Ginx’s Baby: His Birth and Other Misfortunes; a Satire

Author: Edward Jenkins

VI.—Amateur Debating in a High Legislative Body.

While Sir Charles was trying to get the Government to "give him a night" to debate the Ginx’s Baby case, and while associations were being formed in the metropolis for disposing of him by expatriation or otherwise, a busy peer without notice to anybody, suddenly brought the subject before the House of Lords. As he had never seen the Baby, and knew nothing or very little about him, I need scarcely report the elaborate speech in which he asked for aristocratic sympathy on his behalf. He proposed to send him to the Antipodes at the expense of the nation.

The Minister for the Accidental Accompaniments of the Empire was a clever man—keen, genial, subtle, two-edged, a gentlemanly and not thorough disciple of Machiavel; able to lead parliamentary forlorn hopes and plant flags on breaches, or to cover retreats with brilliant skirmishing; deft, but never deep; much moved too by the opinions of his permanent staff. These on the night in question had plied him well with hackneyed objections; but to see him get up and relieve himself of them—the air of originality, the really original air he threw around them; the absurd light which he turned full on the weaknesses of his noble friend’s propositions, was as beautiful to an indifferent critic as it as saddening to the man who had at heart the sorrows of his kind. If that minister lived long he would be forced to adopt and advocate in as pretty a manner the policy he was dissecting. Lord Munnibagge, a great authority in economic matters, said that a weaker case had never been presented to Parliament. To send away Ginx’s Baby to a colony at imperial expense was at once to rob the pockets of the rich and to decrease our labor-power. There was no necessity for it. Ginx’s Baby could not starve in a country like this. He (Lord Munnibagge) had never heard of a case of a baby starving. There was no such wide-spread distress as was represented by the noble lord. There were occasional periods of stagnation in trade, and no doubt in these periods the poorer classes would suffer; but trade was elastic; and even if it were granted that the present was a period when employment had failed, the time was not far off when trade would recuperate. (Cheers.) Ginx’s Baby and all other babies would not then wish to go away. People were always making exaggerated statements about the condition of the poor. He (Lord Munnibagge) did not credit them. He believed the country, though temporarily depressed by financial collapses, to be in a most healthy state. (Hear, hear.) It was absurd to say otherwise, when it was shown by the Board of Trade returns that we were growing richer every day. (Cheers.) Of course Ginx’s Baby must be growing richer with the rest. Was not that a complete answer to the noble lord’s plaintive outcries? (Cheers and laughter.) That the population of a country was a great fraction of its wealth was an elementary principle of political economy. He thought, from the high rates of wages, that there were not too many but too few laborers in the country. He should oppose the motion. (Cheers.)

Two or three noble lords repeated similar platitudes, guarding themselves as carefully from any reference to facts, or to the question whether high rates of wages might not be the concomitants simply of high prices of necessaries, or to the yet wider question whether colonial development might not have something to do with progress at home. The noble lord who had rushed unprepared into the arena was unequal to the forces marshalled against him, and withdrew his motion. Thus the great debate collapsed. The Lords were relieved that an awkward question had so easily been shifted. The newspapers on the ministerial side declared that this debate had proved the futility of the Ginx’s Baby Expatriation question. "So able an authority as Lord Munnibagge had established that there was no necessity for the interference of Government in the case of Ginx’s Baby or any other babies or persons. The lucid and decisive statement of the Secretary for the Accidental Accompaniments of the Empire had shown how impossible it was for the Imperial Government to take part in a great scheme of Expatriation; how impolitic to endeavor to affect the ordinary laws of free movement to the Colonies." Surely after this the Expatriation people hid their lights under a bushel! The Government refused to find a night for Sir Charles Sterling, and after the Lords’ debate he did not see his way to force a motion in the Lower House. Meanwhile Ginx’s Baby once more decided a turn in his own fate. Tired of the slow life of the Club, and shivering amid the chill indifference of his patrons, he borrowed without leave some clothes from an inmate’s room, with a few silver forks and spoons, and decamped. Whether the baronet and the Club were bashful of public ridicule or glad to be rid of the charge, I know not, but no attempt was made to recover him.


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Chicago: Edward Jenkins, "VI.— AMateur Debating in a High Legislative Body.," Ginx’s Baby: His Birth and Other Misfortunes; a Satire, ed. Macaulay, G. C. (George Campbell), 1852-1915 and trans. Evans, Sebastian in Ginx’s Baby: His Birth and Other Misfortunes; a Satire Original Sources, accessed March 29, 2023,

MLA: Jenkins, Edward. "VI.— AMateur Debating in a High Legislative Body." Ginx’s Baby: His Birth and Other Misfortunes; a Satire, edited by Macaulay, G. C. (George Campbell), 1852-1915, and translated by Evans, Sebastian, in Ginx’s Baby: His Birth and Other Misfortunes; a Satire, Original Sources. 29 Mar. 2023.

Harvard: Jenkins, E, 'VI.— AMateur Debating in a High Legislative Body.' in Ginx’s Baby: His Birth and Other Misfortunes; a Satire, ed. and trans. . cited in , Ginx’s Baby: His Birth and Other Misfortunes; a Satire. Original Sources, retrieved 29 March 2023, from