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illegal examination of the witnesses before the grand jury in open court, the bill wàs ignored ; a proceeding which irritated the partisans of the court almost to a degree of frenzy.* The grand jury, it was affirmed, were perjured, and the most vehement abuse was showered upon them. In defence of their verdict, and in support of the institution of grand juries in general, Mr. Somers composed this tract, which has received the applause of many enquirers into our constitutional literature. In one instance, however, the author appears to have pushed his doctrine to a faulty excess, where he insists that grand juries are not to be guided by probabilities only, since in fact all evidence is reducible to a mere probability, as the testimony of an eye-witness must depend upon the probability of his speaking the truth; a probability into which it is frequently necessary to enquire.

But political studies alone did not occupy the active mind of Mr. Somers. He had devoted himself with much ardour to classical pursuits; and of the progress which he had made in these, and of his general attachment to literature, he afforded an instance in 1681, by the publication of a translation, into English, of the Epistles of Dido to Æneas, and of Ariadne to Theseus, from Ovid. It would be unreasonable to institute a comparison between the versions of Mr. Somers and those of Dryden and Pope; but it may be asserted, that in Mr. Somers's attempt there is considerable power of diction, and some ease of versification. The following lines have been cited as an impartial specimen of the poems :

“ With cruel haste to distant lands you fly,

You know not whose they are, nor where they lie;
On Carthage and its rising walls you frown,
And shun a sceptre which is now your own.
All you have gain'd you proudly do contemn,
And fondly seek a fancied diadem;
And should you reach at last this promised land,
Who'll give its power into a stranger's hand ?
Another easy Dido do you seek,

And new occasions new-made vows to break ? • See the ravings of Roger North, in his Examen.

+ See the Letter on Libels, General Warrants, &c. p. 31. Eunomus, vol. 3. p. 263. 2d ed.

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When can you walls like ours of Carthage build,
And see your streets with crowds of subjects fill'd ?
But though all this succeeded to your mind,
So true a wife no search could ever find.
Scorch'd up with love's fine fire, my life does waste,
Like incense on the flaming altar cast;
All day Æneas walks before my sight,
In all my dreams I see him ev'ry night ;
But see him still ungrateful as before,
And such as, if I could, I should abhor.
But the strong flame burns on against my will ;
I call him false, but love the traitor still.”

An eaolution - Soon after the publication of these poems, Mr. S

esteld also be again appeared before the public as the translat

akklace. Of the life of Alcibiades in the version of Plutarc his ocasion to various hands; and about the same time he is supr to have produced the poem entitled Dryden's Sati his Muse, in answer to the celebrated Absalom

L i s researches Achitophel of that poet. With regard to the autho rs spreable of this poem, which is written with great vigour, ai certainly superior to the translations from Ovid, r doubt has, with reason, been expressed. [Note 43.

In the year 1682, Somers left the university, an residence of seven years. It appears that, alth he took his bachelor's degree, he left before he taken that of master of arts. On his removal to don, he immediately began to practise at the bar, an it would appear, with very eminent success, since du the reign of James II. his professional income is sa have amounted to 7001. per annum; a very conside sum at that period.* In the year following the mencement of his practice, he was employed as or the counsel in the celebrated case of Pilkington, Shute, the sheriffs of London, and others, who v indicted for a riot during the election of sherif In the arguments and other proceedings which to place in the course of this prosecution Mr. Som appears to have taken little part; but his employment a case of so much importance and notoriety must ha contributed to his progress in his profession. The d fendants were found guilty, and severely fined; but c ocina * Life of Lord Somers, p. 15. + Howell's State Trials, vol. ix. p. 18

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the revolution the judgment was reverst in perico ment.

Notwithstanding the occupatiOL WILCI in proietoa duties afforded him, Mr. Somer jumt ur Sortie cultivation of general biterature, an dasİLLE T . self by the patronage vluci he menu uime si dertakings and to be a PIIETE bra and 2 under his encouragement, the fire join tru a was printed*; and at a intes brut de inte sve of fostering the ring guns a ye

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When can you walls like ours of Carthage build,
And see your streets with crowds of subjects fili'd ?
But though all this succeeded to your mind,
So true a wife no search could ever find.
Scorch'd up with love's fine fire, my life does waste,
Like incense on the flaming altar cast;
All day Æneas walks before my sight,
In all my dreams I see him ev'ry night ;
But see him still ungrateful as before,
And such as, if I could, I should abhor.
But the strong flame burns on against my will;
I call him false, but love the traitor still,"

· Soon after the publication of these poems, Mr. Somers again appeared before the public as the translator of the life of Alcibiades in the version of Plutarch by various hands; and about the same time he is supposed to have produced the poem entitled Dryden's Satire to his Muse, in answer to the celebrated Absalom and Achitophel of that poet. With regard to the authorship of this poem, which is written with great vigour, and is certainly superior to the translations from Ovid, much doubt has, with reason, been expressed. Note 43.7

In the year 1682, Somers left the university, after a residence of seven years. It appears that, although he took his bachelor's degree, he left before he had taken that of master of arts. On his removal to London, he immediately began to practise at the bar, and, as it would appear, with very eminent success, since during the reign of James II. his professional income is said to have amounted to 700l. per annum; a very considerable sum at that period. * In the year following the commencement of his practice, he was employed as one of the counsel in the celebrated case of Pilkington and Shute, the sheriffs of London, and others, who were indicted for a riot during the election of sheriffs. + In the arguments and other proceedings which took place in the course of this prosecution Mr. Somers appears to have taken little part; but his employment in a case of so much importance and notoriety must have contributed to his progress in his profession. The defendants were found guilty, and severely fined; but on

** Life of Lord Somers, p. 15.

f Howell's State Trials, vol. ix. p. 187.

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# The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield read;

Ev'n mitred Rochester would nod his head."

The reputation which Mr. Somers had acquired as a constitutional lawyer led to his being employed in one of the most important cases in the annals of our state triak. On the assumption of a dispensing power by James II, and the promulgation by him, for the second time, of a declaration of indulgence, the object of which fra the illegal introduction of the catholics to power, the prelates of the church of England opposed the unconstitutional measure, and thus, in the words of Hurd, " stoned in some measure for former miscarriages." The declaration was directed to be read on two several Sundays, during the time of divine service; but the performance of this duty was found so obnoxious to the clergy, that the archbishop of Canterbury and six of the bishops humbly petitioned the king to be absolved from it. Inflamed by this refusal, and instigated by the evil advice of Jefferies, James summoned the petitioners before the council, where, instead of tendering a submission, the prelates professed that they had done nothing that they were not ready to justify. The result was that an information was filed against them for publishing a seditious libel against the king and his government, and on the 15th of June, 1688, they were brought to trial in the court of king's bench. The counsel for the bishops were Sir Robert Sawyer, Mr. Finch, Mr. Pol

* See the Dedication to the li ed

the Prince and ing and queen," consideration of n had suffered. , of which Mr. al heads of such

considered, for nd laws. The ety of matters, ds incorporated endments were Ar. Somers was the Declaration was directed to x to Mr. Maddock's

15.

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