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in Southwark, walked Mr. Recorder Sir Peter King, who delivered a loyal and eloquent address (which must have appeared gibberish to the royal ear), hailing the happy arrival of a great Protestant Prince, who was to secure to us our religion and liberties, and, putting an end to all discord, was to make commerce, literature, and the arts for ever flourish among us. As Madame von Schulenburg and the Baroness Keilmansegge did not make their appearance for a few weeks, and the other Hanoverians who afterwards declared that they had come “for all our goods were still kept in the back ground, not yet beginning the sale of offices or honours,-all at first went smoothly. Lord Cowper, having the Great Seal restored to him, was required to submit to his Majesty a projet for the settlement of Westminster Hall, the unlimited power being still exercised of removing Judges on a demise of the Crown. Part of the recommendation was that Lord Trevor, a good lawyer and a man of fair character, but a violent Tory, who had been one of Anne's batch of twelve Peers, should be replaced, as Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, by Sir Peter King. His Majesty, who hardly knew the difference between the office of Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and Lord Mayor of London, of course graciously assented."
CONTINUATION OF THE LIFE OF LORD KING TILL HE WAS MADE LORD
When this change on the bench of the Court of Common Pleas
had been publicly announced, and before it bad
formally taken place, the Chief-Justice-elect received the following magnanimous epistle from his falling predecessor:
“Bromham, Oct. 12, 1714. “Sir, “I am informed it is his Majesty's pleasure to remove me from my office of Ch. Justice of the Co. Pleas, and to confer the same upon you
8" And chattels, too," was the reply.
Ante, vol. v. p. 294.
CONGRATULATIONS ON HIS PROMOTION.
—which I heartily wish you joy of, and am glad to see it placed in a person so worthy and much more capable to discharge the duty of it than myself. I am desired by an old servant, who hath served me very faithfully when I was Attor. Gent. and Ch. Justice, as Clerk of the fines, to recommend him to you; and I desire the favour of you that you will be pleased to employ him as your Clerk in that employment, or as Cryer, if you are not engaged. I am confident you will find him a very good servant. His name is Bryan Whealon. In doing which
When the appointment had taken place, thus was he congratulated by Majendie, a distinguished refugee Huguenot minister, to whom he had shown great kindness :
“ d’Exeter, le 9e de Mai 1715. “Mylord, “C'est avec un plaisir inexprimable que je mets ce noble titre au frontispice de cette lettre, et que je vous félicite de tout mon cæur, de ce qu'aprez vous avoir élevé à la dignité de Premier Juge dans un des premiers Barreaux de ce Roïaume, sa Majesté vous a approaché de son auguste persone et vous a admis au nombre de ses Conseillers, digne comme vous l'êtes d'y occuper le premier rang, auquel je ne désespère pas de vous voir un jour arriver ; digne, dis-je, nonseule par votre vaste savoir, par votre pénétration, et par les qualities extraordinaires de votre esprit; mais encore par votre probité, par votre piété, et par la droiture de votre cour.
“Ah! certes c'est à présent que nous avons sujet d'espérer la réformation des mæurs, et l'avance de l'intérêt Protestant dans la Grande Bretagne, puisque nous avons dans le Conseil des personnes d'une piété si eminente, et qui ont si fort à cæur les intérêts de la gloire de Dieu, et du salut des âmes. Bénit soit Dieu qui a élevé, come sur une haute montagne, un si éclatant flambeau, affin que sa belle lumière resplend:t encore d'avantage, et fût salutaire à un plus grand nombre de persones. Mais je ne remarque pas que suivant les mouvemens de joie et d'admiration dont mon âme se sent ravie, je pourrois, Mylord, vous ennuyer par mes lignes peu correctes, choquer votre modestie et vous faire perdre des moments qui vous sont chers, et que vous donnez à des affaires tout autret importantes."
Sir Peter King enjoyed the dignity of Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas for a period of eleven years, and he is universally allowed unqualified praise as a Common Law Judge. To great learning in his profession and strict impartiality, he added considerable quickness of perception, immense industry
and inexhaustible patience in listening to the drowsy serjeants who practised before him. His judgments, as handed down to us in the Reports, are marked by precision of definition, subtlety of distinction, breadth of principle, lucidness of arrangement, and felicity of illustration, his copious authorities being brought forward to fortify, not to overlay, his reasoning."
Criminal business being excluded from the Common Pleas, and the cases there, during his time, turning chiefly upon the law of real property, his decisions in his own court could not be made interesting or intelligible to the general reader. But he was occasionally called upon to act judicially in other tribunals,—to which we may follow him with some chance of useful instruction.
After the suppression of the rebellion of 1715, Lord Chief Justice King presided at the trial of the rebels, who, being commoners, were brought before a jury. His report of the convictions to the Secretary of State is curious, and I give a few extracts from it, showing his humane desire to save those who, from mistaken loyalty, had forfeited their lives to the law:
“ James Home, alias Hume, was found guilty of levying war in ihe county of Lancaster. The evidence against him was plain and clear, that he came with the rebels from Scotland, and marched with them to Lancaster and Preston ; and it was not much gainsay'd by his counsel, but their principal defence for him was that his understanding was so low and weak as made him incapable of committing high treason, and several witnesses were produced for that purpose. The jury believed him to be a weak man, but not so weak as to excuse him from the commission of high treason. It did appear from his behaviour at the trial, and from the evidence given, that he is a very weak foolish man, of a very low understanding, and my humble opinion is that he is a proper object for his Majesty's grace and favour. He hath not yet received sentence. Whether his Majesty will be pleased to extend his favour by a nolle prosequi before sentence, or by a pardon after sentence, I humbly submit.”
u There was a laboured eulogy upon him acquitted bimself in his high office to the uniin the forty-ninth number of the True Briton, versal satisfaction of both parties, contrary said to be from the pen of Duke Wharton. to the expectations of the one, and even beThe writer, after pointing out the peril to yond the hopes of the other. And if he had which he was exposed in being compared not been a prodigy of learning and wisdom, with his predecessor Trevor, and with Cowit would hardly have been possible for him per now Lord Chancellor, says, “ Yet, under to surmount so many disadvantages, and to all these difficulties, which would have over appear in the same illustrious light as my whelmed another, with the eyes of all the Lord Trevor.” kingdom upon him, hath this truly great man
HIS REPORT OF CONVICTED REBELS.
George Gibson was tried on an indictment for levying war in the county of Northumberland. He was a tenant and servant of the late Lord Derwentwater-went with the Northumberland rebels to Kelso, and there joined the Scotch rebels—from thence came to Jedburghfrom thence came to his own house in Northumberland-from thence returned to the rebels in Scotland and came along with them to Preston, where he was taken with the rest. The jury without going from the bar found him guilty. He hath since sent me a petition to his Majesty, which is enclosed, alleging that he endeavoured several times to escape, and a certificate of his good behaviour, signed by several of his neighbours. It did not appear on his trial that he had used any acts of violence to his Majesty's subjects, but some instances were proved of his humanity to them. John Windraham was tried for high treason in levying war at Kelso, in the county of Tiviotdale. There were three witnesses produced against him, whereof one was rather a witness for him, and of the other two one proved him to be, together with several rebels, in a public coffee-house at Kelso, and the other proved that he was quartered at the minister's house in Kelso, where the witness and two other rebels were also quartered; that he saw him dismount his horse at the minister's house-had sword, pistols, and jack boots--dined with him twice or thrice there—that he was not under any restraint, and that he saw him several times afterwards among the rebel horse. George Home, of Wedderburn, was tried for levying war at Perth, in the county of Cumberland. The evidence against him was, that he was seen amongst the rebels, at a place called Armfeth Bridge, where the rebels staying to refresh themselves, niost of the gentlemen alighted off their horses and gave them to their servants to lead whilst they stood all together in a close eating and drinking among which number was the prisoner, who came from thence with the rebels, and a little beyond the bridge was seen in company with them on horseback.” [The report having then detailed similar evidence against George Home, of Whitfield, goes on to say,] “ The defence of these three prisoners was that they were brought into the rebels by force, and continued under force till the surrender of Preston. Upon the whole, the several juries, after consideration, found them all guilty ; but inasmuch as the evidence was contradictory and doubtful, and one of the King's witnesses proved part of the prisoner's defence, I humbly submit whether these three persons may not be proper objects for his Majesty's mercy with respect to their
Among the convicts was a Jacobite parson, who had not only attended the rebels as their chaplain, but had nestly exhorted them to march into England, for the purpose of dethroning the usurper George. Deep horror was excited among the clergy by the prospect of a priest, apostolically ordained, suffering the ignominious and cruel sentence pro
* MS. Report, dated 13th Jan, 1716.
nounced upon traitors—especially as the great bulk of rectors and curates fully participated his sentiments. A representation upon the subject was made to the bishops, who, although all professing to be well inclined to the Protestant succession, had among them hankerers after the exiled family, and were all sincerely animated, not only by the esprit de corps, but by genuine feelings of mercy. Accordingly Wake, the Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote the following letter to Lord Chief Justice King,—which would perhaps be a little censured for the levity of its tone, as not quite suitable to the solemnity of the occasion, if it did not proceed from the pen of the Primate of all England :
“July 5, 1716. "My Lord, “I am desired by all my brethren, the bishops in town, who were to wait upon the King this morning, to recommend to your Lordship the case of an unfortunate brother of ours, Mr. Paul, who, they tell me, was arraigned and convicted before your Lordship.
" That he deserves to be hanged we all agree; and if all others be hanged who deserve it as well as he, we have nothing to say. But if others of the laity be spared, who are under the same circumstances, we hope this poor man shall not be made an example—merely for his office sake, and because he is a clergyman.
“We are told that a great deal depends upon the report which the Judges make of those whom they try. We hope your Lordship will be so good as to report his case as favourably as you justly can, and whatever you shall please further to do for him, as he is an unworthy brother of the order, we shall all thankfully acknowledge to you. I am,
"My Lord, your Lordship's
In the year 1719, Lord Chief Justice King presided during
a trial at the Old Bailey, which shows the extreme
severity to which, from the multiplied plots to bring in the Pretender, the Government thought it necessary to proceed against the Jacobites. An act had passed in the reign of Queen Anne, to make it high treason maliciously and advisedly to assert that the Pretender had a right to the throne ; but it had been treated as a dead letter— till now that John Matthews, a printer, nineteen years of age, was indicted upon it for printing a pamphlet, entitled “Ex ore tuo te judico, vox populi, vox Dei," in which the writer somewhat jocularly contended that all parties should now acknowledge the Pre