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State Papers.

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

ment.- Westminster, August 5, 1891.

My Lords and Gentlemen,

I am glad to be able to release you from the labours of a protracted Session.

My relations with all other Powers continue to be those of peace and amity.

A Convention has been concluded with the King of Portugal, and has been ratified, defining the boundaries which separate the dominions and the spheres of influence of the two Crowns in Eastern Africa. I have also entered into an Agreement with the King of Italy, by which the line has been fixed which separates the Protectorate of Italy in the north-east of Africa from the British sphere of influence, and from the territory of Egypt.

I have made proposals to the President of the United States for submission to arbitration of the difference between us as to the seal fishery in Behring Sea. The negotiations are far advanced, but they are not yet concluded. A suspension of the seal fishery in those waters for the present year has intermediately been agreed to between the two Governments, in order to prevent an excessive destruction of the species which there is reason to apprehend.

The French Chambers have not yet approved of an Agreement between myself and the French Republic for reference to arbitration of certain differences with respect to Newfoundland which was signed during the present year.

The ratification of the Final Act of the Brussels Conference for the repression of the Slave Trade bas also been postponed, and also the ratitication of the North Sea Convention for the prevention of the sale of spirits at sea. Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

I thank you for the provision you have made for the charge of the public service. I am glad that you have been able to devote a (1890-91. LXXXIII.]


considerable sum to the mitigation of the burden which the Law of Compulsory Education has imposed upon the poorer portion of my people.

My Lords and Gentlemen,

The various measures which you have adopted in recent years for securing the observance of the law in Ireland, and improving the general condition of that country, have resulted in a marked abatement of agrarian offences, and a considerable advance in prosperity. The steps which have been taken to cope with the distress, threatened by the serious failure of the potato crop in the poorest districts of the west of Ireland have proved effectual in averting the great calamity of famine. You have also passed a beneficent measure for dealing permanently with the congested districts of Ireland, which, it may be hoped, will, by fostering agriculture and stimulating the fisting industry, contribute largely to the prevention of similar dangers in the future.

The provisions for enabling occupying tenants to purchase their holdings, and the measure for facilitating the transfer of real property, in Ireland, will furnish the best guarantee for public security and order by increasing the class of small proprietors of land.

The Act which you have passed for imposing on the owners of laud a direct liability for the payment of tithe rent-charge will remove a frequent cause of conflict between the occupiers and the tithe-owners, and will also afford relief to the tithe-payers in those cases in which it is most urgently required.

In response to the growing demands of commerce and agriculture, you have completed an important part of the work of simplifying and adjusting railway rates, the results of which will doubtless justify the heavy labour which it has involved.

The measures which you have passed for improving the law with respect to factories and workshops, savings banks, and public health will, I am confident, conduce to the comfort and well-being of my people.

I trust that in a future Session you may be able to examine several questions of interest to which I have drawn your attention, but which the time at your disposal has not permitted you to approach.

I pray that, in the discharge of your various duties throughout my kingdom, you may be attended by the guidance and protection of Almighty God.

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