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Lincoln's Inn possesses many interesting historical associations. The garden wall of Lincoln's Inn, on the side near Chancery Lane, is said to have been the scene of rare Ben Jonson's' performances as a bricklayer. In the garden of Lincoln's Inn, Bickerstaff, in the Tatler,'describes himself as being permitted to walk 'by favour of the Benchers who had grown old with him.' Sir Thomas More, Oliver Cromwell, Sir Matthew Hale, the Earl of Shaftesbury, and Lord Mansfield were all members of Lincoln's Inn. Finally, let me recall here the fact—which I will venture to assert not one Londoner in a hundred knows-that just outside of Lincoln's Inn, in the square now known as Lincoln's Inn Fields, that great man and pure patriot Lord William Russell died upon the scaffold.
I No. 100.
AT THE OLD BAILEY.
THE exteriors of few buildings in London are better known than those of Newgate and the Old Bailey. Country cousins are always shown the frowning walls which appertain to them, and gaze thereon with awe. Some visitors to London indeed determine--as did my friend Rusticus to-day-to penetrate into the interior of the Old Bailey, and to see for themselves the dock' in which so many famous criminals have stood.
No sooner did I, in obedience to his earnest entreaty, conduct my friend Rusticus into the interior of the Old Bailey than I observed a smile of recognition to steal across his face. “My dear friend,' he exclaimed, as he grasped my hand, I could have recognised the interior of this court anywhere from the really admirable view of it which appeared in the “ Illustrated London News" at the time of Palmer's trial. Dear me! How unchanged it is!'
Yes, there it is. The capacious dock nearly twenty feet square ; the bulging three-partitioned gallery above it ; the impassive clock face, exactly below which Palmer stood, and towards which, during the long hours of his trial, he oftentimes cast weary glances. There, too, confronting the prisoner's dock are still the judges' seats, immediately above which, and emblematic, I suppose, of the sword of justice, there hangs a lethal weapon of portentous size ; to the left of the dock there sit to-day twelve men in the very seats occupied by the weary jury during the ten long days in which Palmer's fate hung in the balance; close below the dock are still the seats for counsel ; and to-day, as in 1856, near the judges sit the sheriffs and aldermen of the city of London in their furred robes of office. But though the scene is still the same as at the time of Palmer's trial, nearly all the actors in that cause célèbre have passed away. Notably the seats which were occupied by the great advocates who appeared in it on one side or the other are to-day filled by men who, outside of the walls of the Old Bailey, are entirely unknown to fame. In the front seats reserved for counsel there sit to-day, you observe, Rusticus, three gentlemen, Mr. Bullywell, Mr. Scowler, and Mr. Screwham. These three worthies, let me tell you, Rusticus, are renowned (though you have never heard their names) amongst certain low attornies as being what those worthies call h'eminent h'advocates.' Of the three, Mr. Bullywell is the most famous. He has a peculiar method of doing his defences' which—for you are, you know, Rusticus, a J.P. in your own county-it may be worth your while to-day to study. Let us therefore seat ourselves in that quiet corner near the seat of the Clerk of Arraigns, and pay attention for an hour or two to an Old Bailey trial.
But first you ask me, Rusticus, why that elderly man in the front row of the barristers' seats has a black patch on the top of his wig, whilst the wigs of the other counsel near him are destitute of that adornment? The reason is because the gentleman in question is a serjeant-at-law. The black patch to which you pointed is called the coif, and it is said to be a relic of the monkish tonsure, for in olden days, as you know, Rusticus, the professions of the Church and the law were one. In ancient times the serjeants-at-law were men of great note, and even now before a man can be created a judge of one of the superior Courts of Common Law he must be first appointed a serjeant-at-law. All the judges of Westminster Hall are therefore members of Serjeants’ Inn, and it is from this circumstance that
whenever a judge addresses a serjeant in court he always calls him 'brother.' An amusing case, Rusticus, is recorded in the law reports in which a new trial was moved for upon the ground that one of the jury had, after the first trial was ended, admitted that he had given his verdict for the defendant solely because he had noticed that the judge who tried the case always addressed the plaintiff's counsel as' brother;' and he (the juryman) thought it most unfair that a judge should try a case in which his own brother appeared as counsel !
During late years the rank of serjeant-at-law has decayed in importance, and now every rising barrister aspires to be created a Q.C. in preference to being 'raised to the coif.' The reason, Rusticus, why so many serjeants-at-law and so few Queen's Counsel practise at the Old Bailey is because every Q.C. is supposed to be always retained for the Crown, and therefore before he can take a brief against the Crown to defend a prisoner (the Queen, as you know, Rusticus, is in all criminal cases the nominal prosecutrix) he must obtain leave from the Crown to
This leave is, unless there be very special reasons for refusing it, always granted. A serjeantat-law can, however, take briefs for or against the Crown without asking leave to do so, and for this