§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
Sir, in rising to make the statement of which I promised on the state of our Foreign Affairs—a course which I took in preference to answering the various questions which from day to day have arisen—I must say that I could have wished to postpone that statement, and I certainly should have done so, had we not arrived at such an advanced period of the Session. Indeed, even at this advanced period of the Session, I would have postponed my statement had I expected that before Parliament rose there was a prospect that some definitive settlement might be agreed upon, either by other Powers seperately or in concurrence with Great Britain, and which I should be able to announce to the House. But in the present state of circumstances I do not think it would be right to withhold from Parliament a statement as to the position of foreign affairs. And in beginning that statement, I may remark that I am glad to find that in the Moniteur of this day there is an announcement that the Emperor of the French is about to put his land and sea forces on a peace footing. I hope that that intimation will be the augury of prolonged tranquillity to Europe. Sir, I will not go into any detail as to events with respect to which the House is fully cognizant. Hon. Gentlemen are well aware that peace was made in a somewhat sudden and unexpected manner. The House is likewise aware that declarations have been put forth by the contending parties—by the Emperor of the French on the one hand, that he had expected that if the war had continued its arena would have been greatly enlarged, and that he might have had to contend on the Rhine as well as on the Mincio. The Emperor of Austria, on the other hand, has declared that the neutral Powers were about to propose bases of mediation which would have been less acceptable to Austria than the terms of peace which he had obtained by direct negotiation with the Emperor of the French. Now, Sir, although I think that both of those reasons had a certain validity—because no one can say that the German Powers might not have entered into the war before any long time had elapsed, and although it is impossible to say that the neutral Powers might not have agreed at some future period upon some plan of mediation—yet in neither respect did the events which were thus foreseen and fore- 544 told actually come to pass. With regard to the neutral Powers, at all events, I can say that no concert had been agreed upon by, I believe, any of those Powers, and certainly not by Her Majesty either with Prussia or Russia, or both. There have been overtures for mediation on the part of Prussia both at London and at St. Petersburg. The despatch of Baron Schleinitz, containing those overtures on the part of Prussia, has been published in Germany, and the papers which I have just brought up comprise the answer of Her Majesty's Government to that proposition. But, Sir, although those reasons have no doubt weighed with the contending Emperors in favour of peace, yet I believe there is a reason that has not been given in any State paper which still had its weight—I should say a very considerable weight—both with the Emperor of the French and the Emperor of Austria. I think it was impossible that a Sovereign who had never before been on a field of battle could have failed to be struck with horror on being present at a scene where between 40,000 and 50,000 men, most of them in the prime and vigour of life, were lying around him killed and wounded on the opposite sides. I believe that that sentiment had an effect upon the Emperor Napoleon, and that it also made the same impression on the Emperor of Austria. And, for my part, I think it is no disparagement to great Sovereigns who hold the rule over mighty empires that, while they maintain their policy as Monarchs, they should likewise have the feelings of men.
Sir, the treaty of peace which was made at Villafranca on the 11th of July consists of two parts, very different in their nature. The one part is that which made peace between the two Emperors in consideration of the cession of Lombardy to the Emperor of the French, to be immediately delivered over to the King of Sardinia. Now, with respect to that matter, I do not think it is for us who took no part in the war to comment or to criticize. If the Emperor Napoleon thought that he had made sacrifices enough of French blood and French treasure, and that the further prosecution of the war would lead to an immense waste both of life and property, I think he was fully justified, fully authorized in concluding a treaty of peace. On the other hand the Emperor of Austria had, no doubt, the full right, viewing the sacrifices that he was obliged to make both of men and of 545 treasure, to cede a province for the sake of peace. That was, I think, a question for their own consideration. The cession of Lombardy does not create such a great disturbance of the European system that the Powers of Europe have any right to interfere in regard to that cession. But, Sir, the other portion of the treaty is of a very different nature. It proposes an organization for the future of Italy. Now, I observe that a noble Friend of mine (Lord Elcho) has given a notice of Motion with respect to England entering into any Conference upon that question. That notice, I find, is couched in terms which I must say do not at all apply to the proposition which has been made to this country. My noble Friend's notice of Motion is to this effect,—that this House should declare its opinion that it would be consistent neither with the honour nor the dignity of this country, which throughout the late negotiations has preserved a strict and impartial neutrality between the contending Powers to take part in any Conference for the purpose of settling the details of a peace, the preliminaries of which have been arranged between the Emperor of the French and the Emperor of Austria. That is a proposition to which, I think, everybody would agree. If we were asked to discuss the details of the treaty of peace which has been entered into by the Save reigns of France and Austria, there can be no doubt that it would not become the dignity or suit the interests of England to comply with such a request. But when the question at issue relates to the future, when the fate of Italy for years is to be dependent upon what may be done in the present year, whether by the Sovereigns of France and Austria alone, or by all the great Powers of Europe assembled in Congress, the matter assumes a very different complexion. Lord Clarendon in 1856, when attending the Conferences at Paris to deliberate upon the question of peace between France and Great Britain on the one side, and Russia on the other, thought it his duty, in conjunction with the Plenipotentiary of France, to bring the subject of Italy under the consideration of the representatives of the European Powers then assembled together. He did so, no doubt, on the ground that the state of Italy was of the utmost importance to Europe. He stated that if the Roman States were to continue occupied, as they then were, by foreign troops, he could foresee nothing but revolution as the result; and he added 546 that it behaved the great Powers of Europe to consider in what manner they could prevent that revolution.
Well, Sir, it has been stated on the part of the Government of Her Majesty—and I have never heard that statement impugned in this House, nor has it ever been denied—that the state of Italy was a fair matter for consideration by Great Britain as well as the other Powers; that the peace of Europe might depend upon the favourable solution of the questions then agitated: and that to the peace of Europe Great Britain could not be indifferent. I shall now state what is the proposition that has been made to us on the part of the Government of the Emperor of the French. It is not, as my noble Friend supposes, that the Government of Great Britain should enter into a Congress or Conference for the purpose of considering the details of the Treaty of Villafranca. It is of a very different nature; and I cannot so well give the House a conception of the nature of that proposition as by reading an extract from a despatch addressed by Count Walewski to Count Persigny, and of which the latter left with me a copy. I cannot produce the preliminaries of peace, which he also left with me, because they are signed only by the Emperor of Austria; they are altogether an informal document, and will require to be developed in a treaty of peace to be hereafter signed. The articles agreed upon at Villafranca were, I believe, word for word the same as those which have been seen in the newspapers within the last day or two, and, therefore it is the less necessary that I should produce them now; but if there is any wish that I should lay upon the table the whole of the despatch of Count Walewski I shall have no objection to do so. Count Walewski states:—A French and Austrian Plenipotentiary are about to meet immediately at Zurich, to convert into a treaty of peace the bases decided upon between their Majesties. You are aware, by my former correspondence, that the Government has always desired to see the great Powers concur for the definitive settlement of the affairs of Italy. His Majesty's intentions have not altered in this respect, and we hope that the Powers will be able to meet, either in a Congress or in a Conference, to confer on all the questions raised by the actual state of thing's in Italy, and which are connected with general interests.As the passage which I have just quoted shows clearly what the question is upon which it is proposed that there should be a Conference, I may be permitted to read 547 it again. The object of the Conference is,—To confer on all the questions raised by the actual state of things in Italy, and which are connected with general interests.You will observe that the terms are general; that they have not reference to the details of any treaty of peace, much less of the particular Treaty of Villafranca, but that it is proposed that the great Powers should confer upon all questions of "general interest." Count Walewski proceeds—I need not add that the very nature of the new relations to be created in Italy will imply a preliminary understanding between the different States of the Peninsula, who will necessarily be called upon to assemble in order to deliberate upon the bases of the Confederation whose establishment the two Sovereigns have mutually agreed to further.I shall now state what course the Government of Her Majesty have thought fit to pursue. We have not thought it necessary at the present time to give any precise answer to the despatch of Count Walewski. We have thanked the Emperor of the French for his communication; but it has been signified, not in any written document, but through the Ambassador of Her Majesty at Paris, that there are two conditions which are absolutely necessary to be complied with—and there are one or two beside which I should think would be necessary—before we can consent to take part in any Conference. One is that we should see this Treaty of Zurich which is about to be negotiated. I am told that it is still a matter of doubt whether that Treaty of Zurich is merely to confirm, under the signature of Plenipotentiaries, the articles of the treaty agreed to between the two Sovereigns at Villafranca, or whether it is to be an extended treaty dealing with the affairs of Italy generally. The Treaty of Zurich may even be less than the preliminaries of Villafranca, or it may simply confirm the peace already concluded between the two Emperors and the King of Sardinia, not entering into the affairs of Italy beyond, of course, the cession of territory which has been made by the Emperor of Austria; but upon the terms of that treaty, when it has been drawn up and communicated officially to the Government of Her Majesty, will depend whether we shall agree to the invitation which has been addressed to us to join in a Conference of the European Powers. There is likewise another consideration. I hold that it would be utterly useless to go into any Conference upon the state of Italy unless the Emperor 548 of Austria be a party to it. It is understood that the Emperor of Austria, at the time of the signing of the Treaty of Villafranca, objected to any Congress or Conference whatever; and I maintain that it would be absurd to call that a Congress of the Great Powers with the representative of Austria absent, the representative of Prussia likewise in all probability absent, or to attempt to settle the affairs of Italy with those Powers not represented in the Congress. Again, it is important that we should know beforehand what are the points which any Congress or Conference would have to consider. With regard to the main question, the Treaty of Villafranca has, I think, left the state of Italy quite unsettled; the Treaty of Zurich may go no further; and it may, therefore, be a matter of doubt whether any advice to be given at a Conference would be of use in order to compose the affairs of Italy. There must be Some sort of agreement or community of views among the Powers attending that Congress; at all events, it would be just as well not to go into it as to enter it with the prospect of breaking off upon a divergence of opinion at a very early stage. The Treaty of Villafranca deals with three matters of very great importance; but I must say that for a treaty intended to settle the affairs of Italy it bears marks of the haste which attended its conception and its execution. It is impossible to say that it contains any settlement of those affairs which in 1856 caused anxiety to the representative of Her Majesty at Paris; which in 1857 and 1858 were matters of deliberation among the Powers of Europe; and which in 1859 were the causes of that short but very bloodly war that has just been brought to a termination. The first question which it raises—and raises, I believe, in consequence of the strong opinion of the Emperor of the French in favour of the project—relates to an Italian Confederation. The article of the treaty does not say that a Confederation is formed, or that a Confederation shall be formed; it only states that the two Sovereigns making the treaty will favour and further the creation of a Confederation. With respect, then, to that article—although I believe that the conception is in itself a wise one, although it stands upon a strong foundation—that, whereas Italy has been a prey for centuries of the armies of contending foreign Powers, if she could have an organization of her own, if her several States could he connected together by a bond of union, and 549 that bond a federal one, capable of affording protection of the defensive character which has always been assigned to a group of federated States, she might then be strong enough to withstand aggression, and there would be no necessity for the intervention of foreign Powers. I say I think that is a wise conception, yet I doubt very much whether the time is come when such a Confederation could be usefully carried into effect. We must consider of what members it is to consist. According to the plan conceived at Villafranca it would consist of the Pope as its President, the Emperor of Austria as one of its members, two Archdukes, the King of Naples, and the King of Sardinia. Now, Sir, I own I cannot conceive that a Confederation so formed would be for the benefit of Italy. It is in the nature of a Confederation of this kind that it should meet to consider of general subjects. Sardinia, as we all know, and as we have observed with satisfaction, has for some years enjoyed a free constitution, and those privileges which belong to a free constitution; but how could it be expected that the Pope, as the chief of that body—that the Emperor of Austria, as one of its members—that the Archdukes, nearly related to the Emperor, and following, of course, his inspiration, would favour such views as the King of Sardinia and his Ministers would entertain? Take as an instance the question—which is as good as any other—of the liberty of worship,—a privilege highly prized in this country, and conceded, to the great satisfaction of many persons here, at Turin and in all parts of Sardinia. In the States of the King of Sardinia there is freedom of public worship; in Tuscany there has been established what is called liberty of conscience—that is to say, any Tuscans or Italians who leave the Catholic Church and become Protestants are left unmolested, but are not allowed to assemble for public worship. In the Papal dominions even that privilege would hardly be allowed. Now, when the Confederation came to meet and to lay down rules with regard to liberty of worship, how could such opposite views be reconciled?—how could the Pope or the Emperor of Austria, who has made a concordat with the Pope, favour that liberty of worship which the people of Sardinia regard as one of their highest privileges? It appears to me, therefore, that, although a Confederation may in time become a good system for Italy, the proposition made at the peace of 550 Villafranca hardly fulfils the conditions which are necessary to form a united defensive federal Italy.
But then, Sir, arises another question, and that is as to the mode in which this treaty is to be carried into effect. On that subject it would be necessary to have a full and complete understanding, before Her Majesty could be advised to send any representative to a Conference of the great Powers of Europe. We all know that by one of the articles of the treaty, very short and somewhat ambiguous in its terms, it is declared that the Grand Duke of Tuscany and the Duke of Modena return to their States, granting an amnesty. Now, how are they to return to their States? The Grand Duke of Tuscany is in a position not very dissimilar to that of a sovereign who once reigned in this country. He reigned by virtue of a constitution. He violated the principles of that constitution. His people made representations to him. They called upon him to abdicate. He did not abdicate, but withdrew himself from the country. The Grand Duke is therefore in the position of a sovereign who has violated the fundamental laws and withdrawn himself from the territory over which he ruled. That is a position, I must say, very unfavourable to his return with the full will, approbation, and consent of his people, to the throne which he before occupied. I say it may be so. On the other hand, the people of Tuscany have enjoyed many years of happiness under the mild rule of Leopold I. and his descendants, and it may be that they will choose to recal the son of the Grand Duke to the throne which his father has abdicated. But when I inquire with respect to this subject, I must tell the House that, although I have no official assurance of the fact, I feel convinced—and I have good reason to be convinced—that the Emperor of the French has no intention of employing French troops for the restoration by force of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. I believe likewise, from all I can hear, that the Emperor of Austria does not intend—he certainly has not avowed any intention—to use his troops for the purpose of restoring these two Archdukes, and I think I may presume—at least I presume from what I have heard—that even if he were disposed to do so the Emperor of the French would not consent to it. Well, if that be so, a great difficulty at once arises in carrying the treaty into effect. It is doubtful—yery 551 doubtful indeed—what may be the result of the well-considered deliberations of the Tuscan people. They are about to choose representatives, and I think it is much the best course they can take, according to the constitution which their Grand Duke had abolished; and when that body of representatives meet they will consider for themselves—as we in former times considered for ourselves—whether they will have the sovereign who has thus conducted himself,—whether they will restore him—or whether they will choose another sovereign to reign over them. Well, Sir, for Her Majesty's Government there can be but one course in such a case. If the representatives of the people of Tuscany—and I must say they are a most tranquil and orderly population—if their representatives meet and declare that a certain Government is that under which alone they can live happily, it will be impossible for any representative of Her Majesty to go against that declaration. I should say the same with respect to the Duchy of Modena, respecting which there is a diversity of opinion, some believing that the Duke would be received with acclamation, while others maintain that he could not be restored to his throne except by force. These are things upon which, supposing we are to go into a Conference at all, it would be necessary to have the clearest understanding before that Conference assembled.
Another question of which these preliminaries treat is one which is now, and has been for centuries, perhaps the most difficult of all in Italy—namely, the temporal government of the Pope. Now, the declaration made by the Emperor of the French and by the King of Sardinia at the outset of the late war produced at Bologna, as in Tuscany, a change in the Government. Bologna, as the House is well aware, has been kept in obedience for the last ten years by an Austrian garrison, which maintained order in that town and in the neighbouring provinces. A noble Lord in the other House of Parliament—I mean Lord Lyndhurst—in one of his speeches stated the number of persons whom the Austrians had put to death by martial law. I do not doubt that the greater number—I cannot say the whole—of those persons were convicted of robbery and other serious offences; but no people like to have their criminal justice administered by a body of foreign troops, whoso law is not their law, but was in this case martial law, which ought to be applied only under unusual cir- 552 cumstances and in extraordinary times. The consequence was that, as soon as these Austrian troops left Bologna, the Cardinal Legate immediately followed them. He was allowed to go away in his coach quite quietly; nobody interfered with him; but still he found it necessary to leave the town as soon as the Austrian troops were gone. This puts me in mind of something that I heard many years ago concerning a Roman Cardinal who was then Legate at Bologna. Every one knows that these Roman Cardinals are apt to utter very refined and witty sayings about political affairs, in respect to which they are not always the wisest legislators or administrators. This Cardinal, whose name I need not mention, was asked how the people of Bologna were going on. He said, "Very quietly; they really behave very well; but I beliove there are but two persons attached to the government of his Holiness, myself and the Vice Legate; and as to the Vice Legate, I am not very sure of him." Now that, I believe, has been the state of things in Bologna ever since; and accordingly we have seen, that when a man who is revered and beloved all over Italy, Massimo d'Azeglio, went there with a communication from the King of Sardinia, 70,000 people, it is calculated, attended his reception and gave him an ovation. How, then, is the government of the Pope to be made palatable to the inhabitants of the Legations. The Emperor of the French and the Emperor of Austria say, they will recommend to the Pope certain indispensable reforms; but the Pope, who has his rights of sovereignty likewise, has always said, "I may be driven out of Rome; I may be driven to the most humble village in Italy; but I will maintain my authority even in the most humble village, and while I am here I must govern according to my own judgment and the dictates of my own conscience." How that difficulty is to be got over I really do not know. I am told the Pope is not averse to a Confederation or even to the assumption of the title of its President; but then we must remember that he has always expressed it to be his opinion that he ought not to mingle in questions of war and that if war were declared he could not, as Vicar of Christ, place himself at the head of a warlike enterprise or Confederation. These, Sir, are some of the difficulties by which this question is attended. The King of Naples, I am happy to be able to state—although he has not done all that which 553 the friends of popular institutions could desire—has made a beginning in the policy of endeavouring to put an end to the system which prevailed under the rule of the late Sovereign of that country. It is said that there was among the institutions of the late King, one much worse than the dungeon in which accused persons were placed—that sort of law—if, indeed, it could be called law—which more resembled the rule with respect to suspected persons which prevailed at the time of the French Revolution, under the auspices of the Reign of Terror, than anything with which we are acquainted. We are informed that in Naples alone, more than 30,000 persons were under the constant surveillance of a despotic and tyrannical police, and that in the provinces there were so many more that the whole number amounted to 100,000. Those persons, were, I believe, unable to practise the learned professions, or even to leave their own dwellings, without being constantly dogged by those police, who by that means acquired an arbitrary power which was said to be greater than the power of the Sovereign himself, or that of the landed aristocracy, or than that exercised by the Ministers of the Crown. The present King has begun to put an end to that system, and it is, I believe, his sincere desire to abolish it altogether. The police, however, have been to a considerable extent enabled to thwart his wishes, and the decrees which he has issued have not in many instances been executed; but, with the aid and under the advice of his present Minister, Prince Satriano—better known by the name of General Filangieri—a man of decided views and of a firm but conciliatory temper, the kingdom of Naples is, I believe, becoming greatly improved.
We find ourselves, then, in this position:—A treaty is about to be made at Zurich. A confidential agent of the French Government has been sent to Vienna, in order to settle with the Emperor of Austria what the bases of the treaty shall be. So far as I can learn, the Emperor of the French is most anxious that that treaty should enable the Italians to enjoy the privilege of self-government. Now, whether they enjoy that privilege under one Sovereign or under another, whether there is to be a Confederation, or whether there are to be two or three powerful States in Italy—I am convinced—and Her Majesty's Government are convinced—that an independent State or States in Italy would 554 be for the welfare of Europe, would avert the dangers which must ever arise from the contests of foreign Powers in her fair lands and among her beautiful towns, and would do much to secure the future of Europe. I cannot say—it is impossible at the present moment to say—that there will be any Congress or Conference on this question. This, however, I may state with the utmost confidence, that it would not be wise on the part of Her Majesty's Government, and still less wise on the part of the House, to come to any permanent and absolute decision on the subject. It would never do for a Minister of the Crown of Great Britain to say that this country, which has taken part in all the great Councils of Europe since 1815—which has taken a great part, under Mr. Canning, in the formation of the kingdom of Greece—which has taken a leading part—my noble Friend who sits near me being at the time Secretary for Foreign Affairs—in the formation of the kingdom of Belgium, and in the separation of that country from the kingdom of Holland—it would, I repeat, never do for the Minister of such a nation to say that we would now suddenly and without any reason withdraw from any such meeting or assembly of the Powers of Europe as that to which I have alluded, if there be any chance that the situation of Italy might be improved, that the peace of Europe might be confirmed, and the independence of the Italian States secured by our taking such a course. At the same time there are all those conditions which I have mentioned which must he well considered before any such assent is given. This I say—nothing could, in my opinion, be worse than to act in the manner in which my noble Friend the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) seems to think the Government of this country is about to act—namely, to assist at the Conferences merely to settle the details of a treaty which might have been agreed to beforehand by other Sovereigns. I have told the House that not only is there no such view in our contemplation, but that no such proposition has ever been made to us. The Emperor of the French has always said, and I think truly, that Italy has been a source of danger, and was in constant peril of revolution, and that that danger could not be completely averted, or revolution finally stayed, unless the Powers of Europe generally were consenting parties to a settlement to which the people of Italy would give their assent, and would 555 recommend itself to the minds of reasonable and just men in all parts of the world. Such is our view of the case. And such being the difficulties which are imposed upon our taking part in any Conference, I may be permitted to say—notwithstanding that the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli) has treated the regeneration of Italy with a sneer as a question hardly worthy of serious consideration—that if a country so beautiful in its physical aspect, so endowed by nature, so rich in men of genius of every kind—a country whose fate has been the subject of melancholy chants from the days of Petrarch in the 14th to those of Leopardi in the 19th century—writers who lament almost in the same terms the unfortunate condition of their native land,—if such a country could be made prosperous, and her sons afforded a fair scope for the exercise of their talent and their energy, so that they might be enabled to take their part among the nations of Europe and to contribute their quota—and I feel assured a rich quota it would be—to the progress of that great European family to which they belong—if such an object could be attained, then, Sir, I, for one, should not hesitate to declare that Her Majesty's Government would rejoice at such a consummation.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed—"That the said Paper do lie upon the Table."
§ MR. DISRAELI
Sir, there was one portion of the noble Lord's address which appeared to me to be veiled in much more obscurity than the House will be disposed to desire—I allude to where he spoke of terms offered or supposed to be offered to the Emperor of Austria by his allies, and which in the opinion of that Sovereign were much more severe than those which were extended to him by his opponent. Now it would, I think, be desirable that the noble Lord, having touched upon that subject, should have given the House, with respect to it, more information than I for one had been able to gather from his observations. The position of affairs is so critical; so much depends upon the conduct of the Government of this country at the present moment and the influence of Parliament, owing to the period of the year when our attention has been drawn to these important matters, is necessarily so limited, that I shall offer no apology to the House for following the noble Lord through some of his remarks.
556 The noble Lord stated to the House, though in somewhat ambiguous terms, that a declaration had been made by the Emperor of Austria that he had consented to conclude the present peace—which all sides appear to think unsatisfactory—because it was shown to him that he must expect severer terms through the mediation of his natural friends and allies. Now, the noble Lord has used such ambiguous terms in this statement that I cannot help pressing him for information more clear and satisfactory than any which we have as yet received, and I trust that Her Majesty's Government will not grudge the communication of such information to the House. Were there not, let me ask, certain projects of settlement laid before the Emperor of Austria, which he supposed to have received the approbation of the neutral Powers and which he found more severe than those offered to him by his enemy? Nobody can suppose that this is a pure invention by so great a personage as the Emperor of Austria. It would, therefore, be extremely satisfactory if the noble Lord could assure the House that no projects of settlement emanating from the neutral Powers had by their agency, or the agency of Her Majesty's Government, been brought under the notice of that Sovereign. The declaration of the Emperor of Austria, however, is precise. A very important neutral Power, Prussia, has come forward and stated that she knows nothing of such a scheme having been submitted to his notice. I do not collect from the noble Lord that Her Majesty's Government were equally ignorant of the communication. I want to know whether they were in possession of such a scheme. I want to know whether, through the agency of Her Majesty's Government, the scheme was placed before the Emperor of Austria. I think that when Ministers come forward upon a critical occasion like this, and wish to influence not merely the opinion but the conduct of this House, we have a right to require from the Government liberal communications as respects their conduct. I trust that when some other Member of Her Majesty's Government takes a part in this debate it will not be considered disingenuous on his side to explain this part of the conduct of the Government. It has reached me—it may be perfectly unfounded, but it would be a source of satisfaction to this House and country if they were assured that it is unfounded—it has reached me that the 557 scheme for the settlement of hostilities which the Emperor of Austria, comparing it with the terms offered by his enemy, found so repugnant to his feelings and interests was brought to his cognizance through the influence and agency of Her Majesty's Government. That, surely, is a ciscumstance which ought not to be concealed from this House, or treated if true in the ambiguous manner in which the noble Lord has slightly touched upon it this evening. It may be said that this plan for the settlement of Italy, which reached the noble Lord as the responsible Minister of the Crown, and which he in his discretion took measures to place before the Emperor of Austria, was presented without offering any observations of his own, and that Her Majesty's Government were not, therefore, bound by it. But if this be so, I think hon. Gentlemen will agree with me that the very fact that Her Majesty's Government were the organs of communication by which propositions of this nature were laid before the Emperor of Austria is in itself a species of sanction of the plan which was presented. And if my statement be correct, and if Her Majesty's Government defend their conduct on the plea that they gave no opinion of the terms which they were the organ of laying before the Emperor of Austria—then it will be satisfactory to the House—for on a question of this gravity it is of the utmost importance that we should be in possession of authentic and ample knowledge of the subject—it will be satisfactory to the House if at the same time the Government will assure us that they made no communication to Her Majesty's Minister at Vienna, nor instructed that Minister to recommend Austria to accept those proposals. Because let the House for a moment consider, if what I have stated—and I shall be glad to hear that it is utterly unfounded—if what I have stated be correct, what is the practical result? The practical result is this—the Emperor of Austria has obtained easier terms from his enemy than he had suggested by those whom he has described as his natural allies. Her Majesty's Government have, in fact, again committed the same mistake which they committed in 1848. At that time a proposition was made by the Austrian Government similar to the terms which have now been, through the influence of the French Emperor, accepted. At that time a proposition was made to close the disturbances which then existed in Italy by the relin- 558 quishment of Lombardy—the very terms which after this bloody war have become the bases of peace. Her Majesty's Government then was, I may say, this very identical Government—because affairs of this nature are carried on by two Ministers, the First Minister and the Secretary of State, and the only difference in the two responsible individuals is this, that the noble Lord the present Secretary of State, was then First Minister, and the present First Minister was then Secretary of State. Let the House observe how completely, if this account be true, it is a repetition of the fatal blunder of 1848. Then they repudiated the proposition of Austria, and said that Venice and the Venetian territory must be a part of the territory relinquished by the Emperor of Austria. They made that a sine quâ non. In the present instance these propositions, so slightly noticed by the noble Lord, were couched in the same vein and conceived in the same spirit. He would not—this neutral Power—this natural ally—would not interfere to mediate except on terms of that severe character. But in the meantime the enemy of the Emperor of Austria offers himself milder terms. The Emperor of Austria accepts those terms. What is our position? The affair is settled without our interference, and without having obtained those terms which we were the organ of introducing to the Emperor of Austria's notice. But what would our position have been if when those terms of mediation were offered to us instead of giving them the sanction of our transmission, and instead of giving them the greater degree of sanction involved in recommending them through the instrumentality of our Minister at Vienna to the acceptance of the Austrian Government—if free from all prejudice and all passion, which unfortunately, as it appears to me, always influence Her Majesty's Government when this question is before them—we had said to France, "These terms which you offer are too severe; although in their general spirit we agree with you they must be modified, and we will then recommend the Emperor of Austria to accept them"? If Her Majesty's Government had done that—if they had been the means of the Emperor of Austria accepting the terms which ultimately from the Emperor of the French he accepted, in what a different position we should stand to France and Austria. We should be in a great position. We should stand as as powerful 559 mediator between France and Austria for the general welfare of Europe, and Austria would not look upon us as one who had deserted her—Austria would not look upon us with ill-will, though speaking of us as her natural ally, but she would have looked upon us as the Power to whom she was indebted for the terms which she now only owes to her great opponent. I think this is a point upon which Her Majesty's Government should deign to give more information to the House. If it be true that Her Majesty's Government, with all the experience of 1848, with the immense advantages which they have had in dealing with this question which they had not ten years ago, have repeated the same blunder, renewed the same mistake, and placed the country with regard to this question in so unsatisfactory a position, they owe much explanation to Parliament.
Let me turn now to the pressing business of the moment. No doubt, if not to-night, on some other night, adequate information will be afforded upon that point on which I have touched. But let us look at the treaty of Villafranca and the proposition, with which we become acquainted for the first time to-night that England should assist in carrying that treaty into effect. Because that is the real question. Any Conference or Congress held after articles of peace are concluded, attended by a Power who has had nothing to do with the war either by action or by advice, is, in fact, calling on that Power to carry a peace into effect with which that Power has had nothing to do, and arising out of a war in which she has not in any way been connected. I do not mean to say that there may not be grave circumstances which may justify, to some degree, such a course on the part of the Government of this country. I wish to treat the question with that temperateness with which it behoves us to approach it. The noble Lord says that this Treaty of Villafranca must be considered under two heads. In the first place, he says a considerable change of territory is made by this peace, but that it is not a change of territory which in anyway, or materially, affects the balance of power. Therefore, so far as that consideration was concerned, it was unnecessary for England to attend the Congress. I think it will be found, as a general rule, which should guide us in these matters, that it never is the interest of this country to attend a Congress unless we are called upon to do so by the 560 circumstance that what is called the balance of power is materially affected. I mean by the balance of power—for the "balance of power" is a phrase sometimes treated with derision by those who do not understand it,—I mean by the balance of power being affected such a change of territory as might create a preponderating influence in favour of a State that is already perhaps too powerful. I agree with the noble Lord that there is nothing in the fact of the transference of Lombardy from Austria to Sardinia which at all affects the balance of power; and therefore, on that head, I agree with the noble Lord that our interference for the present cannot be recommended. I maintain, as a general rule, that we should attend no Conference where the balance of power is not affected, and the instances which the noble Lord mentioned at the end of his speech confirm and do not impugn the accuracy of that principle, because the balance of power might have been materially affected by the construction of the kingdom of Greece, and no one can for a moment contend that it was not materially concerned in the settlement of Belgium. But, says the noble Lord, although the balance of power is not concerned in this transference of a single province from Austria to Sardinia, there is a second head under which we must consider this Treaty of Villafranca, and to what it will lead—and that is, what the noble Lord calls the future of Italy. Now the future of Italy is a subject of very great interest. The noble Lord says I have treated the future of Italy with a sneer. I have so often bad opportunities of speaking on this subject in this House, and I have had the misfortune to differ from the noble Lord so frequently upon it, that I will not take the trouble now to vindicate my opinions; I wish rather to speak on the points of business before us. But I would tell the noble Lord this—that it is his misfortune to believe that there exists throughout Italy a Whig party, and until be gets that idea out of his head he never will be able to consider the question in a manner becoming a statesman of his degree. Whenever he begins to speak of Petrarch, I know what it is going to lead to. Several times he has done this when we have discussed the question before, and the noble Lord will allow me to refer him to some observations which a little nettled him some years ago when we discussed this question. I told the noble Lord then 561 that the course he was recommending was one which must end in the confusion of Italy; that that course would bring into active operation all the secret societies of that country; and that if he thought the regeneration of Italy could be effected through the instrumentality of the secret societies of that country, he would find that he was only playing the game of some great military despot who would reap the profit.
But now, says the noble Lord, we must look to the future of Italy. We must look to the future of Italy because, when my Lord Clarendon attended the Conference at Paris after the Russian war, Her Majesty's Government were committed to a policy which acknowledged that it was their duty to counsel, and, if possible, to effect changes in that misgoverned country. Well, but what was the position of Lord Clarendon after the Russian war? It is very true that Lord Clarendon, knowing that at that time—as had often before been the case, but especially so at that time—the state of Italy was one which might lead to public disquietude, like a wise man—and I give his colleagues credit for sharing in the same sensible views—thought that that was a period when, generally speaking, something like a wide settlement of various parts of Europe might he made by the Conference, and that Italy should not be omitted—that that was a moment to recommend a course of policy which might prevent future disturbance and trouble. I do not object to the course then taken. It was exactly the same view which induced the late Government to recommend a Congress with regard to the affairs of Europe. What you recommend before a war takes place, and much more what you recommend in order to prevent a war, is very different from what you would recommend after war has broken out, has been waged, and is concluded. Why a Congress is a very dangerous thing at all times, but it is never more dangerous than in such a case as the present. War 13 a thing which no one in the abstract approves, and which, generally speaking, we endeavour to avoid; but it does not follow because war is generally to be avoided that you ought not to go to war if necessary. If a Congress was the course which afforded a chance of preventing war, it was the duty of the Government to recommend it. The policy which Lord Clarendon recommended and supported at the Conference of Paris, though to a certain degree it 562 might involve interference in Italy, was a wise policy, which, considering that at that time there was imminent danger of some disturbance, offered to assembled Europe an opportunity of preventing it. The noble Lord then offered a great many arguments generally in reference to federations, the substance of which seemed to prove that though he wanted to go to a Congress yet he could not go. He acknowledged that the abstract idea of a Congress is in his brain—that it is the proper mode of settling this matter—but then he says that he cannot accept this invitation unless a like invitation is made by the Emperor of Austria, and we have not heard that any invitation of that kind has been offered. But if the noble Lord interested in the future of Italy were at once, in consequence of the Treaty of Villafranca, to attend the Conference in order to advance the future interests of that country, would he not be bound by the conditions contained in that treaty with reference to the future of Italy? What was the great object recommended at Paris by the French Government, and I believe by the English Government? It was to secularize the Government of the Roman States. The great point was virtually to reduce the Pope to the exercise of his spiritual power. But, by the Treaty of Villafranca, I find that the Pope is to be the head of a great Confederation. The two policies are exactly contrary to each other. If you go to this Conference will you deal with the Duchies? The noble Lord says the Duchies are not to be dealt with; and though he has no authority for saying so, his instinctive feeling is that France will not interfere by force in favour of the rejected rulers of the Duchies: he has reason to hope and believe that Austria also will refrain from using force in their favour; and I think very properly. Well, how is the affair to be settled? It is not to be settled by the interference of any power in Italy. The noble Lord says that the people of this country would not for a moment tolerate an interference by England in order to place the rejected rulers upon their thrones. If that is the case what is the use of going to the Conference? The noble Lord has touched upon three points on which he thinks discussion will arise if this Conference takes place. First of all he says there is the principle of Confederation, which he approves of; but he says that practically it would not work well in the present state 563 of Italy. Then the noble Lord mentioned a variety of circumstances with which, at present, he said, the principle of confederation would unsatisfactorily cope. But these questions of religious toleration and free worship, to which the noble Lord referred, would not come under the control of a Confederation. They would be matters to be settled by each separate Government. Confederation is, in my opinion, a sound principle with reference to Italy; and the objections which the noble Lord urged against a confederation would not apply. With all his anxiety to effect the regeneration of Italy, and with all his equal anxiety to attend the Congress for that object, the noble Lord tonight has urged objections against that part of the plan which I hope may be practical, but which at least is recommended by many high political considerations. Well, then, if according to the noble Lord's views the confederation principle is not to be acknowledged; if according to his view there is to be no interference in the Duchies; if, in the third instance, all that is left to be dealt with is the Papal Government, why, I ask, is it advisable that we should be drawn into this Conference? The state of Italy as sketched out by the articles of the Villafranca treaty is deemed, I know, by many Gentlemen on both sides of this House to be of a very embarrassing character; and if that sketch is to be worked out according to the articles of the Villafranca Treaty our Government in accepting the invitation to attend the Conference would accept a responsibility which I am sure no one here would wish to sanction. But is it to be worked out in a spirit greatly different from those articles? If so, and we are to enter into Conference in order to bring about a state of society in Italy not contemplated by those who have carried on this war, I ask the House for a moment to consider what is to be the issue of our labours. Either we shall fail in our object or we shall not. If failure be the result all will regret our interference; but if we carry our object into effect—if we establish in Italy a state of society at all like the programme of Milan or the programme of Tiverton, which appeared a short time before it—we must do so by offering inducements to the other great Powers, which I doubt whether Parliament would approve of. If, under all circumstances, we should be chary about the engagements which Conferences and Congresses always lead to, 564 surely when a war has been waged of which we entirely disapproved, when it has been closed on a sudden, when the responsibility of all that has occurred and of all that may occur is one of which this Government is completely clear, it would be the height of rashness and precipitation by any act or any advice of ours to involve ourselves in the responsibility of a settlement occasioned by a war for which we are not answerable. I trust, therefore, that the feeling of the House will be so direct and distinct upon this subject that Her Majesty's Ministers will not feel it their duty to recommend Her Majesty to send any representatives to this projected Conference. I have no doubt there are immense difficulties in consequence of the war and in consequence of the peace. We had nothing to do with the war; we had nothing to do with the peace; and if difficulties arise in which we must interfere, we shall interfere with much greater effect and much greater dignity if we do not do so merely to save other persons from difficulties which they created, and for which we are not answerable.
There is only one observation which I would make, in consequence of the intimation which the noble Lord gave us, that a telegram had arrived from Paris that it was the intention of the Emperor of the French to reduce his armaments both by sea and land. Well, that is excellent news, but its value depends entirely upon the manner in which that policy is carried out. I should not have noticed that, considering that all the information which we had was merely by telegram, had not a Minister called our attention to it in his place at the moment he rose, and evidently with the intention of influencing the opinion of the House. I think myself—indeed I ventured to make the observation the other night—that it is of great importance that the armaments of the great Powers should be reduced. I did not when I made that observation lay claim to any originality. I was not aware at the time that I was at all trenching upon the peculiar doctrines of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham. He informed me afterwards with great exultation that the propositions to reduce armaments after war was an original principle in politics invented by himself. I have observed that articles of peace were never yet signed, or at least no peace was ever yet concluded, without Members of this House pressing upon the Government to 565 avail themselves of the opportunity of reducing our armaments, and, knowing that our predecessors in this assembly for 150 years have, under similar circumstances, recommended that policy, I certainly was astonished that the hon. Member for Birmingham—although he spoke, I must say, with considerable courtesy of me as his pupil—should have taken that opportunity of informing the House that he himself was the inventor of that policy. I remember some very absurd observations made by the hon. Gentleman ten years ago upon this subject, in the course of which he maintained that peace was the natural state of man in the present day, because the commercial principle was stronger than the political; and in which he said that Franco could never go to war again in consequence of the alteration of the tenure of land in that country, there being then about seven millions of proprietors. I reminded him then—in the year 1848—that the same tenure obtained in France under the first Republic and under the first Empire; that there were then also about seven millions of proprietors; but that that did not prevent the French going to war. He then expressed other opinions, which I had hoped for his own sake were quite forgotten, and therefore I shall not now touch upon them. But when peace is announced by a Minister, as it was announced in this House, a peace between the two great military monarchies of Europe—especially at a time when the taxation of this country has been greatly increased in consequence of the adoption of very necessary means of defence—there was nothing very wild—there was nothing, I think, very unwise in suggesting that our ally should take this opportunity of establishing in the eyes of Europe, and especially of this country, the sincerity of his friendship for England—which I, for one, have no wish in any way to doubt—by the reduction of his armaments. It seemed to me to be a very natural policy, a policy which would promote the Emperor's own interests, and one which, if he entertain it, he will, I have no doubt, carry out with sincerity. The Emperor ought, however, to understand, if that is the policy which the English Parliament wishes him to adopt, that if he does adopt and pursue it with sincerity—as I have no doubt he will—we are prepared to respond to it in a reciprocal spirit. He ought clearly to understand that we suggest that policy from no wild sentiment, but in a plain 566 business-like manner; and that if he agreed to it we, on our part, are prepared to respond to his views. But then we must know what the reductions are. We must see that reductions are being made in his forces, as clearly as he will know what are the reductions which we are making, and which we can give him ample security will be made. He must not suppose that it is because what is called the peace principle is prevalent in this House, that such a policy is recommended; because, if he thought that he would have the feeling which some attribute to him, but which I do not believe he entertains, he might then treat the House of Commons like children, and hope that by telegrams made up of unmeaning phrases he could influence the policy of this country. That great Prince, I am sure, is too sensible a man to entertain such an opinion for a moment; hut, as the question has been introduced to us by the Secretary of State, I think there should be no mistake as to the opinion of the House of Commons upon the reduction of armaments by the Emperor of the French. The reduction of armaments is a natural and proper policy, and one which we may fairly expect to be followed when peace is concluded. It is a policy which this country would hail with satisfaction, and which would give us that security which, under such circumstances, our ally might be expected to give; but it must be a real, absolute, undoubted reduction of armaments, and not a mere exchange of fine vague phrases. If that is, as I believe it is, the sincere policy of the Emperor, it will be met with equal sincerity on our part; it will put an end to great misconceptions as to the views and conduct of that Prince, which I, for one, am more than willing to believe have no foundation whatever; and then, indeed, we may regard as an event which has effected some good for humanity even this war, which, though it has been a bloody has been a brief one, which has brought many persons to their senses, and may tend to restore and establish a good understanding between England and France.
§ MR. BOWYER
said, they had heard an extraordinary speech from the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. The noble Lord had informed them that the Government had been invited to join in a Conference to settle the affairs that remained to be settled in consequence of late events; and yet he did not think the wit of man could have invented a speech 567 more calculated to render a Conference nugatory than that which had been addressed to the House by the noble Lord. The one satisfaction which he had derived from it was, that it left no doubt in his mind that Her Majesty's Government were not likely to join in any Conference. He was glad of this, because as this country had had nothing to do with the war, it was best that it should have nothing to do with the peace; and also, because,—the noble Lord would forgive him for speaking plainly—because he did not think that either the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs or the noble Viscount at the head of the Government could, with advantage to the peace of Europe, take part in any Conference which might be held. There was nothing in their antecedents which led him to look with satisfaction at the prospect of their interference. They had for many years been connected with the revolutionary party in Europe. No foreign Government felt any confidence in them, nor did he believe that the Liberal party in Italy regarded them with any greater satisfaction. He would not refer to proofs which must be in the recollection of the House to show that whenever these noble Lords had interfered in the affairs of Italy they had produced discord and mischief. They had unsettled everything, and had settled nothing in their lives. The noble Lord the Member for London had called attention to the difficulties which existed at the present moment in the way of a Conference; but these difficulties were nothing more than the very points for the purpose of settling which this Conference was about to take place. But for these difficulties there would be no occasion for a Conference at all. The noble Lord had said that one great obstacle in the way of the Conference was that Sardinia was governed under a Liberal constitution, while the other countries which would be members of the proposed federation were ruled by despotic sovereigns. What did the noble Lord mean? Did he mean that Sardinia was to have it all her own way; and that because she had adopted a form of government which Her Majesty's present advisers preferred, all the other members of the Confederation were to be forced to follow in the wake; and that unless Sardinia joined the Italian Confederation, as the noble Lord appeared to wish, this Confederation would not be of any use V The Germanic Confederation was composed of States under every form of government. There was no reason 568 that States which differed in their internal discipline with which the federation would have nothing to do, should not join together for their common defence, and for the settlement of questions which affected them in the aggregate. The noble Lord has also spoken as though what he called the question of religious liberty would have to be dealt with by the federation. The federal authority, however, would have no more to do with the question of liberty of conscience in particular States than with the police and lighting of their streets. The object of the confederation would be to protect Italy from foreign aggression, and to settle those matters which affected the peninsula as a whole; and he could see no reason why a difference in their forms of government should prevent Sardinia and the States of the Holy See from joining in the settlement of matters which affected them in common as Italians. The noble Lord had shown some judgment in touching but lightly upon the question. The parallel between the case of the Grand Duke of Tuscany and that of James II. seemed, however, to illustrate those Whig predilections to which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bucks had referred. There was really no similarity between the two cases. The war broke out in consequence of the breach of international law and an express treaty of extradition by Sardinia. She received deserters from the Austrians into her army. This was a just cause of war on the part of Austria. The war thus commenced, with breach of the law of nations, had been carried on in a manner unparalleled in the history of Europe by exciting the subjects of neutral States to rebellion. He would state the case of Tuscany as an example. The Sardinian Minister at Florence was the head of a society avowedly intended to bring about a change of the Government in that country. By means of the secret societies, and of money lavishly expended, a disgraceful revolt was brought about among the Grand Duke's troops, officers and men turned against their Sovereign, and he was forced to leave his country. And what then took place? The Sardinian Minister at Florence put himself at the head of the Government. Was there any other instance of such diplomatic conduct in all history? There was no parallel between his case and that of James II. The same thing-took place in the other Duchies. By means of the secret societies, of the expenditure of money, and by the proceedings of the 569 Sardinian Ambassadors the Sovereigns were expelled. He was not indifferent to the cause of Italian nationality, but be never would subscribe to the doctrine that the end justified the means. The means used in this case bad been iniquitous, and the end, as might have been expected, was disappointment. The noble Lord talked about Bologna being anxious for union with Sardinia; but he (Mr. Bowyer) would not believe it. At present the Bolognese were exempt from the conscription, and they were lightly taxed; whereas, if united with Piedmont they would be subject to the conscription, and to heavy taxes. They had a University too, which was almost as important to Bologna as the University was to Oxford. It was closely connected with the Holy See, and he did not believe that the Bolognese wished to be separate from the Holy See, and to be united to Sardinia.
§ MR. BOWYER
Though the noble Lord might not have said it, he implied it. What other did the noble Lord mean? He could not have meant that they wished to set up for themselves, and he was too frank to deny that his own wish was that they should unite themselves with Sardinia. The Sardinian Government sent Massimo d' Azeglio to the States of the Pope, and, without having the slightest desire to say a word against that statesman, he could not help thinking that it would have been better for his character in Europe had he kept away altogether from Bologna. He was sent as the Sardinian Commissioner to Bologna to foment the revolution, to take the command of the troops, to levy armaments, and, no doubt, to do all in his power to lead to the union of some part of that territory to Piedmont. That was a proceeding entirely incompatible with the commonest ideas of international law. The noble Lord spoke of these things with some degree of satisfaction. He eulogized the character of Massimo d'Azeglio, and talked of the ovation with which he was received. He (Mr. Bowyer) would like to know all about that ovation—how it was got up—mobs were easily got up and excited, and then it was casy to call it an ovation. In his famous Prussian despatch the noble Lord said that the future government of Italy must depend on the will of the people. That might be very fine language for Brookes's; but the noble Lord who had 570 passed so much time in Italy, ought to know better than to talk seriously in that way of the Italian people. He ought to know very well that the people there were very different from the people here. He ought to know that the power of the secret societies would prevent all real manifestation of public opinion. When he talked of the statements signed by the people, had he no knowledge of the means by which those signatures were obtained? A paper was brought to a man and he was told to sign it. If he refused he was exposed to the vengeance of the secret societies, and, of course, as he did not like to compromise himself, he signed it. And yet the noble Lord talked of manifestations of public opinion so obtained in the same tone as he would have spoken of an election for Middlesex. He had got a Whig theory into his head, and off he went on it all on a wrong tack. The House, however, ought to be cautious not to deal with this question as if Italy were the same as England. The noble Lord had told the House of a good joke made by a Cardinal in conversation with him. [Lord JOHN RUSSELL: I did not say it was in conversation with me] It was scarcely worth while alluding to then. At best it seemed as though some Cardinal had been amusing himself by mystifying the noble Lord; but now it turned out to be a mere cock-and-bull story—told by somebody to somebody else, nobody knew who—and yet it was by this kind of evidence that the noble Lord attempted to influence the conduct of the House of Commons. If they were to deal with matters of this serious importance on such flimsy statements as this it would be better to take away "the bauble" at once and shut up altogether, or else confine themselves to their own domestic affairs. His chief object, however, in rising was to denounce the violations of international law by which the state of things had been brought about of which the noble Lord spoke with such satisfaction. Did the two noble Lords opposite think the proceedings of the Sardinian Ambassadors compatible with the law of nations? He hoped that during the recess the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, and the noble Lord at the head of the Government, would contrive to hold a consultation, and to write a new treatise on the law of nations:—it would be read with great interest and curiosity by all the jurists and diplomatists in Europe if it contained a successful justification of the proceed- 571 ings to which he had referred. Such a work, which he hoped might be given to the world, would supersede Grotius, Puffendorff, and all the old writers on international law, for it would he founded upon principles diametrically opposite to those which they had laid down. He thought the noble Member for the City of London might very appropriately write a separate chapter De jure Legatorum. If M. d'Azeglio had acted in this country as he had acted in England he might have been tried for high treason. The noble Lord, who was always fond of attacking the Pope, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and the King of Naples, had made, upon hearsay—for he did not vouch for their accuracy—some extraordinary statements respecting the police of Naples, to which he (Mr. Bowyer) must be excused for attaching very little credit. The noble Lord was particularly fond of denouncing the Government of the Pope as the worst Government in the world. He (Mr. Bowyer) would not enter into any refutation of the calumnies which had been uttered against the Government of the Pope, but he had no hesitation in saying that that Government had been improving for many years past—that it was a good Government, that it was a progressive Government, and he might tell his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the Pope had a surplus revenue. He thought, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman would feel more comfortable with regard to that matter if he were the Minister of the Pope. On a former occasion, after the noble Lord had indulged in one of his tirades against the Government of the Pope, he asked that noble Lord whether he had taken any trouble to ascertain the facts of the case, and whether he had read a very useful and instructive work lately published by his hon. Friend the Member for Dungarvan (Mr. Maguire) which contained a detailed account of the Roman Government. The noble Lord said he had not read the book, but candidly admitted that he ought to have done so: and he (Mr. Bowyer) perfectly agreed with him, for he thought that before attacking the Government of a foreign State the noble Lord ought to have taken the trouble to obtain accurate information on the subject. He ventured to say that the noble Lord, or any hon. Gentleman who chose to ascertain the truth with respect to the Papal Government, would find that the statements which had been put forth impugning its administra- 572 tion were mere calumnies. He implored the noble Lords not to take any part in the Congress, for they would only do mischief by interfering with exceedingly difficult and delicate matters which, with all respect for them, he did not think they understood, and which did not directly or indirectly affect the interests of this country. They would go into that Congress with a sort of philanthropic Whig notions. The noble Lord did not understand how the Presidency of the Pope was to be managed; but he believed it would be very well managed without the noble Lord's giving himself any trouble on the subject. The greatest Italian name was that of the Pope, who was in ancient times the head of the Guelph party, which was the national party. The Popes had always been the supporters of the national party; and Julius II. said to the Ambassador of Venice, "There are only two really Italian things of Italy—one is your ducal cap, and the other is my tiara." The ducal cap is gone, but the tiara still remained, and exercised an influence which, while in a manner it perpetuated the Imperial greatness, spread all over the world with regard, not to temporal, but spiritual things. The Pope was always Italian and the head of Italian interests. No one who had read the literature of Italy would say that Petrarch, or Dante, or any of those great men who adorned that literature, had railed against the Pope. Dante, indeed, had spoken against Rome; but that was when there was an anti-Pope at Rome, and the real Pope was at Avignon. Take the works of Dante, and there was no difficulty in finding in them passages in which he spoke of the authority of the Pope in most enthusiastic terms. What would become of Rome if it lost the Pope? What was Rome but the city of the Pope? If they deprived the Pope of his temporal dominions, and reduced him to the position of a mere pensioner, what would become of Rome? It would be pretty much in the same condition as Oxford without its University, or as Windsor deprived of its Castle. It would be a mere museum of antiquities. The noble Lords no doubt meant to do good to Italy, but they did not understand the Italians, and if they dealt with the affairs of that country according to Whig notions, instead of gaining the blessings, they would bring down upon themselves the curses of the Italian people.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
Sir, I refrained from answering at once the ques- 573 tion put by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli), because I was unwilling to interpose between the House and the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just spoken, knowing as I do the strong interest which he takes in at least one part of Italy and in one of the Governments which unfortunately rule that country. I was anxious to answer the question put by the right hon. Gentleman—a question which, however, was, I think, unnecessary, because it appeared to me that the statement of my noble Friend was perfectly clear and decisive upon the point to which it referred. The right hon. Gentleman wished to know whether the Powers that were neutral in the war—and especially the British Government—made any proposal of terms of arrangement to the Emperor of Austria which were less favourable to the Austrian Government than those afterwards agreed upon at the peace concluded at Villafranca. My noble Friend stated that, as far as he was aware—and certainly so far as this country was concerned—no proposition was made to the Austrian Government from any of the neutral Powers. The right hon. Gentleman seems, however, to have obtained pretty accurate information from some quarter or other as to what took place. Things were pretty nearly as he imagined, with an exception. There was a period of the war at which the French Ambassador at this Court gave my noble Friend a small bit of paper upon which there were certain terms of arrangement, stated very generally, asking that the British Government, if it approved of them, would transmit them to the Government of Austria, recommending the terms as the basis upon which a treaty of peace might be concluded. My noble Friend, in concert with his colleagues, felt that on the one hand it would be unbecoming on the part of Her Majesty's Government, anxious as we must naturally have been for the cessation of the war, to refuse altogether to be the channel of communication between these Governments, which one of the parties thought might be conducive to a peaceful settlement, and which the other party might or might not accept. We did not think it necessary absolutely to decline to be the channel of such a communication; on the other hand, we felt that the state of the two contending parties in the war was not such as, in our opinion, justified us in interposing by any communication on our own part. We, therefore, took the course which, I think, was the proper 574 one. We said, "We will communicate the proposals to the Austrian Minister; they contain your notions, not ours; but we will not accompany them by any advice or opinion, and we shall distinctly say that it is not a communication from us, but from you." That was what passed; my noble Friend gave the memorandum to the Austrian Minister, telling him that it was not our proposal, but the proposal of the French Government, and that the Austrian Government might deal with it as it saw good; but as to the terms, we expressed no opinion whatever. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) seems to believe that the proposal came from us, that it was framed on some opinion or recommendation of ours. On this point he is entirely misinformed. The right hon. Gentleman has also reverted to a matter that has more than once been a topic of remark on that side of the House. He says we fell into the same mistake as the Government of 1848. That matter has been repeatedly misrepresented, even after statements that disproved the misrepresentation from papers in possession of the House showing what the transaction really was. Why, Sir, the English Government of 1848 had no control over the Powers then waging war in Italy. A proposal was made to us which we were asked to transmit to the Sardinian Government and the people of Lombardy. That proposal was that Lombardy should be erected into an Austrian Archduchy. This was the proposal when there was not a single Austrian in Lombardy, when the Sardinians had driven out the Austrian troops, and there was a provisional Government in Milan. To make such a proposition was a mockery; and indeed when it was communicated by the Austrian Government to the Government then existing in Milan, it was treated with scorn and derision, and no answer was returned to it. We had no other answer to make than that we were satisfied that the Government of Lombardy in that state of things could not accept the proposal. Baron Hummelauer afterwards suggested another arrangement; he suggested an amendment of the first proposal, which related solely to Lombardy; the second proposal related to Venice. That city was then in the hands of the Venetians, who were defending it against the Austrians, and it was very unlikely that a proposition which excluded Venice was not likely to be satisfactory to the Italian people. But the state of things 575 soon altered; the fortune of war turned in favour of the Austrian armies; Marshal Radetzky, by his victories, regained posion of Lombardy, and of course the former proposals fell to the ground, being no longer capable of being carried into effect. But the decision the English Government took was one founded on the state of things at the time. Now, the right hon. Gentleman says we ought not, under any circumstances, to go into a Conference on the questions now in dispute. He considers that the representative of this country in the Conference would merely have to sign and register what the other Powers have settled. Now, there are two utterly different parts of the arrangement. One consists of the stipulations made with regard to Venetia and Lombardy. Venice is to remain to Austria; Lombardy has been conquered by the French and Sardinian arms, and is ceded to France as a mode of saving the amour propre of Austria, but it will be assigned to Sardinia. On these points the two parties to the war are entitled to determine; they are matters arising on the territory that has been the seat of war, and is now held by the parties who were engaged in it. But there will be other conditions of this arrangement, which relate to parts of Italy that the contending armies did not occupy, and with which the two contracting Powers have no right or authority to deal; nor have they the power, of their own authority, to put in execution what they might decide respecting them. My noble Friend has stated that before we took any decision as to whether we would take part in the Conference we waited to see what arrangement would be made between the Austrian, French, and Sardinian Governments. He has also stated the various difficulties that may arise out of that arrangement. Franco and Austria may say, Italy shall be a confederation; but they have no power to compel the different States to organize themselves into a particular system. They may say that they will favour certain arrangements and do all they can to promote them; but they cannot be carried into effect by a treaty made at Zurich or anywhere else, they must depend upon the will of the States which are to become members of the Confederation. My noble Friend then stated the difficulties that may arise out of the execution of such an arrangement. It is easy to do so, for they really lie on the surface. It is presumed that Austria and Sardinia will 576 both be members of that Confederation We know the feeling that exists between Austria and Sardinia; what is to be expected if the representatives of those Governments meet at the same table and discuss common matters? The Pope is to be the honorary head of the Confederation; but the King of Sardinia is excommunicated. ["No!"] Yes; not personally, but any person taking possession of any part of the territory of the Pope is declared to be excommunicated, and the Commissioners of the King of Sardinia have exercised authority in the Papal Legations, and it requires no great logic to prove that by this fact the King of Sardinia is excommunicated. At all events, the presence of the Austrian, the Papal, and the Sardinian representatives at the same council board cannot promote an amicable solution of any question that may arise there. Questions may arise of religious toleration, and of the freedom of the press, or, as it may be called, the licence of the press; there may be questions as to the different degrees of political freedom: all these subjects may have to be discussed at that board; and if Austria is a member of the Confederation, with any other State in which free institutions have been established, the latter will not work very harmoniously with Austria, and such Stales as Naples, Tuscany, and Modena. There is this consideration to be borne, in mind, that until we see the removal of such objections it will not be advisable for Her Majesty's Government to enter into the Conference; but if we do see that we can avert any existing evils, and promote the improvement of the people of Italy, it is not only advisable, but it will be the duty of Her Majesty's Government, to use any influence it may be able to exert for moulding these different arrangements so as to further the prosperity of the Italian peninsula. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Bowyer) has said that the Government of Rome is much maligned; that it is one of the most improving and progressive Governments in existence. But I would just ask him one question—How is it that for many years past unless foreign troops were kept in Rome and in the Roman States to preserve order and put down discontent, the Roman Government would be overthrown in a day? Some hon. Gentlemen do not appear to think so; but the Roman Government itself is of that opinion, and it must know as well as the hon. and learned Gentleman what are its relations with its own 577 subjects. It is not the nature of men to be constantly overthrowing Governments without some reason. Man is said to be a destructive animal; but not to that extent. On the contrary, we find that when a Government on the whole is good, even when partial insurrections take place, the sense of the majority overrules the violence of the minority, and order is preserved. In 1848 this metropolis was threatened with a great political convulsion; but what happened? A hundred thousand of the well-disposed people armed themselves, not with daggers, pistols, and muskets—which are the weapons of other countries—but with honest English bludgeons, and the city was nearly as peaceful on the day of the movement as on the day before, or the day after it. So it would be with Rome if Rome were well governed. But the existence not only of discontent, but of bitter resentment against the Government and everything that belongs to it, is, I say, the most conclusive proof that Rome has not that perfect and model Government which the hon. and learned Gentleman would have us believe, but that, in point of fact, as everybody well knows, it has one of the very worst in the civilized world. It is said that the Roman Government being a priestly and a Catholic Government, it is not fitting that any Protestant Power should interfere to give it advice. But in 1832 that objection did not prevent England, Prussia, and Russia—none of them Roman Catholic—from joining France and Austria in recommending improvements which, if Rome had adopted, I venture to say her Government would have saved itself years of mortification and difficulty; while Italy would have been rescued from much of the misery by which from that time to this she has unhappily been afflicted. I see not why the same course, on a proper occasion presenting itself, should not again be followed; and if the united voice of Europe could be brought to bear upon it, surely so excellent, so progressive a Government, and one so well beloved by its subjects as the hon. and learned Gentleman would have us suppose, might easily be prevailed upon to move a little faster. There is no reason, then, why any opportunity should not be taken advantage of to give good advice even to the Roman Government in regard to the amendment of its institutions. The hon. and learned Gentleman does not believe the statement of my noble Friend respecting the number of people in the Neapolitan States who are 578 under the tyranny and oppression of the police. I can assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that my noble Friend did not state anything which is not founded on good information. That of itself is a proof to what degree these bad Governments render wretched the unfortunate population submitted to their sway. And when it is said that we are the advocates of revolution, I answer that they are the real advocates of revolution who maintain these vicious Governments which exasperate the people, and by making legitimate amelioration hopeless drive into conspiracy and dark intrigue those unhappy men who see no other means of escaping from their calamities. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) disclaimed the taunt of my noble Friend that he treated Italian happiness and Italian liberty with indifference. Sir, the right hon. Gentleman went further, and treated them with ridicule. He says my noble Friend has always been under the delusion that in Italy there is a great Whig party. Sir, there is a great Whig—a great constitutional party in that country—and that party has year after year made head against the Republican and Mazzinian party, which looks to subversion and convulsion instead of to wholesome improvement. But I tell the right hon. Gentleman that the similitude between England and Italy is greater than he in his airy and jocose vein represented it. There is not only a great Whig party, but a Tory party also in Italy; and that Tory party, having possession of the Government of the country, though in a minority, and being in conflict with the Whigs, has been the cause of much of the troubles we have witnessed. The Whigs are the more numerous body, but they have not yet been able to get a vote of "No confidence" in their opponents passed; and they are still writhing under the miseries entailed on them by the arbitrary and despotic party which governs. Though no Brooks's exists there I should be very glad to see one established. I do not deny, then, the constitutional sympathies which the right hon. Gentleman imputes to us, and I frankly avow that we should be very glad to see in the ascendancy those true friends of Italy who desire to establish in every part of the Peninsula that rational and moderate freedom which is the only solid foundation of happiness. I say, then, we have come to, and can come to, no decision upon the invitation that has been offered to us, until it is known more com- 579 pletely what arrangements are to be made at Zurich—until it is known how far the parties there contracting may deal with matters which they have no authority to settle—how far they may leave open to consideration between themselves and their allies other questions which, though they have no power to dispose of, they are yet entitled to give their advice and opinions upon. But we shall certainly not go into Conference with the view of taking any of those embarrassing engagements which the right hon. Gentleman deprecates. And here I must remark that the course adopted by Gentlemen on that side of the House is not very consistent with that which they adopted when sitting here; because they who are now so averse to a Conference themselves strongly urged a Congress. True, they advocated a Congress before the war, and the Conference now spoken of is to come after the war. But, surely, Conferences and Congresses do generally follow the close of a war; and if it is meritorious to urge their assembling before that event, why it is equally meritorious to enter into them after it, in order to modify arrangements which, if they are left unmodified, are calculated to cause a renewal of hostilities. "But," says the right hon. Gentleman, "for Heaven's sake do not go into a Conference and commit this country to prospective engagements!" Excellent advice; but how was it acted upon by its authors? It will be found from the blue-book that there was a moment when the late Government were prepared to guarantee Sardinia for five long years against any attack from Austria. Now, if ever there was an engagement not embarrassing merely, but impossible for this country fully to perform, it is this engagement which our predecessors so easily and jauntily offered to undertake. Why, if the meditated attack upon Sardinia had come from any quarter over which we could exercise a controlling power, well and good. We might have measured the expense, calculated the damage, set on the other side the advantage, and struck the balance. We might have said, "True, it is an irksome and difficult undertaking, but we think we can fulfil it, and make it we will." But I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman in what way he would have prevented Austria from attacking Sardinia? Would he have sent an army to Genoa to assist her, and could he have sent one of sufficient magnitude? But he will, perhaps, say this was not an engagement to be taken by 580 England simply, but by England and France. That is to say, we were to have the merit of giving Sardinia the guarantee, while Franco was to have the burden of furnishing the force which was to give effect to it. The French Government, seeing through such a proposal, naturally did not choose to accede to it, and so the matter was at an end. I mention that to show that when we are admonished above all things to abstain from a Conference by those who so warmly urged a Congress, and when we are warned to avoid entangling engagements by those who were ready to enter into the engagement I have described, the exhortations thus addressed to us need not weigh unduly in determining the conduct which the Government ought to pursue. Sir, our desire is simply this—we wish well to Italy; we think it is a country full of people endowed with every gift of Providence. The hon. and learned Gentleman says its inhabitants are not like ourselves; that we must not treat Italy as we do England; that we must not expect popular opinion to be called forth there as it is here. Unhappily, Sir, Italy is not treated like England; but there is no reason in the nature of things why it should not be—there is no reason in the nature of man why its population should not be capable of enjoying the same civil and political liberty, and of working the same institutions with which fortune has favoured us. And, if the councils of Europe can lay the foundation of such improvements as may elevate Italy to its just position, I hold that the Governments which should enter into communication for such a purpose, and who should succeed in carrying it through, would deserve the applause of all who value the welfare and happiness of mankind.
§ MR. H. BAILLIE
said, he must beg to remind the noble Lord that every attempt on the part of this country to interfere in the affairs of Italy had not only ended in failure, but had exposed this country to insults from the Powers immediately connected with its affairs. In 1848 we encouraged revolutions in every part of Italy. We encouraged a revolution in Florence, which was put down by the Austrian Government. The result was, that English subjects were insulted in the streets of Florence by Austrian soldiers; an Englishman was cut down there by them; and it became difficult for any English subject to travel in any part of the Austrian dominions. That was the result of our inter- 581 ference in the affairs of Italy at that time. We encouraged a revolution at Rome, which was put down by the French Government. Now we were asked to enter a Congress with those very Governments who in 1848 we found, and who probably we would still find, entertained opinions very different from those we entertained. Supposing, for example, the Congress should come to an agreement as to the Duchy of Parma and the States of Modena and Tuscany, how was it possible that we, a great Protestant State, could come to any agreement with respect to the States of the Church? If we, as we probably should do, recommended a secular Government to be established in the States of the Pope, how could the Governments of the two great Roman Catholic Sovereigns of Austria and France assent to that proposal? In fact, the Sovereign of France had already, if general rumour were true, given a guarantee to the Pope that the temporal powers of the Church should be retained. It was therefore evident that if Her Majesty's Government took any part in a Conference, we should only be subjecting ourselves to mortification, and in the end to discomfiture. He felt persuaded that on reflection these considerations would prevent the Government from embarking in any such undertaking. He thought, indeed, that it would be far better if Her Majesty's Government, instead of directing their attention so much to the affairs of Italy, would direct it to the affairs of their own country, and look a little to the various important matters which now demanded their serious consideration. Take, for instance, the defences of the country, and he would ask Her Majesty's Government whether the reports which had been current for some days, and which had gained a certain consistency—namely, that some undertaking had been entered into with the French Government for a mutual disarmament—were founded on truth? He confessed he was very much surprised a short time a ago to hear his right hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) recommend such a course to the Government, because any one acquainted with the system of administration in the two countries must be perfectly well aware that the disarmament of France and the disarmament of England meant two things totally different. Supposing the Emperor of France, having an army of 500,000 men, wished to disarm 100,000, all he had to do was to send orders to the 582 Minister of War to the effect that that number of men should have their congés. All these were soldiers who had not served their full time, but only for three or four years, and having obtained their congés they retired immediately to their villages, and engaged in agricultural operations. They were no longer in the pay of the State, but they were liable to be called out at a day's notice; and in ten days after an order from the Minister of War, every one of them would have returned to his regiment. Therefore, in point of fact, though there appeared to be a disarmament, really nothing more had taken place than giving the men their congés for a certain time. And that which was the case with regard to the army was equally so with respect to the navy of France. Her ships might be put in ordinary, but the men who had received their congés were liable to be called out at any moment, and those ships might be turned to account again on a very short notice. Now, the case with us was entirely different. If Her Majesty's Government disarmed, they lost the men perhaps for ever. He would not suppose it possible that our Government could ever have contemplated disarming any portion of our military force, because he clearly showed the House the other day, and it had not been contradicted, that, setting aside the militia, we could not bring into the field more than 30,000 men. He also believed that it could not be in their contemplation to lessen our naval force, and if they did lessen it during the recess, he felt convinced that the English people would resent such a course. He did not gather from the observations of the noble Lord that the Government had come to any definite decision on the subject, and he trusted sincerely that on full consideration they would be induced to remain entirely free from any engagement of that description.
§ MR. MONCKTON MILNES
thought it was important that the House should, especially at the present time, have an opportunity of distinctly expressing its opinion with respect to the great drama which had recently taken place on the Continent. It appeared to him that the late Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Disraeli), who was a member of the Government which sent Lord Cowley to Vienna to transmit messages to the Emperor of the French, and not the opinions of his own Government, should be the last man to find fault with the present 583 Government for performing a similar act when it tended to the accomplishment of peace. He believed that in so doing the present Government in no way violated the principle of neutrality. As we were now in a new phase of European politics he thought it would be well that we should understand a little more clearly what was meant by the word "neutrality." Was neutrality to mean that England was to be utterly isolated from all foreign affairs—that we were to allow the States of Europe to be disposed of, by peaceful or warlike arrangements, as might seem fit to the foreign Powers, or as the accidents of war might dictate ! If it was to be said that England was to abdicate the position she held as one of the first Powers of Europe, he was bound to say that he did not believe that the English people would be prepared to adopt neutrality in that sense. Neutrality need not in any case mean indifference: it need not imply that England was to abdicate her functions as one of the leading Powers of Europe; but the neutrality which the late Government adopted, and which the present Government were loyally content to follow, meant simply that, as regarded the late great conflict, the English people were not convinced that either party was so entirely in the right, or that the general results aimed at were so advantageous to Europe and humanity, as to authorize them to expend in it the money and the blood of England. That should be publicly and authoritatively-stated, and he was glad the Ministers had now declared publicly that England might and could interfere on the side of humanity and justice. No doubt the English Government could have nothing to do with the details of the peace just concluded, which depended merely on the will of the belligerent Powers. But if the English Government were called upon to assist in determining how Italy should be established as a great European Power, he was not prepared to say that we ought to shrink from such a duty. There could be no doubt the Emperor of Austria, who was on the throne when the treaty of Vienna was agreed to, regarded at that time the annexation of Lombardy to his dominions as a great misfortune, and that he foresaw the consequences which history had since detailed. It was mainly owing to the persistence of the other Powers that Lombardy then became a part of the Austrian empire; and he believed that the separation of it from Austria, so far from being a cause of 584 weakness to Austria, would render her really a greater, a safer, and a happier Power. The question of the influence of Austria in Italy was, however, a different matter. He admitted that as long as the people of Venetia were discontented with the Austrian Government, the possession by Austria of the great quadrilateral of fortresses would be a source of uneasiness and danger to Italy; but if the Venetian people in connection with that Government were well and patriotically governed, they might imagine that those fortresses, though they belonged to Austria, really belonged to the Italian Confederation. So far, he believed, the Treaty of Villafranca had in it elements both for the future prosperity of Italy and the general peace of Europe. Neither party had retired from the late conflict with full hands; for while the Emperor of the French had been compelled to abandon some part of his design, the Emperor of Austria had been compelled to abandon some part of his empire. A great lesson had thereby been taught the world—that these enormous armies could not realize all their hopes, or bring about all their designs. He was by no means unwilling to believe that the interference of the neutral Powers in the affairs of Italy might give to the Sardinian Government an authority which at present it was very difficult for her to maintain. The success of the proposed Italian Confederation would to a great extent depend upon the authority and power with which Sardinia entered into it. If she entered it entirely alone and unprotected, she might be overridden and almost destroyed; but if the neutral Powers assisted her as they might do—and he trusted she would receive due encouragement and support from England—he thought that they might hope to find, on the basis of the Sardinian Government, institutions of a liberal character established over the greater part of Italy. A more inappropriate analogy than that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, with respect to a Whig party, could not well be imagined. The constitutional party in Italy, as distinguished from the Liberals of Germany, Russia, or any other part of the world, was essentially aristocratic, comprising not only whatever there was of a middle class, but the whole of the nobility; while, on the other hand, the governing classes consisted almost exclusively of ecclesiastics. We had, therefore, every reason to hope 585 that, even in the present tumultuous and difficult state of things, the liberties of Italy might be secured. The Italian people had all through their history shown a marvellous aptitude for political life. The Italian lived from day to day, and he looked on politics as a practical matter of daily life which he could perfectly and clearly understand—he had no theory which he attempted to realize, and, therefore, he was able to realize a practical problem which in almost all other cases had failed. This peculiarity of the Italian character gave him a fair hope for the Italian future, and that, taking all in all, this Peace of Villafranca might possibly, under the mysterious wisdom of Divine Providence, be so guided as to produce a lasting benefit on that people. He hoped, after what had been said by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, that we should hear no more of the opportunity which was supposed to have occurred some years ago, of establishing Lombardy as an independent kingdom. It must now be distinctly understood, even by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin University, that the proposal made by Prince Schwartzenberg was, not to erect Lombardy into an independent State, but to place it under the government of an Austrian Archduke. It was not the business of that House on such an occasion as the present to decide the question whether Her Majesty's Government should or should not enter on a Conference. It appeared to him to be a matter for the Royal prerogative. It was like a question of peace or war, and the House had no right to dictate on the subject; but it ought to be left solely to the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government. He must say that he congratulated the Government upon the candour with which they had placed this question before the House and the country, for he believed the country desired above all things that we should combine the policy of strict neutrality with a regard to our position as one of the first Powers of the world; and he felt sure the people had no desire to abdicate such a position.
Sir, I am desirous, after what has been said, to make some observations on the interesting subject before the House. Within the last few days the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered a speech, in which he explained the necessity under which he was placed of imposing great burdens on an over-taxed people. I admit that he gave ample rea- 586 sons for so doing; though it was not a little singular that both by the noble Lord the Member for the City of London and the noble Lord at the head of the Government—speaking in rapid succession—the conclusions of the right hon. Gentleman were practically refuted, because they argued that the danger he had spoken of was visionary, and if it had been visionary we should not have been taxed so severely. The truth is, that the question whether we are to pay much or little does not depend on such matters as the Dovor or Galway contract, but on the strength of our naval and military armaments; and the expense of our naval and military armament depends, again, on our foreign policy. Greece and Rome have been referred to this night. I am not, however, inspired by such reference to the exemplar States of antiquity, and cannot, therefore, share the enthusiasm of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is better acquainted than I am with the descendants of Ulysses. We must not yield to enthusiasm on such a question as that in debate in the course of which the noble Lord the Member for London has undertaken to explain the condition in which the foreign policy of the country now stands. My right hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire put a question this evening that has given a turn to the discussion before the House. He asked whether Her Majesty's Government had transmitted a proposition to our Ally, the Emperor of Austria, different from the terms embodied in the articles of the Treaty of Villafranca?—not whether the Ministers had themselves submitted that proposition of their own motion, but whether they had been made a cat's-paw of by some other Power, and had submitted to the Emperor of Austria the contents of a paper not their own, the contents of which are not stated, and the real authors of which have also been left unnamed? The noble Viscount did not tell us from what neutral Power that paper came; but he admitted that my right hon. Friend was substantially accurate in his statement. The fact took place, and therefore it stands confessed that Her Majesty's Ministers assented in a measure to the terms of that paper.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
I distinctly stated that we gave no opinion and no advice; and therefore we did not assent to the terms of any paper.
I did not say that you gave any opinion; but I say that the very fact of the Ministers of England ac- 587 cepting and transmitting such a document to the Emperor of Austria was enough to lead the Emperor of Austria to infer that that document and its contents had the assent of the English Government. The noble Lord perfectly understood the force and point of my right hon. Friend's observation, because my right hon. Friend stated that that paper proposed that Austria should give up the Venetian territory; and the paper having become known to the Emperor of the French, or having emanated from Paris, he was in a position to say to Austria, You perceive by this paper what your Allies will do for you; you will get from the conqueror of four battles more merciful terms than you will get from them. The Emperor of Austria was likely to be influenced by that paper, and there, fore I repeat that the English Minister was used as a cat's-paw by another State. The noble Lord, the First Minister of the Crown has treated another portion of this serious subject in his usual light and trifling manner. When my right hon. Friend said that the Minister had repeated his blunder of 1848, the noble Viscount denied the fact; and said that the charge was utterly unfounded, and one which in future no one would think of repeating. I believe the noble Viscount will never repeat his denial of the charge after the proofs I shall adduce in its support. Let us understand to what point I am now applying my observations. The noble Lord, I assert, for years back, has had a clear policy, that policy being to extirpate the power of Austria from Italy. That policy has been consistently maintained by him. Yet in his recent address to the electors of Tiverton the noble Lord used these words:—"Nobody that I have ever heard of means to wrest from Austria the territories in Venice or in Lombardy which she possesses by virtue of the treaties of 1815."The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has said—I believe truly—that in the negotiation of those treaties Austria was not desirous to obtain Lombardy; the great Powers of Europe induced Austria to accept Lombardy, in order to keep France out of Italy, and Austria, to preserve the balance of power and the peace of Europe, did not decline the offer. Austria by solemn treaty obtained Lombardy, and she is our ancient and faithful Ally. I admit, in the emphatic words of a distinguished -writer on Italy, that the government of Austria in that country was 588 regarded as "the government of the stranger." The same author, Mussimo Azeglio, has said that several of the minor States of Italy were disposed to unite with Austria because of the justice she administered between man and man, which was unknown in some native States. But at the same time her3 was the "government of the stranger," and was therefore not popular, and in 1848 that struggle "began" out of which the matter now in dispute arose. My assertion is that terms more favourable to Italy were offered by Austria to the noble Viscount in 1848, and by him rejected, than have been granted now after a vast destruction of life, and after the ascendancy of French influence in Italy has been established. At that time the Austrian Government appeared to be in great difficulty. To sustain my argument on this subject I will cite three authorities—one statesman, one historian, and one Emperor. That statesman is the right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir J. Graham); the historian, Sir Archibald Alison; and the Emperor, the Emperor of the French. I have stated what has been the policy of the noble Viscount, and we shall see clearly whether he has not forgotten what he said and what he did in pursuit of that policy. In 1848 Lord Ponsonby was our Ambassador at Vienna. You will hardly deny his veracity, scarcely dispute his facts. What was the condition of France at that time? There had just occurred one of those revolutions that are considered by some to be so great a blessing to that country. Consider the state of Europe in 1848. General Cavaignac was then possessed of power, and was fighting for the existence of society against the Socialists. The influence of France with reference to Italy at that time was nothing. What was at the same period the condition of Austria? She was then, as I have said, involved in difficulty and pressed hard by her discontented subjects. And what was then the condition of Sardinia? She was looking out for what she could get—she was looking for a pretext upon which to seize her neigh, hour's property. Lombardy had thrown off the yoke of Austria, and she had got what is called a Provisional Government. In these circumstances a special envoy from Austria, Baron Hummelauer was appointed to this country; but it appears that in April, 1848, there had been sent to the noble Viscount an account of a conversation which Count Ficquelmont had with Lord 589 Ponsonby. In this statement the Count is represented to have said:—Moreover, I added, my Lord, the fate of Italy is in the hands of England; you are, at present, the solo Power who has influence there; it is the greater because it is single. The easy overthrow of Louis Philippe, the establishment of a republic in France, have produced a real panic, but while admitting your power, which you certainly have no right to complain of our doing, allow me at the same time to assign to you the responsibility of events, at least as regards ourselves.It is here admitted that in the then juncture of affairs the influence of England in Italy was paramount and exclusive. How it was used we shall see. In the same month Lord Ponsonby thus wrote to the noble Viscount,—I feel no doubt of the sincerity with which this Government has submitted to the necessity created by various circumstances for the concessions it has made, and that it will faithfully perform its engagements to the best of its power. Count Harting will leave this the day after to-morrow for Italy, where he is going to endeavour to arrange matters amicably if possible. The Count is convinced, I think, of the propriety of aiming at the attainment of that political settlement which I mentioned in my despatch of the 2nd instant. I stated to him the grounds upon which I rest the opinion to which I allude, and the Count fully concurred with what I said. It is true that war has not been declared between the two States, and the mere withdrawal of the diplomatic agents from the two Courts does not necessarily imply its actual existence. What the Piedmontese have done is an intervention in the Austrian territories, for the purpose of giving support to rebels against the Austrian legal authority. It is in contradiction to the recognized principle of non-intervention, for there is no act even asserted by the Piedmontese to have been done by the Austrians injurious to any Piedmontese interests, or dangerous to the Sardinian King's rights or territories. Vague reports, circulated by the Sardinians themselves, of designs entertained by the Austrians to attack Piedmont, which reports have proved to be unfounded, are not justifications for real attacks upon a neighbour.We have here the opinion expressed by Lord Ponsonby as to the origin and object of the war. On a question of this kind it is necessary to be precise in the proof of the assertion that the noble Viscount was offered in 1848 the absolute independence of Lombardy, which he rashly refused. Accordingly I find that Lord Ponsonby, in the most distinct manner, informed the noble Lord of the propositions of Austria to the effect stated, while at the same time he attests the sincerity of Austria and approves in the clearest terms of the settlement offered. Lord Ponsonby wrote on the 9th of June, 1848, to the noble Lord as follows:— 590At a late hour this afternoon I had the honour of a conversation with his Imperial Highness Archduke John, and I have only time to repeat to your Lordship very briefly the main points. His Imperial Highness said that the Lombards might have the absolute disposal of their own fate; they might take Charles Albert for their king, or any other person, or do what they liked as to their Government. I referred to a well-known phrase and said, 'Your Imperial Highness, then, will accept peace quand même?—to which he replied,' Yes, so far as Lombardy is concerned; but we must keep Venice and the line of the Adige; it is necessary in order to protect Trieste, which is a key to our Illyrian provinces.' I have reason to believe that no Minister will be able to control the action of the Archduke in favour of peace. The Archduke authorizes me to acquaint your Lordship with his opinion and views respecting peace, and I presume that what I have stated may afford grounds for preliminary steps, if it should be your Lordship's pleasure to forward a pacification. I am unwilling to intrude my opinion at any time upon any subject, but I will say that I think the Archduke is right both in leaving the Lombards free to take their own measures, and in the desire to retain the territories within the line of the Adige, for I believe that a cession of those would lead to a renewal of the contest in that part of Italy where it is so desirable to establish peace on some solid basis. The Lombards, by the retreat of the Austrians from all interference, will be at liberty to complete the union of the Duchies of Parma and Modena with the Milanese. All pretence for jealousy of Austrian aggression will cease, because Austria will have no interest to cause it; and there will not be, I am inclined to think, any strong feeling in the Venetian kingdom against the proposed arrangement.On the next day Lord Ponsonby wrote to the noble Viscount this short but all-important despatch:—I neglected yesterday to say that, supposing Venice should again be under the Austrian Crown, that kingdom would enjoy a free constitution. According to Lord Ponsonby, therefore, Austria offered the independence of Lombardy and a free constitution for Venice.Here we have the testimony of Lord Ponsonby that Austria would yield, under the guarantee of England, the independence of Lombardy—a boundary defined by the line of the Adige with a free constitution for Venice—terms vastly superior to the Treaty of Villafranca. The noble Viscount forgets the whole of this transaction, but it has been recorded by the historian. It is impossible for him to escape now from the effect of his own conduct then. He has stated to-day that it was Baron Hummelauer who proposed that Lombardy should remain under the vice-royalty of the Archduke John; but after what I have read coming from the lips of that same member of the Imperial family of Austria, it would be surprising that such proposal should have been the only 591 or the ultimate offer made by Baron Hummelauer. The Baron in May, 1848, came to this country, and had an interview with the noble Viscount. I cannot state what passed at that interview, but the first proposition of the Envoy was not accepted. I have no doubt that the noble Viscount required Baron Hummelauer to put into writing his final proposal for the purpose of its being considered by the noble Viscount, and submitted by him to the Cabinet of which he was a distinguished Member. Baron Hummelauer accordingly, being fully authorized, states in writing on the 24th of May, what he proposes. And what did Baron Hummelauer on the part of Austria then offer? He offered on the 24th of May that Lombardy should be independent; but he declared that Austria should retain Venice in consequence of the connection between that city and the security of Trieste. He stated, however, at the same time that Venice should have a free constitution under an Austrian Archduke, with a national army, a local administration, and a deputy to be chosen by the Venetians themselves, who should represent their views and wishes at Vienna. The words are—Lombardy would cease to belong to Austria, and would be free either to remain independent, or to unite herself to any other Italian State she might choose.There can be no mistake about the proposal, for Baron Hummelauer makes exactly the same proposal that Lord Ponsonby communicated to the noble Viscount. The noble Viscount and the Cabinet took from the 24th May to consider that important proposal until the 3rd of June. That date is important with reference to the conduct of the Provisional Government in Milan. On the 3rd of June the noble Viscount wrote an elaborate despatch, in which he said that the offer made with respect to Lombardy was entirely satisfactory, but that as Venice was in the hands of the people who had shaken off the authority of Austria, it was not probable that that part of the proposition which related to Venice would be acceptable to the Italians, and the noble Viscount added Her Majesty's Government would be unwilling to enter upon a negotiation which in their opinion offered no prospect of success, and to make a proposal which they felt confident beforehand that one of the parties would positively refuse to accept. Baron Hummelauer replied that he had no authority to 592 treat for the cession of Venice; but with respect to the independence of Lombardy there was no dispute between the noble Lord and the Austrian Envoy. The very document written by the noble Viscount in reply to the Envoy decides the whole question against him. It was true that the Provisional Government at Milan had refused to accept the Austrian offer made to them; but it was important to observe that their refusal had taken place on the 18th of June, after they had had time to receive a communication making known to them the contents of the noble Viscount's State paper containing his own refusal of the 3rd of the same month; and it should also be remembered that they had taken precisely the same ground in this refusal which had been taken by the noble Lord. But what of Sardinia? There was a correspondence which threw a curious light upon that point, but which the noble Viscount seemed also to have forgotten. Mr. Abercromby was at the time our Minister in Sardinia, and he wrote a despatch to the noble Viscount in which he stated that a person had called upon him with a letter from the King. That letter related to the desire of the King to obtain peace on the terms already proposed: the date of it, July 10, 1848, made, it might be supposed, somewhat in favour of the noble Viscount. But it is important to remember that at that time the battle had not been fought which changed the whole aspect of the controversy, for the noble Viscount always kept his eye upon the one point, whether our faithful Ally was likely to be beaten or not. The statement which the letter contains, coming from the King of Sardinia himself, is to the following effect:—Turin, July 10, 1849.A few days ago I had an opportunity of conversing with a person who fully possesses the confidence of his Sardinian Majesty, and who has been of late in constant communication with him upon the subject of the war now carrying on in Lombardy. I took occasion, in the course of the conversation, to speak freely and openly on the subject of the present position of affairs, as connected with this war of Italian independence and the formation of the kingdom of Upper Italy. I remarked that it was our wish to see a strong and a united country established in Upper Italy, and that, in accordance with that principle, Her Majesty's Government had recently framed their answer to the proposals made by the Cabinet of Vienna with regard to the mediation of Great Britain; but I added that it appeared to me, as matters at present stood, that His Sardinian Majesty would do well calmly and scrupulously to consider His position in all its bearings and in all its relations, as they might affect the interests of 593 his country and of his family, whenever he might be called upon to decide upon the question of negotiation for peace. I added, however, in the most distinct and explicit terms that I could employ, that I did not presume to offer any opinion whatever upon the subject of the terms upon which peace might be advantageously accepted, for that was a question which it was for His Sardinian Majesty and his Government to decide. I renewed on this occasion the assurances I had repeatedly given to the Marquis Pareto, of the sincere desire of Her Majesty's Government to assist, as far as they were able, the interests and welfare of Sardinia; and I repeated also the same argument I had previously urged—that to enable Her Majesty's Government to do so, it was necessary that they should be made acquainted with His Sardinian Majesty's real wishes and intentions. I at the same time expressed my readiness to convey to your Lordship any communications which His Sardinian Majesty might desire to make to you.This morning was communicated to me (Mr. Abercromby) a letter written entirely by His Sardinian Majesty. In that letter, dated Roverbella, 7th instant, His Sardinian Majesty declares that he would accept propositions which gave the Adige for the eastern frontier of this country, and which recognized the annexation to it of Lombardy and the Duchies of Parma and Modena. His Sardinian Majesty then proceeds to observe, that should the Austrian Government be disposed to make direct to him any propositions for peace based upon such territorial arrangements as above, or should they be proposed to him by Her Majesty's Government, as mediators, or should they be proposed through me at the recommendation of Her Majesty's Government, he would not hesitate to accept of them, and His Sardinian Majesty desires that those opinions should be confidentially communicated to me. His Sardinian Majesty terminated this letter which I have read by observing that sufficient reasons might be given to prove to the Chambers and to the country the wisdom of accepting a peace which, considering the relative powers of Sardinia and of Austria, ought justly to be considered as being both honourable and glorious for Sardinia.There is in that communication from the King of Sardinia not one word about Venice, and it is idle to attempt to mystify one of the plainest matters of fact with which an historian or a statesman ever had to deal—that Lombardy and the line of the Adige would have satisfied Sardinia, that Austria was ready to give up Lombardy, and that the noble Viscount thought proper to refuse the concession, which according to the King would have ended the dispute in a manner honourable and glorious for Sardinia. It is also clear that Mr. Abercrombie had got from the noble Viscount a copy of the proposal made by Baron Hummelauer, in order to act upon the information it afforded, and by thus dealing with that proposal the noble Viscount showed his sense of its importance. One would suppose that a communication 594 such as that just read, coming from the King of Sardinia, would have received some reply; but the fact was, that no answer at all had been returned to it. This graphic and characteristic letter was, however, next in point of date, addressed by the noble Viscount to Mr. Abercrombie:—Foreign-office, July 28, 1848.Sir,—I have to instruct you to send Lieutenant Campbell, or any other person competent to obtain information, to the army of King Charles Albert, to ascertain as far as he can, and to report upon, its present positions, operations, efficiency, numbers, and prospects.You will obtain from the Government of Turin the necessary passport and permission for the person whom you may employ. That person will return to Turin after the execution of his commission. A messenger will be sent to you in a few days to enable you to send back his report to England. "I am, &c.,(Signed) "PALMERSTON.The meaning of this significant epistle, silent on the peace proposition, as the House cannot fail to perceive, is, Let me know by means of this officer whether Sardinia has any chance of beating Austria. If she has, notwithstanding that Austria is our faithful Ally and is entitled by the treaties of 1815 to her possessions in Italy, you may depend upon it I will not fail to extort from her in the hour of her distress that which she will not yield until she is vanquished. But this is not all. I find in a memorandum prepared by the noble Viscount of a conversation held by the noble Viscount with Count Revel, the Sardinian Ambassador in London, a few days before the decisive battle, which changed the tone of the correspondence altogether, the following passage:—Foreign-office, August 5, 1848.I had, a few days ago, a conversation with Count Revel on the affairs of Northern Italy, in which I told him that I had not then received any recent reports from the seat of war, but according to the last reports which had reached me, it did not appear that any essential advantage had been gained by either side; that Sardinia might possibly succeed in taking Mantua, but that she might find it a long and difficult task; that up to that time she had been successful, because the Austrians had continually acted on the defensive, but that the Austrian forces were always formidable, and reinforcements were then arriving and were expected to arrive. I also told Count Revel that Her Majesty's Minister at Turin had informed me that he had at one time had reason to believe that the Sardinian Government would have been disposed to negotiate on the basis of the line of the Adige, but that he had found that subsequent events had led them not to be willing to be satisfied with less than the line of the Piave, and I added that Sardinia was then certainly in a good position; and I expressed a wish that should the war continue she might prove victorious. I 595 said that the basis which I thought might be proposed was the line of the Piave, Sardinia charging herself with a just proportion of the debt of the empire.There is no evidence whatever that Mr. Abercrombie stated to the noble Viscount that Sardinia demanded, as he states, the line of the Piave, that is the unsupported assertion of the noble Viscount—the line of the Piave would have given Venice to Sardinia—but I have already shown that the King of Sardinia would have deemed a settlement on the basis of the line of the Adige 'glorious.' And now he has by the articles of the treaty of Villafranca got neither—the line of the Piave, nor of the Adige—but of the Mincio—less than he might have got peacefully ten years ago under the guarantee of England. I have stated that I would appeal in support of the views which I am submitting to the House to a statesman, an historian, and an Emperor. The statesman is the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carlisle, who, in the course of a speech delivered in this House condemnatory of the policy pursued by the noble Viscount with respect to Italy, said:—It is impossible to say what has been the effect of that act [the refusal to accept the proposal of Austria], of the noble Viscount. My belief is that the insurrection of Hungary was the consequence, and what I regret as much as any man, the intervention of Russia, the interference of that country to crush the Hungarian insurrection having thus been rendered necessary.The speech of the right hon. Gentleman on that occasion was not so much an invective as a cold, severe, bitter piece of logic. But he is not alone in the opinion which he entertains of the noble Lord's Italian policy. Two historians have written narratives of the events in Italy in 1848. One of them (Sir Archibald Alison), whose works are very much read, pushed the case against the noble Viscount even further than the right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle. He says the noble Lord's policy—Led the Italian Liberals to reject all terms of accommodation, and thus needlessly prolonged the war under circumstances evidently hopeless; it weakened the influence and damaged the character of England, by spreading the belief that she lacked the means, or wanted the courage, openly to support a cause which she had secretly promoted. Still more disastrous were the effects of this policy upon the general balance of power in Europe, for it led to the occupation of Rome by the French, and division of the Italian Peninsula, in respect of influence, between them and the Austrians, and by proving to Austria that she could not rely on the support of Great Britain, it threw her into the arms of Russia, induced the Muscovite intervention in Hungary, and brought about that vast in- 596 crease of the Czar's influence in the East, which led him to invade Turkey in 1854, and which was only checked by the blood poured out at the Alma, Inkerman, and Sebastopol.He goes on to add,—Nothing was ever more disastrous than this policy to Italy and the world. The general summary of Lord Palmerston's conduct during the whole of the critical period which followed the Italian revolution cannot be regarded by any impartial observer with approbation.Such are the opinions of Sir Archibald Alison; but there is a still greater authority than either of these to which I have referred, and one, too, who must be supposed to be friendly to the noble Viscount—I mean the Emperor of the French. Painters and artists have been subjected to penalties for disputing the critical acumen of Princes; but the noble Viscount has no occasion to find fault with the criticism of the French Emperor in the present instance, for it contains an excellent exposition of the policy which he adopted in regard to Italy. In the pamphlet entitled Napoleon III. and Italy, which is believed was written by or under the dictation of the Emperor of the French, he states that in 1848 France was by political events excluded from the concerns of Italy; that the Spanish marriages had alienated England from France; that when the revolutionary element prevailed the authority of France was annihilated in Italy, and that then England stepped in to assume her place. He says that the policy of the noble Lord is his policy—namely, to put an end to the domination of Austria in Italy, and to establish not the revolutionary element, which the Emperor of the French deprecates beyond measure, but the national element. The Prince Napoleon who spoke at Leghorn talked of effecting the unity of the Latin race, a phrase which looks like political fatalism. I find that the Imperial writer says:—England decided in favour of the national element. France was isolated. Lord Minto fulfilled the mission with which he was charged by Lord Palmerston with an ardour which went beyond the mark, by exciting impatience and delusions where, above all, were necessary moderation and a spirit of firmness. Our influence was overthrown on the other side of the Alps. Italy no longer believed in France. It was England to whom Italy gave all her confidence. It must be admitted that this confidence was not deceived. England did not hesitate to declare against Austrian domination. Her policy is summed up in an important despatch of Lord Palmerston, dated the 29th of October, 1848.That is a mistake. It is dated the 9th of October, 1848. Then follows a passage 597 from the noble Viscount's despatch to Lord Ponsonby, thus given,—It would certainly be more prudent on the part of the Austrian Government to free the populations of Italy from what they will always consider a yoke, and Lord Palmerston thinks that yoke cannot he retained except by force, and that foreign aid will some day be implored and granted.That is exactly what occurred, and the Emperor of the French has done everything in Italy exactly as it is pointed out in this pamphlet he would do. The writer of the pamphlet quotes the noble Viscount's words, that even though the war should become European, there was no reason to believe that the final result would leave Austria in possession of any territory beyond the Alps, and asks, Is it possible to isolate more completely Austria by raising between her and Europe a universal sentiment of the injustice of her pretensions? These are, writes the Imperial author, the principles of the noble Viscount, and the acts of England, he argues, corresponded with these principles until the visit to M. Hummerlauer, which the writer now describes:—There was a moment of promise for Italian nationality. Austria proposed the independence of Lombardy, and a separate Government for Venetia, on the sole condition of her suzerainty. These proposals were carried directly to London. They were only known in France. It was then believed in London that Italy would obtain better terms, and the English Cabinet did not use its great and legitimate authority to prevent the refusal being made by the Provisional Government of Milan.A conclusive censure of the noble Viscount's policy, with a truthful statement of the facts. This passage showed plainly that the writer knew the proposition was made, as I have asserted, by Austria, and that the legitimate authority of England should then have settled the whole Italian question. The Emperor insists he has the assent of England—the assent of the noble Viscount to the expulsion of Austria from the whole of her Italian dominions, Venice included. The noble Lord, writes the Frenchman, is a politic statesman, a wise statesman, in his anxiety to get rid of Austrian rule; but the writer asks this question, "How is it to be accomplished?" The noble Viscount says by foreign aid. The writer puts this further question, "What will be the result of foreign aid? Are we to have one Government in Italy? He answers that is impossible; it is only to be ruled by a federal Government—several States united in one confedera- 598 tion, influenced by one object to defend Italy from foreign aggression, each pursuing its own happiness and endeavouring to work out its own prosperity. That is the proposition of the Imperial pamphlet, and, naturally enough, the Emperor of the French proceeds to act precisely upon it. He is manifestly the foreign Power whose aid is to be sought and granted. He proceeds to Italy. He wins battles. His troops are victorious, and then he makes peace not on the terms of the pamphlet as to the territory to be given up by Austria, but on the principle of a confederation. That peace is before us, and practically, the question now is, what are we to do with the noble Viscount; what chance have we of peace if he intermeddles? In reference to the policy we have been discussing, I commend the singleness of purpose with which he proposed to get rid of Austria. He doubted whether Austria could hold one inch of Italian territory, such was his opinion of her military power. He has been disappointed; and now that there is the French peace the question is, What is to be done with that peace? I judge the noble Lord not unfairly, but honestly and candidly. I give him credit for consistency in wishing to liberate Italy, to expel Austria, and to subvert Pope and Duke, King and Emperor, in pursuit of that great object—the independence of Italy. I only impeach his judgment which misled him to refuse establishing ten years ago a great constitutional State in Italy—the very existence of which, under the guarantee of England, would have been attended with the best results in all parts of Italy, and would have ensured the exclusion of French interference and the peace of Europe. Tonight he has done all he could to throw ridicule on the unfortunate Pope; he has shown his feeling towards his Holiness, and I think the Pope will be prudent in not entering into any Conference of which the noble Viscount is a member. The noble Lord the Member for the City of London has been more cautious, but no doubt to the same policy he would give his efficient support. It is very true that the Pope's is not a good government. I do not admire that species of government myself. But the question has been put by the hon. Member for Dundalk, Would you have any city of Rome but for the Popes? It was a mass of rubbish. The Popes restored the aqueducts and many of the monuments of Rome. When the empire and the aristo- 599 cracy were transferred to Constantinople there would have been an end to the city of Rome, and, if we are to believe Ranke, the Popes made Rome an inhabitable city. These noble Lords seem prepared in a moment to overthrow the Pope's temporal power, and I suppose would not be displeased if his spiritual power went with the temporal. I would ask this question—If you dispose of the Pope suddenly, have you any substitute ready for that which you demolish? The noble Lord the Member for Loudon said he approved of the first part of the treaty of Villafranca; he was willing so far that Lombardy should unite its fortunes to Sardinia; he should rejoice if a powerful and free State were established in Central Italy; he only regretted that eminent statesmen should have condemned the manner and means in which Sardinia has acquired her gains. But the noble Lord proceeded to say that the remainder of the treaty is full of difficulties or impossibilities. So, as I understand it, articles of a treaty are signed between two great Powers, who have fought a bloody fight, and now, though I doubt the charitable supposition, are infected with the humane desire of stopping the effusion of blood; and the noble Lord is determined they shall not make peace, because, if his views are carried out, the treaty can never be brought to a conclusion; but he is not good enough to inform us what is to be the alternative. The noble Lord approves the first part of the treaty, but disapproves all the rest. He is willing, as we understand him, to go into a Congress with the view of disputing all that has been agreed upon by these two Emperors; and then, I presume, the war of independence will re-commence. ["No."] I say yes. I contend that if you set aside the treaty you cannot be sure what will happen—whether you will have any other, or whether you will have any peace whatever. When the noble Lord disapproves so much, I think he would show himself to be the most unwise Minister which England ever possessed if he went into a Congress for the purpose of discussing a treaty which he has so unequivocally condemned. The noble Viscount the Member for Tiverton said such a thing as a federal union of Italy was impossible. Then the whole treaty is an impossibility, and why do you meddle with it? Why complicate England with the question? Why interfere in the terms which may, according to your argument, be a hollow truce, when you would not interfere in the preceding war? If 600 public opinion in this country has not approved the war, it has not approved the peace. The Pope will be for the supremacy of his Church, the Sardinian Government for toleration. There will therefore, it is said, be a dispute, and nothing can come of the Confederation. There never was a greater mistake. Switzerland may seem to be an instance of a confederation of a similar kind. Switzerland has been described by Lord Bacon to be held together by the bond of utility. It is a federation for purposes of defence and unity; but the federal body does not meddle with the government of particular States. You find there Roman Catholic States, and Protestant States, such as Lucerne and Berne, and yet they are combined and united together for defence of their common independence. Notwithstanding the differences of religious opinion, they still subsist and maintain their federal union, and they are strong by their union in the midst of the greatest Powers in Europe. Therefore the argument against the possibility of a Confederation on the grounds assigned fails. The speech of the noble Viscount is nothing but ridicule of the whole plan. I cannot bring myself to believe that the opinion of the House will approve of the noble Lord's entering into a Congress, especially as it appears to be a fact that they have sent a paper to Austria demanding that Venice shall be given up to Sardinia. Judging from that fact, and the opinions they have expressed, they are opposed to the terms of the treaty which the belligerents have made, and if they succeed in setting it aside every lover of peace and humanity will ask what they will gain in its place? You have spoken of Lord Malmesbury's willingness to go to a Congress. I have looked over his proposals for a Congress, but that Congress was a very different matter. Lord Malmesbury was a party to all the negotiations out of which the demand for a Congress sprang. It was to save the shedding of blood, to prevent a war, that Lord Malmesbury assented to a Congress, but he defined with precision what ought to be the objects of that Congress. Lord Malmesbury's letter to the Duke de Ma-lakhoff was as follows:—Foreign Office, March 19.My dear Marshal.—The Cabinet has just risen. We accept the Congress in a neutral town, but we prefer a Conference, it being understood that no question shall be raised respecting the territorial possessions of Austria in Italy, but that the discussions shall be confined to four points 601 namely, evacuation, reform, security of Sardinia against Austrian attacks, substitution of a plan for the internal security of the small States, in place of the treaties with Austria of 1847.Yours ever, "MALMESBURY.This paper—so sensibly, so judiciously, so shortly drawn—clearly specified the subjects of the inquiry. Lord Malmesbury's was an assent to the proposition of another party for the avowed purpose of preventing war, and preserving and protecting the rights of all. That was a very different affair. The noble Lords have made allusion to the protocols of the Congress of Paris of 1856. I have looked over those protocols, and I do not think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be very hopeful of a Congress having regard to that of 1856. I had once the good fortune to suggest a topic that the right hon. Gentleman took up with a power and a vigour that I have never seen exceeded. No one denounced these protocols of 1856 with more success than the right hon. Gentleman. He said that they trenched upon topics with which they had no business to intermeddle; that they pronounced upon the rights of independent nations; that they complicated the affairs of Europe. And the right hon. Gentleman proved to my satisfaction that Lord Clarendon did deal with Belgium and the freedom of the press in Belgium in an unjustifiable and reprehensible manner, in consenting at that Conference that the free press of Belgium should be put down to accommodate France. Did you do anything by your protocols and your Congress? The Emperor in his pamphlet said that the Congress had failed to settle the affairs of Italy. The parties to that Conference agreed that in future none of the parties to the treaty should go to war without the intervention of a friendly Power being first tried. That was the conclusion they came to. And then the very party who agreed to that Protocol went to war without the friendly intervention of any Power and against the remonstrances of a principal party to that Congress. Therefore, if you look to the Congress of 1856, or to the history of Congresses from the Peace of Ryswick downwards, there is nothing to encourage the noble Viscount to enter into that in which he so much delights—a diplomatic correspondence on the terms of a treaty which he acknowledges he entirely disapproves. No one has more sarcastically described the ridiculons Congress of Ryswick than Lord Macaulay, who writes it was the Ambassadors who made 602 war, and the Generals who made peace. After having heard the noble Lord and the noble Viscount make their explanations, and considering what has taken place in that distracted country, Italy, I decidedly say that, as we were no party to a bloody war, so it would be wise, expedient, and politic to leave those who made war to make peace. They will then be responsible for the terms of that peace, and England will be free to take that course which her dignity and her sense of justice may warrant. She will then be clear from all those complications that have so frequently ensued from a policy unwisely and imprudently engaged in.
§ MR. DRUMMOND
I do not rise to prolong this debate by any opinions of my own, or by reinforcing the arguments which have been used by others. But I think that scrimp justice has been done to the kingdom of Sardinia, and I think that this debate has not gone to the root of the question; and I wish, therefore, to refer to a few facts to enable this House to come to a right conclusion. It is very well known that Sardinia is the only country which has attained constitutional government without either revolution or carnage; and I think that such a country ought in this House—where we profess to be such admirers of constitutional government, and where we know something of the failures which have attended the attempts to attain it in France and Hungary and other places—we ought to have some leanings towards the side of Sardinia, and not show so much anxiety to find fault with the conduct of statesmen who are unused to the difficulties of the position they hold. It is essential to the establishment of freedom that the ecclesiastical power should be subjected to the civil. Without that it is a delusion to talk of liberty—liberty is a sham. You can have no liberty while you are the slaves of the priest. There are those in this House who remember, as I do, the return of Louis XVIII. to France, where he found a priest who had been convicted of the crime of cutting his mistress into twenty pieces. [A laugh.] Oh, yes! I dare say it is a very good joke. But I know this, that with all the power he possessed, he was prevented for several years—seven or eight, I think it was—before he dared to execute righteous judgment on that priest. Now, no sooner had the Government of Sardinia put the priestly under the civil power—that is to say, made the priests amenable to the laws in the same way as 603 civilians—than every member of the Assembly who voted for the Siccardi Law was excommunicated, and is excommunicated to the present day. Salvi Rossi, the author of that law, died, in consequence, without having received the sacraments of the Church; and however lightly the members of a Protestant Church may treat these things, they alone who are Roman Catholics, or who have lived long in Roman Catholic countries, can be aware of the enormous importance attached to them. About the same time the Jesuit confessor of the mother of the present Emperor of Austria got about him at a time when he was slightly wounded, and made him vow that if he recovered he would restore to the Church her rights in Austria. Mark the words. They were false words used intentionally—false words conveying a lie. A concordat was concluded—a con-concordat which gave to the Chuch in Austria powers which in no part of Germany had she ever possessed before, and put Austria in complete subjection to the Council of Trent. By this concordat the whole youth of the kingdom are placed exclusively under the control of the Jesuit schools. No Protestant of Bohemia or Hungary, or any of the Danubian provinces, can be received into the civil or military service of the empire without a certificate from one of the Jesuit schools; and of course the Protestants will not send their children to those schools. The Austrian priests in Lombardy fomented the rebellion of the priests in Sardinia; the Pope backed them both; and it would have been utterly impossible for the country to remain free unless some steps had been taken to control their power. The King therefore asked the succour of France, and it was granted. But it was no mere question of territory. In 1848, and since that time, the Pope, that is to say, the ecclesiastical power, has put forth its influence throughout Europe in a way that it has not dared to do since the French Revolution. There is not, I believe, a single state in Europe where they have not done so. Do not suppose I find fault with the Pope for his conduct in this matter. I say that the declaration he made the other day was an honourable and a manly declaration—that be would die rather than forego the rights of his Church. But I say that those rights are incompatible with the freedom of mankind. At the time the Bishop of Mayence was exciting all the priests in Baden to revolt, the Grand Duke was placed in a 604 most embarrassing position, for he was governing for his elder brother, who was imbecile. In fact, so difficult was his position, that he had been obliged to ask the Pope himself to interfere. And there the matter rests. In Prussia the priests claim the right of searching every house in the Rhenish provinces to see if any books are there which have been put into the "Index," and to ascertain what newspapers are read; in fact, the priests exercise there a self-originating police. I might quote many similar examples, but I know that such details are necessarily tedious. What have they done in France, mark you? You talk here of the freedom of the press. Whatever a newspaper says here, the editor alone is responsible for; but when the Emperor prosecuted Montalembert the other day for pronouncing a panegyric on England, he took care to let all the newspaper writers, who continually abused England, go free. Does not that show, that while he encourages the one he wishes to repress the other? The Univers has declared, over and over again, that the existence of Protestant England is incompatible with the happiness of the human race, and points it out as a glorious act, and as the destiny of France, to blot England out of existence, as Carthage was blotted out before. But, while this is allowed to the Catholics, M. Coquerel, a Protestant clergyman very well known in this country, and formerly a member of the Legislative Chamber, has been warned, and forbidden to say anything in his sermons that is offensive to Popery. At La Sarre and other places the sale of the Scriptures has been forbidden, and the persons selling them have been put in prison—and why? Because it is said that Holy Scripture is opposed to the religion of the majority. [Mr. BOWYER: No, no.] Now, you had better be cautious. Does the hon. Member forget how many bulls have been put forth prohibiting the circulation of the Scriptures? He had better be on his guard, for I have got the documents here. Did the hon. Member never read the encyclical letter of the Pope to the Bishop of Poland, in which it is said it is well known that at all times Holy Church has held it to be infinitely perilous for laymen to read the Holy Scriptures? [Mr. BOWYER: No, no.] I do request the favour of the House to allow me to read the passage; for as the matter is now put, either I have been telling you a falsehood or somebody else has. The Pope's letter to the Bishop runs thus:— 605 "It is unnecessary to remind you bow repeatedly the Church, by her Roman pontiffs, has forbidden her children to read the Bible in any vulgar tongue."[Mr. Bow-YER: There is something else.] Yes—there is something else! "Pope Clement VIII. has moreover declared that no Bishop whatever is at liberty to permit Bibles of the above description to be kept or read—"[Mr. BOWYER: Of the above description.] That is," in any vulgar tongue"—in English, for instance. Why, Sir, the fact is notorious. Outside of this House there is scarcely a man who will be found to contradict it. Then there is child stealing. We have all heard of the Mortara case. Child stealing, Sir, is going on everywhere. It is practised a little even among ourselves. At Maubeuge the Protestant Church has been suppressed, and there has been a great deal more of the same sort of thing that I might cite. What I have attempted to show you is, that the power of the Pope is going on at a greater rate than ever it was, and that it is incompatible with freedom. Do not you talk of wishing for liberty in Italy while you continue the power of the Pope. It is downright nonsense; you cannot do any such thing. But then, I say to you that England, as a Protestant country, cannot meddle to any good purpose. If the Roman Catholic laity are to be emancipated from ecclesiastical power, they must do it for themselves. Whatever we say or do will be seen under so much prejudice, that it will be rejected though they were the maxims of Wisdom herself. Now, this I say, taking a broad and general view of the question, that this Protestant country ought, as an essential consideration, to keep out of it. It can do no possible good. I know that there are fidgets on all subjects—private fidgets and public fidgets, family fidgets and political fidgets, and there is a great tendency on the part of many people to do what the sailors call "shoving the oar where there is no rowlock." I think it would be a dangerous thing for this country to meddle in the settlement of a question essentially religious, with which we can have no legitimate concern, which must produce irritation, in which the voice of the country can never be fairly listened to, and which furnishes an additional reason—not that I would argue that the Government of the country should be tied down by any Resolution of this House—why it would not be a wise or 606 a prudent policy for us to mix ourselves up in any way in this matter.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
Sir, I agree with my hon. Friend who hast just sat down, that it is impossible to hope that the present debate, which has arisen incidentally upon a statement made by my noble Friend (Lord J. Russell) can exhaust all those subjects of varied interest which it naturally suggests; but I am glad that my hon. Friend has borne his testimony upon a subject which, after the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Dundalk (Mr. Bowyer), really needed it. I mean that he has reminded the House how much, in one sense at least, we owe to Sardinia. I do not now speak of the foreign policy of Sardinia; but I do say that with respect to the whole of her internal government, my hon. Friend has not said a word too much. She has been placed in a position of enormous difficulty. She has had upon the one hand the principle of absolutism, and upon the other, the principle of revolution; she has had upon the one hand, in matters ecclesiastical, the principle of the absolute dominion of the Pope; she has had, on the other, the principle of irreligion; and between these opposing evils, she has steered her course with a sagacity and a success that establishes for her a claim upon the gratitude of every lover of order and freedom in the world. I rise, however, chiefly for the purpose of following the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Whiteside), because he founded his imputations or his unfavourable presumptions against the conduct which the present Government is likely to pursue at this juncture upon historical references. Not for the first, nor, I think, for the second time, the right hon. Gentleman went back to the history of the year 1848. He went into many particulars, referred to dates, quoted documents, and dwelt at great length upon his case; and, as I thought, he appeared to prove it to the entire satisfaction of those who sit behind him. The cheers which greeted him were, I think, ample demonstration of that fact. I am very sorry that the right hon. Gentleman is not in his place. If he had been there it would have been my first duty to assure him that in what I am about to say I do not in the slightest degree intend to question anything except his accuracy. I shall go over the charges which he has made against my noble Friend at the head of the 607 Government; and I must say that I do hope that after the time of the House has been so often occupied by prolonged discussions upon what took place in the year 1848, that may be the last occasion on which it will be devoted to so unprofitable a subject. Among the accusations made by the right hon. Gentleman, there was one good-humoured charge against my noble Friend at the head of the Government, to the effect that he had made game of the Pope. When I heard the right hon. Gentleman use that expression, I could not help recollecting a remarkable sentence which he himself delivered some years ago in this House, and which I will venture to quote. It is only a sentence, and it is thoroughly instinct both with the humour of his nation and the good humour of the right hon. Gentleman himself. I think I recollect a speech of the right hon. Gentleman which closed in terms which I am able to cite almost textually. It was a speech upon the unpromising and angry subject of the College of Maynooth; but the right hon. Gentleman, anxious to refresh himself and his hearers, wound up that address with an affecting appeal to the feelings of his Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen; and so far did he go in his desire to conciliate them that, referring likewise to this vexed question of the Pope, he said—I speak now of what is historical, for I think this happened two Parliaments ago, but the words are engraven on my memory—he said, addressing his Roman Catholic countrymen, "I assure my Roman Catholic fellow-citizens, that I respect even the Pope himself, and I wish him nothing more than that he should have under his nose a Parliament like the Parliament of Piedmont, to keep the infallible man from going wrong every day of his life," I hope, Sir, that that quotation is sufficient proof that if it is to be made an imputation upon the noble Viscount that he has thrown ridicule on the Government of the Pope, at least the right hon. Gentleman must administer punishment upon that score with considerable mercy and equity. But the right hon. Gentleman charged my noble Friend with having laboured indefatigably to get rid of Austria from Italy, and yet at the same time showed that he had acknowledged the title of Austria to her Itatian provinces under treaty. There was no incompatibility whatever in what was stated by the right hon. Gentleman. Like every other 608 English statesman, my noble Friend has acknowledged the respect which is due to treaties. The recognitions of the Austrian title which he has given have been recognitions made in time of peace, and acknowledgments of the limitations which were imposed by treaty upon the negotiations to be undertaken during such a time; but when treaties are violently cut through by the sword, when Italy is in a state of martial struggle and convulsion, surely the obligations of men are entirely different. They are then bound to consider not what arrangements was made at a particular period by a particular treaty, but in what manner peace may be restored with the greatest prospect of durability. When war has once broken out, if the prospect of a permanent peace requires the modification of a treaty, even like that of Vienna, it is not an offence, it is the duty of a British stateman to declare himself plainly to that effect. But the right hon. Gentleman has, I am bound to tell him, most unintentionally, but most entirely, misrepresented this famous case of the year 1848, on which he is so fond of dwelling, Now, that is a broad statement, but the right hon. Gentleman and the House will in two minutes see whether it is proved or not. Let me first be assured that I have not misrepresented the right hon. Gentleman. I will not go into particulars about the conversation of the Archduke John, but will go at once to what appeared, in the right hon. Gentleman's own view, to be the essential part of his case. He says that in the month of May, 1848, Austria made to the British Government an offer that if England would intervene and restore peace in Italy, Lombardy should be rendered entirely independent, and Venice should have a free constitution under the Emperor of Austria. That, I think, is the charge. The right hon. Gentleman has also said that at that period my noble Friend received a letter stating, or had means of knowing, that Sardinia would be satisfied with that arrangement. [MR. WHITESIDE: I gave the date of that communication.] Quite so. I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that Sardinia declared that she would be satisfied with that arrangement at the time when it was proposed; because, if not, and if it was at a later period, when the circumstances were entirely changed, the satisfaction of Sardinia is entirely immaterial. This is important, because the reasoning of the right 609 hon. Gentleman is this:—He addressed himself to the two noble Lords who sit near me, and said, "You in 1848 refused a golden opportunity, and postponed the settlement of the great Italian question; and from your conduct in that year we have good reason to believe and suspect that you are going to do the same thing again." But did they do it? The statement of the right hon. Gentleman is that at that period Austria offered to my noble Friend, then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that Lombardy should be independent, and that Venetia, though retained under the Austrian empire, should have a free constitution. Is that a fact, or is it not? The right hon. Gentleman has made an entire, and I am bound to say a gross, though unintentional mistake. He has cited, as being the offer of Austria, that which is not the offer of Austria at all, but a document drawn up by Baron Hummelauer, expressing and purporting to express only his individual opinion. That is not the proof; that is my counter statement. Now I will give the proof. On the 23rd of May, 1848, Baron Hummelauer sent to the Foreign Secretary an official note. The note is long, but there will be no difference between us as to its purport. The purport of it is that the whole of the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom should continue under the sovereignty of the Emperor, with an administration distinct from that of the rest of the empire, and entirely national—what may be called in general terms a free constitution. Now, that is the proposal of the Austrian Government. It makes no distinction between Lombardy and Venetia. It promises to grant them a constitutional system, but it does not at all separate them from Austria. That is the proposal of the Austrian Government on the 23rd of May, 1848. But, says the right hon. Gentleman, I did not quote the despatch of the 23rd; I quoted that of the 24th of May. That is quite true; but does the right hon. Gentleman suppose, or will the House suppose, when Baron Hummelauer had made that proposal on the part of the Austrian Government on the 23rd of May, he was authorized to make a totally different one on the 24th? There is, unfortunately, no written answer to the paper of the 23rd of May; but there is a paper of the 24th, which shows distinctly all that took place, and bears out to the minutest particular what my noble Friend has stated to-night. It appears that my noble Friend on receiving this offer, which involved no surrender 610 of territory on the part of Austria, intimated to Baron Hummelauer that it was unsatisfactory. He produced, it would appear, a considerable impression on Baron Hummelauer, who then draughted a fresh plan, as to which both he and my noble Friend seem to a considerable extent to have agreed, and by that plan Lombardy was to cease to belong to Austria, and Venetia was to be formed into a separate Government. But was that the plan of the Austrian Go-Government? [An hon. MEMBER: "It was."] My hon. Friend who says it was has not read the covering letter which accompanied it, and which shows that it was merely the plan of Baron Hummelauer, He says in that letter:—If the Council (meaning the Cabinet) gives its approbation to the ideas in question (meaning those contained in the enclosure), I will immediately return to Vienna and urge the expediency of their being adopted by my Government.So that the right hon. Gentleman has fallen into a gross error. That which he says was the proposal of the Austrian Government was nothing of the sort; it was simply a draught paper, embodying the result of the discussions between my noble Friend and Baron Hummelauer. The right hon. Gentleman says it became the proposal of the Austrian Government afterwards, at any rate.
—I said that it was transmitted by the noble Lord as the Austrian official proposal to his Ministers abroad, to Mr. Abercromby, for instance, at Turin, and I quoted from a despatch of Mr. Abercromby's giving the opinion of the King of Sardinia upon it.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
—I do not want to do the right hon. Gentleman any injustice. If it was transmitted abroad as an official offer of the Austrian Government, I acknowledge that it was a gross error; but I am authorized by my noble Friend to assure the right hon. Gentleman that he is entirely mistaken, and that it was sent to Turin merely as a paper embodying the opinions of Baron Hammelauer. The right hon. Gentleman says it was accepted by the Sardinian Government. My noble Friend had to deal with this scheme on the 24th of May; and what were the declarations of the Sardinian Government at that date? On the 24th of May Her Majesty's Government received two letters from Mr. Abercromby, one of the 18th and the other of the 19th, both of them declaring the views of the Sardinian Government. The first 611 letter declares at great length that no half measures can he of the smallest avail—that Austria must evacuate Italy altogether: and the second letter recites the proceedings in the Chamber of Deputies the day before, in the course of which the Minister for Foreign Affairs had stated that no negotiations would be entered into except after the complete evacuation of Italy by Austria, or for the purpose of bringing it about. After that how can the right hon. Gentleman maintain his charge against my noble Friend? The right hon. Gentleman says that my noble Friend the Foreign Secretary wishes to upset and defeat the recent treaty, and he protests against the idea of England participating in the proceedings growing out of that treaty. My hon, Friend the Member for Dundalk (Mr. Bowyer) also was exceedingly desirous that the Government should not go into a Congress; but I must confess my hon. Friend's objection does not greatly influence my mind, because—using the terms in the sense we shall both understand—I think it arises principally from a fear that we may by some possibility do some good in a Congress. On Italian politics I am afraid that our ideas are so entirely different that we cannot translate the language of the one into the language of the other without turning it completely inside out. My hon, Friend who spoke last (Mr. Drummond) also cautioned the Government against going into a Congress, but in guarded and moderate terms; and he told us that he did not wish the House to give any abstract opinion on the subject either one way or the other. There is not a Member of the Government who has spoken to-night who has not taken the same view. All that we say is this—do not let us be bound by any anterior determination of this House taken with imperfect information as to the facts; the character of a Congress must change essentially according to many circumstances which may occur, and with regard to which we have no information. Nobody knows at present whether Austria is finally a consenting or a dissenting party to a Congress. With regard to the feelings of Russia and Prussia on this point, I am not aware that the House is in possession of any information. With respect to France, surely it would be the duty of England to lend assistance to France, in any unexceptionable manner, in the pursuit of objects favourable to European freedom and order; but, on the other hand, it would be equally the duty of the Govern- 612 ment to keep itself free from any prior entanglement of any kind. The right hon. Gentleman says it is the wish of the Government to upset and defeat the treaty; but, apart from the justice of that accusation, can anybody doubt the justice of the distinction drawn by my noble Friend tonight between those provisions of the treaty which lie between the belligerents themselves and those which pass entirely beyond the sphere of the war, and which touch on the future condition of Italy. Are we to be told that the future condition and constitution of Italy is a matter so entirely foreign to European interests, that at the very beginning of the inquiry we are to register a vow that we will on no account enter into a Congress respecting it? The return of the Grand Duke, the Italian Confederation, and the Papal power, are surely questions which are capable of development in many different senses—as, indeed, my hon. Friend the Member for Dundalk shrewdly foresaw when he was so ready with his objections to a Congress. I certainly cannot quite go the length of my hon. Friend who spoke last, when he says that the temporal power of the Pope is a question essentially religious. I do not presume now to give any opinion as to that power, but I do protest against the doctrine that the question is a religious one. I say it is a civil, a social question; it is a question of natural truth, justice, and morality; and religion has no right to interfere with it until the dictates of justice and natural morality are satisfied. It surely would be a strange course for England, Russia, and Prussia, the non-Catholic Powers, who are responsible for setting up the Papal power in 1815, to record beforehand a fixed determination that nothing should induce them to interfere with this question on the ground that it is essentially a religious question. May I be allowed to touch upon one other point, and it is one which will command the sympathy of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University (Mr. Whiteside), since it relates to the condition of the Italian people and their feelings at this moment. I am sorry to hear the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire lend himself to-night to a wide-spread but vulgar error. He supposes that there are but two parties in Italy, and he casts ridicule on the idea of the existence of a Whig party there, by which he means, I suppose—and I am sure my noble Friend will accept it as a compliment—a party attached to rational con- 613 stitutional freedom. It is not true that there are but two parties in Italy; but I will tell the right hon. Gentleman that there is not a man on the Continent who belongs to the incendiary party in politics, nor a man who belongs to the absolutist party, who will not hold precisely the same language, and who will not join the right hon. Gentleman in casting ridicule and scorn upon the idea that a party attached to rational and constitutional freedom exists in Italy. There does exist such a party, and for ten years Sardinia has been its rallying point. At the present moment you have a most critical state of things in Italy; that party is in danger of losing its ground and giving way to the revolutionary party—for the disappointment and despondency which may fall upon them will naturally give a great impulse to the principles of the followers of Mazzini. That is a point which no Government could keep out of view in considering this question. It surely is the duty of Europe not to allow the friends of moderate opinions in Italy to feel that they are abandoned by the great Powers, and that they have no choice but to be crushed and ground to dust between the pressure of the absolutists on the one hand, and of the revolutionary party on the other. These are considerations of the gravest concern which, in my opinion, it is impossible to exclude from view, and which would render it an act of the grossest imprudence to come at this moment to an absolutely negative conclusion, such as the speakers opposite appear to recommend. It is no question of upsetting and defeating the treaty. The question is, in what manner the provisions of the treaty, large and ambiguous, and susceptible of many forms of application, shall be developed and applied. I must say I perceive one difference between the speech of the right hon. Member for the University of Dublin and that of the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire. The right hon. Member for the University says, "Do not touch this treaty, for it is a treaty which all condemn," and that was the ground upon which he wished us to keep our hands out of it; but the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli), while denouncing a Congress in terms equally strong, takes a totally different view of the treaty, and thinks it is only by gross mismanagement on the part of the Government that they have failed to obtain the credit of concluding it. "If you had been cleverer fellows," he: says—which means, I suppose, "If we; 614 had been in your place you would have stepped in at the right moment,' and instead of transmitting that bit of paper from France to Austria, you would yourselves have contrived to be the author of this great and magnificent pacification." I must confess that I agree with the right hon. Member for the University of Dublin rather than with the right hon. Member for Bucks. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli), if I understand him aright, says, "It appears that large and very liberal terms were offered with regard to Italy, and that you gave some qualified encouragement to those terms;" which, however, was not the fact—the Government have stated what was simply the truth—that they had nothing to do with affirming or denying those terms, but that they did not feel justified, under circumstances so awful, in keeping them back from the knowledge of the party to whom they were offered. The right hon. Gentleman says, "Large and liberal terms were spoken of for Italy, which were afterwards very much restrained, and why did not you, the Government, get credit for restraining them?" He finds fault with the Government, because he thinks they gave countenance to something which contemplated better terms for Italy, and he says it was culpable and weak on the part of the Government not to have obtained those restrained and limited terms. Now, on that point I do not think that Her Majesty's Government would have been at all anxious to compete with the right hon. Gentleman; because I do not believe a diplomatic triumph upon which they would have had any reason to congratulate themselves could or would have been gained. With regard to the peace, I cannot do better than refer to what has been said by my noble Friend tonight. The charge of the right hon. Gentleman is certainly without foundation. The right hon. Member for the University of Dublin has said—and has said rather strangely—that Austria would infer from our sending the paper that it was our paper, and not a French paper, although we sent it with an intimation that it was a French paper and not ours; and I think Austria is quick-witted enough not to arrive at a wrong conclusion. With respect to the discussion of this question—whether to-night or on a future occasion—I entertain the strongest hope, and I feel the firmest conviction, that the House of Commons will not consent, especially in this stage of very partial and imperfect 615 information to interfere between the Executive Government and their most solemn duty, by calling upon them to accept any declaration whatever which will preclude the exercise of their discretion in regard to the measures which they may deem it most prudent to adopt for giving to the peace, if there should be an opportunity, a form which may secure the future and permanent tranquillity of Europe.
§ MR. MAGUIRE
* I appeal, Sir, to the justice of this Protestant assembly for its indulgence, while I say something in behalf of the maligned government of a Catholic Sovereign. The noble Lord at the head of the Government has attacked my hon. Friend the Member for Dundalk (Mr. Bowyer), and ridiculed his assertion that the Government of the Papal States was a progressive Government. The noble Lord also added, most emphatically, that the Papal Government was the worst Government in the world. Now, Sir, I contend that the noble Lord has not represented that Government fairly; and I shall call the attention of hon. Gentlemen to a few facts which will enable them to judge of the justice or injustice of the noble Lord's assertions. I shall not attempt to carry the recollection of the House further back than the year 1846. In that year Pius IX. ascended the Pontifical Throne, and scarcely had he ascended it than he exhibited his desire to effect several important reforms in the administration of the Papal States, and to confer on his subjects such institutions as were best suited to the circumstances of the time and the habits of the people. Gentlemen will remember how Pius IX. was hailed, not only in Italy, in France, and in Germany, but here in England, as the greatest reformer of his time. He carried out the intentions which he expressed from the first. He succeeded in establishing a more liberal constitution, and a freer form of Government, than Sardinia enjoys at this day. And whom did the Pope call to his Councils to consolidate the liberty which he granted to his people? Count Rossi—a statesman who represented the enlightened feelings of France, which possessed at that time a liberal Government, free institutions, and an unshackled press. Previously, however, to Count Rossi having been called to the Councils of the Pope, the Holy Father had established free institutions, and carried out many reforms; and the Papal States possessed a lay Government, two unrestricted Chambers, and a free press. From the moment, however, 616 that Pius IX. ascended the Throne, and began to develope his plans of reform, he was most anxiously watched by the Mazzini party, who were determined, for their own purpose, to take advantage of his clemency, liberality, and generosity. One of the very first acts of the Holy Father was to fling open the prison doors and grant a general amnesty, thus granting freedom and pardon to all persons imprisoned for political offences. These men vowed, in the most solemn manner, to prove faithful subjects to so merciful and generous a Sovereign, and many of them swore by their blood—nay, by their hopes of salvation—to be grateful for the clemency exhibited to them. But the Mazzini party only thought how far they could turn this clemency and those reforms to the furtherance of their own nefarious designs. No reform, however liberal—no concessions, however large—could satisfy that party, whose sole object was revolution; and those who belonged to that party, or who favoured their designs, were instigated—so it was stated in Italy—by a noble relative of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, to make demands which it was impossible to grant. The Pope refused to grant all that the revolutionary party demanded, while at the same time it was his desire to secure the liberty which he had granted. The experiment of free institutions, a representative system, and a lay Government, was tried; and yet what was the result? Why, Count Rossi, the Pope's lay Minister, was assassinated, in the open day, on the very threshold of the Chamber of Deputies. Here were two Chambers, a perfect representative system, a lay Government, and a free press—the result of the reform granted by the Pope, in a state which had previously been governed, like most others in Italy, by the ruler and his ministers; and yet you assert that the Government of the Pope is not progressive! What followed upon the murder of Count Rossi? The next day the palace of the Pope was besieged—attacked with fire and sword—and a revolutionary Ministry was forced upon him by an armed mob, not consisting of Romans, but of the refuse of the Continent, who were urged on by Mazzini to accept no reasonable concessions, and who were led to believe that the two noble Lords opposite (Viscount Palmerston and Lord John Russell) sympathized in all their movements for the purpose of establishing a more liberal form of Government than that which the 617 Holy Father had so generously granted. Every one knows what followed after that attack on the Pope's palace. His persona, liberty being thus at an end, he was obliged to fly to Gaeta, not as some who wish to ridicule the Holy Father state, in the disguise of a servant, but in the dress of a simple priest. The Catholic Powers considered that the maintenance of the temporal power of the Pope was essential to the freedom of the Catholic Church throughout the world, and they came to the assistance of the Holy Father. In this France took the foremost part. Rome was besieged by her troops, and Rome soon succumbed to the arms of France; the authority of the Pope was re-established, and some time after the Holy Father returned to his capital. Now, I ask the noble Lords—I ask any hon. Gentleman in this House—whether, after the utter failure of the experiment made, of giving free institutions to his subjects, it was possible that the Pope could again pursue a course which had led to such deplorable and fatal results? For the last eight years, since his return to Rome, the Pope has devoted his energies to the more useful task of developing the material resources of the country; and those who assert that the Pope and his Government have not endeavoured to promote the welfare of the people, state that which is not susceptible of proof. Among the legacies left to the Government by the Triumvirate, was 7,000,000 of worthless paper money; that has been taken up, and now one of the best currencies in the world is that of the Papal States. The hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. M. Milnes) stated that while the Triumvirate held sway in Rome, the utmost tranquillity prevailed, and that the only difference which could be observed, between the appearance which Rome presented then, and when it was governed by the Pope was, that there was greater liberty under the Triumvirate. If the hon. Gentleman had changed the phrase, and made it "greater licence," he would have been more accurate. The fact is, that the greatest licence prevailed: the assassin was free to strike down whom he pleased, and every man who was suspected of reactionary feelings, was in danger of being marked out as a victim to the fury of the mob. A single fact, which I state on the authority of an English gentleman who witnessed the tragedy, will best illustrate that sanguinary and ferocious spirit which Gentlemen who sit on the opposite benches, 618 and noble Lords who occupy the Treasury bench, are too ready, by their encouragement, to evoke in Italy. When the French troops had entered Rome, and just as the head of the column was appearing at one end of the Corso, an unhappy man, said to be a French Priest, was heard to say "Thank God, they are come !"He was immediately seized by a mob; two men held him by either hand, and hurried him along, striking him with their fists, while a third, who was armed with a cutlass, struck him over the head with his weapon, and at length, just as they reached the Piazza Schiara, succeeded in killing his unfortunate victim. Nor did their fury end with their victim's life; with the same bloody sword they ripped open his body, tore out his entrails, and twisted them in mockery round his neck. I state this fact to the British House of Commons on the authority of an English gentleman who personally assured me, that he himself witnessed it from a window which overlooked the scene of the tragedy. It has been asserted frequently, here and elsewhere, that the prisons of the Papal States are full of political prisoners. Well, what is the fact? In the month of October, 1858, there were in the whole of the Papal States but seventy-two persons confined for, or charged with, purely political offences. Another fact is worthy of note—that the Pope's Government has never executed a single person for a political offence; those who have suffered death were those who had joined with political offences crimes which are punished with death by every civilized Government in the world. I assert that the Pope's Government has never taken the life of a human being for a mere political offence. I said that the Government of the Pope had devoted its energies to the development of the material resources of the country. Before the late unhappy war commenced, the condition of that country was one of progress. I assert that which is susceptible of proof. The shipping of the States had greatly increased—that is the tonnage of vessels belonging to the people of the States; commerce was being steadily developed; manufactures were on the increase, and had sprung up in places where I thought manufactures would scarcely have existed; and as to the finances, not only had all the debts of the Revolution been paid off, but in 1858 there was that which I wished the Chancellor had, when he made his statement a few nights since—a balance in the Exchequer. It was a 619 small balance, it is true, but it was the first which was obtained for nearly thirty years, in consequence of frequent revolutions—revolutions too often encouraged by the English Whigs. Then, as to education, what is the fact? Education is progressing, not only in Rome, but in all the provinces; and one of the most anxious cares of the Holy Father is, to procure a sound moral education for the humbler classes. In October last, there were 23,000 scholars receiving a free education in the city of Rome. What would the hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Baines) say to that? In the night schools, many of which have been established by Pius IX., there are over 2,000 pupils; and when I visited those schools in October and November last, I found some of the highest personages of the Papal Court engaged in teaching the children of the very humblest portion of the population. Nothing can exceed the zeal of the Holy Father in promoting education throughout his States. As to other material improvements—the roads and highways have been added to and improved; railways have been encouraged; and there were at the close of last year, 614 miles of telegraphic communication established in the country—which is more, perhaps, than can be said of Ireland at this moment, though it is part of the British dominions. I say, Sir, hon. Gentlemen should take facts like those into their consideration, and pause before they, by encouragements to revolution, paralyse the hands of the Papal Government, and thus impede the progress of material reforms. Let the House take another fact, which is not uninteresting. The entire cost of defraying the expenses of the Pope, the Cardinals, the Foreign Ambassadors, the whole Papal Court, and of the Civil List, as well as of the Royal Palaces and Museums, is only £120,000 a year; and yet if the Pope or the Cardinals, or the clergy generally, have a farthing to spare, after defraying their ordinary expenses, the surplus is devoted in some useful and charitable purpose—in establishing a school, an asylum, or an hospital—or in some way in which good can be done, and human misery alleviated. Much has been said of the administration of affairs by the priesthood; but in many instances in which laymen have been sent as governors into the provinces, the people have petitioned and clamoured for their recall, and have demanded ecclesiastics in their place. Why is this? The layman, perhaps, has a wife and family, and, there- 620 fore, is influenced by selfish and worldly interests; but the clerical governor has no family to divide his cares with his people, and generally it is a matter of pride in an ecclesiastic to connect his name with some useful public work or with some noble institution. The noble Viscount at the head of the Government asserts that the Pope's Government is the worst in the world. That I emphatically deny. I do not attempt to say that the Pope's Government is infallible; I do not say, nor do I think, that it is the best Government in the world—but I do say that it is a Government which is steadily progressing, while struggling with the greatest difficulties—difficulties which we should not aggravate by our meddling and interference. That it is not what the noble Viscount asserts it to be—"the worst Government in the world"—there is evidence to prove. I refer the noble Lord, and I refer hon. Gentlemen, to the despatch of Count de Rayneval, the French Ambassador at Rome; in which despatch the real state of the case is given, and the merits as well as the defects of the Papal Government are fairly set forth. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has been, just now, relying on the authority of official documents, and quoting them as conclusive in support of his views. Now, the despatch of Count de Rayneval was written with all the responsibility which could attach to the position of an Ambassador, representing his Government in another country; and I appeal to that document against the calumnious assertions of the noble Lord. As to the contemplated Conference, the less the British Government have to do with it the better. The wisest plan—especially after the statement of the noble Lord, who has expressed himself so strongly against the proposed scheme of an Italian federation, which appears to be the basis of the peace—is for his Government not to meddle with the question; for, in Italy, so far from the two noble Lords being regarded as the friends of freedom, they are considered—and I think justly so—as the greatest opponents of free institutions and rational progress. They have already done their best to stir up an incendiary spirit in that country; and the result of their interference has ever been this, that they have rendered moderate reforms impossible. I desire to see real freedom and reform in Italy. Yes, but that cannot be obtained by violent revolution; and the worst of all modes of obtaining it is, by inciting the incendiary and the assassin. The noble Lord 621 at the head of the Government has committed himself, not only against the programme of the peace, but by the marked hostility which he has displayed to the Papal Government. Therefore, any interference on the part of a Cabinet animated by his spirit, can only be attended with mischief, not good. I am not, however, in the least afraid of the noble Lord's hostility; for when he will occupy, perhaps, some niche in Westminster Abbey, the temporal power of the Pope will be still in existence. And let hon. Gentlemen who represent the feelings and principles of Exeter Hall, be assured of this, that though the Pope should be driven again to Gaeta—nay, to the most inhospitable and uncivilized portion of the globe—he would still be the Pope; he would still be the Head of the Church, and every Catholic heart would still loyally respond to his spiritual authority. The temporal power of the Popes has existed for more than a thousand years. It was established for wise and great purposes, and it has been maintained and defended by the greatest and wisest of States and Governments. The two noble Lords may try to destroy it; but when those noble Lords are forgotten, or are merged in the list of common-place statesmen who pandered to the prejudice or malice of the hour, that power will still be triumphant. Let Gentlemen who say that the Papal Government is the worst in the world, not take as evidence the flippant strictures of a French pamphleteer who has written his book for a certain purpose; let them not take the statements of the Sardinian newspapers, which are inspired by an aggressive and selfish Government; nor let them rely on the descriptions given by those English Protestants, who not only go to Rome to sneer at and ridicule everything they see, but do their utmost to disseminate discontent and disaffection—but let them inquire of those who know the real facts of the case and are competent to speak in an impartial spirit. As to the late war, I have but one remark to make. I have no respect whatever for the motives by which Sardinia was actuated in provoking it; she affected to listen to the cries of suffering nationalities; but this was a miserable pretence, her only real motive being to snatch away a slice from the territory of another Power. Anything more dishonest or flagitious is not to be found in history; and I believe the Emperor of the French has good reason to regret that he ever yielded to the selfish 622 importunities of Sardinia. However that may be, let the matter be settled between them; for the less the English Government meddle with the difficulty, the better for them and for Italy. Any interference in the spirit of the noble Lords will only complicate that difficulty; and instead of peace and order being the result of their interference, there will be discord, and revolution, and worse confusion than before. It will also increase the Italian hatred of Englishmen, the consequence of many a bitter disappointment. And already in Italy, the name of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London is thoroughly detested, and that of the noble Viscount the Member for Tiverton is utterly abhorred.
§ LORD CLAUD HAMILTON
hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would excuse him if he reverted again to the charge which the right hon. Gentleman made against his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Whiteside), of making a charge without any foundation against the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton. He wished to show the Chancellor of the Exchequer that if he had read the blue-book a little more attentively he would have found that it completely substantiated the charge. Now, the charge was that the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, in May, 1848, when he was Foreign Minister, had an opportunity of securing for Lombardy her own independence, either separately, or in alliance with Piedmont, as she thought fit, but that he would not accept that proposition, and that the consequence was a bloody war of three or four months, which ended in Lombardy getting less favourable terms than she would otherwise have obtained. The noble Lord was for driving Austria completely out of Lombardy, and he never availed himself of the clever expedients and suggestions which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had mentioned. ["Read."] Well, on the 3d of June, 1848, the noble Lord wrote saying that Her Majesty's Government would be unwilling to enter into any negotiation which in their opinion afforded no prospect of success. The noble Lord added that the Government would not withhold their assent from an arrangement which, being framed on the principle stated in the memorandum of Baron Hummelauer, of the 24th of May, in reference to Lombardy, should also include such a portion of the Venetian territory as should be agreed upon between the respective par- 623 ties. Therefore the noble Lord rejected the proposition for the independence of Lombardy, unless Venetia was thrown into the bargain. On the 12th of July and on the 17th, he again held the same language, never once questioning the full powers of Baron Hummelauer. After the celebrated Radetzky, by his successful movements, began to menace the frontiers of Sardinia, the noble Lord sat him down to write another despatch. On the 7th of August he wrote to the Marquess of Normanby, and, after expressing the anxiety of Her Majesty's Government to employ their good offices in bringing about a satisfactory and honourable peace, suggested that a permanent arrangement should be proposed between the two parties in conformity with the plan stated in the memorandum of Baron Hummelauer of the 24th of May. Now, this clearly showed that the charge made by his right hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Whiteside) was entirely sustained by the documents to which he had referred, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer had failed to meet the arguments of his right hon. Friend, although the noble Lord had probably "crammed" him for the occasion.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
My noble Friend who has just spoken seems to think he has diminished the force of the argument of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer; but the fact is that what my right hon. Friend urged remains just in the same position as it stood before. The proposition of the Austrian Government was stated on the 23 rd of May. The proposition of Baron Hummelauer was stated on the 24th of May; and at a subsequent date, according to the document which the noble Lord has read, my noble Friend refers to that memorandum as Baron Hummelauer's memorandum. That is in exact conformity and strict consistency with what my right hon. Friend has said. The noble Lord does not see that the first question is, what was the proposition that was made? Was it the proposition of the Austrian Government, or was it a proposition of Baron Hummelauer which he had taken upon him to make? There can be no doubt that it was the proposition of Baron Hummelauer, made here in London to the British Government. But it is quite another question whether or not Her Majesty's Government of that day ought at once to have accepted that proposition. We had nothing to do with the contest then going on. The people of Venice had risen 624 against Austria, and were in possession of their own capital. The question was whether we, being spectators of the contest, should say to the King of Sardinia, "Here is so good a bargain to you in getting Lombardy that we think the people of Venice should be abandoned and given up at once to the mercy of the army of Austria." What would have been said of us if we had adopted that course? I think, however, that my noble Friend was perfectly justified in making such a proposition months afterwards, when the tide of success had turned; but to have said to the people of Venice in the first instance, "You who have gained your liberties, you who are in possession of your independence, should be placed by England at the mercy of Austria," would have justly exposed us to the charge of deserting a gallant people and leaving them without a chance of maintaining their freedom. Having troubled the House with a statement in the early part of the evening, I do not wish to enter into the discussion that has ensued; and indeed the right hon. Gentleman who followed me and the hon. and learned Member for Dublin University have been answered in so complete a manner that there is very little, if anything, left for me to say. I must make a few observations, however, in reply to the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. Maguire) because he has thought fit to connect my noble Friend and myself in a way to which I do not think we should at all object with, the mission of Lord Minto. But he has represented Lord Minto as having endeavoured to inflame the passions of the extreme revolutionary party in Italy, and enabled them to overcome the constitutional party. The fact was precisely the reverse. My noble Friend gave Lord Minto a mission to Italy with the view of preventing a revolutionary movement, with the view of inducing, on the one side, the Governments to make wholesome and temperate reforms, and of persuading, on the other, those who were the leaders of the Liberal party at that time to be satisfied with such reforms as could be obtained, and to restrain the violent and extreme men who were pushing on to revolution. Not only was that his mission, but my belief is that he would have succeeded had it not been for the revolution in France in February, 1848, which totally changed the whole face of things, and gave the Republicans throughout Europe an impulse and a strength which it was impossible for the Governments of Italy to resist. Lord Minto did not even counsel at Rome 625 that there should he a representative assembly. He thought that was going too far at the time, and believed that the proceedings of such a body would not be conducted with moderation. The person who gave a constitution, who set on foot a representative assembly at that moment, was the King of Naples. It was the King of Naples who set the example; and the Pope said to Lord Minto, who could not but agree with him, "His Majesty has destroyed our whole chance here; the revolutionists at Naples will carry everything before them, and it will be impossible to withstand the torrent at Rome." That was true, no doubt; but it was, in the first place, the constitution of the King of Naples, and, in the next, the French revolution, which gave irresistible strength to the violent party, brought about the murder of Count Rossi, and afterwards led to so much evil in Italy. I do not know how it happens, but the hon. Member for Dungarvan seems to have got two different political creeds. Following the example of the extreme Tories all over Europe, he confounds moderate reformers with the friends of anarchy and the instigators of revolution. He does not seem to be able to conceive that it is possible to have representative Governments and moderation at the same time. Upon the present occasion he has made himself the exponent of Roman opinion, and he thinks that the conduct of the Papal Government has been most exemplary. Let me put the test which my noble Friend has already applied. If the Papal Government is such an excellent Government, why is it necessary that there should always be a French garrison at Rome? If the Government of Bologna is so good, why should Austrian troops always be quartered in that city? Is the presence of foreign soldiers a test of good government? Are we to believe that the benevolent views of the Papal Government cannot be made conspicuous, that nobody could understand its merits, unless you have foreign troops to force it down the throats of the people over whom it rules? If the hon. Member carried the doctrines of Toryism to a greater extreme than any other Gentleman in this House, I should not be surprised at his maintaining that proposition; but when we come to domestic affairs, to matters relating to England, Scotland, and Ireland, we do not hear him say that representative institutions and a free press are revolution.
§ MR. MAGUIRE
I never said any such 626 thing with respect either to this country or to Italy. I said that a representative government had been tried in Rome and failed.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
But the hon. Gentleman must be aware that in Rome and the Papal States, foreign troops have been used for the purpose of keeping the people in a state of political bondage. What is happening at the present moment? The military pressure having been removed, the people are forming Governments for themselves. They would have done so ten years ago, if it had not been for the Austrian troops garrisoned in their towns. But the hon. and learned Member for Dublin University has said, that if my advice were taken it would renew the war.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
It might; but does the hon. and learned Gentleman consider what is the present state of some of those countries which are affected by the treaty? My opinion, stated at the beginning of last Session, stated frequently since, and as often by my noble Friend as myself, is, that the people of Italy ought to be left to form governments for themselves. I am, for my own part, willing, if that were done, to give them no advice whatever, but to leave them to act just as they please. They might fall into errors; in some instances, perhaps, there might be popular outrages; but I believe, that if the people of Italy were left to themselves, they would, in no very long time, form sound popular institutions, and order would be as easily kept there as in any of the other civilized countries of Europe. I do not wish to give advice, but when we find foreign Governments interfering, when we hear it said on the one side, that if the foreign troops were withdrawn, there would be universal massacre and pillage, it is perfectly fair that we should give advice on the other. In my opinion, a renewal of the war is more likely to proceed from the marching of foreign troops into Bologna and Florence than from allowing the people to follow their own views and to carry into effect institutions of their own selection. I believe the hon. and learned Gentleman must himself be of opinion that the Italian people would be better able to form good governments for themselves than either France or Austria. Let me observe, before I sit down, that for ten years past people have been saying, that if the foreign 627 troops were withdrawn from Bologna, there would immediately he murder and robbery, that not a single priest would escape, that order would be entirely subverted, and the multitude, without regard to property or authority, would sweep everything before them. Well, there has been a revolution at Bologna; the foreign troops have been withdrawn; the Papal Government has been overthrown, and yet I have not heard of any act of violence or spoliation. At Florence there has been a complete revolution; the Grand Duke went away, abdicating his functions; yet, I ask, what disorder, what pillage, what massacre, has taken place either there or in any of the other towns of Tuscany? I say, then, that as the King of Sardinia has carried on for many years a Government which we were all delighted to see—a Government founded upon free institutions, liberty of worship, and freedom of the press—so I have the utmost confidence that the other States of Italy, if left to themselves, would prove equally capable of enjoying constitutional liberties, and that their proceedings would lead to no renewal of the war which has just been brought to a termination.
§ LORD LOVAINE
reminded the noble Lord that when our Government submitted its proposition for a peace in 1848 the town of Venice was still in open rebellion, and seemed likely to maintain its independence for a long time. Yet at that moment the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton proposed to give up, not only Venetia, but the city of Venice to Austria.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
What the noble Lord says is quite true; but I believe when Lombardy fell into the possession of Austria there was no chance of Venice being able to withstand the Austrian army.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, he had been alluded to as a representative of Exeter Hall; but he hoped that he should never shrink from expressing his opinions; and he asked the hon. Member for Dundalk whether he had not more respect for a man who candidly expressed his opinion than for those who concealed them? He was glad to hear that the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. Maguire) had given up the infallibility of the Papal Government.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
accepted the correction. The temporal Government of the Pope. The noble Lord had alluded to the Holy Father. He did not explain the acts of the Holy Father at Perugia. He would 628 like to ask the noble Lord to explain the painful circumstances that had taken place there. It had been urged that the Holy Father escaped from Rome, not in the character of a footman, but of a simple clergyman. Now, it certainly was the impression on the public mind that the Holy Father escaped as a footman. Then his hon. Friend had not sufficiently explained the facts with regard to Naples, and the imprisonment of the vast number of individuals, which he (Mr. Kinnaird) thought did not redound to the credit of the Italian Government.
§ Question put, and agreed to.