Henry Hawkins Brampton.

The reminiscences of Sir Henry Hawkins, baron Brampton (Volume 1) online

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through this ordeal without the help and sympathy of
his dear wife his support and joy at whose bidding
and in pursuit of whose dreams he had come forward
to win a seat in their uncorruptible borough, and to
represent them the most coveted honour of his life
in the House of Commons.

Of course this oratory, having a religious flavour,
took with a very large body of the Barnstaple electors,
and was always received with cheers as an encourage-
ment to domestic felicity and faithfulness to connubial

When this gentleman put the question, Cave
answered as though it was asked in real earnest, and
was cheered to the echo, not merely for his domestic
felicity, but his cool contempt for any man who could
so far forget connubial bliss as to sneer at it.

For a few days all went tolerably well, and then
I was told that a very different kind of influence pre-
vailed in the borough than that of religion or political


morality, and that it would be perfectly hopeless to
expect to win the seat unless I was prepared to purchase
the large majority of electors ; indeed, that I must buy
almost every voter. (That's what they meant by ' Give
it 'em, Orkins ! Let 'em 'ave it !')

This I refused to believe; but it was said they
were such free and independent electors that they
voted for either party, and you could not be sure of
them until the last moment ; in fact, if I would win
I must bribe! to say nothing of all kinds of sub-
scriptions from cricket clubs to blanket clubs, from
individual relief to friendly societies of all kinds.

I declined to accept these friendly warnings, and
looked upon it as some kind of political dodge got up
by the other side.

I resolved to win by playing the game, and made
up my mind to go to the poll on the political ques-
tions which were agitating the public mind, as I was
informed, by a simple honest candidature, knowing
that in political as in every other warfare honesty is
the best policy. On that noble maxim I entered into
the contest, believing in Barnstaple, and feeling con-
fident I should represent it in Parliament.

To indulge in bribery of any sort would, I knew,
be fatal to my own interests even if I had not been
actuated by any higher motive. I placed myself,
therefore, in the hands of my friend and principal
agent, Mr. Kingston, as well as the other agents of
the party.

I soon found that my printing bill was likely to be
pretty large, for everything had to go through the
printing-press, small and great ; every word must be
in print with as many copies as would almost rival the


largest circulation in the world, and I could not help
thinking what a real blessing to candidates a free
press would be.

We did not long, however, remain true to our own
party. I saw there was a hitch somewhere which
soon developed into a split ; some of us, it seemed,
must go to the wall. I could not understand the
reason of it ; we professed the same politics, the same
' cause,' the same battle-cry, the same enemies. But,
whatever it was, I could see that we were so much
divided that my chances of heading the poll were

I had been cheered to the echo night after night
and all day long, so that there was enough shouting
to make a Prime Minister ; my horses had time after
time been taken from my carriage, and cheering voters
drew me along. These unmistakable signs of popular
devotion to my interests had been most encouraging ;
and, as they shouted themselves hoarse for me, I talked
myself hoarse for them. We had a mutual hoarseness
for each other. Everything looked like success ; every-
thing sounded like success ; and night after night out
came drum and clarionet to do their duty manfully in
drumming me to my hotel.

It had been a remarkable success ; everybody said
so. Most of them declared solemnly they had never
seen anything like it. They pronounced it a record
popularity. I thought it was because the good people
had selected me as their candidate on independent and
purity of election principles. This explanation gave
them great joy, and they cheered with great enthusiasm
for their own virtue, Judge, then, my surprise a short
while after, when, notwithstanding the firm principles


upon which we had proceeded, and by which my
popularity was secured, I began to perceive that
money was the only thing they wanted! Their un-
corruptible nature yielded, alas ! to the lowering
influence of that deity.

It was at first a little mysterious why they should
have postponed their demands secret and silent
until almost the last moment ; but the fact is a large
section of my party were dissatisfied with the voluntary
nature of their services ; they declined to work for
nothing, and having shown me that the prize that
is, the seat was mine, they determined to let me
know it must be paid for. A large number of my
voters would do nothing ; they kept their hands in
their pockets because they could not get them into

This was no longer a secret, but on the eve of the
election was boldly put forward as a demand, and I was
plainly told that 500 distributed in small sums would
make my election sure.

As, however, in no circumstances would I stoop to
their offer, this demand did not in the least influence
me I never wavered in my resolution, and refused to
give a farthing. Furthermore, showing the web in
which they sought to entangle me, the same voice that
suggested the 500 also informed me that I was closely
watched by a couple of detectives set on by the other

I was well aware that the ' other side ' had given
five-pound notes for votes, but I could neither follow
the example nor use the information, as it was told me
' in the strictest confidence/

I was therefore powerless, and felt we were drifting


asunder more and more. At last came the polling day,
and a happy relief from an unpleasant situation it
certainly was.

A fine bright morning ushered in an exciting day.
There was a great inrush of voters at the polling-booth,
personal votes, if I may call them so votes, I mean to
say, of friends, honest supporters ; these were my own
acquaintances made during my sojourn at Barn staple ;
others came, a few for Cave as well as myself. Cave
did not seem to enjoy the popularity that I had
achieved. Still, he got a few votes.

Now came an exciting scene. About mid -day, the
working man's dinner hour, the tide began to turn, for
the whole body of bribed voters were released from
work. My majority quickly dwindled, and at length
disappeared, until I was in a very hopeless minority.
Everywhere it was ' Stukely for ever !' Some cried,
' Stukely and free beer !' Stukely, who till now had
hardly been anybody, and had not talked himself
hoarse in their interests as I had, was the great object
of their admiration and their hopes.

The consequence of this sudden development of
Stukely 's popularity was that Cave united his destiny
with the new favourite, and such an involution of parties
took place that c Stukely and Cave' joined hand in
hand and heart to heart, while poor Howell Gwynne
and myself were abandoned as useless candidates. At
one o'clock it was clear that I must be defeated by a
large majority.

The Cave party then approached me with the modest
request that, as it was quite clear that I could not be
returned, would I mind attending the polling places
and give my support to Cave ?


This piece of unparalleled impudence I declined to
accede to, and did nothing. The election was over so
far as I was interested in its result ; but I was deter-
mined to have a parting word with my supporters
before leaving the town. Strange to say, I did not
appear to be the least annoyed with not winning, for
it was quite a matter of indifference, but I was mor-
tified at the unblushing treachery and deception of
my supporters.

I was next asked what I proposed to do. It was
clear that their object now was to get me out of the
town as soon as possible, for if unsuccessful as a can-
didate, I might be troublesome in other ways. Such
people are not without a sense of fear if they have no
feeling of shame.

I said I should do nothing but take a stroll by the
river, the day being fine, and come back when the poll
was declared and make them a little speech.

The little speech was exactly what they did not
want, so in the most friendly manner they informed
me that a fast train would leave Barnstaple at a certain
time, and that probably I would like to catch that, as
no doubt I wished to be in town as early as possible
to attend to my numerous engagements. If they had
chartered the train themselves they could not have
shown greater consideration for my interests.

But I informed them that I should stop and address
the electors, and with this statement they turned
somewhat sulkily away.

At the appointed hour for the declaration of the
poll I was on the hustings well up there, although
the lowest on the poll. Stukely and Cave were first
and second, Howell Gwynne and myself third and last !


There was an enormous crowd round the booth
howling, hooting, cheering, yelling, and amongst them
a mob of riotous navvies, interested, no doubt, in
the political questions of the day, but much more so
in making a row and insulting me, so as, if possible, to
make it clear that I had better have adopted the sug-
gestion of my friends and taken the fast train to London
in the earlier part of the day.

I met these men good-humouredly, for I knew that,
howl as they might, they had no real feeling of hostility
towards me, and I soon made them laugh, the surest
way of winning over a mob to your side. The head
man, or captain of this sturdy team of navvies, wore a
catskin cap, and by way of showing his ascendancy,
sat on the shoulders of another stalwart son of the

I looked hard at him and smiled. He returned it
with a loud ' Haw ! haw ! haw !' The others, seeing
this, immediately set up a hearty cheer for Orkins
* Orkins for ever !'

They were thoroughly English, and cheered the
defeated candidate, swore I'd made a plucky fight on
't, and danged if ur didn't take ur lickin' like a man,
and then up went a volley of cheers.

As soon as some order was restored, I said :
' Gentlemen, if you represent the great Conservative
party, and the gentleman of the catskin is your leader,
the sooner you have a little reform amongst you the

They roared with laughter. 'Ay, ay,' they cried,
' we be Conservatives ! Haw ! haw !' and then the
air was rent with more and more boisterous cheers.

After this there was no further interruption, but


there was an individual amongst the crowd who was
dressed as a gentleman's valet, and was undoubtedly
a real Conservative ; he stood on a tub and kept
making a noise with the intention of interrupting me.
I was told he was a footman to one of my strongest
opponents, and on the principle of like master like
man, had a strong dislike to the ' lower orders.'
The crowd, it appeared, knew him well enough, and
always regarded him as a 'gentleman.' As he stood
there on the tub, conspicuous above the crowd (his
house not being far away), I pretended to hear the bell
ring in that direction, and while he was waving his
arms in gesticulation, I said :

' John, I hear your master's bell ; he has just rung
for you !'

This was enough for John. If he had disappeared
into the tub he could not have been more instan-
taneously invisible. Amidst the most uproarious
cheers away he went, and molested me no more.

When my turn came to address the multitude I
spoke in no measured terms as to the conduct of the
election, which I denounced as having been won by the
most scandalous bribery and corruption.

All who were present as unbiassed spectators were
sorry, and many of them expressed a wish that I
would return on a future day.

' Not,' said I, ' until the place has been purged of
the foul corruption with which it is tainted.'

I had resolved to leave by the mail train, and was
actually accompanied to the station by a crowd of some
2,000 people of all ranks, including the Rector, or Vicar
of the parish, who gave me godspeed on my journey


This kind and sincere expression of goodwill and
sympathy was worth all the boisterous cheers of
welcome with which I had been received.

On the platform at the railway -station I had to
make another little speech, and then I took my seat,
not for Barnstaple, but London. As the train drew
out of the station, the people clung to the carriage like
bees, and although I had not even honeyed words to
give them, they gave me a ' send off' with vociferous
cheers and the most cordial good wishes.

Thus I bade good-bye to Barnstaple, never to return
or be returned, and I can only say of that enlightened
and independent constituency that, while seeking the
interests of their country, they never neglected their

I need not say I learnt a great deal in that election
which was of the greatest importance in the conduct
of the Parliamentary petitions which were showered
upon me.

I ought to add that, before I accepted the candidature
of Barnstaple, a friend of mine came to me and said he
had been making inquiries as to how the little borough
of Totnes could be won. He had, I need not say,
made those inquiries on my account, and informed
me that the lowest figure required as an instalment to
commence with was .7,000.

After this I had no more to do with electioneering
in the sense of being a candidate, but a good deal to do
with it in every other. I think I have before observed
that one day Baron Martin asked me if I was coming
to such and such an election petition.

' No,' I answered, ' no ; I have put a prohibitory fee

VOL. I. 20


on my services ; I can't be bothered with election

' How much have you put on ?'

' Five hundred guineas, and two hundred a day.'

The Baron laughed heartily. ' A prohibitory fee !
They must have you, Hawkins they must have you.
Put on what you like ; make it high enough, and
they'll have you all the more.'

And I did. It turned out a very lucrative branch
of my business, and my electioneering expenses were
a good investment. The experience at Barnstaple
repaid the outlay. It was invaluable, and no feature
of an election ever came before me but I recognised
a family likeness.



[THE greatest of all chapters in the life of Mr. Hawkins
was the prosecution of the impostor Arthur Orton for
perjury, and yet the story of the Tichborne case is one
of the simplest and most romantic. The heir to the
Tichborne baronetcy and estates was shipwrecked while
on board the Bella and drowned in 1854. In 1865
a butcher at Wagga Wagga in Australia assumed the
title and claimed the estates. But the story is not
related in these reminiscences on account of its romantic
incidents, but as an incident in the life of Lord
Brampton. It is so great an incident that there is
nothing in the annals of our ordinary courts of justice
that is comparable with it, either in its magnitude or
its advocacy. I speak particularly of the trial for
perjury, in which Mr. Hawkins led for the prosecution,
and not of the preceding trial, in which he was junior
silk to Sir John Coleridge.

It is impossible to give more than the points of this
strange story as they were made by Mr. Hawkins, and
the real facts as they were elicited by him in cross-
examination and pieced together by his skill, both in his
opening speech and his reply in the case for the Crown.
What rendered Mr. Hawkins' task the more difficult
was that his predecessors had so bungled the cross-
examination in many ways that they not only had not
elicited what they might have done, but actually, by
307 202


many questions, furnished information to the Claimant
which enabled him to carry on his imposture.]

The Tichborne trials demand a few words by way of
introduction, for although there were two trials, they
were of a different character, the first being an
ordinary action of ejectment in which the claimant
sought to dispossess the youthful heir, whose title he
had already assumed, under circumstances of the most
extraordinary nature.

The action of ejectment was tried before Chief
Justice Bovill at the Common Pleas, Westminster.
Ballantine and Giffard (now Lord Halsbury) led for
the plaintiff, the butcher, while on behalf of the
trustees of the estate (that is the real heir) were the
Solicitor-General Coleridge, myself, Bowen (afterwards
Lord Bowen), and Chapman Barber, an equity counsel.

I must explain how it was that I, having been
retained to lead Coleridge, was afterwards compelled
to be led by him ; and it is an interesting event in the
history of the Bar as well as of the Judicial Bench.

The action was really a Western Circuit case, although
the venue was laid in London. Coleridge led that
circuit and was retained. I belonged to the Home
Circuit, and had no idea of being engaged at all for that
side. I had been retained for the Claimant, but the
solicitor, with great kindness, withdrew his retainer
at my request.

I was brought into the case for the purpose of
leading, and no other ; but by the appointment of
Coleridge to the Solicitor-Generalship in 1868, I was
displaced, and Coleridge ultimately led. His further
elevation happened in this way : Sir Robert Collier


was Attorney-General, and it was desired to give him
a high appointment which at that moment was vacant,
and could only be filled by a Judge of the High Court.
Collier was not a Judge, and therefore was not eligible
for the post. The question was how to make him
eligible. The Prime Minister of the day was not to be
baffled by a mere technicality, and he could soon make
Collier a Judge of the High Court if that was a condi-
tion precedent.

There was immediately a vacancy on the Bench;
Collier was appointed to the judgeship, and in three
days had acquired all the experience that the Act
of Parliament anticipated as necessary for the higher
appointment in the Privy Council.*

* My friend, John Strachan, K.C., whose memory of this
incident I prefer to my own, says : It was during the hearing
of the ejectment action of Tichborne v. Lushington that Sir
John Coleridge, Q.C., on behalf of the defendants, addressing
the presiding Judge (Lord Chief Justice Bovill) with con-
siderable warmth, complained of the leading counsel for the
Claimant keeping up the case after he (the speaker) had, as
he termed it, ' demonstrated it to be a case of imposture,' and,
said Sir John, ' as head of the English Bar I protest against
it.' Sir John had only been made Attorney- General a day or
two before, on the elevation of Sir Eobert Collier to the Bench.
The counsel referred to were not present in court at the time ;
but after the adjournment for luncheon Serjeant Ballantine
asked permission to interpose for the purpose of referring to
the remarks, and quoting Sir John's words, said : ' True, he is
the head of the English Bar by an accident.' Whereupon
Mr. Hawkins, in a stage whisper, exclaimed, ' Yes, a Collier-y
accident !' to the great amusement of the few in his neigh-
bourhood who heard the remark. ' Oh,' said Ballantine
aloud to the Judge ; ' I am told by my learned friend,
although I have not er the least idea where he derived
his information, that it was a Collier-y accident, my lord !
I know nothing of er these things of my own knowledge.'


Instead of leading, therefore, in the case before
Chief Justice Bovill, I had to perform whatever
duties Coleridge assigned to me. My commanding
position was gone, and it was no longer presumable
that I should be entrusted with the cross-examination
of the plaintiff. I was bound to obey orders and
cross-examine whomsoever I was allowed to.

[The one thing Mr. Hawkins was retained for was the
cross-examination of the plaintiff. Lord Chief Justice
Cockburn said, * I would have given a thousand pounds
to cross-examine him.' It would have been an excellent
investment of the Tichborne family to have given
Hawkins ten thousand pounds to do so, for I am sure
there would have been an end of the case as soon
as he got to Wapping.

Coleridge acknowledged that the Claimant cross-
examined him instead of his cross-examining the

When that shrewd and cunning impostor was asked,
' Would you be surprised to hear this or that ?' ' No,'
said he, ' I should be surprised at nothing after this
long time and the troubles I have been through ; but,
now that you call my attention to it, I remember it
all perfectly well.'

The plaintiff constantly corrected the day after,
blunders he had made the day previous, and which
had been pointed out to him by the questions, that
set hun on inquiry.]

I was asked at an earlier stage to go into Chancery
and listen to the cross-examination of the plaintiff by
Mr. Chapman Barber. This was the manner in which
it was conducted :

'Will you swear, sir, you were on board the
Bella r

I will.'


' Let me make a note of that. Do you swear you
were picked up and taken to Australia ?'

' I do, sir.'

' Stop ; let ine make a note of that.'

Anyone who could have cross-examined him at that
time would have crushed the thing in the bud.

I had also been retained by the trustees of the
Doughty estate. Lady Doughty was a sister of Sir
Roger Tichborne, and it was her daughter Kate whom
.Roger the heir desired to marry. Had the Claimant
succeeded in the first case he would have brought an
action against her also.

No copy of the proceedings had been supplied to
me, and I was informed that at this preliminary cross-
examination they would not require my assistance ;
that their learned Chancery barrister was merely going
to cross-examine the Claimant on his affidavits a
matter of small consequence. So it was in one way,
but of immeasurable importance in many other ways,
But they said / might like to hear the cross-examination
as a matter of curiosity !*

I did.

The Claimant had it all his own way. I was power-
less to lend any assistance ; but had I been instructed
I am perfectly sure I could then and there have
extinguished the case, for the Claimant at that time
knew absolutely nothing of the life and history of
Roger Tichborne.

* I cannot conceive of a more interesting heirloom in the
Tichborne family than a painting of the remarkable scene
of the cross-examination of the Claimant by Mr. Chapman
Barber, and Mr. Hawkins looking on as a matter of curiosity.
E. H.


. So the case went on, costs piled on costs ; informa-
tion picked up, especially by means of interminable
preliminary proceedings, until the impostor was left
master of the situation, to the gratification of fools
and the hopes of fanatics.

I was, however, allowed in the trial to cross-examine
some witnesses. Amongst them was a man of the
name of Baigent, the historian of the family, who
knew more of the Tichbornes than they knew of
themselves. My cross-examination of Baigent, which
did more than anything else to destroy the Claimant's
case, occupied ten days. He was the real Roger's
old friend, and knew him to the time of his leaving
England never to return. I drew from him the con-
fession that he did not believe he was alive, but that
he had encouraged the Dowager Lady Tichborne to
believe that the Claimant was her son ; and that her
garden was lighted night after night with Chinese
lamps in expectation of his coming.

I also obtained admissions from him that when he
saw the Claimant at Alresford Station neither knew
the other, although Baigent had never altered, in
the least, as he alleged.

There was another witness allotted to me, and that
was Carter, an old servant of Roger whilst he was in
the Carabineers. This man supplied the plaintiff with
information as to what occurred in the regiment while
Roger belonged to it ; but he only knew what was
known to the whole regiment. He did not know
private matters which took place at the officers' mess ;
it was upon these, I need not say, that my cross-
examination showed the Claimant to be an impostor.
I ' had him there.'


As Parry and I were sitting one morning wait-
ing for the Judges, I remarked on the subject of
the counsel chosen for the prosecution : ' Suppose,

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