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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


378 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. No. CLI. LORD HIGH CHANCELLOR LOUGHBOROUGH, AFTERWARDS EARL OF RQSSLYN. THIS etching was taken by Kay during the artist’s short visit to London in 1800. His lordship was the first Scotsman who ever sat on the bench as Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, or held the appointment of Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain. ALEXANDERW EDDERBURwNas born at Chesterhall in East Lothian in 1733. His father, Peter Wedderburn, Esq. of Chesterhall, was a Senator of the College of Justice ; and his great-grandfather, Sir Peter Wedderburn of Gosford, had held a similar appointment in the reign of Charles 11. He received the first rudiments of education at the village school of Dnlkeith, where his conduct was such as to merit the unqualified approbation of his teacher. Young Wedderburn subsequently studied at the University of Edinburgh j and so rapid was his progress in the various academical acquirements, that he was admitted to the bar at the precocious age of nineteen. Even at this early period he was fast rising into practice, when an incident occurred which altogether changed his views and sphere of action. ‘‘ He had gained the cause of a client,” says his biographer, “in opposition to the celebrated Lockhart (Lord Covington), when the defeated veteran, unable to conceal his chagrin, took occasion, from something in the manner of Mr. Wedderburn, to call him apresumptuous boy. The sarcastic severity of the young barrister’s reply drew upon him so illiberal a rebuke from one of the judges that he immediately unrobed, and, bowing to the Court, declared that he would never more plead where he was subjected to insult.” Following up this resolution, Wedderburn instantly proceeded to London, where that respect is invariably shown to the members of the bar to which they are justly entitled. He enrolled himself a member of the Inner Temple, and was admitted to the bar in 1757, The step thus taken was certainly a hazardous one for an individual without friends or patronage, and comparatively without fortune. His talents, however, soon made way for him ; and he very speedily attained to eminence. Among the first cases of any note in which he was employed was that of Lord Clive’ (many years Governor-General of India), who, after nearly sixteen years’ residence at home, was arraigned before Lord Clive was one of those extraordinary men who appear once in a century. To him, and to the ill-used Warren Hastings, this country owes almost entirely the preservation and consolidation of ita Eastern power.
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