HL Deb 21 June 1831 vol 4 cc84-7

His Majesty went in state to the House of Lords this day, and the Commons having been summoned to the bar of the House of Peers, His Majesty being seated on the Throne delivered the following Speech.

"My Lords and Gentlemen,

"I have availed myself of the earliest opportunity of resorting to your advice and assistance after the dissolution of the late Parliament.

"Having had recourse to that measure for the purpose of ascertaining the sense of my people on the expediency of a Reform in the Representation, I have now to recommend that important question to your earliest and most attentive consideration confident that in any measures which you may prepare for its adjustment, you will carefully adhere to the acknowledged principles of the Constitution, by which the prerogatives of the Crown, the authority of both Houses of Parliament, and the rights and liberties of the people are equally secured.

"The assurances of a Friendly disposition which I continue to receive from all foreign Powers, encourage the hope that notwithstanding the civil commotions which have disturbed some parts of Europe, and the contest now existing in Poland, the general peace will be maintained.

"To the preservation of this blessing my most anxious care will be constantly directed.

"The discussions which have taken place on the affairs of Belgium have not yet been brought to a conclusion; but the most complete agreement continues to subsist between the Powers whose plenipotentiaries have been engaged in the conferences of London. The principle on which those conferences have been conducted has been that of not interfering with the right of the people of Belgium to regulate their internal affairs, and to establish their government according to their own views of what may be most conducive to their future welfare and independence, under the sole condition, sanctioned by the practice of nations, and founded on the principles of public law, that in the exercise of that undoubted right the security of neighbouring States should not be endangered.

"A series of injuries and insults, for which, notwithstanding repeated remonstrances, all reparation was withheld, compelled me at last to order a squadron of any fleet to appear before Lisbon, with a peremptory demand of satisfaction. A prompt compliance with that demand prevented the necessity of further measures; but I have to regret that I have not yet been enabled to re-establish my diplomatic relations with the Portuguese Government.

"Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

"I have ordered Estimates of the expenses of the current year to be laid before you, and I rely with confidence on your loyalty and zeal to make adequate provision, for the public service, as well as for the farther application of the sums granted by the last parliament; always keeping in view the necessity of a wise and wholesome economy in every branch of the public expenditure.

"My Lords and Gentlemen,

"It gives me great satisfaction to State to you, that the large reduction of taxes which took place in the last and in the present year, with a view to the relief of the labouring classes of the community, has not been attended with a proportionate diminution of the public income. I trust that such additional means as may be required to supply a part of the deficiency occasioned by these reductions may be found, without any material abridgement of the comforts of my people.

"To assist the industry, to improve the resources, and to maintain the credit of the country on sound principles, and on a safe and lasting foundation, will be at all times the object of my solicitude, in the promotion of which I look with confidence to your zealous co-operation.

"It is with deep concern that I have to announce to you the continued progress of a formidable disease, to which my attention had been early directed, in the eastern parts of Europe. Information having been more recently received that it had extended its ravages to Ports in the Baltic, from whence there is a great commercial intercourse with my dominions, I have directed that all the precautions should be taken which experience has recommended as most effectual for guarding against the introduction of so dangerous a malady into this country.

"Great distress has unhappily prevailed in some districts, and more particularly in a part of the western counties of Ireland; to relieve which, in the most pressing cases, I have not hesitated to authorize the application of such means as were immediately available for that purpose. But assistance of this nature is necessarily limited in its amount, and can only be temporary in its effect. The possibility, therefore, of introducing any measures which, by assisting the improvement of the natural resources of the country, may tend to prevent the recurrence of such evils, must be a subject of the most anxious interest to me, and to you of the most grave and cautious consideration.

"Local disturbances, unconnected with any political causes, have taken place both in this part of the United Kingdom and in Ireland. In the county of Clare, and in the adjoining parts of Roscommon and Galway, a system of violence and outrage had for some time been carried n to an alarming extent, for the repression of which the constitutional authority of the law has been vigorously and successfully exerted. By these means, the necessity of enacting new laws, to strengthen the Executive Government with further powers will, I trust, be prevented.

"To avert such a necessity has been, and ever will be, my most earnest desire; but if it should unfortunately arise, I do not doubt your firm resolution to maintain the peace and order of society, by the adoption of such measures as may be required for their more effectual protection."

His Majesty retired, the House separated, and met again at five o'clock.

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