Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Emlyn, Sollom

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1153574Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 17 — Emlyn, Sollom1889Francis Watt

EMLYN, SOLLOM (1697–1754), legal writer, second son of Thomas Emlyn [q. v.], was born at Dublin (T. Emlyn, Works, i. xx et seq.), where his father was at the time settled, 27 Dec. 1697. He studied law, entered as a student at Leyden 17 Sept. 1714, became a member of Lincoln's Inn, and rose to be of great reputation as a chamber counsel. Emlyn was anxious for reforms of the law, and very forcibly pointed out the defects in the system as then practised. He remarks in 1730 on the ‘tediousness and delays’ of civil suits, ‘the exorbitant fees to counsel, whereto the costs recovered bear no proportion,’ the overgreat ‘nicety of special pleadings,’ the scandal of the ecclesiastical courts. In criminal law he objects to the forced unanimity of the jury, the Latin record of the proceedings, the refusal of counsel to those charged with felony, the practice of pressing to death obstinately mute prisoners, capital punishment for trifling offences, ‘the oppressions and extortions of gaolers,’ and generally the bad management of gaols (Preface to State Trials). Emlyn died 28 June 1754. He was interred in Bunhill Fields burying-ground, where there is an inscription to his memory. He married on 10 Nov. 1729 Mary, daughter of Rev. William Woodhouse, by whom he had two sons: Thomas, a chancery barrister, who died in 1796; and Sollom (d. 1744).

Emlyn published: 1. ‘Sir Matthew Hales's History of the Pleas of the Crown,’ 1736. 2. ‘Queries relating to Elizabeth Canning's Case, with Answers,’ 1754. He also edited the second edition of the ‘State Trials,’ printed with a preface in six volumes folio in 1730, and an edition of his father's works, with a prefatory biography (4th ed. 3 vols. 1746).

[Information communicated by Mr. Justin Simpson of Stamford; Peacock's Index of Leyden Students (1883), p. 33; Gent. Mag. July 1754, p. 340; Brit. Mus. Cat. Add. MS. 6210, f. 94 (formerly f. 64); information from family papers supplied by Rev. A. Gordon.]

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