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for other weighty State objects, I do not need to suggest the raising of a loan, but, on the contrary, an increased contribution to the National Debt Sinking Fund and a further strengthening of the State Cash Balance Fund.
I have watched with satisfaction the rising zeal for the strengthening of our defensive forces which has shown itself in many parts of the country, and I see therein a growing support for my constant endeavours in the same direction.
An Army Organization Bill is being prepared.
Proposals for new Maritime Laws will be laid before you, as also proposals for the encouragement of agriculture and the fishing industry and Bills for Workmen's Accident Insurance and Sick Clubs.
Calling down God's blessing upon you and your work, I pronounce this Parliament open, and ever remain, Gentlemen, with all Royal grace and favour, well disposed towards you.
SPEECH of the Queen Regent of Spain, on the Opening of
the Cortes.-Madrid, March 2, 1891. (Translation.) SENATORS AND DEPUTIES,
This solemn ceremony is a pleasing and consolatory one for me, as meeting the representatives of the nation collected round the throne mitigates the bitter recollections of grief, and affords wellfounded hopes of good fortune.
The free and orderly exercise of the franchise has given clear proof how solid are the constitutional bases on which the general tranquillity and public freedom rest. You will proceed now to verify the results of this first trial of the new electoral system by examining the returns with perfect impartiality.
My Government does not propose to lay before you any restrictions of the political and juridical reforms which were carried out during the first years of the Regency, and which constitute a legal status worthy of all respect.
Such an opportunity as now presents itself will allow you to devote your whule attention to the economic administrative and fiscal requirements of the country which my Government is desirous of satisfying, by developing a system of effective protection of all branches of national industry and a continuous policy for balancing the Estimates of the State.
The prevailing peace and tranquillity permit me to realize the sincere wish, which I have always had at heart, to propose to you an
amnesty for the small number of Spaniards who are under indictment for political offences, without restriction except so far as is required by military discipline.
I have the greatest pleasure in announcing to you that the relations of Spain with all other nations in both hemispheres are most friendly; my Government has recognized the Republic of Brazil, and is carrying on cordial negotiatious with France for the settlement of the frontiers of the territories in the Gulf of Guinea.
The bonds which unite us to the Holy See continue to be such as correspond with the Catholic sentiment of our fatherland and with the filial devotion which I feel for the venerable Pontiff who fills tbe See of St. Peter.
The representations which have been made to the Emperor of Morocco with regard to the events which occurred near Melilla, as well as those previous ones which were already being dealt with, have been met in a most satisfactory spirit, and as a proof of friendship towards my august son and of sympathy for the Spanish nation, His Shereefian Majesty has decided to send an Extraordinary Embassy to Madrid, which I shall shortly receive.
The Government of the French Republic having communicated its resolution that the Treaty of Commerce in force should cease on the 1st February, 1892, it becomes necessary to establish the economic relations of Spain with other nations on a new footing, since that Treaty, as you know, was the basis of our mercantile system. My Government bas therefore denounced the Treaties which limited our sovereign rights over the Customs, and they are about to negotiate others, bearing in mind the great interests of production and commerce, and the legitimate aspirations which made themselves heard at the public inquiry recently held.
Important reforms will be brought to your notice wbich are demanded by necessity and public opinion; they relate to the Penal Code, the Organic Law of the Tribunals, the civil and criminal procedure, the legislation respecting penal settlements and the “Registro Civil.”
My Government has likewise already adopted various Resolutious which show their zeal for the general interests of the ariny, and now in the same spirit they have drafted several Bills with the following objects: to organize recruiting and substitution on the basis of compulsory military instruction ; to hasten the completion of the most urgent works for the defence of our coasts and frontiers; to ameliorate the material conditions of our officers without imposing any new charges on the Public Exchequer; to correct the inequalities wbich exist in the ancient legislation of Montepio ; to put on a proper footing the service of the annual maneuvres ; tioally, to establish a division of zones which may serve as mobilizing centres for
the territorial militia, a scheme which has often been tried, but never yet brought to a satisfactory termination.
From a similar spirit of solicitude for the welfare of the navy the following measures have been adopted : a Pension Fund for invalids belonging to trades connected with ship-building; the introduction in the dockyards of piece-work; the formation of the departments into three divisions so as to be in keeping with the requirements of modern naval warfare; the reorganization of the corps of machinists; and, finally, the publication of the regulations for the mobilization of the fleet. To complete these administrative dispositions a Bill will be drafted to reform, without further charges, the scale of pay on active service of the general body of the navy, inaugurating at the same time a reserve so that the officers may
fill the superior posts at an age which may be in keeping with the fatigues and hardships which are incurred in a life at sea.
The Public Treasury will demand your special attention. It is above ail necessary to meet the deficit in the Estimates by maintaining a firm control over the increase in expenditure, economizing in those branches where it may be possible, and increasing the revenue, with the consideration due to tax-payers who are already heavily burdened.
As the extraordinary expenses connected with the construction of the fleet have been covered for a period of three years with the resources, which were provided for two only, it will not be necessary to provide new means for continuing the work undertaken.
The amount of the floating debt and that also of the Treasury bills which have accumulated in these last years require, in view of the amount, a consolidation at a more or less immediate date, and on the other hand it will be necessary to improve the conditions of the present paper issue firmly based on the credit of the Bank of Spain.
The State accounts call for modification, which are already prepared, and which meet with almost general approval.
At the same time, proposals will be laid before you for a partial reform of the Municipal and Provincial Laws, not as regards their original conception and political bearing, but in those points which experience recommends.
It is necessary to render them more easy of execution, so as to allow of greater freedom to those towns which are capable of administering their own affairs in an orderly manner. It is also necessary to establish prompt measures for the reform of financial responsibility and the correction of irregularity in the accounts, at the same time improving the condition of municipal functionaries.
Whatever affects the interests of the working classes is a matter of deep concern to me. It is one of prime importance for the [1890-91. LXXXII.]
consideration of all Legislatures and Governments, and mine will persevere in the work already undertaken, and will act as far as possible in concert with the Commission which is occupied in the study of this question.
With a view to the joint promotion of both the moral and the material interests of the country, my Government will also lay before you Bills relating to public instruction, to water supply, to mines, to railways, and to industrial property.
The first part of the credit operation authorized by the Cuban Budget Act having been effected with brilliant results, nothing else bas occurred in our Colonial possessions of which I need speak to you. The natural apprehension excited by the last Tariff Law of the United States is being gradually removed, and if, as I hope, the negotiations set on foot with that nation should lead at no distant date to a Convention with it, confidence will be restored, and our Antilles will have a renewed impulse in persevering to revive their prosperity.
As regards the political order of things, a Bill for the election of Members of the Cortes for the Islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico will be duly submitted to you.
The aggressions of the blacks of Mindanao and the rebellion of some indigenous tribes of Ponape having been successfully dealt with, our possessions in the Oceanic Archipelago enjoy the blessings of peace, and those in the Philippines in particular are developing their great natural resources.
Deputies and Senators,
The great and arduous task of economic reorganization and of furthering general progress which is intrusted to you requires efforts on your part during a Parliamentary Session which will, I hope, be fruitful in beneficial measures for the country. God's help should not be wanting to aid us in so patriotic a duty, and that we may deserve it, let our purposes and our actions be animated by the spirit of concord and by the high-mindedness which the Spanish nation has always known how to exhibit in its days of difficulty as in the most glorious ones of its history.
SPEECH of the Queen-Regent of the Netherlands, on the
Opening of the States-General.-The Hague, September 15,
1891. Translation.) MESSIEURS,
Je vois, avec reconnaissance, réunis autour de moi les ÉtatsGénéraux, prêts à reprendre leurs travaux.
L'état général du pays et de la nation peut être considéré comme satisfaisant sous beaucoup de rapports.
Les relations avec toutes les Puissances étrangères sont des plus amicales.
La flotte et l'armée continuent à remplir leur devoir d'une manière digne de tout éloge. L'une et l'autre, particulièrement là où le blocus de la côte d'Atchin exige de la flotte des efforts plus qu'ordinaires, ont prouvé être à la hauteur de leur tâche.
Les finances de l'État devront être renforcées pour faire face à des dépenses arrêtées précédemment.
Le commerce et la navigation se développent, les résultats de l'industrie ne sont point défavorables, la récolte a souffert du mauvais temps, mais l'état du bétail est satisfaisant.
A l'occasion des dernières élections il a derechef été clairement démontré qu'il est désirable de procéder avec ordre et sans plus de retard aux réformes législatives et administratives, dont la nécessité est reconnue et auxquelles la révision de la loi fondamentale a ouvert le chemin. C'est vers ce
but tendront mes efforts. Un Projet de Loi réglant le droit électoral-condition nécessaire à une amélioration constante-est en voie de préparation.
La révision des Lois Provinciales et Communales devra suivre. En attendant des mesures provisoires pourront être prises pour venir en aide aux communes dont les charges sont trop lourdes.
L'amélioration du système des impôts de l'État constitue une nécessité pressante au point de vue de l'équité. Des projets de loi tendant à y remédier vous atteindront prochainement.
Des projets tendant à organiser l'armée et à régler les forces militaires de manière à assurer la défense du pays, sans exiger de trop grands sacrifices personnels et pécuniaires, sont en voie de préparation. En attendant un projet vous sera présenté tendant à renforcer la milice nationale.
Le matériel de la marine exige des améliorations. Des mesures sont à l'étude pour y subvenir.
L'organisation légale de la justice administrative sera élaborée avec soin.