Page images

Memoir of the late William Seymour, Esq.

soners had certainly more than anything else contributed to the improvement of their morals, and he thought it would tend to the happiness of Mr. Seymour in his last moments to think that he had effected so much good, not to the public only, but also to the unfortunate class of persons whom they were called upon to punish.

The Earl of Chichester, who presided at the meeting said, in putting this resolution to the Court, they scarcely could expect that he could do so in silence, when it must be known to many of the magistrates present how many years he had been not only a brother magistrate of Mr. Seymour, but on the most intimate and confidential terms with him. "I have (said his lordship) long felt, and indeed have ever felt since I have had the honour of being a magistrate in this county, and had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Seymour, that he was one of the most active and useful magistrates. Captain Shiffner and Mr. Gear have already alluded to his public services; and there are two of those services of which I am not so competent to speak as others-I mean his conduct on the Bench and in Court, because the success and ability with which he discharged the duties of these functions I can only know by report. But with regard to the value of his services here, and still more as visiting justice of the Lewes House of Correction, I can without undue partiality say that I think the county is not indebted to any individual magistrate more than to Mr. Seymour. I perfectly agree with Mr. Gear that the great improvements in the House of Correction are mainly owing to the zeal and attention of Mr. Seymour, not only in proposing the new arrangements, but for the indefatigable manner in which he watched the carrying out of that measure, and when the Court remember that he has been during a considerable number of years, and up to the moment when Mr. Seymour felt it incumbent on him, from his increasing years, to retire from the office of magistrate, I think we must admit that he has shewn a degree of persevering diligence in the cause of prison discipline and the performance of the duties of a magistrate which is scarcely ever to be met with. regard to the success of his efforts, and the efforts of those who have acted with him in promoting the improvements of the House of Correction at Lewes, I do believe that at the present moment, if it were not for the inconvenience of the prison, owing to its unfortunate construction, it would be the best prison in the kingdom. If the constant attention of the magistrates to the most minute concerns of the prison and to the conduct of the officers.-if a constant attention to the wants of the officers and the prisoners,-if these be important and valuable services to render to the county, then I am sure Mr. Seymour has set us a most remarkable example in those duties; for no man has been more diligent, more attentive and more successful than he has been."


His lordship then read the resolution, which was put and carried unanimously; and on the motion of Captain Shiffner, the noble chairman was requested to communicate it to Mr. Seymour.

From the period referred to until a recent illness Mr. Seymour took a very active part in promoting the success of the local charities, particularly the county hospital, the dispensary, and the Brighton branch of the Royal Humane Society, in which he shewed great interest. He was ever a staunch friend to education, and to the progress of literature, the arts, and sciences. Early in 1850 he was a second



time left alone in the world by the death of Mrs. Seymour, and shortly afterwards his friends and admirers assembled at the Town Hall, "to consider what step should be taken to present to him some lasting token of respect for his public worth.” Earl of Chichester presided, and the meeting was attended by many of the most influential residents; and upon the motion of Richard Newnham, Esq., seconded by the Rev. J. S. M. Anderson, it was resolved, "That in consequence of the long magisterial and other public services of William Seymour, Esq., it was the opinion of this meeting that there should be presented to him some lasting testimonial of the esteem of the inhabitants of this town."

This just mark of respect was carried into effect by a subscription for a marble bust, placed on a pedestal in the Town Hall of Brighton, with the following inscription :

"William Seymour, whose zeal and watchfulness, whose ripe experience and knowledge, devoted, in the closing years of a long and active life, to the welfare of this town and county, won for him the respect and love of those who witnessed them, and who desire thus to testify their sense of his services. 1850."

We have been glad thus to record the merits of this eminent Solicitor, as well from personal respect to his memory, as on account of the illustration it affords of the peculiar fitness of experienced solicitors for the magisterial bench; and whilst it is true that many solicitors on their retirement from the practice of their profession are immediately placed in the commission of the peace, we conceive that the public should not be deprived of the benefit of their services during their actual practice, provided neither they nor their partners are engaged in business before their brother magistrates.

The following are some of the many important improvements which Mr. Seymour, as a magistrate, either proposed or to which he gave his zealous support.

In 1830, Brighton and some adjoining parishes were created, by an order of sessions, a separate division for petty sessions, under the 9 Geo. 4, c. 45. And the Brighton division was made a separate division for assessed taxes, at a general meeting held at Lewes, whereby the inhabitants of the Brighton division (more than 40.000) were saved the trouble of going to Lewes on appeals or other tax business.

In 1831, a new assessment of the county rate was obtained for the eastern division, no new assessment having been made since the termination of the war in 1815. And an agenda of all business intended or required to be transacted at each quarter sessions, was ordered to be prepared, printed, and circulated among the magistrates, previously to each sessions, and a printed calendar of the prisoners, and of the verdicts and sentences after the sessions.

In 1832, Mr. Seymour, Mr. Gear, and Captain Richardson visited Horsham Gaol, and made a report for its improvement, which was printed and circulated by the sessions, and afterwards adopted; and an elaborate return of all pauper lunatics in the county, in classes, was obtained.

In 1833, intermediate sessions were established, and have been ever since continued. And the employment of prisoners in the Lewes House of Correction in manufacture was introduced from the House of Correction at Petworth and other places.


Law of Attornies and Solicitors.-Law of Costs.-Judgments Execution Bill,

A building was also ordered to be erected in Lewes House of Correction, for female prisoners, thereby wholly separating them from the male prisoners and officers; including a kitchen and wash-house. A chapel was also ordered to be built for all prisoners, and an additional wing for the male prisoners, in the male side of the prison.

In 1834 and thenceforward, the transaction of business on the county-day was made an open court, and reporters were admitted and accommodated.

In 1835, an order was made for discontinuing commitments of criminal prisoners to Horsham Gaol. In the same year, an act was passed for effecting greater uniformity of practice in the government of prisons, and for appointing inspectors. Mr. Seymour was examined before a Committee of the House of Lords on this bill. He was also consulted by Mr. Hope Maclean respecting the poor laws, and his opinions are published in Mr. Maclean's Report, particularly as to pauper appeals, bastardy, and emigration. Mr. Seymour likewise corresponded at great length with the county-rate commissioners, as appears by their printed report.

In 1837 a diary table of business done at petty sessions was established, and directed to be returned to quarter sessions. An arrangement was made for contracting for the purchase of almost everything supplied for the Lewes House of Correction, and a finance committee was appointed; and various improvements were effected in the construction of the court, for the accommodation of juries and witnesses. The seats in the nisi prius court were greatly increased; the gallery in the criminal court was appropriated for witnesses, and separate cells were built under the courts for the reception of prisoners awaiting their trial (preventing contamination), and other important improvements were made in the county hall.

In 1839, on the appointment of a new Treasurer for the Eastern Division, important regulations for his office were adopted, and parishes were allowed to pay their county rate by two payments, instead of the whole at once. The Constabulary Force Act was taken into consideration by the magistrates in quarter sessions; and Mr. Seymour obtained in almost every year valuable Parliamentary returns relating to the duties of justices of the Peace.



Ir appeared that Mrs. Lowe employed Mr. Thomson as her solicitor, from July, 1853, to February, 1855, when she discharged him, and retained other solicitors. Mr. Thomson's bill of costs being paid, he handed over to the new solicitors the deeds, books, papers, and writings belonging to Mrs. Lowe, except the original letters addressed to, and received by him as her solicitor, and relating exclusively to her business, and except copies of letters written by him as her solicitor, which copies had been made by him, and had not been charged for in his bill of costs. These he declined to deliver up, but offered to furnish copies of both classes of letters at her expense. Mrs. Lowe thereupon presented this petition for the de

livery up of these letters and copies, which she alleged were important to her interests.

The Master of the Rolls said: "I am at present of opinion that the copies of letters written by the solicitor, and copied in his own letter-book, cannot be ordered to be given up, and that, if the client wants copies of them, she must pay for them; but as to the original letters, I shall reserve my judgment."

His Honour, on a future day, said: "The copies made by the solicitor of letters written by him to third parties, on his client's business, were made for his own benefit and protection, and were neither charged for by him, nor paid for by his client. If, therefore, the client requires copies, she can only have them on the terms of paying for them.

"No question arises as to the letters from the client to her solicitor; but my impression is, that the solicitor would be entitled to retain them.

"As to the letters written to the solicitor by third parties, relating exclusively to the client's business, I think that they, having been received by the solicitor as the agent of the client, she is entitled to have them delivered up to her. My decision is in no way founded on any questions of copyright or qualified ownership."

In re Thomson, 20 Beav. 545.



A PARTNER, claiming a fund under the Trustee Relief Act, 10 & 11 Vic. c. 96, was allowed his costs, although his claim failed. According to the present practice, and the cases of Day v. Croft, 19 Beav. 518, and in re Hertford Charity, there cited, a respondent unnecessarily served with a petition is not as a matter of course entitled to his costs of appearing. In re Bissell's Will, 2 Kay and J. 369.

OF PARTIES ON SPECIAL CASE. WITH respect to the costs upon a special case, there should either be some arrangement between the parties, or there should be a question in the case out of what fund they ought to come.

The Court has no jurisdiction to order the costs of all parties to such case to be paid unless there is a fund in Court.

Blinston v. Warburton, 2 Kay and J. 400.


THE Scottish Trade Protection Society, Edinburgh, comprising upwards of thirteen hundred and fifty members-bankers, merchants, and traders,-have petitioned the House of Commons in favor of this Bill, stating that they have considered with great satisfaction the Bill introduced by Mr. Crauford and Mr. Dunlop, intituled "A Bill to enable execution judgments or decrees obtained in certain courts of to issue in any part of the United Kingdom under record in England, Scotland, or Ireland," commonly called "The Judgments Execution Bill." They are of opinion that the present system of procedure in the Courts of Law in England, Ireland, and Scotland-which requires a creditor who has obtained judgment against a debtor in one country within the United Kingdom to raise a new action in the courts of any of the other countries of the said

Encroachments on the Profession.-Official Salaries.-United Law Clerks' Society. 193

kingdom to which his debtor may remove or possess property, before such judgment can be put in forceis injurious to trade and commerce, and the cause of great loss to the mercantile public generally.

venience of the members of the bar, partly in order that those references may not interfere with the ordinary business of the office, are extended from three till frequently five or six o'clock; and, after those hours of attendance, they have to read over and consider the evidence taken, and to frame their awards. It may be well said that "they have some reason to complain "-that, while the salaries of other and inferior officers should be raised, theirs should be continued at the same amount £1,200, as that fixed for less extensive and less important ON THE PRO- duties, and that they should be left without the FESSION. retiring pension enjoyed by almost all public officers of similar grades.

The petitioners venture to suggest that the Judgments Execution Bill is calculated to remedy the existing evils, and to prepare the way for the gradual assimilation of the mercantile laws of the United Kingdom.

The petitioners therefore trust that the House will be pleased to pass the Bill into a law, with such alterations or additions as may seem fit.


We have just received one of the circulars issued by a new association of unqualified persons, assuming to act in the collection of debts, and charging the usual solicitor's fee for writing letters before the commencement of an action. The following is a copy:

"The British Mercantile Agency for reciprocating information tending to guard against bad debts, for relieving the subscriber from all trouble and expense when bad debts occur, and for recovering debts at no expense to the Subscriber.

"London: 13, Old Jewry Chambers.
"Manchester: 14, St. Ann's Square.
Liverpool: 10, South John Street."

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

"We may also inform you that this agency consists of an association of a very considerable number of the wholesale [same trade as person to whom letter is addressed] in [Liverpool] and other places, to whom the nature of this communication will be made known, unless it is promptly responded to. The propriety of doing so will be obvious to you, and we shall wait until next, the inst., when, unless a remittance or some satisfactory arrangement is made, peremptory proceedings will be forthwith commenced against

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]



THE twenty-fourth anniversary festival of this society took place on Tuesday, the 17th of June last, at the Freemasons Tavern. Roundell Palmer, Esq., Q.C., M.P., presided, and was supported by the Lord Justice Knight Bruce, the Lord Justice Turner, Mr. Digby Seymour, Mr. Serjeant Ballantine, Mr. Serjeant Parry, Mr. Burrows, Mr. Under-Sheriff Rose, Mr. Calthrop, Mr. Cochrane, Mr. Smale, Mr. Toker, Mr. J. Cooke, Mr. Turner, Mr. Bayford, Mr. Coulthard, Mr. Parkinson, Mr. Palmer, and other gentlemen. About 250 sat down to dinner.

The Chairman said the first duty which he had to discharge that evening was to propose the health of her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen, a toast which it was needless to say every assembly of Englishmen always receives with the utmost satisfaction, not only on account of that loyalty which all bear to our sovereign, whoever that sovereign might be, but more especially on account of the personal qualities which so prominently distinguish her present majesty

qualities which are such that whatever may be the character of the assembly at which her health may be proposed, that assembly was sure to recognise in her some peculiar merit and virtue commending her to their particular affections, in addition to those which earn the respect and loyalty of her subjects at large. Now in that assembly one could not but recollect that if there be anything which distinguishes our country among all the other countries in the world, it was that we are a nation governed by law; that truth was as fit to be remembered in that assembly as anywhere else; and if ever there was a sovereign who was the personification of that truth, and who regulated and governed herself by it, while on the other hand, in every act of her private life she sets that example to all her subjects which the first person in the land ought to do,- -we never could exceed the actual instance of it which we have in her majesty who now fills the throne. Therefore, he did not feel a doubt that without more words they would be well content to join in drinking with enthusiasm the health of her Majesty.

The toast was responded to with every manifestation of loyalty.

The Chairman said the toast they had just drunk was always followed by another which they should drink, he would not say with equal pleasure, but certainly with a degree of pleasure which would be rendered from the heart, he meant the health of her Majesty's consort, his Royal Highness Prince

[blocks in formation]

Albert, Albert Prince of Wales, and the rest of the royal family. No one could doubt that her Majesty receives from her royal consort the most valuable assistance in preserving the dignity and discharging the duties of her station in that perfect manner to which they had just borne their testimony and their homage. His Royal Highness knew the difficulties of his duties, and what were the proprieties of his most peculiar and difficult position not less well than her Majesty knew the duties of hers, and they presented as remarkable a combination of private and public virtues as it would be possible if we were to ransack the pages of history to discover. Around them were growing up a family who year by year become more interesting to the people of this country, and who, as we begin to know something of their character, justify the hope that they will prove to be worthy in every respect of their royal parents. They knew that the eldest of that family was, if report spoke the truth, as he believed it did, destined to bear to another country closely united by ties of both political and religious union with our own, the fruits of the education which she has received; and he thought those who had been able to observe the speaking countenance, and the character and genius which is discernible in that countenance, of the illustrious princess to whom he had referred, could not doubt that she will be a blessing to another country-as great a blessing as her royal mother has been to ours. He called upon them to drink with enthusiasm the toast he had proposed.

The toast was drank with all the honours.

The Chairman, in proposing the toast of the "Army and Navy," said they were not a warlike body; their duty was to cultivate the arts of peace; but nevertheless they were not unable to sympathise with and admire the gallant actions of our countrymen, who are called upon to use the sword instead of the pen, and they were able to recognise with the rest of the people the great service they had done to their country. Upon the last occasion they met in that hall, to celebrate the anniversary of the United Law Clerks' Society, they would recollect that the toast he was then going to propose was proposed under very different circumstances. At that time an army as gallant and brave as ever took the field from this or any other country, was encountering toils and perils with unheard of constancy and fortitude-an army which as often as it had been engaged in the field had won imperishable laurels, and he would venture to say, honours brighter still by the noble, the Christian, the patient fortitude with which it endured hardships more difficult to encounter than anything which could come from the enemy's sword. On that occasion, hopeful of success, yet still knowing that the issue of events was in the hands of God, we drank the health of that noble army and of the navy which had supported its operations with energy and zeal. Now, they had to thank that army for having obtained for us, under God's providence, a happy and glorious peace. He hoped, indeed he was sure, that the achievements of the army and navy would never be forgotten in the history of this country. The longer this country endures, the more they will be appreciated, and those imperfections upon which too much criticism had been bestowed, would vanish when we have time and opportunity to reflect upon the difficulties to be contended with, and the noble spirit and perfect success with which those difficulties were encountered. He believed that from Lord Raglan, the commander of that army, who stood his ground when men of un

sullied reputation who had received the well-merited applause of their country thought themselves justified in retiring-Lord Raglan was firm and patient then as he was firm and patient afterwards, when criticism at home was sapping his health, and taking away the lustre from his cheeks-from Lord Raglan down to the lowest soldier under his command, there was but one spirit and one meed of praise to be bestowed, and he was sure they would all join with him in the most cordial manner in commemorating their great achievements, and in the hope that, under God's providence, the peace which they had so nobly won for us may be enduring.

The Secretary (Mr. Rogers) read the annual report, of which we presented our readers with a copy in a previous number (p. 164, ante).

The Chairman, in proposing the toast of the evening, "Prosperity to the United Law Clerks' Society," said the natural sequel of the report which they had just heard read was the toast which he had to propose; but he should preface that toast by some observations upon the very interesting occasion on which they were met. He looked upon that society as interesting to every member of the profession in particular, and also of importance to the profession at large, and to the interests which are entrusted to the care of that profession. If they for a moment looked to those who were not the most directly interested in the society-he meant the bench, the bar, and the solicitors-who gave their assistance and support to it upon that and other similar occasions, he did not think they would at all be at a loss to find abundant reasons why they should do so, whether they looked to their interests

although he knew that was not really the prevailing motive-or whether they looked to the duty they owed to their common profession or to the feeling of personal gratitude which they must bear, and ought to bear, to those who were so closely bound up with themselves. Now, as a member of the bar, and representing the bar on that occasion, it was natural that he should remember not only the clerks of solicitors, but also of barristers, who are interested in this society; and he should be ashamed of himself, indeed, if on any occasion he were slow to bear testimony to the deep debt of gratitude that the members of the bar owed to the clerks who assisted them in the performance of their duties. To say that it would be impossible to discharge those duties without their assistance would be to say that which was obvious; but if they did not assist them in the discharge of those duties with zeal and attachment, and also with integrity and uprightness, those services would be of little worth. He had no doubt that the experience of others was like his own, and certainly his experience was that the assistance and the services which that most estimable body of men rendered was given with a fidelity and affection, which no tie either of blood or friendship could surpass; and which, unless they were wholly deficient of gratitude, must make them feel bound to them by ties hardly worth being distinguished from those of blood or friendship. If they were ready to give their support to a society or institution which in any way tended to benefit the class he had alluded to, they would be the most ungrateful of men. The same thing, of course, must be said by solicitors with respect to their clerks and the discharge of their duties, which in some respects might even be said to be of higher importance than those of barristers' clerks, because on a multitude of



United Law Clerks' Society.

occasions the clerks have often to do the solicitor's own work-they are required on his behalf to possess skill, judgment, professional knowledge, discretion, and all those faculties, the presence or absence of which makes the difference between a useful and a useless, a successful or a failing man. Then, if they recollected also to what a great extent the honour of the profession is in their hands-how, if there were any failure or want of honour on their part, their masters and their masters' interests might be involved, they saw still more how completely all classes of the profession were bound together; and he must say that he contemplated with admiration the manner in which both those classes, clerks of barristers, and the clerks of solicitors, discharged their duties. Their intelligence as a body was equal to the demand upon it, and he could hardly say more, for a greater demand could perhaps scarcely be made upon the intelligence of any body of men. As a general rule, their discretion and their deportment was deserving of the highest praise; and if he spoke of their honesty, recollecting, as he did, that the whole income of the bar pass through the hands of their elerks, and were in a sense dependent upon the way in which they discharged their duties, and when he remembered how rare indeed it was that a whisper of a lapse in that respect went abroad, he could not but repeat that he looked with admiration upon their conduct generally. Now, that a body of men capable of discharging their duties with uprightness and fidelity should be maintained, all would understand to be of the utmost importance both to every branch of the profession and to the duties which the profession in general have to discharge. They all knew to what a very great extent both the pecuniary interests and often the domestic peace and the honour of multitudes of persons are entrusted to the profession to which they belonged; and if that profession in any of its branches were to fail in due sense of its own honour and dignity, it would be difficult to estimate the amount of discredit which might be brought upon the administration of justice in general, and of course upon the profession as its administrators. In all these respects, therefore, they all-clerks, solicitors, barristers and judgeshad a common interest, and one which could not be exaggerated, in supporting an institution which tends to maintain the uprightness, the honour, the dignity, and the independence of that most numerous, and not less important, branch of the profession the clerks both of barristers and solicitors. The only thing, then, which remained for him to observe upon was the tendency of that society to accomplish those objects. The two qualities requisite in such a society as that were these-first, that it should be a resource which those poorer members of the profession who, without their own fault, are deprived of the means of acquiring an independent subsistence, may look to with certainty and confidence as their hope against the casualties of life; and secondly, that they may not look to it with such certainty or in such confidence as would tend to impair in them the principles of providence, independence or integrity. That society furnished both those requisites. It was a resource for those members of the profession who, through illness, infirmity, or old age, or the inevitable accidents of life, are thrown upon the world without the means of obtaining an honourable subsistence, for it was a fact that the society, having been in existence now for twenty-four years, had never, in a single instance, failed to meet the


demands made upon its resources. In addition to that, it had, with a generosity and a spirit of charitable sympathy worthy of its members, been enabled to extend large annual assistance to other distressed members of the profession whose circumstances had not enabled them to become members. In all these respects, therefore, it answered the obvious purposes of such an institution. But did it also answer the condition of guarding against improvidence? Assuredly it did. The very fact which had been mentioned in the report that the recipients of bounty owing to illness from this society during the year had limited their demands to so moderate a sum as £137, and that there are now only eight life annuitants depending upon the society-those two facts spoke far more forcibly than anything he could say to show the caution and the care with which the society limited its assistance to those members who are deserving and proper persons to receive that help without being induced to rely upon it in a manner injurious to their independence; and he (the chairman) owned that he thought that any member of that society might look with pride upon the circumstance that so few of its members are reduced from year to year to the necessity of having to depend upon its fund. They might rejoice that there was such a resource open to them, but they might rejoice still more that it tempted none of them to leave the straight road of the profession to depend upon such resources. But let them not imagine that the funds of the society were in excess, or that they did not stand in need of continuing and increased support. The contribution of the members amounted during the year to £1,322-a considerable increase upon the last year. That was a good sign of the increasing support which the society met from the class of men directly interested in it; but when they looked to the number of that class, they saw there was still room for a very large increasing support, and he trusted and believed that that support would cordially be given. He found that the managers of the society had, with a laudable foresight, made a provision against the difficulties they will naturally have to contend with from the increasing age and infirmity of original members, and that they had now savings invested to the amount of £18,000. Now that was not by any means too much, if they bore in mind that the present life annuitants required about half that amount to support them, and that as the society increased in years its number of members requiring life annuities would increase also. The life annuitants now on the fund were, with a single exception, persons who had been reduced to that necessity by illness, and the only exception is the last addition to the numbera gentleman who, after fifty-years' hard service, had well earned the retiring pension which he received from the society. He did not know that there was anything more that he need say except to express the great satisfaction it gave him, since they had thought him worthy of such an honour, to take the chair on that occasion. He could truly say that he thought there were many others of higher standing in the law, who, on many accounts, could have occupied that honourable post with greater advantage to the society than he could, but still he could safely say that there was none who could have done so with a more thorough or complete gratification to himself than he had experienced. He called upon them to drink with enthusiasm the toast he had proposed.

Mr. Serjeant Ballantine wished that the duty of proposing the next toast had fallen into hands of

« EelmineJätka »