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armies to certain victories ; and she has reared also the tribe of cabbage-garden heroes. She has adorned our Parliament with splendid orators and consummate statesmen, and has afflicted it also with a breed of bawling demagogues and venal fools. And so it happens that this green and prolific island, with the singular versatility of her race, has supplied to the Bar of England some of its brightest ornaments, and some of its blackest sheep; bestowing on the former a learning and eloquence which Englishmen are proud to admire, and enriching the latter with a power of impudence and a fertility in fraud which defy all description, as (to the uninitiated intellect) they pass all knowledge. Should one of this latter find his way to an English Circuit, it could hardly be considered a matter for legitimate surprise if he should become an object of suspicion and dislike, and hic niger est be the motto coupled with his name.”

Does my friend mean to contend to-day that that is not intended by the writer of this libel to be applied to Mr. Seymour ? The defendant has pleaded not guilty. Does he mean to say, “I did not mean that to apply to Mr. Seymour ?” The application of it in the last sentence is perfect. After describing the one class, the other is described as “ The Irish blackguard, swaggering, foulmouthed, and shameless: the most insolent of upstarts, the most unblushing of swindlers.” “The blackest sheep of the English

. Bar.” “Enriched with a power of impudence and a fertility in fraud which defy all description." That is the description which is given of Mr. Seymour by the writer of this libel. You see now that all that had been said before was merely preparatory to bringing down this battery upon him; and here he is charged in the coarsest and broadest terms, not only with being "a blackguard, swaggering, foul-mouthed, and shameless,” but as being “ the most insolent of upstarts, the most unblushing of swindlers,” possessed of a "power of impudence and a fertility in fraud which defy all description.” That is the description which is here given of Mr. Seymour by the writer of this article, who, when he is brought into this Court and challenged to justify what he has said, declines to assert that any one single assertion he has made is true. Then he goes on to the details, and he says:

“ But to return. Mr. Digby Seymour, whether received on the Northern Circuit with dislike and hostility, as he himself asserts, or with the ordinary courtesy and fairness exhibited by the Bar to new comers, as we prefer to believe, persevered in the profession he had chosen, and succeeded in obtaining a moderate share of practice. It is generally affirmed, indeed, that he was assisted to the latter by an agreement of a peculiar nature entered into with his father-in-law, who, at the time of Mr. Seymour's

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marriage, was a solicitor in considerable practice ; but we are unaware whether the rumour rests on any sufficient authority, and considering the subsequent pecuniary misfortune of his father-inlaw, we should apprehend that the greatest service rendered to Mr. Digby Seymour by that relative was his return to Parliament for the borough of Sunderland, in conjunction with Mr. George Hudson, in the year 1852.”

There again, if the writer had only condescended to assert that that was true, or that one word of it was true, I should have had the opportunity of proving whether it was true or not. I have told you that Mr. Seymour was in considerable practice before he knew that part at all; and he owed nothing whatever to the relationship which the writer has assumed to exist. He says:

“We never were able to discover that Mr. Digby Seymour, during his first sojourn in the House of Commons, added in any appreciable degree either to the usefulness or the brilliance of that assembly; we are not aware that any measure was secured by his exertions, or any principle elucidated by his oratory, or any party at all benefited by his adherence, save in the matter of his vote. For this last he was rewarded with the Recordership of Newcastle, to the just dissatisfaction of the Bar, who thought that better men had been passed over for an unworthy political motive."

I have told you that that appointment was made in 1854, at a time when Mr. Seymour was the leader of the sessions in those counties, and a person to whom, in the natural order, it would come. At the time when Mr. Seymour gave his vote in the House of Commons, the Recordership of Newcastle was not vacant-nobody dreamed that it would be vacant-and the vote which Mr. Seymour gave, therefore, could have had nothing to do with it. There is this note appended to the last passage I read:

“We observe that in his speech at Southampton, Mr. Digby Sey. mour instances his elevation to the Recordership of Newcastle as a proof of his professional success. We believe that Sir George Hayter could, if he were so minded, tell a different tale."

I say again, if there had been the least foundation for believing that there was any truth in the statement here made, Sir George Hayter could have answered the matter. Do they know, or do they not know, that Sir George Hayter has answered it ? At all events, they might have pleaded that their statement was true, and they might have called Sir George Hayter to prove it. Then the writer goes on:

“ It may, perhaps, be surmised that the appointment was dictated by a more intimate knowledge of the mood of the electors of Sun

derland than the general public possessed ; for on vacating his seat,

; as he was compelled by law to do on acceptance of the office, and offering himself for re-election, Mr. Digby Seymour was defeated, and ousted for the time from political life. From that date till his return for Southampton, nothing noticeable is recorded of him, unless it be an undignified squabble, when sitting in his judicial capacity, with the Bar of the Newcastle Sessions. But it is only right to say that, on this occasion, Mr. Seymour was not solely in the wrong, and the incident is only worth alluding to as a curious example of that fatality for hot water which is this gentleman's habitual and unhappy characteristic.”

I say that this passage and passages like this show what the animus of the writer is. Even when he is compelled to say a word in favour of Mr. Seymour, he cannot help adding something which will mar the whole effect of it.

“When Lord Derby dissolved Parliament in 1859, and it became erident from day to day that his adherents were gaining on the hustings, a curious phenomenon suddenly exhibited itself in political life. A number of gentlemen who up to that time had been distinguished, if they had any distinction at all, for their pronounced radical opinions, made the discovery that their political aims would be best served by a temporary transfer of support to their opponents, and that the surest way to provide for the triumph of liberal principles was to secure a conservative ministry in power. One of the converts to this new light, on the orthodoxy of which we pronounce no opinion, was the ex-member for Sunderland ; and we accordingly find him soliciting the votes of the electors of Southampton on the double ground of his professed liberal principles and his promised conservative votes. So happy a combination obtained, as it deserved, success; and by the influence of a discontented section of one party, and through the confident (as it turned out, too confident) trust of the other, Mr. Digby Seymour was reinstated in the House."

Now observe this:

"It was, of course, anticipated by all who did not know him well, that he would keep to his hustings' agreement, and vote for Lord Derby's continuance in power ; those who did know him well were by no means surprised to find his name in the division list with the successful liberal party, when Lord John Russell brought on the motion that proved fatal to the conservative ministry. Mr. Seymour, with some others who had pursued a similar course, became the object of pungent observation in the conservative newspapers, which were just then employed in a chorus of reclamation at the factious conduct of the liberals. We confess that we have little sympathy for either complaint. A dissolution had been tried, many seats had been lost and won, and the opposition had a perfect right to try a fall with their antagonists at the earliest opportunity : while as to the defection of the neutrals who had been helped into their seats by conservative support, the nature of the bargain precludes pity or condolence. On what principle is it reckoned, that because a man is faithless to his own party he will be true to another ? On what security is that pledge taken, of which the absence of honour is an essential quality ? Caveat emptor is a maxim salutary in all contracts, and the rawest emissary of the Carlton should know what manner of men they be for whom he angles in the muddy pools of a mercenary radicalism. The worst evil attending a weak Government is the necessity under which it labours to catch every possible vote in any quarter, and its besetting sin is an improper distribution of patronage. Lord Palmerston's present administration has probably never numbered a working majority of twenty trustworthy votes in the House of Commons, and the political circumstances of the time have tended to diminish the ranks of ministerial supporters. It probably became necessary to secure every doubtful adherent, and this consideration may palliate, but cannot excuse, the promotion of Mr. Digby Seymour to the rank of Queen's Counsel.”

What is broadly insinuated here is, that Mr. Seymour purchased that rank which was given to him by the late Lord Chancellor, Lord Campbell, by the prostitution of his votes in the House of Commons,

“Even at the time of the appointment rumours were afloat in the profession that his conduct must form the subject of investigation by the Benchers of the Middle Temple; and we have heard that Lord Campbell, shortly before his death, expressed his deep regret that he had been ever led by political pressure to promise a silk gown to the member for Southampton."

Here again, if there was one syllable of truth in the statement that is made, it might have been proved. The fact is, that Mr. Seymour had happened to introduce a Bill into Parliament in that very session, the object of which was the amendment of the Court of Admiralty. The late Lord Chancellor was about to introduce a Bill for the same purpose himself. Mr. Seymour had passed his Bill through the House of Commons, and Lord Campbell was so pleased with it, that he took charge of it in the House of Lords, and within a week of that time he wrote to Mr. Seymour a letter, stating that he had made up his mind to recommend Her Majesty to give him a silk gown. The writer of this libel having said, “We have heard that Lord Campbell, shortly before his death, expressed his deep regret, that he had been ever led by political pressure to promise a silk gown to the member for Southampton,” goes on to say, “if this be so, it furnishes a curious commentary on one portion of Mr. Seymour's speech at Southampton, in which he quotes the patronage of Lord Campbell as a proof of the purity of his professional career. It is an extraordinary, and we believe an unprecedented fact, that a barrister should be arraigned before the Benchers of his Inn for improper conduct at the very time when the Crown has been induced to raise him to the superior rank of the profession. Yet this, we understand from his own lips, was the case with Mr. Digby Seymour ; and the language employed by the Benchers in their judgment, forbids us to hope that the inquiry before them was either unjust or uncalled for. We are precluded, in common with the rest of the public, from ascertaining the exact nature of the evidence adduced against Mr. Seymour; and we conceive that the Bench of the Middle Temple have acted unfairly towards the Bar, as well as unwisely as respects themselves, in withholding a full report of the accusation and the proceedings thereon. That any injustice, however, can have been done by this silence, to the accused, we can hardly bring ourselves to believe ; for, inasmuch as Mr. Digby Seymour is in possession of the whole evidence, and could give us the benefit of a total disclosure of all the circumstances of his trial, thereby putting himself right with the public—if the facts admit of his doing so—and as, notwithstanding occasional promises of such a disclosure, he remains silent, the only reasonable conclusion at which we can arrive is, that he does not consider the publication of the whole truth likely to improve his position. All we can do, under these circumstances, is to place before our readers, at one view, the various documents that have been made public on the matter, and to collect, as far as possible, the scattered gleams of light that have fallen, from time to time, on the dark shadows of this remarkable case. We will only premise in doing so, that whatever publicity the scandal may now have attained, is owing to Mr. Digby Seymour himself, as the Benchers had maintained an absolute silence up to the time when his speech to his constituents, on the 4th February last, was reported in the Times newspaper. This speech was delivered at a public meeting, called, we believe, at the instance of Mr. Seymour himself; but, provoked, according to his account, by the sinister rumours afloat concerning him, and more especially by a placard with which the walls of Southampton had been covered, and which was signed by a 'disappointed elector,' the type, we should imagine, of a somewhat numerous class in that flourishing borough. It is only fair to Mr. Digby Seymour to give verbatim that portion of his speech which relates more particularly to his trial before the Benchers."

Then there is set forth in the article, the speech which, as I have told you, Mr. Seymour made when he went down to Southampton after the Benchers had given their verdict, and when he found the town placarded in the way I have mentioned. Perhaps my lord will allow my friend Mr. Keane to read it.


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