HL Deb 05 February 1858 vol 148 cc752-5

My Lords, I rise to perform the agreeable duty of proposing a Motion which I am sure will not only be not opposed, but will be cordially and unanimously assented to by your Lordships. I rise, my Lords, to move that an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, congratulating her on the nuptials of her Royal Highness the Princess Royal and his Royal Highness Prince Frederick William of Prussia. The nation at large has testified its sentiments of loyalty and sympathy with Her Majesty upon the recent nuptials of Her Royal daughter; it has done so in every possible manner,—by public demonstrations, by the language of public writers, by the addresses from public bodies of every description. It only now remains for Parliament to perform the same pleasing duty. It is the less necessary for me in this House to dilate upon the subject, from the fact that many of your Lordships have had opportunities greater than the general public of remarking those qualities which have deservedly made Her Majesty so popular in this country, and especially of those private virtues which have made every event concerning her and her illustrious family a subject of deep interest in the domestic circles of this country. Some of your Lordships have also had opportunities of remarking those qualities of character and mind which Her Royal Highness the Princess Frederick William of Prussia has inherited, and which gives a certain promise that she will discharge every public duty with honour to the country from which she sprung, and that the union which has been sanctioned by her personal choice will he a happy one. There is no doubt, my Lords, that in free countries, where representative institutions prevail Royal alliances have not the same effect on the happiness or the prosperity of the people, which they have in countries under more absolute government, and where public opinion is less loudly expressed. In the latter countries it frequently happens that the power of a kingdom is increased or diminished by a Royal alliance, sometimes leading to happiness, sometimes to misery; but upon the present occasion there is no need to anticipate anything of that kind, although it has an influence which your Lordships have, doubtless, not failed to perceive. The display of popular feeling which has accompanied the marriage cannot but be extremely gratifying to both countries. I know of no way in which the people of this country could have shown a stronger interest in the recent happy event than they have done. I happen to know from his Royal Highness himself that Prince Frederick William was more touched than even by the loud congratulations and hearty hurrahs of the multitude, by the circumstance that, upon every occasion when they came into public, from those of every class who surrounded their carriage, he heard the simple phrase of "God bless you!" addressed to the Princess as to a near and dear relative about to be separated from her family. I think we may safely believe that upon this very day the illustrious young couple are being received with equal warmth and enthusiasm in that country which is now the Princess's adopted home, and I can't help thinking that where feelings of this nature have been evoked in two countries having already many resemblances, it must tend to produce that friendly feeling which it is most desirable should exist between all neighbouring nations. Convinced that your Lordships cordially agree with me in most affectionate sympathy with Her Majesty, and most fervent desires for the future happiness of the illustrious young couple, I beg to move That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, to congratulate Her Majesty on the happy Nuptials of Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal with His Royal Highness the Prince Frederick William of Prussia; and to assure Her Majesty of the satisfaction which this House feels at an event so gratifying to Her Majesty, and which they trust will be so conducive to the domestic happiness of Her Royal Highness.


My Lords, in unanimously agreeing to the Motion of the noble Earl, as I am sure you will, you are only giving an evidence of what is, without exception, the wish of the whole people of this country. I don't believe that ever in the history of the world has there been any Royal Princess at so early an age who had so well earned and secured to herself so large a portion of the public sympathy and affection as the illustrious Princess who has lately left us. I believe, too, that the general sympathy and spontaneous affection which have been shown by the public are fully justified by the private character and the private virtues of that amiable Princess. She has, indeed, well profited by the lessons she has received and the example she has had in her Royal parent. I believe all those who have had the honour of anything like an intimate acquaintance with her Royal Highness will concur in bearing the highest testimony not only to the amiability of her disposition and the sweetness of her temper, but also to her thorough appreciation of the duties attaching to her station and conscientious determination to discharge those duties faithfully and completely. I do not believe that any Princess ever left these shores attended by such unanimous expressions of goodwill and sympathy. The whole country will, I am sure, join with your Lordships in expressing the sentiment which must animate us all—an anxious and earnest hope that the illustrious Princess may long be the pride, ornament, and happiness of that country to which she has gone, and that there may be no limit to her happiness except that it may not be so great as ever to lead her to forget the country of her birth.

LORD BROUGHAM, while heartily concurring in the proposed Address, would not allow the opportunity to pass of protesting against the Royal Marriage Act, which he could not but consider as a most immoral Act.

Address agreed to, Nemine Dissentients.


said, it would be no doubt as gratifying to their Lordships as it would be to Her Majesty that the Address should be presented by the whole House. He proposed, therefore, that they should meet at two o'clock to-morrow for that purpose.

Agreed to; and the said Address was ordered to be presented to Her Majesty by the whole House.