Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden

Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden

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Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden (baptised
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 21 March 1714 – 18 April 1794) was an English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 lawyer
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

, judge
Judge
A judge is a person who presides over court proceedings, either alone or as part of a panel of judges. The powers, functions, method of appointment, discipline, and training of judges vary widely across different jurisdictions. The judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and in an open...

 and Whig politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 who was first to hold the title of Earl of Camden
Marquess Camden
Marquess Camden is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1812 for the politician John Pratt, 2nd Earl Camden. The Pratt family descends from Sir John Pratt, Lord Chief Justice from 1718 to 1725. His third son from his second marriage, Sir Charles Pratt, was also a...

. As a lawyer and judge he was a leading proponent of civil liberties
Civil liberties
Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom from slavery and forced labour, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, the right to defend one's self, the right to own and bear arms, the right...

, championing the rights of the jury
Jury (England and Wales)
In the legal jurisdiction of England and Wales, there is a long tradition of jury trial that has evolved over centuries.-History:The English jury has its roots in two institutions that date from before the Norman conquest in 1066...

, and limiting the powers of the State
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 in leading cases such as Entick v Carrington
Entick v Carrington
Entick v Carrington [1765] is a leading case in English law establishing the civil liberties of individuals and limiting the scope of executive power. The case has also been influential in other common law jurisdictions and was an important motivation for the Fourth Amendment to the United States...

.

He held the offices of Chief Justice of the Common Pleas
Chief Justice of the Common Pleas
The Court of Common Pleas, also known as the Common Bench or Common Place, was the second highest common law court in the English legal system until 1880, when it was dissolved. As such, the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas was one of the highest judicial officials in England, behind only the Lord...

, Attorney-General
Attorney General for England and Wales
Her Majesty's Attorney General for England and Wales, usually known simply as the Attorney General, is one of the Law Officers of the Crown. Along with the subordinate Solicitor General for England and Wales, the Attorney General serves as the chief legal adviser of the Crown and its government in...

 and Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

, and was a confidant of Pitt the Elder
William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham
William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham PC was a British Whig statesman who led Britain during the Seven Years' War...

, supporting Pitt in the controversies over John Wilkes
John Wilkes
John Wilkes was an English radical, journalist and politician.He was first elected Member of Parliament in 1757. In the Middlesex election dispute, he fought for the right of voters—rather than the House of Commons—to determine their representatives...

 and American independence. However, he clung to office himself, even when Pitt was out of power, serving in the cabinet for fifteen years and under five different prime ministers.

During his life, Pratt played a leading role in opposing perpetual copyright
Perpetual copyright
Perpetual copyright can refer to a copyright without a finite term, or to a copyright whose finite term is perpetually extended. Perpetual copyright in the former sense is highly uncommon, as the current laws of all countries with copyright statutes set a standard limit on the duration, based...

, resolving the regency crisis of 1788 and in championing Fox's Libel Bill
Libel Act 1792
The Libel Act 1792 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain. At the urging of the Whig politician Charles James Fox, the Act restored to juries the right to decide what was libel and whether a defendant was guilty, rather than leaving it solely to the judge...

. He started the development of the settlement that was later to become Camden Town
Camden Town
-Economy:In recent years, entertainment-related businesses and a Holiday Inn have moved into the area. A number of retail and food chain outlets have replaced independent shops driven out by high rents and redevelopment. Restaurants have thrived, with the variety of culinary traditions found in...

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

.

Early life


Born in Kensington
Kensington
Kensington is a district of west and central London, England within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. An affluent and densely-populated area, its commercial heart is Kensington High Street, and it contains the well-known museum district of South Kensington.To the north, Kensington is...

 in 1714, he was a descendant of an old Devon
Devon
Devon is a large county in southwestern England. The county is sometimes referred to as Devonshire, although the term is rarely used inside the county itself as the county has never been officially "shired", it often indicates a traditional or historical context.The county shares borders with...

 family of high standing, the third son of Sir John Pratt
John Pratt (judge)
Sir John Pratt was an English judge and politician.Pratt was Lord Chief Justice of England from May 15, 1718 until March 2, 1725. He was appointed as an interim Chancellor of the Exchequer on February 2, 1721, until April 3, 1721....

, Chief Justice of the King's Bench in the reign of George I
George I of Great Britain
George I was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1 August 1714 until his death, and ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire from 1698....

. Charles's mother, Elizabeth, was the daughter of Rev. Hugh Wilson of Trefeglwys, and the aunt of landscape painter Richard Wilson
Richard Wilson (painter)
Richard Wilson was a Welsh landscape painter, and one of the founder members of the Royal Academy in 1768. Wilson has been described as '...the most distinguished painter Wales has ever produced and the first to appreciate the aesthetic possibilities of his country.' He is considered to be the...

. He received his early education at Eton
Eton College
Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor"....

, where he became acquainted with William Pitt
William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham
William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham PC was a British Whig statesman who led Britain during the Seven Years' War...

, and Kings College, Cambridge. He had already developed an interest in constitutional law
Constitutional law
Constitutional law is the body of law which defines the relationship of different entities within a state, namely, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary....

 and civil liberties
Civil liberties
Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom from slavery and forced labour, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, the right to defend one's self, the right to own and bear arms, the right...

. In 1734 he became a fellow of his college, and in the following year obtained his degree of BA
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

. Having adopted his father's profession, he had entered the Middle Temple
Middle Temple
The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, commonly known as Middle Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court exclusively entitled to call their members to the English Bar as barristers; the others being the Inner Temple, Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn...

 in 1728, and ten years later he was called to the Bar.

Early years at the Bar


He practised at first in the courts of common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

, travelling also the western circuit. For some years his practice was so limited, and he became so much discouraged that he seriously thought of turning his back on the law and entering the church. He listened, however, to the advice of his friend Sir Robert Henley
Robert Henley, 1st Earl of Northington
Robert Henley, 1st Earl of Northington PC , was the Lord Chancellor of Great Britain. He was a member of the Whig Party in the parliament and was known for his wit and writing.-Family:...

, a brother barrister, and persevered, working on and waiting for success. Reputedly, once instructed as Henley's junior, Henley feigned illness so that Pratt could lead and earn the credit.

He was further aided by an advantageous marriage on 5 October 1749 to Elizabeth, daughter of Nicholas Jeffreys of the Priory, Brecknock, by whom he had a son John Jeffreys
John Pratt, 1st Marquess Camden
John Jeffreys Pratt, 1st Marquess Camden KG, PC , styled Viscount Bayham from 1786 to 1794 and known as The Earl Camden from 1794 to 1812, was a British politician...

, his successor in title and estates, and four daughters, of whom the eldest, Frances, married Robert Stewart, 1st Marquess of Londonderry
Robert Stewart, 1st Marquess of Londonderry
Robert Stewart, 1st Marquess of Londonderry PC , was an Irish politician and landowner, the father of politician Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh.-Early life in Dublin:...

 on 7 June 1775.

The first case which brought him prominently into notice and gave him assurance of ultimate success was the government prosecution, in 1752, of a bookseller, William Owen. Owen had published a book The Case of Alexander Murray, Esq; in an Appeal to the people of Great Britain which the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

 had, by resolution of the House, condemned as "an impudent, malicious, scandalous and seditious libel
Seditious libel
Seditious libel was a criminal offence under English common law. Sedition is the offence of speaking seditious words with seditious intent: if the statement is in writing or some other permanent form it is seditious libel...

". The author had left the country so the weight of the government's censure fell on Owen. Pratt appeared in Owen's defence and his novel argument was that it was not the sole role of the jury
Jury (England and Wales)
In the legal jurisdiction of England and Wales, there is a long tradition of jury trial that has evolved over centuries.-History:The English jury has its roots in two institutions that date from before the Norman conquest in 1066...

 to determine the fact of publication but that it was further their right to assess the intent of a libel. In his summing up, the judge
Judge
A judge is a person who presides over court proceedings, either alone or as part of a panel of judges. The powers, functions, method of appointment, discipline, and training of judges vary widely across different jurisdictions. The judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and in an open...

, Lord Chief Justice Sir William Lee directed the jury to find Owen guilty
Guilty
Guilty commonly refers to the feeling of guilt, an experience that occurs when a person believes that they have violated a moral standard.Guilty or The Guilty may also refer to:-Law:*Guilty plea, a formal admission of legal culpability...

 as publication was proved and the intent of the contents was a question of law
Question of law
In jurisprudence, a question of law is a question which must be answered by applying relevant legal principles, by an interpretation of the law. Such a question is distinct from a question of fact, which must be answered by reference to facts and evidence, and inferences arising from those facts...

 for the judge, not a question of fact
Question of fact
In law, a question of fact is a question which must be answered by reference to facts and evidence, and inferences arising from those facts. Such a question is distinct from a question of law, which must be answered by applying relevant legal principles...

 for the jury. The jury disagreed and acquitted
Acquittal
In the common law tradition, an acquittal formally certifies the accused is free from the charge of an offense, as far as the criminal law is concerned. This is so even where the prosecution is abandoned nolle prosequi...

 Owen. Pratt was appointed King's Counsel in 1755.

Political career



Since their youthful meeting at Eton, Pitt had continued to consult Pratt on legal and constitutional matters and Pratt became involved in the group that met at the Leicester House
Leicester House
There have been two mansions in London, England called Leicester House:*A house in the Strand near the Temple: Leicester House, Strand. This existed in the Tudor period, and possibly earlier ....

home of George
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

 Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales is a title traditionally granted to the heir apparent to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the 15 other independent Commonwealth realms...

 and who were opposed to the government of Prime Minister the Duke of Newcastle. In 1756, Newcastle offered Pratt a judge
Judge
A judge is a person who presides over court proceedings, either alone or as part of a panel of judges. The powers, functions, method of appointment, discipline, and training of judges vary widely across different jurisdictions. The judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and in an open...

ship but Pratt preferred to take the role of Attorney General to the Prince of Wales.

In July 1757, Pitt formed a coalition
Coalition
A coalition is a pact or treaty among individuals or groups, during which they cooperate in joint action, each in their own self-interest, joining forces together for a common cause. This alliance may be temporary or a matter of convenience. A coalition thus differs from a more formal covenant...

 government with Newcastle and insisted on Pratt's appointment as Attorney-General
Attorney General for England and Wales
Her Majesty's Attorney General for England and Wales, usually known simply as the Attorney General, is one of the Law Officers of the Crown. Along with the subordinate Solicitor General for England and Wales, the Attorney General serves as the chief legal adviser of the Crown and its government in...

. Pratt was preferred over Solicitor General
Solicitor General for England and Wales
Her Majesty's Solicitor General for England and Wales, often known as the Solicitor General, is one of the Law Officers of the Crown, and the deputy of the Attorney General, whose duty is to advise the Crown and Cabinet on the law...

 Charles Yorke
Charles Yorke
Charles Yorke was Lord Chancellor of Great Britain.-Life:The second son of Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke, he was born in London, and was educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. His literary abilities were shown at an early age by his collaboration with his brother Philip in the...

. Yorke was the son of Lord Hardwick
Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke
Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke PC was an English lawyer and politician who served as Lord Chancellor. He was a close confidant of the Duke of Newcastle, Prime Minister between 1754 and 1756 and 1757 until 1762....

, a political ally of Newcastle who, as Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

 had obstructed Pratt's career in favour of his own son. Though this led to an uncomfortable relationship between the two law officers of the Crown, it led to the landmark Pratt-Yorke opinion
Pratt-Yorke opinion
The Pratt-York opinion was a 1757 official legal opinion issued jointly by Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden, the Attorney General for England and Wales, and Charles Yorke, the Solicitor General for England and Wales , regarding the legality of land purchases by the British East India Company from...

 of 24 December 1757 whereby the pair distinguished overseas territories acquired by conquest
Conquest (military)
Conquest is the act of military subjugation of an enemy by force of arms. One example is the Norman conquest of England, which provided the subjugation of the Kingdom of England and the acquisition of the English crown by William the Conqueror in 1066...

 from those acquired by private treaty
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

. They asserted that, while the Crown
The Crown
The Crown is a corporation sole that in the Commonwealth realms and any provincial or state sub-divisions thereof represents the legal embodiment of governance, whether executive, legislative, or judicial...

 of Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 enjoyed sovereignty
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

 over both, only the property of the former was vested in the Crown. Though the original opinion related to the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

, it came to be applied elsewhere in the developing British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

.

The same year he entered the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

 as Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 (MP) for the borough of Downton
Downton (UK Parliament constituency)
Downton was a parliamentary borough in Wiltshire, which elected two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons from 1295 until 1832, when it was abolished by the Great Reform Act.-History:...

 in Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Wiltshire is a ceremonial county in South West England. It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. It contains the unitary authority of Swindon and covers...

. He sat in Parliament
Parliament of Great Britain
The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and Parliament of Scotland...

 for four years, but did not distinguish himself as a debater. He introduced the Habeas corpus Amendment Bill of 1758
Habeas Corpus Bill of 1758
The Habeas Corpus Bill of 1758 was a failed bill that would have extended habeas corpus if passed.The Habeas Corpus Act 1679 confirmed the common law tradition that subjects had a right to a writ of habeas corpus. However judges ruled that those impressed were exempt from the right to habeas corpus...

, which was intended to extend the writ
Writ
In common law, a writ is a formal written order issued by a body with administrative or judicial jurisdiction; in modern usage, this body is generally a court...

 of Habeas corpus
Habeas corpus
is a writ, or legal action, through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to his aid. Habeas corpus originated in the English legal system, but it is now available in many nations...

from criminal law
Criminal law
Criminal law, is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is not allowed because it is held to threaten, harm or endanger the safety and welfare of people, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on people who do not obey...

 to civil
Civil law (common law)
Civil law, as opposed to criminal law, is the branch of law dealing with disputes between individuals or organizations, in which compensation may be awarded to the victim...

 and political cases. Despite Pitt's support, the Bill fell in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

. At the same time, his professional practice increased, particularly his Chancery
Court of Chancery
The Court of Chancery was a court of equity in England and Wales that followed a set of loose rules to avoid the slow pace of change and possible harshness of the common law. The Chancery had jurisdiction over all matters of equity, including trusts, land law, the administration of the estates of...

 practice which made him financially secure and enabled him to purchase the Camden Place estate in Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

.

As Attorney-General, Pratt prosecuted Florence Hensey, an Irishman
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 who had spied for France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and John Shebbeare
John Shebbeare
John Shebbeare was a British tory political satirist.-Life:He was the eldest son of an attorney and corn-factor of Bideford, Devonshire. A hundred and a village in Devon, where the family had owned land, bear their name...

, a violent party writer of the day. Shebbeare had published a libel against the government contained in his Letters to the People of England, which were published in the years 1756-1758. As evidence of Pratt's moderation in a period of passionate party warfare and frequent state trials, it is notable that this was the only official prosecution for libel that he started and that he maintained his earlier insistence that the decision lay with the jury. He led for the Crown in the prosecution of Laurence Shirley, 4th Earl Ferrers
Laurence Shirley, 4th Earl Ferrers
Laurence Shirley, 4th Earl Ferrers was the last member of the House of Lords hanged in England.The 4th Earl Ferrers, descendant of an ancient and noble family, was the eldest son of Hon. Laurence Ferrers, himself a younger son of the Robert Shirley, 1st Earl Ferrers-a descendant of Robert...

 for the murder
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

 of a servant, a case that shocked Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

.

Wilkes and Entick



Pratt lost his patron when Pitt left office in October 1761 but in January 1762, he resigned from the Commons, was raised to the bench as Chief Justice of the Common Pleas
Chief Justice of the Common Pleas
The Court of Common Pleas, also known as the Common Bench or Common Place, was the second highest common law court in the English legal system until 1880, when it was dissolved. As such, the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas was one of the highest judicial officials in England, behind only the Lord...

, received the customary knighthood and was sworn into the Privy Council.

The Common Pleas was not an obvious forum for a jurist with constitutional interest, dealing as it did principally with disputes between private parties. However, on 30 April 1763, Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 John Wilkes
John Wilkes
John Wilkes was an English radical, journalist and politician.He was first elected Member of Parliament in 1757. In the Middlesex election dispute, he fought for the right of voters—rather than the House of Commons—to determine their representatives...

 was arrest
Arrest
An arrest is the act of depriving a person of his or her liberty usually in relation to the purported investigation and prevention of crime and presenting into the criminal justice system or harm to oneself or others...

ed under a general warrant for alleged seditious libel in issue No.45 of The North Briton
The North Briton
The North Briton was a radical newspaper published in 18th century London. The North Briton also served as the pseudonym of the newspaper's author, used in advertisements, letters to other publications, and handbills....

. Pratt freed Wilkes holding that parliamentary privilege
Parliamentary privilege
Parliamentary privilege is a legal immunity enjoyed by members of certain legislatures, in which legislators are granted protection against civil or criminal liability for actions done or statements made related to one's duties as a legislator. It is common in countries whose constitutions are...

 gave him immunity from arrest on such a charge. The decision earned Pratt some favour with the radical faction in London and seems to have spurred him, over the summer of that year to encourage juries
Jury (England and Wales)
In the legal jurisdiction of England and Wales, there is a long tradition of jury trial that has evolved over centuries.-History:The English jury has its roots in two institutions that date from before the Norman conquest in 1066...

 to award disproportionate and excessive damages
Damages
In law, damages is an award, typically of money, to be paid to a person as compensation for loss or injury; grammatically, it is a singular noun, not plural.- Compensatory damages :...

 to printers
Printer (publisher)
In publishing, printers are both companies providing printing services and individuals who directly operate printing presses. With the invention of the moveable type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg around 1450, printing—and printers—proliferated throughout Europe.Today, printers are found...

 unlawfully arrested over the same matter. Wilkes was awarded £1,000 (£127,000 at 2003 prices) and Pratt condemned the use of general warrants for entry and search. Pratt pronounced with decisive and almost passionate energy against their legality, thus giving voice to the strong feeling of the nation and winning for himself an extraordinary degree of popularity as one of the maintainers of English civil liberties. Honours fell thick upon him in the form of addresses from the City of London
City of London
The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of...

 and many large towns, and of presentations of freedom from various corporate bodies.

In 1762, the home of John Entick
John Entick
John Entick was an English schoolmaster and author. He was largely a hack writer, working for Edward Dilly, and he padded his credentials with a bogus M.A. and a portrait in clerical dress; some of his works had a more lasting value...

 had been raided by officers of the Crown, searching for evidence of sedition
Sedition
In law, sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent to lawful authority. Sedition may include any...

. In the case of Entick v Carrington
Entick v Carrington
Entick v Carrington [1765] is a leading case in English law establishing the civil liberties of individuals and limiting the scope of executive power. The case has also been influential in other common law jurisdictions and was an important motivation for the Fourth Amendment to the United States...

(1765), Pratt held that the raids were unlawful as they were without authority in statute
Statute
A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs a state, city, or county. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy. The word is often used to distinguish law made by legislative bodies from case law, decided by courts, and regulations...

 or in common law.

The American Stamp Act crisis


On 17 July 1765 Pratt was created Baron Camden, of Camden Place, in the county of Kent, becoming a member of the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

. Prime Minister Lord Rockingham
Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham
Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, KG, PC , styled The Hon. Charles Watson-Wentworth before 1733, Viscount Higham between 1733 and 1746, Earl of Malton between 1746 and 1750 and The Earl Malton in 1750, was a British Whig statesman, most notable for his two terms as Prime...

 had unsuccessfully made this, and other appointments, to curry favour with Pitt but Camden was not over-earger to get involved in the crisis surrounding the Stamp Act 1765
Stamp Act 1765
The Stamp Act 1765 was a direct tax imposed by the British Parliament specifically on the colonies of British America. The act required that many printed materials in the colonies be produced on stamped paper produced in London, carrying an embossed revenue stamp...

. Camden did attend the Commons on 14 January 1766 and his subsequent speeches on the matter in the Lords are so similar to Pitt's that he had clearly adopted the party line. He was one of only five Lords who voted against the Declaratory Act
Declaratory Act
The Declaratory Act was a declaration by the British Parliament in 1766 which accompanied the repeal of the Stamp Act 1765. The government repealed the Stamp Act because boycotts were hurting British trade and used the declaration to justify the repeal and save face...

, a resolution of the House insisting on parliament's right to tax
Tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

 colonies overseas. Camden insisted that taxation was predicated on consent and that consent needed representation. However, when he came to support the government over the Act's repeal
Repeal
A repeal is the amendment, removal or reversal of a law. This is generally done when a law is no longer effective, or it is shown that a law is having far more negative consequences than were originally envisioned....

, he rather unconvinvingly purported to base his opinion on the actual hardship caused by the Act rather than its constitutional basis.

Lord Chancellor


In May 1766, Pitt again became prime minister and advanced Camden from the court of common pleas to take his seat as Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

 on July 30. Camden managed to negotiate an additional allowance of £1500 and a position for his son John. Camden carried out the role in an efficient manner, without any great legal innovation. He presided over the court of chancery
Court of Chancery
The Court of Chancery was a court of equity in England and Wales that followed a set of loose rules to avoid the slow pace of change and possible harshness of the common law. The Chancery had jurisdiction over all matters of equity, including trusts, land law, the administration of the estates of...

 from which only one of his decisions was overturned on appeal. He also presided over the judicial functions of the House of Lords
Judicial functions of the House of Lords
The House of Lords, in addition to having a legislative function, historically also had a judicial function. It functioned as a court of first instance for the trials of peers, for impeachment cases, and as a court of last resort within the United Kingdom. In the latter case the House's...

 where in 1767 he approved Lord Mansfield
William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield
William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, SL, PC was a British barrister, politician and judge noted for his reform of English law. Born to Scottish nobility, he was educated in Perth, Scotland before moving to London at the age of 13 to take up a place at Westminster School...

's ruling that the City of London
City of London
The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of...

 could not fine dissenter
Dissenter
The term dissenter , labels one who disagrees in matters of opinion, belief, etc. In the social and religious history of England and Wales, however, it refers particularly to a member of a religious body who has, for one reason or another, separated from the Established Church.Originally, the term...

s who refused to serve the corporation. Dissenters were in any case prohibited from serving under the Corporation Act 1661
Corporation Act 1661
The Corporation Act of 1661 is an Act of the Parliament of England . It belongs to the general category of test acts, designed for the express purpose of restricting public offices in England to members of the Church of England....

. In 1768 in the House of Lords he again sat in a case involving John Wilkes, this time rejecting his appeal
Appeal
An appeal is a petition for review of a case that has been decided by a court of law. The petition is made to a higher court for the purpose of overturning the lower court's decision....

 and finding that his consecutive, rather than concurrent sentence
Sentence (law)
In law, a sentence forms the final explicit act of a judge-ruled process, and also the symbolic principal act connected to his function. The sentence can generally involve a decree of imprisonment, a fine and/or other punishments against a defendant convicted of a crime...

s were lawful. He gave a controversial judgment in the Douglas Peerage case.

"A forty days tyranny"


However, Camden the politician was less of a champion of civil rights than Pratt the judge. The poor harvest
Harvest
Harvest is the process of gathering mature crops from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper...

 of 1766 led to fears of high grain prices and starvation
Starvation
Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy, nutrient and vitamin intake. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death...

 but parliament was prorogued and could not renew the export
Export
The term export is derived from the conceptual meaning as to ship the goods and services out of the port of a country. The seller of such goods and services is referred to as an "exporter" who is based in the country of export whereas the overseas based buyer is referred to as an "importer"...

 ban that expired on 26 August. Pitt, with Camden's support, called the Privy Council to issue a royal proclamation on 26 September to prohibit grain exports until parliament met. However, despite Camden's record on civil liberties, this proclamation was unlawful, contrary to art.2 of the Bill of Rights 1689
Bill of Rights 1689
The Bill of Rights or the Bill of Rights 1688 is an Act of the Parliament of England.The Bill of Rights was passed by Parliament on 16 December 1689. It was a re-statement in statutory form of the Declaration of Right presented by the Convention Parliament to William and Mary in March 1689 ,...

 and both houses of parliament ultimately accused Pitt and Camden of tyranny. Camden pleaded necessity, a justification he had rejected in the Wilkes and Carrington trial
Trial (law)
In law, a trial is when parties to a dispute come together to present information in a tribunal, a formal setting with the authority to adjudicate claims or disputes. One form of tribunal is a court...

s, and styled it "a forty days tyranny". Ultimately the government was forced to suppress the parliamentary attacks by an act
Act of Parliament
An Act of Parliament is a statute enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament. In the Republic of Ireland the term Act of the Oireachtas is used, and in the United States the term Act of Congress is used.In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow...

 indemnifying those involved from legal action.

America


In 1767, the cabinet
Cabinet of the United Kingdom
The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is the collective decision-making body of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, composed of the Prime Minister and some 22 Cabinet Ministers, the most senior of the government ministers....

, of which Camden was a member, approved Charles Townshend
Charles Townshend
Charles Townshend was a British politician. He was born at his family's seat of Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England, the second son of Charles Townshend, 3rd Viscount Townshend, and Audrey , daughter and heiress of Edward Harrison of Ball's Park, near Hertford, a lady who rivalled her son in...

's attempt to settle the American protest and revolt over taxation. Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

 reportedly observed that it was "internal" taxes that the colonists objected to and Townshend took this to suggest that there would be little opposition to import duties imposed at the port
Port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

s. Camden's support for the tax proposals would return to embarrass him.

Pitt and his followers had, after their initial opposition, come to support the Declaratory Act
Declaratory Act
The Declaratory Act was a declaration by the British Parliament in 1766 which accompanied the repeal of the Stamp Act 1765. The government repealed the Stamp Act because boycotts were hurting British trade and used the declaration to justify the repeal and save face...

 of 1766 which asserted Great Britain's sovereignty over the American colonies. Further, continued unrest in America, stemming from Townshend's 1767 taxation scheme, brought a robust response from Pitt and Camden was his spokesman in the Lords. However, towards the end of 1767, Pitt, now raised to the Lords as Earl Chatham, fell ill and the Duke of Grafton
Augustus FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton
Augustus Henry FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton, KG, PC , styled Earl of Euston between 1747 and 1757, was a British Whig statesman of the Georgian era...

 stepped in as caretaker. Camden became indecisive in his own political role, writing to Grafton on 4 October 1768:

Pitt resigned on 14 October and Camden, who continued to sit in the cabinet as Lord Chancellor, now took up a position of uncompromising hostility to the governments of Grafton and Lord North
Frederick North, Lord North
Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford, KG, PC , more often known by his courtesy title, Lord North, which he used from 1752 until 1790, was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1770 to 1782. He led Great Britain through most of the American War of Independence...

 on America and on Wilkes. Camden opposed Lord Hillsborough
Wills Hill, 1st Marquess of Downshire
Wills Hill, 1st Marquess of Downshire PC , known as the Viscount Hillsborough from 1742 to 1751 and as the Earl of Hillsborough from 1751 to 1789, was a British politician of the Georgian era...

's confrontational approach to the Americas, favouring conciliation and working on the development of reformed tax proposals. Camden personally promised the colonies that no further taxes would be levied, and voted in the cabinet minority who sought to repeal the tea duty.

John Wilkes MP



On 28 March 1768, Wilkes was surprisingly elected as member for Middlesex
Middlesex (UK Parliament constituency)
Middlesex is a former United Kingdom Parliamentary constituency. It was a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1885....

, much to Grafton's distaste. Grafton canvassed Camden on whether Wilkes could be removed from parliament and Camden responded that, under the parliamentary privilege
Parliamentary privilege
Parliamentary privilege is a legal immunity enjoyed by members of certain legislatures, in which legislators are granted protection against civil or criminal liability for actions done or statements made related to one's duties as a legislator. It is common in countries whose constitutions are...

 of the House to regulate its own membership, Wilkes could, though lawfully elected, be lawfully expelled. However, Camden saw that this was only likely to lead to Wilkes's re-election and an escallating crisis. The cabinet decided to seek Wilkes's expulsion but Camden was not content with the policy. By the end of 1769 he was in open opposition to the government and was making little contribution to discussions in cabinet. Only Royal pressure kept him in post. However, by the beginning of 1770, Chatham had returned to the fray, opposing government policies on Wilkes and America. On 9 January 1770, Chatham moved a motion opposing the government's policies and Camden stepped down from the woolsack
Woolsack
The Woolsack is the seat of the Lord Speaker in the House of Lords, the Upper House of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. From the Middle Ages until 2006, the presiding officer in the House of Lords was the Lord Chancellor and the Woolsack was usually mentioned in association with the office of...

 to give a speech in support of the motion. However, he did not resign as Lord Chancellor until King George III, outraged by his conduct, demanded his dismissal on 17 January. He seems also to have resigned as a Chancery judge in late 1769.

Into opposition


Chatham, Rockingham and Grenville were expected to combine to bring down Grafton, when it was expected that Lord Camden would return to the woolsack. However, though Grafton resigned, Lord North
Frederick North, Lord North
Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford, KG, PC , more often known by his courtesy title, Lord North, which he used from 1752 until 1790, was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1770 to 1782. He led Great Britain through most of the American War of Independence...

 managed to form a successor administration and Camden was left to opposition, continuing to sit in the Lords. From 1770 onwards, Chatham neglected parliamentary attendance and left leadership of the house to Lord Shelburne
William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne
William Petty-FitzMaurice, 1st Marquess of Lansdowne, KG, PC , known as The Earl of Shelburne between 1761 and 1784, by which title he is generally known to history, was an Irish-born British Whig statesman who was the first Home Secretary in 1782 and then Prime Minister 1782–1783 during the final...

 with whom Camden could manage only the coolest of relationships.

During 1770-71, Camden tussled with Lord Mansfield
Earl of Mansfield and Mansfield
Earl of Mansfield, in the County of Nottingham, and Earl of Mansfield, of Caen Wood in the County of Middlesex, are two titles in the Peerage of Great Britain that have been united under a single holder since 1843...

 over the law of libel, Camden maintaining that the jury
Jury (England and Wales)
In the legal jurisdiction of England and Wales, there is a long tradition of jury trial that has evolved over centuries.-History:The English jury has its roots in two institutions that date from before the Norman conquest in 1066...

 should not only decide whether the work in question was published but also whether the words themselves were defamatory or innocent. He opposed the extension of the Royal Marriages Act 1772
Royal Marriages Act 1772
The Royal Marriages Act 1772 is an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain which prescribes the conditions under which members of the British Royal Family may contract a valid marriage, in order to guard against marriages that could diminish the status of the Royal House...

 to all descendants of King George II
George II of Great Britain
George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Archtreasurer and Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 until his death.George was the last British monarch born outside Great Britain. He was born and brought up in Northern Germany...

, believing it to be impractical. In 1774, in the House of Lords appeal in the case of Donaldson v Beckett, Camden spoke against the concept of perpetual copyright
Perpetual copyright
Perpetual copyright can refer to a copyright without a finite term, or to a copyright whose finite term is perpetually extended. Perpetual copyright in the former sense is highly uncommon, as the current laws of all countries with copyright statutes set a standard limit on the duration, based...

 for fear of inhibiting the advancement of learning. This was a key influence on the ultimate rejection of that year's Booksellers' Bill
Booksellers' Bill
The Booksellers's Bill was a 1774 bill introduced into the Parliament of Great Britain in the wake of the important copyright case of Donaldson v. Beckett....

.

The American crisis of 1774


The year 1774 brough a renewed crisis over America. The Boston Tea Party
Boston Tea Party
The Boston Tea Party was a direct action by colonists in Boston, a town in the British colony of Massachusetts, against the British government and the monopolistic East India Company that controlled all the tea imported into the colonies...

 in 1773 led Lord North to seek a blockade
Blockade
A blockade is an effort to cut off food, supplies, war material or communications from a particular area by force, either in part or totally. A blockade should not be confused with an embargo or sanctions, which are legal barriers to trade, and is distinct from a siege in that a blockade is usually...

 of the city through the Boston Port Bill. Camden roundly criticised the taxes that had led to the American protests, as he had opposed them in Cabinet from 1767 to 1769, but was reminded that he was Lord Chancellor when they were imposed. The Chathamite faction went on to support the Bill and further to support the Massachusetts Government Bill, Camden's inherent patriotism
Patriotism
Patriotism is a devotion to one's country, excluding differences caused by the dependencies of the term's meaning upon context, geography and philosophy...

 bringing him into line. However, by May, fears that the Bill would focus and strengthen American resistance led Camden to oppose the measure.

On 16 February 1775, Camden made his major speech on the crisis, opposing public opinion and the New England Trade and Fishery Bill, a speech often believed to have been drafted in collaboration with Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

 for an American audience. Camden invoked John Locke
John Locke
John Locke FRS , widely known as the Father of Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social...

's dictum that resistance to tyranny was justified and called the Bill:
Thomas Hutchinson observed:
How Camden voted on the Quebec Act
Quebec Act
The Quebec Act of 1774 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain setting procedures of governance in the Province of Quebec...

 is unknown but in May 1775, and in response to a petition
Petition
A petition is a request to do something, most commonly addressed to a government official or public entity. Petitions to a deity are a form of prayer....

 from a small number of settlers, he unsuccessfully moved its repeal
Repeal
A repeal is the amendment, removal or reversal of a law. This is generally done when a law is no longer effective, or it is shown that a law is having far more negative consequences than were originally envisioned....

. However, he seems to have been in the grip of a conspiracy theory
Conspiracy theory
A conspiracy theory explains an event as being the result of an alleged plot by a covert group or organization or, more broadly, the idea that important political, social or economic events are the products of secret plots that are largely unknown to the general public.-Usage:The term "conspiracy...

 that the Act's ulterior objective was to create an army of militant Roman Catholics in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 to suppress the Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 British colonists.

American War of Independence


The American War of Independence broke out in 1775 and Chatham's faction were dismayed. Their official line was to advocate mediation, refusing to think of either American independence or continued English hegemony. Camden continued to speak on the dilemma in parliament. He continued steadfastly to oppose the taxation of the American colonists, and signed, in 1778, the protest of the Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 in favour of an address to the King on the subject of the manifesto of the commissioners to America. In 1782 he was appointed Lord President of the Council
Lord President of the Council
The Lord President of the Council is the fourth of the Great Officers of State of the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord High Treasurer and above the Lord Privy Seal. The Lord President usually attends each meeting of the Privy Council, presenting business for the monarch's approval...

 under the Rockingham-Shelburne administration, supporting the government economic programme and anti-corruption drive, and championing repeal of the Declaratory Act 1720 in Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

. Once Rockingham died in July, the Chathamite residue could only lose the Commons vote over the American peace terms the following February. Camden resigned and persuaded Shelburne to do the same.

The Younger Pitt



Camden was a leading opponent of the ensuing Fox-North Coalition
Fox-North Coalition
The Fox-North Coalition was a government in Great Britain that held office during 1783. As the name suggests, the ministry was a coalition of the groups supporting Charles James Fox and Lord North...

, denouncing it for patronage
Patronage
Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows to another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings or popes have provided to musicians, painters, and sculptors...

 and leading the opposition to Fox's
Charles James Fox
Charles James Fox PC , styled The Honourable from 1762, was a prominent British Whig statesman whose parliamentary career spanned thirty-eight years of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and who was particularly noted for being the arch-rival of William Pitt the Younger...

 East India Bill that brought down the administration on 9 December 1783. William Pitt the Younger
William Pitt the Younger
William Pitt the Younger was a British politician of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He became the youngest Prime Minister in 1783 at the age of 24 . He left office in 1801, but was Prime Minister again from 1804 until his death in 1806...

, the son of his former patron, came to power and within a few months Camden was reinstated as Lord President, holding the post until his death. He was created Earl Camden on 13 May 1786 and granted a further peerage
Peerage
The Peerage is a legal system of largely hereditary titles in the United Kingdom, which constitute the ranks of British nobility and is part of the British honours system...

 as Viscount Bayham to lend his son a courtesy title
Courtesy title
A courtesy title is a form of address in systems of nobility used for children, former wives and other close relatives of a peer. These styles are used 'by courtesy' in the sense that the relatives do not themselves hold substantive titles...

.

Camden took an animated part in the debates on important public matters till within two years of his death, in particular supporting Pitt's 1785 Parliamentary Reform Bill and the Irish
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 trade proposals that same year. Camden continued to attend cabinet meetings and, after he moved to Hill Street, Berkeley Square
Berkeley Square
Berkeley Square is a town square in the West End of London, England, in the City of Westminster. It was originally laid out in the mid 18th century by architect William Kent...

 on account of his ill health, cabinet meetings were sometimes held at his home.

Regency crisis of 1788


In November 1788, King George III fell ill and insanity
Insanity
Insanity, craziness or madness is a spectrum of behaviors characterized by certain abnormal mental or behavioral patterns. Insanity may manifest as violations of societal norms, including becoming a danger to themselves and others, though not all such acts are considered insanity...

 was feared. Lord Chancellor Thurlow
Edward Thurlow, 1st Baron Thurlow
Edward Thurlow, 1st Baron Thurlow PC, KC was a British lawyer and Tory politician. He served as Lord Chancellor of Great Britain for fourteen years and under four Prime Ministers.- Early life:...

 hesitated over what action to take, thereby precipitating the regency crisis of 1788. As Lord President, Camden led the Privy Council examination of the King's doctors' opinions. With Thurlow unwilling to lead the legislature, Camden grasped the challenge of inviting parliament to appoint a regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

, in the face of the opposition's support for the automatic appointment of their ally the Prince of Wales
George IV of the United Kingdom
George IV was the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and also of Hanover from the death of his father, George III, on 29 January 1820 until his own death ten years later...

. Camden's resolution that appointment rested with parliament was carried in the Lords by 99 votes to 66 on 23 December 1788. Moreover, on 22 January 1789, Camden's motion to appoint the Prince of Wales, but with restrictions in case of the King's recovery, was carried by 94 to 68 votes. The King recovered the following month, having been suffering from porphyria
Porphyria
Porphyrias are a group of inherited or acquired disorders of certain enzymes in the heme bio-synthetic pathway . They are broadly classified as acute porphyrias and cutaneous porphyrias, based on the site of the overproduction and accumulation of the porphyrins...

 rather than insanity.

Fox's Libel Act


To the last, Camden zealously defended his early views on the functions of juries, especially of their right to decide on all questions of libel. In the Lords debate on the second reading of the Libel Act 1792
Libel Act 1792
The Libel Act 1792 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain. At the urging of the Whig politician Charles James Fox, the Act restored to juries the right to decide what was libel and whether a defendant was guilty, rather than leaving it solely to the judge...

 on 16 May, Camden contended that intention was an essential element of libel and should be decided by the jury as in murder
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

 cases. Broadening the legal argument to the constitutional and political Camden charged press freedom to the hands of the jury as the representatives of the people. The judges he held were too prone to government pressure to guarantee essential freedoms. Despite the unanimous opposition of the Law Lords, Camden's speech helped secure a majority of 57 to 32.

Reputation and legacy


Camden was short in stature but of a fine physique. For recreation he enjoyed music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

, theatre
Theatre
Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance...

, romantic fiction
Romance (genre)
As a literary genre of high culture, romance or chivalric romance is a style of heroic prose and verse narrative that was popular in the aristocratic circles of High Medieval and Early Modern Europe. They were fantastic stories about marvel-filled adventures, often of a knight errant portrayed as...

, conversation
Conversation
Conversation is a form of interactive, spontaneous communication between two or more people who are following rules of etiquette.Conversation analysis is a branch of sociology which studies the structure and organization of human interaction, with a more specific focus on conversational...

 and food
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

. His vices were sloth and gluttony rather than womanising and gambling
Gambling
Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

. The Earl Camden died in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 on 18 April 1794. His remains were interred in Seal church in Kent. Camden died a wealthy man, much of his wealth deriving from his wife.
Both Lord Campbell
John Campbell, 1st Baron Campbell
John Campbell, 1st Baron Campbell PC, KC was a British Liberal politician, lawyer, and man of letters.-Background and education:...

 and Sir William Holdsworth
William Searle Holdsworth
Sir William Searle Holdsworth, OM, KC, DCL, LL.D, FBA, was Vinerian Professor of English Law at Oxford University and a legal historian, amongst whose works is the 17 volume History of English Law.-Early life:...

 held Camden a great Lord Chancellor.



By the 20th century, Camden's legal opinions were seen as subservient to Chatham's politics and Camden certainly followed the party line on Wilkes and America. However, his party loyalty was tempered by a self-serving interest in power. He served under five prime ministers and on two occasions clung to office after Chatham had resigned.

In 1788 he obtained an Act of Parliament granting permission to develop some fields he owned just to the north of London. In 1791 he laid out the land in plots and lease
Lease
A lease is a contractual arrangement calling for the lessee to pay the lessor for use of an asset. A rental agreement is a lease in which the asset is tangible property...

d them for the construction of 1,400 houses, the beginnings of Camden Town
Camden Town
-Economy:In recent years, entertainment-related businesses and a Holiday Inn have moved into the area. A number of retail and food chain outlets have replaced independent shops driven out by high rents and redevelopment. Restaurants have thrived, with the variety of culinary traditions found in...

. The town of Camden, Maine
Camden, Maine
Camden is a town in Knox County, Maine, United States. The population was 5,254 at the 2000 census. The population of the town more than triples during the summer months, due to tourists and summer residents. Camden is a famous summer colony in the Mid-Coast region of Maine...

 in the U.S. was named for him in 1791. This is one of several towns and counties bearing his name, including Camden SC, Camden NC and Camden NJ as well as Camden counties in Missouri and Georgia. In turn, Camden SC gave its name both to the Battle of Camden and Camden AL. Camden TN was named for the battle, and Camden AR took its name from Camden AL. Pratt Street, a major thoroughfare in Baltimore MD, is also named partially after him.

Cases

  • Chapman v Pickersgill (1762) 2 Wilson 145, 146, "I wish never to hear this objection again. This action is for a tort: torts are infinitely various; not limited or confined, for there is nothing in nature but may be an instrument of mischief".
  • Entick v Carrington
    Entick v Carrington
    Entick v Carrington [1765] is a leading case in English law establishing the civil liberties of individuals and limiting the scope of executive power. The case has also been influential in other common law jurisdictions and was an important motivation for the Fourth Amendment to the United States...

    (1765) 19 Howell's State Trials 1030, right to security and property without arbitrary official interference
  • Donaldson v Beckett 98 ER 257 (1774)