Historical Sketches of Statesmen Who Flourished in the Time of George III - Vol. 2

By Lord Henry Brougham | Go to book overview

SIR WILLIAM SCOTT (LORD STOWELL).

FEW names are more intimately connected either with classical or judicial recollections than the one which has been just mentioned.

There has seldom if ever appeared in the profession of the Law any one so peculiarly endowed with all the learning and capacity which can accomplish, as well as all the graces which can embellish, the judicial character, as this eminent person. Confining himself to the comparatively narrow and sequestered walks of the Consistorial tribunals, he had early been withdrawn from the contentions of the Forum, had lost the readiness with which his great natural acuteness must have furnished him, and had never acquired the habits which forensic strife is found to form -- the preternatural power of suddenly producing all the mind's resources at the call of the moment, and shifting their application nimbly from point to point, as that exigency varies in its purpose or its direction. But so had he also escaped the hardness, not to say the coarseness, which is inseparable from such rough and constant use of the faculties, and which, while it sharpens their edge and their point, not seldom contaminates the taste, and withdraws the mind from all pure, and generous, and classical intercourse, to matters of a vulgar and a technical order. His judgment was of the highest caste; calm, firm, enlarged, penetrating, profound. His powers of reasoning were in proportion

-73-

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