HL Deb 11 August 1905 vol 151 cc990-3

And afterwards His Majesty's Most Gracious Speech was delivered to both Houses of Parliament by the Lord High Chancellor (in pursuance of His Majesty's Command) as followeth:— My Lords, and Gentlemen

"My relations with other Powers continue to be friendly. It gave Me great satisfaction to receive the King of Spain as My guest. His Majesty's stay in England will, I feel sure, serve to strengthen the cordial relations which have for so long subsisted between this country and the Spanish people.

"Negotiations, due to the initiative of the President of the United States, are about to be entered into between the Russian and Japanese Governments for the purpose of terminating the deplorable conflict still proceeding in the Far East. It is My earnest hope that they may lead to a lasting and mutually honourable peace.

"The Powers Signatories of the Madrid Convention of 1880 have been invited by the Sultan of Morocco to take part in a Conference for the purpose of considering the best means of introducing much-needed reforms into that country. The bases of such a Conference are under consideration.

"The dissolution of the Union between Sweden and Norway is apparently imminent. I am confident that by the exercise of wise moderation on each side a settlement will be arrived at acceptable to both countries, and of such a nature as to enable My Government to maintain with the people of the Scandinavian Peninsula the same friendly relations which have prevailed in the past.

"The condition of affairs in Macedonia and in Crete still gives cause for considerable anxiety, and continues to engage the attention of My Government and those of the other Powers concerned.

"The King of Italy has delivered his Award in regard to the frontier between the possessions of Portugal in South-West Africa and the territory of the Barotse Kingdom, and a settlement of this difficult question has thus been effected.

"I gladly accepted the invitation of His Majesty the King of Italy to send Delegates to the Conference called under his auspices to consider the question of establishing an International Institute for the collection and exchange of information bearing upon agriculture. I cordially hope that the outcome of the Conference will be of service to agriculturists both at home and abroad.

"My Government has received from the Dominion of Canada a most patriotic offer to assume the entire administrative and financial responsibility for the defence of Halifax and Esquimalt, and that offer has been cordially accepted. The transfer of control will take place at an early date under arrangements in regard to which My Government have been fortunate enough to obtain the fullest and most appreciative co-operation of the Dominion Government.

"In accordance with the expectation held out at the opening of this session, I have granted to the Transvaal representative institutions, which will be brought into operation as soon as the measures necessary for holding elections can be completed. I trust that all sections of the community will unite in exercising the large measure of political power thus conferred upon them for the advancement and welfare of the Colony.

"I have concluded a Treaty with His Highness the Ameer of Afghanistan continuing the engagements which existed with the late Ameer, and which, during his lifetime, secured friendly relations between My Government in India and His Highness' Government.

"The text of the Agreement has been laid before you. 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 assent with much pleasure to measures for renewing the legislation which lightens the local burdens which press upon the agricultural population, and for the mitigation of the evils which have arisen out of alien immigration into the United Kingdom.

"I have gladly sanctioned a temporary Act for the establishment of authorities to deal with the question of the unemployed. I trust that the Commission which I have approved to investigate the operation of the existing Poor Law will materially assist the deliberations of a future Parliament in its examination of this difficult problem.

"A Bill dealing with the Ecclesiastical difficulties in Scotland has been passed into law. I hope that its results may not only put an end to a serious controversy between two Presbyterian Churches in that country, but may ultimately conduce to the closest and most harmonious co-operation between all religious bodies who accept Presbyterian doctrine and discipline.

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

Then a Commission for proroguing the Parliament was read.

After which the Lord Chancellor said: "My Lords, and Gentlemen

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