One final blog, I promise, about the books I have picked up for a pittance from Michael Foot's vast library.
Among my latest purchases in Lower Marsh is a battered copy of a 1912 biography of the satirist and radical William Hone. Michael Foot's ownership signature is shown alongside, and a note: 'Read, January 1960' - along with an earlier ownership signature.
Another note in Foot's handwriting reads: 'See page 113 for the Chief Whip's Prayer'.
So I turned to that page, where a pencil mark highlights an extract from an 1817 squib catechism which occasioned the first of Hone's several appearances in court.
It reads: Our Lord, who art in the Treasury, whatsoever be thy name, thy power be prolonged, thy will be done throughout the empire, as it is in each session. Give us our usual sops, and forgive us our occasional absences on divisions; as we promise not to forgive them that divide against thee. Turn us not out of our Places; but keep us in the House of Commons, the Land of Pensions and Plenty; and deliver us from the People. Amen.
So you can see why the radical Michael Foot described this prayer as he did!
Nathan P. Bridle
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