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with their characters, and I am entitled to speak with some little confidence of their decisions.
However, I cannot venture to draw the CHIEF JUSTICES at full length in a consecutive series. The CHANCELLORS, although sometimes insignificant as individuals, were all necessarily mixed up with the political struggles and the historical events of the times in which they flourished; but CHIEF JUSTICES occasionally had been quite obscure till they were elevated to the bench, and then, confining themselves to the routine discharge of their official duties, were known only to have decided such questions as “ whether beasts of the plough taken in vetito namio may be replevied ?” So many of them as I could not reasonably hope to make entertaining or edifying, I have used the freedom 10 pass over entirely, or with very slight notice. But the high qualities and splendid career of others in the list have excited in me the warmest admiration. To these I have devoted myself with unabated diligence; and I hope that the wearers of the “ Collar of SS" * may be deemed fit companions for the occupiers of the “ Marble Chair,” who have been so cordially welcomed by the Public.
I have been favoured with a considerable body of new information from the families of the later Chief Justices,—of Lord Chief Justice Holt, Lord Chief Justice Lee, and Lord Chief Justice Ryder. But my special thanks are due to my friend Lord Murray, Judge of the Supreme Court in Scotland, for the valuable materials with which he has supplied me for the Life of his illustrious kinsman, Lord Mansfield, hitherto so strangely neglected or misrepresented.
* This has been from great antiquity who suffered martyrdom under the Emthe decoration of the Chief Justices. peror Dioclesian: “Geminæ vero SS Dugdale says it is derived from the name indicabant Sancti Simplicii nomen."of SAINT SIMPLICIUS, a Christian Judge, (Or. Jur. xxxv.)
I had intended to add the Lives of LORD KENYON, LORD ELLENBOROUGH, and LORD TENTERDEN, -well recollecting the first when I was a law student, and having practised many years under the two others. But I am afraid of hurting the feelings of surviving relations and friends; and whatever other biographical sketches I may compose I shall leave to be given to the world when this risk has passed away, and when the author will be beyond the reach of human censure. In taking farewell of the Public, I beg permission to return my sincere thanks for the kindness I have experienced both from friends and strangers who have pointed out mistakes and supplied deficiencies in my biographical works, and earnestly to solicit a continuance of similar favours.
August 10, 1849.
VOLUME III. OF THE ORIGINAL EDITION.
[PUBLISHED IN 1858.]
I COMPLETE my engagement with the public by bringing down this work to the death of Lord Chief Justice Tenterden. A quarter of a century having elapsed since that event, I hope that I may now continue my series of Chief Justices from Lord Mansfield, without being liable to the censure of wantonly wounding the feelings of the relations and friends of those whose appear
narrative. I cannot think that the circumstance of my having myself in the mean time become a Chief Justice disqualifies me for being the biographer of my pre decessors, or that it should induce me in any measue to vary the principle on which my “Lives" have been composed. I still consider it my duty to extentate nothing, being sure that I do not set down aughi in malice. By some persons, probably very respectable, though given to HERO-WORSHIP, I have been blamd for following this course,-even with respect to udges who for centuries have been reposing in the tomb. I have incurred much obloquy by representing tlat Lord Chancellor Sir Christopher Hatton, so deserv.dly emi
nent for his dancing, was no Lawyer;" and for saying that Lord Bacon, the greatest philosopher, and one of the finest writers his country ever produced, was justly liable to the charges of taking bribes from suitors on whose causes he was to adjudicate, -of inflicting torture on a poor parson whom he wished to hang as a traitor for writing an unpublished and unpreached sermon,-and of labouring to blacken the memory of the young and chivalrous Earl of Essex, from whom he had received such signal favours.
But, at all hazards, in relating actions and in drawing characters, I shall still strive to discriminate between what is deserving of praise and of censure. I add, with perfect sincerity,
-hanc veniam petimusque damusque vicissim. If my own humble career should ever become the subject of biographical criticsm,-with what measure I mete, be it measured to me again. And this I say not in arrogance or self-confidence --but deeply conscious of deficiencies which may be imputed to me, and of errors into which I have fallen,-yot hoping that the slender merit may be allowed me of having attempted well.
I beg leave to call in aid the admirable justification of the discriminating and impartial biographer by my friend Sir Francis Palgrave :-“He is in no wise responsible for the defects of his personages, still less is their vindication obligatory upon him. This conventional etiquette of extenuation mars the utility of historical biography by concealing the compensations so mercifully granted in love, and the admonitions given by vengeance. Why suppress the lesson afforded by the depravity of the greatest, brightest, meanest of mankind;' he whose defilements teach us that the most transcendent intellectuality is consistent with the deepest turpitude ? The labours of the panegyrists come after all to naught. You are trying to fill a broken cistern. You may cut a hole in the stuff, but you cannot wash out the stain." *
Before concluding I must renew the notice by which I have derived many favours both from strangers and from friends,—“I shall be most grateful to all who will point out omissions to be supplied, or mistakes to be corrected.”
I have only further to express my satisfaction in thinking that a heavy weight is now to be removed from my conscience. So essential did I consider an Index to be to every book, that I proposed to bring a Bill into parliament to deprive an author who publishes a book without an Index of the privilege of copyright; and, moreover, to subject him, for his offence, to a pecuniary penalty. Yet, from difficulties started by my printers, my own books have hitherto been without an Index. But I am happy to announce that a learned friend at the bar, on whose accuracy I can place entire reliance, has kindly prepared a copious Index, which will be appended to this work, and another for the new stereotyped edition of the LIVES OF THE CHANCELLORS.
April 6th, 1857.
* Hist. of Norm. and Eng., b. ii. p. 67.