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THE LIFE OF LORD CAMDEN.
CHAP. ^T nas often been stated that George Hardinge, the Welsh Judge, who was a CXLVIII. nePnew of Lord Chancellor Camden, had written a Life of that great man, and collected for publication his speeches and judgments. While the preceding ~~Memoir was going through the press, the present Marquis Camden has disGeorge covered, and kindly communicated to me, all that had been accomplished, Hardinge's or at least all that remains of this undertaking. The very lively and ingenious, Life of but rather eccentric and irregular, George Hardinge, famous for his solution Lord Cam- of the American question, by showing that "all Americans were representden. ed in parliament by the Members for Kent, the lands of the United States
being held of the Crown as of the Manor of Greenwich," — had seriously entered on this task, and had composed a " Table of Contents" from which he was to begin the work, and likewise a " Preface," as if he had finished it. These I give in extento, and they will be found very curious. As to completing his plan, he seems to have proceeded raptim et gparaim. But several detached parts of the work which I subjoin are exceedingly graphic and interesting, and I strongly recommend them to the notice of the reader. — The judgment in Shipley's case, though perhaps rather too highly praised, is likewise well deserving of perusal.
"Lord Camden's birth.
— his father's death.
bis entrance into Eton College.
his election into King's College.
formed his classical taste at these two colleges.
It never changed.
— an elegant simplicity
The accident at King's, which gave birth
to the political habit 1 Q^ ^
leagued in a deadly feud J °
Not a hard student — but rather a cursory than a superficial reader. He
read with genius.
— applied with reluctance to the law.
fond of convivial habits and convivial talents.
— but abstaining from vice. CHAP.
read, as before, at broken intervals. CXLVIII.
early and late made a rule of turning rules into their principles. --__—_—
formed an acquaintance
with Hawkins Brown
and with Henry Fielding. Short character of both as given by him.
became intimate with Lord Northington, who took a fancy to him.
called to the bar.
—— very little business. hated it.
—— was often going to leave it. Davis's poem to him — prophetic.
— Western Circuit
writes a Law Essay in 1745.
A most ingenious performance — recovered and republished by me. 1752. Writes a pamphlet in favour of the Jew Bill — a very admirable work.
upon the Western Circuit recommended and pushed by Lord Northington.*
made a King's Counsel.
— acquired great fame in Oxfordshire election. high in repute.
tempted into the Court of Chancery, at a risk.
Lord Hardwicke used him ill. would not hear him.
in 1757 upon the verge of ruin (from this ill treatment).
rescued by two miracles:
1. The resignation of Lord Hardwicke.
2. Lord Chatham's passion for him.
his veneration for Lord Hardwicke.
The visit paid by Lord Chatham.
opens all his great principles.
makes him his Attorney General.
puts him over Charles Yorke's head.
Lord Chatham's character described.
instances of his integrity.
of his high spirit,
and zeal for liberty.
his memorable exertions to improve the Habeas Corpus, f
his declaration that the jury were judges of the libel —
before Ld. Md. who held the opposite opinion, but surrendered it in fact,
though not in words, upon the next occasion.
He is made C. Justice by force — his words upon it.
The good fortune of that change, and its wonderful effect upon his future character. §
would have been lost under the shade of Lord Chatham but for this.
Wilkes and general warrants. ||
* This is the earliest part of the MS. which has been preserved.
f p. 360. ) p. 360. § p. 361. J p. 361.
CHAP. his judgment on the seizure of papers.
CXLVIII. his argument in the House of Peers on a famous cause.
conflict between Lord Hardwicke and him.
character of Judge Gould.
gives judgment upon a very curious point against Lord Md.
his opinion as to General Warrants — confirmed at Iast by Ld. Md.
his refusal to give new trials, and the consistency of it proved.
a popular character — Freedoms and gold boxes.*
made a Peer by the Rockinghams.
whence not partial to Lord Chatham.
The Rockinghams not very partial to Lord Chatham or to the new Peer.
His eloquence and spirit upon the right of taxing America — which he disputes in two capital speeches.
One of them recovered, and published by me.
in a fiction.
He continues to support the Americans. He never deserts them.
His personal regard for the Duke of Grafton.
It never is impaired.
by Lord Temple.
His eloquent speech upon the East Tndia dividend.
Ld. C"'' wonderful display of talent in the Douglas cause. ||
His bar. S
His character and style of speaking.
turns himself out upon the Midd. election.
becomes a powerful champion for America.
His eloquence and abilities on the subject of literary property.
1772. Another attack upon Lord Md. as to the right of juries over the libel.
a debate upon it in the House of Commons. Lord Md. victorious.
Ld. Chatham's death.
Lord C"'* warning voice neglected,
till it was too late.
* p. 361.
•f- This alludes to the legality of infringing an act of parliament and thi "forty days' tyranny."
i p. 362. § p. 363. || p. 363. 5 p 363.
made Pres' of the Council again.
His opinion of Mr. Pitt.
His wonderful powers at the Board of Privy Council.
At the age of 77 he makes as brilliant a speech as ever he made in his life in support of the bill.
His able statement of the Regency measures.
— his change of political sentiments.
— his opinion respecting Dumourier. Sketch of his domestic life and character." *
"Personal gratitude and personal afTection to the Good and Great who have closed their scene upon earth, are elevated sentiments. They are debts of honour to the departed spirit.
*' But there is a third party in the contrast whose claim is imperious upon attachments like these. A public interest is at stake in the example, and calls upon the historian, who had the most familiar access to it, for a living resemblance to the character of the portrait.
u There is a delicacy and pride in esteem when challenged by the eloquent appeal of departed genius and virtue. Nothing is more injurious to its honour than a lavish intemperance of praise.
"But a delight in calling back to the world a favourite character may surely be indulged without prejudice to the discipline of conscience and of religious truth. For ' what is true fame ' (to borrow an image from the most eloquent of men) 'but in the consenting judgment of honest men? It is their answer to virtue, and like that of an echo to the voice, it is animated by the impression it repeats.'
"To this memorial of Earl Camden's life I am impelled by two co-operating motives — by a sense of love to him, and by a demand of the public interest. Aware of my own peril in the effort, I overcome the fear, and sustain it by a reflection that I could not, as an honest man, decline a task imposed by the union of two such claims upon me.
"This favourite of his country and of its proudest honours, conferred upon me good offices of a nature truly parental. He conferred them with all the generous prejudices and vigilant attentions of the duty thus adopted and self-imposed.
"But in course of time his predilections ripened into confidence. He indulged me with his familiar habits.
"Upon most of the leading events in his powerful career through the world, he unveiled himself to me with all that simplicity of character which formed so engaging a part of his nature.
"He was a man who hated falsehood, and who had contempt for the miscalculated vanity of self-importance.
'« The notices therefore imparted by him to me arc so far memorable that in them is to be found the whisper (if it must not be called a soliloquy) of a discerning and most ingenuous mind overheard in the bosom of retirement."
Fragments Of The Life or Lord Camden, Ry George Hardinge,
«' At an early period he formed an acquaintance, and friendly as well as plea- His acsant intercourse, with Mr. Henley, afterwards Earl of Northington, who, quaintance
* It is very gratifying to me to find that my Memoir omits so few of the topics above enumerated, and that George Hardinge, as far as he goes, corroborates my statements.
as I often heard him say, was the most practical and generous friend of bis youthful ambition — recommended him upon the circuit when he was at the head of it, and upon one occasion transferred all his briefs to him, either disabled by illness, or called away for some higher demand upon his professional talents. It has been told another way —that all the eminent counsel had been pre-engaged on one side, and that upon a complaint by the adversaries to Mr. Henley, who had the lead, he said, ' Why don't you go to young Pratt?' 'Who is he?' cried the attorney. 'What signifies who he is? take him,' said Henley, 'and see what you can make of him.' I never heard him state the particulars from him, as he had a contempt for such anecdotes; but he has in general told me that he was for a long time very poor, very obscure, and very little employed.'
He never derived the least advantage from the distinguished repute of his father. "It was not worth a guinea to me, that I can recollect," were his own words.
"From the time he was thoroughly known his advancement at the bar was rapid. He was counsel in the Chippenham election, which gave a death-blow to Sir Robert Walpole as the Minister; and Lord C. often described the political incidents which accompanied that event in a very entertaining manner.
"His opinion was congenial to that of Milton, as an advocate for the unlicensed press; and that Government should see how they demeaned themselves."
After referring to the bill to amend the Habeas Corpus act, introduced in 1758, the author says: "The Attorney General, who had prompted this measure, voted and spoke as an advocate, for its reception, with eloquence and spirit. The bill was rejected in the House of Peers. Proud was the day for Britain which attested the unexampled phenomenon of the Minister and of his Attorney General holding up and spreading their shield over the rights of the subject against even a contingent abuse of the executive power, in opposition to a majority of the Cabinet . 1 am not aware that, except on this one occasion, he ever spoke in the House of Commons; and I know his opinion to be, that an Attorney General ought rather to be reserved than forward in political debates, unless where great principles of the constitution are implicated."
In giving the history of the passing of the Libel Bill, he says: "I shall never cease to lament that I did not personally hear this parting voice of his gifted and superior mind. But I perfectly remember that, before the bill passed, I was in the House of Peers when Lord Thurlow (no every-day's adversary) asked of him, from the woolsack, to agree to some amendment in the title or preamble of the bill. His answer was, in perfect good-humour, 'No, 1 thank you, my Lord. You may conquer me, if you can; but I will never capitulate. 'Intcntum animum tanquam arcum habuit; nec senectuti succubuit. ;I remember that when the question was put, Lord Thurlow said, ' I am afraid the Contents have it.'
"One salutary consequence has followed from the bill. Instead of a disgraceful squabble and captious warfare between the Judge and the juries, they have gone hand in hand for the punishment of libellers."
"I have heard Lord Camden say, that he felt himself responsible, in the office of Attorney General, to the public as well as to the Ministers, and that he never prosecuted, or countermanded prosecution, or signed a warrant, if it was not the act of his own advice and judgment, by which he was ready and willing to abide, instead of throwing it off, and shifting it upon the Government; that he interposed himself as a judicial officer between the executive Government and the subject; that he acted as a kind of referee, accountable to both parties, by a tacit compact, for a sound and virtuous exercise of discretion; that he had made this point with Lord Chatham at their first interview; that he commended him for making it, and assured him of support, adding these memorable words: < You shall not fight single-handed.'
"He refused obedience to the warrant from the Board of Treasury, directing him to countermand farther prosecution. He wrote his ground of refusal. He