§ His Majesty went in State to the House of Peers to prorogue the Parliament; and having taken his seat on the Throne, the Commons were summoned.
, accompanied by a large body of Members, appeared at the bar, when the right hon. Gentleman, having the Appropriation Bill in his hand, addressed his Majesty as follows:—
"Most Gracious Sovereign, — Your faithful Commons have, in the course of the Session of Parliament which is about to be closed, taken into their consideration many of the subjects which were recommended to their attention in your Majesty's gracious speech from the Throne.
"A measure for the commutation of tithes in England and Wales has been long and anxiously desired. It is a question beset with many difficulties, but the Commons have grappled with it, and have passed an Act, in which the rights of property have been carefully respected, and have been cautiously protected by sufficient guards. It is calculated to remove causes of dissention between pastors and their flocks, to give security and certainty to the incomes of the clergy, as well as to afford free scope and encouragement to agricultural skill and enterprise. If it should hereafter be found that particular points require alteration or revision, still the Commons entertain a confident belief that this measure has been based on principles that will be satisfactory and enduring.
"In entering upon the examination of the reports of the Commissioners appointed to consider the state of the Established Church in England and Wales, the Com- 1332 mons have proceeded with the respect that was due to the high authority from which they emanated; and with that deliberation which is fitting before any change is made in an ancient institution, that commands the attachment and reverence of a large portion of the people.
"An Act has been passed, which by providing for a more equal distribution of episcopal duties and revenues, most materially weakens, if it does not wholly extinguish, the motives for the translation of the Bishops, and by recognising the salutary and wise principle, that a due proportion ought to be maintained between the extent of duty to be performed and the amount of income to be received, it tends to promote the usefulness and the efficiency of the Established Church, and to strengthen its hold on the affections of the people.
"While the Commons have been anxious to secure the interests of the Established Church, they have not been less desirous to consult the feeling and to attend to the just claims of those who conscientiously differ from it in discipline or doctrine. Two Acts have accordingly been passed, the one making material alterations with respect to the celebration of marriage, and the other providing for a complete register of births, deaths, and marriages. All classes of your Majesty's subjects are deeply interested in the successful operation of measures which bear so strongly on the relations of domestic life, and on the certain transmission of property. The provisions of these Acts have been framed in a tolerant spirit, with the earnest desire of removing just causes of complaint, and with the hope that the law would be generally acceptable, because it is equal and impartial in its principle, and manifests becoming respect for the feelings and conscientious opinions of those who dissent from the Established Church. It has been most gratifying to the Commons to find that such is the prosperous and flourishing condition of the public revenue, that while they have provided with liberality for the ordinary expenses of the year, for some extraordinary expenses which circumstances had rendered necessary, and for the fulfilment of engagements formerly contracted for the most generous and honourable purpose, they have still been able to make a considerable remission of taxes. In selecting the duties to be regulated and the taxes to be remitted, care has been 1333 taken to apply the relief so that the greatest benefit should be derived by the removal of unequal pressure, and a vexatious enforcement of law, and to give fresh stimulus to enterprise and industry. By the equalisation of the duties on sugar, the benign influence of enlightened legislation will be felt by the inhabitants of the most distant possessions of your Majesty, and at home, by the reduction of the duties on stamps, the means of communicating the results of experience and knowledge will be facilitated and extended among an intelligent and improving people."
The Royal assent was then given to the following Bills:—The Consolidated Fund Bill, The Exchequer-bills Bill, the Prisoners' Counsel Bill, the Suits in Equity Exchequer Bill, the Municipal Funds Bill, the Municipal Jurisprudence Bill, the Municipal Boundaries Bill, the Lists of Voters Bill, the County Elections' Polls Bill, the Copyright Bill, the Conviction Bill, the Common Fields' Enclosure Bill, the Poor Law Loans Bill, the Stannaries Bill, the Coal Trade Bill, the Church Temporalities (Ireland) Bill, the Public Works (Ireland) Bill, the Grand Jury Presentments (Ireland) Bill, the Corporate Property (Ireland) Bill, and the Kingstown Harbour Bill.
§ HIS MAJESTY then delivered the following most gracious Speech:—
§ "My Lords and Gentlemen,
§ "The state of the public business enables me at length to relieve you from further attendance in Parliament; and in terminating your labours, I have again to acknowledge the zeal with which you have applied yourselves to the public business, and the attention which you have bestowed upon the important subjects which I brought under your consideration at the opening of the Session.
§ "The assurances of friendly dispositions which I receive from all foreign Powers enable me to congratulate you upon the prospect that peace will continue undisturbed.
§ "I lament deeply that the internal state of Spain still renders that country the only exception to the general tranquillity of Europe, and I regret that the 1334 hopes which have been entertained of the termination of the civil war have not hitherto been realised.
§ "In fulfilment of the engagements which I contracted by the treaty of quadruple alliance, I have afforded to the Queen of Spain the co-operation of a part of my naval force, and I continue to look with unabated solicitude to the restoration of that internal peace in Spain, which was one of the main objects of the quadruple treaty, and which is so essential to the interests of all Europe.
§ "I am happy to be able to inform you that my endeavours to remove the misunderstanding which had arisen between France and the United States have been crowned with complete success. The good offices, which, for that purpose I tendered to the two Governments, were accepted by both in the most frank and conciliatory spirit, and the relations of friendship have been re-established between them, in a manner satisfactory and honourable to both parties.
§ "I trust that this circumstance will tend to draw still closer the ties which connect this country with two great and friendly nations.
§ "I have regarded with interest your deliberations upon the reports of the commission appointed to consider the state of the dioceses in England and Wales, and I have cheerfully given my assent to the measures which have been presented to me for carrying into effect some of their most important recommendations.
§ "It is with no ordinary satisfaction that I have learned that you have, with great labour, brought to maturity enactments upon the difficult subject of tithes of England and Wales, which will, I trust, prove in their operation equitable to all the interests concerned, and generally beneficial in their results.
§ "The passing of the Acts for civil registration and for marriages in England, has afforded me much satisfaction. Their provisions have been framed upon those 1335 large principles of religious freedom which, with a due regard to the welfare of the Established Church in this country, I have always been desirous of maintaining and promoting; and they will also conduce to the greater certainty of titles and to the stability of property.
§ "It has been to me a source of the most lively gratification to observe the tranquillity which has prevailed, and the diminution of crimes which has lately taken place, in Ireland. I trust that perseverance in a just and impartial system of government will encourage this good disposition, and enable that country to develope her great national resources.
§ "Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
§ "I thank you for the liberality with which you have voted, not only the ordinary supplies of the year, but the additional sums required to provide for an increase in my naval force.
§ "I am also gratified to perceive that you have made provision for the full amount of the compensation awarded to the owners of slaves in my colonial possessions, and that the obligations entered into by the Legislature have thus been strictly fulfilled.
§ "The increased productiveness of the public revenue has enabled you to meet those charges, and at the same time to repeal or reduce taxes, of which some were injurious in their effects upon my people, and others unequal in their pressure upon various parts of my dominions abroad.
§ "The present condition of manufactures and commerce affords a subject of congratulation, provided the activity which prevails be guarded by that caution and prudence which experience has proved to be necessary to stable prosperity.
§ "My Lords and Gentlemen,
§ "The advanced period of the year, and the length of time during which you have teen engaged in public affairs, must render 1336 you desirous of returning to your respective counties. You will there resume those duties, which are in importance inferior only to your legislative functions; and your influence and example will greatly conduce to the maintenance of tranquillity, the encouragement of industry, and the confirmation of those moral and religious habits and principles which are essential to the well-being of every community."
§ The Lord Chancellor
, in the usual form, declared it to be his Majesty's will and pleasure that the Parliament should stand prorogued to Thursday, the 20th of October next.—His Majesty withdrew, and the Commons returned to their own House, and the Peers retired.