HL Deb 21 January 1819 vol 39 cc17-20

This day the session was opened by commission. The Commissioners were the Lord Chancellor, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the earl of Harrowby, lord president; the earl of Westmorland, lord privy seal; and the duke of Wellington. The Usher of the Black Rod having been sent to desire the attendance of the House of Commons, the Speaker, accompanied by a great number of members, came to the bar, when the Prince Regent's Speech was seed by the Lord Chancellor, as follows:

"My Lords, and Gentlemen;

"We are commanded by his Royal Highness the Prince Regent to express to you the deep regret which he feels in the continuance of his Majesty's lamented indisposition.

"In announcing to you the severe calamity with which it has pleased Divine Providence to visit the Prince Regent, the Royal Family, and the nation, by the death of her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom, his Royal Highness has commanded us to direct your attention to the consideration of such measures as this melancholy event has rendered necessary and expedient, with respect to the Care of his Majesty's sacred person.

"We are directed to inform you, that the negotiations which have taken place at Aix-la-Chapelle, have led to the evacuation of the French territory by the allied armies.

"The Prince Regent has given orders, that the Convention concluded for this purpose, as well as the other documents connected with this arrangement, shall be laid before you; and he is persuaded, that you will view with peculiar satisfaction the intimate union which so happily subsists amongst the powers who were parties to these transactions, and the unvaried disposition which has been manifested in all their proceedings for the preservation of the peace and tranquillity of Europe.

"The Prince Regent has commanded us further to acquaint you, that a Treaty has been concluded between his royal highness and the government of the United States of America, for the renewal, for a further term of years, of the Commercial Convention now subsisting between the two nations, and for the amicable adjustment of several points of mutual importance to the interests of both countries; and, as soon as the ratifications shall have been exchanged, his Royal Highness will give directions that a copy of this Treaty shall be laid before you.

"Gentlemen of the House of Commons;

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

"His Royal Highness feels assured, that you will learn with satisfaction the extent of reduction which the present situation of Europe, and the circumstances of the British Empire, have enabled his Royal Highness to effect in the naval and military establishments of the country.

"His Royal Highness has also the gratification of announcing to you, a considerable and progressive improvement of the revenue, in its most important branches.

"My Lords and Gentlemen;

"The Prince Regent has directed to be laid before you such papers as are necessary to show the origin and result of the war in the East Indies.

"His Royal Highness commands us to inform you, that the operations undertaken by the governor-general in council, against the Pindarries, were dictated by the strictest principles of self-defence; and that in the extended hostilities which followed upon those operations, the Mahratta princes were, in every instance, the aggressors. Under the provident and skilful superintendence of the marquis of Hastings the campaign was marked, in every point, by brilliant achievements and successes; and his majesty's forces, and those of the East India Company (native as well as European), rivalled each other in sustaining the reputation of the British arms.

"The Prince Regent has the greatest pleasure in being able to inform you, that the trade, commerce, and manufactures of the country are in a most flourishing condition.

"The favourable change which has so rapidly taken place in the internal circumstances of the United Kingdom, affords the strongest proof of the solidity of its resources.

"To cultivate and improve the advantages of our present situation will be the object of your deliberations; and his Royal Highness has commanded us to assure you of his disposition to concur and co-operate in whatever may be best calculated to secure to his majesty's subjects the full benefits of that state of peace, which, by the blessing of Providence, Has been so happily re-established throughout Europe."