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THE RIGHT HON. VISCOUNT SHERBROOKE, G.C.B.,
FACSIMILE LETTER: RIGHT HON. ROBERT LOWE
TO HENRY SHERBROOKE OF OXTON
SIR JOHN COAPE SHERBROOKE, G.C.B.
To face p. 234
THE RIGHT HON.
IN LONDON AGAIN
The Northern Circuit-Speech before the Society for the Reform of Colonial Government-Elected to the Reform Club-Residence in London-Letter to Henry Sherbrooke-the Oxford University Commission
MR. AND MRS. ROBERT LOWE, with their two little charges, arrived safely in London in April or May 1850 after a voyage of some months. At first Mr. Lowe decided to practise at the English Bar, no doubt considering, from his marked success in Sydney against legal gladiators of no mean prowess, that he would be able to hold his own fairly well in England. He accordingly took chambers at 2 Paper Buildings, Temple,. and joined the Northern Circuit. I am indebted to Mr. Moberly Bell, of the Times, for the following anecdote, which was told to him by the late Judge Wallis, at one time editor of the Tablet. It is, perhaps, only fair to the reader to add, that when Lord Sherbrooke handed me Mr. Moberly Bell's letter, he remarked: 'I have no recollection of this
whatever.' But it would be very possible for such an incident to have passed from the mind after forty years, especially as the victim of this would-be 'boycott' was always unable to see to the right or left of him; nor would he be likely to remember that a pleasant young stranger on one or two chance occasions had engaged him in agreeable conversation. However, these are the words in which Judge Wallis recorded the circumstance of his first meeting with Lord Sherbrooke :
'Somewhere in the fifties, about 1850-52, I was one of the youngsters who went the Northern Circuit. Coming in one day late to dinner (as I often did), and looking for a place, I saw a white-haired man with a vacant chair each side of him. I sat down and got into conversation with my neighbour, whom I found pleasant.
'The next day the same thing occurred-the same man was seated alone, and I sat by him. We again talked; I was charmed with him, but hadn't an idea who he was.
Next day X- who was one of the seniors on circuit, sent for me and said:—
"Look here, Wallis, I wish to warn you as a friend that this won't do. You are a youngster and have got to make your way, and we can't stand you deliberately pitting yourself against the whole circuit."
'I assured X- that I hadn't the least idea to what he alluded, and he replied:
"Why, you not only sat next to that Bob Lowe, but you actually talked and drank wine with him. Now, you must know that the circuit won't stand this; the man comes here, and on the ground of colonial experience acts as if he were a senior, and the circuit will have nothing to do with him."
"I replied: "I didn't even know his name till now, still less all the rest you tell me, but I tell you that he is the longest-headed man at the table, and if you don't admit it now, you will some day."'