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1.4 being taken into 146* ANNUAL REGISTER, 1826. HISTORY AND BIOGRAPHY.
MEMOIRS of the Right Hon. ROBERT LORD GIFFORD.
Exeter, on the 24th of office, put an end to these hopes. February, 1779. His father, who Under the will of his father, who was a dealer in hops, grocery, and died during the second year of his drapery, was twice married, and clerkship, he had become entitled had by his second marriage four to some property, not, however, children, of whom Robert Gifford by any means adequate to meet was the youngest.
those heavy and unavoidable exRobert received his education at penses which must be contemplated a school at Alphington, near Exe- by every young man who deterter, kept by Dr. Halloran, a man mines upon making the bar his remarkable for his talents, and for profession. But his brothers debis misapplication of them. From clared, that he should not want any early youth Robert Gifford evinced assistance which they could furnish, a great inclination for the profes- in the pursuit of his favourite sion of the law; and, when he had object. Thus assured, Mr. Gifford attained the age of sixteen, he was entered himself as a student at the articled by his father to Mr. Jones, Middle Temple in 1800. a respectable attorney of Exeter, On his first coming to London, in whose office he remained the Mr. Gifford was two years a pupil usual period. Mr. Gifford became with Mr. Robert Bayly, then praca great favourite with Mr. Jones; tising as a special pleader, and who and, towards the latter part of his is at present one of the barristers clerkship, in consequence of Mr. belonging to the western circuit. Jones's ill health, the chief manage- In 1803, he began to practise ment of the business devolved upon as a special pleader himself; his him. It is probable that Mr. Gif chambers being in Essex-court, in ford had been induced to entertain the Temple. Although unaided partnership by Mr. Jones at the his knowledge and his unremitting expiration of the term of his arti- attention, gradually brought him cles; but the arrival of Mr. Jones's into extensive practice. nephew from London, to assume On the 12th of February, 1808,
Mr. Gifford was called to the bar ; had to contend with the late Mr. where his abilities, and the assiduity Dauncy, one of the ablest advocates with which he devoted himself to of his day, and Mr. Abbott, the the acquisition of legal learning, present lord chief justice of the soon attracted notice. He joined court of King's-bench (who were the western circuit, and the Exe- brought down specially on that ter and Devon sessions, where occasion), Mr. Gifford exhibited he almost immediately got into powers of argument of the highest considerable business; and, both on order. the circuit and in London, he was On the 9th of May, 1817, he steadily making progress towards was appointed solicitor-general. distinction, when one of those On the 16th of the same month he fortunate circumstances, which was elected one of the masters of sometimes occur, brought his the bench by the society of the talents into full play, and drew Middle Temple, and, shortly after, upon him the attention of the pub- took his seat in parliament, for the lic. He was retained to argue a borough of Eye, in Suffolk. After case of Mogg versus Mogg, in the this, he left the court of King'scourt of King's-bench, involving bench, in order to practise in some points connected with the Chancery, which he continued to law of real property ; and, on the do till his elevation to the Bench argument, he exhibited so profound in 1824. During this period he a knowledge, and so much readi- became the principal leader in the ness in the application of it, that appeals to the House of Lords, and he attracted the attention of the acquired that intimate knowledge late lord Ellenborough, then chief of Scotch law which he afterwards justice of the court of King's-bench, employed in so useful a manner for who invited him to his house, and the country in his capacity of to whose strong recommendation, Deputy Speaker of the House of added to that of the late learned Lords. The rapidity with which and venerable sir James Mansfield, he mastered, not merely the princhief justice of the courtof Common ciples, but in a great measure the Pleas, he was principally indebted details, of that law, excited the surfor his early and sudden advance- prise of many of the most eminent ment.
of its professors, of whose applause, Soon after this event, another as he felt its value, he was most case occurred in which he added to justly proud. the reputation he had already ac On the resignation of sir Vicary quired, and proved that his talents Gibbs, Mr. Gifford was chosen by for dealing with numerous and the corporation of Bristol to be complicated facts' were at least their recorder ; an office which has equal to his accurate knowledge of never been held but by persons of law. A commission of lunacy the highest degree of legal merit. having been issued against a gentle- The duties of this station Mr. man of the name of Baker, at the Gifford discharged highly to the instance of his brother and sister, satisfaction of the corporation ; and Mr. Gifford was retained for the he was requested by them to sit to latter ; and during an investigation, sir Thomas Lawrence for a wholewhich lasted nine days, at the length portrait, to be placed in the Castle at Exeter, and in which he town-hall of the city of Bristol.
his 02 O October of the same 148* ANNUAL REGISTER, 1826. The pieture was not finished when the case. "My lords," said he, lord Gifford died, but it was suf. “ upon the nature of this charge, ficiently advanced to insure its or upon the importance of this inbecoming one of the most faithful vestigation, it is quite unnecessary and animated performances of the for me to enlarge. Your lordships, most accomplished of our artists. and every individual in the country,
While sir Robert Gifford was are fully capable of estimating these solicitor-general, he distinguished topics in their proper light. The himself on the trial of Dr. Watson, only consolation which I derive in June, 1817, and also at the trials under the discharge of the duty under the special commission at which I have now to fulfil, is, that Derby, 'in
it calls not upon 'me to address myyear. On the first of those trials, self to your lordships' passions or
and firm friend sir James feelings; and that I shall best dis"Mansfield 'attended in the court of charge it, according to your lordKing's-bench, purposely to hear his ships' command, by abstaining from reply; and expressed his high any observation which might tend gratification on the occasion.
to aggravate the charge made In July 1819, on sir Samuel against so illustrious a person: Shepherd's being appointed chief Although sir Robert Gifford was baron of the Exchequer in Scotland, not a very frequent speaker in the sir Robert Gifford succeeded hiin House of Commons he took an as attorney-general. In this im- active part in most of those debåtės portant office, he was so cautious which had reference to topics conto avoid prosecuting, except in 'nected with his professional habits, Fases in which he
felt confident and official duties. 1 2010! that conviction must be the result, The year 1824 was a year rich that, we believe, not a single in- in honours to sir Robert Gifford. stance occurred of any failure on On the resignation of sir Robert the part of the crown during his Dallas, he was, on the 8th of Janucontinuance in office.
áry appointed to the office of chief sbs In the latter end of April, 1820, justice of the court of Common sir Robert Gifford prosecuted to Pleas. He also received from the conviction the conspirators in the university of Cambridge the com* Cato-street plot."1517
pliment of an honorary degree of Iris In the autumn of the same year, M. A. There being at this time the bill of paints and penalties a great arrear of business in the against the late queen Caroline, appellate jurisdiction of the House was introduced into the House of of Lords, it was determined by the Lords: and to the attorney and cabinet that sir Robert Gifford, solicitor-general, sir Robert Gif- whose acquaintance with the laws ford, and sir John Copley, its of Scotland was well known, should, prosecution was intrusted. In the in addition to the office of chief performance of this important duty, justice of the court i of Common Sir Robert Gifford betrayed no Pleais, be appointed Deputy Speaker asperity, nor evinced any eagerness of the House of Lords, and assist to criminate the royal personage. the lord chancellor in hearing and Throughout the whole of the pro- determining the appeals from Scotceedings, he adhered strictly to the land. Accordingly he was created pledge which he gave in opening a peer, by the title of Baron Gif
ford, of St. Leonard's, in the Rolls was all but a sinecure,* medicounty of Devon ; his patent being cal men, who attended the Master dated January 28, 1824, with a of the Rolls, expressed their delilimitation of the honours to his berate opinion, that over-fatigue issue male. The arrangement was undermining his constitution. which took place upon this occasion Exhausted by his anxious and was as follows: the lord chancellor unremitting exertions, lord Gifford, attended the House of Lords on accompanied by his family, left Mondays and Thursdays, to hear London on the 23rd of August, writs of error, and English and 1826, for a house which he had Irish appeals; and lord Gifford taken on the Marine Parade, at presided on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Dover. He was at that time and Fridays, for the determination suffering under a severe bilious of appeals from Scotland. During attack. On Saturday, the 2nd of that and the two succeeding ses- September, symptoms of inflammasions of parliament, he devoted tion of the bowels appeared himself gratuitously to the assidu- the next day, he became much ous discharge of his new and im- worse, and, notwithstanding every portant duties.
effort that could possibly be made Sir Thomas Plumer, the Master by his medical attendants;q Dr. of the Rolls, dying on the 25th of Macarthur and Mr. Sankey, at ca March, 1824, lord Gifford, on the little after six o'clock 5th of April following, was ap- ing of Monday, the 4th of Seppointed Master of the Rolls. This tember, this valuable man breathed caused a great increase of labour his last, to the inconsolable, grief to him ; for it became a part of his of his friends, and the sincere duty to dispose of the numerous regret of the public at largetedt appeals brought under the consider
In person, lord Gifford was wellation of the privy-council. proportioned, and of about the --- But all this was done at the ex- middle stature. His aspect was pense of health and strength. Dur- mild ; his eye was quick and inteling 1: almost the whole period of ligent; his general manner and adthis laborious exertion, those who dress calm, frank, and engaging, were nearly and intimately con Lord Gifford married, April 6, nected with him, experienced the 1816, Harriet-Maria, one of the utmost anxiety on his account. daughters of the Rev. Edward The friends who watched him, in Drewe, of Broad Hembury, near that i severe depression of spirits Honiton, in the county of Devon, which over-fatigue and over-anxi- the descendant of a highly respectety produced, can best estimate able family (long resident at their how little, rin, all this time of seat called Grange, in that parish), apparent prosperity, lord Gifford which has repeatedly furnished was an object of envy. At the high sheriffs for the county. By very moment of a most wanton this marriage he had issue, while and bitter attack, in which (most living, three sons, Robert-Francis disgraceful to him who uttered it, (his successor), born March 19th and to the assembly who listened 1817, John, and Edward-Scott ; patiently to it) it was stated in and three daughters, Charlotteparliament, with the impúdent -confidence of ignorance, that the
• See Ann. Ręg, vol, lxvii, P.,8694
paid due respect ; and brigadier- execution, inflicted on himself a
ANECDOTES of DR. ADAM FERGUSSON.--(From the Quarterly
Review.) DR. ADAM FERGUSSON, the au came a strict Pythagorean in his thor of the History of the Roman diet, eating nothing but vegetaRepublic, and distinguished be bles, and drinking only water or sides as a moral philosopher, was milk. He-survived till the year the son of a clergyman at Loge 1816, when he died in full porgierait, in Athol. He was him- session of his mental faculties, at self destined to the church, took the advanced age of ninety-three. orders, a and went as chaplain to The deep interest which he took in the Black Watch, or 42nd High- the eventful war had long seemed land regiment, when that corps to be the main tie that connected was first sent to the continent. him with passing existence; and As the regiment advanced to the the news of Waterloo acted on the battle of Fontenoy, the command- aged patriot as a nunc ::
dimittis. ing officer, sir Robert Monro, was From that hour, the feeling that astonished to see the chaplain at had almost alone given him energy the head of the column, with a decayed, and he avowedly relinbroadsword drawn in his hand. quished all desire for prolonged He desired him to go to the rear life. It is the belief of his family with the surgeons, a proposal which that he might have remained with
Adam Fergusson spurned. Sir them much longer, had he desired Robert at length told him that his to do so, and continued the exercommission dià not entitle him to cise which had hitherto promoted be present in the post which he his health. Long after his eighhad assumed. “Down my com tieth year, he was one of the most mission,” said the warlike chaplain, striking old men whom it was posthrowing it towards his colonel. sible to look at. His firm step It may be easily supposed that the, and ruddy cheek contrasted agreematter was only remembered as a ably, and unexpectedly o
(with bhis good jest; but the future historian silver locks, and the dress which of Rome shared the honours and he usually wore, much resembling dangers of that dreadful day, that of the Flemish peasant, gave where, according to the account of an air of peculiarity to his whole the French themselves," “ the figure. In this conversation, the Highland furies rushed in upon mixture of original thinking with them with more violence than ever high moral feeling and extensive did a sea driven by a tempest.” learning; his love of country ; conof Professor Adam Fergusson's sub- tempt of luxury; and, especially, sequent history is well known. the strong subjection of his pasHe recovered from a decided shock sions and feelings to the dominion of paralysis in the sixtieth year of of his reason, made him, perhaps, his life, from which period he be the most striking example of the