HL Deb 01 February 1849 vol 102 cc1-5

THE PARLIAMENT, which had been prorogued successively from the 5th September, to the 2nd November, to the 19th December, and to the 1st February, 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 a most gracious Speech to both Houses of Parliament, as follows:—

"My Lords, and Gentlemen,

"THE Period being arrived at which the business of Parliament is usually resumed, I have called you together for the Discharge of your important Duties.

"IT is satisfactory to Me to be enabled to state, that both in the North and in the South of Europe the contending Parties have consented to a Suspension of Arms for the Purpose of negotiating Terms of Peace.

"THE Hostilities carried on in the Island of Sicily were attended with Circumstances so revolting that the British and French Admirals were impelled by Motives of Humanity to interpose, and to stop the further Effusion of Blood.

"I HAVE availed Myself of the Interval thus obtained to propose, in conjunction with France, to the King of Naples, an Arrangement calculated to produce a permanent Settlement of Affairs in Sicily. The Negotiation on these Matters is still pending.

"IT has been My anxious Endeavour, in offering My good Offices to the various contending Powers, to prevent the Extension of the Calamities of War, and to lay the Foundations for lasting and honourable Peace. It is My constant Desire to maintain with all Foreign States the most friendly Relations.

"As soon as the Interests of the Public Service will permit, I shall direct the Papers connected with these Transactions to be laid before you.

"A REBELLION of a formidable Character has broken out in the Punjaub, and the Governor General of India has been compelled, for the Preservation of the Peace of the Country, to assemble a considerable Force, which is now engaged in Military Operations against the Insurgents; but the Tranquillity of British India has not been affected by these unprovoked Disturbances.

"I AGAIN commend to your Attention the Restrictions imposed on Commerce by the Navigation Laws.

"IF you shall find that these Laws are in whole or in part unnecessary for the Maintenance of our Maritime Power, while they fetter Trade and Industry, you will no doubt deem it right to repeal or modify their Provisions.

"Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

"I HAVE directed the Estimates for the Service of the Year to be laid before you; they will be framed with the most anxious Attention to a wise Economy.

"THE present Aspect of Affairs has enabled Me to make large Reductions on the Estimates of last Year.

"My Lords, and Gentlemen,

"I OBSERVE with Satisfaction that this Portion of the United Kingdom has remained tranquil amidst the Convulsions which have disturbed so many Parts of Europe.

"THE Insurrection in Ireland has not been renewed, but a Spirit of Disaffection still exists; and I am compelled, to My great Regret, to ask for a Continuance, for a limited Time, of those Powers which in the last Session you deemed necessary for the Preservation of the Public Tranquillity.

"I HAVE great Satisfaction in stating that Commerce is reviving from those Shocks which at the Commencement of last Session I had to deplore.

"THE Condition of the Manufacturing Districts is likewise more encouraging than it has been for a considerable Period.

"IT is also gratifying to Me to observe that the State of the Revenue is one of progressive Improvement.

"I HAVE to lament, however, that another Failure in the Potato Crop has caused very severe Distress in some Parts of Ireland.

"THE Operation of the Laws for the Relief of the Poor in Ireland will properly be a Subject of your Inquiry; and any Measures by which those Laws may be beneficially amended, and the Condition of the People may be improved, will receive My cordial Assent.

"IT is with Pride and Thankfulness that I advert to the loyal Spirit of My People, and that Attachment to our Institutions which has ani- mated them during a Period of Commercial Difficulty, deficient Production of Food, and Political Revolution.

"I LOOK to the Protection of Almighty God for Favour in our continued Progress; and I trust that you will assist Me in upholding the Fabric of the Constitution, founded as it is upon the Principles of Freedom and of Justice."

HER MAJESTY then retired.

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