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From the Sussex Express, 18th September 1883



The conclusion of the labours of the agricultural year upon the estate of the Right Hon the Speaker, at Glynde, was celebrated with 'harvest home' festivities on Saturday last. The proceedings commenced at one o'clock, when the labourers and mechanics employed upon the estate and the children attending the village schools sat down to an excellent and abundant repast, served in a spacious tent in the park, in front of the terrace on the east side of the mansion. The interior of the booth was prettily decorated with flowers and foliage, and at the far end was a design with the word 'Welcome'. The SPEAKER (Sir Henry Brand) presided, and among those present were, Mr Henry Brand, MP,, Captain Brand, RN, Rev G Averill (vicar of Glynde), Mr Freeman Thomas, Mr T Brand, Mr T Colgate, Mr G Newington, Mr T Colgate junior (vice-chairman), Mr F Newington, Messrs Robert, Henry and Walter Colgate, etc. The wants of the children were kindly administered to by Lady Brand, Mrs Henry Brand, Mrs Thomas Brand, Mrs Averill, the Misses Thomas, Mrs Sheppard, Mrs Boulton, the Misses Colgate, and Miss Bell. Grace before and after meat was sung by the children. At the conclusion of the repast

The SPEAKER, having given 'The health of the Queen', which was duly honoured,

The VICAR of GLYNDE said - I have a toast to propose which, even after the Queen's health, I think we may call the toast of the day; it is 'The health of the Speaker, Sir Henry Brand, our Host' (loud applause). Now, last year I remember in proposing the health of the Speaker, including his family - who were not represented in such numbers as they are today, I ventured, in the absence of some members of that family to indulge in a few remarks respecting them, and some of the hopes and suggestions I then made have turned out to be prophecies. I said that he eldest son of the Speaker was qualifying for office, and now we find that he is a member of the Government (cheers). At that time the second son was in Egypt, and I expressed the hope we all felt that when the dangers and perils of the war were passed we should have the pleasure of seeing him among us, and here he is (renewed applause). I also made a remark about another member of the family, in whom I am much interested. I said I thought that the youngest son of the Speaker was qualifying himself to represent the county in the Conservative interest (laughter), and I hope that that assertion will turn into prophecy, and at some future time be fulfilled (applause and laughter). Mr Charles Brand is not here, but I am sure we do not forget him when we drink 'The health of the Speaker, Lady Brand, and Family' (loud applause). It is a great pleasure to us all to meet on this occasion, to have the Speaker among us, and to see him in the enjoyment of good health, especially after the arduous work he has had in London (hear, hear). Each season seems to tax more than the one before the powers, and the patience, of the health of the Speaker; yet I think it is quite true what I saw in the newspapers the other day, that the Speaker came home looking as fresh and well and almost as young as ever (renewed applause). For my part, I hope that my work will not tell on me more than his does upon him; if we carry our years as well as he does, I am sure we ought to be very thankful (hear, hear). Sir Henry has come back to us looking well and strong after a very long session of Parliament, and I am certain we all wish him every happiness and a continuance of good health. In Glynde we are very glad to greet him as a good friend and kind neighbour, for we know that he has the best interests of the place at heart; we have found in him one who is courteous and considerate beyond measure, and one who gives the clergyman every opportunity of exerting good influence over those among whom he lives; and I am glad, in as public a way as possible, to thank the Speaker for his kindness and courtesy to me. We wish him long life and happiness to enjoy the dignities he has earned and deserved. The toast was drunk with honours.

The SPEAKER, in responding, said - My friends and neighbours, I am very much obliged to you for the very hearty manner in which you have received this toast. We have had in this place a good many 'harvest homes'. Harvest home has a sweet sound; harvest is very pleasant to all of us, and home, we all know, is dear to Englishmen. In fact, love of home has made the Englishman what he is, and has given him one of the first places among the nations of the world. Our homes here are on the slopes of the South Downs, and I think in that circumstance we are very happy, our lot being cast in pleasant places, for it is remarkable how favoured the southern parts of England have been in the way of weather. Take this year, for instance, upon the farm; it will be in the recollection of many of you that we began cutting corn on the 6th of August, and from that time to this, with the exception, perhaps, of one day, when we had a furious gale of wind, if we had corn to carry we could have carried it every day down to this time; and even now the sun is shining on our grateful festivities for a prosperous year (applause). We are assembled here together under this tent a large party, the most numerous portion of which consists of the representatives of labour. But, in fact, we all belong to the labouring classes in some sense. The most numerous class here are those engaged in farm labour, but we have also many other representatives of different branches of labour. We have the blacksmith, the bricklayer, and the shoemaker, and I see before me the gardener, next to him the gamekeeper, and if I look round the table I have no doubt I should find other representatives of labour. We are all dependent one on the other; it is not for the blacksmith to go to the wheelwright and say, 'I have no need of you,' nor for the bricklayer to use the same words towards the carpenter (hear, hear). We must all work together, for labour is honourable. As long as it is hearty, labour is always honourable, whether it is labour of the brain or of the hand; and that applies not only to you, but also to many at this table - the Vicar, the farmer, the merchant, the agent, all of whom are engaged in labour with hand or brains for one common cause (hear, hear). Well, I am very thankful to you, my labourers on the farm, who have, during the harvest, done your best - as I know very well, from personal experience - to house the crops; and I hope that all of you enjoy, as I do in this place, a happy and contented home. I wish to say to all of you that, if there is anything within reason that I can do for you to make your homes happy and contented, let me know, and I will do the best I can (loud applause). I wish you health, happiness and prosperity for the year that is to come, and, if it pleases God to spare us for another season, I hope we shall meet again this time twelve months, thankful for another good and prosperous harvest (loud applause) - rising again in a few moments, the Right Hon gentleman proposed 'The health of the Vicar'. I said just now that all labour was honourable but, to my mind, the best field of labour is that in which the Vicar is engaged. The pastor goes forth and does his best to call the attention of mankind to the Giver of all good. That is the function of our Vicar, and we are very thankful to him, to all those his colleagues in the church, and to all those, indeed, who, by precept and example, lift up our minds from things of the earth to those which are above us (hear, hear).

The VICAR, in responding, said he quite agreed with the Speaker that the best of all work was that which sought to bring the heart of man into accord with the mind of God - a work which needed that the workman should be in himself attuned to his subject, and he trusted that God would give him grace to work among them in accordance with His mind and will. He was not so immediately interested in the harvest as many of them were, but he thoroughly sympathised with the Speaker in his feelings of thankfulness for the good harvest that they had enjoyed this year (applause). He had thought sometimes that it would be a good thing for the clergyman if old customs came back again, and they received tithes in kind (laughter); the time was when the parson had the fattest sheaf of corn, the best sheep, and the finest cow, and he read only the other day that the clergyman and his agent used to go into the harvest field and stick red flags into the shocks of corn which he claimed as his tithe, and also to mark the sheep and cows which he selected as his portion, and these had to be given up to him under some rough principle of calculation (laughter). Now, he thought with such a harvest as that just gathered in, if the parson had a tenth of the corn, cattle and other produce of the land he would be better off than he was (applause and renewed laughter). However that might be, he rejoiced with them in a good harvest, and in the beautiful weather which had enabled them to gather it in with less fatigue than usual (cheers).

Mr H BRAND, MP, said - The speaker has asked me to propose a toast, which I do with great pleasure - it is 'The health of our friend, Mr Colgate' (cheers). I have known Mr Colgate as long as I have known Glynde; my earliest recollections are associated with his kindly presence, his pleasant words, and, I will add, with his silver locks (applause). In the case of Mr Colgate, I may tell you that silver locks are not a sign of advancing age, for as along as I have known him I recollect the handsome locks he now wears on his head (hear, hear). It has often been said that Glynde is especially a favoured place, and one reason that it is so is perhaps to be found in the fact that in Mr Colgate you have always possessed a good factor. Sometimes I am inclined to think that Glynde is a particularly unique spot, and a sort of oasis in the desert, when I go to London and other parts of the world. We hear statements made and arguments advanced to induce us to believe that the land system of this country is a very bad system, and that what is require dis radical reform. I do not allude to proposals for the easier and more unrestricted disposal of land, for with those I sympathise, but to more drastic remedies. Those who propose them cannot have had any experience of Glynde, and the happy relations between all classes that exist in this place (hear, hear). You know there are some who propose that the land should be taken away from those who now possess it and given to the State; others even go so far as to say that land should be taken away from those who now own it and given to those who have none (laughter). One reason advanced for these proposed changes is that under the present system the land is not sufficiently productive, and that the profits of cultivating it are not distributed in fair and equal proportions among the people. But, with regard to the first point, you who live in Glynde and have any knowledge of farming have opportunities of seeing that not much more could be got out of the land than is now the case around this village (applause). And as to the second point I should say there was never a better opportunity for gentlemen to make experiments in the direction. If anyone desires to see if he can make land more productive, I have no doubt the Speaker and other owners would be glad to let him have what he wants on easy terms. There are also thousands of acres of land for sale at the present time, and if any gentleman wishes to try experiments now is the time; - let them buy land and let it on the same terms and conditions as if the State possessed the whole of it (applause and laughter). But in this happy valley you are in a singular and unique position; you have good air and a fine climate and I think I may say that you have an excellent landlord. You hear of the proposals I have mentioned, but you pass them by as if you heard them at a distance; they do not affect you. The Rabbit Act and the Agricultural Holdings Act are good things in their way and were, no doubt, wanted by some of the community, but they do not much affect you and other classes in this part of the world. The rabbit, as Mr Freeman Thomas can tell you, is almost an extinct animal in these parts, and hares have become very scarce. Since my brother took the hounds everybody seems to devote his energies to the preservation of the fox (cheers and laughter), and even chickens lead a very chequered existence (renewed laughter). I would make one remark with regard to what has fallen from the Vicar, and say that he is wrong about one of his prophesies; I do not believe that any of my brothers would commit the folly that would be involved in the adoption of Tory principles (cheers and laughter).

Mr COLGATE in returning thanks, said he thought they might all congratulate themselves on having enjoyed a splendid summer; during the many years he had been at Glynde he did not remember better weather for getting in the harvest, although in some years the crops had been larger. He thought they might congratulate themselves on a good harvest not only of corn, but of other things in which those having small occupations were especially interested. As was seen at the show the other day the potatoes were very good indeed, and nothing but favourable weather could have produced them in such sound and excellent condition. He was glad that the yield not only of wheat and potatoes, but also of barley and hops, promised to be very good; he might be treading on delicate ground but he was free to confess that he was one of those who liked a good glass of beer (cheers and laughter). A good many people said that was a sort of thing which no one ought to enjoy; and he had due respect for those who preached that doctrine, for he believed they did so with the best intentions towards those who were not capable of taking care of themselves; but he had for so many years been used to taking a glass of ale, and he thought he must be excused from putting his name to any pledge to abandon it (loud cheers). He looked forward to getting a good glass of beer this year, and hoped that many of them would do the same (applause), but at the same time he strongly deprecated the abuse of any of the gifts which God had sent for the comfort and enjoyment of man. In conclusion Mr Colgate hoped with the Speaker that they might be spared to meet on those happy occasions for years to come. At the suggestion of the SPEAKER the party then repaired to the beautiful cricket ground in the park, where cricket and other sports were enjoyed. Tea was afterwards served and a charming day was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

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