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to that of Henry VIII. they ranged from ten marks to twenty pounds, though in some of the intermediate reigns, many obtained one hundred and forty marks. The emoluments of the profession were in a correspondent ratio, for in the churchwardens' account of St. Margaret, Westminster, for the year 1476, there is said to be this entry-"Also paid Roger Fylpott, learned in the law, for his counsel; giving three shillings and eight-pence, with four-pence for his dinner." The duties of the Judges, however, were not burthensome. They seldom sat longer in Court than three hours a day, viz. from eight to eleven o'clock, and never in the afternoon. After Court, they took some refreshment, and spent, says Fortescue, "the rest of the day in the study of the laws, reading the Holy Scriptures, and other innocent amusements at their pleasure. 'Twas a life rather of contemplation than of action."
If such were the lives of our Circuit Judges, there might be some apparent reason why their salaries should be reduced below the minimum of comfortable subsistence, as has lately been done in this state. But their case is widely different, and few are the hours they can spare "to study the laws, or read the Scriptures." Even, however, had they more time and less travelling, the interests of society would, we think, be opposed to the reduction. Judges should be placed above pecuniary difficulties: their minds should not be diverted from their important duties, by the pinching of want, or the necessity of devising ways and means to eke out a living for their families. Such a situation both lessens respectability and invites temptation. Bring the administrators of the law, through whose sanctions alone the sovereignty of the people is heard, inte contempt, and the law itself will soon become odious-render the law and its tribunals odious, and you prepare the people to despise the yoke and to embrace any change which would afford a prospect of relief. Let it be borne in mind by those in whose hands are our destinies, our legislators, that the most distinguishing and delightful characteristic of our people, is their cheerful submission to the law: to that they universally bow down with obedience, and upon that foundation, mainly, stand our republican institutions. Every thing which tends to shake it, a patriot should deprecate; and we know nothing more surely calculated to produce that lamentable effect, than the reduction of the salaries of the Judges to a bare subsistence, by which these offices will ere long be thrown into the hands of inferior men, or will render those of a superior character who imprudently accept them, the victims for life of debasing want. Fortunately for us, our Judges have hitherto been distinguished for
their integrity. Their bright honour has never been sullied even by suspicion, and it is delightful to contemplate their spotless conduct. But how long, we cannot help asking, can this last, if we place them in a pecuniary situation below their rank in society? Is it desirable thus to cast them down from their legitimate station in the community, and to debar them of the advantages of enlightened social intercourse? Let this false economy continue, and after a little while the offices will be filled with the worthless and the needy, and the pure temples of justice become marts of venality and corruption.
The British Chancellor had, and indeed, continues to have, a much more severe duty to perform than the Law Judges. The labours of the Lord-keeper Williams were enough to destroy half a dozen Chancellors of modern times. Philips, in his biography of him, says-"It is almost incredible what a perfect drudge the keeper was, especially when he first entered upon his office. His business, at this time, was so great, that he was forced to sit by candlelight in the court, two hours before day, and to remain there till between eight and nine o'clock, then to repair to his office in the House of Lords, till twelve or one, on every day. After a short repast at home, he returned to hear the causes in Chancery, which he could not despatch in the morning, or if he attended at Council, at Whitehall, he came back towards evening, and followed his employment in Chancery till eight or nine at night, or later. After this, when he came home, he preserved what papers his secretaries brought to him, and when that was done, though late in the night, he prepared himself for the Lords' House next morning. All that lived in his family, knew that it was ordinary with him to begin his studies at six at night, and continue them till three in the morning, and be ready again by seven to attend to his employment."
This required an extraordinary physical constitution, and a profound knowledge of equity; yet, it is remarkable, that among not the worst of the English Chancellors, so late as 1672, sat an individual who had never studied law, or been called to the bar. This was Lord Shaftesbury, (after whom our Ashley and Cooper rivers take their names) who was appointed by Charles II. upon the removal of his predecessor, for refusing to affix the great seal to the declaration for suspending the penal laws. As Shaftesbury knew no law, he determined to distinguish himself, from all others, by his costume. "He sate on the bench, (says Roger North) in an ash-coloured gown, silver laced, and full ribboned pautaloons displayed, without any black at all in his garb, unless it were in his hat, which now I cannot say positively, though I saw him, was so." His conduct, at times, par
took of the levity of his dress, for North goes on, in a lamentable style, to give an account of his causing the Judges, King's Counsel and other officers of the law, who used to wait on the great seal the first day of a term, to form the procession, contrary to all precedent, on horse-back, equipped with black foot clothes. They were joined by many of the nobility and their retinues, in honour of the new Chancellor, and the cavalcade passed steadily enough till they came to some interruptions, when, says their historian, "for want of gravity in the beasts, and too much in the riders, there happened some curvetting, which made no little disorder. Judge Twisden, to his great affright, and the consternation of his grave brethren, was laid along in the dirt. But all, at length, arrived safe, without the loss of life or limb in the service." Shaftesbury's judicial merits, however, strange to tell, have been well spoken of by some, though disparagingly by North. Hume says he was an excellent Chancellor, and that all his decrees were equally remarkable for justness and for integrity.
Notice is taken of many other Chancellors, but the anecdotes are too well-known to the profession to be here transcribed. The character of Lord Thurlow is touched in one or two places, and a picture of him, in fine Latin, given from Dr. Parr's preface to Bellendenus, which we are almost tempted to copy, but our limits do not warrant it. It is time we should draw to a close.
Judging from this work, lawyers have been rarely wits or poets. What is there collected, as specimens of their wit, is too vapid to raise a smile; and, in this respect, we think great injustice has been done them. It had been better to have been silent than have inserted such an instance as Lord Mansfield's interrupting a learned, though deaf sergeant in the midst of a perplexing argument, by calling to him, "Mr. Sergeant, Mr. Sergeant," and when he had completely broken the chain of his reasoning, addressing him with "the court hopes your cold is better." This, doubtless, created a laugh at the expense of the embarrassed sergeant, but could not have impressed the audience favorably with the Judge's wit or politeness. A number of Curran's poor puns find a place in the book under the head of Bon Mots, but nothing worth reading is preserved among them. On Lord Norbury, the prince of judicial jesters, silence is preserved, whilst of Lord Eldon, among other rare instances, the following is told: In a case in the Common Pleas, in 1800, Sergeant Cockle said to the jury, that "if the defendant, (a sheriff's officer, sued for an escape) had fairly come forward and alleged that the mob obliged him to let the debtor go, he, the counsel, would have had his mouth shut." Lord Eldon immediately in
terrupted him, exclaiming, "my brother Cockle will excuse me if I interrupt him; he will, I am certain, always do his professional duty in as good natured a way as any I know; but I cannot give full credit to his present assertion. Had the officer adopted the exact line pointed at, I am very well satisfied that my brother Cockle, provided he had, on his brief the same number of guineas which now are indorsed on it, would not have had his mouth so easily shut." The anecdote which approaches nearest to humour, is the following:
"A young gentleman called to the bar, and not thoroughly acquainted with legal contractions, had a brief put into his hands, with the following indorsement on it:
Mr. LEATHERHEAD, gua. [ guinea.]
"To move for a common [commission] to examine witnesses."
The young gentleman accordingly moved the court,—" My Lords, I humbly move your Lordships for a common to examine witnesses." "What, Sir?" said the Chief Justice, "I humbly move for a common to examine witnesses." "Pray, Sir," said the Chief Justice, "are your witnesses numerous ?" "Yes, my Lord." "Then take Salisbury Plain!”
As poets, the lawyers of Great-Britain seem, as was naturally to be expected, in a land where popular opinion forbade their cultivation of letters, to have made quite as sorry a figure; for, though many are named as versifyers, their effusions are now beyond the memory of man, It is said Lord Clarendon coquetted with the muses, and even Sir Matthew Hale, occasionally dabbled in Castalian streams. Roger North's criticism of him is, "he published much in speculative devotion; part prose, and part verse, and the latter hobbled so near the style of the other as to be distinguished chiefly by being worse." It is whispered that Lord Bacon was a poet, but concealed his talent; and poor Lord Coke, who never pretended to the power of rhyming, satisfied himself with citing the poets, and boasted of his having referred to Virgil three hundred times!* "It standeth well, he observes, with the gravity of our lawyers to cite verses." Lord Harcourt, Queen Anne's Chancellor, is said
*It must be owned Lord Bacon was the "brightest," no less than the "wisest" of mankind; as every reader of his incomparable Essays has felt; and even amid the black-letter lore and scholastic subtleties of Sir Edward Coke, one is continually surprised and delighted with the play of a sportive, and even highly poetical fancy. Versification is not of the substance of poetry, and Murray was, probably, not the only Ovid disguised or smothered in a wig and a gown.-Ed.
to have been no mean poet, and the same was said of Lord Somers. Pope compliments Lord Mansfield on his poetical abilities, and Lord Hardwicke's addition to Lord Lyttleton's Poem on Virtue and Fame, we are told, had much merit. All these, however, and others that might be mentioned, were, we apprehend, but mere versifyers, and Sir William Blackstone among the rest, though in his "Lawyer's Farewell to his Muse," there are some pleasing lines.
ART. IX.-Resolutions submitted in the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States, declaratory of the unconstitutionality of the Act, passed on the 14th of July, 1798, commonly called the Sedition Law, and providing for a restoration of the fines which may have been paid to the respective Marshals of the District Courts, by the parties who were convicted under that Act. Reports of the House of Representatives, 20th Congress, 2d Session.
WE purpose selecting both the title and matter of the Resolutions which we have prefixed to this article, to say something on a topic vitally connected with the successful progress and permanent security of civil liberty, philosophy and letters. A free press is the fountain of all light, and so vastly has its power been increased in modern times, that it is no paradox to say, it stands in many respects, very effectively in the place of government itself, by organizing, concentrating, and diffusing that public opinion, by which rulers, even in arbitrary governments, are themselves ruled, and subjected to restraints, altogether unprovided by the political constitution of their country, or what is technically called, the law of the land.
The object which we propose to ourselves, is not to discuss the doctrine of private libels, because we are not aware that the law in this particular requires amendment; for under the decisions of our courts, the security of character and freedom of discussion seem sufficiently guarded. But we have always considered that adequate atonement was not made for the violation of the Constitution of the United States, perpetrated by the passing of the memorable act of 1798, commonly called the Sedition Law, in the mere fact of its being permitted to expire by