Seventy-one years ago—on the 24th of May, 1819—Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria was born at- Kensington Palace. Representatives of the bloodroyal were less numerous then than now, and very considerable importance was attached to this royal birth in view of the strong probability that the little stranger would eventually succeed to the Throne of Britain. Victoria's parents—H.R.H. the Duke of Kent (fourth son of George III.), and Princess Louisa Victoria of Saxe-Cobourg (relict of the Hereditary Prince of Leiningen), had been for some time resident abroad ; but so soon as it became evident that their union was to be blessed with issue, they hastened to the shores of England, so that their child should be "born a Briton." Eight months after her birth the little Princess lost by death her father, and in due course, as every book almanac tells the world, Victoria succeeded her uncle William IV., on June 20, 1837. She was crowned in Westminster Abbey on the 28th of June, 1838, and two years afterwards, on 10th February, 1840, she was led a bride to the altar by "Albert the Good." It is needless to recapitulate how, in 1861, in the brief space of a few months, the Queen was deprived of both mother and husband. All these items of fact are at the finger ends of most loyal people, but we take the liberty of adding a few more that do not rise at once to the mind of the average reader. In the 71st year of her age, and the 53rd of hexreign, she lias been the sovereign of the Great Power of the West for a longer term than any another crowned head of the British realms, with only two exceptions. These are Henry in., who reigned 5(5 years, and George 111., whose reign extended to 60 years. Edward 111. came close up to her j with 50 years, with Good Queen Bess next in order with 45 years. Although ) not the longest in ■ point of years, there I can be no question that Her Majesty's reign has been far and away the most eventful and the most beneficent. Si^e ' the crown was placed uponthe head of the young Queen by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1837, the march of civilisa-
tion and enlightenment has been one of large and rapid strides, v We can but only faintly realise it, even when we remember that railways were then only in their infancy ; that telegraphs did not exist—that is, there were no lines in England carrying messages from town to town; sub- J marine cables, telephones, and phonographs, were still in the unexplored future ; while the great developments of electricity's usefulness with which we, at the end of the Queen's jubilee, are familiar, were among the possibilities dreamed of by a scientific few, and only- dreamed of. These cplonies of ours, teeming now with busy thousands, with towns and cities as' frequent as at Home, and connected by road arid rail, by'"post and "telegraph, lie by gas and even electricity, and whose citizens can surround themselves, if they care, with all the luxuries and comforts of civilized Europe—these "colonies, when Her Majesty ascended the throne, were a terra inco/nita, inhabited by a few tribes of savages, and a handful of white adventurers of various kinds" who 1 had found their way to their shores. They present a widely different aspect now ! Changes of the most radical description | have been effected • by legislative enactment since the sovereign sceptre came into the hand of this true woman—Rowland Hill's mighty idea, the penny post, has been established, and become one of social the indispensables of commercial and life ; the Corn Laws have been repealed ; the disabilities of the Jews have been removed, and a man's creed is not now a bar to his entrance into Parliament; army purchase is a thing of the past ; the franchise has been so widely, extended that Great Britain's senators are .now elected by something akin to manhood suffrage j a national system of education has been established ; and a thousand and one minor steps of advancement could be mentioned, but we will content ourselves by saying that all the points of the Chartists have been conceded. We have said enough to justify the hope that such a beneficent rule may be prolonged, and that her Majesty may be spared "long to reign over us. She has reached the end and over of the three score years and ten usually alloted to the human race, and we cannot hoped to have her very much longer with us, the more especially that her health is not the most robust; but that she lives in the hearts of her millions of loyal subjects in every clime is evidenced by the loyal enthusiasm with which year by year her birthday is celebrated, while the eohoes of the jubilation of hall the world on her Jubilee" Day have hardly yet died away.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XIV, Issue 2434, 26 May 1890
QUEEN VICTORIA. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XIV, Issue 2434, 26 May 1890
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