Henry Hawkins Brampton.

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they were so unhappy at the loss that nothing could
comfort them, and even his offer was refused without
any expression of gratitude. They seemed to have no
feeling except that of deep inconsolable grief, and
actually refused to have the child buried.

The gentleman was no less amazed than shocked,
and although he felt for them, remonstrated with
some severity at their unnatural conduct.

' Wait, sir, till you have lost all you lived for,' said
the mother.

' Yes, my good woman ; I feel all that, and would
share your trouble if I could ; but even grief should be

The father shook his head, and the mother dropped
hers on to her breast.

It was all useless ; the unhappy couple writhed in
their misery, and seemed almost unconscious that any-
one was speaking to them.

' It is wrong of you,' said the gentleman, ' very
wrong ; it is wicked, and flying against Provi-

' I don't know about flying,' said the man.

' Well,' added the gentleman, ' let me assist you.
Let me bury the child.'


' No, no, thankee, sir ; we dunna want to pit 'im in
the ground ; we wunna have it !'

' But have you made no preparations for the funeral,
my good man ?'

* Noa, noa,' answered the father, ' mither were wery
fond on him.'

' But what do you intend to do, then, my good man ?
Just think the child must be buried.'

' Ay, and I ha'e tho't an' all. Much obliged, sir, for
your kind offer, but I means to have un stuffed !'

The gentleman took his departure.

I come to a pleasanter subject namely, to good
old Chief Justice Denman. He was always furious
when an application was made to postpone a case,
no matter for what cause. A kind friend who used
to make applications for me, and whose name was
Sam Joyce, obliged me on this present occasion.
The court sat in those good old days at 9.30, and
did not rise till five, so that there was more time to
make fees than now ; not only so, but if a case was pro-
gressing, in order that the parties and witnesses might
not be dragged there again the next day, the Judge
would sit and try it out, even if it was not over till
eight or nine o'clock.

Sammy was a kind-hearted, short, stout man, who
would do a kind act for anybody ; and as at that time
he had not much practice, I thought a little thing like
this would suit him.

The reason for the application was a sound one, it
being to postpone my case until eleven o'clock on the
next morning instead of beginning at 9.30, in order
to enable my witnesses to arrive at the Flower Pot,
in Bishopsgate Street, by coach. The merry Sam,


always good-tempered, was in the highest spirits,
and boldly rose to make his application. What
happened I did not see, but as I was going into
court immediately after, I met Sammy coming out
with a face the colour of lard.

' Thank God,' said he, ' I have escaped Denman's
wrath ! He was mad with rage.' Sam must have
had a buffeting.

The Chief Justice was by no means of an equable
temper, and alternated so much that he got into many
a difficulty which he would have escaped had he been
more calm. The last time I saw him was at Chelms-
ford Assizes, when he had to try a notoriously bad
woman named Chesham for the murder of two children.
Old Serjeant Charnock defended her. The case stood
second on the list, and it being taken for granted it
would not be reached at the particular time, the wit-
nesses were not present when it was called on. What
happened when Denman found that so flagrant a
neglect of duty had taken place as not ' having your
witnesses ready/ in order that a break-neck pace
might be kept up, I will not say. It is sufficient for
the purpose of this reminiscence that the infamous
woman was acquitted.

Denman was too angry to postpone the trial, and
the consequence was a gross miscarriage of justice
a cheap acquittal. In these days, I need not say,
such an event would never happen.

From the courts of justice to the prize-ring is an
easy and sometimes pleasant transition, especially in
books. From Lord Denman, with his angry voice
and severe countenance, to ' Dutch Sam ' is a notable
change of acquaintance, and might even be pleasant,


supposing you did not come into too close contact
with him. Sam was good at give and take, which
is the best way to get on through life, especially in
the ring. In courts of justice people, as a rule, give
more than they take, and get more than they expect,
except from their solicitors.

I visited from time to time such well-known persons
as 'Deaf Burke,' Nat Langham, 'Dutch Sam,' and
Owen Swift, all remarkable men, with constitutions
of iron, and made like perfect models of humanity.
Their names are unknown in these days, although
in those gentlemen of the first position were proud
of their acquaintance ; and these men, although their
profession was battering one another, were as little
inclined to brutality as any. And when it is remem-
bered that they played their game in accordance
with strict rules and on the most scientific prin-
ciples, it will be seen that cruelty formed no part of
their character.

The true sportsmen of the period, amongst whom
were the highest in the social and political world, took
the same interest in contests in the ring as they did
on the turf or in the cricket-field, and for the same
reason. Whether Jem Mace would beat Tom Sayers
had as much interest at fashionable dinner-tables as
whether Lord Derby would dispose of Aberdeen or
Palmerston. Lords and dukes backed their opinion
in thousands, and the bargee and the ostler gave or
took the odds according to the tips, in shillings. The
gentleman of the long robe, therefore, -was not to be
supposed as altogether out of his element in sporting
circles any more than the gentleman who had not a
rag to cover him.


Nor was it uncommon to meet what was called the
cream of society at the celebrated rendezvous of Ben
Gaunt, which was the Coach and Horses, St. Martin's
Lane, or at the less pretentious resort of the Tipton
Slasher; and what will our modern ladies think of
their fair predecessors, who in those days witnessed
the drawing of a badger or a dog-fight on a Sunday
afternoon ?

All mankind will attend exhibitions of skill and
prowess, and although prize-fights are illegal, you
never can suppress the spirit which gave courage that
form of competition.

I spent sometimes, with many eminent spectators,
a quiet hour or two at Tom Spring's in Holborn, and
met many of the best men there in all ranks and
professions, always excepting the Church. After one
of these entertainments I was travelling with John
Gully, once a formidable champion of the ring, and
at that time a great bookmaker, as well as owner of
racehorses afterwards presented at Court to her
most gracious Majesty the late Queen and Member
of Parliament. We were travelling on our way to
Bath, and as we approached a tunnel not far from
our destination, Gully pointed out a particular spot
' where,' said he, ' I won my first fight ' ; and so
proud was he of the recollection that he might have
been in a picture like that of Wellington pointing
out the Field of Waterloo to a young lady.

This knowledge of the world, seen as I saw it, was
of the greatest use in my profession. If you would
know the world, you must not confine yourself to
its virtues. There is another side, and it is well to
look at it. I thought on one particular occasion how


useful a little of this knowledge would have been
during a certain cross-examination of Arthur Orton
in Chancery by a member of the Chancery Bar. He
put this question and many others of a similar kind :

' Do you swear, sir, that you were on board the
Bella f in a very severe tone.

' Yes, sir,' says the claimant, ' I do.'

' Stop/ says the advocate ; ' I'll take that down ;'
and he did, with a great deal besides, his cross-examina-
tion materially assisting the man in prolonging his
fraudulent claim.

But speaking of applications for postponement
reminds me of a very curious one at least, it seemed
so then made by a real humorist, whose name was
George Brown, and who had a considerable practice in
the Divorce Court.

I have said that Judges in those days were more
strict in refusing these applications than in ours, and
Cresswell was no exception to the rule. He disliked
them, and rarely yielded. But Brown was a man of
a very persuasive manner, and it was always difficult
to refuse him anything. I was sitting in Cresswell's
court when George rose as soon as the Judge had
taken his seat, and asked if a case of his might be
postponed which would be in the next day's list.

' Have you an affidavit, Mr. Brown, as to the
reason ?'

' Yes, my lord ; but I can hardly put the real ground
of my application into the affidavit. I have communi-
cated with the other side, and they are perfectly
agreeable under the circumstances.'

' I cannot agree to postpone without some adequate
cause being stated,' said Cresswell.


'I am very sorry, my lord, but it will be very
inconvenient to me to be here to-morrow.'

There was a laugh round the Bar, which Cresswell,
observing, asked what the real reason was.

Brown smiled and blushed ; nothing would bring
him to state plainly what the reason of his application
was. At last, however, he stammered :

' My lord, the fact is I am going to take the first
step towards a divorce.' 1

The appeal touched the Judge ; the reason was
sufficient. Every step in a divorce was to be
encouraged, especially the first. The application was
granted, and Brown was married the next day.

I was engaged in the Brighton card-sharping case,
upon which so much stress was laid by the claimant
as proving his identity with Roger Tichborne, Roger
not having been in the matter at all. I was
counsel for one of the persons, the notorious Johnny
Broom, who was indicted for fraud, and whose trial
ought to have come on before Lord Chief Justice
Jervis. He was not a good Judge, so far as the
defendant was concerned, to try such a case, and that
being Johnny's opinion, he absconded from his bail.
The Lord Chief Justice had a great knowledge of
card-sharping and of all other rogueries, so that he
was an apt man to deal with delinquents who prac-
tised them. Conviction before him would have been
certain in this case. He was, in fact, waiting for
Johnny, as it was a case of great roguery, and intended
to deal severely with him.

You may imagine, then, how angry he was when he
heard that his man had flown. But there was one con-
solation : the Broom gang consisted of a number of men


who acted on all occasions as confederates when the
frauds were practised. Two of these rogues were also
indicted, and placed on their trial at this assize.

A Mr. Johnson appeared for the prosecution, and in
opening the case for the Crown, in order to show his
uncommon fairness, was so impartial as to state that
he could find no ground of complaint in respect of the
cards, which, he said, had been most carefully examined
by the Brighton magistrates.

Who these Brighton magistrates were I never
heard, but probably they were gentlemen who knew
nothing of sharpers and their ways, and whose only
experience of cards was a quiet rubber with the
ladies of their household. However, such was their
unanimous opinion, and upon it the counsel for the
Crown informed the Lord Chief Justice that he had
no case so far as the fairness of the cards was con-
cerned. Mr. Johnson was young younger even than
he looked and the Brighton magistrates were older
than they seemed. The men whom Johnson was
prosecuting could have given him a wrinkle ; they
had been pupils of Johnny Broom.

The Lord Chief Justice saw in a moment the impor-
tance of that admission on the part of the prosecution.
If that were accepted the case was gone, since the
fraud for which these men were indicted could not
have been perpetrated by honest cards.

' The Brighton magistrates !' said the Chief Justice,
with becoming emphasis. ' Give me the cards ; I
should like to have a look at them.'

They were handed up, and then a little scene took
place which was picturesque and instructive. The
Judge took up the cards one by one after carefully


wiping and adjusting his glasses to his nose, while his
confidential clerk leant over his shoulder with clerk-
like familiarity. Having scrutinized them with the
minutest observation, Jervis packed them up, and,
turning to Mr. Johnson, said :

' Mr. Johnson, I will show you how the trick was
done. If you will take that card handing him one
from the pack you will see that to the ordinary eye
there is nothing to attract your attention. That is
precisely as it should be in all games of cheating, for
if every fool could see the private marks the rogues
could not carry on their calling.'

Johnson took the card, and, instructed by the Lord
Chief Justice, carefully looked it over, but saw
nothing. His face was a perfect blank, and his mind
could not have been much more picturesque.

' Turn it over,' said his lordship. Johnson obeyed.
Still the cryptic hierograph did not appear. The
Judge stared at his pupil. ' Do you see,' asked his
lordship, ' a tiny mark on the corner of the card at
the back ?'

' Oh, I see it !' says Johnson, with a face beaming
with delight and simplicity.

' That means the ace of diamonds,' said the Chief
' ace of diamonds, Mr. Johnson !' And thus, after a
while, the cards and their secret signs were explained
to the counsel for the Crown, who, on the intelligence
of the Brighton magistrates, declared that, so far as
the cards were concerned, he must acquit these card-
sharping rogues of all intention to deceive.

In all cases the back of the card showed what was
on the face ; that was the simple secret of the whole
contrivance, although the Brighton magistrates could


not discover it, as the whole of them combined had not
a hundredth part of the intelligent cuteness of Lord
Chief Justice Jervis.

Two of this gang were standing near me, and I
heard one of them say to the other :

' Joey, how would you like to play blind hookey
with that old devil ?'

' Oh my G !' exclaimed Joey.

The prisoners were convicted principally upon the
evidence of the Lord Chief Justice, and sentenced to
long terms of imprisonment. My client Johnny got
away. He read about Jervis and this trial in the
papers, and declared he would sooner abandon his
profession than be tried by such an old thief. ' Why,'
said he, 'that old bloke knows every trick on the

Johnny's patience was untiring; he did not mind
waiting to be tried. It was the trial itself he dis-
liked, so he bided his time. No assize went by that
he did not carefully estimate his chances, so that he
might have made a betting-book. He studied the
public form, and weighed the merits of the Judge who
was coming the particular assize.

At last came one to his liking, a good old sportive
man of the world who had never studied the backs of
cards or looked on kings and knaves with any close
discrimination or study. Johnny surrendered. It
was our dear old Pollock, every whit as shrewd as
Jervis and as learned, but he did not throw so much
personal element into his cases. As I said before, if
a prisoner had a chance of an acquittal, he was too
much of a sportsman to catch him in a trap. Johnny
was fair game for the Crown to hunt, but the Crown


itself must hunt in a sportsman-like manner. The
cards produced against him were not the cards the
Brighton magistrates had seen, for they positively had
declared they were free from suspicion, and Johnny
was very properly acquitted. This was a somewhat
new and perplexing point, and my client was cute
enough to see it at a glance.

There is one other incident I should mention in the
matter of Johnny Broom, and that is his escape. He
came into Lewes fully intending to take his trial, and
went out of Lewes with the determination not to be
tried at those assizes, for the simple reason, as he said,
that Jervis was too heavy weight for his counsel.

He took a room and showed himself publicly ; but
at night the police those stalwart county men paid
a tiptoe visit to his bedroom. They had no right to
this privilege, but perhaps Harry thought it would be
better for his brother if they did so. Why they went
on tiptoe was that Harry told them his brother was in
so weak a state that he woke up with the least noise.
The police very kindly believed him, and paid their
first and second visit on tiptoe.

When they went the third time, however, their bird
had flown. Johnny had let himself down by the
window, and, evading the vigilance of those who may
have been on the look-out, escaped.

But he did not go without providing a substitute.
Harry was to answer all inquiries, and waited the
arrival of his watchers, lying in Johnny's bedroom.
When the officers came he opened the door in his
night apparel, and said, ' Hush ! don't disturb him ;
poor Johnny ain't slept hardly for a week over this 'ere
job.' But you can have a peep at him, only don't

VOL. i. 15


make a noise. There he is !' and he pointed to a fancy
nightcap of his brother's, which only wanted Johnny's
head to make the story true.

The good constables, having seen it as they saw it
the night before, left the house as quietly as mice, still
on tiptoe.

Harry described this performance to me himself.

Jervis had the whole country scoured for him, but
unless he had scoured it himself, there was little chance
of anyone else finding the culprit.



I BELONGED to several clubs, and, however different they
were in outward aspect, there was one all-pervading
identity : they were human that is to say, they all
possessed the same little weaknesses for enjoyment
and luxury, whether the Athenaeum or the Victoria,
the National or the International, Union or Reform,
Crockford's or Brooks's. The following little incident
will show how the highly intellectual blends with this
common characteristic.

An old butler at the Athenaeum, who had been there
for a great number of years and knew every member,
from the Archbishop to the junior barrister, was, of
course, well acquainted with their appetites and their
tastes for the different wines of the establishment.
There was one thing, however, that troubled this
butler beyond measure, and that was the decadence of
the old Athenceum not in its intellectual worth, but in
its love of a fine old port, which in the old days had
been the pride of the club, but now was lying in
dismal and neglected solitude.

One day he observed, to his great delight, two old
members of the club enter the dining-room. They had
been absent for many years, and his face brightened
227 15 2


as they took their seats in a cosy corner and ordered
dinner. *

As he hovered around, watchful of their require-
ments, there fell upon his ear the most grateful words
he had listened to for many a year.

' Perkins, have you any of that fine old port left ?'

What a thrilling moment for Perkins ! ' Yes, sir !
yes, sir !' then, after a pause : ' Oh, gentlemen, this is
a great pleasure a great pleasure, gentlemen, to meet
anybody who remembers that old port ; we don't serve
none of that now, sir. There was a time when some
gentlemen who honoured us with their company never
thought they'd dined if they didn't have a bottle of
that old port, and sometimes, gentlemen, one extra.'

* Indeed, Perkins !'

' Yes, sir. Gentlemen, it is good to see gentlemen
who don't forget it.'

After the wine was placed on the table, Perkins
looked at it as a mother would on her first-born, then
sighed and said :

' Gentlemen, you will excuse my feelings, but I must
say it times have changed, and gentlemen have
changed. But of all changes / have ever knowed,
members of this club, and gentlemen, I'm sorry to say
it, never so much as asks nowadays about that old
port, and confines their taste to cheap clarets. Oh,
it's a great falling away, gentlemen a great falling
away !'

He turned to another part of the room, looking back
occasionally with longing eyes at the old port, and
presently returned. Encouraged by the diners, he
proceeded with his eulogy :

' You wouldn't believe it, gentlemen, but such is the


case they ackshally prefers to spend their money on
their smutty old books.'

But now for a conversational contrast which took
place at the Benchers' table of the Middle Temple.

Sir Richard Bethell (afterwards Lord Westbury) and
I were Benchers at the same time, and consequently
often met. Westbury was a great man, but his
disposition could not be said by his dearest friends to
have been one of great amiability. If he wounded you
with his wit, the sore seldom healed. He was a good
hater, and hated Campbell with his whole heart.

'Jock,' it seemed, had stolen a march on him, and
got to the Woolsack first.

' I was Solicitor-General,' said Westbury, ' and while
I was engaged in getting my Divorce Bill through the
Commons, the Lord Chancellorship fell vacant, and
Jock promised if I let him have it he would vacate in
my favour, which he afterwards refused to do, remark-
ing that he was very comfortable and would not change
for the warrld.

Then Bethell damned Jock Campbell with all his
might. ' Had I known he would not resign,' said he,

' when I wanted him to, I'll be d d if old Jock

should have been Chancellor at all!'

The following was sent by a friend : ' Many years ago
there was a will case before Hannen in which you were
engaged with "the Apostle," as we called him; Devil
Harrison, who had a way of emphasizing a remark by
slapping the heel of his right boot ; Mr. Serjeant Parry,
and others. In a sweet voice the Apostle told the court
they had agreed. The agreement involved a great
reduction in the legacies. " / have not agreed," said a
voice from a back row. " Who are you ?" sneered the


Apostle. " I'm the Butcher's daughter," said the junior.
" And a damned artful one !" said Hawkins. " I can cut
up rough at times." " Better fall in with us and take
half" said Devil Harrison, slapping his heel violently.
" And fall out with my client ? Thank you, no." " Why
did you not speak before ?" asked the Apostle. " Didn't
know I was allowed to ; I'm only a junior." " If we go
on you'll get nothing," said Parry, lifting his eyebrows
and smiling with the greatest good-humour. " Yes,
but you'll not go on." "Where does this young lady
hail from ?" asked Hawkins. " Walton- on-Thames."
" Oh," said he, " they know a thing or two down there ;
it's close to Oatlands, Jemmy : give the young lady her
five hundred and let her go." Whereupon the Apostle
sneered, Parry arched his eyebrows, the Devil slapped
his heel, and I got the whole of my legacy.'

Sir Alexander Cockburn said he was sitting next
to Thesiger during a trial before Campbell, Chief
Justice, in which the Judge read some French docu-
ments, and, being a Scotchman, it attracted a good
deal of attention, and Cockburn, who was a good
French scholar, was much annoyed at the Chief
Justice's pronunciation of the French language.

' He is murdering it/ said Cockburn ' murdering it !'
' No, my dear Cockburn,' answered Thesiger, ' he is
not killing it, only Scotching it.'

Sir Alexander Cockburn told us he was at a shooting-
party with Bethell and his son, one of whom shot the
gamekeeper. The father accused the son of the mis-
adventure, while the son returned the compliment.
Cockburn, after some little time, asked the gamekeeper
what was the real truth of the unfortunate incident
who was the gentleman who had inflicted the injury ?


The gamekeeper, still smarting from his wounds, and
forgetting the respect due to the questioner, answered :

' Oh, Sir Alexander d n 'em, it was both !'

A remark made by Lord Young, the Scotch Judge,
one of the wittiest men who ever adorned the Bar,
and who is a Bencher of the Middle Temple, struck
me as particularly happy. There was a conversation
about the admission of solicitors to the roll, and the
long time it took before they were eligible to pass
from their stage of pupilage to that of solicitor,
amounting, I think, to seven years, upon which Lord
Young said: ' Nemo repentefuit turpissimus.'

So talked the Benchers of those days.

There was a little intellectual club to which I be-

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Online LibraryHenry Hawkins BramptonThe reminiscences of Sir Henry Hawkins, baron Brampton (Volume 1) → online text (page 14 of 21)