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Amongst memorable Northern Circuit worthies was George Wood, the celebrated Special Pleader, in whose chambers Law, Erskine, Abbott and a mob of eminent lawyers acquired a knowledge of their profession. It is on record that whilst he and Mr. Holroyde were posting the Northern round, they were accosted on a lonely heath by a well-mounted horseman, who reining in his steed asked the barrister "What o'clock it was?" Favorably impressed by the stranger's appearance and tone of voice, Wood pulled out his valuable gold repeater, when the highwayman presenting a pistol, and putting it on the cock, said coolly, "As you have a watch, be kind enough to give it me, so that I may not have occasion to trouble you again about the time.' To demur was impossible; the lawyer, therefore, who had met his disaster by going to the country, meekly submitted to circumstances and surrendered the watch. For the loss of an excellent gold repeater he cared little, but he winced under the banter of his professional brethren, who long after the occurrence used to smile with malicious significance as they accosted him with "What's the time, Wood?"
Another of the memorable Northern circuiteers was John Hullock, who, like George Wood, became a baron of the Exchequer, and of whom the following story. is told on good authority. In an important cause tried upon the Northern Circuit, he was instructed by the attorney who retained him as leader on one side not to produce a certain deed unless circumstances made him think that without its production his client would lose the suit. On perusing the deed entrusted to him with this remarkable injunction, Hullock saw that it established his client's case, and wishing to dispatch the business with all possible promptitude, he produced the parchment before its exhibition was demanded by necessity. Examination instantly detected the spurious character of the
deed, which had been fabricated by the attorney.
course the presiding judge (Sir John Bayley) ordered the deed to be impounded; but before the order was carried out, Mr. Hullock obtained permission to inspect it again. Restored to his hands, the deed was forthwith replaced in his bag. "You must surrender that deed instantly," exclaimed the judge, seeing Hullock's intention to keep it. "My lord," returned the barrister, warmly, "no power on earth shall induce me to surrender it. I have incautiously put the life of a fellow-creature in peril; and though I acted to the best of my discretion, I should never be happy again were a fatal result to ensue." At a loss to decide on the proper course of action, Mr. Justice Bayley retired from court to consult with his learned brother. On his lordship's reappearance in court, Mr. Hullock— who had also left the court for a brief period-told him that during his absence the forged deed had been destroyed. The attorney escaped; the barrister became a judge.
LAWYERS AND SAINTS.
OTWITHSTANDING the close connexion which in old times existed between the Church and the Law, popular sentiment holds to the opinion that the ways of lawyers are far removed from the ways of holiness, and that the difficulties encountered by wealthy travellers on the road to heaven are far greater with rich lawyers than with any other class of rich men. An old proverb teaches that wearers of the long robe never reach paradise per saltum, but 'by slow degrees;' and an irreverent ballad supports the vulgar belief that the only
attorney to be found on the celestial rolls gained admittance to the blissful abode more by artifice than desert. The ribald broadside runs in the following style:
"Professions will abuse each other;
The priests won't call the lawyer brother;
They are not truly bitter foes,
To speeches of at least three hours—
But we have left our little man,
And wandered from our purpos'd plan:
It surely is by slow degrees "
Flaw reached at last to heaven's high gate;
Yet never having heard there entered
And would have closed the gate of day,
Begg'd but a look, tho' through the gate.
Unwilling to be thought too hard,
But finding it was all in vain
For him admittance to obtain,
Thought it were best, let come what will,
To gain an entry by his skill.
So while St. Peter stood aside,
To let the door be opened wide,
He skimmed his hat with all his strength Within the gate to no small length.
St. Peter stared; the lawyer asked him "Only to fetch his hat," and passed him;
But when he reached the jack he'd thrown, Oh, then was all the lawyer shown;
He clapt it on, and arms akembo
(As if he had been the gallant Bembo),
The celestial courts having devised no process of ejectment that could be employed in this unlooked-for emergency, St. Peter hastily withdrew to take counsel's opinion; and during his absence Mr. Flaw firmly established himself in the realms of bliss, where he remains to this day the black sheep of the saintly family.
But though a flippant humorist in these later times could deride the lawyer as a character who had better not force his way into heaven, since he would not find a single personal acquaintance amongst its inhabitants, in more remote days lawyers achieved the honors of canonization, and our forefathers sought their saintly intercession with devout fervor. Our calendars still regard the 15th of July as a sacred day, in memory of the holy Swithin, who was tutor to King Ethelwulf and King Alfred, and Chancellor of England, and who certainly deserved his elevation to the fellowship of saints, even had his title to the honor rested solely on a remarkable act which he performed in the exercise of his judicial functions. A familiar set of nursery rhymes sets forth the utter inability of all the King's horses and men to re-form the shattered Humpty-Dumpty, when his rotund highness had fallen from a wall; but when a wretched market-woman, whose entire basketful of new-laid eggs had been wilfully smashed by an enemy, sought in her trouble the aid of Chancery, the holy Chancellor Swithin miraculously restored each broken shell to perfect shape, each yolk to soundness. Saith William of Malmesbury, recounting this marvellous achievement-"statimque porrecto crucis signo, fracturam omnium ovorum consolidat."
Like Chancellor Swithin before him, and like Chancellor Wolsey in a later time, Chancellor Becket was a royal