« VorigeDoorgaan »
duke was interrupted by the exclamation, that, "Lord Thurlow had laid an egg," from his owl-keeper.
Though generally despising the forms of society, he, on some occasions, behaved with remarkable politeness and courtesy. Once, having entered the pump-room at Bath, with dirty boots and spurs, it was intimated to him that it was against the rules of the place to appear there in spurs, on which he had them immediately removed, and declaring "the rules of Bath must not be disputed," ordered that an apology on his behalf should be made to the company. At another time, his daughters,
having attended an assembly at Hampstead, were involved in some confusion in endeavouring to reach their carriage, and were extricated by a young officer, whom Lord Thurlow called on, and thanked, the following morning. He had the most thorough contempt for hereditary honours, and, always maintaining he was descended from Thurlow, a carrier, refused to acknowledge Secretary Thurloe as his ancestor. Ön attending to have his patent registered at the Herald's College, he gruffly thundered "I don't know," to the question of an officer, who inquired the name of his lordship's mother.
ROBERT CHAMBERS, eldest son of an attorney, at Newcastle-on-Tyne; was born there in 1737, and educated in that city, at the same school with Lords Eldon and Stowell. Having removed to the University of Oxford, he became, in 1754, an exhibitioner of Lincoln College; and, having graduated in 1758, soon obtained a fellowship of University College. He proceeded M.A. in 1761, and B. C. L. in 1765; being, about the same time, called to the bar, having previously become a student of the Middle Temple. In 1762, the university elected him Vinerian professor of the laws of England; and, in 1766, he was appointed principal of New Inn Hall, by the Earl of Lichfield. He had, in 1768, refused the attorneygeneralship of Jamaica; but, in 1773, accepted the appointment of second justice in the supreme court of judicature, in Bengal. He sailed for India in April, 1774; and, in due time, resigned his Vinerian professorship, which had been held for him out of compliment, in case of his return within three years, by a deputy. The honour of knighthood was sent out to him four years after he had been in office, being conferred as a special mark of royal approbation. In 1791, he was advanced to the chief-justiceship; and became, in 1797, president of the Asiatic Society. He resigned, after twenty-three years' service in India, and returned to
SIR ROBERT CHAMBERS.
England in 1799; but, being unused to a northern climate, he, in 1802, was recommended to visit the south of France, but being attacked by paralysis, in Paris, he died there on the 9th of May, in the year following. His body was removed, for interment in the Temple Church, to England.
Sir Robert Chambers was early devoted to study, and had, during his life, collected a large library, of which his oriental books were particularly valuable; he was an excellent classic; and, at an advanced period of life, wrote an elegant Latin epitaph, for a monument to his friend, Sir W. Jones, at Oxford. Such was his bounty, that, notwithstanding the length of time he had been in office, his private fortune was very inconsiderable at the period of his retirement. As a judge, he was guided by reason and impartiality; while his acuteness often tended to elucidate facts by the right application of arguments. His picture was painted for Mr. Thrale's study, at Streatham, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, who has represented him surrounded by his literary friends, among whom are Burke, Beattie, Baretti, Johnson, and Goldsmith. He married the daughter of the statuary, Wilton, and had several children; the eldest of whom, a promising youth, was lost in an East Indiaman, on his way to England, whither he was proceeding for his education.
SIR JAMES MANSFIELD.
JAMES MANSFIELD, the name of whose family was originally Manfield, was the son of an attorney, at Ringwood, in Hampshire. He was born in 1738, and educated at Eton, where he became the friend of Charles Townshend, who afterwards was his friend and competitor at the University of Cambridge. Whilst still an under-graduate, he became a student of the Middle Temple, and having proceeded B. A. in 1760, was called to the bar in 1763, taking the degree of M. A. about the same period. He continued to practice for some time, without any considerable success; his voice and style of oratory having, it is said, been unfavourable to his advancement. He was, however, in 1776, unexpectedly returned member of parliament for Cambridge University, when he obtained a silk gown, and, in 1780, he was re-elected to his seat in the house of commons. In September of the same year, he received the appointment of solicitor-general; a post which he soon resigned, though he resumed it in 1783 and 1784, during the Shelburne and Rockingham administration. At the ensuing general election, he, however, lost his seat; and subsequently resolved to give his undivided attention to his practice at the bar; but, finding Mr. Erskine, his junior, holding the first place in the common law courts, he thought it prudent to move into the court of chancery. Here he obtained a large share of business, and though he did not interfere in politics, he was so much respected by all parties,
that he obtained the chief-justiceship of Chester. He held this appointment for some time, during which he enjoyed the amusements of the field, to which he had been partial when at college. He subsequently received the honour of knighthood, with the chief-justiceship of the Common Pleas, where he presided for some time, being acknowledged to surpass, in sound legal knowledge, all the other judges.
He had a thorough acquaintance with classical literature, and was also a proficient in general learning. He possessed great application; and such were his habits of industry, that, while on the circuit, he rose at five in the morning, that he might have an opportunity of enjoying the diversions of a sportsman. As a pleader, though the matter of his speeches was invariably to the purpose, the huskiness of his voice, and the want of grace in his delivery, unfitted him for the character of an orator. In politics he was not a decided adherent either of the Whig or Tory party, though he rather inclined to the former principles. He was married, and had two male children. He was much esteemed in private, and was a kind friend and liberal patron. Having procured, for an officer in the army, a situation abroad, which involved judicial as well as military duties, he is said to have observed to him, "I know you to be a devilish good, honest fellow; and that you will do justice in all that comes before you; but, if you value your reputation, give no reasons for your decisions."
THIS eminent lawyer, the son of an attorney, was born about the year 1741, and having been educated at the Charter House, entered the University of Oxford, where he was indebted to his paternal uncle for the assistance necessary to
the prosecution of his studies. Having removed to Lincoln's Inn, he was called to the bar in 1764; and, about this period, married Miss Diana Fauntaine, the daughter of a clergyman; to one of whose pupils, the late Earl of Guildford,
he was in after life indebted for much assistance and encouragement. His talents soon procured him practice in his profession, and in 1772, he distinguished himself as counsel for James Somerset, a negro, whom he caused to be released from a ship bound for Jamaica, and to be brought into court by a writ of habeas corpus. His argument on this case established the precedent by which all slaves are free immediately on setting foot on shore in England, and acquired him great popularity.
Though his business was now materially augmented, his circumstances were still far from easy; for he had not only an increasing family to support, but he maintained, at the same time, the whole of his brother's children. Through the interest of Lord North, he became one of the counsel to the Treasury, with a salary of £600 per annum; but he was dismissed, in 1789, on account of the difference between his own politics and those of the existing government. He was much annoyed at his dismissal; and, in a letter to a friend, he animadverts on the harsh conduct of Mr. Pitt, in stating as a pretext for his removal, that he "not only, by inattention, rendered his place a sinecure; but, by his opposition, made himself obnoxious to the government." He denied the first charge altogether; and maintained, with respect to the second, that he was not, by virtue of his place, bound to support the ministers.
In 1791, he was employed to draw up the Roman catholic bill; and, in 1806, having been elected recorder of Liverpool, he, in that character, presented an address to the Prince Regent, at the residence of Earl Derby, where he was, on the following day, invited to meet his royal highness at dinner.
depended the support of his family. Though assisted by his friend, Mr. Whitbread, his pecuniary embarrassments increased so much, as to render it advisable to appeal to the house of commons, which ordered that Mr. Hargrave's valuable library should be purchased by government for £8,000, and given to the British Museum. His independence being thus insured, his mind, in a great degree, resumed its tranquillity; and though he deeply felt, at times, the loss of his library, it was, in some measure, compensated by the society of friends, and the light reading afforded by modern books and newspapers. He continued to reside with his family at Chelsea, till a tumour having appeared in his leg, which proceeded to mortification, he died from its effects, on the 16th of August, 1821, at the age of eighty. He was in full possession of his mental faculties within a few hours of his death, and he was buried in the chapel of Lincoln's Inn, of which society he had long been a bencher.
Continuing to practice with success, as a barrister, till 1813, he became, in the early part of that year, subject to occasional aberrations of mind, owing to his too intense application to a work, which, considering his years and avocations, it was impossible he could, as soon as he desired, accomplish. It became necessary, in order to mitigate his malady, that he should retire from his profession; a step that was extremely inconvenient, as on his exertions alone
Mr. Hargrave's legal knowledge was considerable; and he wrote, during his life, several law books, which were distinguished by the extensive learning they evinced, and the soundness of their arguments. His habits were retired; but though mixing little in society, his company was courted by his private friends, among whom were Lords North and Holland, Mr. Whitbread, and Mr. Fox; during whose administration he obtained a silk gown. The summit of his ambition was a mastership in chancery; which, however, accident and political bias prevented him, notwithstanding his merits, from obtaining.
His private character was as estimable as his public one, and the courteousness of his demeanour procured him many friends. Such was the respect he enjoyed among the inhabitants of Liverpool, that they allowed him, during his latter years, to perform the duties of recorder by deputy.
In addition to his numerous original publications, he published, in 1818, a revision of Sir Edward Coke's Institutes; a work which employed him ten years, and which is justly spoken of by the editor of the Legal Biography as "a prodigious pile of human sagacity and learning, for future ages to read and admire."
THE subject of this memoir, born in 1743, was nephew to the great Lord Camden, and second son of Nicholas Hardinge, Esq., chief clerk of the house of commons, who was celebrated as a writer of Latin verses. He was educated at Eton, where he evinced a partiality both for reading and acting plays, and became a contributor to the Musa Etonenses. Having entered at Wadham College, Oxford, he, in 1775, took the degree of B. A.; and, in the following year, made a short tour on the continent, for which he was provided with the means by Lady Darhill, then one hundred years old, and whom, at ninety, he describes as beautiful. He, in 1778, proceeded to the degree of M. A.; and having become a law student, was, in due time, called to the bar, by the society of the Middle Temple. He, however, is said to have cultivated the muses in preference to pursuing his legal studies, having come into a considerable fortune on attaining his majority. He, nevertheless, sought the intimacy of the great lawyers of the day, and by the interest of his uncle, soon obtained a patent of precedency. Having acquired a reputation for eloquence, he came into considerable practice; and, in 1780, being appointed solicitor-general to the queen, he was returned, as member for Old Sarum, to parliament. In 1783, he distinguished himself by defending Sir Thomas Rum-guished himself by the attention and bold, who was threatened with a bill of pains and penalties; and he also spoke in favour of the conduct of Warren Hastings. In 1784, he married a Miss Long, and went to reside at Twickenham, where he became acquainted with Horace Walpole. His ardour for professional advancement was considerably retarded by his devotion to literature; but he, in 1787, obtained the office of senior Welsh judge, for the counties of Brecon, Glamorgan, and Radnor. He continued, for some time, to represent Old Sarum in parliament, but closed his
The person of Mr. Hardinge was handsome, and his countenance indicated the benevolence which adorned his character. His temper was mild and cheerful, and such was his charitable disposition, that he often collected, by subscription, large sums for the relief of those whom he thought worthy of his protection. His abilities were considerable, though evincing more brilliance than solidity. His conversational powers were great; and his wit, added to his love of pleasantry, rendered his society extremely agreeable. As a barrister, he was remarkable for his ingenuity in promoting the interests of his clients; and in his judicial character, he distin
scrutiny he gave to every point that might affect the formation of his judgment. He published several of his most celebrated speeches; and, in 1791, appeared his letters to Burke, on the constitutional existence of an impeachment against Mr. Warren Hastings. Among his other original productions, are a few poems on various occasions, and two sermons by a layman. He also edited his father's Latin poems, and contributed largely to the literary anecdotes of the eighteenth century. He does not appear to have left any children.
senatorial career soon after the Union. In 1807, he lost his only surviving parent, whom he used to call his angel mother; and was occupied about this time, in writing a life of his illustrious uncle, Earl Camden. Shortly afterwards, having experienced another domestic loss, in the death of a nephew, he dissipated his grief by literary pursuits, and became a contributor to the Gentleman's Magazine, in which were published, from his pen, a variety of curious anecdotes relative to his contemporaries. His death, which was hastened by a fall from his horse, some time previously, took place on the 26th of April, 1816, whilst he was on his circuit at Presteigne.
JOHN TOLER, EARL OF NORBURY.
JOHN TOLER, Earl of Norbury, son of Daniel Toler, Esq., was born at Beckwood, Tipperary, about the year 1745. After receiving an appropriate education, he was called to the bar of Ireland, where he became celebrated for his forensic jests, and shortly afterwards was returned to parliament, by the influence of the "undertakers," a party so called, who were deputed, by the British ministry, to undertake the management of the Irish house of commons. His Tory principles, to which he strictly adhered, procured him the patronage of Lord Castlereagh, Lord Clare, and Mr. Pitt, through whose influence he obtained, in 1789, the office of Irish solicitor-general; in 1798, that of attorney-general, and, in December, 1800, the chief-justiceship of the Common Pleas, (when he was made a peer,) which situation he held till 1827, when he retired on a pension of £4,000 per annum, and was, at the same time, created Earl Norbury and Viscount Glandine. During the greater part of the time he sat upon the bench, he was so imbecile, and indecorously regardless of the dignity and duty of a judge, as to indulge his propensity for punning on the most awful occasions, and even at the expense of the feelings of a prisoner whom he was just about to condemn to the gallows. He died at Dublin, on the 27th of July, 1831, in the eighty-sixth year of his age, leaving behind him the reputation of a good punster and horseman, and taking with him to the grave, the appellation of "the hanging judge." It was said of him, in one of the public journals of the day," Mercy droops not beside his tomb; nor will justice, eloquence, or learning, stretch themselves within it;" and Sir Jonah Barrington characterised him when living, as having "a hand for every man, and a heart for nobody." He increased his fortune by marrying Grace, daughter of Hector Graham, a peeress in her own right, by the title of Baroness Norwood; and, at the time of his death, was a privy-counsellor in Ireland, trustee of the Irish linen
manufacture, and a visitor of Maynooth College.
The following are some of the most celebrated instances of his humour, the only foundation of his notoriety; and none of which entitle him to the appellation of a real wit. Whilst giving judgment on a writ of right, he observed, that it was insufficient for a demandant to say he "claimed by descent. Such an answer," he continued," would be a shrewd one for a sweep, who had got into your house by coming down the chimney; and it would be an easy, as well as a sweeping way, of getting in." -On going up the grand staircase at the castle, at Dublin, to attend the levee given by the king, on his visit to Ireland, and being so pressed, that but for the support of those near him, he would have fallen down, he observed to the chancellor, who was at hand,-" My lord, we have tried many hard cases in our day, but you will allow that this stair-case is the hardest of all."—On being informed that an officer of marines, who had seen much service, had canvassed to obtain his brother a directorship of the National Insurance Company, he remarked, that "the captain would have been, himself, more eligible, having considerable knowledge and experience of marine risks, being accustomed to receive premiums for taking lives, and as affording a practical proof, that although following a profession more than doubly hazardous, his tenement had escaped all damages by fire;" adding, on being told that the captain did not possess the requisite number of shares to qualify him for a director, "but his want of a sufficient stock of assurance is an insurmountable bar to his promotion."-At the assizes at Noas, one day, whilst a counsel was addressing the court, an ass happened to bray very loudly, on which he observed," one at a time, gentlemen, if you please;" whilst, his lordship, however, was addressing the jury, the same ass beginning to bray, he inquired, "what noise that was?" when the counsel retorted on him, by answering, "It's