Lawyer. Law was called to the bar in 1780 and practised successfully on the northern circuit. He was leading defence counsel in the impeachment of Warren Hastings and through his success acquired a lucrative London practice. He accepted office as attorney‐general under Addington and entered Parliament in 1801, becoming lord chief justice of Common Pleas a year later. He spoke forcefully in the Lords and in 1806 he was brought into the cabinet to strengthen Addington's numbers. He was ‘a remorseless cross‐examiner’, too severe and intolerant to be popular, but an entertaining table companion.
Subjects: British History.