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years of age. On cross-examination witness stated that he had met Lord
habits were not those. It was in the pot-house, in the stable, with the gamekeepers, the clowns, and the servants that he indulged in his intemperance. That it rendered him incapable of transacting business was proved from one of Tierney's letters, in which he said, “I have been here four weeks waiting to do what might have been easily done in four days.” Being defeated in his contest for the borough of Penrhyn, he was so plunged into embarrassments that he was in constant fear of arrest. Counsel referred to letters written by Lord Percival, and observed that none of them contained any evidence whatever of his being a man of business, or even possessed of common sense. They were all either written in acknowledgment of having received money, or pressing for fresh loans to supply his necessities. In some of these letters, when naming a time and place to meet Tierney, he appointed Saturday, because he would then have the Sunday to return home without fear of arrest. It was plain from the conduct of Tierney that for years previous to the Earl's death it had been the settled purpose of his mind to get possession of the estates. In one of his letters to Mr. Teed, he concluded by saying, he often asked himself for whose benefit he was making all those improvements which he was carrying out on Lord Egmont's property. It was plain that Tierney had determined in his own mind that it should be for his own. In fact he was, even during the lifetime of Lord Egmont, the actual owner of the estate, for he had to deal with a weak-minded man,—a man who thought that he could not obtain bread for his breakfast if it were not for the exertions of Mr. Tierney. The plan Tierney adopted to get ultimate possession of the estates was this:—An arrangement was going on for a great settlement of this property, and on the 4th of November, 1836, he obtained an assignment to his brother, Sir Matthew Tierney, for the sum of 4000l. This was the first charge upon the estate, and he made it over to his brother in order that he might have the power of carrying out more effectually other transactions which he then meditated. It was clear that at the time he contemplated the appropriation of the property to himself; for, on the 7th of the same month of November, a mortgage was effected of a portion of the Irish estate with certain parties, under the name of Hobarts and Company, in trust for the sum of 14,000l. On the day after, the 8th of November, a second mortgage was effected with the same persons for the sum of 30,000l., making in all 44,000l. On the 9th of November, which was the day following, the sum of 20,442/. was lodged in court by Mr. Tierney, to be disposed of in paying off the English creditors, and on the same day he received a mortgage of the estate for the sum of 46,000l., making in all a debt of 101,000l., or an annual charge of 58521. to be provided for before the owner of the estate could touch a halfpenny of the income. Then came the deed of the 10th of November, 1836, a deed which he could not for a moment imagine would be signed by any man with a grain of common sense. It provided that Edward Tierney was not to be removed from the agency of the estate while one sixpence of the debt remained due to him. The learned counsel read the deed, which stipulated that Mr. Edward Tierney was not to be removed from the management of the estate while the sums already mentioned of 4000l., 30,000l., and 46,000/., for which he had the property mortgaged, remained unpaid. At the time this deed was signed, Edward Tierney himself was the actual owner of 17,000l. of that money, and then he began to consider what he should do, and took counsel with himself and others to know whether he should act under that deed or under the will. He was receiver to the property under the Court of Chancery, and, having full power to do whatever he thought fit, he asked himself the question, “For whom am I improving this estate?" and the answer at once suggested itself, “I am not improving it for Lord Egmont, but for Edward Tierney.” The Earl was so drunk sometimes at Burderop that Mrs. Clesse was obliged to lock him up lest visitors should see him in that state. He occasionally took runs to London, where he could seldom be traced. He there visited a place called Smith's Hotel, at which he always arrived late, and spent his time at the bar drinking with ostlers and cab-drivers, treating them, while himself in a state of wild intoxication. No one knew who he was, whence he came, or whither he went. On his return from London he frequently brought back his portmanteau full of brandy bottles. He drank to excess in the morning, and had acquired such a detestation of business that he signed papers without troubling himself with their contents.
Having proceeded thus far in his speech, Mr. Brewster stated that he should divide his further observations into three or four different heads, and he applied to the Court for an adjournment, which was accordingly granted. On the meeting of the Court the next morning an unexpected difficulty occurred. The Judge stated that one of the jurors was ill, and could not possibly attend that day. Mr. Jones, a medical gentleman, had examined him, and found him very ill. Mr. Serjeant Sullivan said that was a serious matter, as there were minors concerned, whose consent could not be had to go on with eleven jurors. Dr. Ball said if they were acting merely for Sir Lionel and Lady Darell their anxiety would be to proceed with the trial, but they had no power to make any consent on behalf of the minors, and, knowing that the question was one of great difficulty in point of law, they could not take it on themselves to go on with the trial in the absence of one of the jurors. The Judge said he did not mean to make the slightest comment on the course they had thought it right to adopt. It would be quite beyond his province to do so. Under the circumstances, he would adjourn the trial till the morning, and the case would then either proceed or be disposed of one way or the other. The Court accordingly adjourned.
The next day the case was terminated by a compromise, the terms of which were that the estates should be surrendered to the Earl of Egmont, who engaged to pay to Sir W. L. Darell the sum of 125,000l., and to defray all the costs of the legal proceedings.
Woll EY v. Pole.
This case, which came on for trial before Mr. Baron Bramwell at the Croydon Assizes, excited extraordinary interest. Campden House, in the parish of Kensington, the destruction of which by fire in March, 1862, formed the subject of the inquiry, was a mansion of considerable antiquity and historical interest. At the time of the fire taking place it was in the occupation of the plaintiff, Mr. Wolley, who had effected insurances on the house, and on the fittings and effects which it contained, in the Sun, the Atlas, and the Hand-in-Hand, to the amount of nearly 30,000l. After a long time spent in investigating the
claim and the circumstances of the fire, the offices determined to dispute the policies on the ground of fraud and arson, and this was the issue which was now submitted to the jury, the first action, in which the Secretary of the Sun Fire Office was the defendant, being taken as decisive of the rest. Mr. Bovill, Q.C., and Mr. Serjeant Ballantine, with Mr. Henry James and Mr. Merewether (both specially retained), and Mr. Rosher were for the plaintiff; Mr. Lush, Q.C., Mr. Denman, Q.C., and Mr. Garth were for the company. Mr. Bovill stated the case for the plaintiff. He began by observing that the charges made against the plaintiff were of a very serious nature, and such as induced him to desire it to be tried at the earliest possible moment, with a view to vindicate his character from these serious imputations. Mr. Wolley had resided for some years at Campden House, and early on the morning of Sunday, the 23rd of March, 1862, it was totally destroyed by fire. The claim itself was not of so much importance as the grounds on which it was resisted by the Fire Insurance Companies. The amount insured in all the policies was undoubtedly very large—as much as 29,000l., but not larger than the real value of the house and fixtures and the furniture and pictures contained in it; and the amount insured upon the house was not so large as would be required to rebuild and reinstate this magnificent mansion. To understand the case it was necessary, the learned counsel said, to be acquainted with all the insurances, and he proceeded to state them. The amount insured upon the house (with stables and theatre) was 12,000l. ; and as to the fixtures and fittings, there were 4000l. insured in the Sun and 3000l. in the Hand-in-Hand, making 7000l. altogether on the fixtures and fittings. Then there were the furniture policy and the picture policy, which made up the amount of 29,000l. The action was on the Sun policy for 4500l., and no doubt all the other actions would abide the result of this. There were various pleas, but the real question would be on the pleas of fraud and of arson. Now, no one who looked at the model before them, and considered the size and character of the mansion, would consider that it could be reinstated for any such sum as 12,000l.; and as early as July last year communications had taken place between the surveyor as to plans for rebuilding. After some time, there began to be raised some question as to the details of the contents of the house. The claim was necessarily most voluminous, and it took months before it could be prepared. For some time Mr. Wolley was ill (having narrowly escaped with his life at the fire), and it was necessary of course to refer to servants and relatives, and, in the result, the list made a volume. There were upwards of 700 items; indeed, altogether nearly 1000. By degrees, Mr. Wolley having given offence to the Temples and the police by the account he was supposed to have published, or caused to be published, of the fire, there began to arise rumours that the claim was not honest. There were some persons concerned for insurance companies who always fancied a claim fraudulent, and imagined every fire to be wilful. In the result, after the lapse of all but a year, the offices intimated that they resisted the claim on the grounds of fraud and arson. There had been no prosecution, no inquiry before a magistrate, no attempt to press home the charge; but Mr. Wolley had resolved to enforce his claim, and defy any inquiry into its honesty. No doubt the offices had made the most minute investigations, and had mastered the whole history of his life; indeed, it had been found that inquiries most minute had been made of all his tradesmen, and even down to his washerwoman. It had been inquired, for instance, whether he usually slept in a night shirt (laughter), because it happened that he had escaped in a day shirt. All the parties who had
lived in the house had been examined by the attorneys of the offices, and it was with the greatest astonishment he found that after an inquiry had gone on for some time as to the value of the furniture, suspicions existed as to the cause of the fire, and in the result they charged him with setting fire to the house. He found himself virtually charged with arson—a felony not long since capital, and now punishable with penal servitude for life. That was the charge made, and it involved the butler, Crozier, and possibly Temple, who also was in the house. Coming now to the history of the house, and of Mr. Wolley's connexion with it, the learned counsel mentioned that while in his possession it had gained great celebrity, and had even been visited by Royalty in the person of the Duchess of Cambridge. He had originally taken the house on his marriage; he had first become tenant, and then in 1854 had purchased the lease for a sum of above 6000l. In the lease there were covenants to repair and to insure to the full value, and, in the event of a fire, to apply the sum received on the policy for the purpose of rebuilding the house. Every tenant, indeed, who covenanted to repair was bound in the event of a fire to rebuild, and here there were these express covenants as to insurance and the application of the sums insured; and when Mr. Wolley had recovered the 12,000l. insured on the house, he would be bound by his lease to expend it all in rebuilding the mansion. Moreover, long ago by Act of Parliament the companies had an option given them to rebuild, whether the policies gave the option or not; and if it were less expensive to rebuild they would elect, of course, to rebuild. But supposing they elected to pay, the landlord could enforce the application of the money to the purpose of reinstatement. Now, persons of the highest character would be called to show that the cost of rebuilding would at least be 12,000l., the amount insured upon it. Nor could this be disputed on the part of the company's surveyor; therefore, as regarded the house, it was obvious that there was no over-insurance, still less fraud. The difficulty with the company, however, had arisen more with reference to the contents of the house than the house itself. To the nature of the interior of the house, therefore, he would now direct the attention of the jury. It was no ordinary building; it was more like a palace than a mansion, it was a mass of quaint and curious carvings and gildings, and was filled with valuable collections. No one who had not seen it could realize its magnificence, but, happily, ladies and artists had made many drawings of the interior decorations, and photographs also had been taken of the interior. The jury could easily fancy the character of a house of this kind, a hundred feet in length. Ever since Mr. Wolley had the house he had been engaged in improving and decorating it. The learned counsel here exhibited drawings of the interior, showing the carved work and beautiful ceilings, explaining that they did not show many articles of furniture, because the artists had purposely had them removed for the purpose of the drawings, which were to represent the interior—not the furniture. (These drawings, which were large and well executed, and certainly showed very picturesque and beautiful interiors, were put into the hands of the jury.) The great point to be observed was that the staircase ran up the centre of the house. At the top of the staircase was a corridor of large size. One of the canopies took three months to execute, being taken from the ruins of York Minster—from which it was purchased by Mr. Wolley—and another from Westminster Abbey. The woodwork was gilded, and the whole was one mass of gilding. The expense to which he went was enormous, and almost unbounded. Almost the whole of his fortune, with his wife's, was expended, and a considerable portion of his sister-in-law's. One of the arches in the interior was unique; it was taken by Mr. Cottingham,