HC Deb 05 February 1858 vol 148 cc759-62

Sir, I gave notice yesterday that I would to-day move an Address of congratulation to Her Majesty on the recent marriage of the Princess Royal. By the strict rules of the House I could not bring forward that Motion until after the Orders of the day, but I am sure it would be more agreeable to the House that it should take precedence of other business, and I, therefore, move that the Orders of the Day be postponed until that Motion is disposed of.

Motion agreed to. Orders postponed.


I rise, Sir, to perform a duty which is no less gratifying to me than I am persuaded it will be agreeable to this House, namely, to move that this House should address Her Majesty to congratulate her upon the recent marriage of the Princess Royal with Prince Frederick William of Prussia. There has been no event, I think, since the marriage of Her Majesty herself which has so much enlisted the feelings and so much excited the interest of the whole British nation. There could be no stronger proof of this than the immense multitude which a few days ago assembled in the streets of the metropolis amidst all the inclemency of a winter's day—the snow falling and a piercing wind blowing, to bid a last farewell to Her Royal Highness on quitting the shores of her native country. It was, indeed, natural that the people of this country should feel an interest in everything which related to the Princess Royal. She was the firstborn of that marriage which excited so much interest in the nation, and although the events of her childhood and early years are in general not much known to the world at large, yet the nation has by some means or other known and watched the progressive development of the amiable qualities of Her Royal Highness. It has known how her warm affections have been matured by increasing years, and it has seen how an admirable education has formed and cultivated her mind. Sir, it is often the fate of princes and princesses that their marriages are merely marriages of political convenience. They are put together at the altar, having known of each other nothing more than what vague and distant report has conveyed to them of their mutual intellectual qualities and character, having seen of each other nothing more than some faint resemblance conveyed in a painted miniature. The Royal pair of whom I am now speaking have been more fortunate. They indeed have belonged to that class whom, it is said, ——gentle stars unite, and in one fate Their hearts, their fortunes, and their feelings blond. They have had the advantage of knowing each other for a considerable period. They have had the means of estimating mutually the high qualities which adorn them both. That knowledge of each other's character, and the esteem which has been grounded upon that knowledge, will be, I trust, the surest foundation for their future happiness, and the best security for their domestic enjoyments, with which I am sure every one must wish they may be blessed. A marriage such as that which the Princess Royal has contracted roust realise the fondest wishes of an affectionate mother; and there is this also in the circumstances of her marriage, that although the Princess Royal is probably destined hereafter to fill a brilliant and distinguished position, yet for the present at least there is nothing in her high station which may prevent frequent visits to this country, or interfere with those domestic meetings so dear to all families. Therefore, Sir, without further preface, as I feel I should be doing injustice to the sentiments of the House if I were to think that any arguments or reasoning of mine were necessary to lead them to an unanimous vote, I shall simply conclude by moving the Address I have put in your hands. I will mention that when this Address is agreed to I shall move that it be presented to Her Majesty by the whole House, being satisfied that that mode of presentation will be as gratifying to the Members of this House, as I am authorised to state, it will be to Her Majesty.

Motion made, and Question put— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, to congratulate Her Majesty on the happy Nuptials of Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal with His Royal Highness the Prince Frederick William of Prussia; and to assure Her Majesty of the satisfaction which this House feels at an event so gratifying to Her Majesty, and which they trust will be so conducive to the domestic happiness of Her Royal Highness.


Sir, I am sure that Her Majesty's faithful Commons never united in an Address to the Crown with more complete cordiality than they do upon the present occasion. Nothing, in my opinion, Sir, has been more remarkable or more interesting in the late unanimous expression of feeling with regard to this Royal Marriage on the part of this country than the strong domestic principle which has pervaded the whole of this great and powerful nation. That feeling is the purest, as it is the strongest, source of social happiness and of national power. That general homage was offered, I am sure, on this occasion principally because there has been a conviction on the part of the country, as the noble Lord well reminds us, that this alliance has been brought about not so much by political considerations as from the impulses of nature and affection. That domestic feeling has been strongly exhibited in this country on the present occasion from the wishes that have been felt by the nation to express their attachment and respect or the Royal parents of our Princess; because they have long felt that under the illustrious roof under which she has dwelt, there is as much respect felt for the happiness of the hearth as for the splendour of the throne. Sir, in the new career which opens before the Princess Royal all those incidents which can combine for the happiness of individuals are present. She certainly bears with her the good wishes of the Parliament and people of Great Britain; and when in due season she shall fill that brilliant position to which the noble Lord has referred, I have no doubt that the time will come when Englishmen will be as proud of the Queen of Prussia as they now are of the Queen of England.

Motion agreed to, Nemine Contradicente.


I propose, Sir, that the House shall meet at two o'clock to-morrow, for the purpose of presenting the Address. I believe that Her Majesty will receive the Address at three o'clock; but if the House meets at two, we shall then be able to state precisely to the House at what hour Her Majesty will receive the Address.

Agreed to.

Address to be presented by the whole House. Privy Councillors humbly to know Her Majesty's pleasure when She will be attended