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confidence? They must be at once true and false : true, for the purpose of proving the necessity of the additional bonus; false, for the purpose of entitling these thus meritorious and actually existing persons (for this slides in sub silentio) to receive, before any of their future contingent colleagues have been in existence to receive it, a full share of the benefit of it. Admit him to be in possession of the power of giving truth to a self-contradictory proposition, the Right Hon. Secretary proves this his piobandum, and thus far justifies his measure : refuse him this accominodation, he stands self-confuted, and his argument is somewhat worse than none.
Were ministerial responsibility any thing better than a word, the task the Right Hon. Gentleman had charged himself with, was (it must be confessed) rather a delicate one. English punch, according to the Frenchman in the jest book, is a liquor of contradiction : a compound of a similar complexion was that, which, on occasions such as the present, a situation such as the Right Hon. Secretary occupies, gives him in charge to mix up, for the entertainment of Honorable House. Except in the case of an uniderling whose character is too offensively rotten not to make it matter of necessity to suffer him to be thrown overboard, for all official men in general-high and low- there is but one character : a general character for excellence, tinged here and there with a little difference of color, corresponding to the nature of the department. The idea looks as if it were taken from the old chronicles : where, with decent intervals, one portrait serves for half a dozen worthies : one town for the same number of towns, and so as to battles and executions. Time and labor are thus saved. This universal character puts one in mind of an ingenious document I have seen, sold under the title of the Universal Almanac. A copy of it has been supposed to be bound up with every cabinet minister's copy of the Red Book. Like a formula for convictions, it might be inserted into each particular, or into one general act of Parliament. Subscription to it, and oath of belief in it, in relation to all official persons whose salaries had risen or should hereafter rise to a certain amount, might be added to the test and corporation acts : and, without need of troubling the legislature, Lord Chief Justice Abbot, or Lord Chief Justice Anybody, would hold himself in readiness to fine and imprison every man who should dare to insinuate that any such person that lives, or that ever has lived, or that ever shall live, is, has been, or ever can be, deficient in any one point belonging to it.
Without violation of this standing character rule, he saw how impossible it was, that any the slightest shade of inaptitude, actual or possible, in any one of its modes, could be laid on the character of any one of the existing incumbents. “ With the character of all of them, all who heard him," (see No. 11.) “were acquainted.” Remain, according to parliamentary usage, the only persons with whom any such liberty could be taken their futurecontingent, and thence as yet unknown successors.
Here however comes something of a difficulty. Evil as abovedisorder as above-inaptitude in some shape or other : remedy as above, of the preventive stamp, the 2001. a year. Good : supposing disorder or danger of it. But where is the room for it, where there is neither the one nor the other ? Sole reason, the word invidious. Invidious it would be, and that being the case,“ poor economy”—“ so poor,” says No. 8.) “ that there could not be a worse”—to refuse to those gentlemen whom every body knows, that which will be given, to those of whom, without disparagement it must be said, that they are gentlemen whom as yet nobody knows.
So much as to aptitude: and the alleged, and by the same person at the same time denied, deficiency in it. Remains as another, and the only remaining subject matter of deficiency, the article of time-time employed in official attendance. This, too, is another delicate topic. Standing so near to aptitude, and, in particular, to the moral branch of it, nothing determinate in relation to it could be hazarded : allusion, insinuation, yes : but nothing that applied to any body. “Great increase of population.” (No. 1. Morning Chronicle) « The duties of the office would require constant attendance” (No. 5. Morn. Chron.) « almost constant attendance."
-No. 4. Times. Hereon comes the same troublesome question as before. This constancy of attendance, is it not then paid by the present gentlemen ? Answer, as before, yes and no: and, to secure it at the hands of their future colleagues and successors, comes the necessity of the same sweet security—the 2001. a year : this 2001. a year to be given, and without condition, not only to those unknown persons, but moreover, and in the first place, on pain of hearing the word invidious, and bearing the stigma of poverty,” given also to the existing gentlemen, in whose instance there is so much, and so little, need of it.
So much for the Right Hon. Secretary's two evils, and his proof of their existence. Now for his two ministerial remedies in aid of the 2001. a year parliamentary one :-1. exclusion of all but barristers ; 2. exclusion of all barristers but three-year old ones. Problem, which his rhetoric or his logic, or what is- sometimes more powerful than both, his silence, has undertaken for the solution of how to prove, that, by these two exclusions, added to the 2001. a year,-appropriate aptitude, moral, intellectual, and
qualificationsght to the namelis class of his protes
active, adequate to the situation, together with adequate plenitude of attendance, will be produced.
By this policy, he secures, to this class of his protegés the aptitude, proved by the right to the name of barrister. Now then what are the qualifications, the sole qualifications, of the possession of which any proof whatever is given by the right to bear this name? Answer: being of full age ; payment of a certain sum in fees and taxes, and, on a certain number of days sprinkled over a surface of five years, eating and drinking in a certain place, or therein making believe to eat and drink. Sum: between one and two hundred pounds; place, the hall of an inn of court; number of days, twenty in every year; total number of days, a hundred. As to the making believe, this option must not be omitted : nor yet the hour-four, or half-past four ; for neither the hour nor the fare, accord well with the taste, of the class of persons for whom, it will be seen, the 8001. is destined.
As if this security were not strong enough, now mounts another on the shoulders of it. After five years employed in the above exercises, then comes a repose of three years more ; for not less indeed than these three years more, must this class of the Right Hon. Secretary's protegés have borne the name of barrister : but, as to the exercises of eating and drinking, if it be agreeable to the gentleman to perform them, he is no longer burthened with any limitation in regard to place. The Right Hon. Minister in the pathetic part of his speech (No. 4.) asks a question : may logic, in the person of an obscure individual, be permitted to do the like ! Comparatively speaking (for I mean nothing more)—service for five years, (the usual time), as clerk to an attorney, would it not be a security, though not so dignified, somewhat more efficient ? The clerk could not be altogether ignorant of law without his master's suffering for it. The master, therefore, has some interest in causing him to learn it; the clerk, in learning it. But more of this further on.
The security is of Lord Sidmouth's invention : so his Right Hon. Successor assures us : and much inferior authority might have sufficed to command belief. It is jusė the sort of security, that the genius of his noble and learned oracle, or of Mr. Justice Bailey, or of Mr. Justice Park, might have devised: of all these luminaries the collective wisdom was perhaps expended on it. For all these luminaries, the name of barrister, with three years wear of it, was security sufficient : and, if he is sincere, Lord Sidmouth's successor looks no deeper than to names.
So much better in their eyes is a nominal security than a real one, that when a real one offers, it is deliberately put aside. (No. 6.)
The design of the Right Hon. Secretary found the class of country gentlemen standing in its way: a class, before which ministers, not to say kings themselves bow, was not to be lightly dealt with. Something in the way of compliment to them was indispensable ; the compliment, however, was unavoidably of a somewhat ambiguous character, as, not being eminent lawyers, they could not serve the purpose. Inaptitude on their parts, relative inaptitude at least, it was necessary should somehow or other be insinuated.
As to this matter, if absolute inaptitude would content the Right Hon. Gentleman, my feeble suffrage would see no very cogent reason against joining itself to his : but, as to comparative inaptitude, in the case in question,-comparative in relation to his three years old, and theretofore perhaps, eating and drinking barristers, so far I cannot go with him. For, not only country gentlemen at large, but country magistrates--nay, and such country magistrates as have been in use to performand that for whatsoever length of time--the duties of this very office-such are those he puts from him. This being decided, for extinguishing all pretensions to appropriate aptitude on their part, the purpose of his argument required a dyslogistic epithet. Routine is accord. ingly the epithet, by which the whole of the business they have been accustomed to is characterised. Yet, make the least of it, it at any rate composes the greatest part of the business of the very office from which he is excluding them : one more look, and, as you will see that the business they have been accustomed to, has, in the instance of many of them, and may, if he will vouchsafe to adopt them, be, in the instance of all these children of his adoption, made to comprise the whole of it. Such being the candidates whom he puts aside as unfit for the business, what are the objects of his embrace? Three years old barristers, altogether unused to business of any kind ; unless eating and drinking, or making bea · lieve to eat and drink, is business. To a person who has never dined, or made believe to dine, at an inn of court hall, all this may seem exaggeration, to say no worse, I speak not only from observation, but from experience. Such is my good fortune, never as yet have I been convicted of perjury : nobody has ever given me anything for saying this : my evidence is therefore good evidence ; and it applies not less to the making believe to eat and drink, than to the actual exhibition of those so perfectly conclusive, and exclusively receivable tests of aptitude for the office of magistrate. Thus the matter stood sixty years ago, and thus I am assured, by equally competent witnesses, it stands still. Let it not be said, the place being a law place, the conversation turns of course on law. There being no conversation on anything, there
no conversation on law; for, unless you happen to be already acquainted with him, you have no more conversation with your messmate, than if he were at the antipodes.
To complete his demonstration of the superiority of his three years old barristers without any experience, to a quondam country gentleman with thirty years of appropriate experience, the Right Hon. Secretary brings exemplification from the building act, and tells Honorable House of a case under it which (says No. 7.) had occupied a couple of days, during which surveyors had been examined on both sides.” Now, in a case of this sort, what is there that should render even an experienced magistrate less competent than an equally experienced barrister? What has it to do either with equity or with common law ? Country magistrates, who, not a few of them, are themselves builders—who, all of them, are accustomed to order buildings to be built-built with perhaps a little of their own money, and sometimes with rather too much of other people's—what should hinder them from being at least as well conversant with the subject, as the most learned inhabitant of Lincoln's Inn Old-buildings ? Here, for law is an act of parliament, nothing more: for fact, evidence about something that should or should not have been done under that same act. The days thus employed what would they have been to the purpose, if, instead of two, there had been twenty of them ?
At the winding up of his speech (No. 10.) to place above all contradiction the indispensableness of the 2001. a year, comes a trope—the word refuse-which seems to bid defiance to all en. deavors to descry anything in it beyond the intensity of the desire to give birth to the indispensable effect. .
Barristers-all barristers in the lump-are, by this figure of speech, divided into two classes : those who will serve for 6001. a year, and those who will not serve for the 600l. but will for the 800l. As to the meaning, it is indeed intelligible enough : not so, by any means, the grounds of it. That it were so, is, however, rather to be wished: for, those—all those, who would be content that the 6001. a year, public money, which the Right Hon. Secretary is thus buying creatures with, should be saved-all those, barristers as they are, are branded with the common name of refuse. Such is the contempt, the undisguised, the thus loudly proclaimed contempt, in which sincerity, I mean always comparative sincerity, is held by this one of our head guardians of public morals. Insincerity is among the qualities professed to be possessed by barristers: the only one which is sure to be possessed by any of them. Now then, true it is, that no reason can be alleged for supposing, that, so far as disposition goes, those who get least