Sir Augustus Clifford,
the Usher of the Black Rod, was then commanded to summon the Commons, and shortly afterwards, The Speaker of the House of Commons, attended by a great number of Members, having come to the Bar of the House,
§ The Speaker addressed HER MAJESTY as follows:—
§ " MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN,—We, your Majesty's faithful Commons, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, attend your Majesty with our last Bill of Supply.
§ " Amongst the various and important matters in which we have been engaged during an unusually laborious Session, our attention has been especially directed to the amendment of the Bankruptcy Laws, so deeply affecting the interests of trade; and to an Act by which an improved value is given to Ecclesiastical Property, thereby rendering it more available to the spiritual wants of the people. We have afforded additional encouragement to literature by giving a better security to literary property, and we have endeavoured to protect the more helpless portion of the poor from a degrading and demoralizing employment in mines and collieries. Other measures, however, have pressed upon our consideration of still higher interest, as connected with the financial and commercial policy of the country.
§ " We have made an important modification in the Corn-laws. By a 1302 reduction of duty, and by an alteration of the averages by which that duty is regulated, we have endeavoured to secure a greater steadiness of supply—to lower the price to the consumer —to moderate its fluctuations—and to convert what is now uncertain and speculative into a regular and beneficial trade. We have, at the same time, afforded adequate protection to that large class of your Majesty's subjects who are engaged in or connected with agriculture.
§ " In obedience to your Majesty's commands, we have given the most anxious consideration to the state of the finance and expenditure. We have found it necessary by additional taxation to provide for the increased exigencies of the public service, and for the maintenance of the national credit. In making this provision by means of an Income-tax, we have relieved the less wealthy portion of the community from the direct pressure of its operation, and we have taken advantage of the resources which this impost will supply to make considerable ameliorations in our Commercial Tariff. We have accordingly reduced the import duties upon various articles of general consumption, and upon the material of some of our principal manufactures.
§ To these alterations in the Tariff, and to the extended commerce which must result from their adoption, we confidently look for a revival of that trade which has of late been so unnaturally depressed in the manufacturing districts. From these sources, under the blessing of Divine Providence, we venture to anticipate the gradual alleviation of that severe distress which has spread so widely and fearfully amongst the people—and which, 1303 while it commands our warmest sympathy, has afforded, for the most part, an example of patient endurance, and unabated loyalty alike entitled to our admiration and respect. The Bills which I have now respectfully to tender to your Majesty are severally entitled to which, with all humility, we pray your Majesty's royal assent.
§ HER MAJESTY was then pleased to make a most Gracious Speech as follows:—
§ " My Lords and Gentlemen,
§ "The state of public business enables me to release you from further attendance in Parliament.
§ " I cannot take leave of you without expressing my grateful sense of the assiduity and zeal with which you have applied yourselves to the discharge of your public duties during the whole course of a long and most laborious Session.
§ " You have had under your consideration measures of the greatest importance connected with the financial and commercial interests of the country calculated to maintain the public credit, to improve the national resources, and, by extending trade and stimulating the demand for labour, to promote the general and permanent welfare of all classes of my subjects.
§ " Although measures of this description have necessarily occupied much of your attention, you have at the same time effected great improvements in several branches of jurisprudence, and in laws connected with the administration of domestic affairs.
§ " I return you my especial acknowledgments for the renewed proof 1304 which you afforded me of your loyalty and affectionate attachment, by your ready and unanimous concurrence in an Act for the increased security and protection of my person.
§ " I continue to receive from all Foreign Powers assurances of their friendly disposition towards this country.
§ " Although I have deeply to lament the reverses which have befallen a division of the army to the westward of the Indus, yet I have the satisfaction of reflecting that the gallant defence of the city of Jellalabad, crowned by a decisive victory in the field, has eminently proved the courage and discipline of the European and native troops, and the skill and fortitude of their distinguished commander.
§ " Gentlemen of the House of "Commons,
§ " The liberality with which you have granted the supplies, to meet the exigencies of the public service, demands my warm acknowledgments.
§ " My Lords and Gentlemen,
§ " You will concur with me in the expression of humble gratitude to Almighty God for the favourable season which his bounty has vouchsafed to us, and for the prospects of a harvest more abundant than those of recent years.
§ " There are, I trust, indications of gradual recovery from that depression which has affected many branches of manufacturing industry, and has exposed large classes of my people to privations and sufferings which have caused me the deepest concern.
§ " You will, I am confident, be actuated on your return to your several counties by the same enlightened zeal for the public interests which you 1305 have manifested during the discharge of your Parliamentary duties, and will do your utmost to encourage, by your example and active exertions, that spirit of order and submission to the law which is essential to the public happiness, and without which there can be no enjoyment of the fruits of peaceful industry, and no advance in the career of social improvement."