Price, Robert

, an eminent lawyer and judge, was the son of Thomas Price, esq of Geeler in Denbighshire, and born in the parish of Kerigy Druidion, Jan. 14, 1653. After an education at the grammar-school of Wrexham, he was admitted of St. John’s college, Cambridge; but, as usual with gentlemen destined for his profession, left the university without taking a degree, and entered himself a student of Lincoln’s Inn about 1673. In 1677 he made what was called the grand tour, in company with the earl of Lexington, and lady and sir John Meers. When at Florence, we are told that he was apprehended, and some law-books taken from him; and his copy of “Coke upon Littleton” being supposed, by some ignorant officer, to be an English heretical Bible, Mr. Price was carried before the pope where he not only satisfied his holiness as to this work, but made "him a present of it, and the pope ordered it to be deposited in the Vatican library. In 1679 he returned, and married a lady of fortune; from whom, after some years’ cohabitation, he found it necessary to be separated, on account of the violence of her temper. In 1682 he was chosen member of parliament for Weobly in Herefordshire, and gave nis hote against the bill of | exclusion. The same year he was made attorney-general for South Wales, elected an alderman for the city of Hereford, and the year following was chosen recorder of Radnor. His high reputation for knowledge and integrity procured him the office of steward to the queen dowager (relict of Charles II.) in 1684; he was also chosen townclerk of the city of Gloucester; and, in 1686, king’s counsel at Ludlow. Being supposed to have a leaning towards the exiled family, he was, after the revolution, removed from tn*e offices of attorney-general for South Wales and town-clerk of Gloucester. In resentment for this affront, as his biographer insinuates, or from a more patriotic motive, he opposed king William’s grant of certain lands in Wales to his favourite, earl of Portland, and made a memorable speech on this occasion in the House of Commons; the consequence of which was, that the grant was rejected.

Although it might have been expected that king William would have, in his turn, resented this conduct of Mr. Price, yet he appears not only to have acquiesced in the decision of parliament, but knowing Mr. Price’s abilities as a lawyer, made him, in 1700, a judge of Brecknock circuit. After sitting in parliament for Weobly from 1682 to 1702, he resigned his seat in favour of his son Thomas, and was made serjeant-at-law, and one of the barons of the exchequer. In this character he distinguished himself in the memorable case of the Coventry election, in 1706, defending the conduct of the magistrates who had called in the aid of the military, not to influence the election, but to suppress a riot which tended to destroy its freedom. In 1710, as his fortune was considerably increased by his preferment, he built an alms-house at the place of his birth for six poor people, and amply endowed it.

On the accession of George I. in 1714, the baron was continued in his office, although not employed in the judicial proceedings against the rebels in 1716. On the memorable quarrel between the king and the prince of Wales (afterwards George II.) which led to a question respecting the care and education of the prince’s children, Mr. baron Price and Mr. justice Eyre had the courage to maintain an opinion contrary to that of the king. As he advanced in life, he procured an exchange of his seat on the Exchequer bench for one in the Common Pleas, the duties of which, | he was told, would be easier. This was effected in 1726 but the consequences were the reverse of what he expected for his reputation brought so many suitors into the Common Pleas, that he had more business than ever. He continued, however, to perform his duties with unremitting assiduity, and with great reputation, untii his death, at Kensington, Jan 2, 1732, in the 79th year of his age. His remains were interred at Weobly church, in Herefordshire. He bore the reputation of a man of very considerable abilities, and inflexible integrity, and, as appears by the few circumstances we have related, was certainly a man of independent spirit and courage. 1


Life, London, 1734-, 8vo. Whiston’s Memoirs.