Edward Frederick Leveson-Gower.

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He took much notice of me, and thought he
perceived in me some signs of intelligence. This
made him say to my father, " Bring that boy up
as a lawyer, and he will one day become Lord
Chancellor." I really believe this made my
father cherish the idea that this prophecy might
turn out to be true.

My first legal instructor was a Mr. Plunkett,
an eminent conveyancer and a genial Irishman,
who seemed to prefer to listen to my accounts of
my proceedings in society to explaining to me the
mysteries of Coke upon Littleton. But I observed
that he took greater pains with those pupils who
were more likely to profit by them. Among these
were Sir Stafford Northcote, who ultimately became
Lord Iddesleigh, and Mr. Farrer, who was created


1841-48] LEGAL STUDIES 51

Lord Farrer. In later years the latter became
my intimate friend and country neighbour. Their
industry was most commendable, but I am ashamed
to say it excited my admiration more than my
emulation. They abandoned the law, the first to
become a politician, the second a Civil Servant.
They both began life as Tories, but Lord Iddesleigh,
who was for a time Mr. Gladstone's private secretary,
was inclined to hold Liberal opinions, although
he never left his party. Lord Farrer became a
thorough Liberal, and was an admirable economist.
He did his country great service by destroying in
his letters to the Times many economic heresies.
He arrested that preposterous measure, the Sugar
Convention, which, I believe, if his life had been
spared, would not since have been carried out.

After studying with Mr. Plunkett I went to
Mr. Dodson (Dodson and Fogg, we called him),
a leading special pleader, who was deservedly
popular. Mr. Cardwell, of whom he thought very
highly, had been his pupil just before my time.
It was afterwards considered desirable that I should
study under some one in active practice in the
Courts, and I therefore read with Mr. Whitmore,
who had a good position on the Oxford Circuit,
which I soon after joined. I always respected
him for refusing the hand of a great heiress, which
was offered to him by her father, in order to
marry the girl he loved. The present Member
for Chelsea is his son.

I cannot say that I learnt much law, but I

52 LAW

derived some benefit from my legal training. I
was taught the rules of evidence, and made to
recognise the great importance of accurate language.
This was of use to me, particularly when in the
House of Commons I acted as Chairman on many
Railway Committees.

Some time after this I went as Judge's Marshal,
first with Lord Denman and then with Baron Parke.
The former interested me with stories of his
earlier life. He once referred to Queen Caroline's
trial, in which he was junior counsel to Lord
Brougham. He averred that he always had been,
and still was, convinced of her innocence. When
I told this to someone who had been intimate
with her, he expressed his surprise that any
eminent lawyer could be so simple-minded. His
wife certainly was so. Being invited to meet the
Grand Duke Michael of Russia at Chatsworth,
she sat next to him at dinner, but never uttered
a word or answered his questions. Her husband
afterwards asked her the cause of this silence. —
" My dear," she replied, " I do not know Russian."
— It did not occur to her that he might be able
to speak some other language.

I went to Cambridge with Lord Denman, where
his son George resided. The latter persuaded me
to go with him by water to Ely to see its glorious
cathedral. He was a capital oar, but I was
not ; and perhaps on this account, or because of
an adverse wind, we found ourselves still on the
water when we ought to have been attending the


1841-48] JUDGE'S MARSHAL 53

Judge's public dinner. Now for a Marshal to be
absent from one of these dinners was a serious
offence. Still, I trusted to my Judge's good-nature,
particularly as his son was particeps criminis, and
I hoped that he would deal with me leniently.
Happily, owing to the prolongation of a trial, the
time of dinner was postponed, and we were not
too late.

I afterwards became Marshal to Baron Parke.
He had, as is well known, an acute intellect ;
but I do not think it unjust to say of him that
he preferred law to equity. He held that a man
convicted of a crime he had not committed, had
no grievance against society, provided that all
concerned in his trial had done their best to arrive
at the truth ; he was only unlucky, as any one who,
walking along a street, happened to be killed by
a tile falling from a neighbouring roof But what
charmed me in the Baron was his enjoyment
of the simple pleasures of life without the slightest
ingredient of vanity. He delighted in shooting,
although he rarely killed a bird, and he was fond
of whist, although he never played the right card.
He took an active part against the claim of
my nephew. Lord Brownlow, to the Bridgwater
property, and persuaded nearly all the Judges who
were consulted by the Law Lords about it to form
an adverse opinion. In spite of this the decision
in the House of Lords was given in my nephew's
favour in the proportion of five Law Lords out of six.
His mother. Lady Marian Alford, some years later

54 LAW

invited the Baron and his wife, who had become
Lord and Lady Wensleydale, to Ashridge, where
he seemed to enjoy himself greatly. This induced
me to say to him, " Baron, you must now rejoice
that my nephew gained his cause." — " Not at all.
I much regret it, but am very glad to be here."

It is curious how many men of great intellect,
such as the Baron, Prince Talleyrand, and Lord
Lyndhurst, were bad whist-players although fond
of the game. I saw a little of Lord Lyndhurst in
his old age, and sometimes went in the evening
to make up his rubber. He was a great friend
of my brother's, and was always gracious to me.
He had a Q^reat charm of manner, and shone in
conversation. His principles in early life were
lax, both with regard to politics and morality,
but attaining a great age, he outlived his early
reputation, and ultimately got to be generally
described as " the venerable Lord Lyndhurst."
The hrst Lady Lyndhurst was beautiful. The
second was a daughter of an employ^ of the
Foreign Office in a subordinate capacity in Paris.
In spite of certain disadvantages she at once
became a favourite in London society. Besides
being a devoted wife she was good-natured, clever
and amusing. Late in life she expressed to Alfred
Montgomery her surprise that she was not
mentioned in any of my mother's letters which
I published not long ago: "My predecessor is,
but not a word about me, who all my youth lived
at Paris and was married there." — The only


remark Montgomery made was, " Frederick
Leveson is very good-natured." — This of course
was a joke, and only ventured upon because her
conduct had always been irreproachable.

About this time I frequently met Lord Brougham.
Mortally offended by his exclusion from office,
although it was due to his own folly, he plunged
into fashionable life. His conversation was beyond
measure entertaining, but he did not mind what
he said, even in the presence of women. But as
they could not help laughing, they were obliged
to put up with it. He was not supposed to be
devoted to his wife, whose first husband was a
Mr. Spalding. He was heard one day to address
the following words to Mr. Spalding's portrait,
which was hung up in the dining-room : " My
dear Jack, how much I feel every day what cause
I have to regret your sad loss ! "

The duties of a Judge's Marshal are slight. He
has in the first place to make an abstract of the
pleadings in the causes to be tried. On the first
occasion that I went as Marshal, Lord Denman
and his colleague. Baron Alderson, most good-
naturedly undertook to show me the proper way
of proceeding. But unfortunately they could not
agree about it, and rather a warm dispute ensued.
It amused me to see these two great luminaries
of the law lose their judicial calmness about so
small a matter. Another duty of the Marshal is
to swear in the Grand Jury, which I did so im-
pressively as to be bantered about it. The only

56 LAW

other duty that I can remember was to carve at
the crowded dinners given at each assize town by
the Judges — on one day to the magistrates, on
another to the barristers. This was a very serious
obligation. Having been brought up abroad,
where dishes are always carved at the side-table, I
had never become a proficient carver. At most
dinners there was venison, sent by some neigh-
bouring magnate. The guests generally chose to
eat it. I was therefore sorely pressed, and made a
hash of it, not in a culinary, but a figurative sense.
The emolument received by the Marshal was
derived from the fees paid by the litigants, and
therefore the amount depended on the number of
causes. Consequently, on the Northern Circuit it
was considerable, but I went on the less important
ones, which were preferred by my elderly Judges,
and on these the Marshal's fees were very light.
I understand that they are now paid a fixed sum.

Besides the emolument, the position of a Judge's
Marshal has much to recommend it. It gives
him an early experience in the proceedings in
the Courts ; it makes him acquainted with men and
places, and is a pleasant manner of passing the

It was, and I believe is still, the custom for
big-wigs living in the neighbourhood to invite
the Judges and their Marshals to their country
houses. On one occasion we were the guests at
Stowe of the Duke of Buckingham of that day.
Our reception was regal. There was a dinner

1841-48] CALLED TO THE BAR 57

of eighty persons, with a dining-table of great
length, all covered with splendid plate. A year
or two later the Duke was ruined, and all the
contents of Stowe were sold. He was a staunch
Protectionist, and probably attributed his mis-
fortunes to Free Trade. But this could not have
been the case, as landowners during the following
years did not suffer from it. Rents rather rose
than fell. Just after the repeal of the Corn Laws,
Mr. George Bentinck, called by his friends " Big
Ben," wagered me twenty pounds that within
two years those laws would be re-imposed. He
said he could not lose by his bet, because if they
were not re-imposed he would not have wherewith
to pay me. As it turned out, at the end of these
two years he was better off than he had ever been,
and had to pay me my money.

I was called to the Bar early in 1846, and soon
afterwards joined the Oxford Circuit. It was
then noted for the number of agreeable barristers
who were on it. My two best friends among
them were Mr. Venables and Mr. John George
Phillimore. Mr. Venables had been one of the
Cambridge undergraduates who were known as
the Apostles,^ and who all in after life distinguished
themselves. He was extremely well read, and

1 The "Apostles," so called by others, is the name by which they
are known, and is a society of old standing (about a hundred years)
still existing, consisting of twelve members. They called themselves
originally the Cambridge Conversazione Society. Many, if not most
of them, were intellectually superior young men who met once a
week to discuss a paper written by one, and many of them became
men of eminence in after life.

58 LAW

was the author of many brilliant articles in the
Saturday Revieiv. He also for twenty-five years
wrote the "Summary of events in the past year"
which appeared in the Times at the end of
every December. He had charming manners, a
fine sense of humour, and his society was much
prized. Later in life he became a successful
Parliamentary advocate.

John George Phillimore was a very different
man. A vehement hater, abusing all he did not
like, he was not popular. On the other hand,
he was perfectly honest and straightforward ; he
loathed everything mean, and was enthusiastic for
everything beautiful. His memory was prodigious.
One day I asked him whether he had ever read
the Dunciad. — " Read the Dunciad}'' he answered.
" I do not think you could quote any passage in
it without my being able to repeat the lines that
follow it." — He was well versed in French, Spanish,
and Italian literature. His portmanteau was more
full of books than of clothes, and served as a sort
of circulating library for his friends on Circuit. He
advised me what to read, and was the person who
inspired me more than any one else with the love
of reading. I made my first tour of the Circuit
with these two friends. We posted the whole
way, as there were then no railways in that part
of the country, and etiquette did not allow
barristers to travel in stage-coaches for fear they
should come in contact with attorneys and try to
curry favour with them. It was very enjoyable to


travel over so much pretty country, and to visit
Ludlow, Raglan, and Hereford, with such pleasant
companions. Phillimore became Member for Leo-
minster, but he did not remain long in the
House of Commons, where he was too inde-
pendent to please the Whips, and too eccentric
to gain the favour of the House. He was after-
wards appointed Reader in Constitutional Law
and Legal History to the Inns of Court. In
1863 he published the first volume of the History
of England during the Reign of Geo7ge the Third,
which was interesting and amusing, but considered
too abusive.

These two friends were very different in many
respects. Venables was of massive frame, with
a slow and measured utterance and a judicial turn
of mind. Phillimore was slight in figure, rapid
in speech, and adopted opinions without much
reflection. The contrast between them was rather

Dr. Kenealy was another member of our Circuit
who had remarkable ability. When I joined he
was under a cloud on account of his having been
lately convicted of cruelly thrashing his son. There
were, besides, other delinquencies imputed to him,
No barrister on the Circuit would speak to him.
Some time afterwards he published a poem entitled
Goethe, which, though of unequal merit, was a
striking work and contained some beautiful lines.
It was much admired at the time, but its reputation
has not been maintained. Some of the barristers

6o LAW

were so muck struck by it that they declared on
account of its great merit the author ought to be
forgiven his past misdeeds, and his position on
Circuit became to a certain extent improved. He
was afterwards chiefly known as counsel for the
claimant Orton, and became popular when so many
people took the part of that rascal ; but I do not
remember his ever being referred to at that time
as a good poet. On account of his popularity,
and from certain accidental circumstances, he some
time afterwards was elected for Stoke-upon-Trent.
His difficulty was to find any Member willing to
introduce him to the House. Mr. Bright told
me I ought to do so, not as a favour to the
individual, but as a compliment to my former
constituents, who had now elected him. I said
that it might be a duty, but it was one I would
not perform. Bright then consented to do it
himself He told the House he did not know
the new Member, but introduced him for the sake
of the constituency which had honoured him by
their choice.

The following criticism of Kenealy's poem was
contained in a letter which Phillimore wrote to me :

'* You will be surprised to hear that Kenealy
sent me his poem, begging me, though he had
not the pleasure of my acquaintance, to accept it.
I read it with wonder and delight. In spite of a
good deal of ribaldry, some faults of taste and
more sins against feeling, it leaves no doubt in my
mind that its author is the greatest poet now living
in these islands. I could hardly believe my senses

1841-48] DR. KENEALY 61

as I read. The versification so varied and har-
monious, full of deep thought and impassioned
eloquence. A lady found me at the Craven Arms
yesterday, and took me to her house. In the
evening I read a part of it to the ladies, and they
were in raptures. I am overcome, and shall do
what I can to get him into the Mess. It would

be hard indeed when and are members

of it, if we did not admit the only man of genius
among us into our society. It is full of poignant
satire and shows that its writer is disgusted and
embittered with the world ; but genius like every-
thing else on this side the grave is given with
alloy, and unless extremely well regulated, hurries
its possessor into paroxysms of indignation and
even moral obliquity. Great indulgence should be
shown to its possessor, for God knows he will
have enemies enough. Meanwhile, do get the
book and study it, and tell me if you do not agree
with me. I have never exchanged a syllable with
its author. But sins against genius are for me
the sins against the Holy Ghost, and I am always
ready to worship before its footstool. To talk of
Talfourd's ^ in comparison with this poetry is really

1 The author of " Ion."


THE following pages are taken from a journal
I wrote at the request of my uncle, in the
autumn of 1846, when I made a delightful trip
to Spain, I had as my companion Mr. George
Stewart, who was closely connected with my
family and to whom we were all much attached.
We made a rapid journey through France, trowel-
ling by nialle-poste, which went at the rate of ten
miles an hour. We paid hurried visits to Rennes,
Nantes, and Bordeaux. In Spain we travelled more
leisurely. The pleasure of our trip was much
enhanced by the possession of Ford's handbook,
which had been lately published. It is a perfect
guide-book, full of the most varied information.
Nothing can be better than his descriptions of the
places of interest and their past history, or more
accurate than his witty remarks about the men
and manners of his time. Most guide-books are
only of use to those who travel in the countries
they describe. Ford's book could be read with
profit by those who have never visited Spain and
never intend to go there.

I suppose that no country in Europe except



Turkey has changed during the last fifty years
so little as Spain. Whatever improvement may
have taken place there is mainly due to the con-
struction of railways, and even these are worse
managed than elsewhere. A friend of mine told
me that he had once travelled there in an omnibus
train, which stopped so long at the different stations
that he was able to take rather prolonged walks
in their neighbourhood in order to botanise, and
that the conductor used to beg him not to hurry
himself, as they had plenty of time to spare.
When we visited Spain there were no railways,
nor was there any system of post-horses, so that
travellers were obliged to go in the diligences or
travel with horses either owned or hired by them.
In some respects I prefer this method of travelling
to the present one. It brought us in contact with
people of all classes, and our proceedings were
slightly more adventurous.

Except in a few of the larger towns, the inns
were very primitive, and the luxurious hotels which
I am told are now to be met with did not exist.
The inn at Burgos had no bedroom which contained
less than five beds, which guests were expected
to sleep in although strangers to each other, and
sometimes without any regard to sex. A pretty
lady of my acquaintance was in one of these inns
much upset when she woke in the middle of the
night to see in a bed next to hers a burly Spaniard
with a black beard. In the South the inns were
clean, and were not much the reverse in the North.


The food was very scanty, and in none of the
towns — not even, if I remember rightly, in Madrid
— were the streets lighted with gas, which had
already been adopted in all the principal towns in
the rest of Europe.

I was most favourably impressed by the people,
especially the women. I saw nothing of what is
called good society, except a glimpse of it in
Madrid, but I found all those I came across in
our wanderings, to whatever class they belonged,
delightful. They were courteous, obliging and
natural, and, what surprised me, generally merry.


We admired the splendid cathedral at Burgo
and stately streets and gateways at Valladolid.
We went the whole way from that place to Segovia
in a tartana, which had the appearance of a
bathing-machine and was drawn by one mule. It
was the only conveyance we could get in that
famous old town, once the Capital of Spain. The
diligences were all full, there was no service of
post-horses, and voituriers were unknown. We
could not even get horses to ride. We admired
Segovia, with its Roman aqueduct and its pictur-
esque castle. We slept one evening at La Granja,
an uninteresting spot in spite of its historic associa-
tions. The next day we reached the Escorial,
which every traveller in Spain should visit, as he
will not see the like elsewhere. A huge square
building of massive granite, three sides without
any ornament, the fourth with a portico and

1846] MADRID 65

gigantic statue, a tower at each corner, and the
dome of the church on the front side. San
Lorenzo, the patron saint, was grilled on a gridiron,
which the building represents, the whole interior
being partitioned into square courts and a
hideous projection representing the handle. Its
situation at the foot of a barren mountain is
dreary beyond conception, but the view in front
of it magnificent. The church is lofty and im-
pressive. In the middle of it was a pall with
a crown on it in honour of Charles V., it being
the anniversary of his death. Peasants prayed
around it, who could not much care for his soul.
Under the altar is the burial-place of all the kings
and queens of Spain with only two exceptions
since Philip II. It is surprising to see the
tombs of so many kings with nothing but labels
to mark where they lie. In short, the Escorial
is a dismal place, which I was glad to see fading
from my sight as I sat later in the day on the
top of the Madrid diligence, scorched by sun,
smothered by dust, and chilled by the icy
blasts that came from the Guadarama Mountains.
We reached Madrid at sunset, and found a
charming apartment secured for us by my friend
Monsieur de Talleyrand, a nephew of his famous
namesake. We were served an exquisite little
repast and were in raptures with our quarters.
But appearances proved deceitful, for George came
into my room next morning with a woe-begone
countenance, exclaiming, " I have killed thirteen
and have not slept a wink ! " The waiter, who
declared it was impossible, turned pale when he


saw the slaughtered. George consented to make
another trial, being confident that he had hunted
to death all the tribe.

The next day I called on Sir Henry Bulwer,
with whom I was intimate from his having been
Chargd d Affaires at Paris under my father. Sir
Pienry had considerable ability, and a most en-
gaging manner ; his conversation was brilliant,
much more so than that of his celebrated brother,
Sir E. Lytton Bulwer ; but his ways of life were
most peculiar. In Paris he sometimes asked
people to dine and forgot to order dinner. When
in London, two years after we had met in Spain,
a party was made up at Hampton Court for the
special object of his meeting Miss Wellesley, a
daughter of Lord Cowley, whom he subsequently
married. He was to join me at his brother's house
in order that we might drive down together.
He kept me so long waiting that we arrived at
our destination two hours late. Great was his
distress, but, on seeing the labyrinth, he said, " Let
us be supposed to have lost ourselves in it."
His last diplomatic post was that of Ambassador
at Constantinople, where he was said to be too
ready to accept favours from the Sultan. On his
return to England he was created Lord Dalling.
At Madrid his house was uninhabited and all his
furniture sold, and he resided with a friend on
the opposite side of the street, where I on most
days dined with him. He had hired several
villas in the neighbourhood, which he rarely made
use of. He begged me, if I wished to ride, to
go to his stables and choose whatever horse


suited me best. But I found he only possessed
one, and that one was dead lame.

After taking leave of Sir Henry I walked to the
French Embassy, which was at the other end of
the town and which was nearer the Palace, both
locally and diplomatically, than the English Legation.
It was an interesting time to be at Madrid, as the
marriages of the Queen and her sister had just been

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Online LibraryEdward Frederick Leveson-GowerBygone years; → online text (page 4 of 21)