28 MARCH 1970, Page 7

A hundred years ago From the 'Spectator', 26 March 1870—Mr

Ayrton, on Monday, ordered Members and the public to keep deputations within reasonable limit under pain of death. The floors of rooms in the older public buildings were. he informed the House, only intended to bear a reasonable weight, and might give way if such crowds waited upon Ministers, "not as a deputation, but a demonstration." Capital punishment seems a severe sentence for crowding a Minis- ter, and it would be as well if Mr Ayrton pro- vided a travelling weighing-machine, which could be placed at the door of any Minister about to be talked down. Then the deputation could be weighed. all fat remonstrants carefully excluded, and the residuum of thin people warned to stand at "attention," lest the vibra- tion should bring down the floor. Seriously, these mobs should be discouraged. They only worry, and do not help to advance the machine one step. Cannot they agree to select a talking -Committee, and send that?