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An old witness named Elm having given his evidence with remarkable clearness, although he was more than eighty years of age, Lord Mansfield examined him as to his habitual mode of living, and found that he had throughout life been an early riser and a singularly temperate man. “Ay,” observed the Chief Justice, in a tone of approval, "I have always found that without temperance and early habits, longevity is never attained." The next witness, the elder brother of this model of temperance, was then called, and he almost surpassed his brother as an intelligent and clear-headed utterer of evidence. "I suppose," observed Lord Mansfield, "that you also are an early riser." "No, my lord," answered the veteran, stoutly; "I like my bed at all hours, and special-lie I like it of a morning." "Ah; but, like your brother, you are a very temperate man ?" quickly asked the judge, looking out anxiously for the safety of the more important I part of his theory. "My lord," responded this ancient Elm, 'disdaining to plead guilty to a charge of habitual sobriety, "I am a very old man, and my memory is as clear as a bell, but I can't remember the night when I've gone to bed without being more or less drunk." Lord Mansfield was silent. "Ah, my lord," Mr. Dunning exclaimed, "this old man's case supports a theory upheld by many persons, that habitual intemperance is favorable to longevity." "No, no,” replied the Chief Justice, with a smile, "this old man and his brother merely teach us what every carpenter knows-that Elm, whether it be wet or dry, is a very tough wood." Another version of this excellent story makes Lord Mansfield inquire of the elder Elm, "Then how do you account for your prolonged tenure of existence ?" to which question Elm is made to respond, more like a lawyer than a simple witness, "I account for it by the terms of the original lease."
Few stories relating to witnesses are more laughable
than that which describes the arithmetical process by which Mr. Baron Perrot arrived at the value of certain
conflicting evidence. "Gentlemen of the jury," this judge is reported to have said, in summing up the evidence in a trial where the witnesses had sworn with noble
tenacity of purpose, "there are fifteen witnesses who
swear that the watercourse used to flow in a ditch on the north side of the hedge. On the other hand, gentlemen, there are nine witnesses who swear that the watercourse used to flow on the south side of the hedge. Now, gentlemen, if you subtract nine from fifteen, there remain six witnesses wholly uncontradicted; and I recommend you to give your verdict for the party who called those six witnesses."
Whichever of the half-dozen ways in which it is told be accepted as the right one, the following story exemplifies the difficulty which occasionally arises in courts of justice, when witnesses use provincial terms with which the judge is not familiar. Mr. William Russell, in past days deputy-surveyor of 'canny Newcastle,' and a genuine Northumbrian in dialect, brogue, and shrewdness, was giving his evidence at an important trial in the Newcastle courthouse, when he said—" As I was going along the quay, I saw a hubbleshew coming out of a chare-foot." Not aware that on Tyne-side the word 'hubbleshew' meant 'a concourse of riotous persons;' that the narrow alleys or lanes of Newcastle 'old town' were called by their inhabitants 'chares;' and that the lower end of each alley, where it opened upon quay-side, was termed a 'chare-foot;' the judge, seeing only one part of the puzzle, inquired the meaning of the word 'hubbleshew.' "A crowd of disorderly persons," answered the deputysurveyor. "And you mean to say," inquired the judge of assize, with a voice and look of surprise, "that you saw a crowd of people come out of a chair-foot?" "I
"Gentlemen of the twelve good men
do, my lord," responded the witness. jury, said his lordship, turning to the in the box, "it must be needless for me to inform youthat this witness is insane !"
The report of a trial which occurred at Newcastle Assizes towards the close of the last century gives the following succession of questions and answers :—Barrister. "What is your name?" Witness.—“ Adam, sir—Adam Thompson." Barrister.—“Where do you live?" Witness. "In Paradise." Barrister (with facetious tone).— "And pray, Mr. Adam, how long have you dwelt in Paradise?" Witness." Ever since the flood." Paradise is the name of a village in the immediate vicinity of Newcastle; and 'the flood' referred to by the witness was the inundation (memorable in local annals) of the Tyne, which in the year 1771 swept away the old Tyne Bridge.
XPOSED to some of the discomforts, if not all the dangers,* of travel; required to ride over black and cheerless tracts of moor and heath: now belated in marshy districts, and now exchanging shots with gentlemen of the road; sleeping, as luck favored them, in way-side taverns, country mansions, or the superior hotels
*Lord Eldon, when he was handsome Jack Scott of the Northern Circuit, was about to make a short cut over the sands from Ulverstone to Lancaster at the flow of the tide, when he was restrained from acting on his rash resolve by the representations of an hotel keeper. "Danger, danger," asked Scott, impatiently-"have you ever lost anybody there?" Mine host answered slowly, "Nae, sir, nae. body has been lost on the sands, the puir bodies have been found at low water."
of provincial towns-the circuiteers of olden time found their advantage in cultivating social hilarity and establishing an etiquette that encouraged good-fellowship in their itinerant societies. At an early date they are found varying the monotony of cross-country rides with racingmatches and drinking bouts, cock-fights and fox-hunting; and enlivening assize towns and country houses with balls and plays, frolic and song. A prodigious amount of feasting was perpetrated on an ordinary circuit-round of the seventeenth century; and at circuit-messes, judges' dinners, and sheriffs' banquets, saucy juniors were allowed a license of speech to staid leaders and grave dignitaries that was altogether exceptional to the prevailing tone of
In the days when Chief Justice Hyde, Clarendon's cousin, used to ride the Norfolk Circuit, old Sergeant Earl was the leader, or, to use the slang of the period, 'cock of the round'. A keen, close-fisted, tough practitioner, this sergeant used to ride from town to town, chuckling over the knowledge that he was earning more and spending less than any other member of the circuit, One biscuit was all the refreshment which he permitted himself on the road from Cambridge to Norwich; although he consented to dismount at the end of every ten miles to stretch his limbs. Sidling up to Sergeant Earl, as there was no greater man for him to toady, Francis North offered himself as the old man's travelling companion from the university to the manufacturing town; and when Earl with a grim smile accepted the courteous suggestion, the young man congratulated himself. On the following morning, however, he had reason to question his good fortune when the sergeant's clerk brought him a cake, and remarked, significantly, "Put it in your pocket, sir; you'll want it; for my master won't draw bit till he comes to Norwich." It was a hard
day's work; but young Frank North was rewarded for his civility to the sergeant, who condescended to instruct his apt pupil in the tricks and chicaneries of their profession. "Sir," inquired North at the close of the excursion, emboldened by the rich man's affability, "by what system do you keep your accounts, which must be very complex, as you have lands, securities, and great comings-in of all kinds ?" "Accounts! boy," answered the grey-headed curmudgeon; "I get as much as I can, and I spend as little as I can; that's how I keep my accounts."
When North had raised himself to the Chiefship of the Common Pleas he chose the Western Circuit, "not for the common cause, it being a long circuit, and beneficial for the officers and servants, but because he knew the gentlemen to be loyal and conformable, and that he should have fair quarter amonst them;" and so much favor did he win amongst the loyal and conformable gentry that old Bishop Mew-the prelate of Winchester, popularly known as Bishop Patch, because he always wore a patch of black court-plaster over the scar of a wound which he received on one of his cheeks, whilst fighting as a trooper for Charles I.-used to term him the "Delicia occidentis, or Darling of the West." On one occasion this Darling of the West was placed in a ludicrous position by the alacrity with which he accepted an invitation from "a busy fanatic," a Devonshire gentleman, of good family, and estate, named Duke. This "busy fanatic" invited the judges on circuit and their officers to dine and sleep at his mansion on their way to Exeter, and subsequently scandalized his guests-all of them of course zealous defenders of the Established Church-by reading familyprayers before supper. "The gentleman," says the historian, "had not the manners to engage the parish minister to come and officiate with any part of the evening