Chap. VII.] " House of Commons." 93-
whether they were connected with his shop or with the Mutual Improvement Society. The idea with which he and those who were associated with him started, was to found an ordinary Debating Society to discuss the current topics of the day. But at the first Meeting called ta consider the question, the dominant idea was to make the new Society a reflex of the House of Commons, and in this way its title, as given above, was arrived at. The title settled, everything else followed as a matter of course. The administrative business was confided to a Committee of 20, consisting of 10 Conservatives and 10' Liberals, presided over by a Chairman of their own, but at the full meetings of the Members, the Chairman was called the " Speaker." The Members were divided into two Parties, seated to the Right and Left of the Speaker, a selection of those on the Right being called " The Government," each Member of which had an official title corresponding to the titles borne by Members of the Imperial Legislature at Westminster, whilst opposite to them were ranged the " Opposition." I was elected the first Speaker, and presided over the deliberations for 2 or 3 years.
The first Meeting was a trial of strength between the 2 Parties which took the form of a Motion made by a local Liberal that the Gladstone Government then in Office at Westminster was worthy of the confidence of the country. At the end of the debate, I put the question from the Chair, appointed Tellers, the Members filed out into their respective "Aye" and "No" Lobbies, and when the Tellers handed in the numbers, I had to make the following announcement:—
For the Motion ... 61
Against ... ... 52
The newspaper report ends as follows:—" The Speaker's-announcement that the Liberal Party were required to-take Office was greeted with loud and continued cheering."
The Session lasted from October till the following