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OPENING OF PARLIAMENT THE KING'S SPEECH. INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION RUSSIA AND JAPAN. DOMESTIC LEGISLATION. IMPORTANT PROPOSALS. London, Tuesday. The competition to be first at St. Stephen's for the opening of Parliament to-day was keener than usual a circumstance which may perhaps be attributed to the prospect of a lively session. Mr. Macdona arrived at 11.30 last night, and by 1 o clock this morning a number had put in an appearance. By 9 o'clock members were dropping in every few minutes and preparations had been made for the customary searching of the vaults. Notwithstanding the inclement weather, rain falling in torrents, a large number of people assembled along the line of route from Buckingham Palace to Westminster to wit- ness the picturesque State procession for the opening of Parliament. The Royal procession left Buckingham Palace at 1.28. As their Majesties passed through the centre gates the Guards pre- sented arms. The National Anthem was played all along the Mall to the Horse Guards and White- hall. Then- Majesties, who were accorded an enthusiastic reception, reached the House of Lords at 1-50. It was still raining heavily. The King's speech was as follows :— My LORDS AND GENTLEMEN,— Iv relations with Foreign Powers continuo to be of a satisfactory character. My Government has concluded with that of the French Republic an agreement which will, I trust, do much to promote the recourse to arbi- tration in cases of International dispute. Apart from its intrinsio value the agreement affords a happy illustration of the friendly feelings prevail- ing between the two countries, of which striking proofs were given during my visit to France, and that. of the President of the Frenoh Republic to Great Britain, of which further evidence has been furnished by a recent exchange of International courtesies. Similar agreements are in process of negotiation with the Governments of Italy and the Nether- lands. An agreement has been concluded between my Government and that of Portugal for the sc-trlo- ment by arbitration of the frontier-line between possessions of Portugal in South-west Africa. and the territory of the Barotse kingdom. His; Majesty the King of Italy has been pleased to ao- cept the office of arbitrator The tribunal appointed under the Convention concluded on the 3rd March last, between my Government and that of the United States, has given a decision on the points referred to it. On some of these the verdict has been favourable to British claims; on others it has been adverse. Much as this last circumstance is to be deplored, it must nevertheless be a matter of congratula- tion that the misunderstandings in which anoient boundary treaties, made in ignorance of geogra- phical facts, are so fertile, have in this case been finally removed from the field of controversy. The military operations in Somalilanci are being pushed forward as rapidly as difficulties of climate and transport will permit. The successes recently obtained by my troops under General F.garton will materially contribute to the destruction of the Mullah's power, and the consequent pacification of the country. I have received cordial oo-opera- tion from the Italian Government and from the Emperor Menelik of Abyssinia, who has organised a force, wtlich, by advancing from the west, will, it. is hoped, materially assist the movements now in progress. I have watched with concern the course of the negotiations between the Governments of Japan and Russia in regard to their respectiv€> interests in China and Korea. A disturbance of the peace ui Ehose. regions could not but have deplorable consequences. Any assistance which my Govern- ment can usefully render towards the promotion of a pacific solution will be gladly afforded. Te. soheme of Macedonia reforms, proposed in I February last by the Russian and Austrc-Hun- garian Governments, with the c-oncurre.nce cf the other Powers, signatories of the treaty of Berlin, has been improved and strengthened in .several important particulars. The revised schema has been concurred in by the other Powers and ao- cepted after a regrettable delay by the Porte. The winter has brought a cessation in the dis- turbances which prevailed throughout Mace- donia during the greater part of last year, and it Is. to be earnestly hoped that advantage will be taken of this respite is order to carry out those practical measures of amelioration which are so sorely needed in these unhappy regions. Among these moo,su-res the reorganisation of the Mace- donian Gendarmerie deserves a prominent place. I note with satisfaction that his Majesty the Sul- tan has appointed a distinguished General officer of the Italian Army to take charge of this reform. He is to be assisted in the discharge of this task by other officers appointed by the Powers, and I have authorised the employment of a staff officer of my Army, aided by other British officers, for this purpose. I am gratified to observe that the legislatures of the Commonwealth of Australia and the Colony of New Zealand have passed laws giving effect to the Naval agreements entered into at the Colonial Conference of 1902, under which they assume a larger share- than heretofore in the general soheme of Imperial defence. The Now Zealand legislature has alsc sanctioned a tariff whioh. gives a preference in it, market.? to the produce of this country. The insufficiency of the supply of the raw material upon which the great cotton industry of this country depends has inspired me with deep concern. I trust that tne efforts which are being made in various parts of my Empire to increase the area under cultivation may be attended with a very large measure of success With the concurrence of the Chinese Govern- ment. a political mission has entered Thibetan territory in order to secure the due observance of the Convention of 1890 relating to Sikkim and Thibet. A Chinese official has been despatched from Peking- to meet it, and I trust that an ar- rangement may be arrived at with the Chinese and Thibetan authorities which will peacefully remove a constant source of difficulty and friction on the Northern frontier of my Indian Empire, Papers on the subject will be laid before you. GENTLEMEN OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS The estimates for the year will be laid before you. Although they have been framed with the utmost desire for economy, the burden imposed on the resources of the country by the necessities of naval and military defence is undoubtedly serious. The possibility of diminishing this burden is being carefully considered in connection with the general problem of Armv and War nra™ reforms. _u.c My LORDS AND GENTLEMEN,— A measure for the purpose of dealing with the evils consequent on the immigration of criminal i and destitute aliens into the United Kingdom will be laid before you. J A Bill amending the law with respect to licences for the sale of intoxicating liquors in England will be submitted to you. A measure for the amendment of the law with respect to valuation authorities and the prepara- tion of valuation lists will be introduced. A Bill to amend the law relating to education in Scotland has been prepared for your considera- tion. A measure will be introduced to amend the Labourer-' Acti and the Housing of the Working Classes Act in Ireland Proposals will be laid before you for amending the Workmen's Compensation Acts; for amending the law relating to public health: for dealing with the hours of employment in shops: for con- solidating the enactments relating to Naval Prizes of War: for removing, after the termination of the present Parliament, the necessity for re-election in the case of acceptance of office by members of the House of Commons; for supplementing the powers of the Congested District Board in Scotland, and for amending the law relating to sea fisheries. I commend your deliberations to the care and guidance of Almighty God.












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