« PreviousContinue »
tion ; but for some reform, for some material change in the present system, I am, and long have been, a zealous advocate. At an early period of my life, long before I had a seat in parliament, when, from the gallery of this house I first witnessed its deliberations, and heard Mr. Pitt, with all the generous ardour of youth, and with the same eloquence which distinguished his maturer age, pleading the cause of parliamentary reform, I became sensible to the necessity of that measure.
The impressions which were then made on my mind have never been effaced. Subsequent reflection and observations, more particularly since I have myself become a member, have only served to confirm them.”*
* Speeches, vol. ii. p. 193.
Note 1. p. 9. - The extent of the mischief occasioned by these courts may be learned from the fact that there were 2000 causes depending in them at one time. Coke mentions, in this place, the amount of business in the court of chancery at that time :-95 causes to be heard in Easter Term, and 72 in Trinity.
Note 2. p. 10. – Of the correctness of this assertion James gave an excellent proof on his journey from Scotland, in ordering a cutpurse to be executed without trial. - Stow, 821.
Note 3. p. 15. — Mr. Hume has asserted, that during this reign the issuing of proclamations with the effect of laws was “ established by uniform and undisputed practice, and was even acknowledged by lawyers, who made, however, this difference between laws and proclamations, that the authority of the former was perpetual, while that of the latter expired with the sovereign who emitted them.” Not only have we the opinion the judges as above given, in direct opposition to this statement, but even the admission of James himself in a “ Proclamation signifying His Ma. jesty's pleasure touching some former Proclamations.” “So, although we know that by the constitution of the frame and policie of this kingdom, royal proclamations and ordinances are not of equal force, nor in the like degrees with our laws,” &c. - Booke of Proclamations, p. 235.
NOTE 4. p. 17. - Some years before, Coke had refused to deliver his opi. nion in writing. “ The lord chancellor desired that we should put our resolutions in writing; to which I answered, that the judges were not used to put their resolutions in writing, but that if the attorney or solicitor came to us, as the ancient use hath been to our predecessors, we will deliver our opinions to them ore tenus, but not in writing.” - 12 Rep. 132. See also Fortescue's Rep. 389.
That Coke's opinion was against the Court may be gathered from Bacon's Letters (by Birch), p. 56.
Note 5. p. 19. - For the history of these dark transactions, see the different trials in the second volume of the State Trials; the article Coke in the Biog. Brit.; the pamphlet of Truth brought to Light, &c ; the Secret History of the Court of King James, and the Restrospective Review, vol. vii,
Note 6. p. 28. - In a letter to the king he says, “ To conclude this point, after I had received by a former letter of his lordship (Buckingham) knowledge of his mind, I think Sir Edward Coke himself the last time he was before the lords might particularly perceive an alteration in my carriage." - Bacon's Letters, by Birch, p. 132.
Note 7. p.28.
If the reader wishes for more information on this sublect, he may consult Mr. D’Israeli's Curiosities of Literature.
Note 8. p. 28 - See a witticism of Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador, on Sir Edward Coke and his lady. -Howell's Letters, 103. 7th ed.
Note 9. p. 29. - See the Proceedings and Debates of the House of Commons in 1620, vol. i. pp. 65. 73., &c. Sir Edward thus commenced one of his speeches against Sir Francis Michell the monopolist :
Integer vitæ scelerisque purus
Michell pharetra!” “ Michell is vir multarum artium, he hath played in many parts," &c.
Note 10. p. 40.- Perhaps his treatment of Dr. Cowell, the learned civi. fian, may be considered an exception to this observation. Cowell had depreciated the merit of Littleton's Tenures, and had been employed by Bancroft to prepare the Articuli Cleri, or charges against the common law courts. Coke not only attacked his book, The Interpreter, but is said to have taken all occasions to affront him, calling him in derision, “ Dr. Cow-heel.” - Biog. Brit. art. Cowell. James issued a proclamation, evi. dently penned with his own hand, against Cowell's In reter. The introduction to this proclamation is singularly amusing.
Note 11. p. 41. - That Coke could not or would not appreciate the ge. nius and learning of Bacon appears from the following anecdote : - Bacon presented to him a copy of his Novum Organum with the title Instauratio Magna, and containing a device of a ship sailing. Upon the title-page Coke has written,
Edw. C. ex dono auctoris.
And over the device,
It deserveth not to be read in schools,
The volume still remains at Holkham.
Note 12. p. 43.-Where no other authority is mentioned, this Memoir is founded on the life of Selden by Dr. Aikin, which is principally derived from the life prefixed to the edition of Selden's works by Dr. David Wilkins,
Note 13. p. 44. - In the opinion of his friend Archbishop Usher, this was Selden's “best book.” Mem, of Evelyn, vol. i. p. 294. See Bishop Nicholson's opinion of this work, English Hist. Library, p. 22. ed. 1696. It was translated into Latin and printed at Francfort in 1696.
Note 14. p. 50. - For the speeches and arguments of Selden see Howell's State Trials, vol. iii. pp. 16. 78. 94. 175. 236. 264., and the 7th and 8th vols, of the Old Parliamentary History,
Note 15. p. 51. - Another edition of this work was published at Oxford in 1676, by Dr. Prideaux, and by Maittaire in 1732. It appears that Evelyn was the person who prevailed upon Mr. Henry Howard to bestow these valuable monuments of antiquity upon the University of Oxford. Evel. Mem. vol. i. p. 409.
NOTE 16. p. 56. — For an account of his interment see Wood, Ath. Oxon. vol. ii. col. 184. The master of the Temple performed the service, and Archbishop Usher preached the funeral sermon.
NOTE 17. p. 56. — It is said by Evelyn in a letter to Pepys, that there is a fragment of Selden's library at the Middle Temple. Evelyn's Mem. vol. ii. p. 247. Anthony Wood arranged Selden's library at the Bodleian. He “ laboured several weeks with Mr. Thos. Barlow and others in sorting them, carrying them up stairs, and placing them. In opening some of the books they found several pair of spectacles, which Mr. Selden had put in and forgotten to take out." Life of Wood, p. 132. See, in the same place, the conditions on which the library was presented to the Bodleian. In the title or first page of all his books Selden used to write his motto Tigo TAYTOS TAU E).subsgreer. - Wood, Ath. Ox. p. 180.
Note 18. p. 56. — They were marked S to distinguish them from the Arundel Marbles which were marked H. See the Life of Anth. Wood,
Note 19. p. 57. -Oct. 1650, Letters in Parr's Life of Usher. Meric Casaubon sold parts of his father's MSS. to Sir Edward Coke. See Evelyn's Mem. vol. ii. p. 247.
Note 20. p. 59. The Table Talk was published after Selden's death and dedicated to his executors.
NOTE 21. p. 59. - Where no authority is cited, this Memoir is drawn from The Life and Death of Sir M. Hate, by Bishop Burnet.
Note 22. p. 61. - “He said that he came from the university with some aversion for lawyers, and thought them a barbarous set of people, unfit for any thing but their own trade; but having occasion to speak about business with Serjt. Glanville, he found him of such prudence and candour, that from that time he altered his apprehensions, and betook himself to the study of the law.” - Seward's Anecdotes, vol. iv. p. 416.
Note 23. p. 61. -"He said that he studied 16 hours a day for the first two years after he came to the inns of court, but almost brought himself to his grave, though he was of a very strong constitution; and after reduced himself to eight hours, but that he would not advise any body to so much, That he thought six hours a day with attention and constancy was
sufficient; that a man must use his body as he would his horse and his stomach, not tire him at once, but rise with an appetite." - Seward's Anecdotes, vol. iv. p. 416.
NOTE 24. p. 62. — Noy was a very industrious and learned man. « With infinite pains," says Howell in his Letters," he came to his knowledge of the law, but I never heard a more pertinent anagram than was made of his name William Noy, I moyl in law.” When Charles I. was anxious to find a man whose principles and talents might fit him for the place of his attorney. general, he applied to Noy, who after some importunity was prevailed upon to accept the office. He affected great moroseness of manner, but was not inaccessible to flattery; and the courtiers worked upon this foible so successfully that he was won over to a participation in all the worst measures of the government, and rendered himself particularly obnoxious by his zeal in the matter of ship-money. See Clarendon's Rebellion, vol. i. According to Howell, Noy“ left an odd will, which was short and in Latin. Having bequeathed a few legacies, and left his second son one hundred marks a year, and 5002. in money to bring him up to his father's profession, he concludes — reliqua meorum omnia primogenito meo Edvardo dissipanda (nec melius unquam speravi ego), I leave the rest of all my goods to my firstborn Edward, to be consumed or scattered, for I never hoped better.”
Note 25. p. 62. — This volume is now in the library of Lincoln's Inn, among the MSS. bequeathed to that society by Hale.
NOTE 26. p. 62. — Vaughan was also one of the early friends of Clarendon, who has left the following character of him:-“John Vaughan was then a student of the law in the Inner Temple, but at that time indulged more to the politer learning, and was in truth a man of great parts of nature and very well adorned by arts and books, and so much cherished by Mr. Selden that he grew to be of entire trust and friendship with him, and to that owed the best part of his reputation : for he was of so magisterial and supercilious a humour, so proud and insolent a behaviour, that all Mr. Sel. den's instructions, and authority and example, could not file off that roughness of his nature, so as to make him very grateful. He looked most unto those parts of the law which disposed him to least reverence to the crown, and most to popular authority, yet without inclination to any change in government; and therefore before the beginning the civil war, and when he clearly discerned the approaches to it in parliament (of which he was a member), he withdrew himself into the fastnesses of his own country, North Wales, where he enjoyed a secure and as near an innocent life as the iniquity of that time would permit; and upon the return of king Charles II. he appeared under the character of a man who had preserved his loyalty entire, and was esteemed accordingly by all that party.” Clarendon's Life, vol. i. p. 32. ed. 1759. He was born 14th of Sept. 1603, and died 10th of December, 1674. See the Preface to his Reports.
Note 27. p 64. — “In republica ita est versatus ut semper optimarum partium et esset et existimaretur ; neque tamen se civilibus fluctibus committeret, quod non magis eos in suâ potestate existimabat esse, qui se iis dedissent quam qui maritimis jactarentur.” - Cor. Nep.