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business are behind-hand in this endowment, with those who get most: but disposition is one thing, practice is another; and the less a man has manifested of it, the more deep-drawn is the contempt which he receives on his head at the hands of the Right Hon. Secretary, from the bucket lettered with the word refuse.
Meantime, here stands a strange mystery. Refuse - were there ever such a plenty of it, would the hand of Mr. Peel pick it off the dunghill, and place it on high-this refuse ? Forbid it, consistency, at least. For who is it that prophecies it of him ? Is it not Mr. Peel himself? But shall he be suffered thus to deal by him. self ? Shall Amyntas murder Amyntas ?
One possible solution remains, and but one. On the part of a barrister, willingness to serve in the office of police magistrate for so little as the 6001. a year, is not merely evidence of his inapti. tude for that office, but conclusive evidence. This meaning, however strange, being intelligible enough,—we have thus far something tangible to examine. For, supposing none but refuse willing to serve, refuse he must take up with, or have none : and thus, it being Hobson's choice, there is no inconsistency either in his making it, or in his avowing the making it. But suppose enough willing who are not refuse, what matter is it how many there are who are refuse? Will he, then, having good and bad before him, both in plenty, take in hand the bad, putting aside the good ?
The stock of difficulties is not yet exhausted. Comes now a point for him to settle with certain gentlemen. Of the thirty gentlemen at present serving in this situation, four I see, who, by his own account (No. 11.) are serving, and for these three years, or thereabouts, have been serving, at the low price. None of them, I hope, were born in Ireland, or in the United States : if yes, there may be danger in the case. “Sir (they may say to him, one after another) do you mean to call me refuse ?." One consolation is, that refuse, as according to him they are (as per No. 1.) they are not the less included in his certificate (No. 6.) of universal aptitude. This, with the assurance of the additional 2001. may, it is hoped soften them. Was it for this that the 2001. was extended to those, in whose instance experience, if he is to be believed, has demonstrated that for any other purpose it was not needed ?
One lumping assumption there is, upon which the whole strength of his argument rests. Faintness of prospect, such as to induce a man in the profession to take up with 600l. a year certain, charged with moderate labor, is conclusive evidence of his not being fit, either for the profession of barrister, or for the office of
police magistrate. How brisk are the Right Hon. Secretary's conclusions ! Involved in the assumption is this—that all who have not actually a certain quantity of the business in question, or at least a strong assurance of it, are unfit for it. Now then how stands the matter in point of fact? In a prodigious degree more than any other, this profession is always overstocked. In this same profession, the quantity of business that shall be deemed sufficient to produce a refusal of the office, with the 6001. a year-let the fixation of it be left even to him—for one who is in possession of it there may be two, or more likely a much greater multiple of one, that are not in possession of it. Here then, according to his own reckoning, for one who is not refuse, there will be the two, the three, the half dozen (where shall we end?) who are refuse : and yet, as above, of this refuse, for aught he can know, numbers there are in any proportion, whose aptitude is at the highest pitch, and who yet, if they have either common prudence, or disposition to follow so many examples as are before them, will not disdain to pick up the supposed disgraceful pittance. Let me not be accused of taking an undue advantage of an unguarded word. Substitute the tamest word the language furnishes, the arguments remain the same.
Mean time, who does not know that there are certain points of aptitude, in respect of which a man may be very indifferently qualified for making his way at the bar; and yet, perhaps, be but so much the better qualified for the exercise of the functions of the office in question, being, as they are, with Mr. Justice Bailey's leave be it spoken, the functions of the judge. Rhetoric is the leading talent of the barrister; logic, of the judge: and between the two, the strife is not much less fierce than, according to the poet, between liberty and love.
Be this as it may, almost every body knows--and a man must be a Secretary of State, or at least a cabinet minister, not to knowthat in this profession, above all others, success depends on accident, at least as much as on aptitude :--that it has for its proximate cause a certain opinion in the heads of attornies: and that, if external circumstances, altogether independent of inward endowments, do not concur in the generation of this opinion, a man may unite the rhetoric of a Murray with the logic of a Dunning, and, at the end of a long life, die, like Serjeant Kemble the reporter, without ever having clasped, to his panting breast, the blessing of a brief.
Nor yet are we out of our wood. For, still remains one topic, to thicken the perplexity. It is that of the length of standingthe yet remaining one of the three branches of the Right Hon. Secretary's security for aptitude. To render a barrister an object of
on the eu liberty almost
his choice, three years (says No. 3.) must be his length of standing, Now then of the number three thus applied, what was the design? to extend the number of admissible candidates, or to narrow it? The too young or the too old-for the exclusion of which of these unapt classes was it intended? The too young-says the wording, abstractedly considered : the too old-says the word refuse, and the sort of argument conveyed by it. For, these are they, who, by their willingness to accept of so low a price as the 6001. have given the requisite proof of inaptitude :-of their despair of barrister business ;-and consequently of their inaptitude for the office of police magistrate. Thus incompetent (says the argument) are the old barristers run to seed.-Turn now to the three year olds. In the breasts of all this blooming youth, no such self-condemning and inaptitude-proving despair, can have had time to form itself. At this short standing,—unless here and there a special pleader, who has shown himself by practice under the bar, be an exception,-no practice, no expectationconsequently no disappointment. Expectation! How should there have been any? After these three years, how long (shall we say) continues the time for junior openings, which require nothing but a few words got by heart, and half-guinea motions of course, which require not even that ?_sources not furnishing, on an average, the tenth part of the supposed disdained 6001. Now then comes the comparison. To these men, in whose instance, by the admission, or rather by the assertion, of the Right Hon. Secretary, the probability is, that they have had no appropriate experience worth mentioning,—to these men is to belong the exclusive chance of being chosen for the office : while those, who may have appropriate experience, in any quantity not incompatible with the choice of 600l. a year for life, charged with the already very moderate, and naturally still decreasing labor, which will be seen presently, - are for that reason to be regarded as being proved in hopeless degree unapt, and on that ground are to be excluded from all chance.
“But you have forgot” (says somebody) “the wonder-working 2001. a year.”_Not I indeed. But, forasmuch as, in the case of the three year olds, it is to create aptitude out of nothing - I see not why it should find less difficulty in creating it, in the instance of the twenty or twenty-three year olds, to whose stock of the requisite materials no limitation can be assigned, short of that which is applied by an assurance of more than the 6001. a year by professional practice.
To prepare honorable house for the reception of the above logic and the above rhetoric, Right Hon. Secretary sets out, I see, with history. Original salaries, 400l. ; result per Times (No. 2.)
os incompetence :" per Morning Chronicle, « total incompetence.” Cause and proof of the incompetence, manifest: out of twelve (the original number) barristers, no more than three. Being barristers, these three should naturally have produced a five-and-twenty per cent, discount from the totality of the incompetence; but perhaps they were of the refuse sort: 'and grant him but this, the exception, being thus only apparent, gives strength rather than weakness to his sweeping rule. Here too sincerity compels me to be totally recalcitrant: major, minor, conclusion—to nothing can I accede. Incompetence, neither proved nor probabilized: power of the first 2001. a year to increase competence (supposing a deficiency of it) denied by me : supposing it admitted, need of the proposed second 2001. a year for producing competence, denied again : the actual production of it having been so triumphantly proved by me, as above: proved by the most irrefragable of all testimony-his own evidence.
Proof of the incompetence of the original nine,-non-barristership. With so concise, and at the same time so satisfactory a proof, especially to the barrister part of the audience,-at this stage, of his history in union with his logic, the Right Hon. Secretary might perhaps have done as well, had he not only begun, but ended : not much strength, it is believed, will either of these his supports, receive from the particulars. The year of the establishment being 1792,—the nine are all of them, by this time, gathered to their fathers ; indeed, the Right Hon. Gentleman's urbanity considered, the sentence thus passed on them proves as much. From such a quarter, a more drastic condemnation, unless it were by the word refuse, can scarcely be imagined. But they had not risen (poor gentlemen!) to the rank of those, the feelings of whose surviving relatives can make claim to the protection of Lord Chief Justice Abbott; and, if they had, it is not against a Secretary of State, nor even against a member of hon. house-speaking in his place, that it could be afforded. Instead of the sweet satisfaction of seeing fine and imprisonment inflicted on the gainsayer,—they must therefore, under their affliction, put up with such poor support, as an obscure and unpaid ex-barrister of the refuse class has it in his power to give.
With an exception (of which presently) of no one of the devoted nine do I remember anything. The sort of character evidence which I have to adduce for them, is therefore none of it of that sort which is called direct : none of it more than circumstantial. Nor is it the worse for being so; for, as applied to character, the value of direct evidence, unless it be from some such person as a Secretary of State, may be judged from what is above, although it is from a Secretary of State.
To return to the history.--In regard to appropriate aptitude (competence I cannot keep to, since it includes, not to say exclusively denotes, acceptance at the hands of those to whom inaptitude is a recommendation)-in regard to appropriate aptitude, the question is between the nine defunct and reprobated original magistrates, and the Right Hon. Secretary's magistrates in petto or in cmbryo—his three year old Barristers. Of these, as yet unborn babes of grace-offspring of the imagination of the Right Hon. Secretary, the title to the quality of aptitude has been already disposed of: circumstantial evidence and proof presumptive of inaptitude,—want of experience in business, or more shortlytheir not being men of business. Now then for my nine clients. The Right Hon. Secretary's list of them (No. 2.) has been seen : major, one; clergymen, three ;-(oh fie! what after the major ?) starch dealers, two; Glasgow trader, one. Now, with the exception of the three clergymen (whom I shall leave to those so much more efficient advocates, of whom no gentlemen of their cloth can ever be in want-magistrates for whom I cannot find any tolerable presumptive evidence of their having been men of business in any way)-of all the others I am bold to affirm that they had been men of business.
I will go further, and add,-nor is there any one of those occupations, experience in the business of which does not afford stronger presumption of aptitude—even in relation to the business of the office in question, than can be afforded by an utter want of all experience in any kind of business. The major, being a major, must have passed through the several grades—ensign (or the equivalent) lieutenant, captain : and, in all of them, if commanding men by scores and hundreds is business—he must have been a man of business. The starch dealers, they too must have been men of business; for, buying and selling starch is doing business : and in that business, with whatever degree of success, they could not but have been exerting themselves, forasmuch as their subsistence depended on it. All this too, in addition to their having been bona fide eating as well as drinking; to wit, from the hour they gave up the nipple, down to the time of their appointment; which is rather more than can be alleged in favor of the aptitude of the Right Hon. Secretary's protegés, unless it be the difference between the performing of those exercises at a man's own home, and the performing them in the hall of an inn of court: which difference, I cannot bring myself to regard as constituting, to the purpose in question, a very material one.
I come lastly to the Glasgow trader. Being a trader, he too must have been a man of business. As such I might leave him ; but, it having fallen in my way, to know in what ways, and in