Vaughan, John

, lord chief justice of the commonpleas, was born in Cardiganshire, Sept. 14, 1608, and educated at Worcester school, whence he entered Christ Church, Oxford, in 1623, but left it without taking a degree, in 1626, and went to the Inner Temple for the study of the law. This, according to Wood, he neglected for some time, and was addicted to poetry and philosophy, until becoming acquainted with SeWen, he was advised to apply more diligently to his profession. In this he soon made such a figure as to be returned to the parliament of 1640, as member for the town of Cardigan. It is said that he was in his heart an enemy to monarchy, but never engaged in open hostility to Charles I. On the contrary, when the rebellion broke out he retired to his own country, and lived there principally until the restoration. He was then elected knight of the shire of Cardigan, in the parliament which began in 1661, and was much noticed by Charles II. In 1668 his majesty conferred the honour of knighthood upon him, and on May 22 of that year he was sworn serjeant-at-law, and the day following, lord chief justice of the common-pleas. He died Dec. 10, 1674, and was buried in the Temple church, near the grave of his friend Selden, who had appointed him one of his executors, and whose friendship for him is recorded on sir John’s monument.

Sir John Vaughan was not only versed in all the knowledge requisite to make a figure in his profession, but was also a very considerable master of the politer kinds of | learning; but his behaviour among the generality of his acquaintances was haughty, supercilious, and overbearing; hence he was much more admired than beloved. The worst charge laid to him is that of having joined the enemies of lord Clarendon, who was once his friend, and had made him overtures of preferment.

Sir John Vaughan’s “Reports and Arguments in the Common Pleas, being all of them special cases, and many wherein he pronounced the resolution of the whole court of common pleas at the time he was chief justice there,” are fully and ably taken, and were first printed in 1677, and secondly in 1706, by his son Edward Vaughan, esq. with references, to which is added a tract concerning process out of the courts at Westminster into Wales. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. II. Granger. —Burnet’s Own Times. Bridgman’s Legal Bibliography.