remains a matter of spe- 
culation. He immediately left Scotland, to which he never 
returned; and was called to the English bar four months 
afterwards, on November 25, 1757. During the first months 
after his arrival in London, he applied himself, under the 
instruction of the elder Sheridan and Macklin, to the study 
of English pronunciation with such effect, that the pecu- 
liarities of the Scottish accent were almost entirely eradicated, 
and he was able to exhibit his acknowledged powers of 
oratory without risk of ridicule. To his association with 
these two masters of elocution is to be attributed his love 
for the drama, which he indulged throughout his life. As a 


perfect stranger in England he was not likely to have an 
early opportunity of distinguishing himself^ and the little 
business he obt^ned was through his theatrical connections 
and his Scotch friends. Among the latter was the Earl of 
Bute, who had belonged to the " Select Society " in Edin- 
burgh ; and under his patronage he became member of the 
burghs of Ayr, &c., in the first parliament of George III. 
In allusion to his histrionic alliances, Churchill thus intro- 
duced him into the Eosciad^ as counsel for Murphy the 

" To mischief train'd, e'en from his mother's womb, 
Grown old in fraud, though yet in manhood's bloom, 
Adopting arts by -which gay villains rise, 
And reach the heights which honest men despise, 
Mute at the bar, and in the senate loud^ 
Dull 'mong the dullest, proudest of the proud, 
A pert prim prater of the Northern race, 
Guilt in his heart, and famine in his face, 
Stood forth ; and thrice he wav'd his lily hand. 
And thrice he twirl'd his tye — ^thrice strok'd his band — 
' At friendship's call ' (thus oft, with traitorous aim, 
Men void of faith usurp faith's sacred name), 
' At friendship's call I come, by Murphy sent, 
Who thus by me develops his intent.' " 

This severe passage was not inserted in either of the first 
three editions of the satire which all appeared in 1761. As 
he did not become a member of parliament till November of 
that year he could not then have been " in the senate loud." 
They were first inserted in the collection of the author's 
poems published in 1763; showing that even at that early 
period those unfortunate characteristics were visible, which 
were attributed to him throughout his career. 

Becoming a member of a club of literary natives of Scot- 
land which met at the British coffee-house in Cockspur 
Street, to which many Englishmen were soon admitted, his 
success was gradually forwarded by the influence of his 


associates. But still his business was so small that lawyers 
were astonished at his boldness in accepting a silk gown soon 
after his patron Lord Bute became prime minister. He 
received a patent of precedence in Hilary Term 1763. 
Never having joined a circuit he now selected the northern, 
from which its leader Sir Fletcher Norton had just retired. 
But it being contrary to professional etiquette for any 
barrister to enter a circuit except as a junior, the regular 
attendants of it came to a resolution that none of them would 
hold a brief with him, to which they were prompted the more 
from his having managed to induce Sir Fletcher's clerk, who 
knew all the attorneys in the north, to accompany him. He 
was however saved from the consequences of this unhand- 
some attempt to secure leading employment, by the dissent 
of one counsel only, who agreed to take junior briefs under 
him. This was Mr. Wallace, who, no doubt, prophesying 
the delinquent's future advance, risked the present displea- 
sure of his colleagues. Nor was he ihistaken in his expecta- 
tions, for following in Wedderbum's tail he received his 
ultimate reward by being appointed solicitor-general on his 
leader's nomination to the attorney-generalship. In London 
Mr. Wedderbum attached himself to the Court of Chancery, 
where, and in the House of Lords upon Scotch appeals, he 
achieved great success. He was remarkable for the clear- 
ness of his statements and for the subtilty of his arguments ; 
and he particularly shone in the great Douglas cause, his 
speech in which was universally admired. 

In the House of Commons, to which he was returned to 
the new parliament of 1768 as member for Eichmond, he 
displayed similar efficiency. After Lord Bute's retirement, 
Wedderbum from being one of the ** king's friends" as- 
sumed the character of a " patriot," strenuously defending 
Wilkes, and taking the part of the Americans. For his 
conduct with regard to the former he felt himself in March 

1760— 1820, ALEXANDEB WEDDEBBUBN. 391 

1769 obliged to vacate hifi seat for Eichmond^ which had 
been given to him as a Tory ; but was returned as a Whig 
in the following January for Bishop's Castle in Shropshire. 
This seat he owed to the gratitude of Lord Clive for his 
eloquent and earnest defence of him; which his lordship 
further exhibited by a munificent present of a mansion at 
Mitcham. His secession from the court party was hailed by 
the oppositionists with a complimentary dinner; and his 
subsequent eflforts on that side were rewarded by the freedom 
of the city of London and the plaudits of Lord Chatham. 
Wedderburn continued his patriotic exhibitions during the 
first year of Lord North's ministry, personally pitting 
himself against that nobleman, and exposing with great 
eloquence and power all his measures. Towards the 
end however of that year he was evidently laying him- 
self out for a junction with the minister, and to the 
infinite disgust of all, but to the surprise of few, on the 
meeting of parliament on January 25, 1771, he was gazetted 
as solicitor-general ; bound to support all he had so recently 
and earnestly resisted. Well might Junius say of him, 
" As for Wedderburn, there is something about him which 
even treachery cannot trust" Yet, notwithstanding this 
decided opinion and various similar expressions by this ex- 
traordinary writer with regard to Wedderburn, there were 
some who attributed to him the authorship of Junius's 
Letters ; a notion which could have no foundation except in 
the elegance and force of his style, and which no one who 
investigates the subject can possibly support. Braving the 
sneers of the opposition bench, he soon by his admirable tact 
and insinuating eloquence recovered his ascendency in the 

In 1774 he pronounced the tremendous invective against 
Franklin before the privy council, which increased the exas- 
peration of the Americans, and assisted in stirring up the 


civil war ; in the progress of which he gave the most un- 
flinching support to the ministers, with undaunted front 
defending them from the attacks of the opposition. Upon 
that speech and its consequences the following lines were 
produced : 

" Sarcastic Sawney, full of spite and Late, 
On modest Franklin pour'd his venal prate ; 
The calm philosopher, without reply 
Withdrew— and gave his country liberty." * 

But he could not yet make himself happy in his position. 
He fancied that his services were insuflSciently appreciated, 
and that he was neglected by Lord North : yet when he 
was offered the chief barony of the Exchequer at the end of 
1777, he refused it unless it was accompanied by " a place 
in the legislature ; " and talked of taking an " opportunity 
of extricating " himself from office. As ministers had some 
experience of his dexterity in shifting the scene, means were 
taken to quiet his impatience ; and in the following June 
he succeeded Thurlow as attomey-generaL He occupied 
this post for just two years, and on June 14, 1780, his 
longing for promotion and peerage was gratified by the 
appointment of chief justice of the Common Pleas and by 
being created Baron Loughborough. 

At the time of his elevation he was member for Bishop's 
Castle. In the new parliament of 1774 he had been elected 
both for Castle Rising and Oakhampton. Selecting the 
latter he vacated his seat on being appointed attorney- 
general, and was re-elected by his old constituents of Bishop's 
Castle. During the whole period of his holding office he 
had been a most zealous and effective supporter of the 
ministerial measures, charming the house by his sarcasm and 
his wit, as well as leading it by the force and eloquence of 

I Notes and Qneries, First Series, v. 58. 


his advocacy. Professionally he continued to distinguish 
himself by his industry and management. His speech on 
the prosecution of the Duchess of Kingston is an admired 
specimen of his forensic excellence^ remarkable for clear and 
close argument and lucid arrangement. In his last act as 
attorney-general he has the credit of being the first to put an 
effectual stop to the No Popery riots^ by the advice he gave 
to the privy council that the military might act without 
regard to the riot act. 

His first public appearance after his appointment was to 
preside in the next month at the trials of the rioters ; when 
his charge to the grand jury, while it displayed his usual 
eloquence, is blamed as being more like the inflammatory 
address of an advocate than the calm direction of a judge. 
During the twelve years that he held the office, he preserved 
its dignity and acquired a well-deserved reputation for his 
impartial administration of justice, as well as for his patience 
and courtesy to those who practised under or came before 
him. But he had not much credit as a lawyer, and his 
decisions are not greatly regarded. Not content with the 
arena of Westminster Hall and the circuits, he acted as 
chairman of the quarter sessions in Yorkshire, where he had 
property ; and it is said that the court of King's Bench 
maliciously rejoiced when it had occasion to overturn his 

But his aspirations had a higher aim than the presidency 
of his court. He looked with longing to the chancellor's 
seat, but despaired of it while Lord Thurlow was patronised 
by the king. Though he supported Lord North during the 
tottering remainder of his ministry, it was principally by his 
silent vote ; and when Lord Rockingham came in he could 
not be expect to be advanced. But under Lord Shelburne's 
administration he renewed his intrigues, and when by the 
aid of his exertions in parliament that ministry was forced to 


resign, he hoped that the coalition which followed, and which 
he had the credit of advising, would give him his expected 
reward. He was, however, disappointed ; the Seal was put 
in commission, and he was obliged to content himself with 
being the first commissioner ; a post which he filled during 
the short existence of that unpopular administration, from 
April 9 to December 13, 1783. When the coalitionists were 
indignantly dismissed. Lord Loughborough exerted himself 
strenuously in aid of the factious proceedings in the lower 
house ; till by the dissolution of the parliament, Mr. Pitt was 
firmly established as prime minister. He had now become 
a Whig and a Foxite ; and was considered the leader of the 
party in the House of Lords. For the next five years 
nothing occurred to give him hopes of a chance ; but with 
the illness of the king in 1788 his prospects brightened in 
the view of the regency. His first most unwise and uncon- 
stitutional advice to the Prince of Wales was that the 
government should at once be assumed by him as of right ; but 
his royal highness was most fortunately influenced by more 
moderate counsels, and the bill was allowed to proceed, Lord 
Loughborough and his party vainly endeavouring to mitigate 
its more objectionable restrictions. On the discovery of Lord 
Thurlow's double-dealing the transfer of the Great Seal 
seemed secure, when the king^s sudden recovery reduced the 
Whigs and their politic adherent to their former unpromising 
position. Lord Loughborough continued from this time to 
act steadily with the Whig party, and even so late as Feb- 
ruary 1792 supported Lord Porchester's motion censuring 
Mr. Pitt and his colleagues for their conduct with regard to 
Bussia.^ On Lord Thurlow's dismissal from his office in the 
following June, and the Seal being put again in commission, 
his lordship's hopes began to revive, and advantage being 
taken of a breach in the Whig ranks, in consequence of Mr. 
> Pari. Hist. xxYii. 896. 


Fox's opinions and conduct in reference to the French Revo- 
lution^ negotiations were opened by the ministers which 
resulted in his joining the seceders and accepting the bauble 
he had so long ardently desired. He became lord chancellor 
on January 28^ 1793^ and kept his seat till April 14^ 1801^ 
a month after the termination of Mr. Pitt's first administra- 

He was now once more called upon necessarily to advocate 
many measures which he had before opposed; but, being 
joined by some others of the alarmist party, he boldly per- 
formed the task, notwithstanding the vituperation of the 
Foxites. He stimulated the national excitement caused by 
the affairs in France, supported, if he did not originate, the 
stringent laws that were enacted, and advised those prose- 
cutions for constructive treason against Hardy, Home Tooke, 
and others, which were so ignominiously defeated. During 
the eight years of his chancellorship he kept outwardly on 
good terms with Mr. Pitt ; but towards the end of them he 
privately intrigued for that minister's dismissal. Although 
he had formerly professed himself a warm friend to Catholic 
Emancipation, he now secretly and artfully encouraged the 
scruples which the king entertained with regard to the 
coronatfon oath ; hoping that he should thus certainly secure 
himself in the possession of his office in the event of a 
change. The change took place; but to Lord Lough- 
borough's infinite chagrin and disappointment he was himself 
superseded. The king was too well aware of his previous 
intrigues to have any confidence in him, and was glad to 
have the opportunity of availing himself of the services of 
Lord Eldon, as an adviser whom he esteemed to be both 
zealous and honest. 

The tenacity to office of the discarded chancellor was in- 
decently exhibited after his dismissal by his attending 
unsummoned the meetings of the cabinet ; until Mr. 


Addington was obliged to give him a formal notice that his 
presence was not required. His hope of restoration ap- 
peared from his constant presence at court, from his taking 
a house in the neighbourhood of Windsor in order to enjoy 
frequent access to his majesty, and also from following the 
royal movements to Weymouth, But it all availed him 
nothing ; the king, though courteous and kind to his fallen 
minister, never really respected him ; and when after four 
years of these fruitless attempts, death terminated his career, 
the king's real opinion of him is said to have been expressed 
by the royal exclamation, " Then he has not left a greater 
knave behind him in my dominions." Lord Loughborough 
was the first chancellor who benefited by the act passed in 
1799, by which that oflScer became entitled to an annuity 
of 4000/. His lordship was also solaced by an advance in 
the peerage, being created Earl of Rosslyn, with a special 
remainder to the heirs male of his sister, the widow of Sir 
Henry Erskine ; in whose favour he had already received in 
1795 a new patent of the barony of Loughborough. 

Whatever opinions may be formed of his political conduct, 
his judicial career was free from objection. Though not 
regarded as very deep or learned in his profession, nor 
having the credit of introducing any improvements in the 
practice of the court, he had considerable reputation as an 
equity judge. His decrees were well considered, and were 
seldom overturned ; they were always delivered in forcible 
and elegant language, and were remarkable for the perspi- 
cuity of the argument by which they were enforced. He 
used his ecclesiastical patronage with discrimination and kind- 
ness. Once when he pronounced a judgment in the House 
of Lords, which reduced a virtuous clergyman from afiSuence 
to penury, he immediately walked to the bar, and, addressing 
the unfortunate man, said, "As a judge I have decided 
against you : your virtues are not unknown to me : may I 


beg your acceptance of this presentation to a vacant living 
which I happen fortunately to have at my disposal." It was 
worth 600/. a year.* 

His bearing towards the bar was courteous and gentleman- 
like ; and to those members of it who assisted the profession 
by their learning, but who failed of success in practice, he 
was a kind and liberal patron. To the suitors he was a 
favourite judge ; for while they admired the patience with 
which he heard their cases, and the clearness of statement 
by which he proved that he understood all the circumstances, 
he generally contrived, when he had to decide against any 
suitor, to say something to soften his disappointment and to 
soothe his feelings. His only contribution to legal literature 
was a " Treatise on English Prisons," containing many use- 
ful suggestions for their improvement; which he published 
in the year he became chancellor. 

Though his lordship's public career cannot be regarded 
with more honour or respect by the present generation;than 
it was by his contemporaries, yet in his private life there was 
much to extenuate his failings. In his family he was amiable 
and affectionate ; to his friends, and he had many, he was 
constant and true ; and to his opponents, who varied with 
liis political changes, he bore no malice. He was munificent 
in his charities at the French Revolution. He gave De 
Barretin, the ex-chancellor, a house to live in, and allowed 
him 600/. a year till the peace of Amiens. He loved litera- 
ture and the society of literary men, encouraging and 
assisting those who needed help. He procured the pensions 
that Dr. Johnson and Shenstone enjoyed ; he recommended 
Gibbon to the place he held under government, and Maurice 
to a post in the British Museum ; and he overcame the 
objection made by the benchers of Lincoln's Inn to allow Sir 
James Mackintosh to deliver his lectures in their hall. In 
* Basil Montagu's Bacon, zvi. cclii. ncte e. 

398 JOHN WILLES. Georqe 111. 

all his manners and actions he was a complete contrast to 
Thurlow, who, though hating his rival, was candid enough, 
on hearing of his death, to allow that " he was a gentleman." 
The earl died suddenly at his house at Baylis, between 
Slough and Salt Hill, on January 2, 1805. His remains 
were deposited in the crypt of St. Paul's, covered by a stone 
which simply records the date of his birth and decease. 
Though married twice, he left no issue. His first wife was 
Betty Ann, daughter and heir of John Dawson of Morley 
in Yorkshire. She died in 1781. His second wife was 
Charlotte, daughter of William, first Viscount Courtenay. 
His titles and estates devolved upon his nephew. Sir James 
St. Clair Erskine, Bart, by whose son they are now en- 


Ch. C. p. 1760. 

See ander the Reign of George II. 

The family of Willes is one of the most ancient in War- 
wickshire. In the middle of the sixteenth century they 
were settled at Newbold Comyn in that county, in the church 
of which is a memorial of one of them in stained glass dated 
1577. The Rev. Dr. John Willes, rector of Bishops Tcking- 
ton and canon of Lichfield, by Anne, daughter of Sir William 
Walker, Mayor of Oxford, was the father of two sons, John 
the future chief justice, and Edward who became in 1743 
bishop of Bath and Wells.* 

John Willes was bom on November 29, 1685, and re- 
ceived his education at Lichfield grammar-school. His 
father died in June 1700; and in the following November 
he was admitted of Trinity College, Oxford. Entering 
Lincoln's Inn in January 1708, he waj9 called to the bar by 

* Lives, by Townsend, Lord Campbell, &c. 
' Berrj'8 Geuealogief, Coanty Berks. 

17G0— 1820. JOHN WILLES. 399 

that society in June 1713. He then went the Oxford Cir- 
cuit, and arrived at the dignity of king's counsel in 1719. 
In his early life he was much more noted for hilarity and 
licentiousness than for learning and ability, though he was 
by no means deficient in the latter. He sought advancement 
by entering into the career of politics under the patrons^e 
of Sir Robert Walpole, and accordingly in the parliament 
that met in October 1722 he procured a seat for Launceston. 
In April 1726 he urged upon the lord chancellor his activity 
in support of the ministry, as a ground for succeeding Sir 
Clement Wearg in the solicitor-generalship, but without 
success.^ He was, however, gratified in the following May 
with the appointment of second judge in the Chester Cir- 
cuit ; and thereupon vacating his seat for Launceston he was 
not re-elected; but a vacancy soon after occurring in Wey- 
mouth he was returned for that borougL In the parliament 
of 1728 he represented West Looe; and before its close he 
was obliged to undergo two re-elections^ one on his being 
promoted to the chief justiceship of Chester in February 
1729, and the other on being appointed attorney-general in 
January 1734. He was again returned for West Looe to 
the new parliament of 1735, and sat for it till he was ad- 
vanced to the bench. His speech against the repeal of the 
Septennial Act in 1734 is the only recorded specimen of his 
senatorial eloquence, and appears to deserve the praise it 

He was knighted as attorney-general, and filled that office 
exactly three years : when in January 1737 he was appointed 
to succeed Sir Thomas Reeve as lord chief justice of the 
Common Pleas. Over that court he presided for nearly 
five-and-twenty years, during the whole of which period he 
was hankering after the Great Seal, which, when it was at 
last within his grasp, he lost by his own folly. He was in 
> Lord Campbell's Chancellors, ir. 634. 

400 JOHN WILLES. Geobgb III. 

perpetual expectation that the chancellorship of Lord Hard- 

wicke would be terminated by a change of ministry, and 

took such measures as he thought would secure him the 

succession. During the rebellion of 1745 he endeavoured 

to organise a regiment of volunteers among the lawyers, for 

the defence of the king's person, of which he was to be the 

colonel ; but if we may believe a satirical song of the time, 

he never got his commission ; and the danger being ended 

his majesty declined their services. The poet slily concludes 

with this couplet: 

^' If you ask why a judge should attempt the command, 
I'll teU you — To take the Great Seal sword in hand." * 

When at last Lord Hardwicke did resign. Sir John was 
designed to take his place, but some objection being made by 
George II. to give him the sole power, he was obliged to 
content himself with being the first of three commissioners 
to whom the Great Seal was entrusted. They held it for 
seven months, from November 19, 1756, to June 30, 1757, 
when the Duke of Newcastle's and Mr. Pitt's administration 
commenced. Sir John was then offered the chancellorship, 
which he was willing enough to accept, but stipulated that a 
peerage should be added. This was refused, and he, think- 
ing to obtain his terms by standing out, made this a condition 
sine qua non.'^ Great then was his confusion and indignation 
on finding that the ministers had taken him at his word, and 
appointed the attorney-general. Sir Robert Henley, lord 
keeper. That his disappointment shortened his life, as Lord 
Campbell intimates, may be doubtful, inasmuch as he lived 
more than four years afterwards, and died at the advanced 
age of seventy-six on December 15, 1761. He was buried 
in the family vault at Bishop's Ickington. 

> Comrannicated by my friend W. Darrant Cooper, Esq., F.S.A., from the 
Trclawney Papers. Collins' Peerage, iv. 187. 
' Harris's life of Ijord Hardwicke» iii. 139. 

17€0— 1820. EDWARD WILLES. 401 

That in the exercise of his judicial functions, Sir John 
Willes, both as chief justice and first commissioner, showed 
great learning and ability, the reports of his decisions prove : 
but out of court he was ambitious and intriguing, joining 
the different factions as he thought they would promote his 
views. He had a great enmity against Lord Hardwicke, 
whom he looked upon as his rival, and as impeding the royal 
favour : and his lordship had little respect for him on account 
of his questionable morality, and his indiscreet involvements, 
Horace Walpole, who was inclined to be one of his admirers, 
tells a story which shows that even when chief justice he 
still pursued his old propensities. "A grave person came to 
reprove the scandal he gave, and to tell him that the world 
talked of one of his maidservants being with child. Willes 
said, * What is that to me ? ' The monitor answered, * Oh! 
but they say it is by your lordship.' * And what is that to 
you ? ' was the reply." * 

The chief justice married Margaret, daughter and co-heir 
of — Brewster, Esq., of Worcester ; and had by her four 
sons and four daughters. Edward his second son became 
a judge of the King's Bench, and is the subject of the next 

Just. K. R 1768. 

Smyth, in his Chronicle of the Law Officers of Ireland 
(p. 144), says that Edward Willes, who was made lord 
chief baron of the Irish Exchequer in 1757, after his resig- 
nation of that office in 1766 became solicitor-general in 
England, and subsequently a judge of the King's Bench. 
Other writers have copied or acted upon this incorrect 
statement. Independently of the improbability of a retired 
chief baron of one country taking an office at the bar of 

' Walpole*!! Memoirs, i. 77. 


another, all doubt is removed by an announcement in the 
" Gentleman's Magazine " (vol. xxxviii. p. 349) of the death 
of the Right Hon. Edward Willes, late chief baron of the 
Exchequer in Ireland, in July 1768: at which date, and 
for nearly twenty years after, the English judge was sitting 
on the bench at Westminster. The Irish chief baron is said 
to have been the head of the family of which the chief justice 
and judge belonged to a junior branch. He was admitted a 
member of Lincoln's Inn in June 1721, and was called to 
the bar in February 1726. 

The English judge Edward Willes was the second son of 
Chief Justice Sir John Willes, who brought him up to his own 
profession,and entered him at the same Inn of Court, Lincoln's 
Inn, in January 1740, where six years afterwards he was 
called to the bar in February 1746. Omitting the silly story 
which Lord Campbell in liis life of the chief justice (ii 278) 
tells to found his assertion that the son was of slender intellect, 
as wholly improbable both from the future career of the 
sufferer, and the kind character of the inflictor of the rebuke, 
it is enough to say that he acquired the rank of king's 
counsel in 1756, and that in 1766, five years after his father's 
death, he was made solicitor-general. On the death of 
Lord Bowes, chancellor of Ireland, in 1767, attempts were 
made to confer that appointment upon him ; but he was 
obliged to give way to Lord Camden's friend Mr. Justice 
Hewitt, and content himself with the latter's seat in the 
King's Bench, to which he was promoted on January 27, 
1768. Soon after the questions relative to Mr. Wilkes came 
before the court, exciting the public to an intense degree. 
The judges were unanimous in their opinion on the various 
points raised in his favour, and though they were then 
charged with corrupt bias, calmer times have confirmed their 
judgment. In the Dean of St Asaph's case Mr. Justice 
Willes dissented from the other judges, and his declaration 

1760—1820. JOHN EARDLtY WILMOT. 403 

that juries had the right to give a general verdict was 
one of the causes which led to the passing of Mr. Fox's 
libel act. 

Mr. Justice Willes did not accept the usual honour of 
knighthood. He outlived all his first colleagues except Lord 
Mansfield^ and after nineteen yeaj*s of judicial life, unmarked 
by any other peculiar characteristic, except a certain flip- 
pancy of manner, and a neglect of costume, he died on 
January 14, 1787, and was buried at Burnham, in Berk- 
shire. By his wife Anne, daughter of the Rev. Edward 
Taylor of Sutton, Wilts, he left three sons, one of whom 
became a police-magistrate for Westminster, and another is 
now represented at Astrop House in Northamptonshire.* 


JosT. K. B. 1760. Ch. C. p. 1766. 

See ander the Reign of George II. 

The antiquity of the family of Wilmot or Wilymot, as it 
was anciently called, extends beyond the Conquest. It was 
settled at first in Nottinghamshire, and afterwards in Derby- 
shire ; and, among other persons of repute belonging to it, 
was Robert Wilmot of Chaddesden, who was the father of 
two sons — Edward, the ancestor of the baronets of that place, 
and Sir Nicholas a distinguished serjeant-at-law in the reign 
of Charles II. The latter was grandfather of Kobert 
Wilmot of Ormaston in Derbyshire, who by Ursula one of 
the five daughters and coheiresses of Sir Samuel Marow of 
Berkswell in Warwickshire, Bart., had two sons, both of whom 
gained great reputation, one as a statesman, and the other as 
a lawyer. Robert Wilmot, the eldest, became secretary of 
the lord-lieutenant of Ireland^ and was rewarded with the 

» 4 Burrow, 2143; 1 Term Reports, 561; State Trial*, xix. 1091, 1123, 
xxi. 1040. 

D D 2 


baronetcy (of Ormaston) In 1772 ; and John Eardley Wilmot, 
the younger son, was the future chief justice. 

He was born on August 16, 1709, at Derby ; in the free- 
school of which town he received his first instruction. He 
was then placed under the Rev. Mr. Hunter of Lichfield, 
where he numbered Samuel Johnson and David Garrick 
among his schoolfellows, and where no less than four of his 
contemporary judges were educated. He next was removed 
to Westminster school, and afterwards to Trinity Hall, 
Cambridge. His great ambition was to become a fellow of 
that society, and to devote himself to the Church ; but, in 
obedience to his father's wish, he adopted the profession of 
of the law, and in December 1728 was entered at the Inner 
Temple. Throughout his pupilage he pursued his studies 
with avidity ; and in his future life distinguished himself as 
much by his love of classical literature as by his eminence in 
legal knowledge. 

He was called to the bar in June 1732, and for many 
years confined himself principally to country practice — with 
occasional attendance on the London courts, and in the 
House of Commons on contested elections. In the latter 
arena Horace Walpole tells us that "he was an admired 
pleader, but being reprimanded on the contested election for 
Wareham with great haughtiness by Pitt, who told him he 
had brought thither the pertness of his profession ; and being 
prohibited by the speaker from making a reply, he flung down 
his brief in a passion, and never would return to plead there 
any more." The same lively author describes him as " a man 
of great vivacity of parts, and loving hunting and wine, and 
not his profession," * Though his merits were so conspicuous 
as to gain the esteem of Sir Dudley Ryder and Lord Hard- 
wicke, yet public life was so distasteful to him that he not 
only declined the ofier of a silk gown, but resolved on 

* Memoirs of George II. vol. ii. p. 107. 

1760—1820. JOHN EARDLEY WILMOT. 405 

retiring entirely to his native county; and in 1754 made a 
farewell speech in the court of Exchequer. He was not 
long however allowed to enjoy his repose. The death of 
Sir Martin Wright soon after occasioned a vacancy which 
Mr. Wilmot was immediately called upon to fill, and notwith- 
standing his disinclination he was persuaded by his friends 
and the demands of an increasing family to accept the offer. 
He was accordingly sworn in as a judge of the King's Bench 
on February 11, 1755, and at the same time knighted. 

Nothing can show more clearly the high estimation in 
which he was held than his being appointed on the resigna- 
tion of Lord Hardwicke, although the junior judge upon the 
bench, one of the three commissioners to whom the Great 
Seal was entrusted on November 19, 1756, and who held it 
for upwards of seven months, till June 30, 1757. So ably 
did he perform his duties in the office that it was confi- 
dently reported that he was likely to be appointed lord 
keeper. On hearing this rumour he expressed his repug- 
nance to his brother in these words : " The acting junior in 
the commission is a spectre I started at ; but the sustaining 
the office alone, I must and will refuse at all events. I will 
not give up the peace of my mind to any earthly considera- 
tion whatever. • . . Bread and water are nectar and 
ambrosia, when contrasted with the supremacy of a court of 
justice." While engaged as lord commissioner he still went 
the circuit, and in the spring assizes of 1757 he had a 
narrow escape of his life by the falling of a stack of chimneys 
through the roof of the court at Worcester. Several persons 
were killed by the accident, but the judge, though his clerk 
who was sitting under him was one of the victims, escaped 
without injury. 

By an epitaph which he composed for himself it is evident 
that he contemplated his retirement from Westminster Hall 
after a service of ten years ; — and when that period had 


expired he endeavoured to obtain a removal to the quiet post 
of chief justice of Chester. The negotiations however 
failed ; — but ere another year had passed his hopes of retire- 
ment were to be severely tested. The elevation of Lord 
Camden to the chancellorship made a vacancy in the office 
of chief justice of the Common Pleas, and the government 
without hesitation offered Sir Eardley the place, feeling 
that, from his learning, his judgment, and his character, he 
was the only fit and proper person to fill that station. 
Acting upon his often expressed and still indulged wish for 
retirement, he endeavoured to divert the offer, and when it 
was made actually wrote a letter declining it ; but at the 
earnest persuasions of his friends and particularly of his col- 
league Sir Joseph Yates, with whom he always lived in 
cordiality and friendship, he was at last induced reluctantly 
to give way ; and he was sworn lord chief justice of the 
Common Pleas on August 21, 1766. The appointment 
was universally approved, and was especially satisfactory 
to the legal world, which both admired and respected his 
talents and urbanity. 

The publication of No. 45 of the North Briton occurred 
during his judicial career, and his conduct in regard to it 
fully exemplified his impartiality. On the part of the Crown, 
as a judge of the King's Bench, in pronouncing judgment 
against John Williams, the publisher, he unhesitatingly 
stigmatized the libel as most scandalous and seditious, most 
malignant and dangerous to the state ; and as chief justice 
of the Common Pleas on the appeal to the House of Lords, 
he delivered in a learned speech the unanimous opinion of 
his colleagues and himself, in confirmation of the judgment 
and sentence pronounced against Mr. Wilkes, the author of 
the libel.* On the other hand, on the part of the people, his 
summing up in the action brought by Wilkes against Lord 
Halifax, is a bold exposure of the illegality of general war- 

» State Trials, xix. 1127. 

1760—1820. JOHN EAKDLEY WILMOT. 407 

rants, with the expression of his opinion that the plaintiff 
was entitled to liberal damages for the injury he had suffered 
by that issued in his case. 

The Great Seal was pressed upon him on the resignation of 
Lord Chancellor Camden ; and again on the death of the 
lion. Charles Yorke ; and also during the subsequent com- 
mission ; but he showed the sincerity of his wish for privacy, 
by refusing the proffered honour ; and took advantage of the 
last opportunity to tender his resignation of the office which 
he held. His retirement took place on January 24, 1771, 
the day aft-er the appointment of Lord Apsley as chan- 
cellor ; and, notwithstanding his repugnance to a pension, the 
king insisted that he should receive one of 2400/. a year 
as a mark of approbation for his exemplary services. In 
return for this liberal allowance, he thought it his duty to 
assist in hearing appeals to the Privy Council, till his in- 
creasing infirmities obliged him wholly to retire in 1782. 
He lived for ten years more, and dying on February 5, 1792, 
at the age of 82, he was buried in Berkswell Church, in 

The " Opinions and Judgments " of Sir Eardley, and an 
affectionate memoir of his life, were published by his son ; 
and both contain ample evidence to prove that the judge was 
not only an erudite lawyer, but a good man ; that he was 
devoted to his duties as an advocate, a judge, and a Christian ; 
that his merit solely raised him to the places which his 
modesty and diffidence would have declined ; and that in the 
private relations of life — as a friend, a husband, and a father — 
he acquired the love and veneration of all around him. One 
little incident affords a faithful exemplification of his disposi- 
tion. A friend, relating the particulars of an injury he had 
received from a man high in office, concluded his statement 
by asking the judge if it would not be " manly " to resent it. 
" Yes," said Sir Eardley, " certainly it would be manly to 
resent it ; but," added he, " it would be godlike to forgive it." 

408 JOHN WILSON. George IIL 

By his marriage with Sarah, the daughter of Thomas 
Bivett, Esq. of Derbj, he had issue three sons and two 
daughters. The second son, who was the author of the me- 
moir, became a Master in Chancery, and was the father of 
Sir John Eardley Wilmot, who received a baronetcy (of 
Berkswell) in 1831 ; being the third baronetcy in the family. 
One of his daughters married Lord Eardley. ^ 

Just. C. P. 1786. Com. G. S. 1792. 

John Wilson is regarded as one of the worthies of 
Winandermere. He was bom on August 6, 1641, at the 
house in Applethwaite, where his father, whose christian 
name he bore, resided. He matriculated at Peter House in 
the University of Cambridge ; and while an undergraduate 
distinguished himself by a very able reply to an attack which 
Dr. Powell, Master of St. John's, had made upon the " Mis- 
cellanea Analytica" of Dr. Waring, the Lucasian Professor of 
Mathematics.' He took his legal degree at the Middle 
Temple in January 1763, after a pupilage of three years ; 
and soon, by his talents and industry, gained a considerable 
practice. Dunning thought so much of him, that he em- 
ployed him to answer many of his cases, and several of the 
opinions signed by Dunning were really the opinions of Mr. 
Wilson. He soon became a leader himself; and, to his 
encouragement and that of Sir James Mansfield, is to be 
attributed the continuance in Westminster Hall of that great 
luminary of the law, John Scott, Earl of Eldon ; who, not 
succeeding so rapidly as he expected, had determined in 
1780 to retire to the country, when Mr. Wilson, earnestly 
advising him to give up the idea, generously offered to insure 
him 400Z. the next year.' In three years Mr. Scott received 

* Memoirs of Sir J. Eardley Wilmot, bjr John Wilmot, Esq. 
" {TichoUs* Liu Anecdotes, ii. 717. ' Twiss's £ldon« i. 123. 

410 JOSEPH YATES, Gsosge III. 

sheriff in 1728. In 1730 he became possessed, under the will 
of a relation, of the estate of Peel Hall, near Manchester, 
with its large beds of coal, involving so great an expenditure, 
that his means were eventually reduced, and his affairs 
seriously embarrassed. By his marriage with Ellen, daughter 
of William Maghull of Maghull, he had two sons, the 
younger of whom was the future judge. 

Joseph Yates was bom in 1722, and received his early 
education in the grammar-school of Manchester, where his 
father had a house. He then went to Queen's College, Ox- 
ford, where he could not have continued, owing to his father's 
difficulties, had it not been for the timely assistance of his 
relative, Mr. Seijeant Bootle, who generously stepped for- 
ward, and enabled him to finish his course at the University, 
and to pursue his legal studies. For this purpose he entered 
Staple Inn, on the south window of the hall of which so- 
ciety his arms may still be seen. From Staple Inn he 
removed to the Inner Temple, and practised as a special 
pleader from Michaelmas 1748, till July 1753, when he 
was called to the bar. Here he rapidly rose in reputation, 
and though not dignified with any title in the Courts of 
Westminster, acquired a practice so large that his fee book 
records a profit of 2313/. in one year. He had general re- 
tainers for the corporation of Liverpool, for Greenwich 
Hospital, and for the East India Company ; and was em- 
ployed by the Crown in the militia riots of 1758, and in 
the proceedings against John Wilkes in 1763. But the 
only legal rank which he received before his elevation to the 
bench, was that of king's counsel' for the Duchy of Lan- 
caster, in June, 1761. His labours required frequent and 
intense application ; and when it became burthensome, he 
was in the habit of relieving himself by reading a few pages 
in Dean Swift's works, which always sent him back cheer- 
fully to his studies. On some extraordinary success in 1760, 

1760—1820. JOSEPH YATES. 411 

he was presented with a silver vase, now preserved in the 
family, bearing the following inscription : — " Jurisconsulto 
perito, Josepho Yates, ob auxilium insigne, legum cogni- 
toribus praestitum, Grati Clientes, D.D.D," 

So remarkable were his legal attainments, that on the death 
of Sir Michael Foster, he was offered the vacant judgeship of 
the King's Bench. He at first determined to decline the 
proffered honour, feeling that, as he had been little more than 
ten years at the bar, he was too young to be put on the shelf, 
especially as his professional income was already greater 
than a judge's salary. His friends, however, by representing 
that he could not undertake additional business without 
injury to his health, and pointing out the prospect of a 
further advance, prevailed on him to accept the oflSce. He 
received his patent accordingly on January 23, 1764, when 
the customary honour of knighthood was conferred upon 
him. In February 1765, the chancellorship of Durham 
was added. His colleagues in the King's Bench, besides 
Lord Chief Justice Mansfield, were Sir Thomas Denison 
and Sir John Eardley Wilmot ; by the resignation of the 
former of whom in 1765, and the promotion of the latter in 
1766, Sir Joseph became senior puisne judge of the Court. 
He ventured sometimes to differ from his noble chief, who 
chafed so much under any opposition of opinion, that Sir 
Joseph, to avoid his lordship's covert sarcasms, determined to 
take the first opportunity to leave his court. This resolution 
is the subject of strong observation in Junius's first letter to 
Lord Mansfield. On the resignation of Mr. Justice Clive in 
February 1770, he induced Sir William Blackstone, for 
whom the place was designed, to exchange it for the King's 
Bench. He thus obtained his removal to the ' Common 
Pleas, under a new patent, dated February 16, 1770; pre- 
ferring the quiet of a junior seat in that court to the unseemly 
contests in wliich his continuance in the senior place in the 

412 JOSEPH YATES. Georob III. 

King's Bench seemed likely to involve him. Not long did 
he enjoy the benefit he anticipated. Within four months 
his mortal career was terminated. He died on June 7, 
177O9 of a neglected cold falling on his chest ; and was buried 
at Cheam, in Surrey > where he had a house.* 

He was universally acknowledged to be a most able and 
learned judge ; and the points on which he differed from 
Lord Mansfield were subsequently recognised as good law, 
and confirmed by the House of Lords. Of his inflexible 
integrity a story was circulated, that he returned a letter 
brought to him from the king unopened; the minister having 
already tampered with him in vain previous to some trials 
involving the rights of the crown. Though the precise 
details of this transaction are not known, there seems too 
good reason to believe that the fact occurred, as it was 
publicly stated in parliament by Alderman Townshend soon 
after the judge's death; and, though repeated by another 
speaker, remained uncontradicted by any member of the 
administration.^ It tells well however for Lord North, that 
soon after the death of Sir Joseph he called on Lady Yates, 
and after saying much that was most gratifying to her and 
complimentary to the deceased, delicately inquired into her 
circumstances. The visit concluded by his saying that *' the 
widow of so great a man ought not to be left with so small 
a provision ; " and, regretting that the funds at his disposid 
would not admit of his offering more, asked whether a pen«- 
sion of 200/. a year would be worth her acceptance: — a 
graceful act in the government, and a flattering testimony of 
the estimation in which he was held by a court, whose temp- 
tations he had the virtue and the courage to resist. Another, 
less delicate, but more significant, proof of his general 
reputation, appeared at the time in the following lines : 

I Gent Mug. xxxt. 147; Blackstone's Rep. 450, 681, 719. 
* Fftrl. Hist. XTl 1228, 1295, 

1760—18:0. JOSEPH YATES. 413 

'' Iladst thou but ta'en eacli other judge, 
Grim Death, to Pluto's gates, 
Thou might'st have done *t without a grudge, 
Hadst thou but left us Yates." 

In his private life he was most amiable and considerate. He 
commenced his career under great pecuniary difficulties, and 
considerable feebleness of constitution, but from the time of 
his leaving college he was able hj his industry to contribute 
largely to his father's comfort, and the advancement of his 
brother's children. With his colleagues on the bench he 
lived in the greatest cordiality, and to his friendly influence 
over Sir Eardley Wilmot in inducing him to accept his pro- 
motion, we have already alluded in our memoir of the chief 
justice. One of his weaknesses was a great attention to his 
dress ; by which he acquired the character of being " a fine 
gentleman." He used to tell with great glee, that once on 
returning to his chambers in full dress, he met at the door an 
attorney with a large bundle of papers, who asked him if he 
could inform him which were Mr. Yates's chambers. He 
replied, that these were, adding, " I am Mr. Yates." The 
attorney, having eyed him from head to foot, put his papers 
under his arm and wishing him good evening walked away ; 
and Mr. Yates never saw him or the papers again. This 
peculiarity was of course a subject for fun to the circuit wags. 
Among other stories invented was one that he and another 
judge had been traced to an " academy where grown gentle- 
men were taught to dance," and that one of them was found 
under the hand of the master practising his steps, and the 
other sitting in the stocks. 

At his father's decease he succeeded to the estate of Peel 
Hall ; and at his own he left one son and one daughter, by 
his wife Elizabeth daughter and coheir of Charles Baldwyn 
of Munslow in Shropshire ; a lady of very ancient Scotch 
descent. She was an extremely ingenious person; and 


having produced some beautiful pictures in wool. Sir Joshua 
Reynolds admired them so much that he persuaded her to 
teach the art to Miss Linwood, saying it would make her 
fortune: — a prophecy soon after fulfilled. Lady Yates sub- 
sequently married Dr. John Thomas, Bishop of Rochester, 
whom she also survived, and enjoyed her pension till her 
death in 1808.* 

IX)RO Chano. 1770, 

That the attainment of the object of our ambition does not 
always secure our happiness, we have a melancholy proof in 
the life of the Hon. Charles Yorke. With all the advan- 
tages naturally consequent upon his father's position, added 
to his own extraordinary talents and splendid abilities, he 
successively filled the high oflSces of solicitor and attorney- 
general, and his elevation to his father's seat was deemed a 
certainty. But fickleness and irresolution were points of 
his character. He twice resigned his oflSce ; and when at 
last the Great Seal was offered to him, he was induced to 
accept it, against his own convictions, and against every 
feeling that should have prompted him to reject it. The 
consequence was that he felt so strongly the disappro- 
bation of his friends, that he died three days after he had 
received it, leaving his memory darkened not only with the 
imputation of deserting his party for place, but with doubtful 
reports of his end. 

The Hon. Charles Yorke was the second son of Philip, 
Earl of Hardwicke, by his countess, Margaret, daughter of 
Mr. Charles Cocks of Worcester, and widow of Mr. WiUiam 
Lygon of Maddresfield. He was born in January 1722, 

> To the Judge's grandson, Joseph St. John Yates, Esq., of Wcllbank.Cheshtre, 
judge of the County Court, I am gratefully indebted for some of the principal 
details in this sketch. 

1760—1820. CUARLES YORKE. 415 

while his father was solicitor-general. At about ten years 
of age he was sent to a private school at Hackney, from 
which in 1739 he was removed to Corpus Christi College, 
Cambridge. At both he was an earnest and successful 
student ; and at the latter he gave early proofs of his classical 
attainments and his refined taste, by his contributions to the 
" Athenian Letters," printed for private use in 1741. His 
father, destining him for his own profession, had entered him 
at the Middle Temple in December 1735, but upon his taking 
his degree he was transferred to Lincoln's Inn at the end of 
1742, and assiduously availed himself of his father's expe- 
rience by listening to his decisions in court, and hearing their 
explanations in private ; as well as by a diligent study of 
the ordinary books of legal instruction. In the beginning of 
1745, while yet a student, he issued an anonymous publica- 
tion, entitled " Considerations on the Law of Forfeiture," in 
support of his father's bill to attaint the Pretender, then 
daily expected to land ; in which he so ably illustrated the 
constitutional argument by classical allusions, that the 
treatise was greatly admired and went through several 
editions. The author was called to the bar of Lincoln's Inn 
on February 1, 1745-6. 

The son of a chancellor, with a capacity to improve the 
advantage, was not likely to be long unemployed ; and conse- 
quently we find him pleading successfully in the very next 
year before the House of Lords, and receiving the praise of 
his father, who as his brother says ^^ is not flippant in his 
commendations." He became his father's purse-bearer, and 
was made one of the clerks of the crown in Chancery. In 
1747 he was returned for the family borough of Reigate, 
which he continued to represent in all the subsequent par- 
liaments till that of 1768, when he was elected for the 
University of Cambridge. In the Parliamentary Reports 
there are few specimens of his speeches, but contemporary 


letters and records prove that he took a prominent part in 
the debates. Amid all his legal and senatorial avocations he 
found time for intellectual relaxations, and for the enjoyment 
of friendly intercourse. He kept up a constant "correspond- 
ence with the President Montesquieu; and with Bishops 
Warburton and Hurd, for both of whom he exerted his 

In 1751 he was appointed to the important office of counsel 
to the East India Company ; and in the next year he narrowly 
escaped being burnt to death. His chambers in Lincoln^s 
Inn were directly over Mr. Wilbraham's, which caught fire, 
and Mr. Yorke had barely time to run down stairs almost 
naked, and take refuge with an opposite neighbour. His 
whole property was destroyed, including his books and manu- 
scripts, and what was of more importance the valuable col- 
lection of state papers left by his great-uncle Lord Somers, 
which had been deposited with him for examination, and of 
which only a very small part was saved. Lord Hardwicke 
became extremely anxious about him in this visitation, as he 
knew that " his spirits were not of the best and firmest 
kind ; " and wished to do something to encourage him by 
some permanent provision. An attempt was accordingly 
made to obtain for him the appointment of solicitor-general, 
when Sir Dudley Ryder was promoted to the chief justice- 
ship. It was not however successful; but he was nominated 
soon after solicitor-general to the Prince of Wales, with a 
patent of precedence. On Lord Hardwicke's resignation of 
the Great Seal in November 1756, the king promoted him 
to the solicitorship, as a mark of his approbation of his father's 
services. Mr. Yorke had at this time so large a practice 
and so high a reputation that the appointment caused no 
surprise or jealousy among his brethren. After a few 
months a new ministry was formed by the junction of the 
Duke of Newcastle with Mr. Pitt, in which Lord Hardwicke 

1760—1820. CHABLES TOBKE. 417 

though without office had great power. On the elevation of 
the attorney-general^ Sir Bobert Henley, to the woolsack, 
his Lordship had the praise of the public for disinterestedness 
in allowing Sir Charles Pratt to take the place over the head 
of his son, who nevertheless experienced some disappoint- 
ment at being passed over. But on Sir Charles's promotion 
to the presidency of the Common Pleas in January 1762, 
Lord Hardwicke saw his son invested with the attorney- 

On the secession of Mr. Pitt and the Duke of Newcastle, 
and the formation of the Bute ministry in the following May, 
the new attorney-general began to feel his position uncom- 
fortable, and, though tempted with the prospect of the Seal 
in case of a vaoancy (which however did not take place), he 
wrote seriously to his father of his intention, if he resigned 
his office, of retiring altogether from the bar. Although his 
father was at least in latent opposition to Lord Bute's admi- 
nistration, he remained attorney-general during its continu- 
ance, and at its termination he advised the prosecution of the 
famous No. 45 of the *' North Briton " published on April 
23, 1763 ; but he had nothing to do with the general warrant 
on which its fire-brand author John Wilkes was arrested. 
In the subsequent ministry of George Grenville he defended 
the king's messengers in the actions brought against them 
for acting under it ; but in subsequent debates he acknow- 
ledged the illegality of such warrants. In August 1763 an 
attempt was made to form a new administration on a Whig 
basis, and the king had apparently a satisfactory interview 
with Mr. Pitt; but a sudden and unaccountable stop was 
put to the negotiation. On the 3rd of November following 
this failure, Mr. Yorke thought proper to resign his office ; 
and in the debate that soon after took place in the House 
of Commons he maintained his opinion against that of Chief 
Justice Pratt On bis quitting office he attended the court 


418 CHARLES TORKE. George HI. 

on the outside bar in his stuff gown^ although when appointed 
Bolicitor-general to the Prince of Wales in 1754, he had 
received a patent of precedence ; deeming probably that that 
patent was rendered void by his resignation. His brediren 
of the bar however paid him the compliment of giving him 
the privilege of precedence and pre-audience over them. He 
was chosen recorder of Gloucester in 1764 in the room of his 
father, who had died in March. 

On the subsequent death of Sir Thomas Clarke the post of 
master of the Kolls was offered to him and refused ; but he 
accepted a patent of precedence next after the attorney- 
general. In the miserable ministerial differences that followed, 
which resulted in the Marquis of Bockingham becoming 
prime minister, Mr. Yorke was induced again to accept 
the office of attorney-general in July 1765, upon the 
king's promise that he should have the Great Seal in less 
than a twelvemonth. When however in the following year 
by another intrigue the ministry was agun changed, and 
Mr. Pitt (now created Earl of Chatham) obliged the king to 
make Lord Camden chancellor, Mr. Yorke again threw up 
his office ; but kept his lead at the bar with the same success 
that had ever attended him. The Earl of Chatham soon 
retiring, the Duke of Grafton became the head of the 
ministry, against whose measures a strong opposition was 
formed, in which the Earl of Hardwicke was one of the most 
zealous ; and Mr. Yorke, though taking no very active share, 
was of course united in the same ranks with his brother. 
Lord Camden, though chancellor, at length felt obliged to 
give utterance to his condemnation of the policy of his col- 
leagues, and was accordingly deprived of his office in January 
1770. The Duke of Grafton knew not where to look for a 
successor ; the tenure of his power being so frail, that none of 
his own party, if any were competent, would accept the pre- 
carious honour ; and among his political antagonists he could 


not expect to find one who would not spurn the temptation. 
The attempt was made on Mr. Yorke, then the most popular 
lawyer among them ; and he had given the duke an absolute 
refusal. This he had reiterated to the king ; but in an evil 
hour he was induced to have a second interview with his 
majesty^ when by flattery, by pressing entreaties^ and even 
by threats, he was so overborne as at last imwillingly to con- 
sent, without making any stipulations for his personal benefit. 
This occurred on January 17, 1770. 

His brother was, as he says, ^^ astounded ; " and the oppo- 
sition were loud in their disapproval; but all observation was 
soon silenced by ihe public being overwhelmed by the 
announcement three days after of his sudden death. It is 
not to be wondered at that under such circumstances a report 
should have arisen that he died by his own hand ; that it 
should be circulated with minute details in various publica- 
tions ; and even that it should still be believed by many ; 
though no proof was ever produced that it had any sub- 
stantial foundation. The evidence on the contrary seems to 
be, — that no inquest was holdenby the coroner; that persons 
were immediately after the death admitted to view the body ; 
that Horace Walpole (no friend to the family), in a private 
letter written at the time, states that the death was caused 
by a high fever and the bursting of a blood vessel ; and that 
on a recent revival of the report the surviving members of 
the family gave it a distinct and positive contradiction.* The 
subject is too delicate for discussion, which would lead 
to no useful result It is enough to say that the melancholy 
event was to be attributed to his vexation caused by his 
friends' disapprobation, and to his anxiety how to meet the 
confusion of the times. The patent conferring upon him the 
titie of Lord Morden, which had been prepared, but had not 

* Morning Chronicle, Maj 12, June 6, 1828. 
S E 2 


passed the Great Seal, was after his death pressed upon but 
declined by his widow. | 

Such was the termination of the aspirations of Charles 
Yorke. To be the second chancellor of his family was a 
natural ambition. It was an office to which his undoubted 
talents, his extensive practice, and the high positions he had 
held in the profession, entitled him to aim: moreover, in 
which he would have had the universal suffrage of the bar : 
and which the favour and even the absolute promise of his 
sovereign warranted him in expecting. But of a reserved ■ 
habit, fickle and irresolute, jealous of honour, yet sensitive of 
the slightest blame, he fell upon times when it was difficult to 
define the shades of party, and almost impossible to pursue an 
entirely independent and unexceptionable course. Twice had i 

he accepted, and twice resigned the office of attorney-general, i 

and each acceptance and resignation seemed to be. dictated I 

more by personal than political impulses : and at last, partly il 

by flattery, and partly by fear, he was induced to permit the ( 

great object of his hopes to be thrust into his unwilling hands, 
not only against his settled and expressed convictions, but at 
a time when he was sure to be assailed with the deepest rage 
of his recent associates, and to risk the more dreaded coldness 
of his family and friends. I 

His first wife was Catherine, daughter and heir of the 
Rev. Dr. William Freeman, of Hammels in Herts. His 
second wife was Agneta, one of the daughters and coheirs of 
Henry Johnson of Great Berkhamstead. By each he had 
issue. Philip, his son by his first wife, became third Earl of 
Hardwicke by the death of his uncle without issue in 1790, 
and was himself succeeded in the title in 1834 by his nephew 
the present peer. 



\* The names of the Judges whose Lives are given in this Volume are printed in 
Small Capitals. 

Abbott, Cbarles, Lord Tenterden. Geo. 
III. 228. 

Abxkt, Thomas. Geo. II. 95. 

Accountant General, 4, 6. 

Adams, RiCHAan. Geo. II 93; Geo. 
III. 228. 

Aland John Fohtkscuk. Lord For- 
tescue. Geo. I. 14; Geo. IL 98. 

Alvanley, Lord. See R. P. Arden. 

Apsley, Lord. See H. Bathurst 

AansN, Richard PxrFsa, Lord Al- 
vanley. Geo. III. 229. 

AsHHURST, William Hkkrt. Geo. 
in. 2S4. 

Aston, Richard. Gea III. 236. 

Atktms, John Tract. Geo. II. 101; 
Geo. III. 238. 

Attorney Generals, 10, 88, 215. 

Banistbr, Wiluam. Geo. I. 14. 
Bark BR, Edward. Geo. II. 102. 
Barnard's Inn, 12. 226. 
Bathurst, Hcnrt, Lord Apsley, Earl 

of Batburst. Geo. II. 102; Geo. 

in. 239. 
Bayley John. Geo. III. 243 
Best, William Draper, Lord Wynford. 

Geo. III. 243. 
Birch, John. Geo. II. 102. 
Birch, Thomas. Geo. If. 104. 
Blackstonz, Wiluam. Geo. III. 

Blcncowk, John. Geo. I. 15. 
BuLLKR, Francis. Geo. III. 251. 
Burland, John. Geo. III. 256. 
BoRNKT, Thomas Geo. II. 105. 
Burrougb, James. Geo. III. 256* 
Burt, Thomas. Geo. I. 17. 

Camden, Earl. See C. Pratt 

Cartbr, Lawrxxcz. Geo. I. 18; 

Geo. II. 108. 
Cauudicade, The, 87. 
Chambrk, Alan. Geo» III. 257. 
Chancellors, Keepers, and Commis- 
sioners of the Great Seal, under 

Gea 1. 4, 9; Gea IL 78, 84; 

Geo. in. 202. 
Chancery, 1, 9, 84, 202, 212; Masters 

in, 5, 80, 205 ; Registrar, 207. 
Chaptlb, William. Geo, II. 109. 
Clarkz, Charles. Geo. II. 110. 
Clarkb, Thomas. Geo, IL 111; 

Geo. in. 259. 
Clement's Inn, 227. 
Cliffbrd*8 Inn, 226. 
Clivx, Edward. Gea II. Ill ; Geo. 

in. 261. 
CuTB, Grorob. Geo. II. 111. 
Coke*8 Reports in verse, 94. 
Commissioners of the Great Seal. See 

Common Pleas, 7, 9, 81, 85, 208, 213 ; 

Chief Justices of, 7, 8 1 , 208 ; Judges 

of, 7, 82, 209. 
CoMTNs, John. Geo. 1. 18; Geo. IL 

Counsels* Fees, 12, 223. 
Counsels' Clerks' Fees, 12. 
CowpBR, Spbncer. Geo. II. 114. 
CowpER, William, EarL Geo. I. 18. 

Dallas, Robert. Gea III, 262. 
Damtibr, Hbnrt. Geo. III. 262. 
Db Gret, William, Lord Walsing- 

bam. Geo. IIL 264. 
Dbnison, Thomas. Gea II. 119; 

Geo, in. 266. 
Dbhton, Albiandbr. Geo. I. 28 ; 

Gea IL 119. 



DooD, Samukl. Geo. I. 28. 
DoRUKB, RoBXKT. Geo, I. 29. 

Eldon, Earl of. See J. Scott. 
EUenborough, Lord. See £. Law. 
Englisli Proceedings enacted, 77. 
Erskxmi, Thomas, Lord. Geo. III. 

Exchequer, 8, 10, 82, 85, 210, 214; 

Chancellor of, 84, 2 1 5 ; Chief Barons 

of, 8, 82, 2 10 ; Barons of, 8, 83, 21 1 . 
Etrx, Jamss« Geo. III. 282. 
Etrk, Robert. Geo. I. S^ ; Geo. 

IL 121. 

Fortescue, Lord. See J. Fortescue- 

FoRTEscuK, WiLLiAic Geo. 1 1. 123. 
Foster, Michael. Geo. II. 124; 

Geo. in. 285. 
Furnival*8 Inn, 226, 227. 

Garrow, William. Geo. III. 287. 
GEORGE L Survey of Reign, 1. 
GEORGE n. Survey of Reign, 77. 
GEORGE III. Survey of Reign, 

GiBBs, Vic ART. Geo. IIL 287. 
Gilbert, Jepfert. Geo. I. SI. 
Gould, Henrt. Geo. III. 294. 
Graham, Robert Geo. III. 295. 
Grant, William. Geo. III. 295. 
Great Seal stolen, 204. 
Grose, Nash. Geo. III. 300. 
GuKDRT, Nathaniel. Geo. II. 125. 

Hale, Bernard. Geo. I. 33 ; Geo. 
IL 126. 

Harcourt, Simok, Lord. Geo. I. 33. 

Hardwicke, Earl of. See P. Yorke. 

Heath, John. Geo. IIL 301. 

Henley, Robert, Earl of Northing- 
ton. Geo, 1 1. 127; Geo. III. 305. 

HEwrrr, Jambs, Lord Liffbrd. Geo, 
III. 308. 

Holroyd, George Sowley. Geo. IIL 

Hotham, Beaumont. Geo. 111.311. 

Inns of Court and Chancery, 226. 

Jektll, Joseph. Geo. L 41 ; Geo. 

IL 127. 
Judges, 200; Independence of, 198; 

Characteristics of, 10; Salaries of, 

10, 86, 199; Pension on retirement, 

199; Knighthood of, 86. 

Keepers. See Chanoellora. Title dis- 

usied, 201. 
Kenton, Llotd, Lord. Gea IIL 

Kino, Peter, Lord. Geo. I. 41 ; 

Geo. IL 132. 
King*s Bench, 6, 9, 80, 85, 207, 213 ; 

Chief Justices of 6, 80, 207 ; Judges 

of. 7, 81, 208. 
King's Counsel, 12, 91, 221. 
Ktnaston, William. Geo. 1 1. 139. 

Law, Edward, Lord Ellenborough. 

Geo. IIL 317. 
Lawrence, Soulden. Geo. IIL 324. 
Leach, John. Geo. IIL 326. 
Lb Blanc, Simon. Geo. IIL 326. 
Lee, William. Geo. IL 139. 
Legal Jocularity, 223. 
Lbgoe, Hkneagb. Geo. II. 142. *' 
Liffbrd, Lord. See J. Hewitt. 
Lincoln's Inn, 92, 226. 
Llotd, Richard. Geo. IL 143 ; 

Geo. IIL 327. 
Loughborough, Lord. See A. Wed- 


Macclesfield, Earl of. See T. Parker. 
Mac DONALD, Archibald. Geo. IIL 

Manners, Lord. See T. M. Sutton. 
Mansfield Earl of. See W. Murray. 
Mansfield, James. Geo. IIL 332. 
Maseres, Francis. Geo. III. 335. 
Michaelmas Term shortened, 78. 
Montagu, Jambs. Geo. I. 41. 
Murrat, Wiluam, Earl of Mansfield. 

Geo. IL 143; Geo. IIL 335. 

Narbs. Gborqz. Geo. III. 348. 
Noel, William. Gea IL 143 ; Geo. 

IIL 349. 
NorthingtoD, Earl of. See R. Henley. 

Page, Francis. Geo. I. 44; Geo. 

IL 143. 
Park, James Alan. Geo. IIL 352. 
Pa RE BR, Thomas, Lord, Earl of 

Macclesfield. Geo. I. 44. 
Parker, Thomas. Geo. 147 ; Geo. 

IIL 352. 
Patents of Precedence introduced, 91. 
Pengbllt, Thomas. Geo. 1.52; Geo. 

IL 147. 
Perrot, Gborgb. Geo, IIL 355. 
Perrtn, Richard. Geo. IIL 356. 
Plumer, Thomas. Geo. III. 356. 



Post-man, 214. 

FowTs, LiTrr.xTON. Geo. I. 53. 
PowTs, Thomas. Geo. I. 55. 
PtLATt, Charlks, Earl Camden. Geo. 

III. 357. 
Pratt, Johs. Geo. L 57. 
Price, Robert. Geo. I. 60; Gea 

II. 149. 
Probtn, Edmund. Geo. I. 60; Geo. 

II. 154. 

Raymond, Robert, Lord. Geo. I. 

60; Geo. II. 155. 
RxxTB, Thomas. Geo. II. 158. 
Rktnolds, Jambs. Geo. I. 60 ; Geo. 

II. 160. 

Reynolds, James. Geo. II. 163. 
Richards, Richard. Geo. III. 363. 
Richardson, John. Geo. III. 363. 
Rolls, Masters of the, under Geo. I. 

5; Geo. II. 79; Geo. III. 204. 
RooKx, Giles. Geo. III. 364. 
Rosslyn, Earl of. S'«eA.Wedderburn. 
Ryder, Dudley. Geo. II. 164. 

Sale of Offices, 1. 

Scott, John, Earl of Eldon. Geo, 

III. 366. 

Seijeants, 11, 89,216, 220; Attempt to 
abridge their privileges, 90; At- 
torney- and Solicitor -General put 
above them, 220. 

Sei3eant*s Inn, Fleet Street, 91, 226; 
Chancery Lane, 91 , 226. 

Sewbll, Thomas. Geo. IIL 366. 

Simpson, Wiluam. Geo, I. 60. 

Skynner, John. Geo. III. 368. 

Smith, John. Geo. I. 61. 

Smtthb, Sidney SrAnoRDb .Geo. II. 
166; Geo. III. 369. 

Solicitor. Generals, 1 1 , 88, 2 1 6. 

Stople Inn, 93, 226. 

Strange, John. Geo. II. 166. 
Sutton, Thomas Manners, Lord 
Manners. Geo. III. 371. 

Talbot, Charles, Lord. Geo. II. 

Temple, 92 ; Inner Temple, 92, 226 ; 

Middle Temple, 226. 
Tenterden, Lord. See C. Abbott. 
Thavies Inn, 227 

Thomson, Alexander. Geo. III. 373. 
Thomson, Wiluam. Geo. I. 62; 

Geo. IL 173. 
Thurlow, Edward, Lord. Geo. III. 

Tracy, Robert. Geo. I. 62. 
Trevor, John. Geo. I. 64. 
Trevor, Thomas, Lord. Geo. I. 71. 
Tub-man, 214. 

Verney, John. Geo. II. 176. 
Vice Chancellor, 201, 205. 

Walsingham, Lord. SeeW. De Grey. 
Wkddkrburn^ Alexander, Lord 

Loughborough, Earl of Rosslyn. 

Geo. IIL 385. 
Westminster Hall, 12, 86, 223. 
Willes, Edward. Geo. III. 401. 
WiLLEs, John. Geo. II. 177 ; Geo, 

IIL 398. 
WiLMOT, John Eardlby. Geo. II. 

177; Geo. IIL 403. 
Wilson, John. Geo. III. 408. 
Wood, George. Geo. III. 409. 
Wrioht, Martin. Geo. II. 177. 
Wynford, Lord. See W. D. Best 

Yates, Joseph. Gea III. 409. 
YoRKE, Charles. Geo. III. 414. 
YoRKE, Philip, Earl of Hardwicke. 
Geo. IIL 178. 







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