Solicitors' Journal - December 21, 1861
In 1861, SJ lamented the death of Prince Albert and praised his contribution to the legal profession
The unexpected death of the Prince Consort has cast a general gloom over all classes of society. One of the earliest important public acts of His Royal Highness being the enrolment of himself as an honorary member of the legal profession, it is very natural that the sad event should have created a profound feeling of regret among those whom he honoured by association.
When the news became general—on Monday morning last—it was impossible to postpone the sittings of the various courts of law and equity without producing great inconvenience and involving suitors in a large amount of additional expense. The judges of the superior courts, therefore, resolved, but with reluctance, to proceed with the discharge of judicial business, which was accordingly done.
The late lamented Prince, in addition to his other intellectual acquirements, had a considerable knowledge of the principles of jurisprudence, and of the peculiar features of English law. Very shortly after he commenced his residence in this country he availed himself of the instruction of Mr. W. Selwyn, Q.C., the author of the well-known work on Nisi Prius; and it is certain that the information which Prince Albert thus obtained about the legal and constitutional history of this country produced the most beneficial results.
No sovereign of these realms ever manifested such scrupulous regard for the principles and limitations of our constitution as Her gracious Majesty Queen Victoria; and in the many complicated and difficult questions which required the consideration of our sovereign, it is not unlikely that her Majesty frequently had recourse to the well informed and judicious advice of her now lamented Consort.
Upon the occasion of the opening of the New Hall and Library of Lincoln’s Inn in 1848, Prince Albert was elected a barrister and bencher of the society of Lincoln’s-inn; and, as our readers are aware, the Prince of Wales, following the example of his illustrious father, recently honoured the society of the Inner Temple by becoming one of its benchers. In addition to the respectful testimonies to the memory of the Prince Consort which fell from the lips of the judges of the superior courts, the judges of county courts and other minor jurisdictions throughout the country gave expression to the sentiment of profound grief which pervaded all classes.
The Law Amendment Society, which was on Monday evening to have discussed a paper on the exciting topic of the Trent affair, adjourned without doing so, in consequence of the melancholy event, Sir Lawrence Peel and Mr. G.W. Hastings having paid a tribute to the memory of the Prince. The Law Students’ Debating Society also adjourned its meeting on Tuesday, having first passed a resolution recording “its deep sorrow at the irreparable loss the country had sustained, and its heartfelt sympathy with her Majesty and the Royal Family.”
The Lord Chancellor has ordered that all the offices under his lordship’s jurisdiction shall be closed on Monday next, the day appointed for the funeral of the Prince Consort. The judges of the superior courts of common law have also issued a similar order. The Court of Bankruptcy will not sit on that day. It is believed that, with the exception of the office for the registration of bills of sale, all the public law offices will be closed.