The Truth About My Research
Here it is the: the truth about my research. Research comes in two big waves for me. When I am planning a story I consider the elements that are still in the “unknown zone” and, with each book, discover exactly how much I don’t know about the Regency. At the end of the book I fill in the gaps that come up in the process of writing.
As I began my WIP I needed some very basic information on Parliament. In the process of my research, and thanks to Regina Scott’s website (ReginaScott.com), I learned some useful and surprising details: that Parliament met Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 3:45, that the session ran until late at night, which still left everyone time to party.
I still don’t know how often Lords and Commons met in joint session and am still looking. It is also unclear if the Regency was a period when spectators were allowed in the gallery. I have managed without those details, but would love it if someone could tell me or tell me where to find it.
True confession: I have finally learned what the Whigs and Tories stood for, but still have to check my notes to remember which is which. Has everyone heard the joke about the Navy Admiral who would go to his safe each day, look at a piece of paper and then close and lock the safe. When he died, his staff rushed to the safe to see what was on the paper – six words: Port is Left, Starboard is Right. Well, there is a little note on my desk reminding me that Whigs were more liberal than the Tories!
It took longer for the Seditious Meeting Acts to be dropped – until the end of the session. The Seditious Meetings Act (aka The Gag Acts) prohibited gatherings of more than fifty people without permission of a magistrate. In addition seven local householders had to be advised of the place, nature and time of the meeting. Even lawfully convened meetings could be dispersed if considered seditious by the magistrates.
What I want to know is how much of this is news to you, as reader, writer and historian. I have avoided Parliament for years but now that I have a hero who is a Duke I find him so responsible I can ignore Parliament no longer. Surprisingly the subject is more interesting to me than I thought it would be. What areas of your period do you love and what would you just as soon ignore?