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The Merry Monarch made Clarendon's bedroom his council-chamber when the Chancellor was confined to his couch by podagra. Lord Nottingham was so disabled by gout, and what the old physicians were pleased to call a 'perversity of the humors,' that his duties in the House of Lords were often discharged by Francis North, then Chief Justice of the Common Pleas; and though he persevered in attending to the business of his court, a man of less resolution would have altogether succumbed to the agony of his disease and the burden of his infirmities. "I have known him," says Roger North, "sit to hear petitions in great pain, and say that his servants had let him out, though he was fitter for his chamber.” Prudence saved Lord Guildford from excessive intemperance; but he lived with a freedom that would be remarkable in the present age. Chief Justice Saunders was a ⚫ confirmed sot, taking nips of brandy with his breakfast, and seldom appearing in public "without a pot of ale at his nose or near him." Sir Robert Wright was notoriously addicted to wine; and George Jeffreys drank, as he swore, like a trooper. “My lord,” said King Charles, in a significant tone, when he gave Jeffreys the blood-stone ring, “as it is a hot summer, and you are going the circuit, I desire you will not drink too much.”
Amongst the reeling judges of the Restoration, however, there moved one venerable lawyer, who, in an age when moralists hesitated to call drunkenness a vice, was remarkable for sobriety. In his youth, whilst he was indulging with natural ardor in youthful pleasures, Chief Justice Hale was so struck with horror at seeing an intimate friend drop senseless, and apparently lifeless, at a student's drinking-bout, that he made a sudden but enduring resolution to conquer his ebrious propensities, and withdraw himself from the dangerous allurements of ungodly company. Falling upon his knees he prayed the
Almighty to rescue his friend from the jaws of death, and also to strengthen him to keep his newly-formed resolution. He rose an altered man. But in an age when the barbarous usage of toast-drinking was in full force, he felt that he could not be an habitually sober man if he mingled in society, and obeyed a rule which required the man of delicate and excitable nerves to drink as much, bumper for bumper, as the man whose sluggish system could receive a quart of spirits at a sitting and yet scarcely experience a change of sensation. At that time it was customary with prudent men to protect themselves against a pernicious and tyrannous custom, by taking a vow to abstain from toast-drinking, or even from drinking wine at all, for a certain stated period. Readers do not need to be reminded how often young Pepys was under a vow not to drink; and the device by which the jovial admiralty clerk strengthened an infirm will and defended himself against temptation was frequently employed by rightminded young men of his date. In some cases, instead of vowing not to drink, they bound themselves not to drink within a certain period; two persons, that is to say, agreeing that they would abstain from wine and spirits for a certain period, and each binding himself in case he broke the compact to pay over a certain sum of money to his partner in the bond. Young Hale saw that to effect a complete reformation of his life it was needful for him to abjure the practice of drinking healths. He therefore vowed never again to drink a health; and he kept his vow. Never again did he brim his bumper and drain it at the command of a toast-master, although his abstinence exposed him to much annoyance; and in his old age he thus urged his grandchildren to follow his example-"I will not have you begin or pledge any health, for it is become one of the greatest artifices of drinking, and occasions of quarrelling in the kingdom. If you pledge one
health you oblige yourself to pledge another, and a third, and so onwards; and if you pledge as many as will be drunk, you must be debauched and drunk. If they will needs know the reason of your refusal, it is a fair answer, that your grandfather that brought you up, from whom, under God, you have the estate you enjoy or expect, left this in command with you, that you should never begin or pledge a health.""
Jeffrey's protégé, John Trevor, liked good wine himself, but emulated the virtuous Hale in the pains which he took to place the treacherous drink beyond the reach of others-whenever they showed a desire to drink it at his expense. After his expulsion from the House of Commons, Sir John Trevor was sitting alone over a choice bottle of claret, when his needy kinsman, Roderic Lloyd, was announced. "You rascal," exclaimed the Master of the Rolls, springing to his feet, and attacking his footman with furious language, "you have brought my cousin, Roderic Lloyd, Esquire, Prothonotary of North Wales, Marshal to Baron Price, up my back stairs. You scoundrel, hear ye, I order you to take him this instant down my back stairs, and bring him up my front stairs." Sir John made such a point of showing his visitor this mark of respect, that the young barrister was forced to descend and enter the room by the state staircase; but he saw no reason to think himself honored by his cousin's punctilious courtesy, when on entering the room a second time he looked in vain for the claret bottle.
On another occasion Sir John Trevor's official residence afforded shelter to the same poor relation when the latter was in great mental trouble. Roderic," saith
the chronicler, was returning rather elevated from his club one night, and ran against the pump in Chancery Lane. Conceiving somebody had struck him, he drew and made a lunge at the pump. The sword entered the
spout, and the pump, being crazy, fell down. Roderic concluded he had killed his man, left his sword in the pump, and retreated to his old friend's house at the Rolls. There he was concealed by the servants for the night. In the morning his Honor, having heard the story, came himself to deliver him from his consternation and confinement in the coal-hole."
Amongst the eighteenth century lawyers there was considerable difference of taste and opinion on questions relating to the use and abuse of wine. Though he never, or very, seldom, exceeded the limits of sobriety, Somers enjoyed a bottle in congenial society; and though wine never betrayed him into reckless hilarity, it gave gentleness and comity to his habitually severe countenance and solemn deportment-if reliance may be placed on Swift's couplet
"By force of wine even Scarborough is brave,
A familiar quotation that alludes to Murray's early intercourse with the wits warrants an inference that in opening manhood he preferred champagne to every other wine; but as Lord Mansfield he steadily adhered to claret, though fashion had taken into favor the fuller wine stigmatized as poison by John Home's famous epigram
"Bold and erect the Caledonian stood;
Old was his mutton, and his claret good.
'Let him drink port,' an English statesman cried:
Unlike his father, who never sinned against moderation in his cups, Charles Yorke was a deep drinker as well as a gourmand. Hardwicke's successor, Lord Northington, was the first of a line of port-wine-drinking judges that
may at the present time be fairly said to have come to an end--although a few reverend fathers of the law yet remain, who drink with relish the Methuen drink when age has deprived it of body and strength. Until Robert Henley held the seals, Chancellors continued to hold after-dinner sittings in the Court of Chancery on certain days of the week throughout term. Hardwicke, throughout his long official career, sat on the evenings of Wednesdays and Fridays hearing causes, while men of pleasure were fuddling themselves with fruity vintages. Lord Northington, however, prevailed on George III. to let him discontinue these evening attendances in court. "But why," asked the monarch, "do you wish for a change?" "Sir," the Chancellor answered, with delightful frankness, "I want the change in order that I may finish my bottle of port at my ease; and your majesty, in your parental care for the happiness of your subjects, will, I trust, think this a sufficient reason." Of course the king's laughter ended in a favorable answer to the petition for reform, and from that time the Chancellor's evening sittings were discontinued. But ere he died, the jovial Chancellor paid the penalty which port exacts from all her fervent worshippers, and he suffered the acutest pangs of gout. It is recorded that as he limped from the woolsack to the bar of the House of Lords, he once muttered to a young peer, who watched his distress with evident sympathy-" Ah, my young friend, if I had known that these legs would one day carry a Chancellor, I would have taken better care of them when I was at your age." Unto this had come the handsome legs of young Counsellor Henley, who, in his dancing days, stepped minuets to the enthusiastic admiration of the belles of Bath.
Some light is thrown on the manners of lawyers in the eighteenth century by an order made by the authorities of Barnard's Inn. who, in November, 1706, named two