Page images

assets and liabilities of the partnership. The trustee's right to inspection is in no way affected by the aotion.

Brough, for Williams.—The trustee does not show that there are partnership liabilities or assets outstanding, and no benefit oan aoorne to the bankrupt's estate from an inspection. Any right which tbe trustee has against Williams is a right outside the bankruptcy, and this court osnnot make him account: Ex parte Musgrave (27 W. B. 372, L. R. 10 Ch. I). 94). (2) The application is not made for the benefit of the creditors, but really in the interest of a firm who hare brought an action against "Williams. (3) The application is for the inspection of the books of Williams & Bennett without notice to Bennett, and it is therefore irregular: rule 50.

Foots, in reply.

Mr. Registrar Pepts said he thought tbe trustee was entitled to an inspection of the partnership books, and the faot of an aotion having been brought against Mr. Williams, in which the solicitors for the plaintiffs were also the solicitors for the trustee, was not a sufficient ground for depriving tbe trustee of bis right. The motion was, however, too wide in its terms, and tbe inspection of the books must be limited to the transactions in whioh tbe bankrupt was a partner.

Solicitors for the trustee, Neish ej Howell.

Solioitor for Williams, J. Rao.

(Before Mr. Registrar Hazlitt, acting as Chief Judge.)

June 3.—Re Ftrris. N-w first meeting of creditors allowed to be convened in a where, at the original meeting, the creditors were unaninou» in favour of liquidation 1>y arrangement, but two get "Hie resolutions were signed, eaoh of them appointing a dinV.ut trustee.

Tins was an application for leare to convene a fresh first meeti'g uuder a petition for liquidation presented by the debtor.

The first meeting took place on the 2nd inst., when the creditors were unanimous that there should be a liquidation by arrangtment, but a contest ensued as to the trus'.e to be appointed. Votes were taken upon two resolutions, both in favour of liquidation by arrangement, bnt the meeting separated before the rotes were counted, t was subsequently found, upon the figures being investigated, that neither of the resolutions had been carried by the necessary majority of creditors, although all the creditors were in favour of liquidation, and desired to avoid bankruptcy.

Fovikes, who appeared for the applicant, said that if the court allowed a new meeting to be oonvened, the creditors would, no doubt, aaree upon a trustee.

Mr. Registrar Hazlitt.—There seems to have been a squabble between two accountants?

Foulkes.—The trade creditors desired to have an accountant trustee, but the landlord and another trade creditor, whose debt was disputed, preferred someone else, but no one seems to have wanted bankruptcy. Ex parte Gibbs, Re Webb (23 W. R. 529, L. R. 10 Ch. 382), is an authority n point.

Mr. Registrar Hazlitt said he would make tbe order, but he hoped the creditors would agree upon a trustee, end that the new meetiug would not result in the appointment of two accountants as trustees.

(Solicitors, Badden, Woodward, <L- Mcleod,

(Before Mr. Registrar Hazlitt, acting as Chief Judge.) June 3.—Ra Stevens.

Receiver appointed under petition for liquidation continued under proceedings subsequently taken to adjudicate the debtor a bankrupt, default baring been made in carrying out the terms of a composition.

Tbis was an application for the confirmation of the appointment of Mr. John Vale as receiver of the debtor's estate, or for leare to serve short notice of motion upon the debtor.

Tbe debtor (a tradtr) had presented a petition for liquidation, and at the first meeting the creditors agreed to accept a composition, and the resolutions were registered. Tbe debtor failed to carry out the terms of the resolutions, and a day had been appointed for tbe hearing of an application to

udicate him a bankrupt. Under the petition for liquidation Mr. Vale had been appointed receiver, and he had not

been discharged, and the present application was made bytwo creditors who now sought to obtain an adjudication. There was the usual evidence of fitness of the receiver. F. C. Willis, for the applicants.

Mr. Registrar Hazlitt thought, as Mr. Vile had not been discharged, tbe more convenient course would be to continue him under the bankruptoy proceedings.

Solicitor, G. Bathurst Norman.

SOLICITORS' CASES. Queen's Bench Division. (Before Lord Colkridob, C.J., Manisit, J., and Pollock, B.) June 17.—In re A Solicitor.

This was an application at the instance of the Incorporated Law Society. One of tbe charges in the affidavits was that the eolicitor had got a client, an old lady, to transfer to him property to the value of £1,896, which he placed to his account at his bankers, already overdrawn to the amount of £6,000, and also a sum of £1,139, which be had proceeded to lend, she knowing nothing of what was done with her money until he became insolvent, when she found herself penniless. Another charge stated in tbe affidavits was that he received for another client, an old lady, a sum of £2,500, which he told her he had invested, but which he retained in bis own hands until his insolvency, when she also found herself penniless. Upon affidavits stating these and other matters,

Wills, Q.C. (VT. Murray with him), on behalf of tbe Incorporated Law Society, moved for a rule calling on tbe solicitor to answer tbe matters thuB stated, or to show cause, in the erent of his not answering them, why he should not be struck off the rolls. The learned counsel stated the two charges above mentioned, and said that there were others, is to which, howerer, the parties bad declined to give information; for, he said (strange as it might appear), the solicitor implicated was rather popular, and though he had been tried on a criminal charge as a " fraudulent bailee," persons of the best position, inoluding the clergyman cf his parish, gave him the highest character, and he was acquitted.

Lord Coleridge.—No doubt, he was ohurchwarden.

Willi.—My lord, he filled all " the parochial offices."

Lord Colesidob.—No doubt, and I dare say he was thought to be persecuted; but this court, which only takes a mere worldly view of such matters, regarding them by the light of common honesty, cannot help granting such au application in such a ease.

Accordingly, a rule nisi was granted as applied for.—



INCORPORATED LAW SOCIETY. The second of the dinners given by the metropolitan' members of the Incorporated Law Society to the Provincial Law Societies was (held at the society's hall. Chancerylane, on Thureday evening, Mr. J. Moxon Clabox, president, in the obair. About one hundred and forty gentlemen were present, and amongst those who accepted invitations were :—Mr. C. C. Druce (rice-president), Mr. W. J. Williams, Mr. T. Mallam, Mr. Verrall, Mr. W. Williams, Mr. J. Thornely, Mr. J. Kaden, Mr. J. Miller, Mr. Pennington, Mr. W. H. Guest, Mr. H. Roscoe, Mr. Mnllings. Mr. H. Cook, Mr. F. H. Janson, Mr. Jepson, Mr. M. B. Wood, Mr. G. fladfield, Mr. W. B. Peterson, Mr. White, Mr. Lowndes, Mr. A. P. Bower, Mr. Bright, Mr. Hutsey, Mr. Binney, Mr. Blake, Mr. W. Me'.moth Walter*, Mr. S. Unwin, Mr. Filz Hugh, Mr. Mills, Mr. W. H. Clarke, Mr. E. Bailey, Mr. J. N. York, Mr. Crossman, Mr. GUI, Mr. D. T. Burgee, Mr. Grinham Keen, Mr. H. F. Lawes, Mr. Hutchiogs, Mr. Cotton, Mr. Howlett, Mr. Tucker, Mr. Herbert, Mr. Fielder Watson, Mr. Jourdain, Mr. Greening, Mr. F. Ince, Mr. Thorn, Mr. E. Pope, Mr. M. Pope, Mr. J. J. Freeman, Mr. Farnfield, Mr. E. J. Emanuel, Mr. C. Ford, Mr. Bramley, Mr. Papwortb, Mr. Humphry, Mr. Wansey, Mr. Hughes, Mr. Vizard, Mr. Compton Smith, Mr. Lee, Mr. A. Murrav, Mr. Malcolm, Mr. Parker, Mr. Clearer, Mr. Gribble, Mr. Crowder, Mr. Fraaer, C.C., Mr. Pedley, Mr. Ryland, Mr. Crowther, Mr. CocWonv

Mr. Sbaen, Sir. Morton, Mr. H. lumber, Mr. Munton, Mr. Morris, Mr. Barnard, Mr. W. Oreavea, Mr. J. T. Inoe, Mr. J. F. Foster, Mr. Fritobard, Mr. Busby, Mr. Janeway, Mr. W. B. Brook, Mr. Andrew, Mr. Trehearne, Mr. Crosefield, Mr. Ditton, Mr. Bromhead, Mr. Whitehead. Mr. Cbeeeman, Mr. Turner, Mr. Hazard, Mr. Tinpetts, Mr. Nicbolla, Mr. Moyle, Mr. Thatcher, Mr. G. B. Wheeler, Mr. Parkes, Mr. Chubb, Mr. Wayman, Mr. Eddison, Mr. Ricbard Smith, Mr. Ranee, Mr. W. Ford, Mr. H. J. Francis, Mr. Carpmael, Mr. Murton, Mr. Russell, Mr. Osbaldeston, Mr. Feck, Mr. Fran Hare, Mr. Oldman, Mr. Prideaux, Mr. G. Barges, Mr. Robinson, Mr. E. W. Williamson (secretary), Mr. S. P. B. Bucknill (assistant secretary), and Mr. F. Boase (librarian).

The toasts of "The Queen" and "The Prince and Princess of Wales and the rest of the Royal Family" having been given from the Chair, and honoured with the customary enthusiasm,

The Chairman, in proposing the toast of the evening, "The Provincial Law Societies," referred to the faot that there was a law society in existence in Kent long before one had been instituted in London. Tf at any time any feeling of jealousy had existed between the country law societies and that of the metropolis, he was happy to say that that feeling had long since died out. It was true that there was at one time a Metropolitan and Provincial Law Association, but it was found that they and the Incorporated Law Sooiety were doing very much the same work, and they were in time amalgamated, with a proviso that the Incorporated Law Sooiety should hold annual meetings in the provinces, a stipulation which they had been verv happy to carry out.

Mr. Verp.all (Sussex Law Sooiety), in responding, spoke of tbe labours of the Incorporated Law Sooiety for the benefit of the profession, and, therefore, of the public. He recognized in warm terms the hospitality whioh had been extended to tbe Provincial Law Societies in the present gathering, and promised that his society would do their beet to welcome the Incorporated Law Sooiety in a fitting manner on their ooming visit to Brighton.

Mr. Janson next gave "The Incorporated Law Society," and traced its origin and growth up to the present time, paying a high oomplimect to Mr. Williamson, the secretary, for the zeal and earnestness with whioh he fulfilled tbe olHoe.

The Chairman responded, and, referring to the fact that the solicitors' was called the lower branoh of the profession, thoroughly repudiated the term. Both they and the barristers were working together for the oommen good of the public.

The remaining toasts were "The President," proposed by Mr. Mallam and acknowledged by that gentleman, and "The Entertainment Committee," submitted by Mr. Bbamlet, and replied to by Mr. Keen.

Daring the evening a selection of mnsio, under the direotion of Mr. John Davis, was performed by Miss Agnes Larkom; Mr. Stedman's Choir Boys, Masters Probert Walenn, Fielder, and Toop; Mr. Harper Kearton, Mr. Frederick Bevan, and Mr. Luigi Carozzi (solo Ante). Tbe dinner was served by Messrs. Ring & Brymer. Mr. Harker was tbe toasttnaster.

A full report will appear in onr next issue.


The twenty-first anniversary festival of the Solicitors' Benevolent Association was celebrated at the Albion Hotel, Al.iersgate-street, on Wednesday evening, Sir Henry James, Q.C., MP., her Majesty's Attorney-General, presiding. There were present about sixty gentlemen, amongst whom were the following :—

The Hon. Mr. Justice Williams, Mr. G. B. Gregory, M.P., Mr. J. Dodds, M.P., Mr. Lewis (chairman), and Mr. P. Rickman (deputy-chairman of the society), Mr. H. C. Owen (president of the Wolverhampton Law Society), Mr.

G. Hadfield (president of the Manchester Incorporated Law Society), Mr. Montague Cookson, Q.C., Mr. H. C. Beddoe, J.P., Mr. W. Melmoth Walters, Mr. Munton, Mr.

H. W. Trinder, Mr. E. Bromley, Mr. J. A. Farnfield, Mr. E. Low, Mr. G. McA. Low, Mr. S. H. Asker, Mr. W. G. Stuart, Mr. W. E. Shirley, Mr. H. Sowton, Mr. J. Tarry, Mr. J. T. Prall, Mr. R Prall, Mr. G. F. Camel), Mr. R. Pennington, Mr. S. Castle, Mr. S. Harris, Mr. L. Heritage, Mr. 0. S. Routh, Mr. W. Evans, Mr. P. L. Holt, Mr.

R. H. Fryer, Mr. W. 0. Hewlett, Mr. T. Skewer-Cos, Mr. G. R. Dodd, Mr. B. Lewis, Mr. C. T. Abbott, Mr. G. C. Filliter, 4c, to.

The association, which was established in 1858, is composed of solicitors (who are required to be practising solicitors at the time of their admission as members) in England and Wales. Its objects are:—"To relieve, either by donations or annuities, necessitous members and their wives and families, and the necessitous widows and families of deeeased members, and in special cases the parents or collateral relations of deceased members ; and, secondly, such necessitous persons as are or have been attorneys, solicitors, or proctors, and hare not been members, and who, in the opinion of the directors, may be deserving objects, and their wives and families; and the necessitous widow* and families of deceased attorneys, solicitors, and proctors who were not members of the associati n at the time of their decease." Solicitors throughout England or Wales are eligible to be members (subject to the approval of the board), and are invited to co-operate for the promotion of the association. A single payment of ten guineas (on admission) constitutes a life member, and a subscription of one guinea a year (paid yearly in advance) nn annual member.

During the year 1880 £1.105 was expended in the relief of members and their families, and £1,130 in tbe relief of nonmembers and their families. The total relief granted was £2,235. The society has expended £18,833 15s. in relief since it was founded.

The Chairman having given the loyal and patriotic toasts, whioh were received with tbe nsual honours,

Mr. Dodds, in proposing "The Benoh and tbe Bar," remarked that the bench of England had, dnring every period of the country's history, received the respect and confidence, not only of suitors, but also of the public at large. He thought it wonld be admitted that at no previous time had there been a greater measure of confidence reposed in it than was the case at the present day. The bench, during the last few years, had been labouring nnder what might, to a certain extent, be considered as difficulties; he referred to the changes which had txken place by reason of the passing of the Judicature Act, which had brought about that fusion of law and equity whioh had been witnessed. Naturally enough the changes which had been made had imposed a considerable amount of responsibility and difficulty on the bench, whioh their predecessors in office had not been called upon to contend with. These difficulties had, however, as they had all seen, been surmounted, as was expected, by the distinguished men who occupied tbe high judicial offioes of the country; and the duties of these offices had been discharged entirely to the satisfaction both of the suitors and of the public in general. In proposing the toast, he could not but refer to the fact that the hand of death had been very busy in the higher ranks of the bench during the last few months; and perhaps at no previous period had tbree men of equal eminence with the Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, the Lord Chief Justice of England, and Lord Justice James been taken away within so short a time. He (Mr. Dodds) was old enough to recollect the late Lord Chief Baron as occupying a conspicuous position in the political history of the kingdom, and later on he had filled an important office on the bench, and be wonld be ever remembered in connection with that position. With respect to the Lord Chief Justice he could only say that his distinguished qualities not only as regarded the judicial bench, but also in other respects, would cause them long to revere and to cherish his memory. Everyone must agree in the enlogiums that had been pronounced, not only in the courts of justice, but in tbe press and elsewhere, upon the late Lord Justice James after his death. Anything more eloquent and touching could scarcely be conceived. In connection with the second part of the toast, there were happily a number of men of giant intellect prepared to step forward and occupy the positions vacated by those who had gone before, and ever ready to keep up the dignity and the high character of the judicial bench in a way that should leave nothing to be desired. During tbe present session of Parliament he had been particularly impressed with the fact that the present House of Commons contained a greater number of distinguished lawyers than peihaps had ever assembled there at any other period of its history. He had often thought that if it should so happen that every seat upon the judicial bench should be come vacant, there were lawyers enough of ability and position in the Honse of Commons alone to fill every office satisfactorily. With respeot to the Attempts that had been made daring the last few years to fuse together the two branches of the profession—the higher and the lower, as they were termed—he might perhaps be permitted to say that these attempts had been unsuccessful, as be would venture to predict would be the case with any similar a'tempts in the immediate future. There was one matter, however, which interested them, in respect of which the efforts that had been made, he was happy to say, had been more successful—namely, the rendering the passage from one branch of the profession to the other easier than had hitherto been the case. A very much easier way had been opened to the solioitor branch to those gentlemen who, having been called to the bar, found that that they lacked the necessary eloquence, or for some other reason were unsuccessful in their vocation, and had perhaps arrived at the conclusion that they were not likely to attain to any very distinguished position as advocates and members of the bar. An Act of Parliament had been passed on their behalf which greatly facilitated their passage to the solicitor branch of the profession. Regulations had likewise been made by the Inns of Court for the purpose of facilitating the passing of the solicitors from their branch of the profession to that of the bar, and this could now be done, after an interregnum of one year only. This was a great step in advance, and the solicitors might congratulate themselves that they had entered upon a new era. He was glad to couple with the toast the name of a gentleman with whose good qualities the members of the House of Commons were well acquainted. They all rejoiced at his promotion; but, in doing so, they could not but regret that ho was no iongtr among them. They all looked forward to a distinguished career for Mr. Justice Williams. He had pleasure also in connecting the name of a distinguished advocate, Mr. Montague Cookson, with the toast. The well deserved reputation of that gentleman was so thoroughly appreciated amidst an assembly of lawyers, that it was unnecessary for him to do more than to mention his name.

The Hon. Mr. Justice Williams, in replying for the bench, referred to the great satisfaction he experienced in being able to support bis friend, Sir Henry James, who occupied the chair, and nnder whose banner, in a different place, and in different circumstances, he had had the great pleasure of serving. He must not, however, indulge in recollections of the pleasure he experienced in those by-gone times, for he now knew nothing more of politics. Still he was sure he would be forgiven if he looked back for a moment, with a sort of hankering, to the time when the chairman and he walked side by side in a different place. The toast for which he was responding had been received with so much kindness and generosity that evening—and he believed the kindness and generosity bad been exhibited fairly and honestly—that it ought to make the task of responding an easy one. It was a relief to him that the toast was not a personal one, but one of a general character. The English bench had been so long known, so long respected, so long looked up to, that it had been a sort of shock to many of those who occupied positions on the bench to reflect that, for the past six or seven years, the judicature bad been passing through a kind of ordeal, by reason of the great reforms which had taken place in connection with it. The Judicature Act brought with it the most sweeping changes; but he believed it was very generally felt by the public—and, he believed rightly felt—for many years, that these reforms were not being carried into execution with the thoroughness and loyalty for which they had looked. But be did hope, and firmly believed, that, at the present time, and for some months past, an honest and thorough attempt was teing made to give effect to these ohanges; and, so far as he could judge, as a practical lawyer, the progress which had betn made had been as extensive as could be fairly expected having regard to the nature of the changes to which he had referred. He did not believe that the public would be so unreasonable as to expect that such sweeping reforms as had been made could be brought into thorough working order all of a moment. At present, he was of opinion there was an accumulation—an unnecessary accumulation—of assizes, which took away a large number of the judges, perhaps unnecessarily. He believed, howaver, that, notwithstanding this, the courts at Westminster were keeping pace with the work that came before them, and that during the present sittings all the business ready from bearing would be dealt with and entirely cleared away. This was a great fact, and one that would be appreciated by

an assembly of lawyers such as be was addressing. This was more especially the case when it was considered that the work performed by the judges was unfortunately much mora difficult than that of former times, owing to the great changes which had taken place. In former times an endeavour To made to reduoe the responsibility by compelling the suitors to reduce the points in dispute, whether of fact or of ltw, to as much exactitude and narrowness as was possible, the result oi which was thit in the great majority of instances a definite and specific question oame before the judge, which of course rendered easy the dispatch of business. The Judicature Act did away with all this, and now everything wss left, and be thought properly so, at large. The difficulties with which the judges were called upon to contend hid, however, been enormously increased. In the great proportion of cases—probably in ninety-nine out of a hundred—the matter was dealt with without the least difficulty, and when in the hundredth case the difficulty arose, the judge had of course to take the responsibility. If there should be an error or dissatisfaction, there was a very simple and inexpensive proceoding in the Court of Appeal which was open to the suitor. Times had changed for the better since it was potsible for a case to come before a judge such as that which bad actunlly been heard upon the Oxford Circuit, when a man was charged with stealing two ducks. He had been caught in the very act, but his counsel, at the conclusion of the cue for the defence, submitted that the judge must direct an acquittal, as the ducks in dispute were proved to have bees dead, whilst duoks in law inferred live ducks. The judg< asked what answer the counsel for the prosecution cooid make to this; and the counsel for the prosecution was completely floored, and could make no answer. The judge, therefore directed the jury that they must a-quit the prisoner, at which the foreman asked, "If they bean't ducks, what ba'i they?" The judge replied that he was not called upon to say what they were ; he could only repeat that they were not ducks in the eyes of the law. This was what had occurred not so very long ago, and within a recent date, upon s great circuit of England. Such a proceeding at the present day would, of course, shock their common sense an 1 their view of justice. He hoped and believed that the changes which had taken plaoe, and which tried the judges seriously, and which doubtless to some extent had produced discomfort, would be the means of doing great good. In the olden times, if a question came before the court, there was a specific method of dealing with it, and everyone understood what the question was. Now, when a decision was given, if the parties were dissatisfied, they took it to the Court of Appeal, the whole thing was beard over again, fresh points were opened, and new evidence introduced, and the judges did not shrink from investigating the matter and giving the case a real rehearing and a new trial. He could say a great dail with respect to the dutiiei of the judge as regarded the criminal branch of their labours, but he would abstain from occupying the time of the assembly. These duties had been the most painful of his office, and he must admit that he had shrunk from them; because he thought that in some parts of the country where he had gone there had been a disposition on the part of the public to look for too great severity iu the sentences on offenders, and there had been a feeling that the judges had administered the la* more moderately and timorously than had been the habit of the local jndges. He doubted whether the inhabitants of these localities preferred the justice and moderation of the judges to the sentences of the local judges. He was horrified by the cry for vengeance which was at times raised by those who wished to revenge themselves on the prisoner*, and as aa individual he would never shrink from lending as far as bt could the weight of his example and of hi) opinio* in the direction of mercy towards the unfortunate criminals who came before him. He would say for the judges that they were cognizant of the bjnti of sympathy and mutual respect and confidence which existed between all lawyer*, whether they were jufg*S barristers, or solicitors, and he certainly believed that a desire existed amongst the judges to cultivate that mutual good 'feeling and respect. Speaking for himself, he hoped to cultivate it with success, because he believed that the interests of the public would be maintained by the continuance of the friendly relations which already existed between them. He hoped that nothing would be done by the judges to impair this good feeling. . Mr. Montaoub Cookson responded for "The Bar, *"* observed that tiny httd been taught that men should " scorn delights, and live laborious days," but he might say of his friends in the Honse of Commons, and particularly in the presence of the head of the bar, that the poet's measure might be altered to "he scorns delights and lives laborious days and nights." The labours of the bar. as they all knew, were not of the smallest. Mr. Justice Williams had just told them how his labours, and those of the bench in general, had been increased by the changes brought about by the Judicature Act. He might say, with regard to the bar, that the came Act had largely increased their work, and especially was this the case with respect to those who, like himself, practised in the Chancery Division of the High Court. In the by-gone times, in conducting a case, it was no-, thought necessary to study the affidavits in any case, unless, indeed, the barrister happened to be a very young man, and had nothing much to do; bat if he were a big mm he might take some such course as that in which a leader, having to ■conduct a case in the court of Vioe-Chancellor Wood, which depended upon affidavits, had to attend a consultation, and he was asked if his attention had been directed to a particular affidavit which was thought to contain the turning point of the whole case. He was aBked to read the affidavit, and replied that he would, and asked whether it required reading more than onoe. "No, only once," was the answer. "Then," said Sir John, * I will take care to read it to the Vice-Chancellor." But those good old times were passed away, and now there were positively witnesses in chancery who sometimes deceived themselves, and sometimes the suitors on whose behalf they were called, or perhaps more frequently still, they succeeded in deceiving no one until they got into the witness-box. Then, again, the przes which were at one time open to the members of the bar had decreased in number. The progress of legal scientific discovery was exactly the reverse of the progress of scientific discovery in astronomy. The astronomers bad been engaged for many years ill resolving what appeared as single stars into groups of two, three, and four, and sometimes even constellations. But in the law the triplets and doubles had been reduced into ones by an exactly opposite process, and at length they were left with one Chief Justice. It was a great satisfaction to feel that barristers possessed the good opinion of solicitors, and to know (bat they were doing their work quietly, and to the best of their ability. Knowing this, they were not so much affected when verdicts and judgments went against them, so long as they had the good opinion of those most competent to judge aa to whether they had satisfactorily performed their duty.

The Chairman proposed the toast of the evening, "The Solicitors' Benevolent Association, and may prosperity attend it," which was received with acclamation. He said: Upon the present occasion I will ask to be permitted to depart from the conventional tone usually adopted at these meetings, and will Bpenk to you as one friend speaks to another. I speak thus not only because I see around me some of those who remind me of the earliest days of my active life—almost of the days of my boyhood—not only because I have around me those who have been my friends—my sincere friends, in later life—but because it happens that in the profession which is our common profession, some eight or nine years ago it occurred to some of us—Lord Coleridge, Mr. Justice Manisty, and the late Lord Justice Thesiger—that it was requisite, in the interests of the branch of the profession to which we belong that we should establish an association having fer its object the relief of the necessities of those who had not been so fortunate in life as some of us. And to-night we who are here have one common desire, and one common nope, that we may do some good to those who have not succeeded so well aB ourselves. In every other profession, or calling, as far as I know, those who represent its interests in its charities appeil for assistance, not only to their own body, but to the general public. The ani9ts claim the benefit they confer upon thtir fellow-creatures, and ask as a requital for charity from others than themselves. Literary men, again, year after after year, gather together, and tell what literature does for the advantage of their fellow-men, and, in return, for the solace and the benefit derived therefrom, ask for charity on behalf of those belonging to their profession. Even last night, I think, it was a Cabdrivers' Benevolent Association which appealed for help, with the assistance of a royal duke, who presided at a meeting at

which there was not one cabdriver to listen to the eloquence) that came from his lips. But the legal profession never appeals to anyone except to its own members. I scarcely know why, unless it is from a consideration of the want of justice exhibited by the public in their consideration towards us. We can scarcely expect charity from those who never give us even justice, and who, when they speak of us in relation to the suitor, generally refer to the oft-quoted case of the oyster and the shell. We always say, in the House of Commons, that our profession is well able to take care of itself, and it is this feeling which affects us in the eyes of the public. But, I am sure, those who are with me recognize the fact that our profession is subject, not only to temptation, and to opportunity, but also to vicissitudes with which no other profession is acquainted. The solicitor branch of the profession have constituted a body, the like of which exists in no other profession. The Incorporated Law Society aims jealously, not at palliating offences committed by solicitors, but at punishing those who do wrong ; and there is no profession, save one, whose members bring to justice the man who commits the slightest error without asking for pity or consideration for him. The judgment that is passed upon us does not depend upon those earnest labours, upon those confidences as sacred as those with which the physician strives to deal, almost aa sacred aa those of the priest who seeks to save—all these strict performances of duty are not considered, hut those comparatively isolated oases of yielding to temptation are held np as the standard of the morality of the profession, and we are subjected to the criticism and condemnation which results from instances which are viewed by the profession with abhorence. To give an instance, whioh happened only two hours since, of the injustice with which onr legal profession is daily snbjeoted. I heard a most distinguished American and a no less distinguished Englishman talking upon the subject of legal reform, and the Englishman said that we had always a difficulty in obtaining a legal reform beoause vested interests prevented it, and that we could get no advantage for the publio in connection with the conveyance of real property, beoause we required long requisitions on title and long forms of conveyances for the benefit of the profession. I oould not help telling the American that he must remember that when he asked members of our profession to shorten everything, and if they made the slightest mistake they were liable for the whole valae of the property. And when I hear oensures of this kind thrown broadcast upon the profession I oannot holp wishing that those who make them, whether applied to solicitors or the bar, would recollect that they were responsible to the fullest extent of protecting property and obaraoter, and sometimes even life; and then consider how difficult it is to perform the duties that are oast upon us in the carrying out of our profession. Forgive me for speaking thus, beoause I feel bow little we may expect from the publio, who are always inclined to deal out the scantiest justice to ns. There is, however, a more pleasing snbjeot on whioh I have to speak—the charity whose anniversary festival we are met to celebrate to-night. I am going to make use of words whioh I am oertain will appear very strange to you. I would advise those who administer this charity to be neglectful of every rule whioh governs them in the ordinary business of life; and I ask them to be improvident to a degree. I would advise them to scatter the largesse of this charity broadoast, beoanse in Bo doing they will not only be doing immediate good, but they will be strengthening its foundations. This charity has no old age to look forward to, but will be always young, and you will have no rainy day to provide for. Your necessities will never be greater than they are at the present moment, and you will always find someone wanting your assistance as much now as in the future. Your future will provide for itself, and the more you show your ability in the cause of charity in the present time, the more you will he able to accomplish in the future. No charity is ever successful until it gets into d<sbt and wants help, and the moment that you want help you will obtain it. I see, almost with regret, in looking at your satisfactory balance sheet that you can point to a large amount of stock which belongs to the association. As long as this is the case, your subscribers will say, " What more do you want? If you have £30,000 invested, it proves that your subscriptions are more than you require, and that you do not want more subscribers." If you become rich you. will at that moment become poor in your subscriptions. This feeling lias been most strongly impressed upon me with regard to a matter connected with tbe society to which I have already referred—the Barristers' Benevolent Society. Some two year* ago a most distinguished man in tne profession, a distinguished colonial judge, died. He had added much to our literature and done much for our profession, and he left a large family without the slightest provision. No reflection could be cast upon him, buc so it was. A committee of the Barristers' Benevolent Society was summoned, and I saw the opportunity that was offered of appealing specially to her Majesty's judges in particular in respect to this case; and although there were some timid spirits around me, I prevailed upon those present in twenty minutes' time to vote £1,000 to the relief of the family, and undertook that if more help was needed it should be forthcoming. When I pointed out that we could find this help in our rich profession, one or two timid voices questioned it. What was tbe result? In six months we could point to £4,000 as the outcome of the £1,000 expended as I have stated; because we could tell everyone that we had taken all this private contribution under our own care and were willing, not only to find a certain sum of money, but to administer it with that care which only such associations as this are able in their collective capacities to render. This association especially ought to feel assured that whatever it spends will be replaced, because it will be to everybody a proof that it is dealing with the present and leaving the future to itself, and there will always be men as charitable as we are and as proad of what this association has done as any of us can be. Twenty .war* ago £10 was the amount given away during the year. List year it was £2,500. If we who are here are proud of this to-night, those who come after us will be prond of a still greater increase. There are men amongst us who have been very successful, and it would be ungrateful of them if they were not to make some acknowledgment in return. Let me ask those around me at this table wbo have met with good fortune if they know any experience more satisfactory that the knowledge that they have helped those who have been less successful—that they have been able to hold ont a hand to their forlorn and shipwrecked brother, who has not had the happiness of sailing in the fair waters in which they have floated. Have they not been proud and happy to render assistance to the members of their own profession who have not been so successful as they? I sometimes have to ask for justice, and it is very easy indeed to ask for charity. It will be of no avail for me to make a personal appeal or to give expression to my personal feelings. Were I to do so I would only say, Let us who have, find enjoyment in tbe giving to those who deserve it. I only know that those are the happy days in which I have felt that I have done some good to those who have needed it, I am speaking in the spirit in which I am asking you to listen to me. We should be proud that we are enabled, through the society whose anniversary we eelebrate to-night, to leel that without hurting tbe feelings of men who are as sensitive as ourselves, aud whose position ooght to be as much a matter of consideration as our own, we are assisting in solacing the failing hours and the failing days of many a man who has been associated with us in our own early days, and who only wanted one thing to place bim on an equality with us—namely, tbe good fortune which we have enjoyed. I hope you will forgive me if I have wandered away from the conventional track in proposing the toast. I hate entered into common questions and 1 have endeavoured to express to you bow entirely, how earnestly, I sympathize with the object of the association, and I hope we may rise to sufficient enthusiasm to prove at least onr earnestness for its success.

Mr. W. Mblmoth Walters in proposing " The Visitors" remarked with pleasure npou tbe fact that tbe association still maintained its influence over tbe whole country, and was glad to state that its numbers were constantly increasing. This was owing in part to tbe dinners and also to the active way in whioh the secretary performed his dutiee. They bad the honour of being presided over by a distinguished chairman, and they were glad to see that their friend Mr. Dodds found tbe opportunity in the midst of bis multifarious duties to come amongst them and to endeavour to remove tbe stigma whioh attached to solicitors in the mind of the public that they wanted to make long drafts and long pleas. Mr. Dodds bad been one of the most active members of the Council of the Incorporated Law Society in tbe consideration of Lord Cairns' Conveyancing Bill, wbioh had for its object the

redaction of conveyances to a length of about two and a half inches. The oonnoil had taken up that Bill with the greatest vigour, and it had been carried it would barreformed tho land laws of the oonntry. Solicitors always were of opinion that what was for the benefit of the public was also for their own benefit, and that if litigation wsr» made cheaper and more speedy, although their profits would be reduced in proportion, yet they would have unre work and quicker returns. They bad also amongst then that evening distinguished presidents of provincial lis societies, and what gave him tbe greatest satisfaction wu tbe fact that these gentlemen on the benoh, these gentlemen at the bar—at the head of the bar—these gentlemen at the head of the country law societies, these gentleman in Parliament and on the Connoil of the Incorporated Law Sooiety—all of whom had not the ghost of an idea that it would ever be necessary for them to apply to the laaoeittion for assistance, attended at these festivals and ware staunch supporters of tbe association—not because of asy benefit that they could derive from it personally, but because they were anxious to stretch out tbe right band of sympathy to tbe poorer members of their profession. It was a pleasant thing to observe tbe men who had climbs: to the topmost rnng of the ladder and who were safe is the high position to whioh they had attained, not kiokin,' the ladder away, but doing their best to assist those who were still struggling at the bottom of it. Mr. Owbn briefly replied.

Mr. Lewis (Chairman of the Committee of Management,, in submitting "The Chairman of the evening," remarked that he occupied a position second to none in the whole profession of the law—one which bad been filled in by-gone days by some of the ablest men whose history had ever adorned the annals of Westminster Hall ; and, looking at the ability in: energy displayed by their chairman, they would have no difficulty in predicting that the dignity and honour of the offia would never fail in his hands. He (Mr. Lewis) had hid the honour of being present at every banquet of the association; but he could not help observing that never had it been hi) lot, on any of these occasions, to listen to so abb an addrat as that whioh they had heard that evening. The opinions of the chairman with reference to the expenditure of the funds of the association exactly coincided with his own, and he had always urged upon the board the adoption of the plan which they had heard recommended by the chairman. In his opinion, charities were never in a better conditio* than when they were in debt; but, unfortunately for the association, there were £30,000 in hand, and he thought that the sooner that was got rid of, and an appeal male to tho prof3saion at large, the better for all concerned.

Tne toast was honoured with great enthusiasm.

The Chairman, in acknowledging the compliment, observed that he was reminded of how much be oved to the profession, which he felt he could never repay- The profession was nothing unless it existed for tbe public benefit, and he was sure its members were most happy »nen they were engaged in promoting the good of their felloscreatures.

The donations received during the evening amount*! to £400 j and it was announced that twenty-one new lifa members, and sixty-five new annual members of the assoc s'.ioo, had been enrolled at the meeting.

An excellent programme of music was performed by Madame Worrell, Miss Marian Burton, Mr. Harper Kenton, and Mr. Frederick Beavan, under the direction of MiJohn Davis, who presided at the pianoforte. Mr. Hirudins was the toastmaster.


The annual general meeting of the Kent Law Society held at the Pavilion Hotel, Folkestone, on Monday, the l$tb of June, 'under the presidency of Mr. O. F. Causu, of Sevenoaks, tbe president for tbe year.

Amongst the members present we noticed Mr. Csrnsll (Sevenoaks), Mr. Cripps (Tunbridge Wells), Mr. Hcare, sen., Mr. Hoare, jun., Mr. King, Mr. Mercpses, Mr. Tathsm, Mr. C. A. Case (Maidstone), Mr. Stringer (Hythe), M' Tasker (Dartford), Mr. Bassett and Mr. Areola (Rochester), Mr. Tassell, Mr. Bathurst (Favsrsham), Mr. Girand aad Mr. Knocker (Dover), Mr. Norwood (Aahfbrd), Mr. Crwy (Canterbury), Mr. Norton (Town Mailing), Mr. Bristow, J. B. Smith, Mr. Batchelor, Mr. S»w, sen, Mr. Ssw,

« PreviousContinue »