THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 6 N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 7 943 FROM OUR BACK PAGES By R.C. Tino Bel REFLECTIONS ON A RELIC FROM THE AGE OF REASON* By Martin Taylor (now the Honourable Martin Taylor, Q.C.) O“ brave we”, Dr. Johnson used to say, clapping his immense hands and laughing in a low rumbling voice. He derived his entertainment from the intellectual excesses of his contemporaries of the Age of Reason, the era of Voltaire, Swift, Rousseau Pope and Casanova. When Boswell introduced the young disciple of a current “new culture” which rejected all conventional distinctions between vice and virtue, Johnson muttered in an aside: “We had better count the spoons when he is gone”. It was in 1730, at the height of this curiously familiar age, that the benchers of the Middle Temple ordered a new oak floor for their magnificent dining hall to replace the original boards laid down in Elizabethan times and rendered derelict by 160 years of legal footwork. As the carpenters went about their work, securing the heavy planks with square iron spikes, the future Lord Mansfield was called to the bar, Montesquieu was discovering the British constitution, Benjamin Franklin was bigamously married, George II and Louis XV were the ranking European monarchs, Handel and Bach the leading contemporary composers, Blackstone was only seven years old and George Washington not yet born. * Reprinted from (1972) 30 Advocate 294.
Nov Advocate 2017
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