The Judges of England, Vol. 1

The Judges of England, Vol. 1

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Excerpt from The Judges of England, Vol. 1: With Sketches of Their Lives, and Miscellaneous Notices Connected With the Courts at Westminster

It is somewhat surprising, amidst the numerous biographical works with which the literature of England has teemed, though many of them have been confined to distinct classes of men, as Bishops, Poets, Dramatists, Painters, Admirals, &c., that no separate publication, in a comprehensive form, of the Lives of the Judges has ever yet appeared. Various reasons may be adduced for the omission; but the strongest will be found in the fact, that those who have been most competent to the task have seldom had leisure for its accomplishment. Even the most superficial attempt could not be undertaken without some knowledge of the law, and a considerable intimacy with the constitution of the courts; and to ensure a successful result, a perseverance and assiduity in laborious investigation must be added, which none but those who have a real devotion to the subject would be inclined to bestow. Lawyers of any eminence, while in the pursuit of their profession, have little time to spare from their forensic avocations; and when they retire, either for their occasional vacation, or at the termination of their busy career, they are either too glad, if any season of activity remains, to throw aside their books entirely, and to enter into the relaxations of society; or too anxious to pursue their political promptings to enter upon a new field of inquiry, the tilling of which must be attended with much toil, and the fruit of which they may despair of seeing harvested.

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