MP of the month: Sir Harry Neale and ‘outside interests’

Sir Harry Neale MP

Sir Harry Neale MP

The issue of MPs having ‘outside interests’ is not one traditionally associated with the Victorian period, when all MPs were unpaid and had to fund their own election campaigns, often at vast expense. Victorian MPs, almost ipso facto, had to have extensive outside interests. One result of this was that many MPs were far better known for their achievements outside the Commons, as professionals, entrepreneurs and leading figures in other fields. Some of our earlier blogs have highlighted the careers of these impressive polymaths.

The problems over ‘outside interests’ encountered by Sir Harry Neale towards the end of his Commons career therefore came as something of a surprise. One of only four post-1832 MPs to have sat in the 1790 parliament, Neale had represented his family’s pocket borough of Lymington as a staunch Tory on four occasions over the course of almost half a century, whilst at the same time pursuing a highly distinguished naval career. By 1830 he was an admiral, whose service afloat ‘always took precedence over Parliament’.

In January 1833 it was considered ‘certain’ that Neale would be appointed as the next commander-in-chief at Portsmouth, the most senior of the port postings for an admiral. On 24 Aug. 1832 the Whig lord of the admiralty Sir James Graham MP had offered Neale the post when it became vacant ‘next year’, which Neale had ‘thankfully accepted’. When it came to it, however, Graham included a caveat, 11 Jan. 1833:

In pursuance of my promise, I hasten to repeat my offer of the appointment to you. I must, however, express to you the most decided opinion that a seat in Parliament and the command at Portsmouth are incompatible … I should not be justified in giving you the appointment which I offered you … except on the assurance that, having hoisted your flag, you would vacate your seat immediately.

Neale’s refusal to comply with such ‘obnoxious’ terms effectively ended his naval career. ‘I cannot comprehend how a seat in Parliament can be incompatible with a professional command, the duties of each are wholly unconnected’, he replied, 15 Jan. 1833, citing the number of military commanders who had previously sat in both Houses. Graham’s response that Neale would be unable to obey calls of the House cut little ice, and an increasingly acrimonious exchange of letters followed, finding their way into the press, in which Neale accused Graham of a blatant ‘want of candour’ in trying to sneak in a ‘new regulation’.

The significance of their row was not lost on MPs. In the Commons, Lord Chandos and the naval captain Charles Yorke, Conservative MP for Cambridgeshire, rallied to Neale’s defence, demanding to know why Graham had allowed the Whig MP Sir Thomas Trowbridge to continue in the command of a frigate? Perhaps it was because Neale was an opponent and Trowbridge a supporter of the government, they protested.

Meanwhile a number of Radicals, including Joseph Hume MP, welcomed Graham’s actions as evidence of a new morality regarding public office holding and the duties of MPs after the Reform Act. ‘Hitherto it had been thought that a man could be in two places at the same time, but that notion was now going out of fashion’, Hume declared, 14 Feb. 1833.

In reality, however, Neale’s case was probably less about a growing concern over ‘incompatible’ duties than his own political behaviour. In a highly revealing insight into the unwritten codes of conduct associated with promotion and political activity, Yorke’s uncle, a former Tory lord of the admiralty, and Sir Thomas Byam Martin, another Tory admiral, both agreed that the offer of such an important command so early on was unprecedented, and ‘therefore manifestly a job for the instant’. With Neale about to campaign against the Whig foreign secretary Lord Palmerston at the 1832 Hampshire South election, the hint should have been clear. ‘Sir Harry ought to have dwelt on this’, Martin observed. ‘But for his active and personal opposition to Lord Palmerston’, another commentator noted, Neale would ‘doubtless have been promoted to port admiral’.

Neale retired from the Commons at the 1835 election, but not from politics. In a major upset for the Whigs, and with evident relish, he oversaw the Tory campaign that led to Palmerston being ejected from his Hampshire seat.

The draft biography of this MP and over 700 others are available on our online preview site. To obtain access click here.

Other links: http://burrard-neale250.org.uk/

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MP of the Month: the Fitzwilliams of Wentworth Woodhouse

Earlier this month it was reported that one of the largest private residences in Europe, the Grade I listed Wentworth Woodhouse, near Rotherham in Yorkshire, is to be put up for sale. With 365 rooms and the longest front of any house in Britain, this architectural gem was home to the prime minister, Charles Watson Wentworth, second Marquess of Rockingham (1730-82), whose estates passed in 1782 to his nephew, William Wentworth Fitzwilliam, Earl Fitzwilliam (1748-1833), a leading Whig politician. Subsequent generations were also politically active, and this ‘MP of the Month’ blog features not one individual, but the six members of the Fitzwilliam family whose biographies form part of our 1832-68 project.

Wentworth Woodhouse, East Front

Wentworth Woodhouse, East Front


  1. Charles William Wentworth Fitzwilliam, viscount Milton (1786-1857): MP for Malton 1806-7; Yorkshire 1807-30; Peterborough 1830; Northamptonshire 1831-2; Northamptonshire North 1832-3. Succeeded as Earl Fitzwilliam in 1833. Four of his sons [2-5] sat in the Commons, as did his grandson [6].
  1. William Charles Wentworth Fitzwilliam, afterwards viscount Milton (1812-1835): MP for Malton 1832-3; Northamptonshire North 1833-5
  1. William Thomas Spencer Fitzwilliam, Viscount Milton (later Earl Fitzwilliam) (c) Doncaster Mansion House

    William Thomas Spencer Fitzwilliam, Viscount Milton (later Earl Fitzwilliam)
    (c) Doncaster Mansion House

    William Thomas Spencer Wentworth Fitzwilliam, viscount Milton (1815-1902): MP for Malton 1837-41, 1841-7; County Wicklow 1847-57; succeeded as Earl Fitzwilliam in 1857.

  1. George Wentworth Fitzwilliam (1817-1874): MP for Richmond 1841; Peterborough 1841-59
  1. Charles William Wentworth Fitzwilliam (1826-1894): MP for Malton 1852-85
  1. William Wentworth Fitzwilliam, viscount Milton (1839-1877): MP for Yorkshire, West Riding (South), 1865-72

Taken collectively, their Commons careers, spanning the period 1806 until 1885, highlight some interesting features of the nineteenth century electoral system which we will be exploring further in our research.

  1. The continued significance of territorial influence…
Malton

Malton

The seats which these six – who all shared Whig/Liberal views – represented were constituencies where the Fitzwilliams were major landed proprietors: the family pocket borough of Malton; Northamptonshire North; Peterborough (where the customary payments to voters were known as ‘Milton crowns’); County Wicklow; and the southern division of the West Riding. The sole exception was Richmond, where George Fitzwilliam instead drew on the influence of his mother’s relative, the Earl of Zetland. Such was the Fitzwilliams’ hold over Malton in particular that their nominees never faced a contest during this period, and in 1832 William Charles Fitzwilliam was elected for the constituency despite having not yet reached the age of 21.

  1. … and its limitations.

Although William Charles Fitzwilliam, who had by then become Viscount Milton, was elected unopposed for Northamptonshire North in 1835, the ‘baby Fitzwilliam-nominee’ (as one newspaper dismissively described him) did not have an easy time on the hustings, where

all kinds of noises, and particularly most successful imitations of the bellowing of an enraged bull and the yelping of a cur just run over by a gig, were raised by the Blue party, and continued till Lord Milton bowed to the storm.

When they moved beyond the sphere of their territorial influence, the situation could be even more difficult. Two of them made ill-fated attempts to seek election for the West Riding. William Thomas Spencer Fitzwilliam, Viscount Milton, finished third in the poll behind two Conservatives in 1841, while in 1848 his younger brother Charles abandoned his candidature after a disastrously bad start to the opening of his election campaign at a meeting at Leeds.

  1. The election of MPs in their absence

In mourning for his wife, Charles William Fitzwilliam, Viscount Milton, did not participate in his return for Northamptonshire in 1831. The election of MPs who had not shown themselves on the hustings continued in the post-Reform era.

At the 1837 general election William Thomas Spencer Fitzwilliam, Viscount Milton, sought re-election for Malton, and also agreed to stand for Northamptonshire North, in response to a requisition signed by 1,000 voters. Despite this, and his family connections to Northamptonshire, his chances there were felt to be poor, and he was defeated. He fell back on his seat at Malton, where he was elected in his absence.

He was at least in the country when he was elected, unlike his younger brother, Charles, who was elected for Malton in 1852 while he was on a tour of America. In January 1854, John Bright used this case to illustrate the need for further electoral reform which would do away with pocket boroughs. Bright noted that it was unclear whether Malton’s new MP, who had not been heard of for some time, was even aware of his election. In fact, much to his family’s relief, ‘the missing member’ had turned up the previous month at ‘Fort Laramia, in a bear skin, on his return from California’, having been hunting bears in the Rocky Mountains. He only addressed his new constituents for the first time in October 1854, more than two years after the election.

  1. The ‘silent member’ in the Commons

None of these MPs were renowned for their oratory. The eldest had little opportunity to speak in the Commons, as his father’s death meant that he was elevated to the Lords in February 1833, only ten days after the Reformed Parliament first met.

Having hardly spoken in the Commons, William Charles Fitzwilliam, Viscount Milton, won ‘golden opinions’ for his eloquent speech proposing Lord Morpeth on the West Riding hustings at a by-election in May 1835. Hopes that this might lead to a similar display of parliamentary oratory were not to be fulfilled, as Milton died that November of typhus, aged only 23.

Milton’s younger brother, William Thomas Spencer, who succeeded him as Viscount Milton, never spoke in the Commons, despite sitting for almost two decades, earning him the epithet of ‘mute inglorious Milton’. He also cut a poor figure at election meetings, where even his supporters heckled him to ‘cheer up’ and ‘have more confidence in yourself’.

It would be unfair, however, to suggest that none of the Fitzwilliams contributed to the business of the Commons. The youngest of the six, William Fitzwilliam, Viscount Milton, intervened with ‘a special authority’ on Canadian matters. In delicate health due to epilepsy (a condition which was kept secret at the time), Milton had been dispatched to Canada, where he undertook a pioneering expedition to find a direct route between the eastern and western portions of British North America. This ‘adventurous and perilous journey’ proved the making of him, showing him to be

a fine, heroic young man, of true English pluck and daring… When occasion demanded, he could fell trees, make rafts, shoot and cut up buffaloes, jerk the meat and cook it, and even make a plum-pudding; and as to dangers, he had to meet them in their most horrible form. Frost, fire, storm, the roaring cataract, wild beasts, cunning Indians, all conspired against him and his companions.

When he returned to England and sought election in 1865, the Sheffield Independent noted approvingly that Milton was ‘not one of those pampered lordlings who waste the years of their young life in the empty dissipations of fashionable society’. Unfortunately, like his uncle before him, his potentially promising parliamentary career was cut short by ill health, and he retired from Parliament in 1872.

Further reading:

thecountryseat.org.uk on the architectural history of Wentworth Woodhouse.

Catherine Bailey, Black Diamonds. The rise and fall of an English dynasty (2008)

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New article on reporting the proceedings of the House of Commons, 1833-50

My article ‘“Whatever passed in Parliament ought to be communicated to the public”: reporting the proceedings of the Reformed Commons, 1833-50’ has been published in the most recent issue of Parliamentary History, 33:3 (2014), pp. 453-74. It looks at the ways in which parliamentary proceedings were opened up to greater public scrutiny in the two decades after the 1832 Reform Act. This was driven in particular by a growing sense of the importance of parliamentary accountability to public opinion. In the wake of parliamentary reform, MPs – particularly on the liberal side of the House – were increasingly conscious of the need to keep constituents informed of their parliamentary activities, whether these took place in the Commons chamber, the committee rooms or the division lobby.

The article examines how these three key aspects of the work of the Commons were communicated to the public, arguing that the 1830s were a key decade of change. It considers developments in the publication of parliamentary debates (Hansard), analysing why MPs rejected proposals for an official parliamentary record in the 1830s. It also discusses two less well-studied but equally important means of publicising the efforts of MPs: the publication of official division lists and the sale to the public of parliamentary papers. The Commons’ approach to publicising its activities was constrained by the fact that until 1971 it remained a breach of parliamentary privilege – although one which went unpunished – to publish reports of debates.

The 1834 fire viewed from the south bank of the Thames, T. Baynes.

The 1834 fire viewed from the south bank of the Thames, T. Baynes.

The physical space which the Commons occupied also exerted a significant influence. The destruction of much of the old Palace of Westminster by fire in October 1834 provided an important opportunity to remodel existing arrangements, notably with the construction of a reporters’ gallery and the addition of a second division lobby, which was first used in February 1836. By the 1840s the public had unprecedented levels of access to information on the activities of their representatives.

This article can be accessed through the Parliamentary History website.

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Catholics in the Commons: part 1

As we celebrate Bonfire Night, it is worth reflecting on the anti-Catholicism still faced by Catholic MPs in the Victorian Commons, over two centuries years after Guy Fawkes’s failed attempt to blow up Parliament in 1605.

It may seem surprising to some that popular anti-Catholic sentiment continued to flourish in the decades after Catholic emancipation (1829). But although this major reform ended 151 years of Catholics being formally excluded from the Commons, it was not conceived out of a mood of religious toleration. Instead, it was primarily a tactical response to events in Ireland, where Daniel O’Connell’s Catholic Association had created an army of Catholic voters willing to do his bidding. By allowing Irish Catholics to sit as MPs, but at the same time severely restricting the number of Irish voters, the Tory government aimed to avert civil unrest in Ireland, whilst also dismantling O’Connell’s electoral powerbase.

For many staunch Anglicans the influx of a new breed of Irish Catholic MPs was a high price to pay for silencing O’Connell, who in any case soon began a new campaign for Ireland to leave the Union. For Irish Protestants, in particular, the presence of Irish Catholics was complete anathema, threatening both the position of the Irish Established Church and the ‘Protestant ascendancy’ of the Irish landed ruling elite. Furious clashes between these two groups, over virtually every aspect of Irish policy, helped infuse the Victorian Commons with an almost daily dose of sectarian conflict.

The curious position of English Catholics is often lost sight of in all of this, not least because of the way Irish affairs tended to dominate Victorian attitudes to Catholicism. But in many respects the prospect of English Catholic MPs sitting for English constituencies, at the heart of the Protestant nation, was even more of a threat to the Protestant constitution than Irish Catholic MPs representing predominantly Catholic constituencies. Where would the loyalties of such English Catholics lie, with their constituents or their creed?

These kinds of questions were never far away when Catholics stood for election in England, as some of our recently completed biographies have shown.

Stonor 1837

Extract from an Oxfordshire Address, 1837

In 1832 Thomas Stonor of Stonor Park, whose ancestors were some of Oxfordshire’s most prominent recusants, became one of just five Catholic MPs to be returned for an English constituency at the general election. His election for Oxford was, as one commentator suggested, ‘extraordinary’ given the city’s well-known antipathy to Catholic emancipation. Speaking at his victory dinner, Stonor went out of his way to allay fears that he would ‘confederate with the Irish demagogues in their diabolical endeavours to revolutionize the kingdom’. He also looked forward to proving ‘that a Catholic was not necessarily an enemy to the establishment’. Stonor barely had time to take his seat, however, before he was unseated on petition for corrupt practices that were endemic in the city.

Stonor’s short-lived triumph in 1832 was unusual. The kind of reception more commonly encountered by Catholic candidates was amply demonstrated when he decided to stand for the county in 1837. Placards with ‘Will Oxfordshire add another joint to O’Connell’s tail?’, and ‘No farmers’ friend can vote for Stonor, the Papist’, set the tone for what became a highly charged campaign. After he was defeated at the bottom of the poll, the local Tory paper rejoiced that ‘Protestant feelings are triumphant in this county’.

The additional difficulties faced by English Catholic MPs (as opposed to their Irish counterparts) were perhaps nowhere better illustrated than when a sitting Anglican chose to convert. When John Simeon, Liberal MP for the Isle of Wight, adopted the Roman Catholic faith in 1851, he resigned his seat, believing that he had forfeited the electoral mandate given to him ‘whilst he was a member of the Anglican church’. When Edward Hutchins, Liberal MP for Lymington, refused to do the same after ‘embracing Rome’ five years later, he caused a political scandal. ‘Such conduct is an abuse of the representative principle’ since he ‘is no longer the same man’, protested one local paper. ‘That Mr Hutchins was returned to Parliament by Protestants, will scarcely be denied’, remarked another observer. ‘As a Romanist, then, he is in a false position and it behoves the constituency to call upon the recusant to resign’.

Given these kinds of sentiments in the English constituencies, one of the more surprising features to emerge from our ongoing work on the Victorian Commons is the intellectual attraction that Roman Catholicism was still able to exert over an entire generation of English MPs, many of whom, even if they didn’t convert, clearly came pretty close. The reasons for this will be explored in a follow up blog.

To obtain access to our recent articles, including those referred to above, click here.

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MP of the Month: George Palmer, a ‘firm friend of the shipwrecked’

George Palmer, c. 1845

George Palmer, c. 1845

In September 2008 an exceptionally rare Gold Medal produced by the Royal National Institute for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck was sold at auction for £3,200. The medal, with its unique pendant in the shape of a lifeboat, was awarded in 1853 to George Palmer, who had worked tirelessly for the institution for over a quarter of a century. Palmer’s achievements, especially his design of a lifeboat, have rightly secured his place in the annals of seafaring history, but his parliamentary career remains somewhat overlooked, even though it was his status as an MP that allowed him to produce vital legislation which improved safety at sea.

Palmer was only fourteen years old when he joined the navy of the East India Company. His early, often dangerous, experiences at sea left an indelible mark upon him: a narrow escape from drowning near Macao in 1788 persuaded him that a boat’s equilibrium was paramount to its safety, a conviction that shaped his future thinking on timber vessels. He retired from the navy at the turn of the century due to ill-health and went on to secure a small fortune as an East India merchant, but maritime safety remained his foremost concern.

Gold Medal and Gold Boat, awarded to Palmer in 1853

Gold Medal and Gold Boat, awarded to Palmer in 1853

In 1826 he began working with the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck (known as the Royal National Lifeboat Institution after 1854), an organisation he went on to serve as deputy chairman for twenty five years. In 1828 his design of a lifeboat – built as a whale-boat, sharp at both ends, using air-cases for buoyancy – was officially adopted by the institution. By 1844 lifeboats based on his work had been placed at over 30 coastal locations around the British Isles. Significantly, Palmer, as a Member of Parliament, chaired the 1843 select committee on shipwrecks, in which he submitted his own lifeboat design, thus ensuring the widest and most influential audience for his work.

Palmer’s status as an MP undoubtedly helped him to achieve his ambition to improve safety at sea. First elected as a Conservative for Essex South at an 1836 by-election, he made his mark in his first full Parliament through his crusade to address the loss of life caused by shipwrecks. In April 1839 he successfully moved for a select committee to consider the regulation of timber trading ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The report of the inquiry, which he skilfully chaired, recommended that timber-laden vessels between the United States and Britain be barred from carrying deck-loads. After making a compelling case for the legislation in the Commons chamber, it arrived on the statute book as the 1839 Timber Ships, British North America Act. He followed this up with what became his main legislative triumph: the 1845 Timber Ships Act which extended and settled the law prohibiting timber ships from carrying deck cargoes.

Sketch of Palmer's lifeboat, 1843

Sketch of Palmer’s lifeboat, 1843

In many ways Palmer, the former sailor and merchant dedicated to maritime issues, was an unlikely fit for Essex South, an overwhelmingly rural constituency where the key issues were maintenance of agricultural protection and repeal of the much-detested malt tax. Yet Palmer, showing political savvy, reinvented himself as a ‘friend of the plough, the loom and the sail’, and promised his constituents that he would be unwavering in his defence of the corn laws. True to his word, he consistently voted against free trade proposals, and when Peel’s decision to support repeal of the corn laws became public, he pulled no punches in his denunciation of the prime minister, declaring to a packed Commons that Peel ‘stood in the light of Ahab’s prophets of old. He would deceive himself, and bring down destruction upon a devoted people’.

With his health declining, Palmer retired from the Commons at the 1847 dissolution, but continued to devote his energies to the Shipwreck Institution. He was instrumental in securing the services of the Duke of Northumberland as its president and continued to chair meetings until his retirement in February 1853, when he was awarded the gold medal of the institution. He died the following month. In 1854 his model of lifeboat was replaced by the ‘self-righting’ boat, based on an original design by James Beeching.

Palmer’s tenure in the Victorian Commons underlines how a politician could use their parliamentary status to promote humanitarian causes close to their heart. By pulling the levers of power – in his case through the adroit management of select committees – Palmer was able to achieve his legislative goals and leave a lasting legacy for maritime safety.

For details of how to access Palmer’s full History of Parliament biography from our preview site, please see here.

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A Victorian Essex Election

As electors go to the polls in the Clacton by-election, we consider how Essex voters behaved in the mid-nineteenth century, when the expanding seaside resort was still part of the Essex North constituency.

Clacton-on-Sea pier, 1908. Copyright Philip Salmon.

Clacton-on-Sea pier, 1908. Copyright Philip Salmon.

In the fifty years following the 1832 Reform Act, the Conservatives enjoyed almost complete political hegemony in both the county’s northern and southern divisions (although the Liberals had some success in the borough seats of Colchester, Maldon and Harwich). Unlike today, elections in these two double-member county seats were usually uncontested. As was so often the case in the 19th century, however, this seeming acceptance of the status quo belied both a vibrant political culture centred round non-electors (in Essex’s case Braintree silk factory workers who doggedly interrupted candidates’ addresses at the nomination) and intense pre-electoral negotiations and skirmishes between candidates.

The 1859 general election at Essex North was a case in point. Although two Conservative candidates were elected without opposition, in the weeks prior to the nomination there was a sustained attempt within the local party to oust their high-profile MP William Beresford, a former chief whip who had served as secretary for war in the Earl of Derby’s 1852 administration. A highly-strung Irishman with a wicked tongue, Beresford,  throughout his thirteen year tenure as MP for Essex North, remained unpopular with a section of the local party, who were unhappy with the spectre of an ‘outsider’ representing a seat that had traditionally been the preserve of local, resident gentry.

This emphasis on local connections has long been a feature of elections in this area and elsewhere. Throughout the 19th century candidates made stringent efforts to highlight both their local credentials and attack those who lacked them. In 1859 Samuel Ruggles Brise, of Spains Hall, Essex, threatened to stand against Beresford on the grounds that the Irishman was not a ‘proper country gentleman’. His outsider status also went hand-in-hand with a wider political issue of the day. Although a devout Protestant, Beresford, as an Irishman, was viewed with suspicion by a hostile Essex press that was not unknown to publish hysterical warnings about the threat posed by the Roman Catholic Church. Brise eventually gave way (and was later elected for Essex East in 1868), but the affair revealed a schism within local Conservatism that was masked by the unopposed return recorded in the polls.

Had Brise’s intervention taken place at a by-election, there would undoubtedly have been far greater coverage of the affair; one of the well-noted features of by-elections is that one-off local contests are given a national dimension, especially given the widespread media attention. We explored the dynamics of Victorian by-elections in an earlier blog. For today, though, it is worth noting that despite what the official returns may suggest, Victorian Essex witnessed internecine Conservative rivalry and fierce debates generated by the politics of locality.

Our constituency studies of Essex North and South have recently been completed and will soon be available on our preview site. For more details see here.

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Verse and Victorian MPs: National Poetry Day 2014

Poetry played an important role in Victorian political culture. From rhyming election squibs celebrating a prospective candidate, to Members of Parliament reciting classical verse in the Commons, political versifying was prevalent. To celebrate National Poetry Day, we offer a small selection of poetry delivered both inside and outside the walls of the Victorian Commons.

Poetry was an intrinsic part of electioneering and candidate posturing in the nineteenth century, with a range of doggerel taking its place alongside handbills and cockades as campaign ephemera. At a meeting of Liberal supporters in the North Riding at the 1857 general election, for example, the opposition candidate Edward Stillingfleet Cayley, who had gone through various changes of party allegiance, was mocked by Alderman Leeman, who referenced a poem about being:

Nor Whig, nor Tory, nor this, nor that,
Not bird, not beast, but a kind of bat,
A twilight animal, true to neither cause,
With Tory wings, but Whiggish teeth and claws.

Cayley himself was of a literary bent, and in a Commons debate on the repeal of the corn laws in 1846, he turned to verse to denounce free trade, quoting a popular rhyme:

Woodman, spare that tree;
Touch not a single bough;
In youth it shelter’d thee,
Do thou protect it now!

Cayley was far from alone in using the debating chamber as a forum for literary quotations. Charles Du Cane, Conservative Member for Essex North, invoked Shakespeare’s Hamlet when arguing against the 1859 church rate abolition bill, declaring:

It will but skin and film the ulcerous place,
Whilst rank corruption, mining all within,
Infects unseen.

Du Cane’s poetic posturing came back to haunt him, however, when his motion against Gladstone’s 1860 budget was heavily defeated. The satirical magazine Punch mocked his and Disraeli’s failure:

Diz and Du,
Made motions to
Knock over the ministers’ budget,
The House felt bored,
Pert Diz was floored,
And Du was driven to trudge it.

Happy National Poetry Day!

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