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crony Hurd: — "Last Sunday the Chancellor sent me a CHAP, message with the offer of a prebend of Gloucester, as a mark < '"
of his regard, and wishes it had been better. I desired A D 17S3 Mr. Charles Yorke to tell him that no favours from such a hand could be unacceptable. Yorke of his own mere motion told me he intended to write to the Master of the Rolls to recommend you in case of a vacancy. He does not know the force of his interest, but he shall push it in the -warmest manner." Hurd was disappointed at the Rolls, but He paby the interest of Charles Yorke who adopted him into his Hurdfwho friendship, and prized him more highly than posterity has *^cc"dst done, he succeeded Warburton in the preachership of Lin- at Lincoln's coln's Inn, which in his case likewise led to a mitre. Upon Innthis occasion he wrote to Warburton, saying, — " It will be an election unanimous, but as little attentions please, I shall endeavour to prevail upon him when I have the pleasure of seeing him, to mount timber on Sunday as a compliment to the Benchers."* Warburton thereupon warily suggested to Hurd,—" Mr. Yorke may be right in your not being too punctilious about sermons at first. But take care not to accustom them to works of supererogation, for as puritanical as they are, they have a great hankering after that Popish doctrine."
Charles Yorke likewise kept up a constant correspondence His correwith the President Montesquieu, of which the following wUh^ne" letter to him from that distinguished jurist and philosopher President is unfortunately the only remnant preserved to us:— quieu.
"Monsieur, mon tres cher et tr&s illustre Ami, "J'ai un paquet de mes ouvragcs, bons ou mauvais, a vous cnvoyer; j'en serai peut-etre le portcur; il pourra arriver que j'aurai le plaisir de vous embrasser tout a mon aise. Je remets a ce tems a vous dire tout ce que je vous ecrivois. Mes sentimens pour vous sont graves dans mon cceur, et dans mon esprit, d'une maniere a ne s'effacer jamais. Quand vous verrez Monsieur le Docteur Warburton, je vous prie de lui dire l'idee agreable que je me fais de faire plus ample connoissance
• This was in vacation time, and it is the duty of the preacher of Lincoln's Inn to officiate only during the terms.
avec lui; d'aller trouver la source du scavoir, et de voir la lutnierc de l'esprit. Son ouvrage sur Julien m'a enchant^, quoique je n'ai que de tres mauvais lecteurs Anglois, et que j'ai presque oublie tout ce que j'en scavois. Je vous embrasse, Monsieur. Conserves-moi votre amitie; la mienne est eternellc.
"a Paris, ce 6 Juin, 1753." *
His chambers in Lincoln's Inn are burnt down.
In the autumn of the same year, Charles Yorke left England w ith the intention of visiting the President at his chateau in Gascogny, and accompanying him to Bourdeaux, that he might see how justice was administered in the parliament there; but he was recalled home before this object could be accomplished.
I ought not to pass over a misfortune which had befallen him, the severity of which I can the better appreciate, from having been visited by a similar one myself, f In the night of the 5th of July, 1752, a fire suddenly burst out from his staircase in Stone Buildings, Lincoln's Inn. He narrowly escaped with his life, but he suffered an irreparable loss, in which the whole nation participated-—the invaluable State Papers in thirty volumes folio, collected by his grand-uncle, Lord Somers, and made over to him, having been all reduced to ashes. Warburton says, —" They were full of very material things for the history of those times, which I speak upon my own knowledge." Perhaps posterity had a heavier loss in the destruction of Charles Yorke's own MSS.; for although he was too modest to talk much of them, it was generally believed that he had prepared for the press several
• In sending a copy of this letter to Warburton, Yorke observes: "His heart is as good as his understanding in all he says or writes; though he mixes now and then a little of the French clinquant with all his brightness and solidity of genius, as well as originality of expression." Corresp. p. 507.
f When I was Attorney General, my chambers in Paper Buildings, Temple, were burnt to the ground by fire in the night time, and all my law books and MSS., with some valuable official papers, were consumed. Above all, I had to lament a collection of letters written to me by my dear father, in a continued scries, from the time of my going to College till his death in 1824. All lamented this calamity except the claimant of a peerage, some of whose documents (suspected to be forged) he hoped were destroyed ; but, fortunately, they had been removed into safe custody a few days before, and the claim was dropped.
Jaw treatises, which would have rivalled the fame of the CHAP.
• • CL
"Considerations on Forfeiture for Treason;" and Cowper's
verses, on a like misfortune which befel Lord Mansfield, A V nr,5.
might have been addressed to him : —
"And Murray sighs o'er Pope and Swift,
"Their pages mangled, burnt, and torn,
He soon got a new set of chambers, and furnished his shelves with new copies of such books as could be obtained from the booksellers; but even in consulting reports and law treatises—for years there was almost daily something annoyingly reminding him of those he had lost, — which were made valuable to him by notes and scratches, and with every page of which he had formed an endearing familiarity.
For this, or some better reason, he became tired of a bache- His marlor's life, and being now in his thirty-third year he resolved riageto enter the holy state of wedlock. The object of his choice was Catherine, only child and heiress of William Freeman, Esq. of Aspeden, Herts, a granddaughter of Sir Thomas Pope, Bart., of Tittenhanger. To her he was united on the 19th of May, 1755, and with her he lived most happily till after bringing him three children, she was snatched away to an early grave.
Though still what we in our time should consider quite a Solicitor youth at the bar, who ought to be pleased with the prospect ^"prince of gradually getting into a little business, he compared his father's progress with his own, and he was exceedingly dissatisfied to think that he was not yet made a Judge or a law officer of the Crown. So far back as 1747 he had had a feather put into his cap by being made Solicitor General to the Prince of Wales, and the year following he had obtained the lucrative appointment of counsel to the East India Company. But his only other preferment hitherto had been the His sinegrant of clerk of the Crown to hitn jointly with his brother cureJohn Yorke, the grasping Chancellor being desirous to keep
A. D. 1756. He is discontented, and meditates leaving the profession of the law.
this good thing in the family as long as possible- Disappointed at not sooner obtaining the real honours of the profession, Charles now talked of leaving it altogether, and taking entirely to the political line, in which he flattered himself he might rise to be Prime Minister. It appears that he had infused his discontented notions into his friends. Warburton writes to Hurd, "Yorke, who has spent the holidays with me, has just now left me to return to the bar, whose nature, virtue, and superior science, in any age but this would have conducted their favourite pupil to the bench."*
At last an opening appeared to have arisen. On the 25th of May, 1756, died Sir Dudley Ryder, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, the day before he was to have kissed hands on being raised to the peerage, and it was expected that this would make an immediate move in the law. But the assistance of Murray, the Attorney General, was so essentially necessary to the Duke of Newcastle's government in the House of Commons, that, although he demanded the Chief Justiceship as of right, the office was kept vacant six months, in the hopes of bribing him to forego his claim. In the mean while, the Chancellor being supposed to have all the law appointments at his disposal, his son earnestly pressed that now some arrangement might be made whereby he might be promoted. On the 2d of June, 1756, thus wrote Mr. Potter, the son of the Archbishop, to Mr. Pitt: —
"Charles Yorke who has long had a wish to quit the profession, has taken advantage of this opportunity, and has sternly insisted with his father, that, unless he makes him Solicitor General now, he will immediately pull of his gown. The Chancellor yields, and has promised either to make him Solicitor, or to consent that he shall quit the profession and be a Lord of the Admiralty. I think I know which side of the alternative the Chancellor will take. On Murray's leaving the bar, and Charles Yorke becoming Solicitor General, he would get at least 4000/. per annum. The Chancellor will compute how much that exceeds the salary of a Lord of
* Warh. Corresp.
the Admiralty, and the vices of the family will probably CHAP, operate, so as to keep poor Charles in the only train in which CL' lie can be of any consequence."*
Murray having at length obtained the Chief Justiceship by °n ^he Pr°
the threat of withdrawing from public life, the administration Murray°to
-was subverted, and Lord Hardwicke resigned the Great Seal. je c.liieff
But he contrived that the desired promotion should be be- the Kings
stowed upon his son, who, on the 6th of November, 1756, J?!mc,h'
■was sworn m solicitor General. Yorke