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Anderson
Anderson
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himself and other judges, with libelling the bishops and with being concerned in the authorship of the Martin Marprelate pamphlets. By a series of brutal interrogations Anderson successfully endeavoured to trap Udall into a confession of guilt, ‘as to which,’ writes Hallam (Const. Hist i. 206), ‘the proof was deficient,’ and to another judge, who urged some milder treatment of the prisoner, he replied, ‘I pray you let us make short work with him.’ The chief justice's speeches throughout the trial seem to justify the charge made against him by a nonconformist writer, that he ‘desired to trick the poor man out of his life’ (Peirce, Vindication of the Dissenters (1717), part i. pp. 129-131). Nor was Udall's case the only one in which Anderson allowed his personal feelings to get the better of his judgment. According to Strype, he frequently used ‘many oaths and reproachful revilings on the bench’ against the protestant sectarians, and at the trial of a clergyman charged at Lincoln in 1596 with omitting some prayers in the liturgy, he is described as standing up, bending himself towards the prisoner ‘with a strange fierceness of countenance,’ and calling ‘him “knave” oftentimes, and “rebellious knave” with manifold reproaches besides.’

But, in spite of his habitual harshness and impatience, Anderson had many of the qualities of a great judge. Although his treatment of catholics and nonconformists was in strict accordance with the policy of Elizabeth's ministers, a spirit of sturdy independence marked his relations with the court. In April 1587, when the Earl of Leicester had procured from the queen letters-patent granting a subordinate office in the court of Common Pleas to one of his creatures, Anderson, with his brother judges, refused to ratify the appointment on the ground that the sovereign could not by any exercise of prerogative dispose of the office. Similarly, in Easter term 1592, Anderson drew up a protest in behalf of the judges against the frequent imprisonment of ‘her highness's subjects... by commandment of any nobleman or counsellor,’ and urged the lord chancellor and lord treasurer to secure for every suspected person a fair trial in a court of law (Anderson's Reports, i. 297; Hallam's History, i. 234-6, 387). The protest, which is somewhat obscurely worded so far as it limits the personal power of the crown itself, has an interesting history. Its meaning was much debated by lawyers and politicians in 1627. The attorney-general, Sir Robert Heath, on the part of the king, quoted it in a mangled form to support the arbitrary imprisonment by Charles I of the five knights who had refused to contribute to the loan of that year; but Coke produced Anderson's own manuscript in the House of Commons on 1 April 1628, and Anderson's words were incorporated in a resolution giving all prisoners the right to a writ of habeas corpus. The resolution afterwards formed a clause of the petition of right (Gardiner's History (1884), vi. 215, 244). Nor would Anderson tolerate the ‘insolence of office’ that often characterised the conduct of petty magistrates. At the Leicester assizes of 1599 the chief justice was informed that a shoemaker had been committed to prison by the mayor for saying, after the maypole of the town had been pulled down, that he hoped to see ‘more morrice dancing and maypoles,’ and Anderson peremptorily ordered the offender's release. Anderson likewise endeavoured to diminish as far as possible ‘the law's delays,’ and he is justly credited with considerable personal courage. When an affray took place in his presence on the Somersetshire circuit in 1602, ‘the Lord Anderson himselfe,’ at the age of seventy-two, writes Manningham in his ‘Diary,’ ‘onely with his cap in his hande, took a sworde from a very lustie fellow,’ and so quelled the disturbance (Manningham's Diary, p. 41, Camden Soc).

In civil cases, Anderson's conduct was almost always patient and impartial, and he was renowned for his knowledge of law and his readiness in applying it. His reports, which were first published in 1664, consist of notes of cases taken by him while at the bar and on the bench between 1574 and 1603, and show great industry and learning. The book was long regarded as an authority by lawyers; a manuscript copy of it, in French, is preserved in the British Museum (Addit. MS, 25193). Lloyd, in his ‘State Worthies’ (p. 803), writing about 1665, describes Anderson as ‘a pure legist, that had little skill in the affairs of the world, always alleging a decisive case or statute on any matter or question, without that account of a moderate interpretation, some circumstances of things require, being so much the less useful as he was incompliant.’ But beside this verdict may be placed the well-supported statement of a reporter of Anderson's judgments, that he was never bound down by precedents, that he always gave judgment according to reason, and if there was no reason in the old law-books, he disregarded them (Goldesborough's Reports, 1653, p. 96).

Anderson died on 1 Aug. 1605, and was buried at Eyworth in Bedfordshire, where an elaborate monument was erected to his