HL Deb 27 August 1839 vol 50 cc599-604

Her Majesty went in State to the House of Peers to Prorogue the Parliament.

The Commons having come to the Bar, the Speaker proceeded to address her Majesty to the following effect: —


"We, your Majesty's most faithful Commons of Great Britain and Ireland, attend your Majesty with our last bill of supply for the service of the present year. Various and important measures have occupied our attention during a protracted and laborious Session, and none more important and more affecting the interests of the community than those which have for their object the prevention and punishment of crime. We have given the most careful consideration to all those improvements which have been suggested to us by experience, and after prudent investigation, with respect to the Metropolitan and City Police, enlarging the extent, and accurately defining the duty of the force, to give increased security to the property of the inhabitants of this metropolis, without in any degree infringing the liberties of the subject. An improvement in the management and discipline of our prisons, as well in England as in Scotland, has formed the subject of our most anxious deliberation. We have endeavoured to make such alterations, on the one hand, as will render punishment effectual; whilst, on the other, we have paid due regard to the welfare of the prisoners, and to their moral improvement. The attempts which have been made in many parts of the country to excite disaffection, accompanied by riot, and in some instances by the destruction of property, have rendered it an imperative duty on us to adopt such measures as shall prevent a recurrence of similar disturbances. We have accordingly provided for your Majesty the means of increasing your Majesty's military force, - and to strengthen the civil authority, by enabling the magistrates of England and Wales to organize a paid constabulary force where the state of the counties shall require it. We have the satisfaction of announcing to your Majesty, that, although the circumstances of the country have not enabled us to make any material reduction in the public burdens, yet we have endeavoured to alleviate their pressure, by making; a most important modification in that branch of the revenue which is derivable from the Post-office; by reducing the duty to a low and uniform rate, we not only give encouragement to the industry, and develop the resources of the community, but we have conferred social advantages of the highest character upon the poorer classes of your Majesty's subjects. We have given our willing aid in furtherence of your Majesty's gracious wishes to abolish the Slave-trade, by protecting from legal proceedings the officers employed under your Majesty's orders for the suppression of that nefarious traffic. We earnestly hope that it may be reserved for your Majesty to perfect the great de- sign which originated with your Majesty's royal predecessor in the purest spirit of benevolence, and that the final results may shed a bright and enduring lustre on your Majesty's most auspicious reign. It now only remains for me to present to your Majesty two bills,—the one intituled "An Act to appropriate the surplus ways and means for the service of the year 1839;" and the other intituled "An Act for raising the sum of 12,026,050l, for the service of the year 1839;" to which, with all humility, we pray your Majesty's royal assent."

The Royal Assent was given to those two Bills, as also to the following bills:— the Exchequer bills' Funding Bill; the Fisheries' (England and France) Bill; the Bank of Ireland Continuance Bill; the Fines and Penalties (Ireland) Bill; the Bolton Police Bill; the Duke of Marlborough's Pension Bill; and the County and District Constables' Bill.

The Lord-Chancellor handed to her Majesty the Speech, which was read by her Majesty as follows:—


"The public business having been brought to a close, I have now to perform the satisfactory duty of releasing you from your long and laborious attendance in Parliament.

"I rejoice that a definitive treaty between Holland and Belgium, negociated by the mediation of the Five Powers, has settled the differences between those two countries, and has secured the peace of Europe from dangers to which it had so long been exposed.

"The same concord which brought these intricate questions to a peaceful termination prevails with regard to the affairs of the Levant. The Five Powers are alike determined to uphold the independence and integrity of the Ottoman Empire, and I trust that this union will ensure a satisfactory settlement of matters which are of the deepest importance to the whole of Europe.

"It has afforded me the sincerest pleasure to have been able to assist in effecting a reconciliation between France and Mexico. Intent upon preserving for my subjects the blessings of peace, I am highly gratified when I can avail myself of an opportunity of removing misunderstandings between other powers.

"I have recently concluded with the King of the French a convention calculated to put an end to differences which have arisen of late years between the fishermen of Great Britain and of France. This convention, by removing causes of dispute, will tend to cement that union between the two countries which is so advantageous to both, and so conducive to the general interests of Europe.

"I shall continue to pursue with perseverance the negotiations in which I am engaged to persuade all the powers of Christendom to unite in a general league for the entire extinction of the Slave-trade, and I trust that, with the blessing of Providence, my efforts in so righteous a cause will be rewarded with success.

"I regret that the differences which led to the withdrawal of my Minister from the Court of Tehran have not yet been satisfactorily adjusted by the Government of Persia.

"In order to fulfil the engagements announced to you at the opening of the present Session, the Gover-general of India has moved an army across the Indus, and I have much satisfaction in being able to inform you that the advance of that expedition has been hitherto unopposed, and there is every reason to hope that the important objects for which these military operations have been undertaken will be finally obtained.

"I have observed, with much approbation, the attention which you have bestowed upon the internal state and condition of the country. I entirely concur in the measures which you have framed for the preservation of order, the repression of crime, and the better administration of justice in this metropolis, and I have given a cordial assent to the bills which you have presented to me for the establishment of a more efficient constabulary force in those towns which peculiarly required it, and for effecting the important object of generally extending and invigorating the civil power throughout the country."


"I thank you for the zeal and readiness with which you have voted the supplies for the service of the year.

"It has been with satisfaction that I have given my consent to a reduction of the postage duties. I trust that the Act which has passed on this subject will be a relief and encouragement to trade, and that, by facilitating intercourse and correspondence, it will be productive of much social advantage and improvement. I have given directions that the preliminary step should be taken to give effect to the intention of Parliament, as soon as the inquiries and arrangements required for this purpose shall have been completed.

"The advantageous terms upon which a considerable amount of the unfunded debt has been converted into stock afford a satisfactory proof of the reliance placed on the credit and resources of the country, as well as on your determination to preserve inviolate the national faith."


"It is with great pain that I have found myself compelled to enforce the law against those who no longer concealed their design of resisting by force the lawful authorities, and of subverting the institutions of the country.

"The solemn proceedings of courts of justice, and the fearless administration of the laws by all who are engaged in that duty, have checked the first attempts at insubordination; and I rely securely upon the good sense of my people, and upon their attachment to the constitution, for the maintenance of law and order, which are as necessary for the protection of the poor as for the welfare of the wealthier classes of the community."

The Lord Chancellor then, by command, declared the Parliament to be prorogued to Thursday, 24lh October. Her Majesty left the House; the Commons retired, and the Peers dispersed.

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