Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Eldon, John Scott, Earl of (1751-1838), an English Lord Chancellor, born at Newcastle-on-Tyne, where his father was a coal merchant. He was educated - as was his brother William, afterwards Lord Stowell (q.v.) - at Newcastle grammar school and at University College, Oxford, where he obtained an English Essay prize and a fellowship, which latter, however, he had to give up at the end of his year of grace owing to his marriage with Bessie Surtees, with whom he eloped. The friends on both sides forgave them, and came to their aid; but Scott had a hard struggle with poverty both before making up his mind for the bar and during the early part of his legal career. In 1776 he was called, and in 1780 made a name. In 1782 he was K.C., and the next year he entered Parliament and supported Pitt, who made him Solicitor-General in 1788. In 1793 Sir John Scott was made Attorney-General, and six years after Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and Baron Eldon. In 1801 he was Lord Chancellor, and in 1807 he again held the office, which he retained for ten years, through all the difficulties caused by the madness of George III., being created earl in 1821. He resigned at the appointment of the Canning Ministry. He has had many traducers, who have ridiculed his ready tears in presence of his royal master, and questioned his political honesty. He was a sound and able lawyer, though his slowness in coming to a decision led to a block in his court and to much suffering and injustice. He himself tells us how, when travelling up as a young man from the North, he adopted the motto "Sat cito, si sat bene," and had misgivings as to whether he ought not often to have reversed the principle. His delays are said to have been the chief motive in determining Dickens to write Bleak House.