HL Deb 14 August 1896 vol 44 cc823-6

The following Bills received the Royal Assent:—

The Commissioners representing Her Majesty the Queen were the LORD CHANCELLOR (Lord Halsbury), VISCOUNT CROSS (Lord Privy Seal), the EARL of COVENTRY (Master of the Buckhounds), LORD BALFOUR (Secretary for Scotland) and LORD JAMES of HEREFORD (Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster).


We are commanded to read Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech in Her Majesty's own words:—

My Lords, and Gentlemen,

My relations with other Powers continue to be friendly.

The hostile movements of the Dervish forces in Egypt along the Valley of the Nile, and against the positions in the occupation of Italy to the east of that river, convinced me that it had become necessary for the Egyptian Government to take steps for arresting their advance.

By my advice, therefore, and under my sanction, an expedition has been undertaken for the purpose of restoring to the Government of the Khedive, as far as Dongola, the territory which was lost to Egypt ten years ago. The operations are still proceeding, but, by a short and brilliant action at Ferkeh, a considerable proportion of the territory indicated has already been recovered.

The condition of some portions of the Turkish Empire continues to furnish cause for much anxiety. At present, the Island of Crete is the principal centre of disturbance. I have observed a strict neutrality between the Government and the insurgents; but, in conjunction with the other Powers of Europe, I have endeavoured to bring about a reconciliation, by proposing the establishment of a system of government that shall be equitable and acceptable to both the Christian and the Mussulman inhabitants of the island.

I regret that a serious rebellion, signalised by many cruel murders, suddenly broke out in Matabeleland, and that the rising afterwards extended to Mashonaland, where it was accompanied by similar atrocities.

The work of defence and repression was immediately undertaken by the settlers, who displayed great courage and self-reliance in this emergency.

They have since been reinforced both by Imperial troops and by Colonial and Native levies, and the supreme military command has been confided to Major General Sir Frederick Carrington.

His operations have hitherto been uniformly successful, although, owing to very grave difficulties of transport and supply, caused by an outbreak of rinderpest which has destroyed almost all the cattle in the country, he has been compelled to restrict the number of men employed in the field.

The latest reports show that his efforts and those of the forces under his command are telling on the resistance of the rebels, and I trust that they will shortly avail themselves of the offer of clemency which has been made to them.

The peaceful delimitation of the North-western frontier of my Indian Empire has proceeded, and further Agreements have been made with the Shah of Persia and the Ameer of Afghanistan, fixing their territorial limits. Friendly relations have been maintained with the tribes on the read to Chitral, and the relief of the garrisons in that country has been effected without difficulty, and with the cordial co-operation of the tribesmen in the neighbourhood.

Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

I thank you for the satisfactory provision which you have made for the Services of the year.

My Lords, and Gentlemen,

I have given my consent, with much pleasure, to Measures for completing the Naval Defences of my Empire, for lightening the fiscal burdens which press upon the agricultural population, and for protecting the flocks and herds of these islands from the importation of disease. Important Measures have also received my sanction for the settlement of trade disputes, for the prevention of explosions in mines, which have caused the loss of many valuable lives, for amending the Truck Act, for the construction of light railways, for the amendment of the Irish Land Laws, and for facilitating the creation by purchase of a larger class of occupying freeholders in Ireland.

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

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