The marriage of the Prince of Wales

The marriage of the Prince of Wales (1736)
by William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham

The maiden speech of William Pitt (The Elder) MP on the marriage of the Prince of Wales to Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. Given to the House of Commons on 29 April 1736.

11251The marriage of the Prince of Wales1736William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham

“That I am unable to offer anything that had not been said by my honourable friend who made the motion, in a manner much more suitable to the dignity and importance of the subject. But said he, "I am really affected with the prospect of the blessings to be derived to my country from this so desirable and long-desired measure, the marriage of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales; I cannot forbear troubling you with a few words, to express my joy, and to mingle my humble offering, inconsiderable as it is, with this oblation of thanks and congratulations to his Majesty".

How great soever the joy of the public may be, and very great it certainly is, in receiving this benefit from his Majesty, it must be inferior to that high satisfaction which he himself enjoys in bestowing it:- And if I may be allowed to suppose, that to a royal mind any thing can transcend the pleasure of gratifying the impatient wishes of a loyal people, it can only be the paternal delight of tenderly indulging the most dutiful application, and most humble request, of a submissive obedient son. I mention, Sir, his Royal Highness's having asked a marriage, because something is, in justice, due to him, for having asked what we are so strongly bound, by all the ties of duty and gratitude, to return his Majesty our most humble acknowledgements for having granted.

The marriage of a Prince of Wales, Sir, has at all times been a matter of the highest importance to the public welfare, to present and to future generations; but at no time has it been a more important, a more dear consideration, than at this day: if a character, at once amiable and respectable, can embellish, and even dignify, the elevated rank of a Prince of Wales. Were it not a sort of presumption to follow so great a person through his hours of retirement, to view him in the milder light of domestic life, we should find him engaged in the noble exercise of humanity, benevolence, and of every social virtue. But, Sir, how pleasing, how captivating soever such a scene may be, yet, as it is a private one, I fear I should offend the delicacy of that virtue I so ardently desire to do justice to, should I offer it to the consideration of this House. But, Sir, silial duty to his Royal parents, a generous love of liberty, and a just reverence for the British constitution; there are public virtues, and cannot escape the applause and benedictions of the public: They are virtues, Sir, which render his Royal Highness not only a noble ornament, but a firm support, if any could possibly be necessary, of that throne so greatly filled by his Royal father.

I have been led to say thus much of his Royal Highness's character, because it is the consideration of that character which, above all things, enforces the justice and goodness of his Majesty in the measure now before us; a measure which the nation thought could never come too soon, because it brings with it the promise of an additional strength to the Protestant succession in his Majesty's illustrious and royal house. The spirit of liberty dictated that succession; the same spirit now rejoices in the prospect of its being perpetuated to latest posterity.- It rejoices in the wife and happy choice which his Majesty has been pleased to make of a Princess, so amiably distinguished in herself, so illustrious in the merit of her family, the glory of whose great ancestors it is, to have sacrificed himself to the noblest cause for which a Prince can draw his sword, the cause and liberty and the Protestant religion. Such, Sir, is the marriage, for which our most humble acknowledgements are due to his Majesty; and may it afford the comfort of seeing the Royal Family (numerous as I thank God it is) still growing and rising up in a third generation! A family, Sir, which I most sincerely wish may be as immortal as those liberties and that constitution it came to maintain; and therefore I am heartily for the motion".

This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

Public domainPublic domainfalsefalse