HL Deb 17 July 1837 vol 38 cc1919-22

Her Majesty went in State to the House of Peers to prorogue the Parliament, and though out of the line of our duty, we may record that her Majesty's youth and sex invested the scene with extraordinary interest. Her Majesty having taken her seat on the Throne the Commons were summoned to the bar of the House of Lords.

The Speaker

addressed her Majesty to the following effect:—


We, your Majesty's faithful Commons, attend you on this the first occasion since your Majesty's accession to the Throne of this United Kingdom. We assure your Majesty that we cordially participate in that strong and universal feeling of dutiful and affectionate attachment to your Majesty's person which prevails among a free and loyal people, whose representatives we are; and we trust that this feeling will be strengthened and confirmed by a long course of constitutional, beneficent, and wise Government. Several measures, and one of them especially of the very greatest difficulty and importance, were recommended to our serious and deliberate consideration in the gracious Speech which was delivered by the Lords Commissioners on the part of his late Majesty at the opening of the present Session of Parliament, Circumstances have made it im- possible that these measures should be perfected in the course of the present Session; but we cherish the hope that the care and deliberation which have been so earnestly bestowed upon them will not have been in vain, and will lead to their being hereafter matured and carried into effect with general concurrence, and with a sure prospect of promoting the welfare and happiness of the people. We have passed an Act establishing simple and definite rules for the execution of wills. This measure, we confidently expect, will be found to be most beneficial, and will be received with satisfaction, because it tends to promote concord and happiness among a large portion of the community, by giving certainty and security to the transmission of property. The mitigation of the severity of the criminal law has engaged our most serious attention, and we have materially diminished the number of cases in which capital punishment is to be inflicted. In framing these measures we have proceeded with the benefit of experience which has shown that those punishments alone are effectual which carry with them a large portion of public sympathy and feeling, and we cordially rejoice that we have so far been able to give effect to those wise and humane principles of criminal legislation which have been generally diffused and approved. We entertain a confident hope that our efforts to mitigate the severity of the law will this day be sanctioned by your Majesty's approbation, and hereafter by the judgment of an enlightened and grateful people. We have provided for the expenditure of the year with a strict regard to economy, but with a liberality which we hope will secure the efficiency of the public service, and enable your Majesty to sustain the interests and honour of the country. We now dutifully offer to your Majesty "An Act to apply the sum of 5,220,000l. out of the Consolidated Fund to the service of the year 1837, and to appropriate the supplies granted in this Session of Parliament." To which we pray your Majesty to give your royal assent.

The royal assent was then given by the clerks in the usual form to the following Bills:—

The Consolidated Fund Bill, with the Appropriation Clause; Central Criminal Court Bill; Burglary Bill; Transportation for Life Bill; Punishment of Death Abolition Bill; Offences against the Person Bill; Robbery and Stealing from the Person Bill; East India Postages Bill; Forgery Bill; Piracy Bill; Bills of Exchange Bill; Burning and Destroying Buildings Bill; Letters Patent Bill; Municipal Rates Bill; Municipal Corporations (England) Bill; Clerks of the Peace (Custody of Document) Bill; Church Building Commission Bill; Trading Companies Immunities Bill; Corporate Property Protection (Ireland) Bill; Grand Juries (Ireland) Bill; Blackwall Commercial Railway Bill; Adams's Estate Bill.

Her MAJESTY then read in aclear and unfaltering tone, the following most gracious speech:—


"I have been anxious to seize the first opportunity of meeting you, in order that I might repeat in person my cordial thanks for your condolence upon the death of his late Majesty, and for the expressions of attachment and affection with which you congratulated me upon my accession to the Throne. I am very desirous of renewing the assurance of my determination to maintain the Protestant religion, as established by law; to secure to all the free exercise of the rights of conscience; to protect the liberties and to promote the welfare of all classes of the community.

"I rejoice that, in ascending the Throne, I find the country in amity with all foreign powers; and while I faithfully perform the engagements of the Crown, and carefully watch over the interests of my subjects, it shall be the constant object of my solicitude to maintain the blessings of peace.


"I thank you for the liberal supplies which you have granted for the public service of the year, as well as for the provision which you have made to meet the payments usually chargeable upon the civil list.

"I will give directions that the public expenditure, in all its branches, be administered with the strictest economy.


"In taking leave of this Parliament I return you my thanks for the zeal and assiduity with which you have applied yourselves to the public business of the country.

"Although your labours have been unexpectedly interrupted by the melancholy event which has taken place, I trust that they will have the beneficial effect of advancing the progress of legislation in a new Parliament. I perceive with satisfaction that you have brought to maturity some useful measures, amongst which I regard with peculiar interest the amendment of the criminal code, and the reduction of the number of capital punishments. I hail this mitigation of the severity of the law as an auspicious commencement of my reign.

"I ascend the throne with a deep sense of the responsibility which is imposed upon me; but I am supported by the consciousness of my own right intentions, and by my dependence upon the protection of Almighty God. It will be my care to strengthen our institutions, civil and ecclesiastical, by discreet improvement wherever improvement is required, and to do all in my power to compose and allay animosity and discord.

"Acting upon these principles, I shall upon all occasions look with confidence to the wisdom of Parliament and the affections of my people, which form the true support of the dignity of the Crown, and insure the stability of the constitution."

The Lord Chancellor

then said: It is her Majesty's royal will and pleasure that this Parliament be prorogued to Thursday, the 10th day of August next; and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Thursday, the 10th day of August next.

Immediately after this announcement her Majesty descended the throne, and quitted the House and the Peers retired.