Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/102

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472 SIR GEORGE LOCKHART.

privy council, in which, expressing his conviction of the necessity of preserving the supreme power of the college of justice, and his " abhorrence of appeals, he was graciously pleased that no proceeding should be instituted against those who had maintained the political heresy, in case they disavowed it ; but that if they did not, they should be debarred the exercise of their professions. The consequence of this letter, was the banishment of Lockhart and Cunning- ham, and the voluntary exile of fifty advocates, who chose to resent the insult : but the manner in which the act is detailed by Sir George Mackenzie, and the curious views which he casts on the motives and conduct of his great rival, prompt us to extract the passage : " His majesty having ordained by his let- ters such as would adhere to that appeal to be debarred from pleading, and Sir George Lockhart and Sir John Cunningham being thereupon called in before the lords, they owned that though formal appeals might be said to be contrary to the 62 act par. 14 James II., yet a protestation for remeid of law might be allowed ; whereupon they were debarred from their employments, till the king should declare his farther pleasure. And albeit it might have been reasonably concluded, that this exclusion should have pleased the younger advocates, whom those seniors overshaded, interrupting the chief advantage and honour that was to be expected in that society ; yet most fearing to offend so eminent men, who they knew would soon return to their stations, and being pushed on by the lords of the party, and the discontented persons to whom they owed their employments, went tumultuarily out of the session house with those who were debarred ; and thus, as Sir George Lockhart broke that society at first by his avarice, in the matter of the regulations, he broke them now again by his pride, in the matter of the appeals ; and by raising a clamour against the president, and joining in the popular dissatisfaction, he diverted early from himself that great hatred which was so justly conceived against his insolence and his avarice ; two crimes which were more eminent in him than his learning."

Although the causes of the enmity entertained by Mackenzie towards Lock- hart are not fully explained, the allusions of the former make it quite clear that it arose from professional and political rivalry. The king had written to the burghs, advising them to renew their old acU, against the choosing of repre- sentatives. " The king's design in this was," says Sir George, " to exclude such as had been factious in the former parliament, and to engage the burghs to an immediate dependence on the crown." The disaffected advocates endea- voured to inspire the burghs with a wish to oppose the designs of the court ; in the mean time, however, it was necessary that the king's letter should be an- swered, and a draught of such a document was prepared for the committee by Sir George Mackenzie. This letter was sent for the perusal of Lockhart, who altered it " so as of a discreet and dutiful letter, it became, by adding what was humorous, and striking out what was discreet, a most unpolisht and indiscreet paper. And when Sir George Lockhart was askt why he had deformed it so, his answer to James Stewart was, that it was fit to make Sir George Mackenzie unpardonable." Sir George Mackenzie alleges that Lockhart had induced him to join the body in favour of appeals, on the ground that the union of so many members of the bar would form a formidable opposition to Lauderdale ; and it is to his enmity against that minister at the period, that, without a better rea- son, we must date Mackenzie's accession to the cause. But when the king, on the 12th of December, issued a proclamation, declaring, on the word of a prince, that such of the advocates as should not petition for re-admission before the 28th of January following, should never be permitted to return to their profession, Sir George Mackenzie " did so much tender the reputation of his