Election of M.P.

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Ed.—Abel Heywood & Son's published these "Original Dramas, etc" in considerable numbers.  This example is undated, and although its title bears the name of Samuel Laycock as "Editor", it is unlikely that Laycock had much if any part in its devising — mention in the text of the twentieth century, of wireless and of motor cars suggests not.  Nevertheless, its style is much in keeping with the humorous nonsense that appears in Laycock's politically inspired broadsheets.

 


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NOTICE.—The publishers do not require any fee for the performance of this piece, provided that the words "By permission of the Publishers Abel Heywood & Son Ltd., Manchester," and the name of the Author are printed on all Programmes or other Announcements of the performance.   The use of these words will protect amateurs from demands for any such fees; demands of this kind have sometimes been fraudulently made.



ELECTION OF M.P.

For the BOROUGH of TWEEDLEDUM.
CONSISTING OF SEVERAL ACTS IN ONE SCENE.

BY ROBINSON CRUSOE, JUN., ESQ., AND HIS MAN
SATURDAY.
EDITED BY SAMUEL LAYCOCK.
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CHARACTERS REPRESENTED:


PAUL SLAPDASH, ESQ., the Liberal Candidate.
HON. TIMOTHY WAGSTAFF, ESQ., the Conservative Candidate.
OVERDOSE GAMMON, ESQ., the Mover of SLAPDASH.
ABRAHAM PUGGINS, ESQ., the Seconder of SLAPDASH.
BOLUS SOAPWELL, ESQ., the Mover of WAGSTAFF.
PETER BLUNT, ESQ., the Seconder of WAGSTAFF.
THE MAYOR OF TWEEDLEDUM.  THE BOROUGH CLERK.
A crowd of Electors and Non-electors in front, who are very boisterous at intervals, and interrupting the Speakers.


THE NOMINATION.


The characters enter upon the Platform, wearing blue and yellow favours—according to their supposed political Parties.  As they make their appearance, the mob in front shout with all their might, "SLAPDASH for ever!" "WAGSTAFF for ever!"


    The Mayor presides.  He calls out, "Silence!" "Order!"  Quiet having been restored, he proceeds to address the crowd as follows: "Electors and Non-electors of the Borough of Tweedledum.—The proud distinction devolves upon you this day of electing a member to represent you in that greatest of all representative assemblies in the entire universe, viz., the English House of Commons. ("Hear, hear.")  I have no doubt you will discharge that all-important duty to your own satisfaction, as well as to the entire satisfaction of the nation at large. ("Hear, hear.")  I need scarcely remind you that the event of to-day is the most important that can, under any circumstances, take place within the British Dominions, upon which, as has been nobly observed, the sun never sets and the moon never goes to bed. (Cheers.)  The eyes of the the world are upon us. ("Hear, hear.")  They are all staring with the intentness of throttled alligators at you, this day, to discover what is the policy which from henceforth is to guide the destinies of this great nation. ("Hear, hear.")  I have no doubt you can and will find a man amongst you who will fitly represent you. (" Hear, hear.")  You want a man of ability—a man of position and standing—a man of influence and wealth—a man who will never turn his back upon a friend, or run away from an enemy. (Cheers.)  Such is the man we want—and it is a proud thing to know that such men grow like mushrooms in this locality. ( "Hear, hear.")  I will now call upon the Borough Clerk to read the proclamation, and entreat you to assist me in preserving order throughout the entire proceedings of this day." (Cheers.)

    The Borough Clerk reads the proclamation: "Know all men by these presents, that in this election of a member to represent this Borough in Parliament, you are strictly forbidden to either treat the electors with meat and drink, or bribe them with money, or to use force or intimidation of any kind.  Any person guilty of such or any other unlawful practices, will have to pay a fine of five hundred thousand pounds, and be imprisoned for not less than three years in Tweedledum gaol, under the custody of Sergeant Holdfast.  And as loyal subjects, and the most intelligent of any people in this or any other kingdom, you are expected and called upon to keep the peace, observe the laws, and elect a fit and proper person to represent you.  May the King and all the people of Tweedledum live for ever." (Cheers.)

    THE MAYOR—"I will now call upon some gentleman to nominate a fit and proper person to represent you."

    BOLUS SOAPWELL, ESQ. (received with cheers by his friends).—"Electors and Non-electors.—Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, it is with the utmost reluctance that I rise to address you on the present occasion. ("Sit thee deawn again then—there's nobody ax'd thee to rise.")  Nothing but a strong feeling of duty has compelled me to leave my domestic hearth, and run the risk of getting my death of cold at this inclement season of the year.  ("Get some wayter gruel when tha gets whoam, and have a reet deawn good sweat.")  I stand forth on this momentous occasion to nominate a fit and proper person to represent this important borough in Parliament.  ("Hear, hear.")  The gentleman I am about to introduce to your notice is no stranger to you—he has lived with you, and spent all his days with you.  ("Where has he spent all his neets?")  You know him to be a generous-hearted landlord, a kind father, and an affectionate husband.  ("Let him stop awhoam and nurse childer!")  If you return him to Parliament, he will protect our glorious Constitution from all political incendiaries—"Spell that word for us"—from all seditious designs and designers, both within and without the pale of the Constitution, and preserve our institutions in all their integrity and greatness, and hand them down as an heirloom to our remotest posterity.  (Cheers.)  Without any further remarks, I beg leave to propose the Honourable Timothy Wagstaff as a fit and proper person to represent the Borough of Tweedledum in Parliament.  (Cheers and hisses.)

    PETER BLUNT, ESQ. (received with cheers and hisses).—"Gentlemen, I beg to second the nomination of the Honourable Timothy Wagstaff, I do so because he's a townsman.  ("Hear, hear.")  We know all about him, and if you choose him, you will not be buying a pig in a poke.  ("It'll be a pig eawt ov a poke.")  You blackguard there, shut your potato trap up, and it will improve the appearance of your ugly features.  ("Thoin are nowt to brag on, at ony rate.")  I am Blunt by name and blunt by nature.  I came into the world without a rag to my back or a shoe to my feet.  ("Th' most o' folk come in i' that way.")  I mean I came into the Borough of Tweedledum in that fashion.  ("Tha'd look queerish, lad, i' that fashion.")  What I have is my own, and I have made it myself.  ("Nobody wants it.")  I have had to work hard, and had nobody to give me a lift, and you see where I am now.  ("We see, mon; shut up.")  I shan't shut up till I have a mind to do it.  ("Tha'd better have a moind, then.")  A man that's attained to my position in life, by his own exertions, is not doubled up in a minute by a parcel of ragamuffins.  ("Throw a turnip at him.")  Do if you dare.  You want to upset Church and State, and sweep away the national debt ("A good sweep, too ")—and it's time for us to put a good check upon a lot of discontented rebels.  ("Hear, hear," and hisses.)  I would not give twopence for a whole cart-load of our sneaking opponents, who are neither useful nor ornamental.  ("Shut up, tha'rt fear enough.")  If you have any sense left you'll vote for Wagstaff.  He'll stand by our old institutions—he'll protect you and your property—and keep us safe from foreign invasion—and if you don't return him at the head of the poll, I should say every man Jack of you will deserve sending to the lunatic asylum."  (Cheers and hisses ; and, "We'll follow thee to that shop.")

    OVERDOSE GAMMON, ESQ. (received with cheers and hisses).—"Gentlemen.—I stand before you on this occasion to introduce a gentleman to your notice as worthy to be your representative.  He is no old woman in politics.  ("Theaw art.")  He is for going on, pushing along, and continually moving.  He won't sing, 'As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be'—("Thee sing it.")—he is for economy, retrenchment, and reform.  I ask you to return Slapdash by an overwhelming majority, so as to make all the tyrants in creation tremble on their bloodstained thrones.  (Cheers, and "Grand.")  Vote for Slapdash and liberty of conscience—vote for Slapdash and reform—vote for Slapdash and freedom throughout the world—and you will confer immortal lustre upon yourselves and the world-renowned city of Tweedledum.  (Cheers.)  With these few broken remarks, I beg leave to sit down, and propose Paul Slapdash, Esq., as a fit and proper person to represent the Borough of Tweedledum in Parliament."  (Cheers and hisses.)

    ABRAHAM PUGGINS, ESQ. (received with cheers and hisses).—"Electors and Non-electors of the Borough of Tweedledum.—I have had the unexpected and distinguished honour conferred upon me of being requested to second the nomination of my most esteemed friend, Paul Slapdash, Esq.  This is the most important event that ever happened in Tweedledum, and this is the most memorable day in its entire history.  (Cheers.)  If you should return our opponent, a man who would turn things backward, and keep all our clocks at one time of the day, why, then, I say, it's time to drop it.  ("It's time for thee to drop it.")  Where are we?  ("Why we're here, to be sure.")  This is the twentieth century—it's the age of steam engines—of railroads—of telegraphs—wireless, and motor cars.  ("An moudywarp catchers.")  And shall it be said we shall send to Parliament one who will go in for maintaining all the old rotten, wornout, tumbledown machinery that jolts and creaks like a broken-winded railway engine?  (Cheers.)  I say, 'No'—a thousand times 'No.'  ("Yes, yes.")  So I call upon you to send Wagstaff wagging away about his business, and to send Slapdash right slap in.  (Cheers.)  Therefore vote for Slapdash; be at the poll in the morning as soon as you get up, if not a bit before." (Cheers and hisses.)

    THE MAYOR—"I now call upon the Honourable Timothy Wagstaff to stand forth."

    THE HON. TIMOTHY WAGSTAFF (loud cheers and hisses).—"Electors and Non-electors of the Borough of Tweedledum.—I have the distinguished honour of appearing before you to-day as a candidate to represent this important, this thriving, this great, and this famous constituency in Parliament.  I consider it to be the greatest distinction that any public man can attain to, if chosen to represent such an intelligent body of men as you, the citizens of Tweedledum.  ("No soft sawder—dunna lay it on so thick, mon.")  As my proposer, Mr. Soapwell, has well remarked, I am no stranger.  (Cheers.)  My mother knew your mothers.  ("Heaw's thi gronmother?")  I have been brought up with you; and went to school with you.  ("An' very little tha learned when tha wur theer.")  I have rambled over the hills with you.  ("When tha wur playin' th' truant.")  I know all your favourite walks; I am no stranger to the lovely scenery you have about here; I am well known, and I believe I am loved by most right-thinking people round about this neighbourhood.  (Cheers.)  I know you all; I know your wants and feelings, and I can tell you what will do you good.  ("Tha'rt a sharp 'un then, lad.")  I am prepared to give a modified support under certain circumstances and qualified conditions to the present government, so long as it pleases me and I think proper to do so.  ("That's as clear as very thick mud.")  And I would not put them out unless there was somebody else to put in, which I believe there is.  (Cheers.)  I am for maintaining the defences of this country in a state of efficiency, and for that purpose I would put that important arm of defence, the battery at Ottiwalls, into a condition that would astonish creation.  (Cheers.)  I would station a fleet of men-of-war and steam rams on the top of Werneth Low, so as to stop the enemy if they effected a landing at Chester.  (Cheers.)  I would keep a standing army on Rivington Pike, ready to seize upon any hostile fleet that might sail to this country, when nobody saw it.  (Loud cheers—"that's reet, lad.")  I would hang all revolutionary persons who attempted to meddle with our glorious constitution in Church and State.  (Cheers.)  I would introduce a bill into Parliament for sending political firebrands to Jericho.  (Cheers, hisses, and a voice, "We'll send thee to that shop.")  Such miscalled statesmen would destroy our army and navy.  ("No, no.")  They would leave us at the mercy of every tyrant who wished to see this glorious old country ruined.  ("No, no.")  They would abolish all taxes.  ("An' not a bad thing, noather.")  They would confiscate our property, and our wives and children.  ("No, no ... ... Yes, yes.")  These are some of my principles, and I have a lot more in stock, equally good and equally sound I know they will wash well, and wear well.  ("Art theaw a wesherwoman?")  I have the utmost confidence that you will return me—("No, no," ... Yes, yes.")—in order that I may attend to your interests, and help to keep the country straight, to protect it against the designs of all enemies at home and abroad, whether foreigners or revolutionists, and thus keep it a decent place, fit for decent people like you and me to live in." (Loud cheers.)

    THE MAYOR.—"Paul Slapdash, Esq., will now address you."

    PAUL SLAPDASH, ESQ. (cheers and hisses.)—"Electors and Non-electors of the Borough of Tweedledum.—I appear before you this day as a candidate in consequence of the numerous and highly respectable requisition presented to me, requesting myself to be put in nomination to-day.  I could not resist the flattering invitation.  ("Did to try?")  My honourable opponent who has just spoken, is for keeping things as they are, and I am for altering them all.  My honourable friend would, I dare say, allow the women—God bless them—to put a little rum in their tea, as a medicine.  (Cheers.)  I would go further.  I would allow them to put a little tea into their ruin.  I know they like it.  (Loud cheers, "That's reet, lad.")  Passing on to other topics, I must confess that when I look upon this important and thriving borough—when my mind's eye takes in the prospect from Oldham to Chowbent—when I see your factories, your foundries, your schools, your rag and bone warehouses, your new bridges, your old bridges, your no bridges, and an invisible poorhouse that's gone to ruin for lack of paupers—when, I say, I see these things, I cannot but stand amazed and speechless while I exclaim, "Let Tweedledum jump up and stop up."  (Tremendous cheers.)  I am for annual Parliaments, and oftener if necessary.  (Cheers.)  I would put up gas lamps along your roads, at the national expense; and I would make all those pay for the gas consumed that don't vote for me.  (Cheers, "That's reet and fair.")  I would release the good people of this neighbourhood from all kinds of taxes, and lay them upon somebody else.  (Cheers.)  I would make a level road from here to Heartshead Pike.  ("Cuckoo, Cuckoo.")  I would increase incomes and abolish income tax.  (Cheers, and "That's the ticket.")  I would take off the dog tax, and put it upon tom cats. (Cheers.)  I would make the bachelors pay one half of the taxes of this country, and the old maids the remainder. (Cheers.)  I would amend the marriage laws, and let every man marry all his wife's sisters, if they wished it.  (Cheers.)  If, after these sweeping financial reforms, any taxes accidentally remained, I would take them all off you, and lay them upon other people.  (Cheers.)  I would go in for non-intervention in foreign affairs.  I decidedly think every nation should mind their own business; still, if other countries did not act as I thought best for us, I would compel them to alter their policy.  (Cheers.)  I am for retrenchment; I would reduce the army to nothing, the navy to less, and convert the ships of war into washing tubs for your wives and sweethearts.  (Cheers and hisses, and, "A good wesh 'ud do thee good.")  These are some of my views, these are some of my principles; and when I go up to London, I'll astonish the natives, and tell them London's nowhere where Tweedledum comes."  (Loud and continued cheers.)



QUESTIONS PUT TO HON. TIMOTHY WAGSTAFF.


    ELECTOR.—"Are you in favour of still further extension of the suffrage; and if so, how far would you extend it?"

    CANDIDATE.—"I am in favour of a considerable extension of the suffrage, so far as it can be accomplished without increasing the number of electors.  ("Hear, hear.")  I should be disposed to alter the qualifications so as to give a vote to every man who minds his own business and lets other people's alone.  ("That's the ticket.")

    ELECTOR.—"Will you vote for the disestablishment of the Church?"

    CANDIDATE.—"Not if I know it."

    ELECTOR.—"Would you abolish Church rates?"

    CANDIDATE.—"I would abolish Church rates in all cases where it could not be helped, and I would keep them whenever I could retain them.  So far I am in favour of abolition. ("Thank thee for nowt.")

    ELECTOR.—"Are you in favour of an increase in the national expenditure?"

    CANDIDATE.—"If by a judicious curtailment of the public expenditure you can, without any detriment to the public service, pay as much as you do now, and get as little for it—and, at the same time, make any important remissions of taxation, without lessening the national burthens—such a course of sound financial policy should have my warmest support."  ("That's very fine talk, an' nowt at th' eend on't.")

    A NON-ELECTOR.—"When tha's feathered thi own neest, will ta spare a few fithers for moine?"

    CANDIDATE.—"It will afford me extreme gratification to do so, though I have a tolerable strong opinion that your share of feathers will be a pretty considerable time in getting to you."  ("Sit thee deawn, lad; tha's said enuff for one day.")



QUESTIONS TO SLAPDASH.


    ELECTOR.—"Would you vote for annual Parliaments, and equal electoral districts?"

    CANDIDATE.—"I would, if desirable, make annual Parliaments come twice a year.  As regards electoral districts, I would give each district where the inhabitants knew how to behave themselves a member each."

    ELECTOR.—"How about the punishment of criminals?"

    CANDIDATE.—"I would give the overfed rascals more to do and less to eat."

    A NON-ELECTOR—"Wod ta abolish th' game laws?"

    CANDIDATE.—"I would abolish the game laws, and make it compulsory upon the game to come and be shot at." ("That's reet. ")

    ELECTOR.—"Would you bring in a bill to enable a man to marry his wife's mother?"

    CANDIDATE.—"Yes, provided her husband be living."

    ELECTOR.—"Would you bring a bill into the House of Commons to make Tweedledum a seaport?"

    CANDIDATE.—"Certainly; possessing such natural advantages as Tweedledum does, and such invaluable water privileges it seems as if nature intended Tweedledum to be a seaport and bathing place.  It only requires a connection forming with the English Channel." ("That'll soon be done ... .. "Question.")



SHOW OF HANDS.  A BOARD WITH THE NAMES ON.


    THE MAYOR.—"Gentlemen.—The show of hands is so evenly balanced that I cannot say which has the majority; I will therefore send them both as members of Parliament.  I think Tweedledum is more deserving of two members than any other place is of one.  Therefore I hereby declare Timothy Wagstaff, Esq., and Paul Slapdash, Esq., duly elected to serve in the present House of Parliament." (Cheers.)


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