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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by
FRANK T. REID & Co.,
LISRARY OF THE
An old manuscript diary kept by the late Chief Justice Taylor, of North Carolina, during a visit to England in 1807, has fallen into our hands. Though written currente calamo, and intended for the instruction and entertainment of his own household, we find in it many things that would interest the general reader—and some glimpses at the bench of England, in those days, which will interest the members of the legal profession, several of which we extract.
LORD CHANCELLOR ELDON.
The Chief Justice then states his impressions of the distinguished Lord Chancellor:
“ To-day I visited Lincoln's Inn Fields, where I understood the Lord Chancellor was hearing causes. The hall is spacious, and the floor thickly carpeted. I confess my astonishment was great when I entered to hear a counsel addressing the Chancellor in ungrammatical language, delivered in a harsh brogue and stentorian voice. Surely, I thought, there must be some character of strength in his mind, or some distinction of superior learning to compensate for these defects. I listened longer, but found him uninformed-and when I had an opportunity of looking at the faces of the other counsel, perceived that they were endeavoring to stifle a laugh. The Lord Chancellor partook of the general mirth, but made great effort to conceal it by holding a brief before his face, and sometimes stooping down, under the pretence of examining it. Hale, for such I learned was the name of the counsel, made a very silly speech to support a still more foolish demurrer. He was replied to by a Mr. VOL. III-NO. 1-1
Harte, in a very clear and logical manner, and the Lord Chancellor gave an opinion with as much deliberation as if he had listened to an able discussion on both sides. Though the faces of the Lord Chancellor and his brother are totally different, yet a little examination discovers a family resemblance. The features of the former do not bespeak so much of genius, of deep thought or of firmness, but more of suavity and benevolence. I should pronounce him to be a man possessing more of the milk of human kindness, and far less energy of mind and power of investigation. His character, as a Chancellor, is that of delaying business from his extreme caution
—and from the fear of doing wrong, doing little or nothing. But whatever he does is considered well done.
LORD ERSKIVE AND SIR WM. GRANT.
As a Chancellor Lord Erskine gave great satisfaction-not so much for the correctness of his decrees as for the promptness and decision with which he pronounced them. He took uncommon pains to prevent the delays for which the court was so justly complained of-and the officers of the court would all have been satisfied at his remaining in office. But the mind, whose character as a chancery lawyer, rises far above that of all others in England, is Sir William Grant, the Master of the Rolls. The Chancery Bar unanimously speak of him as a man equal, if not superior, to any one who has ever presided in that court. He has been twice pressed to accept the seals, but prefers the plodding permanence of his pret ent inferior situation, to the more miscellaneous, splendid, but precarious one of Lord Chancellor. He is a grave and studious man, and upon all occasions, maintains the dignity of the judicial character. Judge, then, of his feelings upon the following occasion, which was related to me by the best authority, and may be relied
Lord Erskine had called upon him as an assizor in a very novel and intricate case. They had heard several arguments, and the Chancellor had appointed a day when he would call upon the Master of the Rolls, and conduct him to his country seat at Hampstead, where they might discuss the matter at perfect leisure. The Master of the Rolls was very much surprised when Erskine drove up to his house, in Chancery lane, in a gig tandem. He could not, however, decline the exhibition, and away they drove through the most populous part of London, Lord Erskine displaying his dexterity in driving—and now and then cutting a fly from the leader's
The grave and dignified Master of the Rolls was much an