HL Deb 19 January 1847 vol 89 cc1-5

, which had been prorogued successively from the 28th of August to the 4th of November, the 12th of January, and the 19th of January, met this day for the 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 is with the deepest Concern that upon your again assembling I have to call your Attention to the Dearth of Provisions which prevails in Ireland and in Parts of Scotland.

"IN Ireland especially the Loss of the usual Food of the People has been the Cause of severe Sufferings, of Disease, and of greatly increased Mortality among the poorer Classes. Outrages have become more frequent, chiefly directed against Property; and the Transit of Provisions has been rendered unsafe in some Parts of the Country.

"WITH a view to mitigate these Evils, very large Numbers of Men have been employed, and received Wages, in pursuance of an Act passed in the last Session of Parliament. Some Deviations from that Act, which have been authorized by the Lord Lieutenant in order to promote more useful Employment, will, I trust, receive your Sanction. Means have been taken to lessen the Pressure of Want in Districts which are most remote from the ordinary Sources of Supply. Outrages have been repressed, as far as it was possible, by the Military and Police.

"IT is satisfactory to Me to observe, that in many of the most distressed Districts the Patience and Resignation of the People have been most exemplary

"THE Deficiency of the Harvest in France and Germany, and other Parts of Europe, has added to the Difficulty of obtaining adequate Supplies of Provisions.

"IT will be your Duty to consider what further Measures are required to alleviate the existing Distress. I recommend to you to take into your serious Consideration whether, by increasing for a limited Period the Facilities for importing Corn from Foreign Countries, and by the Admission of Sugar more freely into Breweries and Distilleries, the Supply of Food may be beneficially augmented.

"I HAVE likewise to direct your earnest Consideration to the permanent Condition of Ireland. You will perceive, in the Absence of Political Excitement, an Opportunity for taking a dispassionate Survey of the social Evils which afflict that Part of the United Kingdom. Various Measures will be laid before you, which, if adopted by Parliament, may tend to raise the great Mass of People in Comfort, to promote Agriculture, and to lessen the Pressure of that Competition for Land which has been the fruitful Source of Crime and Misery.

"THE Marriage of the Infanta Luisa Fernanda of Spain to the Duke of Montpensier has given rise to a Correspondence between My Government and those of France and Spain.

"THE Extinction of the Free State of Cracow has appeared to Me to be so manifest a Violation of the Treaty of Vienna that I have commanded that a Protest against that Act should be delivered to the Courts of Vienna, Petersburg, and Berlin, which were Parties to it. Copies of these several Papers will be laid before you.

"I ENTERTAIN confident Hopes that the Hostilities in the River Plate which have so long interrupted Commerce may soon be terminated, and My Efforts, in conjunction with those of the King of the French, will be earnestly directed to that End.

"MY Relations generally with Foreign Powers inspire Me with the fullest Confidence in the Maintenance of Peace.

"Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

"I HAVE directed the Estimates to be prepared with a view to provide for the Efficiency of the Public Service with a due Regard for Economy.

"My Lords, and Gentlemen,

"I HAVE ordered every requisite Preparation to be made for putting into Operation the Act of the last Session of Parliament for the Establishment of Local Courts for the Recovery of Small Debts. It is My Hope that the Enforcement of Civil Rights in all Parts of the Country to which the Act relates may, by this Measure, be materially facilitated.

"I RECOMMEND to your Attention Measures which will be laid before you for improving the Health of Towns, an Object the Importance of which you will not fail to appreciate.

"DEEPLY sensible of the Blessings which, after a Season of Calamity, have been so often vouchsafed to this Nation by a superintending Providence, I confide these important Matters to your Care, in a full Conviction that your Discussions will be guided by an impartial Spirit, and in the Hope that the present Sufferings of My People may be lightened, and that their future Condition may be improved, by your deliberative Wisdom."

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

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