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the Rolls and Speaker of the Commons) about the same time was
“ bred a sort of clerk in old Arthur Trevor's chamber, an eminent and worthy professor of the law in the Inner Temple." On being asked what might be the
” name of the boy with such a hideous squint who sate at a clerk's desk in the outer room, Arthur Trevor answered, “A kinsman of mine that I have allowed to sit here, to learn the knavish part of the law.” It must be observed that John Trevor was not a clerk, but merely a "sort of a clerk" in his kinsman's chamber.
In the latter half of the seventeenth century, and in the earlier half of the eighteenth century, students who wished to learn the practice of the law usually entered the offices of attorneys in large practice. At that period, the division between the two branches of the profession was much less wide than it subsequently became; and no rule or maxim of professional etiquette forbade Innsof-Court men to act as the subordinates of attorneys and solicitors. Thus Philip Yorke (Lord Hardwicke) in Queen Anne's reign acted as clerk in the office of Mr. Salkeld, an attorney residing in Brook Street, Holborn, whilst he kept his terms at the Temple; and nearly fifty years later, Ned Thurlow (Lord Thurlow), on leaving Cambridge, and taking up his residence in the Temple, became a pupil in the office of Mr. Chapman, a solicitor, whose place of business was in Lincoln's Inn. There is no doubt that it was customary for young men destined for the bar thus to work in attorneys' offices; and they continued to do so without any sense of humiliation or thought of condescension, until the special pleaders superseded the attorneys as instructors.
WIT OF LAWYERS.
ro lawyer has given better witticisms to the jest
books than Sir Thomas More. Like all legal wits, he enjoyed a pun, as Sir Thomas Manners, the mushroom Earl of Rutland discovered, when he winced under the cutting reproof of his insolence, conveyed in the translation of Honores mutant mores' — Honors change manners. But though he would condescend to play with words as a child plays with shells on a sea-beach, he could at will command the laughter of his readers without having recourse to mere verbal antics. He delighted in what may be termed humorous mystification. Entering Bruges at a time when his learing had gained European notoriety, he was met by the challenge of a noisy fellow who proclaimed himself ready to dispute with the whole world—or any other man- “ in omni scibili et de quolibet ente.” Accepting the invitation, and entering the lists in the presence of all the scholastic magnates of Bruges, More gravely inquired, “An averia carucæ capta in
" vetitonamio sint irreplegibilia ?” Not versed in the
principles and terminology of the common law of England, the challenger could only stammer and blushwhilst More's eye twinkled maliciously, and his auditors were convulsed with laughter.
Much of his humor was of the sort that is ordinarily called quiet humor, because its effect does not pass off in shouts of merriment. Of this kind of pleasantry he gave the Lieutenant of the Tower a specimen, when he said, with as much courtesy as irony, “Assure yourself I do not dislike my cheer; but whenever I do, then spare not to thrust me out of your doors!” Of the same sort were the pleasantries with which, on the morning of his execution, he with fine consideration for others strove to divert attention from the cruelty of his doom. "I see no danger,” he observed, with a smile, to
. his friend Sir Thomas Pope, shaking his water-bottle as he spoke, “but that this man may live longer if it please the king." Finding in the craziness of the scaffold a good pretext for leaning in friendly fashion on his gaoler's arm, he extended his hand to Sir William Kingston, saying, “ Master Lieutenant, I pray you see me safe up; for my coming down let me shift for myself.” Even to the headsman he gave a gentle pleasantry and a smile from the block itself, as he put aside his beard so that the keen blade should not touch it.
“ Wait, my good friend, till I have removed my beard," he said, turning his eyes upwards to the official, “ for it has never offended his highness.
His wit was not less ready than brilliant, and on one occasion its readiness saved him from a sudden and horrible death. Sitting on the roof of his high gate-house at Chelsea, he was enjoying the beauties of the Thames and the sunny richness of the landscape, when his solitude was broken by the unlooked-for arrival of a wandering maniac. Wearing the horn and badge of a Bed
lamite, the unfortunate creature showed the signs of his malady in his equipment as well as his countenance. Having cast his eye downwards from the parapet to the foot of the tower, he conceived a mad desire to hurl the Chancellor from the flat roof. "Leap, Tom! leap !" screamed the athletic fellow, laying a firm hand on More's shoulder. Fixing his attention with a steady look, More said, coolly, “Let us first throw my little dog down, and see what sport that will be.” In a trice the dog was thrown into the air. “Good !” said More, feigning delight at the experiment: “now run down, fetch the dog, and we'll throw him off again.” Obeying the command, the dangerous intruder left More free to secure himself by a bar, and to summon assistance with his voice.
For a good end this wise and mirth-loving lawyer would play the part of a practical joker; and it is recorded that by a jest of the practical sort he gave a wholesome lesson to an old civic magistrate, who, at the Sessions of the Old Bailey, was continually telling the victims of cut-purses that they had only themselves to thank for their losses—that purses would never be cut if their wearers took proper care to retain them in their possession. These orations always terminated with, “I never lose my purse; cut-purses never take my purse; no, i’faith, because I take proper care of it.” To teach his worship wisdom, and cure him of his self-sufficiency, More engaged a cut-purse to relieve the magistrate of his money-bag whilst he sat upon the bench. A story is recorded of another Old Bailey judge who became the victim of a thief under very ridiculous circumstances. Whilst he was presiding at the trial of a thief in the Old Bailey, Sir John Sylvester, Recorder of London, said incidentally that he had left his watch at home. The trial ended in an acquittal, the prisoner had no
sooner gained his liberty than he hastened to the recorder's house, and sent in word to Lady Sylvester that he was a constable and had been sent from the Old Bailey to fetch her husband's watch. When the recorder returned home and found he had lost his watch, it is to be feared that Lady Sylvester lost her usual equanimity. Apropos of these stories Lord Campbell tells-how, at the opening period of his professional career, soon after the publication of his ‘Nisi Prius Reports,' he on circuit successfully defended a prisoner charged with a criminal offence; and how, whilst the success of his advocacy was still quickening his pulses, he discovered that his late client, with whom he held a confidential conversation, had contrived to relieve him of his pocket-book, full of bank-notes. As soon as the presiding judge, Lord Chief Baron Macdonald, heard of the mishap of the reporting barrister, he exclaimed, “What! does Mr. Campbell think that no one is entitled to take notes in court except himself ?"
By the urbane placidity which marked the utterance of his happiest speeches, Sir Nicholas Bacon often recalled to his hearers the courteous easiness of More's repartees. Keeping his own pace in society, as well as in the Court of Chancery, neither satire nor importunity could ruffle or confuse him. When Elizabeth, looking disdainfully at his modest country mansion, told him that the place was too small, he answered with the flattery of gratitude, “Not so, madam, your highness has made me too great for my house." Leicester having suddenly asked him his opinion of two aspirants for court favor, he responded on the spur of the moment, “By my troth, my lord, the one is a grave councillor : the other is a proper young man, and so he will be as long as he lives." To the queen, who pressed him for his sentiments respecting the effect of monopolies--a delicate question for a