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walking over the bridge, hot and thirsty. " Hallo !"
says one ; "I say, Jim, here's a nice public ; what
d'ye say to goin' in and havin' a glass o' bitter ? It's
a goodish pull over this 'ere bridge."


' " With all my heart," says Jim ; and in they go.

' There you see the advantage of being on the high-
road. But now, let us see these two stalwart farmers
coming along, and instead of the handsome public
and the bitter ale there is this shop, where they sell
medical arrangements can you imagine one of them
saying to the other, " I say, Jim, here's a very nice
medical shop ; what d'ye say to going in and having
a truss ?" '

This argument considerably reduced the compensa-
tion, but what it lacked in money the claimant got
in laughter.

A living doctor who sold his practice in those days
I don't know how it may be in these was said to
sell ' a live practice,' and it was valued accordingly ;
but if the executors of a deceased doctor sold the
business, it was called ' selling a dead practice.'

In the former case the old doctor introduced his
patients to the new one, which was a considerable
advantage, inasmuch as it was a kind of commendation
of his merits ; whereas the executors selling a dead
man's practice, it was always said the new doctor
would introduce them to the ' Old Un ' ; a play upon
words, but it carried meaning and affected the value.
Of course the executors cared nothing about the merits
of the new one or the ' Old Un ' so long as they could
benefit the estate.

Sometimes I led a witness who was an expert valuer
for a claimant to such a gross exaggeration of the
value of a business as to stamp the claim with fraud,
and so destroy his evidence altogether.

Sir Henry Hunt used to nod with apparent approval
at every piece of evidence which showed any kind of


exaggeration, but every nod was worth, as a rule,
a handsome reduction to the other side.

I shall never forget an attorney's face who, having
been offered 10,000 for a property, stood out for

It was a claim by a poulterers' company for eight
houses that were taken by a railway company. I
relied entirely on my speech, as I often did, because the
threadbare cross-examinations were almost, by this
time, things of course, as were the figures themselves
mere results of true calculations on false bases.

This attorney, who had, perhaps, never had a com-
pensation case before, was quite a great man, and
took the arbitrator's assenting nods as so much cash

So encouraged, indeed, was he that he became
almost impudent to me, and gave me no little annoy-
ance by his impertinent asides. At last I looked at
him good-humouredly, and politely requested him, as
though he were the court itself, to suspend his judg-
ment while I had the honour of addressing the arbi-
trator for twenty minutes, ' at the end of which time I
promise to make you, sir,' said I, ' the most miserable
man in existence.'

I was supported in this appeal by the arbitrator, who
hoped he would not interrupt Mr. Hawkins.

As I proceeded the attorney fidgeted, puffed out
his cheeks, blew out his breath, twirled his thumbs as
I twirled his figures, and grated his teeth as he looked
at me sideways, while I concluded a little peroration I
had got up for him, which was merely to this effect :
that if railway companies yield to such extortionate
demands as were made by this attorney on behalf of


the poulterers' company they would not leave their
shareholders a feather to fly with.

The attorney looked very much like moulting him-
sejf, and the end of it was that he got two thousand
pounds less than we had offered him in the morning,
and consequently had to pay all the costs.

As I have stated, John Horatio Lloyd was my
principal opponent in these great public works cases,
and I remember him with every feeling of respect.
He was an advocate whom no opponent could treat
lightly, and was uniformly kind and agreeable.

Of course I had a large experience in those times
I suppose, without vanity, I may say the very largest.
I was retained to assess compensation for the large
blocks of buildings acquired for the space now occupied
by the Law Courts. In the very early cases the law
officers of the Crown were concerned, but after that
the whole of the business was entrusted to my care,
although for reasons best known to themselves the
Commissioners declined to send me a general retainer,
which would have been one small sum for the whole,
but gave instead a special retainer on every case. If
my memory serves me truly, on one occasion I had
ninety-four of these special retainers delivered on one
morning. This was in consequence of their refusing to
retain me generally for the whole, which would have
been a nominal fee of five guineas.

The site of the Law Courts cost little less than a
million, and a great deal of it lay unutilized for years.

The Thames Embankment, the Holborn Viaduct,
and many other London improvements were also
dealt with by me.



ANOTHER class of work which gave me much pleasure
and interest was that of election petitions. These
came in such abundance that I had to put on, as I
thought, a prohibitory fee, which in reality increased
the volume of my labour. Baron Martin laughed
heartily when I told him what I had done.

' Prohibitory, my dear Hawkins ! Nothing of the
sort ; they must have you.'

And they did. But I can only mention one or two
of those which gave me most pleasure.

Amongst the earliest was that of W. H. Smith, who
had been returned for Westminster. The petitioner
endeavoured to unseat him on the ground of bribery,
alleged to have been committed in paying large sums
of money for exhibiting placards on behalf of the can-
didate. It was tried before Baron Martin.

About the payments there was no element of extra-
vagance, but there were undoubtedly many cases of
payment, and these were alleged to be illegal.

Ballantine was my junior. One of the curious

matters in the case was that these payments had been

principally made by, or under, the advice of my dear

trusty old friend, whom I cannot mention too often,



the Hon. Robert Grimstone, the man whose acquaint-
ance I made at the benefit of ' The Spider ' a worthy
pugilist of many years before.

Ballantine, as I thought, most injudiciously and
without any real ground, strongly advised me not to
call ' that old fool ' ; but believing in Grimstone as I did,
and having charge of the case, I resolved to call him.
Baron Martin knew Bob Grimstone as well as I did,
and believed in him as much.

' Who is this ?' asked the Baron.

' Another bill- sticker, my lord/ I answered.

Grimstone gave his evidence, and was severely cross-
examined by my friend, J. Fitzjames Stephen. He
fully and satisfactorily explained every one of the
questioned items, evidently to the satisfaction of
Martin, who dismissed the petition, and thus Mr.
Smith retained his seat.

The learned Judge said, in giving judgment, that
without Grimstone's evidence the seat would have
been in great danger, but that he had put an innocent
colour on the whole case, and that, knowing him to be
an honourable man and incapable of saying anything
but the truth, he had implicitly trusted to every word
he spoke.

Mr. Smith, whom I met some days after, said he
was perfectly assured that if I had not had the conduct
of the case, and Grimstone had not been called, his
seat would have been lost.

I have said often that Grimstone was one of the
most honest, trusty, and truthful men I ever came
across, and always spoke plainly.

I also defended the seat of the member for South-
ampton, who was returned with Mr. Russell Gurney.


Ballantine was on the other side, and on the second
morning he abandoned the petition, although I was
alarmed for it, for if certain evidence had been dis-
covered in time my client would certainly have been

Another petition was for giving a treat after the
election, and as a consequence of a successful return.
This was Albert Grant, or ' Baron Grant.' He was
unseated, but I have always considered he had hard
measure from Mellor, J., who, however, thought
differently, and his opinion was supreme.

In the petition against Sir George Elliot for Durham,
for whom I appeared, there was nothing of any impor-
tance in the case, except that Sir George gave a very
interesting history of his life.

He had been a poor boy who had worked in the
cutting of the pit, lying on his back and picking out
from the roof overhead the coal which was shovelled
into the trucks. From this humble position literally
and socially he had proceeded, first to his feet, and
then step by step, until, from one grade to another,
he had amassed a very large fortune, and sufficient
income to enable him to incur, not only the expenses
of an election and a seat in Parliament, but also those
of a bitterly hostile election petition, enormously ex-
travagant in every way. I succeeded in winning his
case, and never was more proud of a victory. It had
lasted many days.

There is one matter almost of an historical character
which I mention in order to do all the justice in my
power to a man who, although deserving of reprobation,
is also entitled to admiration for the chivalry of his
true nature. I speak of it with some hesitation, and


therefore without the name. Those who are interested
in his memory will know to whom I allude, and will be
grateful for this tribute to his character, however much
it may have been sullied by his temporary absence
of manly discretion.

He was charged with assaulting a young lady in a
railway train between Aldershot and Waterloo. There
was much of the melodramatic in the incidents, and
much of the righteous indignation of the public before
trial. There was judgment and condemnation in every
virtuous mind. The assault alleged was doubtless of a
most serious character, if proved. I say nothing of
what might have been proved or not proved ; but,
speaking as an advocate, I will not hesitate to affirm
that cross-examination may sometimes save one person's
character without in the least affecting that of another.

But this was not to be. Whatever line of defence
my experience might suggest, I was debarred by his
express command from putting a single question.

I say to his honour that as a gentleman and a
British officer, he preferred to take to himself the ruin
of his own character, the forfeiture of his commission
in the army, the loss of social status, and all that could
make life worth having, to casting even a doubt on the
lady's veracity in the witness-box.

My instructions crippled me, but I obeyed my client,
of course, implicitly in the letter and the spirit, even
though to some extent he may have entailed upon him-
self more ignominy and greater severity of punishment
than I felt he deserved.

I saw him once afterwards walking in front of the
Athenseum Club, and very shortly afterwards he died
in Egypt, never having been reinstated in the British


army. I knew but little of him until this catastrophe
occurred ; but the manliness of his defence showed him
to be naturally a man of honour, who, having been
guilty of serious misconduct, did all he could to
amend the wrong he had done ; and so he had my
sympathy in his sad misfortune and misery.

I have been asked to revive some of the old circuit
histories. Alas ! some are gone beyond recall, like the
majority of the good fellows I knew in those old and
happy days. Many, for whose memory I shall retain un-
bounded esteem till my last hour, have been mentioned
in other pages of this book, but the juniors may most
of them be represented by the able, jovial, witty, and
genial Archer Ryland, who had been called to the Bar
in Gray's Inn so far back as the year 1818. By
diligence and hard work he got practice at the Essex
Sessions and other places on circuit in criminal cases.
He was kind to juniors, but naturally jealous of their
success, for every success to a junior was a comparative
loss to him, who had hard work to live. Yet though
he was really ' hard up ' he was cheerful at mess. One
old fellow, called about 1815, used to sing an old
song about sitting on his mother's lap and other joys
of childhood, especially his endeavouring to walk, the
refrain being ' My mother dear, my gentle mother dear,'
until Ryland would say, ' There he goes again, meander-
ing about his mother !' But the song went on, notwith-
standing, to the bitter end, and then he endeavoured
to walk again.

Well, they were simply happy times those circuit

messes, full of fun, foolishness, and frolic. The junior

member was King, and imposed fines at his will. Had

his jurisdiction been impeached, the impeacher would

VOL. I. 19


have found that it needed no defending ; the fine
would be instantly increased.

A member was fined for promotion : for even having
a red bag given to him, which was always by a leader
of the circuit, and was the first step in his profession.
Whatever good fortune came to a man was the subject
of a' fine ; and the more laudable the offence the more
heavy the punishment. Marriage was punished with
the greatest severity, and the sentence was accom-
panied with the solemn warning not to do it again.

I doubt if I could throw any real interest into the
doings of the old circuit mess which I joined over sixty
years ago. Officers were appointed, such as Attorney-
General, to see to proper elections of persons fit to be
elected, and also that strict discipline was observed
as to the etiquette and rules of the circuit. These and
other matters of business were conducted at the circuit
court. After all this came the pantomime, when
men were falsely accused of imaginary offences, and
really fined for not being guilty. All this was for fun,
and also to keep up the wine fund of the mess, and
men submitted cheerfully, because they enjoyed the
frivolity and the wine.

I could go on writing fresh stories for ever, but they
must stop somewhere. I have reserved my candidature
for Barnstaple until the last chapter but one in this
volume, first, because it is a unique subject, and,
secondly, I considered that, with the account of the
Tichborne case, it would form, as a story not told
in chronological order, an interesting finish to my
first volume.



ALTHOUGH the House of Commons dislikes lawyers,
constituencies love them. The enterprising patriots
of the long robe are everywhere sought after, provided
they possess, with all their other qualifications, the
one thing needful, and possessing which, all others may
be dispensed with.

Barnstaple was no exception to the rule. It had
a character for conspicuous discernment, and, like the
unseen eagle in the sky, could pick out at any distance
the object of its desire.

Eminent, respectable, and rich must be the quali-
fication of any candidate who sought its suffrages the
last, at all events, being indispensable.

Up to this time I had not felt those patriotic yearn-
ings which are manifested so early in the legal heart.
I was never a political adventurer; I had no eye on
Parliament merely as a stepping-stone to a judgeship ;
and probably, but for the events I am about to
describe, I should never have been heard of as a
politician at all. There were so many candidates in
the profession to whom time was no object that I
left this political hunting-ground entirely to them.
In 1865 I was waited upon at Westminster by a
291 192


very influential deputation from the Barnstaple
electors honest -looking electors as any candidate
could wish to see bringing with them a requisition
signed by almost innumerable independent electors,
and stating that there were a great many more of the
same respectable class who would have signed had
time permitted. Further signatures were, however,
to be forwarded. It was urged by the deputation
that I should make my appearance at Barnstaple at
the earliest possible date, as no time was to be lost,
and they were most anxious to hear my views, especi-
ally upon topics that they knew more about than I,
which is generally the case, I am told, in most con-
stituencies. I asked when they thought I ought to
put in an appearance.

' Within a week at latest,' said the leading spirit of
the deputation. 'Within a week at latest,' repeated
all the deputation in chorus. ' Because,' said the
leading personage, ' there is already a gentleman of
the name of Cave ' (it should have been pronounced as
two syllables, so as to afford me some sort of warn-
ing of the danger I was confronting) ' busily canvass-
ing in all directions for the Liberal party, and
Mr. Howell Gwynne and Sir George Stukely will be
the Conservative candidates. However, it would be
a certain seat if only I would do them the honour of
coming forward. There would be little trouble, and
it would almost be a walk-over.'

A walk-over was very nice, and the tantalizing
hopes this deputation inspired me with overcame my
great reluctance to enter the field of politics ; and in
that ill-advised moment I promised to allow myself to
be nominated.


Great were the promises as to the enthusiasm which
would be called forth on my arrival, and the grandeur
of the reception I should meet with at the station.

It was arranged that I should make my appearance
by a specified afternoon train on a particular day in
the week (apparently to be set apart as a public
holiday), so that I had little time for preparation.
By the next day's post I received a kind of official
communication from ' our committee,' stating that a
very substantial deputation from the general body
would have the honour to meet me at the station,
and accompany me to the committee-rooms for the
purpose of introduction.

Down, therefore, I went by the Great- Western line,
and in due time arrived at my destination, as I

I found, instead of the ' influential body of gentle-
men ' who were to have the honour of conducting me
to the headquarters of the Liberal party, there was
only a small portion of it, almost too insignificant
to admit of counting. But he was an important
personage in uniform, and dressed somewhat like a

After much salutation and deferential hemming and
stammering, he said I had better proceed to a little
station only a few miles farther on and dine, ' and if so
be I'd do that, they would meet me in the evening.'

Not being a professional politician, nor greatly
ambitious of its honours, I was somewhat disconcerted
at such extraordinary conduct on the part of my com-
mittee, and would have returned to town, but that
the train was going the wrong way, and by the time
I reached the little station I had argued the matter


out as I thought. It might be a measure of precau-
tion, in a constituency so respectable as Barnstaple,
to prevent the least suspicion of treating or corrupt
influence. Had I dined at Barnstaple it might have
been suggested that someone dined with me or drank
my health.

Whatever it was, the revelation was not yet.

I was to return ' as soon as I had dined.' Every-
thing was to be ready for my reception.

All these instructions I obeyed with the greatest
loyalty, and returned at an early hour in the evening.
But if I was disappointed at my first reception, how
I was elated by the second ! All was made up for by
good feeling and enthusiasm. We were evidently all
brothers fighting for the sacred cause, but what the
cause was I had not been informed up to this time.

At the station was a local band of music waiting to
receive me, and to strike up the inspiring air, ' See
the conquering hero comes ' ; but, unfortunately, the
band consisted only of a drum, of such dimensions
that I thought it must have been built for the
occasion, and a clarionet.

Before the band struck up, however, I was greeted
with such enthusiastic outbursts that they might have
brought tears into the eyes of anyone less firm than
myself. ' Orkins for ever !' roared the multitude.
It almost stunned me. Never could I have dreamt
my popularity would be so great. ' Orkins for ever !'
again and again they repeated, each volley, if possible,
louder than before. * Bravo, Orkins ! Let 'em 'ave
it, Orkins I don't spare 'em.' I wish I had known
what this meant.

I must say they did all that mortals could do with


their mouths to honour their future member ; it was
vociferous and cheering. And when at last the band
struck up I was almost hustled off my feet ; it would
have been better if I had been, because the streets
were dreadfully muddy. However, on we marched to
the music of the drum, which seemed to keep pretty
good time, and I have no doubt we all felt we were
champions of the cause, although, as I have said, up to
this moment no one had told me what it was or was
likely to be. I wish they had.

I thought at the time, unpleasant as the triumphal
march was, it would have been better had I gone
down to the place in a four-wheeled cab, but then
it would have involved them in unnecessary expense,
and so far as I have since been able to make out,
there were no means of paying for it. And besides,
we could not have marched shoulder to shoulder like
brothers, as we did, in a four-wheeled cab.

Hogarth's ' March to Finchley ' was outdone by that
march to the Barnstaple town hall. An enormous
body of electors, ' free and independent ' stamped on
their faces as well as their hands, was gathered there,
and it was a long time before we could get anywhere
near the door.

Again and again the air was rent with the cries for
' Orkins,' and it was perfectly useless for the police to
attempt to clear the way. They had me out there
as if on show, and it was only by the most wonderful
perseverance and good luck that I found myself going
head first along the corridor leading to the town hall

When I appeared on the platform, it seemed as if
Barnstaple had never seen such a man; they were


mad with joy, and all wanted to shake hands with
me at once. I dodged a good many, and by dint
of waving his arms like a semaphore the chairman
succeeded, not in restoring peace, but in somewhat
moderating the noise.

I now had an opportunity of using my eyes, and there
before me in one of the front seats was the redoubtable
Cave the great canvassing Cave who instantly rose
and gave me the most cordial welcome, trusted I was
to be his future colleague in the House, and was most
generous in his expressions of admiration for the
people of Barnstaple, especially the voting portion of
them, and hoped I should have a very pleasant time
and never forget dear old Barnstaple. I said I was
not likely to nor am I.

Of course I had to address the assembled electors
first after the introduction by the chairman, who,
taking a long time to inform us what the electors
wanted, I soon made up my mind what to say in order
to convince them that they should have it, I gave
them hopes of a great deal of legal reform and re-
duction of punishments, for I thought that would suit
most of them best, and then at least assented to a
satisfactory adjustment of all local requirements and
improvements, as well as a determined redress of
grievances which should on no account be longer
delayed. (' Orkins for ever !')

I am sorry to say I did not preserve a copy of my
speech, because I looked at it then as a model of what
a candidate should promise and a borough wish it
might get.

Then Cave stood up an imposing man, with a good
deal of presence and shirt-collar who invited any


man Indeed, challenged anybody in that hall to
question him on any subject whatever.

The challenge was accepted, and up stood one of the
rank and file of the electors no doubt sent by the
Howell Gwynne party and with a voice that showed
at least he meant to be heard, said :

' Mr. Cave, first and foremost of all, I should like to
know how your missus is to-day f

It was scarcely a political or public question, but
nobody objected, and everybody roared with laughter,
because it seemed at all political meetings Cave had
started the fashion, which has been adopted by many
candidates since that time, of referring to his wife!
Cave always began by saying he could never go

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