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intention to publish a book.” Powis, all elate with this discovery, eagerly demanded to be informed of the subject. The other, keeping up the joke, answered that he was putting Coke upon Littleton into verse. A specimen was now called for. Yorke endeavored to excuse himself, on the plea that he had made little progress in his work, but his lordship would hear of no denial. Accordingly, finding himself compelled to recite a distich or two, he could not refrain from taking the opportunity of ridiculing some of the importunate dignitary’s peculiarities of phraseology, and immediately rapt out with solemn emphasis:

“He that holdeth his lands in fee
Need neither to shake nor to shiver,
I humbly conceive ; ‘for look, do you see,’
They are his and his heirs for ever.”

The foundations of his fortune were now so securely laid, that he might without imprudence think of contracting a matrimonial alliance. At the house of sir Joseph Jekyll, then master of the rolls, he had met and admired the young widow of Mr. William Lygon, of Madersfield, in Somersetshire. She was a niece of lord Somers, who was her mother's brother, and also of sir Joseph, who had married another of his lordship's sisters. Her father, Mr. Charles Cocks, was a country gentleman of good estate, residing at Worcester; and to him the suitor was referred for his consent to the match. Accordingly, having surrendered his chambers in the Temple, (May, 1719) in contemplation of the approaching union, to which he could see no probable obstacle, he shortly after presented himself at Worcester, and made known his errand to the gentleman whom it was his wish to call father-in-law. Mr. Cocks received him with politeness, and having perused the recommendatory letter of his brother-in-law, sir Joseph Jekyll, wherein Mr. Yorke was represented as a highly eligible match for his daughter, he forthwith requested to see what in his opinion constituted the main evidence of the aspirant's eligibility, namely, his rent-roll. To his infinite surprise, Mr. Yorke had no such document to show. The case seemed an extraordinary one; and not being able to understand what qualities could make amends for the want of land and title-deeds, he immediately wrote to the master of the rolls, demanding to know on what ground he could presume to recommend for a son-in-law, a man who had no rent-roll to produce. Sir Joseph Jekyll, in his answer, made it clear that it was possible to hold some rank in society, and even to possess some wealth, without being master of those parchments which the country gentleman seemed to consider the only undeniable tokens of fortune and respectability; and he concluded by advising Mr. Cocks not to hesitate a moment in accepting the proposal made him, as Yorke would at that time consent to marry his daughter with a portion of six thousand pounds, whereas in another year he would probably not be contented with less than three or four times that sum. This explanation had the desired effect, and the marriage accordingly took place. The connection derived from this alliance probably influenced Yorke in the choice of a circuit, his practice having been till that period confined to Westminster Hall. The next spring he appeared upon the western circuit, and in spite of his recent standing, was employed there as extensively in proportion as he had been in London. That this should excite the envy as well as the surprise of the bar, is not to be wondered at. But new favors of fortune awaited Yorke, such as even the penetration of judge Powis might scarcely have foreseen as the consequences of the forthcoming work. He was called up to town before he had completed his first circuit, to be made solicitor-general (March 23, 1720), being thus at the early age of twenty-nine, and within five years after his call to the bar, promoted to an office which is generally supposed to require not only approved talent and knowledge of the law, but a much greater share of experience than can fall to the lot of one so young, both in years and practice. Much dissatisfaction was testified among the seniors of the bar, at this appointment, the more eminent among them, not without reason, considering they had much stronger claims to the possession of the vacant post; and those who had not the same personal reasons for displeasure, being still nettled at thus finding themselves outstripped in the race of preferment by so youthful a competitor. Besides the envy and the odium which so marked an instance of favoritism could not fail to awaken among his professional brethren of the bar, the new solicitor-general had to contend against another and a more serious prejudice, the mistrust of his clients. However he might have distinguished himself during the former part of his career, still his employment had been of course almost entirely that of a junior counsel; and though in that capacity he had never failed of discharging his duty, both with credit to himself and advantage to the party in whose cause he was retained, still it was to be supposed that many who had been glad to avail themselves of his talents when they were backed by the experience of older men, would naturally hesitate before they committed their interests entirely to the custody of an advocate of five years' standing. Professional etiquette forbade him to appear in a cause except as the leading counsel; and those who best knew the advantages of experience in a leader, were most reluctant to engage him as such. Thus, nothing but a very extraordinary share of ability and of legal knowledge could have saved him from the loss of his private practice; and, had he not found opportunities of showing that he possessed both, his appointment to the solicitorship, far from being the source of additional honor and emolument, could not but have been very materially prejudicial to his pecuniary interests, as well as to his reputation. It was not long, however, before he made it evident that he was equal to the duties of his new station. His talents, instead of being lost in the wider sphere wherein they were called upon to act, expanded in proportion as the demands upon them were greater. By these means the prejudice which had at first been conceived against him, on account of his youth, was gradually dispelled, and before long his practice became more extensive than ever; the marked favor of the chancellor, and the affability of his own deportment, particularly his courtesy towards the attorneys of the court, contributing no doubt, as well as his acknowledged ability, to render him a popular counsel. In the discharge of his public duty as solicitor-general, he was not less eminently successful than in the management of private causes. The trial of Christopher Layer for high treason, in November, 1722, afforded him an opportunity, which he did not neglect, of making a splendid display of his powers, both as a lawyer and an orator. The task of answering the legal objections urged in favor of the prisoner was delegated to him. His reply, which was of course in great measure unpremeditated, occupied two hours. Very little of it, except the heads of the arguments he employed, is preserved in the state trials; but we are assured that the manner in which, after recapitulating and confuting all the topics that had been advanced in behalf of the accused party, he finished by summing up the whole body of the evidence, so as not to leave a doubt on the minds of either the jury or the court, was the theme of universal admiration. His speech was, indeed, allowed to be a masterpiece of argumentative eloquence. Layer, it is well known, was condemned to be hanged; but the execution of the sentence was deferred from time to time until the spring of the following year, in the hope that he might be induced to give evidence against the bishop of Rochester, and certain other accomplices supposed to be implicated in the plot laid for the restoration of the Pretender. This expectation, however, being disappointed, a bill of attainder was brought (May 1723) against the suspected parties. Bishop Atterbury was deprived of all his offices and sent into banishment; John Plunkett, and George Kelly, the other accessories, were sentenced to confinement during his majesty's pleasure. The solicitor-general is said to have displayed considerable talent in the bringing forward in parliament the bill against the last mentioned of these persons, who was imprisoned in the Tower, whence he contrived to make his escape about thirteen years afterwards. Yorke had received the honor of knighthood a few months after his appointment to the office of solicitor-general. In February, 1724, that is, after he had retained the solicitorship somewhat less than four years, he was promoted to the rank of attorney-general, being succeeded in his former office by sir Clement Wearg. He was now fully launched into the stream of preferment, and could dispense, for the future, with the favor and the patronage of the chancellor, to whom he had hitherto been indebted for his advancement. It was well for him that this was the case; for he had been little more than a year established in his new office, when the gross corruption of lord Macclesfield brought on the impeachment in consequence of which he was deprived of the great seal. As attorney-general, it was sir Philip Yorke's duty to assist the managers of the house of commons in making good their charge. But his intimacy and connection with the accused were so well known, that he succeeded, though not without some difficulty, in procuring himself to be excused from so painful a task; and though decency forbade him to undertake the defence of his former patron, or, indeed, to appear at his trial in any other capacity than that of his principal accuser, he found means to reconcile decorum with gratitude, by rebutting in the house

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