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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 10 - Volume 12.djvu/589

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10 s. xii. DEC. is, 1909.] NOTES AND QUERIES.



(Concluded from p. 445.)

ON reading the notices of W. Jay in the ' D. N. B. ? and Boase's ' Modern English Biography l I was somewhat surprised to find the ' Recollections * of W. Jay by his son Cyrus Jay, published in 1859, cited as one of the authorities, without a word of caution as to the untrustworthy character of the book.

There is, so far as I am aware, no biography or obituary notice of Cyrus Jay to be found. As shown in my previous article, he was the fourth child of William Jay, and was born about 1797, probably at Bath. Among my manuscript notes I find the following, which I came across at the Record Office some thirty-five years ago, and " made a note of " :

"Cyrus Jay artieled to Luke Evill, attorney of the City of Bath, 21st October, 1814. Articles filed under the Indemnity Act 54 Geo. III., dated 10 May, 1814. Record Office, No. 1870."

When I made this note the records could be examined without fee ; now no document after 1760 can be seen without payment, and I therefore wish to withdraw the praise I gave the Record Office in a former article (10 S. vi. 504).

One seldom examines old legal documents without being reminded of the useless hard- ships people had to endure in past times. But for that Indemnity Act Jay would have had to begin again with fresh articles and fresh stamp, then 100Z. ! Henry Moore (1806-85), the author of a number of success- ful law-books, actually had to serve his five years twice over, simply because a witness was dead a pure formality which an Act was shortly after passed to remedy. Having served the last year of his articles in Gray's Inn (' The Law,* p. 232), Cyrus Jay was admitted an attorney in Hilary .Term, 1819 (in accordance with the circumlocutory practice of those days), in the three courts, the Exchequer, King's Bench, and Common Pleas ; but even that did not give him a right to practise in the Chancery Courts ! He at once commenced practice in London. Bath apparently had no attractions for him, notwithstanding his father's position and influence there.

Between 1822 and 1827 he had three different partners, the last being R. Ash ton, probably a relation of his brother-in law. In 1828 both Jay and his partner drop out of ' The Law List,' and after that he had no more partners. In the following year we

find him alone""at 15, Serjeants' Inn, Fleet Street.

His father says (* Autobiography,' p. 98) that Cyrus married a daughter of the " pious and benevolent " Robert Spear, a cotton merchant of Manchester. There is a notice of Spear in the ' Autobiography l (p. 431) ; he died in Edinburgh.

Cyrus Jay was at Serjeants' Inn until 1861, when his name a,ppears at 10, New Inn, Strand, till 1865, when he removed to 7, High Street, Marylebone, an indication of lost practice, and an effort to get into County-Court work, virtually starting anew at the age of sixty-four. His next and last- address was in 1868, at 7, Thanet Place, Temple Bar.

Thanet Place, composed of a passage and ten houses, was completely wiped out about 1902, and offices built over the whole site. The only record left is the name Thanet House on Nos. 231-2, Strand. The place was a miserable, dreary, blind alley, dirty and dark. Jay's being there showed that his business had gone. He probably died there in 1869 or 1870, as his name does not appear in ' The Law List ? after 1868, and drops out of the ' P.O.D.' after 1871.

Jay's name is in ' The Law List ' as London agent to his brother-in-law Garfit Ashton (mentioned ante, p. 445) up to the latter's death in 1855. The law failing him, Cyrus thought of making use of his father's reputation to bring out a book about him, in order, as he himself would have said, to " raise the wind." The outcome of this was the ' Recollections,' published five years after his father's death. They are an un- scrupulous compilation ; no statement should be taken from them without verification. For truth Cyrus cared little ; his character was in every way as bad as his father's had been good. Any anecdote he had heard at the Fleet Street taverns where he loved to be Sir Oracle was made use of.

In 1868 Cyrus published another book, entitled * The Law : what I have seen, what I have heard, and what I have known.' This was compiled with the same object as the * Recollections,' and is as untrustworthy. The chief difference is that it is without dis- guise a tavern anecdote book, for it is dedicated to the frequenters of a Fleet Street tavern some of whom he had known for a generation or two. The reckless manner in which it was compiled was exposed in The Athenceum (18 April, 1868, p. 552). Unfortunately that journal passed over the ' Recollections,' probably deeming it best not to give them the benefit of even