« AnteriorContinuar »
From the Edinburgh Review.
and plate-glass, has not hitherto been exLIVES OF EMINENT LAWYERS.
cessive, they surely more than compensate
for any comparative saving in these articles 1. The Lives of Eminent English Judges by advertisements; and no class of traders
of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Cen- speculate more rashly on a demand to be turies. By W. N. Welsby, Esq., M.A., created, or rush into madder competition at Recorder of Chester. 8vo. London: the first glimpse of an opening or new field 1846.
for capital. With them, it never rains but 2. The Lives of Twelve Eminent Judges of it pours; single misfortunes (meaning bad
the Last and of the Present Century. By books) never come alone; and when we get William C. Townshend, Esq., M.A",J a good thing, it speedily becomes so paroRecorder of Macclesfield. Two vol
died and travestied by imitators, that we 8vo. London: 1846.
often end by wishing we never had it at all.
For example, the historical novels of the In an Essay on Gin-Shops, published in last fifteen or twenty years are a heavy setthe first volume of Essays, by Boz,' will off against our debt of gratitude to the aube found some curious remarks on the thor of Waverley ; and as to the fashionable liability of certain trades to run mad in novels, we are tempted to address the only concert, or contract epidemic disorders of surviving founder of any note in the words a very distressing and eccentric kind; the of Mrs. Cole :-Oh, Lord N., Lord N. ! most remarkable symptoms being an enor-, where do you expect to go when you die ?" mous outlay in decorations and announce At the same time, it must be admitted ments, or an unaccountable eagerness to that the prolonged duration as well as frecreate a demand for commodities by over- quent recurrence of the madness or disstocking the market with them. The writer ease, is in no small degree owing to the rementions gin-shops, shawl-shops, and drug- missness of the critical portion of the press; gists as familiar instances; but we should for it is obvious that a good slashing article be inclined to name booksellers as the sever- might operate as beneficially as shaving the est sufferers from such maladies; for though head and blistering; and a coxcombical their expenditure in plaster pillars, gilding I writer held up to merited ridicule, would be
Völ. IX. No. IV.
as incapable of communicating infection as with which the permission was conceded. a bale of goods rinsed in vinegar and fumi- For the accuracy of the facts and justice gated, according to the approved laws of of the comments he is alone responsible. quarantine. To show what may be done in A third of these volumes is now.'
A statethis line, we have only to refer to the sud- ment of this kind adds incalculably to the den and beneficial check given to the mul- \ value of such a work. tiplication of lady-travellers by our chief The lives included in Mr. Welsby's volsouthern contemporary. Far be it from us ume are those of Whitelock, Holt, Lord to say that the highborn dames in question Cowper, Lord Harcourt, Lord Macclesfield, were superfluous on the field of literature, Lord King, Lord Talbot, Lord Bathurst, but their copyists would be ; and even of fair and Lord Camden, by Mr. Welsby himself: originals, we had assuredly enough. Just so Hale, by Mr. H. Merivale ; Blackstone, by a to come to the class of productions whose writer not named; Lords Nottingham, Hardthreatened influx has frightened us into the wicke, Mansfield, Thurlow, and Ashburton, foregoing train of reflection-far be it from by the late Edmund Plunkett Burke ;-a us to say or insinuate that Mr. Welsby and man never mentioned without expressions Mr. Townshend are to be received as unbid of the warmest regard and highest admiraden and unwelcome guests, or that there is tion by his contemporaries. He accepted no room for them at our table ; but we hon the appointment of Judge in the West Indies estly think we have now as much legal in 1832, and was killed in a hurricane in biography as we shall want till another
1835. The Lives contributed by him are eration of lawyers has died away; and we more than ordinarily attractive; indepentrust 'the trade' will take due notice of the dently of the variety of racy anecdotes scatfact. The works before us, with Mr. Twiss's tered through them, they derive a peculiar Life of Lord Eldon and Lord Campbell's charm from the genial humor of the writer. Lives of the Chancellors (when completed), Mr. Townshend's twelve forensic or juwill make about twelve thick closely-printed dicial Cæsars are-Lords Loughborough, octavos; which is as much as an enlightened Kenyon, Ellenborough, Tenterden, Alvanpublic can masticate, and more than it can ley, Erskine, Redesdale, Stowell, and Eldigest, of any given subject within two don; Mr. Justice Buller, Sir William Grant, years.
and Sir Vicary Gibbs. The general charWe have already borne willing testimony acter and tendency of his volumes are stated to the very high merits of Mr. Twiss's and in a striking passage of the preface : Lord Campbell's works; and it is no slight praise to say, that Mr. Welsby's and Mr.
In the biography of these revered magisTownshend's are in all respects worthy to light upon each other, and illustrates the legal
trates, whose contemporary course reflects be placed alongside of them. Here, how- annals of our times, there are comprehended ever, we must distinguish.
records of eloquent debate, and able statesmanMr. Welsby's publication contains a great ship, and useful legislation; many bright pasdeal of valuable matter and agreeable wri-sages of national history; reports of those ting; but seven out of the sixteen memoirs eventful trials which move the feelings, and are not his own; and there is internal evi- stir the blood; the struggles and triumphs of dence that, as regards these at any rate, the advocacy; the narrative of early disappoint
ments and severe privations; of persevering volunteered duties of editor have been some- diligence, determined fortitude, and unwearied what hastily performed. The notice of Hale hope ; ot'the lucky chance and crowning vicis a mere reprint of a Magazine article on tory; the clouded opening of their fortunes ar.d the face of it.
its serene close; the mode and manner, so well Mr. Townshend felt more respect for the worth studying, in which these intellectual public, or had not the same reasons for hur- prize-men, bankrupt of health and prodigal rying into the field. From a consideration trace the gradual ascent of the surgeon's buy,
of ease," achieved wealth, litles and fame. We of delicacy due to relatives, (so runs the and the barber's son, up the rugged steep, and Preface,) the biographer' has, in every in. rejoice over the course of the brothers Scott, stance where there were immediate descend- working their way from the coalfitter's yard at ants surviving, requested and obtained per- Newcastle, to the height of civil greatnessmission to publish these memoirs. To the teaching ihe valuable lesson, fraught with Earl of Eldon, to Lords Kenyon, Alvanley, neither lowliness of birth, nor absence of for
courage and constancy, to the profession, that Redesdale, and Tenterden, and to the Honorable Thomas Erskine, his acknowledg. crush or subdue the progressive and expanding
tune, nor delay of opportunity, is sufficient to ments are especially due for the courtesy force of talent and industry.'