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Pratt
Pratt
285
the Book of Proverbs,’ 16mo [London, 1846] [anon.].
  1. ‘Wild Flowers of the Year,’ 16mo, London [1846?].
  2. ‘Garden Flowers of the Year,’ 16mo, London [1847].
  3. ‘Chapters on Common Things of the Seaside,’ 8vo, London, 1850.
  4. ‘Wild Flowers,’ 2 vols. 16mo, London, 1852; 2nd edition [1892?].
  5. ‘The Green Fields and their Grasses,’ 8vo, London, 1852.
  6. ‘Our Native Songsters,’ 16mo, London, 1852.
  7. ‘The Flowering Plants and Ferns of Great Britain,’ 5 vols. 8vo, London [1855]; 3rd edit. 1873.
  8. ‘The Ferns of Great Britain and their Allies,’ 8vo, London [1855]; 2nd edit. 1871.
  9. ‘The Poisonous, Noxious, and Suspected Plants of our Fields and Woods,’ 8vo, London [1857]; 2nd edit. [1866].
  10. ‘The British Grasses and Sedges,’ &c., 8vo, London [1859].
  11. ‘Haunts of the Wild Flowers,’ 8vo, London, 1863.

She also edited ‘By Daylight,’ 8vo, London, 1865, a translation of Ottilie Wildermuth's ‘Im Tageslicht.’

[Women's Penny Paper, 9 Nov. 1889, with portrait; Journ. Bot. 1894, pp. 205–7; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Brit. Mus. (Nat. Hist.) Cat.; information kindly supplied by Mrs. Pearless's niece, Mrs. Wells.]

B. B. W.

PRATT, CHARLES, first Earl Camden (1714–1794), lord chancellor, third son of Sir John Pratt [q. v.] by his second wife, was born at Kensington, where he was baptised on 21 March 1714. He was educated at Eton, having for his contemporaries William Pitt, afterwards Earl of Chatham, his lifelong friend; George Lyttelton, afterwards first Baron Lyttelton; Sneyd Davies, and Horace Walpole. Proceeding to King's College, Cambridge, he was elected on to the foundation in October 1731, and three years later became fellow. Being already designed for the legal profession, he had been entered at the Inner Temple on 5 June 1728, and at college he applied himself to the study of law and constitutional history. He graduated B.A. in 1736 (M.A. in 1740), and was called to the bar at the Middle Temple on 17 June 1738. He paced Westminster Hall and rode the Western circuit for some years without a brief, and began to think of abandoning the profession. His melancholy condition drew from Sneyd Davies in 1743 an ode in which he sought to animate him by the example of the illustrious who, before him, had from obscurity ‘pleaded their way to glory's chair supreme’ (Dodsley, Collection of Poems by Several Hands, 1758, vi. 265; Nichols, Illustr. of Lit. i. 545). Some years afterwards a lucky chance proved the turning-point in his fortunes. He was briefed as junior to his friend Robert Henley, afterwards Lord-chancellor Northington, who fell or feigned to fall ill, and left him the entire conduct of the case, in which he showed such conspicuous ability as to establish his reputation. A whig in politics, he maintained, as counsel for William Owen, tried, on 6 July 1752, as the publisher of ‘The Case of the Hon. Alexander Murray,’ the then novel principle of the competence of juries to determine by general verdict the entire question (law as well as facts) in cases of seditious libel, with the result that the defendant was acquitted [see Murray, Alexander, d. 1777]. In 1755 he was made king's counsel and attorney-general to the Prince of Wales. In 1757 he succeeded Henley as attorney-general on the accession of Pitt to power on 1 July. During his tenure of this office he represented Downton in parliament. Office made no change in either his principles or his practice, and in conducting the ex-officio prosecution of John Shebbeare [q. v.] in November 1758 he emphasised his adhesion to the principle for which he had contended in Owen's case, by addressing himself exclusively to the jury. The same year he drafted and carried through the House of Commons a bill for extending the Habeas Corpus Act to civil cases, a measure the defeat of which by the House of Lords postponed a needful reform for half a century. In 1759 he was appointed recorder of Bath. The only state trials in which he figured during his attorney-generalship were those of the spy Florence Hensey [q. v.] and Laurence Shirley, fourth earl Ferrers [q. v.]

On the death of Sir John Willes [q. v.], Pratt was appointed chief justice of the court of common pleas, and knighted on 28 Dec. 1761. He took his seat in court on 23 Jan. 1762, being coifed the same day, and was sworn of the privy council on 15 Feb. following. On 30 April 1763 the arrest of John Wilkes [q. v.] under a general warrant issued by the secretary of state for the apprehension of the author of ‘North Briton,’ No. 45, raised the question of the legality of such warrants. Pratt had no doubt of their illegality, and, on Wilkes's application, granted a habeas corpus returnable the same day. On Wilkes's subsequent committal to the Tower under a particular warrant, the chief justice ordered his release on the ground of privilege of parliament (6 May). Of this decision parliament took cognisance on its reassembling in the following November, when resolutions were passed by both houses excepting cases of seditious libel from privilege, though a minority of the peers entered a protest in the journal of the house against this restriction of their ancient immunity.