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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


272 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [High Street lawyer and judge. Admitted an advocate at the early age of nineteen, he obtained a full share of practice, and the rooms of his mansion in Elphinstone Court were frequently crowded byhis clients; but having gained a cause in which the celebrated Lockhart (Lord Covington) was the opposing counsel, that eminent barrister, in bitter chagrin at his signal defeat, styled him ?a presumptuous boy.? Young Wedderburn?s reply was so terribly sarcastic as to draw upon him a severe rebuke from England, resided here while practising at the Scottish Bar. He was born in East Lothian, in 1733, where his great-grandfather, Sir Peter Wedderburn of Gosford, was a man of influence in the reign of Charles II., and rose to be an eminent courts for ever, was called to the English bar in 1753, and soon gained fresh fame as counsel for the great Lord Clive ; and in I 768-9 his eloquence in the famous Douglas cause won him the notice of Lord Camden and the friendship of the Earls of Bute and Mansfield. He sat in the Commons as member for the Inverary Burghs, and for Bishop?s Castle, and in 1780 was raised to the British peerage as Lord Loughborough, in the county of Leicester. In April, 1783, he united with Lord one of the judges, on which he threw off his gown, and declared that never again would he plead in a place where he was subjected to insult. A11 unaware of the brilliant future that awaited him, with great regret he quitted the Scottish ELPHINSTONE COURT.
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High Street.] THE EARL OF ROSSLYN. 273 worn-out with the fatigues of a long and active. career, he retired from public life. When visiting his native capital for the last time, after an absence of nearly fifty years, with an emotion which did him honour, he caused himself to be camed in a sedan chair to Elphinstone Court, in that now obscure part of the city, that he might again see the house in which his father dwelt, and where his own early years as a boy and as a bamster had been spent. He expressed particular anxiety to know ?if a set of holes in the paved court before his father?s door, which he had used for some youthful sportwere still in existence; and finding them still there intact, it is related that as all the past came upon him, the veteran statesman burst into tears. North in forming the celebrated Coalition Ministry, in which he held the appointment of first Commissioner for keeping the Great Seal. On its dissolution, he joined the Opposition under Fox ; but, amid the alarm of the expected French invasion, he gave in his adhesion to the Administration of Pitt, and on succeeding Lord Thurlow as Lord High Chancellor, in April, 1801, was created Earl of Xosslyn in Midlothian, and then, when nearly and was interred in St. Paul?s Cathedral at London. Shortly after the death of his father, Lord Chesterhall, which occurred in 1756, he sold the old mansion in Elphinstone Court to John Camp bell, a senator under the title of Lord Stonefield, who succeeded Lord Gardenstone as a justiciary judge, and who retained his seat upon the bench till his death in June, 1801. It is somewhat remarkable that his two immediate predecessors occupied the same seat for a period of ninety years ; Lord Royston having been appointed a judge in 1710, and Lord Tinwald in 1744. By his wife, Lady Grace Stuart, daughter of John third Earl of Bute, he had several sons, all of whom pre-deceased him. The second of these w+s the The memory of the early friendships he formed with the ? select society ?? of Edinburgh, including Darid Hume, Robertson, Adam Smith, and Blair, he cherished with unceasing fondness. ?? His ambition was great,? says Sir Egerton Bridges, ?and his desire of oflice unlimited. He could argue with great ingenuity on either side, so that it was difficult to anticipate his future by his past opinions.? He died of an apoplectic fit in 1805~ THE EARL OF SELKIRK?S HOUSE, HYNDFORD?S CLOSE (south W-#). (From fke Engraviwin Sir Wa&rScotfs ?Rrd?axntki,? byfirmission of Messn. A. and C. Black.)
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