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from the change. The minister had exhausted all his topics of persuasion. He now appealed to the jealousy of his listener, a weakness of which he well knew him to be very susceptible, and threatened, in case of his ultimate refusal, to give the great seal to the eminent chancery barrister, Mr. Fazakerly. Lord Hardwicke, half alarmed, and half inclined to doubt whether sir Robert Walpole was in earnest, represented to him that Fazakerly was, without question, an avowed tory, and for aught he knew a jacobite. “I am very well aware of that,” coolly replied the experienced maker of political proselytes, “but if by one o'clock ’’ (laying his watch upon the table) “you have not accepted my offer, by two, Fazakerly shall be lord keeper of the great seal, and one of the stanchest whigs in England.” This stroke was decisive. The given time had not expired before lord Hardwicke had made up his mind, and consented to be elevated to the highest judicial dignity in the country. One of the chief causes of his reluctance to quit his post in the king's bench, at that particular period, was, that the office of chief clerk of that court was then expected shortly to become vacant; and as the chief justice had the power of granting it for two lives, by retaining his place he would be enabled to make a handsome provision for some member of his own family. Sir Robert Walpole was willing to do away with this objection, by buying up the life interest of Mr. Wentris, then the actual chief clerk, and annexing the grant of the office to the chancellorship. Lord Hardwicke, however, very properly refused to deprive the future chief justice of the privilege for his own personal advantage, and the difficulty was finally got over, by a promise of that tempting ministerial bait, the reversion of a tellership of the exchequer, which was to be given to his eldest son. Sir Robert Walpole himself, accompanied by the lord president of the council and several of the other principal 2%

officers of state, attended the new chancellor at the ceremony of his taking the oaths and his seat. It is a remarkable circumstance, that on the same day (February 17th,) after having sat for some time in the court of chancery, lord Hardwicke adjourned to the king's bench, and there took his place as chief justice, to give judgment in a case of importance, which had previously been argued before him: thus uniting the functions of an equity with those of a common law judge, and enjoying the singular honor of presiding in the two highest courts of the kingdom within the space of a few hours. One of the first duties which in his new station he was called upon to fulfil was by no means an agreeable one; though he derived from it the assurance, that his abilities and his integrity were held in as high estimation by the chief of the opposition party, as by the king and his ministers. About the time when he was called upon to take his seat in the court of chancery, the attention of the public was engrossed by an open rupture between his majesty and the prince of Wales, the latter of whom had long been at variance with his father. It was occasioned principally by the concealment of the princess's pregnancy, of which, although she had been twice supposed to be on the point of delivery, no notification whatever had been given to the king. This and other breaches of respect determined his majesty and the ministers to send to the prince, in the name of his royal father, a severe message of reprimand; and it was decided that lord Hardwicke should be one of the bearers of it. The prince of Wales received the deputation with much affability, and was particularly attentive to lord Hardwicke, to whom he made many flattering compliments on his recent promotion. In quitting a court of common law for a court of equity, lord Hardwicke did not labor under the disadvantages which both before and since his time have attended some chancellors similarly removed. Neither had his education been confined to one exclusive course of study, nor had his practice been limited exclusively to one court. In the office of an eminent solicitor, his attention was most probably divided between the business of the common law, and that of chancery; and as his professional prospects during the greater part of his studentship were in all likelihood undecided, it is natural to suppose, that he would be equally anxious to qualify himself for either department circumstances might afterwards point out as most eligible. After his call to the bar, he could not fail to experience the advantages of this double store of knowledge. The circumstance of his patron, lord Macclesfield, being promoted to the woolsack, had the effect of confining his practice, at first, in a great degree to the court of chancery; and the duties of his official appointments afterwards obliged him to devote a considerable part of his attention to the king's bench. For either situation he was equally well qualified. His removal from the king's bench to the chancellorship was therefore not attended with that inconvenience, either to himself or to the public, which has frequently and justly been made the subject of complaint, when mere common lawyers have been placed upon the woolsack; and perhaps still more justly, when chancery barristers have been called upon to fulfil duties so foreign to their professional studies and habits as those of a common law judge. It was in the court of chancery that lord Hardwicke furnished the longest and most glorious portion of his professional career. It was his singular good fortune to fill the highest legal station in the kingdom during nearly twenty years; a space of time longer than it has been the lot of any single individual to occupy it, with the exception of lord chancellor Egerton among those who have preceded him, and of lord Eldon among his successors. Very few, even of those who have held the same office during a much shorter period, have escaped in an equal degree the envy and the evil report of their contemporaries. His integrity no one ever called in question: his talents were beyond the reach of censure: and those who made it their business to discover faults in his character, were obliged to dwell upon such minor blemishes as detracted but little from the eminent qualities, which even his enemies could not refuse to acknowledge. The wisdom of his decrees was the theme of universal eulogy. The only failing which the most captious could pretend to detect in his judgments was, that he sometimes betrayed an inclination rather to base them exclusively on the foundation of pure reason, than to frame them according to the strict tenor of the positive regulations by which that reason ought to be modified and controlled. The accusation is a general one, and one that it might at present be equally difficult to refute or to substantiate. Even admitting it to be well founded, it would probably with many still remain a question how far such a charge should be made a subject of reproach, and how far of praise. For, when it is considered that originally, the peculiar province of the court of chancery was to administer redress for such grievances as did not come under the cognizance of the common law; that it was intended also to obviate the hardship, and in some cases the injustice, which cannot always be either avoided or remedied by a severe adherence to the letter of established rules, it may fairly be asked, whether the too great multiplication of restrictions on the discretionary powers of the chancellor be not calculated to defeat the object, for the accomplishment of which his jurisdiction was first created. That some and even many restraints must be laid on the mere discretion of any officer of justice, is what no speculative lawyer will venture to controvert, any more than a practical one will deny that many are actually imposed on an English chancellor. The chancery, as Bacon very aptly observed on taking his seat there, is ordained to supply the law, not to subvert the law. We have so far improved upon this maxim that, at present, he who presides in that court may well profit by the admonition which the same great man gave to serjeant Hutton, when he was appointed judge of the Common Pleas, that he should draw his learning out of his books, not out of his brain. Indeed the system which, in the technical language of our jurisprudence, is called equity, is now little, if at all, less accurately circumscribed by known rules and precedents, than the not very different system which, in contradistinction to it, we emphatically term law. But its limits were far from being so minutely traced, at the period when lord Hardwicke was called to the woolsack. If the comparison be not too fanciful, we may liken the different state of the equity of that day from the equity of our own time to the different condition of certain suburbs of the metropolis at the same periods. Where the passenger now finds his path clearly marked out by long rows of houses, which prevent him from swerving to the right or to the left, except at known and definite intervals, he might then, in many places, pursue his way as he listed among fields and pastures, unrestrained except here and there by some isolated building. In the same manner, where an equity judge of the present day is hedged in by rules and precedents, so that it is not at his option to adopt the course he pleases, he might then occasionally find himself in a situation where his path was much less confined. Now it is an undisputed fact, that a very considerable proportion of the precedents which at present serve at once as guides and as restraints, both to direct and to control the judgment of the chancellor, were created by lord Hardwicke himself. It has already been remarked, that there would be great difficulty in ascertaining to what precise extent he took upon himself to overstep the boundaries marked out by his predecessors; but those

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