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The father of Somers was an attorney, in respectable practice at Worcester; who, in the civil wars, became a zealous Parliamentarian, and commanded a troop in Cromwell's army. His mother was Catherine Ceaverne, of a good family in Shropshire.

Of the early education of Somers, we have only a meagre and unsatisfactory account. The house called the White Ladies, in which he was born, was occupied by a Mr. Blurton, an eminent clothier of Worcester, who had married his father's sister. This lady, having no son of her own, adopted Somers from his birth, and brought him up in her house, which he always considered as his home till he went to the university. He appears for some years to have been a day-scholar in the college school at Worcester, which before his time had attained a high character for classical education, under the superintendence of Dr. Bright, a clergyman of great learning and eminence. At a subsequent period, we find him at a private school at Walsall in Staffordshire: he is described by a school-fellow as being then " a weakly boy, wearing a black cap, and never so much as looking out when the other boys were at play.' He seems indeed to have been a remarkably reserved and "sober-blooded " boy. At a somewhat later period Sir F. Winnington says of him, that "by the exactness of his knowledge and behaviour, he discouraged his father and all the young men that knew him. They were afraid to be in his company. In what manner his time was occupied from the period of his leaving school until he went to the university, is unknown. It has been suggested that he was employed for several years in his father's office, who designed him for his own department of the profession of the law. There is no positive evidence of this circumstance, though the conjecture is by no means improbable. It cannot, however, be doubted that, during this period, he devoted much of his time to the study of history and the civil law, and laid in a portion of that abundant store of constitutional learning which afterwards rendered him the ornament of his profession, and of the age in which he lived. About this time also he

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formed several connexions, which had great influence upon his subsequent success in life. The estates of the Earl of Shrewsbury were managed by Somers's father; and as that young nobleman had no convenient residence of his own in Worcestershire, he spent much of his time at the White Ladies, and formed an intimate friendship and familiarity with young Somers. In 1672 he was also fortunate enough to be favourably noticed by Sir Francis Winnington, then a distinguished practitioner at the English bar, who was under obligations to his father for his active services in promoting his election as a Member of Parliament for the city of Worcester. Winnington is described by Burnet as a lawyer who had "risen from small beginnings, and from as small a proportion of learning in his profession, in which he was rather bold and ready, than able." It is natural to suppose that such a man, feeling his own deficiencies, would readily perceive with what advantage he might employ the talents and industry of Somers in assisting him both in Westminster Hall and in Parliament. It was probably with this intention that Winnington advised him to go to the university, and to prosecute his studies with a view to being called to the bar.

In 1674 Somers was entered as a Commoner of Trinity College, Oxford, being then about three-and-twenty years of age. The particulars of his progress through the university are not recorded; but here, as at school, his contemporaries could perceive few indications of those splendid talents which afterwards raised him to such extraordinary eminence. His college exercises, some of which are still extant, are said to have been in no respect remarkable; and he quitted the university without acquiring any academical honours beyond his Bachelor's degree. Mr. Somers was called to the bar in 1676, by the Society of the Middle Temple; but he continued his residence at the university for several years afterwards, and did not remove to London until the year after his father's death, in 1681, upon which event he succeeded to his paternal estate at Severnstoke. During his residence at Oxford he had the advantage of being intro

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