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OPENING OF PARLIAMENT. |

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OPENING OF PARLIAMENT. THE QUEEN'S SPEECH. Parliament assembled for the Session of 1899 at two o'clock on Tuesday afternoon, when the Queen's Speech was read, with due form and ceremony, as follows: My LORDS AND GENTLEMEN, My relations with other Powers continue to be friendly. The expedition against the dervishes, conducted tvitli brilliant ability by Sir Herbert Kitchener and iJie officers serving under him, has resulted in the fall of Omdurinan, and the complete subjugation of the territories which had been brought under the dominion of the Khalifa. I am proud to ackaow- Jedtre the distinguished bravery and conduct of the iir tisb and Egyptian troops who have won this vic- tory. My officers are engaged, in conjunction with those of his Highness the Khedive, in the establish- ment 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's Government has been gladly w?]f-onied by the Cretans of both religions. iLn 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 delibera- tions. A profound impression has been created by the appalling crime which has robbed the people of Ausiria-Hungary of the beloved Empress. A Con- fen-nce at which my Delegates were present, was smtnoned at Rome to consider the dangers of the Anarchist conspiracy. Though I was not able to concur in all the resolutions proposed at the Con- ference, some amendments in the present laws of the realm upon this subject appear to be required, and will be submitted for your consideration. 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 autho- rities, aided by contributions of money from other colonies and from the United Kingdom. 1 have learned with great satisfaction that the of the Cape of Good Hope has recog- nised the principle of a common responsibility for the naval defence of my Emipire by providing for a permanent annual contribution towards that object. In parts of my Indian Empire, I grieve to say, fhe plague still continues and though it has dimi- nished in some districts previously affected, it has spread to fresh places in Southern and Northern Uiti n. Unremitting efforts continue to be made to rei eve sufferers from the disease, to check its spread in India, and to prevent its transmission to other i lands. I am glad to be able to inform you that the harvests of the past year have been abundant, and {.hat. the trade and revenue of the country have re- dmt the trade and revenue of the country have re- covered 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 ;(' utmost economy that the circumstances of the pri-sent, time permit. 1\1 y LORDS AND GENTLEMEN, Aor more fully organising the government of the Metropolis will be commended to your careful consideration. "I measure for the establishment of a Board for the ndministration of primary, secondary, and tech- 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 io> <d authorities to assist the occupiers of small dwell ngs in the purchase of their houses. UiiJs will also be introduced for encouraging agriculture and technical instruction in Ireland, and for the relief of the tithe-rent-charge payer in that country; for providing a more complete distribution of water supply in cases of emergency in the metro- polis for the regulation of Limited Companies; for the prevention ot the adulteration of articles of food; for controlling the contracts of money-lenders for amending the Factory Act 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. HOUSE OF LORDS.—FsBBUAsr 7. On their lordships' reassembling at four o'clock, after the interval succeeding the formal opening of the session and the reading of the Queen's Speech, there was a good attendau-fle of., peers, while the space in front of the Throne as well as the galleries allotted to peeresses, Ambassadors, and other privileged strangers were filled with spectators. Lord Glanusk, Lord Brampton, Lord Cranworth, and the Bishop of Bath and Wells took the oath and their seats on their elevation to the peerage. Lord Aberdeen, who had not previously attendad in his place during the present Parliament, also took the oath and subscribed the roll. The Address in reply to her Majesty's gracious Speech from the Throne having been duly moved and seconded. T nrd Kimherley, with reference to the paragraph in ile Speech concerning our friendly relations with other countries, said it was, no doubt, true that during the last few months there was an occasion when there was a danger of our being plunged into war. He did no, think it necessary or desirable to refer to the circumstances which led up to that situa- tion, hut, no one who had any regard for this country could fail to note with the utmost satisfaction that that (liillculty with our nearest neighbour had been satisfactorily settled. We had seen in France, among those responsible for the government, a temper and a lone which were beyond all, praise; and he aea-iwl that no man in this country could fad des re that we should have the friendly .iu: :1 (•««•ial relations immediate neigh- bour. With regard to the campaign in the Soudan, the services rendered by Lord Kitchener, Lord Cromer and the "np:t.i§h, Egyptian, and Sou^-nese troops had bee:iversally and justly praised on every platform in country by men of all opinions and of an put lie was somewhat perplexed, however, in respect to our position in the Soudan, because the Prime Minister, in one of his speeches, said the expedition had resulted in the complete subjugation of all the territories which had been brought under the dominion of the Khalifa. It was news to him that all those territories bad been completely subjugated in the strict sense of the word. He next drew attention to the manner in which it was announced that the Soudan had been taken possession of by the Queen and the Khedive. He was not attempting to censure that announcement in any way, though it must be a very serious thing indeed to announce that the Soudan had not only been again placed under the Khedive of Egypt with the aid and the alliance of her Majesty, but that it had been p! cd under the Queen herself. Such an announce- ment must he fraught with very far-reaching con- --eij ieiiCes. as it could only mean that we had practi- cal !y made the Soudan a portion of the Queen's ICmpsre.' He wished to know whether he was correct ;illIt I)at we had assumed the responsibility for the aoveriuiient of the Sotidan. With regard to the Peace ( on erenoe, although the present time might iio; I", very favourable for the framing of a practical — vei indirectly the Czar's proposal was not .iii-Ik ;v <. have a considerable effect'on Europe. He* ntuiSd k,. no comments on the situation in Ohinajbut he urged the Government to give them full information i,- i,i t he j.r-sent condition of affairs, and he also ed Tor nome information with respect to what had ,pd in the an "agreement with Adveri..ig to Crete, the noble lord "ervett that the conclusion of that most thorny Ion must, be a great relief to every Power in and her Majesty's Government might becon- gi1-.ii ulaied on having at last terminated the contro- versy. Nevertheless, he did not think the Powers of Europe had played an altogether creditable part in this business, for if the Turkish troops had been more promptly removed from the island a settlement might have been effected long ago. The action of the Cape of Good Hope with regard to the navy was a most auspicious event in our colonial history, and he hailed with joy the announcement of the pro- bable federation of the Australian colonies. After a brief allusion to the affairs of India, the noble lord concluded by saying that the social reforms indicated in the Queen's Speech were very good measures, although they might not be of a very heroic kind. Lord Salisbury remarked that. as the noble lord could not iiiid anything to say against the domestic part of the Speech, he could not be expected to do so. The others matters referred to were of considerable importance, and it was difficult for him to deal with them. Indeed, he often wished he could give noble lords opposite all the information they desiredato have. Lord Kimberley had noticed the use of the word subjugation." That appeared to him to be a hypercritical comment. He might have substi- tuted the word "conquered," but he used the word" subjugation" in the ordinary sense. We held the dominions of the Khalifa by two titles. We held them as forming part of the possessions of Egypt, but we also held them by the more simple, less complicated, and much better understood title of conquest. The noble lord asked whether we re- cognised the position of any other Power. His reply 11 was that we relied upon the title of conquest. He entertained grave doubts as to whether the Soudan was at any time a portion of the Ottoman do- minions. Whether this were so or not. the Soudan had been conquered by the Khalifa, for it had been occupied for 13 years. It was not until we inter- vened that the reconquest was attained. That the result of that action of the Egyptian and the Ily British Army should be simply to revive the claims and titles which events had swept: away on behalf of those who took no part in oc action was a claim which could not be sustained by historical precedent or by international law. Tl'ie noble lord had shown that we possessed unusual facilities for carrying out the complete restoration of law and order and the complete establishment of government by her Majesty and the Khedive in the construction of the railway that was so marvellously effected by Lord Kitchener. He hoped that the construction of another railway, coming up from the South, would contribute to the ultimate establishment of the state of things which they desired to see restored. He saw nothing in the task he had undertaken to fill us with anything approaching to apprehension. Passing to another topic he said the agreement or communications which passed between Germany and Great Britain had been of a character favourable to the friend- ship of those two great nations, to the rights of all concerned, and to the peace of the world but he did not think he should be doing his duty if he were to give further details of stipulations which, for the time at least, required no action on the part of Great Britain. As to our future policy in China, he might point out that we had to deal there, as else- where, with a Government which was a "going con- cern," and we had only to take care that the treaties which had been concluded with us were fairly carried out, and that the interests of our nation were duly regarded, and that nothing was done either by China or by other nations which could compromise the rights to which he had referred. The idea that we had any policy which contemplated any acquisition of territory or any dismemberment of any empires in the East. was an absurd assumption. He believed it would be found that during the present year the advantages we had gained in China were not only greater than had been gained in a similar time before, but were also greater than had fallen to the lot of any other country. With that we must be satisfied. Passing then to the question of Crete, lie said the settlement was very satis- factory, and he bad every reason for believing that Prince George would reconcile in common allegiance to his power both the Christian and the Moslem inhabitants. The noble lord opposite appeared to think that when the six Powers of Europe were concerned they ought to go six times as fast as any single nation. He entirely concurred.with the noble lord in receiving with great satisfaction the assurance that the federation of the Australian colonies was likely to be carried out. Referring to the invitation of the Emperor of Russia, he thought everybody must heartily wish that the anticipated result would be realised, but further than this he did not think it was safe to go. He should himself be satisfied if the results of the conference were-first, an extension of the use and principle of arbitration, and, secondly, a diminution of the horrors of war when it was waged. We must, however, follow the example of other nations, and while these efforts for peace were being prosecuted we must be prepared for war. He did not believe that war was imminent, and in his opinion the danger of it was not so great as it had been during the period which separated them from the time when their lordships were last assembled. After a few words from Lord Stanmore, the Address was agreed to, and their lordships ad- journed. HOUSE OF COMMONS. In the House of Commons, at the evening sitting, the earlier one having been purely formal, Mr. Jatnes Lowther moved to amend the sessional order, declaring it to be an infringement of the privi- leges of Parliament for a peer of the realm to con- cern himself in any election. Sir W. Lawson seconded the amendment. Mr, Balfour failed to see that any adequate object would be gained by agreeing to the somewhat revolu- tionary proposal of his right hon. friend. If the House should refuse to pass the order its action would be regarded by all concerned as a deliberate expression of the view that Chamber no longer objected to th<Tinterference of peers in eleetions. A division was taken, and, the amendment having been rejected by 359 to 90, the order was agreed to. Mr. Balfour and other ministers gave notice of the early introduction in the House of Commons of several Government bills, and then, The Address in reply to the Queen's Speech was moved and seconded, whereupon Sir H. Campbell- Bannerman, who rose amid cheers, claimed that in the position in which he stood he deserved the in- dulgence of the House no less than the two hon. members opposite to whom it had been accorded. There was one event, he said, which stood out pro- minently among the incidents of the past year- namely, the Czar's rescript, which had been received most cordially by the British people, but to which the Government had not responded with the alacrity that one would have expected them to show. No one could fail to see how enormous were the diffi- culties in the way of the fulfilment of the Czar's desire, but that was no reason for despair or even discouragement. Referring to our relations with France, he declared that this nation had every desire to live with that country on terms of complete amity and mutual sympathy, and that he should regard the growth of a suspicious feeling between the two countries as a great calamity. If there ever had been any danger of serious disagreement it was due to a comparatively small number of noisy and reckless men. It was with sincere satisfaction that he noted the great improvement in our relations with France since the Fashoda incident, and he urged that the fullest advantage should be taken of the present opportunity to remove any outstanding element of disturbance between France and ourselves in any part of the globe. The demonstration of British unanimity which astounded the world a few months ago was not a demonstration against France, but a Erotest against the manner in which the Government ad for two or three years conducted our foreign relations. The country rallied to the Government to show that it would be supported when it acted rightly. Mentioning Germany next, the right hon. gentleman said that there had been rumours of a new understanding with that country, and asked for information on the subject. He also wished to know what progress had been made towards establish- ing a good understanding with Russia, which he believed to be the key to the situation in the Far East. Turning to Egypt, he asked what arrange- ments were going to be made for the control of the reconquered territory, and whether it was to be garrisoned in future years by native or British troops. If by the latter, we might be under- taking a responsibility which it would be most difficult to discharge. With regard to <3hina, information was also awaited, and lie supposed that the Government would Jay immediately papers upon the table, and hoped that they would disclose some consistent policy. Mentioning what he called the strange pilgrimage of Lord C. Beresford, he asked whet her the noble lord had gone to China as an emissary of the Government. Turning to the legislative plans of the Government, he explained that, if the London Government Bill was likely to facilitate the work and sustain the power of the London County Council the Opposition would give it their assistance; but they would oppose it strenuously if the measure was calculated to under- mine the authority of the Council. He expressed surprise that there was no promise of legislation dealing with the subject of over-crowded and insani- tary dwellings, and that a more prominent place in the Ministerial programme was not given to the question of agricultural holdings. That no mention was made of old-age pensions he considered almost scandalous, remembering, as he did, the promises chat were made by the Unionists at the general election. Mr. Balfour, replying first to the latter part of the right hon. gentleman's speech, reminded him that Bills were not necessarily mentioned in the Queen's Speech in the order in which they would be brought forward. With regard to the Question of the aged poor he admitted that, if this Parliament were to come to an end before it had been dealt with in some manner, the Government wodd be open to criticism. Replying to the observations of the leader of the Opposition with respect to the Czar's rescript he assured him that no time was lost before a reply was sent to Russia, couched in language of the warmest sym- pathy. He could conceive no reason why the peace between France and England-countries bound together in I ds of ever-increasing strength by commercial relations and propinquity—should not be maintained permanently. He believed that any Government, must realise the great inconvenience of outstanding questions, and must wish to see every such question between France and England brought to a speedy settlement. He quite agreed with the right hon. gentleman that it was desirable to reduce to the narrowest limits the number of our soldiers servinl, bevond these shores find in unsuitable climates, but nothing had come to his knowledge showing that a very great number of white troops would be required in the Soudan. Defending the policy of the Government respecting <"re!e he clahntJ& that although mistakes might have been committed, the broad lines of policy pursued had proved to be the right lines. The best way to judge a policy was b^ looking back upon it as a whole and not by criticising it hour by hour and day by day. Then in China, our progress had been constant and steady during the last year, and our relations with foreign Powers in the Far Easf were more satisfactory than formerly, and there was much less mutual suspicion. He saw no reason to doubt that the policy of the open door would be successfully maintained, and that we should have our full share of those concessions upon which so much stress had been put. In fact, he feared that the development of the concessions obtained in China might lax severely the financial resources of this country. He assured the right hon. gentle- man that Lord C. Beresford had not gone to China as a representative of the Government, but on a purely commercial mission. While upon the subject of foreign affairs he took the opportunity to announce that in future the Under-Secretary would decline to answer questions in that House without notice. This change in the practice was not made with a view to diminishing the amount of information supplied by the Govern- ment; it was necessary in order to obviate possible diplomatic misunderstandings. In conclusion, he pointed out that, whilst the Government had not glutted the Queen's Speech with new measures, its contents would supply ample occupation for a useful session. In connection with their foreign policy the Government bad nothing to do but to congratulate the country upon its international relations. HOUSE OF COMMONS.—FKBKUARY 8. The debate on the Address was resumed by Sir E. Aahmead-Bartlett, who proposed an amendment arging the Government to take early and effective measures to assist the Chinese Government in main- taining the territorial independence of the Chinese Empire, and especially of the province of Man- churia, in accordance with the resolution accepted by the Government in March, 1898. The policy advocated in that motion was, he maintained, the only possible policy for a commercial people to pursue. Mr. Joseph Walton charged the Government with having submitted to a series of humiliating diplo- matic defeats injurious to British commercial inte- rests in China. He admitted that latterly they had striven more consistently to uphold our interests in China, but as the result of their previous weakness and vacillation the position to-day in the Far East was not satisfactory. The hon. member having intimated that he did not wish to second the amend- ment, Mr. Beckett said that he would do so in order that the debate might continue, although to many of the views expressed by the hon. member for the Ecclesall Division he could not subscribe. Mr. Brodrick denied that the Government were bound to agree to this amendment because they had agreed to the resolution passed in March, 1898. The latter, he pointed out, was an academic resolution merely, whereas the pro- posal now before the House would bind the Government to guarantee the integrity of the Chinese Empire against all Powers. The Govern- ment recognised the absolute necessity of maintaining British interests in China, but did not believe that they would advance those interests by showing jealousy or hostility towards any Power. It must be borne in mind that what British traders had to do now was to maintain in an age of competition what had been acquired in an age of monopoly, and he believed that in the end the development of China could not but profit our trade. He claimed for the Government that they had secured substantial privileges in recent months, citing the undertaking as to the non-alienation of the Yang- tsze Valley and other obligations. The Government recognised the advantages to be gained by surveying the Yang-tsze further than had yet been done with a view to ascertaining whether the navigation of the river could be extended. The opening of Nan-ning and the West river would have an immense effect on trade. With regard to industrial concessions, the Government were anxious to support British capitalists, but all such matters must, of course, be settled finally by the Chinese Government. Every influence that the Government could bring to bear had been used in order to secure that the traders of Great Britain should get a due share of the profits of Chinese developments. Having explained in detail the con- ditions under which various railway concessions had been granted, the right hon. gentleman asserted that the Government had no reason to be dissatisfied with what had been done on behalf of British in- dustry and denied that we had been squeezed" out of our just sphere of interest, as had been alleged. To give the guarantee which the amendment of the hon. member involved might result, in the near future, in our having to undertake to govern China ourselves, and therefore the Govern- ment could not accede to the policy of the amend- ment. But so far no door had been closed to our trade, and as fat as he knew it was not proposed that any door should be closed. In the opinion of the Government it was better to try to come to friendly terms with our competitors in the Far East than to pass resolutions which were likely to provoke anta- gonism. Sir E. Grey, after congratulating the Under-Secre- tary upon his appointment, referred to the acquisi- tion of Wei-hai-wei and asked whether it was ever likely to become a commercial centre. Examining the concessions which had been obtained in China, he remarked that a good many of them were over- valued and characterised the concession as to the non- alienation of the Yang-tsze Valley as a very flimsy one. What was wanted to render concessions in China valuable was an improvement in the admimstration of the country. The commercial possibilities of China were enormous, and when concessions were under consideration it was expedient to remember that ex- tended trade would bring with it increased obliga- tions. He welcomed the repeated declarations of the Government that it was their desire to avoid all terri- torial expansion. It would be a very serious thing if the Governments of Europe interested in the China trade should seek to further their own interests by undertaking territorial responsibilities. He advo- cated an understanding with Russia, believing that it was an error to suppose that that Power contem- plated establishing a protectorate over China. The two countries ought to negotiate with candour and good faith, and thus the recurrence of difficulties which had occurred in the past would be obviated. Touching upon the question of the policy of the open door, he remarked that if accepted by other nations that policy would prove to be the most potent solvent of international rivalries. Mr. Moon and Mr. Provand made some observa- tions, and then the amendment was withdrawn. Mr. S. Smith next moved an amendment express- ing regret that the Speech from the.Throne contained no reference to a subject which was causing great anxiety to many of the Queen's subjects, namely, the Condition of lawlessness now prevailing in many parts of the Church of England. The hon. member declared that many of the clergy, whom he described as sacerdotal," were teaching a form of religion to which the great mass of the people were utterly op- posed, and he argued that if the practices of this section of the clergy were not curbed the foundation of the Establishment would be shaken to pieces. He had not concluded his speech when the hour for the adjournment of the debate was reached.

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