21 NOVEMBER 1908, Page 13


A Short History of the English Bar. By Bernard W. Kelly. (Swan Sonnenschein and Co. 28. 6d.)—Mr. Kelly writes in a lively way, tells some good stories, and gives us some interesting information ; but he is capable of making mistakes. In the very first line of his first chapter he misspells a name,—" the late Mr. Grant Allan." If you disparage a man you may at least give his name correctly. A much more serious mistake occurs later on. He is loud in praise of "Charles Philips (1788-1859) " as one who "brought to the English Bar from that of Ireland a splendour of eloquence which is one of the classic glories of our forensic history." The name is spelt " Phillips " in the "Dictionary of National Biography." And he goes on to quote the defence of Courvoisier, the murderer of Lord William Russell, as his crown- ing achievement. Curiously enough, this speech ruined him. Not only did he pledge his personal honour for the innocence of his client, but he tried to put the guilt on others,—on the police, if we remember right. Anyhow, his career was marred, and he was glad to accept a minor judicial post.