Henry Hawkins Brampton.

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the gentleman in the red jacket relieved us of any
further trouble on that account.

Mistakes are so common amongst thieves, that one
can never tell how the horse got away ; but if I were
put on my oath, knowing the proclivities of the animal,
I should say that he was backed out of the field.

We were now, as it seemed, the most deplorable
objects in creation. Without friends and without a
gig, wet through, shelterless and breakfastless, amidst
a crowd of drunken, loathsome outcasts of society, with
only one solitary comfort between us a pipe, which
Charley enjoyed and I loathed. Drink is always
quarrelsome or affectionate, generally the one first
and the other after. When the tears dry, oaths begin,
and we soon found that the quarrelsome stage of the
company had been reached.

Amidst all this excitement we had not forgotten
that this little matter of the prize-fight was but an
incident on our journey to Newmarket, and thither-
ward we set our faces, not with an appearance which
would have found us ready recognition in the Mall ;
but we cared nothing for the Mall, as we were not
known by the fashion in the racing world, and as for
the others, we should like to avoid them in any world.

You will wonder in these circumstances what we
did. We waited where we were through the whole of
that wet afternoon, and then, on a couple of hacks
how we obtained them I don't know ; I never asked


Charley, and nothing of any importance turns upon
them we arrived at our comfortable Royston quarters
about eight o'clock, tired to death.

We were received with a hearty welcome by my
uncle, who was much entertained with our day's
adventures. He liked my description of the fight,
especially when I told him how Brassy ' drew Caunt's
claret,' and showed such other knowledge of the scien-
tific practice that no one could possibly have learnt
had he not read up carefully Bell's Life for the current

I am sure my uncle thought I was one of the best
of nephews, and I considered him in reality ' my only
uncle.' Long, thought I, may he prove to be ; and
yet I never borrowed a penny from him in my

On the next day, fully equipped, and with all that
was necessary for our distinguished position, we set
out for Newmarket Heath, even now the glory of the
racing world, not forgetting Goodwood, which is more
or less a private business and fashionable picnic.

I shall not attempt to describe Newmarket. No
one can describe the indescribable. I will only say it
was not the Newmarket which our later generation
knows. It was then in its crude state of original
simplicity. There were no stands save ' the Duke's,'
at the top of the town, and one other, somewhat
smaller and nearer to the present grand-stand.

Those who could afford to do so rode on horseback
about the Heath ; those who could not walked if they
felt disposed, or sat down on the turf, the best enjoy-
ment of all if you are tired.

Being on our palfreys (now called ' hacks '), we rode

VOL. i. 5


to and fro to 'The Old King,' and to the various
starting and finishing posts.

I could tell something about the practices of the
turf of those days, although I had not acquired much
knowledge by experience. Indeed, I was so innocent
that I cannot relate any of the details of the races of
that day ; but I recollect seeing a white horse whose
name was Old Isaac, a well-known animal, and famous
in his time. I do not know why I remember him, but
I suppose he made the first impression on my mind,
arid many an ' old Isaac ' have I met since, but not on
four legs.

I took notice of those who were called ' the swells '
of that day, an extinct race in ours, and who existed
in great numbers ; but they were a race of cannibals
who ate one another up.

Amongst the celebrities of the turf I remember
seeing Harry de Ratcliffe, who was connected with
George IV.'s racing establishment, and whose name
was even known to me when a boy at Hitchin,
although I could not have told why or how I knew it.



I NOW returned to the more commonplace and familiar
scenes of Elm Court. Newmarket had been a great
pleasure, but a greater was in store.

No man at the Bar can forget the joy of his first
brief that wonderful oblong packet of white papers,
tied with the mysterious pink tape, which his fourth
share of the diminutive clerk brings him, marked with
the important ' 1 gua.'

I speak not to stall-fed juniors who have not to
wait till their merits are discovered, and who know
that whosoever may watch and wait and hope or
despair, they shall have enough. All blessings go with
them ; I never envied them their heritage. They are
born to briefs as the sparks fly upwards. I tell my
experience to those who will understand and appre-
ciate every word 1 say ; to men who have to make
their way in the world by their own exertions, and
live on their own labour or die of disappointment.
There is one consolation even for the wretched waiters
on solicitors' favours, and that is, that the men who
have never had to work their way seldom rise to
eminence or to any position but respectable mediocrity.
They never knew hope, and will never know what it
67 52


is to despair, or to nibble the short herbage of the
common where poorer creatures browse.

A father never looked on his firstborn with more
pleasure than a barrister on his first brief. If the
Tower guns were announcing the birth of an heir to
the throne, he would not look up to ask, ' What is
that ?'

It was the turning-point of my life, for had there
been no first brief pretty soon, I should have thought
my kind relations' predictions were about to be verified.
But I should never have returned home ; there was
still the stage left, on which I hoped to act my part.

Strange to say, my first brief, like almost every-
thing in my life, had a little touch of humour in it.

I was instructed to defend a man at Hertford
Sessions for stealing a wheelbarrow, and unfortunately
the wheelbarrow was found on him ; more unfortunate
still for I might have made a good speech on the
subject of the animus furandi the man not only told
the policeman he stole it, but pleaded ' Guilty/ before
the magistrates. I was therefore in the miserable
condition of one doomed to failure, take what line
I pleased. There was nothing to be said by way of
defence, but I learnt a lesson never to be forgotten.

Being a little too conscientious, I told my client,
the attorney, that in the circumstances I must return
the brief, inasmuch as there was no defence for the
unhappy prisoner.

The attorney seemed to admire my principle, and
instead of taking offence, smiled in a good-natured
manner, and said it was no doubt a difficult task he
had imposed on me, and would exchange the brief for
another. He kept his word, and soon after returned


with a much easier case, a prosecution where the man
pleaded ' Guilty.' It was a grand triumph, and I was
much pleased.

Those were early days to begin picking and choosing
briefs, for no man can do that unless he is much more
wanted by clients than in want of them ; but I learned
the secret in after-life of a great deal of its success.

I was, however, a little chagrined when I saw the
mistake I had made. Rodwell was leader of the
sessions, and ought to have been far above a guinea
brief; judge, then, of my surprise when I saw that
same brief a few minutes after accepted by that great
man, the brief I had refused because there was nothing
to be said on the prisoner's behalf. My curiosity was
excited to see what Rodwell would do with it, and
what defence he would set up ; it was soon gratified.
He simply admitted the prisoner's guilt, and hoped
the chairman, who was Lord Salisbury, would deal
leniently with him.

I could have done that quite as well myself, and
pocketed the guinea. From that moment I resolved
never to turn a case away because it was hopeless. I
could always find something to say, and if I could not
I could find someone to say it for me. I did a deal
of practice in that way in after-years to the advantage
of many of my friends.

Their name was ' Legion.'



HEARSAY is not, as a rule, evidence in a court of
justice. There are one or two exceptions which
I need not mention. If you want, therefore, to say
what Smith said, you cannot say it, but must call
Smith himself, and probably he will swear he never
said anything of the sort.

The Marquis of Salisbury, in the early days that I
speak of, was a kind-hearted chairman, and would never
allow the quibble of the lawyer to stand in the way of
justice to the prisoner. In those days at sessions they
were not so nice in the observances of mere forms
as they are now, and you could sometimes get in
something that was not exactly evidence, strictly
speaking, in favour of a prisoner by a side-wind,
as it were, although it was not the correct thing
to do.

It happened that I was instructed to defend a man
who had been committed to Hertford Quarter Sessions
on a charge of felony. The committing magistrates
having refused to let the man out on bail, an applica-
tion was made at Judges' Chambers before Mr. Baron
Martin to reverse that decision, which he did.



'Not a rag of evidence,' said the attorney's clerk
when he delivered the little brief' not a shadder of
evidence, Mr. 'Awkins. It's a walk-over, sir.'

I knew that meant a nominal fee, but wondered how
many more similes he was going to deliver instead of
the money. But to the honour of the solicitor, I am
bound to say that point was soon cleared up, and the
practice of magistrates supposed to be in their right
minds, committing people for trial with no ' shadder '
of evidence against them, it now became my duty to
inquire into. I asked how he knew there was no
evidence, and whether the man bore a respectable

' Oh, I was up before the Baron,' he answered. (' Yes,'
I thought, ' but you must wake very early if you are up
too soon for Baron Martin.') ' And the Baron said, as
to grantin' bail, " Certainly he should ; the magistrates
had no business to commit him for trial, for there was
not a rag of a case against the man." So you see, sir,
it's a easy case, Mr. 'Awkins, and as the man's a poor
man, we can't mark much of a fee.'

The usual complaint with quarter sessions solicitors.

Such. were my instructions. I was young in practice
at that time, and took a great deal more in I mean
in the way of credulity than I did in after-life. Nor
was I very learned in the ways of solicitors' clerks.
I knew that hearsay evidence, even in the case of a
judge's observation, was inadmissible, and, therefore,
what the Baron said could not strictly be given ; but
I did not know how far you might go in the country,
nor what the Marquis's opinion might be of the Baron.
I therefore mentioned it to Rodwell, who, of course,
was instructed for the prosecution ; he was, in every-


thing, on one side or the other never, I believe, on

This stickler for etiquette was absolutely shocked ;
he held up his hands, began a declamation on the
rules of evidence, and uttered so many Pharisaical
platitudes that I only escaped annihilation by a hair's-
breadth. He was always furious on etiquette.

Much annoyed at his bumptious manner, I was
resolved now, come what would, to pay him off. I
wanted to show him he was not everybody, even
at Hertford Sessions. So when the case came on and
the policeman was in the box, I rose to cross-examine
him, which I did very quietly.

' Now, policeman, I am going to ask you a question,
but pray don't answer it till you are told to do so,
because my learned friend may object to it.'

Rod well sprang to his feet and objected at once.

' What is the question ?' asked the Marquis. ' We
must hear what the question is before I can rule as to
your objection, Mr. Rodwell.'

This was a good one for Mr. Rodwell, and made him
colour up to his eyebrows, especially as I looked at him
and smiled.

' The question, my lord,' said I, ' is a very simple
one : Did not Mr. Baron Martin say, when applied to
for bail, that there was not a rag of a case against the
prisoner ?'

' This is monstrous !' said the learned stickler for
forms and ceremonies ' monstrous ! Never heard of
such a thing !'

It might have been monstrous, but it gave me an
excellent grievance with the jury, even if the Mar-
quis did not see his way to allow the question ;


and a grievance is worth something, if you have no

The Marquis paid great attention to the case,
especially after that observation of the Baron's.
Although he regretted that it could not be got in
as evidence he was good enough to say I should get
the benefit of it with the jury.

All this time there was a continuous growl from my
learned friend of ' Monstrous ! monstrous !' so much so
that for days after that word kept ringing in my ears,
as monotonous as a muffin bell on a Sunday afternoon.

But I believe he was more irritated by my subsequent
conduct, for I played round the question like one long-
ing for forbidden fruit, and emphasized the objection
of my learned friend now and again all very wrong,
I know now, but in the heyday of youthful ardour
how many faults we commit !

'Just tell me,' I said to the policeman,, 'did the learned
Judge I mean Mr. Baron Martin seem to know
what he was about when he let this man out on bail ?'

' Oh yes, sir,' said the witness, ' he knowed what he
was about, right enough,' stroking his chin.

'You may rely on that,' said the Marquis. 'You
may take that for granted, Mr. Hawkins.'

' I thought so, my lord ; there is not a Judge on the
Bench who can see through a case quicker than the

The grumbling still continued.

' Now then, don't answer this.'

' You have already ruled, my lord,' said Bodwell.

' This is another one/ said I ; ' but if it's regular to
keep objecting before the prisoner's counsel has a
chance of putting his question, I sit down, my lord.


I shall be allowed, probably, to address the jury that
is, if Mr. Rod well does not object.

The noble Marquis, on seeing my distress, said :

'Mr. Hawkins, the question needs no answer from
the policeman ; you will get the benefit of it for what
it is worth. The jury will draw their own conclusions
from Mr. Rod well's objections.'

As they did upon the whole case, for they acquitted,
much to Mr. Rodwell's annoyance.

'Now/ said the Marquis, ' let the officer stand back.
I want to ask what the Baron really did say when
he let this man out on bail.'

' My lord,' answered the witness, * his lordship
said as how he looked upon the whole lot as a gang of

' You've got it now/ said Rodwell.

'And so have you/ said I. 'You should not have
objected, and then you would have got the answer he
has just given.'

I subjoin a copy of my first brief, as my readers may
like to see it, and will give some account of one that
was offered me fifty years after, in its proper place.

It must be remembered that in those days the
gallows was a very popular institution ; they hanged
for the most trivial offences, and this case would have
been considered a very serious one ; while a sentence of
seven years' transportation was almost as good as an

Herts. No. 10.

Michaelmas Sessions,



Elizabeth Norman.

' MR. HAWKINS, 1 QUA.' 75

Brief for the Prosecution.

Mr. Hawkins,

1 Gua.
H. Hawkins.

Plea Guilty.

H. H.
Oct. 14, 1844.

Transported for 7 years.
H. H.


These are my notes :

Sep. 20.
Mr. Page.

Silk shawl.

Various accounts.
Exam, before J - J -

Prop y found.


Mr. Johnson, )

Mrs Stevens, I

I made a rule throughout my professional life to
note my cases with the greatest care.



A NAME occurs to my mind which I learned when in
a very striking situation, and which recurred half a
century later, when I had attained a different position.
But that circumstance will be told in its proper order.
I had been to Paris in the summer of 18 for
a little holiday, and was returning in the evening,
after some races had taken place near that city.
I had not attended them, and was, in fact, not aware
that they were being held ; but I soon discovered the
fact from finding myself in the midst of the motley
crowd which always throng railway-stations on such
occasions, only at this particular day they were a little
worse than usual. The race-meeting had brought
together the roughs of all nations, and especially from
England. As it seemed to me, my fellow-countrymen
always took the lead in this kind of competition.
I was surrounded with a sea of faces resembling those
1 met on the way to the prize-fight shapeless faces,
low-browed, flat and evil-looking. It seemed as if
I was doomed to study this peculiar phase of man-
kind. If so, I was prepared to make the best of my
opportunities, and learn as much as I could in as short
a time.



I was endeavouring to get to the booking-office
amongst the rest of the crowd, and there was far
more pushing and struggling than was at all necessary
for that purpose. Presently a burly ruffian, with a
low East-End face of the slum pattern and com-
plexion, rolled out a volley of oaths at me for pushing
against him. I did not push against him, for he was
the last object I would have come in contact with if I

could have avoided it. He asked me where the

I was pushing and what game I was up to, as though
I was a professional pickpocket like himself. He had
the advantage of me in being surrounded by a gang
of the most loathsome blackguards you could imagine,
while I was without a friend.

The bully turned his scarred, blotched, bloated
face partly round, and continued his questions as to
what I wanted and where I wished to go to, being
evidently anxious for a row, in which I should have
been hustled and robbed without a chance of escape.
Indeed, it would have been providential to have
escaped the lock-up. I spoke, therefore, very civilly,
and said the crowd were pushing behind and forcing
me forward. The brute was annoyed at my coolness,
and irritated all the more.

Hitherto his language had not been strong enough
to frighten me, so he improved its strength by some
tremendous epithets, considerably above proof. I
think he must have enjoyed the exclusive copyright,
for I never knew his superlatives imitated. He finished
the harangue by saying that he would knock my head
off if I said another word.

To this I replied, with a look stronger than all his
language, * No, you won't 1'


My look must have been strong, because the coun-
tenances of the bystanders were a little subdued.

' Why won't I, muster ?' he asked.

4 For two reasons,' I said : ' first, because you won't
try, and secondly, because you could not if you did.'

He was somewhat tamed, and I then lifted my hat,
so that he could see my close -cropped hair, which was
as short as his own, only not for the same reason.
' You don't seem to know who I am,' I added, hoping
he would now take me for a member of the prize-
ring. But my appearance did not frighten him.
I had nothing but my short-cropped hair to rely
on ; so in self-defence I had to devise another
stratagem. To frighten him one must look the ruffian
in the face, or look the ruffian that he was. He con-
tinued to abuse me as we passed on our way to the
booking-office window, and I have no doubt he and
his gang were determined to rob me. One thing was
common between us we had no regard for one
another. I now assumed as bold a manner as I
could and a rough East-End accent : ' Look-ee 'ere,'
said I : ' I know you don't keer for me no more 'an
I keers for you. I ain't afraid o' no man, and I'll tell
you what it is : it's your ignorance of who I am that
makes you bold. I know you ain't a bad un with the
maulers. Let's have no more nonsense about it here.
I'll fight you on Monday week, say, for a hundred a
side in the Butts, and we'll post the money at Peter
Crawley's next Saturday. What d'ye say to that ?'

Peter Crawley, whom I have already mentioned as
inviting me to breakfast, was like a thunderclap to
him. I must be somebody if I knew Peter Crawley,
and now he doubtless bethought him of my short hair.


I must confess if the fellow had taken me at my
word I should have been in as great a funk as he
was, but he did not, and so I posed as well as the
narrow limits of my position enabled me, as a great
pugilist, only waiting for the stakes to be covered.
I beat him at the game of bluff.

' I don't want no row/ he said ; and at that moment
a voice in the crowd behind was heard.

'It's a fair offer, Joe, the gent makes it's a fair
offer ; it's right enough. Let's have no row.'

The man who spoke was Coney, whose name years
after was destined to figure in the English law reports
in a leading case, which I will speak of by-and-by.

However, my challenge was boldly delivered and as
boldly declined, so I escaped from that awful gang of
Whitechapel thieves and pickpockets unhurt, with my
head still on my shoulders, to be turned to more useful
purposes in future times.

A curious incident happened once in the rural
district of Saffron Walden. It is a borough no
doubt, but it always seemed to me to be too small
for any grown-up thing, and its name sounded more
like a little flower-bed than anything else. And yet
it was a borough, and had its Recorder and other
judicial and ministerial authorities, and I am even
going to tell you how once upon a time it actually
had a prisoner of sufficient proportions to match all
the other attributes of its municipal existence.

I don't know how I came to be there on this
particular occasion ; perhaps I was merely lounging
about for the purpose of improving my mind, and
possibly contributing to my health.

However, at Saffron Walden I was, and there was


a great sensation because they had got a prisoner,
an event which baffled the experience of the oldest
inhabitant. Being known to one of the vergers, or
whatever he was called (he acted as one of our
javelin-men on circuit), I got in with more ease than I
otherwise should ; for if a court is crowded there's an
end of a barrister's rights, unless he has business.
This is merely by way of explanation.

The Recorder was an elderly barrister, full of pomp
and dignity ; and, like many of his brother Recorders,
had very seldom a prisoner to try. You may there-
fore imagine with what stupendous importance he was
invested when he found that the rural magistrates had
committed a little boy for trial for stealing a ball of
twine. Think of the grand jury filing in to be ' charged '
by this judicial dignitary. Imagine his charge, his
well -chosen sentences in anticipation of the one to
come at the end of the sitting. Think of his eloquent
disquisition on the law of larceny ! It was all there !

The learned functionary was a small man, but by no
means too small for the place ; he would have fitted
well enough at two or three sizes less. But what
he lacked in stature he made up in dignity, for he dis-
tended his cheeks from time to time, as if to blow
off the steam that gave him such power, and puffed
away at his own greatness with every sign of self-
approbation. Nobody could have done it better.

It should be known as widely as possible that persons
in these dignified positions ought to comport themselves
so as to show that they are perfectly indifferent to
everybody else in the world.

After the usual proclamation against vice and im-
morality had been read, which the Recorder seemed to


think a high compliment to pay to the Saffron Walden
people as great as it would be if a man were to read
it in his own family circle and after the grand jury
had duly found a true bill, the next thing was to find
the prisoner and bring him up for trial.

We may not be sentimental, or I might have cried
' God save the child !' as the usher said ' God save the
Queen !' But ' Suffer little children to come unto Me '
would not have applied to our gaols in those miserable
and inhuman times. Mercy and sympathy were out
of the question when you had law and order to main-
tain, as well as all the functionaries who had to con-

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