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[416] agreeable. Dr. Roget was there, the Secretary of the Royal Society and author of one of the Bridgewater Treatises, a first-rate man; Dr. Bostock, a leading member of the Royal Society; Mr. Hogg, who is about publishing his ‘Travels in the East,’ and who told us many pleasant stories of Lady Hester Stanhope, etc. In the evening several of the Aikin family came in, and I confess I looked with some interest on the ‘Charles’ of Mrs. Barbauld's ‘Evenings at Home,’ though he came with a wig and two daughters, one of whom has made him already a grandfather.

July 21.—At half past 4 I returned to the House of Commons,1 to hear the great debate of the session, the debate on the Church question of Ireland, in which the Ministry are to vindicate the wisdom of the resolution on which they turned out the Tories, and in which Sir R. Peel and his friends hope seriously, in their turn, to overthrow their successful adversaries. It will be a hardly fought field, and it is already anticipated that the contest-contrary to the old habits of the House — will be protracted through several nights.2

When I arrived the Speaker was not in the chair, and the House, in committee, was considering a case of divorce, and examining two or three female witnesses. Nothing could well be more disorderly than the whole proceedings. Parts of them were indecent; and, at the best, there was much talking, laughing, and walking about; no attention paid to the business in hand, or to the speakers, though O'Connell, Spring Rice, and some other men of mark were among them; and as for dignity, deference, or propriety of any sort, it was evidently a matter not heeded at all. I sat, as a foreigner, on the floor, and had a most truly comfortable place; and talked quite at my ease, without suppressing my voice at all, with the members whom I knew, or to whom I was introduced. . . . . Finally, when Peel rose to open the debate in earnest, the House could be said to attend to the business before it. And well they might, for it was worth listening to, from the very business-like air with which it was managed.

Sir Robert is now between fifty and sixty, growing stout without

1 Having been there two hours before, merely to see the hall.

2 On Friday, July 24, Mr. Ticknor adds the two following notes: ‘The debate lasted three nights, and was decided this morning between three and four o'clock by a majority of thirty-seven against Sir R. Peel.’—‘I saw Mr. Harness when we were visiting the hall of the House of Commons on Tuesday last, at two o'clock, waiting to get into the gallery, where he remained till two in the morning, as closely wedged in as human bodies could be packed. This he endured three successive days and nights, to hear the debate. But nobody except an Englishman would have gone through it, I think.’

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