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William Murray in United Kingdom

Murray William 1st Earl of Mansfield

Introduction to William Murray

William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield (1705-1793), British jurist. Murray was known as a fair and scrupulous representative of the law. He was born in Scone, Scotland, and went to England at the age of 14. Educated at the University of Oxford in Oxford, England, he became a barrister in 1730, entered parliament in 1742, and served for 14 years as minister of the Crown. A moderate Tory, Murray also served as solicitor general, attorney general, and leader of the House of Commons. In 1756 he was appointed lord chief justice. As a jurist he was both rationalist and reformer, and he sought to eliminate pedantry and technicalities in the law.

In his position as chief justice, Murray often ruled against popular opinion in cases of seditious libel. For that reason, he was the victim of scathing attacks by the anonymous writer Junius, who published polemical letters in the London paper, the Public Advertiser. Murray also conducted an even-handed trial of the religious agitator Lord George Gordon, in which the unpopular Gordon, accused of treason for his part in what are called the Gordon Riots, was acquitted. Murray was created earl of Mansfield in 1776.” (1)


Notes and References

  • Information about William Murray in the Encarta Online Encyclopedia
  • Guide to William Murray

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    • Article Name: William Murray
    • Author: Danny W.
    • Description: Murray William 1st Earl of Mansfield Introduction to William Murray William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield (1705-1793), [...]

    This entry was last updated: August 24, 2014


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