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true state of the case? It is but fair to give him credit for being under the impression, that all which is expected from him, in many cases, is his best exertions to attend the trial or hearing-to provide an effective substitute, if unable to attend-and give due attention to the case at consultation. For counsel to act otherwise, deliberately to receive a brief and fee, in a case which he knows that he cannot possibly attend, without in the first instance fairly intimating as much to the client-to do so, in cases of importance, and habitually is surely most foully dishonourable, dishonest, and cruel; and conduct which there is no pretence for imputing to the members of the bar. It cannot, however, be denied, that very serious misunderstandings occasionally arise on such occasions; but there are many ways of accounting for them, without having recourse to a supposition involving such serious imputations upon the honour of counsel-arising out of bonâ fide accident and mistake-the unavoidable hurry and sudden emergencies of business misunderstandings between a counsel and his clerks; between either or both, and the client-and the perplexity and confusion almost necessarily attending the movements of very eminent counsel. On such oc
casions every thing is usually done which can be dictated by liberality and honour, and fees are returned without hesitation. If, however, the ease can be looked at from another point of view-if the eager client be fairly apprised by the clerk, that Sir or Mr "may not be able to attend "-or, "there is a chance of his attending" -or "he is
If ever there were a member of the English bar who may be said to have been overwhelmed by the distracting importunities of clients to secure his services, at all hazards and at any cost, it was the late Sir William Follett; and how he contrived to satisfy the calls upon him, to the extent which he did, is truly wonderful. How can one head, and one tongue, do so much, so admirably? is a question which has a thousand times occurred to those of his brethren at the bar, who knew most of his movements, and were least likely to form an exaggerated estimate of his exertions. litigant public seemed to feel that every moment of this accomplished and distinguished advocate's waking hours was their own, and they were restricting his sleeping hours within the very narrowest limits. Every one would have had Sir William every where, in every thing, at once! Whenever, during the last fifteen years of his life, there was a cause of magnitude and difficulty, there was Sir William Follett. What vast interests have been by turns perilled and protected, according as Sir William Follett acted upon the offensive or defensive! Misty and intricate claims to dormant peerages, before committees of privileges, in the House of
* 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 the 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 Court of Parliament, from all the superior courts, both of law and equity, in the United Kingdom, involving questions of the greatest possible nicety and complexity-and that, too, in the law of Scotland, both mercantile and conveyancing, so dissimilar to that prevailing in other parts of the kingdom; appeals before the Privy Council, from the judicial decisions of courts in every quarter of the globe where British possessions exist, and administering varying systems of law, all different from that of England; the most important cases in the courts of equity, in courts of error, and the common law courts in banc; all the great cases depending before parliamentary committees, till he entered the House of Commons; every special jury cause of consequence in London and Middlesex, and in any of the other counties in England, whither he went upon special retainers; compensation cases, involving property to a very large amount;-in all these cases, the first point was to secure Sir William Follett; and, for that purpose, run a desperate race with an opponent. Every morning that Sir William Follett rose from his bed, he had to contemplate a long series of important and pressing engagements filling up almost every minute of his time-not knowing where or before what tribunal he might be at any given moment of the day-and often wholly ignorant of what might be the nature of the case he would have to conduct, against the most able and astute opponents who could be pitted against him, and before the greatest judicial intellects of the kingdom: aware of the boundless confidence in his powers reposed by his clients, the great interests entrusted to him, and the heavy pecuniary sacrifices by which his exertions had been secured. Relying with a just confidence on his extraordinary rapidity in mastering all kinds of cases almost as soon as they could be brought under his notice, and also
on the desire universally manifested by both the bench and the bar to consult the convenience and facilitate the business arrangements of one, himself so courteous and obliging to all, and whom they knew to be entrusted, at a heavy expense to his clients, with the greatest interests involved in litigation; relying upon these considerations, and also upon those others which have been already alluded to, Sir William Follett undoubtedly permitted briefs to be delivered to him, all of which he must have suspected himself to be incapable of personally attending to. It must be owned that on many such occasions he may notdistracted with the multiplicity of his exhausting labours-have given that full consideration to those matters which it was his bounden duty to have given to them; and his conduct in this respect has been justly censured by both branches of the high and honourable profession to whom the public entrusts such mighty interests. Still he turned away business from his chambers which would have made the fortunes of two or three even eminent barristers, and has been known to act with spirit and liberality in cases where his imprudence on the score alluded to had been attended with inconvenience and loss to his clients. Nor was he always so fortunate, as latterly, with respect to his clerks; who had, equally with himself, a direct pecuniary interest * on every brief which he accepted, and consequently a strong motive for listening with a too favourable ear to the importunities of clients. The necessary consequence of all this was occasionally the bitter upbraiding of Sir William Follett's desperately disappointed and defeated clients. Still, however, he did make most extraordinary efforts to satisfy all the claims upon his time and energies, and at length sacrificed himself in doing so; to a very great extent foregoing domestic and social enjoyments-sparing himself neither by night nor by day, neither in mind nor 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, 5s.; from ten guineas, 10s., and so on for higher fees.
as was almost every hour of the day not actually spent in open business in court-from the earliest period in the morning till the latest at nightit was really amazing that he contrived to obtain that perfect mastery of his ponderous and intricate briefs, which secured him his repeated and splendid triumphs in court. Till within even the last eighteen months, or two years, if you had gone down one morning at half-past nine to Westminster, you might have heard him opening with masterly ease, clearness, and skill, a patent case, or some other important matter, before a special jury; and immediately after resaming his seat, you would see him go perhaps into an adjoining court of Nisi Prius, in which also he was engaged as leading counsel, and where he would quickly ascertain the exact position of the case-and effectively crossexamine or re-examine a witness, or object to or support the admissibility of evidence; then if you followed his footsteps, you would find him in the Lord Chancellor's Court, engaged in some equity case of great magnitude and difficulty. Some time afterwards he might be seen hastening to the Privy Council-and by about two or three o'clock at the bar of the House of Lords, in the midst of an admirable reply in some great appeal or peerage case. When the House broke up, Sir William Follett would doff the full-bottomed wig in which alone Queen's counsel are allowed to appear before the House of Lords, and, resuming his short wig, re-appear in either or by turns in both-the Courts of Nisi Prius, where he had left trials pending, having directed himself to be sent for if there should arise any necessity for it. Then he would in a very few moments calmly possess himself of the exact state of the cause, and resume his personal conduct of it, as effectively as if he had never quitted the Court. If he could be spared for a quarter of an hour, he would glide out, followed by one or two counsel and attorneys, to hold one, or perhaps two consultations, in cases fixed for the next day. On the court's rising perhaps about six or seven o'clock, he would go home to swallow a hasty dinner; then hold one, two, or even
three consultations at his own house; read over-as none but he could read -some briefs; and about eleven or twelve o'clock make his appearance in the House of Commons, and perhaps take a leading part in some very critical debate-listened to with uninterrupted silence, and with the admiration of both friends and foes. The above, with the exception of taking part in the debate of the House of Commons, was an average day's work of the late Sir Williain Follett! And was it not the life of a galley-slave chained to the oar? He had, however, chosen it, and would not quit his seat but at the icy touch of death. Such appears to be a fair and temperate account of the real state of the case, with reference to Sir William Follett's great anxiety to acquire money, and his over-eagerness in accepting briefs. Great allowances ought undoubtedly to be made for him, on the grounds above suggested; and, with reference to the former case, another consideration occurs, which ought to have been already more distinctly adverted to. Sir William Follett had a right to regard his elevation to the peerage as a matter almost of course. he lived possibly only a few months longer, he would, in all probability, have become a peer of the realm; and he ought to be given credit for an honourable ambition to avoid the imputation of having inflicted a pauper peerage upon the country. Frail he knew his health to be; and doubtlessly contemplated the necessity of providing suitably for the family whom he was to leave behind him, and which he had ennobled. But what was involved in providing, under such circumstances, "suitably" for a noble family? What ample means would have to be secured by one who had inherited no fortune himself, but was, on the contrary, the sole architect of his fortunes? What prodigious efforts are necessary for a lawyer to realise, by his own individual exertions, an amount which would produce an income of five, four, or even three thousand a-year? And let any one of common sense, and ordinary knowledge of the world, ask himself— whether the highest of those amounts
is more than barely sufficient, without undue economy, to provide for a dowager peeress and a young family! That such considerations were not lost sight of by Sir William Follett, but, on the contrary, were stimulauts to his intense, unremitting, and exhausting labours, it is easy to understand; and they sprang out of a high, and honourable, and a legitimate ambition. But whatever weight may be attached to these considerations and generosity and forbearance towards the dead will attach great weight to them they are no answer to much of the charge brought against the late Sir William Follett, and which ought not to be glossed over and explained away that, in his excessive eagerness to accomplish his object, he was hurried into an occasional forgetfulness of that nice and high sense of moral principle which ought to regulate every one's conduct-especially those in eminent positions-for the sake of illustrious example, and, in a man's own case, with reference to the awful realities of HEREAFTER: for a man should strive so to pass through things temporal, as not to lose sight of things eternal.
Let us now, however, endeavour to point out some of the excellences of Sir William Follett's character; and perhaps the most prominent of them was his admirable temper. Continually in collision with others, on behalf of important interests entrusted to him, and exposed to a thousand trials and provocations-that temper, nevertheless, scarce ever failed him. Serene and unruffled on the most exciting occasions, his manners were perfectly fascinating to all those who came in contact with him. A rude or unkind expression may be said never to have fallen from his lips towards an opponent-or, indeed, any one; towards juniors and inferiors he was always good-natured and considerate; and towards the judicial bench he exhibited uniformly a demeanour of dignified courtesy and deference. He was very tenacious of his own opinions-confident in the propriety of his view of a case-apparently so, always, for he could assume a confidence though he had it not and would persevere in his efforts to overcome the adverse
humour of judges and juries, to an extent never exceeded; yet withal so blandly, so unassumingly, so mildly, that he never irritated or provoked any one. His temper and self-possession were unequalled, and approached, as nearly as possible, to perfection. Amidst all the distracting multiplicity of his engagements-the sudden and harassing emergencies arising incessantly out of his prodigious practice-he preserved an urbane tranquillity which gave him on all occasions the full possession of his extraordinary faculties, enabled him to concentrate them instantly upon whatever was submitted to his attention, however suddenly-and to conquer without irritating or mortifying even the most eager and sensitive opponent. He never suffered himself to be in a hurry, or fidgeted; however sudden and serious the emergency which frighted others from their propriety, he retained and exhibited complete composure; surveying his position with lightning rapidity, and taking his measures with consummate caution-with prompt and bold decision. His guiding energies kept frequently half a dozen important causes all going on at once in their proper course. He would glide in at a critical moment-paying, in his agitated client's view, "an angel's visit "and with smiling ease seize advantages seen by none but himself, repair disasters appearing to others irreparable, and with a single blow demolish the entire fabric which in his absence had been laboriously and skilfully raised by his opponent. No impetuosity or irritability, on the part of others, could provoke him to retaliate, or sufficed to disturb that marvellous equanimity of his, which enabled him the rather good-naturedly to convert impetuosity and loss of temper in others, into an instrument of victory for himself. When others, not similarly blessed, would, in like manner, essay to rush to the rescue, their hurried and confused movements served only to place them more completely prostrate before him. The instant after the issue had been-perhaps suddenly - decided in Sir William's favour-through some unexpected masterstroke of his-he would turn with an arch smile to his opponent,
and whisper-" How did you come to let me do it?" If his advance were met sulkily, he would add, with unaffected good-humour, "Come, don't be angry; I dare say you will serve me in the same way to-morrow!" Towards adverse and frequently interrupting judges-towards petulant counsel-towards impudent, equivocating, dishonest witnesses, Sir William Follett exhibited unwavering calmness and self-possession; and withal a dignity of demeanour by which he was remarkably distinguished, and which lent importance to even the most trivial cases which could be intrusted to his advocacy. Perhaps no man ever defeated a greater number of important cases, by unexpected objections of the very extremest technical character, than Sir William Follett; but he would do it with an air and manner so courteous and imposing, as to lead the uninitiated into the belief that there were doubtless good reasons by which such a course, having been reluctantly adopted, was morally justified. This topic naturally leads to some observations upon the consummate skill, the wonderful rapidity of perception, precision of movement, and unfaltering vigilance, which characterized Sir William Follett's conduct of business. Doubtless his own consciousness of possessing powers and resources far beyond those of the majority of counsel opposed to him, as evidenced in bis extraordinary successes, contributed, in no small degree, to his maintenance of that composed self-reliance, and forbearance towards others, by which he was so peculiarly distinguished, and which was aided by a naturally tranquil temperament. What advantage could escape one so uniformly and surprisingly calm, vigilant, and guarded as Sir William Follett? It might have been supposed that a man so overwhelmed with all but incompatible professional engagements, could not give to each case that full and undivided attention which were requisite to secure success, especially against the ablest members of the bar, who were constantly opposed to him. It was, however, very far otherwise. No one ever ventured to calculate upon Sir William Follett's overlooking a slip or failing to seize an advantage.
Totus teres atque rotundus must indeed have been the case which was to withstand his onslaughts. So accurate and extensive was his legal knowledge, so acute his discrimination, so dexterous were all his movements, so lynx-eyed was his vigilant attention to what was going on, that the most learned and able of his opponents were never at their ease till after victory had been definitively announced from the bench
from a Court of Error-or even the House of Lords. They were necessarily on the qui vive to the very latest moment. Some short time before he was compelled to relinquish practice, a certain counsel was engaged with him as junior in a case before the Privy Council, which it was deemed of great moment that Sir William Follett should be able to attend to.
"I don't exactly know how I stand in the Queen's Bench to-morrow morning," said he, at the consultation late over-night-" but I fear that that long troublesome case of the
Railway will be brought on
at the sitting of the court. I'm afraid I can't get him to put it off-but I'll try; and if he won't, I may yet be able to settle the case before he has got far into it-for it will be very strange if all their proceedings are right."
On this slender chance rested the likelihood of Sir William's attendance at the Privy Council. The next morning at ten o'clock, beheld all the counsel on both sides ready for action.
"You're not going to bring on the
case this morning, are you?" whispered Sir William Follett, as soon as he had taken his seat, to his opponent, who was arranging his papers.
"I am indeed, and no mistake whatever about it."
"Can't we bring it on to-morrow, or some day next week? It would greatly oblige me- I really have scarcely read my papers, and, besides, want to be elsewhere."
"I'll see what my clients say," and then he consulted them, and resumed-"No-my people are peremptory."
Very well. Then keep your eyes wide open. I must bring you down as soon as possible, for I want to be elsewhere."