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BRITISH AND FOREIGN

State Papers.

SPEECH of the Queen, on the Opening of the British Parlia

ment.-Westminster, February 7, 1899.

My Lords and Gentlemen,

My relations with other Powers continue to be friendly.

The expedition against the Dervishes, conducted with brilliant ability by Sir Herbert Kitchener and the officers serving under him, has resulted in the fall of Omdurman, and the complete subjugation of the territories which had been brought under the dominion of the Khalifa. I am proud to acknowledge the distinguished bravery and conduct of the British and Egyptian troops who have won this victory. My officers are engaged, in conjunction with those of His Highness the Khedive, in the establishment of order in the conquered provinces.

The Powers who have been in the occupation of Crete have delegated the authority necessary for the government of the island to His Royal Highness Prince George of Greece. The restoration of peace and order resulting from the establishment of His Royal Highness' Government has been gladly welcomed by the Cretans of both religions.

His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Russia has summoned a Conference to consider the possibility of limiting the vast armaments which impose so heavy a burden on every nation. I have gladly signified my willingness to take part in its deliberations.

A profound impression has been created by the appalling crime which has robbed the people of Austria-Hungary of their beloved Empress. A Conference, at which my Delegates were present, was summoned at Rome to consider the dangers of the Anarchist conspiracy. Though I was not able to concur in all the resolutions proposed at the Conference, some amendments in the present laws of the realm upon this subject appear to be required, and will be submitted for your consideration. [1898–99. XI.]

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Some of my West Indian Colonies have been visited by a hurricane of extraordinary violence, causing loss of life and great destruction of houses and other property. The consequent distress of the poorer inhabitants was promptly relieved as far as possible by the strenuous exertions of the local authorities, aided by contributions of money from other colonies and from the United Kingdom.

I have learned with great satisfaction that the Parliament of the Cape of Good Hope has recognized the principle of a common responsibility for the naval defence of my Empire by providing for a permanent annual contribution towards that object. In parts of my Indian Empire, I grieve to say, the plague still

Ι continues; and though it has diminished in some districts previously affected, it has spread to fresh places in Southern and Northern India. Unremitting efforts continue to be made to relieve sufferers from the disease, to check its spread in India, and to prevent its transmission to other lands. I am glad to be able to inform you that the harvests of the past year have been abundant, and that the trade and revenue of the country bave recovered with a rapidity and completeness that has surpassed all expectation.

Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

The Estimates for the service of the ensuing year will be laid before you. They have been framed with the utmost economy that the circumstances of the present time permit.

My Lords and Gentlemen,

A Bill for more fully organizing the government of the Metropolis will be commended to your careful consideration.

A measure for the establishment of a Board for the administration of primary, secondary, and technical education in England and Wales will again be laid before you.

You have already partially considered provisions for simplifying the process of private legislation for Scotland. They will be again brought before you.

A measure will be submitted to you for enabling local authorities to assist the occupiers of small dwellings in the purchase of their houses.

Bills will also be introduced for encouraging agriculture and technical instruction in Ireland, and for the relief of the tithe rentcharge payer in that country; for providing a more complete distribution of water supply in cases of emergency in the Metropolis ; for the regulation of Limited Companies; for the prevention of the adulteration of articles of food; for controlling the contracts of money-lenders; for amending the Factory Acts in certain respects ; and for amending the law in respect to agricultural holdings.

I pray that Almighty God may have you in his keeping, and guide your deliberations for the good of my people.

SPEECH of the Queen, on the Closing of the British Parlia

ment.- Westminster, August 9, 1899.

My Lords and Gentlemen,

My relations with other Powers continue to be friendly.

The Conference summoned by the Emperor of Russia to consider measures for promoting the maintenance of peace has completed its sittings. Although the result of its deliberations has not fully corresponded with the lofty aims which it was summoned to accomplish, it has met with a considerable measure of success. The institution of a permanent Tribunal of Arbitration cannot fail to diminish the frequency of war, while the extension of the Geneva Convention will mitigate its horrors.

I have concluded a Convention with the President of the French Republic, by wbich the spheres of influence of the two Powers over a large portion of Northern Africa have been determined. Such an agreement had become necessary, especially in respect to the Valley of the Nile, in consequence of the successful operations of the Anglo-Egyptian army during last autumn. I have concluded an Agreement with the Emperor of Russia for regulating the condi. tions under which either Government will encourage the development of railway enterprise by its own subjects in China.

I have received a Petition from a considerable number of my subjects residing in the South African Republic praying for my assistance to obtain the removal of grievances and disabilities of which they complain. The position of my subjects in the South African Republic is inconsistent with the promises of equal treatment on which my grant of internal independence to that Republic was founded, and the unrest caused thereby is a constant source of danger to the peace and prosperity of my dominions in South Africa. Negotiations on this subject with the Government of the South African Republic have been entered into and are still proceeding.

From my Indian Empire I have continued to receive satisfactory reports of the rapid recovery of agriculture and trade from the depression caused by the late famine ; but during the last few weeks the rainfall has been insufficient over a portion of Western

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and Central India, and fears are entertained as to the prospects of the harvests in those regions. My officers are carefully watching the situation, and timely precautions to meet any scarcity, should it occur, will be adopted. I regret to add that the plague, though still confined to the areas affected last winter, shows no sign of abatement.

Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

I thank you for the liberality with which you have provided for the naval and military defence of my Empire.

My Lords and Gentlemen,

The formal inclusion within my Empire of the territories occupied by the Royal Niger Company will facilitate the good administration of that region and the effective defence of its frontier.

I have had great satisfaction in giving my assent to a Bill for completing the organization of Municipal Government in London. I do not doubt that the inhabitants of the various portions of this Metropolis will derive from it the benefits which similar institutions have conferred upon other cities and towns in this country.

I have also gladly sanctioned Bills for the simplification of private legislation in Scotland; for the encouragement of agricultural and technical education in Ireland; for the better distribution of the supply of water in the Metropolis ; for the removal of an injustice in regard to the incidence of rates under which the beneficed owners of tithe rent-charge have too long suffered ; and for securing the purity of certain articles of food and drugs.

I trust that the Bill which you have passed for consolidating the Educational Departments, and extending their powers, will tend to the improvement and completion of our educational system.

The measures you have passed for facilitating the acquisition of the ownership of small houses by those who occupy them will be of considerable advantage to the working-classes in many parts of the country.

I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may attend upon the fruit of your labours for the benefit of my people.

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