§ SIR HARRY VERNEY
, in the absence of the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. C. Anstey) begged to move the Resolution of which notice had been 1366 given. He (Sir H. Verney) was rejoiced to hear that a good understanding had been restored between Her Majesty's Government and the Court of Tuscany; but the House was aware that the Mather case was not the only one which Sir Henry Bulwer's attention could be judiciously directed to. All that the gentlemen who had been expelled from the Austrian territories had done was to distribute bills, and it was right that it should be ascertained whether such a proceeding was a violation of the law that obtained force in Roman Catholic countries. In the case of Mr. Edward, the only accusation brought against him was, that he had received permission to preach to the Protestants at Lemberg, and that he had preached in a village. His was a particularly hard case. The Scotch Free Church had sent in certain demands for compensation, which he (Sir H. Verney) thought ought to be awarded to them; and it was undoubtedly the duty of Government to ask for compensation. But the money compensation was nothing at all compared with the injury done. In this instance, however, the complaining parties had been allowed to reside for upwards of ten years in Pesth, and although none of the laws of Hungary had been changed in that period, they received peremptory orders to quit the country in the middle of last winter. It was the duty of the House, as it must be its interest, to take care that outrages of this nature were not allowed to be perpetrated with impunity. So long as British subjects obeyed the law of the country in which they lived, the British Parliament was bound to afford them protection against wanton injury or damage; and he hoped Government would be prepared to announce on this occasion that this subject would receive their immediate attention.
seconded the Resolution. He thought the statements of the Austrian Government by no means satisfactory, and that these missionaries had reason to complain that their expulsion was both sudden and arbitrary. After a residence of ten years they were suddenly ordered to leave the country. They had to part with their property at a great sacrifice. It was a case in which they had a right to look for the interference of Government, who, he hoped, would insist on compensation, as a protection to British subjects in future.
Motion made, and Question proposed—
That this House, recognising the undoubted title of the Queen's subjects resident in Foreign
Countries to the continual protection of Her Majesty, in respect of their liberty, property, and other personal rights, and considering that in the case of the Reverend Messrs. Wingate, Smith, and Edward, arbitrarily expelled from the Austrian dominions in the month of January last, with their wives and children, under circumstances involving much sacrifice of property, and other hardships to the sufferers, those rights were violated, and that no redress has been hitherto obtained for the violation, is of opinion that the case is one calling for prompt and earnest measures on the part of Her Majesty's Government.
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I regret, Sir, that the hon. Baronet, as he has undertaken to bring forward the question, has not also framed the Motion according to his own views, for, had he done so, I am inclined to think the Motion would be different from that presented to us by the hon. and learned Member for Youghal. The House is called upon, as the Motion now stands, to pronounce a very strange expression upon circumstances which the statements made to the House this morning do not by any means justify. I ought, perhaps, to place before the House the state in which this case was when we acceded to office, for on that part of the question great misapprehension seems to have existed, and I think I cannot do better, in order to clear up this portion of the case, than to ask the House to turn to No. 7 of the despatches laid before it by order of Her Majesty, in which they will find, in a communication from Earl Granville, then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, to the Earl of Westmoreland, the British Ambassador at Vienna, dated 17th February, 1852, the case thus put:—A deputation from the Protestant Alliance, the Free Church of Scotland, and the Scottish Reformation Society, consisting of the noblemen and gentlemen whose names I inclose, waited upon me a few days since, for the purpose of submitting to me a statement as to the circumstances attending the expulsion of the Rev. Messrs. Win-gate and Smith from the Austrian dominions. It appears from this statement, that Messrs. Win-gate and Smith are missionaries from the Free Church of Scotland for the conversion of the Jews; that they established themselves in the year 1841 at Pesth, with the knowledge and approbation of His Imperial Highness the then Viceroy of Hungary; and that they continued ever since to reside there, except during a short period in the year 1848, when they retired for a season, in order to avoid any imputation of meddling in the political troubles which then agitated Hungary. It further appears that, during the whole of the time that they have resided in Hungary they have transgressed no law, and have conducted themselves with universally admitted propriety; that in the lifetime of the late Palatine they always enjoyed his protection, and that since his death 1368 they have uniformly given to the constituted authorities every information as to their proceedings and objects. It moreover appears that in their several ministrations they adhered strictly to all existing laws, and that their converts from Judaism were uniformly received as members of the Protestant communities which are sanctioned by the Austrian Government, and that they scrupulously abstained from interference with the Roman Catholic persuasion. After having thus passed ten years peaceably in the country, Messrs. Wingate and Smith were, on the 15th of January, summarily, and without cause assigned, dismissed from Pesth, and were compelled, within six days, to dispose of their property, and, with their wives and families, to depart, in the depth of winter, from their homes. Although it is not for Her Majesty's Government to suggest what amount of religious toleration should be exercised in Austria, and although Her Majesty's Government are aware that measures as rigorous as the above have at different times been applied both to Protestant and Austrian subjects, and to foreigners not subjects of Her Majesty; and although Her Majesty's Government have, therefore, abstained from making a formal demand for redress, yet Her Majesty's Government cannot think it possible that the Austrian Government should have been acqainted with the particulars stated above when they ordered the hasty expulsion of these unoffending persons; and I have, therefore, to instruct you, in bringing the matter under the notice of Prince Schwartzenberg, to leave it to the good feelings of the Austrian Government to decide whether they think fit to afford any compensation to these persons for the bodily sufferings entailed on themselves and their families by their sudden removal at this inclement season, and for the loss of property inflicted on them by the forced sale, amounting almost to confiscation, of their effects. Inclosed your Lordship will find a memorandum of these losses, which has been furnished to me by the parties. I have no means of estimating the correctness of the estimate, although, from its small amount, and the respectable character of the applicants, I have little doubt of its correctness.I wish particularly to impress on the attention of the House that passage in the despatch of Earl Granville which indicates the policy of the British Government. The Government, it will be there seen, leaves, and very properly, to the good feeling of the Austrian Government as to what course should be pursued, and as to what compensation should be made. I mention this the more emphatically because on the 20th of March another despatch was written by the direction of the Earl of Malmesbury, and which has been spoken of in this House in terms of indignation and reprobation. I mean that one addressed by Mr. Adding-ton to Mr. Guthrie, a gentleman belonging to our legation at Vienna. Mr. Adding-ton wrote as follows:—I am directed by the Earl of Malmesbury to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 17th inst., inclosing a memorial from a public meeting 1369 held at Glasgow, on the subject of the expulsion from the Austrian dominions of certain Protestant missionaries to the Jews. In reply, I am directed to inform you, that it appears from a preliminary conversation on this matter between Her Majesty's Minister at Vienna and the Austrian authorities, that the measure in question was adopted in pursuance of the determination of the Austrian Government no longer to tolerate any interference on the part of foreign missionaries with the religious belief of Austrian Jews. I am further to point out to you that it is not for Her Majesty's Government to dictate to the Austrian Government what amount of religious toleration should be exercised in Austria, and that, consequently, Her Majesty's Government have abstained from making a formal demand for redress; but I have to inform you that Her Majesty's Minister at Vienna has been instructed, in bringing this matter under the notice of the Austrian Government, to leave it to the good feelings of that Government to decide whether they think fit to afford any compensation to the missionaries in question for the bodily sufferings entailed on themselves and families, and for the loss of property inflicted on them by the forced sale of their effects. To this demand no reply has yet been returned by the Austrian Government, but the Prime Minister promised to give the subject his immediate attention.When that despatch was read by the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. C. Anstey), the document and the Government, more especially my noble Friend at the head of Foreign Affairs, were held up to the censure and scorn of the country. It was said that a remarkable change had taken place in the foreign policy of England; and this despatch, which is nothing more than a repetition of that of Earl Granville, was made the basis of the attack. Earl Granville placed the question, I think wisely and temperately, before the Earl of Westmoreland, who never took any other course than that suggested by his instructions; and that noble Lord throughout adhered to the policy which, I repeat, in my opinion, Earl Granville wisely originated. I think it necessary to say so much in justice to my noble Friend, the Earl of Malmesbury, and in vindication of those obstreperous charges to which he was subjected about a fortnight ago. I now come to the conduct of the Austrian Government, and those charges contained in the despatch of Earl Granville which I have already cited. Count Buol thus writes to the Earl of Westmoreland, on the 19th of April:—Immediately on receiving the memorandum which the English Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary, the Earl of Westmoreland, addressed on the 27th of February to the Imperial Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and in which his Excellency applied to the Imperial Government to grant a compensation to the Scotch mission- 1370 aries, Messrs. Wingate and Smith, expelled from Pesth in the month of January last, this Ministry-made it its duty to inquire from the competent imperial authorities the grounds of this measure, and to recommend the application for compensation to their consideration, according to the circumstances of the case. From the reply of the Minister of the Interior, of the 17th of this month (a copy of which, together with two enclosures, is annexed), the British Minister is informed, first, that Messrs. Wingate and Smith were from the first only tolerated in the exercise of their calling, and that, therefore, the withdrawal of this tacit toleration was always in the power of the Government; further, that their removal only took place in consequence of clear evidence of their having repeatedly overstepped and transgressed the existing laws and regulations; and that the Imperial authorities only adopted this measure to avoid the necessity of adopting more stringent measures against them—namely, prosecuting them according to law. Under these circumstances the competent Imperial authorities find it impossible to admit Messrs. Wingate and Smith's claims for compensation, and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs can, therefore, only express its regret to his Excellency the Earl of Westmoreland at being unable to return any more favourable reply to his application.And the Earl of Westmoreland, on the 25th of May, thus writes to the Earl of Malmesbury:—Count Buol did not contest the statement of Mr. Stuart, that Messrs. Wingate and Smith had proceeded to Pesth with the intention of carrying out the conversion of the Jews, which was not illegal, if to a confession legally recognised in Austria, but which the confession of these gentlemen was not, as well as to supply divine service to the British residents; but he stated that no exercise of the functions of a clergyman or of public teachers was admitted in Austria, except under regulations sanctioned by the competent official authority, which, in the case of these gentlemen, had not been granted; and although a deviation from the established regulations had for a considerable time been tolerated in this ease, no legal title could be established thereby, and the Austrian Government could not lose its right to put a stop to the proceedings whenever they thought it necessary to do so. Count Buol remarked upon the next statement in Mr. Stuart's letter, that the Austrian Empire had ministers of their own in the different persuasions of Christianity, who were examples of Christian holiness and love, and who were employed in the sacred duties of administering to the service of the Church, and of attending to the religious education of their fellow-countrymen, therefore no foreigner could have a legal right to undertake (without a special appointment to that effect) the duties which are confided to the national ministers and teachers, and consequently, that the conversion of the children of Catholic parents, or of the teachers in the school established by the missionaries, which was partly admitted in Mr. Stuart's letter, could have been sanctioned by no legal authority whatsoever. With respect to the statement in Mr. Stuart's letter, that the missionaries distributed Bibles and other books in Hebrew and other languages, but that they adapted 1371 their proceeding to all existing laws, Count Buol remarked that as early as the 12th of March, 1851, the application made to the Minister of the Interior to sanction the publication and distribution of Bibles through Protestant ministers and booksellers had been refused; and he conceives Messrs. Wingate and Smith must have been aware of this decision, which had been come to with no view of preventing the distribution of the Bible—for there is no restraint in Austria to its publication or sale by persons authorised to that effect—but to prevent its being carried on by foreign agency, as it interfered with the rights and privileges of their own subjects. Upon the statement by Mr. Stuart, that the whole tangible offence, as set forth in the paragraph (which he quotes), consisted in the missionaries being Britons and not Hungarians,' Count Buol remarked that he only objected to the words 'whole tangible offence,' but to the rest of this sentence he assented; in as far as it was the desire and intention of the Austrian Government that the religious instruction of their subjects and the service of their churches, in the different persuasions to which they belonged, should be confided to the regularly established ministers of their own country, and not to foreigners, over whose doctrines, education, or loyalty, they could have no control. He believed this was not the case in England, and, therefore, he was not surprised Mr. Stuart should have remarked upon it; but the Austrian Government must adapt themselves to Austrian regulations and convictions.But it is upon the case of Mr. Edward that the chief stress is laid, and it is upon his case the hon. Baronet (Sir H. Verney) mainly relies. Upon reading these papers, I can find nothing which could warrant the statements made respecting this gentleman, but much which to me appears to disprove the charges respecting him. Mr. Edward maintains that he was, in fact, expelled from Lemberg under circumstances of great hardship, and in an inclement season of the year, though a quiet resident, and not offending against the laws of Austria. Now, this is the case which is selected as the most grievous, unjust, and tyrannical on the part of the Austrian Government. What are the facts? Will the House allow me to read the despatch of the Earl of Westmoreland to the Earl of Malmesbury, dated June 2nd:—Count Buol has communicated to me the further information as to the removal of Mr. Edward from Lemberg, which he had promised me in his note of the 25th of April, a copy of which was transmitted to your Lordships in my despatch of the 26th April. It appears by the statement of Count Buol, that the authorities of Lemberg had by a note signed by Major-Genernl Lilienborn, and addressed to Mr. Edward on the 23rd of December, 1851, a translation of which I enclose, annulled the order of the 17th of December, by which that gentleman was instructed to leave Lemberg by the end of that month, and had informed him that the authorities of the town had been directed to refer the whole of his case to the 1372 Ministry for Instruction and Religion in Vienna, and that until their decision was made known, he was at liberty to remain in the town of Lemberg. It appears, therefore, as no further communication was made to Mr. Edward, that there was no reason for his departure from the Austrian States at the time he determined to undertake his journey; and this would seem to be entirely established by the assurances which have been given me both by Count Galizchofsky, the Governor of Gallicia, who is at present in Vienna, and by the Minister of the Interior, Baron Bach, who state that they in no way desired, that Mr. Edward should leave Lemberg, but only that he should refrain from holding his religious meetings till the competent authorities had decided upon the case submitted to them; and Baron Bach was in the belief that he was remaining there after his return from Vienna, to which place he had proceeded (when the note of General Lilienborn of the 23rd of December had been delivered to him) to learn the decision of the Government upon his petition. When Mr. Edward came to Vienna and called upon me, I informed him of the steps I had taken to obtain the object of his application; and I recommended him to wait at Vienna till the Government had replied to the memorandum I had transmitted to them; and I afterwards, upon hearing from Mr. Grey that he desired to return to Lemberg, applied to Prince Edmond Schwartzenberg to grant him that permission, if he asked for it, who assured me he would do so; but he afterwards told me that Mr. Edward had never applied to him; and there appears to have been no necessity for his doing so, as he returned to Lemberg without Prince Schwartzenberg's interference. But why he left that capital to undertake the arduous journey to Breslau is what the authorities in Vienna have not been able to discover. They know of no order issued to him after the note of General Lilienborn; and if Mr. Edward received any subsequent one, they have requested to be furnished with a copy of it; and they are anxious to obtain it, because, as no decision was taken upon the application I had made on behalf of Mr. Edward, any order to leave the country before such decision had been come to, and which I had requested him to wait for, would be in direct contradiction of the note which had been transmitted to him on the 23rd of December from General Lilienborn.And to this despatch the Earl of Westmoreland adds the following postscript:—P. S.—Since writing the preceding part of this despatch, I have received from the Minister of the Interior, Baron Bach, the memorandum, a copy of which I inclose, by which your Lordship will perceive that the decision by the Ministers of the Interior and of Ecclesiastical Affairs upon the application of Mr. Edward, which had been transmitted from Lemberg to Vienna, was only come to on the 20–21st of February, when it was transmitted to the authorities at Lemberg, to be communicated to that gentleman; but it could not be communicated to him, as he had already left that capital and the Austrian States on the 30th of January, so that he appears to have proceeded on his journey to Breslau without waiting for the decision of the Government, and without any order whatever from the authorities to quit the country.1373 Now, this is the case which is designated as arbitrary and tyrannical. Absolutely, Mr. Edward is described as an exile driven from his residence in an inclement season. But what is the case. Why, Sir, the fact is that Mr. Edward never was ordered to quit at all, for the order of the 17th December was immediately rescinded, on his protest. I wish to insinuate nothing against Mr. Edward, whose character I believe to be respectable, and upon which I do not desire to insinuate a doubt; he was a respectable missionary, who exercised his functions at Lemberg under certain regulations; he was permitted to perform Divine service in his own chapel, and to convert the Jewish population to the Church of which he was a missionary, under the condition that he would carry on his vocation within certain bounds. But Mr. Edward travelled out of those bounds—of that there could be no doubt, for he acknowledged his indiscretion—he preached to the Austrian population of a neighbouring village, in violation of the condition upon which his missionary preachings were permitted. He accordingly received notice to quit Lemberg, whereupon he made representations of an extenuating character. And how were those representations received? Why, in a most courteous spirit, for the order for his expulsion was immediately rescinded, and the resident Governor said he would transmit the case to the central authority in Vienna, and that until his case was decided upon there, he would not be molested. Mr. Edward, who seems to be a nervous sort of man, instead of remaining where he was, immediately sets out for Vienna, and applies to our Ambassador there, the Earl of Westmoreland, who treated him with sympathy and courtesy, and recommended him to be quiet, and to return to Lemberg. Our Minister promised to Mr. Edward to obtain permission for him to remain in Lemberg; but at the end of February, when the order reached Lemberg, Mr. Edward had left long before, and had undertaken a long journey to Breslau, in an inclement season, without the slightest necessity. Up to this moment Mr. Edward had received no final order to quit Lemberg; and yet this is the man who is held up as a martyr—a victim of the cruelty and tyranny of the Austrian Government. Now, Sir, these facts are undisputed. There can be no doubt about them. They are in the papers before the House; but Her Majesty's Government, being anxious to obtain the fullest and 1374 most accurate evidence on the subject, applied to Mr. Edward himself. Lord Stanley wrote to the Rev. A. Moody Stuart, on the 11th of June, the following letter:—I am directed by the Earl of Malmesbury to inform you that a reply has been received from the Austrian Government to the representations which Her Majesty's Minister at Vienna had been instructed to make on the subject of the expulsion of Mr. Edward from the Austrian dominions. It is stated in that reply, that Mr. Edward, on his arrival at Lemberg, declared that the object of his mission was solely and exclusively the conversion to Christianity of members of the Jewish faith. Authority was on this given to Mr. Edward to follow up that object, coupled with the condition that his lectures should be delivered only in his own house, and in the presence of Jews. It is further stated that Mr. Edward did not conform to this condition, that he preached before mixed assemblies of Jews and Christians; that he induced several members of the Roman Catholic Church to attend such lectures, and that he moreover did not confine himself to preaching in his own house, but addressed a Christian congregation in the manufacturing village of Vinniki, at some distance from Lemberg. As several complaints were made to the authorities of these proceedings, those authorities acted in perfect conformity with the laws of Austria in addressing to Mr. Edward, on the 17th December last, a notice to quit the country by the end of the month. Against this order Mr. Edward is stated to have protested, and Major-General Lilienborn, the Governor of Lemberg, in consideration of such remonstrance, addressed to Mr. Edward a letter, dated the 23rd of December, giving him permission to remain at Lemberg until his case should have been decided upon by the Minister of Public Worship at Vienna. Major-General Lilienborn, moreover, gave Mr. Edward permission to proceed to Vienna, for the purpose of pleading his cause. He, however, at the same time, ordered Mr. Edward, until the decision should be known, to abstain from holding his religious meetings. On the arrival of Mr. Edward at Vienna, he was informed that he must await at at Lemberg the decision to be given by the Austrian Government; and his passport, at his special request, was countersigned for his return. The Minister of Public Worship did not give his decision until the 20th of February, 1852, and on the 21st an order was sent to the authorities of Gallicia to inform Mr. Edward that his petition to remain could not be acceded to, but at the same time to allow Mr. Edward all necessary time to settle his affairs. On the arrival of this order at Lemberg, it could not be communicated to Mr. Edward, as that gentleman had already quitted the Austrian dominions of his own accord, on the 30th of January preceding. The Austrian Government professes itself entirely ignorant of the causes which induced Mr. Edward to take this step, or of any further order issued to him subsequent to the letter from General Lilienborn, of the 23rd of December, 1851. Should Mr. Edward, however, have received any such order, the Austrian Government would wish to be furnished with a copy of it, as it would be in direct contradiction to the notification made to Mr. Edward on the 23rd of December. I am now directed by the Earl of 1375 Malmesbury to request that if Mr. Edward has received such a subsequent order, he will furnish his Lordship with a copy for communication to the Austrian Government, and further to ask whether Mr. Edward has any observations to make as regards the accuracy of the foregoing statement.To this letter no answer whatever was received, nor since then had one single iota of the statement of the Austrian Government been disproved, or even challenged, by the rev. gentleman and his friends. The case of Mr. Edward was selected as a case of peculiar hardship and tyranny; hut the assertions made in reference to it are not waranted by the facts. There has been no reserve or foul play in the production of these papers. The correspondence is complete. Any one who reads it can see the whole of the circumstances in all their bearings. We have treated the House with perfect candour; and I ask the House whether they are, upon this head of the inquiry, justified in coming to the Resolution which the hon. Baronet recommends? Though most unwilling to trouble the House, I must allude to the other case—that of Messrs. Wingate and Smith—which are included in this Motion or Resolution. Now, I will refer the House to the terms of the Resolution, and to which I particularly wish to direct their attention. Now, as regards the sacrifice of property as stated in the Resolution, the House must know that it is very easy to make a large demand for compensation, as in the famous case of M. Pacifico. This is an instance of the same kind, though not pushed to so great an extent. The demand for compensation made by the Rev. Messrs. Win-gate and Smith amounted to between 400l. and 500l. That demand was made during the time that Earl Granville was at the head of the Foreign Office. The amount of compensation demanded was 472l. 10s. Of course no Government would concede to such a demand without investigation; and in pages 39 and 40 of these despatches the nature of the claims for compensation might be ascertained. I will not fatigue the House by quoting these despatches, or rather inclosures, but I will state the result of the investigation by the Austrian Government—that so far from there being a claim of 472l. against them, the furniture of those gentlemen was sold under very advantageous circumstances, and upon the whole the Austrian Government considered their demand an exaggerated and unfair one. The Earl of Westmoreland took a deep interest in the case, from the repre- 1376 sentation of the Rev. Moody Stuart; and ultimately our Minister found himself in an unpleasant position, having made a demand which he could not substantiate. On the 12th of June, the Earl of Westmoreland sent a despatch to the Earl of Malmesbury, of which the following is a copy:—I have the honour of submitting to your Lordship the reply of the Minister of the Interior, Baron Bach, to the memorandum I addressed to Count Buol, on the 3rd of May, on the subject of the compensation claimed by Messrs. Wingate and Smith, for losses incurred by them on their removal from Pesth. By this document your Lordship will perceive that Baron Bach transmitted my memorandum to the authorities at Pesth, directing them to examine into the claim for compensation therein set forth, and to transmit to him the result of their investigations; and he has now embodied this result in his report to Count Buol, in which he expresses the opinion that, after the authentic statement of the case which has been made to him, there exists no reason to grant the compensation claimed by those gentlemen.And upon the same date the Earl of Westmoreland sends the following despatch to. my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign affairs:—I have the honour of inclosing a translation of the note of Count Buol, by which he transmits to me the report made to him by the Minister of the Interior, Baron Bach, upon the result of the investigations which he had caused to be made upon the claims for compensation by Messrs. Wingate and Smith, which I had put forward in the various applications I had made on this subject, and more particularly in my memorandum of the 3rd of May. Count Buol states in this note the reasons assigned by Baron Bach for not agreeing to the claims of Messrs. Wingate and Smith for compensation, as he considers that no case has been made out in favour of it, either for losses on the sale of furniture, for the rent of the house, or for the expenses of the journey home. Count Buol, therefore, is unable to come to any other determination, and he submits to your Lordship all the information upon which this decision has been arrived at, but at the same time he states his readiness, in consideration of the applications made upon this subject, to contribute towards the personal travelling expenses of these gentlemen, if your Lordship should think fit to propose it to them.In the despatches of Count Buol, dated June 11, that Minister speaks as follows; and nothing, I think, can be fairer than the language of Count Buol in this despatch:—A memorandum has been transmitted by the Earl of Westmoreland to the undersigned, Minister for Foreign Affairs, in which his Lordship again puts forward the claims of the missionaries Wingate and Smith, under the heads of losses sustained by them (in consequence of their sudden removal from Pesth) through the sale of their furni-niture, as well as by being obliged to give up the house rented by them, and also to a compensation 1377 for the expenses of their journey. In order to ascertain accurately upon what grounds Messrs. Wingate and Smith found their claims, the undersigned requested the Minister of the Interior to cause these statements to be investigated and verified in as authentic a manner as possible. The said Minister immediately complied with this request, and has in the inclosed reply most minutely and precisely cleared up the claims of those gentlemen. The Earl of Westmoreland will be convinced from these documents that the claims made by the said missionaries in consequence of losses sustained by them, are not borne out; and for this reason alone, without reference to any other grounds, the claims for compensation of Messrs. Wingate and Smith are totally inadmissible. Further, with reference to the claims made by these gentlemen for the payment of the expenses of their journey, the Imperial Government does not consider itself in any way bound to grant them, as the removal of Messrs. Wingate and Smith from Pesth (as the undersigned had the honour to inform the Earl of Westmoreland on the 19th of April) was caused by their infringement of existing orders, and was quite in accordance with the laws existing in Austria. However, in consequence of the repeated and urgent representation of Lord Westmoreland in favour of the two missionaries, and as their circumstances would appear to admit of it, the Imperial Government, in consideration of this esteemed representation, is ready to contribute to each of the missionaries a proportionate sum (un-derthe head of travelling expenses), provided they are willing to accept the same, upon which point a further explanation is looked for.On the 17th of June, Lord Stanley wrote, by directions of the Earl of Malmesbury, to the Rev. Mr. Moody, to ascertain; through him whether or not the representation of the Austrian Government was a correct one. The despatch was in these words:—I am directed by the Earl of Malmesbury to transmit to you the accompanying abstract of the evidence taken before the authorities at Pesth, as to the losses alleged to have been sustained by Messrs. Wingate and Smith, owing to the sale of their property on their expulsion from that city; and I am to request that you will communicate the same to those gentlemen, and that you will inform them that the Earl of Malmesbury wishes to know what they have to state against the truth of this evidence.Now, I beg to state to the House that to this requisition no answer has been returned—not a single word. I have now, I believe, touched upon the principal points in this case. I have shown by ample evidence, furnished by the Austrian Government, that, in point of fact, Mr. Edward never was expelled, but that he was treated with gentleness, and that it never, in point of fact, was necessary for him to leave Lemberg at all. Mr. Edward received an order to leave Lemberg, but that order was very shortly after rescinded, and never was reissued to him. With respect to the case 1378 of Messrs. Wingate and Smith, there can be no doubt but that a highly-coloured statement of their case was made by the Rev. Mr. Stuart. The Austrian Government fully investigated their losses and their grounds for claims to compensation, and the result of these investigations was that there was no just ground for such compensation. This country was by no means inclined to pass it over. Her Majesty's Government had not taken what the Austrian Government stated as conclusive—they demanded compensation. The Austrian Government had made representations that the amount of compensation demanded was extravagant and unjust. Her Majesty's Government had asked the opinion of the parties on the subject; but neither from Mr. Edward nor from Messrs. Wingate and Smith, had they yet received any answer on the subject. I think the papers laid upon the table call upon the House to acquit not only the present but the late Government neglecting to enforce the claims of those gentlemen. There is no one in this House more ready than I would be to advocate redress for a British subject injured or insulted in a foreign State. I think it is the paramount duty of the Government and of this House to inquire into such cases, and to demand redress if redress be necessary; but at the same time I must say that as the cases now brought before us stand, there is no ground whatever for the House coming to this Resolution—a Resolution that implicates the conduct of the Earl of Westmoreland, whose conduct has been deserving of high praise rather than of censure, and which involves in blame the proceedings of the late as well as of the present Government, both having, I believe, done their duty to the best of their ability, and maintained the honour and the dignity of their country.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
It is evident, Sir, from the papers on the table of the House, that the transactions to which they relate between this Government and that of Austria are not yet completely brought to a close. It was obviously necessary that the Government should present the papers as they are, on account of the approaching termination of the Session; but at the same time there are points connected with the matters in dispute which are not clearly established one way or the other. One point is, what was the loss, if any, sustained by Messrs. Wingate and Smith in consequence of their expulsion from Pesth. They claim a certain compen- 1379 sation as the amount of their loss. The Austrian Government have, in their recent communications, assigned their reasons why, in their opinion, no loss has been sustained; but the answer of the parties who complain has not yet been received, and, therefore, upon that point the House is not in a condition to form a judgment. It appears that Count Buol, in a spirit which does him honour, offered to pay a portion, or even the whole, of the expenses of the missionaries, on their return from Vienna, if they were willing to accept it. But this is an offer to which no reply has been received from these gentlemen by the Government, and upon which the House, therefore, cannot now decide.
It appears to me that the Resolution proposed by my hon. Friend (Sir H. Ver-ney) cannot, in the present state of things, be agreed to by the House; for the House cannot affirm what it is not yet in a condition to affirm, nor recommend proceedings which could only be justified in the event of a grievous injury being established, and redress refused. I must, therefore, recommend my hon. Friend to withdraw his Resolution, because it does contain statements indisputably true, and I should be very sorry that the House, in declining to agree to what it ought not to be called upon to assent, should also negative assertions founded upon incontestable facts. It seems to me, therefore, that the most judicious course for my hon. Friend to pursue is to withdraw the Motion. At the same time, I think that my hon. Friend who brought forward this Motion, as well as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Youghal (Mr. C. Anstey), who originated it, are entitled to the thanks of the House for having brought the question under its consideration.
I think that there cannot be anything more advantageous or more likely to cause the maintenance of peace between this country and foreign nations, and also to extend protection to our fellow countrymen abroad, than that questions of this sort, when the necessity exists, should be brought under the consideration of Parliament. For it is of the utmost importance that Foreign Powers should know that, if they act arbitrarily and unjustly towards British subjects in their dominions, and that even if a British Government should not be disposed, from whatever reasons, to press such matters earnestly upon them in order to obtain redress, yet that there exists in this House a determination to dis- 1380 cuss those subjects, and to call upon the Government of the day—whatever Government that might be—to show to Parliament why redress should not be obtained.
Now, Sir, for my own part, I feel bound to say that, though I think a very unfitting tone has been adopted by the British Government throughout the whole of this correspondence; yet I do not think the blame rests with Her Majesty's present advisers. I am of this opinion, because the present Government found this matter launched into a wrong groove, and it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to set the matter right. Another question arises out of this correspondence—another question of grave interest—namely, whether it is not important that, not only this House should take cognisance of these matters, but that this nation should also take cognisance of them.
Sir, I felt it my duty upon another occasion, when a deputation called upon me, when in office, on the subject of measures which the late Government took in respect to certain subjects of Austria who were refugees in Turkey—I say, I felt it my duty, however some may have objected to the course I took, to receive that deputation, thinking that public benefit might arise from public discussion of matters of this sort. I reasoned thus: that if Government were disposed to do their duty, they would be strengthened by the expression of public opinion; and if Government were disposed to shrink from the performance of its duty, they would be urged on by such expressions of the public will. And that the view I took was correct, I think the course of this correspondence very clearly establishes. I am not now speaking of one Administration as distinguished from the other; but it will be seen that the Government became more energetic in its demands in proportion as the case of these unfortunate men was made the subject of discussion in various parts of the country. I think that the whole course pursued regarding them was much to be regretted. Nobody esteems more highly than I do the public and personal character of my noble Friend the Representative of Her Majesty at the Court of Vienna. I am quite sure my noble Friend, individually, never would intentionally have fallen short in the performance of his duty; and in one despatch he said he had acted to the full extent of his instructions, or words to that effect. I am, therefore, inclined to infer that my noble Friend did not on this occasion feel himself at liberty to do that which he was 1381 inclined to do, but that some restraint was imposed upon him from a quarter which he was obliged to attend to.
There can be no doubt, Sir, that Messrs. Wingate and Smith were most cruelly and tyrannically treated. What is their case? They resided for ten years in the Austrian dominions, with the full knowledge and permission of the Government—they were in personal communication with the authorities of the province in which they lived—they were pursuing their calling in the open day, and without the least reserve or concealment—they were building a school—nay, they even taught under the same roof, if I mistake not, under which one of the highest authorities of the State resided—they carried on their vocation, in short, without cloak or disguise, with the apparently full consent and permission of the Austrian Government. All of a sudden they are ordered to quit the country at a short notice, in the most inclement season of the year, when in those parts travelling presents great difficulties even to men, but to women and children in a bad state of health it amounts to almost a death-warrant, as in this case it actually proved to one of the children, besides the infliction of severe and protracted suffering. And be it recollected, these men received this order to quit without any cause whatever being assigned. The justification now made is, that they had violated the Austrian law; but, Sir, I think it might reasonably have been expected that the order made to those persons, who had not previously misconducted themselves, and whose conduct had been irreproachable, against whom no political charge was alleged, should have stated what was the charge upon which they were thus summarily and ignominiously expelled. But no charge was alleged against them—they were expelled without cause. Had they violated the Austrian law, it might have been expected from the courtesy of a civilised Government, that well-conducted and respectable inhabitants of a foreign State residing in the Austrian territory would have been told—"You have violated the law of this country, and, if you repeat the offence, we shall be compelled to exercise our authority, and send you away." Had the Austrian Government done so, no complaint would have been made—no just complaint could have been urged. Had the Austrian Government acted in this way, Her Majesty's Government would never have thought of asking for redress.
1382 But it has been said that the Austrian law has been violated. I ask what is the law, and what has been its infraction? It has been asserted over and over again, in the course of this correspondence, by the Austrian Government, that those persons had violated the law; but they never once pointed out either what the law is, or how it has been violated. This is a most remarkable omission; and as regards the violation of the law by these gentlemen, I must confess myself incredulous. It has been said that it does not become the British Government to argue with the Austrian Government in a question of Austrian law. Now that may be, or may not be. I own I am not prepared to assent altogether to the proposition to its fullest extent. But of this I feel sure, that, when the British Government is told that British subjects have violated the law of a foreign country, the British Government is entitled to a plain, distinct statement of what that law is, and in what mode, or by what acts, that law has been infringed. But this does not appear to have been done in the present case. These two missionaries came to Her Majesty's Ambassador at Vienna, and represented the barbarous manner in which they had been treated by the arbitrary dictates of a despotic Government. All they asked was permission to travel out of the territory with their families by easy stages; and I think, if my noble Friend the Earl of Westmoreland was left to his own impulses, he would not be content with such representations as had been made; but would, in the language of an English Ambassador, have asked, "Why have these persons been expelled? What have they done? Show me the law—point out its infraction?" Such questions would naturally have occurred to the representative of England on the part of one of his fellow-subjects, whenever or wherever it might appear that injustice had been inflicted upon him by a foreign Government.
But then the case was taken up by the late Government, and I grieve to say that the despatch of my noble Friend Earl Granville, dated February 17, is one which an Englishman must read with anything but feelings of satisfaction or approval. I do not blame my noble Friend, for the House will recollect that when his predecessor was removed from office—one of the reasons alleged in this House for his removal was, that he had too much con- 1383 fidence in his own opinion, and that he was not sufficiently under the control and guidance of the then First Minister of the Crown. Therefore, it was very natural that my noble Friend, Earl Granville, succeeding to the Foreign Office under these circumstances, and being to a certain extent new to the business of his department, should not have relied very much on his own judgment, but should have rather deferred to that of others; and the despatch to which he puts his name should, in my opinion, be rather considered as the despatch of the Cabinet to which he belonged, than as the despatch of my noble Friend. But I must say, that a despatch upon such a subject—where it appeared that a primâ facie case of hardship committed upon subjects of Her Majesty had been made out—a despatch more submissive in its manner, more abject in its tone and substance, it has never fallen to my lot to read. Why, Sir, it seems more like the miserable representations of the population of a Turkish village—men living in the constant fear of the bastinado—against an outrage committed upon them by some powerful and insolent Pacha, than the representation of the Minister of one free and independent State to the Government of another.
The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has read extracts from certain despatches. It is no answer to me to quote what occurs in the subsequent correspondence. I consider the despatch of Earl Granville as having been written under the view of the then existing circumstances—upon the representation made by the parties concerned. Our Government might naturally have reasoned thus: "Here are respectable persons who have lived nearly eleven years under the protection of the Austrian Government; we do not see that they have committed any offence—that they have violated any law—that they have done anything to justify this harsh and oppressive conduct. They have been expelled under circumstances of the greatest hardship, and exposed to a loss of property amounting almost to confiscation." Under such circumstances, one would think that our Government might have made an energetic, if not an indignant, remonstrance: at least demanding explanation, if not redress. But what does our Government do? Why, it contents itself with a bare recital of the facts. The despatch spoke of the "toleration" which had been shown to other 1384 States by the subjects of the Austrian Government. But, Sir, this was not a case of toleration at all, but one of expulsion. The despatch seemed to say that, because Austrian subjects were unjustly treated in other countries, and because the subjects of other countries were unjustly treated elsewhere, that, therefore, our Government would abstain from asking for redress from British subjects, exposed, upon their own showing, to great and grievous injury, and would leave it, forsooth, "to the good feeling of the Austrian Government" for the injuries sustained! Now, Sir, I quite admit that, in making an application of this sort to the Austrian Government, especially when we act only on ex-parte statements, we ought to use every degree of courtesy, and that our language ought to be moderate; but, at the same time, I humbly venture to say that without any discourtesy to the Austrian Government, when British subjects have been outraged in the manner in which it appears they have been outraged, the despatch to which I have alluded was not of a character much calculated to obtain redress, nor very befitting the honour and dignity of this country.
Well, then, the present Government succeeded, and took up the case, on the grounds which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has described. I do not blame them for what they have done. Perhaps they could not have done otherwise, But I must say that I am gratified with the result of the publicity given to these discussions, and that the effect of such repeated representations was to stimulate the present Foreign Secretary, and to put a little more force into his despatches; and any one, by looking at the papers on the table of this House, will see that from the time at which those representations commenced, the Earl of Malmesbury became more impressive—a more becoming vigour was shown by the Government—and, eventually, better results were produced.
But, Sir, I say again, it is impossible not to declare that acts of a grossly oppressive nature have been committed towards those gentlemen, who have not, I believe, infringed on any Austrian law. I must say that my opinion is, that those men were so treated, not because of a violation of the law—not upon religious grounds—but because of motives founded on political considerations. This is my impression, from a perusal of the papers on the table 1385 of the House; for I again say, if they have violated any law, why was not that law set forth? Religious toleration is spoken of. Why, anybody would suppose, from reading those papers, that the Austrian Government was exceedingly intolerant, and that it was like some of the Governments of Southern Europe which would only permit one religion—the Catholic—to exist in the State. But no such thing appears from those papers; on the contrary, it appears that there were 3,000,000l of Protestants in the very country in which these expelled missionaries were preaching. In Austrian parishes, I have been told, and I believe the fact now is, that where the Protestants predominate, the Protestant clergy receive public compensation, and vice versâ. So far from the Austrian Government being intolerant, its example for toleration has been frequently quoted in debates upon the claims of Roman Catholics in this House. I own I cannot see anything in these papers upon which to charge the Austrian Government with intolerance.
But, Sir, the fact was that the Austrian Government was very much irritated by the course of policy which the Government of this country pursued upon several occasions, by various discussions in this House, and many decided manifestations of public opinion in this country, with respect to the unfortunate Hungarian refugees. I am therefore afraid that one must look to the sudden expulsion of British subjects from the Austrian dominions, therefore, not as an indication of religious intolerance, not because these persons had violated the law of Austria, but because of the part taken by the British Government and the British public upon the question to which I have referred. I must confess that this view of the case does not make the conduct of the Austrian Government more worthy, or that of the English Government less reprehensible in the mode which they took of obtaining redress. But when I say this, I am bound also to observe that there are good grounds for hoping that a favourable turn has occurred in the administration of Austrian affairs, and that from such a man as Count Buol more courtesy and a greater spirit of justice from the Austrian Cabinet may be expected towards England. I must say that the spirit of courtesy exhibited by Count Buol in these transactions is highly honourable to his feelings as a gentleman, and to his enlightenment as a statesman.
1386 I have said that the Austrian Government felt irritated at the conduct of the British Government upon a previous occasion. Sir, I believe that Austria herself took a wrong view of her own interest. I believe that the first occasion on which that resentment arose was as regards the policy pursued by the British Government in the affairs of Italy. I venture humbly to think that the Austrian Government would have acted with greater wisdom if they had acted in accordance with the view taken by the British Government of that day as to the possession of Northern Italy; for I feel satisfied that, though Northern Italy may be thought to add to the power of Austria, it may also add to her contingent dangers. I think we may apply to the domination of Austria in Italy what was said by the Latin poet of old:——Opposuit Natura Alpemque nivemque,Diducit scopulos at montern rumpit aceto.The same obstacles apply to the domination of Austria in Northern Italy now, that applied to a powerful invader then; and, if I may be allowed to make an application of the concluding line, I would say that the acid system is not one calculated to effect the conversion of the population of Northern Italy, or to make them more docile or better fitted for the Austrian rule. It may be great presumption in me to sketch out any changes in the map of Europe, but I think if the northern kingdom of Italy were to be bounded by Genoa on the one hand, and Venice on the other—and if an arrangement were made by which the Tuscan territories should also extend from Leghorn to Ancona, I think that such an arrangement would conduce to the peace of Europe, to the progress of civilisation, and unquestionably to the prosperity and happiness of the people of Italy. Nor do I think that Austria would have been at all lowered in the scale of nations, either in reputation or power, if she had confined herself to her territorial dominions north of the Alps, for she would then have attained an unity which, in the present state of her dominions, she cannot obtain. I cannot concur with my hon. Friend in voting for this Resolution. I think there are parts of the Resolution premature, even though they should be ultimately borne out. I think great public benefit will be derived from the knowledge which Foreign Governments will obtain of these discussions—that questions concerning the rights and interests of British subjects will be brought under the consideration of this 1387 House if redress be not obtained. I wish it to be distinctly understood that the ground on which I think the House ought to treat the question is, not that the Austrian Government has withdrawn from the missionaries any religious permission which they had given, because we must admit that the Austrian Government has a right, if it chooses, to restrict any such permission which the laws of Austria entitle it to restrict; but that the ground upon which I think the British Government is entitled to complain is, that injuries were done to British subjects residing in Austria, by permission of the Austrian Government, and to all appearance, even up to this moment, guiltless of any offence against the public laws of Austria—guiltless of any crime, of any revolutionary act, of any political offence, of any transgression against society—but that these men were expelled in the most summary, capricious, and unfeeling manner, and thereby subjected to great and undeserved suffering.
§ MR. PLOWDEN
said, on the last occasion when this subject was under the consideration of the House, it was through his instrumentality suddenly brought to a close, by his calling upon Mr. Speaker to count the House. He assured the House that his adopting that course had no reference to the merits of the case then before it, except that he thought it was deserving a larger attendance of Members and a fuller discussion than it was then likely to receive. He thought the House would thank him for the course he then adopted, since the question had now received a full and most interesting discussion, and had elicited the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton. As an Englishman, and especially as a Member of Parliament, he could never sanction any species of tyranny or injustice practised towards British subjects in foreign countries without seeking and demanding redress for such acts. He entirely agreed with the sentiments that had just been expressed by the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton on the subject; but he could not, after the explanations afforded by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, altogether concur in the wording of the Motion; and he begged to express a hope that the hon. Baronet would adopt the recommendation of the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) and withdraw it.
§ MR. HUME
said, he was constrained to confess that he did not approve of the course which the last speaker had taken. The question ought to have been discussed long ago, and then there would have been fewer excuses for the manifestations of feeling which had taken place on this subject. The statement of the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. C. Anstey) ought not to have remained unanswered so long, particularly when such an answer could be made to it as that which they had heard that day from the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had shown that the application by the English Government for redress had been made in a becoming manner, and had been met in a corresponding spirit by Austria. He regretted the strong way in which this question had been taken up, especially in Scotland, as he must say, after the explanations which had been given, they could not help viewing it in a much more moderate aspect than formerly. He did not agree with the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston) in thinking that the despatch of Earl Granville to which he referred was abject; and he thought nothing better could have been done than to leave the case to the Austrian Government's sense of justice; Nevertheless, he agreed that questions of this nature should at all times find a ready discussion in that House; and while he was satisfied with the manner in which the matter was now being handled, he by no means regretted that it had been brought so prominently before the House and the country.
§ LORD DUDLEY STUART
said, he was also exceedingly glad that this discussion had taken place; but they ought in justice to the hon. and learned Member for Youghal, to remember that it was to the perseverance of that hon. and learned Member that they were indebted for the discussion. The country would never have been satisfied upon this subject had this discussion not taken place; for the people of England could not understand why people should be driven from their established homes for simply preaching the Gospel. When Hungary was up in arms, these missionaries abstained from performing Divine worship altogether, rested from their labour, while, upon all occasions, whether in time of peace or war, they had been scrupulously careful to observe the laws of Austria under which they were living. He concurred with all that had fallen from the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, 1389 and regretted that he was not now at the head of the Foreign Affairs of this country. It was worthy of remark that these complaints of the treatment of British subjects by foreign nations had greatly increased since the noble Lord had left office; and he was satisfied the noble Lord's speech to-day would be received with do-light from one end of the country to the other. The tone of the Government upon foreign matters seemed to have undergone a wonderful change since the end of last year, and the consequence was, foreign countries had taken advantage of it to be insolent and oppressive. He thanked the hon. Baronet (Sir H. Verney) for bringing the question before the House on the present occasion, and he hoped that he would follow the advice given to him by several hon. Gentlemen, and withdraw the Resolution for the present.
§ SIR HARRY VERNEY
said, in consequence of the explanations of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and at the request of his (Sir II. Verney's) Friends, he would beg to be allowed to withdraw the Motion. He must, however, deny the statement of the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume), that there had been anything like exaggeration. The hardships suffered by these men had been far beyond anything detailed to the House. Since their departure the circulation of the Bible had been stopped in the Austrian dominions, though there were 3,000,000 of Protestants in that country. The Resolution of the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. Anstey) was not stronger than he should have wished to propose himself. Their duty was to assert the right of their fellow-subjects to liberty in whatever country they might be residing.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn,