WALPOLE, Horace (1717-1797). The Original Speech of Sir W-m St-pe, On the first reading of the Bill for appointing the Assizes at Buckingham, Feb. 19, 1748. London: Printed for W. Webb, near St. Paul's, 1748.
Folio (11 6/8 x 7 2/8 inches). 8-pages. Woodcut printer's device on title-page. Self-wrappers, removed from a sammelband.
"If I did not think I could prove, that this bill is the errantest job that ever was brought to P--rl-t, I would not give the house the trouble of hearing me - But why do I talk of proofs? When there is a known course of law for appointing assizes all over England, if one particular town applies to P--rl--t to desire the monopoly of the assizes in their county, is there any courtier who has so little of the country-gentleman in him, as to want to be told that such a monopoly, exclusive of the other towns of the county, is a job? or will courtiers be found of such a bill only because it is a job and a monopoly?" (page ).
On his re-election to parliament in 1747 "Walpole was still considered a friend of government. In reality he secretly supported the new opposition launched by Frederick, prince of Wales. He wrote a number of anonymous articles for the press. Two of these, masquerading as ‘speeches’ delivered in the Commons, arose from a political dispute in Buckinghamshire, where the Grenville family sought to disable their principal opponent in the county, Lord Chief Justice Willes, by seeking an act of parliament moving the assizes and with them much political power from Aylesbury to the Grenville stronghold at Buckingham. Walpole seems to have been moved solely by sympathy with Willes on account of the latter's long-standing friendship with [his father] Sir Robert Walpole. One unfortunate result was an unseemly altercation with his father's old friend the speaker, Arthur Onslow, for which Walpole was compelled to apologize" (Paul Langford for DNB).
"Although Buckingham is the county town and certainly took the place of county town in the Domesday Survey, it was early found that the natural position of Aylesbury made it by far the more suitable meeting-place. Consequently assizes were held at Aylesbury from 1218 onwards and probably before that year. The 'Sessions House' was also the market hall. In the 17th century attempts were made to remove the summer assizes to Buckingham. A new County Hall, a red brick building with stone dressings, said to have been designed by Sir John Vanbrugh, at the south-east end of the Market Square, was built about 1727 and the sessions moved there from a hired tenement, probably the market-house. From 1724 to 1728 the custom of holding summer assizes at Buckingham prevailed, and in 1748 it was confirmed by Act of Parliament after considerable dissension between the rival towns" ("A History of the County of Buckingham": Volume 3, London, 1925, page 5). ESTC T43444. Catalogued by Kate Hunter