Legal Lights Were Good Sportsmen.: Thormanby Writes Stories of Great English Lawyers and Judges Turf Leanings., Daily Racing Form, 1908-08-13


view raw text

LEGAL LIGHTS WERE GOOD SPORTSMEN Thormanby Writes Stories of Great English Law ¬ yers and Judges Turf Leanings Huron Brampton better known to the world in general as Sir Henry Hawkins was almost as familiar a ligure at Newmarket as in the law courts and there used to be no end of stories cur ¬ rent relating to his efforts to combine the duties of a judge with the pleasures of a sportsman Many of these stories no doubt were apocryphal lint there is ample evidence in Sir Henrys racy Reminiscences to prove how keen a lover of sport lit was and how varied were his experiences In that connection The prize ring appears to have shared with the turf his early patronage and he has many a good story to tell of great fights he had seen Indeed he was ouec himself mistaken for an emin ¬ ent pugilist and by his bold bluff in assuming I this character extricated himself from a very tight place But It was on the race course that Orkins was most at home as a sportsman and I think some of the happiest hours of his lifo were passed there In his love of the turf he had at any rate one sympathetic brother among his contemporaries on the bench In the person of the late Lord Chief Jus ¬ tice Lord Russell of Kllloweii who as Sir Charles Russell was the foremost advocate of his day Ills great knowledge of racing stood him in good stead in the cause celebre of Wood vs Cox when by his masterly conduct of the case he secured a moral victory for the eccentric proprietor of the Licensed Victuallers Gazette For a verdict of a farthing damages without costs for the plaintiff was of course practically a verdict for the defendant defendantBut But neither Lord Brampton nor Lord Russell could hold a candle as practical sportsmen to Baron Martin who openly expressed his regret in his later days that he had not abandoned the bar for the turf as a profession Baron Martin was the only judge who had been at the same time an owner of race horses It is true that his name was never registerd as an owner but it was a wellknown fact that he and Harry Hill the famous bookmaker were in partnership and that the baron had a half share in several horses which ran under the name and colors of Mr Hill Uogerthorpe was the best horse in which Baron Martin had an interest He was a favorite for the Derby but ran no nearer than eighth to the winner lie however placed the Goodwood Cup of ISTiG to his owners credit and that trophy ornamented the Barons sideboard and was one of his possessionsTo most treasured possessions To write the truth the turf of which Sir Henry Hawkins was a fiatron differs widely from the in ¬ stitution which first won Baron Martins affections I have no intention to discuss here whether the turf has changed for the better or the worse but the turf of today is far less interesting than that with which Baron Martin first made acquaintance when William IV was still on the throne The quaint and gnarled bits of humanity for which Baron Mar ¬ tin like his friends the Earl of Derby Mr George Payne and Lord Stratford had so keen an eye have passed away for ever such characters as Sir Charles Monk Parson Harvey James Hirst Michael Brun tou Mark Plows Dick Stockdale Bill Scott and half a hundred more have vanished and left none like them behind and the world of sport Is the poorer by their loss for they infused It with that individual variety which Is the spice of life Dur ¬ ing the years between 1832 and 1850 when he was appointed a Baron of the Exchequer Baron Martin had many opportunities of manifesting his partiality for horse racing although like many other lovers of the premier national sport lie was always fonder of watching horses at exercise and of seeing them stripped in the stable than of fre ¬ quenting races Barou Martin never spent a Sunday in York during the Assize week without having a postchaisc ready at daybreak in which very often accompanied by Ills old friend Mr James Stuart Wortley he drove off in hot haste to Malton to visit John Scotts stables at Whitewall His in ¬ quiries about every detail of racing descended to the minutest particulars and few facts once com ¬ mitted to his memory ever escaped Its tenacious grasp The time when all this racing knowledge was to be turned to rich account by Mr Martin who took silk as a Queens Counsel in 1S43 was rapidly approaching and near at hand handThe The first case which brought him into prominence was the famous Bloomsbury Protest in ISiO Mr RIdsdales slashing colt had won the Ascot Derby Stakes In the previous season but Lord Litchfleld had protested against the payment of the stakes on the ground that the horse had been mlsde scribed Cresswell afterwards Sir Cresswell Cress well the first president of the Divorce Court and Martin were counsel for Mr RIdsdale the plaintiff but the conduct of the case was left entirely in Martins hands and he secured a brilliantly won verdict for his client clientIn In the famous Running Rein case In which a horse so named came in first for the Derby of 1844 but was objected to on the ground that it was really a fouryearold named Maccabeus Martin was one of the counsel for Colonel Peel who as owner of the second horse Orlando claimed the stakes His leader was PageWood afterwards Lord Hath erley a very gentle highminded honorable man and a skillful advocate in his way but with no comprehension of the turf and its surroundings He wisely left the case practically In the hands of his junior who pulled his client through tri ¬ umphantly despite all the machinations of the most infamous confederacy of swindlers that ever black ¬ ened the annals of horse racing It was a masterly display of acute diagnosis and penetrating thought to my thinking a finer display of forensic talent than anything Sir Russell ever did even at his best bestBaron Baron Martins knowledge of horse flesh was pro ¬ found though as I have said he preferred the training stables to the race course yet he was not Infrequently seen at race meetings A friend met him once in the Bois de Boulogne at Paris on a Sunday when the races wore going on and said saidIt It would not do for you Baron to be seen in England amid such scenes as this on the sabbath sabbathWell Well said the judge pitcously I cannot help it What would you have me to do when they will not race here on any other day than Sunday SundayOnce Once when lie went as judge on the western cir ¬ cuit lie was invited with several members of the bar to dine with the Dean of Winchester whom he had never met before A few days after a friend asked the dean what he thought of Baron Martin MartinWfll Wfll was the reply he does not appear to bo a man of enlarged information He actually never had heard of William of Wykeliam and wauled to know who In was wasMartin Martin was asked by some one what he thought of the dean deanWhy Why said he I cant say I think much of him He seems very deficient in general knowledge he absolutely didnt know who John Day was and has never heard of Danebury though lie has been years in Winchester WinchesterThat That the dean should never have heard of the great trainer and his stables but a few miles away certainly argued an ignorance more incom ¬ prehensible that the judges ignorance of the founder of Winchester school But Baron Martins knowl ¬ edge of matters other than the turf and the law was certainty limited Only once was he Induced to see a play of Shakespeares The play he saw was Measure for Measure and his feelings as a judge were so outraged by the atrociously bad law in the play that he entertained the greatest contempt for Shakespeare ever afterward afterwardBaron Baron Martin had the profoundest scorn of the prophets who professed to give weakminded men who are addicted to betting the straight tip When a prophet came before the baron judicially lie generally let him know In pretty strong language the peculiar estimation In which he held him On one occasion after he had become deaf he was try ¬ ing a racing case an exercise of his functions that he reveled In One of the counsel engaged in It was named Stammers a solemn formal sententious person who seldom made a speech without quoting passages from scripture In addressing the jury he was about to pursue his old habit and had got aa far as As the prophet says when the judge in ¬ terposed terposedDont Dont trouble the jury air Stammers about the prophets there is not one of them who would not sell halfpenceBut his father for sixpennyworth of halfpence But niy lord said Stammers in a subdued tone I was about to quote from the prophet Jere ¬ miah miahDont Dont tell me said the Baron I have no doubt your friend Mr Myers is just as bad as the rest of them themLike Like Justice Hawkins Baron Martin was made an honorary member of the Jockey Club a com ¬ pliment which he highly appreciated On the bench the reputation of the two was similar Both were strong judges Martin had a bluff manner without the caustic humor of Hawkins but he was perhaps even a greater favorite with the bar and the public than Sir Henry

Persistent Link:
Local Identifier: drf1908081301_6_3
Library of Congress Record: