HC Deb 29 June 1852 vol 122 cc1364-5

said, he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer the question of which he had given notice, namely, whether the Government has taken, or intends to take, any measures to obtain detailed information as to the proceedings on the trial of Mr. Murray at Rome, and whether there Will be any objection to lay on the table of the House the correspondence which has taken place with reference to this case. He Wished those documents to be laid on the table, so that the House and the public might be enabled to form an opinion as to the guilt or innocence of Mr. Murray.


The Government has received no explanations relative to the case of Mr. Murray since the communications we last made to the House. Her Majesty's Government gave instructions to Sir Henry Bulwer to give his constant and careful attention to the case; and I feel sure the House will agree with me that the matter could not be left in better hands than in those of that eminent diplomatist. As regards the proceedings against Mr. Murray, I do not think it will be possible for us to lay on the table the evidence taken against Mr. Murray in those investigations. I know there is a great prejudice in this country against all judicial proceedings which are secret; but we must remember that, in a country where assassination is the national custom, there is a wide distinction between the reasons for publishing the evidence, and in a country like England. And, whether the evidence upon which conviction took place, Was or was not sufficient, there can be no doubt of the fact, that the main reason Why judicial inquiries are kept secret in Italy is, that those who it was known gave testimony in such proceedings often met a Violent death. At the same time, I think it more than probable that Sir Henry Bulwer will, either himself or by means of his agents, obtain a sight of that evidence. It would not be wise or prudent, in my opinion, to lay the correspondence at this moment on the table of the House, considering that the whole case is now under the care of Sir Henry Bulwer; and we may all feel satisfied that he will spare no pains, and omit no opportunity, of bringing the matter to an issue satisfactory to the people of this country. We have great confidence in the ability of that gentleman; and as the production of the papers sought for might tend rather to embarrass than to aid his exertions, we trust the House will not now insist on the production of the correspondence. I may take this opportunity of mentioning that, since the House last met, we have received from Sir Henry Bulwer an announcement that the cause of the misunderstandings between this country and Tuscany had been entirely removed. The Tuscan Government had made the most ample acknowledgments of regret for what had occurred respecting the case of Mr. Mather, and had made a most unequivocal avowal of her responsibility as an independent State to protect all British subjects that are travelling or resident within her territories. The House will permit me to say that this announcement, as satisfactory to the Government as I am sure it will be to the House and the nation, is mainly owing to the consummate skill of Sir Henry Bulwer, who conducted this negotiation with so much ability that the very best feeling now exists between the Governments of Her Majesty and that of the Grand Duke; and instead of this acknowledgment on the part of Tuscany having been brought about by means which would have left a lingering ill-will on the part of the Government that made it, there exists, on the contrary, the very best sentiments towards Her Majesty's Government and this country on the part of the Government of the Grand Duke. For this, I must again say, we are mainly indebted to the eminent ability and successful exertions of one of the greatest diplomatists of the age.