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Imprison'd WranglersThe Rhetorical Culture of the House of Commons 1760-1800$
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Christopher Reid

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199581092

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199581092.001.0001

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Fictitious Tribunals

Fictitious Tribunals

(p.59) 3 Fictitious Tribunals
Imprison'd Wranglers

Christopher Reid

Oxford University Press

This is the first of three chapters dealing with the publication of parliamentary speeches, which remained unauthorized throughout the eighteenth century, and with their reception by readers outside the House. It opens with the House's attempts to control the flow of parliamentary information as it argued about the merits of admitting strangers to the gallery and began reluctantly to relax the standing order prohibiting the reporting of its debates. What, the chapter asks, was the status of a speech that had been printed without authority? Did it still enjoy the privilege that had protected it when it was delivered in the House? To whom were parliamentary orators now speaking, and to whom should they be held to account? The chapter considers these questions in the light of Jeremy Bentham and Jürgen Habermas's thinking about publicness, and with particular application to speeches by George Grenville and Thomas Pownall.

Keywords:   publicness, strangers, print, reporting, Bentham, Habermas, George Grenville

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