Queen Victoria – 1874 Queen’s Speech

Below is the text of the Queen’s Speech given in the House of Lords on 19 March 1874. It was spoken by the Lord Chancellor on behalf of HM Queen Victoria.

My Lords, and Gentlemen,

I recur to your advice at the earliest period permitted by the arrangements consequent on the retirement of the late Administration.

My relations with, all Foreign Powers continue to be most friendly. I shall not fail to exercise the influence arising from these cordial relations for the maintenance of European peace, and the faithful observance of international obligations.

The marriage of my son, the Duke of Edinburgh, with the Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrowna of Russia, is at once a source of happiness to myself and a pledge of friendship between two great Empires.

The war with the King of Ashantee has terminated in the capture and destruction of his capital, and in negotiations which, I trust, may lead to a more satisfactory condition of affairs than has hitherto prevailed on the West Coast of Africa.

The courage, discipline, and endurance displayed by my forces, both of the land and sea service, together with the energy and skill evinced in the conduct of the expedition, have brilliantly maintained, under the most trying circumstances, the traditionary reputation of the British arms.

I deeply regret that the drought of last summer has affected the most populous provinces of my Indian Empire, and has produced extreme scarcity, in some parts amounting to actual famine, over an area inhabited by many millions. I have directed the Governor-General of India to spare no cost in striving to mitigate this terrible calamity.”

Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

The Estimates for the expenditure of the coming financial year will be forthwith submitted to you.”

My Lords, and Gentleman,

The delay and expense attending the transfer of land in England have long been felt to be a reproach to our system of law, and a serious obstacle to dealings in real property. This subject has, in former Sessions, occupied the attention of Parliament, and I trust that the measures which will now be submitted for your consideration will be found calculated to remove much of the evil of which complaint has been made.

You will probably be of opinion that the re-arrangement of the Judicature, and the blending of the administration of law and equity, which were effected for England by the enactment of last Session, ought, on the same principles, to be extended to Ireland, and you will be asked to devote some part of your time to the accomplishment of this object.

The greater part of these changes would be inapplicable to the Tribunals of Scotland; but you will be invited, as to that part of my Kingdom, to consider the most satisfactory mode of bringing the procedure upon appeals into harmony with recent legislation, and, among other measures relating to her special interests, a Bill for amending the Law relating to Land Rights and for facilitating the Transfer of Land will be laid before you.

Serious differences have arisen, and remonstrances been made by large classes of the community, as to the working of the recent Act of Parliament affecting the relationship of Master and Servant, of the Act of 1871, which deals with offences connected with trade, and of the law of conspiracy, more especially as connected with these offences. On these subjects I am desirous that, before attempting any fresh legislation, you should be in possession of all material facts, and of the precise questions in controversy, and for this purpose I have issued a Royal Commission to inquire into the state and working of the present law with a view to its early amendment, if it should he found necessary.

A Bill will be introduced dealing with such parts of the Acts regulating the sale of intoxicating liquors as have given rise to complaints which appear to deserve the interference of Parliament.

Your attention will also he directed to the laws affecting Friendly and Provident Societies.

All these matters will require your grave consideration, and I pray that the Almighty may guide your deliberations for the welfare of my realm.