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and it was a confirmation of it, during the existence of a commiffioni that when lord Henley fat in that originating in and solely dependent house as lord keeper, he had the on the will and pleasure of the misfortune to endure the reversal of crown, tended to invalidate the act several of his decrees; but that of the 13th of King William.” from the time he became Lord Nor- Lord Abingdon gave his hearty thington, and was created a peer, concurrence to this motion. He having an opportunity of talking reprobated, in the strongest terms, to their lorddips about his decrees, the ministerial selection of the judges there were no longer any reversals of the land, nor in the order in of them. In all cases of appeal, which they stood, and not accorda custom had prevailed to leave the ing to that claim of fuperiority jidgment to the law lords. The lay which entitled them to a preference Iords seldom interfered. That the in holding the great seal by comlaw lords Mould try over again the mission. It was a blow both against causes they had adjudged, was there- law and equity. It originated in fore, he imagined, an impropriety motives of party, and was directed lo glaring, that it could not but to time-serving purposes. It aimed ftrike every impartial observer. The at the disturbance, and perhaps at source of justice ought to be pre- the destruction of that independency ferved with a moft fcrupulous pu. which was essential to the distriburity. He wished, accordingly, that tion of equal justice ; and it was to effectual measures were taken for be imputed to the machinations of a removing the hopes as well as the late coalition of parties, which was fears of judges; and, perhaps, no altogether (candalous and deteftable. method could produce this purpose The duke of Portland objected to so advantagcouilly as their contine. The motion which had been made ; ment to their judgeships. At the and considered it as containing, by fame time, he was not anxious to implication, a violent cenfure of narrow their incomes. If their fa- the measure to which it fo pointed. laries were insufficient, either for ly alluded. He was entirely contheir dignity or their services, let vinced that the judges ought to be them be augmented. But if any independent; and he could not cona augmentation be given, let it beceive that they could be secured more fixed and not variable. Let is not effectually against the influence of fluctuate at the pleasure of the the crown than by the methods crown.
which had already been adopted for He intimated, that it was his in- that end. tention to move, that a committee To put the seals in commission, fhould be appointed to inquire into was not a new experiment. It had the independency of the judges, been done repeatedly without cenand into the best means of securing sure. In the present case it was it. As, howçver, a naked vote of merely a temporary transactions that kind might be deemed un- and it was not eafy to observe how parliamentary, he would previously it could detract from the indepenmove, " That putting the seals in dency of the judges. In human af. commission, durante bene placito, fairs, to extinguish the incitements and appointing judges commif- of hope would be to extinguish the fioners, with large salaries and per. vigour of human aciion and prira quifites to be received by them fuits. Beides, if the argument 1783.
were just, that the hope of being dations to offices of active labour in put into a commission for the great the law. There could not be a more fcal, would destroy the independency juft, or fair, or honourable ambi. of the judges, did it not follow, tion, than the pride of attaining to that there should be no such places the highest honours in any profession. as the chief justiceship of the courts Now this pride and ambition, from of the King's Bench and Common which so many great things were to Pleas? Did it not follow, that in be expected, would be extinguished the Exchequer there should be no for ever, if the candidates for utility such place as the seat of the chief and applause were only to prosper baron? Did it not follow that the by the length of their days, and the most scrupulous equality should be now operations of time. maintained among judges; that they If the noble duke could mean to should never presume to aspire to insinuate any distant attack against the petrage ; and that every high lord Loughborough, his argument honour in the gift of the crown was not only iinproper but insi. should be industrioufly placed be- dious. As for himself, he was yond their reach? That he might proud to regard lord Loughborough oppose, however, the niotion in the as his friend;' and he could not but most respectful manner to the noble admire as well as commend him for duke, he moved the previous ques- acting from the high impulses of an tion.
honest ambition. He hoped he The earl of Carlisle expected to would not flacken his ardour in so have heard some detail of the per natural and honourable a pursuit. sicious consequences which had His talents, ability, and attention, flowed from putting the great fcal in proportion as they promoted his into cominiffion. But no such detail own honour, would advance that of had been given; and as the practice his country, had prevailed during a series of years The duke of Richmond rose to without exciting any public alarm, remind the house, that in his forhe understood not the motion under mer speech he had definitively dedeliberation to be founded in justice clared, that he intended not any or policy. It had not been said censure of administration in putting that the present commission differed the great seal in commission. His effentially from former ones; and purpose was to reason upon prothe noble duke, whom it offended, bable consequences of such a prachad nothing to urge against the per- tice. But as the noble duke confons who had been appointed the fidered the amount of his motion commissioners.
to be an inplied reprehension of the There was a fallacy in the aro measure, he would, with the utmost gument of the noble duke. For no. readiness withdraw it. Upon ful. thing could be more illiberal than' filling this declaration, he took the to cut off all hope of higher ho. liberty, however, to move, “ That nour, when a lawyer of eminence a committee be appointed to take into was made a judge. It was the re. consideration the independency of fult of such reasoning, that seniori. the judges, and such farther reguty was the properest road to prefer- lations as may be proper for securing ment on the bench; and what was the fame." this but to argue that infirmities and
The duke of Portland perceiving old age were the happiest recommen- no necessity for this new motion,
moved the previous question. Lord fuit in Chancery; but if that mise Stormont expressed his surprize, fortune should befal him, he should that the noble duke llould have think himself still more unfortunate, withdrawn his first resolution, be- if the seals should be in any hands cause it was a ground and basis but those of the lawyers. for the fecond, which was now wan. Lord Loughborough, in a mattonly fufpended in the air ; for it ter in which he was so immediately could not be faid, that the smallest concerned, laid claim to the indul. fact appeared to support it, or to in- gence of the house. He remarked, duce the house to agree to it. The that a proneness to speculation and withdrawing of the first motion took a love of change, had been imputed away every pretension for the adop: to the noble duke whose resolu. tion of the second. The evil com- tions had been under discussion. plained of he could not but hold to In some degree the observation be imaginary; and it was beneath might be jutt
, but he thought it the dignity of the peers to waste inapplicable in the present case. their time in fpeculating upon it. The noble duke 'might be anxious He contended, that president Mon- indeed to establir a theory ; but tesquieu, in the paffage quoted by the term theory had no fort of rethe noble duke, alluded not exprefi- ference to his motions. In a thely to the Englili conftitution. That ory it is neceffary to look for somegreat politician was not so ignorant thing like system, or arrangement, of the Engliih constitution as not to like method, or design, or order. know that a judicial was blended We deliderate something that is to with a legislative power in the house be carried into practice; we expect of peers; and that the peers could the detection of an error, and the act occasionally in both capacities. suggestion of an improvement. But It was also to be observed, that Mon- the noble duke had pointed out no tesquieu was not fond of changes error;
and was solicitous to engage even when a real grievance was dif- them in the talk of seeking a remedy covered. For men after suffering for a grievance that only existed an evil, know its extent, and are in his own imagination. He was accustomed to bear it; but they full of complaints. He had yet
af know not the operation of the re- certained and described no evil. medy that might be prescribed, and He was fond of innovation. He have a title to entertain apprehen- had yet ascertained and described no fions, left they might lose by a. remedy. He was profuse in impoffidopting it. That author had like. bilities and absurdities. He affail. ways extended his ridicule to those ed a practice which the discretion who were ever eager after a refine- of the crown has repeatedly exerment on freedom; and had diverted cised, and always with approbation. himself with Harrington, who had He had discovered in it nothing built a Chalcedon with a Byzantium that is oppressive to the subject;
To take away and experience, the infallible rett of from judges by act of parliament political truth, has demonstrated the excitement of ambition and that no inconvenience can resulo hope, would be a stroke of the vilett from it. , tyranny. Nor could he reconcile The noble duke, he observed, himself to the notion, that com lost in the maze of vague observamiffions Thould be filled with lay tion, and dreaming of unreal de. lords. He never wished to have a fects, was resolute to bear away
. before his eyes.
from the human mind hopes and Every man who loves the constifears, which are inseparable from it, tution, and who venerates the laws, and upon which much of what is must desire infinitely the indepen. valuable in it depends The mind dence of the judges. Without their of man has indeed heen represented independence there could be no equal in very different lights. By fome it or impartial administration of jusis conceived to be every thing that tice. For their independence, of is worthy and amiable; and by consequence there can be but one others it is represented as most with and one sentiment But is it worthless and wicked. . Such dif- to be affirmed, that this indepenquisitions are the province of mora. dence is wanting ? No. The conlists; and they may have their use. duct of the judges cannot be ar. But legislators act very differently. raigned. At this period they have They do not wander into abstract even more independence than they reasonings: they apply the restraints ever possessed at any given time lince of the law to any ill habit of the the Revolution ; and it is guarded mind, as it becomes predominant and and protected in a manner the most prejudicial to the true and rational effectual. ends of society.
When a reference is made to for. With a wild spirit of project the , mer commiflioners, it is fit to attend noble duke imagines that the hope to fact and experience. 'Did any of of being promoted to a commission, them betray an improper bias to the which is rarely necessary, and al- crown, or could it be ever faid, that ways of mort' duration, and the their integrity received any taint fear of being removed from a sta- by their having been comunissioners ? tion so precarious and uncertain, may In the first of the four commis. át some time or other affect the inde- fions to which he had alluded, pendency of the judges of the crown, there were fit Joseph Jekyll, lord and operate as ruinous temptations chief baron Gilbert, and lord Raya to corruption and servility. From mond. Now could it be faid of the accellion of the illustrious family sir Joseph Jekyll, that he was upon the throne, the great feal has pliant and accommodating to the been but four times in commiflion, crown? This would be to reverse previously to the present appoint- his character altogether. His inment. Now the noble duke ought flexibility was proverbial. Could to have instanced from these, that any thing like a vile subferviency the judges who acted under them had or corruption be imputed to lord acted improperly. He should have chief baron Gilbert, or lord Raymewn that their independence or mond? The tooth of calumny integrity were hurt by their holding could not faften upon thein. Their the great seal; and if this was im integrity and independence were as possible, he ought to have evinced to ' un faken and unsullied as their proa certainty, that the present com- ' feffional reputations were distinguishmission was different from the former ed and great. To the judges in the ones, and peculiarly obnoxious to other three conimiffions, equal praise animadversion. But he had been was due ; and so far was it from able to collect no fact that could being a rule, that the discretion of justify his conduct. He had no the crown thould be directed in the folid ground to rest upon; and he selection of the commissioners by mounis up into the air,
a regard to feniority among the
puisne judges, that it so happened, offered to him; leaving the office Ebat in the instances produced, the which he then held, and renounce senior puisne judge was not called ing all the advantages attending the to the station of a commissioner practice of his profession. It is an
As to the present commiffion, set- obtervation, that what may be done ting aside one person, he did not at any time is very apt to be «elaydoubt but that thote who might cd. It happened that he continued (peak of ic in future times would in office nearly a year and a half have a title to pronounce of it in before he either knew what the apthe terms he had employed with re- pointments actually, were, gard to former commillioners. It ceived any part of his salary. As had indeed esisted only a short time. length the extent of the augmentaAn enlightened public, however, tion was ascertained. But this auge and a learned bar, would judge im- mentacion was niit personally and partially and correctly of its con- individually to him while he held duct. As an individual, it became the place of chiet justice. The aphim only to answer for his industry, pointment was not particular and and for the intentions which he felt partial. It was annexed to the to discharge with fidelity the duties chief justice of the Common Pleas, of his commission. He was called and was to go to his successors. to act; and it was the province of The duke of Richmond inade a others to judge of him.
few observations in reply to lord The noble duke had glanced at Loughborough. He interpreted the the augmentation which his ma- speech of his lordship to be an apjesty had been pleased to make to peal to the passions of the house. the chief justice of the Common If he had alledged any fpecific fact Pleas, lince he had the honour to as the ground of his motion, a cry fuftain that office. This allusion would have been raised that he had was indecent, and belonged not to made a personal attack. As he had the subject under discussion. If the spoken at large, his arguinent was person who how held the office were called theoretical and speculative. alone confidered, the augmentation This would ever be the fituation of might perhaps be beyond his desert. men who were studious to improve But if the nature, and rank and du- the constitution, and to advance it ties of the office were considered, he to perfection. The business of obbelieved that no dispassionate man jecton was easy; and there was would pronounce that it was too nothing, however beneficial or glolarge. Vi as it not right to secure the rious, to which difficulries mighe integrity and independence of a fta- not be oppoled. He had heard nos tion so important as that of the thing that could shake his argument; chief justice of the Common Pleas? and there were perlons in the proWhen he had agreed to accept that fession of the law who had agreed honour, he quitted a very lucrative with himn in the oppinjon, that the ftuation in the profession; and he commission so often alluded to, aftectwas given to understand, that its ed the independency of the judges, appointments were to be made per- and was to be accounted a calamity. manently equal to what every im- As he had disavowed any per onal partial man felt to be proper for it, intention in bringing forward his Under this afsurance he had ac- motion, he thought it Itrange that cepted the high honour which was any imputation of that kind should