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From The Spectator. payment was made in kind instead of in CURIOSITIES OF PARLIAMENTARY HIS- specie. There is an indenture extant (3 TORY.

Edward III.) between one John Strawnge The session just closed has been one of and certain burgesses of Droitwich, by virthe least remarkable we have had of late tue of which the said John Strawnge agreed years. It survived the average term, al- to attend the Parliament at Westminster, though, perhaps, it scarcely accomplished" qwehdyr it holde longe tyme or schortt, the average amount of work, and it was or gwhedye it fortune to been P'rogott saved from utter dulness only by the per- for the consideration of a “ Cade of full Hersonalities occasionally introduced into the yng tho' to been dyliv'id be Xitenmesse next debates. There is no circumstance con- comyng." The needy voter does not often nected with it which entitles it to be num- find his privilege an encumbrance to him bered among the curious Parliaments of now-a-days, and Mr. Strange's bargain conwhich history bears record, and which are a trasts ludicrously with the amount of provgood deal better worth recalling than the in- ender said to have been once consumed by cidents of the past six months. Many of the voters of a small borough,” besides a the members who were becoming impatient “preparatory breakfast” which cost £750. last week to depart for the grouse, must The following is the bill of fare, as given in have envied their predecessors in the first the Annual Register, 1761: 980 stone of Parliament which ever sat, in the reign of beef, 315 dozen of wine, 72 pipes of ale, 365 Henry the Third, who were released after an gallons of spirits converted into punch. attendance of thirty-three days. The bur- Parliaments were ordinarily elected angesses, citizens, and knights had never be- nually, but the session was generally very fore been allowed to exercise legislative func- brief, and between the reigns of Henry VI. tions, and the writ which summoned them and Charles II. the sittings were frequently rendered it lawful for them to receive pay- adjourned on account of the plague. The ment for their services from their constitu- shortest Parliament that ever sat met in the ents. The sheriffs were directed to form a thirty-fourth year of the reign of Edward I., jury of " four lawful knights” to assess the and existed for one day only; the longest expenses of the representatives; and for was not that which is historically known as many years subsequently members received the “ Long Parliament," which, according to wages during the session. The rate of pay the general computation, existed 16 years, was first fixed in the reign of Edward II.—it 145 days, or according to another (the outwas to be 4s. a day for every knight of the side limit) 17 years and three months. The shire, and 25. for every burgess; but a second Parliament of Charles II. met on the smaller sum was sometimes taken, and there 8th of May, 1661, and was not dissolved till is one case, which a writer in Notes and the 24th of January, 1678, having thus had Queries suggests may be the first instance a duration of 17 years, 8 months, and 16 of bribery known, where a member con- days. This, therefore, is the real “long" sented to serve for nothing. The expenses Parliament. It sat through, as Hume says, of travelling to the place where Parliament " the whole course of the reign, one year exassembled often deterred small constituen- cepted. . . . Before their dissolution they cies from sending members--they virtually seemed to be treading fast in the footsteps of disfranchised themselves on account of their the last Long Parliament, on whose conduct poverty. Petitions have been presented to they threw at first such violent blame." Parliament from constituencies begging to Down to the time of Henry IV., the longest be disfranchised on the ground of their ina- Parliament that had ever been known exbility to pay the expenses of their members. tended over ten months. He was the first The Parliament of 9 Edward III. sat at York king who prorogued Parliament by his own for eight days only, but the representatives will and act. Twenty days was the average from Cornwall had payment granted them length of the session during the half century for thirty-two days spent in travelling. This that Edward III. sat on the throne. This formed so serious a charge that it became a would have suited the blunt and dissatisfied luxury, which only well-to-do boroughs could Speaker who, in the course of the debate on afford, to have a member. In some cases the Triennial Bill in 1693, declared that



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“Parliaments resembled the manna which the Welsh princes. Old members of the God bestowed on the chosen people. They House may recollect an instance of a prime were excellent while they were fresh, but if minister being severely rebuked for a cheer kept too long they became noisome, and foul which he did not give. The incident ocworms were engendered by the corruption of curred during a debate on the state of Irethat which had been sweeter than honey.” land, in the session of 1846. Mr. Disraeli It was not, indeed, without many prognosti- made it the foundation of one of his “ cations of evil that Septennial Parliaments venomed” attacks upon Sir Robert Peel, were instituted, and some of the most pun- that he had cheered a statement of Mr. gent sarcasms of Junius are directed against Cobden, which was contrary to his (the those who could act as they liked for six prime minister's) own views. Sir R. Peel years, provided they took a little trouble to "totally denied” this, whereupon Mr. Dismake atonement in the seventh. The long- raeli, according to Hansard, exclaimed If est session of late years was that of 1847– the right honorable baronet means to say 48, which lasted 293 days, and was referred that anything I have said is false, of course to by the Speaker in his address to the I cease-I sit down.” And sit down he did, queen, as well as from the throne, as a “la- in the middle of his speech. A scene enborious and protracted session.” Mr. May, sued. Mr. Newdegate asked for an explanain a pamphlet published in 1849, states that tion of Sir R. Peel's words, and Major Mac“ it sat 170 days; the average duration of namara, probably scenting a battle afar off, each sitting was 8 hours, 16 3-4 minutes ; protested that if “any honorable member felt it sat 136 1-4 hours after midnight. There aggriered, this is not the place to call him were 10,412 entries in the votes of res gestæ, (Sir R. Peel) to account.” But Lord George and 255 divisions." Let members think of Bentinck, Sir James Graham, and other this, and consider how lightly they have members who are no longer living, interescaped from their duties in the present posed to make peace. Sir R. Peel repeated year.

his denial that he had cheered Mr. Cobden's The present “ forms” of both Houses remark. Mr. Disraeli expressed himself have accumulated by slow degrees. In the satisfied, and the parties retired for the reign of James I. a member brought forward night, without any prospect of Major Maca motion forbidding hissing in the House of namara's services being called into requisiCommons, and declaring it to be “ a thing tion. Among all the hot encounters between derogatory from the dignity, not becoming Sir R. Peel and Mr. Disraeli, this apthe gravity, and as much crossing and abat- proached the nearest to an open personal ing the honor and privileges of the House quarrel. as any other abuse whatsoever.” The mo- Formerly, members could not absent themtion was accepted "with approval,” but the selves for a single night from the House practice of making unseemly noises does not without permission of the monarch, and in seem to have declined, and Mr. Erskine after times, of the Speaker and the House. May, in his valuable Law of Parliament, In every case they forfeited their wages durregrets that in our own time " the most dis- ing the time they were absent. Both Lords orderly noises are sometimes made." The and Commons were fined if they did not atironical “Hear, hear” is peculiarly offensive tend prayers. During the “ Long Parliato the nervous speaker, and even the prac- ment” the Commons made an order “ that tised debater is sometimes discomfited by all members who climb over seats shall pay an unexpected chcer. A few years ago a 12d.," and in the same session it was agreed, Mr. Blewitt, representative of the Mon- that every member standing in the passage mouthshire boroughs, was the butt of the whilst the House is sitting shall pay 12d. to House when he rose, and used to make, as a the Sergeant.” It has often happened that writer in Fraser's Magazine tells us, “im- members of Parliament have been mobbed, ploring appeals, in plaintive tones and with as in the time of Lord George Gordon's aggrieved astonishment in his aspect, to riots, or threatened, as in the case of Mr. know what it was the House were laughing, Secretary Peel, who one night informed the at.” It did not avail this unlucky gentle- House that he had received a letter comman that he was lineally descended from plaining of his speeches, and threatening

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him with public contradiction from the gal- | her Commons very sharply for it, and once lery. The writer was summoned to the bar told them “She utterly disallows and conand reprimanded. Persons have repeatedly demns those for their audacious, arrogant, been committed by the House for libelling and presumptuous folly who, by superfluous individual members, the first example known speeches, spend much time in meddling with of this mode of vindicating its honor having matters, neither pertaining to them, nor occurred in 1680. Once, in the reign of within the capacity of their understanding." James L., the House took vengeance on a On another occasion she charged them “ Not yeoman of the guard who had hindered a to make new and idle laws, and trouble the member from entering in order to hear the House with them, but rather look to the king's speech. The offender was brought in abridging and repealing of divers obsolete solemnly in a state of great contrition and and superfluous statutes "--certainly a senpenitence, and was compelled to beg par- sible and homely piece of advice. She also don on his knees at the bar. He was like- rebuked the Commons for keeping among wise reprimanded by the Speaker. Occa- them “ Desperate debtors who never come sionally, persons not members were found abroad," and "prowling and common soliciwithin the House and ignominiously ex- tors that set dissension between men and pelled. Such accidents are little likely to men.” The “ Virgin Queen had, indeed,

The policemen at the doors a particular hatred for solicitors, and it was know most of the members by sight, and probably at her instigation that a bill was even if an imposter were to elude their pene- brought in for reducing the number of those tration, the porter at the door would infalli- “ pests." bly discover him. It would be hardly possi- The Act 7 and 8 Will. III. made it necesble, indeed, for a non-member to take his sary that a member should be of age-prior seat in the House during the progress of to that time there was no such restriction. business.

In one of Elizabeth's Parliaments a long The Speaker, though a potent and gen- discussion took place upon this very point. erally revered authority, as sometimes A Mr. Alford said that no one was fit to fallen beneath the displeasure of the House serve under thirty years of age, and a few and suffered rebuke. In the time of James I. days afterwards Thomas Long, " a very simthere was a Speaker who seems to have been ple man,” was questioned as to his election. in the habit of leaving the House frequently,

He confesses that he gave the mayor of without apology or explanation. One even- Westbury and another five pounds for his ing he met with an unexpectedly warm re- place in Parliament.” They were ordered ception on his return to the chair. A Mr. to repay the sum, a fine of £20 was levied Mallory said he ought not to rise without on the corporation, and Long was expelled. leave, and Sir R. Phillippes complained that In Notes and Queries (vol. 8, 0, S.) a the Speaker "sometime neglecteth his duty strange story appeared of a “member electto the House in intricating or deferring the ing himself.” A subsequent correspondent question.” Sir H. Manners was even more corrected the narrative in many important downright: “Mr. Speaker is but a servant particulars, but stated that he was an eyeto the House, not a master, nor master's witness of the election, and that one elector mate.” Sir H. Withrington declared that only was present. Mr. Bannatyne was the “the Speaker was the fault of all their member who thus gained a seat (for the faults, by preventing them with rising.” county of Bute) by one vote. The attack went the round of the House, During the past session a few journals the unfortunate object of it being compelled have promised to get a suitable gallery for to listen to it with his accustomed impartial- the ladies in the House of Commons, instead ity and gravity. We are not aware of any of the cage which now hides their charms. similar instance of a combined and deter- These polite writers may not be aware that mined outbreak against the Speaker on the serious arguments were, and are still some part of members; of late years, at any rate, times, used against ladies being admitted an excellent understanding has prevailed. within the House at all. The Edinburgh

The loquacity of members is no new fail- Review thus reasoned in 1841 : “It cannot ing. Queen Elizabeth ridiculed and reviled be denied that the effect of a casual attend

ance at debates is to cause a regard for per- | by the admission of ladies. Perhaps, after sons rather than for principles, and the sub- this, fair politicians will be contented with stitution of private partiality for calm and the cage from which they are permitted to comprehensive judgment-in short, the ag- survey the mysteries. gravation of those very failings which are To conclude these stray notes, we may always observable in the politics of women. mention that two “men of color” have sat Women who take an interest in politics are in Parliament --Dyce Sombre and John, commonly observed to be keener and bit- Stewart—and that it was once the custom terer in their partisanship than men. To for sittings to take place on Sunday. No. make them spectators of political conflicts instance of this has occurred since the reign would be to aggravate the animosity with of Richard II. “ The last occasion,” says which they are too apt to regard the oppo- Mr. May, “ on which the Crown refused its nents of their own friends; and the harmony consent to a bill was in 1807, when Queen and

peace of society, which have already too Anne refused her assent to a bill for settling often been disturbed by political discord, the militia in Scotland.” While Cromwell would materially suffer.” Another of the was in power he gave his assent to bills in writer's objections was that it would be un- English, ignoring the French form used till advisable “ that the vanity of young mem- then, and restored after his death. The bers should be tempted to encroach upon House of Lords once passed a measure to the valuable time of the House, by the pres- do away with these French words, but the ence of an audience still more interesting Lower House was for once more Conservathan even the redoubtable phalanx of re- tive than the Upper, and refused to abolish porters.” He even thought that the House the ancient custom, which is consequentlv would be lowered in the sight of the country still observed.


Here Lies the Bath Chronicle that in the Abbey Cemetery

What is Mortal of (which we take not to be exactly the place PIGGE DE BLADUD, ESQ., where Mr. Acres thought there was snug

Of this City, lying”) a citizen of Bath has erected unto him- Ho had a bad tenper and a good wig: self a tombstone, upon which he has recorded He knew which side his bread was buttered : all that is usually placed there, leaving a blank He was thought rich, and undeceived nobody : for the day of his demise. And this memorial Hence he was feared, admired, respected, by anticipation the brave Bath brick occasion- And made Church warden. And, ally visits and reads. We do not hear whether Dying on the Blank day of Blank, he has indulged himself in epigraphic eulogy, And leaving next to nothing behind him, but why should he not do so ? He must know Is now called an awful old Humbug, himself better than anybody else can know him, And does not care a farthing what he is called. and may speak of his own virtues with the calmness of certainty, whereas his executors Now, there would be truo courage in a man could only guess at them. Let him put up who should put up anything of that sort, and “R. I. P.", whether that mean Respected in we believe (unless seeing Robert le Diable has the Parish, or as in Roman Catholic inscrip- made us superstitious) that the hypocritical tions, implies an unpleasantly warm operation tombstones around this revelation would be undergone in the intermediate state. Or stay. found to have twisted round and turned their Why not take the other line? He is a strong. backs upon such vulgar frankness. De mortuis minded man, and not afraid to rebuke tomb. nil nisi Verum is a rule to which we have not stone flatteries. We have not the slightest or yet attained; but if the living took to writing faintest idea who he is, and therefore cannot their own epitaphs, we might approach that annoy him by our wildest supposition. Let us wholesomeness. At any rate we are obliged to suppose him a Humbug. His decorous execu- our friend at Bath for putting the notion into tors may or may not know the fact, but cer- our minds, and in return we will hope that it tainly will not allege it, viá chisel and hammer. will be a good while (if such be his wish) before What a splendid moral lesson he might read the date is chiselled into the stone mentioned in thus :

the Bath Chronicle.-Punch.

From Once a Week. have been torn to pieces, or matches made or WHAT I HEARD AT THE COFFEE PARTY. even unmade, on that afternoon, had not our

I BELIEVE there is no country in the world good hostess chanced to express her admirautterly devoid of superstition in one form or tion of a pearl necklace, of great value, worn by other. Germany is generally considered to one of her guests : “It is more curious than be the land of legends and traditions, yet beautiful,” rejoined the wearer ; “ you know

; the part in which I have lately resided, is, I it is the famous Malzahn necklace." think, the least poetical corner of Europe. “ What, the necklace !” exclaimed all the Io Silesia, which was formerly a Polish ladies in chorus. “ Oh, pray let us see it!” province, scarcely is a vestige of ancient I inquired into the cause of all this curigrandeur to be found, and nothing can be osity, and as a few besides myself professed more matter of fact, unrelieved by the least ignorance of the generally well-known story, fancy or imagination, than both the habits the countess was kind enough to relate it for and tastes of its inhabitants; yet even there, our benefit. amidst those unpoetic plains, romance, tra- You must know, then," said she, " that dition, fiction, call it what you will, has found one of our ancestors, a Count Malzahn, insome small channel, and from time to time habited, at a very remote period, the Castle threads its way through the commonplace of Militsch, in Silesia. He was married to tittle-tattle of this most prosaic era. a very beautiful young lady, and in due

Whilst staying at the small garrison town course of time became the happy father of a of N-, I was invited to a "coffee party,” son and heir, whose birth was greeted by an entertainment generally given to ladies the most joyous festivities in Castle and alone, the unfair sex being rigorously ex- Hall. cluded. The Frau Landträthin von G- “ Shortly after the child's birth, as the had assembled round her hospitable board a young mother had fallen into a deep slumnumerous party of ladies from the neighbor- ber, she had a strange dream or vision, which hood, and extensive were the preparations made so deep an impression on her mind, made fo their delectation. The younger that she could not rain from relating it members of the circle might probably have the next day. She dreamt that a little dwarf considered that an invasion of some of the had appeared at the bottom of her couch, and uniformed youths, of whom the town was that he had begged and prayed her in the then full, would not altogether have marred most piteous tones to have her baby's cradle the enjoyment of the endless refreshments removed from the spot on which it stood, as set before them; but the rule of exclusion the rocking, he said, disturbed his wife, who. was stringent as the laws of the Medes and was very ill, and could not sleep for the noise. Persians, so they were fain to make the best The poor countess only got laughed at for her of existing circumstances, and wile away the foolish dream. The next night, however, time by discussing the respective merits of her troublesome guest re-appeared, this time absent friends-male and female. A little urging his request with still greater earnestscandal, or “ klatschen," as it is called in ness; she therefore determined no longer to German, is a necessary ingredient in all small withstand his entreaties, and the next day assemblies, and if report speaks truly, is an had the baby and his cradle removed to the amusement not exclusively confined to the other end of the room. The ensuing night, weaker sex.

the little man visited her again in her dreams, On this occasion the conversation became but this time in high spirits, thanking her all the more lively for being interspersed with profusely for her kind acquiescence in his repeated sips at that delectable composition wishes, and assuring her that his wife was called “Bowle.” This is a beverage of which already fast recovering in consequence. Rhine wine, pineapple sugar, and champagne “ The countess was well pleased when the form the principal ingredients; when mixed vision disappeared, and left her for some with due skill and science, the flavor is am-time in peace : the relief, however, was not brosial, and it is particularly favored by the of long duration, as a few weeks later the ladies as being more delicate and refined poor lady's dreams were again disturbed by than the ordinary vinous beverages. the same apparition. This time the little

Who knows how many characters would dwarf had no intention of again dislodging


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