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CHAP, nineteenth century which would have been highly instruc
tive.— His private opinion of Hastings would have been
curious,—and we should have been still more desirous to learn his real sentiments of the French Revolution, and his anticipations of the victor of Marengo, whom he lived to sec elevated to the office of Chief Consul. — After all, the most valuable chapters would have been those wherein he introduced the great literary characters of his age, and narrated the different " rounds" in his intellectual combats with them, compelling Samuel Johnson to declare, that when he was to meet Thurlow he should wish to know a day or two before, that he might prepare for the encounter.—Indulging in a satirical vein, the homage paid to Mrs. Hervey from the hope of benefiting by his legal and ecclesiastical patronage might have afforded a topic still more fruitful.—I make no doubt, at the same time, that if he had done justice to himself, he would have given us fresh reason to admire not only the vigour of his understanding, but the warmth of his affections; and some parts of his character and conduct which appear to us censurable or equivocal might have been cleared up and vindicated.
I am painfully conscious that this Memoir of him, notwithstanding the pains I have bestowed upon it, is very imperfect; and my only consolation is, that, feeling the awful responsibility cast upon mc to guard public and private morality, and to do equal justice to the dead and to the living, I have sincerely striven to obey the precept which biographers ought to reverence as if it were found in holy writ: "Nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice."—I am afraid I may still have to appeal to my own consciousness of impartiality from the censures of friends and partizans, when I shall have finished my undertaking with the Lives of Loughborough, Erskine, and Eldon.*
* I have been kindly favoured by my friend, the present Lord Kenyon, with a sight of a Journal kept by his distinguished father, in a succession of Almanacks. I lay before the reader a few of the most interesting passages, which
throw considerable light on the differences between Thurlow and Pitt, on the
transactions connected with the King's illness in 1788-9, — and on the terms on which Thurlow lived with several of his eminent contemporaries: —
"1784. March 24.— Last night Lord Chancellor's house broken into, and
Great Seal stolen. Sent for by Lord Chancellor. With Earl Gower, Presi- CHAP, dent of Council, to give orders in consequence. Drew Proclamation for pro- CLXI. rogation of parliament. 25. Searching Council Books for precedents in consequence of Great Seal being stolen, and ordering new one. 28. With the Chancellor and Mr. Pitt about Mastership of Rolls, which I promised (reluctantt) to Mr. Pitt to accept. The Chancellor much displeased he had not been consulted on law arrangements, and thought Chester and Attorney Generalship too much for Ardcn. 31. Dined with Lord Chancellor, and sworn in Master of the Rolls — kissed the King's hand. April I, Drawing-room — kissed the Queen's hand.
"1786. April. — Chancellor very ill. Held several seals for him. He had dreadful hiccup. Promised to be his Executor if he died — which he said gave him the greatest comfort. July 15. 1 have done the business of the Court of Chancery from 26th April to this day, on account of my excellent and noble friend's indisposition. Nov. 22. Breakfasted with Lord Chancellor, when he talked very much to me about office of Chief Justice of King's Bench, and said be should be under difficulties to find a proper person if I persisted in refusing it, and named Eyre and Buller. 26. Mr. Justice Buller dined with us. He expressed his most earnest wish that I should take the King's Bench, if he was not to have it, and said he would rather be under me than any other man. He expressed his dislike of Baron Eyre. 27. Lord Chancellor sent to me upon his receiving a letter from Lord Mansfield desiring to resign the office of Chief Justice. The Chancellor again proposed to name me to the King, and said that the public looked to me as successor, and that he thought neither Eyre nor Buller would be approved by people in general. Dec. 2. Dined with Mr. Pitt by his desire, when he pressed me to take the office of Chief Justice of King's Bench, and wished I should reconsider the matter. 12. With Mr. Pitt in the evening, when I promised him to accept the office of Chief Justice of the King's Bench.
"1787. Feb. 6. Dined with Mr. Pitt, when he agreed Mr. Serjeant Grose should be a Judge of King's Bench at my recommendation. March 18. Sat great part of the week for Lord Chancellor, who was busy in the House of Lords. [Here follows an extract from a newspaper.] . Dec. 8. The resignation of Lord Mansfield, very much to Ais honour, is to be delayed no longer. Sir Loyd Kenyon, of course, succeeds — indisputably with more learning than any man in the kingdom! — and as certainly not more learned than intrepid and honourable.'
"1788. Feb. I sat some part of last term, and after the term, for Lord Chancellor, engaged at Hastings's trial. April 19. At Kenwood, with Lord Mansfield, in consequence of a letter from him about his intended resignation. He expressed great kindness for me. 23. At Levee. The King expressed great pleasure on his intention that I should succeed Ix,rd Mansfield.— and spoke long to me, in a most gracious manner. June 6. At Levee. Kissed King's hand on being named Chief Justice of King's Bench, and created a peer. Mr. Pitt carried me in his coach, and introduced me. 9. Took leave of the Temple. Sergeant's motto, Quid Legks Sine Morirus. II, Presided the first time in King's Bench. 18. The Chancellor much dissatisfied about law arrangements. 19. With Mr. Pitt, by his desire, on the great coolness between hiin and the Chancellor, on Arden being made Master of the Rolfs against the Chancellor's inclination—advised him to see the Chancellor. Nov. 7. Dined with the Lord Chancellor, who was just come from the Prince of Wales, who had sent for him to Windsor on account of the King's alarming state of mind. Had much conversation with the Chancellor as to what was to be done if the illness continued— Regency, &c. 9. The Chancellor sent for me again this day to consult about the public affairs, he having just had a letter from Dr. Warren —' Delirium sine febre.' 10. Breakfasted with Lord Chancellor, who had been yesterday at Windsor by the Prince's desire, and had much conversation with the Prince. With Mr. Pitt, by his desire, to converse on the state of public affairs. 29. Dined at Mr. Pitt's. Lord Chancellor, Duke of Richmond, Lords Staffotd, Chatham, Carmarthen, Weymouth, SydCHAP. ney, HawkesbuYy —consulting on public affairs The King removed this day CLXI. from Windsor to Kew. Dec.l. Dined with Marquis of Stafford—same company as at Mr. Pitt's, with addition of Earl Camden. Signed a paper with the Cabinet Ministers, requesting the Queen to take upon her the management of the King's person during his illness. 2. Dined at Lord Sydney's — Lord Chancellor, &c. — consulting about what was to be done at Privy Council, and in Parliament. 3. At Privy Council examining Physicians. 4. Parliament met on adjournment. Dined at Lord Chancellor's, with Marquis of Stafford. Much confidential conference, wherein the Marquis and I agreed in our wishes about the Chancellor's conduct. 7. Lord Chancellor with me about public affairs. 8. Dined at Lord Chancellor's. He in very ill humour with Mr. Pitt. I endeavoured to soothe him, and stated the impropriety of thinking of private quarrels in this crisis of public business. 12. Dined with the Lord Chancellor, who had been this day with the King at Kew.
"1789. Feb. 3. At Cabinet at Lord Chancellor's, settling Regency Bill. Mr. Pitt, Lord Stafford, Speaker, Attorney and Solicitor Generals, &c. 20. Dined with the Chancellor, who had been at Kew with the King and with the Prince. March 8. With the King at Kew by his command. I had a long private conference. He delivered me many of his private papers to take home and consider for him—treated me most graciously. N. B. At this audience he said to Lord K., . Frederick only voted against us once — did he?' Lord K. answered, 'your Majesty must be aware to what trials one in his situation is exposed.' 'Very true 1 very true!' he replied. 24. With Mr. Pitt to endeavour, if possible, to remove some of the grounds of shyness between him and Lord Chancellor. Nov. 26. With Secretary Grenville. Read from him the King's commands to endeavour to settle differences between Lord Chancellor and Mr. Pitt.
"1790. Jan. 21. Sat Speaker — opening Session, Lord Chancellor having the gout . 25. Attended Privy Council— Frith's case—throwing stone at the King on his going to open parliament — agreed to commit him for high treason, according to opinions communicated from Chancellor and Earl of Mansfield — absent from indisposition. March 8. Prince of Wales's levee. To Bath. Continually with Lord Chancellor. Breakfast and dinner — and receiving him and his daughters.
"1791. March 24. With Lords Grenville and Dundas about Scotch Peers' election. 25. Breakfasted with Lord Chancellor — persuaded him to confer with Lord Grenville on public measures. Sept. Visit from Lord Chancellor and two daughters, at Gredington.
"1792. April 27. With my afflicted friend the Lord Chancellor, who heard of Caroline's elopement to Scotland. He made his will, and delivered it to me as his Executor. His daughter Catharine with us several days. 17. With Mr. Pitt, at his request, when he informed me that in consequence of the Chancellor's opposing his measures he had mentioned to the King that one must go out, and the Chancellor was to do so. With the Lord Chancellor the same evening to hear the like. June 1. With Mr. Pitt about the Great Seal. He desired mc to be First Commissioner. 15. Parliament prorogued. Chancellor resigned Great Seal. Eyre, Ashurst, Wilson, Commissioners. Lord Thurlow and daughters Judge Buller, Solicitor General Scott, and son, dined with us. 26. Dined at Lord Thurlow's — three Commissioners of Great Seal, and Solicitor General dined there. July 1. Lord Thurlow and daughters Catharine and Mary dined with us. 16. Ixird Thurlow, Erskine, Scott, &c, dined with us. Dec. 13. Parliament met. Sat Speaker. Thurlow came home with me to dinner."
END OF THE FIFTH VOLUME.