1750 - 1823
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Erskine, Called to bar (1778); won instant success with defence of Captain Baillie of Greenwich Hospital, accused of libel (1778); made successful defences of Admiral Lord Keppel (1779) and of Lord George Gordon, demolishing the doctrine of constructive treason (1781); M.P. (1783-84, 1790-1806); attorney general to prince of Wales(1783-92); contributed to passing of Fox's Libel Act (1792); particularly effective in blunting harshness of libel prosecutions under Pitt ministry; unsuccessfully defended Thomas Paine (1792); subsequently appeared for Frost, Hardy, and Horne Tooke; attacked current theory of criminal responsibility and established the plea of insanity in defence of Hadfield, charged with shooting at George III (1800); lord chancellor in Greenville's All the Talents administration (1806-07), despite his ignorance of equity; made last speech in House of Lords (1820), in defence of Queen Caroline.
|Born: 21st Jan 1750||Baptised: |
|Died: 17th Nov 1823||Buried: |
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