HL Deb 03 February 1859 vol 152 cc1-6

being seated on the Throne, and time 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,

IN recurring, at the usual Season, to the Advice of My Parliament, I am happy to think that, in the internal State of the Country, there is nothing to excite Disquietude, and much to call for Satisfaction and Thankfulness. Pauperism and Crime have considerably diminished during the past year, and a Spirit of general Contentment prevails.

THE Blessing of the Almighty on the Valour of My Troops in India, and on the Skill of their Commanders, has enabled Me to inflict signal Chastisement upon those who are still in Arms against My Authority, whenever they have ventured to encounter My Forces; and I trust that, at no distant Period, I may be able to an- nounce to you the complete Pacification of that great Empire, and to devote My Attention to the Improvement of its Condition, and to the Obliteration of all Traces of the present unhappy Conflict.

ON assuming, by your Advice, the direct Government of that Portion of My Dominions, I deemed it proper to make known by Proclamation the Principles by which it was My Intention to be guided, and the Clemency which I was disposed to show towards those who might have been seduced into Revolt, but who might be willing to return to their Allegiance. I have directed that a Copy of that Proclamation should be laid before you.

I RECEIVE from all Foreign Powers Assurances of their friendly Feelings. To cultivate and confirm those Feelings, to maintain inviolate the Faith of Public Treaties, and to contribute, as far as My Influence can extend, to the Preservation of the general Peace, are the Objects of My unceasing solicitude.

I HAVE concluded, with the Sovereigns who were Parties to the Treaty of Paris of 1856, a Convention relative to the Organization of the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. Those Rouman Provinces are now proceeding to establish, under its Provisions, their new Form of Government.

A TREATY of Commerce which I have concluded with the Emperor of Russia, and which will be laid before you, is a satisfactory Indication of the complete Re-establishment of those amicable Relations which, until their late unfortunate Interruption, had long subsisted between Us, to the mutual Advantage of Our respective Dominions.

THE Measures which, in concert with My Ally the Emperor of the French, I thought it necessary to take upon the Coast of China, have resulted in a Treaty, by which further effusion of Blood has been prevented, and which holds out the prospect of greatly increased Intercourse with that extensive and densely peopled Empire.

ANOTHER Treaty into which I have entered with the Emperor of Japan opens a fresh field for Commercial Enterprise in a populous and highly civilized Country, which has hitherto been jealously guarded against the Intrusion of Foreigners. As soon as the Ratifications of these Treaties shall have been exchanged, they will be laid before you.

I HAVE great Satisfaction in announcing to you that the Emperor of the French has abolished a System of Negro Emigration from the East Coast of Africa, against which, as unavoidably tending, however guarded, to the Encouragement of the Slave Trade, My Government has never ceased to address to His Imperial Majesty its most earnest but friendly representations.

THIS wise Act on the Part of His Imperial Majesty induces Me to hope that Negotiations, now in progress at Paris, may tend to the total Abandonment of the System, and to the Substitution of a duly regulated Supply of substantially Free Labour.

THE State of the Republic of Mexico, distracted by Civil War, has induced Me to carry Forbearance to its utmost Limits, in regard to Wrongs and Indignities to which British Residents have been subjected at the hands of the two contending Parties. They have at length been carried to such an extent that I have been compelled to give Instructions to the Commander of My Naval Forces in those Seas to demand, and if necessary to enforce, due Reparation.

"Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

I HAVE directed that the Estimates of the ensuing Year shall be submitted to you. They have been framed with a due Regard to Economy, and to the Efficiency of the Public Service.

THE universal Introduction of Steam Power into Naval Warfare will render necessary a temporary Increase of Expenditure in providing for the Reconstruction of the British Navy; but I am persuaded that you will cheerfully vote whatever Sums you may find to be requisite for an Object of such vital Importance as the Maintenance of the Maritime Power of the Country.

"My Lords, and Gentlemen,

YOUR Labours have, in recent Sessions, been usefully directed to various Measures of legal and social Improvement. In the Belief that further Measures of a similar Character may be wisely and beneficially introduced, I have desired that Bills may he submitted to you without Delay, for assimilating and amending the Laws relating to Bankruptcy and Insolvency; for bringing together into One Set of Statutes, in a classified Form, and with such Modifications as Experience will suggest to you, the Laws relating to Crimes and Offences in England and Ireland; for enabling the Owners of Land in England to obtain for themselves an indefeasible Title to their Estates and Interests, and for registering such Titles with Simplicity and Security.

YOUR Attention will be called to the State of the Laws which regulate the Representation of the People in Parliament, and I cannot doubt but that you will give to this great Subject a Degree of calm and impartial Consideration proportioned to the Magnitude of the Interests involved in the Result of your Discussions.

THESE, and other Propositions for the Amendment of the Laws, which will be brought under your Notice as the Progress of Public Business may permit, I commend to the Exercise of your deliberate Judgment; and I earnestly way that your Counsels may be so guided as to ensure the Stability of the Throne, the Maintenance and Improvement of our Institutions, and the general Welfare and Happiness of My People.

HER MAJESTY then retired.