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came prominently forward as mover of the address to Queen
* The most distinguished man of the name, before our hero, was orator Henley, celebrated by Pope. He claimed to be related to the ancient race I have been mentioning; and they would probably have admitted the claim, if he had gained his notoriety as a General or a Judge.
Oxford. There he was entered, and began to reside, on the CHAP.
19th of November, 1724, in his seventeenth year. _
At this time Alma Mater still lay "dissolved in port," and His love of young Henley, as soon as he was matriculated, piously con- 1>ort winetractcd a great passion for that generous liquor — which adhered to him through life, and made him despise claret and all other thin potations.* He did not altogether neglect classical learning, but, without being thought at all remarkably deficient in mathematics, he only knew the difference, in general appearance, between a triangle, a circle, and a square, remaining ignorant of the most common properties of those figures. He chiefly delighted in humour and buffoonery, laying the foundation of that extraordinary collection of droll, and not very delicate, stories which gave brilliancy to his subsequent career. On the 3d of November, 1727, he was elected a fellow of All Souls, a distinction for which he was supposed to be chiefly indebted to his powers of amusement. He did not take his degree of Master of Arts till the 5 th of July, 1733.
But on the 1st of February, 1728, he was entered of the Entered of Inner Temple, and was supposed to begin his juridical studies. Temple" We are told that Murray, when he first came to town, "drank champagne with the wits," and that his classic tastes and literary attainments led him to prefer the society of scholars and men of genius to that of his professional brethren. Henley was devoted to the juice of a more powerful vintage, which, in the society he haunted, flowed in very copious streams. Though not devoid of scholarship, and
* With what delight would he have perused the panegyric upon his favourite beverage, to be found in a late article in the " Quarterly Review," on the two celebrated brothers, "Lords Stowell and Eldon." "He and Lord Eldon perfectly agreed in one great taste — if a noble thirst should be called by so finical a name — an attachment to port wine, strong almost as that to Constitution and Crown; and, indeed, a modification of the same sentiment. It is the proper beverage of a great lawyer — that, by the strength of which Blackstone wrote his Commentaries, and Sir William Grant modulated his judgments, and Lord Eldon repaired the ravages of study, and withstood the shocks of party and of time."
May I add "that, by which Serjeant Talfourd was enabled to prepare a great
argument for the Court of Common Pleas; and was inspired to write the immortal tragedy of Ion." From the fervid eloquence and poetical exaggeration of the passage, he, I suspect it is, who adds: "This sustaining, tranquillising power, is the true cement of various labours, and prompter of great thoughts!"— Q. R., No. cxlix. p. 52.
CHAP, possessing a rich fund of anecdote of a peculiar sort, his
_ 'conversation was too jovial and boisterous to be endured in
the circles where the accomplished Murray shone. Having attended the Courts in the morning, and read a little blackletter law on his return, he gave himself to "pleasure, in the way he liked it," for the rest of the day, with a few thirsty "All Souls" friends, or some congenial spirits of the Temple. The truth is, that hard drinking was at that time the ruling vice and bane of society, and Henley was not, at his early period of life, fortunate enough to escape the general contagion. He afterwards so far reformed as not to allow his love of wine very seriously to interfere with the pressing business of life, but many a severe fit of the gout was the result of his youthful indulgences. When suffering from the effects of this disease, he was once heard, in the House of Lords, to mutter, after several hobbling and painful walks, with the purse in his hand, between the woolsack and the bar, "If I had only known that these legs were one day to carry a Lord Chancellor, I'd have taken better care of them when I was a lad."
His legal However, he was a very shrewd fellow; he had an exceedstudies. ingly good head for law, and from occasional starts of application, he made much more progress than dull plodders who pore constantly over the " Year Books." Although he never could be called a scientific lawyer, he acquired a competent practical knowledge of his profession, and could get up very reputably all the learning on any particular question with He is colled which he had to deal. He was called to the bar, by the 10 the bar. Society of the Inner Temple, on the 23d of June, 1732. * Practises He began with taking a seat in the back row of the Court Kings of King's Bench, where he had long little employment but to Bench, and take notes, to crack jokes, and to arrange supper parties. Western From family connections he chose the Western Circuit, of Circuit. which he afterwards became the leader, but there his progress was very slow.
* He was afterwards admitted of Lincoln's Inn (1745), but this was only to qualify him to hold chambers. The Inner Temple was always his true Inn of Court; and he became a bencher of that society on being made a King's counsel in 1751.
He had at first a few briefs at Winchester. He showed
himself very handy in business, and displayed great skill in cross-examining witnesses, although he was sometimes sup- Hc is chal
posed to take unjustifiable liberties with them. Bishop fight a duel Newton, who was very intimate with him, as they had been ^u^ker at Westminster together, relates an aneedote of his having cross-examined a broad-brimmed saint, named Zephaniah Reeve, at Bristol, with so much raillery and effect, that the Quaker, forgetting the pacific tenets of his sect, actually sent him a message, insisting on honourable satisfaction, or an apology. Mr. Henley was by no means wanting in courage, but, sensible that he had exceeded the bounds of professional licence, and anxious to escape the ridicule of going into the field with such an antagonist, very readily adopted the latter alternative. Many years afterwards, when he was Lord Chancellor, having had a couple of pipes of Madeira consigned to him at Bristol, he remembered Zephaniah, and employed him to pay the freight and duty upon them, and forward them to the Grange. "The winter following," says the Bishop, "when the Quaker was in town, he dined at the Chancellor's with a large party of nobility and members of the House of Commons. After dinner the Chancellor related the whole story of his first acquaintance with his friend Reeve, and of every particular that had passed between them, with great good-humour and pleasantry, and to the no little diversion of the company."
In those days the smart junior barristers used to pass their His vacations at Bath, a custom not entirely left off when I first f^'" at knew the profession. Young Councillor Henley was there, the gayest of the gay, and distinguished himself among the ladies in the pump-room in the morning, as well as among the topers in the tavern at night. Here he formed a rather romantic attachment, of which, from his rattling, reckless manner, and his being a professed votary of the god, "ever fair and ever young," he was supposed to be incapable. There was at Bath, for the benefit of the waters, a very young girl of exquisite beauty, who, from illness, had lost the use of her limbs so completely that she was only able to appear in public wheeled about in a chair. She was the daughter and co
heiress of Sir John Husband, of Ipsley, in Warwickshire, who, though not " of that ilk," was the last male of a timehonoured race, whom Dugdale states to have been Lords of that manor in lineal succession from the Conquest. Henley, struck by the charms of her face, contrived to be introduced to her, when he was still more fascinated by her conversation. His admiration soon ripened into a warm and tender attachment, which he had reason to hope was reciprocal. But it seemed as if he had fallen in love with a Peri, and that he must for ever be contented with sighing and worshipping at her shrine—when suddenly the waters produced so effectual and complete a cure, that Miss Husband was enabled to comply with the custom of the place by hanging up her votive crutches to the nymph of the spring, and to dance the "minuet de la cour" at the lower rooms with her lover. Soon after, with the full consent of her family, she gave her hand to the suitor who had so sedulously attended her. To the end of a long life she continued to enjoy a most perfect state of health, and their affection remaining unabated, she gave him that first of human blessings, a serene and happy home. The marriage ceremony was performed by his school-fellow, Bishop Newton,—of which that prelate in his Memoirs, has the following agreeable recollection: "It happened that he and his lady were married by Mr. Newton, at the chapel in South Audley Street, at which time they were a very handsome couple. Several years afterwards Mr. Newton went one day into Lincon's Inn Hall while the Court was sitting, to speak with Mr. Murray on some business,— Mr. Henley being next to him, and reading a brief. When he had despatched his business, and was coming away, 'What,' said Mr. Murray to Henley, 'have you forgotten your old friend Newton, or have you never forgiven the great injury that he did you?' Upon which he started as out of a dream, and was wonderfully gracious to his old schoolfellow, acknowledging that he owed all his happiness in life to him. And, indeed, he had good reason to be happy in his wife and family."*
* Newt. Mem.