HL Deb 29 August 1833 vol 20 cc901-6

His Majesty went in state to the House of Peers, and being seated on the Throne, had the Commons, according to the usual forms, summoned to the Bar of the House of Peers.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, accompanied by a considerable number of Members, and bearing in his hand the Consolidated Fund Bill, accordingly came to the Bar, and addressed his Majesty as follows:—

May it please your Majesty;

We, your Majesty's faithful Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, attend your Majesty with our last Bill of Supply.

And, Sire, in reviewing our labours of the last seven months, it may, I think, be truly said, that the history of Parliament will not furnish a Session so wholly engrossed and overwhelmed with matters so various and so difficult in their character, and so deeply important to the vital interests of the Empire, as this Session, which, with your Majesty's permission, is now about to close.

Sire, we have directed our most anxious attention to the completing now arrangements with the Bank of England—to the renewal of the Charter of the East-India Company to the opening of the trade and commerce of this country with China—to the Abolition of Slavery in the West-India Colonies—to the revisal and alteration of the temporalities of that part of our Established Church in Ireland—to the making good the payment to the tithe-owners of Ireland of those arrears to which they were legally entitled, but of which, from the disturbed state of some parts of the country, they have been illegally deprived; and to the endeavour (and, I trust experience already entitles me to add, the successful endeavour) to restore tranquillity, and peace, and security for life and property in that part of the United Kingdom, by the adoption of measures of great severity, but which, at the same time, seemed to us alone adequate, under such pressing circumstances.

Indeed, Sire, I may say that matters as important as numerous—involving the greatness, the stability, and the welfare of this country in its credit, in its colonial prosperity, in its trading and commercial interests, in the internal tranquillity of a portion of the Empire, and in some of its great and ancient institutions,—have altogether most fearfully pressed upon us during the present Session.

And, Sire, if length of time, and intensity of labour, and anxious deliberation, with full consciousness of the magnitude of the concerns with which we were dealing, are a favourable and sure presage of what may be anticipated as the results of our measures, we shall, indeed, be amply compensated for all our unwearied exertions, and shall have the satisfaction to feel that we have discharged faithfully to our constituents and to your Majesty, those important duties which your Majesty was graciously pleased to point out to us in your Majesty's Speech at the opening of the present Session of Parliament.

Sire, the Bill which I have now humbly to present to your Majesty is entitled, "An Act to supply the sum of 6,000,000l. out of the Consolidated Fund, and to appropriate the Supplies granted in this Session of Parliament: "to which we humbly pray your Majesty's Royal Assent.

The Speaker delivered the Consolidated Fund Bill to the Clerk, and it received the Royal Assent, as did the following eleven Bills:—Bank Charter; Tithes (Ireland); Court of Exchequer; Forgery of Stamps; Tea Duties: Factories' Regulation; Roman Catholic Marriages (Ireland); Payment of Debts; Dower; Inheritance; Edinburgh Community Estates.

His Majesty then delivered the following Speech:—

"My Lords and Gentlemen,

"In opening the present Parliament, I stated, that never at any time had subjects of greater interest and magnitude called for your attention.

"The manner in which you have discharged the duties thus committed to you, now demands my warmest acknowledgments, and enables me to close a Session not more remarkable for its extended duration, than for the patient and persevering industry which you have displayed in many laborious inquiries, and in perfecting the various legislative measures which have been brought under your consideration.

"I continue to receive from my Allies, and from all Foreign Powers, assurances of their friendly disposition.

"I regret, that I cannot yet announce to you the conclusion of a definitive arrangement between Holland and Belgium; but the Convention which, in conjunction with the King of the French, I concluded in May last with the King of the Netherlands, prevents a renewal of hostilities in the Low Countries, and thus affords a fresh security for the general continuance of peace.

"Events which have lately taken place in Portugal have induced me to renew my diplomatic relations with that kingdom; and I have accredited a Minister to the Court of her most Faithful Majesty at Lisbon.

"You may rest assured that I look with the greatest anxiety to the moment when the Portuguese Monarchy, so long united with this country by the ties of alliance and by the closest bonds of interest, may be restored to a state of peace, and may regain its former prosperity.

"The hostilities which had disturbed the peace of Turkey have been terminated; and you may be assured, that my attention will be carefully directed to any events which may affect the present state or the future independence of that empire.

"An investigation, carefully prosecuted during the last Session, has enabled you to renew the Charter of the Bank of England, on terms which appear to be well calculated to sustain public credit, and to secure the usefulness of that important establishment.

"The laborious inquiries carried on by Committees of both Houses of Parliament for several successive Sessions, have also enabled you to bring the affairs of the East-India Company to a satisfactory adjustment. I have the most confident expectation, that the system of government thus established will prove to have been wisely framed for the improvement and happiness of the natives of India, whilst, by the opening of the China trade, a new field has been afforded for the activity and enterprize of British Commerce.

"The state of Slavery in my Colonial Possessions has necessarily occupied a portion of your time and your attention, commensurate with the magnitude and the difficulty of the subject; whilst your deliberations have been guided by the paramount considerations of justice and humanity, the interests of the Colonial Proprietors have not been overlooked. I trust, that the future proceedings of the Assemblies, and the conduct of all classes in my Colonies may be such as to give full effect to the benevolent intentions of the Legislature, and to satisfy the just expectations of my people.

"I observe with satisfaction, that the Amendment of the Law has continued to occupy your attention, and that several important measures have been adopted, by some of which the titles to property have been rendered more secure, and the conveyance of it more easy; while by others the proceedings in Courts both of Law and Equity have been made more expeditious and less costly. The establishment of the Court of Privy Council is another improvement, which, while it materially assists suitors at home, will, I trust, afford substantial relief to those in my foreign possessions.

"You may rest assured, that there is no part of your labours which I regard with a deeper interest than that which tends, by well-considered Amendments of the Law to make justice easily accessible to all my subjects.

"With this view I have caused a Commission to be issued for digesting into one body the enactments of the Criminal Law, and for inquiring how far, and by what means, a similar process may be extended to the other branches of our Jurisprudence. I have also directed Commissions to be issued for investigating the state of the Municipal Corporations throughout the United Kingdom.

"The result of their inquiries will enable you to mature some measures which may seem best fitted to place the internal government of Corporate cities and towns upon a solid foundation, in respect of their finances, their judicature, and their police. In the mean time, two important Acts have been passed, for giving Constitutions, upon sound principles, to the Royal and Parliamentary Burghs of Scotland; and your attention will hereafter be called to the expediency of extending similar advantages to the unincorporated towns in England which have now acquired the right of returning Members to Parliament.

"It was with the greatest pain that I felt myself compelled to call upon you for additional powers to control and punish the disturbers of the public peace in Ireland, This call was answered, as I confidently expected, by your loyalty and firmness. I have not found it necessary, except in a very limited degree, to use the powers thus confided to me; and I have now the satisfaction of informing you, that the spirit of insubordination and violence which had prevailed to so alarming an extent has been, in a great measure, subdued.

"I look forward with anxiety to the time when the painful necessity of continuing this measure of great but unavoidable severity, may cease; and I have given my assent, with unqualified satisfaction, to the various salutary and remedial measures which, during the course of the present Session, have been proposed to me for my acceptance.

"The Act which in pursuance of my recommendation, you have passed with respect to the Temporalities of that branch of the United Church which is established in Ireland, and for the immediate and total abolition of Vestry Assessments, and the Acts for the better Regulation of Juries, both as to their civil and criminal functions, afford the best proof that full reliance may be placed on the Parliament of the United Kingdom for the introduction of such beneficial improvements as may ensure the welfare of all classes of my subjects; thus effectually cementing that Legislative Union which, with your support, it is my determination to maintain inviolate.

"Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

"I thank you for the Supplies which you have granted for the service of the year. The Estimates proposed to you by my directions were considerably lower than those of former Sessions; and you have wisely applied the Savings which have thus been effected to a diminution of the public burthens. In this course of judicious economy, combined with a due regard to the exigencies of the State, I am persuaded, that you will persevere, and thus confirm the title which you have acquired to general confidence as the faithful guardians of the honour of the Crown, and of the true interests of the people,

"My Lords and Gentlemen,

"In returning to your respective counties you will carry with you the gratifying reflection, that your labours have been assiduously employed for the benefit of your fellow-subjects. During the recess, your attention will be equally directed to the same important object: and in this useful and honourable discharge both of your public and private duties, under the blessing of Divine Providence I confidently rely for the encouragement and support of my people in that love of liberty and order—that spirit of industry and obedience to the laws—and that moral worth—which constitutes the safety and happiness of nations."

The Lord Chancellor then declared, that by his Majesty's commands, the Parliament stood prorogued to Thursday, the 31st of October.

His Majesty withdrew.