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[57] over Lord Chief-Justice Tindal. He once explained to me the secret of his success: he said that he thoroughly examined all his cases, and, if he saw that a case was bad, in the strongest language he advised its adjustment; if it was good, he made himself a perfect master of it. He is engaged in every cause in the Common Pleas. In person he is short and stout, and has a vulgar face. His voice is not agreeable; but his manner is singularly energetic and intense,—reminding me in this respect of Webster more than any other person at the English bar. If you take this into consideration in connection with his acknowledged talents and his persevering industry, you will not be at a loss to account for his great success. I have been told that he was once far from being fluent; but now he expresses himself with the greatest ease. His language has none of the charms of literature; but it is correct, expressive, and to the purpose. In manners,—to his friends,—he seems warm and affable. To me he has shown much volunteer kindness. I have conversed with him on some points of professional conduct, and found him entertaining very elevated views. He told me that he should never hesitate to cite a case that bore against him, if he thought the court and the opposite counsel were not aware of it at the moment.

In this connection I must speak of Charles Austin,1 who is of the common


1 The career of Charles Austin, to whom Sumner refers in his letters in terms of great admiration, is unique. He was a lawyer, but never a judge. His specialty in the profession did not connect his name with celebrated causes, and he retired from it so early that at the time of his death,—Dec. 21, 1874, at the age of seventy-five,—he had been almost forgotten by his generation. He never entered Parliament,—a body to which men of his character and tastes are usually attracted. He was not an author, writing neither books nor pamphlets, but only a few articles for Reviews, the subjects and dates of which he could not in his later life recall. His name finds no place in biographical dictionaries; but the biographies of John Stuart Mill and Lord Macaulay will save it from oblivion.

Charles Austin, the younger brother of John, was, while a student at Cambridge, the youthful champion of Jeremy Bentham's utilitarian philosophy. In a group of young men, several of whom achieved distinction, he was, in conversation and in the contests of the Union Debating Society, without a peer. Such is the testimony of one so purely intellectual as Mr. Mill. He ‘shone with great éclat as a man of intellect, and a brilliant orator and converser,’ ‘the really influential mind among these intellectual gladiators.’ ‘He continued, after leaving the University, to be by his conversation and personal ascendancy a leader among the same class of young men who had been his associates there.’ ‘The impression he gave us was that of boundless strength, together with talents which combined with such apparent force of will and character seemed capable of dominating the world. Those who knew him, whether friendly to him or not, always anticipated that he would play a conspicuous part in public life.’ ‘Autobiography’ of J. S. Mill, pp. 76-79, 118, 124, 126.

At the University, Austin ‘certainly was the only man who ever succeeded in dominating Macaulay.’ ‘With his vigor and fervor,’ says the historian's biographer, ‘his depth of knowledge and breadth of humor, his close reasoning illustrated by an expansive imagination, set off as these gifts were by the advantage, at that period of life so irresistible, of some experience of the world at home and abroad,—Austin was indeed a king among his fellows.’—Trevelvan's ‘Life of Lord Macaulay,’ Vol. I. Chap. II.; Vol. II. Chap. XIV.; ‘Edinburgh Review,’ April, 1876, p. 548.

The promises of Austin's youth were not fulfilled, though his professional success in a certain direction was remarkable. He became the leader of the Parliamentary bar in its most flourishing period,—that of great railway enterprises,—and his income, which was at its highest in 1847, has no parallel in the history of the profession. The fear of him brought him many briefs from clients, merely to prevent his appearance against them; and the story is told of his being asked, when riding in Hyde Park on one of the busiest days of the session, ‘What in the world are you doing here, Austin?’ and his answering, ‘I am doing equal justice to all my clients.’ With health impaired, and surfeited, it is said, with success, he retired in 1848, at the age of forty-nine, to an estate in Suffolk, Brandeston Hall, Wickham Market; and from that time until his death lived a life of seclusion,—its monotony relieved only by neighborly offices, and by service as magistrate at the Quarter Sessions of East Suffolk.—‘Pall Mall Budget,’ Jan. 2, 1875. Sumner writing to Mrs. Grote, Nov. 3, 1873, and referring to persons mentioned in her recent ‘Life’ of her husband, said: ‘I was glad to read of Charles Austin, whose talk I always placed, as you do, foremost. Why does he not appear in Parliament?’ Mrs. Grote calls him ‘the first of conversers.’—‘The Personal Life of George Grote,’ pp. 42, 139, 154, 155, 254. Greville speaks of him as a ‘lawyer, clever man, and Radical,’ ch. XVIII. June 18, 1832. His characteristics and his habits in retirement are described in the ‘Fortnightly Review,’ March 1, 1875, Vol. XXIII. pp. 321-338. In our Civil War he took the side of the Government against the Rebellion.

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