A remarkable collection of mounted signatures of Members of the House of Commons and Peers covering the Liberal governments of Lord Palmerston, Gladstone and Disraeli, the death of Prince Albert, the 1867 Reform Act and W E Forster’s introduction of school boards.
Small quarto red roan bound book with paper label to upper cover and in manuscript: ‘Summary of Fees Sess[ion]. 1858 Book No 1’. Marbled endpapers. A couple of gatherings still bound in but otherwise detached because the inserted material has made the contents of the book much bulkier than the binding. Shiny thick paper with small blind stamp of ‘House of Commons’ at the head of each leaf. Cut signatures usually to rectos of leaves but sometimes both sides. Ocassional omissions where signatures have been harvested by a later collector. The cut signatures - about 20 to the page - are interspersed with ‘Admit the Bearer’ notes and letters in mixture of print and manuscript, frequently on headed paper. With a quantity of loose additional ‘Admit the Bearer’ notes. Each section is labelled, usually beginning with government members and proceeding alphabetically through the MPs and peers from 1861 onwards when Lord Palmerston was Liberal Prime Minister and Gladstone his Chancellor. The gatherings are as follows:
1. ‘Members of the House of Commons Session 1861’ Beginning with Cabinet Ministers: Russell, Grey, Knatchbull Hugesson etc; ‘Not in the Cabinet’: Alfred Paget, Robert Peel (jr) etc. Occasional annotation such as below ‘R Bethell’ - ‘Sir Richard Bethell late Attorney General now Lord Chancellor July 1861.’ Backbenchers include Alfred Churchill. (10pp; 200 signatures)
2. New Members Sessions 1862, 2pp; 45 signatures
3. New Members 1864 Sessions; Peers from 1865-1868; Westminster, Norfolk, Percy, Talbot de Malahide (Irish peer) etc (4pp; 100 signatures)
(1865 General Election saw Lord Palmerston increase the Liberal majority over Lord Derby’s Conservatives. Following the passage of the 1867 Reform Act Gladstone came to power in 1868)
4. Members of Sessions 1868 Parliament: Bonham Carter; Edward Cavendish. Handful of ‘Admit the Bearer’ printed and manuscript including Lord Lorne (Scotish peer and polymath, 1868; Alexander Mitchell, Berwick MP; Dalhousie; Sir Henry Lytton Bulwer on his visiting card. (9pp signatures, 180; 21 ‘Admit the Bearer’)
5 ‘Cabinet Ministers 1868’ Gathorne Hardy, Stafford Northcote, Stanley etc; permits from John Manners, Richmond; ‘Ministers not in the Cabinet’ ‘W H Gladstone’ (eldest son) Julian Goldsmid, Fulke Greville (Irish) (7 Admit the Bearer; 11pp 220 signatures.)
(Disraeli began his second ministry as Prime Minister in 1874 following the General Election)
6. ‘Members of the 1874 Government’ ‘Disraeli’ shakily at the top of the list; Stafford Northcote, Algernon Egerton etc. Very comprehensive for government. ‘New Members 1874’ Francis Arkwright etc. Permit for ‘The Times Head Reporter’. (12pp; 240 signatures)
7. Sessions 1876, ‘Cabinet Ministers’, ‘Peers’, New Members 1876’ including new arrival Joseph Chamberlain among the (8pp; 160 signatures)
8. 7 Permits and final sheet of 20 signatures.