Shylock vs. Antonio: A Brief for Plaintiff on Appeal

THIS action was heard before the trial court at Venice, and is now brought up for review upon the full notes of the reporter, Mr. William Shakespeare.

The length of time which has elapsed between the rendition of judgment in the court below and the hearing upon this appeal is but another instance of the “ law’s delay,” of which the appellant has good occasion to complain. But, strong in the conviction of the justice of his cause, he desires to waive all questions of procedure, and to be heard upon the merits alone.

The facts of the case, as revealed by the transcript, are as follows : The defendant, Antonio, was a merchant in Venice, who is shown by the testimony to have been a gentleman of most improvident and speculative habits. Not content with loaning his money indiscriminately, without interest or security, he had, just prior to the transactions out of which this action grew, attempted, with insufficient capital, to establish a gigantic “ corner ” in the shipping trade of Venice. The existence of this reckless deal was not unknown to Shylock, for he says, “ He hath an argosy bound to Tripolis; another to the Indies; I understand, moreover, upon the Rialto, he hath a third at Mexico; a fourth for England ; and other veutures he hath squander’d abroad. But ships are but boards, sailors but men ; there be landrats and water-rats; land-thieves and water-thieves: I mean pirates ; and then there is the peril of waters, winds and rocks.”

That Antonio was conscious of his financial irresponsibility appears from his own admissions, and from the statements made by his friends in his presence. As these facts constitute a part of the res gestœ, and are of importance in judging of the transactions which follow, counsel will be pardoned for alluding somewhat in extenso to the evidence.

In conversation with his friends Salarino and Salanio, Antonio appears downcast, as may be expected of one whose entire substance stands at such risk. Salarino, commenting upon this, says: —

“ Your mind is tossing on the ocean :
There, where your argosies, with portly sail,
Like signiors and rich burghers on the flood,
Or, as it were, the pageants of the sea, -
Do overpeer the petty traffickers,
That curt’sy to them, do them reverence,
As they fly by them with their woven wings.”

Salanio, appreciating the gravity of Antonio’s position, responds: —

“ Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth,
The better part of my affections would
Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still
Plucking the grass, to know where sits the wind;
Peering in maps for ports, and piers, and roads;
And every object that might make me fear
Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt
Would make me sad.”

To which Salarino replies, more sympathetically than soothingly: —

“ My wind, cooling my broth,
Would blow me to an ague, when I thought
What harm a wind too great might do at sea.
I should not see the sandy hour-glass run
But I should think of shallows and of flats,
And see my wealthy Andrew dock’d in sand,
Vailing her high-top lower than her ribs,
To kiss her burial. Should I go to church,
And see the holy edifice of stone,
And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks,
Which, touching but my gentle vessel’s side,
Would scatter all her spices on the stream,
Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks,
And, in a word, but even now worth this
And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought
To think on this: and shall I lack the thought
That such a thing, bechanc’d, would make me sad ?
But tell not me: I know, Antonio
Is sad to think upon his merchandise.”

Antonio offers to these searching remarks a feeble protestation that his “ ventures are not in one bottom trusted, nor to one place.” Was there ever a drowning man who would listen to the suggestion that the straw would not bear his weight even if he clutched it? Certain it is that Antonio makes no explanation that will otherwise account for his dejection, and the inference is plain that his friends had discerned the real cause of his disquietude. Indeed, in an interview with Bassanio, he admits his deplorable plight: —

“ Thou know’st that all my fortunes are at sea ;
Neither have I money, nor commodity
To raise a present sum ; therefore go forth,
Try what my credit can in Venice do ;
That shall be rack’d, even to the uttermost.”

Whatever other conclusions may be drawn, two inductions seem to follow irresistibly : that Antonio’s finances were in such a disordered condition that he was the last man in Venice to offer merely his credit for a loan, and that this was well known among his friends and upon the Rialto.

Now comes upon the scene one Bassanio, by his own confession a spendthrift staggering under the debts which his extravagance had created, the largest of which was owing to Antonio, and proposes to the latter, as a means of repaying him, that they should form a syndicate to enable Bassanio to marry an heiress, and, to that end, should borrow money on the credit of their combined insolvency. Let us not be misled by the pretty sentiment which we shall hear these gentlemen uttering betimes as it serves their purposes. Let us bear in mind that when they are by themselves Bassanio frankly confesses that his “ plot ” for marrying Portia is conceived in the hope of lining his pocket-book, and that he gives Antonio to understand that only by helping him in this scheme can the latter hope to become a preferred creditor. Bassanio opens the subject craftily : —

“ ’T is not unknown to you, Antonio,
How much I have disabled mine estate,
By something showing a more swelling port
Than my faint means would grant continuance :
Nor do I now make moan to be abridg’d
From such a noble rate ; but my chief care
Is to come fairly off from, the great debts
Wherein my time, something too prodigal,
Hath left me gag’d. To you, Antonio,
I owe the most, in money and in love ;
And from your love I have a warranty
To unburthen all my plots and purposes,
How to get clear of all the debts I owe.”

A moment later, Bassanio again suggests the debt he owes to Antonio, and the possibility of repayment, if the latter will only “ stand in ” on his little arrangement.

I owe you much ; and, like a wilful youth,
That, which I owe is lost.”

Mark the subtlety with which he fills Antonio’s mind with the hopelessness of the debt, and then continues : —

— “ but, if you please
To shoot another arrow that self way
Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
As I will watch the aim, or to find both,
Or bring your latter hazard back again,
And thankfully rest debtor for the first,”

Antonio jumps eagerly at the bait. Bassanio finds a willing listener while he describes Portia, of whom he does not forget to say that she is “ richly left,” before he says that she is fair. He tells how he has received some encouragement from the “ speechless messages” of the young lady’s eyes, and concludes that if he can be fitted out in good form his success is assured : —

” I have a mind presages me such thrift
That I should questionless be fortunate.”

Antonio has neither money nor goods available, but his zeal is so aroused that he is willing his credit should be “ rack’d ; ” and he accordingly commissions Bassanio to find some one credulous enough to loan money on the insecurity of their joint signatures. That Bassanio’s chances of getting his fingers on the young woman’s inheritance does not rest even upon so good a foundation as the messages from her pretty eyes, — and we all know that it will not do to base any great outlay upon such collateral, though most of us have done it, I fear, many times, — but upon a piece of blind guess-work as to which of three caskets contain her picture, does not seem to make this speculation in matrimony appear at all hazardous to either of these gentlemen, provided some one else will advance the money necessary to enable Bassanio to resume his “ swelling port.”

Now, in furtherance of this “ plot,” as Bassanio confesses it to be, the plaintiff in this action, a worthy Jewish capitalist, is applied to for the loan. It is well to note here that Shylock is, in character, everything which this precious pair are not. Where they are careless and improvident, he is far-seeing and conservative. While Bassanio has been making rapid distribution of his creditors’ funds, Shylock, by frugality, has amassed a competence. While Antonio has been sounding random notes upon the pipe of fortune, Shylock has followed the slow and cautious ways of a man of business. Bassanio is a spendthrift, Shylock an accumulator; Antonio is a speculator, Shylock an investor. While they are so diametrically opposite in business methods, they are not less so in personal character. They two are pleasure-loving men of fashion, giving no heed to the morrow; but this man, typical of the strongest characteristics of his race, lives a simple life in his own home, lavishing his fatherly affection upon his only child, and cherishing the venerable traditions and peculiar customs of his people. In intellectual strength and in the rare quality of a masterful personality, he stands upon an eminence to which they never attain. It may be that he has the failings of his tribe ; that he smarts under the indignities to which he has been subjected, " the oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely; ” that continued outrage has produced shyness and suspicion ; that open confiscation has resulted in hoarding and secretion. Be that as it may, we may well believe that of all men in the world these two would be the ones to whose personal guaranty alone Shylock would attach the least consideration.

Bassanio, already in his mind befrizzed and pomatumed with Shylock’s money, cannot await the usual formality of financial transactions upon the Rialto, but accosts the Hebrew at his first casual meeting. Shylock receives the proposition with evident lack of enthusiasm. Three thousand ducats is a large sum of money to advance on the inconsiderable sufficiency of such security, and he points out to the expectant swain that his bondsman’s means are " in supposition ; ” whereupon Bassanio, having already gained one point by the crafty suggestion of personal gain to Antonio, thinks to flatter the vanity of the Jew by inviting him to dine. Could anything be finer or more self-respecting than the indignant reply ? —

“ I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you ! ”

Even while the words are upon his lips, Antonio appears upon the scene, and, with a ready show of virtue, ignores the gain which he hopes to reap by the transaction, and poses as one who neither lends nor borrows, but who, to “ supply the ripe wants of a friend,” is willing to break a custom. But so clumsily does he conceal his contempt for the Hebrew that he also stirs the wrath of the latter, who exclaims : —

“ Signior Antonio, many a time and oft,
In the Rialto you have rated me
About my monies, and my usances :
Still have I borne if with a patient shrug,
For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe ;
You call me,—misbeliever, cut-throat dog,
And spet upon my Jewish gaberdine,
And all for use of that which is mine own.
Well then, it now appears you need my help ;
Go to then : von come to me, and you say,
Shylock, we would have monies: You say so ;
You, that did void your rheum upon my heard,
And foot me, as you spurn a stranger cur
Over your threshold ; monies is your suit.
What should I say to you ? Should I not say,
Hath a dog money ? it it possible
A cur can lend three thousand ducats? Or
Shall I bend low, and in a bondsman’s key,
With ’bated breath, and whispering humbleness,
Say this, —
Fair sir, you spet on me on Wednesday last;
You spurn’d me such a day ; another time
You call’d me — dog ; and for these courtesies
I ’ll lend you thus much monies.”

That Shylock does not utterly spurn the suppliants, but is finally mollified, and consents to let them have the money they desire, appears strange until we remember that he has every motive for wishing to conciliate them. His entire wealth, consisting, undoubtedly, of personal property, after the manner of his people, is at the mercy of these men and others, who think it no crime, as we shall presently see, to plunder a Jew. Now Antonio and Bassanio are men of family and position, as the world goes, and will be able, upon occasion, to exert a not inconsiderable influence. If Shylock can devise some means by which he can accommodate them without loss, and so convert their animosity into something resembling gratitude and implying a certain degree of protection, he has the strongest reasons for desiring to do it. But, with his knowledge of the impecuniousness of the principal debtor and the insufficiency of his proffered surety, coupled with his recollection of the illwill already shown him by both, we can appreciate why he should feel that only a bond which holds over them a stringent and unusual condition will be of binding force on their facile consciences. If it be possible to make them feel that a default may put their precious persons in jeopardy, there may be hope that the loan will not result in total loss. Accordingly, the penalty of a pound of flesh is hit upon as a happy expedient, concurred in by Antonio, who declares that, after all, there is much kindness in the Jew.” Shylock grimly remarks that a pound of Antonio’s flesh “ is not so estimable, profitable neither, as flesh of muttons, beefs or goats;” and if the episode had ended here, unconnected with the subsequent outrages to which he was subjected, it is not too much to infer that the forfeiture would not have been claimed. That vows and penalties which now seem barbarous were at that time of frequent occurrence relieves this bond of the odium of containing a cruel exaction. When we think how recently wager of battle was a recognized method of deciding suits at law in England, we may acquit this transaction of the charge of peculiar harshness.

And so Bassanio gets the money, — or rather the barbers and tailors get it, — and he prepares to set off on his journey to dazzle the eyes of Portia. But before starting, an act of perfidy is planned and executed against the man whose money had fitted him out. Lorenzo is his bosom friend and guest. Launcelot Gobbo, a servant of Shylock, by the kindly recommendation of his master enters the service of Bassanio, who permits Lorenzo to employ him in conveying clandestine messages to Jessica, the daughter of the Hebrew. And more, Gratiano, the comrade of both Antonio and Bassanio, unites with this same Lorenzo, assisted by Antonio’s other friend, Salarino, to violate the sanctity of Shylock’s home, rob him of his only child, whom, in his faith, he had trusted even with the keys of his strongboxes, and despoil him of his money and jewels ! Rich in the possession of this plunder, Lorenzo flies with Jessica, and Bassanio proceeds to Belmont to try what inroads can be made upon the fortune of the fair Portia. Is it any wonder that Shylock is maddened by this loss, and crazed by this treachery ? Does it not show good traits that he is most deeply grieved that his wayward child has been willing to part with her mother’s turquoise ring for a monkey ? Does it make Salarino and Salanio appear more noble when we see them jeering at the old man, overwhelmed by his misfortunes ? Is it strange that he should connect the whole plot in his mind, and that his very soul should cry out for vengeance for his wrongs ? How magnificently he answers them ! —

“ He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million ; laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what’s his reason ? I am a Jew : hath not a Jew eyes ? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions ? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is ? If you prick us, do we not bleed ? if you tickle us, do we not laugh ? if you poison us, do we not die ? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge ? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble yon in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility ? revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example ? why, revenge. The villany you teach me I will execute ; and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.”

While smarting under the sense of unpardonable injuries, Shylock learns from Tubal of the losses of Antonio, the surety of Bassanio, and the comrade and, as he believes, particeps criminis of the men who have robbed him of his treasure and stolen his daughter. The quick thought of retribution comes to his strong nature with the impetuous force of an inspiration. The old Hebrew law, — was it not handed down from on high ? “ And thine eye shall not pity ; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”

All this time the noble Bassanio, his “ swelling port ” gorgeous with unpaid velvet, his well-turned calf inclosed in finest silk, his patrician head a-tremble with brilliant feathers, has made famous progress at Belmont, and has snugly installed himself as a permanent parlor boarder at Portia’s expense. For he has chosen the fortunate casket. Who better than he, to be sure, should know that “ all that glisters is not gold ”? The Prince of Morocco might be dazzled by a veneer of gilt, and the Prince of Arragon, like our American economists, might put his faith in silver. But the subtle Bassanio knows a trick worth both of these. When he comes to a leaden casket inscribed “ Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath,” his intuitions tell him immediately that that is the box for him. While he dallies with the honeyed hours at Belmont, does he once think of his friend Antonio, now in direst distress ? Does he borrow any trouble over the fact that his bond has passed maturity, and is still unpaid ? Not Bassanio. He lets the days go by without a thought of the debt which he owes, and not until his default has endangered the life of his friend, of which Antonio is obliged to write and remind him, does he give a moment’s consideration to his protested obligation. And then what a change comes over his tone ! When the old Hebrew stands like an avenging god demanding retribution, this syndicate of speculation, insolvency, house-breaking, abduction, and fortune-hunting suddenly discovers that altogether the most lovely thing in the world is mercy.

We have now reviewed the evidence of the transactions prior to the trial, and are in a position to judge fairly the remarkable proceedings which there took place. The court, it will be observed, is one which puts forth high pretensions of being actuated by abstract considerations of law and justice. So sacred are its decrees that when one of them is recorded it is a precedent for all time. The tribunal is now solemnly opened by the Duke, in the presence of the Magnificoes, for the purpose of judicially determining the contention between these two litigants. Before the arrival of Shylock, the Duke, presumably for the purpose of displaying his impartiality, calls Antonio aside, and confidentially assures him that the plaintiff is

“ A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch,
Uncapable of pity, void and empty
From any dram of mercy.”

Having delivered this preliminary dictum, the court causes Shylock to be brought in, and proceeds to urge upon him not only to “ lose the forfeiture,” but to “ forgive a moiety of the principal.” Fancy this, to a man who comes before the bar of justice with the very fountains of his being stirred up by continued and indescribable wrongs ! What shall he say ? Shall he detail the perfidy, the injustice, of which he has been made the victim ? Shall he parade his family wrongs upon the public forum ? No, a thousand times no ! He answers with dignity, but with intensity, that he has sworn a holy vow, and he declines to give other reasons for standing upon his bond. The Duke incautiously asks him, “ How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none ? ” and receives an answer which causes his grace incontinently to drop the subject: —

“ What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong ?
You have among you many a purchas’d slave,
Which, like your asses, and your dogs, and mules.
You use in abject and in slavish parts,
Because you bought them. Shall I say to you,
Let them be free, marry them to your heirs ?
Why sweat they under burthens ? let, their beds
Be made as soft as yours, and let their palates
Be season’d with such viands ? You will answer,
The slaves are ours : — so do I answer you.
The pound of flesh, which I demand of him,
Is dearly bought; ’t is mine, and I will have it :
If you deny me, fie upon your law !
There is no force in the decrees of Venice :
I stand for judgment: answer, shall I have it ? ”

This is more of a reply than the Duke bargained for, and he thinks, in a bewildered way, that he had better adjourn court unless Bellario comes to his assistance. Very opportunely, a messenger from the learned Paduan is announced, bearing a letter of introduction for an alleged youthful doctor, who is described as having a young body and an old head. Pending the arrival of the latter, Gratiano, one of the men who plundered Shylock’s treasure and abducted his daughter, gives the proceedings an additional judicial flavor by calling to the man he had so cruelly wronged,

“ Be thou damned, inexorable dog,”

and indulging in other choice vituperation of not less refinement. The young doctor is then ushered upon the scene, and for the present we will take him for what he purports to be, forbearing further inquiry until a later stage.

Surrounded as Shylock is by persons antagonistic to him, it does not presage well for his chances that this young gentleman — that moment arrived in Venice — should, in advance of any statement by the parties, declare himself to be “ informed thoroughly of the cause.” He opens the proceedings by repeating, in more eloquent and touching words, the appeal which had already been made to the outraged Hebrew for mercy, but meets with the same response, a prayer for judgment on the bond. The principal debtor, Bassanio, is thereupon struck with a devious inspiration, and characteristically supplicates the young doctor :

“ And I beseech you,
Wrest once the law to your authority,
To do a great right, do a little wrong ; ”

but is summarily answered : —

“ It must not be ; there is no power in Venice
Can alter a decree established ;
’T will be recorded for a precedent,
And many an error, by the same example,
Will rush into the state : it cannot be,”

The young judge has already recognized the right of Shylock to appear in court, and the regularity of his method of proceeding : —

“ Of a strange nature is the suit you follow,
Yet in such rule, that the Venetian law
Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.”

And, a moment later, the lawful standing of the Jew is again conceded, and the decree he asks for granted : —

“ Why, this bond is forfeit:
And lawfully by this the Jew may claim
A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off
Nearest the merchant’s heart.”

This repeated judicial recognition of the legality of Shylock’s position is an important fact, to which we shall presently recur.

The trial proceeds. Antonio prepares to meet his fate with fortitude, while Bassanio, with a great burst of unselfishness which reminds one of the late Artemus Ward, declares that he would rather sacrifice his wife than have this thing go on. But the plaintiff is inexorable, and his position is impregnable : —

“ A pound of that same merchant’s flesh is thine,
The court awards it, and the law doth give it.”

So far, the young doctor’s enunciation of the law has been dignified, and in accordance with that broad interpretation which is an essential part of the spirit of jurisprudence. The suggestion has been made, and it seems plausible, that the learned Bellario had furnished the youthful judge with the decisions rendered up to this point, but that the infinitesimal hair-splitting which immediately follows is the subtle inspiration of his young protégé. It will presently be seen that there are facts which bear out this supposition. Let us take up and examine these very remarkable dicta:

“ This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood;
The words expressly are, a pound of flesh.
Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh,
But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed
One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate
Unto the state of Venice.”

This is the very consummation of sophistry. No one better than the judge knew the fallacy of these petty subterfuges. But let us meet quibble with quibble. It is submitted that Shylock would have been justified in replying :

“ When I have a right to anything, I have a right to whatever necessarily accompanies it. If I own a pond of water, are not the fish mine ? If I buy meat at the market, shall the vendor come to me afterward with a bill for the blood ? And if I am entitled to a pound of Antonio’s fiesh, and he is entitled to the blood, what right has his blood in my flesh ? Let him get it out at once, or lose it! And if, in taking it, he detaches one shred of my pound of flesh, let his lands and goods be ‘ confiscate unto the state of Venice.’ ”

But says the judge,—

“ Nor cut thou less, nor more,
But just a pound of flesh; if thou tak’st more,
Or less, than a just pound, — be it but so much
As makes it light, or heavy, in the substance,
Or the division of the twentieth part
Of one poor scruple, — nay, if the scale do turn
But in the estimation of a hair,
Thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate.”

“ But,” the plaintiff might have responded, “ surely, if a man owes me three thousand ducats, I may lawfully release him for twenty-nine hundred. If the market-man owes me a pound of flesh, I may acquit him, if I choose, for three quarters of a pound. I do not question your decision when you deny my right to more than the penalty, but you have all pleaded for mercy, and I am willing to forego a quarter of a pound of that which is mine. Moreover, you have an officer whose duty it is to execute decrees. If this judgment is to be executed so exactly, it is proper that he should do it. Let him cut off the pound of flesh, and if he spills any blood, or cheats in the weight, confiscate his goods and sue his bondsmen for any deficiency.”

However, the Hebrew makes no such reply, but, crushed and overpowered, sees that there is evident intention to render judgment against him, and demands simply : —

“ Give me my principal, and let me go.”

But, notwithstanding the young doctor has previously proffered Shylock thrice this amount, he now declares that nothing shall be awarded but the forfeiture : and while the words of this last but oft-repeated admission of plaintiff’s right to judgment are still warm upon his lips, he proceeds with the following astounding declaration : —

“ Tarry, Jew ;
The law hath yet another hold on you.
It is enacted in the laws of Venice, —
If it be proved against an alien,
That by direct or indirect attempts
He seek the life of any citizen,
The party ‘gainst the which he doth contrive,
Shall seize one-half his goods ; ” —

(This idea of confiscating Shylock’s goods displays a remarkable ubiquity in the utterances of the court.)

“ the other half
Comes to the privy coffer of the state;
And the offender’s life lies in the mercy
Of the Duke only, ’gainst all other voice.
In which predicament, I say, thou stand’st;
For it appears by manifest proceeding,
That, indirectly, and directly too,
Thou hast contriv’d against the very life
Of the defendant; and thou hast incurr’d
The danger formerly by me rehears’d.”

Now, whatever may be thought of the proceedings up to this point, — whether or not Shylock was entitled to his pound of flesh or to a return of his money, or even whether he should not be dismissed without either, — certainly the one thing which he had not done was to “ seek the life of any citizen.”He had simply submitted the facts to the court, and asked for the authority and guidance of its decree. He said, in effect, “ Here is the bond. I have made, and shall make, no attempt to execute it myself, as I wish to avoid even the appearance of proceeding without the sanction of the law. I come into court to submit the facts and to ask a judgment in due form determining exactly what my rights are. When the decree has established what is lawful, that will I do, and nothing else.”

As we have already seen, this attitude of Shylock’s was recognized several times in the early part of the trial, and it was declared that his bond was lawful, that his procedure was proper, and that he was entitled to his decree. Indeed, the court had that very instant awarded him judgment; and when he declines to proceed under the restrictions imposed, the court proposes to forfeit his life and property, apparently for allowing such a decree to be rendered. The Duke, somewhat staggered at the length to which things are going, interposes, to pardon Shylock’s life, and the baffled suitor, whose only crime has been that of appearing before the tribunal and asking for a determination of his rights, is at last suffered to go, with a loss of only half his property, upon the condition of renouncing his religion.

Of this illogical tangle of inconsistencies there seems to be no explanation, until the fact comes out that the so-called youthful doctor of Rome is really a young woman in disguise, and is, in fact, none other than the wife of Bassanio, the principal debtor on the bond, who has left her home in charge of Shylock’s daughter in order to come to Venice and accomplish the downfall of Shylock himself. That Portia owed her scapegrace husband — in whom we wish her much joy — to this unfortunate investment of the plaintiff’s; that the very coat on her husband’s back was bought with Shylock’s money, unless she had furbished him up since she married him ; that she herself was at that moment sheltering Shylock’s runaway daughter at Belmont, and affording a safe receptacle for Shylock’s plundered property, do not seem to have occurred to her as good or sufficient reasons for making the judgment as little onerous as possible after extricating Antonio from the unpleasant predicament into which the insatiable desire of Bassanio to show a “ swelling port ” had thrust him. But the record reveals plainly that the plaintiff did not have that fair and impartial trial to which he was entitled, and it is confidently believed that, upon this appeal, that justice will be awarded him which was denied to him upon the hearing in the court below.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

Charles Henry Phelps.