Charles Pratt 1st Earl Camden

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Camden, Charles Pratt, 1st Earl (1714–94). Camden joined Middle Temple and was called to the bar in 1738. At first he found it difficult to obtain a brief but eventually found work and established his reputation. In 1757 he became attorney-general under Pitt and Whig MP for Downton. In 1761 he was promoted to chief justice of Common Pleas. His most famous case came in 1763 involving Wilkes and the libellous North Briton. Camden ruled that general warrants were illegal and gained great popularity. He strongly opposed the taxation of the American colonies, declaring the Stamp Act unconstitutional. He became lord chancellor in Chatham's second administration and although he opposed the ministry's American policy, retained the great seal until 1770. He remained in opposition until the death of Chatham, but became president of the council in the Rockingham administration and retained the post until his death.

Richard A. Smith

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