ON the demise of the Crown, all things for some time went on very smoothly. Pratt prepared the proclamation of George III. His patent as Attorney-General was renewed by the young Sovereign, and no great alarm was excited by the circumstance of Lord Bute, who had been groom of the stole to the Prince, being sworn a Privy Councillor. But when this nobleman was made Secretary of State, and began with the air of a royal favourite to interfere actively with the patronage and with the measures of the Government, it was discovered that Whig rule was coming to an end. The Stuarts having fallen into utter contempt, so that the return of their persons was no longer to be dreaded, there was to be a restoration of their maxims of government. Being of "good Revolution principles," which had been openly stated as a recommendation to office during the last two reigns, now made a man be looked upon at Court very coldly, and "the divine indefeasible right of kings" became the favourite theme, in total forgetfulness of its incompatibility with the parliamentary title of the reigning monarch. A breaking up of the combination of the few great families who called themselves "the Whig party," who had for many years monopolised the patronage of the Crown, and who had on various occasions exhibited the vices with which they had formerly been in the habit of reproaching the Tories, would have been a most laudable exploit; but unfortunately the Sovereign was determined to transfer power from one faction, kept in check by professing liberal principles, to another imbued with a love of absolutism, although the leaders of it while in opposition had occasionally spoken the language of freedom which they were now eager to disclaim.
Pratt being resolved to maintain his own principles, happen what would, as the proposal to make the Judges irremovable at the commencement of a new reign was laudable by carrying into effect the intention of the Act of Settlement, and as he was not called upon to do any thing in parliament or in Westminster Hall inconsistent with his notions of duty, he continued in his office of Attorney-General even when his chief strongly condemning the foreign policy now adopted had resigned. If he had continued Attorney-General till No. XLV. of "The North Briton" was published, he must then have thrown up his office, for he would sooner have thrust his hand into the fire than advised or defended general warrants to seize the printer and publisher, or countenanced any of the violent proceedings against Wilkes, which shortly rendered the Government so odious and contemptible, and introduced factious struggles almost unparalleled in our annals.
But in the lull before the storm died Lord Chief Justice Willes, and the Attorney-General laid his head upon "the cushion of the Common Pleas." It was rather agreeable to the Sovereign and the ministers that he should be placed in a Court in which it was thought that no political cases could come, and he could do no mischief with his "wild notions of liberty." Accordingly, his patent as Chief Justice was immediately made out; and having qualified himself by submitting to the degree of the coif,u on the 23rd of January, the first day of Hilary Term, 1762, he took his seat in the Court of Common Pleas. Here, it so turned out, there were soon more political cases than during many years after came before the Court of King's Bench, where he would by no means have been trusted. He himself anticipated nothing but repose in his new office; and he really thought that his political life was at an end. Thus he writes to his old friend Davies: "I remember you prophesied formerly that I should be a Chief Justice, or perhaps something higher. Half is come to pass: I am Thane of Cawdor, but the greater is behind; and if that fails me, you are still a false prophet. Joking aside I am retired out of this bustling world to a place of sufficient profit, ease, and dignity; and I believe that I am a much happier man than the highest post in the law could have made me." He then little expected that before long the prophet might have exclaimed to him, "Thou hast it now, King, Cawdor, Glamis all!"
Lest he should never have a better opportunity, in the Court of Common Pleas, of proclaiming his adherence to constitutional principles, a question of practice arising during his first term, viz., "whether the Judges could refuse a plea puis darrein continuance," the Chief Justice said, "Such discretion is contrary to the genius of the common law of England, and would be more fit for an Eastern monarchy than for this land of liberty. Nulli negabimus justitiam."x
But, ere long, he had to adjudicate upon a case that excited more interest in the public mind than any that had occurred in a court of law since the trial of the Seven Bishops.
On the morning of Saturday, 30th of April, 1763, John Wilkes, the member for the borough of Buckingham, was arrested under Lord Halifax's general warrant to "seize the authors, printers, and publishers of the North Briton, No. XLV., together with their papers." As soon as a copy of the warrant could be obtained, while he was still in his house in Great George Street, in custody of the messengers, Serjeant Glyn, in the Court of Common Pleas, moved for, and obtained for him, a writ of habeas corpus, returnable immediately, the Chief Justice observing, "that this was a most extraordinary warrant." The Solicitor to the Treasury, who was present, having reported what had passed to the Secretary of State, Mr. Wilkes, before the writ could be served on the messengers, was committed a close prisoner to the Tower, and the officers of the Secretary of State returned that "he was not in their custody." On the Monday a habeas corpus was obtained, directed to the Lieutenant of the Tower.
The metropolis was now in a state of almost unparalleled excitement. At the sitting of the Court, on the Tuesday morning, Mr. Wilkes was brought into Court by the Lieutenant of the Tower, who, without noticing in his Return the "general warrant" under which the arrest took place, merely set out the commitment to the Tower of Mr. Wilkes, as "the author and publisher of a most infamous and seditious libel, entitled the North Briton, No. XLV., tending to inflame the minds and to alienate the affections of the people from his Majesty, and to excite them to traitorous insurrections against the government." Thus the question of the legality of general warrants was for the present evaded: but Serjeant Glyn moved, that Mr. Wilkes should be set at liberty, "first, on the ground that it did not appear that there had been any information on oath against him before his commitment; secondly, that no part of the libel was set forth to enable the Court to see whether any offence had been committed; and, thirdly, that he was privileged from arrest as a member of parliament." After a learned argument by counsel, and a vapouring speech from Mr. Wilkes himself, the Court took time to consider; and, on the Friday following, the Lord Chief Justice Pratt delivered their unanimous opinion, overruling the first two objections, and thus dealing with the last:
"The third matter insisted upon for Mr. Wilkes is, that he is a member of parliament, (which is admitted by the King's Serjeants,) and so entitled to privilege to be free from arrests in all cases except treason, felony, and actual breach of the peace; and we are all of opinion that he is entitled to that privilege, and that he must be set at liberty. The Seven Bishops were most unjustly ousted of their privilege, three of the Judges deciding that a seditious libel was an actual breach of the peace. 4 Inst. 25 says, 'the privilege of parliament holds, unless it be in three cases, viz., treason, felony, and the peace. Privilege of parliament holds in informations for the King, unless in the cases before excepted.' The case of an information against Lord Tankerville for bribery (4 Anne) was within the privilege of parliament. We are all of opinion that a libel is not a breach of the peace: it tends to a breach of the peace, and that is the utmost. But that which only tends to a breach of the peace cannot be an actual breach of it. In the case of the Seven Bishops, Judge Powell, the only honest man of the four Judges, dissented, and I am bound to be of his opinion, and to say that case is not law but it shows the miserable condition to which the state was then reduced. Let Mr. Wilkes be discharged from his imprisonment."
A great part of the population of London being in Westminster Hall, Palace Yard, and the adjoining streets, a shout arose which was heard with dismay at St. James's.y
As the authorities then stood, I think a court of law was bound to decide in favour of privilege in such a case; but although I must condemn the servile desire to please the King and his ministers, by which both Houses were actuated on the re-assembling of parliament, I cannot but approve the resolution to which they jointly came, and which, I presume, would now be considered conclusive evidence of the law, "that privilege of parliament does not extend to the case of writing or publishing seditious libels."z I do not think that privilege of parliament should in any respect interfere with the execution of the criminal law of the country. Little inconvenience arises from the immunity of members of parliament from arrest for debt, and this is necessary to protect them in the discharge of their public functions.
The immense popularity which Lord Chief Justice Pratt now acquired, I am afraid, led him into some intemperance of language, although his decisions might be sound. Many actions were brought in his Court, and tried before him, for arrests under general warrants; and, the juries giving enormous damages, applications were made to set aside the verdicts, and to grant new trials. It might be right to refuse to interfere, but not in terms such as these:
"The personal injury done to the plaintiff was very small, so that if the jury had been confined by their oath to consider the mere personal injury only, perhaps twenty pounds would have been thought damages sufficient; but the jury saw before them a magistrate exercising arbitrary power over all the King's subjects violating Magna Charta, and attempting to destroy the liberty of the kingdom by insisting on the legality of this general warrant; they heard the King's counsel, and saw the Solicitor to the Treasury endeavouring to support and maintain the legality of the warrant in a tyrannical and severe manner. These are the ideas which struck the jury on the trial, and I think they have done right in giving exemplary damages. To enter a man's house under colour of a nameless warrant in order to procure evidence, is worse than the Spanish inquisition a law under which no Englishman would wish to live an hour; it was a most daring attack on the liberty of the subject. 'Nullus liber homo capiatur vel imprisonetur, nec super eum ibimus nisi per legale judicium parium suorum vel per legem terrae.' An attempt has been made to destroy this protection against arbitrary power. I cannot say what damages I should have given if I had been upon the jury."a
Mr. Wilkes's own action being afterwards tried before Lord Chief Justice Pratt, he said,
"The defendants claim a right, under a general warrant and bad precedents, to force persons' houses, break open escritoires, seize papers where no inventory is made of the things taken, and no persons' names specified in the warrant, so that messengers are to be vested with a discretionary power to search wherever their suspicions or their malice may lead them. As to the damages, I continue of opinion that the jury are not limited by the injury received. Damages are designed not only as a satisfaction to the injured person, but likewise as a punishment to the guilty, and as proof of the detestation in which the wrongful act is held by the jury,"b
The jury having given 1000£., a bill of exceptions was tendered to the direction but the Chief Justice refused to receive it, as it came too late after verdict.
In Leach v. Money,c however, the question as to the legality of general warrants was regularly raised. There, Lord Chief Justice Pratt having given a similar direction, a bill of exceptions was duly tendered and carried by writ of error into the King's Bench. It was in arguing this case that Dunning laid the foundation of his splendid fame. Lord Mansfield having, in the course of the argument, thrown out an opinion against the legality of the warrant, the Attorney-General Yorke contrived to be beaten on a bye point; but, without a formal judgment, general warrants have ever since been considered illegal, although they were sanctioned by a uniform usage of ancient standing in the office of the Secretary of State.d
Another very important case was brought before the Court of Common Pleas while Pratt presided there, in which the question was distinctly raised, "whether, on a charge of libel, the Secretary of State may grant a warrant to search for, seize, and carry away papers;" and in support of this practice too a long course of precedents was proved. But, after protracted arguments, the Chief Justice said,
"The warrant was an execution in the first instance without any previous summons, examination, hearing the plaintiff, or proof that he was the author of the supposed libels, a power claimed by no other magistrate whatever (Scroggs, C. J., always excepted); it was left to the discretion of the defendants to execute the warrant in the absence or presence of the plaintiff when he might have no witness present to see what they did, for they were to seize all papers, bank bills, or any other valuable papers they might take away if they were so disposed. If this be lawful, both Houses of Parliament are involved in it; for they have both ruled that, in such matters, they are on a footing with all the rest of the King's subjects. In the case of Wilkes, a member of the House of Commons, all his books and papers were seized and taken away: we were told by one of these witnesses, that 'he was obliged by his oath to sweep away all papers whatsoever.' If this be law, it would be found in our books, but no such law ever existed in this country; our law holds property so sacred, that no man can set his foot on his neighbour's close without his leave. The defendants have no right to avail themselves of the usage of these warrants since the Revolution, that usage being contrary to law. The Secretary of State cannot make that law which is not to be found in our books. It must have been the guilt or poverty of those on whom such warrants have been executed that deterred or hindered them from contending against the power of a Secretary of State and the Solicitor to the Treasury, as such warrants could never have passed for lawful. It is said to be better for the Government and the public to seize the libel before it is published. If the legislature be of that opinion, they will make it lawful. As yet our law is wise and merciful, and supposes every man accused to be innocent till he is tried by his peers and found guilty. Upon the whole, we are of opinion that this warrant is wholly illegal and void."e
Pratt, while a common law Judge, certainly was of signal service to his country. He not only arrested some flagrant abuses in his own time, but he laid down principles upon which other flagrant abuses still continuing, such as the opening of private letters at the Post-office by order of the Secretary of State, may still be reached and remedied.
It would appear from the Reports that there were few cases of importance, not of a political nature, debated in the Common Pleas while Pratt was Chief Justice. The most important, perhaps, was Doe v. Kersey,f in which he maintained, in opposition to the other Judges of his own Court, and also to a unanimous decision of the King's Bench, that witnesses to a will must be disinterested when they attest it, and that it is not enough that their interest is removed before they come to prove it. Although he was overruled, the legislature adopted his opinion, by enacting that the moment of attestation is the period to regard in considering their credibility. In no other case was there a final difference between him and his brethren on the bench, and all his contemporaries unite in bearing testimony to the combination of dignity, impartiality, and courtesy with which he presided over the proceedings of his Court.g
After the liberation of Wilkes, and the condemnation of "general warrants" and "search warrants for papers," Pratt became the idol of the nation. Grim representations of him laid down the law from sign-posts. Many busts and prints of him were sold, not only in the streets of the metropolis, but in provincial towns and remote villages. A fine portrait of him by Sir Joshua Reynolds, with a flattering inscription, "in honour of the zealous assertor of English liberty by law," was placed in the Guildhall of the city of London. Addresses of thanks to him poured in from all quarters, and most of the great municipalities of the empire presented him with the freedom of their corporations. English journals and English travellers carried his fame over Europe; and one of the sights of London which foreigners went to see, was THE GREAT LORD CHIEF JUSTICE PRATT.
On the formation of the Rockingham administration, although the leaders unfortunately consented to have Northington for their Chancellor, they wished to court popularity, and to give a pledge that they meant to follow a different course of policy at home and abroad from their predecessors, who prosecuted Wilkes and taxed the colonies. Accordingly, their first act was to raise the popular Judge to the peerage, by the style of "Baron Camden, of Camden Place, in the county of Kent."h The property from which he took his title had belonged to the celebrated antiquary of that name, and had passed, through several changes of ownership, into the possession of the Pratts.
The new Peer took his seat in the House of Lords on the first day of the following session, being looked at with a jealous eye both by Lord Northington, who had opposed his elevation, and by Lord Mansfield, who instinctively dreaded a contest for the supremacy which he had enjoyed there since the death of Lord Hardwicke.
I have already mentioned Lord Camden's maiden effort upon the right to tax America, where he was so rudely assailed by the Lord Chancellor.i The declaratory bill being brought in, he on a subsequent day opposed it in a set speech, upon which he had taken immense pains, which has been rapturously praised, and some passages of which are still in the mouths of schoolboys, but which I must acknowledge seems to me to exhibit false reasoning and false taste. Having begun by alluding to the charge against him, as "the broacher of new-fangled doctrines, contrary to the laws of this kingdom, and subversive of the rights of Parliament," he thus proceeded:
"My Lords, this is a heavy charge, but more so when made against one stationed as I am, in both capacities as a Peer and a Judge, the defender of the law and the constitution. When I spoke last, I was indeed replied to, bat not answered. As the affair is of the utmost importance, and in its consequences may involve the fate of kingdoms, I have taken the strictest review of my arguments, I have re-examined all my authorities fully determined, if I found myself mistaken, publicly to own my mistake and give up my opinion; but my searches have more and more convinced me that the British Parliament has no right to tax the Americans. I shall not criticise the strange language in which your proposed declaration is framed; for to what purpose, but loss of time, to consider the particulars of a bill, the very existence of which is illegal, absolutely illegal, contrary to the fundamental laws of nature, contrary to the fundamental laws of this constitution, a constitution grounded on the eternal and immutable laws of nature, a constitution whose centre is liberty, which sends liberty to every individual who may happen to be within any part of its ample circumference? Nor, my Lords, is the doctrine new; it is as old as the constitution; it grew up with it; indeed, it is its support; taxation and representation are inseparably united. God hath joined them, no British Parliament can put them asunder; to endeavour to do so, is to stab our very vitals. My position is this I repeat it I will maintain it to my last hour taxation and representation are inseparable; this position is founded on the laws of nature; it is itself a law of nature; for whatever is a man's own, is absolutely his own; no man has a right to take it from him without his consent, either expressed by himself or representative; whosoever attempts to do it, attempts an injury; whosoever does it commits a robbery;k he throws down and destroys the distinction between liberty and slavery. Taxation and representation are coeval with, and essential to, the constitution. I wish the maxim of Machiavel were followed that of examining a constitution, at certain periods, according to its first principles; this would correct abuses and supply defects. To endeavour to fix the aera when the House of Commons began in this kingdom, is a most pernicious and destructive attempt; to fix it in Edward's or Henry's reign, is owing to the idle dreams of some whimsical, ill-judging antiquarians. When did the House of Commons first begin? When, my Lords? it began with the constitution. There is not a blade of grass growing in the most obscure corner of this kingdom which is not which was not ever represented since the constitution began; there is not a blade of grass which, when taxed, was not taxed by the consent of the proprietor." [He then examines, at great length, the arguments drawn by analogy from Ireland, Wales, Berwick, and the Counties Palatine; and, having treated with merited scorn the miserable crotchet that America was virtually represented in the House of Commons, he thus concluded: ] "The forefathers of the Americans did not leave their native country, and subject themselves to every danger and distress, to be reduced to a state of slavery: they did not give up their rights; they expected protection, not chains, from their mother country; by her they believed that they should be defended in the possession of their property, and not despoiled of it. But if you wantonly press this declaration, although you now repeal the Stamp Act, you may pass it again in a month; and future taxation must be in view, or you would hardly assert your right to enjoy the pleasure of offering an insult. Thus our fellow-subjects in America will have nothing which they can call their own, or, to use the words of the immortal Locke, What property have they in that which another may by right take, when he pleases, to himself?"m
Although the Stamp Act was most properly repealed, and nothing could exceed the folly of accompanying the repeal of it with the statutable declaration of the abstract right to tax, I confess I do not understand the reasoning by which, admitting that the British Parliament had supreme power to legislate for the colonies, a law passed to lay a tax upon them, though it may be unjust and impolitic, is a nullity. I agree that it may be put upon the footing of an act of attainder without hearing the party attainted in his defence, or an act to take away a man's private property without compensation; but could Lord Camden, sitting as a Judge, have held such acts to be nullities hanging for murder the sheriff who assisted at the execution in the one case, or in an action of trespass recognising the property of the original owner in the other? Would not a statute oppressively encroaching on the personal liberty of the colonists, or wantonly interfering with the exercise of their industry, be in all respects as objectionable as a statute enacting that "their deeds and contracts shall be void, unless written upon paper or parchment which has paid a duty to the state?" Nor do I see how our constitutional rights would be at all endangered by acknowledging the undoubted fact, that representation was unknown in this country till the end of the reign of Henry III., and that the Commons did not till long after sit in a separate chamber as an independent branch of the legislature. The assertion that all property and that all classes were represented in England, rather favours George Hardinge's doctrine, "that the Americans were actually represented by the knights of the shire for Kent, because the land in America was all granted by the Crown, to be held in socage of the manor of East Greenwich in that county." However, our patriot displayed a noble enthusiasm on this occasion, and perhaps one ought to be ashamed of critically weighing the expressions which he used.n
With the exception of opposing the Declaratory Act, Lord Camden gave the Rockingham administration his cordial support; and he was free from the imputation to which Mr. Pitt was subject, of assisting the Court in getting rid of men who were sincerely anxious to conciliate America.
When Lord Northington at last abruptly brought on a crisis, and Mr. Pitt was sent for to form a new administration, Lord Camden was on the Midland Circuit. A communication was immediately opened between them; and Lord Camden expressed his willingness to co-operate in any way for the public good. The state of his mind, and the progress of the negotiation, will best be disclosed by the following letters written by him to Mr. T. Walpole, a common friend:
"July 13, 1766. Nottingham.
"I thank you for your intelligence, which turns out to be true, as the same post brought me a letter from the Chancellor to the same effect, though more authentic and circumstantial. Mr. P. then is come. May it be prosperous! But I foresee many difficulties before an administration can be completely settled. You are near the scene of action, and as likely to be entrusted by the great man as any body; or, if not, must of course be so conversant with those who know, as to hear the best intelligence. My old friend, the Cr, has taken so much laudable pains to leave his office, that he must, in my opinion, remain. The D. of N., and your friend, the Marquess, must give way: but I do not believe Mr. P. will wish to remove the rest in office, unless, perhaps, they, in a pique, should scorn to hold on under his appointment, which I do not expect. It is an untoward season of the year, every body out of town and expresses must be sent for concurrence and concert to poor gentlemen who are at their country-houses, without friends or advisers near; so they must, in some measure, follow the dictates of their own judgment, which may be more likely to mislead than direct. I am unable to conjecture; but if I am not much mistaken, the E. T. will accede.
"I can send you nothing in return for your intelligence, unless I could suppose you could be interested with stories of highwaymen and housebreakers. Perhaps you will not be displeased to hear that I am well and in good spirits have had much travelling and little business that one-third of my circuit is over, and that I am, let matters be settled or unsettled, most sincerely yours,
"July 19, 1766. Leicester.
"I am arrived late at this place, and find letters from you and Nuthall, pressing me to leave the circuit. I am willing enough to quit this disagreeable employment, but I think I ought not, upon a private intimation, to depart from my post. If you will by letter, or by express if you please, only tell me that Mr. Pitt would wish to see me, I will come to town at a moment's warning. Ld T. is gone. If Mr. Pitt is not distressed by this refusal, or if he is provoked enough not to feel his distress, I am rather pleased than mortified. Let him fling off the Grenvilles, and save the nation without them. "Yours ever, &c.
"July 20, 1766. Leicester.
"I have slept since I wrote to you; and having taken the advice of my pillow upon the subject of my coming to town, I remain of the same opinion, that I ought not at this time to quit my station, uncalled and uninvited. If Mr. P. really wants me, I would relieve his delicacy by coming at his request, conveyed to me either by you or Mr. Nuthall; but I suspect the true reason why he has not desired me to come, is because, as things are just now, he does not think it fitting. Sure Mr. P. will not be discouraged a second time by Lord T.'s refusal. He ought not for his own sake, for it does become him now to satisfy the world that his greatness does not hang on so slight a twig as T. This nation is in a blessed condition if Mr. P. is to take his directions from Stowe. A few days will decide this great affair, and a few days will bring me back of course. In the mean time, if my sooner return should be thought of any consequence, I am within the reach of an express. I was catched at Chatsworth by the D. of Devon and his 2 uncles, and very civilly compelled to lye there; but not one word of politics.
"I am, &c.
"Warwick, July 24, 1766.
"I am much concerned to find that Mr. Pitt's illness hangs upon him so long, and the wishes of the public by that means disturbed. He must set his hand to the plough, for the nation cannot be dallied with any longer. Ld T.'s wild conduct, though Mr. P. is grievously wounded by it, may, for aught I know, turn out to be a favourable circumstance to reconcile him more to the present ministry, and of which corps he must form, as he always intended, this our administration. Indeed this inclination is one of the principal grounds of difference between the two brothers. Ld T. having closely connected himself with that set of men whom he opposed so inveterately, I have heard very authentically from the Stowe quarter, that one of the chief points upon which they broke was upon the promotion of Ld G., and recommended by Ld T. to be Secretary of State, under the colour of enlarging the bottom, and reconciling all parties. That since he asked nothing for his brother G., he had a right to insist upon this promotion. The other, on the contrary, put a flat negative upon all that connexion. Ld T. was very willing to go hand in hand with Mr. P. pari passu, as he called it, but would acknowledge no superiority or control. This was continually and repeatedly inculcated, not to say injudiciously, if he really intended to unite, because such declarations beforehand must create an incurable jealousy, and sow disunion in the very moment of reconciliation. He taxes Mr. P. with private ingratitude, and is offended that two or three days elapsed before he was sent for. This is public talk at his Lordship's table, and therefore requires no secrecy. There are now, or will be in a few days at Stowe, the two Dukes of B. and M., with their ladies, Sir J. Amherst, and the royal guests. Therefore Ld T. is declared not the head of that party, for that is an honour he must never expect, but a proselyte received amongst them. Let not Mr. P. be alarmed at this formidable gathering of great men. The King and the whole nation are on the other side. I hope to be in town next Wednesday. In the mean time, believe me, &c.,
When he arrived in town, on the conclusion of the circuit, he found the whimsical arrangement nearly completed, according to which Mr. Pitt, becoming a Peer, was to be Lord Privy Seal and Prime Minister, the Duke of Grafton was to be First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Northington was to be President of the Council, Sir Charles Saunders was to be First Lord of the Admiralty, and Lord Shelburne and General Conway were to be Secretaries of State. The Great Seal was offered to Lord Camden, and, without hesitation, he accepted it, stipulating only (as he reasonably might), that on giving up a lucrative situation, which he held during good behaviour, he should have a retired allowance of 1500£. a year, and the reversion of a tellership for his son.o Although there were strange and discordant elements in the new Cabinet into which he was to enter, he reasonably supposed that he must be secure under the auspices of that great man who had formed it, and who had himself, through life, been the devoted friend of liberty.
Believing that the Lord Privy Seal would reduce into insignificance the Heads of the Treasury and of the Admiralty, and the Secretaries of State, he anticipated, with certainty, the speedy conciliation of America, the increased humiliation of the House of Bourbon, and the return of tranquillity at home, by the abandonment of the unconstitutional policy which had marked the measures of Government since the commencement of the present reign. He thought that Pitt's second administration was to be as prosperous as the first, if, from its pacific tendency, it should be less brilliant. For himself, he calculated that, with such a chief, the political functions of his office would require little time, and cause little anxiety, so that, concurring in the measures of a powerful as well as liberal Government, he might chiefly devote himself to the discharge of his judicial duties, and to the improvement of our jurisprudence.
At a council held at St. James's on the 30th of July, 1766, Lord Camden received the Great Seal from his Majesty with the title of Lord Chancellor.
u He was called along with Serjeant Burland. Emblema, annuli Tu, satis ambobus 2 Wilson, 136.
x 2 Wilson, 137. Paris v. Salkeld.
y 2 Wilson, 151-160; 19 St. Tr. 982-1002.
z 15 Parl. Hist 1365 I am not aware whether the privilege was claimed in cases of libel after conviction, so as to prevent sentence of imprisonment. The Earl of Abingdon, and other members of parliament, have since been sentenced to imprisonment for libel without question.
a 2 Wils. 206, 207. Huckle v. Money.
b Ib 244; Beardmore v. Carrington.
c 3 Burr 1692
d 19 St Tr. 982-1002
e Entick v. Carrington; 19 St. Tr. 1002-1030.
f See Doe d. Hendson v. Kersey, 4 Burn Eccl. Law, 97; Wyndham v. Chatwynd, 1 Burr. 414.
g 2 Wilson, 275 292; Entick v. Carrington; 19 St. Tr. 1073.
h The Duke of Grafton, in his "Journal," says, "One of the first acts of our administration was to obtain from his Majesty the honours of a peerage for the true patriot, Lord Chief Justice Pratt, which the King had the condescension to grant to our earnest entreaties; the news of which was received by the nation with much applause." Part II. p. 47
i Ante, p 329.
k These words offended George Grenville, the author of the Stamp Act, so much, that he complained of them in the House of Commons, pronouncing them, with great emphasis, to be "a libel upon parliament;" and threatening to bring the printer of the speech to the bar for punishment. But no farther notice was taken of it. Almon's Biographical Anecdotes.
m 16 Parl. Hist. 177.
n Junius, in his first letter, which appeared on the 21st of January, 1769, six years before hostilities commenced, severely reflected on the speeches of Mr. Pitt and Lord Camden in this debate, and accused them of thereby separating the colonies from the mother country "Mr. Pitt and Lord Camden were to be the patrons of America, because they were in opposition. Their declaration gave spirit and argument to the colonies; and while, perhaps, they meant no more than the ruin of a minister, they, in effect, divided one half of the empire from the other." I cannot agree with this unscrupulous writer in imputing improper motives to them; but I do agree with him in condemning their assertion, "that the authority of the British legislature is not supreme over the colonies in the same sense in which it is supreme over Great Britain. See Junius's Letter, 5th October, 1771.
o In a letter to the Duke of Grafton, dated 1st Aug. 1766, he says "The favours I am to request from your Grace's despatch are as follows
"1. My patent for the salary.
"2. Patent for 1500£. a year upon the Irish establishment, in case my office should determine before the tellership drops.
"3. Patent for tellership for my son.
"4. The equipage money. Lord Northington tells me it is 2000£. This, I believe, is ordered by a warrant from the Treasury to the Exchequer."
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