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CHAP- attempt to render proceedings in the Court of Chancery cheaper or more expeditious, or to improve any of our in-
stitutions, no peculiar blame is to be imputed to him, for he
lived at a time where the system of optimism, graced by the
inimitable Commentaries of Blaekstone, prevailed in West-
minster Hall, and half a century elapsed before it was
doubted that appearance to a subpoena in Chancery must
neeessarily be enforced by a commission of rebellion—that
by the eternal constitution of things, Common Law actions
must be commenced by latitat, capias, or quo minus,—or that
fraud and trifling violations of property must be checked by
the multiplication of capital punishments.
His enjoy- Lord Northington is said to have kept up his acquaintance
"unti- with the Greek and Latin classics, and to have shown some
acquaintance with Hebrew. He was singularly unskilled in the
composition of English. Indeed, I can discover in him no
love of literature, and I should conjecture that when he had
got through his offieial labours he devoted himself to con-
vivial enjoyment or the common gossip of vulgar life. He
not only never aimed at authorship, but I do not find that,
like Camden, Thurlow, or Wedderbum, he associated with
literary jaoen or with artists.
His stories. His great delight was to find himself in a circle of lawyers,
or common-place politicians, and to indulge in boisterous
mirth and coarse jocularity. He seems himself to have pos-
sessed a rich fund of humour. Many of his sayings and
stories used to be repeated by young students, when

'Twas merry in the ball,
And beards wagged all,

but would not be found suited to the more refined taste of His habit the present age. * He likewise indulged in a bad habit which ing.Wear seems to have been formerly very general, and which I recollect when it was expiring — of interlarding conversation with oaths and imprecations as intensitives — even without any anger or excitement. HU mo- But in spite of these faults into which he was led by the pUty. a°d fashion of the times, he was a strictly moral, and even a religious man. He continued to live on terms of the utmost

• I cannot even relate his compliment to the capacity of Lady Northington, or to the bright eyes of his daughter, Lady Bridget.

affection and harmony with his wife, and he composed two CHAP,

beautiful prayers for her use — one soon after their marriage, ( XLT' and the other on the birth of their second child — proofs of Jus piety and tenderness, which she regarded with enthu

2, till the last hour of her existence. In all the domestic Amiable in relations he deserves high commendation. He was parti- i;fe. cularly attached to his daughter — Lady Bridget, who, with the most perfect feminine delicacy, inherited his powers of humour, and was celebrated for sprightliness of repartee, as well as for her beauty. She was in the habit of reading for her father, and it is said that she could even extract amusement for the gay society in which she mixed, out of bills, answers, and affidavits; but this must have been in ridiculing the proceedings of the Court, and all concerned with them.

Lord Northington, in his person, was a remarkably hand- His person, some man—of the middle size—rather thin—but till crippled by the gout, very active and atldetic. His portrait, by Hudson, gives him a very agreeable expression of countenance, and represents him, when on the woolsack, with a complexion still fresh and rosy, instead of being, like most of those who have reached this painful elevation, of the colour of the parchment they have pored upon — or like Mr. Surrebutter's, in the Pleader's Guide, with

, "A certain tinge of copper

Quite professional and proper."*

He enjoyed the lawyer's blessing, a large family — his wife His dehaving brought him eight children, three sons and five daugh- sceiulantsters. Only one son survived him, Robert, the second Earl, who was at an early age elected one of the members for Hampshire, and continued to represent that county till his father's death. He was a great personal friend and political associate of Charles James Fox, and when the coalition ministry was formed in 1783, he was sent as Lord Lieutenant to Ireland, with Mr. Wyndham for Secretary. He is said to have been likely to have succeeded well in this post from the frankness and popularity of his manners, as well as his good

* Pleader's Guide, Part 1. Lecture vi.

CHAP, sense and firmness, but he was soon removed from it by the

ascendency of the younger Pitt. * He afterwards died at

Paris, on his return from Italy, in July, 1786, and having never been married, the title became extinct. f His pre- The daughters all formed high alliances, but they all died

sent roDT6- a

sentatiTe. without issue, except Lady Elizabeth, married to the eminent diplomatist, Sir Morton Eden, afterwards raised to the Irish peerage by the title of Lord Henley,— whose son, my most valued friend, was the editor of Lord Northington's judgments, and who, having married a lady adorned with every grace and virtue, the sister of Sir Robert Peel, left by her a son, the present Lord Henley, — the representative of his great-grandfather, the Lord Chancellor.

* Preface to Eden's " Reports," xxix. Henley's " Life of Lord Northington," 62—64.

f The epitaph says, that " he was nominated in Mocclxxxiv to the arduous and distinguished station of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland: where, in times very difficult, he manifested such talents, assiduity, and firmness, as conciliated the love and respect of the nation over which he presided, and gained him the approbation and esteem of his sovereign and his country."



I Now enter on a most pleasing task. The subject of the Chap.
following memoir was one of the brightest ornaments of my CXLIl-
profession, and of my party, for I glory like him in the Great
name of Whig, although, I hope, I have never been reluctant merits of
to point out the errors of Whigs, or to praise Tory talent, ^rd Cam"
honour, and consistency. From some of the opinions of Lord
Camden I must differ, and I cannot always defend his con-
duct ; but he was a profound jurist, and an enlightened states-
man,—his character was stainless in public and in private life,
— when raised to elevated station, he continued true to the
principles which he had early avowed, — when transferred to
the House of Peers, he enhanced his fame as an assertor of
popular privileges, — when an Ex-chancellor, by a steady
co-operation with his former political associates, he conferred
greater benefits on his country, and had a still greater share
of public admiration and esteem, than while he presided on
the woolsack, — when the prejudices of the Sovereign and of
the people of England produced civil war, his advice would
have preserved the integrity of the empire—when America,
by wanton oppression, was for ever lost to us, his efforts mainly
contributed to the pacification with the new republic,— and
Englishmen, to the latest generations, will honour^s name
for having secured personal freedom, by putjhng anSnd to
arbitrary arrests under general warrants, for having established
the constitutional rights of juries, and for haviirg placed on
an imperishable basis the liberty of the press. •? *

Charles Pratt, afterwards Lord Chancellor and Earl Cam- His family, den, was descended from a respectable gentleman's family that had been long settled at Careswell Priory, near Collumpton, in Devonshire. The first distinguished member of it was

CHAP, his father. Sir John Pratt, who was an eminent barrister in


the reigns of William III. and Queen Anne,—gained con

Lord Chief siderable reputation by supporting the Whigs in the House PrattThis of Commons as representative for Midhurst, — at the acfather. cession of George I. was appointed a puisne Judge of the King's Bench, and in 1718 succeeded Lord Macclesfield as Chief Justice of that Court. The most famous decision in his time was respecting the right of a widow who had married a foreigner to claim parochial relief after his death from the parish in which she was born—thus reported in Sir James Burrow:

"A woman having a settlement
Married a man with none,
The question was, he being dead,
If what she had was gone?

'• Quoth Sir John Pratt, the settlement
Suspended did remain
Living the husband, but him dead,
It doth revive again"

Chorut of puittu Judges. "but him dead,

It doth revive again."*

He likewise drew upon himself a great share of public attention by the able manner in which he conducted the trial of the famous Christopher Layer for high treason f, and by his decided opinion in favour of George I. respecting the Sovereign's control over the education and marriage of his grandchildren. J

Birth of He was twice married, and had a very numerous family.

PrattTM Charles was the third son by the second wife, daughter of the Reverend Hugh Wilson, a canon of Bangor, and was born in the last year of the reign of Queen Anne. Of his boyhood little is recorded, except that, from his quickness and love of reading, he was considered a lad of promise, and that, from his cheerful and affectionate temper, he was a great favourite among his companions.

When only ten years old, he had the misfortune to lose his father; but this was probably the remote cause of his future eminence. While he was studying the law, and

• Burr. Sett. Cas.; Bum's Just. til. " Settlement." f 16 St Tr. 93.

\ 15 St. Tr. 1195.

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