[John Bell of Lincoln's Inn.] Part of document giving his legal opinion in a cause, written out by a clerk, and signed and dated by him.

John Bell (1764-1836) of Lincoln's Inn, English barrister
Publication details: 
Lincoln's Inn. 14 March 1828.
SKU: 14415

Bell's entry in the Oxford DNB records that 'In conversation with the prince regent (later George IV), Lord Chancellor Eldon was said to have described Bell as the best lawyer then at the equity bar, though he could "neither read, write, walk, nor talk": Bell was lame, spoke with a broad Westmorland accent, the effect of which was heightened by a confirmed stammer, and wrote in a hand never more than barely legible. He was accustomed to say that he wrote in three hands - one which he himself could read, one which his clerk could read and one which neither he nor his clerk could read.' The present document consists of the lower part of a 4to leaf, torn away to make a piece of 16 x 20 cm paper, with the legal opinion, in a far neater hand than Bell's, on both sides. In fair condition, on aged and worn paper. The first page of the legal opinion (in which no particulars are revealed) is pretty much a fair copy, while the second page is more untidy, with several corrections and interpolations. The first page begins: '<...> then living he will be absolutely entitled to the £3000 and the accumulations and the question will not arise. But if the 21 years expires before he is forty or if he is living when it expires it is uncertain who shall ultimately be entitled to the money and the directions in the will that the produce shall go to those would have been entitled [...]'. The last page concludes by citing other cases. The last sentence reads: 'But as the Trustees made no benefit of it themselves by Keeping it in their own hands, perhaps the Court might charge them 4 Per Cent only and compound Interest.' Bell signs and dates the document at the end of the verso: 'John Bell | Lins. Inn | March 14. 1828'.