with a beautiful and harmonious voice. He seems to have a genius for law: when it comes to the stating a law point and its argument, he is at home, and goes on without let or hindrance, or any apparent exertion. His business is immense; and he receives many briefs which he hardly reads before he rises in court. His income is probably fifteen thousand pounds. Strange thing in the history of the bar, he is equally successful in the House of Commons, where I have heard them call for ‘Follett, Follett!’ and here he shows a parliamentary eloquence of no common kind, and also wins by his attractive manner. He is the great favorite of the Tories, and, in the event of their return to power, would be Lord Chancellor,—a leap wonderful to take, but which, all seem to agree, would be allowed to him. In the event of the death of Sir Robert Peel,—such is the favor to him,—I think he might become the leader of the Tories in the Commons, if he would consent, which is not at all probable. I do not think his politics are founded on much knowledge. Circumstances have thrown him into the Tory ranks, where he will doubtless continue. He has little or no information out of his profession,—seems not to have read or thought much, and yet is always an agreeable companion. I feel an attachment for him, so gentle and kind have I always found him. Serjeant Wilde1 is different from both of these. He commenced as an attorney; and Mr. Justice Vaughan has told me that he has held more than a hundred briefs from him. After his entrance to the profession, he was guilty of one of those moral delinquencies which are so severely visited in England. I have heard the story, but have forgotten it. In some way, he took advantage of a trust relation, and purchased for himself. He was at once banished from the Circuit table.2 A long life of laborious industry, attended by the greatest success, has not yet placed him in communion with the bar; and it is supposed that he can never hope for any of those offices by which talents and success like his are usually rewarded. I think it, however, not improbable that the Government, in their anxiety to avail themselves of his great powers, may forget the past; but society will not. He does not mingle with the bar,—or, if he does, it is with downcast eyes, and with a look which seems to show that he feels himself out of place. He is the most industrious person at the English bar,—being at his chambers often till two o'clock in the morning, and at work again by six o'clock. His arguments are all elaborated with the greatest care; and he comes to court with a minute of every case that can bear upon the matter in question. In the Common Pleas he is supreme, and is said to exercise a great influence
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Chapter 16 : events at home.—Letters of friends.— December , 1837 , to March , 1839 .—Age 26 - 28 .
Chapter 17 : London again.—characters of judges.—Oxford.—Cambridge— November and December , 1838 .—Age, 27 .
Chapter 18 : Stratford-on-avon.—Warwick.—London.—Characters of judges and lawyers.—authors.—society.— January , 1839 , to March , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 19 : Paris again.— March to April , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 20 : Italy .— May to September , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 21 : Germany .— October , 1839 , to March , 1840 .—Age, 28 - 29 .
Chapter 22 : England again, and the voyage home.— March 17 to May 3 , 1840 . —Age 29 .
Chapter 23 : return to his profession.— 1840 - 41 .—Age, 29 - 30 .
Chapter 24 : Slavery and the law of nations.— 1842 .—Age, 31 .
Chapter 25 : service for Crawford .—The Somers Mutiny.—The nation's duty as to slavery.— 1843 .—Age, 32 .
Chapter 27 : services for education.—prison discipline.—Correspondence.— January to July , 1845 .—age, 34 .
Chapter 28 : the city Oration,— the true grandeur of nations. —an argument against war.— July 4 , 1845 .—Age 34 .
1 Thomas Wilde, 1782-1855. At the bar, he was noted for his industry and fidelity to his clients. He was assistant counsel in the defence of Queen Caroline; entered Parliament in 1831, where he was the steady supporter of the Liberal party; became Solicitor-General in 1840, Attorney-General in 1841, Chief-Justice of the Common Pleas in 1846, and Lord Chancellor in 1850,—when he was raised to the peerage, with the title of Baron Truro. He retired from office in 1852. Sumner dined with him in Dec., 1838.
2 Life of Lord Denman, Vol. I. p. 124, where the offence seems to be stated as one of a different character.
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