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if it pressed hard, it kept temptations under, , ful of all that passed, and diligent in noting and induced habits of diligent application, every case, though very rarely employed by patience, and temperance, which ultimately the solicitors, because he was as yet but procured for the possessor an amplitude of little known; it being a pretty old rule, fortune and honours.
never to engage an advocate who has not After going through many trials and dif- the ear of the court. ficulties, Mr. Scott was called to the bar It was scarcely possible, however, earlier than usual, by obtaining the degree so much assiduity should escape notice; of master of arts at Oxford in 1773. But and though Thurlow was slow in rewarding, though admitted to practise, he had yet it was not for want of discerning and appremuch to endure before he could make his ciating merit. He observed Mr. Scott, and way to ease and affluence. He at first was well pleased with his unwearied induschose the northern circuit, thinking, no try in taking notes of all that occurred, doubt, that as all his and his lady's friends whether retained in a cause or not. resided there, some chance of business At last the chancellor took an opportuwould be afforded through that interest. nity one day to ask the young counsellor, In this, however, he was disappointed, as it were by surprise, to assist his memory for in three assizes he never received a single in regard to some particulars of a cause brief. At last he was employed as junior then put down for hearing. The call was counsel in an action at York, having for promptly, satisfactorily, and respectfully his principal Sir Thomas Davenport. When answered : for which the chancellor thanked the cause came on, the leader was absent, him, and said, more kindly than was his and the judge called upon Mr. Scott to custom, that he should be glad to hear him proceed. He would have excused himself; frequently. This was enough. Briefs now but his lordship was peremptory, and the came in abundantly; and from that period cause terminated in favour of Mr. Scott's the tide continued to flow in an uninterclient. Luckily the action was one which rupted course of prosperity. The honours excited a lively interest in the county; and of the profession came on with the same it was also one that afforded a good oppor- rapidity. The privilege of wearing a silk tunity for the display of legal eloquence. gown, as king's counsel, preluded his ap Mr. Scott did justice to the subject, and pointment to the office of solicitor-general, drew public attention so much upon him with the honour of knighthood in 1788; self, that when he came to Carlisle he was and in 1793 he succeeded Sir Archibald retained as principal in a cause of still Macdonald in the arduous station of attorgreater importance. Here also he was suc
ney-general. cessful; and from this time he never wanted This was a most critical and awful period, briefs.
and peculiarly one of difficulty to the law In London, however, business was still officers of the crown. The recent convulbut slow; for now, as if with a presenti- sions in France had given a shock to all the ment of what would happen, he resolved political establishments in Europe; and in to devote himself wholly to equity practice. this country numerous societies were formed
This was shortly after the appointment of avowedly on the republican principles of lord Thurlow to the great seal, which had liberty and equality. The necessity of putfor some time been held in commission. ting down these institutions was obvious, Under that powerful and stern judge, the and the government accordingly determined court of chancery soon assumed a very dif- to act vigorously on the occasion. The ferent form from what it had been; and all privy council caused several persons to be the barristers were soon made sensible that arrested, and the attorney-general received talent and diligence only would be respected orders to proceed against them for high by the presiding chief, whose very looks treason. Had a minor course been adopted, struck terror into the attendants upon his no doubt can be entertained of the result; fiat; and of whom it might truly be said, but though it was satisfactorily proved that that “Trembling they stood, while Jove the persons who were brought to the bar on assumed the throne.”
this charge, had been guilty of seditious Several who had hitherto borne a lofty practices, the juries hesitated to bring in a port in Lincoln's Inn Hall, now shrunk verdict affecting human life, upon conaway, and left the arena clear to more structive evidence. intrepid practitioners. Among those who The acquittal of these state prisoners was ventured to stand the thunder of Olympus, attended with a circumstance whimsically and the darkening frown of the presiding curious and characteristic. While the attordivinity of that awful court, was John Scott, ney-general made it a rule to go and return who kept his place as junior counsel, watch- as privately as he could in a hackney-coach,
Memoir of the late Lord-Chancellor Eldon.
Mr. Erskine, the leading advocate for the ment of a man who had never filled any defence, always went in his own carriage. preparatory office, and who was, besides, a At the close of the business, the mob, to total stranger to the court of chancery. The shew their regard for the popular counsel, arrangement of the new ministry remained took the horses from his coach, and drew it at a stand for some days; during which all triumphantly to Sergeant's Inn. Thus far the friends of Erskine endeavoured to disvanity might be gratified; but it was dearly suade him from his purpose. But he was purchased, for the horses were stolen, and bent upon the object of his ambition, and could never after be recovered.
his associates, by way of compromise, To return to Sir John Scott; his first appointed two chancery practitioners, Pigot election into parliament was for the borough and Romilly to the offices of attorney and of Weobley, for which place he continued solicitor general, which, as the sagacious to sit till 1796, when he became the col monarch observed, was making a bad league of Sir Francis Burdett, as the repre- matter worse. sentative of Boroughbridge.
The conduct of Lord Eldon, on this At length, on the death of Sir James occasion, deserves particular notice, and it Eyre, lord chief justice of the court of will ever redound to his honour. When common pleas, Sir John Scott attained that the appointment of his successor was fixed, distinction which he may truly be said to knowing that Lord Erskine was entirely have earned by his laborious services, no unacquainted with the forms of proceeding less than by his professional merits. On in the court over which he was to preside, this occasion he was also elevated to the he offered to come down every morning, peerage, by the title of Baron Eldon of and to assist him in the private room. Eldon in the county of Durham, his patent This was gladly accepted by the new chanbeing dated July 18th, 1799. In this cellor, and Lord Eldon was punctual to court, however, he did not sit two years ; his promise ; regularly going to Lincoln's for on the resignation of the Earl of Rosslyn, Inn for two or three weeks, by which at the beginning of 1801, Lord Eldon was means the business of the court went on, appointed to the chancellorship, a situation without giving dissatisfaction to the pleaders for which, of all others, perhaps he was or solicitors. best fitted by his previous studies and Still many wished for a change more line of practice.
congenial to the peculiar constitution of the This nomination of his lordship to the court; and this soon after took place. The highest legal dignity in the kingdom gave conduct of the leading members of the universal satisfaction to the profession, on administration, in endeavouring to carry account of the tried diligence and ability the Catholic bill by a side wind, so offended of the new chancellor, who, to the inflexible the king, that their dismissal and that of integrity of Thurlow, added the polished their colleagues followed as a matter of urbanity of his immediate predecessor ; course. Lord Eldon now resumed his seat while in depth of technical knowledge he in the court of chancery, and on the woolsurpassed both.
sack of the upper house of parliament ; In 1805, Lord Eldon sustained a severe both which situations he continued to hold visitation in the death of his eldest son, the without interruption above twenty years. honourable John Scott, who had not long In 1801, Lord Eldon was unanimously before been elected into parliament, and chosen high steward of the university of who married the daughter of Sir Matthew Oxford ; and, on the death of the duke of White Ridley, by whom he left issue. Portland, in 1809, he offered himself as a
While lamenting this loss, his lordship candidate for the chancellorship of that experienced another, which affected him seat of learning. Though vigorously supvery much, and for a short space sent him ported by the whole strength of his own into private life. This was the death of college, and several others, the powerful Mr. Pitt, with whom he had been closely influence of Christ Church and Brasen-nose connected above twenty years. That event, prevailed in favour of Lord Grenville, however, would not have deprived the which was the more extraordinary, conpublic of Lord Eldon's services, had it sidering the decided difference between that not been for the pertinacious obstinacy nobleman and the body of the university of his old friend Erskine, who made it a on the Catholic question. It is no less point, with his party, that the great seal remarkable, that the same learned society, should be his portion in the general divi- who elected for their chancellor a peer of sion of loaves and fishes. Mr. Fox remon- opposite principles to their own, should, strated, lord Grenville demurred, and the about the same time, reject the pretensions king was resolute in opposing the advance- 1 of Mr. Canning to represent them in the
house of commons, for ino other reason perverted to the national injury. On this than his uniformly voting in favour of ground, Lord Eldon, in common with a what is called Catholic emancipation. great number of upright statesmen, has Oxford, however, does not stand alone hitherto opposed all further concessions in respect to inconsistency on a subject to the Catholics ; and though, for so doing, of so much vital importance; for the sister he has been stigmatized as a bigot, every university has a chancellor exactly of the Englishman, and sincere Protestant, i will same sentiments as Lord Grenville, and respect his motives, and deem him entitled also a representative in the lower house, to public gratitude. who constantly supports a cause which in Of the late Chancellor's conscientiousthe avowed judgment of his learned con- ness, the following instance, as related by stituents, is radically injurious to the Pro- himself, before he went out of office, is a testant interests and the constitution of the striking proof.-Speaking of the legality of country.
counsel's opinion, he said that it mainly Our limits are too contracted to permit depended upon the nature of the case, us to give even a minute sketch of the and the honesty of the solicitor. - Unless public life and private virtues of Lord the custom had been materially changed Eldon. We must leave that task to be from what it used to be when he was at executed by abler hands, when the veil of the bar, nothing could be more improper. mortality shall have thrown into oblivion It was in his time no uncommon practice the miserable attempts to depreciate his for the attorneys to lay just as much of a worth, and to misinterpret those actions case before counsel as would ensure the which will command the admiration of precise opinion they wanted, to induce future ages.
their clients to prosecute the suit... Many J. The high estimation in which his lord- years ago, when his lordship had chamber ship was held by the late king is well practice, he determined, if possible, to known'; and his present majesty has given put an end to this system, by informing two ystriking instances of his respect for the attorneys, when he returned the briefs ther ex-chancellor; one in spontaneously to them with his opinion thereon,--that if creating him an earl, soon after his acces- the whole case was fairly stated, he had sion to the throne, and the other in deliver- decided according to the best of his ing to him, with his own hand, a rich vase abilities, but if, on the contrary, it was a of silver gilt, on the retirement of his lord- mere ex-parte statement, made up to ship from office.
serve a purpose, and material parts were The resignation of Lord Eldon has been kept back, his opinion was not to be brutally stigmatized by a set of mongrel depended upon. His lordship soon found patriots, as an insult to the sovereign; but the effect of this plain dealing, in the we are grossly in error, if the donation just abridgment of his business. mentioned be not a proof of royal
regard on This sketch, which might easily have account of that very measure. Thus much been extended to a considerable volume, we do happen to know, and fearlessly declare we must here close, hoping that the subject it, that the great constitutional principle of of it may long live to enjoy the otium cum Protestant ascendancy, which his lordship dignitate, he has so we merited by a life has invariably supported, is an immutable usefully spent, and for the greater part of one in the breast of the present, as it was it in the service of his country. ' in that of the late sovereign.
Lord Eldon has, by his lady, who is still " Lord Eldon has openly and constantly living, a son, the honourable William resisted the demands of the Romanists; Henry John Scott, and two daughters, one but for this he ought not to be vilified, married to Mr. Banks, and the other to especially by those who profess an attach- Mr. Repton. ment to civil and religious freedom. The noble and learned Lord has only acted as his predecessors Somers and King would have done under such circumstances; and they were as great friends to toleration as Locke, who knew how to draw a line CANDOUR.Good morning, friend, you of distinction between liberty of conscience seem in haste. -PREJUDICE. I have and the right of power. The one is in- urgent business on my hands.-C. But alienable, but the other no man nor any if you can relax your pace a little, and I body of men can legally claim; because quicken mine, we may possibly travel it is a trust for the public, and ought not, together.-P. I am quite agreeable.-therefore, to be placed where it may be c. Your name, sir, is Prejudice, I guess.--
DIALOGUE BETWEEN CANDOUR AND
602 P. That epithet has been applied to me by | into the account. To every mitigating an ill-natured world, on account of my considerations arising from the circumplain-dealing, and tenacious adherence to stances of the case, I allow its full weight. my own opinions; but my proper name is P. Well, sir, you may admire truth, Integrity. But as you have elicited my but I think you are too accommodating to name and character, allow me to take a defend it with vigour.-C. Pray what is similar liberty with you.--C. My name is your method ? -P. My abhorrence of Candour, though sometimes I am called error in all its forms, is so extreme, as to Plain-dealing, and sometimes Charity.- lead me to adopt the strongest measures P. If your name is Candour, I must be in opposing it. Hence I reject all conlieve that you are very improperly termed ciliating measures, as the paltry expe. Plain-dealing, for I am told that you will dients of cringing hypocrisy. I give no argue with equal warmth on both sides of quarter to an opponent; I never attempt an a question ; whence it has been inferred, excuse for him; that, I should conceive that you are vacillating in your sentiments, would be apologizing for error. In short, and some have doubted whether you have my own opinions on religious subjects, as any fixed principles.-C. These surmisings well as on all other subjects, I firmly behave been indulged in perfect ignorance of lieve to be correct. I am, therefore, not my character. It is true, I have some- only justified in tenaciously adhering to times met with persons who have mani- them, but in declaring the utmost hostility fested a confident and disdainful bigotry against all who oppose
them.-C. Indeed, in maintaining their own tenets, and sir, though I give you credit for your though I have believed them upon the honesty, I cannot envy your spirit.-P. I whole to be correct, yet I have thought it have always thought that a vehement not an unlikely way to teach such people zeal in defending truth and opposing error, modesty and caution, to shew them what is highly commendable; and that the man specious objections an opponent might who seems unconcerned whether himself urge against their views, and by what or his antagonist obtain the victory beplausible arguments he might defend his trays a criminal indifference, and a most bwn. But in doing this, I have given no despicable insincerity. just ground for suspicion that my own C. You must keep in mind that all opinions were unsettled, or that I wished truths are not of equal importance. Some to unsettle those of others : No, sir, my are perfectly insignificant, while an acdisposition is not only to be unwavering quaintance with others is essential to our in my attachment to what I believe to be welfare. Again, some truths are dubious truth, but on every proper occasion to and uncertain, while others are self-evistate my views without any mean duplicity dent; or at least, accompanied with or misleading disguise, and to defend them irresistible proof. Now, I confess it is with firmness unmixed with acrimony. difficult to manifest too much zeal and It is true, in forming my judgment on firmness in defending important truths, controverted points, I deem it the only and in combating dangerous errors; but honest way, impartially to examine evi- to manifest much anxiety in maintaining dence on both sides, and while I yield my trifling opinions, is highly ridiculous. assent to what I conceive the strongest There are many points, concerning which proofs, I may perhaps discover so much a difference of sentiment prevails amongst plausibility on the opposite side, as to pre- wise and good men : you are at liberty to vent me from despising the understanding take one side, and believe it to be right of those who embrace it. In a word, if you can; but you ought not to forget prudence has taught me to avoid in gene- your 'fallibility, nor attribute perverseness ral, that strong and unguarded style, in to your opponent because he does not which some people are in the habit of think as you do; since the cause of his delivering their sentiments on doubtful dissent may be mere frailty, or it may not matters, and charity has cautioned me to improbably arise from his possessing a be especially so when the personal cha- discernment superior to your own. Many racter and conduct of mankind are in causes may conspire to render one person question. In passing my judgment on more susceptible of conviction from cirany character or performance, I am par- cumstantial arguments and dubious proofs, ticularly careful to advert as distinctly to than another. While, therefore, it is the every thing that is excellent, as to what- duty of every one, even on minor points, ever is blameable. Whatever can be to «
prove all things and hold fast that alleged in justification of an action, or which is good,” it is no less his duty to in extenuation of any crime, that I take exercise forbearance towards those whose
views are at variance with his own. which wear an aspect so formidable and P. But my patience fails me when I see menacing, that neither violent nor conciliatpeople obstinate in their attachment to ing criticism can reduce them to a comglaring errors, and refusing to feel the force pliance with these assumptions. You obof the most powerful arguments.-C. Per- serve that these are comfortable doctrines,-haps you will be kind enough to name so they would be, if you could be sure that some of the errors you allude to.
you are among the favoured number; but, P. The peculiarities of Arminianism Ialas! this certainty, I apprehend, is unattaina have ever regarded as unworthy of the least able in this life : for no man can prove to indulgence. I cannot believe that any man another, nor of course to himself, that he is can sincerely espouse tenets so absurd, un- elected, except by his perseverance in righscriptural, and mischievous, as the doctrine teousness; of course the evidence arising of free-will, and the possibility of the final from this must be incomplete and unsatisfyapostasy and everlasting damnation of a ing, until this militant life has terminated. saint of God. Surely no honest inquirer Abstractedly, the loveliness of this doctrine after truth can reject the comfortable doc- is sadly diminished by its inseparable countrines of particular redemption, uncondi- terpart, reprobation ; this you all seem to tional election, and final perseverance.-C. acknowledge is a very disgusting and hors I am afraid the reason why you cannot rible feature in Calvinism; which, as you believe that a man can be an honest Armi- cannot get rid of, you strive to keep out of nian is, that you do not honestly consider the sight. These remarks, sir, are not made reasons he has to offer in support of his for the purpose of proving to you that I am creed. Now, sir, if I had the greatest ab- not a Calvinist, but to shew you the possihorrence of the doctrine of free-will, yet, bility of being a candid one. throughout the whole bible, I should find P. From what you have said, it appears that man is represented and addressed as perfectly plain to me that you are not a possessing not merely freedom of choice Calvinist. But I do not love to wrangle for that is a point which can never be on these points, especially as I am determooted by any sensible person--but the mined not to be convinced that my opipower of choosing the good and refusing nions are wrong. If you please, then, we the evil. It is true the scriptures continu- will change the topic. How did you like ally view the moral condition of man in the discourse last night ?-C. I thought it connexion with that system of redeeming | most edifying.-P. The sermon was tolergrace, of which he has been visited by able, but the delivery was very disagreeincipient communications, whereby he is able.-C. The preacher was too loud, I raised into what divines have called a salv- suppose.-P. I certainly thought him more able state ; which not only implies the pos adapted to conduct the mummeries of the sibility of obtaining pardon, but holiness playhouse, than the solemnities of divine also. Abstracted, indeed, from this grace, worship. But loud speaking I cannot enthe scriptures teach me, that the human will dure.-C. Whatever is natural, is beis free only to evil; or, more properly, it is coming. Now, when a speaker becomes so completely under the dominion of vicious warmed with his subject, he is instinctively passion, thats we cannot do the things that led to elevate his voice, perhaps to a degree we would."
of loudness that is unnecessary for the mere Again, when I examine the numerous purpose of being heard ; but it is natural, passages in which the doctrine of general and therefore approved by every hearer of redemption is explicitly stated, and consider taste. But then, the transition from this how few is the number of those in which becoming vehemence to absolute vociferathe opposite doctrine is thought to be inti- tion, is extremely easy, and by no means mated, and how rationally they may be uncommon. And when a preacher gets explained on the Universalist's hypothesis ; above his natural tone, particularly if his when, also, I consider how repugnant to the subject be of the calm and argumentative character of the benevolent and impartial kind, he becomes strained, and very disJehovah, is the scheme of partial redemp- agreable to every sensible hearer.-P. You tion, I think I could allow its opponents to must allow that we had a striking exemplipossess common sense and common honesty, fication of this in the sermon last night. although I were its advocate. With respect C. I am sensible that the delivery of the to the doctrine of unconditional election preacher we heard last night, sometimes and final perseverance, however dearly I approaches to vociferation; yet I never feel might love them, I could not be insensible much disgust in hearing him, for the followthat they are utterly inconsistent with a mul- ing reasons: 1. It is only occasionally that titude- of scriptural declarations, some of he is excessively loud. 2. His abilities,