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require much time or study. If he saw that a cause was unjust, he for a great while would not meddle any farther in it, except to give his advice that it
If the parties after that would go on, they were to seek another counsellor, for he would assist none in acts of injustice: if he found the cause doubtful, or weak in point of law, he always advised his clients to compromise the business. Yet afterward he abated much of the scrupulosity, which he had about causes that appeared at first view unjust, upon this occasion': two causes were brought to him, which by the ignorance of the party or their attorney were so ill represented to him, that they seemed extremely bad; but, inquiring more narrowly into them, he found them to be really very good and just. In consequence of this, he slackened much of his former strictness, in refusing to undertake causes upon the ill circumstances that appeared in them at first.
In his pleading, he abhorred those too common faults of mis-reciting evidences, quoting precedents or books falsely, or asserting things confidently; by which ignorant juries, or weak judges, are too often imposed upon. Adopting professionally the same sincerity which distinguished the other parts of his life, he used to say, “ It was as great a dishonour as a man could be capable of, that for a little money he was to be hired to say or do otherwise than as he thought. All this he ascribed to the immeasurable desire of heaping up wealth, which corrupted the souls of some that seemed otherwise born and made for great things.
When he was a practitioner,' differences were often referred to him, which he settled without accepting any reward for his pains, though offered jointly by both parties after the agreement was made; for he said, “In those cases he was made a judge, and a judge ought to take no money. If they told him, “ He lost much of his time in considering their business, and therefore ought to be acknowledged for it,' his answer was, · Can I spend my time better, than to make people friends ? Must I have no time allowed me to do good in?'
He had been called to the bar a short time before the open rupture between Charles I. and his parliament; a juncture, when it was extremely difficult for the gentlemen of the robe to consult at once their independence and their safety. Hale, however, had read (for he translated) the Life of Atticus, who during the wars of Cæsar and Pompey, and those of Antony and Brutus, conducted himself with such address, that he was esteemed and caressed by all parties; and to his two favourite maxims he closely adhered, “ To
“ To engage in no faction,” but “ Constantly to favour and relieve the oppressed.”* Thus he ingratiated himself with the Royalists, by extending his assistance to distressed cavaliers; while by his integrity and abilities in his profession he procured the esteem of the Parliamentarians, so that he was employed by both. He was one of the counsel for
* In a subsequent Life, some suggestions are made less to the advantage of this celebrated character. But those, who (unlike the Athenian lawgiver) are disposed to view neutrality in turbulent times with indulgence, may read with pleasure the Marquis of Halifax's · Character of a Trimmer.'
In fulfilment of the second maxim, Hale often deposited considerable sums in the hands of a worthy Royalist, who knew the necessities of his party, that he might distribute them at his discretion without either disclosing the names or the donations to his generous principal.
the Earl of Strafford, for Archbishop Laud, and for Charles I.;* but his Majesty not acknowledging the jurisdiction of the court, he had no opportunity of displaying his eloquence in the royal
On the other hand, in the defence of Lord Cravent he pleaded with such strength of argument, that the Attorney General menaced him for appearing against the government; upon which he boldly replied, that he was pleading in defence of those laws, which the government had declared they would maintain and preserve, and he was doing his duty to his client; so that he was not to be daunted by threatenings.' In 1643, he took the Covenant, f and
* This royal clientship however, though stated by Burnet, is reasonably questioned by Thirlwall, from it's being unconfirmed by any other writer. It does not, indeed, appear that Charles called in any lawyer to his assistance.
+ He was counsel, also, for the Duke of Hamilton, the Earl of Holland, and Lord Capel.
# Of this measure, at first sight so inconsistent with his principles as a Churchman, if not with his feelings as a Christian, Mr. Thirlwall has given an able vindication, pp. 130, 131. He candidly and justly owns however, that for his subsequent conduct in taking the Engagement (an obligation, directly contradictory both in letter and spirit to his previous acceptance of the Covenant) he is at a loss, with all his admiration of Hale's character, and all his conviction of his integrity, for reasons to exculpate bim from the charges of pusillanimity, selfishness, or versatility. Some account of the Instrument in question, which so strongly marked the complexion of the times and the religious sentiments of the prevailing party, with the Instrument itself (as not unlikely to interest, at least, younger readers, who may not have had, an opportunity of perusing it) is subjoined:
In 1661, we may premise from Rapin, the two Houses of Parliament ordered that this document should be burned by the common hangman (which was performed with great rejoicings) as, also, the Act mentioned below for subscribing the Engagement' against a King and a House of Peers.'
sat several times with other laymen in the assembly of divines. He was then in great esteem with the
“ In 1643, after the flames of civil war had broken out, and the King and the Parliament had made an appeal to the sword, the latter published an ordinance, calling an Assembly of Divines and Laymen to be held at Westminster, to be consulted by both Houses, for settling the government and liturgy of the Church of England. This measure was adopted for the purpose, of smoothing the way for the reception of the Commissioners from the General Assembly of Scotland, and treating upon the subject of an union of the Churches. The two nations entered into a mutual League and Covenant, and the Assembly of Divines were ordered by both Houses to frame an exhortation to the taking of the Covenant, to be publicly read in every church. It was directed to be printed and published, and appointed to be taken by all the members of parliament and the Assembly of Divines, which was performed with great solemnity.
“ A solemn League and Covenant for Reformation and Defence of Religion, the Honour and Happiness of the King, and the Peace and Safety of the three Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland:
“We noblemen, barons, knights, gentlemen, citizens, burgesses, ministers of the gospel, and commons of all sorts, in the kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, by the providence of God living under one king, and being of one reformed religion, having before our eyes the glory of God and the advancement of the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the honour and happiness of the King's Majesty and his posterity, and the true public liberty, safety, and peace of the kingdoms, wherein every one's private condition is included; and calling to mind the treacherous and bloody plots, conspiracies, attempts, and practices of the enemy of God against the true religion and professors thereof in all places, especially in these three kingdoms, ever since the reformation of religion, and how much their rage, power, and presumption are of late and at this time increased and exercised; whereof the deplorable estate of the Church and Kingdom of Ireland, the distressed estate of the Church and Kingdom of England, and the dangerous estate of the Church and Kingdom of Scotland are present and public testimonies: we have (now at last) after other means of supplication, remonstrance, protestations, and sufferings for the pre
parliament, and employed by them as a lawyer upon many important affairs. In particular, he was ap
servation of ourselves and our religion from utter ruin and destruction, according to the commendable practice of these kingdoms in former times and the example of God's people in other nations, after a mature deliberation resolved and determined to enter into a mutual and solemn League and Covenant, wherein we all subscribe, and each one of us for himself with our hands lifted up to the most high God do swear :
“ 1. That we shall sincerely, really, and constantly through the grace of God endeavour in our several places and callings the preservation of the Reformed Religion in the Church of Scotland in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government against our common enemies, the reformation of religion in the kingdom of England and Ireland in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government according to the word of God, and the example of the best reformed Churches, and we shall endeavour to bring the Churches of God in the Three Kingdoms to the nearest conjunction and uniformity in religion, confessing of faith, form of church-government, directory for worship and catechising, that we and our posterity after us may as brethren live in faith and love, and the Lord may delight to dwell in the midst of us.
6 2. That we shall in like manner, without respect of person, endeavour the extirpation of popery, prelacy (that is, churchgovernment by Archbishops, Bishops, their Chancellors and Commissiaries, Deans, Deans and Chapters, Archdeacons, and all other ecclesiastical officers depending on that hierarchy), superstition, heresy, schisms, profaneness, and whatsoever shall be found to be contrary to sound doctrine and the
of godliness; lest we partake in other men's sins, and thereby be in danger to receive of their plagues, and that the Lord may be one, and his name one, in the Three Kingdoms.
3. We shall with the same sincerity, reality, and constancy in our several vocations endeavour with our estates and lives mutually to preserve the rights and privileges of the parliaments, and the liberties of the Kingdoms; and to preserve and defend the King's Majesty's person and authority, in the preservation and defence of the true religion and liberties of the Kingdom ; that the world may bear witness with our consciences of our