§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, he would be the last person unnecessarily to take up the time of the House on any subject, but that he did so on the present occasion because a cruel and atrocious sentence had been passed on two individuals, Francesco and Rosa Madiai, humble in position, it was true, but of unimpeachable character, on account of their religion. When tidings of the sentence which they were now undergoing reached this country, feelings of sorrow and indignation prevailed; and they were not confined to this country, but shared in by the Protestants on the Continent. Across the Atlantic, too, the American people had expressed, in unmistakeable language, their sympathy in the cause of the Madiais; and the President of the United States and the Minister for Foreign Affairs had, he was informed, addressed despatches to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, asking for their release, offering to send a vessel to conduct them to the United States, and assuring them of support there. He wished the Government of this country had taken the same noble course. He desired to show that this was not an isolated case, but he thought he should be able to prove that it was part of a system of ecclesiastical reaction, and a symptom of a determination on the part of the hierarchy of the Church of Rome to put down Protestantism, whenever the civil power would enable them to do so. It was on this ground, then, that he called upon the Government of this country to invite the other Protestant Powers of Europe, as the Kings of Prussia and Holland, with the United States of America, to join in a 197 remonstrance to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, not in a dictatorial tone, not in a tone of menace, but in the name of religion and humanity, against this act of tyranny and injustice. Until a recent period, Tuscany had stood out in happy contrast with the other Italian States. He attributed this to its having had a succession of wise rulers, who had followed in the stops of Peter Leopold, who, when law reform was not so popular as it is now, had, towards the close of the last century, effected great reforms in the laws of that country, by which a larger amount of civil and religious liberty was secured to it than existed in any of the neighbouring States. The Inquisition was never established in Tuscany, nor was the canon law ever supreme there. Yet these per sons had, he believed, been illegally convicted under those very laws which had been passed for the purpose of securing to Tuscan subjects that liberty which was now invaded. In 1848 a constitution was granted to Tuscany, by the first article of which all existing forms of worship were not only tolerated, but permitted. Under the protection of this constitution, numbers of Florentines had enjoyed the advantage of attending Protestant worship in the churches connected with the Prussian and English embassies, where a service was con-ducted in the Italian language. In January, 1851, the Tuscan Government interfered for the first time to prevent its subjects from attending Protestant worship. Police agents were placed at the doors of the chapel, and all who entered were given to understand they would be marked men. subject to the surveillance of the police; and shortly afterwards 400 mandates were issued to as many individuals, warning them that if they continued to worship ac-cording to the forms of the Protestant religion, they would subject themselves to imprisonment for a period varying from eight to sixty days. On the 17th of February, Count Guicciardini, a well-known name in Tuscany, a friend of his, a man of high character, who had never taken part in polities, was summoned by the police-authorities to answer for his conduct, and on the 18th he received a decree forbidding him to enter a Protestant church for one year, under pain of imprisonment. On the 2nd of March he was again sent for by the police; and as if to show the injustice of the prohibition, it was proposed to him that if he would give up the right of attending the service of the 198 Protestant church, he should have permission to receive four or five persons in his own house for reading the Scriptures and prayer. Count Guicciardini, however, did what might have been expected of him, and what he (Mr. Kinnaird), or, he believed, any other man of honour and principle would have done—he stood upon his right as a citizen—the right which had been secured to him by the constitution—and declined to accept a privilege denied to his poorer brethren; but he preferred a voluntary exile, and resolved to leave a country where he could no longer worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. On the 25th of April, a law was passed giving power to the police to banish persons for a year to the islands for religious or political offences. On the 10th, Count Guicciardini was to leave the country, and his papers were ready; but on the 7th, when calling at the house of a friend (Signer Betti) to take leave, and finding there several friends or acquaintances, before parting they read a chapter in the Bible together for the last time; at half-past eleven o'clock at night fifteen armed policemen entered the house, and took all who were present prisoners, and lodged them in the common gaol. They were all afterwards sentenced to banishment for six months to the Marcmme, and it was only by favour that Count Guicciardini was allowed to banish himself from Tuscany. From that time the Count has lived in this country, and only a few days ago he received intelligence of the death of his mother, to whom he was devotedly attached, but on whom he was denied the privilege of attending at her last hour. Between May and the 26th of August arrests continued to be made of persons who ventured to attend Protestant meetings. On the 26th of August, as appeared by the papers on the table of the House, Mr. Walker and two Florentine gentlemen, who had gone to Madiai's house to see him, he being from home at the time, were arrested and carried to prison; and on the same day, Madiai, on returning home, was also arrested and imprisoned. On the following day Rosa Madiai, his wife, and a female servant, were likewise arrested. In September, a young man, a clerk in the post-office, was arrested for possessing a Bible. It seemed that the evidence against him was obtained from his wife, who, relying on the supposed inviolability of the confessional, acknowledged that her husband had a Bible, and was in 199 the habit of reading it. For this offence the young man was thrown into prison, though the Bible had never been found, and he (Mr. Kinuaird) was credibly informed that he was still there. His object, in referring to these cases, was to show that the persecution of the Madiais was part of a sytem, as he had said. To return to the Madiais, however, on the 25th of November a decree was issued, charging Francisco and Rosa Madiai with impiety, under the 60th article of the Leopoldine laws of 1786, which was in these terms:—Whosoever, with an impious intent, shall dare to profane the divine mysteries, by disturbing the sacred functions with violence, or shall otherwise commit any public impiety, and who shall teach publicly maxims contrary to our holy Catholic religion, towards which we have always nourished, and will perpetually nourish, our constant love and zeal, we will that he, as a distuber of the order by which society itself is ruled and maintained in tranquillity, and an enemy of society itself, shall be punished with the greatest and most exemplary rigour, never with less punishment than public labour, for a time or for life, according to the circumstances of the case.It must be evident to every one who reads this article that the offence here contemplated was of a public nature, and was not applicable to the case of the Madiais, who were accused of reading the Bible in their private house, which point had been most conclusively argued in the last number of the Lata Review, by Mr. Davenport Hill, the Recorder of Birmingham, to whose able paper on the subject he would draw their attention. The plain moaning, however, of the law was perverted by the advocate of the Tuscan Government and the presiding Judge. The Tuscan Attorney General said—Moreover, upon the question of publicity, the existence of Protestantism as a sect was public and notorious; public and notorious also that it is hostile to Catholicism; public and notorious that the Madiai appertained to it; public and notorious the active part they took in spreading it and disseminating heterodox books, &c. Thus, publicity, in the sense and requirement of the law, was not wanting.And the judge, in his sentence, determined that publicity exists where actions, though not committed in a public place, have taken place in the presence of several persons, have become extensively divulged, and have occasioned grave scandal. It was unnecessary for him to state the terrible sentence which had been passed on the Madiais, June 8th, 1852. It had obtained a world-wide notoriety, and was 200 to be found in the papers before the House. The evidence given in favour of Rosa Madiai was remarkable. The Roman Catholics spoke of her as not only tolerant of their religion, but as impressing upon them the duty of keeping up its observances, as long as they continued within it. Her whole life seemed to be a series of acts of charity—here, interceding with the Protestant masters or mistresses of some of the Roman Catholic witnesses at her trial, that they might have liberty of fasting or attending mass; there, enforcing the necessity of preparation for communion. Even a nun sent a written testimony in her favour. A poor blind man, a Roman Catholic, even proved that, after she had renounced Roman Catholicism, she used to lead him to mass, and afterwards returned to lead him home. Signor Bicehicrai, the Public Minister, himself, in his speech, said—The acts of goodness, natural probity, and benevolence that Madame Madiai wished to urge in arrest of judgment, may cause one to grieve more over her separation from Catholicism, but cannot free her from the present crime and accusation.It had been alleged that Rosa Madiai occupied herself in attempting to make proselytes, but that had never been proved. When the sentence of imprisonment and bard labour was pronounced by the President of the Judicial Council against these unfortunate persons—and it was only by his casting vote that the sentence was passed, two of the other judges being for and two against it—his emotion betrayed itself in the trembling of his voice, and the auditory expressed their disapprobation by cries of Gli assassini, gli assassini! "The assassins, the assassins!" He had before said that the case of the Madiais was not isolated, but was part of a systematic persecution of Protestants. He had shown various links in the chain. First, the prohibition of public worship; then the forbidding of private meeting for reading the Bible under pain of imprisonment; then banishment—then imprisonment—and but one link in the chain was wanting. The Madiais were sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour, but the Tuscan Government had gone a step further; and on the 16th of November last a decree was issued which affixed the punishment of death to cases similar to that of the Madiais. He would read the terrible decree, a French translation of which he held in his hand:— 201Nous nous sommes determiné à ordonner et ordonnons ce qui suit:—1. La peine de mort applicable de la manière prescrite par la loi du 27 Aout, 1817, est rétablie jusqu' à nouvel ordre dans tout le tevritoire du Grand Duché pour les attentats de violence publique contre le Gouvernement et contre la religion.It thus appeared that the sentence of death had been revived in Taseany, and apparently for the purpose of terrifying these poor people who had been guaranteed the exercise of their religious filth by the constitution of 1848. The persecution had not ceased here. Since the trial of the Madiais, Signor Guarducci, one of those persons imprisoned with Count Guicciardini, although living in peace and quietness at this time, had been seized and cast into prison, and his friends feared that his life would pay the forfeit of his attachment to Protestantism, and that he would be one of the first to suffer from the revival of the law for the punishment of death. Under these circumstances, he (Mr. Kinnaird) felt it his duty to appeal to the House of Commons. He could assure the House that it was not a few persons only who were affected by the state of affairs he had endeavoured to describe. There were hundreds, nay thousands, of persons who were living under a reign of terror, and he had recently received a letter, by which it appeared that a vast number of persons were already in prison for offences similar to that for which the Madiais were suffering. He now came to the question of what had been done under this state of affairs, and he was glad to take the first opportunity of expressing his gratitude to the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs for his recent despatch on this subject. When he (Mr. Kinnaird) put his Motion on the books he was not aware of the existence of that despatch; it confirmed him, however, in his opinion of the importance of bringing this question forward. There was one point to which allusion did not appear to be made in the report on the table, but with regard to which he had credible information, and that was the conduct of the King of Prussia, which was deserving of the highest praise. When the King of Prussia heard of the sentence passed on the Madiai, he immediately communicated with his Minister at the Court of Tuscany, expressing the deep sympathy which he felt for their fate. Not content with that, he instructed his Minister at the Court of Great Britain to propose to Her Majesty's Government that a joint representation should be made by them to the Tuscan Government. He (Mr. Kinnaird) could not 202 remove the conviction from his mind, that had the suggestion of the King of Prussia been acted on, or, what would have Been still better, if Her Majesty, in conjunction with the Kings of Prussia and Holland, and with the United States of America, had remonstrated, not dictatorically—not in a tone of menace—not unofficially but officially, in firm and energetic language, the Grand Duke of Tuscany would have shrunk before such an expression of Protestant feeling. That was his own opinion, At the same time he was bound to confess that there were grave objoctions to such a course; but, nevertheless, looking to the state of Europe, he could not but think that some measure of protection to Protestants was desirable. Some persons were of opinion that we were not justified in interfering in a matter between the Tuscan Government and one of its own subjects; but that argument was admirably answered in the despatch of the noble Lord lying on the table. He begged to remind the House that this was not the first instance in which the Protestant Powers of Europe were called upon to interfere on behalf of their persecuted co-religionists. In 1709 the Treaty of Utrecht contained a provision by which Great Britain, Prussia, and Holland agreed to protect the Waldonses in the exercise of their religion; and, if he was not mistaken, we still continued to pay annually a sum of money to the descendants of those persecuted people. Nor could it be forgotten that one whose name was dear to every Englishman for the manner in which he asserted the rights and liberties of his country, compelled Cardinal Mazarin to interfere with the Duke of Savoy to put a stop to the atrocities which were being perpetrated on Protestants in his territories. Even our own bigoted James II. sent Lord Stair as Ambassador to Louis XIV. to remonstrate against the persecution to which the Huguenots were subjected after the revocation of the edict of Nantes. But he remembered that there was one who shared in this objection. It was Louis XIV. himself, who said to Lord Stair, "What would the King, your master, do if I asked him to liberate all the convicts in his dominions?" Lord Stair replied, with equal quickness and truth, "Sire, if you claimed our malefactors as your brethren, as we do these unfortunate persons as ours, he would release them immediately." He would not detain the House further. He trusted that the noble Lord the Seerctary for Foreign Affairs would not oppose his 203 Motion, and that the influence of the British Government would continue to be exerted, not only in favour of the Madiais, anxious though he was for their release, but that wherever our brethren on the Continent were persecuted on account of their faith, the voice of England would be raised on their behalf, and that we should not he intimidated from expressing our opinions plainly and openly, and putting the moral weight of this country forward in behalf of our persecuted brethren abroad. The hon. Gentleman concluded with moving the Resolution.
§ LORD DUDLEY STUART
, in seconding the Motion, said, that he was much obliged to his hon. Friend for bringing it forward, and the people of this country ought to recognise a debt of gratitude to him for doing so. No occurrence on the Continent had of late attracted so much attention as the case of the Madiais; and the people of this country had expressed their sympathy with their Protestant brethren all over the world, and they had seen their feelings reflected in the acts of the British Government. As to interference with the other countries of Europe, it was well known that Oliver Cromwell had interfered on behalf of the Protestants of France; and treaties had been entered into for the protection of the Waldenses and the Vaudois; and the representatives of this country had been instructed to remonstrate when those treaties were broken. It was not till 1815, when the holy alliance made a new settlement of Europe, that the unfortunate Vaudois were handed over to the tender mercies of the King of Piedmont, who in four days after he reached his palace at Turin subjected the Vaudois to religious disabilities; nor did they again enjoy religious liberty till the constitution was established the other day in Sardinia. There was no reason why there should not be treaties for the protection of Protestants in Piedmont and Tuscany, just as there were treaties guaranteeing the exercise of religion other than that of the country in which people lived, as in Turkey, where Christians were permitted to exercise a religion which was not that of the State. There were also treaties to put down the sin of slavetrading in other countries; and why should there not be treaties with States, by which they would be debarred from interfering with their subjects in the exercise of their religion according to their conscience? He felt sentiments of regret, pain, and indignation, when he saw any one perse- 204 cuted on account of his religion; and he applied the principle in its largest sense, that is, he was not against the persecution of Protestants, or against the persecution of Jews, or of Roman Catholics, or Greeks, or of any particular sect, but he was against persecution of all sorts wherever it might be. The Protestants were not the only religionists who were subject to persecution, but there had been men of the sincerest motives who bad persecuted one another, and put each other to death, believing that they were all the time doing God good service. That seemed to be true which had been somewhat irreverently said by the poet—Christians have burnt each other, quite persuadedThat all the Apostles would have done as they did.He would say that Roman Catholics had been as much persecuted as Protestants in our times. Look at the conduct of the Emperor of Russia. How had he treated Roman Catholics? A petition had been presented to the Czar from the Polish provinces, and also from his own dominions, stating the persecution which had been carried on by an ecclesiastical commission, who boat and slew the Roman Catholics. The persecution of the nuns of Minsk about ten years ago must be familiar to all. A remonstrance had even been made to the Emperor by the Pope himself, on account of the persecution of the Roman Catholics. A largo amount of the revenues of the churches and convents of the Roman Catholics had been forcibly seized and given to the Greek Church, and whole provinces had been ordered by the Czar, and compelled, to abjure the Roman Catholic faith. Those were things which excited his (Lord D. Stuart's) horror, as much as any persecution of Protestants. Such things were horrible; but it would be horrible, also, if we, in this great Protestant country, should stand by and not raise our voice when persons were persecuted, as it was shown they had been in Tuscany. He rejoiced that this country—the most Protestant country in Europe—had not abstained from expressing its opinion, and that the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs had raised his voice in an energetic manner, and in a way that was highly creditable to him. No doubt that the argument would be used that these persons were subjects of Tuscany—that it was an internal question—and that we could not interfere with an independent State. It was not, however, proposed to interfere by force of arms; but what had 205 been done by the Government was to remonstrate forcibly, but amicably; and his hon. Friend (Mr. Kinnaird) asked that an Address should be presented to Her Majesty, praying that steps might be taken for bringing before the Grand Duke the feeling of Her subjects on this question. That was a very proper Motion. When it was said that we could not interfere with an independent State, let us inquire into the condition of Tuscany Could it be called an independent State when it was in the occupation of a foreign army? It was governed by foreigners. The Grand Duke was the nephew of the Emperor Francis (him of the Holy Alliance), and cousin to the present Emperor; and he belonged to the Imperial family of Hapsburg, which was always so much distinguished in Europe for religious persecution. It might be said that the Grand Duke was of a disposition mild and benevolent; that Tuscany, under his rule, was prosperous; and she was pointed to by the friends of despotic government, in order to show how happy the people were there; and she was the despair of the friends of constitutional liberty, for they were obliged to acknowledge that Tuscany, under the Grand Duke, was prosperous, that the arts were encouraged, and that the life of the people was easy, tranquil, and happy. The Grand Puke was full of kindness and humanity. He abolished the punishment of death in the Grand Duchy of Lucca, when it was added to Tuscany a few years ago; and since then he had abolished it all through his dominions: and, indeed, practically, it had been abolished for twenty years, for since that time there had been no capital execution in Tuscany. But there had been some military executions since the Austrians had been in the country. It appeared that the Grand Duke, though of the Hapsburg family, was of a kind and genial disposition; but there was now another power—that of the Austrian armies—in his territories, and it was not at all clear that the case of the Madiais was the act of the Grand Duke himself. Look into history, and it would be found that the house of Hapsburg was most distinguished for religious persecution. It was under Charles V., while Emperor of Germany and King of Spain, that the Inquisition flourished most; and the enormities of Philip II. of Spain were well known; while Leopold in Bohemia, and Ferdinand in Hungary were names which at once recalled religious persecution; and we had some rather disagreeable reminiscences in 206 the result of an alliance with the house of Happsburg in the time of Mary in this contry in Belgium it was stated that 30,000 Protestant lives were sacrificed, and more in Spain. Bohemia had been converted to the Roman Catholic religion by being made a desert, and no less than 2,000,000 of people were sacrificed. In Hungary the princes of the House of Hapsburg had done nothing since the Reformation but persecute. When complaints were made, and the public were indignant with the Grand Duke, and complained of the Pope, it was but just that the saddle should be placed on the right horse—for they were not so much to blame as the. despotism of Austria, which constantly, under the pretext of religion, persecuted unoffending Protestants. The Popes had always been much less disposed to these cruelties than other monarchs, and they had often interfered to soften the rigour of persecution. It was the boast of Roman Catholic writers that the Roman Inquisition never sentenced a single individual to death on account of religion, whereas in other countries the number of victims horrified all who perused the page of history. He believed the present persecution was not to be attributed to the Popish faith, but to the horror of liberty on the part of Austria, and their desire to put it down by every means in their power. There could be no religious liberty without civil liberty. Look at neighbouring countries, which were not less Catholic than Tuscany, such as Sardinia. In that country some persons were tried much on the same grounds as the Madiais, but with a different result, for they were released by the King, while the Grand Duke left his victims to rot in jail. The Address which had been moved for prayed that some steps should be taken to bring the feelings of the people of this country under the notice of the Grand Duke. What those steps were to be would be left to the Government, His hon. Friend (Mr. Kinnaird) had suggested an alliance with Prussia and other countries. His hon. Friend had only thrown that out, but he (Lord D. Stuart) did not know that he could agree with him in that respect. He did not feel inclined to enter into alliance with some of them, and Prussia in particular, which had not shown much liberality with regard to religion. He (Lord D. Stuart) had seen some persons who had escaped from the rigour of religious persecution in that country. If he were to suggest any steps, it would not be by any alliance with Prussia, but by pressing for 207 the evacuation of Tuscany by the Austrian troops. Let them be withdrawn, and let the Italians be left to themselves, and it would soon be seen if there was any persecution. Tuscany would have as free a Government as Sardinia; public opinion would prevail, and, he believed, the Grand Duke would be pleased and gratified to listen to it, and put an end to these detestable persecutions. That would be the right course; but as long as those enemies of civil and religious liberty held possession of that country, every species of measures would be adopted to put down liberty; and the same Government which had rendered it unsafe for the first time for an Englishman to appear in the streets of Tuscany, would render it unsafe for unoffending individuals quietly to read their Bibles. This ought not to be a party question, or confined to Gentlemen on one side of the House or the other, or to Gentlemen of any creed in that House; for there were persons of various creeds in that House—and he wished there were more—who were united with regard to the principles of liberty and right, and they all ought to defend those principles. Some Roman Catholics did not disapprove of the conduct of the Grand Duke. An appeal to the Roman Catholics as a body had been made by the Earl of Carlisle, who called on them to state whether they approved of the persecution for conscience sake, or whether they thought it right that any Government should punish its subjects for a departure from the Roman Catholic faith. He (Lord D. Stuart) was sorry that the noble Earl had not received such a response as might have been expected from Englishmen. Those who were against such persecution were in a minority, and it had been stated by a late Member of that House (Mr. Chisholm Anstey) that the Roman Catholics who were opposed to these proceedings were a small minority. The hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Lucas) had stated publicly in a letter to Sir Culling Eardley, that it was the duty of a Roman Catholic State to put down heresy even by violence if it were necessary. He (Lord D. Stuart) was sure those were not the principles of all Roman Catholics; for there were among them some as good friends to civil and religious liberty as any Protestants. In proof of that he would refer to a declaration which had appeared in that day's papers, signed by five Polish gentlemen who were refugees; who stated that they did not agree that it was the duty of Roman Catholic States to persecute on account of 208 heresy; and they stated that as the Earl of Carlisle had appealed to the whole body of Roman Catholics, they felt called on to say that they thought that the truth might he spoken without offence, and that opinions might be stated, so long as they wore quietly stated, and no attempts at conversion made by any other means than argument. Whatever might be the opinions of individual Members, he hoped that the Roman Catholics in that House would declare that they did not share the opinions and sentiments of the hon. Member for Meath, and that they would as a body, be in favour of this Resolution, and declare themselves the advocates of the Christian principle of doing unto others as we would have done unto us, and that in this case they would join the rest of the House in demanding religious toleration in Tuscany; and whether or not Government would agree to the precise Motion, he trusted that they would so act as to forbid to this country the reproach of remaining supine while such acts as those detailed in this instance, were in progress in any part of the world.
Motion made, and Question proposed—
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, that She will be graciously pleased to take such steps as Her Majesty may deem most fitting for bringing under the notice of His Imperial Highness the Grand Duke of Tuscany, the strong feelings prevailing among a large number of Her Majesty's subjects, in consequence of the persecution now actively begun in Tuscany, of those who secretly or openly profess principles held by Her Majesty in common with the majority of Her Majesty's subjects in this United Kingdom, which persecution appears likely to increase in intensity, through the decree lately promulgated, which re-enacts the penalty of death against the so-called 'depravers of the religion of the State.'
§ MR. LUCAS
said, he could not withhold the expression of his thanks to the hon. Member who brought the present Motion forward for the opportunity of fair discussion which it afforded, and he was also inclined to thank the hon. Member for the manner in which he had submitted the question to the House, which was the least calculated to provoke an angry or unnecessarily warm discussion on matters interesting very deeply the feelings of Members of that House. He could not concur in the Resolution which had been proposed, mainly for the reason that he did not believe it stated the facts of the case accurately. In the Resolution, and also, it was a very remarkable fact, in almost all the statements made ad captandum, whether in that House or out of it, a very different case was submitted to the 209 judgment of public opinion from that stated in the papers laid yesterday before the House. In the present Resolution it was stated, that—In consequence of the persecution now actively begun in Tuscany of those who secretly or openly profess principles held by Her Majesty in common with the majority of Her Majesty's subjects in this United Kingdom.The case, however, stated in the papers before the House was altogether a different case, and from the facts there mentioned, if true, it appeared that the persecution of the Madiais, as it was called, was not a persecution for openly or secretly professing any religious opinions whatever, but a punishment for engaging in a system of proselytism at the bidding and instigation of foreign emissaries and agents. ["No, no!"] He contended that that was the case in the papers before the House, and in the sentence pronounced, and he was prepared to prove the facts as alleged. It was stated in the papers that the Madiais, while denying that sectarian meetings were held in their house, admitted the meeting of a few friends there for the performance of religious worship. That was their defence, and what they endeavoured to establish; and, while granting the apostacy of a young girl in their service, they said the act was spontaneous on her part. The whole bearing of the defence of the Madiais, as far as it was disclosed in the papers, pointed to this result—that they endeavoured to establish that they had not been guilty of the crime of proselytism of the peculiar character described, but that they only performed acts of private worship in their own house. But what was the sentence of the Tuscan court with respect to this defence? It declared "That notwithstanding, neither by their witnesses, nor by witnesses summoned to public audience, have they succeeded in overthrowing the facts alleged in the accusation"—namely, proselytism of a systematic kind by the influence of foreign agency, and through the instrumentality of money paid from abroad—money, he believed, supplied from this country for a very peculiar purpose. The hon. Mover of the Resolution had told the House that he believed that all this persecution arose from reaction; but the noble Lord who seconded the Motion had a different theory. One held the Pope and the other the House of Hapsburg to be the prime mover in all these abominable atrocities. He wished the hon. Members would settle that question between them; but for his part he believed the statement con- 210 tained in the papers before the House, and which was originally put forward when complaint was first made, and was to be found in the explanation given by Mr. Scarlett to Lord Palmerston, then Foreign Secretary, dated the 22nd of August, 1851, was the real case. Mr. Scarlett was speaking of the interview he had with the Duke of Castigliano, who, he stated, said in reply that he (Mr. Scarlett) must be aware that all foreigners were always allowed liberty of conscience, but that the policy of the Government could not permit foreigners to tamper with the religion of the native subjects of Tuscany, more especially at that period, when it was notorious that the pretended conversions to Protestantism were a mask to carry out dangerous political views. That was the case which the Tuscan Government made for itself; and when that House was asked to agree to the sentiment expressed that night, it was endeavoured, in fact, to transform the House into a Court of Appeal from the Courts of Tuscany, and to induce the House to declare that the Tuscan Courts had not decided accurately according either to the facts or the law, but that the House was much better informed on those points. It was utterly impossible for the House to take any such ground unless it had evidence on its side of the most superlative and transcendent force. They must take for granted that the finding of the Tuscan courts was true, and that the law was correctly interpreted. The case, therefore, that the House had before it was this—that the Madiais had been prosecuted for the crime of proselytism, as described in the act of accusation, for the crime of acting under the direction of foreign teachers, and meeting in secret conventicles, the persons composing which divided themselves into companies of ten for the propagation, under this foreign agency, of certain doctrines. It was for that offence, and not for meeting together for private worship, that the Madiais had been condemned. He was ready to express his perfect accordance with the Mover of the Resolution in reference to the re-enactment of the punishment of death in Tuscany. With that proceeding he had no sympathy, and was prepared to condemn it; but there were a great many of the statements of the hon. Member in reference to the acts of the Tuscan Government which he could neither affirm nor deny, and which did not appear to him to have very much bearing on the case. He, however, thanked the hon. Gentleman for bringing the case for- 211 ward, because it opened up that class of considerations which he (Mr. Lucas) was extremely anxious to submit to the notice of the House. He was content at present to admit, for the sake of argument, that the Tuscan Government was to be blamed for having punished the Madiais in the manner alleged for the crime of proselytism; and now he asked what had been the conduct of this country and its Government in cases of another description, where Roman Catholics in different parts of the world had been concerned? The noble Lord who seconded the address told to the House with great emphasis and pathos the persecutions which Roman Catholics suffered under the Emperor of Russia, and referred to the well-known case of the nuns of Minsk. He almost wondered that the noble Lord should have alluded to that case, because, though it excited a great deal of public feeling and public horror, he (Mr. Lucas) never heard that the Secretary for Foreign Affairs ever instructed the Ambassador of this country at St. Petersburgh to remonstrate with that mighty potentate the Emperor of Russia, at whom the Minister of this country certainly did not tremble, but whom he treated with a great deal more consideration than a humble and miserable Grand Duke in the north of Italy. Who had ever heard of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs remonstrating with the Emperor of Russia, and telling him that it was contrary to the enlightenment of the present age to persecute and torture, when merely Roman Catholic nuns were concerned? Their case was one of infinitely greater atrocity than any ever described by the greatest licence of extravagance to have occurred in Tuscany; but the prudence, discretion, and good taste of Her Majesty's Minister of that day suggested to him that the Emperor of Russia was a very awkward sort of person to meddle with, and that it would be better to allow the nuns to be murdered, and to have the extremity of punishment inflicted on them, than to hazard a word of remonstrance with that great potentate. He was curious to remark the language of the hon. Mover, and of the noble Lord the seconder of the Resolution, and he found, in strict conformity with the correspondence before the House, that it was the duty of the House and of the Ministry to remonstrate whenever Protestants suffered persecution—whenever those who were not Catholics, and did not adopt the faith of the majority of Christendom were outraged and suffered violence; but that the obli- 212 gation of remonstrance, of humanity, and philanthropy, which had been so loudly trumpeted forth that night, existed only for the minority of Christendom. The whole rationale, theory, and practice of the duties of the Foreign Office in this respect were set forth in a despatch written by the late Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in October last. He did not know whether the House was prepared to adopt the doctrine that remonstrance was only to be made for one class of religionists; but it could not be supposed that he, or those who thought with him, would agree to a Motion the words of which lent a sanction and colour to that sort of doctrine which was put forth in the most prominent way in the papers before the House. He must say that the practice of the Foreign Office had been, not negatively, but positively, in exact accordance with that doctrine. He here particularly would make an appeal to the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston), because he was induced to think, from some of the papers which had proceeded from that noble Lord's able diplomatic pen, that if the Grand Duke of Tuscany wanted an advocate of the highest authority to defend his conduct, he might ask the noble Lord to undertake the case. He was sure the House would recollect the transactions which took place in 1847 with respect to the expulsion of the Jesuits from Switzerland, and in which the noble Lord took an active part. The noble Lord's voice was found raised in favour of the expulsion of the Jesuits, guilty of no crime—["Oh! oh!"]—guilty of no offence whatever; yet the noble Lord's voice was raised simply on grounds analogous to those upon which was based the punishment of the Madiais and those who acted with them. He found, in a despatch from the noble Lord to the Marquess of Normanby, dated November 16, 1847, that the noble Lord, in that calm, quiet, and easy manner which distinguished all his productions, without proposing himself any violence towards the Jesuits, suggested with great skill reasons which would induce all the parties by whom the despatch was intended to be seen to take the most hostile course against them. The noble Lord wrote:—It appears to Her Majesty's Government that the objection which the Diet makes to the continuance of the Jesuits in Switzerland, is not destitute of good and reasonable foundation. The Society of Jesuits must be looked at both in a religious and in a political point of a view. In its religious character it is a society avowedly established to make war upon the Protestant re- 213 ligion. What wonder, then, that in a small country like Switzerland, where two-thirds of the people are Protestants, the introduction of such a society should give rise to dissension between Catholic and Protestant, and should be viewed with aversion by the majority of the nation.Those were the grounds on which the Jesuits were to be expelled from Switzer land, not because they were bad politicians, but because they were banded together to proselytise the people among whom they lived—to disseminate the Catholic religion, and to make war as a religious body against Protestantism. That was the ground on which the noble Lord, with the approbation of the whole liberal and popular opinion of this country, recommended the Diet to exterminate the Jesuits out of Switzerland and out of those Catholic cantons, too, whore, in obedience to the invitation of the people, they wished to establish themselves. But the Jesuits were to be established in Catholic cantons, and in strict accordance with the policy and opinions of the majority of the inhabitants. The noble Lord recommended, in fact, that the lay Catholics of the canton of Lucerne should be shot, war waged upon them because they advocated among themselves the maintenance of a body of emissaries of their own faith, who were organised to make war upon Protestantism. The Grand Duke of Tuscany said that the emissaries of Protestantism were really emissaries of revolution, and, taking the same ground as the noble Lord the then Secretary for Foreign Affairs, he decided that these persons ought to be punished in Tuscany just as the noble Lord had decided that the Jesuits should be expelled from Switzerland. That was not the whole of the case. He bad some other evidence with regard to the opinions of the noble Lord, which he thought fitted him most admirably as the defender of the conduct of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and the consideration of which should bring moderation into the fury against Catholicity which this case had excited among the Dissenters of Great Britain. He referred to the case of the Rev. Mr. Consul Pritchard, of Tahiti, and of the Independent missionaries in the South Sea Islands, with whom the noble Lord had had some dealings. The facts with regard to Tahiti were exactly parallel to those of the case at Tuscany, and the conduct of the noble Lord and his emissaries, as any two sets of transactions that ever fell under his notice. Every one in the House was acquainted with something of the history of the Independent missionaries in the South Seas. 214 After labouring from the year 1797 down to the year 1835, they found themselves the heads of communities more or less flourishing in the South Seas. The tribes had been converted from the worst paganism to some form of Christianity by their meritorious labours and toils. These colonies, for such they were, were established in the South Seas by the missionaries. A Consul was appointed there. The noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston), he believed, appointed the Rev. Mr. Pritchard, whose name had since acquired European, or indeed wider celebrity, through the part he took, or was made to take, in the transactions between this country and France. About May, 1835, a certain Catholic missionary, Father C. Murphy, arrived at Tahiti. He went there, as in the case of Tuscany, to proselytise the people of the islands, and make them Catholics. What sort of reception did he meet with from the missionary Consul of Great Britain? He was told the Queen would not allow him to land, or, rather, he was allowed to land, but not to remain, and he was obliged to go to South America. In November, 1836, other missionaries came. Mr. Pritchard was better prepared for them. On the second arrival—He had five or six men, with ropes in their hands, sent to the house in which the missionaries (MM. Caret and Laval) resided, with orders to break open the doors, bind them, and turn them out of the island by force. That was actually done. They were seized by the head and feet, carried by main force to a canoe, put on board an English vessel, and shipped back to the Gambier Islands.Mr. Consul Pritchard, however, found himself, by this act, in rather an awkward dilemma. A certain French captain, sailing in those seas, came to interfere, the missionaries being French subjects, and having sought the protection of the force of their own country. Accordingly, Mr. Pritchard applied to the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston), who then occupied the Foreign Office, for his advice and protection. The accusation against those missionaries was not that they were Frenchmen, or went to make a French settlement; but, as stated in Mr. Pritchard's letter to Lord Palmerston, "At present there are several Frenchmen who are determined to land and reside on this island as Roman Catholic missionaries." And, in a letter from Queen Pomare to Lord Palmerston, it was stated that—The Roman Catholic missionaries are obstinately bent on coming to reside at Tahiti, saying 215 that they are sanctioned in the step by the British Government. Is this true?" and "these Roman Catholic missionaries belong to Franco. We conceive they have nothing to do with our island, and hence we are determined not to receive them.The noble Lord replied to these letters. He did not advise that a reception should not be given to the missionaries; but he dealt with the question with more astuteness, as might be expected from the diplomatic ability of the noble Lord. He said that, of course "every Government had a right to refuse to any foreigners permission to reside within its dominions if the presence of such foreigners was considered hurtful to the State." Months and years were spread out in this affair; but at length the threatening of the French power became too difficult to be dealt with easily. And then came a curious document from Mr. Pritchard to Viscount Palmerston, enclosing "a copy of a law passed by the Tahitian legislative body, by which his Lordship would perceive that the Protestant faith had become the religion of the State." And what was that law? It was expressed in very classical language, such as one might expect from the South Seas and natives newly converted to Christianity:—Let Tahiti, and all the islands of the Kingdom of Pomare, Vahine I., stand unique under the Gospel which the missionaries from Britain have propagated ever since the year 1797, that is, these forty years past.When foreigners come from other countries to this, on their landing let this law he put into their hands, that they may know, if such persons persist in teaching tenets which arc inconsistent with that true gospel which has been of old propagated in Tahiti—if they build houses for worship, if they congregate followers in uncultivated places, that they might teach them all kinds of strange doctrines—if they trouble the usual modes of worship, and propagate strange customs for the sake of amusing, that do not comport with the written word of the God of Truth"—The House would see how all this came from London-wall—Such person has become guilty of breaking this law, and will be judged and awarded. This shall be his award: he will be sent to his own land, and shall not reside in Tahiti.And then came the old blood of Tahiti—the nobility and gentry of the island:—If any Tahitian shall propagate doctrines inconsistent with the gospel of truth, such as are called Mamoia, because they are doctrines inconsistent with those which have been taught by the missionaries from Britain"—Britain being the standard of truth in all communities—And with what is found in the written word of God, that person has violated the law; if he 216 be a person of rank or a common man, it is the same, he has broken the law, and will be judged and awarded. This will be his award"—Not that he would be put into a comfortable prison, like the Madiais—the noble Lord called it a loathsome dungeon, but he was corrected by the Secretary of Legation, who told the truth of the case, and said that Madiai was put into comfortable rooms, and was as comfortable as he could be for a person the subject of punishment—butHe will be sent to his native land to accomplish the sentence of the law in; if it be public road, fifty fathoms; if any other work, such as is found written in the laws. If he persist in refusing to do it, he will be judged, and new work imposed on him.Those documents were all brought under the notice of the noble Lord, and they were all responded to by him in a document, the mildest, he should say, in all the correspondence on this subject. In writing to Mr. Pritchard, the noble Lord said—In reply, I have to desire that you will express Her Majesty's deep concern at the difficulties under which Queen Pomare appears to labour; but you will, at the same time, say that, considering the great extent of the present dominions of the British Crown in the Southern Ocean, and the difficulty of adequately providing for the defence of persons living in allegiance to Her Majesty in a quarter of the globe so distant from Great Britain, Her Majesty feels that it would be impossible for Her to fulfil with proper punctuality any defensive obligations which Her Majesty might contract towards the Government and inhabitants of Tahiti, and therefore, however strong the interest may be which Her Majesty takes in the prosperity of the Society Islands, and in the happiness and welfare of Queen Pomare, Her Majesty is bound in good faith to decline to enter into any specific engagement of the kind which has been suggested; but you will assure Queen Pomare that Her Majesty will at all times be ready to attend to any representations that Queen Pomare may wish to make, and will always be glad to give the protection of Her good offices to Queen Pomare in any differences which may arise between Queen Pomare and any other Power.That law remained in force, as far as he could understand, for two or three years, and was put an end to—by what and by whom? By the French admiral coining from a Catholic country with the Popish religion in his bottoms—he brought that sort of freight with him—he came with the Popish religion and French cannon, and he established, for the first time in the history of Protestantism in the South Seas, that "every one should be free in the exercise of his form of worship or religion." They had a letter from the noble Lord acknowledging that document; they had three letters afterwards in the subsequent papers 217 published from the Earl of Aberdeen to Mr. Pritchard; and to this day Mr. Pritchard remained Consul in the South Seas and Navigator Islands; he never was re baked for conduct such as that for which they now wished to rebuke the Grand Duke of Tuscany, but still remained the representative of the British Crown in the South Sea Islands, to preach those particular doctrines on the part of the noble Lord and his successors, in which they saw no criminality when they happened to tell on their side, but which excited in them emotions of the most holy horror when they happened to tell against them, or promote the cause which they were deeply resolved to oppose and destroy. If he believed that the Resolution they were considering expressed the facts with regard to Tuscany, there was only one consideration that would prevent him from adopting it and dividing in its favour; and that was, that he never could, and so long as he had a seat in that House he never would, recognise that the exercise of this power of humanity and philanthropy was to be all on one side. The noble Lord (Lord D. Stuart) spoke excellent truth and sense and wisdom on this subject, when he referred to Russia; but he might have referred to the instances with which we were more immediately connected, and much nearer home. He (Mr. Lucas) held in his hand two volumes laid on the table of the House by the noble Lord the present Foreign Secretary, as an inducement to the House to enter upon a course of persecution against the Catholic Church, when he was animated two years ago by the same sentiments towards the Roman Catholics which he lately told them animated him still. The public legislation of Europe was the ground upon which the noble Lord professed to base his Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, and he (Mr. Lucas) would take some of those specimens of the public law of Europe. He referred to Sweden, and he found—what? Mr. Gordon sending home a series of documents to inform the noble Lord and the House that "the ecclesiastical relations of that eminently Protestant country, especially with respect to Rome, were so similar." In documents coming from a Secretary of Legation, he was at least bound to observe the ordinary terms of decency in apcaking of his Catholic fellow-subjects; and he would remind Mr. Gordon, and the noble Lord who had laid these insulting documents on the table of the House without a word of comment or disapprobation, that the public name by 218 which the Catholics of this Empire were mentioned in public documents and Acts of Parliment was Roman Catholic, not the word Romanist;" that word was a nick name, a piece of Billingsgate, and yet he found it in documents coming from an officer who derived his salary and means of living from the taxes paid equally by all creeds of the community. That officer dared to send his puerile and disgraceful documents to be laid before that House, insulting those from whose pockets he derived his bread, and that insult was not reproved by the noble Lord, at whose instigation the documents were prepared. But Mr. Gordon sent a translation of the edict of toleration in Sweden of 1781, which was partly as follows:—1. That professors of any foreign religion who shall wish to settle in the kingdom may under no condition be appointed to any office or employ in the State, high or low. 2. That nowhere throughout the kingdom may they establish any public school-house or other seminary for the spread of their faith. 3. That for this purpose they may neither send nor receive any missionaries within or without the country. 4. That no monastery shall be established, nor any monk allowed or permitted, of any sect or religion whatsoever.And this would excite the sympathy of the noble Lord if no other part would:—5. That Jews may have synagogues only in Stockholm, and, at the most, in two or three other large towns, where, under a proper police, they may be duly watched. 6. That the processions and ceremonies usual among foreign religions shall be forbidden, for the avoidance of all probability of error or scandal among the simpler sort. 7. That the enactments of the criminal law, chap. 1, sec. 3, as to those who fall away from our right evangelical doctrine, shall be strictly carried into effect. 8. That no one professing a foreign faith may enjoy any right at any Diet.They might say those were only the letters and the text of the laws, and had no operation. It would be a sad mistake to make any such assertion. In one of these very documents from Mr. Gordon he found a statement, given with great animation and delight, of the manner in which those laws worked in practice; but he did not tell the whole truth: he did not tell the many instances that must have come under his knowledge; he told them that those laws did not remain inoperative or a dead letter. There was one instance in which the Swedish Government complained of the over-proselytising zeal of a Roman Catholic priest at Stockholm. Application was made to Rome, and the over-active ecclesiastic was recalled from his post. Was that all? No; if it were he would 219 not have inflicted upon the House this long statement. He wished to show that there were at this moment going on upon the part of Protestantism acts of persecution against the Catholics resounding throughout Europe, of which they were studiously and habitually uninformed, but which deserved, and required, and must have the interference of that House, of the Foreign Office, and of the Government, unless in adopting the course they had adopted in regard to the Madiais they meant one thing while they said another, and with the words "toleration and the spirit of this enlightened age" upon their lips, they did not practise what they preached with impartiality, but defended only those of their own religion, and looked with perfect unconcern and indifference upon those of other religions. He meant at an early period to submit a Motion to the House more in exact accordance with the Resolution of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Kinnaird) referring to other circumstances, other facts, other countries, and other acts of persecution, quite as much deserving of the reprobation of the House of Commons as those to which the hon. Gentleman had referred. He meant to do so whether this Motion was carried or not, because those papers showed that European Governments had interfered in the case of the Madiais, and he meant to test the sincerity of those Governments, whether, having done so much in the case of persons persecuted by a Catholic country, they were willing to do as much in the case of Catholics persecuted by a Protestant country; and he would tell them some of the facts he had before him. With regard to Sweden, he would be prepared to show that the laws he had already referred to were no dead letter; that in 1848 it was proposed by Count Stettin to repeal that part of the law which referred to confiscation and exile, leaving the other disabilities remaining; but the Legislature of the country rejected his proposal.In June, 1848, a man was convicted of having read aloud a chapter of the Bible, and said aloud a Pater Noster before a few. persons assembled in his house. For this offence he has been condemned to a fine of 40 rix dollars banco (about 3l. 5s.), or, in default of payment, to 28 days' imprisonment, with fasting on bread and water. This case was remarked on by one gentleman in the Clerical Chamber, hut he got the cold shoulder from his rev. brethren.On Saturday (8th of July, 1848) a Lutheran minister of Stockholm 'caused an unhappy woman, mother of a family, to he waited upon by four police-officers to ascertain whether the facts 220 were, as her husband had,' in strict confidence, told him, that she had really been received within the pale of the Holy Church. The poor creature at first hesitated to allow herself to be taken through the streets by these persons; but on the four sergeants announcing that in the event of her refusing to accompany them, they were instructed to use force, further opposition was, of course, not offered.….A brief interval has been granted to her for reflection, after which the Minister was to denounce her (it is most likely done before this) to the King's Court, which, apparently, has no alternative but to condemn her to exile.About 1845, two gentlemen of the name of Nilson, one of whom was a painter, took it into their heads to become Catholics, and in obedience to the law were straightway ruined and driven out of the kingdom. What became of the other brother I cannot tell, but the painter wont to Copenhagen, where the total ruin that had fallen upon him, joined to the anxiety and torture of a long and rigorous prosecution, fastened upon his health and brought him speedily to the grave. He died in the spring of 1847, in the public hospital, and left behind him a family of beggars.If our Government was to interfere on the principles of humanity, the name of Nilson sounded as strong as that of Madiai; and when he (Mr. Lucas) brought forward (as he should do) a Motion urging the Government to take these cases into consideration, and use that indirect moral coercion, as it was termed, which they had used in Tuscany with regard to the Madiais, he should look to the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Kinnaird) to do him the honour of seconding a Resolution which was to strike out a new course for our Foreign Office, bring a new class of cases under its policy, and throw its power and influence, and the weight of this great Empire on the side of humanity even for Catholics. Again—This very year a Catholic lady who went to Stockholm—from Germany, I think—Mademoiselle' de Bagen—to take charge of a school established by the Catholic pastor of the city, M. Bernnard, was, with M. Bernhard, arrested for the crime of making proselytes…Mademoiselle de Bagen had converted several Swedish ladies, whereupon a cry was raised against her, the police were set upon her and the priest, the press denounced them, and the accused were put upon their trial. They were defended (as eloquently as the Madiais) on technical grounds of law, but I have not heard, or have forgotten, how the matter ended.Here was a system of laws as persecuting as those of Tuscany, and victims just as interesting to every true friend of humanity. If he did not feel that he had occupied too much time, he could refer to other States—to Mecklenburgh, where within a few months a Catholic priest was conducted by the police across the frontier—for what? For the crime of saying mass in private, 221 in the private chapel of a nobleman, a recent convert to the Catholic faith. He (Mr. Lucas) proposed to begin by requesting the interference of the noble Lord with the Cabinet of Sweden—and it might turn Mr. Gordon's energies in more wholesome direction; afterwards he proposed to go through the Protestant States of Europe—to Mecklenburgh next, and then, perhaps, to Saxony; and we should produce a wonderful change in the social position of Europe. It could not be allowed that it was the peculiar duty of the Foreign Office to teach those Governments from which they differed in religion; let them apply their strength to those with which they agreed—the Protestant Cabinets of Europe—and rebuke this evil spirit out of Protestantism. When they had accomplished that great work, performed that Herculean labour, cleansed that Augean stable, then let them begin with the Catholic States. He would conclude with repeating, that if this Resolution did not contain statements which he believed not to be true, and to be at variance with the papers on the table, it should have his support. As it was, he could not support it. But he was sure, when he made his Motion, he should have it seconded by the hon. Gentleman opposite.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
Sir, in following the able speech of the hon. Gentleman who last addressed the House, I own I should have been better pleased with that speech if that hon. Gentleman had indicated somewhat more decidedly than he has done whether or not he approves of the punishment and persecution of persons for the sake of religious conversion, or for endeavouring, by peaceable means, to convert others to their religion. In following that speech, in listening to all the statements of the hon. Gentleman, I own I am totally at a loss to know whether he approves or not of religious persecution. I wish to refer as little as possible—though one cannot altogether avoid—reference to the question between Protestants and Roman Catholics; and I shall state at once that my conviction is, that if Protestant States, Protestant laws, or Protestant judges condemn persons because they have become Roman Catholics, or because they teach others to become Roman Catholics, they do that which I consider to be morally wrong. I care little what particular profession of faith they hold. It may be that they hold exactly the doctrines and articles of the Church of England; 222 but if they, professing those doctrines, endeavouring to inculcate them by penal means, by imprisonment and punishment—I say that with such persons I have no sympathy, and I would denounce them as readily as I would a Roman Catholic Sovereign. Well, Sir, what is the case which my hon. Friend the Member for Perth (Mr. Kinnaird) has brought before us? The hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Lucas) stated that there had been misrepresentation and exaggerations as to the nature of the crime for which the two Madiais were condemned—that it was not for the fact of their being Protestants, but because being Protestants they endeavoured to convert others to Protestantism, and for having done so under foreign agency. Now, with respect to this last part of the charge, although that is so stated in the general indictment, yet it seems to form no substantive part of the charge, because the foreign agent—whatever might have been at first done—had left Tuscany some time before, and these two persons, Francesco and Rosa Madiai, seemed to act entirely from their own convictions in all that they subsequently did. But let the case be as the Tuscan tribunals and the hon. Gentleman states it—though I must say with respect to those facts, that they are contradicted by Captain Walker in the most explicit terms—but let it be that Francesco and Rosa Madiai did endeavour to induce several persons, being Roman Catholics, to read the Bible, and that they even endeavoured to induce them to believe that certain doctines taught in the Roman Catholic Church were not authorised by the Bible—push their crime to the utmost, allow that they were caught, as the charge has it, flagrante delicto—that is, that they were caught reading the Bible in the Italian language—I still say it was a moral crime to punish persons for so doing. Well, then, the Government of this country—in the first place my noble Friend the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston), next the Earl of Malmesbury, when he was Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and in the last place since I have been at the Foreign Office I have taken the same line—we all stated to our Ministers in Tuscany that they ought to use all the influence they could, or that the name of this country was capable of producing, to obtain a remission of the sentence against these persons. Now, with respect to the different Secretaries of State, I say we were fully justified in thus proceeding; 223 and I think we have shown such a disposition to press the case as far as it could be pressed according to the circumstances of the time, that I feel I am entitled to ask my hon. Friend (Mr. Kinnaird) not to press this Motion, but rather to leave it in the hands of the Government to take such course as they think advisable. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lucas), who has not given his opinion, as I maintain, on the general subject, says that we are not justified in considering ourselves the friends of religious liberty, because we concern ourselves only on behalf of Protestants, while, when oppressions and persecutions are exercised towards Roman Catholic subjects, we are utterly indifferent, and do not interfere. That such is our general conduct can hardly be maintained, because neither in the United Kingdom nor in any of the dominions of her Majesty with which I am acquainted, can any person be punished for the offence of endeavouring to induce another to become a Roman Catholic. The hon. Gentleman must be aware that according to the general maxims, according to the laws of this country, we would shrink with abhorrence from any proposition to punish persons because they had endeavoured to induce others to become Roman Catholics. The hon. Gentleman does not deny this to he the ease; and so far our conduct as a State is in such contrast with that of Tuscany, that we can go with clean hands and ask the Grand Duke not to exercise persecution. But then it appears that my noble Friend near me, more especially when he was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, showed indifference to the question of religious persecution. I should certainly have been surprised if that had been the case with regard to my noble Friend; because I know no man who has more frequently or more perseveringly shown his attachment to the cause of religious liberty; and I well remember in that great struggle, in which I was permitted to take part only by my vote, which ended in admitting Roman Catholics to seats in this House and in the Government, one of the most powerful speeches at the close of that struggle in favour of the Roman Catholics, was the speech of my noble Friend. But my noble Friend, it appears, took part in the disputes between the cantons of Switzerland, some of which said there would be no peace nor quiet in the land as long as the Jesuits were allowed to remain. My noble Friend said that might possibly be the case, because he 224 had learned from history that the Jesuits had everywhere by their intrigues been the disturbers of the peace of States. But was my noble Friend, when he said that indulging in a Protestant prejudice? That could hardly be the case, because there were Roman Catholic princes who had declared the same thing with respect to the Jesuits, but in much stronger terms. Among other places from which they had been expelled, was the Kingdom of Spain, and by his Most Catholic Majesty the King of Spain, in whoso kingdom down to the present day no Jesuit was allowed; and, in the next place, the Pope himself had declared that the order of the Jesuits was altogether inconsistent with the cause of good order. If my noble Friend, therefore, has been misled—if he has formed a wrong estimate of the order of the Jesuits, and there may be many estimable and admirable persons to be found in that order—if he was misled, he was misled not by Protestant but by Roman Catholic authorities. Then the hon. Gentleman, finding it difficult to find an example of intolerance either in the United Kingdom or in any of the possessions of Her Majesty, lights upon an island in the South Seas; and here he says is an instance of intolerance which passed without notice or rebuke. It is not for me—I shall certainly not undertake the task of defending Mr. Pritchard and the laws of Queen Pomare. For my part, I do not see that we were obliged to go farther in the matter than we did, because my noble Friend, in his despatch, informed Mr. Pritchard that it was impossible for the Queen of this country to remonstrate with France, or to take the island under Her protection; and therefore he declined the proposition of Mr. Pritchard. There is no doubt that there have been dissensions between the persons who have gone to establish missions in the South Seas, sometimes originating with the Protestant missionaries, sometimes with the Roman Catholic missionaries; and I must say that these dissensions are not at all creditable to the Christian profession. The hon. Gentleman complains of the laws of Sweden, and he refers to certain books, which, he says, I procured to support the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill. I must say I read very little of those books—my case did not require them; and as to the despatch of Mr. Gordon, I do not know even to what it is he refers. The question as regards the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill was a question of fact. I held 225 that it was a question of temporal power. Others maintained, against me, that it was a spiritual question, and that it referred to the exercise of religion. The question undoubtedly touched on the confines of both. I am not going to resume that dispute now; but that was really the question—whether we were right who maintained that it was a temporal question, or whether those were right who said it was a spiritual question. But with respect to Sweden, or any other country, if the hon. Gentleman, when he brings his Motion before the House, or makes his representation to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, will show that religious persecution exists, I am sure that the Foreign Secretary will have no objection to state to our Minister residing in that particular country, that it is not consistent with the spirit of the age and with the maxims of the most civilised countries to adopt persecution on account of religion. That Her Majesty at the head of this State—one of the most eminent, one of the most powerful States in Europe—that Her Majesty should instruct Her Ministers to take a peculiar interest where Protestants are persecuted, is surely no unnatural circumstance. It arises from the Protestant character of this country—it has descended to us from the times of the Vaudois, from the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and from other acts when we were called upon to succour Protestants who were persecuted and ill-treated by Roman Catholic States. I am not ashamed of being one of those who have inherited those principles; and I think the Government have done nothing unbecoming themselves if they represent to a Roman Catholic Sovereign that Protestants are ill-treated, either in Tuscany or elsewhere. But the hon. Gentleman said—Go to the sovereigns who hold your own persuasion. But is it not natural that we should rather go on behalf of those who are of the same religion with ourselves, and who are suffering, than that we should go to sovereigns who are not of the same religion? With respect to the case of the nuns at Minsk, the facts wore obscure, and they were denied on the part of Russia. The only sovereign, I believe, who made a remonstrance on that occasion was the Pope. Well, that was natural—he naturally felt an interest in those Roman Catholic nuns who were said to be persecuted, and he showed the interest which I think it was natural for him to do. And on the same ground, if Protestants are persecuted by the Grand Duke of 226 Tuscany, it is natural that the Queen of England should take as much interest as the Pope did in the case of the nuns, and interfere in their behalf. But while I admit this—while I admit that it is natural that we should feel most interest on behalf of persecuted Protestants—I assert again, what I maintained at an earlier part of my speech, that the principle is one and universal—that there ought to be no exception—that persecution for religion is always odious and detestable—and that the Government of this country will always do well to lift up its voice against persecution. If we should be assisted and applauded by the voice of the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, I shall be glad to find that we are all agreed on the subject. I cannot say, for my part, that the Roman Catholic subjects of Her Majesty approve of these acts committed against the Madiais. I have seen testimonies borne, I have seen reports of speeches made by Roman Catholics, which are extremely gratifying, as they show that they participate in the general feeling, though naturally they were not the first to complain. I believe that the Roman Catholics in general disapprove of persecution on account of religious opinions, and when I say the Roman Catholics, I mean the Roman Catholics of the United Kingdom. I am sure it is most desirable that the principles of religious liberty should spread and flourish, and should be extended to those States in which they do not now prevail. Ever since the revolution of 1789 I believe, and not until the revolution of 1789, the Protestants of Prance have not been visited by persecution on account of their religion. I have often heard of Protestant clergymen in France endeavouring to extend their flocks, and to induce Roman Catholics to become Protestants, and I do not believe there is any law which would justify any person in France, or any authority in France, in interfering with them. The more civilised parts of Europe, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, hold those principles; and I trust we are not coming to a time when they will be disputed. Holding these opinions, and having taken the course which I have taken with respect to this particular case of the Madiais, I certainly do think that my hon. Friend and the House of Commons may leave it in the hands of the Government; and I think it may be wise, having made remonstrances, not to be continually repeating those remonstrances. Our opin- 227 ions are known, our voice has been heard, and I do trust, although the Madiais and others may suffer, that the general opinion will at length secure religious liberty throughout the world.
§ MR. BOWYER
would not follow the noble Lord through all the arguments he had used; but when the noble Lord said that the friendly interference of the Foreign Office would be extended to any persons who were persecuted on account of their religion in a foreign country, though he might not belong to the State religion, it would have much strengthened the noble Lord's argument if he could have shown any instance in which such friendly offices had been exerted. He hoped, however, that in future the same kind protection which had been afforded to the Madiai would be extended to Roman Catholics in cases where they were persecuted on account of their religion. He was not prepared to admit, except to a limited extent, the position taken by the noble Lord, that as this was a Protestant country it was reasonable that its Government should interfere rather on behalf of Protestants than of Roman Catholics. As the majority of the people in England and Ireland were Protestant, and as the established Church was Protestant, this country might perhaps be called Protestant; but since the passing of the Catholic Emancipation Act he had hoped that the distinction between Protestant and Roman Catholic would have been forgotten. It should not be forgotten that one part of the United Kingdom was a Catholic country, and though circumstances had lately affected the statistics of the population, he might estimate the Catholics of Ireland at 6,000,000, while the Protestants were not 1,000,000. [Dissent.] He had indicated the circumstance which rendered it extremely difficult to find out precisely what were the numbers; but what he had a right to state was that an overwhelming proportion of the population of that part of the kingdom were Catholics, and therefore he had a right to say that so far as that fact went, it might he called a Roman Catholic country. Now, looking to the equality of status assured to Roman Catholics by the Emancipation Act, and bearing in mind that the majority in one portion of the empire were Roman Catholics, he thought he was entitled to say that if there were any degree of protection which the Government of England could extend to the Protestant subjects of other countries, the same protec- 228 tion ought to be extended to Roman Catholics. There was not, he believed, any division of the population which was more truly attached to the Crown and to Her Majesty than Her Roman Catholic subjects. It was impossible for him to approach the painful subject now before the House, without declaring in all sincerity that no one would hear with more heartfelt satisfaction than he should that the Grand Duke of Tuscany, in the exercise of his sovereign clemency, had extended pardon to those unfortunate persons the Madiai. He said so as a Roman Catholic, because he believed the Catholic Church did not require the secular arm to support it—it could support itself by its own truth, and free and fair discussion would redound to its advantage. The freedom which the Roman Catholics enjoyed in this country he wished to see those who differed from him enjoy in other countries. He wished now to call the attention of the House to the true legal character of the case brought before it that evening by the hon. Member for Perth (Mr. Kinnaird)—because, giving all credit to the hon. Gentleman for having brought it before them, as had been already remarked, in a manner most creditable to that hon. Gentleman, not being calculated to excite religious asperities, but rather to produce that calm discussion which was desirable, he begged to say that it did not stand before them in the manner it ought to do. It had been placed on the footing of a religious persecution. His noble Friend the Member for Marylebone (Lord D. Stuart) supposed it to have been instigated by the influence of the Pope; and he thought the hon. Member for Perth himself attributed the case of the Madiai to the influence of the Holy See, and said he considered it a portion of a system carried on throughout Europe by the Romish hierarchy to regain a power which appeared to be either lost, or in danger of being lost. Now that view was entirely erroneous. It so happened that the code of law under which the prosecution took place was that of the Grand Duke Leopold, a Jansenist sovereign, a determined enemy of the Ultramontanists, and a disciple of the Emperor Joseph, which actually deprived the ecclesiastical courts, the hierarchy and the clergy of the Church of Rome, of all civil and temporal power. In Tuscany, therefore, the bishops had no power whatever, except that which belonged to their sacred office alone. He would refer them to the work of an Italian lawyer and pro- 229 feasor of the highest authority on the criminal law of Tuscany, for the purpose of showing that, as regarded such a case as that of the Madiai, it was a crime against society, and not a religious offence, which the law contemplated, and that the offence of these persons was not looked on as an offence against religion, but as an offence against the religious system of the civil community. Carmignani, Jur. Criminalis Elem., vol. ii., p. 18, 19, 20—Title 'On Crimes against Public Religion':—'I do not know,' says Cicero,' whether the integrity and the society of the human race can remain, if piety towards the Gods be destroyed.' Therefore," [continues Carmignani] "it is of the utmost importance to the State that proper reverence for, and belief in the Divine Nature be maintained, and that the external acts in which public religious worship consists, be confirmed. And if any one dares to contemn the received opinions regarding God—(propagating contrary ones among the people)—and the religious worship established by public authority, he is to be punished as a violator of the civil laws. As crimes are not to be politically imputed because of their own wickedness, but because they are hostile to society, it is evident that crime against public religion is to be imputed (or hold punishable) as injurious to the commonwealth. Therefore those things which make the specific crime contrary to society, are essential to constitute the legal offence.Carmignani then goes on to state the requisites to constitute the offence:—1. An external act contrary to religion; 2. Intention to subvert religion; 3. Publicity of the act, so that a public scandal shall have arisen.Other things, which, without hurting public religion, are injurious to God, and induce rather a violation of the internal law of God, are not subjected to public penalties, but are left to Divine justice.(p. 27.) Impious dogmata against the public religion are punished as sacrilege, if they are by word or writing published to the people, with an intent to subvert public religion, or to disturb the public sacred things.These are the doctrines of the English Common Law, as appears from Blackstone's Commentaries, iv. 43:—First, then, of such crimes and misdemeanors as more immediately offend Almighty God, by openly transgressing the precepts of religion, either natural or revealed; and mediately, by their bad example and consequence, the law of society also; which constitutes that guilt in the action which human tribunals are to censure.Blackstone then enumerates the following offences:—Apostacy; Heresy; Reviling the ordinances of the Church; Nonconformity.He cited this passage from Blackstone for the purpose of illustrating the principles of the Tuscan law, and of showing its purely 230 civil or unecclesiastical character, relating simply to the peace and order of temporal society. Now, if they turned to the act of accusation they would see that the crime alleged was a civil and not an ecclesiastical offence—it charged the parties inculpated with making efforts to propagate a heterodox confession, and with affording accommodations to meetings, and carrying on the distribution of tracts. The gist of the whole case, as stated to the House, was supposed to be that the Madiai were punished for reading the Bible; but an inspection of the instrument would show that overt acts were stated, including that of three persons being found reading the Protestant Bible, but that the accusation followed, that accusation being of "impiety" committed, not by reading the Bible, but by their becoming labourers of propagandism and of proselytism, not so much by teaching as by the diffusion of hooks and printed tracts. It was an offence against the religion of the State considered as such; a purely civil offence disturbing the civil community. It had been argued that the law of Tuscany was not rightly construed by the court, and that the offence had not been established by the evidence; but international comity always acknowledged the final decision of a court having jurisdiction in the subject matter. The prosecution proceeded, not at the instance of the ecclesiastical authorities, but of the Attorney General. He had, therefore, shown that the act referred to was a civil act, that the ecclesiastical authorities had nothing to do with it, and that it must be dealt with as a question of the civil law of Tuscany, operating through a civil tribunal upon a subject of that State. Now, though he should have the greatest pleasure in hearing that these persons had been liberated from their incarceration, he must still deprecate the manner in which the question had been agitated in this country. In tracts, pamphlets, the newspapers, and at public meetings, the Grand Duke of Tuscany had been held up as a tyrant, to be execrated by all men. And for what? For the act of a tribunal of his country, and the internal administration of justice in his country in the case of persons who were his own subjects. If anything was necessary to prove the pernicious effects of this agitation, it would be found in the despatches laid before the House. One of these documents, penned by the late Secretary for Foreign Affairs, was indeed so 231 indiscreet, so violent, and so incorrect, that Sir Henry Bulwer declined to make use of it. The Earl of Malmesbury said that these unfortunate persons were undergoing punishment for the sole crime of worshipping God according to the dictates of their conscience. He (Mr. Bowyer) had shown, however, that this was not the case. But to impute the wicked and malicious objects which that despatch imputed to the Church of Rome, and to assume such a tone of lecturing as it employed to an independent foreign Prince, was calculated not only to prejudice the case of the prisoners, hut also seriously to embarrass the foreign relations of this country. Some of the most eminent statesmen this country had produced had deprecated such discussions as that in which they were now engaged. They had done so rightly, because, even at the present moment, the facts of this case were only to he gathered from two or three meagre legal instruments and the hearsay in which the hon. Member for Perth had so largely dealt. Such discussions as this were calculated to give offence to foreign Powers, and they ought to be as unwilling to give offence to a small State as to a great one. One of the despatches addressed by the present noble Foreign Secretary (Lord John Russell) to Sir Henry Bulwer was in a tone still more objectionable. The noble Lord asserted the imprisonment of Francesco Madiai in an unhealthy prison; and then went on to say, that it seemed to be imagined by some Governments on the Continent that if they avoided executions on the scaffold they would escape the odium to themselves and the sympathy for their victims which attended the punishment of death for offences of a political and religious character. A few nights since the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bucks (Mr. Disraeli) had put a question respecting a statement made by the President of the Board of Control (Sir Charles Wood) as regarded he present state of France; and that right hon. Gentleman had, no doubt, with the concurrence of the noble Lord, explained and in some sort apologised for the expression. But here was the noble Lord himself using expressions still stronger in reference to a sovereign equally independent, though not equally powerful. He could conceive no pitch of malignity to exceed that which the noble Lord had imputed to "some Governments on the Continent," without stating to what Governments he referred. The noble Lord further said in one of his 232 despatches that throughout the civilised world this example of religious persecution would excite universal horror. ["Hear!"] He (Mr. Bowyer) hoped the hon. Gentleman who cheered would receive his assurance that he was as great an enemy to persecution as any one in that House; but it so happened that in a despatch from Mr. Erskine to the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, Mr. Erskine said that, in consequence of a reference in one of the noble Lord's despatches to the "unhealthy prison" in which the Madiais were confined, he had made inquiries on the subject, and had been informed by Mr. Chaplin, an English gentleman who had visited them, that he had no fault to find with the treatment either of Francesco Madiai or his wife; that their prisons were comfortable, and that he was satisfied with the attention paid to their physical wants; so that the unhealthy prison and the ill-treatment of the Madiai were due to the noble Lord's imagination alone; and though the intemperate language of the noble Lord arose perhaps from generous feeling, it was destitute of any foundation on strict fact. He (Mr. Bowyer) was as great an enemy to persecution as any hon. Member in that House; and he had spoken on this occasion only in the interest of truth and justice, and with the purpose of putting the case upon a right footing; and he wished, by this public statement, to put an end to the many assertions constantly made in. the public prints that the Madiais were confined in a loathsome dungeon merely for the offence of being Protestants. Indeed it appeared from the printed papers that Casacci, who was indicted with the Madiais, was acquitted on the ground that though he was a convert to Protestantism, and a teacher also, his acts were private, and confined to his own house, and therefore not within the meaning of the law. He must say, he believed the mode in which this case had been conducted, the strong language which had been used, and the violent attacks which had been made upon the Government of Tuscany, had, in fact, impeded and frustrated the benevolent intentions of those who had been led to adopt those undue means of accomplishing their object, and had thereby created difficulties which would not be easily surmounted.
§ MR. DRUMMOND
said, the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just resumed his seat endeavoured to make the House believe that the imprisonment of the Madiais was the consequence of a righteous 233 judgment, and that they had been only punished for an offence against the civil State, and not on account of any religious proceedings. That argument, however, was not new, for he (Mr. Drummond) believed that there was never an instance of persecution by the Inquisition in which the same excuse had not been alleged; and even to this day it was notorious that the massacre of St. Bartholomew was justified on the very same grounds. Indeed it was a common trick in Spain for the priests to pretend to intercede for the wicked man; hut the cruel State who hold him burned him nevertheless. He (Mr. Drummond) was afraid that the remark of Machiavelli was only too true, when he said that he had known very many instances of priests interfering to aggravate the punishment of persons condemned, but that he had never known one to interfere for the mitigation of punishment. As regarded the Madiais, he did not think it quite wise of the people I of this country to be constantly pressing their notions of toleration on foreign States. If, for instance, what was called toleration here had been exercised in France for the last four or five years, he was sure that other meetings would be hold under pretence of religion, and that the safety of the State would have been compromised, and possibly endangered, by revolution. He thought, therefore, the present interference was injudicious. He did not like to say anything which would appear condemnatory of the efforts which were made to obtain the release of the Madiais, or to sanction in any view religious persecution, to which he had a great objection; first of all, because he hated cruelty; and, secondly, because it was so expressly absurd, for they never could convert any man by it; but be did think that the Grand Duke, finding himself pressed by one force on one side, and by a stronger force on the other, had yielded, as he could not help yielding, to the latter; and he believed, therefore, that private remonstrance would have had far greater effect than all the public display which had taken place on the subject. The hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Lucas) had urged that the gravamen of the offence of the Madiais lay in acting under foreign instigation. That sounded rather strange in his (Mr. Drummond's) ears, in connexion with what the hon. Gentleman said on the subject of the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, seeing that the very ground of that measure was foreign instigation. Perhaps the House did not know 234 the fact, hut it was a fact not the less remarkable for all that—that a foreign prince—an Englishman truly by birth, but still a foreign prince—had been sent into this country to effect a material change in its institutions; that this individual wrote with his own hand letters to foreign Powers, informing them of his purpose; and that these Powers replied to him unknown to the Queen of England. He might be told that this was a common thing; but that was only another reason for its prevention. He should not quote Protestant authorities on the matter, lest they might be suspected; but in the time of Edward III.—a good old Popish King—when a cardinal from Rome arrived at Dover, the Queen, who was in London, while her husband was elsewhere, stopped him, sending word that he should come no further at his peril, until he had obtained the consent of the King. If the same course had been taken with respect to another cardinal—and he (Mr. Drummond) wished it had been—it would have saved a deal of trouble. He did not approve of interference in these matters; but he was bound to say that those rich gentlemen of London-wall who had been referred to by the hon. Member for Meath, had not gone to Tuscany to teach the Madiais that they owed a superior allegiance to another sovereign than the Grand Duke, or to excite them against their country. These questions were facts, and were not to be dealt with, therefore, in a sentimental manner. He wholly acquitted the Catholic laity of any intention or desire to persecute; but he would say that it was well known that throughout Europe there was spread what the French called the partiprêtre, who existed solely and entirely on the moral, intellectual, and spiritual degradation of the people—and who found the secret of their success in putting down the Scriptures, for which they could plead the decrees and orders of various Popes without end in their favour. The New Testament was addressed to the laity rather than to the clergy; and the clergy who believed in their Church were, therefore, perfectly justified in their own eyes in putting down reading the Scripture ad libitum. Why, how could they go on without it? Supposing a layman got a copy of the Testament into his hand, he found it was addressed principally to the laity, and seldom to the priest, so that if there was any distinction at all, the laity had the right to it, and not the priest. Was it not perfectly clear the whole thing must come to an 235 end? They were, therefore, perfectly right to put down and prohibit the reading of the Scriptures, and, whether those who circulated the Scriptures intended it or not, they were really and truly encouraging revolution under another form. It was no wonder, then, that the Grand Duke was jealous of such interference. But before they went to take the motes out of the eyes of Roman Catholics, before they condemned the conduct of Roman Catholics, let Protestants look a little at what their own conduct was. They said the Roman Catholic priests had, by their authority, put down the Scriptures; and so they had. Protestants had taken the Bible, and by it they destroyed the Church. Now, they might as well begin to mend their own ways first, for if they had not gone the length of persecution of the upholders of the Church, it was simply because they could not do it, and the language that had been made use of towards such men as the Bishop of Exeter and others, who had upheld the authority of the Church, showed what was at the bottom, and what Protestants would do if they could.
MR. J. D. FITZGERALD
said, that as a Roman Catholic Member of that House, he had not the slightest hesitation in expressing his unequivoeal disapprobation of the most cruel sentence that had been carried out upon the Madiais. It might be expected that he should go further, and express his opinion upon the cause of that punishment. Now, he did not know that on the face of the correspondence he was enabled to form an accurate judgment as to whether the law had been well applied or misapplied; but, if he was to understand that any person fairly using the Scriptures, or endeavouring, by peaceable means, to propagate his opinions, was to be treated as guilty of a crime, he could never yield his assent to such a doctrine. Such a sentiment would come badly from him, as a member of the Roman Catholic Church, which had a society for propagation of the faith, a society of which he was proud—which sent out its missionaries into every country with the object of proselytising. He adopted the sentiments expressed by the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Foreign Department; but he must say that he could not understand why the hon. Member for Perth (Mr. Kinnaird), in introducing the Motion, had referred to the conduct of the Roman Catholic clergy. From what he (Mr. Fitzgerald) had heard 236 of this Leopoldine law, under which Francesco and Rosa Madiai had been convicted, he was convinced that, so far from its being derived from the Roman Catholic Church, it was derived from a system which had destroyed the power of ecclesiastical courts, and through the ecclesiastical courts the power of the Church. He approved to a certain extent of the interference of England in this question. It was not a question of Protestant or Roman Catholic, but one in which the great interests of civil and religious liberty were involved; and he said, as a Roman Catholic—as a member of a religion which had been persecuted up to a recent period, and was not yet free from disabilities—that he should ever raise his voice against persecution of every kind. He demanded civil and religious liberty for himself, and he would not be a party to withholding it from others. But the system still continued of endeavouring to impose religious opinions upon others by force, whereas we might at the present day at least recall to mind with advantage the saying of Charles V., who, after he had retired from the throne, employed his leisure in making watches. "Fool that I am; I have expended all my time and labour and all the resources of my State in endeavouring by force and violence to make men think alike on religious subjects, when, by all my force, I cannot make these watches go together." He (Mr. Fitzgerald) hoped that the mover of the Resolution would adopt the suggestion of the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Dealing with this question as one of strict right, perhaps we had already interfered too far in the matter, though he trusted that England, which was now the only country in Europe that possessed true liberty, would neither now nor at any future time be backward in endeavouring to relieve those who suffered in the cause of freedom.
said, that cordially agreeing, as he did, with the hon. Member who had introduced that debate, in regard to the general policy of Tuscany, and particularly in the case of the Madiais, he only wished to state upon that occasion, in a very few words, what he believed to be the principle of action which had guided the conduct of the late Government in that matter. He did not think that there had been entertained, or that there could be entertained, on the part of any Government of this country, the slightest doubt 237 as to the propriety of England's interposing in such a case. The only question that could arise was, as to the mode and nature of that interposition, and whether it should be of a formal and official, or of a less formal and unofficial character. He would state the manner in which the case had presented itself to the late Government. They had felt that if an official remonstrance were to be addressed to the Tuscan Government, it must be couched in strong terms; and if such a remonstrance were to be met by a plain and peremptory refusal, then the Government would have before them but two alternatives, each of a very embarrassing and disagreeable description. They would either have to submit to a loss of national honour and dignity, or else they would have to withdraw the British Minister from Tuscany. But that latter course was one which he had no hesitation in saying would be a misfortune, not only for Tuscany, but for Europe, in the present condition of the Tuscan States; for if there was one country in Europe which more than any other stood in danger from its neighbours, that country, he believed, was Tuscany. It had, therefore, been determined that the interference of the British Government should take place in an unofficial form. But although it had been unofficial in its form, yet he thought he could show, from the language addressed by Lord Malmesbury to Sir Henry Bulwer, that it was meant that it should be most earnest and impressive in its character. In a despatch of Lord Malmesbury to Sir Henry Bulwer, that noble Lord intimated to Sir Henry Bulwer his wish that he should use every possible effort, unofficially in point of form, but most earnestly in point of spirit, to press on the Grand Duke and on his Government the anxious desire of Her Majesty's Government that their representations, joined with those of other Powers, might induce the Grand Duke to exercise at once his prerogative of mercy on behalf of those unfortunate persons who had been undergoing punishment solely for the crime of having worshipped God according to the dictates of their conscience. Her Majesty's Government had for some time had the best grounds for expecting that their unofficial representation would have been attended with success. Sir Henry Bulwer had written to them on one occasion to state that he had reason to hope that, before long, the sentence of imprisonment against those unfortunate persons would be miti- 238 gated into one of exile; and on another occasion he had stated that he felt sure that any further remonstrance would only operate to the disadvantage of the parties in whose favour it would be made. Now he (Lord Stanley) believed it would be generally admitted that, after such language had been used by Sir Henry Bulwer, whom it would not be invidious to describe as the ablest diplomatist in the service of this country, it would have been highly impolitic on the part of the Government to have proceeded—at once, and without awaiting the result of what had already been done—with any more stringent and formal representation. He had no intention to cast any censure on the course taken by the present Ministry in that matter; but he trusted he had said enough to justify the conduct of their predecessors.
§ SIR ROBERT H. INGLIS
said, he would ask the indulgence of the House for a few moments while he adverted to a single point which had been raised in the course of that discussion. The hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Lucas) had claimed the sympathy of the House and of England for all eases of persecution to which his coreligionists, or, indeed, persons of any faith, might be exposed. Now he (Sir R. Inglis) could not accede to that proposition; and he believed that his noble Friend (Lord John Russell) had acted most consistently with his own high position and principles, and with his duty as the representative of the Protestant Queen of a Protestant country, when he had employed his influence on behalf of persecuted Protestants. It did not follow, that whenever human beings suffered, the people of this country ought to go to war to redress their wrongs, although they might be ready to aid to the utmost of their power persons who sympathised with them in the highest and the most important of all interests, when those persons were doomed to persecution for fidelity to their religious principles. In such a case it would be the duty of the British Government, as in the days of Elizabeth, of Oliver Cromwell, and of William III.—["Hear, hear!"]—names which might not be well received on the other side of St. George's Channel, but which, in connexion with the cause of Protestantism, he trusted would be ever gratefully remembered in this country—in such a case it would be the duty of the British Government to use all the weight of the political and moral influence of this Protes- 239 tant country to redress unmerited oppression. His noble Friend had answered conclusively the appeal made by the hon. Member for Meath on behalf of the nuns of Minsk, by stating that the head of their own religion was the person who was bound to interfere, and who had interfered for them. But although that answer had been perfectly satisfactory, he (Sir R. Inglis) did not wish to let that discussion terminate without some protest being made against the doctrine of the hon. Member for Meath, that they were then to take into consideration the wrongs suffered by any persons in any part of the world, whatever might be their religion or their want of religion, merely because they felt they had a right to interfere in behalf of their Protestant brethren.
§ MR. KENNEDY
said, he believed the Grand Duke of Tuscany, when the remonstrance had been addressed to him upon that subject, might have fairly retorted on the British Government by pointing out the religious inequalities which unquestionably prevailed in these countries, and the adoption by the Imperial Parliament of such a measure as the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
Sir, I had no intention to take part in this discussion, but I do not wish that the debate should close before I make one or two observations on the pointed allusions which the hon. Member for Meath has addressed to me in the course of his speech. The hon. Gentleman is desirous that I should stand forward as the defender of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. That wish was not unnaturally expressed by him; for I must say it appears to me that if he were the only defender the Grand Duke could boast of, the Grand Duke is, indeed, in much need of some abler champion. But I decline the task. I will defend myself, but not the Grand Duke. The hon. Member for Meath, unable to say one single word in defence of the conduct of the Grand Duke, proceeded to impute to me conduct similar in principle to that which my hon. Friend who introduced this Motion, and the House, have so justly condemned in the Grand Duke; and he supported this charge by reference to certain transactions with regard to Switzerland, and to events which passed in the island of Tahiti. Now, with regard to the Swiss question, the hon. Member read such parts of the papers as suited his purpose. But he could not have read enough to inform him of the real nature of the transaction to which 240 he alluded, or, if he did, he suppressed that which formed the key to the whole transaction. Now, what was that transaction? The hon. Member appeared to represent that I stood forward as a persecutor of the Jesuits—that I had urged the Swiss cantons to exterminate, as he called it, the Jesuits. What he meant by "exterminate" it remains for him to explain. I suppose he meant to expel them. But that was not the true representation of what took place. The facts of the case were these: A civil war had broken out in Switzerland. Cantons were armed against cantons; Protestants against Roman Catholics—a majority against a minority. We were invited by the French Government to mediate between the contending parties; we were engaged with the French Government in endeavouring to devise such terms as might be submitted to the two parties with a chance of putting an end to that disastrous conflict. The cause—the original cause of the conflict, was the Jesuits. It was their presence in Switzerland; it was their aggressive proceedings in the Protestant cantons which had produced that war with regard to which our mediation was asked for. That which struck me was, that the natural and the only mode of putting an end to the contest was to remove the object and the cause of it. It was in that spirit that we proposed that the Jesuits should be withdrawn: and I did state, undoubtedly, in making that proposal, the reasons which induced me to think that the presence of the Jesuits in any country, Catholic or Protestant, was likely to disturb the political and social peace of that country. I maintain that opinion still, and I do not shrink from avowing it. I did not, therefore, volunteer to recommend the expulsion of the Jesuits; but having been called upon to mediate for the purpose of putting an end to a civil war, it appeared to me that the retirement of the Jesuits, which we wished to be effected through the intervention of the Pope himself—it appeared to me that that retirement, by removing the cause, would make the effect also cease. Now, with regard to Tahiti—that remote island to which the hon. Member took his wild flight for the purpose of strengthening an argument in favour of a cause which he wished to support, but which he was afraid to justify—what had happened there? Why, in Tahiti, there was a barbarous, a profligate, and an 241 ignorant population; and the English Protestant missionaries, with a courage and zeal which did honour to the religion they professed, and the nation from which they sprung—English Protestant missionaries, boldly facing the perils which naturally surrounded men who planted themselves among a horde of savages, went vigorously to work, and by their precepts and their good example converted those barbarous savages into what I am not afraid of calling, comparatively at least, civilised Christians. They established peace, order, virtue, and morality, in a land which had before been a scene of profligacy and vice. And then came the Catholic missionaries. Did those missionaries follow the example of the Protestants? Did they go to islands where the danger and difficulty of converting the heathen were to be encountered? No; they went to disturb the tranquillity of islands already pacified and converted; and instead of going to places where they might have been exposed to danger, and where a religious triumph worthy of Christianity might have been accomplished, they proceeded to disturb those peaceful people of Tahiti, for the purpose of turning Protestants into Roman Catholics, instead of turning heathens into Christians. Thus they endeavoured to disturb the social tranquillity of those islands. Now, I admit that the proceedings of the Tahitian Government, stimulated, perhaps, by our missionaries, exceeded the bounds of propriety and justice. But did they put those Roman Catholic missionaries into "comfortable" prisons? Did they treat those Roman Catholic missionaries as the Grand Duke of Tuscany has treated the Madiais and other persons who professed Protestantism? No, Sir; that which they did was to tell those missionaries, "We do not want you; we are already Christians; we do not need your instruction; pray go away." But they would not go away. There was a law in the island to compel them to go away; and all that was done was that they were expelled, not exterminated, from the island. Why, the Madiais would have been but too thankful if the Grand Duke had done the same thing by them. If the hon. Member would only persuade the Grand Duke to follow the example of the barbarous Queen of Tahiti, and* expel the Madiais, I venture to say that they would present to him their most grateful thanks. The hon. Member has indulged in reproaches against Protestants for persecutions of Roman Catholics. An 242 hon. Member, a Roman Catholic, sitting in this House, makes these reproaches, himself being an example how little these reproaches are deserved. I turn with pleasing relief to the speech of the hon. Member for Ennis (Mr. J. D. Fitzgerald), whose sentiments do honour to the religion which he professes—which I will designate as Christianity, casting aside Catholicism and Protestantism. The hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Lucas) calls on the Government to apply to a Government professing the same religion as ourselves; I recommend the hon. Member to follow the example of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Ennis, a Gentleman who professes the same religion as he himself does.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, that after the speech of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, he would follow his suggestion, and ask leave to withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.