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Speech On The Umbrella Question
by [?]


Speech On the Umbrella Question.[1]
BY LORD ELDON.

1827.

vos inumbrelles video.”–Ex Juvenil.
GEORGII CANNINGII.[2]

My Lords, I’m accused of a trick that God knows is
The last into which at my age I could fall–
Of leading this grave House of Peers by their noses,
Wherever I choose, princes, bishops and all.

My Lords, on the question before us at present,
No doubt I shall hear, “‘Tis that cursed old fellow,
“That bugbear of all that is liberal and pleasant,
“Who won’t let the Lords give the man his umbrella!”

God forbid that your Lordships should knuckle to me;
I am ancient–but were I as old as King Priam,
Not much, I confess, to your credit ‘twould be,
To mind such a twaddling old Trojan as I am.

I own, of our Protestant laws I am jealous,
And long as God spares me will always maintain,
That once having taken men’s rights, or umbrellas,
We ne’er should consent to restore them again.

What security have you, ye Bishops and Peers,
If thus you give back Mr. Bell’s parapluie,
That he mayn’t with its stick, come about all your ears,
And then–where would your Protestant periwigs be?

No! heaven be my judge, were I dying to-day,
Ere I dropt in the grave, like a medlar that’s mellow,
“For God’s sake”–at that awful moment I’d say–
“For God’s sake, don’t give Mr. Bell his umbrella.”

[“This address,” says a ministerial journal, “delivered with amazing emphasis and earnestness, occasioned an extraordinary sensation in the House. Nothing since the memorable address of the Duke of York has produced so remarkable an impression.”]

NOTES:
[1] A case which interested the public very much at this period. A gentleman, of the name, of Bell, having left his umbrella behind him in the House of Lords, the doorkeepers (standing, no doubt, on the privileges of that noble body) refused to restore it to him; and the above speech, which may be considered as a pendant to that of the Learned Earl on the Catholic Question, arose out of the transaction.

[2] From Mr. Canning’s translation of Jekyl’s–

“I say, my good fellows,
As you’ve no umbrellas.”