of Ilim who turneth man to destruc- vituperation of the dead !—by the untion, and sayeth, Come again, ye children gracious parties to whom brief referof men!

ence has just been made; and consists, Sir William Follett has now lain in in short, in the excessive eagerness to his grave for six months. During accumulate money, by which it was this interval, the excitement which alleged that the late Sir William Folhis death created amongst those who lett was characterised. This charge is had been in constant intercourse with certainly not without foundation ; but him for years, has subsided ; leaving while this frank admission is made, them better able to take a calm and an important consideration ought to candid view of his character, acquire accompany it in guiding the judgment ments, and position, and form a sober of every person of just and generous estimate of the nature and extent of feeling; and will relieve the memory his reputation while living, and the of the departed from much of the disprobability of its permanently sur- credit sought to be attached to it. viving him.

The life of Sir William Follett When summoned from the scene of appears to have been, from the his splendid and successful exertions, first, of frail tenure. Could he he was unquestionably the brightest have foreseen the terrible tax upon ornament of the British bar. Imme- his scanty physical resources which diately afterwards the press teemed would be exacted by the profeswith tributes to his memory : some of sion which he was about to adopt, he them characterised by great acute- would probably have abandoned his 'ness and discrimination, several by intentions, justly conscious though he exaggerated eulogy, and one or two might have been of his superior menby a harsh disingenuousness amount- · tal fitness for the Bar, and would have ing to misrepresentation and malevo. betaken himself to some more tranlence. Nothing excited more astonish- quil walk of life, which he might have ment among those who had thoroughly been at this moment brightly adorning. known Sir William Follett, than the He devoted himself, however, to the appearance of these attacks upon his law, with intense and undivided enermemory, and the bad taste and feel- gy; and, at a very early period of his ing which alone could have prompted professional career, was compelled to the perpetration of them, at a moment retire for a time from practice, by one when the hearts of his surviving rela. of the most serious mischances which tives and friends were quivering with can befall humanity—it is believed, the first agonies of their severe bereave- the bursting of a bloodvessel in the ment; when they had just lost one lungs. Was not this a very fearful who had been the pride of their family, occurrence—was it not almost concluthe pillar of their hopes,--and who was sive evidence of the unwise choice universally supposed to have left be- which he had made of a profession hind him not a single enemy-who had requiring special strength in that been distinguished for his courteous, organ—was it not justly calculated mild, and inoffensive character, and to alarm him for his future safety ? its unblemished purity in all the rela- And yet, what was he to have done? tions of private life. Certain of the To have abandoned a profession for strictures here alluded to, were petty, which alone he had qualified himself coarse, and uncandid ; and with this by years of profound and exclusive observation they are dismissed from thought and labour ? What Office further notice. Sir William Follett would, under such circumstances, have had undoubtedly his shortcomings, in insured the life of young Mr Follett, common with every one of his fellow who, with such a fatal flaw in his men; and, as a small set-off against constitution, was nevertheless followhis many excellences of temper and ing a profession which would hourly character, one or two must be glanced attack his most vulnerable part? at by any one essaying to present to

Poor Follett! who can tell the apprethe public, however imperfectly, a hensions and agonies concerning his just account of this very eminent per- safety, to which he was doomed, from son. The failing in question formed the moment of his first solemn sumthe chief subject of vituperation- mons to the grave, on the occasion

alluded to ? What had happened, he cheered, from time to time, by reflecttoo well knew, might happen again ing upon the satisfactory provision at any moment, and hurry him out of which he was making—which he was life, leaving, in that case, compara- daily augmenting—for those who were tively destitute those whom he ten- to survive him! Who can tell how derly loved-for whom he was bound much of the bitterness of death was to provide—his widow and children. assuaged by such considerations ! And for the widow and children of When his fading eyes bent their achsuch a man as he knew that he had ing glances upon those who wept become, he felt that he ought to make around his deathbed, the retrospect a suitable provision : that those who, of a life of labour and privation spent after he was gone, were to bear his in providing for their comfort, must distinguished name, might be enabled indeed have been sweet and consolato occupy the position in which he tory! Surely this is but fair towards had placed them with dignity and the distinguished dead. It is but just comfort. Was such an illegitimate towards the memory of the departed, source of anxiety to one so circum- to believe his conduct to have been stanced, and capable of Sir William principally influenced by such conFollett's superior aspirations ? Was siderations. All men have many it not abundantly justified by his faults—most men have grave faults. splendid qualifications and expecta- Is parsimony intrinsically more cultions? Why, then, should he not toil pable than prodigality? Have not severely-exert himself even despe- most of mankind a tendency towards rately—to provide against the direful one or the other ? for how few are contingency to which his life was sub- ennobled by the ability to steer evenly ject? Alas! how many ambitious, between the two! And even granthonourable, high-minded, and fonding that Sir William Follett had a husbands and fathers are echoing tendency towards the former failing, such qnestions with a sigh of agony ! it was surely exhibited under circumPoor Follett ! 'twas for such reasons stances which warrant us in saying, that he lived with an honourable that “even his failings leaned to vireconomy, eschewing that extrava- tue's side." gance and ostentation which too often, Connected with and immediately to men in his dazzling position, prove dependent upon this imputation upon irresistible; it was for such reasons the late Sir William Follett, is anthat he rose up early, and went to bed other which cannot be overlooked. late, and ate the bread of carefulness. He is charged with having made a Had he been alone in the world— profit of his prodigious popularity and had he had none to provide for but reputation, by discreditably and unconhimself, and yet had manifested the scientiously receiving fees from clients same feverish eagerness to acquire for services which he well knew at the and accumulate money—had he loved time that he could not possibly render money for money's sake, and accu- to them; in short, with taking briefs in mulated it from the love of accumu- cases to which he had no reasonable lation, the case would have been hope of being able to attend. This is a totally different. He might then have very grave accusation, and requires a been justly despised, and character- deliberate and honest examination. ized as being of the earth, earthy- It is a long-established rule of English incapable of high and generous senti- law, that barristers have no legal means ments and aspirations-sordid, gro- of recovering their fees, even in cases velling, and utterly despicable. Sir of most arduous and successful exerWilliam Follett had, during twenty tion, except in the very few instances years of intense and self-denying toil, where a barrister may consider it consucceeded in acquiring an ample for- sistent with the dignity of his position tune, which he disposed of, at his to enter beforehand into an express death, justly and generously; and agreement with his client for the payhow many hours of exhaustion, both ment of his fees. * A barrister's fee of mind and body, must have been is regarded, in the eye of the law, as

* This has been recently the subject of a decision of the Court of Queen's VOL, LIX. NO. CCCLXIII.


quiddam honorarium ; and is usually them, at a severe sacrifice of time and —and ought to be invariably-paid labour, after great anxiety and exerbeforehand, on the brief being de- tion have been bestowed, and successlivered. A fee thus paid, a rule at fully bestowed. The rule in question the bar forbids being returned, ex- is rigidly adhered to, subject to these cept under very special circumstances; exceptions, by eminent counsel, on and the rule in question is a very rea- another ground; viz. for the protecsonable one. As counsel have no legal tion of junior counsel, who would be title to remuneration, however labo- subject to incessant importunities if rious their exertions, what would be confronted by the examples of their their position if they were expected seniors. Take, now, the case of a or required to return their fees at the counsel who has eclipsed most, if not instance of unreasonable and disap- every one, of his competitors, in repupointed clients? Where ought the line tation, for the skill and success of his to be drawn? Who is to be the judge advocacy–who is acute, ready, dexin such a case? A client may have terous, sagacious, eloquent, and of acderived little or no benefit from his curate and profound legal knowledge : counsel's exertions, which may yet that is the man whose name instantly have been very great ; an accident, occurs to any one involved, or likely to an oversight may have intervened, and be involved, in litigation such an prevented his completing those exer- one must be instantly secured-at all tions by attending at the trial either at events, taken from the enemy-at any all, or during the whole of the trial ; cost. The pressure upon such a counhe may have become unable to pro- sel's time and energies then becomes vide an efficient substitute; through really enormous, and all but insupthe sudden pressure of other engage- portable. As it is of the last importments, he may be unable to bestow upon ance either to secure his splendid serthe case the deliberate and thorough vices, or deprive the enemy of them, consideration which it requires-an such a counsel-and such, it need unexpected and formidable difficulty hardly be said, was Sir William Folmay prove too great for his means of lett—is continually made the subject overcoming it, as might have been the of mere speculation by clients who case with men of superior skill and are content to take the chance of obexperience;—in these and many other taining his attendance, with the cer. instances which might be put, an tainty of securing his absence as an angry and defeated client would rarely opponent. When, however, the hour be without some pretext for requiring of battle has arrived, and, with a comthe return of his fees, and counsel pact array visible upon the opposite would be subject to a pressure per side, the great captain is not where it fectly intolerable, most unreasonable, had been hoped—or thought possible most unfair to themselves, leading to that he might have been—when, results seriously prejudicial to the in- moreover, no adequate provision has terests of their clients; and a practice been made against such a serious conwould introduced entailing great tingency–when the battle has been evils and inconveniences, affecting the fought and lost, and great interests are credit and honour of botli branehes of seriously compromised, or for ever sathe legal profession. The rule in ques- crificedthen the client is apt, in the tion rests upon the above, among firstsmarting agony of defeat, to forget many other valid reasons, and is gene- the chance which he had been content rally acted upon. No one, however, to run, and to persuade himself that can bave any practical knowledge of he had from the first calculated as a the bar, without being aware of very matter of certainty on the great man's many instances of counsel disregard- attendance—andiutense is that client's ing that rule, and evincing a noble chagrin, and loud are his complaints. disinterestedness in the matter of fees, Can it be supposed that this eminent either returning or declining to accept counsel is not sufficiently aware of the

Bench, in the case of Egan v. The Guardians of the Kensington Union, 3 Queen's Bench Reports, p. 935, note (a). The same rule applies to physicians. Veitch v. Russell, ib. 928.

or Mr

true state of the case? It is but fair very likely to be elsewhere ”—and, to give him credit for being under the aware of the multifarious and conimpression, that all which is expected flicting calls upon the time of Sir from him, in many cases, is his best

will be content exertions to attend the trial or hear- to take his “chance," and deliver his ing—to provide an effective substi- brief, and pay his fee; in such a case tute, if unable to attend—and give the client will have had all which due attention to the case at consulta- he had a right to expect, -viz. the tion. For counsel to act otherwise, chance, not the certainty ; there will deliberately to receive a brief and be no pretence for alleging careless fee, in a case which he knows that he misunderstanding or deception. cannot possibly attend, without in If ever there were a member of the the first instance fairly intimating English bar who may be said to have as much to the client-to do so, been overwhelmed by the distracting in cases of importance, and habit- importunities of clients to secure his ually—is surely most foully dishon- services, at all hazards and at any ourable, dishonest, and cruel; and cost, it was the late Sir William Folconduct which there is no pretence lett; and how he contrived to satisfy for imputing to the members of the the calls upon him, to the extent which bar. It cannot, however, be denied, he did, is truly wonderful. How can that very serious misunderstandings one head, and one tongue, do so much, occasionally arise on such occasions ; so admirably? is a question which but there are many ways of account- has a thousand times occurred to ing for them, without having recourse those of his brethren at the bar, who to a supposition involving such serious knew most of his movements, and imputations upon the honour of coun- were least likely to form an exaggersel- arising out of bona fide accident ated estimate of his exertions. The and mistake--the unavoidable hurry litigant public seemed to feel that and sudden emergencies of business- every moment of this accomplished misunderstandings between a counsel and distinguished advocate's waking and his clerks ; * between either or hours was their own, and they were both, and the client and the per- restricting his sleeping hours within plexity and confusion almost neces- the very narrowest limits. Every sarily attending the movements of one would have had Sir William very eminent counsel. On such oc- every where, in every thing, at once ! casions every thing is usually done Whenever, during the last fifteen years which can be dictated by liberality of his life, there was a cause of magniand honour, and fees are returned tude and difficulty, there was Sir without hesitation. If, however, the William Follett. What vast intercase can be looked at from another ests have been by turns perilled and point of view-if the eager client be protected, according as Sir William fairly apprised by the clerk, that Follett acted upon the offensive or Sir

defensive! Misty and intricate claims be able to attend”


" there is a to dormant peerages, before commitchance of his attending"-or he is tees of privileges, in the House of

or Mr

may not


* Leading counsel, indeed all counsel much engaged in business, necessarily place their time almost altogether at the disposal of their clerks, whose duty it is to keep an exact record of their employer's engagements, and see that no incompatible ones are made for him. Counsel find quite enough to do, in adequately attending to the matters actually put before them by their clerks, without being harassed by adjusting the very troublesome arrangements and appointments; for time and place, where their duties are to be performed -- or, at all events, doing more than keeping a general superintendence over their arrangements thus made. To all this must be added those innumerable contingencies in time arrangements of the courts, and the course of business, which no one can possibly foresee ; and which often derange a whole series of arrangements, however cautiously and prudently made, and render counsel unable, after having carefully mastered their cases, to attend at the trial or argument.

Lords ; appeals to the High on the desire universally manifested Court of Parliament, from all by both the bench and the bar to conthe superior courts, both of law sult the convenience and facilitate the and equity, in the United Kingdom, business arrangements of one, himself involving questions of the greatest so courteous and obliging to all, and possible nicety and complexity-and whom they knew to be entrusted, at a that, too, in the law of Scotland, both heavy expense to his clients, with the mercantile and conveyancing, so dis- greatest interests involved in litigasimilar to that prevailing in other tion; relying upon these consideraparts of the kingdom ; appeals be- tions, and also upon those others fore the Privy Council, from the which have been already alluded to, judicial decisions of courts in every Sir William Follett undoubtedly perquarter of the globe where British mitted briefs to be delivered to him, possessions exist, and administering all of which he must have suspected varying systems of law, all different himself to be incapable of personally from that of England ; the most im- attending to. It must be owned that portant cases in the courts of equity, on many such occasions he may notin courts of error, and the common distracted with the multiplicity of his law courts in banc; all the great cases exhausting labours—have given that depending before parliamentary com- full consideration to those matters mittees, till he entered the House of which it was his bounden duty to Commons; every special jury cause have given to them ; and his conduct of consequence in London and Mid- in this respect has been justly cendlesex, and in any of the other coun- sured by both branches of the high ties in England, whither he went upon and honourable profession to whom special retainers ; compensation cases, the public entrusts such mighty inteinvolving property to a very large rests. Still he turned away business amount ;-in all these cases, the first from his chambers which would have point was—to secure Sir William made the fortunes of two or three Follett; and, for that purpose, run a even eminent barristers, and has been desperate race with an opponent. known to act with spirit and liberality Every morning that Sir William Fol- in cases where his imprudence on the lett rose from his bed, he had to con- score alluded to had been attended with template a long series of important inconvenience and loss to his clients. and pressing engagements filling up Nor was he always so fortunate, as latalmost every minute of his time—not terly, with respect to his clerks; who knowing where or before what tribu- had, equally with himself, a direct penal he might be at any given moment cuniary interest * on every brief which of the day-and often wholly ignorant he accepted, and consequently a of what might be the nature of the strong motive for listening with a too case he would have to conduct, favourable ear to the importunities of against the most able and astute op- clients. The necessary consequence ponents who could be pitted against of all this was occasionally the bitter him, and before the greatest judicial upbraiding of Sir William Follett's intellects of the kingdom : aware of desperately disappointed and defeatthe boundless confidence in his powers ed clients. Still, however, he did reposed by his clients, the great inte, make most extraordinary efforts to rests entrusted to him, and the heavy satisfy all the claims upon his time and pecuniary sacrifices by which his ex- energies, and at length sacrificed himertions had been secured. Relying self in doing so; to a very great extent with a just confidence on his extraor- foregoing domestic and social enjoydinary rapidity in mastering all kinds ments—sparing himself neither by of cases almost as soon as they could night nor by day, neither in mind nor be brought under his notice, and also body. Crowded with consultations

* The clerk of a barrister has a fee on every fee of his employer, in a longsettled proportion of 2s. 6d. on all fees under five guineas; from, and inclusive of five guineas, up to ten guineas, 58.; from ten guineas, 10s., and so on for higher fees.

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