Henry Hawkins Brampton.

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you have any, for while your hands are there nobody
else's can be. John was a saving boy, and always kept
his savings in his own pockets. I wish people would
adopt that plan more often than they do. It would
save many of them from ruin.

I saw John's arms stretched tightly down by his
sides, and knew that he had as much as a half-crown
in each pocket, for he had shown them to me with great
pride that very morning.

These were all his worldly possessions. There was
a great crowd, of course, and a good many rough fellows
between him and me, but I kept my eye on John's
tall chimney-pot hat, knowing that while I saw that
I should not lose John.

There was a stir, for Brighton Bill had landed a
tremendous blow on the cheek of Owen Swift, and
while we were applauding, as is the custom at prize-
fights and public dinners, a cunning pick-pocket
standing immediately behind John pushed the tall
chimney-pot hat tightly down over the boy's

His little hands went up in a moment to raise his
hat, so that he might see the world, the big object
he had come to see ; and immediately in went two other


hands, and out came the savings of John's life, his
boasted two half-crowns !

When he saw the world again the rogue had dis-

The famous place for these pugilistic encounters, or
one of the famous places, was a spot called Noon's
Folly, which was within a very few miles of Royston,
where the counties of Cambridge, Suffolk, Essex, and
Hertfordshire meet, or most of them. That was the
scene of many a stiff encounter ; and although, of
course, there was both magisterial and police inter-
ference when the knowledge reached them that a fight
was about to take place within their particular juris-
diction, by some singular misadventure the knowledge
never reached them until their worships were return-
ing from the battle. All was over before any official
communication was made.

I was entered of the Middle Temple,f and remained
with Mr. Butt until I had kept sufficient terms to
qualify me to take out a license to plead on my own
account, which I did at the earliest possible date.
This was a great step in my career, although, of
course, the license did not enable me to plead in court,
as I was not called to the Bar.

If work came I should now be in a fair way to
attain independence ; but the prospect was by no
means flattering ; it was, in fact, all but hopeless
while the position of a special pleader was not my
ambition. The look-out, in fact, was anything but

* So greatly did the world differ in its treatment of the
brothers : while the rogues emptied John's pockets, they filled

t April 16, 1839.


encouraging from the fifth-floor of No. 3, Elm Court
I mean prospectively. It was a region not inacces-
sible of course, but it looked on to a landscape of
chimney-pots, not one of which was likely to attract
attorneys ; it was cheap and lonely, dull and miser-
able ; a melancholy altitude beyond the world and its
companionship. Had I been of a melancholy disposi-
tion I might have gone mad, for hope surely never
came to a fifth-floor. But there I sat day by day,
week by week, and month by month, waiting for the
knock that never came ; hoping for the business that
might never come.

It was hard, weary work doing nothing, and at times
I almost despaired and wondered if I had done wisely
in neglecting my father's advice. It was watching,
waiting, listening for a footstep. Alas ! between me
and the courtyard there were many able practitioners,
and my lofty abode was a very long way from there.
It was as though I were besieged, but not by clients,
simply cut off by a powerful blockade.

Hundreds of times had I listened with vain expec-
tations to the footsteps on the stairs below footsteps
of attorneys and clerks, messengers and office-boys.
I knew them all, and that was all I knew of them.
Down below at the bottom flight they tramped, and
there they mostly stopped. The ground-floor was
evidently the best for business ; but some came higher,
to the first-floor. That was a good position ; there
were plenty of footsteps, and I could tell they were
the footsteps of clients. A few came a little higher
still, and then my hopes rose with the footsteps. Now
someone had come up to the third-floor : he stopped !
Alas ! there was the knock, one single hard knock ;


it was a junior clerk. The sound came all too soon for
me, and I turned from my own door to my little den
and looked out of my window up into the sky, from
whence it seemed I might just as well expect a brief
as from the regions below.

This was not quite true. On another occasion seme
bold adventurer ascended with asthmatical energy to
the fourth-floor, and I thought as I heard him wheeze
he would never have breath enough to get down
again, and wondered if the good-natured attorneys
kept these wheezy old gentlemen out of charity.
But it was rare indeed that the climber, unless it
was the rent-collector, reached that floor.

The fifth landing was too remote for the postman,
for I never got a letter at least, so it seemed ; and
no squirrel watching from the topmost bough of the
tallest pine could be more lonely than I.

At last I thought a step had passed even the fourth
landing, and was approaching mine ; but I would not
think too fast, and damped my hopes a little on
purpose lest they should burn too brightly and too
fast. I was not mistaken : there was a footstep on my
landing, and I listened for the one heavy knock. It
seemed to me I waited about an hour and a half,
judging by the palpitations of my heart, and wished
the man had knocked as vigorously. But I was
rewarded ; the knocker fell, and, as my boy was away
with the toothache, I opened the door myself. He
was the same wheezy man I had heard below some
time before ; and I really seem to have liked asth-
matical people ever since, except when I became a
Judge and they disturbed me in court, at which
time the usher would always take out the cough, or

VOL. i. 2


the dog, or whatever the nuisance might happen
to be.

' Papers !'

That is enough to say to anyone who understands
the situation. You may be sure I gave them my best
attention, that they were finished promptly, and, as
I hoped, in the best style. If I had required any
additional incentive to keep me to my daily task of
watching, this would have been sufficient ; but I wanted
none. I knew that my whole future depended upon it,
and there I was from ten in the morning till ten at night.
My first fee was small, but it was the biggest fee
I ever had. It was 10s. 6d. I was only a special
pleader, and with some papers our fees were even less ;
we only had to draw pleadings, not to open them in
court : that comes after you are called to the Bar.
Drawing them means really drawing the points of
the case for counsel, and opening them means a
gabbling epitome of them to the jury which no jury
in this world ever yet understood or ever will.

It should be remembered that at that time there
were a good many fourth and fifth floor men who
never got their fees at all from some attorneys ; these
gentlemen (the attorneys) patronized the poor pleaders
by way of giving them ' a turn,' as they called it, out of
good-nature. They never showed me that benevolence,
because I determined from the first to have only busi-
ness arrangements with my clients no love on my
side, and no * accommodation ' on theirs.

This little matter was the forerunner of others, and
by little and little I steadily went on, earning a few
shillings now and a few shillings then, but, best of all,
becoming known little by little here and there.


I was aware that some knowledge of the world
would be necessary for me when I once got into it by
way of business as an advocate, so I came to the con-
clusion that it would be well to commence that branch
of study as soon as I closed the other for the day or
rather for the night.

I had not far to go to school, only to the Hay-
market and its delightful purlieus, and there were the
best teachers to be found in the world, and the most
recondite studies. For all these I kept, as the great
politicians say, an open mind, and learned a great deal
which stood me in good stead in after-life. You
cannot pick up much knowledge of the world on a
fifth -floor, 1 1 feet by 8 feet, and a sloping ceiling ; but
under the ' broad canopy ' there is ample space for
meditation. I availed myself of my opportunities,
and when it became essential had a fair stock of
knowledge, even sometimes enough for my learned
friends as well, especially if they had been 'well
brought up.'

It is not necessary, I suppose, in writing these
reminiscences, to describe all I saw at least, I hope
not. Manners have so changed since that time that
people who have no imagination would not believe me,
and those who have would imagine I was exaggerating.
So I must skip this portion of my youthful studies,
merely saying that I saw nearly, if not quite, all the
life which was to be seen in London ; and 1 am sure I
am not exaggerating when I say that that would
nearly fill an octavo volume of itself. There is so
much to be seen in London, as a dear old lady I used
to drink tea with once told me.

But she did not know more than I, for she had



never seen the night-houses, gambling hells, and other
places of amusement that at that time were open all
night long, nor had she seen the ghastly faces of the
morning. I attribute my escaping the consequences of
all these allurements, to the beautiful influence which
my mother in early life exercised over me, as I attribute
my knowledge of them to the removal of the restraint
with which my earlier years had been curbed.

My mother died before I came to London, but un-
doubtedly her influence was with me, although I broke
loose, as a matter of course, from all paternal control.

But I was never a ' man about town.' To be that
you must have plenty of money, or none at all, and in
either case you are an object to avoid. I had, never-
theless, a great many pleasures that a young man
from the country can enjoy. I loved horse -racing,
cricket, and the prize-ring. It was not because
pugilism was a fashionable amusement in those days
that I attended a ' set-to ' occasionally ; I went on my
own account, not to ape people in the fashionable
world, and enjoyed it on my own account, not because
they liked it, but because I did.

It was the taste of the age, and its principal pastime
a fight on Sunday morning on the village green
was a common mode with the rustics of rubbing off
their weekly accounts, and starting with a clean slate
for Monday. But none of these sports and amuse-
ments did me any harm. On the contrary, they did
me good. The 'wit there I got there' I could get
' nae ither where,' and it was all of excellent service in
enabling me to play my part in the real drama of life
that was before me.

My rent at this time of my entrance into the


fashionable world was 12 a year ; my laundress, per-
haps, a little less. She earned it by coming up the
stairs ; but she was a good old soul. I remembered
her long years after, and always with gratitude for
her many kindnesses in those gloomy days. Her
name was Hannem.

Of course, I had to buy the necessary books for my
professional use, coals, and other things, and after
paying all these I had to live on the narrow margin of
my 100 a year.

This recollection is very pleasing : I never got into
debt, and never wanted ; but I had to be frugal and
avoid every unnecessary expense.

But the time at last came when I was no longer to
rest on my lonely perch at the top of Elm Court. I
had kept my terms, and was duly called to the Bar of
the Middle Temple on May 3, 1843.

It was a day to be remembered, and a red-letter
day in my life's calendar, to be especially remembered
in connection with an event that took place fifty
years afterwards. The separation of time does not
affect the associations of memory.

Just fifty years after, when I was a Judge, and
almost the Senior Bencher of my Inn, our illustrious
Sovereign, then Prince of Wales, who is also a Bencher
of the Middle Temple, favoured us with his presence
at dinner, and did me the honour to propose my health
in a gracious speech. On returning thanks for this
kindness, I told the crowded audience of my jubilee,
and pointed out the spot where fifty years before I
had held my call party.



IN my second year I made 50, the sweetest fifty
pounds I ever made. I had no longer any weary
waiting, for there was no weariness in it, and I confess
at this time my sole idea, and I may add my only
ambition, was to relieve myself of all obligations to my
father. If I could accomplish this I should have
vindicated the step I had taken, and my father would
have no further right, whatever reason he might think
he had, to complain.

My third year came, and then, to my great joy,
finding that I was earning more than the hundred
pounds he allowed me, I wrote and informed him, with
all proper expressions of gratitude, that I should no
longer need his assistance, and from that time I never
had a single farthing that I did not earn.

I am sure I was prouder of that than of my
peerage, for I experienced for the first time the joyous
pride of independence. There is no fruit of labour so
sweet as that.

But I no sooner began to obtain a little success than
my rivals and others tried to deprive me of the merit
of it, if merit there was ' Oh, of course his father and
uncle are both solicitors in the county ' ; while one of


the local newspapers years after was good enough to
publish a paragraph which stated that I owed all my
success to my father's office.

This, of course, does not need contradiction, for it is
immaterial to everybody how I succeeded, except to
myself. Nobody in this world, and especially in our
profession, ever does anything which the world thinks
the least meritorious without inspiring a feeling of
jealousy in the unsuccessful. He will be lucky if he
escapes without some unfriendly paragraph as to his
being an overrated man.

I shall, however, small as the matter seems, contra-
dict it in these memoirs, and say, for the gratification
of others who hope to succeed in life's great battle,
that my success has been due entirely to hard work.
That I had an occasional small session's case from
my father's office was natural enough, but it did not
help me in after-life. It was valuable only for the
little fee it brought, and which I was most pleased
to receive.

An occasional small brief from Hitchin was the
beginning and the end of my father's influence, while
sessions practice was not the practice I hoped to finish
my career with, although I had little hopes of
eminence. Certainly if I had I should have known
that eminence could not come from Hitchin.

You may learn advocacy at Quarter Sessions, and
much of it must be learnt there ; how else are you to
acquire any practice in cross-examination, which in
itself comprehends all the other branches if you know
how to separate them ? Cross-examination includes
your speech. Great achievements can only be accom-
plished by long, laborious study and perseverance. My


first brief for the defence was delivered to me at
Hertford Quarter Sessions in 1844.

To a man of good natural abilities and power to use
them a certain amount of sessions practice will be
most useful. It enables a man to think on his legs,

O '

and this is the first step to advocacy.

I chose the Home Circuit, and did not leave it till I
was made a Judge. It is impossible to forget the
kindness I received from its members throughout my
whole career. There was a brotherly feeling amongst
us which made life very pleasant.

It is more difficult to obtain business on circuit at
first than at sessions, and one has ample opportunity
for studying human nature as exhibited in that
condensed form which you find amongst leading

There were several celebrated men on the Home
Circuit when I joined. Amongst them were Thesiger
and Platt.

This was long before the former became Attorney-
General, which took place in 1858. He afterwards
was Lord Chancellor, and took his title from the little
county town where probably he obtained his start in
the career which ended so brilliantly.

Platt became a Baron of the Exchequer.

Thesiger was a first-rate advocate, and I need not
say at all times scrupulously fair. He had a high
sense of honour, and was replete with a quiet, subtle
humour, which seemed to come upon you unawares,
and, like all true humour, derived no little of its
pleasure from its surprise. He was constantly
bubbling over with good puns and real wit. Many a
good saying of his and others was recorded in the


Home Circuit records, but the book unfortunately was
lost. No one, however, has had the hardihood to
publish it, and it was therefore a useless prize to him
who had the misfortune to lose it or find it.

Old stories, someone observed, are none the worse
for keeping, if they do not get too dry. In the course
of this narrative I will tell one or two when I have
got through the historical part of my earlier career.
Let me finish my description of these two worthy
advocates, and give an idea as to what they were like
by a case in which I took much interest on the first
day I attended the circuit.

Thesiger, in addition to his abilities, was ever kind-
hearted and gentle, especially in his manner towards
juniors. I know that he sympathized with them, and
helped them whenever he had an opportunity. It did
not fall to my lot to hold many briefs with him, but I
am glad to say that I had some, because I shall not
forget the kindness and instruction I received from
him. It is a pleasant reminiscence.

Platt was an advocate of a different stamp. He also
was kind, and in every way worthy of grateful remem-
brance. He loved to amuse especially the junior Bar,
and more particularly in court. He was a good
natural punster, and endowed with a lively wit. The
circuit was never dull when Platt was present ; his
geniality enlivened the despondent, and he seemed to
' let himself go ' for the pleasure it afforded to our
younger members, of whom I was the youngest.

But there was one trait in Platt's character as an
advocate that Judges always profess to disapprove of
he loved popular applause, and his singularly bold
and curious mode of cross-examination sometimes


brought him both rebuke and hearty laughter from
the most austere of Judges.

He dealt with a witness as though the witness was
putty, moulding him into any grotesque form that
suited his humour. No evidence could preserve its
original shape after Platt had done with it. He had
a coaxing manner, so much so that a witness would
often be led to say what he never intended, and what
afterwards he could not believe he had uttered. His
manner was original, and he turned at times a stream
of humour on to the unhappy individual in the
witness-box, much to his discomfort.

Thesiger, who was his constant opponent, was
sometimes^ irritated with Platt 's manner, and on the
occasion I am about to mention fairly lost his temper.

It was in an action for nuisance before Tindal, Chief
Justice of the Common Pleas, at Croydon Assizes.

Thesiger was for the plaintiff, who complained of a
nuisance caused by the bad smells that emanated from
a certain tank on the defendant's premises, and called
a very respectable but ignorant labouring man to prove
his case.

The witness gave a description of the tank, not
picturesque, but doubtless true, and into this tank
all kinds of refuse seem to have been thrown, so that
the vilest of foul stenches were emitted.

Platt began his cross-examination of poor Hodge by
asking in his most coaxing manner to describe the
character and nature of the various stenches. Had
Hodge been scientific, or if he had had a little
common- sense, he would have simply answered ' bad
character and &7/-nature,' but he improved on this
simplicity and said :


' Some on 'em smells summat like paint.'

This was quite sufficient for Platt.

' Come, now,' said he, ' that's a very sensible answer.
You are aware, as a man of undoubted intelligence, that
there are various colours of paint. Had this smell any
particular colour, think you ?'

' Wall, I dunnow, sir. '

' Don't answer hurriedly ; take your time. We only
want to get at the truth. Now, what colour do you
say this smell belonged to ?'

' Wall, I don't raightly know, sir.'

' I see. But what do you say to yellow f Had it
a yellow smell, think you ?'

' Wall, sir, I doan't think ur wus yaller, nuther. No,
sir, not quite yaller ; I think it was moore of a blue

' A blue smell. We all know a blue smell when we
see it.'

Of course, I need not say the laughter was going on
in peals, much to Platt's delight. Tindal was simply
in an ecstasy, but did all he could to suppress his
enjoyment of the scene.

Then Platt resumed :

' You think it was more of a blue smell like ? Now,
let me ask you, there are many kinds of blue smells,
from the smell of a Blue Peter, which is salt, to that
of the sky, which depends upon the weather. Was it
dark, or '

' A kind of sky-blue, sir.'

' More like your scarf?'

Up went Hodge's hand to see if he could feel the

' Yes,' said he, ' that's more like '


' Zummut like your scarf?'

' Yes, sir.'

Then he was asked as to a variety of solids and
liquids ; and the man shook his head, intimating that
he could go a deuce of a way, but that there were
bounds even to human knowledge.

Then Platt questioned him on less abstruse topics,
and to all of his questions he kept answering :

'Yes, my lord.'

' Were fish remnants,' asked Platt, ' sometimes
thrown into this reservoir of filth, such as old cods'
heads with goggle eyes ?'

'Yes, my lord.'

' Rari nantes in gurgite vasto f

' Yes, my lord.'

Thesiger could stand it no longer. He had been
writhing while the court had been roaring with
laughter, which all the ushers in the universe,
supported by all the javelin-men in the kingdom,
could not suppress.

' My lord, my lord, there must be some limit even
to cross-examination by my friend. Does your lordship
think it is fair to suggest a classical quotation to a
respectable but illiterate labourer ?'

Tindal, who could not keep his countenance and no
man who witnessed the scene could said :

' It all depends, Mr. Thesiger, whether this man
understands Latin.' Whereupon Platt immediately
turned to the witness and said :

' Now, my man, attend : Rari nantes in gurgite
vasto. You understand that, do you not ?'

' Yes, my lord,' answered the witness, stroking his


Tindal, trying all he could to suppress his laughter,
said :

' Mr. Thesiger, the witness says he understands
the quotation, and, as you have no evidence to the
contrary, I do not see how I can help you.' Of
course, there was a renewal of the general laughter,
but Thesiger, in his reply, turned it on Platt.

This was my first appearance on circuit, and my
first lesson from a great advocate in the art of



IT is a vast space to look back over sixty years of
labour, and yet there seems hardly a scene or an event
of any consequence that is not reproduced in my mind
with a vividness that astonishes me.

In my earlier visits to Her Majesty's Courts of
Justice my principal business was to study the Queen's
Counsel and Serjeants, and they were worthy the
attention I bestowed on them. They all belonged to
different schools of advocacy, and some knew very
little about it.

I went to the Old Bailey, a den of infamy in those
times not conceivable now, and I verily believe that
no future time will produce its like at least, I hope
not. Its associations were enough to strike a chill of
horror into you. It was the very cesspool for the
offscourings of humanity. I had no taste for criminal
practice in those days, except as a means of learning
the art of advocacy. In these cases, presided over by
a Judge who knows his work, the rules of evidence
are strictly observed, and you will learn more in six
months of practical advocacy than in ten years else-

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