Parliament Sermon Illustrations

Parliament Sermon Illustrations


At a parliamentary dinner, Mr. Plunkett was asked if Mr. Hume did not annoy him by his broad speeches. "No," replied he, "it is the length of the speeches, not their breadth, that we complain of in the House."

Henry Lord Falkland having been brought into the House of Commons at a very early age, a grave senator objected to his youth, remarked that "he did not look as if he had sown his wild oats." His lordship replied with great quickness, "Then I am come to the fittest place, where there are so many old geese to gobble them up."

The Duke of Newcastle, who was at the head of the Treasury, frequently differed with his colleague in office, Mr. Pitt, the first Earl of Chatham, though the latter, by his firmness, usually prevailed. A curious scene occurred at one of their interviews. It had been proposed to send Admiral Hawke to sea, in pursuit of M. Conflans. The season was unfavourable, and almost dangerous for a fleet to sail, being the end of the month of November, and very stormy. Mr. Pitt was at that time confined to his bed by gout, and was obliged to receive visitors in his chamber, in which he could not bear to have a fire. The Duke of Newcastle waited upon him one very raw day, to discuss the affair of the fleet, but scarcely had he entered the chamber, when shivering with cold, he said, "What, have you no fire?" "No," replied Mr. Pitt, "I can never bear a fire when I have the gout." The duke sat down by the side of the invalid, wrapt up in his cloak, and began to enter upon the subject of his visit. There was a second bed in the room, and the duke, unable longer to endure the cold, said, "With your leave, I'll warm myself in this other bed;" and without taking off his cloak, he actually got into the bed, and resumed the debate. The duke began to argue against exposing the fleet to hazard in such weather, and Mr. Pitt was as determined it should put to sea. "The fleet must absolutely sail," said Mr. Pitt, accompanying his words with the most expressive gesture. "It is impossible," said the duke, with equal animation, "it will certainly be lost." Sir Charles Frederick, of the ordnance department, arrived just at this time, and finding them both in this laughable posture, had the greatest difficulty to preserve his gravity, at seeing two ministers of state deliberating on the affairs of the country in so ludicrous a situation.

"They're all Out."

At the time when the unfortunate ministry, known as "All the Talents," was ousted in 1807, there stood upon the Earthen Mound in Edinburgh many caravans of wild beasts belonging to the famous Mr. Wombwell, around which there clustered a large crowd of idle folks listening to the dulcet strains of his most harmonious brass band. The news of the Tory victory was first made known in the parliament house, and, as can well be believed, the excitement that ensued was intense. Under its influence that eager and eccentric judge, Lord Hermand, making for his home, espied a friend among the Wombwell crowd, and shouted aloud in his glee across the street, "They're out! they're out! they're all out!" In half a second there was the wildest distribution of the mob—down to Prince's-street, up the Castle-hill, into the gardens, and up the vennels. The people picturing the horrors of a tiger-chase did not stop to hear more, and Hermand found himself, to his amazement, monarch of all he surveyed, and sole auditor of the last terrified shriek of the band.

Lord Lyndhurst, it is said, tells this story of his surrender of the great seal in 1846. "When I went to the palace," says his lordship, "I alighted at the grand staircase; I was received by the sticks gold and silver, and other officers of the household, who called in sonorous tones from landing to landing, and apartment to apartment, 'Room for the Lord High Chancellor of England.' I entered the presence chamber; I gave the seals to her Majesty; I had the honour of kissing her hand; I left the apartment by another door and found myself on a back staircase, down which I descended without any one taking any notice of me, until, as I was looking for my carriage at the outer door, a lackey bustled up, and with a patronising air, said, 'Lord Lyndhurst, can I do anything for you?'"

The Slave Trade

In one of the last discussions on the slave trade, Sir Charles Pole said, "while he deprecated the motion (for the abolition), he rejoiced that it had been brought forward thus early, because it showed the cloven foot which had been attempted to be concealed." To this remark Mr. Sheridan very spiritedly replied, "An honourable baronet," said he, "has talked of a cloven foot; I plead guilty to that cloven foot; but this I will say, that the man who expresses pleasure at the hope of seeing so large a portion of the human race freed from the shackles of tyranny rather displays the pinions of an angel than the cloven foot of a demon."

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