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hole, which, as my readers pretty ge-| the Speaker's chair; and, if necessary nerally know, was originally a royal comes to the table, by the opening chapel, attached to the palace at West, which is left at the one end of the minster, dedicated to St. Stephen ; and horse-shoe or the other. Every memit is very curious, that where the high ber has a little desk fixed before him, altar stood, there now stands the in his lodge, as it may be called, for the Speaker's chair.
purpose of locking up papers, or for The effects of this want of room are the purpose of writing on. When the many, and most detrimental to the pro- clock strikes, the Speaker takes the ceedings of this assembly, of which I am chair ; he then calls over the names of now a member. The confusion which the member sof the house; and having arises out of it, beggars all description. done this, the house proceeds to The business is retarded by it; the business. All is regularity; all is crowds about the Speaker's chair, while decorum; alt seems to say that the private bills are going on; the the business of the persons present everlasting trampling backward and is of great importance; No “ Hear, forward on the floor; the interruption hear, hear." No “oh, oh, oh ;" No which men give to one another, in " loud laughs ;" and, while a member spite of their desire to avoid it ; the is speaking no member moves from his calls of “ order, order,” incessantly re- seat, unless upon some pressing necesa curring; all these absolutely distract sity; and then he does it, in the most men's minds, and render it impossible silent, and least observed manner that for them to do that which it is their he can possibly adopt. The galleries duty to do, and which they wish to do. for strangers are spacious, and are so The House necessarily thus becomes a contrived that people can sit, and go place for doing little business, and that in and out, without disturbing one anolittle not well. An Englishman would ther. I believe that it never has hapblush, were he to see the House of As-pened, to any one of the assemblies of sembly of one of the states of America, America, that the gallery has been ornot to mention that of the Congress of dered to be closed on any occasion whatthe United States. The state of Con- soever. Then with regard to the taking necticut, the whole of the population of of the divisions: no noise, no hubbub; which consisted, in the year 1810, of no turning of a part of the members out no more than two hundred and sixty-one of the house, and keeping another part thousand nine hundred and forty-two in; no ludicrous telling with wands. persons, has a house for the legislative The clerk has the names of the members essembly to meet in six times as large written in a book in alphabetical order, as that which we meet in. The ar-He begins with A and goes on 10 Z; rangement of the space is so contrived, calls out the name of the member, who that no member, and no person ever answers “ AYE" or "No," and makes crosses the floor, or even steps his foot the mark against his name accordingly. upon the floor while the Speaker is in He then adds them up, and the Speaker his chair. The benches are built in a declares the majority and minority, horse-shoe form; the Speaker's chair which thus stand recorded in the books occupies the space, which the horse- of the house; and, I believe, it is the shoe does not fill up, and the clerks of invariable rule not only in the Congress, the house are seated at a table before but in all the state governments, that if him. Every member comes to his seat any member propose, and another memfrom an opening in the out-side part of ber second, a motion, that the Ayes and the horse-shoe. His seat is always the NOES be printed and published, it is same seat, and he comes to it, and done. goes from it, without interrupting any Now, why are we not thus accommoOther member. If he have anything to dated ? When I reflect on what I have present to the Speaker, he.goes out and seen in America; when I reflect on the comes round to one or the other side of respectful manner in which the memo bers of these assemblies - treat their that circumstance alone? Why do we Speaker ; on their implicit obedience to live in this hubbub; why are we exhim, when it is necessary for him to posed to all these inconveniences; why exert his authority; in the sober, the are 658 of us crammed into a space serious, the tranquil manner in which that allows to each of us no more than every thing is done, even in the midst a foot-and-a-half square, while, at the of the most angry discussions, and the same time, each of the servants of the most bitter party animosities; I cannot King, whom we pay, has a palace to look at the present scenes in the House live in ; and more unoccupied space in of Commons, without astonishment, to that palace than the little hole into say nothing of the shame, which that which we are all crammed, to make the scene never fails to excite in my mind. laws by which this great kingdom is It is impossible for our Speaker to act governed ? A MOTÍVE there must be with dignity, if he would. From his for this: that motive will occur to talents, his manner, his person and alto- the minds of a very great part of my gether, he is as much calculated to readers; but that motive I do not be surrounded with dignified appear- think it proper to describe in this place, ance as any man can be ; but, if my (That the motive is not to spare the readers could see him in his chair, with purses of this heavily burdened people, two or three at a time poking forward who can doubt, when they look at the to whisper him and teaze him about MILLIONS which have been expended something or another; and that, too, on palaces within these very few years; in the midst of a debate ; carrying bits when they look at the pullings down, of paper to him, with a pen and some and the buildings up, and the pullings ink in it, for him to write something ; down again, before the thing built has pulling him from side to side; if they been used ; when they see all manner of could see this, they would certainly ad- conveniences, even extending to eastern mire his patient endurance of it, but they luxury, tables, bureaus, eastern chairs, would certainly blush for their country, sofas, all sorts of things, provided in the if they had ever seen the manner in most expensive style, for even clerks in which the members treat the Speaker of the offices, to use or to loll about upon a little house of assembly in America, When they see these, and reflect that where a member would no more think they are paid for out of the public moof going up to the chair of the Speaker ney, and see us crammed into this little during the sitting of the House, unless hole, squeezing one another, treading upin a formal manner, in the discharge of on each other's toes, running about to some legislative function, than he would get a seat; going to the hole at seven think of shooting that Speaker through. o'clock in the mornings, as I do, to stick the head. Another thing is, that, in a bit of paper with my name on it, on a those assemblies, when two or more bench, to indicate that I mean to sit members rise together, in order to there for that day; and then see us speak, the Speaker having called upon routed out of those places again, after a the one that first catches his eye, calls division has taken place, and see us runupon the next, as soon as that speaker ning and scrambling for a seat, in just has done ; a rule perfectly reasonable ; the same manner as people do when they because otherwise, either from inten- are let into a dining-room at a public tion, or from accident, a member very dinner at the Crown and Anchor or elsewell qualified to state something very where ; when the people see all this; important, might never be allowed to when they see their representatives treatspeak at all.
ed thus, and reflect, at the same time, on Now, why are we not accommodated the sofas of the clerks in the offices, they in this way? Why are we squeezed must know that there is a MOTIVE for into so small a space that it is abso- it; and, though they may be unacquaintlutely impossible that there should be ed with the motive, I much question if calm and regular discussion even from they will come to a determination that
that motive is likely to be the promotion hundred yards of my seat in the House ; of their interests.
I can come away, and return, with Owing, in some measure, to this very little inconvenience; my habits merely local circumstance, it has been are such as to keep me always in good found impossible to adhere to the an. health : I never dine out: I know cient usages of Parliament. The busi. nothing of feasting of any sort; I have ness cannot get on in this state of nothing to annoy me: I have a great cramped-up confusion. Since I wrote pleasure in performing my duty: I the last paragraph, I have been in the have sensible constituents : I have a House of Commons (this being Thurs- colleague who is as punctual as the day, the 28. of February); and, while clock; and, which is a very great petition after petition was being read, thing, the perfect confidence which our spoken on, and being brought up; while constituents have in us prevents them the Speaker was putting question after from making applications to occupy question, and deciding on the majorities, any part of our time, or demand any on those questions, I aciually counted at part of our cares. How different must one time eleven gentlemen standing in it be with a very large portion of the a crowd on one side of his chair, and members! They do not attend ; or, at seven on the other side, standing each least, they frequently do not ; not, I with a pen and bit of paper in his hand, am persuaded, so much from the want watching the moment when the forms of inclination as from the real want of of proceeding would allow him to sit ability to attend. If the House were down, in order to get him to sign the constructed, and if the regulations were paper, to aụthorise them to bring their such as those in America, which I have friends in, and place them under thegal- mentioned above, almost every man lery in the House. It is a state of rest would be present on almost every day. to him, when a long debate begins. It If you miss the moinent, you have no is impossible, in such a state of things, seat; and some men must have a seat, that ihere can be anything like calm de or they must go away. liberation. The crowding, the squeeze Again I say there must be a MOTIVE ing, the mutual annoyance that mem- for this : and the evil is to be cured bers give to each other; the disagree-only by a general application of the ableness of the situation altogether is so people in the regular mode of petitiongreat, and especially the difficulty of ing, each petition containing, in removing out of the House without give speciful words, a prayer that their repreing a sort of a general disturbance; sentatives may be better accommodated; these are all so great, that many gen- and that, too, with as little delay as tlemen can hardly venture to take their possible. There needs no new building. seats. To take your seat in that House, The building which was made for a and to sit as constantly as you ought to King's palace, at the west end of St. do, requires, in the present state of James's-park, is just the thing. One 1 things, not only perfect health, but side for the Lords, and the other for great bodily strength; and it is not the Commons. There are coachalways that the wisest heads are placed house, stables, waiting-rooms, and upnn the shoulders of the strongest bo-rooms enough for committees, for dies. I know pretty well what a regi- half the legislatures in the world. I ment of soldiers is : and I never saw mentioned this to a member of the one, the private men of which would House of Coinmons the spring before have been able to undergo a regular last. He was decidedly of opinion and constant attendance in that House, that it was a proper proposition to be constructed as it now is, and annoy- made; but,'upon inquiry, he found that ing as every man's situation is. For my lit was still intended that it should be a own part, I find very little inconve- royal palace. Now, if that were the nience, compared with what others King's fancy, there is St. James's palace, must experience. I live within four which, with a very little alteration,
would do perfectly well. The King lature in America. The contrast is very cannot want them both, unless one striking ; but the contrast is striking too were disrespectful enough to entertain lin another respect ; for, while every the supposition that his taste was like thing seems to be done to dignify these that of the sailor; who, having his legislative bodies, very little is done for pockets full of prize-monev, hired one the executive officers of the state. Your post-chaise for himself, and another for see a grand and fine House of Assembly, his hat. In short, the King does not and you see the chief magistrate, living want it ; he cannot want it; and, even if at a very common place house in a he has talked about having it for a pa- street of a town, owned or rented by lace, there would need nothing but the himself. I never was at the city of advice of a wise Minister, who was Washington : there they have a house sensible enough to make himself re- for the President; but it is the house of spected by him; there would need no- the Congress, which is the grand affair. thing but this, to induce him to give it When the Congress sat at Philadelphia, up, and thereby merit and obtain the its place of meeting was the statethanks and the attachment of bis pep- house ; a magnificent and most commople. That people cannot help know- cious building, while the President Waing; they do know, and they do say, shington lived at a corner house in that there is a palace at Brighton, a Markei-street, not a great deal more palace at St. James's, a palace at rooiny or better house than that in which Kensington, a palace at Kew, and they I now live in in Westminster; and a house remember one palace built there, and very far inferior to those of two or three pulled down there, within a very few hundred merchants of that city; he years ; another palace at Hampton having no country house either, as the Court, sufficient for the greatest Kiny greater part of these merchants had. I that ever reigned in the world, which do not say that I wish to see the Sove. the King hardly ever sees, and which is reign of this kingdom living in the divided out into apartments for divers manner that Washington did ; but I can families of the aristocracy, who live truly say that I wish he may be always' there both rent-free and tax-free, which is as much reverenced as Washington was, the case also at Kensington in great and that his sway may always be as part. They know that there is another much respected. I do not say that the palace at Windsor ; and, while they trappings of royalty ought to be laid know all this, they know that their own wholly aside : I am not so very keen representatives are crammed into a hole, after the improvements of the age : I hardly sufficient to huld a club of “ odd am not in such haste to rub off the rust fellows," and infinitely inferior to such a of antiquity ; but I am very much for club-room, in point of accommodations causing the people to believe (and they and convenience.
will not believe it, till they see it) that I have not yet taken an actual mea they, out of whose labour so much is surement of the length of the bench, taken, are not entirely overlooked, when and of the area of the floor ; but I will respect is to be shown. As things now do that, and I will publish the result of stand, they appear to be wholly overmy examination; and then I will leave looked; and besides this, it is impossithe people of the whole kingdom to say ble that due attention should be paid whether their representatives ought to to their interests, while the evil, which be thus treated, while the clerks in the I have here mentioned, shall remain offices are lodged in places worthy of unremoved. the name of palaces. Reason, common I observed last week on the little nice. decency, common regard for the peo- progress which we have made in the ple, demand that some alteration in this way of revolution, by first dropping the respect take place, and that right custom, of two hundred years standing, so speedily. I have observed upon the of appointing a grand committee of commodiousness of the houses of legis- grievances, and a grand committee of
courts of justice, besides others of very my melancholy wailings at being obliged great importance. This was one step. to sit still four hours and a half to hear It was produced by me; because I sug- speeches at Birminghain, though the gested that these committees should be speeches were good, and though I had reulities, and not mere matters of form. the hopes every minute of hearing myRather than make them realities, it was self talk in turn. What, then, would chosen to drop them. Next, the receiv-i be my sufferings if I had to sit twelve ing of petitions was said to interrupt hours out of the twenty-four, and hear the s public business” of the House. others talk, and have my own tongue Just as if the receiving of petitions, and tied all the time! When Sir John Mitattending to them, were not the great ford was Speaker, I remember that they “ public business ” of the House! Just said of him, that he had supposed the as if the passing of court-martial-bills, office of Speaker meant that he should and the voting of money, were the pub- have all the talk to himself. He had lic business of the House; and attend the great talker of all talkers, Pitt, to ing to the grievances of the people not deal with, and Pitt found him so trou. its public business. However, an order blesome that he very soon got him out was made to have a sort of petty ses- of his chair, and packed him off to Iresion in the middle of the day, for land, where he found talkers quite equal the purpose of receiving petitions ; and to himself. Mitford was an old crown it was proposed by Sir Robert Peel, lawyer, to the running of whose clacks Colonel Davies, and some others, that there is absolutely no end. He used to the chairman of the ways and means be everlastingly interfering with the should preside at this petty session, in- speech-makers, and to get into disquistead of the Speaker; so that, as there sitions upon points of law. We are not is no House without the Speaker in the troubled in that way now; and really chair, the petitions would never have the only sufferer in the present case is been presented to the House. If this the Speaker himself, as far as relates to had been adopted, I, for my part, should the mere matter of talking. have sent back all the petitions that I The petty session leaves off at three had; for I never would have presented o'clock; and if anybody is in the midst them to a nondescript assenibly like of a speech upon a petition at that time, this. This was "too bad,” as old bawl- he must stop. Then at five on goes the iny Liverpool said in the case of Lon-work of petition-receiving again for an donderry's claim, and which was, I ve-hour or so; at least this is the case rily believe, the only just and sensible when there is a ballot for elections. thing he ever said in his life. This, That has been the case to-day. therefore, was not adopted ; and we take This is quite a new affair; and next the Speaker, and bother him, and ha- there is another very new thing: namerass him, from twelve o'clock to three, ly, a committee is now appointed to conin order to prepare him for a fresh set sist of eleven members, who are to have to take him up, and work him again from all petitions referred to them (except five till midnight; and there he sits (ex- for private bills); they are,'to classify cept when compelled to stand up to the petitions ; they are from time to call us to order), “like Patience on a time, to report upon their contents ; monument smiling at Griet.” I have and they are to order, whether the petilooked at him several times, and have tions shall be printed or not; or whether calmly weighed the matter in my mind, part of them shall be printed or not. whether I would endure for the rest of Thus this committee has the power to my life what he has to endure, or leap represent the contents of the petitions into the life to come at once by the as- in that light in which the petitions may sistance of a halter. Endure it I could appear to them. The reader will see not, I am sure, for any length of time. of what vast importance this is. He Labour! My God! what is any labour will see what a tremendous power is compared to that? My readers heard here delegated. He will observe that