HC Deb 10 March 1913 vol 50 cc9-11

My Lords, and Gentlemen,

To-day being the fiftieth anniversary of the marriage of My parents, I cannot forgo the opportunity of expressing for My dear Mother and Myself Our grateful sense of the devoted affection of the nation, which it has been Her happiness to enjoy for so many years, and which remains to support and console Her in Her abiding sorrow.

My relations with Foreign Powers continue to be friendly.

In December last an armistice was arranged between the belligerent Governments in South-East Europe. They chose London as the place in which to conduct their negotiations for a peace, and I welcomed the Delegates who were sent for that purpose, and gave to them every facility that was in My power. I much regret that, owing to their failure to come to an agreement, the war still continues.

The possible developments of the war and the changes that must result from it cannot be without interest for the Great Powers who are neutral and were parties to the Treaty of Berlin. All these Powers earnestly desire to prevent the war from spreading, and to sec it terminated as soon as possible.

My Government have, especially by means of the Ambassadors in London, kept in close touch and co-operation with the other Powers in the endeavours, in which all have shared, to preserve concerted view and action., and to establish agreement on all points on which differences might arise between any of them.

In this a large measure of success has been achieved. Agreement has been reached in principle on matters of the greatest importance, and though some points are still under discussion, I am hopeful that the consultations between the Powers with enable them not only to secure a complete understanding amongst themselves, but to exercise a beneficent influence in hastening the conclusion of the war.

My Government will continue to co-operate with the other Powers with the most earnest desire to secure the peace of Europe.

During last year the Prime Minister of My Dominion of Canada and several of his colleagues visited this country in order to confer with My Ministers here on matters of common interest, especially those relating to Naval Defence.

The Minister for Defence of My Dominion of New Zealand has lately arrived for a similar purpose.

I am confident that such an exchange of views between members of its responsible Governments will promote the solidarity of the Empire. The recent gift of a battleship by the Malay States, the ready consent of the New Zealand Government to the retention in, the North Sea fleet of the battleship contributed by them, the steady progress towards the establishment of the Australian fleet, and the discussions now proceeding in the Canadian Parliament on matters of defence testify to the Universal desire within the Empire for the maintenance of common safety.

In My Indian Empire, on the 23rd December, at the ceremony of the State Entry into Delhi, a wicked attempt was made on the life of My Governor-General and Viceroy. Through the mercy of Divine Providence the plot failed in its full intent, but I deeply regret that innocent lives were sacrificed, and that the Viceroy was gravely wounded. The fortitude of the Viceroy and Lady Hardinge and the disciplined courage of all the officers of Government have My warmest admiration. I gratefully acknowledge the expressions of sympathetic loyalty which the crime has evoked from the Ruling Chiefs and from all classes of My Indian subjects.

My Commissioners appointed to report on the requirements of the public service in India have commenced their labours, and have taken evidence at various Provincial centres in India with regard to the Indian Civil Service and the Provincial Civil Services.

Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

The Estimates for the service of the ensuing year will be laid before you without delay. I commend them to your favourable consideration with the more confidence in view of the sustained prosperity which, as reflected in the statistics of trade and of employment, I rejoice to see that My people continue to enjoy.

My Lords, and Gentlemen,

The attention of Parliament will again be asked to the measures in regard to which there was disagreement between the two Houses last Session.

In view of your arduous labours during the past year the further legislation which you will be invited to consider will necessarily be restricted within narrow limits.

A measure will be brought forward to facilitate the progress and secure the completion of Land Purchase in lreland.

You will be asked to authorise a guarantee from the Imperial Exchequer of a loan by the Government of the Soudan for ensuring the prosperity of that territory and the development therein of the industry of cotton-growing.

You will be invited to give renewed consideration to proposals for the better care and control of the feeble-minded, and for the further restriction of the industrial employment of children.

A Bill will be introduced for the prevention of plural voting at Parliamentary elections.

Proposals will be submitted to you for the development of a national system of education.

Your labours upon these and all other matters I humbly commend to the blessing of Almighty God.

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