HC Deb 21 February 1853 vol 124 cc349-50

said, he wished to put a question to the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs with regard to Edward Murray. The House would no doubt recollect that Edward Murray, a British subject, after being confined for nearly three years in prison, was tried by a secret tribunal at Rome, the charge appearing to be that he had aided or connived at a murder; that he was condemned to suffer death, and would have been executed but for the energetic interposition of the British consul, Mr. Freeborn; that the late Government interceded for him, and that his sentence was commuted to imprisonment in the galleys for life, and that the Earl of Malmesbury directed Sir Henry Bulwer to endeavour to obtain for him a further extension of clemency. He wished to ask the noble Lord whether his attention had been directed to the case. Whether he had any hopes of obtaining any further extension of clemency to this unfortunate man? Whether he had received any information of a character to enable him to form an opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the prisoner in respect to the heinous crime laid to his charge? And whether he would state that opinion or communicate that information to the House?


said, that the Earl of Malmesbury had desired Sir Henry Bulwer to make representations to the Papal Government, with the view of obtaining a commutation of the sentence of Mr. Edward Murray; and he (Lord John Russell) had directed the representions so commenced by his predecessor to be continued, and they were continued while Sir Henry Bulwer was at Florence; but Sir Henry Bulwer had left that city, and he (Lord John Russell) was not exactly aware whether our representations were likely to prove successful. They would, however, be continued by our Minister at Florence. With regard to the guilt or innocence of Mr. Edward Murray, he could only say, that the Roman Government objected to its being asserted that if the case had been tried in an English Court of Justice the evidence that was adduced against him would have procured a different verdict. In fact, the Roman Government considered that the evidence was sufficient to establish the guilt of the accused.


said, he wished to know if it had been ascertained that Mr. Murray was a British subject?


said, that no evidence had been given to prove he was a British subject; but as he was the son of British parents, it was thought fit to make representations in his behalf, though he did not know if the circumstances would have justified the Government in considering him a British subject.