to asked the First Lord of the Treasury, If his attention 642 has been called to the reports in the London morning papers of the 13th inst., from which it would appear that on the 12th inst. the Germam Ambassador to this country attended at and participated in the proceedings of a political club in this city, and delivered on that occasion a speech, in which, after making reference to the severe laws now being passed and enforced in his own country in reference to the exercise of the Catholic religion, he is reported to have used these words—I hope that struggle will be spared to this country for some time; but I think you had better look out in time. I think you see in Ireland what is going on; I think you have not to look too far to see what is preparing, and what will be the case in this country;and, I wish further to ask, whether the attendance of a Foreign Ambassador at such a political club, and the delivery thereat of such a speech, is in accordance with diplomatic custom; and, if not, whether Her Majesty's Government intend to take notice of such a proceeding?
§ MR. DISRAELI
Mr. Speaker, I read in the newspapers an account of the circumstances to which the hon. Gentleman has referred; and it appeared to me, so far as I could judge, that the observations in question were private remarks made at a club dinner. The hon. Gentleman describes the club as a political club. I was not aware that it was a political club, or that it could be particularly distinguished by the epithet he has applied to it. I should rather call it a religious club. The hon. Gentleman wishes me to say whether—The attendance of a Foreign Ambassador at such a political club, and the delivery thereat of such a speech, is in accordance with diplomatic custom?I should say it is not in accordance with diplomatic custom; but, at the same time, it is a thing which I have no particular wish to discourage. I think it hardly becomes a Ministry—an English Ministry—to discourage free speech under any circumstances; and, with respect to these particular observations, I should say it is, perhaps, not impossible that his Excellency may pay a visit to Ireland personally in the course of the autumn, and there find that there is no analogy whatever between the circumstances of the Roman Catholic subjects of the Emperor of Germany and those of the Roman Catholic subjects of the Queen.