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write, and be foolish enough to publish, letters to his “Dear Mr. Alfred Tennyson,” in which should be demonstrated-—first, that its author was a great student of Milt0n’s poems ; and secondly, that Milton was a military man, and had seen in early youth a good deal of warfare—how many passages, full of battle scenes and manoeuvres of armies, he might cite to support the theory ; but we will be content with throwing out the hint, and not set the profane example.
Let us return, however, to the gracefully combined subjects of Shakespeare and John Lord Campbell, which cannot be done better than in extracting the following passage from the pen of the latter of these two great men :—
“ If Shakespeare,” says Lord Campbell, “really was articled to a Stratford attorney, in all probability during the five years of his clerkship he visited London several times on his master’s business, and he m_ay then have been introduced to the green room at Blackfriars by one of his countrymen connected with that theatre.
“ Even so late as Queen Anne’s reign there seems to have been a prodigious influx of all ranks from the provinces into the metropolis, in term time. During the preceding century,parliament sometimes did not meet at all for a considerable number of years ; and being summoned rarely and capriciously, the ‘London season’ seems to have been regulated, not by the session of parliament, but by the law terms—
“While term lasted, Westminster Hall was crowded all the morning, not only by lawyers, but by idlers and politicians in quest of news. Term having ended, there seems to have been a general dispersion. Even the judges spent their vacations in the country, having when in town- resided in their chambers in the Temple or Inns of Court. The chiefs were obliged to remain in gown 5 day or two after term for Nisi Prius sittings; but the puisnes were entirely liberated when proclamation was made at the rising of the court on the last day of term, in the form Still preserved, that ‘ all manner of persons may take their ease, and
voL. vn. NO. xm. E
give their attendance here again on the first day of the ensuing term.’ An old lady, very lately deceased, a daughter of Mr. Justice Blackstone, who was a puisne judge of the Common Pleas, and lived near Abingdon, used to relate that the day after term ended, the family coach, with four black long-tailed horses, used regularly to come at an early hour to Sergeant’s Inn to conduct them to their country house ; and there the judge and his family remained till they travelled to London in the same style on the essoin-day of the following term. When a student of law, I had the honour of being presented to the oldest of the judges, Mr. Justice Grose, famous for his beautiful seat in the Isle of Wight, where he leisurely spent a considerable part of the year, more majorum. To _his question to me, ‘Where do you live?’ I answered, ‘ I have chambers in Lincoln’s Inn, my lord.’ ‘Ah 1’ replied he, ‘but I mean—wl1en term is over?”’ (p. 23.) It does not appear, however, that young Campbell was prepared then to give any further information as to his domicile or his means of livelihood, and the conversation dropped.
In the “good old days,” when judges used to drive away from Sergeant’s Inn with a coach drawn by “four long-tailed horses,” the leading counsel too were wont to exhibit equipages in great style in the same neighbourhood. W'e have often heard that Mr. Shadwell (the great conveyancer, and the father of the late ViceChancellor of England) used also to have his “ carriage and four” driven up to Boswell Court, to carry him to his country seat. In these degenerate days a leading Queen's counsel, if he does not hire a Hansom, contents himself with being “ fetched and carried” in a neat brougham, probably jobbeol by the month, and which “ his lady ” uses for shopping purposes in the morning.
Another promiscuous remark made by Lord Campbell in this page, relates to the word attorney—it is offered apropos of the passage where Rosalind recommends Orlando “to die by attorney.” Whereupon the critic observes, “I am sorry to say that in our times the once most respectable word, ‘attorney,’ seems to have gained a new meaning—[that of]—a ‘disreputable legal practitioner,’ so that attorneys-at-law consider themselves treated discour
Shakespeare in the Queen/s Benc ' '11/L-,1?" Y 0; '51
teously when they are called ‘attorneys.’ They now all wish to be called solicitors, when doing the proper business of attorneys in the courts of common law. Most sincerely honouring this branch of our profession, it would please them, I am ready to support a bill to prohibit the use of the word attorney, and to enact that on all occasions the word solicitor shall be used instead thereof.” We observe the motive for Lord Campbell's support to such a bill, viz.—-that of pleasing attorneys of high character. But, in point of fact, though there may be some weak and vulgar practitioners who dislike the title of their calling from some foolish vanity, and all may occasionally have a sense of shame at belonging to a profession where now and then a great rogue or extortionate firm is detected (and is not struck off the rolls by the tender court of Queen’s Bench) ; yet, we infer, the objection to the professional name is not sufiiciently common to produce a popularity sufliciently “loud ” to justify the noble lord in following
the magnanimous course he professes himself ready to take.
Lord' Campbell’s literary attempt in connection with Shakespea.re’s history, has at least been of advantage in one respect. It has enabled the present chief of the Queen’s Bench to do himself justice in a certain particular—by entering upon a piece of autobiography. This has reference to the Irish chancellorship—that creditable operation of the Whig party, which at the time excited so great an admiration both of the government and the person appointed. As Lord Campbell has here seized the appropriate opportunity of recording the following fact in his judicial career, it is but fair to him to repeat it in our pages :
“In several successive lives of Lord Chief-Justice Campbell, it is related that, by going for a few weeks to Ireland as chancellor, he obtained a pension of £4000 a-year, which he has ever since received, thereby robbing the public; whereas, in truth and in fact, he made it a stipulation on his going to Ireland, that he should receive no pension—and pension he never did receive-, and, without pension or place, for years after he returned from Ireland, he regularly served the public in the judicial Oflmmlttee of the Privy Council, and in the judicial business of the House of Lords. This erroneous statement is to be found in a recent life of Lord C., which is, upon the whole, laudatory above due measure, but in which the author laments that there was one fault to be imputed to him which could not be passed "over by an impartial biographer, viz.—that he had most improperly obtained this Irish pension, which he still continues to receive, without any benefit being derived by the public from his services. Lord C. ought to speak tenderly of biographers; but I am afraid that they may sometimes be justly compared to the hogs of Westphalia, who without discrimination pick up what falls from one another.”
This latter simile is very elegant as well as forcible; but its chief merit consists in the honest support which the author here gives to the doctrine, that for a writer of biography to plagiarize “without discrimination” is swinish conduct—i e., dirty and selfish. We may carry the remark still farther, and express equal distaste to pirating with discrimination ; a process sometimes described as borrowing without acknowledgment.
ORE CHIEF JUSTICE HALE hath observed in his essay touching “ Amendment of Lawes,” Cap. I. :—“ An overbusy meddling with the alteration of lawes, though under the plausible name and pretence of reformation, doth necessarily introduce a great fluidness, lubricity, and unsteadiness in the lawes, and renders them upon every little occasion subject to perpetual fluxes, vicissitudes, and mutations. VVhen once this law is changed, why may not that which is introduced be changed, and so onwards in perpetual motion? So, possibly in the period of an age or two, the law of a kingdom, and with it its government, may have as many shapes as a silkworm hath in the period of a. year ; so that they that now live cannot project under what lawes their children shall live; nor the child or grandchild understand by what lawes the kingdom was governed in the time of their father or grandfather; and thereby the constitution of the government, the rule of property, and all things that are concerned to have the greatest fixedness that may be, shall become as lax and unstable as if every age underwent a new conquest from a' foreign state.”
In quoting the above passage in connection with the publication placed at the head of this article, we are far from wishing to imply that all the measures for the reform of the law, introduced by Mr. Locke King during his parliamentary career, are open to the objections alluded to by Sir Matthew Hale. Indeed we admit, as most will admit, that some enactments which owe their parentage to ]Mr. Locke King’s parliamentary energy, have elfected real and beneficial reforms, and have removed from our laws absurdities which it is only surprising should have been left so long untouched, and which it is still more surprising should have been swept away, not at the instigation of a legal member of the legislature, but at that of a layman.
It is to Mr. Locke King’s zeal and perseverance that we are indebted for the act (17 & 18 Vict., c. 113) which renders real estate in the hands of an heir or devisee primarily liable to the payment of all mortgage debts with which it is charged ; and also for the act (19 & 20 Vict., c.94) which abolished the special customs of London, York, and other places, concerning the distribution of the personal estate of intestates. Of these measures Mr. Locke King seems to be, and may justly be, proud. But the remarks of Lord Chief Justice Hale are, nevertheless, peculiarly applicable to the proposed alteration in the law of descent of real estate, unless better reasons and more suflicient grounds than we have yet met with can be adduced for its introduction. We will, however, proceed to consider the arguments which have been used on behalf of the proposed reform.
Mr. Locke King states that the law which regulates the descent of real property “is a perfect chaos, inconsistent with itself, and generally admitted to be oppressive and unjust wherever it comes