HL Deb 27 January 1818 vol 37 cc1-4

This day at three o'clock, the session was opened by commission. The commissioners were, the Lord Chancellor, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the earl of Harrowby, the earl of Westmorland, and the duke of Montrose. The Speaker, accompanied by a great number of members of the House of Commons, being come to the bar, the Prince Regent's Speech was read by the Lord Chancellor as follows:

"My Lords and Gentlemen;

"We are commanded by his royal highness the Prince Regent to inform you, that it is with great concern that he is obliged to announce to you the continuance of his Majesty's lamented indisposition.

"The Prince Regent is persuaded that you will deeply participate in the affliction with which his Royal Highness has been visited, by the calamitous and untimely death of his beloved and only child the Princess Charlotte.

"Under this awful dispensation of Providence, it has been a soothing consolation to the Prince Regent's heart, to receive from all descriptions of his majesty's subjects the most cordial assurances both of their just sense of the loss which they have sustained, and of their sympathy with his parental sorrow: and, amidst his own sufferings, his Royal Highness has not been unmindful of the effect which this sad event must have on the interests and future prospects of the kingdom.

"We are commanded to acquaint you, that the Prince Regent continues to receive from foreign powers the strongest assurances of their friendly disposition towards this country, and of their desire to maintain the general tranquillity.

"His Royal Highness has the satisfaction of being able to assure you, that the confidence which he has invariably felt in the stability of the great sources of our national prosperity has not been disappointed.

"The improvement which has taken place in the course of the last year, in almost every branch of our domestic industry, and the present state of* public credit, afford abundant proof that the difficulties under which the country was labouring were chiefly to be ascribed to temporary causes.

"So important a change could not fail to withdraw from the disaffected the principal means of which they had availed themselves for the purpose of fomenting a spirit of discontent, which unhappily led to acts of insurrection and treason; and his Royal Highness entertains the most confident expectation, that the state of peace and tranquillity to which the coun- try is now restored, will be maintained against all attempts to disturb it, by the persevering vigilance of magistracy, and by the loyalty and good sense of the people,

"Gentlemen of the House of Commons;

"The Prince Regent has directed the estimates for the current year to be laid before you.

"His Royal Highness recommends to your continued attention the state of the public income and expenditure; and he is most happy in being able to acquaint you, that since you were last assembled in parliament, the revenue has been in a state of progressive improvement in its most important branches.

"My Lords, and Gentlemen;

"We are commanded by the Prince Regent to inform you, that he has concluded treaties with the courts of Spain and Portugal, on the important subject of the abolition of the slave trade.

"His Royal Highness has directed that a copy of the former treaty should be immediately laid before you; and he will order a similar communication to be made of the latter treaty, as soon as the ratification of it shall have been exchanged.

"In these negotiations it has been his Royal Highness's endeavour, as far as circumstances would permit, to give effect to the recommendations contained in the joint addresses of the two Houses of Parliament: and his Royal Highness has a full reliance on your readiness to adopt such measures as may be necessary for fulfilling the engagements into which he has entered for that purpose.

"The Prince Regent has commanded us to direct your particular attention to the deficiency which has so long existed in the number of places of public worship belonging to the established church, when compared with the increased and increasing population of the country.

"His Royal Highness most earnestly recommends this important subject to your early consideration, deeply impressed, as he has no doubt you are, with a just sense of the many blessings which this country by the favour of divine Providence has enjoyed; and with the conviction, that the religious and moral habits of the people are the most sure and firm foundation of national prosperity."

The House was then adjourned till five o'clock.