Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 29.djvu/287

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following day he was examined by a deputation of four lords. He appears to have petitioned for a pardon from William, ‘acknowledging his crimes to be as numerous as his enemies … and promising to discover secrets relating to the succession’ (ib. p. 325). Confinement, however, soon began to tell upon his health, already undermined by drink and a complication of disorders. He was visited by Tutchin, Sharp, and Scott, to all of whom he affirmed that the severities of ‘the bloody assizes’ had fallen short of the royal demand, and that by his forbearance he had extremely displeased the king. He died in prison on 18 April 1689, in the forty-first year of his age, and was buried in the chapel of the Tower, in the next grave to Monmouth. A royal warrant having been obtained on the petition of his family, his body was removed on 2 Nov. 1693, and reinterred in the church of St. Mary Aldermanbury, where, during some repairs in 1810, the leaden coffin containing his remains was found in a vault close to the communion-table (Gent. Mag. 1810, vol. lxxx. pt. ii. p. 584). In May 1689 leave was given to bring in a bill to charge Jeffreys's estate in Leicestershire with the repayment of 15,000l., which he had extorted from Edmund Prideaux of Ford Abbey, Devonshire (Journals of the House of Commons, x. 113–116), and in November following a resolution was unanimously passed that a bill should be brought in for the forfeiture of his estate and honour (ib. x. 280), but both bills were subsequently dropped. He was, however, excepted out of the Bill of Indemnity (2 Will. & Mary, c. 10).

Jeffreys was rather above the average height, with marked, but by no means disagreeable, features, a fair complexion, piercing eyes, bushy eyebrows, and a commanding forehead. He was a man of considerable talents and some social gifts, but neither his judicial brutalities nor his political profligacy admit of palliation. Devoid of principle, of drunken and extravagant habits, he was reckless of everything save his own advancement. A master of scurrilous invective, he delighted in giving what he called ‘a lick with the rough side of his tongue’ to those from whom he had nothing to expect. When, however, there was anything to be gained by it he could be pleasant and agreeable enough, as we learn from his conduct to Sir Matthew Hale, whose ear he gained in nisi prius at Guildhall ‘by little accommodations administered to him in his own house after his own humour, as a small dinner, it may be a partridge or two upon a plate, and a pipe after, and in the meantime diverting him with satirical tales and reflections upon those who bore a name and figure about town’ (Roger North, Autobiography, p. 98). Of his boisterous conviviality Reresby gives more than one curious instance (Memoirs and Travels, pp. 324, 325). On rare occasions Jeffreys showed that he was not entirely devoid of humane feelings. He refused to put the Fine Mote Act in force against his mother's old friend Philip Henry (Diaries and Letters of Philip Henry, 1882, p. 324), and he successfully interceded on behalf of Sir Robert Clayton [q. v.], who had been his patron in early days. The opinion, too, which he expressed at Rosewell's trial that it was ‘a hard case that a man should have a counsel to defend him for a twopenny trespass, and his witnesses examined upon oath, but if he steal, commit murder, or felony, nay, high treason, where life, estate, honour, and all are concerned, he shall neither have counsel, nor his witnesses examined upon oath’ (State Trials, x. 267), was one far in advance of his time. Though his knowledge of law was small, his perception of the true point in the case before him was exceedingly quick. As a criminal judge he was undoubtedly the worst that ever disgraced the bench. In civil cases, however, ‘when he was in temper and matters indifferent came before him, he became his seat of justice better than any other’ Roger North ‘ever saw in his place’ (Life of Lord Speaker Guilford, p. 219). Speaker Onslow, too, records, on the authority of Sir Joseph Jekyll, that he ‘had great parts, and made a great chancellor in the business of that court. In mere private matters he was thought an able and upright judge wherever he sat’ (Burnet, Hist. of his own Time, ii. 400 n.) As chancellor he issued several useful orders for the purpose of checking oppressive practices of his court. A number of his common law judgments are reported in Shower, Skinner, and 3 Modern, and his equity decisions will be found in Vernon. One of the best specimens of his judicial powers is ‘The Argument of the Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench concerning the great case of Monopolies between the East India Company, Plaintiff, and Thomas Sandys, Defendant,’ &c. (London, 1689, fol., and reprinted in the tenth volume of ‘State Trials,’ pp. 519–54); while his summing-up in the Lady Ivy's case (State Trials, x. 631–45) is described by Lord Campbell as ‘most masterly.’ There are several amusing anecdotes of passages of arms between Jeffreys and witnesses, in which he got the worst of the encounter (Foss, vii. 231). From the dedication of the second edition of John Groenveldt's ‘Dissertatio Lithologica’ (1687), and the titles of two rare prints of Jeffreys