The Times, Saturday, Nov 25, 1876; pg. 10; Issue 28796; col D




(Before Vice-Chancellor Sir RICHARD MALINS.)


The arguments in this part-heard case were continued, and occupied the whole of to-day.

Mr. J. PEARSON, Q.C., concluded his address on behalf of the defendant.

The Attorney-General (Sir John HOLKER, Q.C.), Mr. DAVEY, Q.C., and Mr. NORTH were with Mr. PEARSON for the principal defendants.

Mr. GLASSE, Q.C., commenced his reply on behalf of the plaintiff, contending that if the evidence in support of his client’s case was so valueless as it was said to be, the case ought to have ended with the statement of it on the part of the plaintiff. But it had not so ended, and in truth the plaintiff’s evidence was not so devoid of substance as the defendants supposed. Mr. GLASSE said he was there for the plaintiff to set right a great wrong done to him, and which the defendant could not deny he had suffered. He then commented on the evidence, and said that it showed this – that parents, having once committed themselves to the fraudulent attempt of passing off their illegitimate child on the world and their family as their son and heir, could not retrace their steps; and every fact on which the defendants relied as asserting Sir Francis’s legitimacy was on that theory consistent with the opposite conclusion. The defendants said it was notorious that Sir Francis was born after the marriage of his parents. If so, why should Lady VANE have told so many persons that fact? The truth was that a sense of remorse came over her for the wrong she had done – and the evidence of the plaintiff proved that – and she could not but state sometimes what really had been the case. The Attorney-General had said the witnesses might have been mistaken, and Lady VANE’s declaration as to illegitimacy might have applied to a child other than Sir Francis. But the evidence (and Mr. GLASSE referred particularly to several parts of it) utterly negatived that idea, and showed that her statements could apply to none but Sir Francis.

The VICE-CHANCELLOR said that, where a lady made such contradictory statements on such a subject to different persons, there was one solution of the difficulty, and that was to suppose her a person not right in her mind.

Mr. GLASSE, Q.C., then referred to the birthday letter of Lady VANE to Sir Francis, already mentioned, and to his answer to it, in which he said to her that her wishes to forget the past were not unresponded to, and added, “Would that the effects could be as easily remedied.” He contended that those letters, though written on the 28th and 29th of March, 1840, the day which, as part of the entire scheme of fraud, had been fixed on as his nominal birthday, supported the plaintiff’s contention. For what effects could require remedy if they were not the wrong of which his parents had been guilty? He then referred to the affidavit made by Lady VANE in 1833, stating the birth as the 29th of March, 1797, and to the statements in the answers relating to the suit to perpetuate testimony, instituted in 1802, and was proceeding with his reply when the Court rose.

Mr. Mounsey HEYSHAM was for the trustees.

The VICE-CHANCELLOR said he would go on with the case to-morrow.