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of rents, and mortgages and discharges are, as Marall (a fine old model for you, by the way,) says 'very costly;' You will act wisely to oppose all this armour, in which you are arrayed against the family, with apparent shields against yourself. Leave yourself a mourning ring, or a few guineas, and appoint an arbitrator from some of the old barristers in London, or at a great distance, who will of course, for a proper fee, pass your accounts in ignorance and generosity. Lastly, get some other attorney to be a witness to the will, and pay him for his trouble; it would be hard indeed if such a service should be denied, and it does wonders as to your own open conduct.
'A fellow-feeling makes us wondrous kind.'
I believe I have given you such directions as to the framing of the will as cannot fail to place you in gigantic power; and now presuming the testator to have afforded you, by a timely retirement from life, a fair opportunity of exercising your manifold rights, I will pro. ceed to give you a few hints as to your conduct as executor and trustee.
• The will—where Death has set his seal,
Nor Falsehood disavow!'
Remember, my dear Gabriel, you must never write a letter, converse with tenant, legatee, or annuitant, but you must lug in the words, consistently with your duty as trusteel' or, ready as yourself individually to,' &c.; but as a conscientious trustee,' &c.; or, 'confidence reposed in you by testator,' or 'unceasing regard and re. spect for the wishes of the deceased ;' or 'consideration for the interests of those intrusted,' &c.; or • due regard for your own cha. racter as executor;' or unflinching observance of your actions as trustee. You will soon drop into a proper style of phraseology, and adapt your language to the decorum of your situation, and the necessities arising out of your actions.
The will proved, you commence your reign: and it is your own error if you are deposed or involved in war. Commence the tyrant
All the members of the family should act the flies to your Domitian. Throw off all the previous fawning and servility, and plunge into the full tide of power. Ask for the money in the house ; seize all maps, deeds, account-books, banker's book, inventories, &c., and commence the subduing of the widow by severities of manner, and insinuations against conduct and character. Express disgust at your own labour and responsibilities to come, and complain of your large claims unsettled. Use a little new language, and threaten chancery for your own protection.
It were to be wished that, to the utter exclusion of all relations and friends, you could have left all to yourself ; but this is a dangerous and impolitic course, and leads to litigation against yourself. Give small annuities to sons or nephews,-bestow trifling legacies on old bosom-friends,—nay, even permit a residue of a well.thinned person. alty to descend to the widow or daughter. These little desertions of self tell importantly with the world, and in the Court of Chancery. You can also then make the suspension or death of the annuity, or benefit, a penalty imposed on any questioning of the will. You may even allow an estate to go to the legal heirs of a son, or grandson, or nephew,-if you accompany the same with a restriction from mar. riage without your own consent in writing. Should the residue be left to the widow, you, as receiver, will be able to render it what you please ; and be sure to make it out with a statement of shillings, pence, and halfpence,--(never mind how small the pounds,)-a halfpenny is invaluable, because it will savour of the reality. Be sure not to pay over the trifling amount, which you will be certain to find the residue to consist of, without taking a release. It is a virtuous act in you to save the estate as much as possible ; and you will do yourself no ill turn in fortifying against all risk except an appeal to equity. Do not forget that you will be sure to find long bills of costs unsettled at the time of the testator's death, which must be defrayed out of the residue; and if you charge and retain* as you ought to do, there never can be a balance of more than a few pounds left for the residuary legatee.
You will remember, Gabriel, that I have already recommended you to give yourself the power of buying, selling, or exchanging lands; and, with reference to rendering ihis power of essential value, you must be very careful in purchasing a rood or two of land in the im. mediate neighbourhood of that belonging to the testator's estate, in order that you may confound boundaries, and improve your own property. You may be the intermediate purchaser of land with a bad or questionable title, and have clearly a right (see Will) to sell it for the benefit of the cestuique trust, and add to the value of your own freehold. Part with a good barren upland, or rude hill-plantation, explaining to the family that the beauty of the estate is increased. The inheritors of land have an eye to the picturesque ; whilst you will remember Fielding's Peter Pounce :-'A fig for prospects,' answered Pounce; ‘one acre here is worth ten there; and, for my own part, I have no delight in the prospect of any land but my own.' Continual sales and exchanges, Gabriel, are not effected without deeds; and I think I need not hint to you how much, owing to the difficulty of the titles, you will gain in the abstract.
It is of vital importance that you should at the commencement of your trusteeship disclaim wealth in the strict discharge of your duties. You have had no opportunities of attending to your own interests. To recur again to Peter Pounce, Fielding bath so well described the conduct as well as the language you should adopt, that I cannot do better than press him into my
* No one will dispute the plain truths with which the following passage, from the pen of Anstey, opens and concludes; but the impossibility which the poet presses into his service as an illustration has recently given up the ghost !-and Old Neptunc, under the professional care of Dr. Paisley, has had an emetic or two, cylindri. cally administered to him, which has made him . vomit up the Royal George,' with a vengeance. This is the most extensive case of sea-sickness on record. It will, however, take a wilderness of Paisleys to administer an effective emetic to a law. yer's purse!
• Not one of all the trade that I know
E'er fails to take the ready rhino,
service. • “I fancy, Mr. Adams, you are one of those who imagine I am a lump of money; for there are many who, I fancy, believe that not only my pockets, but my whole clothes, are lined with bank-bills.
But I assure you, you are all mistaken ; I am not the man the world esteems me. If I can hold my head above water, it is all I can. I have injured myself by purchasing. I have been too liberal of my money. Indeed, I fear my heir will find iny affairs in a worse situation than they are reputed to be. Ah! he will have reason to wish I had loved money more, and land less. Pray, my good neighbour, where should I have that quantity of riches the world is so liberal to bestow on me? Where could I possibly, without I had stole it, acquire such a treasure ?” “ Why, truly,” says Adams, “I have been always of your opinion. I have wondered as well as yourself with what confidence they could report such things of you, which have to me appeared as mere impossibilities; for you know, sir, and I have often heard you say it, that your wealth is of your own acquisition. And can it be credible that in your short time you should have amassed such a heap of treasure as these people will have you worth? Indeed, had you inherited an estate like Sir Thomas Booby, which had descended in your family for many generations, they might have had a colour for their asser. tions." Why, what do they say I am worth ?” cries Peter, with a malicious sneer.—“Sir,” answered Adams, “I have heard some aver you are not worth less than twenty thousand pounds !" !_FIELDING.
Never allow a farmer to have an interest in the land he cultivates beyond that of a tenant at will; for unless he is dependent upon your bounty, he is a dangerous sort of vermin on the land he rents. You must be able to keep the terror of dismissal over him, or he will require the repairs charged in your accounts to be really done; and will cavil at the exchanges of fields, and the cheese-parings of land, which you will see fit to make; and will think rather of sound farming than submissive vassalage. On no account omit the variation of fences :you thus may defeat surveys and maps as to the trust estate, and furnish ground for maps of your own. If there be rivers and mountain streams careering about the property, they are invaluable ; because the damage they do to stone walls at a distance, and worthless banks, form matchless foundations for charges in the accounts, and are incessant sources of imaginary waste and damage. A good mountain stream ought to be worth a thousand a year to you. Always object to repairs that ought to be made, on account of the great expense of the repairs that are not made; and because you may, in the character of trustee, be called upon to account by the next heir. Lug in the words tenants in tail-male; because they are very confusing to inexperienced ears, and sound legal.
You must never think of trees but as timber, as I have entreated you to consider rivers and streams but as means of devastation and sources of visions of repair. Avoid rhapsody and poetry as you would steel-traps and spring-guns. This seems a foolish warning to a country attorney; but I once read of a certificated gentleman who was betrayed in an inland county; and I hold it right to caution you against even a remote danger. I remember your father read Pomfrett's Choice, and lost the drawing of Dr. Buggins's lease; but then, it must be confessed, he (your father, not Buggins) was a man of extraordinary weakness. Facts, my dear Gabriel,-facts and ab. solute things are the matter for a lawyer's mind,-unless he is making his own representations--and then he may, of course, divert facts into the smooth, tortuous, and agreeable current of his own views. Of trees, however, or rather timber,-for all leaves and branches are superfluities,—it is right you should take a just estimate.
Threaten to cut down ornamental timber, not as ornamental timber; and cut it down whenever it improves your own prospects, or extends a proper system of espionage. Create an auctioneer, and nourish an exciseman: you will understand why. Sell sometimes openly, and sometimes by private contract; thus inquiry may come to a check. Wood to an intelligent trustee is of incalculable im. portance. The felling, the peeling, the barking, the sawing, the car. riage, are all unquestionably items of expense, and no one can unravel the results. You can make your own gates, perfect your own fences, and no one except yourself be the gainer.
Turn a deaf ear to all personal abuse, unless you are attacked as a professional man,-that is, called ' lawyer;' for you, like poor Betty, in Mrs. Tow-wouse's inn, ought as naturally to feel the word revolting as she did the one from her mistress, so odious to female ears.' 'I can't bear that name,' answered Betty. 'If I have been wicked, I am to answer for it myself in another world ; but I have done nothing that's unnatural.' If any timber should happen to be blown down by some fortuitous storm, cart it away, and confound it with timber cut down. The estate, or some one, will be benefited.
Having the power of hiring and discharging servants, you will be but the weed of a country attorney if you do not get all your own labouring work done at no cost. Indeed, but that I would not urge you to any overcharge unworthy the character of a professional trustee, I shonld advise you to charge something for the employment of the labourers' leisure time. Take care to have them illite. rate :-educated servants are fatal to the well-ordered accounts of a trustee. An alternate course with them of bullying and treating is the surest one you can adopt. Take receipts for all payments made, as they will often serve for payments not made; and mind, if possible, that your auditor never puts his initials to vouchers, because that will prevent their serving again in the musters of your accounts.
I would advise you (to use a mercantile phrase) to keep your books by double entry ; that is, keep two sets of books,-one of them to show receipts and payments, and quite correct, for the eye of a live client; the other unsettled, unpaid, and unclosed, ready for immediate use after his death.
• Thus are you doubly arm’d,-your death and life,
And before I conclude this long letter, allow me to draw your attention to the subject of game; because, trifling as it may appear to you when compared with the more important matters of which I have treated, it is rightly regarded one of the most abundant sources of business to a country attorney that an estate can produce. I never see a
pheasant strut out upon the sunny greensward of an evening, and feed by a woodside, but a thousand tender images of action for trespass, examinations and indictment of poachers, neighbourly heartburnings and bickerings, manorial rights, interested justices, warnings off of friends, presents to testators (of their own property),-1 say, thoughts innumerable spring up in my breast,—and I do not see in that gorgeous bird a mere bird only-(I am like Mr. Puff
, and ‘am not too sure he is a beefeater !')-an attractive object for health and hope to follow through thicket, copse, and plantation and wood;- I look upon him with the joy with which parents contemplate Mrs. Johnson's soothing syrup, and see in him 'a real blessing to lawyers! When he “enters his appearance' before me, he comes in all the beauty of a writ of summons; and his crow is to my ear a perfect declaration !' You have read, no doubt, my dear Gabriel, during your legal studies, many agreeable and instructive books,-or I am mistaken as to the hasty flap down of your desk when I have called at your office, or the uneasy motion of your pad ;-you will, in such reading, have no doubt found that certain birds and beasts are peculiar to some particular patron or cause. The cock was dear to Æsculapius,—the rat is appropriated to the politician,—the wolf is sacred to Rome (though I confess I think Law could have made out a good title to this yoracious animal),—and the owl may be seen to perch for ever on the brow of the goddess of Wisdom;—so I distinguish the pheasant to be sacred to the country lawyer. It is his bird !-it is one of his feathered penates!-Now, with a prudent and wary eye to the real properties of game, let
you a few observations on the mode in which you should regulate your conduct. Do not shoot yourself—(of course I do not here intend a caution as to your personal safety,—for it would be unwise in any perplexity rashly to snatch at deserts, however well merited)—I mean, do not yourself go, gaitered and gunned, over field and furrow, through beans and stubble, over turnips and clover, in search of idle game. The exercise in itself is too clearing of the mind to square with your professional labours. It takes the yellow out of the blood, clarifies the mind, breathes the heart, and unfits you for taking that jaundiced view of other men's affairs, and preserving that dogged, persevering, cold-blooded attention to your own, without which testators will live and die for you in vain, and trusts will become valueless and poor. Remember yours is a higher and a more substantial sport. Man is your game (forget not that you take out your certificate),-or rather yours is an inverted mode of this kind of pursuit; for it is your business to pass over man as though he were common earth, and to bag as many fields, pastures, woodlands, and closes (your natural game) as you can manage. If the will be carefully drawn, and the estates will permit it, you will of course leave yourself a gamekeeper or two, with powers to find them in fustian jackets, gunpowder, double-barrelled guns, and wages. And should there happen to be deer and a park, you will not be the country practitioner and trustee I take you to be, if you cannot at once initiate him into the perfect mystery of the rifle. These keepers, appointed by yourself, and paid through your hands, (for I would recommend you to get rid of all old servants with the utmost despatch, and to appoint new ones from such as know nothing about those curses upon menials, reading and writing,) will soon know that all the game must go to your house or office, to be distributed, of course,