The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside concerning Lord Nicholson's Court






In, the Music Hall, George Street,



Comparo Virgilium cum Homero.

IT is agreed in all times that wits are privileged to--- wear what masks they please.
Ihis impunity has no doubt operated upon the minds of the distinguished individuals, whose
comparative characters we are about to submit to critical analysis. The unscrupulous
masquerading of these learned lords may fairly provoke a publicity of animadversion, which
composure of character and dignified retirement would disarm.

Brougham commenced his public carreer as a writer for the periodical press ; so did
Nicholson. Nicholson's practice was almost exclusively confined to side bar applications?
motions of course; Brougham's practice, although of more exalted pretensions, was not, in a
pecuniary sense, much larger. He was seldom retained for a plaintiff', and in the great
commercial cases he was invariably rejected,?Campbell, Scarlet, Gurney, Marryat, Best,
cum multis aliis, being preferred by solicitors intrusted with such interests. This policy was
construed by Brougham into neglect and insult, and there can be no doubt that it originated
the morbid antipathy against attornies, so frequently exhibited as an uncontrollable passion
by the noble lord in after life and power.

Nicholson, after a flourishing career at the bar, raised himself to the dignity of Chief
Baron, without filling the usual probationary offices of either Attorney or Solicitor-General.
Brougham assumed the office of Lord High Chancellor under precisely similar circumstances,
which might be remarked, " in equity," was neither fair nor advantageous. Brougham,
while Chancellor, played the mountebank by going like an itinerant showman from town to
town, dining, drinking, making speeches, and exhibiting himself at small cost to the multi-
tude, to the great scandal of his high office and exalted profession. Nicholson, soon after
his elevation, did the same thing. He, like his brother Brougham, was ushered into towns
and cities by bellman and placard. Both exhibitions were incompatible with forensic dignity
and the exalted position of the parties. Brougham, for the last few years, has identified him-
self with certain coteries of purple hosiery, who walk behind society, viz. at the back, and with
an excusable though overweening vanity, consider themselves before and above it. There is a
fable of "The Syrens on the charmed island,'' who by the sweetness of their music allured un-
thinking mariners to destruction." The coterie are the orchestral Syrens?Brougham the infa-
tuated Jack Tar. Nicholson has of late mixed himself up with des bas coleur de rose, and revels
in a lecture-room with poses plastiques, dressed in pink silks, and (as he himself somewhat
indefinitely describes it) draperies scrupulously arranged. Were ever two legal lords so equi-
vocally employed ! It has been said of Brougham, that he has lectured princes and instructed
the mechanic. Nicholson's audiences are certainly of a mixed class. Brougham is on terms
of intimacy with the sporting nobility: so is Nicholson. Brougham is fond of entertaining
distinguished visitors : Nicholson's talents and efforts are exercised to the same end. In
their speeches and literature they likewise resemble each other in a material point, viz., their
partiality for Latin quotations. Lord Brougham seldom makes a speech without the intro-
duction of Greek or Latin : Lord Nicholson never charges a jury without " great goes " of
Latin, and we have heard him quote HEBREW. A rich vein of humour characterises the
whole of Brougham's proceedings : the same feature is prominent in Nicholson. There is a
QUASI humour about his gravity which is irresistibly comic, and without Brougham's advan-
tage of pantomimic proboscis. In their favourite drinks there is but small difference, Brougham
patronising calidum cum, Nicholson, frigidumsine. Nicholson is never invited to the palace :
nor is Brougham. Nicholson smokes in court?a most unusual thing : Brougham does not
go so far as that; but we have observed him on board a steamer, quietly smoking along with
the funnel.

In satire Brougham is a second Juvenal, and Nicholson a second Brougham.

To those who are not in daily intercourse with the world, and have not by its friction been
sand-papered into scrutiny of its comparative eccentricities, our remarks may not be con-
vincing ; to such we say, observe for yourselves. You have heard of two faces under one
hat. These are two men under one vizard, "par nobile fratrum."?Liverpool Chronicle,
Oct. 17, 1846.

Doors open at 8?The Court will sit at Half-past 8 o'clock.

Admission?Body of the Hall, 3s.; Sides and Under the Gallery, 2s ;

Gallery, 1s.

James Brydone, Printer, 17 South Hanover Street,

previous pageprevious          
Date of publication: 1848   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(241)
Broadside concerning Lord Nicholson's Court
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland