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that of Lord Jeffreys, whose atrocious celebrity as a criminal judge has almost absorbed the memory of his ever having held
the Great Seal.
After going through the crowded vicissitudes of Lord Jeffreys' career, one is startled at reading that it closed when he was only forty years of age. Of very humble origin (the son of a little Welsh shopkeeper), with no influential connexions, never suspected even of severe application in any line of study that he should have risen to be Recorder of London at the age of thirty, is sufficient proof that his natural talents were very extraordinary. His profligacy accounts too well for his subsequent elevations; but even Roger North admits, that when under no excitement either of politics or of brandy, the Chief Justice of England was the most dignified judge he ever saw on any bench: and Lord Campbell pronounces his decisions as Chancellor to have been in general much to his credit. That was morning work; that he ever was entirely sober after mid-day, during his prominent years, we much doubt; that latterly he had drunk himself into a species of insanity, there is little question. The whole story is told by Lord Campbell with most thrilling effect: but we shall extract only two or three brief passages.
The last sentence of the following paragraph is worthy of the sagacity of Tacitus, or the sarcasm of Macchiavelli :
James, far from abandoning his plans, was more resolute to carry them into effect. The Earl of Rochester, his own brother-in-law, and others who had hitherto stood by him, having in vain remonstrated against his madness, resigned their offices; but Jeffreys still recklessly pushed him forward in his headlong career. In open violation of the Test Act, four Catholic lords were introduced into the Cabinet, and one of them, Lord Bellasis, was placed at the head of the Treasury in the room of the Protestant Earl of Rochester. Among such colleagues the Lord Chancellor was contented to sit in Council, and the wonder is, that he did not follow the example of Sunderland and other renegades who, at this time, to please the King, professed to change their religion, and were reconciled to the Church of Rome. Perhaps, with his peculiar sagacity, Jeffreys thought it would be a greater sacrifice in the King's eyes to appear to be daily wounding his conscience by submitting to measures which he must be supposed inwardly to condemn.'-vol. iii. p. 554.
Our next quotation may deserve particular attention:—
The Earl of Castlemaine was sent to Rome, regularly commissioned as ambassador to his Holiness the Pope, a Papal nuncio being reciprocally received at St. James's. But however impolitic this step might be, I do not think that the King and the Chancellor are liable to be blamed, as they have been by recent historians, for having in this instance violated acts of parliament. If all those are examined which had passed from the commencement of the Reformation down to the "Bill of
Rights," it will probably be found that none of them can be applied to a diplomatic intercourse with the Pope.
Whether this is now forbidden depends upon the construction to be put on the words in the Bill of Rights, "shall hold communion with the See or Church of Rome." James's diplomatic intercourse with the Pope is not there alleged as one of his infractions, by which he had sought to subvert the religion and liberties of the kingdom.'-vol. iii. p. 855.
We should not be greatly surprised to find the preceding sentences made the subject of discussion during some not remote session of parliament.
'When we read in history of civil commotions and foreign invasions, we are apt to suppose that all the ordinary business of life was suspended. But on inquiry, we find that it went on pretty much as usual, unless where interrupted by actual violence. While the Prince of Orange was advancing to the capital, and James was marching out to give him battle, if his army would have stood true,-the Court of Chancery sat regularly to hear "exceptions" and "motions for time to plead ;" and on the very day on which the Princess Anne fled to Nottingham, and her unhappy father exclaimed, in the extremity of his agony, "God help me! my own children have forsaken me," the Lord Chancellor decided, that "if an administrator pays a debt due by bond before a debt due by a decree in Equity, he is still liable to pay the debt due by the decree." (24th Nov. 1688. 2 Vernon, 88, Searle v. Lane). This, however, appears to have been the last day of his sitting.'
""He had," says North, "a set of banterers for the most part near him, as in old time great men kept fools to make them merry. And these fellows, abusing one another and their betters, were a regale to him." But there can be no doubt that he circulated in good society. He was not only much at Court, but he exchanged visits with the nobility and persons of distinction in different walks of life. In the social circle, being entirely free from hypocrisy and affectation,-from haughtiness and ill-nature, laughing at principle,-courting a reputation for profligacy, talking with the utmost freedom of all parties and all men,he disarmed the censure of the world,-and, by the fascination of his manners, while he was present, he threw an oblivion over his vices and his crimes.
'From Sir John Reresby we learn how very pleasant (if not quite decorous) must have been his parties in Duke Street.* "I dined with the Lord Chancellor, where the Lord Mayor of London was a guest, and some other gentlemen. His Lordship having, according to custom, drank deep at dinner, called for one Mountfort, a gentleman of his, who had been a comedian, an excellent mimic; and to divert the company, as he was pleased to term it, he made him plead before him in a feigned cause, during which he aped the judges and all the great lawyers of the age in their tone of voice and in their action and gesture of body, to the very great ridicule, not only of the lawyers, but of the law itself, which
The chapel in Duke Street, Westminster, is a relic of Lord Jeffreys. It was the great hall of a mansion erected by him, and there he used to transact his judicial business out of term.
to me did not seem altogether so prudent in a man in his lofty station in the law diverting it certainly was, but prudent in the Lord Chancellor I shall never think it."
'On one occasion dining in the city with Alderman Duncomb, the Lord Treasurer and other great courtiers being of the party, they worked themselves up to such a pitch of loyalty by bumpers to "Confusion to the Whigs," that they all stripped to their shirts and were about to get upon a sign-post to drink the King's health,-when they were accidentally diverted from their purpose,-and the Lord Chancellor escaped the fate which befell Sir Charles Sedley, of being indicted for indecently exposing his person in the public streets. But this frolic brought upon him a violent fit of the stone, which nearly cost him his life.
'I should have expected that, boldly descending to the level of his company, and conscious of great mental power, he would have despised flattery; but it is said that none could be too fulsome for him, and this statement is corroborated by some Dedications to him still extant. The pious author of the "History of Oracles and the Cheats of the Pagan Priests" (1688), after lauding his great virtues and actions, thus proceeds: -" Nor can the unthinking and most malicious of your enemies reproach your Lordship with self-interest in any of your services, since all the world knows that when they were thought criminal, nay even punishable, -you had nothing left you but HONOUR, JUSTICE, and INNOCENCE."
'He was not only famous, like the Baron of Bradwardine, for his chansons à boire, but he had a scientific skill in music, of which we have proof at this day. There being a great controversy which of the two rival organ-builders, Smith or Harris, should be the artist to supply a new organ to the Temple Church, it was agreed that each should send one on trial, and that the Lord Chancellor should decide between them. He decreed for Smith,-the deep and rich tones of whose organ still charm Harris's went to Wolverhampton, and is said to be of hardly inferior merit.'-vol. iii. pp. 590, 591.
Jeffreys having on the downfall of James assumed the disguise of a common sailor, and secured a berth in a merchant-vessel bound for the continent, might in all likelihood have escaped in safety-but for his love of strong liquors. He would be put ashore in the morning to taste the beer of the Red Cow at Wapping-and was, although he wore a tarpaulin jacket, and had shaved off his terrible eyebrows, recognised in that pothouse by an attorney whom he had recently browbeaten in the Court of Chancery. The result is well known. It is new, to us at least, that just before the catastrophe James had promoted him to the Earldom of Flint. The patent could not have passed the seal.
We need hardly say that we shall expect with great interest the continuation of this performance. But the present series of itself is more than sufficient to give Lord Campbell a high station. among the English authors of his age.
ART. II.-1. Eusebius, Bishop of Cæsarea, on the Theophania, or Divine Manifestation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. A Syriac Version edited from an ancient Manuscript recently discovered. By Samuel Lee, D.D., Regius Professor of Hebrew in the University of Cambridge. 8vo. (Printed for the Society for the Publication of Oriental Texts.) 1842. 2. The same. Translated into English with Notes; to which is prefixed a Vindication of the Orthodoxy and Prophetical Views of Eusebius. By Samuel Lee, D.D. 8vo. 1843. 3. The Antient Syriac Version of the Epistles of St. Ignatius to St. Polycarp, the Ephesians, and the Romans; together with Extracts from his Epistles collected from the Writings of Severus of Antioch, Timotheus of Alexandria, and others. Edited, with an English Translation and Notes, by William Cureton, M.A. 8vo. London. 1845.
4. Journal of a Tour through Egypt, the Peninsula of Sinai, and the Holy Land in 1838, 1839. Intended solely for private circulation. 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1842.
AMONG the societies lately formed for publishing manuscript
works contained in our public libraries, there is none which embraces a sphere so extensive, which aims at promoting so high a class of literature, and which, if adequately supported, promises to afford so valuable an addition to our stock of learning and science, as that under whose auspices Dr. Lee has put forth the volume named at the head of this paper. It is to the East only that we can look for direction in our endeavours to obtain fuller information upon many of the most interesting of subjects. It is hence only that we can hope to draw any additional knowledge concerning the earliest races of mankind, or any help in tracing their descendants among the present nations of the world. In the absence of any written record of events, the only course is to collect the traditions prevalent in those countries, to endeavour to decipher ancient inscriptions, to read the legends of coins, and to trace the connexion and intercourse of peoples by the affinities and intermixtures of language. But no one can qualify himself for such a task otherwise than by studying the present languages and literature of those countries. In vain will he pore over the hieroglyphic or demotic inscriptions and papyri of Egypt who has not grappled with the Coptic: vain will be every endeavour to explain the Pehlevi, and arrow-headed inscriptions at Persepolis, or the legends on the Babylonian bricks and cylinders, unless the inquirer has previously made himself acquainted with the Chaldee or Aramaic, and the modern Persian, and the Zend as preserved in the books of the Parsees. What has been already done for ethnography
ethnography by the comparison of language since the introduction of the Sanscrit into Europe, shows how much more we may reasonably expect when the different stocks and dialects of oriental tongues shall have been more extensively cultivated.
But not only may we look to the East for fuller means of tracing the history of the earliest races of mankind;-from the same quarter we may also hope to recover much of the science and literature of Greece and Rome, which appears to have perished in the original languages. And still more, even in those authors which have been preserved many obscurities may be cleared up and difficulties explained by comparing them with oriental versions made previously to the time when multiplied transcriptions had introduced many errors into the original text. Ælian, writing in the first half of the third century, mentions that it was reported that the Indians and Persians had translations of the poems of Homer, which they used to sing in their own language. (Var. Hist., lib. xii. c. 48.) And the historian Agathias, in the middle of the sixth century, informs us that the Persian monarch Chosroes was said to be more thoroughly imbued with the writings of Aristotle than even Demosthenes with those of Thucydides, and to be perfectly versed in the works of Plato, which had been translated expressly for his use. (Hist. Justin., lib. ii.) We have also evidence before us that as early as about the end of the seventh century of our era, several works were translated from the Greek into the Arabic. In the eighth and the earlier part of the ninth century, under the Abbassides, this labour of translation is known to have been carried on to a
great extent. No expense was spared to procure the works of the learned in every language. Greeks, Syrians, Persians, and Indians met on the banks of the Tigris to give their aid in spreading knowledge and civilization among the Arabs.
Of these translations many still remain. Those of which the originals are extant may often be used with great advantage. We would instance the case of Ptolemy; where the astronomical skill of the Arabs at that period would enable them to correct mistakes in numbers and figures which might altogether escape the notice of Greeks, and where the evidence of their tradition will be most important, because in such cases no critical knowledge of the original language can be of any avail to rectify an error. Of works lost in the original, which have already been restored to us through this channel, we may instance the fifth, sixth, and seventh books of the Conic Sections of Apollonius of Perga, translated into Latin from the Arabic by the Maronite Abraham Ecchellensis; and his work on the Section of the Ratio, made known by the publication of Halley, who, without under