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THE REMINISCENCES OF
SIR HENRY HAWKINS

BARON BRAMPTON


















HOWARD .



THE REMINISCENCES



OF



SIR HENRY HAWKINS

BARON BRAMPTON



EDITED BY

RICHARD HARRIS, K.C



WITH PORTRAITS



IN TWO VOLUMES
VOL. I.



LONDON
EDWARD ARNOLD

41 & 43 MADDOX STREET, BOND STREET, W.
1904

[All rights reserved^



PREFACE



As a preface I wish to say only a very few words
namely, that but for the great pressure put upon me I
should not have ventured to write, or allowed to be
published, any reminiscences of mine, being very con-
scious that I could not offer to the public any words of
my own that would be worth the time it would occupy
to read them ; but the whole merit of these volumes
is due to my very old friend Richard Harris, K.C.,
who has already shown, by his skill and marvellously
attractive composition in reproducing my efforts in the
Tichborne case, what interest may be imparted to an
otherwise very dry subject. In that work* he has
done me much more than justice, and for this I
thank him, with many good wishes for the success of
this his new work, and with many thanks to those
of the public who may take and feel an interest in such
of my imperfect reminiscences as are here recorded.

BEAMPTON.
HAEBOGATB,

August 17, 1904.

* ' Illustrations in Advocacy ' (fourth edition).



20541SO



EDITOR'S PREFACE



THESE volumes are the outcome of many conversations
with Lord Brampton and of innumerable manuscript
notes from his pen. I have endeavoured, as far as
possible, to present them to the public in such a
manner that, although chronological order has not
been strictly adhered to, it has been, nevertheless, con-
sidering the innumerable events of Lord Brampton's
career, carefully observed.

Apocryphal stories are always told of celebrated
men, and of no one more than of Sir Henry Hawkins
during his career on the Bench and at the Bar ;
but I think I may venture to say that there is
no doubtful story in these volumes, and, further, that
there is not one which has ever been told exactly in
the same form before. Good stories, like good coin,
lose by circulation. If there should be one or two in
these reminiscences which have lost their image and
superscription by much handling, I hope that the re-
casting which they have undergone will give them, not
only the brightness of the original mint, but a wider
circulation than they have ever known.

The distinguishing characteristics by which Lord
Brampton's stories may be known I have long been
familiar with, and have no hesitation in saying that



viii EDITOR'S PREFACE

one or other, some or all, may be found in every
anecdote that bears the genuine stamp. They are

WIT, HUMOUR, PATHOS, AND TRAGEDY.

My claims in the production of these volumes are
confined to their defects, although Lord Brampton has
been generous enough to attribute to me a share in
their merits.

I ought to say that, whenever it has been necessary
to introduce any observations of my own, they are
placed in brackets, so that I might not appear to
intrude into the narrative.

RICHARD HARRIS.

42, FITZJOHN'S AVENUE,
HAMPSTEAD,

October 6, 1904.



CONTENTS OF VOL. I.



CHAPTER PAGE

AT BEDFORD SCHOOL - 1

ii. AT MY UNCLE'S OFFICE - - 11

III. SECOND YEAR THESIGER AND PLATT - 22

IV. AT THE OLD BAILEY IN THE OLD TIMES - - 30
V. MR. JUSTICE MAULE THE VICAR, AND THE SABBATH-
BREAKER - 38

VI. HOW I TOOK TWENTY-TWO POINTS AGAINST A CON-
VICTION - - 46
VII. NEWMARKET HEATH - - 55
VIII. MY FIRST BRIEF - 67
IX. AN EPISODE AT HERTFORD QUARTER SESSIONS - 70
X. HOW I ESCAPED FROM A DANGEROUS SITUATION - 76
XI. THE ONLY 'RACER' I EVER OWNED - - 84
XII. WHY I GAVE OVER CARD-PLAYING - - 97

xni. POTTO BROWN'S CASE - 103
XIV. GRAHAM, THE POLITE JUDGE, AND 'JOHN ROBINS, MY

LORD' 112

XV. GLORIOUS OLD DAYS OLD BOB GRIMSTONE, THE

HONOURABLE, AND MANY OTHERS CHICKEN HAZARD 119
XVI. PETER RYLAND, THE REV. MR. FAKER, AND THE WELSH

WILL 134

xvii. TATTERSALL'S BARON MARTIN, HARRY HILL, AND

THE OLD FOX IN THE YARD - 142
XVIII. CHIEF BARON KELLY JEAKES AND JACOBS TWO

HEBREW FIRMS OF SOLICITORS - - 153

XIX. ARISING OUT OF THE ' ORSINI AFFAIR' 163

ix



x CONTENTS OF VOL. I.

CHAPTER . PAGE

XX. APPOINTED QUEEN'S COUNSEL SITTING AS A COM-
MISSIONER - 172

xxi. ARTHUR A'BECKET ' TAKEN IN ' TO CROSS-EXAMINE

IN CHANCERY JESSEL'S IDEA OF IT 183

XXII. 'FARMER RYDE ' THE PRIZE-FIGHT ON FRIMLEY

COMMON - 190

XXIII. SAM WARREN, THE AUTHOR OF 'TEN THOUSAND A

YEAR' - - 202

XXIV. HOW JUDGES USED BIG ' D'S ' IN THE BRAVE DAYS

OF OLD - - 212

XXV. CLUBS - 227

XXVI. THE KNEBWORTH THEATRICAL ENTERTAINMENTS
SIR EDWARD BULWER LYTTON CHARLES DICKENS,

CHARLES MATHEWS, MACREADY, DOUGLAS JERROLD 235

XXVII. ALDERSON, TOMKINS, AND A FREE COUNTRY - 244

XXVIII. RACING ACQUAINTANCES, AND A VISIT TO A COUNTRY

HARVEST-HOME FESTIVAL AT THE VILLAGE CHURCH 250

XXIX. MR. BARON MARTIN - 257

xxx. CROCKFORD'S 'HOOKS AND EYES ' DOUGLAS JERROLD 259

XXXI. A CONVERSATION ABOUT PALMER THE POISONER,

BETWEEN TWO BETTING MEN - 270
XXXII. COMPENSATION NICE CALCULATIONS IN OLD DAYS

EXPERTS LLOYD AND I - - 277

XXXIII. ELECTION PETITIONS - - 285

XXXIV. MY CANDIDATURE FOR BARNSTAPLE - - 291
XXXV. THE TICHBORNE CASE - 307

xxxvi. THE TICHBORNE CASE continued - - 316



PORTRAIT OF LORD BRAMPTON - Frontispiece



THE REMINISCENCES OF

SIR HENRY HAWKINS

(NOW LORD BEAMPTON)
CHAPTER I

AT BEDFORD SCHOOL

MY father was a solicitor at Hitchin, and much
esteemed in the county of Hertford. He was also
agent for many of the county families, with whom
he was in friendly intercourse. My mother was the
daughter of the respected Clerk of the Peace for
Bedfordshire, a position of good influence, which might
be, and is occasionally, of great assistance to a young
man commencing his career at the Bar. To me it was
of no importance whatever.

My father had a large family, sons and daughters,
of whom only two are living. I mention this as an
explanation of my early position when straitened cir-
cumstances compelled a most rigid economy. During
no part of my educational career, either at school or
in the Inn of Court to which I belonged, had I any-
thing but a small allowance from my father. My life
at home is as little worth telling as that of any other

VOL. i. 1



2 HENEY HAWKINS

in the same social position, and I pass it by merely
stating that, after proper preparation, I was packed
off to Bedford School for a few years.

My life there would have been an uninteresting
blank but for a little circumstance which will pre-
sently be related. It was the custom then at this very
excellent foundation to give mainly a classical educa-
tion, and doubtless I attained a very fair proficiency
in my studies. Had I cultivated them, however, with
the same assiduity as I did many of my pursuits in
after-life, I might have attained some eminence as
a professor of the dead languages, and arrived at the
dignity of one of the masters of Bedford.

However, if I had any ambition at that time, it was
not to become a professor of dead languages, but to
see what I could make of my own. It is of no interest
to anyone that I had great numbers of peg-tops arid
marbles, or learnt to be a pretty good swimmer in the
Ouse. There was a greater swim prepared for me in
after-life, and that is the only reason for my referring
to it.

In the year 1830 Bedford School-house occupied
the whole of one side of St. Paul's Square, which faced
the High Street. From that part of the building you
commanded a view of the square and the beautiful
country around. The sleepy old bridge spanned the
still more sleepy river, over which lay the quiet road
leading to the little village of Willshampstead, and it
came along through the old square where the school-
house was.

It was market-day in Bedford, and there was the
usual concourse of buyers and sellers, tramps and
country people in their Sunday gear ; farmers and



AN INCIDENT OF MY SCHOOL DAYS 3

their wives, with itinerant vendors of every saleable
and unsaleable article from far and near.

I was in the upper schoolroom with another boy,
and, looking out of the window, had an opportunity
of watching all that took place for a considerable
space. There was a good deal of merriment to divert
our attention, for there were clowns and merry-andrews
passing along the highroad, with singlestick players,
Punch and Judy shows, and other public amusers.
Everyone knows that the smallest event in the country
will cause a good deal of excitement even if it be so
small an occurrence as a runaway horse.

There was, however, no runaway horse to-day ; but
suddenly a great silence came over the people, and
a sullen gloom that made a great despondency in my
mind without my knowing why. Public solemnity
affects even the youngest of us. At all events, it
affected me.

Presently and deeply is the event impressed on my
mind after seventy years of a busy life, full of almost
every conceivable event I saw, emerging from a by-
street that led from Bedford Gaol, and coming along
through the square and near the window where I was
standing, a common farm cart, drawn by a horse which
was led by a labouring man. As I was above the
crowd on the first-floor, I could see there was a layer
of straw in the cart at the bottom, and above it,
tumbled into a rough heap as though carelessly thrown
in, a quantity of the same ; and I could see also from
all the surrounding circumstances, especially the pallid
faces of the crowd, that there was something sad about
it all. The horse moved slowly along, at almost a
snail's pace, while behind walked a poor sad couple with

12



4 MB. HENBY HAWKINS

their heads bowed down, and each with a hand on the
tail-board of the cart. They were evidently over-
whelmed with grief.

Happily we have no such processions now ; even
Justice itself has been humanized to some extent, and
the law's cruel severity mitigated. The cart contained
the rude shell into which had been laid the body of
this poor man and woman's only son, a youth of
seventeen, hanged that morning at Bedford Gaol for
setting fire to a stack of corn !

He was now being conveyed to the village of Wills-
hampstead, six miles from Bedford, there to be laid
in the little churchyard where in his childhood he
had played. He was the son of very respectable
labouring people of Willshampstead ; had been misled
into committing what was more a boyish freak
than a crime, and was hanged. That was all the
authorities could do for him, and they did it. This
is the remotest and the saddest reminiscence of my
life, and the only sad one I mean to relate, if I can
avoid it.

But years afterwards, when I became a Judge, this
picture, photographed on my mind as it was, gave me
many a lesson which I believe was turned to good
account on the judicial bench. It was mainly useful
in impressing on my mind the great consideration of
the surrounding circumstances of every crime, the
degree of guilt in the criminal, and the difference in
the degrees of the same kind of offence. About this I
shall say something hereafter.

I remained at this school until I had acquired all
the learning my father thought necessary for my
future position, as he intended it to be, and much



AKTICLED TO MY UNCLE 5

more than / thought necessary, unless I was to get
my living by teaching Latin and Greek.

Whether I liked it or not, I was not even consulted,
it not being the fashion in those days to consult school-
boys in so important a matter as their future prospects,
for what could they know about it ? I was articled,
therefore, to my worthy uncle, the Clerk of the Peace,
and, had I possessed my present experience, should
have known that it was a diplomatic move of the
most profound policy to enable me, if anything hap-
pened to him, to succeed to that important dignity.

But I did not see things in the light of my present
experience, and submitted to the articling business
with a meekness which said much for the gentleness
of my disposition, but nothing for the independence of
my judgment.

Had I been ambitious of wealth, there were other
offices which my uncle held, to the great satisfaction
of the county, as well as his own. These would
naturally descend to me, and I should have been in a
position of great prominence in the .county, with a
very respectable income.

But I hated the drudgery of an attorney's office.
In six months I saw enough of its documentary
evidence to convince me that I hated it from my heart,
and that nothing on earth would induce me to become
a solicitor. I took good care, meek as I was, to show
this determination to my friends. It was my only
chance of escape. But while remaining there it was my
duty to work, however hateful the task, and I did so.

Even this, to me, most odious business had its advan-
tages in after-life. I attended one morning with my
uncle the Petty Sessions of Hertford, where, no doubt,



6 . ME. HENKY HAWKINS

I was supposed to enlarge my knowledge of sessions
practice ; it certainly did so, for I knew nothing,
and received a lesson, which is not only my earliest
recollection, but my first experience in Advocacy.

At this Hertford Petty Sessional Division the chair-
man was a somewhat pompous clergyman, but very
devoted to his duties. He was strict in his applica-
tion of the law when he knew it, but it was fortunate
for some delinquents, although unfortunate for others,
that he did not always possess sufficient knowledge to
act independently of his clerk's opinion, while the
clerk's opinion did not always depend upon his know-
ledge of law.

An impudent vagabond was brought up before this
clergyman charged with a violent and unprovoked
assault on a man in a public-house. He was said to
have gone into the room where the prosecutor was,
and to have taken up his jug of ale and appropriated
the contents to his own use without the owner's
consent. The prosecutor, annoyed at the outrage,
rose, and was immediately knocked down by the
interloper, and in falling cut his head.

There was to my untutored mind no defence, but
the accused was a man of remarkable cunning and not
a little ingenuity. He knew the magistrate well, and
his special weakness, which was vanity. By this
knowledge the man completely outwitted his adver-
sary, arid shifted the charge from himself on to the
prosecutor's shoulders. The curious thing was he
cross-examined the reverend chairman instead of the
witness, which I thought a master-stroke of policy, if
not advocacy.

' You know this public-house, sir ?' he asked.



FIRST EXPEEIENCE IN ADVOCACY 7

The reverend gentleman nodded.

' I put it to yourself, sir, as a gentleman, how would
you have liked it if another man had come to your
house and drunk your beer ?'

There was no necessity to give an answer to this
question. It answered itself. The reverend gentle-
man would not have liked it, and, seeing this, the
accused continued :

' Well, your honour, this here man comes and takes
my beer.

' " Halloa, Jack !" I ses, " no more o' that."

* " No," he says, " there's no more ; it's all gone."

' " Stop a bit," says I ; " that wun't do, nuther."

"'That wun't do T he says. " Wool that do?"
and he ups with the jug and hits me a smack in the
mouth, and down I goes clean on the floor ; he then
falls atop of me and right on the pot he held in his
hand, which broke with his fall, bein' a earthenware
jug, and cuts his head, and " Sarve him right," I hopes
your honour '11 say ; and the proof of which state-
ment is, sir, that there's the cut o' that jug on his
forehead plainly wisible for anybody to see at this
present moment. Now, sir, what next ? for there's
summat else.

' " Jack," says I, " I'll summons you for this
assault."

' " Yes," he says, " and so '11 I ; I'll have ee afore
his Worship Mr. Knox."

1 "Afore his Worship Mr. Knox?" says I. "And
why not afore his Worship the Rev. Mr. Hull ? He's
the gentleman for my money a real gentleman as 11
hear reason, and do justice atween man and man."

' " What !" says Jack, with a oath that I ain't going



8 ME. HENEY HAWKINS

to repeat afore a clergyman " what !" he says, " a
d d old dromedary like that !"

' " Dromedary, sir," meaning your worship ! Did
anybody ever hear such wile words against a clergy-
man, let alone a magistrate, sir ? And he then has
the cheek to come here and ask you to believe

him. " Old dromedary !" says he " a d d old

dromedary." '

Mr. Hull, the reverend chairman, was naturally
very indignant, not that he minded on his own account,
as he said that was of no consequence but a man
who could use such foul language was not to be
believed on his oath. He therefore dismissed the
summons, and ordered the prosecutor to pay the costs.

I think both my father and uncle still nursed the
idea that I was to become the good old-fashioned
county attorney, for they perpetually rang in my ears
the praises of ' our Bench ' and * our chairman,' our
Bench being by far the biggest thing in Hertfordshire,
except when a couple of notables came down to contest
the heavy-weight championship or some other noble
prize.

For myself, I can truly say I had no ambition at
this time beyond earning my bread, for I pretty well
knew I had to trust entirely to my own exertions.
The fortunate have many friends, and it is just the
fortunate who are best without them. I had none, and
desired none, if they were to advise me against my
inclinations. My term being now expired, for I loyally
pursued my studies to the bitter end, my mind was
made up, ambition or no ambition, for the Bar or the
Stage.

Like most young men, I loved acting, and quite



MY FINAL DECISION 9

believed I would succeed. My passion for the stage
was encouraged by an old schoolfellow of my father's
when he was at Rugby, for whom I had, as a boy,
a great admiration. I forget whether in after-life
I retained it, for we drifted apart, and our divergent
ways continued their course without our meeting again.

Any worse decision, so far as my friends were con-
cerned, could not be conceived. They both remon-
strated solemnly, and were deeply touched with what
they saw was my impending ruin, especially the ruin
of their hopes. In vain, however, did they attempt to
persuade me ; my mind was as fixed as the mind of
two-and- twenty can be. Having warned me in terms
of severity, they now addressed me in the language of
affection, and asked how I could be so headstrong and
foolish as to attempt the Bar, at which I could only
succeed after working about twenty years as a special
pleader.

I have thought since I must have been mistaken in
the number of years, but it was nob material ; any
number of years would have had the same meaning to
me at that time.

They next set before me, as a terrible warning, my
uncle, another brother of my father's, who had gone to
the Bar, and I will not say never had any practice, for
I believe he practised a good deal on the Norfolk
Broads, and once had a brief at sessions concerning
the irremovability of a pauper, which he conducted
much to the satisfaction of the pauper, although I
believe the solicitor never gave him another brief.

However, our family trio could not go on for ever
quarrelling, and at last they made a compromise with
me, much to my satisfaction. My father undertook to



10 ME. HENRY HAWKINS

allow me a hundred a year for five years, and after
that time it was to cease automatically, whether I
sank or swam, with this solemn proviso, however, for
the soothing of his conscience : that if I sank my fate
was to be upon my own head ! I agreed, also, to that
part of the business, and accepting the terms, started
for London.



CHAPTER II
AT MY UNCLE'S OFFICE

I OUGHT to mention, in speaking of my ancestors, that
I had a very worthy godfather who was half-brother
to my father. He was connected with a family of
great respectability at Royston, in Cambridgeshire,
and inherited from them a moderate-sized landed
estate A portion of this property was a little farm
situate at Urampton, in Huntingdonshire, from which
village I took the title I now enjoy.

The farm was left, however, to my aunt for life,
who lived to a good old age, as most life-tenants do
whom you expect to succeed, and I got nothing until
it was of no use to me. When I came into possession
I was making a very fair income at the Bar, and the
probability is my aunt did me, unconsciously, the
greatest kindness she could in keeping me out of it so
long.

So much for my ancestors. About the rest of them
I know nothing, except an anecdote or two.

There was one more event in my boyhood which I
will mention, because it is historic. I assisted my
father, on my little pony, in proclaiming William IV.
on his accession to the throne, and I mention it with
the more pride because, having been created a Peer of
11



12 MB. HENKY HAWKINS

the Realm by her late gracious Majesty Queen Victoria,
who was pleased to allow me the title of Brampton, I
was qualified to assist as a member of the Privy
Council at the accession of his present most gracious
Majesty, and had the honour to hear him announce
himself as King Edward of England by the title of
Edward the Seventh !

Arrived in London, full of good advice and abun-
dance of warnings as to the fate that awaited me, I
entered as a pupil the chambers of a famous special
pleader of that time whose name was Frederick
Thompson. This was in the year 1841.

I have the right to say I worked very hard there for
several months, and studied with all my might ; nor
was the study distasteful. I was learning something
which would be useful to me in after-life. Moreover,
being endowed with pluck and energy, I wanted to
show that my uncles for the godfather warned me
as well and my father were false prophets. So I
gave myself up entirely to the acquisition of know-
ledge, this being absolutely necessary if I was to make
anything of my future career. ' Sink or swim,' my
father said, was the alternative, so I was resolved to
keep my head above water if possible.

After being at Thompson's my allotted period, I
next went to Mr. George Butt, a very able and
learned man, who afterwards became a Queen's
Counsel, but never an advocate. I acquired while
with him a good deal of knowledge that was invalu-
able, became his favourite pupil, and was after a
time entrusted with papers of great responsibility, so
that in time it came to pass that Mr. Butt would send
off my opinions without correction.



THE PKIZE KING 13

These are small things to talk of now, but they
were great then, and the foundation of what, to me,
were great things to come, although I little suspected
any of them at that time ; and as I look back over
that long stretch of years, I have the satisfaction of
feeling that I did not enter upon my precarious career
without doing my utmost to fit myself for it.

I must here mention an event which took place
about this time, and which was by no means the idle
escapade that some people might suppose.

In those early days of the century prize-fights were
very common in England. The noble Art of Self-
defence was patronized by the greatest in the land.
Society loved a prize-fight, and always went to see
it as Society went to any other fashionable function.
Magistrates went, and even clerical members of that
august body. As magistrates it may have been their
duty to discountenance, but as county gentlemen it
was their privilege to support, the noble champions
of the art, especially when they had their money on
the event.

The magistrates, if their presence was ever dis-
covered, said they went to prevent a breach of the
peace, but if they were unable to effect this laudable
object, they looked on quietly so as to prevent anyone
committing a breach of the peace on themselves.
Their individual heads were worth something.

It was to one of these exhibitions of valour, between
Owen Swift and Brighton Bill, that a reverend and
sporting magistrate took my brother John, a nice
good schoolboy, in a tall hat. He thought it was
the right thing that the boy should see the world.
I thought, also, that what was good for John as



14 ME. HENRY HAWKINS

prescribed by his clerical adviser, would not be bad
for me, so I went as well.

No doubt it was a rare ' set to,' and the cham-
pions, I honestly believe, did right good service to their
backers. It was exciting in the extreme ; I stood not
far behind the clergyman, who had John by his side.
John seemed as pleased as his spiritual guide, and
kept his hands plunged deep down into his little
pockets ; it is the safest way to guard your money if


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