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fellow's wages; and contents himself with wondering where the fellow finds the means of such extravagance.-Then in court many are the vexations of the briefless.-The attorney is a cruel person to them-as cruel as a rich coxcomb in a ball-room, who delights in exciting hopes only to disappoint them. Indeed I have often thought the communications be tween the solicitors and the bar have no slight resemblance to the flirtation between the sexes. Barristers, like ladies, must wait to be chosen. The slightest overture would be equally fatal to one gown as the other. The gentlemen of the bar sit round the table in dignified composure, thinking just as little of briefs as a young lady of marriage. An attorney enters not an eye moves; but somehow or other, the fact is known to all. Calmly he draws from his pocket a brief practice enables us to see at a glance that the tormentor has left a blank for the name of his counsel. He looks around the circle as if to choose his man; you cannot doubt but his eye rests on you; he writes a name, but you are too far off to read it, though you know every name on your circuit upside down. Now he counts out the fee, and wraps it up with slow and provoking formality. At length all being prepared, he looks towards you to catch (as you suppose) your eye. You nod, and the brief comes flying; you pick it up, and find on it the name of a man three years your junior, who is sitting next you: you curse the attorney's impudence, and ask yourself if he meant to insult you.-" Perhaps not," you say, "for the dog squints."I received my maiden brief in London. How well do I recollect the minutest circumstances connected with that case! The rap at the door! I am a connoisseur in raps-there is not a dun in London who could deceive me: I know their tricks but too well; they have no medium between the rap servile, and the rap impudent. This was a cheerful touch; you felt that the operator knew he should meet with a face of welcome. My clerk, who is not much under the influence of sweet sounds, seemed absolutely inspired,and answered the knock with astonishing velocity. I could hear from my inner room the murmur of inquiry and answer; and though I could not distinguish a word, the tones confirmed my hopes;-I was not long suffered to doubt-my client en. tered, and the roll of pure white paper
tied round with the brilliant red tape, met my eye. He inquired respectfully, and with an appearance of anxiety, which marked him to my mind for a perfect Chesterfield, if I was already retained in —— V.—— -? The rogue knew well enough that I had never had a retainer in my life. I took a moment to consider; after making him repeat the name of his case, I gravely assured him I was at perfect liberty to receive his brief. He then laid the papers and my fee upon the table; asked me if the time appointed for a consultation with the two gentlemen who were" with me" would be convenient; and finding that the state of my engagements would allow me to attend, made his bow and departed. That fee was sacred, and I put it to no vulgar use. Many years have now elapsed since that case was disposed of, and yet how fresh does it live in my memory! how perfectly do I recollect every authority to which he referred! how I read and re-read the leading cases that bore upon the question to be argued! One case I so bethumbed that the volume has opened at it ever since, as inevitably as the prayer-bock of a lady's maid proffers the service of matrimony. My brief related to an argument before the judges of the King's Bench, and the place of consultation was Ayles's coffee-house, adjoining Westminster-hall. There was I before the clock had finished striking the hour; my brief I knew by heart. I had raised an army of objections to the points for which we were to contend, and had logically slain every one of them. I went prepared to discuss the question thoroughly; and I generously determined to give my leaders the benefit of my cogitationsthough not without a slight struggle at the thought of how much reputation I should lose by my magnanimity. I had plenty of time to think of these things, for my leaders were engaged in court, and the attorney and I had the room to ourselves. After we had been waiting about an hour, the door flew open, and in strode one of my leaders, the second in command, less in haste (as it appeared to me) to meet his appointment, than to escape from the atmosphere of clients in which he had been just enveloped, during his passage from the court. Having shaken off his tormentors, Mr. walked up to the fire-said it was cold-nodded kindly to me and had just asked what had been the last night's division in the ho sewhen the powdered head of an usher was
protruded through the half open door to announce that " Jones and Williams was called on." Down went the poker, and away flew with streaming robes, leaving me to meditate on the loss which the case would sustain for want of his assistance at the expected discussion. Having waited some further space, I heard a rustling of silks, and the great our commander in chief, sailed into the room. As he did not run foul of me, I think it possible I may not have been invisible to him; but he furnished me with no other evidence of the fact. He simply directed the attorney to provide certain additional affidavits, tacked about and зailed away. And thus ended the first consultation. I consoled myself with the thought that I had all my materials for myself, and that from having had so much more time for considering the subject than the others, Imust infallibly make the best speech of the three. At length the fatal day came. I never shall forget the thrill with which I heard open the case, and felt how soon it would be my turn to speak. O, how I did pray for a long speech! I lost all feeling of rivalry; and would gladly have given him every thing that I intended to use myself, only to defer the dreaded moment for one halfhour. His speech was frightfully short, yet, short as it was, it made sad havoc with my stock of matter. The next speaker's was even more concise, and yet my little stock suffered again severely. I then found how experience will stand in the place of study. These men could not, from the multiplicity of their engagements, have spent a tithe of the time upon the case which I had done: and yet they had seen much which had escaped my research. At length my turn came. I was sitting among the back rows in the old court of King's Bench. It was on the first day of Michaelmas term, and late in the evening. A sort of "darkness visible" had been produced by the aid of a few candles dispersed here and there. I arose, but I was not perceived by the judges, who had turned together to consult, supposing the argument finished.
was the first to see me, and I received from him a nod of kindness and encouragement which I hope I shall never forget. The court was crowded, for it was a question of some interest; it was a dreadful moment-the ushers stilled the audience into awful silence. I began, and at the sound of an unknown voice,
every wig of the white inclined plane, at the upper end of which I was standing turned round; and in an instant I had the eyes of seventy "learned friends looking me full in the face! It is hardly to be conceived by those who have not gone through the ordeal, how terrific is this mute attention to the object of it. How grateful should I have been for any thing which would have relieved me from its oppressive weight--a buzz, a scraping of the shoes, or a fit of coughing, would have put me under infinite obligations to the kind disturber. What I said I know not; I knew not then; it is the only part of the transaction of which I am ignorant; it was "a phantasma, or hideous dream." They told me, however, to my great surprise, that I spoke in a loud voice; used violent gesture, and as I went along seemed to shake off my trepidation. Whether I made a long speech or a short one I cannot tell; for I had no power of measuring time. All I know is, that I should have made a much longer one, had I not felt my ideas, like Bob Acre's courage, oozing out of my fingers' ends. The court decided against us, erroneously as I of course thought, for the young advocate is always on the right side. The next morning I got up early to look at the newspapers, which I expected to see full of our case. obscure corner,and in a small type, I found a few words given as the speeches of my leaders: and I also read that "Mr.followed on the same side
It is affirmed of sir William Blackstone, that so often as he sat down to the
composition of his Commentaries on the Laws of England, he always ordered a bottle of wine wherewith to moisten the other professional men sometimes solace dryness of his studies; and in proof that their cares by otherwise disporting themselves, there is a kind of catch, the words of which, having reference to their art or mystery, do so marvellously inspire them, gravity, to a right merry tune:— that they chant it with more glee than
A woman having settlement,
Married a man with none;
SOUTH SEA BUBBLE.
In 1711, the ninth year of queen Anne's reign, a charter of incorporation was granted to a company trading to the South Seas; and the South Sea company's affairs appeared so prosperous, that, in 1718, king George I. being chosen governor, and a bill enabling him to accept the office having passed both houses, on the 3d of February, his majesty in person attended the house of lords, and gave the royal assent to the act. A brief history of the company's subsequent progress is interesting at any time, and more especially at a period when excess of speculation may endanger private happiness, and disturb the public welfare.
On the 27th of January, 1719, the South Sea company proposed a scheme to parliament for paying off the national debt, by taking into its funds al. the debt which the nation had incurred before the year 1716, whether redeemable or irredeemable, amounting in the whole to the sum of 31,664,5517. 1s. 14d. For this the company undertook to pay to the use of the public the sum of 4,156,3061.; besides four years and a half's purchase for
all the annuities that should be subscribed into its fund, and which, if all subscribed, would have amounted to the sum of 3,567,5031.; amounting, with the abovementioned sum, to 7,723,8097.: in case all the annuities were not subscribed, the company agreed to pay one per cent. for such unsubscribed annuities.
To this arrangement parliament acceded, and an act was passed to ratify this contract, and containing full powers to the company accordingly. In March following South Sea stock rose from 130 to 300, gradually advanced to 400, declined to 330, and on the 7th of April was at 340. This so encouraged the directors, that on the 12th they opened books at the South Sea house for taking in a subscription for a portion of their stock to the amount of 2,250,000l. every 1007. of mediately subscribed for at that price, to which they offered at 3001.: it was imbe paid for by nine instalments within twelve months. On the 21st, a genera) Midsummer dividend should be 10 per court of the company resolved, that the and all other additions to their capital cent., and that the aforesaid subscription, before that time, should be entitled to the said dividend. This gave so favourable a view to the speculation, that on the 28th the directors opened a second subscription for another million of stock, which was presently taken at 4007. for every 1007., and the subscribers had three years allowed them for payment. On the 20th of May, South Sea stock rose to 550. So amazing a price created a general infatuation. Even the more prudent, who had laughed at the folly and madness of others, were seized with the mania; they borrowed, mortgaged, and sold, to raise all the money they could, in order to hold the favourite stock; while a few quietly sold out and enriched themselves. Prodigious numbers of people resorted daily from all parts of the kingdom to 'Change-alley, where the assembled speculators, by their excessive noise and hurry, seemed like so many madmen just escaped from cells and chains. All thoughts of commerce were laid aside for the buying and selling of estates, and traffic in South Sea stock, Some, who had effected sales at high premiumns, were willing to lay out the money on real property, which consequently advanced beyond its actual value: cautious landowners justly concluded that this was the time to get money without risk, and there
fore sold their property; shortly afterwards they had an opportunity of purchasing more, at less than half the price they had obtained for their own.
On the 2d of June, South Sea stock rose to 890. On the 15th, many persons who accompanied the king on his foreign journey, sold their stock, which suddenly fell; but the directors promising larger dividends, it got up higher than ever. On the 18th they opened books for a third subscription of four millions more stock, at 1000l. for each 1007, and before the end of the month it had advanced to 11007., between which and 1000l. it fluctuated throughout the month of July. On the 3d of August they proposed to receive subscriptions for all the unsubscribed annuities, and opened books for the purpose during the ensuing week, upon terms which greatly dissatisfied the annuitants, who, confiding in the honour of the directors, had left their orders at the South Sea House, without any previous contract, not doubting but they should be allowed the same terms with the first subscribers. Finding, to their great surprise and disappointment, that, by the directors' arrangements, they were only to have about half what they expected, many repaired to the South Sea House to get their orders returned; but these being withheld, their incessant applications and reflections greatly affected the stock, inomuch that, on the 22d of the month, at the opening of the books, it fell to 820. The directors then came to the desperate resolution of ordering the books to be shut; and on the 24th they caused others to be opened for a fourth money subscription for another million of their stock, at 10007. for each 1007., payable by five instalments within two years: this million was subscribed in less than three hours, and bore a premium the same afternoon of 40 per cent. On the 26th the stock, instead of advancing, fell below 830. The directors then thought fit to lend their proprietors 4,000/. upon every 1000l. stock, for six months, at 4 per cent.; but the annuitants becoming very clamorous and uneasy, the directors resolved that 30 per cent. in money should be the half-year's dividend due at the next Christmas, and that from thence, for twelve years, not less than 50 per cent. in money should be the yearly dividend on their stock. Though this resolution raised the stock to about 800 for the opening of the books, it soon sunk again.
On the 8th of September, the stock fell to 640, on the 9th to 559, and by the 19th it came to 400. On the 23d the Bank of England agreed with the South Sea company to circulate their bonds, &c. and to take their stock at 400 per cent., in lieu of 3,775,000l., which the company was to pay them. When the books were opened at the Bank for taking in a subscription for supporting the public credit, the concourse was at first so great, that it was judged the whole subscription, which was intended for 3,000,000l., would have been filled that day. But the fall of South Sea stock, and the discredit of the company's bonds, occasioned a run upon the most eminent goldsmiths and bankers, some of whom, having lent great sums upon the stock and other public securities, were obliged to shut up their shops. The Sword-blade company also, who had been hitherto the chief cash-keepers of the South Sea company, being almost drawn of their ready money, were forced to stop payment. All this occasioned a great run upon the Bank. On the 30th South Sea stock fell to 150, and then to 86.
"It is very surprising," says Maitland, "that this wicked scheme, of French extraction, should have met with encouragement here, seeing that the Mississippi scheme had just before nearly ruined that nation. It is still more surprising, that the people of divers other countries, notwithstanding the direful effects of this destructive scheme before their eyes, yet, as it were, tainted with our frenzy, began to court their destruction, by setting on foot the like projects: which gives room to suspect," says Maitland," that those destructive and fatal transactions were rather the result of an epidemical distemper, than that of choice; seeing that the wisest and best of men were the greatest sufferers; many of the nobility, and persons of the greatest distinction, were undone, and obliged to walk on foot; while others, who the year before could hardly purchase a dinner, were exalted in their coaches and fine equipages, and possessed of enormous estates. Such a scene of misery appeared among traders, that it was almost unfashionable not to be a bankrupt and the dire catastrophe was attended with such a number of self-murders, as no age can parallel."
Hooke, the historian of Rome, was a severe sufferer by the South Sea bubble. He thus addresses lord Oxford, in a letter
dated the 17th of October 1722: "I cannot be said at present to be in any form of life, but rather to live extempore. The late epidemical (South Sea) distemper seized me: I endeavoured to be rich, imagined for a while that I was, and am in some measure happy to find myself at this instant but just worth nothing. If your lordship, or any of your numerous friends, have need of a servant, with the bare qualifications of being able to read and write, and to be honest, I shall gladly undertake any employments your lordship shall not think me unworthy of."
In 1720, soon after the bursting of the South Sea bubble, a gentleman called late in the evening at the banking-house of Messrs. Hankey and Co. He was in a coach, but refused to get out, and desired that one of the partners of the house would come to him. Having ascertained that it was really one of the principals, and not a clerk, who appeared, he put into his hands a parcel, very carefully sealed up, and desired that it might be laid on one side till he should call again, which would be in the course of a few days. A few days passed away-a few weeks, a few months, but the stranger never returned. At the end of the second or third year, the partners agreed to open this mysterious parcel, in the presence of each other. They found it to contain 30,000l., with a letter, stating that it was obtained by the South Sea speculation, and directing that it should be vested in the hands of three trustees, whose names were mentioned, and the interest appropriated to the relief of the poor, which was accordingly done. It has been calculated,that the rise on the original South-sea stock often millions, and the subsequent advance of the company's four subscriptions, inflated their capital to nearly three hundred millions. This unnatural procedure raised bank stock from 100l. to 2601. India, from 100l. to 4051. African, from 100l. to 2001. Yorkbuildings' shares, from 10l. to 3051. Lustring, from 51. 2s. 6d. to 105l. English copper, from 5l. to 105l. Welch copper, from 41. 2s. 6d. to 951. The Royal Exchange Assurance, from 51. 5s. to 2501. The London Assurance, from 51. to 1757., to the great injury of the various purchasers at such prices.
The South Sea scheme terminated in the sudden downfal of the directors, whose estates were confiscated by parlia
ment, and the proceeds applied to the relief of many thousands of families, who had been wholly ruined by the speculation. These dupes of overweening folly and misplaced confidence, were further benefited by a remission in their favour of the national claims on certain of the South Sea company's real assets. The extent of these donations to the sufferers amounted to 401. per cent. upon the stock standing in their names.
One consequence of the prosperous appearance that the South Sea scheme bore, till within a short period before its failure, was a variety of equally promising and delusive projects. These were denominated bubbles. Alarmed at the destructive issue of the master-bubble, government issued the following manifesto: "The lords justices in council, taking into consideration the many inconveniences arising to the public, from several projects set on foot for raising of joint-stocks for various purposes; and that a great many of his majesty's subjects have been drawn in to part with their money, on pretence of assurances that their petitions, for patents and charters to enable them to carry on the same, would be granted to prevent such impositions, their excellencies ordered the said several petitions, together with such reports from the Board of Trade, and from his majesty's attorney and solicitor general, as had been obtained thereon, to be laid before them; and, after mature consideration thereof, were pleased, by advice of his majesty's privycouncil, to order that the said petitions be dismissed." The applications thus rejected prayed patents for various fisheries, for building ships to let or freight, for raising hemp, flax, and madder, for making of sail-cloth, for fire-assurances, for salt-works, for the making of snuff in Virginia, &c.
In defiance of this salutary order, the herd of projectors, with an audacity that passed on the credulous for well-grounded confidence, continued their nefarious traffic. Proclamations from the king, and even acts of parliament, were utterly disregarded; and companies which had been established by charter increased the evil, by imitating the South Sea company's fatal management, and taking in subscriptions. This occasioned the lords justices to issue another order, wherein they declared that, having been attended by Mr.