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Lives of the Lord Chancellors and Keepers of the Great Seal of England : from the earliest times till the reign of King George IV (Volume 4) online

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LIVES



OF



THE LORD CHANCELLORS



AND



KEEPERS OF THE GREAT SEAL



OF



ENGLAND,

FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES TILL THE REIGN OF KING GEORGE IV



By JOHN LOED CAMPBELL, LL.D., F.B.S.E.



FIFTH EDITION.
IN TEN VOLUMES.— Vol. IV.



LONDON:
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.

1868.

The right of Translation is reserved.



i sr/



LONDON :

PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED,
STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS.



CONTENTS

OF

THE FOUETH VOLUME.



Chap. Paob

LXXTV. — LlFE OF LOED ChANCELLOB CLARENDON FROM HIS

BERTH TILL THE EXECUTION OF LOED StBAFFOBD 2

LXXY. — Continuation of the Life of Lobd Clabendon
till he was sent to beistol v.ith the chabge
of Prince Chaeles 16

LXXVL — Continuation of the Life of Lord Clarendon

TILL HIS BETURN FROM THE EMBASSY TO MaDBID . . 30

LXXYII. — Continuation of the Life of Clabendon till
the grbeat seal was deliyebed to him at
Beuges 45

LXXVIII. — Continuation of the Life of Clabendon till

THE BESTOBATION OF CHAELES II 58

LXXIX. — Continuation of the Life of Lobd Clabendon

TILL THE MEETING OF THE FIBST PABLIAMENT OF

Chables II 68

L XXX . — Continuation of the Life of Lobd Clabendon
till his acquittal when impeached by the
Eabl of Bbistol 83

LXXXI. — Continuation of the Life of Lobd Clarendon

TILL H53 FALL 95

LXXXTI. — Continuation of the Life of Lobd Clabendon

IILL HIS BANL6H2UMJT 108



iv CONTENTS OF THE FOURTH VOLUME.

Chap. Page

LXXXII '.. — Conclusion of the Life of Lord Clarendon . . 120

LXXXTY. — Life of Loed Keeper Bridgeman 139

LXXXY. — Life of Loed Chancellor Shaftesbttey from his

bieth till the restoration of Charles II. .. 154

LXXXVI. — Continuation of the Life of Loed Shaftesbttey

TILL HIS APPOINTMENT AS LOED CHANCELLOE .. 167

LXXXYII. — Continuation of the Life of Loed Shaftesbttey
till his dismissal from the office of loed
Chancellor 172

LXXXVLTI. — Continuation of the Life of Loed Shaftesbttey

TILL THE BREAKING OTTT OF THE POPISH PLOT . . 185

LXXXTX. — Continuation of the Life of Loed Shaftesbury

TILL THE DISSOLUTION OF THE OXFORD PARLIA-
MENT 197

XC — Conclusion of the Life of Lord Shaftesbury.. 219
XCI. — Life of Lord Chancellor Nottingham from his

BIRTH TILL HE WAS CEEATED LOED CHANCELLOR.. 236

XCII. — Continuation of the Life of Loed Nottingham

TILL HIS FIRST QUARREL WITH LOED SHAFTESBUEY 247

XCIII. — Conclusion of the Life of Lord Nottingham .. 262
XCIV. — Life of Lord Keeper Guilford from his birth

TILL HE WAS APPOINTED SOLICITOE- GENERAL .. 280

XCY. — Continuation of the Life of Lord Guilford till

HIS APPOINTMENT AS LORD KEEPER 292

XCVL — Continuation of the Life of Lord Guilford till

THE DEATH OF CHARLES II 312

XCYII. — Conclusion of the Life of Lord Guilford .. 326
XCVIII. — Life of Lord Chancellor Jeffreys feom his

BIRTH TILL HE WAS APPOINTED ReCOEDER OP

London 338



CONTENTS OF THE FOURTH VOLUME. V

Chap. Pagi

XCIX. — Continuation of the Life of Lord Chancellor
Jeffreys till his appointment as Lord Chief
Justice of the King's Bench 352

C. — Continuation of the Life of Lord Chancellor

Jeffreys till he received the Great Seal .. 368

CI. — Continuation of the Life of Lord Chancellor
Jeffreys till the Great Seal was taken from
him by James II. and thrown into the riyer
Thames 388

CII. — Conclusion of the Life of Lord Chancellor

Jeffreys 40£



VOL. J*









LIVE S



OF THE



LOED CHANCELLORS OF ENGLAND,



CHAPTER LXXIV.

LIFE OF LORD CHANCELLOR CLARENDON FROM HIS BIRTH TILL THE
EXECUTION OF LORD STRAFFORD.

I now enter upon a task of great difficulty — embarrassed not
by the scantiness, but by the superfluity of nry materials.

" Iuopem me copia fecit."

The subject of this memoir was personally concerned in
many of the most important events which marked the thirty
most interesting years to be found in our annals ; by his own
voluminous writings, and those of his contemporaries, we are
amply informed of all he did, and said, and thought ; and more
praise and censure have been unduly lavished upon him than
perhaps on any other public man who ever appeared in
England. But striving to condense, and keeping in view
the just boundaries of biography and history, I must not
omit any statement or observations which I may deem ne-
cessary to convey an adequate notion of his career and of his
character.

Edward Hyde was of a respectable gentleman's family,
which for centuries had been settled in the county of Chester,
and, in Scottish phrase, had been " Hydes of that ilk," being
possessed of an estate by the name of which they were desig-
nated when surnames came into fashion. Lawrence, his
grandfather, a cadet of this family, migrated into the West,
and established himself at Dinton, in the county of Wilts.
tt—^. - e Chancellors father, studied the law in the Middle

VOL. IV. B



2 LOUD CHANCELLOR CLARENDON Jhap. LXXIV.



Temple, but marrying a Wiltshire lady " of a good fortune, in
the account of that age:," he became a country squire after having
travelled through Germany and Italy. He sat in several par-
liaments ; but having neither hope of Court preferment, nor
ambition to complain of grievances, he resolved to devote
the remainder of his days to country pursuits and pleasures.
" From the death of Queen Elizabeth he never was in London,
though he lived above thirty years after ; and his wife, who
was married to him abo v'e forty years, never was in London in
her life ; the wisdom and frugality of that time being such,
that few gentlemen made journeys to London, or any other
expensive journeys, but upon important business, and their
wives never ; by which they enjoyed and improved their estates
in the country, and kept great hospitality in their houses,
brought up their children well, and were beloved by their
neighbours." a

The Chancellor was born at Dinton on the 1 8th of February,
1609. He received his early classical education under
the paternal roof from the vicar of the parish, who,
" though of very indifferent parts, had bred good scholars;"
but he was chiefly grateful to "the superintending care and
conversation of his father, who was an excellent scholar, and
took pleasure in conferring with him."

In his fourteenth year he was sent to the University of Ox-
ford, and admitted of Magdalen Hall. Being then a younger
son, he was intended for holy orders ; but he did not make
much progress in theological studies, and having taken his
Bachelor's degree in February, 1626, he quitted the University
" rather with the opinion of a young man of parts and preg-
nancy of wit, than that he had improved it much by in-
dustry." b

About this time his elder brother died, and he was entered
1625 a student of law in the Middle Temple, under the
care of his uncle, Sir Nicholas, afterwards Chief
Justice of the King's Bench, then Treasurer of that Society.

But his studies were seriously interrupted, first, by the
plague which raged for some months in London, and then by
a lingering attack of ague when he had retreated into the
country. It was Michaelmas term, 1626, before he was able
to establish himself regularly in chambers. He confesses that
he had contracted a habit of idleness and of desultory reading,
and that, when he returned, " it was without great application

■ Life of Clarendon, 1. 6. b Ibid. 8.



A.P. 1028. HIS EDUCATION AND FIRST MARRIAGE. 3

to the study of the law for some years. 1 ' He now spent most
of his time with " swash bucklers" and discharged, military
officers who had fought in Germany and the Low Countries,
accompanying them to fencing-schools, ordinaries, and theatres.
But he assures us that his morals were not contaminated by
these dangerous associates ; and this being so, he seems rather
to have reflected with satisfaction on the opportunity he then
improved of acquiring a knowledge of men and manners. He
says, "that since it pleased God to preserve him whilst he
did keep that company, and to withdraw him so soon from it,
he was not sorry he had some experience in the conversation
of such men, and of the licence of those times," — adding, with
considerable felicity, " that he had more cause to be terrified
upon the reflection than the man who had viewed Eochester
Bridge in the morning that it was broken, and which he had
galloped over in the night." c He was fond of literature, and
he employed several hours each day in reading ; but he would
utterly have neglected Plowden and Coke, which then showed
the newest fashions of the law, if it had not been for his uncle,
Sir Nicholas, who questioned him about the "moots "he at-
tended, and often " put cases " for his opinion. But natural
disposition, or the prospect of succeeding to a comfortable
patrimony, still made him affect the company of the gay and
the dissolute.

In the summer of 1628, the old Chief Justice, with a view
of compelling him to mix with lawyers, appointed him to
" ride " the Norfolk circuit as .his Marshal. Unfortunately at
Cambridge, the first assize town, he was attacked by the
smallpox, and he was so ill that his life was despaired of; but
at the end of a month he was able to proceed to his father's in
Wiltshire.

Soon after the recovery of his health, a circumstance oc-
curred which gave a new turn to his views and his character.
He fell desperately in love with a Wiltshire beauty, the
daughter of iSir George Ayliffe, a young lady with no fortune,
though of good family and high connections. His indulgent
father consented to their union. He thus became allied to
the Marquess of Hamilton, and " was introduced into another
way of conversation than he had formerly been accustomed
to, and which, in "truth, by the acquaintance, by the friends

Life, i. 10. In his old age he bestows serve himself from any notable scandal ol
this qualified commendation on this passage any kind, and to live caute if not caste." — Life,
of his youth, that "he was desirous to pre- iii. 97-t.

B 2



4 LORD CHANCELLOR CLARENDON. Chap. LXXIV

and enemies he then made, had an influence upon the whole
course of his life afterwards." d But his domestic happiness
came to a sudden termination. In little more than six months
after his marriage, his young wife, in a journey from London
into Wiltshire, caught the malignant smallpox and died.
When he was sensible of the loss he had sustained, he was so
overwhelmed with grief that he could hardly be restrained by
his father from resigning his profession, and seeking seclusion
in a foreign land.

He remained a widower near three years, the greater part
of which time he devoted to books, but neither then, nor at
any period of his life, did he attend veiy seriously to the study
of the law, — with the technicalities of which he was never
familiar. He continued to cultivate the high-born relatives of
his late wife, and he made acquaintance with Ben Jonson, 6 "
Cotton, Isaac Walton, May, Carew, Edmund Waller, Sir ,
Kenelm Digby, and Chillingworth. His manners were more
polished and agreeable than those of most lawyers, and he was
kindly noticed, not only by Lord Keeper Coventry, but by the
Earl of Manchester, Lord Privy Seal, the Earl of Pembroke,
Lord Chamberlain, the Earls of Holland, Hereford, and Essex,
and others of great consequence about the Court. His regard
for the members of his own profession he chiefly confined to
Lane, Attorney-General to the Prince, and afterwards Lord
Keeper, Sir Jeffrey Palmer, then a rising conveyancer, after-
wards Attomev-General to Charles II., and Bulstrode \\ hite-
lock, then getting into the lead on the Oxford circuit, after-
wards Lord Keeper to the Commonwealth, — with all whom
he was at this time on a footing of the most friendly inter-
course, although their courses were afterwards so devious/
But the man with whom, he tells us, he had the most entire
friendship, and of whom he speaks in terms of the warmest
admiration and affection, was Lucius Carey, Lord Falkland, —
in all whose sentiments he continued ever heartily to concur,
till this bright ornament of his country fell in the battle of
Xewbury.

d Life, i. 18. all acquainted with the writings of Shak-

e *' He (Ben Jonson) had for many years epeare.
an extraordinary kindness for Mr. Hyde, till f In Whitelock's Memorials we have an

he found he betook himself to business, which amusing extract of a letter addressed to him

he believed ought never to be preferred be- in the country, from Hyde in the Temple :

fore his company." — Life, i. 30. Hyde pre- " Our best news is that we have good wine

ferred Ben to all poets, living or dead, except abundantly come over; and the worst, thai

Cew'.ey but does not seem to have been at the plague is in town, and no Judges He."



A.D. 1632. HIS SECOND MARRIAGE— DEATH OF HIS FATHER. 5

Hyde having recovered his spirits, again entered the mar
ried state, and formed a most auspicious union, which
proved the great solace of his life. The lady was
Frances, daughter of Sir Thomas Aylesbury, Master of the
Mint. Having been his companion in all the vicissitudes of
his fortune, — having lived with him in exile, sharing in his
dangers and privations, and with difficulty providing food and
raiment for their children, — she was preserved to see him
Earl of Clarendon, Lord Chancellor, and Prime Minister of
England.

His happiness was in a few months interrupted by the
sudden death of his father. Burnet relates that, walking in
the fields together, the old gentleman warned him of the dis-
position then obseivable among lawyers to stretch law and
prerogative to the prejudice of the subject ; charged him, if
he ever grew to any eminence in his profession, that he should
never "sacrifice the laws and liberties of his country to his own
interests, or to the will of a Prince ; and that, having repeated
this twice, he immediately fell into a fit of apoplexy, of which
he died in a few hours. 5 Clarendon himself wrote thus to a
friend : — " Without one minute's warning or fear, I have lost
the best father in the world, the sense of which hath been so
terrible to me, that I was enough inclined to think I had
nothing to do but to follow him."

The shock being over, he resolved, instead of renouncing
the world and living in retirement on his small estate, to con-
tinue to cultivate his profession, in the hope of rising to
eminence, and with the resolution to observe the dying in-
junction of his father. "He put on his gown as soon as he
was called to the bar, and, by the countenance of persons in
place and authority, as soon engaged himself in the business- of
the profession as he put on his gown, and to that degree in
practice that gave little time for study that he had too much
neglected before. 5 " 1 He would not submit to the drudgery of
"riding a circuit," — which he afterwards lamented, " both be-
cause it would have improved his acquaintance with various
classes of his countrymen, and because there is a very good
and necessary part of learning in the law which is not so easily
got any other way ;" ' but he regularly attended the Courts
at Westminster, and diligently devoted himself to the business

S Burn. Times, i. 270. this practice so much, that he meant to ha\e

h Life, iii. 974, 975. joined a circuit when the troubles broke oul

i Ibid. i. 32. He regretted the want of



6 LORD CHANCELLOR CLARENDON. Chap. LXXIV.

of any clients who employed him. Though not much of a
lawyer compared with the black-letter men of those days, he
could, by his books and his friends, get up a respectable argu-
ment, even against Selden or Xoy, and having a much better
delivery, he was sometimes thought by the by-standers to be
superior to them in learning as well as eloquence. He lived
handsomely in London, and exercised a distinguished hospi-
tality at his house in Wiltshire ; but,, though he was rather
fond of talking of wines and dishes, he was very temperate,
and generally abstained from supper, the meal at which those
who were fond of good living most indulged.

His growing eminence appears from the fact that at the
grand masque given by the Tuns of Court to the
Queen, which we have several times had occasion to
allude to, the task was allotted to him, along with Whitelock,
of conferring with the Lord Chamberlain and the Comptroller
of the household, and taking order about the scenery and pre-
parations in the banqueting house, and he was deputed by the
Middle Temple to the office of returning thanks in the name of
the four Inns of Court to the King and Queen, "for their
• gracious acceptance of the tender of their service in the late
masque." k

In this mixture of business and pleasure some years rolled
on, by far the happiest period of the life of Clarendon. " With
an excellent wife, who perfectly resigned herself to him, and
who then had brought him, before any troubles in the kingdom,
three sons and a daughter, which he then and ever looked
upon as his greatest blessing and consolation," m his practice
steadily increased, particularly before the Privy Council ; he
was respected by his own profession ; he kept up an inter-
course with men eminent in literature ; he was countenanced
by powerful courtiers ; and he had before him a fair prospect
of reaching the highest honours of his profession.

The system of ruling by prerogative alone having been pur-
sued ever since he was of age, he had no opportunity of ac-
quiring parliamentary reputation. In his heart he highly

k As this is, I trust, my last notice of this Queen for her love of theatricals ; but they

performance, I may be permitted to say I am escape the disgrace of Shirley's ironical dedi-

sorry, for the credit of the Inns of Court, that cation of the " Bird in a Cage " to Prynne,

they were obliged to apply to Shirley the then in gaol und^r the inhuman sentence of

poet, to write them " The Triumph of Peace," the Star Chamber, — congratulating him on his

the masque then exhibited to show their " happy retirement ."

detestation of the Histriomastix, and of the m Life, i. 75.
coarse words supposed to be applied to the



A.D. 1640. RETURNED TO PARLIAMENT. 7

disapproved of " ship-money," and the arbitrary proceedings of
the Star Chamber ; but he was moderate in his principles and
cautious in his conversation, and, trying to live well with both
parties, I do not find that he was employed in any of the
celebrated political cases which then attracted the attention of
the nation. However, in a dispute which the merchants of
London had with the Treasury as to their being compelled to
unload their goods at a particular quay, Hyde was their
counsel, and he here displayed what was considered great
courage against the government. This introduced him to
Archbishop Laud, then chief Commissioner of the Treasury
who wished to see the young lawyer who was not afraid to
plead the cause of the merchants, " when all men of name
durst not appear for them." Hyde consequently went to the
Archbishop, whom he found alone in his garden at Lambeth,
was received very civilly, and was afterwards treated by
him with condescension and kindness. n Those who regret
the strong high church bias which he afterwards displayed,
impute it to the impression now made upon him by his visits
to Lambeth, and think it might have been better for the cause
of religion in England if he had been thrown into the com-
pany of Bishop \\ illiams, Ex-Keeper of the Great Seal, who
was then leading the opposition against ceremonies and doc-
trines which he contended led directly to Eomanism.

At last Charles was driven to call a parliament, and Hyde
was in such good repute in his own country that he . .,
was returned both by Shaftesbury and Wootton Bas-
set. He made his election to serve for the latter town, which
had likewise the honour of first sending to the House of Com-
mons Twiss, the eminent lawyer, and the biographer of Lord
Eldon. Hyde's public career now begins, and he certainly
started with most enlightened and praiseworthy views. A
friend to the monarchy, he deeply regretted the abuses which
had been practised in the name of prerogative, and was eager
to correct them. For this purpose he associated himself with
Pym, Budyard, \Yhitelock, and the most experienced states-
men and lawyers, who, during this "short parliament," co-
operated with him in the same cause.

n I am glad to say a good word for Laud it should be recollected that this prelate not
when it is in my power, and he certainly de- only kept the best appointed pack of fox-
serves credit for his patronage of merit. He hounds in England, but was a most kind-
brought into notice Jeremy Taylor; and hearted, pious man, and so inoffensive that
though the fantasy must be condemned of even faction could not find fault with him
making Bishop Jcxok Lord High Treasurer,



8 LORD CHANCELLOR CLARENDON Chap. LXXIV

He had the honour of striking the first blow in the House
at a specific grievance. This was by a motion for papers re-
specting the Court of Honour, or Earl Marshal's Court, which,
under pretence of guarding heraldic distinctions, had become
a powerful engine of oppression. He mentioned several in-
stances with decisive effect. A citizen was ruinously fined
by this Court, because, in an altercation with an insolent
waterman who wished to impose upon him, he deridingly
called the sican on his badge " a goose." The case was brought
within the jurisdiction of the Court by showing that the
waterman was an earl's servant, and that the swan was the
earl's crest. The citizen was severely punished for " dis-
honouring " this crest. — Again, a tailor who had often very
submissively asked payment of his bill from a customer of gentle
blood, whose pedigree was duly registered at the Heralds'
College, on a threat of personal violence for his importunity,
was provoked into saying that " he was as good a man as his
debitor." For this offence, which was alleged to be a levelling
attack upon the aristocracy, he was summoned before the
Earl Marshal's Court, and mercifully dismissed with a repri-
mand — on releasing the debt. AYhile the House was thus
amused and excited, Hyde successfully concluded his maiden
speech by telling them that not only was this Court oppressive
to the humbler classes, but that its exactions were onerous to
the nobility themselves, and to the whole body of the gentry
of England. °

So active was he, that his name is to be found in seven
of the twenty-one select committees which were appointed
during the sixteen days the Commons sat, including "the
committee of privileges and elections," " the committee on
ship-money," and " the committee to inquire into the pro-
ceedings of the convocation and innovations in matters of
religion."

Very soon after he showed his moderation by supporting
the Court on the grand question of supply. An indiscreet
message had been brought down from the King, demanding
twelve subsidies to be paid in three years, and making the
abolition of ship-money depend upon this specific grant.
Hampden, described as being now " the most popular man in
the House," dexterously demanded that the question to be put
might be, " Whether the House would consent to the propo-

Com. Jour. April 18, 1640. The business only began on the 16th of April, after the
*hoice of the Speaker



A.D. 1640. SUPPORTS THE SUPPLY. 9

Bition made by the King as it was contained in the message V — so
as to insure the rejection of the King's proposition.

Hyde, not dreading the collision into which he was brought,
nor the misconstruction to which he might be liable, with
great mcral courage desired that the question, as proposed by
Mr. Hampden, might not be put. He argued that " it was a
captious question, to which only one sort of men could clearly
give their vote, which were they for rejecting the King's pro-
position and no more resuming the debate upon that subject ;
but that they who desired to give the King a supply, as he
believed most did, though not in such a proportion, nor it
may be in that manner, could receive no satisfaction from
that question; and therefore he proposed, to the end that
every man might frankly give his yea or his no, that the
question might be put only upon the giving the King a
supply." p "

There were loud cries for Mr. Hyde's question, when old
Sir Harry Yane, the Treasurer of the household (as some
thought treacherously), declared that there would be no use in



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