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votes of the King's friends' against the Government in election cases formed, in the beginning of the next reign, one of the great complaints of Rockingham. A small majority, consisting mainly of the representatives of rotten boroughs, could thus easily convert itself into a large one, and override the plainest wishes of constituencies; and it is no exaggeration to say that a considerable proportion of the Members of the House of Commons owed their seats, not to the electors, but to the House itself.

Next to the existence of open constituencies, and a fair mode of election, the best security a nation can possess for the fidelity of its representatives is to be found in the system of parliamentary reporting. But this also was wanting. The theory of the statesmen of the first half of the eighteenth century was that the electors had no right to know the proceedings of their representatives, and it was only after a long and dangerous struggle, which was not terminated till the reign of George III., that the right of printing debates was virtually conceded. A few fragmentary reports, as early as the reign of Elizabeth, have come down to us; but the first systematic reporting dates from the Long Parliament, which in 1641 permitted it in a certain. specified form. The reports appeared under the title of 'Diurnal Occurrences of Parliament,' and continued until the Restoration; but all unlicensed reporting was stringently forbidden, and the House even expelled and imprisoned in the Tower one of its Members, Sir E. Dering, for printing, without permission, a collection of his own speeches. The secrecy of debate was originally intended as a protection from the King, but it was soon valued as a shelter from the supervision of the constituencies. At the Restoration all reporting was forbidden, though the votes and proceedings of the House were printed by direction of the Speaker, and from this time till the Revolution only a few relics of parliamentary debates were preserved. Andrew Marvell, the friend of Milton, and his assistant, as Secretary to Cromwell, sent regular reports to his constituents, from 1660 to 1678. Locke, at the suggestion of Shaftesbury,

wrote a report of a debate which took place in the House of Lords in 1675, and he printed it under the title of A Letter from a Person of Quality to his Friend,' but, by order of the Privy Council, it was burnt by the hangman. Shaftesbury himself wrote some reports. Anchitell Grey, a Member for Derby, was accustomed for many years to take notes of the debates, which were published in 1769, and which form one of our most important sources of information about the period immediately following the Revolution. Occasionally a newsletter published an outline of what had occurred, but this was done in direct defiance of the resolutions of the House, and was often followed by a speedy punishment. In the latter years of Anne, however, the circle of political interests had very widely extended, and, to meet the demand, short summaries of parliamentary debates, compiled from recollections, began to appear every month in Boyer's 'Political State of Great Britain,' and in the following reign in the Historical Register.' Cave, who was one of the most enterprising booksellers of the eighteenth century, perceived the great popularity likely to be derived from such reports, and he showed great resolution in procuring them. In 1728 he was brought before the House of Commons, confined for several days, and obliged to apologise for having furnished his friend Robert Raikes with minutes of its proceedings for the use of the Gloucester Journal,' and at the same time the House passed a strong resclution, declaring such reports a breach of privilege. They were too popular, however, to be put down, and in the next year Raikes again incurred the censure of the House for the same offence. In 1731 Cave started the 'Gentleman's Magazine,' which was soon followed by its rival the London Magazine,' and in 1736 Cave began to make parliamentary reports a prominent feature of his periodical. He was accustomed to obtain entrance to the gallery of the House with a friend or two, to take down secretly the names of the speakers and the drift of their arguments, and then to repair at once to a neighbouring coffee-house, where, from the united recollections of the party, a rude report was compiled, which

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was afterwards elaborated and adorned by a more skilful writer. This latter function was at first fulfilled by a now forgotten historian named Guthrie. From November 1740 to February 1742-43 it was discharged by Dr. Johnson, and afterwards by Hawkesworth, the well-known editor of Travels' and biographer of Swift. Reports compiled in a somewhat similar manner, by a Scotch Presbyterian minister, named Gordon, appeared in the 'London Magazine,' and they speedily spread into different newspapers. To elude, if possible, the severity of the House, they only appeared during the recess, and only the first and last letters of the names of the speakers were given.'

The subject was brought before the House of Commons by the Speaker Onslow, in April 1738, and a debate ensued, of which a full report has been preserved. It is remarkable that the only speaker who adopted what we should now regard as the constitutional view of the subject was the Tory leader, Sir W. Windham. He concurred, indeed, in the condemnation of the reports that were appearing, but only on the ground of their frequent inaccuracy, and took occasion to say that he had indeed seen many speeches that were fairly and accurately taken; that no gentleman, where that is the case, ought to be ashamed that the world should know every word he speaks in this House,' that the public might have a right to know somewhat more of the proceedings of the House than what appears from the votes,' and that if he were sure that the sentiments of gentlemen were not misrepresented, he would be against coming to any resolution that would deprive them of a knowledge that is so necessary for their being able to judge of the merits of their representatives.' The language, however, of the other speakers was much more unqualified. If we do not put a speedy stop to this practice,' said Winnington, 'it will be looked upon without doors that we have no power to do it. . . . You will have every word that is spoken here misrepresented by fellows who thrust themselves

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1 See Dr. Johnson's Life of Cave; Nichols' Literary Anecdotes, v. 1–18; May's Constitutional History, i. 421VOL. I.


422; and the History of Reporting, in Hunt's Fourth Estate, and Andrews' Hist. of British Journalism.

into our gallery. You will have the speeches of this House every day printed, even during your Session, and we shall be looked upon as the most contemptible assembly on the face of the earth.' 'It is absolutely necessary,' said Pulteney, a stop should be put to the practice which has been so justly complained of. I think no appeals should be made to the public with regard to what is said in this assembly, and to print or publish the speeches of gentlemen in this House, even though they were not misrepresented, looks very like making them accountable without doors for what they say within.' Walpole was equally unqualified in his condemnation, but he dwelt exclusively on the inaccuracy and dishonesty of the reports, which were, no doubt, very great, and were a natural consequence of the way in which they were taken. I have read debates,' he said, 'in which I have been made to speak the very reverse of what I meant. I have read others of them wherein all the wit, the learning, and the argument has been thrown into one side, and on the other nothing but what was low, mean, and ridiculous, and yet when it comes to the question, the division has gone against the side which upon the face of the debate had reason and justice to support it.' 'You have punished some persons for forging the names of gentlemen on the backs of letters; but this is a forgery of a worse kind, for it misrepresents the sense of Parliament, and imposes on the understanding of the whole nation.' The result of the debate was a unanimous resolution that it is a high indignity to, and a notorious breach of the privileges of this House' to print the debates or other proceedings of the House as well during the recess as the sitting of Parliament, and that this House will proceed with the utmost severity against such offenders.'1

The threat was only partially effectual. Cave continued the publication in a new form, as 'Debates in the Senate of Great Lilliput,' and substituted extravagant fancy names for the initials of the speakers. In the London Magazine,' debates ' of the Political Club' appeared, and the affairs of the nation

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1 Parl. Hist. x. pp. 800-811. Coxe's Life of Walpole, ch. 50.

were discussed under a transparent disguise by personages in Roman history. Meagre, inaccurate, and often obscure, as these reports necessarily were, they were still very popular; but there was no small risk in producing them. Careful disguise was necessary, and Cave thought it henceforth advisable to print under the name of his nephew. In 1747 the editors of both magazines were summoned before the House of Lords for having given an account of Lord Lovat's trial, and they only escaped imprisonment by an abject apology. In 1752 Cave returned to the former plan of inserting initials of the speakers, and he does not appear to have been again molested during the short remainder of his life. Many other printers, however, were summoned before the battle was finally won. So jealous was the House of everything that could enable the constituencies to keep a watchful eye upon their representatives, that it was only in the eighteenth century that the votes of the House were printed without formal permission, while the names of the Members who had voted were wholly concealed. In 1696 the publication of the names of a minority was voted a breach of privilege 'destructive to the freedom and liberties of Parliament.' During almost the whole of the eighteenth century the publication of division lists was a rare and exceptional thing, due to the exertions of individual Members, and it was not until 1836 that it was undertaken by the House itself.3

The system of Parliamentary reporting contributed, perhaps, more than any other influence to mitigate the glaring corrup

1 He died Jan. 1754.

2 In the discussion on the publication of debates, to which I have just referred, Pulteney is reported to have said: 'I remember the time when this House was so jealous, so cautious of doing anything that might look like an appeal to their constituents, that not even the votes were printed without leave. A gentleman every day rose in his place and desired the Chair to ask leave of the House that their votes for that day should be printed. How this custom came to be

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