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[74] M. P. for Liverpool. He is a Tory; and is exclusively a lawyer, with very little interest in literature. His dinners have been among the handsomest that I have seen.

Kelly has a very large business . . . J. Jervis1 is a good friend of mine, and the leader of the North Wales Circuit. He is an M. P., and inclines to ultra-Liberal opinions; indeed, he is a Radical. Crowder2 is one of the leaders of the Western Circuit, and a very pleasant fellow, whom I know intimately. Erle3 is also a leader of the Western. He is a learned and clearheaded man; M. P. for the town of Oxford. Had the ministry felt sure of his seat, he would probably have been made judge. He is sure of being raised to the bench, if the present Government continue in power. Erle is not far from fifty; but is recently married to a young and agreeable wife very little over twenty. Bompas is the senior leader of the Western. He has been made by Serjeant Wilde, who has dropped business upon him. He is a very amiable person, with red hair, or hair approaching to red, a round face, and large wide-open eyes. In arguments he is very earnest and noisy, sometimes confused. Chief-Justice Tindal was once asked ‘if he thought Bompas a sound lawyer.’ ‘That will depend,’ said the Chief-Justice, ‘upon whether roaring is an unsoundness.’

Wightman4 is not a Queen's counsel; but he has an immense business as junior. He is now about fifty-two. He is what is called the devil of the Attorney-General; that is, he gets up the Attorney's cases, and is his junior always. This relation is supposed to entitle him to a vacant puisne judgeship; and Wightman was talked of recently for this place. He is not in Parliament, and knows and cares nothing about politics. Somebody once asked him, ‘Wightman, are you Whig or Tory?’ ‘Sir,’ was his reply, ‘I am neither Whig nor Tory; I am a special pleader.’

I will now take a hasty look into the courts of Chancery. You know the reputation of the Chancellor.5 It seems to grow daily; and Tories, Whigs, and Radicals with one accord praise him. And this praise is a just tribute to the singleness and devotion with which he gives himself to the judicial functions of his office. I doubt if he adds in any way to the political strength of the ministry. He seems on the wool-sack, as on the bench, intent on some deep matter, silent, almost dull and ruminating. On the bench he hears with the greatest patience, never interrupting counsel except


1 John Jervis, 1802-1856. He was a reporter of cases in the Exchequer, and an author of books on ‘Coroners,’ and ‘Pleading;’ represented Chester in Parliament; became Attorney-General in 1846; and Chief-Justice of the Common Pleas in 1850.

2 Ante, Vol. I. p. 341.

3 William Erle was born in 1793; was returned to Parliament by the city of Oxford in 1837; became a judge of the Common Pleas in 1844, and of the Queen's Bench in 1846; Chief-Justice of the Common Pleas in 1859, and resigned in 1866. See reference to him in ‘Life of Lord Denman,’ Vol. II. p. 171. Sumner was invited to dine with him in Dec., 1838.

4 William Wightman, 1785-1863. He was a judge of the Queen's Bench from 1841 until his sudden death, while attending the Northern Circuit, at York. See reference to him in ‘Life of Lord Denman,’ Vol. II. p. 90.

5 Lord Cottenham. Ante, Vol. I. p. 337.

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