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country, having presided in this Court near twenty years CI*AJ'.
without a single decree having been reversed, either in the
whole or any part of it; an infallibility which, in no other instance, was ever the lot of humanity." *
The Earl of Chesterfield thus mediates between them, and pronounces sentence for posterity: —
"Lord Hardwicke was perhaps the greatest magistrate Lord this country ever had. He presided in the Court of Chancery Jjjj}"ter" above twenty years f, and in all that time none of his decrees were ever reversed, or the justness of them questioned. Though avarice was his ruling passion, he was never in the least suspected of any kind of corruption — a rare and meritorious instance of virtue and self-denial under the influence of such a craving, insatiable, and increasing passion. He was an agreeable, eloquent speaker in parliament, but not without some little tincture of the pleader. He was a cheerful, instructive companion, humane in his nature, decent in his manners, unstained by any vice (avarice excepted) — a very great magistrate, but by no means a great minister."
His marriage with the young widow turned out most His marauspiciously. They continued to old age tenderly attached n'appy. to each other. She contributed not only to his happiness, but to his greatness. "She often humorously laid claim Character (as she had good right to do) to so much of the merit of Ha^d.y Lord Hardwicke's being a good Chancellor, in that his wickcthoughts and attention were never taken from the business of the Court by the private concerns of his family, — the care of which, the management of his money matters, the settling all accounts with stewards and others, and above all, the education of his children, had been wholly her department and concern, without any interposition of his, farther than implicit acquiescence and entire approbation." J She was supposed to be very stingy, and foolish stories were circulated to annoy her; but "she would often smile at hearing of the cold chine being turned and found bare, of the potted sawdust to represent lamprey, and of the want of Dr.
* Observations on Statutes, 325. f Not quite correct,
f Cooksey, 34.; lb. 40.
CHAP. Mead's kitchen * to be added to Poitris House, and only
observe that, uncertain as was the time of Lord Chancellor's
dining, and the company that would attend him; yet if it should happen that he brought with him an ambassador or person of the highest rank, he never found a dinner or supper to be ashamed of." Absurd We may judge of the malicious turn given to her domestic against her. arrangements, however deserving of praise, by the charge against her of stealing the purse in which the Great Seal was kept, to make a counterpane. The truth is, that this purse, highly decorated with the royal arms and other devices,— by ancient custom, is annually renewed, and is the perquisite of the Lord Chancellor for the time being, if he chooses to claim it. Lady Hardwicke, availing herself of this custom, caused the purse, with its decorations, to be put as embroidery on a large piece of rich crimson velvet, corresponding to the height of one of the state rooms at Wimple. These purses, just twenty in number, complete the hangings of the room, and the curtains of a bed, singularly magnificent. She, therefore, in reality, only prepared a characteristic and proud heir-loom to be handed down to commemorate the founder of the family, f H|s^ Lord and Lady Hardwicke had seven children, five sons
and two daughters, who all grew up, and flourished. Philip, the eldest son, married Jemima Campbell Marchioness Grey, only daughter of John Earl of Breadalbane, and granddaughter and heiress of the Duke of Kent, who obtained for her a remainder of his marquisate. This Philip, who became the second Earl of Hardwicke, was a man of letters, and an excellent politician, continuing always a steady adherent of the Rockingham party. Of the accomplished and high-spirited Charles, the second son, it will be my duty to give a separate memoir, as he held the Great Seal of England. Joseph, the third son, being for many years ambassador to the States General, was raised to the
• "Oft would he go when summer suns prevail,
To taste the coolness of his kitchen's gale." f Cooksey, 39.
peerage by the title of Lord Dover. John, the fourth son CHAP.
was not inferior in learning or abilities to any of his brothers,
but preferred a private station with the enjoyment of several lucrative sinecures conferred upon him by his father. James, the youngest son, was made Bishop of Ely. The eldest daughter, having become Lady Anson, and the youngest Lady Heathcote, are said to have been distinguished ornaments of the court of George II. — The Chancellor is now His present worthily represented by his great-grandson, the present ^eresenta" gallant Earl of Hardwicke.*
* Grandeur of the law, p. 66.
LIFE OF LORD CHANCELLOR NORTHINGTON FROM: HIS BIRTH TILL
CHAP. My next Chancellor I cannot place in the first rank as a
lawyer or a statesman; but he is not despicable in either
Glance at capacity, and he is a memorable personage in the history of
and history the Great Seal, as he held it nine years, in two reigns *, and
of Lord during the whole of four administrations,—the last of which
Northing- , , , .
ton. he overturned. j
IIU family. Robert Henley (afterwards Lord Keeper, Lord Chancellor, Baron Henley, and Earl of Northington), was descended from the ancient family of "Henley of that ilk," in Somersetshire. J In 1660, the elder branch was advanced to the dignity of the baronetage. Before then, a cadet following the law as a profession, had filled the lucrative situation of "Master of the Court of King's Bench on the Plea Side,"— from the profits of which he left to his family a landed estate of 3000/. a year. He acquired the Grange in Hampshire, which, when afterwards in the possession of his descendant, Horace Walpole speaks of with so much admiration. The house was built for the worthy taxer of costs, when he had become Sir Robert Henley, Knight, by Inigo Jones—presenting a hall and staircase which the world was called upon to admire as " beautiful models of the purest and most classic antiquity." §
* George II. George III.
f Mr. Pitt's, Lord Bute's, Duke of Bedford's, Marquis of Rockingham's.
I t. e. Taking their surname from the name of a territorial possession belonging to them, when surnames first began. Our surnames are chiefly derived from this origin, or from personal peculiarities,— from trades and employments, or from the Christian name of the father or mother. Of these, the first class is the most aristocratic, denoting a descent from an ancient baron, or, at least, the Lord of a manor.
§ Lord Henley says, "The critic, however, was, I suspect, misled by the respect due to the name of Jones. The current testimony of all who remember it as it then was, represents it, notwithstanding the merit of individual parts, as, upon the whole, a heavy and gloomy structure, utterly unworthy of the great ar
His son Robert sat in parliament for the borough of CHAP. Andover, without acquiring much distinction; but the name _____ of his grandson, Anthony, one of the politest and most accomplished men of his day, frequently occurs in the memoirs and correspondence of the reign of Queen Anne.
Having distinguished himself at Oxford by an early relish His father, for literature, and the great refinement and elegance of his manners, on removing to London he was admitted into the society and friendship of the first wits of the time. He was intimate with the Earls of Dorset and Sunderland, and with Swift, Pope, and Arbuthnot. "It was thought strange," says his biographer, "as every one knew what a secret influence he had on affairs in King William's Court, that he who had a genius for any thing great as well as any thing gay, did not rise in the state, where he would have shone as a politician no less than he did at Will's and Tom's as a wit. But the Muses and pleasantry had engaged him. He had something of the character of Tibullus, and, except his extravagance, was possessed of all his other qualities — his indolence, his gallantry, his wit, his humanity, his generosity, his learning, his taste for letters. There was hardly a contemporary author that did not experience his bounty." * Garth's " Dispensary" was dedicated to him, and some even ascribed to him the authorship of that poem, f He certainly was a contributor to the "Tatler." He first served in the House of Commons for Andover, and afterwards till his death for Weymouth and Melcombe Regis. He was a strong Whig, and on one occasion
chitect."—Life of Lord Northington, p. 5. It is related, that Lord Chancellor Northington, expecting a visit here from George III. and Queen Charlotte, cautioned his daughters against telling their Majesties that the house had been built by " Isoigo Jokss."
The Grange was sold by the second Earl of Northington to Mr. Drummond, and is now the property of Lord Ashburton. But the house has been rebuilt in a most sumptuous style, and not a vestige of the original structure remains.
• Memoirs of Persons who died in 1711. 8vo. 1712.
f There is not much resemblance of character between the father and the son, if there was any truth in the language of this Dedication: "A man of your character can no more prevent a dedication than he would encourage one; for merit, like a virgin's blushes, is still most discovered when it labours most to be concealed. Rather than violate your modesty, I must be wanting to your other virtues; and to gratify one good quality, do wrong to a thousand." The Chancellor, through life, was more remarkable for his brass, than for his blushes.