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LORD

CHIEF

JUSTICE

KENYON

&

WIFE

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PREFACE.

The publication of another Life of LORD KENYON may perhaps require an apology.

Shortly after his death, a literary man expressed a wish to become his biographer ; but his son, the second Lord Kenyon, was dissuaded from giving his countenance to the undertaking, by his father's successor, Lord Chief Justice Ellenborough.

'I feel an anxiety,' writes that nobleman, “that so delicate and important a subject as the writing of the history of the life of my virtuous and very learned predecessor should not be committed to any but the most able, judicious, and respectable hands.

Your Lordship may remember how very little Lord Mansfield's celebrity was advanced by the indiscreet Life of him by Holliday.'!

This advice was taken, and no authorised Life of Lord Kenyon appeared till the publication of Mr. Townshend's · Lives of Twelve Eminent Judges.'

With some inaccuracies, the character of the eminent Judge was here fairly and impartially drawn ; and had

1 Lord Ellenborough to 2nd Lord Kenyon, 1804.

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the picture thus presented been allowed to remain undaubed by other artists, these pages would probably never have seen the light.

But in 1855, Lord Campbell, then at the height of his judicial reputation, published the third volume of his Lives of the Chief Justices;' and while borrowing largely from Townshend, so exaggerated and distorted his facts, that it became impossible to allow a biassed estimate of the character of a great and good man to remain unchallenged.

Lord Campbell's qualifications as a biographer have been frequently arraigned.

On the first publication of his · Lives of the Chief Justices,' he was very roughly handled in the · Law Magazine and other reviews.

• We regret,' says the writer in the Law Magazine, * that Lord Campbell should have considered it necessary to introduce anccdotes of pure surmise, ill suited to the refined taste of the age, and unnecessary for any historical purpose.

· Lord Campbell has confounded, or not rightly understood, the distinction between true and false. His political virus oozes out in sly general remarks and bantering innuendoes.' 1

I do not think that posterity will ratify Lord Campbell's condemnation of Lord Kenyon's character, but I have felt it a duty, which, as one of his descendants, I owe to his memory, to give to the world

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1

Lui Jugazinu, vol. 43, p. 5, 209.

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