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rent, that although he will defend a swindler, with all his might and main, he will abandon a man who is charged with libel to all the fury of the tormentor. Though nobody can have any respect for the Editor of the Satirist, yet the manner in which Mr. Garrow held that gentleman's brief on the indictment for a libel on Mr. Hallett, well justified Mr. Manners in taking the trouble of speaking in mitigation of his punishment off his shoulders. Mr. Garrow stated, at the trial, that he had told his client, he never could say any thing in defence of a libeller, and accordingly he did say nothing. Why, then, did he take the brief? It was his duty to have said something. He might at least have said, that the remedy for private libel ought to be private action for damages at the discretion of the defendant's equals, and that: then he might have justified and proved the truth of his assertion--and not public indictment, the punishment of conviction upon which is imprisonment at the discretion of his superiors : he might have said that libels never yet did harm, and that truth always finds its own level. But Mr. Garrow constantly holds a brief in all ex-officio indictments for libel, and consequently has that crime in a very useful abhorrence. Give him a brief to defend a less crime, that is a more paltry and contemptible one, and he will find his tongue. Upon a similar narrow principle, Mr. Garrow holds all foreigners in great contempt; and, because he knows no language but his own, thinks there is no other. I have beard him descend to the vulgarity of repeating the testimony of a witness which was given in a foreign tongue, like something which made English indecency : and the other day he told an alien witness not to be afraid of abusing the French, but to call their capture of one of our ships robbery, as if our captures were not equally so. For the Jews he appears to have a hatred worthy of those reigns in which they were massacred by hundreds, and seems to think it very odd they should not profess the same religion with himself. I regret, as strongly as you can do, that such great' talents should be united with such little prejudices; but a
very long attendance to Mr. Garrow's practice has brought me to this (I hope) impartial estimate of the advocate and the man.
Sir Vicary Gibbs is certainly not a man of such talents as Mr. Garrow; but then he has received an education beyond all comparison with that gentleman's, is every way an elegant scholar, and has read more law than almost any man at the bar. Mr. Garrow's is the natural, and the Attorney General's the cultivated, soil. If the Attorney General does not give the student such occasional delight as Mr. Garrow, neither does he give him such occasional pain. You are always sure to be edified when Sir Vicary rises : from Mr. Garrow you are never sure of not hearing all the cant of the Robin Hood or Coach-makers' hall; for when that ad. I 2
vocate has a bad case, he must have recourse to noise and rant; and then you have nothing to do but to attend to the richness and vigour of his voice, a perfection in Mr. Garrow which I have not before noticed. He folds his arms in debating-club in. dignation, and does not spare the character of any witness, whose testimony has made against his case. For this habit Mr. Topping, the castigator-general, took him to task in open Court the other day. But there is so much more room for criticism in Mr. Garrow than in the Attorney General, that I am continually los. ing sight of that truly learned advocate. I wish to say a few words upon the subject of Sir Vicary's temper, which has never appeared to me to be so prominently bad, as I have credibly heard it represented. He is impatient when attornies talk nonsense, as which of us would not be ? But it has always appeared to me that I would sooner be connected in business with him than with Mr. Garrow, whom I conceive not to be so good-humoured as the Attorney-General, if he be more good-tempered, and of this I doubt much *. At any rate, Sir Vicary is a gentleman in his irrita. bility, and can command his impatience better than Mr. Garrow can.
I have oftener seen the former cool, during a controversy, in which the latter has shewn warmth, than the latter calm while the former was ruffled. The truth is, Sir Vicary is a man of more attic wit and humour than Mr. Garrow; and when, in the midst of all his warmth, he says any thing well, or with humour, it puts him into good-humour directly. There has always appeared to me to be a connexion between these two significations of the word humour; and I have generally found a humourist a good. humoured man, at least quoad hoct. It is the same with Lord El.
* Let those who think ill of Sir Vicary's heart, go to Hayes, in Kent, and ask the first peasant they meet, as I did the other day, what is that gena tleman's character ? “ It would be better for the poor,” said the woman, lo whom I spoke, “if all gentlefolks were like Sir Vicary Gibbs.”
+ I know not whether I have made myself understood here ; but it has of. ten struck me,
that in most of the auecdotes of command of temper upon record, the hero would not have been so calm if he had not had a good thing to say upon the subject, There is more perhaps of sublimity than wit, in Sir Isaac Newton's exclamation, after his dog had thrown down the candle which consumed the written labours of years, “Oh, Diamond, Diamond ! thou little knowest the mischief thou hast done !” When one of the servants of Dr. Hough, Bishop of Worcester, happened to break a favourite weather-glass of the Bishop's, and spill all the quicksilver upon the ground, instead of being angry with the terrified servant, he merely turned round to the company and said, he had never seen the mercury so low in his life. When Marshal Turenne was mistaken by one of his domestics for the cook, and when the sere vant came softly behind him as he was looking out of window, and gave him in that capacity a violent slap on the breech, the Marshal instantly turned sound, and the fellow, frightened out of his wits, dropped dowo on bis knees, and
lenborough, a man of stronger humour than almost any other whom I have had the pleasure of hearing speak; and so it was, I am told, with Lord Kenyon, his predecessor. But I am afraid you will think that I shall never quit the subjects of the Attorney General and Mr. Garrow. To dismiss them finally, the one is a splendid example of the legal success of learning, and the other of talent : both advocates have made handsome fortunes, and the past year has perhaps been the most profitable of their career. The cause-papers have been crowded with mercantile cases; for in proportion as that profession is unsuccessful, the law thrives. Mercantile law has, indeed, of late years, become a science of its self; and it is my opinion, that if the law-student were to spend six months in a merchant's compting-house, he would employ his time much more profitably than in an exclusive attendance in a pleader's office. But the Courts are, after all, the best school of law; and, were I not intended for the profession, I would attend them for knowledge of the world, and for general information. Neither the Attorney General nor Mr. Garrow can now be called young; but their mental faculties are yet in full vigour. The for. mer can look no higher, in his retirement from the profession, than to the station of a puisne judge; but an Attorney Generalship is usually regarded as the road to higher honours. Differing as we do from Sir Vicary Gibbs in politics, we cannot hope for his have ing to decide the law of libel upon publications similar to those, which he has prosecuted for such; but of this we are sure, that to whatever station he is called upon to fill, he will carry a know. ledge of his profession, which would not have disgraced the great. est name in legal history.
I am happy to find that your opinion of Mr. Park, whom you say you have seen on the Northern Circuit, agrees with iniņe: he bas more practice in York, I am told, than even here. I never bear him, but I wish he was there.
I omitted in my last letter the names of the three leading bar. risters of business behind the bar of the Court of King's Bench, Messrs. Marryatt, Lawes, and Reader. The first of these gen. tlemen is a lawyer, and nothing but a lawyer : he makes it his boast, that he never reads any book but a law-book; and you may therefore judge of the extent of his ambition : he has hit his mark, and has acquired a fortune at the bar, gratefully be-moto toing his carriage, Causes produce effects!" His voice is I 3
exclaimed, “Oh, my Lord, I thought it was George.”
" And suppose it had been George,” replied the Marshal, rubbing the irritated part, you need not have struck so hard.” And, indeed, the point of half the bons mots in the jest-books depends upon the good-humour with which affroats are une expectedly parsied.
thick and disagreeable, and his manner cumbrous and unpleasing. The second gentleman is a Special Pleader, and the third Colonel of a volunteer regiment. Ask me no more of them. Mr. Dam. pier, who has I am afraid less practice, is worth twenty such.
Since I last wrote to you, two of the eminent Serjeants, to whom I promised to introduce you in this letter, Cockell and Wil. liams, King's Serjeants, are no more. Mr. Serjeant Cockell was a man of very considerable powers, principally of humour, and was particularly happy in his popular addresses to the jury. He always seemed in earnest, and was occasionally eloquent. In person he was corpulent, and bore a stronger resemblance to a well-fed monk than any other member of the profession : the coif and round gown greatly conduced to this likeness, and the Ser." jeants' mutual appellation of brother seemed to be applied to him with peculiar propriety. Mr. Serjeant Williams was one of the most learned men at the bar; and is the editor of the excellent Reports of Lord Chief Justice Saunders. His notes to this book condense all the learning, not only upon the leading points of the Reporter's cases, but upon such as are collateral and inci. dental to them. 6 Williams's Saunders,” is one of the first books that should be put into the hands of a law-student. reporter, Sir Edmund Saunders, was at the bar at the time of the decisions which he records; and the second Justice of the Court of King's Bench appears at that time to have been Sir Thomas Twysden, whose portrait adorns our Hall, and whose name is inmortalized in Twisden's Buildings, in the Temple. He seems to have been a testy old gentleman in his time : it was he who said the Court would hear no law on the last day of term; and Sir Edmund Saunders reports, that on a certain occasion, the Chief Justiče (Kelynge) being absent, “judgment was pronounced by Twysden with a nisi, &c.; but Saunders, of Counsel with the defendant, prayed another day, whereupon, in furore, he gave Judgment absolutely; without giving any further day. And I think (adds Saunders drily) without much consideration, for the law is clear, that a bond, judgment, or statute, may be defeated by a defeazance made after, as is the common and usual practice *. The infuriate was palpably wrong. Upon many occacasions, Saunders reports him to have opposed doctrines totis viris bus. He seems, however, to have been a very able lawyer, with all his want of temper.
Mr. Serjeant Shepherd succeeded Mr. Serjeant Cockell as the King's Ancient Serjeant,--a situation which was before filled by the lat very learned Mr. Serjeant Hill. Mr. Serjeant Shepherd is
* 2 Will. Saünd. 48, a, o
not a very old man; but he labours under a most inveterate deaf. ness, which is very prejudicial to his professional duties. His trumpet has an unseemly effect, and with all its assistance, he is of. ten indebted to his neighbours for the repetition of those speeches, either of the witness, or the Court, which he fails to catch. It is understood that he is so sensible of this inconvenience, that he would gladly retire from the bar into the situation even of a Mas. ter in Chancery. And yet with all this disadvantage, Mr. Ser. jeant Shepherd shares with Mr. Serjeant Best the leading practice of the Court of Common Pleas; and these two learned Serjeants, with Mr. Garrow, engross nearly all the business of the Home Circuit. Mr. Serjeant Shepherd is a good lawyer, and an impres. sive orator. His voice is somewhat thick, but greatly energetic, and he generally contrives to carry his hearers along with him. He made but little stand for Sir Francis Burdett, at the late trial at bar; but that was a very bad case, and the advocate did not ad. vise the action, nor willingly conduct it, when determined upon. He did better when he was against the popular voice, in the “0. P.” cause; but then he was on the right side, although it was his fate, in both cases, to lose the verdict. This learned Ser. jeant, although his difficulty of hearing be a considerable draw. back to his quickness, is, nevertheless, in every other point of view, a quick and able advocate.
Mr. Serjeant Best, on the other hand, is, as the old woman would say, as sharp as a needle. His eye is peculiarly brilliant, and he presses his lips together, and shakes his head, with an air of determination, which makes his audience think he is sure of his verdict. He has also a peculiar manner of shaking the index finger of his right hand, when he wishes to enforce his remarks. His voice is extremely pleasing and melodious, and his eloquence fluent and unfatiguing. To all these accomplishments, he unites a very competent knowledge of his profession; and a client's brief could not be in safer hands than in those of Mr. Serjeant Best. This gentleman must not be confounded with Mr. Best the Barrisa ter, who is generally called Second Best, but who as a lawyer, in the opinion of some, ought rather to be designated First Best. There are jokes like this in every profession; and it is only for the sake of the pun, that Mr. Scarlett is called the deepest red man at the bar.
The only remaining King's Serjeant now is John Lens, Esq. whose name ranks before that of Mr. Serjeant Best. Mr. Serjeant Lens is a gentlemanly speaker, and a most able lawyer. Behind the bar of the Court of Common Pleas sit Messrs. Serjeants Run. nington, Marshall, Clayton, Heywood, Palmer..(this gentleman, by the way, generally sits in the Court of Chancery)-Sellon, Vaughan, Onslow, Praed, Manley, Pell, Rough, Peckwell, and Frere. Mr. Serjeant Runnington is old, and would have retired I 4