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Chap, board, and by its occasioning great sickness, he broke a CLL blood-vessel. The friend from whom I received the account A.n. 1770. assured me that he was present when the corpse was left openly in the chamber, that the attendants might gratify their curiosity, and see that his death could not be truly attributed to the direct means which had been so publicly and so confidently asserted." *
I must likewise observe, that in an able article on the " Life of the Honourable Charles Yorke," published in the "Law Magazine" so recently as the year 1843, the imputation is strenuously negatived, and this account is given of the event: "Stung with the coldness and reproaches of his party after his acceptance of the Great Seal, Mr. Yorke returned home in a state of extreme agitation, and drank freely of some spirits, which, in conjunction with the nervous excitement, occasioned a violent paroxysm of sickness. In the throes of his illness, he ruptured a blood-vessel."
The charitable conclusion may, therefore, be drawn that the unfortunate Charles Yorke died from the accidental bursting of a blood-vessel, and that he is only to be blamed for a want of due firmness in not adhering to his engagements.
Consider- Even those who think that the testimony that he died by conduct. "S his own hand preponderates, must pity while they condemn him, and must still regard his memory with respect. Heaven forbid that such an act should be justified or palliated; but there is not in the annals of human error an instance of a violation of religious duty so mixed up with virtuous feelings, and so demonstrating the excess of noble qualities. His acceptance of the Great Seal was wrong, but did not proceed from sordid motives. He made no condition for pecuniary grants to himself, which, if he had asked them, would have been showered down upon him. Nor does he at all seem to have been seduced by the love of power or splendour. He quitted a strong and united party to join one that was crumbling to pieces, and if he had survived he coidd hardly have expected long to enjoy his elevation. He was over
powered by royal blandishments, and a momentary mistake CHAP, as to the duty of a good subject. But he was soon struck with deep remorse, and his love for honest fame was demonstrated by his being unable to survive the loss of it. Many holders of the Great Seal, to obtain it, have disregarded engagements as binding, and violated principles as sacred; yet, having clutched it, have suppressed the stings of conscience and revelled in the fruits of inconsistency and treachery. Such men who live without honour, and die a natural death without repentance, may have more to answer for in the sight of a just and merciful God, than he who, in the anguish of self-reproach, sought mistakingly by a voluntary death to make atonement for the offence which he had committed.
All must join in admiring, without qualification, nearly Hischaevery portion of his prior career. The brilliant promise which he gave of proficiency in early youth, he fully realised in manhood. He is not of the same calibre as Lord Bacon, Sir Thomas More, and Lord Somers; but for the combination of professional knowledge, and liberal accomplishments, he is at the very top of the second class of English lawyers. As an advocate, as a law officer of the crown, and as a member of the House of Commons, he was almost equal to his father, and if he had enjoyed the good fortune to preside for twenty years on the bench, as his father did, I make no doubt that he would have rivalled his father's fame as a magistrate. In literature, he was infinitely beyond him. I His prose have already shown that he was a very considerable master "ing*' of English prose composition,—having a style easy, elegant, and forcible, — and with much more of genuine Anglicism than we generally find at a time when the public taste was corrupted by the inversions and the measured sententiousness of Johnson.
Dabbling in poetry, his efforts, perhaps, deserve only to His Vers de be denominated "Vers dc Socictc; "— but I do not know Soc,et^ any succeeding (as there were few preceding Chancellors) who could have equalled the following specimens of them: —
CHAP. "Lints (in imitation of Pope) supposed to be addressed by a Lady deceased to theCLI. Author of a Poem in honour of her Memory,
———— "Stript to the naked soul, escap'd from clay,
From doubts unfetter'd and dissolv'd in day,
"To a Lady, with a Present of Pope's Works.
"The lover oft, to please some faithless dame,
"Stanzas in the Manner of Waller, occasioned by a Receipt to make Ink given to the
"In earliest times ere man had learn'd
"Alone he pin'd in thickest shade.
Near murmuring waters sooth'd his grief,
"Cadmus, 'tis said, did first reveal
How letters should the mind express,
"Soon was the feeble waxen trace
"Blest be his chemic hand that gave
The world to know so great a good;
The maiden's eyes, the lover's heart.
"This kindly spares the modest tongue CHAP.
To speak aloud, the pleasing pain; CLI.
Aided by this, in tuneful song, ____-_
Fond vows the virgin paper stain." *
Charles Yorke was a member of the Royal Society, but His habits, though distinguished in literature, I do not believe that he ever showed any taste for science. He always continued to delight in the society of men of letters, and was desirous of serving them. Hurd was indebted to him for promotion, as well as Warburton. He did not waste his time in field sports and frivolous amusements. All the leisure he could find from professional and political occupations, he allotted to intellectual pursuits and enjoyments.
Although Horace Walpole spitefully says, "Yorke was His person, very ugly while he lived,"—according to his portraits, the likeness of him on his tomb, and a figure of him in wax, still preserved, his countenance was intellectual and pleasing. Though his features were plain, his smile is said to have been soft and captivating, and his eye and mouth, in particular, indicated to a physiognomist his high mental qualities. He must have had much goodness of heart, for a numerous body of friends were very warmly attached to him. His untimely end caused a tremendous sensation in the metropolis, and political opponents joined in deeply deploring it. George Hardinge says, — "I saw Lord Camden just after Mr. Yorke's death, and I never in my life observed him so melancholy as that event made him. All their competitions and jealousies were at an end, and he lamented him in tears, and spoke of him with undissembled esteem." f
I should have mentioned, that his remains were interred in the parish church at Wimple, where there is erected a splendid monument to him by Schremaker, bearing an inscription, — which, after stating his birth and earlier promotions, thus proceeds:
"The Great Seal was delivered to him, January 17th, 1770, at a juncture His epivery unfavourable for his accepting it. He died, after a short illness, on the taph. 20th of that month. He possessed uncommon Endowments, natural and ac
* See also " Ode to the Honourable Miss Yorke, on her copying a Portrait of Dante ;" Cookscy's Life of Lord Hnrdwickc, .15.; Annual Register, 1770. 1 MS. Life of Lord Camden.
quired; was a complete Master of his own Profession, as practised in both parts of the United Kingdom; had an extensive knowledge of Polite Literature, and understood with accuracy the Modern as well as Antient Languages. His Style in Composition and Speaking was nervous, elegant, and clear, and his Invention and Learning often furnished him with arguments which had escaped the Ingenuity of others. He was heard with attention and conviction, both in the Senate and at the Bar. His Mind was of a humane and liberal turn; and both in his public and private Station, he always acted upon Principles of Virtue and Honour. With these Talents and Qualities, we justly lament that the Public was deprived of his Abilities at a juncture when they might have been of the greatest use, and the Crown of his Service in a Station to which he had been long destined, and which he would have eminently adorned.
"This Monument is erected to his Memory by his most affectionate and afflicted Brother, Philip Earl of Hardwicke."
Considering that these arc the sentiments of one who had so loved him from infancy, and so deeply lamented the close of his career, they are most solemn and affecting.
Charles Yorke, from his life and from his death, will always be interesting in English history. "His moral and intellectual worth, literary merits, legal renown, and more than all these, his gentle goodness and attaching qualities of heart, shed a calm and placid light, even at this interval of time, over his memory, like the pure ray of some distant star, which the mists, raised by earth, have for a time obscured from our view."*
The Great Seal, not having been put to the patent for creating him Baron Morden before he expired, this peerage only reminds his descendants of the additional honours they might have acquired. His eldest son, soon after coming of age, represented the county of Cambridge in parliament, till the death of his uncle, the second Earl of Hardwicke, in 1790, when he succeeded to all the honours and estates of the family, which he has transmitted to his son, the present worthy representative of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke and Lord Chancellor Charles Yorke. f
• Law Mag. No. lxi. 95.
f Ante, p. 17:5.; Grandeur of Law, 6H. There is a laboured panegyric on the subject of this memoir, which, coming from a very eminent lawyer who had frequently heard him plead at the bar, possesses sufficient interest to justify me in copying it in a note, although it be written in a turgid and almost bombastic style: "That modern constellation of English jurisprudence, that elegant and accomplished ornament of Westminster Hall in the present century (1792), the Honourable Charles Yorke, Esq.; whose ordinary speeches as an advocate were profound lectures; whose digressions, from the exuberance of the best juridical knowledge, were illuminations; whose energies were oracles; whose constancy of mind was won into the pinnacle of our English forum at an inauspicious moment; whose exquisitcness of sensibility at almost the next moment from the impressions of imputed tiror stormed the fort even of his cultivated reason, and