HL Deb 27 July 1896 vol 43 cc671-2

"SIR,—Encouraged by the recollection of the outburst of loyalty which attended the celebration of the Queen's Jubilee, I venture to call attention to the advent of another and still more glorious occasion of Imperial rejoicing in the near future. D.V., on September 23 next year our beloved Queen will have reigned longer than any other Sovereign over the English people. May I, therefore, in a Catholic paper, as a Catholic conscious of the unspeakable blessings which, have surrounded our religious liberties during their growth beneath the rule of the House of Hanover, be permitted to call public attention to the hope that the Queen's Sexagesimal (if I may so term it) may be celebrated duly and gratefully throughout the length and breadth of the land? On September 2nd, 1886, The Times published a letter of mine advocating the observance of Her Majesty's Jubilee year—1886. It is true that the suggestion was followed out not in the fiftieth (i.e., Jubilee year, 1886) but in the fifty-first year, 1887; nevertheless with a splendour and fitting magnificence that had had on parallel in modern chronicles. In the Catholic press and from Catholic circles let the present suggestion first come forth. A year's preparation and a year's consideration is scarcely ton long a period for the development of such a project—which is nothing less than the keeping of the sixtieth year of the most glorious reign written on the page of history. The year on which he ventured to make these remarks was nearly brought to a close. It appeared to him it would be fitting, whatever celebration or rejoicing might be reserved for next year, that the particular day on which Her Majesty had reigned longer than any other sovereign of England, should be kept as a Bank Holiday.


I hope the noble Lord will forgive me if I do not follow him throughout the whole of the considerations with which he dealt in his observations. I need not say that I imagine the whole House sympathises very deeply with the feelings which induced him to make this suggestion and with the thoughts by which those feelings were excited. But it is a subject obviously of an exceedingly delicate character, and I think the noble Lord will pardon me if I confine myself to the strictly business aspect of his suggestion. A holiday is practically impossible, or exceedingly difficult, unless it is a Bank Holiday. A Bank Holiday cannot be executed except by an Act of Parliament, and the noble Lord may have noticed that in this year and at the present time of the year the passage of an Act of Parliament is not exceedingly easy. I do not mean to say that this business ground is the only ground which weighs in my mind against the proposal of the noble Lord, but I think it is adequate. I think if it should please Parliament to give effect to its loyal sentiments in this particular manner, that the birthday of Her Majesty next year will be a more fitting occasion than the date to which the noble Lord has referred. But in any case the practical objections are very strong and I fear it would be impossible, while sympathising with the feelings of the noble Lord, to adopt his suggestion.