« PreviousContinue »
As an instance of this sternness, we may mention the feelings of the Prince as regards the conduct of Louis Philippe in the disastrous business of the Spanish marriages. It is evident that the Queen was inclined to forgive that conduct; but the Prince could not, feeling that “if truth had deserted the rest of the world, it ought to find a resting-place in the bosoms of Kings.
We have endeavoured to give a general review of this important and suggestive work. It is, however, a work of which extracts give but a faint notion, and it must be read throughout before a just opinion can be formed of the continuous labour, of the strict adherence to duty, and of the exceeding intelligence devoted to British interests, which this portion of the Life of the Prince Consort' reveals to us.
We have not dwelt much upon the purely domestic details which are described in this volume. These are, however, peculiarly fascinating, and, through the writer's skill, they have the special charm of being felt, rather than insisted on. Throughout the narrative it is clearly to be seen that the Prince Consort was a good husband, a good father, and a kind master; such a man, in short, as may be adopted by fathers for their own model, and set as an example before their sons.
We congratulate the biographer upon the conclusion of this first volume, and look forward with hopefulness to the future volume or volumes, with which he may favour us. At the same time, we cannot help remarking upon one of his singular merits as a biographer, namely, that he entirely effaces himself in his work, and that the reader is never withdrawn from the contemplation of the life of the hero by any prominence of the personality of the biographer. It is only when we pause to reflect on the impression as to the Prince, his character, and influence, which has been left upon our minds, that we appreciate the skill and artistic reserve which have produced so living and harmonious a picture from the complicated materials with which he has had to deal.
ART. IV.-1. Le Barreau Anglais. Discours prononcé par M.
Maurice Van Meenen à la Séance Solennelle de Rentrée du
29 Octobre 1873. Bruxelles, 1873. 8vo. 2. Hortensius. An Historical Essay on the Office and Duties of
an Advocate. By William Forsyth, LL.D., Q.C., M.P. 2nd Edition. London, 1874. 8vo.
3. A Guide 3. A Guide to the Inns of Court and Chancery. By Robert R.
Pearce, Esq. London, 1855. 8vo. 4. Remarks upon the Jurisdiction of the Inns of Court. By
Frederick Calvert, Esq., Q.C. London, 1874. 8vo. 5. Speech of Sir Roundell Palmer, Q.C., M.P., delivered at the
Annual Meeting of the Legal Education Association, in the Middle Temple Hall, on Wednesday the 29th November, 1871.
With a Report of the Proceedings. London, 1871. 8vo. 6. Fusion : an Elementary Lecture, delivered Nov. 28, 1872,
at the request of the Incorporated Law Society. By Freeman
Oliver Haynes, Esq. London, 1873. 8vo. 7. Origines Juridiciales. By Wm. Dugdale, Esq., Norroy King
of Arms. Second Edition. London, 1671. 4to. 8. Report from the Select Committee on Legal Education : ordered
by the House of Commons to be printed, 25th August, 1846.
4to. 9. Report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the
arrangements in the Inns of Court and Inns of Chancery, for promoting the study of Law and Jurisprudence. London, 1855. 4to. CR. FORSYTH, in his · Hortensius,' of which a second
and improved edition has now been published, has given, with much learning and literary ability, an historical sketch of the Advocate's office and functions, and described the origin and career of the profession in Greece and Rome, France and England. Hortensius, the famous Roman Advocate, has been selected by the author as The Advocate par excellence, and his name has therefore been taken as the title of this interesting work. Cicero had before paid a similar compliment to his friend and contemporary. Yet, Hortensius was guilty of such misconduct in the affair of Minucius Basilus,* that, had he lived in England in our days and been a member of an Inn of Court, the Benchers would probably have disbarred him. The English Bar has always kept itself remarkably free from the accusation of perverting privileges to the accomplishment of fraudulent objects, and has, for more than five centuries, held a high place in the estimation of the public, not only for learning and eloquence, but for honourable conduct. The prosession is a favourite with the English nation. It has acted as an elastic band, uniting the aristocracy with the classes below it . The younger sons of the nobility, when possessed of sufficient mental energy for the Bar, have cheerfully entered its ranks, to gain there, by a successful career, wealth not otherwise attain
Cicero, ' De Officiis,' ii. 18.
able by them. The humblest tradesman, who can give his son a good education and enter him at an Inn of Court, may hope to see him rise to fame and opulence at the Bar, become a Judge and even Lord Chancellor.
But the opinion of an intelligent foreigner on matters affecting England, is often more accurate than any we can form for ourselves. It more resembles the opinion to be expected from the impartiality of posterity. Maurice Van Meenen, a learned Belgian Advocate, has, in a discourse lately delivered before the Junior Brussels Bar, given an elaborate account of the English Forensic system, from which we extract the following passages :
'England, as one knows, is the country of traditional institutions. These daughters of the genius of the nation have developed and modified themselves in the course of centuries together with the nation, shaping themselves in conformity to new wants, and, under the appearance of immobility, transforming themselves as completely as English civilisation itself. They are not at all, as in other countries, conceptions which, in a moment, have started full-grown from the brain of an individual or of an assembly, and been forced on a people whose wants they do not satisfy, and into the life of which they never, except superficially, penetrate. The spirit of England rebels against systems constructed according to absolute principles. It is the enemy of abstractions. Like the man of science, who only advances prudently, step by step, by the light of experience alone, it respects that which long traditional experience has brought to it, changes that only which is manifestly insufficient or bad, and, above all things, creates nothing but what is strictly necessary for actual wants.
* · The Bar participates in the character of all the institutions of the country. It is from the unwritten common law, from a tradition six centuries old, that it derives its strength and greatness. It does not owe its existence to an Art of Parliament, or an ordonnance of the crown (à une loi ou à un décret), but it is itself one of the puissant organs of the Constitution. It has remained steadfastly the defender of the rights and liberties of the people, and has, iu the worst periods of history, resisted the aggressive encroachments of power, the pretensions of the crown, and even the illegal proceedings of a Parliamentary majority.
“The Inns of Court are societies of a truly singular character. They are not corporations created by State authority, but purely voluntary associations : yet these voluntary associations are one of the organs of the State ; they possess exclusive rights, regulate themselves freely, without tolerating the interference in their government of any authority whatever; but they have, as visitors, the Judges of the Supreme Courts of law sitting at Westminster.' (Pp. 6, 7, 8.) The English Bar had its origin in a patriotic movement and
uprising of the nation against the machinations of the Pope of Rome, in the era of the Plantagenets. The clergy, as the most educated class in the community, had got into their hands the administration of the municipal law of most of the European States ; but the Popes wished to supersede such law by the Civil and Canon Law. Early in the reign of our Henry III., the Episcopal Constitutions were published, which forbade clerks and priests to practise as advocates in the Common Law Courts. Towards the close of the same reign (A.D. 1137), a complete copy of the Pandects was discovered at Amalfi ; and from that time, in England as elsewhere, the clergy endeavoured to introduce universally the study of the Canon and Civil Law in preference to the ancient laws of the realm. In A.D. 1254, Innocent IV. forbade the reading of the Common Law by the clergy, who down to that time had been its chief expositors at the Universities. It then became necessary either to train up a body of laymen to the law, or to allow the Civil Law to supersede it. Inspired by patriotism, the youth of England in great numbers entered with ardour into the legal profession. Schools of law were, in the first instance, opened within the precincts of the City of London, and they were most numerously attended, especially by the sons of the landed gentry. Edward I., in 1292, authorised the Chief Justice and other Justices of the Court of Common Pleas, which had then sole jurisdiction over all civil causes, to confer the exclusive privilege of pleading causes upon a certain number of persons learned in the law, who were to be selected from every county in England. The serjeants at law, who have always formed a distinct class, are an order of advocates which derives its status directly from the Crown. The Judges of the King's Bench and Common Pleas and, subsequently, of the Exchequer, were selected exclusively from the serjeants, who, before being made Judges, acted as advocates, and were at one time the only advocates. From the 20th of Edward I. down to the present reign, serjeants only could practise as advocates in the Court of Common Pleas, or try civil causes at Nisi Prius at the Assizes. On the calling of every Parliament the Judges and serjeants are summoned by writ to give their attendance, and the writs of summons are issued to the Judges, not as Judges but as serjeants.
It was impossible for the legal business of advocacy throughout England to be satisfactorily conducted very long by a small set of men privileged by the Crown. It was essential that some freer opening for the transaction of legal business should be offered to the crowds of young gentlemen who had been encouraged to devote themselves to the study of the Common Law,
and who had already begun to organize themselves into societies, which we should now call clubs. The advocates and students of the law appear to have formed themselves, as early as A.D. 1307, into one or more voluntary societies, in the nature of colleges, under the sanction of the Judges, for the study and advancement of the law. They were always distinct from the serjeants, and had separate Inns and independent self-government; but they had a difficulty for some time in finding suitable places in which to reside and pursue their studies. Strong objections appear to have been entertained to their being allowed to settle themselves permanently within the walls of the City of London. They were able at last to hire various old buildings, at places situated between the City and Westminster, where the King's Courts of Law were generally held; but they established themselves there in the first instance as lessees only from private owners. The 'apprentices at law'were soon permitted by the Judges to act as advocates in those courts in which the assistance of serjeants could not be obtained. But the apprentices soon became absorbed into the class of “utter-barristers, who were so called because in arguing 'moot cases' in the Halls of their societies, they were placed at the outer or uttermost end of the form on which they sat, called the barr.' They are now called Barristers simply. In all societies of Barristers the Readers and Benchers of each House were, from the earliest times, the superior and governing body, and occupied the upper end of the hall, which was raised on a dais; next came the utter-barristers, who sat below them, and finally the students, who were at one time called “inner barristers.'
In the time of Sir John Fortescue, Chief Justice in the reign of Henry VI., the Four Inns of Court were in existence, and we learn from him that there were about two thousand students in the Inns of Court and Inns of Chancery. The class of society to which they belonged may be judged of by the fact that the expense of each law student in Fortescue's time amounted to more than 281. a year, which is equal to 4501. of our money. They were therefore a numerous class, drawn to the metropolis from the most important families in the kingdom, and they required careful management by competent authorities. This was afforded by their system of self-government established in their several Inns of Court. Each of the four Societies had already acquired, at the cost of its own members, and without any assistance from the State, a house for itself, called an Inn of Court, and in each of these Inns, and in the Inns of Chancery affiliated to them, the students were lodged, fed, and instructed. They were not taught law only, but they came under a system