3 FEBRUARY 1866, Page 1

Mr. Bright took advantage of the Speaker's election to protest

against a grievance. All members who accept the Speaker's in- vitations to dinner are required to present themselves either in uniform or the strange costume which is now worn only by foot- men and courtiers, and is probably the ugliest dress used through- out the world. He thought the costume unworthy the elected head of a free representative body, and mentioned that Mr. Cob- den had for twenty-five years been precluded from accepting the Speaker's invitations by his reluctance to appear in "decorated apparel," and that a Colonel had complained that it cost him 50 guineas to buy a suitable dress for the Speaker's table. That story requires a little explanation, as a colonel is usually in possession of a uniform, and uniform is always en regle, but in the general argument Mr. Bright was substantially in the right. Robes of °Ake help among an uncivilized people like the English to keep respect due to office, but robes of office are not required nner, and the Speaker does not invite members strictly to a ceremonial. It is convenient to make a royal levee expensive, un- comfortable, and short, for the Sovereigns of the House of Bruns- wick have been as unlike the Stuarts in the stately charm of their

• manners as in their tyranny, but there is no conceivable reason or turning a pleasant reception into a masquerade. If members like to " blaze " as Deputy Lieutenants let them, but if they prefer that "astounding" costume, a black swallow-tailedcoat, why should that harmless fancy be interfered with ? It makes all men ugly and insignificant, but surely that is a point for them, not for their entertainer.