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the bar before him; and acknowledges the obeisances of the gentlemen from the Commons by similar bows. Having received their message, he retires to the woolsack, and the messengers retreat backwards, to the imminent danger of tripping each other up, bowing and scraping three times as they go, whenever the black rod or fugleman gives them the example.
It appears from the Journals, that on the sixth of March, 1620, on a message to the Lords, Sir William Montagu says, " The course is, that the messenger (that is, the member named by the Speaker) ought to have precedence, and all the others to follow; and the messenger to stay at the bar until the Lords come down to the bar; and then the messenger maketh his three congees" Mr. Treasurer afterwards reports, that they observed the course propounded by Sir Edward Montagu, and told the Lords they would not stir till the Lords came down to the bar; "which brought them much grace I"
But although the Lord Chancellor comes down to the bar to receive a message from the Commons, it does not follow that to all messengers he behaves with the same courtesy. If a gentleman be deputed to bring up any papers connected with any appeal, or other proceeding in the Lords, his presence is announced by the usher of the black rod; and he advances to the bar making his three obeisances, and carrying with him the papers he is to present. On seeing him approach, my Lord Chancellor, from afar off, cries out to him, much in the tone in which one calls a hackney-coach—no doubt intended to keep up the dignity of the House—" What have you got there V The poor messenger announces the object of his attendance, and is immediately told in the same voice to withdraw, which he does with as much haste as he can, walking backwards and bowing as he goes, with a mixed feeling of awe for the tribunal which has the power to treat him so contemptuously, and of desire to pull my Lord Chancellor by the nose.
It seldom happens that a deputation goes up from the House of Commons with only one message at a time, as the members generally arrange to make one journey serve for several purposes, as for bringing up several bills; each however should properly form the subject of a distinct message. So soon therefore as they have delivered one message, and the Chancellor has returned to his woolsack, and communicated it to the Lords, the usher of the black rod again approaches the bar, and calls out, "My lords, a message from the Commons," All this time the messengers are in the room and in sight of the whole House, having only retired backwards a few steps from the bar: "Let the messengers be called in," cries the Lord Chancellor; whereupon one of the attendants of the House calls out aloud, " Gentlemen of the House of Commons:" and these being at hand, again begin the farce of bowing and scraping, and retiring, and being called in again, till the object of their errand is completed.
This mode of proceeding is held of much importance in the communications between the two Houses, and is conducted with all the gravity becoming the consequence attached to it. In the second volume of Grey's Debates, p. 253, the Speaker of the House of Commons (Seymour) reminds the House, "That it is against order that members should salute messengers from the Lords' House, as if this House were the school of compliments. The Speaker only ought to do respect for the whole House."
Whatever the House of Commons may have been in days of yore, few people would be disposed to look upon it now as " a school for compliments :" so that it appears that the above-mentioned rebuke has had the desired effect.
XLVII. HOURS OF PARLIAMENT IN 1640,
DURING THE LONG PARLIAMENT.
At the first meeting, in 1640, of the so called Long Parliament, the House of Commons, according to an ancient and approved usage, began business at eight o'clock in the morning, and ended at two in the afternoon.
As they assumed to themselves the power, which had long slept, of reforming state abuses, and as business grew upon them, they continued their debates through the afternoon; sometimes sitting, to the great annoyance of many members who wanted their dinners, as late as four o'clock, and sometimes even till dark. But even this innovation, which Clarendon loudly complains of, did not allow them sufficient time for the despatch of their constantly increasing business, and they gradually began to draw upon the hours of the night. By these measures the party most in earnest, whose zeal rendered them indefatigable, gained great advantages; for the court members, and the lukewarm party, which is always so considerable in point of number, could ill tolerate such a sacrifice of routine and comfort, and accustomed themselves to withdraw to their dinners and their evening enjoyments. The first attempt made to introduce candles occasioned a somewhat disgraceful disturbance. This was on the 8th of June 1641. "In the afternoon," says Rushworth, "the House being resolved into a committee concerning the late plot for bringing up the Northern army, and sitting somewhat late, there happened some words to be spoken, as if Colonel Goring was a perjured man for discovering the plot to the House, having taken an oath of secrecy. In debate whereof, being very earnest, candles were called for, but the major part opposed it; yet candles being brought by a mistake, and commanded out again, Sir William Widdrington and Mr. Herbert Price irregularly took the candles, and brought them in, contrary to the general sense of the house; whereupon there was a great stir in the House about it, and the committee rose." In consequence of this irregularity and disorder, Sir William and Mr. Price were on the next day committed to the Tower.
One of the first occasions on which the sittings in the House of Commons were carried to extraordinary lengths, was the stormy debate on the bill brought in by Sir Edward Deering, "for the extirpating of Episcopacy."
As this debate was renewed during many days, the House, at a certain hour became very thin; "they only, who followed up the bill with impatience remaining, and the others, who abhorred it, growing weary of so tiresome an attendance, left the house at dinner-time, and afterwards followed their pleasures; so that the Lord Falkland was wont to say, 'that they who hated bishops, hated them worse than the devil, and that they who loved them, did not love them so well as their dinner.'"— Gar. vol. i. p. 276.
By this time it had become a common practice for the whole House to meet in committee at nine in the morning, and so sit till four in the afternoon, when the Speaker "resumed the chair." Clarendon, who then, as Mr. Edward Hyde, was chairman of the grand committee of the House for the extirpation of bishops, complains of the committee "for keeping such disorderly hours, seldom rising till after four of the clock in the afternoon."—Life, vol. i. p. 90.
In the same part of his Memoirs, however, Clarendon lets us into a curious secret which goes to show that the leading men of the reforming party were better managers than their opponents, and kept a house of refection close to the scene of their labours, to which they could retire without inconvenience, and thence, after refreshing the inward man, could return to debate and action. Mr. Pym had hired comfortable lodgings in the house of Sir Richard Manly, which stood in a little court just behind Westminster Hall; and there he, Mr. Hampden, Sir Arthur Haslerig, and two or three others, kept a table upon a common stock, or subscription, transacting a great deal of business thereat, and inviting thither all such members of the House of Commons as they had any hopes of converting to their state doctrines. Clarendon, on his own confession, was invited, and frequently dined there; for he had begun his Parliamentary career as a staunch reformer, and for some time evidently vacillated between the two parties. It was perfectly natural that the Pyms, the Haslerigs, the Fiennes, and the Harry