Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden

Pratt, Charles, 1st Earl Camden, 1714–94, British jurist. Appointed (1761) chief justice of the Court of Common Pleas, he earned wide popularity as a result of his ruling in Entick v. Carrington (1763), where he pronounced against the legality of the general warrant under which John Wilkes was prosecuted. He became lord chancellor in 1766, but his constant denunciation of the government's policy toward the American colonists and opposition to the taxes imposed on them resulted in his dismissal (1770). He served as president of the council under the marquess of Rockingham (1782–83) and under William Pitt (1784–94). In 1786 he was created Earl Camden. His lifelong fight against the existing definition of libel culminated in the passage of Fox's Libel Act of 1792 (see press, freedom of the). Camden's son, John Jeffreys Pratt, 2d Earl and 1st Marquess Camden, 1759–1840, was lord lieutenant of Ireland (1794–98). His repressive policies there were a major factor in the outbreak of the 1798 revolution. He later served as secretary of war (1804–5) and president of the council (1805–6 and 1807–12). He was created marquess in 1812.

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