and so far were the institutions of theatres tations; and thought it was improper to from being the fore-runners of slavery, or treat him severely for his application to the badges of despotism, that they were the House for a Bill to enable him to enmost encouraged, and flourished best, in tertain the people of Birmingham accordfree states. He was witty on what had ing to law; but yet he must, though with fallen from sir William relative to the Ro- reluctance, give his vote against the second man medals. He said, he had much ra- reading of the Bill; for it was clear to hiin, ther see such medals now struck, than po- that there should be no theatres allowed litical medals; for that there could be no by law in any manufacturing towns. He disgrace in shewing by the words ludi in- had heard from good authority, that the stituti, that our manners were polished; theatre licensed at Manchester, in consebut there might be some in having medals quence of a similar application to parliawith the inscription De Britunnis Colonis, ment, had done a great deal of mischief which would tend to throw a ridicule on already: nor could it be wondered at, if our late glorious campaign in America. we consider what pieces are sometimes

Mr. Dempster enforced the hint thrown represented, which, not being new, are out by Mr. Fox, that the sense of the town not subject to the controul of the Lord of Birmingham had not yet been taken. Chamberlain : the Beggar's Opera, for inHe jocosely remarked, that he thought it stance, which had brouglit more unbappy no improper familiarity in Mr. Yates to people to the gallows, than any one thing send cards to any member, with his com- he could name. As to the country genpliments, desiring his support of the Bill. tlemen, surely this was not such an age of Perhaps, it would bave been more fami- domestic retirement, but what they might liar, and bave given less offence if the card find sufficient amusement in visiting their had been from Mr. and Mrs. Yates ! It neighbours in the summer, without wantwas evident there always had, and would ing to frequent a theatre. The affair of continue to be, theatrical representations, the tickets, he observed, was become an at Birmingham; therefore, it was certainly intolerable oppression; for it was not albetter to legalize them, and put them un- y ways the master manufacturer who comder the inspection and jurisdiction of the pelled his workmen to take them; it proper officer, than to leave it to the dis was the agents from foreign countries, cretion of a private magistrate to check who forced the masters to take them, or their irregularities. The Lord Chamber- threatened to carry their orders elsewhere lain would regulate a licensed theatre, and if they refused. Considering, then, the upon any just complaint of the inhabitants, circumstances of Birmingham as a great suspend the licence.

manufacturing and trading town, depende Sir Henry Gough, living near the town ing on the industry and frugality of the of Birmingham, had frequent opportunities poorer class of people, he was of opinion of hearing the most melancholy complaints it would be highly improper to license any against the oppression of forcing the poor theatre there. workmen to take tickets for the players' Mr. Burke, after exculpating Mr. Yates benefits; and since there had been two from the charge of impudence in his aprival theatres, the evil had been greatly plication to the House, declared it to be increased, and that it was high time to put the right of every subject to petition para stop to it. The Bill, so far from apply- liament in any case, where the legislature ing a remedy, would establish, and in some could be of use to him. It rested with measure authorise, the hardship. There parliament to receive or reject his petition; was no necessity Birmingham should have but certainly he ought not to be treated any theatre; a strolling company might with severity, so that he should go from now and then come there, but the magis- the House in a worse situation than he trates would judge if it was proper for came to it. As to the opprobrious epithem to perform or not; and having no thets used in old acts of parliament against fixed residence or protection, they could unlicensed players, he was sorry to say have no pretence for the shameful method they partook of the savage temper of the of distressing the poor by benefit tickets. times in which they were made. The pro-, He was therefore against the Bill. fession was a liberal one, and, under pro

Mr. T. Townshend bestowed great enco per limitations, highly useful; and, theremiums on the talents of Mr. Yates as an fore, he wished to see those whose abilities actor; acknowledged his having frequently gave rational entertainment to the public received great pleasure from his represen- treated with decent respect. If unlicensed

[ocr errors]

players were deemed vagabonds, surely | The application from Mr. Yatës is a very Mr. Yates was justifiable in attempting to proper one, that he may be supported in obtain the sanction of the law for his per- his profession by the laws; and notwitnson and for his entertainments, which the standing all that has been said against havpeople of Birmingham seem to have been ing theatres at Birmingham, I still think fond of for so many years. He thought the people will be better employed at the the personal character of Mr. Yates had playhouse than in ale-houses and gin-shops. nothing to do with the question. He then As to the majority, too much stress is laid corrected sir William Bagot in point of upon them; if 50,000 of the inhabitants of chronology, remarking, that theatres were Birmingham are against having any theainstituted at the time when the Roman re- tre at all, is this a good foundation, in a public was in the most flourishing state ; land of freedom, for debarring the other that civil liberty encouraged this rational 10,000 from the enjoyment of a rational entertainment; and it was only on the amusement, for which they have a strong principle that no man should be compelled inclination? Surely it cannot, it ought not. even to pleasure, that he should oppose As to the abuse with respect to benefit the Bill, because it was evident to him tickets, it may be provided against is the that a very great majority of the inhabit- progress of the Bill; I am therefore for ants were against it. He mentioned sir the second reading. William's wish, that Birmingham might Mr. James Luttrell to explain, said, that remain in its village state; and took notice Mr. Yates's character was a very material of the politics of the times, which he feared and necessary object of consideration; for would gratify the hon. gentleman's wishes, that the Bill applied to take powers out of for instead of improving villages, and con- the respectable hands of the magistrates, verting them into large towns, the wretched who must have the peace and prosperity measures we had been pursuing for some of the town and manufactures at heart, and time past, it was to be feared would soon that to vest those powers in the hands of a reduce our great trading towns to obscure man who shewed contempt for the inhavillages. Birmingham might very soon bitants, and was odious to them, would be have no theatre, no manufacturers, no ma- a crime in the House ; therefore, as a gistrates.

member of it, he was free to give his opiMr. Wilkes went into the Roman his. nion of Mr. Yates's conduct. He maintory, and maintained from thence that the tained, that Mr. Yates's attempt to carry time when theatres were most encouraged, such a Bill, in defiance of all the principal was the very period when Rome enjoyed gentlemen, and most of the inhabitants of her civil liberty in its greatest perfection. Birmingham, was impudence, and paid no Lelius and Scipio, the friends and pro- compliment to the integrity of parliament; tectors of the liberties of the Romans, and ihat having received favours for twentý were likewise the patrons of Terence. In years, upon sufferance, shewed the height the free states of Greece, theatres flou- of ingratitude towards his benefactors. rished earlier than at Róme. It was à ra. Mr. Rous spoke against the Bill, and tional entertainment, and the hon. gentle- replied to what Mr. Wilkes had said reman who mentioned the Beggar's Opera, specting a magistrate's suspending an act should have added, that in the same thea of parliament. He contended, that the tre the Conscious Lovers and Cato are hon. gentleman was mistaken in imputing performed: and I appeal, said Mr. Wilkes, a neglect of duty to the neighbouring mato the gentlemen who have seen the re- gistrates, because they permitted unlipresentation of Macbeth, if they do not censed theatrical representations, contrary think it must have a greater effect to pre- to law. As a magistrate, the hon. gentle vent the horrid crime of murder, than all man ought to have known that it is no the sermons that have been preached since part of the duty of a magistrate to act in the beginning of the world. With respect the first instance, but officially, on a comto the magistrates of Birmingham, I must plaint made, or information given. observe, Sir, that they have no power but Mr. Harris remarked, that almost every what they derive from the laws; and in gentleman who had taken à part in the permitting unlicensed players to perform debate, had complained of enormities havfor so many years, they were guilty of a ing been practised for upwards of twenty breach of their duty: they suspended the years in Birmingham, and yet that several laws; an offence for which one of the gentlemen wished to throw out a Bill calStuarts was obliged to leave this country culated to correct and restrain similar


[ocr errors]


enormities in future. He mentioned seve- | vas pot partial to any particular mode; Tal of the ancient writers of an elder day but hoped, after due deliberation, the than Terence, and after speaking highly in House would adopt that which should re. praise of a well-regulated theatre, ended concile the reasonable, the commendable with urging the propriety of passing the curiosity of decent persons who wished to Bill into a law.

be present, with the commodiousness of The Bill was read a second time. On the members themselves. Some rule the motion, that it be committed, the might probably be approved of similar to House divided :

the following: “ Any member of the Tellers.

House attending his duty in parliament, SMr. Fox YEAS

to be permitted, during the remainder of Mr. Dempster

18 this session, to introduce, before four

o'clock on each day of public business, NOES Sir William Bagot

69 one person into the gallery below the bars, Sir Henry Gough

on delivering at the Speaker's table, the So it passed in the negative.

name in writing of the person so intro,

duced, and thereunto subjoining his own Debate on Mr. Temple Luttrell's Mo- | name as responsible for such introduction for the Admission of Strangers into the tion.” The private business of the day Gallery of the House.] April 30. Mr. was usually ended about four o'clock; Temple Luttrell said, he thought it for the supposing 300 members to be in the credit of all parties, that strangers should Housc by that hour, which was a greater be admitted under proper restrictions ; number than he had ever seen during this candour, policy, gratitude, and duty to session, and 200 of those meet with so the people, whose representatives they many friends, whose names they should were, called upon them to open their write down for admittance into the gallery, doors; so far as the confined limits of the there would still remain seats enough House would admit of. There was, he within the bars for upwards of 100 mem. insisted upon it, a constitutional right in bers more, who might arrive in the course their constituents to satisfy themselves of the evening; that is, in case of an adus how far their delegates did, or did not, latory address to the crown, or an aug, discharge the trust reposed in them with mentation to the civil list revenue; for firmness and fidelity, and to form some those were the only divisions he had seen judgment whether their principles and lea in parliament when the company was so gislative suffrages might merit a renewal | numerous; and indeed some scores of the of that trust on a future occasion. The majority members thought it sufficient if persons solicitous to be present during the they repaired towards the close of the de. debates of parliament, are, generally bate from the outposts, and upon a forced speaking, such as are more immediately march to the standard of the minister. interested in the question under debate ; Hence it was that when the Ayes and and he appealed to some of the ablest, and Noes were finally cast up at eight or nine most diligent members of the House, whe- o'clock at night, there was sometimes a ther io former times they had not often respectable attendance of near four-fifths been put in possession of matters of fact of the whole body. Mr. Luttrell said he bappily decisive of the business in issue, had been at the pains of measuring the by stepping for a minute into the gallery seats, and if they would assign to stranTo fabricate and enact laws, especially of gers the entire gallery below the bar, a penal nature, as most of those were there would yet be found near 800 feet of which had lately passed the House of cushion for the easy accommodation of Commons, with a clandestine privacy, like the members: he would not wish to limit lettres de cachet from the court of Paris, every senator to the measure complained and thus take by surprize a subject whose of the evening before, as prescribed by liberty, and perhaps whose life, is affected Mr. and Mrs. Yates for the Birmingham thereby, must, it stands to reason, in a theatre, which was only nine inches each free country like ours, be utterly repugnant person, he would double that allowance, to the vital principles of its constitution; or even give twenty inches (which was he therefore should move for a committee about the size of the Speaker's seat) to of the whole House, to consider the seve- each member: a pampered prebend in a ral orders relative to the exclusion of metropolitan stall asked no more, and it Strangers from the galleries. He said he was within half a foot of the state chair in which his holiness of Rome is carried, by Mr. T. Townshend, not having observed way of anniversary sacrament, to the sum- Mr. Wilkes, seconded the proposal. As mit of St. Peter's church, in all the pleni. he had been a member of the House durtude of his divine vicegerency, to extin. | ing three parliaments, he was master of guish heresy under the type of a lighted the precedents of former times, and the candle. When sir John Cust was Speaker, custom of parliament, relative to the adand during the great length of time that mission of strangers. He said, that such Mr. Onslow presided, strangers were ad indulgence was reasonable, and eren nemitted even into the body of the House, cessary, on constitutional principles; and while lord Chatham has here delivered his he never had been witness, till the present sentiments on public affairs, with god-like Speaker was in the chair, of their general persuasion and eloquence. Strangers have orders thereupon being vigorously put in been suffered to advance so far as beneath force. He wished them to follow the exthe rose which is in the centre of your ample of the other House, which had roof; that rose which is now become, like opened their door to strangers; but yet, the bloody ones of York or Lancaster, a he added, that he had a kind of plebeian symbol of state secrecy. To make its rusticity about him, which could ill brook figurative import more perfect, I would the ungracious way of doing it with regard have it painted white; the white rose of to the Commons. He was severe upon the 10th of June should perpetuate tne administration; he said he could impute honour and virtue of our present ministers their repugnance at going into a commit-with the arbitrary principles of their tee to nothing but a glaring sense of their cabinet junto and cabinet parliament. iniquity, and a consciousness that their Mr. Luttrell added much more on the deeds would ill bear the light. ground of the original rights of the people Mr. Wilkes insisted upon what he called in this free country, to be present at the the constitutional propriety of going into national debates carried on in their behalf a committee upon these rigid and unjustiby their delegates in parliament; and fiable orders on the journals against the wished only to have the advocates for the very creators of their authority; and drew continuance of this calamitous civil war, a picture of what he called the dark and and those who took the contrary side of bloody politics of the present junto of mithe question, and reprobated the promoters nisters. of it, impartially listened to by their con- Lord-North took a view of all that had stituents without doors. No doubt the been advanced by the three gentlemen. minister would not object to opening the He assured the hon. mover, that he by no doors on the day of the budget. For his means wished to open the doors on the part, next to the exclusion of strangers day of the budget, nor at any other time. altogether, he thought nothing so unad- | The day of the budget was to him a day visable in this business as to admit stran- of anxiety and labour, and not of exultagers partially to brear mutilated debates, tion : “ sufficient for the day would be the or artful, dangerous, and wicked misrepre evil thereof.” He fattered himself, at all sentations. He then moved, That the events, he should have hearers enough on orders made upon the first of November that day, without admitting strangers into last, “ That the Serjeant at Arms attend the gallery: but he wished the hon. meming this House do, from time to time, take ber would point out in what instance he into his custody any stranger or strangers had deceived parliament, and misreprethat he shall see, or be informed of to be, sented the state of this country, or of fo. in the House or gallery, while the House, reign powers, before he advanced so or any committee of the whole House, is harsh an insinuation. The hon. member sitting; and that no person so taken into i had measured the size of the gentlemen custody be discharged out of custody, belonging to the House, but he had not without the special order of the House.” calculated so exactly the size of constiAlso, “ That no member of this House do tuents who were to be admitted into the presume to bring any stranger or strangers gallery: he conceived they could only be into the House or gallery” might be read. the constituents of the hon. gentleman who And the same being read accordingly; he spoke ļast (Mr. Wilkes) and the proposal next moved, “ That the said Orders be was to restrain the indulgence to about taken into consideration in a committee of 200 only, and all other constituents were, the whole House."

it seems, still to be kept out. He beMr. Wilkes seconded the motion. lieved the House would be of his opinion, not to open the doors on any occasion, of lord North's arguments. He dwelt on not even for the budget; though it was on the expediency of letting in young men of very fair public ground that they had parts and education, that they might cultiheretofore been admitted on that day. vate and improve their understanding, and

Mr. Luttrell should be sorry if the becoine early habituated to the conduct of House held him capable of advancing state affairs, and to political argumentacharges of a criminal nature, such as the tion. noble lord had erroneously taken to him. Mr. Rigby said, the hon. gentleman who self, without stating the facts on which spoke last was himself the strongest proof such charges were framed; much less that a gallery lesson in politics was not would he leave the House with an impres- necessary to form a perfect statesman and sion, that those charges might have been orator ; for, if here collected rightly, he was intended for that noble lord, for whom he elected into parliament under the age of had the respect and deference due to his 21, and before he returned home from exalted station and pre-eminent talents : his travels; and certain it was, he could but other ministers had so misrepresented not have been much schooled in that gal. the condition of our fleets and armies, and lery. He added, that his fundamental the resources of this country, as well as maxim in politics was to be consistent the policy and strength of their natural throughout, and act according to the enemies, and of our revolted fellow-sub- best of his judgment. He thought it imjects (now fellow-subjects no longer !) proper to let in strangers ; they had no that, he conceived, he was fully autho- business in the House at all; and he had rised in candour, to apprehend, that no observed, that when they are thus invery fair and authentic story would, upon dulged, scarce a day passes without some the whole, compose the approaching an- of the members being put to much inconnual budget. He observed, that although venience, and frequently they have been only 200 strangers might conveniently be pushed about and 'insulted. "He always admitted at the time, yet the indulgence had voted against admitting strangers, and would not be always confined to the same would continue so to do. Even when it individuals ; on the contrary many thou was a custom to let in strangers under sands might in the course of a session certain restrictions, he had never brought hear some part of the debates : he should in any body, and never would, even should have thought that the noble lord, who was the like indulgence again take place. present the preceding evening when a Some gentlemen were for letting in the question was agitated locally affecting the eldest sons of members; he had no eldest county of Warwick, must have observed, son; many other gentlemen, as well as that the gallery was nearly filled, not with himself, were so unhappy as to have no Middlesex voters, whom the noble lord eldest son; were they therefore with proseemed so

averse to, but with persons priety to be deprived of the benefit of such from that part of England immediately in- indulgence, if they chose to have their terested, who had the satisfaction to see share of it? Besides, the eldest son was both their knights of the shire zealously not heir by birth to a seat in that House ; supporting the wishes of all the respect he might, possibly, never have a seat there, able inhabitants in the most populous and except indeed where there were hereditary flourishing town of the county they re- burgage tenures in the case. What good present, against a few presumptuous dra. could result from strangers being in the matic speculatists.

gallery? Only to print speeches in newsMr. For expressed his hearty approba- papers of all sorts. He agreed that the tion of the motion, and was glad the hon. Commons had little reason to be pleased gentleman who introduced it had not with the stile and terms of their admission ; urged an absolute discharge of the uni- into the House of Peers : a line was drawn form and necessary orders of the House, between commoners who are allied to the established for good government and de- peerage, and all others of inferior dignity. corum. He wished that the House would, Lords' brothers and lords' cousins might as heretofore, decline to enforce those be accommodated behind the throne, but orders with such reprehensible rigour; the rest of that House must be content to and he was sure, that if a committee were stand below the bar, with an intolerable to take it under candid consideration, crowd of other persons, and with a risk of some method might be devised fully to an- having their pockets picked. He finished swer the end proposed. He took a view by declaring, that although he disapproved (VOL. XIX. ]


« ElőzőTovább »