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passed without any more opposition. This was a great service done in a very critical time, and contributed not a little to raise Somers's character.”

His next important labour was to carry through the House the Toleration Act, by which the Protestant dissenters of England were for the first time permitted by law to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience; and he also assisted in the establishment of the Presbyterian religion in Scotland. It was he who was selected to draw up the Declaration of War against France (May 15th). In truth, the difficulty experienced in compressing within concise limits a memoir of this great man arises from the fact that his advice and his assistance were sought in all the important measures of the time. His biography for some years is closely intermixed with the history of his country—a history which he helped to make or influence—and can hardly be given without involving a narrative of historical events that lies altogether beyond our scope. The reader, therefore, must turn from these pages when he feels the need of fuller information, to the great work of Lord Macaulay, or the popular and picturesque volumes of Mr. Green, or the earlier authorities of Burnet, Tindal, and Bishop Kennett.

On the 2nd of May, 1692, he was raised to the post of Attorney-General, in which capacity he conducted the prosecution of Lord Mohun for the murder of Mountford, the comedian. The titled bravo was acquitted by a majority of sixty-nine to fourteen. The rapid increase of Somers's reputation, and of his influence both in Parliament and the country, led to his appointment, in March, 1693, to the high office of Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. The promotion gave general satisfaction, which Garth

the author of " The Dispensary,” echoed in his mediocre rhymes “Haste, and the matchless Atticus address ! From Heaven and great Nassau he has the mace; The oppressed to his asylum still repair, Arts he supports, and learning is his care. He softens the harsh rigour of the laws, Blunts their keen edge and cuts their harpy claws, And graciously he casts a pitying eye, On the sad state of virtuous poverty. Whene'er he speaks, Heavens ! how the listening throng Dwells on the melting music of his tongue; And when the power of eloquence he'd try, Here, lightning strikes you—there, soft breezes sigh." As a judge the merits of Somers have been almost unanimously admired, and his contemporaries have recorded in eulogistic language the favourable opinions called forth by his industry, patience, clear-sightedness, and urbanity. His temper was as gentle as his intelligence was keen, and there was about him such a charm of manner that it robbed even an adverse judgment of its sting. The great debt of gratitude we owe to him as an equity judge is said to be due to his having “introduced and established the principles and doctrines of the civil law on the subjects of legacies, trusts, and charities, and all others to which they were properly applicable.” It was Somers, too, who established the practice of a Parliamentary dissolution of marriage on account of the adultery of the wife ; and for students of English literature it is interesting to remember that the first case of this kind was that of the notorious Countess of Macclesfield, the mother of Richard Savage.

In 1695, during William's absence from England, passed without any more opposition. This was a great service done in a very critical time, and contributed not a little to raise Somers's character.”

His next important labour was to carry through the House the Toleration Act, by which the Protestant dissenters of England were for the first time permitted by law to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience; and he also assisted in the establishment of the Presbyterian religion in Scotland. It was he who was selected to draw up the Declaration of War against France (May 15th). In truth, the difficulty experienced in compressing within concise limits a memoir of this great man arises from the fact that his advice and his assistance were sought in all the important measures of the time. His biography for some years is closely intermixed with the history of his country—a history which he helped to make or influence—and can hardly be given without involving a narrative of historical events that lies altogether beyond our scope. The reader, therefore, must turn from these pages when he feels the need of fuller information, to the great work of Lord Macaulay, or the popular and picturesque volumes of Mr. Green, or the earlier authorities of Burnet, Tindal, and Bishop Kennett.

On the 2nd of May, 1692, he was raised to the post of Attorney-General, in which capacity he conducted the prosecution of Lord Mohun for the murder of Mountford, the comedian. The titled bravo was acquitted by a majority of sixty-nine to fourteen. The rapid increase of Somers's reputation, and of his influence both in Parliament and the country, led to his appointment, in March, 1693, to the high office of Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. The promotion gave general satisfaction, which Garth

the author of “ The Dispensary,” echoed in his mediocre
rhymes :
“Haste, and the matchless Atticus address !
From Heaven and great Nassau he has the mace;
The oppressed to his asylum still repair,
Arts he supports, and learning is his care.
He softens the harsh rigour of the laws,
Blunts their keen edge and cuts their harpy claws,
And graciously he casts a pitying eye,
On the sad state of virtuous poverty.
Whene'er he speaks, Heavens ! how the listening throng
Dwells on the melting music of his tongue ;
And when the power of eloquence he'd try,

Here, lightning strikes you—there, soft breezes sigh.” As a judge the merits of Somers have been almost unanimously admired, and his contemporaries have recorded in eulogistic language the favourable opinions called forth by his industry, patience, clear-sightedness, and urbanity. His temper was as gentle as his intelligence was keen, and there was about him such a charm of manner that it robbed even an adverse judgment of its sting. The great debt of gratitude we owe to him as an equity judge is said to be due to his having “introduced and established the principles and doctrines of the civil law on the subjects of legacies, trusts, and charities, and all others to which they were properly applicable.” It was Somers, too, who established the practice of a Parliamentary dissolution of marriage on account of the adultery of the wife ; and for students of English literature it is interesting to remember that the first case of this kind was that of the notorious Countess of Macclesfield, the mother of Richard Savage.

In 1695, during William's absence from England, passed without any more opposition. This was a great service done in a very critical time, and contributed not a little to raise Somers's character."

His next important labour was to carry through the House the Toleration Act, by which the Protestant dissenters of England were for the first time permitted by law to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience; and he also assisted in the establishment of the Presbyterian religion in Scotland. It was he who was selected to draw up the Declaration of War against France (May 15th). In truth, the difficulty experienced in compressing within concise limits a memoir of this great man arises from the fact that his advice and his assistance were sought in all the important measures of the time. His biography for some years is closely intermixed with the history of his country—a history which he helped to make or influence—and can hardly be given without involving a narrative of historical events that lies altogether beyond our scope.

The reader, therefore, must turn from these pages when he feels the need of fuller information, to the great work of Lord Macaulay, or the popular and picturesque volumes of Mr. Green, or the earlier authorities of Burnet, Tindal, and Bishop Kennett.

On the 2nd of May, 1692, he was raised to the post of Attorney-General, in which capacity he conducted the prosecution of Lord Mohun for the murder of Mountford, the comedian. The titled bravo was acquitted by a majority of sixty-nine to fourteen. The rapid increase of Somers's reputation, and of his influence both in Parliament and the country, led to his appointment, in March, 1693, to the high office of Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. The promotion gave general satisfaction, which Garth

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