Great English Jurists And Sportsmen.: Thormanby Spins Some More Yarns About Legal Lights Who Shone in Contests., Daily Racing Form, 1908-08-20


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GREAT ENGLISH JURISTS AND SPORTSMEN SPORTSMENThormanby Thormanby Spins Some More Yarns About Legal Lights Who Shone in Contests With the three notable exceptions I have named the bench has been singularly lacking in sportsmen writes Thonnanby in the London Sportsman Baron Alderson indeed lias been credited with horsey tastes on the strength of a visit to John Scotts famous training establishment at Whitehall But he had no real sympathy with the turf Lord Elelon too of monumental lexal fame tried to pose as a sportsman but his attempts were futile and ig ¬ nominious Kldon the Jock Scott of that roman ¬ tic runaway match with Bessie Snrtees was a bad rider and a worse whip Kven William Henry Scott that pattern of a dutiful son used to laugh at the Chancellors maladroitness in all matters pertain ¬ ing to horseflesh With much agreeable egotism Ixml Campbell tells the following story of Kldou mid his favorite hoy They were walking together in Piccadilly when a gentleman driving past them in i rnhrioiet with a tiger behind took off his hat and made a low bow Who is that said Lord ICldon who treats me with respect now that I am iiobodyV Why sir said William Henry that is Sir John Campbell the Whig SolicitorGeneral I wonder what they would have said of me cried the oxChancellor if I had driven about in a cab ¬ riolet when 1 was SolicitorGeneral I tell you what they would have said dear father replied William Henry They would have said there goes the greatest lawyer and worst whip in England EnglandBut But l rd Kldou was quite aware of his own limi ¬ tations Clumsy and inetlicient in all field sports he used to laugh at his own deficiencies with respect to the accomplishments most in vogue with country ueutleiuen This good humor was the more cred italdc us he enjoyed playing the part of a country mpiire and took great though bootless pains to qualify himself with skill as well as license to kill the game which he preserved on his estate at con ¬ siderable cost As long as he could relish bodily oxercise he carried a gun but he never ventured to ride with hounds after reaching years of sound dis ¬ cretion cretionLord Lord Chief Justice Cockburn had some of the in ¬ stincts of the sportsman He was fond of yachting and shooting and was by no means a bad shot at any rate a better one than Lord Chancellor West bury 1 remember a rather good story in which both the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice then Sir Alexander Cocklmru figured The latter took a house and some shooting In the neighborhood of Limiield in Sussex and among his guests at one of bis early shooting parties were Lord Westbury and his son Pick Bethel Cockburn had never seen vlfher of them shoot but had heard Westbury tell ¬ ing extraordinary stories of his success at the covert side sideAfter After the first beat Cockburn observed the two members of the Bethell family shooting rather wild ¬ ly and as besides the pheasants there was a good deal of ground game in the covert he took the pre ¬ caution at the next beat to give his head keeper in ¬ structions to post the pair close together v vPresently Presently guns were discharged from the spot where Lord Westbury and his son had been posted a yell of pain was heard and it was seen that the keeper had been shot in the leg Cockburn appre ¬ hensive of disaster made his appearance from quite another part of the wood but Lord Westbury step ¬ ping forward at once began to accuse his host as the delinquent and to read him a lecture as to how areftil one should he and as to the folly and danger of commencing field sports late in life As for him ¬ self he explained he had been educated to them from boyhood boyhoodThe The Lord Chief Justice was a great deal too polite a host to make any reply to this tirade When liowever the party were proceeding to a neighbor ¬ ing spinney Lord Westbury and his son walking together behind Cockburn addressing the injured 111111 and making a sign over his shoulder towards the two who were following said Which of them slmt you BacupV Which Sir Alexander re jiliwl the keeper both d n em emChief Chief Baron Iollock was a sportsman in one sense that is to say he was a firstrate runner jumper smd lxxer he was probably the most active man for his years that ever graced the touch When he was made Chief Baron of the Exchequer in 1S44 Irning then in his sixtysecond year he offered to run walk or box with any man twenty years his junior and I am sure there was no man of forty it the bar who could have beaten him To the last h prided himself and with justice on his athletic vigor and in this connection a good story is told of him When he was close upon eighty he was wailed upon oiie day by an othcious friend who professing to be actuated only by consideration for the Chief Barons health and reputation urged upon him 1Iie advisability of resigning on account of his advancing vcars and general infirmities After the gentleman iiad finished his argument the Chief Baron rose and said in his own peculiar sarcastic jiianiur jiianiurOil Oil you think it is about time I gave up work do you Jot too old and stiff you fancy fomij here hereThe The too candid friend stood up and tile Chief llaron skipping up to him with all the nluiblencss of a iai in bis teens said saidWill Will yon dance with me Imagine yourself a charming lady and abandon yourself to the ravish ¬ ing waltz waltzThank Thank you I dont dance replied the other coldly coldlyBear Bear me You cant dance Well but you can box cant you youI I could when I was a young man But manBut surely you havent forgotten come let us have a spar sparAnd And with that the Chief Baron began to frame up to his oUidous friend and let out right and left The outraged visitor did not know what to make of it but the Chief Baron kept on hitting with bewildering quickness and considerable sting till a very smart lefthander on the nose drew blood from that organ and tears from both eyes This was more than the cuiulitl friend had bar ¬ gained for from the man whose decrepitude be had been insisting on he turned and fairly tied from the room After that I need hardly say that Chief Baron Pollock had no more visits from friends sug ¬ gesting his retirement He was eightyfour when after twentytwo years on the bench as Chief Baron be retired and It was not till four years later that he died hale and vigorous to the last lastAmong Among the present ornaments of the judicial Ixncli Sir Thomas Townsend Bucknill Is the most pronounced lover of sport sportTommy Tommy Bucknill as his friends affectionately all him and the denomination is significant of his popularity has always been a keen sportsman In his younger days he was one of the cleverest light ¬ weight boxers I have ever met among amateurs The cleverest 1 think was the lute Thomas Brett of the chancery bar whose learned Commentaries will long keep his memory green in both branches of his profession Tom Brett was as eccentric as he was brilliant and his eccentricity was unfor ¬ tunately a bar to his success He was a good all round athlete but boxing was his forte and I have often accompanied him in his and my salad days to the Blue Anchor in Shoreditch where he would put on the gloves against all comers professional or amateur and so well did lie often acquit him ¬ self against the pros that 1 have often heard deri ¬ sive cries of which is the hamatoor from the critical spectators Brett was a sort of standing counsel to the fancy and 1 have known such eminent ornaments of the prize ring as Jem Mace and Joe Goss frequently consult him and express the profoundest reverence for his legal acumen acumenAnother Another mighty athlete of those days was Blchard Auseley Bhtke Lane now K C and one of the West London police magistrates afe too was a fine boxer a heavyweight standing considerably over six feet remarkably powerful and singularly active for his size Like Tom Brett too lie was a distinguished graduate of Trinity College Dublin and both of them afforded signal proof that men of muscle may also be men of brains brainsBut But Tommy I beg his lordships pardon I mean Mr Justice Bucknill was what neither of these fine boxers and athletes could ever claim to be he was a firstrate horseman and at one time promised to take high rank among the gentlemen riders of England both on the flat and across coun ¬ try tryBut But for a serious affection of the eyes which for many anxious months threatened to deprive him alto ¬ gether of sight lie would probably have made a con ¬ siderable name for himself as a jockey There is a s1or of him possibly apocryphal which tells that he rode and won a steeplechase when he was only a boy of ten That he still however retains his light hands and a good seat in the saddle all wlio testifyThe have seen him riding to hounds can testify The present Lord Chief Justice of England Lord Alverstone was a famous runner in his Varsity days Cambridge knew that she was sure at any rate of the twomile race against Oxford when Dick Webster of Trinity was her representative lie was a crafty runner would lie a lap behind the leaders letting them make the pace till three fourths of the distance was covered tliea he would come to the front with a rush and pass Ids adver ¬ saries as if they were standing still stillHe He was a fair rifle shot too I have shot with him at the Cherry Hinton Butts at Cambridge and seen him pile up a very creditable score at the short ranges Lord Alverstone also takes a keen interest in cricket and is president of the Surrey cricket club clubAnother Another eminent member of the bar who was a noted sportsman in his early days is Thomas Milvain K C leader of tiie northern circuit Tom Milvain had a big reputation as a boxer and hurdle racer when he was up at Trinity Hall and he was a good quarter miler to boot Trained and fit he looked the picture of a model athlete As a practical exponent of the noble art Tom was great as the roughs of Cam ¬ bridge found to their cost in town and gown rows He was a heavyweight and a very hard hitter But on one occasion the town effected by cunning what they would never have accomplished by force forceMilvain Milvain and another man of his own college were on the fifth of November leading a party of gowns ¬ men down Green street and the townsmen were re ¬ treating before them for there was none among them bold enough to tackle the redoubtable Tom of The Hall Suddenly however the town rallied and faced the gown Weve got a chap asll fight the best of ye they yelled iMilvain strode forward quickly to meet this unknown champion Suddenly the opposing ranks opened and six lusty roughs with a barge pole as a battering ram charged straight at Tom who was utterly unprepared for this maneuver Rofore he could move hand or foot the barge pole took him full in the pit of the stom ¬ ach doubled him up and he fell gasping for breath and half dead With a whoop of triumph the town tied leaving the barge pole behind them whilst the gown gathered round their fallen leader But never again did the town score a point against the great bruiser who if I remember rightly carried off subsequently once at least if not twice the amateur heavyweight championship of England

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