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To Duke's-place, as he was directed
Mingay. Very well.
Austen. And this deponent further says, That, asking who the second was, He found he'd bankrupt been, and yet Had ne'er obtained certificate. When to his house deponent went, He full four stories high was sent, And found a lodging almost bare ; No furniture, but half a chair, A table, bedstead, broken fiddle And a bureau,
(Signed) William Priddle. Sworn at my chambers. Francis Buller.
Mingay. No affidavit can be fuller. Well, fiend, you've heard this affidavit, What do you say *
2d Bait. —Sir, by your leave, it ls all a lie.
Mingay, Sir, have a care, What is your trade :
2d Bail. A scavenger. Mingay. And, pray, sir, were you never found I ankrupt
2d Bail. I'm worth a thousand pound. Mingay. A thousand pound, friend, boldly said— In what consisting 2 2d Bail. Stock in trade. Mingay. And, pray, friend, tell me, do you know What sum you're bail for 2 2d Bail. Truly no. Mingay. My lords, you hear, no oaths have check'd him : I hope your lordships will— Wil/cs. Reject him. Mingay. Well, friend, now tell me where wou dwell. lst Bail. Sir, I have liv'd in Clerkenwell These ten years. Mingay. Half-a-guinea dead. (Aside.) My lords, if you've the notice read, It says Duke's-place. So I desire A little further time to inquire. Baldwin. Why, Mr. Mingay, all this vaour 2 will. Take till to morrow. Iord Mansfield. Call the paper.
The preceding pleasantry came from the pen of the late John Baynes, Esq. a Yorkshire gentleman, who was born in April, 1758, educated for the law at Trinity college, Cambridge, obtained prizes for proficiency in philosophy and classical attainments, was admitted of Gray's-inn, practised in his profession, and would probably have risen to its *rst honours. Mr. Nichols says “his
learning was extensive; his abilities great
his application unwearied; his integrity animpeached. , in religious principles he was an Unitarian Christian and Protestant; in political principles the friend of the civil liberties of mankind, and the genuine constitution of his country. He died August 4, 1787, and was buried on the 9th in Bunhill-fields' burying-ground, near to the grave of Dr. Jebb,” his tutor at college: “the classical hand of Dr. Parr” commemorated him by an epitaph.
One of the best papers in Mr. Knight's late “Quarterly Magazine,” of good art, cles, is so suitable to this day, legally considered, that any one sufficiently interested to sympathize with “ the cares and the fears” of a young lawyer, or, indeed, any one who dates to admit that a lawyer may have bowels, as well as an appetite, will suffer the Confessious of a Barrister to be recorded here.
MY FIRST BIRIEF
“A lawyer,” says an old comedy which I once read at the British Museum, “is an odd sort of fruit—first rotten– then green—and then ripe.” There is too much of truth in the homely figure. The first years of a young barrister are spent, or rather worn out, in anxious leisure. His talents rust, his temper is injured, his little patrimony wastes away, and not an attorney shows a sign of remorse. He endures term after term, and circuit after circuit, that greatest of all evils—a rank above his means of supporting it. He drives round the country in a post-chaise, and marvels what Johnson found so exhilarating in its motion—that is, if he paid for it himself. He eats venison, and drinks claret; but he loses the flavour of both when he reflects that his wife (for the fool is married, and married for love too!) has perhaps just dined for the third time on a cold neck of mutton, and has not tasted wine since their last party—an occurrence beyond even legal memory. He leaves the festive board early, and takes a solitary walk—returns to his lodgings in the twilight, and sees on his table a large white rectangular body, which for a moment he supposes may be a brief—alas ! it is only a napkin. He is vexed, and rings to have it removed, when up comes his clerk, who is drunk and insolent: he is about to kick him down stairs, but stays his foot on recollecting the arrears of the
fellow's wages; and contents himself with wondering where the fellow finds the means of such extravagance.—Then in court many are the vexations of the briefless.—The attorney is a cruel person to them—as cruel as a rich coxcomb in a ball-room, who delights in exciting hopes only to disappoint them. Indeed I have often i. the communications between the solicitors and the bar have no slight resemblance to the flirtation between the sexes. Barristers, like ladies, must wait to be chosen. The slightest
overture would be equally fatal to one gown as the other. The gentlemen of || the bar sit round the table in dignified composure, thinking just as little of briefs
as a young lady of marriage. An attorney enters—not an eye moves; but somehow or other, the fact is known to all. Calmly he draws from his pocket a | brief: glance that the tormentor has left a blank | for the name of his counsel. He looks around the circle as if to choose his man; | you cannot doubt but his eye rests on | you; he writes a name, but you are too | far off to read it, though you know every name on your circuit upside down. Now | he counts out the fee, and wraps it up | with slow and provoking formality. At | length all being prepared, he looks to— wards you to catch (as you suppose) your eye. You nod, and the brief comes fly| ing; you pick it up, and find on it the name of a man three years your junior, who is sitting next you: you curse the | attorney's impudence, and ask yourself | if he meant to insult you.-" Perhaps not,” you say, “for the dog squints.”— | seceived my maiden brief in London. | How well do I recollect the minutest circumstances connected with that case ! | The rap at the door! I am a connoisseur in raps—there is not a dun in London | who could deceive me: I know their | "ricks but too well; they have no medium between the rap servile, and the rap im| pudent. This was a cheerful touch; you | felt that the operator knew he should meet | | | |
ractice enables us to see at a
with a face of welcome. My clerk, who is not much under the influence of sweet sounds, seemed absolutely inspired,and anŚwered the knock with astonishing velocity. I could hear from my inner room the || murmur of inquiry and answer; and though I could not distinguish a word, || the tones confirmed my hopes;–I was
not long suffered to doubt—my client en.
1. tered, and the roll of pure white pape
tied round with the brilliant red tape,
met my eye. He inquired respectfudy,
and with an appearance of anxiety, which
marked him to my mind for a perfect
Chesterfield, if I was already retained in
! The rogue knew well enough
that I had never had a retainer in my life.
I took a moment to consider; after making
him repeat the name of his case, I gravely
assured him I was at perfect liberty to receive his brief. He then laid the papers and my fee upon the table; asked me if the time appointed for a consultation with the two gentlemen who were “with me" would be convenient; and finding that the state of my engagements would allow me to attend, made his bow and departed. That fee was sacred, and I put it to no vulgar use. Many years have now elapsed since that case was disposed of, and yet how fresh does it live in my memory ! how perfectly do I recollect every authority to which he referred how I read and re-read the leading cases that bore upon the question to be argued! One case I so bethunbed that the volume has opened at it ever since, as inevitably as the prayer-book of a lady's maid proffers the service of matrimony. My brief related to an argument before the judges of the King's Bench, and the place of consultation was Ayles's coffee-house, adjoining Westminster-hall. There was 1 before the clock, had finished striking the hour; my brief I knew by heart. I had raised an army of objections to the points for which we were to contend, and had logically slain every one of them. I went so to discuss the question thoroughy; and I generously determined to give my leaders the benefit of my cogitations— though not without a slight struggle at the thought of how much reputation I should lose by . magnanimity. I had plenty of time to think of these things, for my leaders were engaged in court, and the attorney and I had the room to ourselves. After we had been waiting about an hour, the door flew open, and in strode one of my leaders, the second in command, less in haste (as it appeared to me) to meet his appointment, i. to escape from the atmosphere of clients in which he had been just enveloped, during his passage from the court.—Having shaken off his tormentors, Mr. walked up to the fire—said it was cold-nodded kindly to me—and had just asked what had been the last night's division in the hous – when the powdered head of an usher was
protr, ded through the half open door to announce that “Jones and Williams was called on.” Down went the poker, and away flew with streaming robes, leaving me to meditate on the loss which the case would sustain for want of his assistance at the expected discussion. Having waited some further space, I heard a rustling of silks, and the great , our commander in chief, sailed into the room. As he did not run foul of me, I think it possible I may not have been , invisible to him; but he furnished me with no other evidence of the fact. He simply directed the attorney to provide certain additional affidavits, tacked about and sailed away. And thus ended the first consultation. I consoled myself with the thought that I had all my materials for myself, and that from having had so much more time for considering the subject than the others, I must infallibly make the best speech of the three. At length the fatal day came. I never shall forget the thrill with which I heard open the case, and felt how soon it would be my turn to speak, Q, how I did pray for a long speech I lost all feeling of rivalry; and would gladly have given him every thing that I intended to use myself, only to defer the dreaded moment for one halfhour. His speech was frightfully short, yet, short as it was, it made sad havoc with my stock of matter. The next speaker's was even more concise, and yet my, little stock suffered again severely. I then found how experience will stand in the place of study. These men could not, from the multiplicity of their engagements, have spent a tithe of the time upon the case which I had done; and yet they had seen much which had escaped my research. At length my turn came. I was sitting among the back rows in the old court of King's Bench. It was on the first day of Michaelmas term, and late in the evening. A sort of “darkness visible” had been produced by the aid of a few candles dispersed here and there. I arose, but I was not perceived by the judges, who had turned together to consult, supposung the argument finished. B– was the first to see me, and I received from him a nod of kindness and encouragement which I hope I shall never forget. The court was crowded, for it was a question of some interest; it was a dreadful moment—the ushers stilled the audience into awful silence. I began, aud at the sound of an unknown voice,
every wig of the white inclined plane, at the upper end of which I was standing turned round; and in an instant I had the eyes of seventy “learned friends" looking me full in the face It is hardly to be conceived by those who have not gone through the ordeal, how terrific is this mute attention to the object of it. How grateful should l have been for any thing which would have relieved me from its oppressive weight--a buzz, a scraping of the shoes, or a fit of coughing, would have put me under infinite obligations to the kind disturber. What I said I know not; I knew not then; it is the only art of the transaction of which I am ignorant; it was “a phantasma, or hideous dream.” They told me, however, to my great surprise, that I spoke in a loud voice; used violent gesture, and as I went along seemed to shake off my trepidation. Whether I made a long speech or a short one I cannot tell; for I had no ower of measuring time. All I know is, that I should have made a much longer one, had I not felt my ideas, like Bob Acre's courage, oozing out of my fingers' ends. The court decided against us, erroneously as I of course thought, for the young advocate is always on the right side. The next morning I got up early to look at the newspapers, which I expected to see full of our case. In an obscure corner,and in a small type, I found a few words given as the speeches of my leaders: and I also read that “Mr — followed on the same side"
In 1711, the ninth year of queen Anne's reign, a charter of incorporation was granted to a company trading to the South Seas; and the South Sea company's affairs appeared so prosperous, that, in 1718, king George I, being chosen governor, and a bill enabling him to accept the office having passed both houses, on the 3d of February, his majesty in person attended the house of lords, and gave the royal assent to the act. A brief history of the company's subsequent progress is interesting at any time, and more especially at a period when excess of speculation may endanger private happiness, and disturb the public welfare.
On the 27th of January, 1719, the South Sea company proposed a scheme to parliament }. paying off the national debt, by taking into its funds al. the debt which the nation had incurred before the year 1716, whether redeemable or irredeemable, amounting in the whole to the sum of 31,664,5511. 14. 14 d. For this the company undertook to pay to the use of the public the sum of 4,156,3061.; besides four years and a half's purchase for
all the annuities that should be subscribed into its fund, and which, if all subscribed, would have amounted to the sum of 3,567,5031. ; amounting, with the abovementioned sum, to 7,723,809l. : in case all the annuities were not subscribed, the company agreed to pay one per cent. fo such unsubscribed annuities. To this arrangement parliament acceded, and an act was passed to ratify this contract, and containing full powers to the company accordingly. In March following South Sea stock rose from 130 to 300, gradually advanced to 400, declined to 330, and on the 7th of April was at 340. This so encouraged the directors, that on the 12th they opened books at the South Sea house for taking in a subscription for a portion of their stock to the amount of 2,250,000l. every 100l. of which they offered at 300l. : it was immediately subscribed for at that price, to be paid for by nine instalments within twelve months. On the 21st, a general court of the company resolved, that the Midsummer dividend should be 10 per cent, and that the aforesaid subscription, and all other additions to their capital before that time, should be entitled to the said dividend. This gave so favourable a view to the speculation, that on the 28th the directors opened a second subscription for another million of stock, which was presently taken at 400l. for every 100l., and the subscribers had three years allowed them for payment. On the 20th of May, South Sea stock rose to 550. So amazing a price created a general infatuation. Even the more prudent, who had laughed at the folly and madness of others, were seized with the mania; they borrowed, mortgaged, and sold, to raise all the money they could, in order to hold the favourite stock; while a few quietly sold out and enriched themselves. . Prodigious numbers of people resorted daily from all parts of the kingdom to 'Change-alley, where the assembled speculators, by their excessive noise and hurry, seemed like so many madmen just escaped from cells and chains. All thoughts of commerce were laid aside for the buying and selling of estates, and traffic in South Sea stock. Some, who had effected sales at high premiums, were willing to say out the money on real property, which consequently advanced beyond its actual value: cautious landowners justly concluded that this was the time to get money without risk, and there
fore sold their prope ty; shortly afterwards they had an opportunity of purchasing more, at less than half the price they had obtained for their own. On the 2d of June, South Sea stock rose to 890. On the 15th, many persons who accompanied the king on his foreign journey, sold their stock, which suddenly fell; but the directors promising larger dividends, it got up higher than ever. On the 18th they opened books for a third subscription of four millions more stock, at 1000l. for each 100l., and before the end of the month it had advanced to 1 100l., between which and 1000l. it fluctuated throughout the month of July. On the 3d of August they proposed to receive subscriptions for all the unsubscribed annuities, and opened books for the purpose during the ensuing week, upon terms which greatly dissatisfied the annuitants, who, confiding in the honour of the directors, had left their orders at the South Sea House, without any previous contract, not doubting but they should be allowed the same terms with the first subscribers. Finding, to their great surprise and disappointment, that, by the directors' arrangements, they were only to have about half what they expected, many repaired to the South Sea House to get their orders returned; but these being withheld, their incessant applications and reflections greatly affected the stock, in omuch that, on the 22d of the month, at the opening of the books, it fell to 820. The directors then came to the desperate resolution of ordering the books to be shut; and on the 24th they caused others to be opened for a fourth money subscription for another million of their stock, at 1000l. for each 100l., payable by five instalments within two years: this million was subscribed in less than three hours, and bore a premium the same afternoon of 40 per cent. On the 26th the stock, instead of advancing, fell below 830. The directors then thought fit to lend their proprietors 4,000l. upon every 1000l. stock, for six months, at 4 per cent. ; but the annuitants becoming very clamorous and uneasy, the directors resolved that 30 per cent. in money should be the half-year's dividend due at the next Christmas, and that from thence, for twelve years, not less than 50 per cent. in money should be the yearly dividend on tieir stock. Though this resolution raised the stock to about 800 for the opening of the books, it soon sunk again.
On the 8th of September, the stock fell to 640, on the 9th to 5:9, and by the 19th it came to 400. On the 23d the Bank of England agreed with the South Sea company to circulate their bonds, &c. and to take their stock at 400 per cent., in lieu of 3,775,000l., which the company was to pay them. When the books were opened at the Bank for taking in a subscription for supporting the public credit, the concourse was at first so great, that it was judged the whole subscription, which was intended for 3,000,000l., would have been filled that day. But the fall of South Sea stock, and the discredit of the company’s bonds, occasioned a run upon the most eminent goldsmiths and bankers, some of whom, having lent great sums upon the stock and other public securities, were obliged to shut up their shops. The Sword-blade company also, who had been hitherto the chief cash-keepers of the South Sea company, being almost drawn of their ready money, were forced to stop payment. All this occasioned a great run upon the Bank. On the 30th South Sea stock fell to 150, and then to 86.
“It is very surprising,” says Maitland, “that this wicked scheme, of French extraction, should have met with encouragement here, seeing that the Mississippi scheme had just before nearly ruined that nation. It is still more surprising, that the people of divers other countries, notwithstanding the direful effects of this destructive scheme before their eyes, yet, as it were, tainted with our frenzy, began to court their destruction, by setting on foot the like projects: which gives room to suspect,” says Maitland, “ that those destructive and fatal transactions were rather the result of an epidemical distem. per, than that of choice; seeing that the wisest and best of men were the greatest sufferers; many of the nobility, and persons of the greatest distinction, were undone, and obliged to walk on foot; while others, who the year before could hardly purchase a dinner, were exalted in their coaches and fine equipages, and possessed of enormous estates. Such a scene of misery appeared among traders, that it was almost unfashionable not to be a bankrupt: and the dire catastrophe was attended with such a number of self-murders, as no age can parallel.”
Hooke, the historian of Rome, was a severe sufferer by the South Sea bubble. He thus addresses loid ()xford, in a letter