Symud i'r prif gynnwys

"OLD BRECKNOCK CHIPS." A Column of Antiquarian Chit-Chat relating to the County of Brecknock. NOTES, QUERIES, AND REPLIES, on Subjects inter¬ esting to Breconshire, mast be addressed to EDITOR, Brecon County Times, Brecon. Real names and addresses must be given in confidence, and MSS. must be written legibly, on one side of the paper only. MARCH 11th, 1887. NOTES. ONE OF THE OLD BKECON JUDGES. Up to the year 1880, William IV., Wales was served by Judges who held their appointment for life, unless otherwise promoted. There were four circuits then, instead of the North and South Wales circuits of the present day, and one of the four circuits was denominated the circuit of the " Brecon, Glamorgan, and Eadnor Greac Sessions." In the History of Brecknockshire, by the writer of this sketch, will be found a full list of the old Brecon judges from the 16th century downwards, and as far as possible biographical notes have been added to that list in the before-mentioned work. Many distinguished lawyers and statesmen of the past "did" the old Brecon and Glamorgan circuit, notably that great Welsh patriot, Sir Kobert Price. And the subject of this sketch was distinguished not a little in literature and politics, as well as the law. Judge Hardinge was of good family, and at one time his friends were sanguine that he would follow his great relative, Lord Chan¬ cellor Camden, and occupy the Woolsack. But with brilliant talents there was co- mingled some amount of indolence, and men who had not perhaps so great a genius as Hardinge, but a very good substitute for it— indomitable perseverance and application— passed him by, and we do not read of Judge Hardinge attaining the high position expected of him. He certainly, as we shall presently see, became a Member of Parlia¬ ment, and made some telling speeches, but here again he never attained to any high office of State. Still, with it all, he was a distinguished and singularly able man. George Hardinge, Esq., senior judge on the Brecon circuit, was the eldest surviving son of Nicholas Hardinge, Esq., by Jane, fifth daughter of Sir John Pratt, Chief Justice of the King's Bench from 1718 to 1724 (the second daughter by a second wife, and sister to the first Earl Camden), was born June 22nd, 1744, at Canbury, a manor house in Kingston-upon-Thames, of which his father to noble and lasting purposes. And about had become possessed on the death of a cousin of his own name. Judge Hardinge's father died when he (the judge) was only 14 years of age, and he succeeded to the estate. He studied at Eton under the celebrated Dr. Barnard (who had 500 of the flower of British aristocracy at one time under his tuition). In January, 1761, Judge Hardinge was admitted a pensioner at Trinity College, Cambridge, and he particularly distinguished himself in the " gratulations " of the Univer¬ sity on the public events of three successive years —1761, 1762, 1763, —the King's marriage, the birth of the Prince of Wales, and the Peace of Paris. Mr Hardinge, when he left Cambridge, was afterwards for a short time under the tuition of Dr. Watson, subsequently Bishop of Llandaff. Although he never took his B.A. degree, by the favour of a " royal mandate" (oh ! those good old days of purchase and favouritism!) he passed on to his M.A. degree in 1769. No doubt he was awarded this privilege of " passing on" to the higher honour without having taken the lesser one in consequence of his relationship to the first Lord Camden. Like his uncle, he aspired to be Chancellor, and in the same year (June 9th, 1769) he was accordingly called to the Bar by the Society of the Middle Temple, and obtained a silk gown, with a patent of " precedence." This enabled him to take briefs against, as well as for, the Crown, and as he already possessed an uncommon reputation for eloquence, he soon attained to a considerable degree of practice at Nisi Priiis. Judge Hardinge was evidently "well in" with powerful Courtly people, for we read that he, by the powerful influence of Lord Camden, was enabled to get an Act of Parliament to re-model some family living, and we are not surprised to find that this subvention of spiritual things to temporal " likes and wishes " produced a bitter attack upon Judge Hardinge from the late Gilbert Wakefield. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1769, but his pursuits were of rather too gay a nature for either bar or antiquarian studies ; still, we are told that he " addicted himself with great intensity of application to his regular professional avocations." In the Long Vacation of 1776, Judge Hardinge made a tour through France and Switzerland (this was the usual thing for young men with plenty of money, and a liberal quantity of Father Time's gift on hand, to do), and upon his return, his biographer tells us, "he appears to have cultivated the Muses with more assiduity than the Year Books." He had friends, however, who were wishful to see him consecrate his genius and talents