Lord Campbell holds that Clarendon's knowledge of law, and more especially of equity practice, was too slight to qualify him for the office of lord chancellor (Lives of the Chancellors, iii. 188). According to Speaker Onslow he never made a decree in chancery without the assistance of two of the judges (Burnet, i. 172note). He endeavoured, however, to reform the abuses of his court, and framed, in conjunction with Sir Harbottle Grimston [q. v.], master of the rolls, a series of regulations known as ' Lord Clarendon's Orders' (Lister, ii. 528). Burnet praises him for appointing good judges, and concludes that ' he was a very good chancellor, only a little too rough, but very impartial in the administration of justice' (i. 171, 316).
Clarendon's chancellorship of the university of Oxford left a more lasting impression. He was elected on 27 Oct. 1660 to succeed the Duke of Somerset, and was installed on 15 Nov. (Kennett, Register, pp. 294, 310). His election is celebrated in Latin and English verses by Robert Whitehall of Merton. On 7 Dec. 1667 Clarendon resigned his office in a pathetic letter to the vice-chancellor, which is still exhibited in the Bodleian Library (Macray, Annals of the Bodleian Library, ed. 1890, p. 462). Clarendon was not blind to the defects of Oxford as a place of education. At the beginning of his chancellorship he specially recommended the restoration of its ancient discipline (Kennett, p. 378), and he was well seconded by Dr. John Fell [q. v.] In his `Dialogue on Education' he suggests various remedies and reforms, proposing among others the foundation of an academy to teach fencing, dancing, and riding, and the revival of the old practice of acting English and Latin plays (Clarendon Tracts, 1727, pp. 325, 344). His great-grandson, Henry, lord Cornbury, left to the university of Oxford in 1753 all the chancellor's manuscripts, with directions that the proceeds of publication should be employed in setting up an academy for riding and other exercises. In 1868 the fund thus accumulated was applied to the establishment of a laboratory attached to the university museum, and called the Clarendon Laboratory (Macray, p. 225; cf. Collectanea, vol. i. Oxf. Hist. Soc.) The profits of the copyright of the ' History of the Rebellion ' were used to provide a building for the university press, which was erected in 1713 on the east side of the Sheldonian Theatre. It was called the Clarendon printing-house, and its southern face was adorned by a statue of the chancellor set up in 1721. Since the removal of the university press to its present site in 1830, the edifice has been known as the Clarendon Building.
A portrait of Clarendon by Lely is in the university gallery at Oxford. There is another by the same artist, and one by Gerrard Zoust in the collection at Grove Park, Watford, Hertfordshire (Lewis, Lives of the Friends of Lord Clarendon, 1851, iii. 357). The Sutherland ' Clarendon' in the Bodleian Library over fifty engraved portraits of Clarendon.
A traveller who saw Clarendon at Rouen in 1668 terms him ' a fair, ruddy, fat, middle-statured, handsome man' (Rawlinson MS. C. 782-7, Bodleian Library). In his younger days Clarendon relates that he indulged his palate very much, and took even some delight in eating and drinking well, but without any approach to luxury, and in truth rather discoursed like an epicure than was one' (Life, i. 72). In March 1645 he was first attacked by the gout, which after the Restoration frequently disabled him. For the greater part of his second exile, even when he enjoyed most health, he could not walk without the help of two men (Cont. p. 1352; Lister, ii. 534). Of his habits and tastes during his early years, and of his pursuits during his exile, Clarendon gives full details in his autobiography, but says nothing of his private life during the time of his greatness. We learn from others that he was fond of state and magnificence, verging on ostentation. Nothing stirred the spleen of satirists more than the great house which he built for himself in St. James's, and his own opinion was that it contributed more than any alleged misdemeanours to 'that gust of envy' which overthrew him. Designed to cost 20,000l., it finally cost 50,000l., and involved him in endless difficulties. Evelyn describes it as ' without hyperbole the best contrived, most useful, graceful, magnificent house in England.' In the end it was sold to the Duke of Albemarle for 25,000l., and pulled down to make room for new buildings (Evelyn, Diary, ed. Wheatley, ii. 417, iii. 341; Marvell, Works, ed. Grosart, i.384; Cont. p. 1358). Evelyn describes also the great collection of portraits of English worthies—chiefly contemporary statesmen and men of letters—which Clarendon brought together there (Evelyn, iii. 443; for the later history of the collection see Lady Theresa Lewis's Lives of the Contemporaries of Lord Clarendon, i. 15).
According to Evelyn, Clarendon was 'a great lover of books,' and ' collected an ample library.' To Clarendon Evelyn dedicated in 1661 his translation of 'Naudaeus on Libraries,' and addressed his proposals for the improvement of English printing. The only present which Louis XIV could prevail on