LORD CHANCELLOR JEFFREYS. By G. W. Keeton. Macdonald, 1965. Pp. 553. 70s. Judge Jeffreys has some claim to share with King John, the title of best-known Bad Man of English history. Certainly the picture of him that found its way, like so much of the Whig outlook, from Macaulay to the school textbooks makes him the scapegoat for the sins of many of his contemporaries; and if historians have failed to make amends they can hardly blame lawyers for coming to the defence of their colleague. Professor Keeton has set out the case lavishly: thirty full-page plates (one of them in colour), three pages devoted to a congratulatory poem by Joshua Barnes, M.A., and biographical details of a great many people with whom Jeffreys came into contact suggest that the size of the book was not a restricting factor. Jeffreys' career is set out in its proper proportions, though with a flexibility of chronology that can occasionally be confusing. At the time of the Popish Plot he was Recorder of London, a post from which he was driven by the anger of Common Council and Parliament after his bullying of juries and obstructing of petitions. As Chief Justice of Chester he 'threw himself wholeheartedly into the struggle between the King and the Whigs'. But it was his part in the trials following the Rye House Plot that established him as the most energetic judicial enemy of the Exclusion party and won him the post of Lord Chief Justice of England. If, Professor Keeton claims, he had become Lord Chancellor a few weeks earlier than he did, and thereby missed the task of extirpating the supporters of Monmouth's Rebellion, he would have been known as a 'great judge who was a believer in the royal prerogative Even if 'great' is too generous a term, there is evidently something to be said for Jeffreys on the personal level. He worked hard; he was in civil cases an honest and skilful sifter of evidence; he was witty and astute in cross-examining, and impatient of procedural obstructions. But Professor Keeton's main argument is that both Jeffreys' own actions and the vituperation of his enemies must be seen as part of the political conflict. He was one of many lawyers who accepted the view that 'the judiciary was a branch of royal administration'. It was only after 1688 that there appeared in the judiciary 'that attitude of dispassionate detachment which is still one of its most striking characteristics'-a point, as the author concedes, in favour of the Whigs. 'The real solution was to change the policy and not to victimise individuals.' True enough; and it is a pity the book could not give a fuller analysis of the ambiguous part the legal profession had played in the struggle for power ever since the days of Coke. To say that the condemnation of Strafford, Laud, and Charles I can 'be placed side by side' with those of Russell, Sydney, and the other Whig leaders does not get us far. The royalist leaders were the victims of a parliament that had still to find less brutal means of asserting its control over the policies of the administration; the plotters in 1683 were tried by