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minds, that will not permit it to be wholly out of place, wherever you fix it. He availed himself, too, of very able assistance; for his old friend Hargrave, whose stranguary had been the foundation of his fortunes, rendered him most effectual service in finding cases for him, and shaping his decrees.
It is, however, no mean praise to say of Lord Erskine, that in that splendid exaltation, which dizzies ordinary minds, and renders the hearts of men, who have been suddenly lifted up to high preferment, cold and insensible, and oblivious of old intercourses, he felt all the force and freshness of his early attachments. He was neither cold, nor reserved, nor distant to the humblest applications. I was induced, upon one occasion, to request his interposition, in a question likely to be agitated in the House of Lords, considering that his opinions would receive considerable authority from his high official character. I was then at a distance from England, where the murmur of British politics could not reach me, not calculating upon the probability, that the Whigs would, in the meantime, have knocked their heads against the Catholic subject, and that, before my application could reach them, they would all have been out of office. A little soreness, I think, is perceptible in it; and it shows also how the mind, under the vexations of disappointed ambition, welcomes to herself the de. lusive anticipations of ease, and comfort, and tranquillity, in the enjoyments of rural retirement.
“ I am afraid
will think me unkind in not writing to you in answer to your friendly letter; but, I do assure you, that I remember you
with true regard, and take the strongest interest in your welfare. The truth is, that we had gone out of office before I received the papers respecting * * * * * * *, and I have no reason to believe that any thing upon the subject is in agitation. If ever the matter is taken up, my regard for your opinions, and wishes, as well as the justice of the case (as far as I am yet acquainted with it), would induce me to do what little may now be in my power upon the matter
refer to. “I am now retired (most probably for life),
and am living what, for me, may be considered an idle, but I hope not an useless, life, as I keep up my reading, in case the chances of this changeful world should give me the opportunity of turning it to public account.
Should I, however, remain long out of a public station, I shall find healthful and interest ing occupation in the cultivation of the grateful earth, who, if well cultivated, is less capricious in the distribution of her favours than courts or princes.
"I frequently see our friend * * * * *, who never fails to express great regard for you; and if it shall happen that I can practically manifest my own, I shall be well pleased, I do assure you, to convince
that I am
And sincere servant,
I have dwelt thus largely upon the character of my departed friend, because his history is that of the English bar in its most flourishing period; nor should I ever have forgiven myself, had I been capable of suffering my enthusiasm for such a character (an enthusiasm, not the fruit of a hasty or transient admiration) to grow dim and languid with the waning brightness of his later years. But there were hearts that feasted
his errors; that told them with delight, and transmitted them, too, with the venomous exaggerations, that evil stories gather, as they run their round among uncharitable narrators : for he had then nothing left to attract their stupid gazem nothing to bribe their idiotic applause. He had no table to feed the coxcombs that moed and chattered at him"-no glare of equipage to extort the vulgar deference paid to rank; his witticisms were pointless; even his intellect was said to decline with his finances.
And this has happened to him, whose noble efforts placed triple ramparts, and erected adamantine defences, around the trial by jury; the precursor in that great cause, of Mr. Fox himself, whose memorable bill is only the legislative record of the victory achieved by Erskine. To a man, whose forensic eloquence the puny pleaders of the
present day, the lean shrivelled insects, that now hop about the Hall, may indeed strive to imitate, but are doomed never, never to reach.
Where is the monument which we were told was to be erected by the English bar to his memory? Whose was the base envy, the lowminded avarice of his own personal fame, that extinguished the project ? He is well knownthe pertest, primmest pleader of the modern barthe greatest among them in this day of its little
Honours may be showered upon him ; but
“ Ad populum phaleras, ego te intus, et in cute novi.”
How immeasurably below the masculine vigour of Erskine's eloquence is the sophistical, wiredrawn rhetoric of this fortunate prater! Probably, in mere scholarship, S-_ is somewhat superior; for Erskine was no clerk in that department of literature. His education, though completed at Cambridge, was desultory and broken, and, for many years, suspended by the duties of a naval, and afterwards of a military life; and he entered