HC Deb 04 August 1851 vol 118 cc1859-61

rose to put a question to the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs with regard to a communication which was reported to have been made from the Court of his Holiness the Pope to the Court of Vienna. It was said that his Holiness had, through his Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, expressed a wish to the Cabinet of Vienna, that it would concert measures with the Court of Naples for the purpose of replacing, as soon as possible, the French garrison at Rome by a mixed garrison of Austrian and Neapolitan troops, or, more properly speaking, perhaps, Austrian troops alone; and that the avowed object of this change was the extinction of all hopes of a liberal government being established in Rome, or justice being done to the Pope's subjects. Reference was also made in this document to the interposition of England, which was repudiated on the ground that England and Prance had no right whatever to prevent the Pope from being the gaoler of his own subjects; and it was stated at the end of the document that it was the immediate object of the commission that the Austrian Ambassador should press it upon the noble Lord, and upon influential Members of Parliament. He (Mr. Anstey) wished to know if the noble Lord had reason to believe that any such document had existence as that which was said to have been so addressed by the Court of Rome to that of Vienna; whether any document of that nature had been communicated, either in part or in whole, by the Court of Vienna to the Court of St. James's; and whether any application had been made on the part of the Court of Vienna to the British Government in the terms of that document—namely, for the expulsion of the Italian, Hungarian, and other refugees from London, and the prevention of the Italian loan, which was said in the same document to be now negotiating in London?


No communication whatever of the nature of the supposed note had been made by the Austrian Government to the Government of this country, and the result of such inquiries as Her Majesty's Government had made on the subject tended but to confirm them in the opinion that that note, like another which had also appeared in newspapers on the Continent, was a pure invention. He said, "like another which had appeared," because he might as well take this opportunity of stating that there was another note which was said to have been presented by the Governments of Russia, of Prussia, and of Austria, to the Italian Governments, assuring them of their support to put down any internal convulsions that might occur. Her Majesty's Government made inquiries with regard to that note, and he believed that there was no foundation for the report of the existence of that note any more than for the one to which the hon. and learned Member had referred. No application had therefore been made to Her Majesty's Government in the spirit of that note. With regard to the other question—as to any application that had been made for the expulsion of foreigners now resident in this country, of course it might reasonably be supposed that Continental Governments looked with some degree of anxiety—and he believed that his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department did on a former occasion say that there were foreign Governments who looked with some degree of anxiety—at the proceed- ings of foreigners in this country; but nothing had passed which amounted to the "application" which the hon. and learned Gentleman supposed. Of course, if any application of that nature were made, it is obvious the answer would be that the law of this country gives no power to Her Majesty's Government arbitrarily to expel any foreigner who resides here, and does not violate the law of the land.