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ever skilful he might have approved himself in the first of these offices, he had no vocation for the last; wherefore, wisely resolving to desist, while it was yet time, from such adventurous pursuits, he besought his friend Barré, or some other benevolent person, to rescue him at once from his perilous situation. When the king and the officers about him had done laughing at the ludicrous exhibition, his majesty very naturally inquired how it came to pass that an English general could be no better equestrian than our dismounted hero; and he then, for the first time, learnt that we islanders have generals in Westminster Hall, as well as at the Horse Guards.
We have already made mention of Dunning's early intimacy with Horne Tooke. This philological politician, in 1778, addressed to him his letter on the English particle, which he afterwards expanded into the larger work, the Diversions of Purley. With some other men of letters, who were also men of pleasure, he lived at different times on equally intimate terms. Such, for instance, were Samuel Foote and Arthur Murphy, the last a member of his own profession, and at one time not altogether unsuccessful at the bar, though, upon the whole, better known in the theatrical green rooms than in Westminster Hall. It might be to his intimacy with Foote that Dunning owed a kind of antipathy to Garrick, who was seldom or never on the best of terms with the rival manager. It is reported by Mrs. Serres, in the life of her uncle Dr. Wilmot, that he was one evening sitting with the Doctor at Nando's, when the great actor came in, and, seating himself in an adjoining box, called for his wine in a loud and pompous tone. Hereupon the Doctor observed, the vagabond smells of his trade.' 'No, damn him,' (we quote literally) said Dunning, he stinks of his king of shreds and patches.' 'True,' rejoined the other, he is the prince of pismires.' All this was overheard by Garrick, as probably the speakers intended it should be; and he took his revenge by asking the waiter: 'Who were those fellows in the next box?' According to our authority, however, Dr. Wilmot here introduced such a cutting observation (though we confess we are dull enough not to perceive the point of it) that the discomfited hero of the sock and buskin immediately sneaked out of the room,' and made his appearance there no more that evening.
While Dunning's practice was not so extensive as always to occupy his evenings, he used to be in the habit of associating with such companions as these at Nando's, or George's, or the Grecian, whither he generally resorted, after the business of the day was
over, to indulge, like North, in a petit supper and a bottle.' Afterwards, when his increasing professional engagements, and his duties as a member of the House of Commons, left him little or no opportunity for this kind of relaxation, he used to make up a party of his friends, and carry them down with him on Saturday to his house at Fulham, whence they would all return to town together at an early hour on Monday morning. His style of living was liberal, and his entertainments were such that those who had once partaken of them generally cared not how soon they were invited to do so again. We never, indeed, heard of any one to whom his hospitality gave dissatisfaction, excepting his mother. The old lady was a thrifty housewife, and had trained up her boy John in the ways of strict frugality, a fact whereof some amusing illustrations are still traditionally preserved among the townspeople of Ashburton. Although, therefore, she knew him to be in the receipt of some £10,000 a year, or thereabouts, she fully expected that he would still adhere to the good principles of economy her maternal solicitude had instilled into him when a youth. What then was her amazement and her indignation on making a visit to London, and finding herself, for the first time, seated at the head of her son's table with a party of his friends around, to behold dish following dish, course succeeding course, and costly wines flowing in abundance, to find plate, attendants, in short every essential of a well ordered dinner party, provided with a profusion that appeared to her the last extreme of prodigality. If her son expected to be complimented by her on his style of living, he was grievously disappointed; for the first opportunity she could find of speaking with him in private, she employed in giving a full vent to her displeasure. It was to no purpose that he assured her his income was fully adequate to the maintenance of such a table. She would believe no such thing. Two tureens of soup, and two dishes of fish, for one dinner, she said, would in time be the ruin of him, or of any one: no fortune could support such shameful extravagance; and, if he persisted in such doings, she declared she could not find in her heart to stay and witness them.
We know not whether as the wife of an attorney she would have been equally disposed to disapprove of what might appear another scandalous instance of her son's inattention to his own pecuniary interests, his refusal to concern himself with an action at law for the redress of an injury done to his property at Fulham. A neighboring proprietor had cut down a tree which had its root in Dunning's premises, and the lawyer's gardener had boasted of
the ample retribution his master, above all other men, could and would take for so barefaced a violation of his rights. To the astonishment, however, of this zealous servant, his master flatly refused to take any share in the management of the law suit, if law suit there must be. He did not, it is true, go quite so far as another eminent lawyer, who used frequently to declare that if any one should set up a claim to the coat on his back, he would not only immediately give it up, but would surrender the waistcoat with it as a compensation for any other contingent claim, rather than contest the matter in an action. But if it became absolutely incumbent on him to seek redress from the courts, he was at least wise enough not to place himself in the predicament of those who are proverbially admitted to have fools for their clients; that is, who conduct their own causes.
The satisfaction which Dunning's father naturally felt at his son's advancement, was not diminished even by the drawbacks that threw such a weight upon his wife's spirits. The fondest hopes of his parental ambition had been fulfilled; and we much doubt whether the son himself received half so much gratification from the wealth and the fame he was daily acquiring, as did old Mr. Dunning the attorney of Ashburton. It is told of him, that during one of his visits to town, he called at the treasurer's office in one of the Inns of Court, to sign the usual bond for some young friend of his who was just entering into commons there; and the sub-treasurer, on seeing his name, asked him if he was any relation to the great Mr. Dunning. The glow of honest pride instantly suffused the cheek of the old man, and drawing himself up to his full height, he answered, with a slight faltering of his voice, 'I am John Dunning's father, Sir.'
The elder Dunning lived till the beginning of December, 1780. Not long before this, his son, being then between forty-eight and forty-nine years of age, bethought him, no doubt, that if he ever intended to provide himself with a wife, he had not much time to lose, and accordingly married (March 31st, 1780,) Miss Elizabeth Baring, the daughter of Mr. John Baring of Exeter, who was or had been a retail trader, though his son then represented the county of Devon in parliament. By this lady he had two boys; John, born in October, 1781, and Richard Barré in September the year following; but the eldest of them only lived to the age of eighteen months. The death of this son (April, 1783,) is said to have had a very material effect upon the health of Dunning, who was devotedly attached to both his children: at all events, the complication of maladies, of which the seeds may be said to have
formed part of his physical organization, and which shortly afterwards brought him to the grave, appeared to acquire new strength from the shock of this domestic misfortune. He had been in the habit of repairing the wear and tear of his constitution by an annual residence of as many weeks as he could spare at Teignmouth, which was his favorite watering-place; and there, by the way, the house he used to inhabit (now tenanted by a chemist and druggist,) is still shown as one of the lions of the town. The illness under which he now labored was beyond the reach of art, and he was advised as a last resource to try once more the effect of the sea breezes of his native county. Travelling accordingly by easy stages, on his first day's journey from London he went no farther than Bagshot. By a singular coincidence, it happened that Wallace the attorney-general, an almost equally celebrated lawyer, once his competitor in Westminster Hall, and his opponent in the House of Commons, but then, like himself, posting rapidly towards the grave, was on his way to London for the benefit of the best medical advice, and had just alighted at the same inn. Their meeting was, it may well be supposed, a melancholy one; but they passed the evening together with such an approach towards conviviality as the state of their health would allow, and then separated to meet no more. Wallace pursued his route to London, where he lingered on till the following November: Dunning repaired to Exmouth, and there on the eighteenth of August (1783) he terminated his mortal career.
Specimens of Sir Edward Coke's Eloquence. Sir Edward Coke as attorny general conducted the prosecutions against the Earl of Essex and Sir Walter Raleigh for high treason.
In his argument in the first of those cases, having referred to the insurrection of the British laborers on account of the lowness of wages, as a case of constructive treason; - that of the London apprentices in which a conspiracy to whip the Lord Mayor was adjudged to be an overt act of compassing the queen's death — those of Bradshaw, a miller, and Barton, a mason, who had conspired with others to throw down an inclosure; he proceeds in emulation of Cicero:
'If then, laborers assembling together and devising to overthrow the laws respecting their wages;-if low apprentices, rising to resist the whipping of their fellows; - if millers and masons, poor
mechanical persons, intending to overthrow inclosures, shall be said to be guilty of treason in devising the death and destruction of the king; what shall we say when so many earls, barons, and knights, having assembled, on a sudden, three hundred or four hundred persons, and expecting a multitude of followers, in a settled government, do intend to take - not a slender fort, but the Tower of London! to invest - not a mean village, but this great city! to surprise-not the mansion of the lord-mayor, but the sacred palace of the queen! This must needs imply the death and destruction of the queen, and is higher than the highest treason! How much the possession of the Tower of London by any subject doth concern her majesty, your lordships may judge; yet the possession of the city, which she hath more affectionately loved and respected than any of her progenitors, doth much more nearly concern her. And though the surprising of her court, where her royal person is, in such manner as you shall hear, is, of all these attempts, the most dangerous; yet such is the godly care of her majesty for the good of her subjects, that the change of her blessed government by such a Catiline, popish, dissolute, and desperate company that should have despoiled and dishonored her good, loyal, and rich subjects, this should be more perilous to her than her own safety.' Library of Entertaining Knowledge.— Criminal Trials, vol. 1, pp. 317-318.
It appears from a manuscript copy of this argument still extant that the choice and collocation of the words printed in italics were matters of great solicitude and trouble, as they were erased, altered, and re-written five or six times.
His exordium in the case of Sir Walter Raleigh is quite solemn. 'Before I enter into this cause, my lords, I must take this caution, that in the narration of these treasons, we of the king's council must often make mention of potentates and persons of great place; yet it is not we who do this of our own heads; for we, professing the law, must speak reverently of kings and great men; we only repeat what the Lord Cobham and Sir Walter Raleigh have said respecting them. This great and honorable assembly doth look to hear this day, what before hath been carried on the rack of scattering reports; and we shall now, by evidence, make a plain discovery to you as of great and secret, but as foul, treasons as ever were imagined. Towards these offenders there hath been done nothing rigorously nothing unnaturally nothing precipitately; not rigorously, because no torture hath been used; not unnaturally, because the brother was not pressed (further than he would) to accuse the brother; not precipitately, because of the