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to inform you that' she has concluded a Commercial Treaty with the King of the Belgians, by which the trade of Her Majesty's subjects in Belgium will be placed, generally, on the footing of the most favoured nation.
"Gentlemen of the House of Commons,—
"Her Majesty commands us to convey to you her warm acknowledgments for the liberal supplies which you have granted for the service of the present year; and Her Majesty thanks you for having also made provision towards placing Her Majesty's Dockyards and Arsenals in a permanent state of defence.
"My Lords and Gentlemen,—
"Her Majesty commands us to express to you the admiration with which she has witnessed the undiminished zeal and the patriotic spirit which continue to animate her Volunteer Forces, as well as the military efficiency which they have attained.
"Her Majesty has observed with satisfaction the kindly intercourse which has subsisted between Her Majesty's subjects and the numerous foreigners who have been attracted this year to the United Kingdom,and HerMajesty trusts that the interchange of mutual courtesies will strengthen the foundations of international friendship and good-will.
"Her Majesty has given her ready assent to an Act for carrying into effect the Treaty which Her Majesty has concluded with the President of the United States for the Suppression of the Slave Trade; and Her Majesty trusts that the co-operation of the United States' navy with her own may
go far to extinguish the desolating crime against which that treaty is directed.
"Her Majesty earnestly hopes that the steps which have been taken forreudering more effectual the aid provided by Parliament for the Extension of Education among the poorer classes of her subjects will tend to promote an object of great national importance.
"Her Majesty has given her willing assent to many measures of public utility which you have submitted to her during this Session.
"The severe distress which prevails in some of the manufacturing districts has inspired Her Majesty with deep concern and warm sympathy, mingled with admiration of the manly bearing and exemplary fortitude with which the pressure has been endured. Her Majesty trusts that the Act for enabling Boards of Guardians to provide Additional Means of Relief will mitigate that distress.
"The Act for rendering moro easy the Transfer of Land will add to the value of real property, will make titles more simple and secure, and will diminish the expense attending purchases and sales.
"The Act for the better Regulation of Parochial Assessments will tend to a more equal distribution of local taxation; while the Act for the better Administration of the Highways will, Her Majesty trusts, improve the means of communication in many parts of the country.
"The Act for Establishing a Uniformity of Weights and Measures in Ireland will apply a remedy to inconveniences which have been much felt and complained of as affecting the trading transactions in that part of the United Kingdom; and the Act for Amending the Law relating to the Poor will extend to the poorer classes of Her Majesty's subjects in Ireland better means of obtaining relief and medical attendance.
"The Act for the better Regulation of Merchant Shipping, Her Majesty trusts, will prove advantageous to the maritime commerce of the country.
"In returning to your several counties you will still have important duties to perform, and Her Majesty fervently prays that the blessing of Almighty God may assist your efforts, and may direct them to the attainment of the object of Her Majesty's constant solicitude—the welfare aud happiness of her people."
Thus terminated a Session which, if it did not produce any very important measures of legislation or constitutional changes, was, nevertheless, by no means inactive or fruitless. The debates exhibited, in an increased
degree, that tendency to a re* taxation of the bonds of party, and disuse of the old political symbols and watchwords which has been observable of late years. In the earlier part of the .Session, indeed, the heavy calamity which had just befallen the Sovereign and the nation produced a disinclination to Parliamentary conflicts, and a loyal desire to render the duties of the Crown as little burdensome as possible. But even after the immediate influence of tins event had ceased, thero seemed little disposition to break the truce of parties throughout the Session, and an absence of passion and excitement marked the proceedings of the two Houses. As a compensation for this calmer atmosphere and the le-.s animated character of the Parliamentary campaign, the Statute Book, which embodied the labours of the Session, contained an unusual bulk of legislative measures, unpretentious, indeed, iu their aspect, but solid and useful in their character.
France—Speech of the Emperor at the opening of the' Chambers— Address of Count de Horny to the Corps Legislatif—Reception of t/ie Papal Nuncio —■ Diplomatic Correspondence on the Roman Question—Delate in the Senate—Speeches of M. de Boiss//, M. 13aroche, 3/. Billault, and Prince Napoleon—Answer of the Emperor to the Address of the Senate—Debate in tlic Corps Legislatif—Speeches of M. Picard, M. BarocJie, M. Jules Facre, and M. Billault—Opposition to the Bill for granting a majorat to General Montauban— fatter from tfte Emperor to the President of the Corps Legislatif on the subject—Conversion of the Four-and-a-IIalf per Cent. Rentes—Report of M. Acliille Fould on the slate of the Finances—Altercation in the Chamber bettceen M. Picard and the President—letter of the Emperor on the Roman Question—Interview bettceen the French Ambassador at Rome and Cardinal Antonelli on the subject—Resignation of HI. Thouvenel, Minister of Foreign Affairs — M. Drouyn de Lhuys appointed his successor—//('* Circular to Diplomatic Agents—Second Report of M. AcJullc Fould on the state of the Finances.
THE Legislative Session of
"The year which has just passed, despite certain anxieties, has seen peace consolidated. All the rumours purposely propagated on imaginary pretences have fallen to the ground of themselves before the simple reality of facts.
"My relations with Foreign Powers give me the fullest satisfaction, and the visits of several Sovereigns have contributed still more to strengthen our bonds
of friendship. The King of Prussia, in coming to France, has been able to judge for himself of our desire to unite ourselves still closer with a Government and with a people who are advancing with a firm and sure step towards progress.
"I have recognized the Kingdom of Italy, with the firm intention of contributing, by sympathetic and disinterested advice, to conciliate two causes the antagonism of which disturbs the public mind and conscience everywhere.
"The civil war which desolates America has seriously compromised our commercial interests. Nevertheless, so long as the rights of neutrals are respected,
we must confine ourselves to the utterance of wishes that these dissensions may soon be terminated.'
"Our establishment in CochinChina has been consolidated by the valour of our soldiers and sailors. The Spaniards associated in our enterprise will find, I hope, in those countries, the reward of their courageous support. The Annamites make a feeble resistance to our power, and we should not be at war with any one if, in Mexico, the proceedings of an unscrupulous Government had not obliged us to join Spain and England in protecting our fellow-countrymen, and in suppressing attempts against humanity and the rights of nations. Nothing can arise out of this conflict of a nature to shake confidence in the future.
"Free from foreign cares, I have directed my attention more especially to the state of our finances. A candid statement (expose sincere) has placed the real state of affairs before you. I shall only say a few words on the subject. The public expressed astonishment (t'rtt emu) at the sum of 963,000.000/. to which the floating debt has risen; but that debt, if it be henceforth checked, need give no cause for anxiety, for it had already attained that figure before 1618, a period when the revenues of France were far from approaching what they are at the present moment. Moreover, let first be deducted from this amount the 652.ono.000/. which weighed upon the State at a period anterior to the Empire; then the 78.000,000/. repaid to the fund-holder* (rentiers) at
the time of the conversion; then the 283,000,000/. odd unsecured, caused in the last two budgets by distant expeditions, and which it might have been possible to secure by a loan.
"It will be seen that, since the establishment of the Empire —thanks, it is true, to the consolidations successively operated —the deficits (decouretts) have not increased in proportion to the wants for which it was necessary to provide, and to the advantages obtained during the last ten years. In fact, gentlemen, it would not be just to forget the increase of expenses caused by the annual interest of the loans contracted for t«o wars which have not been devoid of glory; the 622,000.000/. employed by the Treasury in great works of public utility, independently of the three milliard* appropriated by companies in the) completion of 6553 kilometres of railways; the establishment of the network of telegraphic communication; the improvement of the condition of nearly all the sen-ants of the State; the improvement of the soldier's welfare; the cadres of the army placed on a footing in keeping with the exigencies of peace, the dignity of France; the transformation of the fleet and of all our materiel for the artillery; the restoration of our buildings for public worship and of our public monuments.
"All these outlays have given a beneficial impulse to public labour throughout the empire. Hare we not seen cities re-emIx'lliihed. companies enriched by the progress of agriculture, ana our foreign commerce increased from two milliards 600 millions to five milliards 800 millions? In short, by the sole increase of public prosperity the resources of the State have increased by many hundreds of millions.
"This enumeration shows us the full extent of the financial resources of France; and yet, whatever may have been the origin of the deficits—however legitimate may have been the expenses — it was prudent not to increase them. With this object in view, I have proposed a radical means to the Senate, which confers upon the Legislative body a higher central and associates it closer with my policy. But this measure was not, as may easily be supposed, an expedient to lighten my responsibility. It was a spontaneous and serious reform, of a nature to force us to be economical. In renouncing the right to open supplementary and extraordinary credits in the interval between the sessions, it was nevertheless essential to reserve the power of providing for unforeseen necessities.
"The system of transfers provides the means, and it has the advantage of limiting that power (Jaculte) to really urgent and indispensable wants. The strict application of this new system will assist us in placing our financial system on the soundest basis. I count upon your patriotism and intelligence to second my efforts by your willing support.
"The Budget will be presented to you immediately on the opening of the Session. It is not without regret that I have decided to propose to you a re-adjustment of certain taxes, but by the progress of our revenue
I am convinced the increased burden of taxation will only be temporary.
"You will first have to turn your attention to the project of law relative to the conversion of the Four-and-a-Half per Cents., the object of which is, by equitably conciliating the interests of the Treasury and those of its creditors, to prepare the consolidation of the debt.
"Gentlemen, I have frankly stated to you the actual position of affairs. You are aware that whenever an opportunity of a useful reform has presented itself I have resolutely taken advantage of it I shall not, nevertheless, maintain less intact the fundamental bases of the constitution which has already acquired for the country ten years of order and prosperity. I am aware that it is the fate of all men in power to see their best intentions misinterpreted, and their most praiseworthy acts distorted by party spirit, but those who raise this outcry are powerless when the confidence of the nation is possessed, and when nothing has been neglected to deserve it. This sentiment, which displays itself on every occasion, is my most precious reward, and is my greatest strength. Should unforeseen events occur, such as the dearness of provisions and scarcity of labour, the people may suffer, but in their justice they will not hold me responsible for their sufferings, because they are aware that all my thoughts, all my efforts, all my acts incessantly tend to improve their condition and increase the prosperity of France.
"Let us not delude ourselves