HC Deb 04 April 1845 vol 79 cc170-1
Sir C. Napier

wished to ask a question of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department. He had seen a letter in the public papers from M. Mazzini, in which he declared positively that he had had nothing to do with signing any warrant or order for the assassination of Emiliani and others, as was stated the other night by the right hon. Gentleman. That letter stated that it was proved before the proper tribunal that such order was a forgery, and that M. Mazzini was not at the place where it was alleged that this order was given. He wished then to ask the right hon. Baronet whether he still maintained this charge against M. Mazzini; and if he did not, whether he would follow the example of the hon. Member for Shrewsbury, who made an apology for an unfounded accusation against this individual as publicly as he made the accusation? He believed that no Englishman would tolerate a charge of being an assassin. Now M. Mazzini was a foreigner, and they were as much bound to make reparation to him in case of a wrong as to a native of this country.

Sir J. Graham

regretted that the hon. and gallant Officer had not given him notice of his intention to ask this question. He should have thought that when the gallant Officer considered the nature of the question, that he would have done so. But, as he had not done so, he would at once answer it, and state the impression which had been produced on his mind. He had seen the letter of Mr. Mazzini to which the gallant Officer referred; and last night, incompliance with the wish of the hon. Member for Finsbury, he had laid upon the Table papers and despatches having reference to M. Mazzini between the years 1833 and 1844, and bearing on his statement. The House would recollect that when he made the statement to which the gallant Officer referred, he stated distinctly to the House, and he had fixed the attention of the House to what he then said—he stated that what he had to say with respect to the past conduct of Mazzini, was not founded on official documents, but on the authority of a newspaper circulated in France at the time, and which he then held in his hand, and from which he read a translation. He also stated, which he believed, that Mazzini had threatened to prosecute the Moniteur for the publication of this statement; but he had never proceeded against it for libel. The hon. Member for Finsbury had asked him whether he had ever read an article in the Westminster Review respecting M. Mazzini, in which there was a refutation of the charge against him. It was perfectly true that he had never seen that article. The hon. Member stated that a suit was commenced against another party for the publication of this statement, and the hon. Gentleman also stated that Mazzini did not succeed in his action against the author of this alleged libel. He knew no more than this of the circumstances of the case. He did not mean to say that he entertained a firm conviction that the accusation was well founded; but if he were asked whether he believed it to be unfounded, he could not give such an assurance to the House.

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