« VorigeDoorgaan »
tem of rigid economy, and it is said even opportunity that presented itself, and that acted as tutor himself to his brothers. opportunity was soon afforded. Captain The system of economy which circam- Baillie, who had been removed from the stances then rendered necessary, became superintendence of Greenwich Hospital habitual to Lord Buchan, who is now in by the famous or infamous Earl of Sand. the receipt of a considerable income. wich, then First Lord of the Admiralty,
A profession was the only resource for and one of the Governors of the Hospital, both the younger brothers, and it is sin- was charged with having published a libel gular that each should have been the on the management of that Institution, most eloquent man, of his day, of the Bar and the Attornt. General was instructed to which he belonged. Thomas, how- to move for leave hle a criminal inforever, was not at first destined for a mation against him. rd Erskine, whose learned profession; he went to sea with tact was equal to his courage, saw, that Sir John Lindsay, a nephew of the Earl by dragging Lord Sandwich into court, of Mansfield; he quitted the navy, in the real instigator of the proceedings, consequence, as is said, of his slender though not the prosecutor, the power of chance of obtaining promotion in it, have the individual whom he assailed would ing never risen higher than midshipman, fix the attention of the world on his first though he served as a lieutenant, through effort, and secure that sympathy which the friendship of his commanding officer. never fails to be awarded to the display -On quitting the navy, he entered, in of courage, while his abilities at the same 1768, into the army as an ensign in the time commanded their admiration. “The Scots Royals, or First Regiment of Foot, defendant," (Captain Baillie,) « said his and continued in the service about six Lordship, was not a disappointed maliyears. It is said that he was impelled cious informer, prying into official abuses, io quit the service and betake himself to because without office himself, but himthe Bar by the intreaties of his mother, self a man in office-not troublesomely who deemed this career more suitable to inquisitive into other men's departments, the genius of her son. He was abort but conscientiously correcting his own, twenty-six when he conimenced his legal doing it pursuant to the rules of law, studies. He entered as a Fellow Com- and what heightens the character, doing moner of Trinity College, Cambridge, in it at the risk of his office, from which the the year 1777, and at the same time en- effrontery of power has already suspended tered himself on the books of Lincoln's Kim without proof of his guilta conduct Inn. In order to acquire a knowledge not only unjust and illiberal, but highly of the technical part of his profession, he disrespectful to this Court, whose Judges became a pupil of Judge Buller, then an sit in the double capacity of ministers of eminent Special Pleader. He had to en- the law, and governors of this sacred counter all the evils of poverty during his and abused institution. Indeed, Lord legal studies, for he had married while a has, in my opinion, acted such a soldier, and his wife had even accompa- part nied him to Minorca, in which island he (Here Lord Mavsfield observing the passed three years with his regiment. Counsel heated with his subject, and On the promotion of Mr. Buller to the growing personal on the First Lord of Bench, he went into the office of Mr. the Admiralty, told bim Lord Wood, in which he continued a year after was not before the Court.) he had been in considerable business at “ I know that he is not formally before the Bar, to which he was called in Tri- the Court, but for that very reason I will nity Term, 1778.
bring him before the Court ; he has We have heard it observed, by a Bar- placed these men in the front of the battle rister of great eminence, that those who in hopes to escape under their shelter, but enter the Bar late in life are much more I will not join in battle with them; their likely to succeed than those who enter vices, though screwed up to the highest rery early. When a suitable occasion is pitch of human deprarity, are not of digpresented to a very young man, his want nity enough to vindicate the combat with of judgment and knowledge of the world me. I will drag him to light who is the seldom allows him to avail himself of it dark mover behind this scene of idiquity. as he ought. The mortification caused I assert that the Earl of -has but one by an early unsuccessful attempt throws road to escape out of this business without often a damp over the spirits against pollution and disgrace, and that is by which the individual is uuable to struggle. 'publicly disavowing the acts of the proLord Erskine, Sir Samuel Romilly, and secutors and restoring Captain Baillie to soide other distinguished pames, were his command. If he does this, then his cited in proof of the assertion. With offence will be no more than the too respect to his Lordship,' he certainly con- common one of having suffered his own trived to signalize himself the very first personal interest to prevail over his public
duty in placing his voters in the hospital. with the liberty of the press, wlich he But if, on the coutrary, he continues to may be said to have preserved. When protect the prosecutors in spite of the he commenced his career, a system was evidence of their guilt, which has excited in force and gaining strength, which the abhorrence of the nunierous audience would have soon deprived Englishmen of who crowd this Court; if he keeps this all that they had to distinguish them injured man suspended, or dare to turn above other nations. The power claimed that suspension into a removal, I shall by the Judges of limiting the Juries to then not scruple to declare him an accom. the mere fact of publication, and deciding plice in their guilt, a shameless oppressor, themselves on the character of the wria disgrace to his rank, and a traitor to his ting before the Court, would have soon trust. But, as I should be very sorry that rendered freedom of discussion a mere the fortune of my brave and honourable name. Till the accession of George the friend should depend either on the exercise Third, the Crown was on the side of of Lord 's jaştice or the influence liberty from the dread of a Pretender, of his fears, I do most earnestly entreat but that danger to kingly power removed, the Court to mark the malignant object the consequences which might have been of this prosecution, and to defeat it; - anticipated followed. Shortly after this beseech you, my Lords, to consider that critical period of our history, Lord Erskine even by discharging the rule, and with appeared, and in a succession of battles costs, ihe defendant is neither protected he nobly combated the spirit of the new nor restored. I trust, therefore, your æra, and at last secured to the Juries the Lordships will not rest satisfied with fule decision of the law as well as the facta filling your judicial duty; but as the point which would be of the greatest con, strongest evidence of the foulest abuses sequence, were it not for the power which has by accident come collaterally before the Crown has obtained of influencing you, that you protect a brave and public- the nomination of juries. spirited officer from the persecution this This combat on one occasion we can. writing has brought upou him, and not not pass over, as it serves particularly suffer so dreadful an example to go abroad to illustrate that quality for which Lord into the world, as the ruin of an upright Erskine was so distinguished. On the man for having faithfully discharged his trial of the venerable Dean of St. Asaph, duty."
(1784,) who has survived his advocate, We have heard it said that circum- Judge Buller endeavoured to bully the stances peculiarly favoured the daring of jury into a verdict favourable to his views Lord Erskine ; that Lord Mausfield, Lord Erskine entered the lists with though an artful, as well as able and him, and was triumphant. The following eloquent man, was at the same time is a specimen of the dialogue which passed neryous and timid, as was proved by his between the parties :excessive dread of Lord Chatham, who was “ Mr. Justice Buller: I will take the inferior to himself in intellectual power, verdict as they mean to give it; it shall though so much superior in courage; not be altered. Gentlemen, if I uuderand that if he had made a similar attempt stand you right, your verdict is this—yon. to defy Lord Ellenborough, whose dis- mean to say guilty of publishing this libel? pleasurc no one eyer encountered without -A Juror : No : the pamphlet ; we do suffering from it, he would have been not decide upon its being a libel. unsuccessful. But we think they who “Mr. Justice Buller : You say lic. is come to this conclusion, do not make guilty of publishing the pamphlet, and the suficient allowance either for the peculiar meaning of the inuendoes is as stated in buoyancy and energy of Lord Erskine's the indictment ?-A Juror : Certainly, character, or the deficiency in courage in “ Mr. Erskine : Is the word only to those over whom Lord Ellenborough ty- stand part of your verdict ?-A Juror : rannized. We do not believe that he certainly. could have trampled on Lord Erskine, “ Mr. Erskine : Then I insist it shall any more than he could have trampled on be recorded. Sir Samuel Romilly.
“Mr. Justice Buller: Then the verdict It is not our intention to follow Lord must be misunderstood. Let me underErskine through his long and arduous stand the Jury. forensic and political life. In this brief “ Mr. Erskine : The Jury do undersketch we can merely notice some of its stand their verdict. leading features. But, indeed, the public “ Mr. Justice Buller : Sir, I will not are too familiar with the splendid part be interrupted. he has acted, to render it necessary for “ Mr. Erskine : I stand bere as an us to enter with any particularity into his Advocate for a brother citizen, and I de history.
sire that the word only may be recorded. His name will always be associated "Mr. Justice Buller : “Sit down, Sir;;
remember your duty, or I shall be ob. Erskine was the only speaker he heard liged to proceed in another manper. in England who struck him as possessing
“ Mr. Erskine : Your Lordship may elegance of action and a melodious roice. proceed in what manner you think fit: As a man he was 'generous and kind. I know my duty as well as your Lordship hearted. The world are sufficiently acknows yours. I shall not alter niy cont quainted with his little indiscretions, duct."
which were injurious to himself alone. Nothing can be more noble than the Prudence is the virtue of age, but Lord allusion to the threat of the Judge, with Erskine was a young man riu disposition which he concluded his argument: to the last. He had a buoyancy of spirits
" It was the first comward and coua very rare in this country. sel of my youth, always to do what my His delicacy was very great. An unconscience told me to be my duty; and fortunate purchase of an estate, which, to leave the consequences to God. I shall trom the fall in the value of land, especarry with me the memory, and I trust 'cially of a poor soil, became of little value the practice, of this parental lesson tó to him, though he had paid a large sum the grave. I have hitherto followed it, for it, and a large family of sons and and bave no reason to complain that my grand-children dependent on him, enobedience to it has been even a temporal barrassed him greatly towards the latter sacrifice. I have found it, on the con- years of his life. But he cautiously contrary, the road to prosperity and wealth; cealed his difficulties from those who and I shall point it out as such to my would have been proud to assist him. children."
We have a striking case of this in our While alluding to his Lordship's bril. eye. liant services in behalf of the liberty of With all his knowledge of character, the press, we caonot help adverting to a it would appear he was weak enough to circumstance which proves how much he expect that gratitude could lodge in a identified himself with the press. During royal bosom. He was mistaken with rethe short period of his Chancellorship, spect to the general principle peculiarly wheu the Whigs were in power, only two unfortunate in this particular instance. kirings of any value fell to his disposal. In his manner he was distinguished by
The rery, first, one between £300 and candour and frankness. He had nothing £400, he gave to the Rev. John Moir, of the cold and studied manner charac who became unable from defective visiou terie of the English Aristocracy. But from continuing to execute an engage. though he was easy and kind in his manmeat he had long had on The Morning her, he was never undignified. He was Chronicle. Lord Erskine, during Lord the last man that any one would have Melville's trial, seeing his friend, the late presumed to take an improper liberty Mr. Perry, whom he greatly loved and with. He had the ease of a man who esteemed, at the Bar of the House of dever dreant that any one would think Lords, he went up to him and gave him of encroaching on him. How far he the presentation for Mr. Moir, observing owed his superiority over the other men that he had lost no time in discharging of his rank in this respect to kindness what he considered a sacred duty, to and warmth of heart, or to his schooling avoid the importunities of other and more in the world, in which he had to fight his powerful connexions, whose knowledge way without any of the advantages which the circumstance had not reached. men of family usually have, and conse
His exertions in rescuing Hardy, Tooke quently could hardly fail to appreciate and others, in 1794, from an attempt kindred worth and talents, it would be which,' if successful, might have been difficult to say. That his friendships were atteuded with the most dangerous conse- not confined to rank is well known. We quences to the liberty of the subject, believe the late Mr. Perry, from a very ought always to be remembered with early period, to the end of his life, shared gratitude by Englishmen.
more of his regard than any individual of • Of Lord Erskiue, as a forensic orator, this metropolis, not peculiarly connected it is impossible to speak too highly. Per- with him. baps he was the most powerful Advocate It was impossible to know Lord Er. the Bar of England ever possessed. Fo. skine, and not think of him with kindreigners were particularly struck with the Peace to his memory.-Morning elegance of his manner, which was aided Chron. by & noble and commanding figure, and His remains were conseyed from Alby a voice so flexible that it lent itself mondale, on the 28th, and interred in to every shade of feeling. We remember the ancient family vault at Uphall Church. a distinguished foreigner, the Chancellor The funeral was private, the body being of a Continental University, remarks that conveyed in a hearse drawn by six horses,
which was followed only by the family threw himself forward unhesitatingly, ei, carriages and those of a few private ther to vindicate the freedom of thought friends.
and action, or to fall the victim of his His Lordship was author of many own generosity. The task he had under, works of temporary interest. His pan- taken was appalling-but his choice proq phlet entitled “ A View of the Causes ceeded from an inherent greatness of and Consequences of the present War soul, which enlarged itself in proportion with France," which appeared in 1797, as his labours and difficulties increased. had such an unprecedented sale, that His exertions were stupendous—at times forty-eight editions were printed within almost miraculous - but the cause in a few months after publication. His which he was enbarked sustained not Lordship was one of the vice-presidents only his intellectual, but also his physical of the African Institution.
strength, His powers grew with the We subjoin the character of this eni- occasions which called for their exercise, uent man from the able pen of the until, compared with those that were “ Scotsman."
near him in his own sphere, he appeared " At an early period, we have no doubt, omnipotent. Uuiting Scottish ardour and the genius that still remains in Scotland English solidity witb" Irish buoyancy and will endeavour to do justice to the genius enthusiasın, he was comparatively irre, which our country has just lost; but sistible—the envious only could pretend though by no meaus so presumptuous as that the brilliancy of his faucy oliscured to make the attempt ourselves, it would or warped his judgment. There was a be strange, as well as mean, if we could moral grandeur in his nature, which gave allow a publication to pass, after the him, it were intuitively, a perception demise of the most illustrious of our of all that was just and fitting in sentia countrymen, without adding one word to ment; and, in the conduct of an argu, the common-place expressions of regret. meut, this guide - the most iusaluable The deprivation, though it has come upon an orator can possess - never forsook us suddenly, is one which, from the course him. This favcy was pever kindled, but of nature, was contemplated as not far his moral sentiments were also awakened, distant ; and yet, we are sure, it will be aud his judgment kept on the alert; and long before it be duly appreciated, if the from this exquisite balance of his imagi. age, in its present state, be at all capa, natiou, judgment and feelings, arose the ble of appreciating what was, in the high. great superiority—the magical effects of est degree, boble aud magnanimous. It bis eloquence. But although, upon this appears to us that the public mind is theme, we could write without end; and, either sunk into apathy or has become as we do now, hurriedly and literally sordidly callous ; for the stupid, vulgar without study, we have neither time nor and half-superstitious wonder so recently limits to do more than quote a passage displayed, is only a proof of general defrom one of his own speeches. Upon gradation. But it is impossible, we should the principle on which the Attorney-Ge. imagine, that the public can, for a single veral prays sentence upon my client moment, think of having lost one who God hare mercy upon us !--instearl of was full of sympathy for all that was great standing before him iu judguient with and good, without experiencing-it must the hopes and consolations of Christians, bema return of all their hetter feelings. we must call upon the mountaips to cover There is not a bosom, certainly, that has us; for which of us can present for ow: ever been auimated with the love of li uiscient examination, a pure, unspotted berty, nor a head that has ever perceived aud faultless course ? But I bumbly eso the value of freedoin, that will not inourn pect that the benevolent Author of our over the remaios of Thomas Erskine, being will judge us as I have been pointa name incomparably and inexpressibly ing out for your example. Holding up more ennobled by the splendid exertious the great volume of our lives in his of its owyer in the great cause of huma bauds, and regarding the general scope vity, than it is by a well-won patent of of them ;-il he discovers benevolence, nobility, or than it could have been by charity and good-will to man beating in all the honours and orders which could the beart, where he alone can look ; have been heaped upon it by all the Po- if he finds that our conduct, though often tentates of Europe, The merits of Lord forced out of the path by our infirmities, Erskine are bound up with the history of has been in general well directed, his allEngland. When her laws and institutions scarching eye will assuredly never pursue were about to be laid prostrate at the us into those little corners of our lives, feet of enraged power—and when all was much less will his justice select them servile and corrupt around him—it may for punishment, without the general con. be said that he alone stood upright, and text of our existence, by which faults
may be sometimes found to have grown warm affection of all who knew his worth out of virtues, and very many of our
and high promise, which produced a deep heaviest offences to have been grafted by and lasting impression. Yet, whether human imperfections upon the best and the sun shone or the storm raged, he kindest of our affections. No, Gentle. maintained his integrity and never almen, believe me, this is not the course lowed his cousistency, political or reliof divine justice, or there is no truth in gious, to be shaken. And, looking to the gospels of heaven. If the general his life and conversation, the encouraging tenor of a mau's conduct be such as I hope is entertained, that he is now rehare represented it, he may walk through moved to that state where the changes the shadow of deathi, with all his faults and griefs of mortality are done away, about him, with as inuch cheerfulness as and to that “ rest which remaineth for in the common paths of life ; because he the people of God.” knows, that instead of a stern accuser
D. to expose before the Author of his nature those frail passages, which, like the scored matter in the book before you; Mr. Crosskey, of Lewes, and eldest
Dec. 17, at Ditchling, MARIA, wife of chequers the volume of the brightest and best-spent life, his mercy will obscure daughter of Mr. Browne, of the former them from the eye of his purity, and our place. A more striking instance of the repentance blot them out for ever.'".
transient state of man could be scarcely II. 269–271.
offered to the consideration and sympathy
of mortals. This victim of untimely November 28, at Collumpton, aged death was cut down at the age of 23, 66, William Brown, Esq. "In his fa. having been a wife only six months. mily he was kind and affectionate, and Bright and rernal were the prospects of iniuately attentive to the wants and wish of life appeared strewed with flowers.
the happy pair. The remaining journey es of those about hiin. As a mau of She possessed the universal esteem of her business and a member of society he was active, benevolent and eminently upright her relatives, and the deroted fondness
acquaintance, the warmest affection of In him poverty and distress had a kind of her husband. It would be impossible and considerate hclper and protector,
to afford a more illustrative proof of the friendship an intelligent and judicious couusellor, freeilom a steady and ener.
power of religion on the mind, iu the getic supporter, and Unitarian Christie trying hours of decay, than that which arity a consistent and zealous friend, When the bright lustre languished in her
was displayed by our departed sister. whose practice did credit to his princi. ples. In early life he attended the Es eye, it still, beamed with a saint-like pa. iablished Church, but by inquiry he be- tience and .pious resignation to the will came a Disseuter and a Unitarian, and of heaven ; on the cheek now pale, then he was one of the earliest members of From childhood she had giren her hand
hectic, sat unusual peace and composure. the Western Unitarian Society. His'attendance on public worship was regular Unitarian views and principles of religion
to religion and her heart to God. The and panctưal, and when the society with
she had imbibed and cherished, respectwhich he was connected, was without a minister, or whenever the settled minis.
ing the placability and parental character ter was either indisposed or absent, he death was about to separate her from all
of God; the consolation that, though was at hand to conduct the religious ser.
that was most dear to her on earth, in rices, in a serious and acceptable manber; an example which has obtained, and, bridal hour, yet, that all is under the
the very prime of life, and almost in the it is hoped, will still obtain, many imi. unerring direction of Infinite Wisdom and tators. He was a liberal contributor not ouly to the Unitarian Sunday School, Goodness; the retrospect of a life, which, but, also, to the school, established in though short, was well spent ; the silent the town, for the education of the poor armed death of his sling and distase of
whispers of an approving conscience, dis : generally. The respected subject of this
its pain. notice was a man of lively sensibilities,
J. D. and, as in his best days he fully partook of the rich and pure enjoyments of the family and friendly circle, so, when as- 24, at Chatham, aged 46 years, sailed by the trials and disappointments Mrs. SARAH HOSMER, wife of Mr. Daniel and sorrows of life, his feelings were HOŞMER, of Smarden, in Kent, a woman acutely painful, especially on the loss of inuch beloved and respected. Almost the an adopted and beloved nephew, [Mon. whole of her life was spent in the counRepos. XIII. 526,] who was every way try, and possessing a mind susceptible of worthy of this distinction and of the vivid impressions from surrounding ob