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for the discussion of some other club of
Budding Chathams.

These clubs, it should be observed, are
generally formed by young men of intellectual
tendencieslaw students who burn with the
hope of enjoying the softness of the woolsack
younger sons with hopes of political advancement,
and in their hearts vague longings for
Downing-street powerliterary students with
crude theories, the enunciation of which is a
relief to their young vanity. These aspirations
and faculties have a common sympathy, and
consequently mingle into a very fascinating
common body. The laugh with which a
stranger hears the title of " honourable member"
given to his intimate associate, is rebuked
by the gravity of the young men; who, in
their dream-land, seem to touch for a brief
time the realisation of their ambition. At
present they are hard-working students, with
little enough money to spend, and without
power; but even now it is painful to have the
contrast between their aspiration and their
actual position ridiculed in any way. They
like to be " honourable members," and " Mr.
Chairman." Here is a foretaste of the
importance and the power they are to win.
They refer to the time when Brougham and
Macaulay were members of the Edinburgh
Speculative Society; and from this reference
draw sundry very flattering and invigorating
conclusions as to their own prospects. Many
consolations, many hopes, many good resolves
flow from these intellectual sparring clubs.
Much vanity is corrected, for young men,
particularly, are less swayed in the formation
of their friendships by worldly considerations,
than their elders; and by finding an immediate
and considerate public ready to applaud the
student in his most wearisome and thankless
hours, the struggle is eased, and the loneliness
and chill of student life loses much of its

The Budding Chathams include many men
with pale, haggard features; who, worn with
the studies of long days, brighten as the
Chatham discussion night approaches, when
intellect will be pitted against intellect, and
the strongest without servility, or any base
consideration, will carry the majority with
him. The decisions of the club, the votes
given by certain prominent members, the
arguments used by others, and the subjects
proposed for future consideration, afford continual
gossip to a wide circle of men. The
scorn with which ignorance of history is met;
the heat with which rival schools of poetry
and painting are advocated; the general
acclamation with which a happy quotation is
received; the unstudied respect paid to
members of great acquirements, are manifestations
which generally characterise those
debating clubs which have ever shown any

He would be a bold man who would openly
establish a school for the education of orators
after the fashion of those who occupy the time
of the House of Commons for five hours at a
stretch, or who make amendments at railway
meetings: but the spontaneous formation of
debating clubs in the various towns of England
argues, we are inclined to think, a healthful
intellectual progress in the young men of the
time. The Budding Chathams may not send
forth a member possessing the reputed
eloquence of the distinguished statesman after
whom they are christened; yet many wholesome
advantages may accrue from their
meetings. In provincial towns, the traveller
is often surprised to find a mechanic at a local
meeting expressing his ideas with logical
order, and in easy Saxon English. On inquiry
as to the cause of this precision, he
learns that the speaker is the member of a
debating clubthat he is in the habit of
sustaining a public argument. On further
inquiry he will find that the mechanic has
shrewd, well-digested notions on the prevailing
topics of the day; that he is not to be
carried away by the false glitter of a voluble
speaker; and that he can place the men of the
time in their proper relative positions. He is
often critical even as to the turn of a period;
and talks not of " rounding a sentence," but
does it. He is an humble imitator of the
more ambitious Chathams. As he throws his
shuttle in the morning, he thinks of his evening's
debate;—what reasons his friend Jones
will bring to bear upon the question; and
how the opener will be able to answer the
array of facts he has marshalled against
him. At the worst, this is harmless mental
exercise; and, without doubt, it is an
advance upon those amusements which
working men patronised some twenty years

Therefore, prosperity to provincial debating
clubs! Success to " Mr. Chairman," with his
incipient moustache. Success to " the honourable
opener," who has now seen only twenty
summers. Success to "my learned friend,"
who has eaten two terms, and is already
critical about the Temple wine. Success to
the young author flushed with the notices of
his first work, and bright with all the glory
of hope about him!

On the 29th instant will be published, price 5s. 6d., neatly
bound in Cloth,


Publishing Monthly, price 2d., Stamped 3d.,


* * * This Monthly Supplement of "Household Words,"
containing a history of the previous month, is issued
regularly (pending the decision of the Barons of the Exchequer
as to whether it be liable, in law, to the Stamp
Duty) with the Magazines. The FIRST VOLUME, being a
Record of the Public Events of the Year 1850, is still to
be had of all Booksellers.

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