HL Deb 22 January 1846 vol 83 cc1-5

THE PARLIAMENT, which had been prorogued successively from the 9th August to the 2nd October, the 27th November, the 16th December, and the 22nd January, met this day for despatch of Business. The Session was opened by the QUEEN in Person. Being seated on the Throne, and the Commons being at the Bar, with their Speaker, HER MAJESTY was pleased to make the following most Gracious Speech:—

"My Lords, and Gentlemen,

"It gives Me great Satisfaction again to meet you in Parliament, and to have the Opportunity of recurring to your Assistance and Advice.

"I continue to receive from My Allies, and from other Foreign Powers, the strongest Assurances of their Desire to cultivate the most friendly Relations with this Country.

"I rejoice that, in concert with the Emperor of Russia, and through the Success of Our joint Mediation, I have been enabled to adjust the Differences which had long prevailed between the Ottoman Porte and the King of Persia, and had seriously endangered the Tranquillity of the East.

"For several Years a desolating and sanguinary Warfare has afflicted the States of the Rio de la Plata. The Commerce of all Nations has been interrupted, and Acts of Barbarity have been committed unknown to the Practice of a civilized People. In conjunction with the King of the French, I am endeavouring to effect the Pacification of these States.

"The Convention concluded with France in the course of the last Year, for the more effectual Suppression of the Slave Trade, is about to be carried into immediate Execution by the active Co-operation of the Two Powers on the Coast of Africa.

"It is My Desire that Our present Union, and the good Understanding which so happily exists between Us, may always be employed to promote the Interests of Humanity, and to secure the Peace of the World.

"I regret that the conflicting Claims of Great Britain and the United States, in respect of the Territory on the North-western Coast of America, although they have been made the Subject of repeated Negotiation, still remain unsettled. You may be assured that no Effort consistent with National Honour shall be wanting on My Part to bring this Question to an early and peaceful Termination.

"Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

"The Estimates for the Year will be laid before you at an early Period.

"Although I am deeply sensible of the Importance of enforcing Economy in all Branches of the Expenditure, yet I have been compelled, by a due Regard to the Exigencies of the Public Service, and to the State of our Naval and Military Establishments, to propose some Increase in the Estimates which provide for their Efficiency.

"My Lords, and Gentlemen,

"I have observed with deep Regret the very frequent Instances in which the Crime of deliberate Assassination has been of late committed in Ireland.

"It will be your Duty to consider whether any Measures can be devised calculated to give increased Protection to Life, and to bring to Justice the Perpetrators of so dreadful a Crime.

"I have to lament that in consequence of the Failure of the Potato Crop in several Parts of the United Kingdom there will be a deficient Supply of an Article of Food which forms the chief Subsistence of great Numbers of My People.

"The Disease by which the Plant has been affected has prevailed to the greatest Extent in Ireland.

"I have adopted all such Precautions as it was in My Power to adopt for the Purpose of alleviating the Sufferings which may be caused by this Calamity; and I shall confidently rely on your Co-operation in devising such other Means for effecting the same benevolent Purpose as may require the Sanction of the Legislature.

"I have had great Satisfaction in giving My Assent to the Measures which you have presented to Me from Time to Time, calculated to extend Commerce, and to stimulate domestic Skill and Industry, by the Repeal of prohibitory and the Relaxation of protective Duties.

"The prosperous State of the Revenue, the increased Demand for Labour, and the general Improvement which has taken place in the internal Condition of the Country, are strong Testimonies in favour of the Course you have pursued.

"I recommend you to take into your early Consideration, whether the Principles on which you have acted may not with Advantage be yet more extensively applied; and whether it may not be in your Power, after a careful Review of the existing Duties upon many Articles, the Produce or Manufacture of other Countries, to make such further Reductions and Remissions as may tend to ensure the Continuance of the great Benefits to which I have adverted, and by enlarging our Commercial Intercourse, to strengthen the Bonds of Amity with Foreign Powers.

"Any Measures which you may adopt for effecting these great Objects will, I am convinced, be accompanied by such Precautions as shall prevent permanent Loss to the Revenue, or injurious Results to any of the great Interests of the Country.

"I have full Reliance on your just and dispassionate Consideration of Matters so deeply affecting the Public Welfare.

"It is My earnest Prayer that, with the Blessing of Divine Providence on your Counsels, you may be enabled to promote friendly Feelings between different Classes of My Subjects, to provide additional Security for the Continuance of Peace, and to maintain Contentment and Happiness at home, by increasing the Comforts and bettering the Condition of the great body of My People.

HER MAJESTY then retired, and the House adjourned during Pleasure: having resumed,

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