HC Deb 05 June 1848 vol 99 cc338-40

wished to ask a question of the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs in relation to the recent oc- currences at Naples. He Lad received a letter stating that a general feeling prevailed in Naples that the people of England were aiding the Austrian party in Italy, and that the late massacre at Naples had received the sanction of the English Ambassador there. Now, however absurd such a rumour might be, still, as it was credited by some parties in that country, it was desirable that it should receive a decided contradiction from the British Government; he, therefore, begged to ask the noble Lord whether Her Majesty's Government had interfered in favour of the Austrian Government in Italy?


I am very glad that my hon. Friend has put the question, which I will satisfactorily answer in a very few words. Of course I am aware that some most absurd, most false, and most calumnious reports have been circulated in Italy with regard to the conduct of the British Government in the recent events that have occurred in Italy, and with regard to the instructions which have been sent from Her Majesty's Government to the British representative at the Court of Naples. I have, however, great satisfaction in assuring my hon. Friend and the House that there is no foundation whatever for those reports. The British Government, though a party to the Treaty of Vienna, by which the settlement of the Italian States was effected, is not bound by that treaty to interfere in any manner with the events that are now taking place in those States. Although the British Government, as is well known, has been in ancient alliance and on friendly relations with the Emperor of Austria, yet it cannot but feel a lively sympathy in the endeavours—and I hope successful endeavours—which have been lately made in Italy, and by the people of Italy, to obtain for themselves free and constitutional Governments; but the natural and proper position of Her Majesty's Government with regard to the events now passing in those Italian States is, not to interfere in any way whatever. With regard to the events that have recently taken place in Naples, most certainly the reports which Her Majesty's Government have received concerning them induce me to believe that those events have been very much misconceived in their character. I have not yet proposed to lay any papers before the House; but inconsequence of what has passed, I undoubtedly will produce the account which has been received of those transactions from Her Majesty's Charge d'Affaires at Naples, to show that he had nothing to do with the events that had taken place, and also to show that the events do not bear the character which has been assigned to them.