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questions arising out of the North Briton. In 1765 he argued the case of General Warrants, to which Wilkes's case gave rise. His talents for business, his extraordinary acuteness, his inexhaustible resources as an advocate, his steady and impressive, though not finished, still less polished eloquence, above all, his command of legal matters, and readiness in dealing with legal topics, shone forth on these great occasions in such a manner as fully established his reputation in Westminster Hall. His business rapidly increased, and after being chosen Recorder of Bristol, he was, in January, 1768, appointed Solicitor-General under Lord Shelburne's first administration, through whose patronage he was soon after chosen member for Calne, and he continued in Parliament member for that borough until, a short time before his death, he was called up to the House of Lords.

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From the situation of Solicitor-General he retired on the change of ministry in 1769, nor did he ever after hold office till in Lord Shelburne's second administration he was made Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and for life; the Crown having an undoubted right so to confer that office, which only an address of the House of Commons, in 1807, prevented Mr. Perceval from holding by the like tenure. story told in some works, as in the Penny Cyclopædia,' of his having also received a pension of £4,000 a-year, is utterly without foundation, and may also be pronounced impossible to be true. They who have for this pension assailed him with unmeasured violence have added, to prove how inexcusable such rapacity was, that he had realized in the profession of the bar a fortune of £180,000—a statement much more near the truth; for he left a very considerable fortune, most honourably made; nor was he, except for little more than three years of his life, in the receipt of any official salary; and, on quitting the bar, for a comparatively small place, he gave up a very

large income. When he took office at the beginning of 1768 he had only a stuff gown, and on quitting it two years after, he retired behind the bar. Lord Mansfield, on seeing him there, addressed the court, and said, that from respect for the office he had filled, and for his high station in the business of the profession, he should call upon him to move after the King's Counsel, the Serjeants, and the Recorder of London. The two senior stuff gowns, on rising, said that it had been the intention of the bar to make the same proposition to his Lordship, and that it met the general wishes of the profession. Dunning always proudly refused a silk gown, and continued till he left the bar to sit behind it. We may add, that when the personal hatred and caprice of a tyrannical prince, defeated by Messrs. Brougham and Denman in his conspiracy against his wife, had, seconded by Lord Eldon's timidity, deprived them of their rank in 1821, a proposal was on their circuits entertained of a similar kind, but rejected. On the northern circuit it was understood to have failed through the ill-humour of Serjeant Hullock.

Although Dunning was but a short time of his parliamentary career in office, he was a constant and prominent debater during the fourteen years that he sat in Parliament, and he was a steady adherent of the Whig party; but of the Shelburne or Lansdowne section of that body. For its chief he had a sincere respect and affection, grounded not more on his gratitude for acts of kindness, than on a just estimate of his great capacity for affairs, his extensive knowledge, and his firmness and spirit rarely equalled, never surpassed. For Lord Shelburne was a statesman of the Chatham school, and while he took the largest views of the public interests, was wholly ignorant of what either fear or vacillation meant. No man has been more the victim of personal spleen and factious calumny; nor can we fail to recollect that his love of

letters and science, his patronage of their cultivators, his keen relish for their society, formed always one of the main objects of Whig satire *—any more than we can forget that the deep-rooted aristocratic prejudices, the coterie spirit, the family system of rule, which lost Mr. Pitt to their camp when Lord John Cavendish was preferred to him as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he, the first man of the day after Mr. Fox, could only be offered a subordinate station, found a marked contrast in Lord Shelburne, who, on assuming the Premiership, at once made him his second in command, and leader of the House of Commons.

The remains of Dunning's speeches which are preserved give us a very exalted idea of his powers in debate. They are lively, terse, full of point, never losing sight of the subject in hand, generally most argumentative, occasionally dealing in powerful invective. The courage of his friend and leader he amply shared. No man daily practising before Lord Mansfield could be expected, as a matter of course, to assail that great judge in Parliament with unmeasured vehemence, close upon offensive personality. But Dunning cared not for any such considerations and etiquettes. Had he been a mere politician who never entered Westminster Hall, instead of the first leader in the Court of King's Bench, he could not have dealt more unsparingly his blows at the illustrious Chief Justice, when he deemed his judicial proceedings hostile to the liberties of the subject. Take an instance from the debate, 6th December, 1780, upon Serjeant Glynn's motion on the administration of justice, as connected with the rights of jurors. After showing that Lord Mansfield's doctrines could be traced to the worst names in our judicial annals-to Scroggs-to Alibone-to Jeffries-and illustrating this position at length, he proceeds to show how far his Lordship had

* Beside the Rolliad Papers, see Lee's violent personal abuse in debate, 1783, of which this very liberal topic forms a principal ingredient.

improved upon his great models,-what additions he had made to their tenets. He charges the Chief Justice with craft, with indirect contrivance, with seducing advocates by "hints, looks, half-words to abstain from bringing things forward, insinuating that it would be injurious to their clients-but really because they would hamper himself in his pursuit of a conviction." "Herein," he says, "Lord Mansfield far surpassed the old performers, who, whatever were their doctrines, declared them from the beginning and throughout the trial, and did not by skulking and concealment filch a conviction from the jury, but committed a bold robbery on public justice in face of the laws and of the defendants."

It must be admitted that he, too, could face Lord Mansfield openly, and beard him on his bench. A well-known anecdote, recording at once his wit and his boldness, is often mentioned in Westminster Hall. On some difference arising on a point of law, his Lordship was pleased to say, "Then, Mr. Dunning, I may burn my books."- "Better read them," was the reply.

On legislative matters Dunning did not appear to be at all in advance of his age. But he was not behind the other great party leaders, his fellows. A great debater, far surpassing Wedderburn, if far less graceful; a man of real wit, and bringing his wit to bear on the argument; in close reasoning, second to no one; in sarcastic invective, superior to most men; a singularly bold spirit withal; he had all the old notions of regarding our Constitution as perfect even in the faults which it retains of the most barbarous times, just as Dean Swift, with all his Tory prejudices, declared himself for the old Gothic institutions of annual parliaments and universal suffrage; and as Mr. Fox could see no wisdom beyond the Whig catalogue of idols and of grievances handed down from our ancestors, the Whig leaders who preceded him. Mr. Burke was, indeed, the only states

man who appeared as at all before his age. He would hardly have expressed himself as Dunning did. on appeal of murder, though he hardly gave it up. "I rise," said Dunning (29th April, 1774), "in defence of one of the pillars of our Constitution, the appeal of murder;" and he protested against "abandoning our old Gothic Constitution, and substituting a new Macaroni one in its place." Let us felicitate ourselves that we have outlived these days, and have survived to a period when the merest schoolboys in legislation would be ashamed of such notions-few even entertaining them, none daring to give them vent.

If Dunning was distinguished in Parliament beyond the lot of most lawyers, his principal theatre was Westminster Hall. There his fame was great. Together with the points of Wallace, the arguments of Dunning were the subject of admiration long and long after they had both been removed from this passing scene. In manner, neither was graceful; Wallace much less than Dunning: but Dunning was uncouth in his person, and little gifted with a sonorous voice or even a clear utterance. It was only when he became warmed with his subject that the torrent of argument and illustration poured. Against Wallace it was generally his lot to be pitted; even in Parliament, as far as Wallace's very marked inferiority there admitted of any contest; for he was very inferior indeed in debate, and only spoke when official necessity compelled him. These two rivals met on an occasion of melancholy interest, just before their decease. They were both travelling in May, 1783, on the Bath road; Wallace was proceeding on his way to Clifton for his health; Dunning, broken by the loss of his eldest son, which he never recovered, was coming to town from Bristol, where he had been to hold, for the last time, the sessions as recorder. They met at Bagshot, and by tacit consent repaired to the same chamber, where they reposed upon two

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