noyed by this freak of the Lord Chancellor, but bore it with the best grace he could muster. The decisions of the Master of the Rolls are now considered so important to the equity jurisprudence of the country, that they are about to be collected and published. With respect to Lord Erskine, the intelligence I collected was that he was so well satisfied with the power and patronage of office as to be very anxious to retain it, and to have been vexed and mortified at the vicissitude which deprived him of it—still temporizing, however, to retain his son in the diplomacy for two years, so that he may be afterwards entitled to the pension of two thousand pounds sterling, which is the consequence of that tenure of office.


When I entered the court room, the King's advocate, Sir John Nicholls, was in the act of delivering an argument against an unfortunate American ship libeled for a breach of blockade in entering the port of Leghorn. His manner was cold, dry and unanimated. His argument confused, and the slightest interruption from the opposing counsel, occasioned a perplexity from which he could, with difficulty, recover himself. A youthful Doctor, who, together with Doctor Lawrence, defended the ship, ventured, in the most modest and unassuming manner, to correct his statement with respect to a fact-the distance from Leghorn to Milan; but the advocate, instead of availing himself of the suggestion, and benefitting from the hint, almost bent himself, and addressed the Doctor with infinite affectation, requesting him to reserve what he had to say, until he had finished his argument. Doctor Lawrence made a sensible argument in defence, but his voice is like the hollow blast of a distant whirlwind -now bursting on the ear like an explosion of thunder-then dying away in an interrupted and unmusical cadence. When the counsel had finished, I placed myself near the Judge that I might particularly examine his countenance and more distinctly hear all he should utter. From the low and solemn manner in which he asked several questions for information during the trial, I was apprehensive that I could not hear him in the place where I first stationed myself. But in this, I was altogether deceived-for his voice, as if partaking of the energy which his mind had collected for the occasion, was fulltoned and sufficiently loud to be heard in every part of the room. His statement of various facts in the case, which were not a little complex, exhibited a striking specimen of the lucidus ordo. He appeared to have collected all of them from the depositions during the

trial, and to have reposited them in his mind, with an arrangement the most methodical. After he had thus stated the case in a manner to arrest the attention of all who heard him-he proceeded to lay down the principles which had been sanctioned by former adjudications, and to apply them to the case under consideration. His reasoning was conclusive; his phrases well selected and elegant; his manner impressive and dignified. And, if his judgment was ex tempore, I may safely pronounce it to be the most perfect thing of the kind I ever heard. It is impossible to examine the physiognomy of Sir William Scott without being inspired with that veneration which genius, corrected and disciplined by learning and application, never fails to create. The fire of his eye marks a quick and intuitive power of disentangling the most intricate case-while the settled and manly composure of his features showed the severe scrutiny to which judgment subjected every doubt before it passed into conviction. His forehead is capacious and handsomely arched -his nose aquiline-his mouth, what Lavater would term, eloquent, and his face, altogether, would form an admirable model for that of a Roman Senator in the best days of the republic."


The literature of every country and of every age abounds in ridicule of the law. Of the three learned professions, it has suffered most from authors, wits, penny-a-liners and pamphleteers. Reverence for religion and the dread of the church's anathema have restrained many writers from flings at theology, who have cast them unsparingly at the bar. In comparison with the ill-natured wit directed against the law, medicine has escaped lightly; even Rabelais, "the universal satirist," the merciless satirist especially of the judiciary levels no invective at the healing art.

Mr Butler, in his Lawyer and Client,' calls attention to the curious fact that the current of invective has often set strongest against the bar, at the very moment when it was doing its best and noblest work, in aid of social order, or of the progress of the race. In the seventeenth century, just after Hampden and his noble band had fought in the courts the battle of English liberty and constitutional law, the press was issuing tracts with such titles as these: 'The Downfall of Unjust Lawyers.' 'Doomsday drawing near with Thunder and Lightning for Lawyers,' (1645, by John Rodgers.) 'A Rod for the Lawyers,' (1659, by William Cole.) 'Essay Wherein is Described the Lawyers', Smugglers' and Officer's Frauds, (1675.) Congreve, about the same time, makes one of his stage characters say, that "a witch will sail in a seive, but a devil will not venture aboard a lawyer's conscience." Ben Johnson's epitaph on Justice Randall condenses in a couplet the popular estimate of the profes


'God works wonders now and then,
Here lies a lawyer, an honest man.'

Swift, somewhat later, in such pithy English as he alone could command, at the very time when Chief Justice Holt had just closed his noble career, and Lord Mansfield was beginning to win his great judicial fame, paints the profession as 'a society of men, bred up from their youth in the art of proving, by words multiplied for

'Lawyer and Client: Their Relation, Rights and Duties. By William Allen Butler, New York. D. Appleton & Co., 1871.

the purpose, that white is black, and black is white, according as they are paid.' Milton describes the lawyers of his day as 'grounding their purposes, not on the prudent and heavenly contemplation of justice and equity, which was never taught them, but on the promising and pleasing thoughts of litigious terms, fat contentions and flowing fees,' and his praise of Coke is offset by a censure of his brethren at the bar. His Sonnet to Cyriac Skinner, a grandson of Lord Coke, opens thus:

"Cyriac, whose grandson on the royal bench,
Of British Themis with no mean applause,
Pronounced, and in his volumes, taught our laws,
Which others at their bar so often wrench."

The object of this paper is collect from various literatures some of the charges against the bench and bar. The result will be a polyglot indictment of the profession, which, however serious it may appear to "the laity," (as Lord Campbell styles the uninitiated), can hardly fail to amuse the defendants.

Ennius represents an old man as saying, after he had consulted three lawyers concerning the validity of his son's marriage, "Now, I am more uncertain than ever.

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Martial accuses the lawyers of venal invective:

Verba et iras locant.

Juvenal satirizes the show of prosperity, which he alleges the members of the profession ever strive to make. He points the finger of scorn at those advocates who, like Basilius, always introduced the mother of the accused, in order to move the tribunal by her tears.

Nor does he leave untouched the dullness of "clodpate judges," before whom the pleaders "must their vitals strain."

In Spanish literature, the fate of the law has been no better. Quevedo represents a devil who had entered into one of the offices of justice as complaining bitterly of his quarters.

Ayala in his Court Rhymes burlesques the tone and demeanor of lawyers:

When entering on a lawsuit, if you ask for their advice,
They sit down very solemnly, their brows fall in a trice,
"A question grave is this," they say, and calls for labor nice,
To the counsel it must go, and much management implies,

I think, perhaps, in time, I can help you in the thing

By dint of labor, long and grievous studying,

But other duties I must leave, away all business fling,

Your case alone must study, and to you alone must cling."

This was quoted by Sir Phillip Francis in a tirade (aimed especially at Lord Eldon), against the obscurity of lawyer's speeches in Parliament.

LeSage makes Captain Rolanda justify the highway exploits of his band by the example of conquerors and lawyers. When Dr. Sangrado discovers his ring upon a patient's finger, he is gravely advised not to attempt its recovery by law, as the Courts appropriate instead of restoring what they obtain.' Lope de Vega ridicules the profession by representing one of its shrewdest members as being cheated by a simple peasant. This also occurs in the old French Play of Maistre Pathelin.

In French literature, the law has been covered with reproach. Racine burlesques the machinery of his justice in his Les Plaideurs, by introducing the trial of a dog. This was imitated from Aristophanes. When it is asked where the Judge designs to sleep, the answer is, "a l'audience." Rabelais, however, transcends all Frenchmen in ridicule of bench and bar. The term by which he designates lawyers may mean "thickmist swallowers," suggestive of Dickens' location of the Chancellor, "in the very heart of the fog,” or it may mean "swallowers of farms," as indicating the greed of their rapacity. He delights to abuse Tribonian as the world's greatest villain, "who cuts morsels out of the law to suit his own interest and suppressed the remainder," and quotes with great glee the proposition of Cato, that the Courts should be paved with caltrops. In arriving at the decision in Kissbreech vs. Suckfist, a decision at which all the learned doctors went into ecstasies, and which even delighted both litigants, Pantagruel's first step was to destroy all the papers, which are styled "truth-intangling."

Mr. Doublefee's description of attorney-land is a “place of deep valleys and craggy rocks, where lawyers spend their lives squeezing juice from grapes," (i. e. money from clients.) The maxim of Judge Bridoise, is "happy is the physician whose coming is desired at the declension of the disease." He, therefore, takes cases in their decadence, when the passion and patience and pockets of the litigants are exhausted. His method is first to make the parties drink-then to make them sleep-then to prove that these important steps have been taken-then to delay the hearing by every possible obstruction, and where no further excuse can be devised for deferring the cause-when, in the language of Lord Kenyon, "the last feather is plucked from the tail of procrastination," he resorts to the chance of dice, using large dice for

1 It is a little singular that plunder originally meant to rob under legal process. * Instruments with four iron points so disposed that three of them, being on the ground, the other projects upward.

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