The Law and Politics

  • R. D. Mcmaster


It is not surprising that students of the law, who in their occupation are necessarily closely interested in the rules laid down by society for the practical conduct of affairs in the world, should also desire to become lawmakers. Moreover, election to Parliament led to an enhanced career for lawyers either in the practice of their profession or in the distinguished appointments for which their backgrounds made them likely candidates. In The New Zealander Trollope notes with some disapproval the great number of lawyers in Parliament. As J. R. Vincent observes in his account of Victorian lawyers in Parliament: ‘Every century has found to its chagrin that the House of Commons became a fifth Inn of Court’.1 Concerning himself so keenly as a novelist in the delineation of political careers, Trollope naturally shows law as a stepping stone to political office and political office as a stepping stone to the higher reaches of the law. Occasionally the two spheres of interest combine intimately as in the lives of the Law Officers of the Crown, of whom Trollope creates several impressive examples, one of them, perhaps, his most intriguing and positive portait of a lawyer.


Prime Minister Step Stone Corrupt Practice Political Career High Reach 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    J. R. Vincent, The Formation of the British Liberal Party, 1857–1868, 2nd edn (Hassocks: Harvester Press, 1976) p. 39.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ruth apRoberts, Trollope: Artist and Moralist (London: Chatto & Win-dus, 1971) p. 57.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    John Fortescue, De Laudibus Legum Angliae, ch. XLIX, quoted in John Matthews Manly, Some New Light on Chaucer (New York: Holt, 1926) p. 16.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Daniel Duman, The English and Colonial Bars in the Nineteenth Century (London: Croom Helm, 1983) pp. 194–5.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    E. L. Woodward, The Age of Reform, 1815–1870 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1938) p. 85 n. 4.Google Scholar
  6. 12.
    William Ballantine, Some Experiences of a Barrister’s Life 2 vols (London: Bentley, 1882) vol. 11, pp. 48–9.Google Scholar
  7. 33.
    Thomas L. Shaffer, ‘A Lesson from Trollope for Counselors at Law’, Washington and Lee Law Review, 35 (1978) p. 727.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© R. D. McMaster 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. D. Mcmaster
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AlbertaCanada

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