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PARLIAMENTARY JOTTINGS. -.......

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PARLIAMENTARY JOTTINGS. THE Session of 1866 was brought to an end on Friday, and although the ceremony was not very imposing, it may interest some of our readers to have a description of the closing scene. The Royal speech, when delivered by the Queen in person, causes considerable sensation. Loyal people flock to get a sight of their Sovereign, and the sweet, musical tone in which her Majesty used to read these speeches, either at an opening or a prorogation, the distinct utterance of every word, and the apparent importance attached to each, riveted the attention of those privileged to hear it, and for a length of time left an impression on their mind of the deep interest her Majesty taok in public affairs-not a few giving utterance to the national feeling of God save the Qaeen," as soon as they were at liberty to do so. At these times the peeresses' galleries would be filled with all the rank, beauty, and fashion of the country, with their coronets glittering on their heads. The nobles would assemble in their robes, every seat I would be filled even up to the steps of the throne. Everybody would be on the tip-toe of expectation when the hour named fer her Majesty's arrival drew near, and punctual to the moment would be heard the flourish of trumpets, and the booming cannon, and then in Royal robes appeared the Queen, the Crown of England carried before her on a scarlet cushion. With a graceful smile she Would take her seat upon the throne, being sup- ported by those of the Royal family right and left, who had senior rank and precedence. How different was the appearance of the House of Lords on Friday! The hour appointed for 'their lordships to meet was half-past one in the afternoon. I arrived punctually, and took my seat in the gallery. The only peer then present was the Bishop of Limerick, who sat patiently waiting in his episcopal robes to say prayers when the Lord Chancellor should arrive. For some minutes the only other persons in the House were Sir Augustus Clifford, the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, and two clerks at the table fully wigged and gowned. The vast row of empty benches positively looked melancholy. At length the messenger of the House announced the Lord Chancellor, who, preceded by his mace-bearer and purse-bearer, took his seat on the woolsack. j The heavy mace was deposited on the table, and then the purse, which, by-the-bye, is as large aa a good sized carpet-bag, covered all over with national and heraldic devices, was placed by its aide. The Duke of Buckingham's thick, set figure now entered, his grace wearing an ordinary frock-coat and check trousers, and after him came the philanthropic Marquis Townshend, with ambrosial locks parted in front. The bishop, with only those four peers present, kneeled upon the woolsack beside the Lord Chancellor and read the ordinary prayers, which consist of selections from the Common Prayer Book, commencing with the 67th Pdalm-" God be merciful," &e. Then followed the brief versicles, Lord have mercy," -&C. After which the pmyo* for ulie Queen, be- armaing- o Lord, our Heavenly Father," followed by a prayer specially for the Legislature, and ending with the collect, Prevent us, 0 Lord," and the benediction. Prayers being over, Lord Radesdale made his appearance and walked to his place at the table as chairman of committees, but in honour of the re- ] presentatives of Royalty, I suppose, he had put off ( for the nonce the otherwise invariable costume that he wears of blue coat, with gilt buttons, and yellow waistcoat, and was dressed in a suit of veritable black. In his official capacity he moved that certain gentlemen should be examiners of private bills, and then retired. Now there was a sudden move; the Lord Chan- cellor left the woolsack and retired to the robing- room behind the throne, he was followed by the < Duke of Buckingham, and the House was again j left with only a single peer, the Bishop of ] Limerick, who placidly took his seat on the Epis- ] copal bench. By-and-by entered five personages in gorgeous red and ermine robes, with huge cocked hats and wigs. These were the Royal Commissioners, con- sisting of the Lord Chancellor, the Dake of Buck- ingham, and the Earls of Bradford, Malmesbury, and Cadogan. Their lordships took their seats | on a bench placed for them immediately in front of the throne, which was covered up. The Lord Chancellor took the central seat, having two commissioners on either side of him. Presently the Gentleman Usher was called for, and Sir 1 Augustus Clifford appeared with his black wand of office, powdered and wigged, as a good servant should be, habited in blue and gold, with stars and ribbons. "Let her Majesty's faithful Com- 1 ttions be summoned to hear her Majesty's speech ] and assent to various bills," said the Lord Chan- 1 cell or. Away went Sir Augustus Clifford, through < the entrance behind the throne, and soon returned with the Speaker, the Serjeant-at-Arms, with his 1 great mace, and Mr. Disraeli, as Leader of the 1 House; beyond them were Mr. Walpole, General Peel, Sir J. Pakington, Sir Stafford Northcote, Mr. Adderley, Mr. Whitmore, and Mr. Hunt; several others were farther behind, whom I could not recognise. They came up to the bar in the most perfect order, which was rather remarkable, for generally it has been noted that like school- boys the members of the House of Commons rush] pell-mell to the Upper House, and make much noise and disturbance; but I was told that Mr. Disraeli insisted, upoiv this occasion, that proper etiquette should oe observed. He taking first place after the Speaker, as Leader of the House and the others following according to their rank in the Cabinet. At this time there were sitting on the Ministerial Bench the Earl of Longford and the Earl of Huntingdon. On the Opposition were the Mar- quis Townshend, the Earl of Cork, and Lord Campbell. These, together with the bishops and the commissioners, were the only peers present. After a word or two from the Lord Chancellor, a clerk at the table read the commission for giving a Royal assent to certain bills standing on the table. It was a lengthy document, mumbled away with the rapidity of 500 words a ininute. The reading was only attended with this cere- mony, that when the clerk came to the name of each nobleman on the commission, he turned and bowed; and in response each of their lordships, as he was named, raised his peculiar hat. This cere- mony being over, the Lord Chancellor, retaining his seat, as becomes royalty, said, My lords and gentlemen of the House of Commons, the several bills brought before your notice will be passed by the clerks as if her Majesty was present." The two clerks now moved to the far end of the table, with their faces to the throne, and their back to the Commons. The one placed himself at the right hand corner, having the pile of bills before him, the other, both being wigged and gowned, took the left. They each bowed very low to the commissioners, and the one on the right read the title of the bill thus:—" Her Ma- jesty's Royal assent be given to the Extradition Treaties Act Amendment Bill." The second clerk, who, by-the-bye, is Mr. Bethell, the son of Lord Westbury, said in Norman French, La reine le veut" (the Queen wills it); when, however, it was a private bill, such as "Turnpike Trusts Arrange- ment Bill," or a railway bill, the reply was, "Soit fait comma il est desire (Let it be done according to your wi-oh). When this business had been gone through, the clerks at the table tosk their seats, and the Lord Chancellor read the Queen's speech with emphasis and discretion. After this another Royal commission was read, empowering her Ma- j jesty's representatives to prorogue the Parliament. The Lord Chancellor then said, "In obedience to her Majesty's commands I now declare this Parlia- ment prorogued until the 25th of Octeber next." The members of the House of Commons bowed and retired, the commissioners rose, the Lord Chan- cellor walked down the floor of the House in State, preceded by the mace and purse bearers, the other four commissioners made their exit behind the throne, and the whole proceedings were over. The Commons followed their Speaker into the Lower House. There was a little farce yet to be performed, and I determined to see the last of it, and thus proceeded to the Commons. The Speaker was now brought to the level of an ordinary member, Parliament having been prorogued, he was no longer virtually in office, so instead of taking the chair, he stood at the table where the chief clerk generally sits, and went through the ceremony of repeating the Queen's speech, which every one had just before heard, a printed form being also placed in every member's hand. At the conclusion of this second reading Mr. Disraeli went up to the Speaker and shook him by the hand. He was followed by every other member, and then one and all shook hands with each other, and hastening out, shouted, Cab, cab," driving off here and there, as if about to pack up and be away for the holidays, just like boys leaving school. Thus the Session of 1866 has closed nominally till the 25th of October, but really until next February.

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