HL Deb 25 August 1894 vol 29 cc424-7

The following Bills received the Royal Assent:—

After which,


said— "We are commanded to deliver to you Her Majesty's Speech in Her Majesty's own words."

"My Lords, and Gentlemen,

It affords me sensible gratification to be able to dismiss you at the end of a Session which has been little less than a prolongation of the previous one; and it gives me pleasure to reflect that your labours, if they have been exhausting, have also been fruitful.

I am confident that you will share in the joy with which I and my people have welcomed the birth of an Heir in the third generation to my Throne; an event not merely propitious, but unprecedented in the history of this country.

My relations with Foreign Powers continue to be friendly and peaceful.

It is, however, matter for regret that a variety of questions relating to Africa between my Government and that of the French Republic still remain unsettled.

It is my wish that these should be arranged without unnecessary delay; and I am engaged in friendly negotiations with that object.

The state of affairs in Siam continues to engage my earnest attention. The welfare of that Kingdom, in which the interests of British trade are so preponderating, cannot be a matter of indifference to my Government, I trust that the final settlement of questions arising out of the recent Treaty between France and Siam may not much longer be delayed, and, in the meantime, I have directed Commissioners, in conjunction with those of France, to lay down on the spot the proper limits of a neutral region in the neighbourhood of the Mekong, which shall separate my dominions from those of the French Republic.

In concert with the President of the United States I have taken the steps necessary to give effect to the Award of the Tribunal of Arbitration on the question of the Seal Fisheries in the Behring Sea; and I have assented to an Act of Parliament for this purpose. A similar Act has been passed by the Congress of the United States.

The Governments of the two countries are also in communication with the principal foreign Powers with the view of obtaining their adhesion to the Regulations prescribed by the Award.

I regret to state that war has broken out between the Empires of China and Japan. After endeavouring, in concert with Russia and with other Powers, to prevent the outbreak of hostilities, I have taken steps to preserve my strict neutrality between the contending parties.

I have concluded a Treaty with the Emperor of Japan for the regulation of commercial intercourse between that country and the United Kingdom.

A conference was held at Ottawa in the month of June last, at which Representatives of the Imperial Government, the Dominion of Canada, the Cape, and the Australasian Colonies met to consider questions relating to Intercolonial Tariffs and Communications.

I have learnt with satisfaction that the proceedings of the Conference were of a character to strengthen the union of the Colonies concerned, both among themselves and with the mother-country.

"Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

I thank you for the liberal supplies which you have provided for the requirements of the Public Service.

Though I lament the necessity for increasing the burden of taxation, it had become indispensable for the security of my Empire to increase my naval strength.

I trust that the alterations which you have made in the fiscal system of the country, and to which the greatest part of this Session has been necessarily devoted, will have the effect of materially alleviating that portion of the burden which falls upon the less wealthy classes of the population, and may redound to the contentment and prosperity of the nation at large.

My Lords, and Gentlemen,

While the general tranquillity of Ireland has been maintained in a remarkable degree, certain social and administrative difficulties still subsist, which continue to engage the earnest attention of my Government.

I have given my ready assent to the Bills which, notwithstanding the shortness of the Session, you have been able to consider and mature.

The measure dealing with the system of Local Government in Scotland will, I doubt not, tend to reorganise that system on a more popular and more efficient basis.

You have also passed a beneficial measure for the better adjustment of the Rates levied by the several Local Authorities in London.

A large number of Bills of substantial importance have been passed, among which I would mention that for the amendment of the law relating to Railway Rates and Charges, and that for the better regulation of Building Societies.

In bidding you farewell, I pray that the blessing of Providence may rest upon all your labours."

Then a Commission for proroguing the Parliament was read.

After which,



My Lords, and Gentlemen,

By virtue of Her Majesty's Commission, under the Great Seal, to us and other Lords directed, and now read, we do, in Her Majesty's Name, and in obedience to Her Commands, prorogue this Parliament to Saturday the Tenth day of November next, to be then here holden; and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Saturday the Tenth day of November next.