Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715) was the Bishop of Salisbury and a well-known Scottish historian, who published several volumes on the life of Matthew Hale (1609-1676). Hale was a barrister, author, Chief Baron of the Exchequer, 1660-1671, and Chief Justice of the King's Bench, 1671-1676. In a dual biography of Hale and John Earl Rochester, Burnet relates the following anecdote about Chief Justice:
"It is also a custom for the marshal of the King's Bench to present the judges of that court with a piece of plate for a new year's gift, that for the Chief Justice being larger than the rest: this he intended to have refused, but the other judges told him it belonged to his office, and the refusing it would be a prejudice to his successors, so he was persuaded to take it, but he sent word to the marshal, that instead of plate, he should bring him the value of it in money, and when he received it, he immediately sent it to the prisons, for the relief and discharge of the poor there."
This book is a companion to Bishop Burnet's "Incidents in the Life of Sir Matthew Hale" (1832).