Sir Matthew Hale (1609-1676), Lord Chief Justice of England, entered Lincoln's Inn in 1628 and was called to the bar in 1637. Solicited by both the royalists and parliamentarians for his undoubted legal skill he managed to maintain a neutral stance and rose in favour with both parties. He took part in many of the famous treason cases of his day, even offering to represent King Charles I during his own trial, had Charles accepted the jurisdiction of the court. He was elected to Parliament in 1654 and was made a serjeant-at-law in the same year, quickly followed by a promotion to the bench of the common pleas. He was elected to the Convention Parliament of 1660, but his Parliamentary career was cut short when in November he was appointed Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, and knighted, somewhat against his will. In 1671 he was created Chief Justice of the King's Bench, and served for five years.
Hale left many manuscript treatises, chiefly on law and religion, and voluminous antiquarian collections, part of which he bequeathed to Lincoln's Inn and the remainder to his eldest grandson, conditionally on his adopting the law as a profession, and in default to his second grandson. He gave express direction that nothing of his own composition should be published except what he had destined for publication in his lifetime, an injunction which has been by no means rigorously obeyed. In fact this present manuscript was published after Hale's Executors asked the House of Commons permission to print his manuscripts relating to Crown Law. Permission was granted after committee review but it took till 1736 for the London publisher Sollom Emlyn to edit and publish them all together as the two-volume Historia Placitorum Coronæ; The History of the Pleas of the Crown, by Sir Matthew Hale, Knight, sometime Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench. A subsequent edition by the legal writer Thomas Dogherty appeared in 1800.
Source: Alan Cromartie, 'Hale, Sir Mathew (1609-1676)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press - http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/11905.