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who are the most inclined to consider the so doing a serious fault, and to believe him guilty of it, must at least admit that he has amply atoned for his error, by contributing so much to prevent his successors from falling into a similar One. A point on which he is much more open to censure is, the indifference with which he tolerated in his court grievances it certainly was in his power to palliate, if not wholly to remedy. At least, it unquestionably was his duty to make some attempt towards the redress of them; and that he neglected to do so, is assuredly a stain upon his judicial character. Faults of omission, it is true, are generally looked upon with much more indulgence than those of actual commission; but where a duty so imperious is wilfully and designedly neglected, where that neglect is certainly occasioned in part by unworthy motives, and where it is productive of incalculable mischief and injury to a very large portion of the community, too much severity of animadversion can hardly be lavished upon it. As early as the year 1733, that is, before lord Hardwicke was appointed chancellor, a commission had been appointed for inquiring into certain abuses of the court of chancery. The result of their researches was not, however, made public till 1740, when he had presided for some years in that court. During this period he had taken a part in the proceedings of the inquiry; and his signature is accordingly affixed to the report. As this production laid open to public view some of the numerous abuses of which the effects had long been the theme of general discussion and complaint, and which, indeed, had given rise to the publication of several works on the subject, it is impossible that lord Hardwicke could have been ignorant of the evils occasioned by them. That he was eminently qualified to perform the ordinary duties of his station, is a sufficient proof that he had all the necessary information which might enable him to detect and to remedy the causes of those evils. That some effort of this kind was expected from him, he seems to have been fully aware; and three years after the publication of the report, he issued an order for the regulation of some trivial matters connected with the practice of the court, and particularly regarding the sees of solicitors. But had this been put forward as an attempt at reform, it would have been looked upon as nothing short of an absolute mockery; and, indeed, the chancellor acknowledged at the time, that he merely issued the regulations as a temporary measure, until some more effectual provisions could be sanctioned by the legislature. Now, those provisions were never made nor attempted to be made. For this, the chief blame must rest with lord Hardwicke, who, knowing and acknowledging the necessity of reform, having fully sufficient power and influence to effect it to any extent he might think fit, and having moreover thus pledged himself that it should be effected, presided for twenty years in the court, without using the slightest endeavor to fulfil his promise. It will not tend to lessen the odium deservedly attached to such a mode of conduct, that the only probable motive which can be assigned for it, is avarice; in other words, that he abstained from suppressing abuses, because those abuses were profitable to him. But however deep a blot this may appear in the character of a chancellor, it is necessary to dismiss all thought of it from our minds, when we undertake to examine the merits of his decisions. The manner in which he acquitted himself of the ordinary duties of his office must be estimated, not according to what the state of the court of chancery ought to be, or what he himself might have made it, but according to what it actually was. It is not to be wondered at, if disappointed suitors or envious enemies should have made it a charge against lord Hardwicke that he was not so expeditious in delivering his judgments, as the impatience of the former or the malignity of the latter could have desired. But when we find that impartial and disinterested, not to say competent, judges have dwelt with admiration on his mode of conducting the business of the court, and especially (considering the obstacles that stand in the way of expedition,) on the despatch with which it was disposed of, we may safely reject this imputation as frivolous and unfounded. It is the lot of those who occupy eminent stations, to be constantly exposed to calumny and misrepresentation; and the watchful eye which the English public ever keeps on the officers of the law, is very often led to see their failings through an exaggerated medium. “Bread and water,” says the amiable and learned sir John Wilmot, “are the nectar and ambrosia, when contrasted with the supremacy of a court of justice;” and all will be inclined to agree with him who are either too sensitively alive to the influence of vulgar clamor, or cannot find consolation for it in the consciousness of their own abilities. The fact is, that popular outcry on such a subject as this is not worthy of much regard. It may be considered a proof that there are faults in the system against which it is raised, but not that the fault lies with one particular person. When we find that the average number of bills filed in the court of chancery, while lord Hardwicke presided there, fell very little short of two thousand, we cannot in reason feel much surprised that there should have been an arrear of cases on the list, and that some delay should have taken place before each cause could find a hearing. In order to estimate the degree of ability with which any functions are performed, it is necessary first to know what those functions are, and what is the difficulty of executing them. Now, with regard to the chancellor, this is what none but lawyers are fully acquainted with, and therefore none but lawyers can appreciate the judicial merits of a chancellor. What may appear unaccountably tedious delay to those who can see no motives for any delay at all, may possibly be considered as extraordinary expedition by those who are aware of the utter impossibility of more speedy despatch. Nor should it be forgotten, that a hasty decision is likely to prove, in the end, a much longer method of disposing of a cause than a deliberate judgment. “I have seen,” said Bacon, “an affectation of despatch turn utterly to delay at length; for the manner of it is to take the tale out of the counsellor at the bar his mouth, and to give a cursory order, nothing tending or conducing to the end of the business. It makes me remember what I heard one say of a judge that sat in chancery, that “he would make sorty orders in a morning out of the way;’ and it was out of the way indeed, for it was nothing to the end of the business. And this is that which makes sixty, eighty, an hundred orders in a cause to and fro begetting one another, and like Penelope's web doing and undoing.” In the course of twenty years, during which lord Hardwicke presided in the court of chancery, three only of his judgments were appealed from, and those were afterwards confirmed by the house of peers. The ample stores of legal wisdom which he furnished to the world, while he presided in the court of chancery, are treasured in the reports of Atkyns and of Wesey senior. The first volume of the former was published the year after lord Hardwicke had resigned the seal. The cases, instead of being classed according to the chronological order of decision, were placed under separate heads and titles after the manner of a digest; but this plan being generally disapproved of, as less convenient for occasional reference, was discontinued in the next volume, (published in 1767,) wherein the usual mode of arrangement was adopted. Mr. Wesey's work was not given to the public till 1771. It would be difficult to find in any age or nation, as the production of a single man, a more various or comprehensive body of legal wisdom, than is contained in these volumes. Though upon the whole arranged with more care than the collection of Mr. Lee, they have not preserved the speeches of the chancellor with such accuracy as to convey a distinct impression of the style of his elocution. But, however much we may regret in a literary point of view, the condensed form in which the cases are published, if we look upon them as law reports, their conciseness certainly cannot be considered otherwise than a merit. In framing his judgments lord Hardwicke appears always to have been anxious to bring the case within the scope of some broad general principle. This, however, he never effected by means of forced interpretations or fanciful analogies. He was always careful to support his opinion by the authority of legal precedents, in the selection and application of which he was particularly happy. Again, his regard for principles never betrayed him into the dangerous practice of giving his own judgments in such loose and general terms, as might extend their authority too far. It was his invariable practice to express himself in the most guarded terms, and to mention distinctly the qualifications and restrictions with which he meant his opinion to be received; so that his judgments were effectually prevented from acquiring, as precedents, a wider application than it was his original design to give them. For illustration and, in the absence of other authorities, for a guide in his arguments, he frequently had recourse to the civil law, with which, like his illustrious contemporary Mansfield, though not perhaps in so great a degree, he had familiarized himself, and for which, in common with all who have ever made it their study, he entertained the highest respect. When he delivered his opinion on any case of importance, he was so far from wishing or attempting to pass over the objections which had been suggested by those who argued

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