The resolutions of Sir Matthew Hale

Sir Matthew Hale

Sir Matthew Hale

I was reading Tom Bingham’s ‘The Rule of Law’ and found Sir Matthew Hale’s resolutions. I was quite taken aback that I’d not heard of this before and even more surprised that – when I searched online – I struggled to locate it.

So, finally, having found it here, I thought I’d copy it here (below) so that I won’t forget it.

I’m struggling to think of an equivalent set of resolutions that elected representatives could adopt – and struggling even harder to understand why I can’t recall any examples of one of them attempting to do this.

Things Necessary to be Continually had in Remembrance.

  1. That in the Alministration of Justice, I am intrusted for God, the King and Country; and therefore,
  2. That it be done, 1. ?prightly, 2. Delibe?rately, 3. Resolutely.
  3. That I rest not upon my own ?nderstanding or Strength, but Implore and rest upon the Di?rection and Strength of God.
  4. That in the Execution of Justice, I carefully lay aside my own Passions, and not give way to them, however provoked.
  5. That I be wholly intent upon the Business I am about, remitting all other Cares and Thoughts, as unseasonable and Interruptions.
  6. That I suffer not myself to be prepossessed with any Judgment at all, till the whole Business and both Parties be beard.
  7. That I never engage my self in the begin?ning of any Cause, but reserve my self unpre?judiced till the whole be heard.
  8. That in Business Capital, though my Nature prompt me to Pity; yet to consider, that there is also a Pity due to the Country.
  9. That I be not too Rigid in Matters purely Conscientious, where all the barm is Diversity of Judgment.
  10. That I be not byassed with Compassion to the Poor, or favour to the Rich, in point of Justice.
  11. That Popular, or Court-Applause, or Distaste, have no Influence into any thing I do in point of Distribution of Justice.
  12. Not to be sollicitous what Men will say or think, so long as I keep my self exactly ac?cording to the Rule of Justice.
  13. If in criminals it be a measuring cast, to incline to Mercy and Acquittal.
  14. In Criminals that consist merely in Words, when no more ensues, Moderation is no Injustice.
  15. In Criminals of Blood, if the Fact be Evi?dent, Severity is Justice.
  16. To abhor all private Sollicitations, of what kind soever, and by whom soever, in matters Depending.
  17. To charge my Servants, 1. Not to inter?pose in any Business whatsoever, 2. Not to take more than their known F•es, 3. Not to give any undue precedence to Causes, 4. Not to recom?mend Council.
  18. To be short and sparing at Meals, that I may be the fitter for Business.