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(202) Page 189 - Mylne, Robert
to the house was more like the speech of an advo-
cate than of a judge. It is believed to have swayed
the house, although the decision was not, as in the
general case, unanimous in favour of the side taken
by the law officer who gives his opinion. Mr.
Stuart, the agent for the losing party, wrote letters
to Lord Mansfield, solemnly charging him with im-
proper conduct as a judge. Of these very beautiful
specimens of composition it is scarcely possible to
judge of the merit, without a knowledge of the
elaborate cause with which they are connected; but
the reasoning is clear and accurate, and the calm
solemnity of the charges, with the want of that per-
sonal asperity, or dependence on satirical or declam-
atory powers, which appear in Junius, must have
made these letters keenly felt, even by a judge con-
scious of rectitude. The other charge was brought
against him by Junius, for admitting to bail a thief
caught in the manner, or with the stolen property,
contrary to law. The thief was a man of large pro-
perty, his theft trifling, and probably the conse-
quence of a species of mental disease of not unfre-
quent occurrence. The reason of granting bail was,
we believe, to enable him to dispose of his property
to his family; and the act probably one of those in
which the lord chief-justice stretched the law to what
he conceived a useful purpose.
A brief narrative of Lord Mansfield's political
proceedings while on the bench will suffice, as their
merits are matter of history. He attended the meet-
ings of the council from 1760 to 1763, when he
declined attending, from not agreeing with the
measures of the Duke of Bedford. In 1765 he
returned, but again retired within the same year
on the formation of the Rockingham administra-
tion. On the dismissal of Mr. Pitt the seals of
the chancellorship of the exchequer, from which
Mr. Legge had retired, were pro tempore placed
in his hands. When Lord Waldegrave was directed
to form a new administration, he was employed
to negotiate with the Duke of Newcastle and his
opponent Pitt; but the conclusion of the treaty
was intrusted to the Earl of Hardwicke. On the
resignation of Lord Hardwicke several attempts
were made to prevail on Mansfield to succeed him as
chancellor; but the timidity before explained, or
some principle not easily defined, induced him to
decline the preferment. He strongly resisted an
attempt to amend the application of Habeas Corpus
to cases not criminal, suggested from the circumstance
of a gentleman having remained for a considerable
period in prison, to which he was committed for con-
tempt of court. " On this occasion he spoke," says
Horace Walpole,'' for two hours and a half: his voice
and manner, composed of harmonious solemnity, were
the least graces of his speech. I am not averse to
own that I never heard so much sense and so much
oratory united." This was an occasion of which
Junius made ample use. The amendment was re-
jected, and a similar legislative measure was not
passed until 1816. Lord Mansfield was not less
eloquent in supporting the right of Britain to tax
America without representation; he maintained the
plea that there was virtual, though not nominal, re-
presentation, and urged decisive measures. "You
may abdicate," he said, "your right over the colonies.
Take care, my lords, how you do so, for such an
act will be irrevocable. Proceed then, my lords,
with spirit and firmness; and when you have estab-
lished your authority, it will then be time to show
your lenity." But if his views in civil politics were
narrow and bigoted, he was liberal in religious mat-
ters, and both as a judge and a legislator afforded
toleration to all classes of dissenters, from Roman
Catholics to Methodists. He was indeed a greater
enemy to liberal institutions than to liberal acts.
He could bear to see the people enjoying privileges,
provided they flowed from himself, but he did not
wish them to be the custodiers of their own freedom.
In spiritual matters the authority did not spring
from the chief-justice. When he left Pitt behind
him in the Commons, he found one to act his part in
the House of Lords. Lord Camden was his unceas-
ing opponent; and Mansfield was often obliged to
meet his attacks with silence. He suffered, severely
in the riots of 1780�his house, with considerable
other property, being destroyed; while he suffered
the far more lamentable loss of all his books and
manuscripts. In pursuance of a vote of the House
of Commons, the treasury made an application for
the particulars and amount of his loss, for the pur-
pose of arranging a compensation; but he declined
making any claim. In 1788 he retired from his
judicial office, when the usual address from the bar
was presented to him by his countryman, Mr.
Erskine; and in July, 1792, he was raised to the
dignity of Earl of Mansfield, with remainder to his
nephew, David Viscount Stormont. He died on
the 2Oth March, 1793, in the eighty-ninth year of
his age.
MYLNE, ROBERT, a distinguished architect, was
born in Edinburgh, January 4, 1734. He was the
son of Thomas Mylne, a magistrate of the city, and
an architect, whose predecessors for several genera-
tions had been master-masons to the king, and one
of whom built the additions to Holyrood House in
the reign of Charles II., and is interred in the neigh-
bourhood of that palace, with a highly panegyrical
epitaph. After receiving a general education in
Edinburgh, the subject of this article travelled on
the Continent for improvement in his hereditary
science. At Rome, where he resided five years, he
gained in 1758 the first prize of the academy of St.
Luke in the first class of architecture, and was
unanimously elected a member of that body. In the
course of his travels he was able, by the minuteness
of his research, to discover many points in ancient
architecture which no one ever before or ever after re-
marked, and to illustrate by this means some obscure
passages in Vitruvius. On returning to London a
friendless adventurer, the superiority of a plan which
he presented, among those of twenty other candidates,
for the contemplated Blackfriars' Bridge, gained him
the employment of superintending that great public
work, which was commenced in 1761. This plan
and the duty of superintendence were rewarded,
according to agreement, by a salary of �"300 a year,
and five per cent, upon all the money expended.
So well had he calculated the cost, that the bridge
was completed (1765) for the exact sum specified in
the estimate, �153,000. As a specimen of bridge
architecture on a large scale, it was long held in the
very highest rank; and a learned writer has even
pronounced it the most perfect in existence. The
mode of centering employed by Mr. Mylne has, in
particular, been the theme of much praise.
This eminent architect was afterwards appointed
surveyor of St. Paul's Cathedral; and he it was who
suggested the inscription in that building to the
memory of Wren�"Si monumentum qu�ris, cir-
cumspice"�an idea so felicitous, that it may safely
be described as more generally known, and com-
mitted to more memories, than almost any similar
thing in existence. Among the buildings erected or
altered by him may be mentioned� Rochester Ca-
thedral, Greenwich Hospital (of which he was clerk
of the works for fifteen years), King's Weston, Ar-

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