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been in expectation of fome abler pen attempting the delineation of fo exalted a character; and he can truly fay, that it would havę afforded him infinite pleasure to have had a fair opportunity of refigning his materials to any gentleman defirous of fignalizing himfelf in the annals of biography, and of twining round his brow a wreath of no fall eftimation. He would thereby have enjoyed complete fatisfaction, in being able to contribute to the utility, the improvement, and greater perfection of a work of this nature.'
The liberality of this acknowledgment difpofed us to treat Mr. Holliday's work with a candour beyond that which is ftrictly compatible with the duty of criticifm: we therefore regret, that, notwithstanding fuch a favourable pre-poffeffion, we are compelled to pronounce that the volume before us is one of the most tastelefs productions that ever offered themfelves to our notice. The materials confift of college exercises, juridical and parliamentary speeches, &c. by the late earl of Mansfield; and, though already made public through various channels of the prefs, they might by fome able pen have been combined and commented upon in a manner very illustrative of the life, and honourable to the fame, of that great character. Mr. Holliday, unfortunately for his readers, and the reputation of the earl of Mansfield, difplays none of the talents requifite for fuch an undertaking. Weak and frivolous remarks, conveyed in a fort of composition not fufficiently tangible by criticism to deserve the appellation even of a bad style, convince us with what rueful barbarity a great man's memory may be treated under the pretence of biography.
Notwithstanding our juftly excited cenfure, we fhall make feveral extracts from this publication: but let not the author miftake the compliment, like a certain animal in the fable, who arrogated to himself the reverence that was paid to the reliques which he carried on his back.
Lord Mansfield's pedigree, birth, and juvenile progrefs, are
The honourable William Murray, afterwards earl of Mansfield, was a younger fon and the eleventh child of David viscount Stormont, who was the fifth viscount of the noble and illuftrious family of Murray.
Sir William Murray of Tallibard, in the fhire of Perth, by Catharine his wife, daughter of Andrew lord Gray, had four sons; and Gr Andrew Murray, the third fon, was the progenitor of vifcount Stormont, the father of lord Mansfield.
On the 3d of March, 1705, according to the computation of time in Scotland, but in 1704 according to the legal computation of time in England, William, the fourth fon of lord Stormont, was born at Perth in North Britain.
'About the tender age of three years, he was removed to, and educated in, London; and confequently he had not, when an inEmt, imbibed any peculiarity of dialect, which conld tend to decide that Perth had a fairer claim than Bath to the honor of his birth. The year of his admiffion, as a king's fcholar at Weftminfter, appears to be 1719.
When he was a Westminster scholar, lady Kinnoul, in one of the vacations, invited him to her home, where, obferving him with a pen in his hand, and feemingly thoughtful, the afked him if he was writing his theme, and what in plain English the theme was. The fchool-boy's fmart anfwer rather furprized her ladyfhip,. "What is that to you?" She replied, "How can you be fo rude? I asked you very civilly a plain question; and did not expect from a fchool-boy fuch a pert anfwer." The reply was, "Indeed, my lady, I can only anfwer once more, What is, that to you!" In reality the theme was-QUID AT TE-pertinet ?
Whether the affinity in Scotch enunciation between Perth and Bath, or whether the inftructions fent with the honorable Mr. Murray for matriculation at Oxford were not written in a fair hand, the miftake of Bath for Perth was actually made; and, however fingular it may appear, candor must allow, that fuch a mistake might eafily happen.
Be that as it may, the entry of his admiffion as a student of Chrift-church, Oxford, of which a correct copy is fubjoined, is contrary to the real fact, refpecting the place of his birth.
• Trin. Term. 1723, June 18.
C. Som. V. Com. fil.
T. WENMAN, C. A.
Sir William Blackstone is faid to have mentioned this curious circumftance to the lord chief justice of the king's bench, while he had the honour to fit with him in that court; when lord Mansfield anfwered," that poffibly the broad pronunciation of the perfon, who gave in that defcription, was the origin of the mistake."
Bishop Newton, who was one of his cotemporaries at Weftminster, bears this honorable teftimony to his fchool-fellow's early fame.
During the time of his being at fchool, he gave early proofs of his uncommon abilities, not fo much in his poetry, as in his other exercifes, and particularly in his declamations, which were fure tokens aud prognostics of that eloquence which grew up to fuch maturity and perfection at the bar, and in both houfes of parliament.
'At the election in May, 1723, when he was in the 19th year of his age, he had the honor of standing firft on the lift of thofe gentlemen who were fent to Oxford, and was accordingly entered of ChriftChurch on the 18th of June following."
We are then informed that about four years afterwards he ' was admitted to the degree of B. A.'
The Prize Verfes on the Death of George the First,' and a Fragment of an Oration on Demofthenes,' were academical effufions highly creditable to the talents of Mr. Murray: the latter piece deferves particular praise for the elegance of its Latinity, and the felicity with which it difcriminates the beauties of the Grecian orator.
It is ftated by his biographer, that
On the 24th of June, 1730, he took the degree of M. A. and left the univerfity foon afterwards, full of vigor, and determined to travel into foreign parts, before he fat down to the serious profecution of his legal ftudies, to which his genius and his flender fortune, as a younger fon, forcibly and happily prompted him. He travelled through France, and in Italy, at an age fitted for improvement and useful obfervation; not between 19 and 21, a period which his great patron lord Hardwicke, in one of the numbers in the Spectator, under the modeft fignature of Philip Homebred, evinces to be too early an age for our British youths to travel to any real advantage. At Rome Mr. Murray was probably infpired, and animated with the love of Ciceronian eloquence; at Rome he was prompted to make Cicero his great example, and his theme! At Tufculum, and in his perambulations over claffical ground, why might he not be emulous to lay the foundation of that noble fuperftructure of bright fame, which he foon raised after he became a member of Lincoln's Inn?'
The Plan for a short course of study, given to the duke of Portland, has been, we believe, more than once in print: fome of the political obfervations which it includes are erroneous and fuperficial; but it contains many valuable hints for claffical reading, and is properly preferved in a collection of this
Mr. Murray was entered a ftudent of Lincoln's Inn, in April 1724, and called to the bar in Michaelmas Term 1730. Our author, on this occafion, obferves, that
• Inftead of fubmitting to the ufual drudgery, as fome are pleased to deem it, of labouring in the chambers of a ipecial pleader, Mr. Murray's motto feems to have been "Aut Cicero aut nullus,"
Early in his legal career he ftudied the graces of clocution under one of the greatest masters of the age wherein he lived.
Doctor Johnfon, in his life of Pope, fays, " his voice when he was young was fo pleafing, that Pope was called in fondness the little nightingale." Under this melodious and great mafter Mr. Murray practifed elocution, and may truly be faid to have brought the modulation of an harmonious voice to the highest degree of perfection.
One day he was furprized by a gentleman of Lincoln's Inn,
who could take the liberty of entering his rooms without the ceremonious introduction of a fervant, in the fingular act of practising the graces of a speaker at a glass, while Pope fat by in the character of a friendly preceptor. Mr. Murray on this occafion paid him the handsome compliment of, Tu es mihi Mæcenas!'
Lord Mansfield's introduction into profeffional life was fingularly confpicuous; but we believe, that, in a majority of inftances, even young men of talents will find the drudgery of labouring in the chambers of a special pleader' much more fubfervient to their legal progrefs, than the graces of elocution.' Mr. Murray foon became celebrated at the bar; and, according to our author
was alfo fedulous to introduce into active life his friend Mr. Booth, then a young conveyancer; which Mr. Murray's letter of the 25th of October, 1735, worthy of the younger Pliny, will evince.
My dear Friend,
Lincoln's Inn, 25th Oct. 1735,
I received yours laft night. I cannot but applaud the protection you give a fifter, whom I know you love tenderly; yet it seems a little rash to carry your beneficence fo far as to dry up the fource of all future generofity; and I am fure it is greatly against the intereft of every one who has the leaft dependence upon you, that you should do any thing which makes it at all difficult for you to persevere in a way where you must at laft fucceed. Of this I have no doubt; and, therefore, it is as fuperfluous to add my advice for your coming to town immediately as it would be to tell you that I omit no opportunity of mentioning your name and promoting your intereft. You cannot fail, but by ftaying in the country, and fuffering people who have not half your merit to step in before you. With regard to every thing you fay of Mr. Pigot, we will talk more at large hereafter; I as little think he will bring you into his bufinefs while he lives as that you can be kept out of a great part of it when he dies. I am at prefent confulted upon à devife-fettlement of his, whereby a great estate is left to a noble Roman catholic family, which I am very clear is good for nothing. Can you contrive a way by which an eftate may be left to a papift? Though I have no more doubt of the cafe put to me than whether the fun shines at noon, I told the gentleman who confulted me, I would willingly stay to talk with a Roman catholic conveyancer, &c. whom I expected foon in town, and named you to him.
I own I am defirous you should come to town; and, be affured, the best service you can do your friends is to put yourself in a way to serve them effectually. As to any prefent occafions you have, you know where to command while I have a fhilling.
'I have not seen Prowfe nor Rigdum fince I had yours, but I am fure they are both your fervants very much. Nil wiki vefcribas,
attamen ipfe veni. I am, I do affure you, with great cordiality and
Your affectionate friend and faithful fervant,
To this letter, which certainly exhibits the character of the deceased earl in a very amiable light, that able lawyer, Mr. Booth, was doubtlefs indebted for the impulfe of difplaying his abilities in the sphere where they were afterwards exerted with great and deserved success.
On the 20th of November, 1738,' the subject of these memoirs married lady Elizabeth Finch, one of the fix daughters of the earl of Winchelfea.'
With this lady' (fays Mr. Holliday) he lived in great harmony and domestic happiness almoft half a century. Lady Mansfield, who was exemplary through life in diligent, uniform, and unremitted attention to the discharge of her domeftic concerns, and of every religious duty, died the 10th of April, 1784.' P. 40.
In 1742, on the refignation of fir John Strange, Mr. Murray was appointed folicitor-general, and fubfequently took his feat in parliament as member for Boroughbridge. The politi cal rivalry between Mr. Murray and Mr. Pitt (afterwards earl of Chatham) is well known; and it feems aftonishing that the former fhould have fubmitted (which was often the cafe), in filence, to the infulting geftures and loud infinuations of his bullying, but not more accomplished antagonist. As we are not in the number of those who think that an office under the crown neceffarily contaminates the principles of the holder, and as we believe the political character of the earl of Mansfield to have been grofsly calumniated by the party fpirit of the times, we are inclined to afcribe the pufillanimity to which we have alluded, to the torpid fafcination fometimes produced by eloquent fierceness of reproach, rather than to any confcioufnefs of actions inconfiftent with integrity.
In 1754, Mr. Murray obtained the poít of attorney-general; and in 1756, on the deceafe of fir Dudley Ryder, he was elevated to the feat of chief juftice of the court of King's Bench, and the honour of a peerage.
The ceremony of his taking leave of the fociety is thus described.
Previous to his taking his feat as lord chief juftice, the usual ceremony of taking leave of alma mater, or the law-fociety of which he was a member, was to be refpectfully obferved. Whether the origin of this laudable cuftom is to be claffed among those good old fofter-fathers who have contributed to raile emulation ip the ftudents of the fociety, or whether it was deugned to manifelt ne gratitude of the latter, for the honor which every high charac