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land, but of a most profligate character, being stationed with a recruiting party at Henley,--for the sake of Miss Blandy's expected fortune, pretended to fall in love with her, and paid his addresses to her. She being soon deeply attached to him accepted his offer, but the father positively refused his consent. The lovers then resolved to poison him — and Captain Cranstoun sent Miss Blandy some Scotch pebbles with a powder to clean them, which was white arsenic. To prepare the world for what was to happen, according to the superstition of the times, they had pretended to have heard supernatural music in the house, and to have seen an apparition which foreboded his death. She first administered the poison to her father in his tea, and when it caused him exquisite anguish, and seemed to be consuming his entrails, she gave him a fresh dose of the poison in the shape of gruel, which she said would comfort and relieve him. As he was dying, the cause of his death was discovered and communicated to him. He exclaimed, “ Poor love-sick girl! what will not a woman do for the man she loves !” She said, “Dear sir, banish me where you will, do with me what you please, so that you do but forgive me.” He answered, “I do forgive you, but you should, my dear, have considered that I was your own father; but, oh, that that villain, who hath eat of the best and drank of the best my house could afford, should take away my life and ruin my daughter!” She then ran for the paper containing the powder, and threw it into the fire, thinking it was destroyed; but it remained unconsumed, and produced her conviction. Upon this circumstance Mr. Bathurst observed, “ How evidently the band of Providence has interposed to bring her to this day's trial, that she may suffer the consequence. For what but the hand of Providence could have preserved the paper thrown by her into the fire, and could have snatched it unburnt from the devouring flame? Good God! how wonderful are all thy ways! and how miraculously hast thou preserved this paper, to be this day produced in evidence against the prisoner, in order that she may undergo the punishment due to her crime, and be a dreadful example to all others who may be tempted in like manner to offend thy Divine Majesty !
CHAP. Some witnesses being called for the defence, Mr. Bathurst
replied, and thus concluded : “Gentlemen, you are sworn His reply.
to give a true verdict according to the evidence laid before
public and acquit your own consciences.”
meditation and design ; but (to show the worthlessness of the
Mr. Bathurst continued leagued in politics with those who
placed all their hopes of preferment on the accession of a new Jan. 17. Sovereign. At the commencement of the session of 1751,
he opposed the address, and to recommend himself to the
the courtly language which the House was called upon to Bathurst's adopt:-“We must not,” said he, “express our acknowagainst the ledgments to his Majesty without calling them our warmest King. acknowledgments; we must not talk of his, Majesty's en
deavours, without calling them his unwearied endeavours.
Frederick soon after dying suddenly, Mr. Bathurst went
quence he was, in 1754, made by Lord Hardwicke a puisne Judge. Judge of the Court of Common Pleas.
March 20. 1751.
over to the
14 Parl. Hist. 805.
18 St. Tr. 1118--1194.
CONTINUATION OF THE LIFE OF LORD BATHURST TILL HE RESIGNED
THE GREAT SEAL, AND WAS MADE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL.
By reading, attendance in Court, and going the circuits, Mr.
CLIII. Justice Bathurst had picked up a little law without much practice: he had industriously made a sort of Digest of the His qualirules of evidence and the points generally arising at the trial
and conof actions *; he was quiet and bland in his manners, and he duet as a possessed a great share of discretion, which enabled him puisne
Judge. on the bench to surmount difficulties, and to keep out of scrapes. With these qualifications he made a very tolerable puisne.f When sitting alone, he ruled points of law as rarely as possible, leaving them mixed up with facts to the jury; and sitting in banc, he agreed with the Chief Justice and his brethren, or (if the Court was divided) with the Judge who was supposed to be the soundest lawyer. $ Notwithstanding his Tory education and his attachment to the Government, he concurred in the judgment of Lord Camden for the liberation of Wilkes, and against general warrants. case in which it was held, that a bond in consideration of past cohabitation is good in law, he pleased the sanctimonious by enriching his judgment with quotations from the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy, to prove that “ wherever it appears that the man was the seducer, a provision for the woman shall be upheld.” § - The murmurs against his appointment as a political job died away, and
* This was afterwards enlarged by Mr. Justice Buller, and published under the name of Buller's Nisi Prius.
+ Walter Scott used to tell a story in point. The heir apparent of a considerable family in Scotland, having been, though almost fatuous, called to the bar, and there being some talk in the servant's hall about the profession of an advocate, an old butler exclaimed, — “ it canna' be a very kittle tred, for our young laird is ane."
See Wilson's Common Pleas Reports. § Turner 0. Vaughan, 2 Wils. 339.
CHAP. there was a still weaker Judge made after him to keep him CLIII.
in countenance. *
But although people ceased to wonder that he had been put upon the bench as a puisne Judge, no one ever dreamed of his ever going higher. — A puisne Judge he did remain for fifteen long years, when, according to our modern system, he would have been entitled to retire on a pension. But nothing can be more fantastical than the distribution of prizes
in the lottery of legal promotion. Feb. 17. 1770.
The triumph at Court on the acceptance of the office of Feb. 20. Chancellor by Charles Yorke, was turned into deep dismay 1770. Difficulty by his sudden death. The Great Seal was earnestly pressed of disposing upon Sir Eardley Wilmot, Chief Justice of the Common Seal on the Pleas, but he resolutely refused to accept it, partly from death of
a dislike of politics, partly from disapprobation of the meaCharles Yorke. sures of the Government, and partly from considering how
precarious must have been the tenure of his new office. A strong appeal was again made to Lord Mansfield, and he was implored, by consenting to be Chancellor, to rescue the King from his difficulties, and to restore vigour to the Government, so much weakened by the secession of the Marquis of Granby, the Duke of Manchester, Dunning, and all the liberals who had gone out with Lord Camden; but the wary Scot would not leave his seat in the King's Bench, which he so much adorned, and which he held for life. He advised that the Great Seal should be put into commission, and he consented to preside on the woolsack as Speaker of the House of Lords. This course was adopted.f
When Graham was made a Judge, Law, then at the Bar, said, —" he puts Rook on a pinnacle.” Rook till then had been considered very incompetent.
† The difficulty of disposing of the Great Seal at this juncture led to the resignation of the Duke of Grafton. After relating his fruitless negotiations, thus he addresses his son Lord Euston: “ You will feel for me in this distressing dilemma : you will perceive that I had left nothing untried to bring the vessel to tolerable trim : and when you consider that, quitted by Lord Camden and at the same time by Lord Granby, I had no reliance in the cabinet but on General Conway only. I know you will think that, under such circumstances, I could not proceed and be of service to the King and to the country; and recollect that the hopes of co-operation with Mr. Yorke to bring about an essential addition of right principle, credit, and support, vanished of course with himself. I laid before his Majesty directly my difficulties, and observed that they were such as compelled me to retire from my office, though it would be my full desire to give all assistance to his Majesty's government." - Journal
A strange selection was made of Commissioners, which CH AP. could not have been by his advice, — unless, indeed (as was suggested), he wished them to be entirely under his own The Great control — three puisne Judges, of fair character, but very
commis. moderate abilities and learning, - and almost entirely un- sion. acquainted with the practice of Courts of Equity-Sir Sidney Stafford Smythe from the Exchequer, Sir Richard Aston from the King's Bench, and last and least — the Honourable Henry Bathurst from the Common Pleas.* The profession stood aghast at this arrangement, and the anticipation of failure was exceeded by the reality.
The Court of Chancery had not been in such a state since IncomCromwell's time, when the bench there was occupied by Major petency of LISLE and COLONEL FIENNES. No one of the three Com- missioners. missioners had any confidence in himself or in his colleagues. In the regular hearing of causes they got on tolerably well by a mutual agreement to hold their tongues, and to consult Lord Mansfield as to the framing of their decrees; but, on “ Seal Days," when they were peppered by motions to be disposed of at the moment, they could not conceal their consternation. A single incompetent Judge sitting by himself may take advantage of the tone of the counsel addressing him, of the countenance of the by-standers, and of hints from the officers; but the difficulties of the three Lords Commissioners were multiplied by their numbers, and the conflicting devices which they adopted to conceal their ignorance.
In one easy case, which attracted much public notice, and Their dein which they had the good luck to be unanimous, they it is ungained a little éclat.
The bill was filed by the celebrated lawful to
January 23. 1770. “ Sir Sidney Stafford Smythe, Knt., a Baron of the Exchequer, Sir Richard Aston, Knt.
a Judge of the King's Bench, The Hon. Henry Bathurst, a Judge of the Common Pleas, being by Letters Patent, dated the 21st Jan, 1770, appointed Commissioners for the Custody of the Great Seal of Great Britain, upon the 23d of the same month, came into the Court of Chancery at West Hall, and in open Court took the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and also the oath of office, the same being administered by the Deputy Clerk of the Crown,- Mr. Holford, the Senior Master in Chancery present, holding the book. Which being done, Mr. Attorney General prayed that it might be recorded, which the Court ordered accordingly."- Cri Off Min. B. No. 2. Fol. 16.