HER MAJESTY'S FIRST COUNCIL, AT KENSINGTON PALACE, June 20, 1837.

Queen Victoria's accession was the cause of the departure from England of a Prince deservedly unpopular, whose signature stands first among those appended to the Act of Allegiance executed at Kensington Palace. Hitherto, for more than one hundred and twenty years, succession to the throne of Great Britain had carried with it the crown of Hanover ; but, inasmuch as that crown was limited to the male line, it passed, on the death of King William, to his eldest surviving brother, the Duke of Hanover. Cumberland. It is not necessary to discuss here the character of that Prince—it is enough to say that his departure to take up his inheritance in Hanover was probably cause of regret to very few persons in this country and reason for rejoicing to a great many. Nor, in looking back over the history of the past sixty years, can any thoughtful person fail to recognise advantage in the severance of the monarchies of Great Britain and Hanover. Any loss of prestige or dignity which might have been anticipated has been amply outweighed by the freedom enjoyed by this country from continental complications. England, while she has forfeited no weight in the Councils of Europe, is in a far stronger position to enforce her will when necessary, and the development of rapid and easy transit have protected Englishmen from any disadvantage that might have been apprehended from an exclusively insular Court.

 

  1: HER MAJESTY.

  • 2. Duke of Argyll, Lord Steward.

  • 3. Earl of Albemarle, Master of the Horse.

  • 4. The Right Honourable G. Ryng, Comptroller

  • .5 C. C. Greville, Esq., Clerk of the Council.

  • 6. Marquess of Anglesea.

  • 7. Marquess of Lansdowne, President of the Council.

  • 8. Lord Cottenham, Lord High Chancellor.

  • 9. Lord Howick, Secretary at War.

  • 10. Lord John Russell, Secretary of State for the Home Department.

  • 11. The Right Honourable T. Spring Rice, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

  • 12. Viscount Melbourne, First Lord of the Treasury.

  • 13. Lord Paliterston, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

  • 14. The Right Honourable J. Abercrombey, Speaker of the House of Commons.

  • 15. Earl Grey.

  • 16. The Earl of Carlisle.

  • 17. Lord Denman, Lord Chief Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench.

  • 18. The Right Honourable F. Erskine, Chief Judge of the Bankruptcy Court.

  • 19. Lord Morpeth, Chief Secretary for Iceland.

  • 20. The Earl of Aberdeen.

  • 2I. Lord Lyndhurst.

  • 22. The Archbishop of Canterbury.

  • 23. His Majesty the King of Hanover.

  • 24. The Duke of Wellington.

  • 25. The Earl of Jersey.

  • 26. The Right Honourable J. W. Croker.

  • 27. The Right Honourable Sir R. Peel, Bart.

  • 28. H.R.H. the Duke of Sussex.

  • 29. Lord Holland, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

  • 30. Sir J. Campbell, Her Majesty's Attorney-General.

  • 31. Marquess of Salisbury.

  • 32. Lord Rurghersh.

  • 33. The Right Honourable T. Kelly, Lord Mayor of London.

  • One of the incidents of the ceremony of accession commented on with most interest was the fact that, in signing the Oath for the security of the Church of Scotland, the Queen wrote only " Victoria," instead of her full name "Alexandrina Victoria." Surely it was a happy inspiration which prompted the choice of the single name—prophetic, as it has turned out, of the character of the coming reign. Probably not one in a thousand of her subjects are aware that Her Majesty has two baptismal names, though there is historic interest attached to their origin. The Duke of Kent gave his daughter the name of Alexandrina in compliment to the Empress of Russia, intending her second name should be Georgiana. The Regent, however, objected to the name Georgiana being second to any other in this country ; so, as the Princess's father was determined that Alexandrina, should be the first name, it was decided she should not bear the other one at all.

    On July 17 the Queen went in State to the House of Lords to prorogue Parliament. After listening to an Address made by the Speaker on behalf of the House of Commons, and giving her consent to certain bills, Her Majesty proceeded to read her speech to Parliament in clear and unfaltering accents. The concluding paragraph, viewed in the light of subsequent events, must be admitted to have been more amply fulfilled than most human promises, however sincerely spoken :-

    " I ascend the throne with a deep sense of the responsibility imposed on me ; but I am supported by the consciousness of my own right intentions, and by my dependence on the protection of Almighty God. It will be my care to strengthen our institutions, civil and ecclesiastical, by discreet improvement wherever improvement is required, and to do all in my power to compose and allay animosity and discord. Acting upon these principles, I shall, upon all occasions, look with confidence to the wisdom of Parliament and the affection of my people, which form the true support of the dignity of the Crown and ensure the stability of the Constitution."

    Every opportunity which was afforded to Parliament and the public of passing judgment on the Queen's demeanour tended to deepen the favourable impression already created. Greville —the " Man in the Street " of those days—he of whom Lowe afterwards wrote—

    "For forty years he listened at the door,

    He heard some secrets and invented more,"

    is not an authority on which too much reliance should be placed, yet his diary is useful as a reflection of passing events. It is full of enthusiastic praise of the new Monarch.

    " All that I hear of the young Queen leads to the conclusion that she will some day play a conspicuous part, and that she has a great deal of character. . . . Melbourne thinks highly of her sense, discretion, and good feeling ; but what seems to distinguish her above everything are caution and prudence, the former in a degree which is almost unnatural in one so young, and unpleasing because it suppresses the youthful impulses which are so graceful and attractive. . . . With all her prudence and discretion she has great animal spirits, and enters into the magnificent novelties of her position with the zest and curiosity of a child. . . The smallness of her stature is quite forgotten in the majesty and gracefulness of her demeanour."

    Sixty years ago ! It is the second and third generation from that time which now cries " God save the Queen ! Long live Victoria! " Never before in the history of our nation has it fallen to the lot of any historian to tell the story of such a long reign, to chronicle such unbroken national progress, to trace such a series of peaceful changes, to record such accumulation of wealth and diffusion of comfort in a like period.

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