Monday, 21 March 2011

The 1861 Hansard trawl, featuring bad behaviour in Japan and Leicester Square

I'm in the mood for something a bit more vintage than usual, so here goes:

Infringing Japanese law:

MR. ALDERMAN SALOMONS said, he wished to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If he can inform the House of the circumstances under which a British subject has been tried at Kanagawa by a Court composed of the Vice-Consul and three Merchants as assessors; whether the Court so composed agreed in the decision come to, and if the sentenced pronounced by the Vice-Consul was fine, deportation from Japan, and three months' imprisonment at Hong Kong; and, lastly, whether the Court at Hong Kong have pronounced the imprisonment unjust and illegal, in consequence of which the British subject referred to has been discharged from imprisonment.

Come on then, what did he do?


said, in answer to the question of his hon. Friend, that the circumstances under which a British subject was tried at Kanagawa were briefly these:—Mr. Moss, the British subject referred to, had gone out shooting, and had killed a wild goose or some other bird. On his way home, when he arrived at Kanagawa, he met certain persons employed by the police of that district, who advanced towards him with their swords. He cocked his gun, and threatened to fire if they advanced; but some other persons behind, employed by the same authorities, took away his gun, which in the struggle went off, and inflicted serious wounds on one or two persons who tried to take it from him.

Right - so breach of the games laws, resisting arrest and GBH.  I think he got off very lightly, frankly.

Further from Russell, smacking of something half way between the melting pot and salad bowl models of multiculturalism:

Mr. Alcock's representation was that between the question of conforming to the Japanese laws and customs on the one hand, and a certain liberty to the British subjects on the other, a line ought to be drawn; but he said that many of the British subjects in Japan thought themselves entitled to violate the laws of that country, whereby they excited on the part of the Japanese a great deal of resentment and complaint. The merchants, on the other hand, said it was absurd to suppose that all the Japanese customs, their mode of dress, and various other things were to be observed by English residents. That might be perfectly true on their part, but he must say he thought that Mr. Alcock was quite right in saying that while on the one hand a fair liberty should be allowed to British merchants and others engaged in their common pursuits, yet that to set at defiance the laws and customs of the Japanese was a course of conduct that was calculated to lead to very serious results.

The things they got up to in Leicester Square:

MR. BERKELEY said, he rose to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Dement, Whether he is aware that all the London Theatres under the jurisdiction of the Lord Chamberlain were closed on last Saturday evening out of respect to the memory of Her Royal Highness the late Duchess of Kent; whether he is, likewise, aware that all the Music Halls, Salons, Casinos, and the Alhambra in Leicester Square were open upon that day; and whether any attempt will be made by the Executive to prevent the opening of such places on the evening of the funeral of Her Royal Highness; and, if legal means are not existing to accomplish this, whether it is his intention to bring in a Bill for the better ordering of such places of amusement.

Having checked, this particular Duchess of Kent was also known as Mary Louise Victoria, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, or to the then Her Maj, Mummy dearest.  

And the response:

SIR GEORGE LEWIS said, that instructions were given by the Lord Chamberlain for closing the theatres on Saturday last, and he had no reason to doubt that those instructions were all duly complied with. As to that class of entertainments afterwards referred to in the question of his hon. Friend, he could only say that neither the Lord Chamberlain nor the police had any control over them for the purpose of closing them upon such occasions.

I am inclined to think that folk should be left to grieve, or not to grieve in their own ways, and that mourning cannot be compelled.  Somehow I  doubt that Berkeley spent the weekend in sackcloth and ashes praying for the soul of the Duchess

1 comment:

  1. I think he got off very lightly

    1861 Japan ,this was 7 years before the Meiji Restoration, the Shogun & Samurai were still in control and not adverse to making those who offended them a little shorter by oh say the height of the average head.

    so very, very lightly indeed.