but produced an extraordinary effect. Russell asked
Sampson a question. Sampson did not answer. " Did
you hear my question ? " said Russell in a low voice. " I
did," said Sampson. " Did you understand it ? " said
Russell in a still lower voice. " I did," said Sampson.
" Then," said Russell, raising his voice to its highest
pitch, and looking as if he would spring from his place
and seize the witness by the throat, " why have you not
answered it ? Tell the jury why you have not answered
it." It is impossible to realise the scene unless you saw
Russell. The voice, the gesture, the manner, the whole
appearance of the man were awful. A thrill of excite-
ment ran through the Court. Sampson was over-
whelmed, and he never pulled himself together again.
In fact, we were all awed.' ]
In 1882 Russell appeared in another cause cdlebre,
1 There seems to be some slight misapprehension with reference to the
tactics of Russell in this case. It has apparently been supposed that he
made a new departure by saying that he would reserve calling the plaintiff
until there was some evidence for him to contradict. Had he taken this
line, it would not, as a matter of fact, have been anything new. Sir
Hardinge GifFard had taken it in Lambri v. Labouchere, relying on the
precedent of Achilli v. Newman ; and Russell himself had taken it in
Chamberlayne v. Barn wall, tried in March 1881. But this, apparently, was
not quite the line which Russell took in Scott v. Sampson. Having opened
his case, he said (according to the Times' report) he would call Mr. Scott
JEr. 49] BELT v. LA WES
Belt v. Lawes. It was an action for libel brought by one
sculptor against another. The libel was contained partly
in an article published in Vanity Fair, and partly in a letter
which Mr. Lawes wrote to the Lord Mayor of London.
The article denounced Mr. Belt as an artistic impostor who
palmed off other men's work as his own. ' We are assured, '
said the writer, ' that all Mr. Belt's works from the year
1876, when he began business on his own account, to
1 88 1, were executed by Mr. Brock and Mr. Ver-
hyden. . . . Mr. Belt himself is incapable of doing any
artistic work whatever.' Mr. Lawes sent this article to
the Lord Mayor of London, for whom Belt had done
some work he had executed a bust of the Lord Mayor
and of the Lady Mayoress informing his Lordship that
Belt had not denied these charges, and that in fact he
could not deny them because they were true. Hence
the action. Sir Hardinge Giffard (now Lord Halsbury)
led for the plaintiff ; Russell with Mr. Webster (now Lord
Alverstone, Lord Chief Justice of England) and Mr.
Lewis Coward, for the defendant. The trial began on
June 22 and lasted for forty-three days, ending on
December 29. It was the talk of the town, the principal
topic of conversation, as the Times said, ' at every dinner
table and in every club.' The fashionable world sup-
ported Belt ; the artistic, Lawes. Never did a trial, in
which the issue was really of no public importance what-
ever, create such a feeling of intense interest, or inspire
' to be cross-examined by Mr. Willis ' ; whereupon Mr. Willis rejoined, ' I
shall call him as my witness,' and so Mr. Scott was examined. The point
in Scott v. Sampson was apparently that Russell offered his own witness
for cross-examination. In Chamberlayne v. Barnwall he reserved his
witness for examination-in-chief until the other side had disclosed their
LORD RUSSELL OF KILLOWEN [1881
such a spirit of bitter partisanship. Almost every witness
threw himself into the case as if it were his own. The
counsel on both sides fought furiously, and fought
splendidly. It was a magnificent display of forensic
ability and endurance. Even the very judge Baron
Huddleston was supposed to have caught the general
contagion of excitement and partiality. Belt gave his
evidence in a great state of excitement. The well of the
Court was full of his ' creations ; ' busts and statuettes
were strewn about in all directions. The defendant's
case was that none of these works were really executed
by the plaintiff. The Byron Memorial in Hyde Park
was supposed to have come from his hand. But the
defendant and his friends asserted that it had been done
by Verhyden. Belt was pressed by Russell on all these
points, and seems literally to have danced in the box
under the searching ordeal. Once there was a passage
of arms between Russell and the judge.
The Judge : ' We are going at inordinate length into
Russell'. ' I really must discharge my duty and put
these questions. I had much rather be elsewhere. But,
if your Lordship thinks so, I will sit down.'
The Judge : ' Very well, we are very much in your
hands, Mr. Russell,' which was, no doubt, generally
But I think Sir Hardinge Giffard was the hero of
this trial. He was, as some one said, fighting the Royal
Academy. Sir Frederic Leighton, Mr. Millais, Alma
Tadema, and other distinguished artists came forward as
witnesses for the defendant ; but Sir Hardinge Giffard,
who showed remarkable ability in the conduct of the case
T. 49] BELT v. LAWES
throughout, cross-examining with great skill, and speak-
ing with singular eloquence and power, snatched the
victory from his formidable antagonist. On December 29
the jury found a verdict for the plaintiff, damages
5,ooo/. But the last was not yet heard of Belt v.
On January 12, 1883, there was an application for a
new trial on the ground that the verdict was against the
weight of evidence, and that the damages were excessive.
The judges Lord Chief Justice Coleridge, Mr. Justice
Denman, and Mr. Justice Manisty did not come to a
decision on the point until the following July. Then the
Lord Chief Justice informed Sir Hardinge Giffard that
the Court was divided ; that the majority were in favour
of a new trial, but did not agree about the grounds on
which it should be granted. Formal judgment was not
given until December 22, when it appeared that Mr.
Justice Manisty was against a new trial, that Mr. Justice
Denman was in favour of a new trial on the ground that
the damages were excessive, and that the Lord Chief
Justice was in favour of a new trial on the ground that
the verdict was against the weight of evidence. The
upshot of the whole business was that the damages were
reduced to 8oo/. ; and then the public heard no more of
as barren a piece of litigation, involving an unconscion-
able waste of time and a scandalous waste of money,
as perhaps can be found in the legal annals of any
In the summer of 1882 Russell was sounded on the
question whether he would accept a puisne judgeship.
He wrote to Lord Coleridge, from whom the proposal
LORD RUSSELL OF KILLOWEN [1882
I have carefully considered the matter which you
were good enough to put before me yesterday. I need
not say that I most highly appreciate the honour which
was implied in your statement to me, but under all the
circumstances I could not (if it were offered to me)
accept a puisne judgeship at this time.
He spent part of the autumn of 1882 in Ireland,
whence he wrote a letter to Mr. Gladstone on the
political situation. Having complained of the injustice
of excluding leaseholders from the Land Act of 1881,
condemned the system of jury packing, urged the release
of Mr. Gray, M.P., the proprietor of the Freeman s
Journal, who was imprisoned for contempt of Court, and
expressed the hope that the policy of coercion might
' expire without leaving exasperating memories behind
it,' he dealt with Home Rule thus :
... In the background there is unquestionably the
great ultimate desire for complete self-government in
the Canadian sense for Ireland ; but I think the opinion
is gaining ground (an opinion I have always expressed)
that this is not to be effected by a 'coup,' but can only
be the outcome of the demand of a practically united
people, gradually educated to the use of power, and
accustomed to the weight of responsibility which power
brings with it.
Mr. Gladstone, in reply, thanked him for his ' very
interesting letter,' but would not ' enter upon any details. '
A friend has told me the following story of Russell
during his stay in Ireland at this time. ' We were pre-
paring a memorial to Lord Spencer [the Viceroy] about
some political matter ; I think it was about jury packing.
I drafted the memorial, and we met one morning at my
MT. 50] HYLAND v. BIGGAR
house to read it and consider it. We were seated round
a table when a horse dashed up to the door, and there
was a knock that shook the house. Russell came in.
He sat down very quietly, and begged us to go on with
the reading of the memorial, and not to let him inter-
rupt the proceedings. I went on reading the memorial.
I came to one paragraph which was pretty strongly
worded. , who was a timid man, said, " Oh ! Mr.
[X.], that's too strong, I think. You see my brother
James is a magistrate in that part of the county, and if
we sent in a strong memorial to the Lord- Lieutenant, it
might injure him, so I must ask you to consider my
brother James." " Never mind your brother James,"
broke in Russell, " go on with the memorial." From that
time he took charge of the business, and the memorial
was just what he wished it to be.'
In March 1883 Russell was counsel for Mr. Biggar,
M.P., in a breach of promise action brought against that
gentleman by Miss Hyland. There was a strong case
against the defendant (who, however, be it said, gave his
evidence with great frankness in the box), and the jury
found accordingly. Biggar thought that Russell's con-
duct of the case especially his cross-examination of the
lady had been ' thoroughly inefficient,' and wrote and
told him so. ' I have,' said Joe, ' heard the late James
Whiteside and Abraham Brewster cross-examine wit-
nesses, and I must say that, compared with them, you
are a very small man.' Russell wrote a long letter in
reply, from which I shall take only one sentence : ' You
say that, as a cross-examiner, I am a very small man
compared with the late James Whiteside and Abraham
Brewster. I admit it.'
LORD RUSSELL OF KILLOWEN [1883
Throughout the years 1881, 1882, and 1883 I saw
Russell frequently. I was then at 3 Dr. Johnson's
Buildings, Temple, in chambers with A. M. Sullivan
and James Anstie a great lawyer and a true man.
Lord Bowen (when Lord Justice) once said, ' Anstie
ought to be where I am ' a generous expression of
opinion fitting Lord Bowen's noble nature and Anstie's
Russell used to drop in occasionally to have a chat
with Sullivan and myself ; and I used to call occasionally
at Brick Court to see him. We almost always talked of
politics, and often discussed the tactics of the Irish par-
liamentary party. Russell was not in sympathy with
the methods of the Irish members. Like Isaac Butt, he
was opposed to a policy of ' exasperation.' He believed
in the justice and reason of Englishmen, and relied on
constitutional agitation, vigorous and sustained, but
kept well within the limits of the law. I could not help
reminding him that almost all that Ireland had won
from the English Parliament during the century had
been obtained by lawlessness and violence. One day,
while discussing these things, Sullivan said, ' Well, Mr.
Russell, I have been in Parliament with Isaac Butt, who
was constitutional and law-abiding, and with William
Shaw, who is moderate and reasonable, and with Charles
Stewart Parnell, who defies the law and the constitu-
tion ; and I can only say that Parnell has done more
for Ireland than Butt and Shaw combined.' Russell
was always very guarded in these talks. He did not
shut his eyes to the part which lawlessness and violence
had played in Irish politics, but he clung to the hope
that Englishmen could ultimately be persuaded, by
JEr. 51] FAITH IN THE PEOPLE
reasonable courses, to do what was right. His efforts
in those days were directed chiefly to relieve the tension
which existed between the Irish members and the
English Liberals. That tension, he felt, could best be
relieved by pressing forward with the policy of concilia-
tion. Leaseholders, he thought, ought to be admitted to
the benefits of the Land Act, further steps should be
taken to facilitate the purchase of their farms by the
peasantry, household suffrage ought to be established,
and a sweeping measure of local government introduced.
He was sometimes, I fancy, disgusted with the want of
grip which the Liberal leaders even still showed in
dealing with the Irish question. They scarcely realised,
in his opinion, that the alternative to Home Rule if
there were an alternative to it was the prompt conces-
sion of everything which the masses of the Irish people
demanded, short of Home Rule. None understood
better than he that English statesmen never looked
ahead in dealing with the Irish problem that they scarcely
saw it even when it was at their door. One day he said
to me at Brick Court : ' The position of Ireland is a
hard one. If the country is quiet, then Englishmen say,
" We need not do anything, the people are contented " ; if
there is a violent and lawless agitation, they say, " We
cannot do anything until this is put down." They won't
face the question on its merits in time.' I ventured to
interpose that, while declaring that they would do nothing
until violence and disorder were put down, they habitu-
ally surrendered to violence and disorder.
Russell has been described as a 'great Radical.' I
think the description is, upon the whole, true. He had
intense faith in the people everywhere, and wished to
LORD RUSSELL OF KILLOWEN [1883
see all institutions built on a popular basis. He had
strong sympathies with the poor and oppressed, and was
deeply moved by any tale of human interest. He was
attached to the Imperial idea ; but did not believe in
the acquisition all over the world of vast territories held
by force, while at the heart of the Empire discontent
was fostered by misgovernment, and popular rights were
meanly denied or churlishly granted. ' An Empire,' it
has been said, ' means holding somebody down.' To
Russell it meant the aggregation of self-governing
communities united by common interests, common
sympathies, and common aims. His Radicalism and
his Imperialism, however, were tempered by his religion
and his nationality, and he was, above all things, a
Catholic and an Irishman.
It was at this period my intimacy with him began.
It has been said that no one ever got quite near to him
that he never wholly unbent to any person. Outside his
own family I think this is true. And yet he would at
times talk to you with wonderful frankness and familiarity,
with charming homeliness and simplicity. I can see him
now, sitting over the fire at my chambers in Dr. Johnson's
Buildings, cross-examining me about my work, discuss-
ing some political point, or indulging in a little gossip.
There was not the least assumption of superiority not
the slightest attempt to impress you with his importance
or greatness. He could put you absolutely at your
ease make you feel as if you were speaking to one of
your own calibre. " If he committed himself a thing he
rarely did to an inaccurate statement, he was rather
pleased to be contradicted directly and even forcibly,
provided you quoted an authority on the instant.
Mr. 51] < PITCH AND TOSS'
' Where can I see that ? ' he would say. You would
tell him. ' Is the book in this room ? ' You would say
' Yes.' He would then get up, go to the shelves, seize
the book, and carry it off. That book you would see
no more. I shall tell a story to show how far it was
possible for him to unbend. One day I called at Brick
Court. On opening the door I heard a stentorian shout,
' Stop ! ' I got inside the door and ' stopped.' Russell
stood near the fireplace. At the other end of the room
was a piece of cork. He was shying pennies at this cork.
As soon as he had thrown about six pennies all of
which got very near the mark he walked forward and
picked them up, taking no more notice of me than as if I
were merely apart of the furniture of the room. Having
picked up the pennies, he placed them neatly on a piece
of wood, balanced them carefully, flung them into the
air, and watched the result with eager interest. They
all came down ' heads.' ' Now my friend,' said he
triumphantly, ' you couldn't do that.' ' Very well,' I
said, ' let us have a game of " pitch and toss." He
smiled, hesitated for a moment, then put the pennies
into his pocket and said, ' No, let us get to work ; ' and
we plunged into politics at once. From this period, as I
have said, our relations were close and pleasant. We
had one common object of interest Ireland. Our in-
terviews related almost invariably to politics. In this
sense they were practically business interviews, and
Russell was delightful to work with. There were two
ways by which you could always get on with him : (i)
by having your subject well in hand ; (2) by never
pretending to know or to understand what you did
not know or understand. He liked frankness, direct-
LORD RUSSELL OF KILLOWEN [1883
ness, accuracy ; and, in argument, wished you to stand
up to him. No matter under what circumstances you
saw him, no matter upon what subject you talked
to him, you always felt that he was a big man. His
bigness, indeed, was the one idea which could never be
During the long vacation of 1883 Russell paid his
first visit to America. He has himself told us the story
of this tour in a Diary written for his wife, who spent
the autumn of that year on the shores of Carlingford
Lough, near their well-beloved Killowen.
JET. 5 I]
ON August 14, 1883, Russell sailed in the Celtic for
New York. He carried with him letters of introduction
from Parnell to several Irishmen in the States. I shall
'House of Commons : August 13, 1883.
1 MY DEAR SIR, Permit me to introduce to you Mr.
Russell, who is visiting America. He is anxious to
learn the status, political and social, and the views of
our leading and representative countrymen in the
States ; and, although not a member of our party, he has
always done what he could, both in and out of Parlia-
ment, from his own point of view, to serve the interests
of Ireland. Need I say how much pleased I shall be if
you can do anything to further the objects of his visit ?
' I am, my dear Sir,
' Yours very truly,
' CHAS. S. PARNELL.
'The Lord Chief Justice Shea, New York.'
Among Russell's fellow-passengers on the Celtic were
Lord Chief Justice Coleridge, Sir James Hannen, and
Mr. Patrick Martin, an Irish Q.C. On August 15 they
reached Queenstown, and went ashore for a few hours.
Diary. ' Our party went ashore in tender. We
LORD RUSSELL OF KILLOWEN [1883
went in a body to the Cathedral and heard High Mass.
A large congregation in a noble building. The L. C.
told me, Hannen greatly impressed, and that the
latter told him that, if he could believe, he would be a
Catholic. By the way, Hannen told me his grand-
father was a Catholic and a Cork man. He said his
father was " caught " (whatever that means) early, and
brought up a Protestant He added, he would like to
explore Cork and find out, if he could, the hovel in
which his forefathers lived. All the same, I think he
would be better pleased not to find the hovel.'
The voyage out was marked by the usual incidents ;
betting on the run, smoking concerts, watching the ' sad,
sad waves,' and being sometimes 'overcome.'
Diary, August 18. ' The great event to-day (for me)
is the fact that I won the pool on the ship's run. The
lowest was 315, which carried with it all numbers lower
down. At the auction I bid three guineas for it and
was declared buyer. There were in the pool some i8/.,
so that I won about I4/.'
On nearing New York ' the betting was fast and
furious, and the events wagered upon ludicrous in the
extreme ; for instance, we were hourly expecting to
meet our pilot, and many were the wagers as to his age,
whether married or single, whether he wore a moustache,
whether the years of his age were odd or even, and, as a
climax of absurdity, one of the most exciting events was
whether, in boarding the ship, his left or his right foot
would first touch the deck. I will not stop to recount
the various issues of these wagers except to say that the
last-named event was undecided, as he jumped on deck.'
He remained in New York for a few days. One
evening he, the Lord Chief Justice, Sir J. Hannen, and
Mr. Martin dined with Mr. Shepard, the son-in-law of
the ' mighty Vanderbilt.' In the course of the dinner
Mr. Sullivan, a guest, ' remarked we were a good typical
representative party of Englishmen. I staggered the
party by telling them that, of the six, only the Lord
Chief and his son were English, for that Sir James
Hannen was only an Irishman once removed, and that
Martin and I were Irish down to our toe-nails.'
Russell and Mr. Martin were invited by Mr. Henry
Villard, President of the Northern Pacific Railway, to
assist at a great function the ' opening of a new line
from St. Paul to Portland on the Pacific ; ' and on
August 26 they started on this mission as Mr. Villard's
guests. Having stopped en route to take a peep at
Niagara, Chicago was reached on August 28. There
Russell met two fellow-countrymen ' local celebrities '
Paddy Ryan and Michael Macdonald.
Diary. ' Paddy may be dismissed with the state-
ment that he is a fighting-man lately defeated in the
24-foot ring by a compatriot, Sullivan. He is a
Tipperary man. He left Ireland at eight years of
age. He now keeps a liquor store, and seems a
good-natured, lumbering chap of about 6 feet high, and
weighs about 17 stone. Michael. Macdonald deserves
more than a passing word. He, too, keeps a liquor
store a gambling-house (in spite of the authorities),
and he " runs " a granite quarry. But his principal
importance arises from his political position. He is
supposed to direct and control what is called the rowdy
element in Chicago largely made up of our country-
men and this gives him very great local influence. He
LORD RUSSELL OF KILLOWEN [1883
is a rough diamond, not over-scrupulous with a decisive,
masterful way about him which clearly marks him out as
a leader of men. He shows great knowledge of Euro-
pean politics, or at least of those of France and Great
Britain. He is keenly Irish, but was loud in his con-
demnation of the assassination and dynamite policy.
His friends claim for him that he returned the present
the first democratic Mayor of Chicago.'
Passing through the ' new city ' of Bismarck, he says :
4 Describe one of the new cities of the States, and you
have practically described all. The presence of the
Celtic-Irish element speedily showed itself in one who
boldly announced himself as a vendor of "krubeens."
" I should not be surprised if (notwithstanding your
well-known national feelings) it were necessary to ex-
plain to you that this means ' pig's feet.' ' One other
Irish item. A grand printed, obviously official, announce-
ment that all who helped the great show deserved to be
encouraged, BUT all who did not were to be "boycotted" \
There is obviously no Coercion Act in force here.'
At another town he meets a fellow-countryman. ' I
had a few words with Pat Bradly, who works on the
N. P. Railway Co. He is from co. Armagh (my own
county) and has been in the United States ten years.
He was well clad and content. He inquired with in-
terest about Ireland ; but when I asked him whether he
would like to go back, he answered with a grin that he
would not mind, but he would require to be furnished
with a return ticket to the United States.'
On September 8 they reached the spot named (at
least for the day) ' Spike Point,' 'at which the final spike
is to be driven, and the trains pass to and fro for the first
JEr. 51] MR. EVARTS
time on an unbroken, continuous line of railway com-
munication from Lake Superior in the East to Portland
in the West.'
At ' Spike Point ' there was a great demonstration
and some public speaking.
Diary. ' The President Villard read a very excellent
speech, sound in sense and good in tone and taste, the
effect of which would have been greatly increased could
it have been spoken, and not merely read.
' Then followed the man whom all the other American
speakers concur in calling (and they ought to know) the
"great orator" of the day. I mean my friend W. M. Evarts,
barrister. I made his acquaintance in London now a