§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
Sir, I rise to bring forward the Motion of which I have given notice, for an Address "for copies or extracts of any recent communications which have taken place between Her Majesty's Government and the Governments of Austria, Rome, and the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, relating to the affairs of Italy." I submit this Motion without any wish to blame any part of the conduct of Her Majesty's Government, and without any wish to press the Motion, should my noble Friend at the head of the Government declare that there would be any inconvenience at the present moment 742 in granting the papers to which it refers. But the House will recollect that no discussion has taken place with respect to the affairs of Italy since we were invited to agree to an Address to Her Majesty on the subject of the Treaty of Peace which had been concluded at Paris; and the House will also recollect that, at the same time, the protocols were on the table, from which it appeared that the condition of Italy was one of the many important questions which engaged the attention of the Plenipotentiaries assembled in the Peace Conferences. Now, Sir, the immediate purpose of my Motion, is to ask what has taken place in consequence of the intimations then given, and if—as I am given to understand, and as public rumour asserts—no satisfactory answers have been received to the communications made by the Government of Her Majesty, and by that of the Emperor of the French, what are the intentions of our Ministers with regard to their future policy? For, Sir, I think I can show that, unless they be prepared to pursue the course upon which they then I entered, and unless it be their intention to take some steps of serious import with respect to the affairs of Italy, it would be better for the people of that country, and better for the character of this House and the dignity of Her Majesty, that Ministers should at once declare that they meant no more than to make friendly representations, and that those friendly representations having remained without effect, it was not their intention to proceed to any further consideration of the subject. Such a declaration would be better than the only other course which I could conceive—the repetition of ineffectual remonstrances, the renewal of useless notes, the continual denial of that which is asked by the Power to whom the representations of our Government have been addressed. Sir, I beg leave, in the first place, to call the attention of the House to the nature of the statements which were made at Paris. There may be those who would say that, the war with Russia having been happily concluded—all the Powers who were represented at Paris having agreed upon the terms of the pacification—it would have been better not to raise any new question, but to be satisfied with the work which had been done. That, Sir, is not my complaint, nor do I complain at all upon this subject; but such was not the course which Her Majesty's Government and Her Majesty's Ally, the Emperor of the French, 743 thought it their duty to pursue. Count Walewski, who presided at the Conferences, deemed it necessary to bring under the consideration of the Plenipotentiaries, on the 8th of April, other questions deeply interesting to Europe—some of them relating to the general laws which govern the relations of nations, others affecting the particular States of Europe. He wished, as he said, to dispel "the clouds which are still seen looming on the political horizon before they become menacing." I am sorry to say, with regard to those clouds which hang over Italy, that, so far from having been dispelled, they have been growing darker and darker, and that unless some more fortunate state of things succeeds, we shall soon see them bursting into a storm. Having made this preface, Count Walewski stated, that the occupation of Rome by Prance and of the Roman States by Austria, was an abnormal condition of things; that it was one to which he wished to see an end put by France; and that he was sure the Plenipotentiaries of Austria would participate in the same desire. He spoke likewise of the affairs of Naples, and regretted the misgovernment of that fair portion of Italy. Count Walewski was followed by Lord Clarendon, in whose declarations we must take a still deeper interest, as he was the representative of Her Majesty at the Conferences. He stated that it was most desirable that the foreign troops should be removed from Rome and the Roman States.For the well-being of the Pontifical States," he added, "as also for the interests of the sovereign authority of the Pope, it would therefore, in his opinion, be advantageous to recommend the secularisation of the Government and the organisation of an administrative system in harmony with the spirit of the age, and having for its object the happiness of the people.He stated further—That for the last eight years Bologna has been in a state of siege, and that the rural districts are harassed by brigands. It may be hoped, he thinks, that by establishing in this part of the Roman States an administrative and judicial system, at once secular and distinct, and that by organising there a national armed force, security and confidence would rapidly be restored.With respect to the Neapolitan Government he spoke in severer terms:—He is of opinion that it must doubtless be admitted in principle that no Government has the right to interfere in the internal affairs of other States, but he considers there are cases in which the exception to this rule becomes equally a right and a duty. The Neapolitan Government seems to him to have conferred this right, and to have 744 imposed this duty upon Europe; and, as the Governments represented in the Congress are all equally desirous to support the monarchical principle and to repel revolution, it is a duty to lift up the voice against a system which keeps up revolutionary ferment among the masses, instead of seeking to moderate it.He added—and these are supposed to be the very words actually used by Lord Clarendon—We do not wish," he says, "that peace should be disturbed, and there is no peace without justice; we ought, then, to make known to the King of Naples the wish of the Congress for the amelioration of his system of Government—a wish which cannot remain without effect—and require of him an amnesty in favour of the persons who have been condemned or who are imprisoned without trial for political offences.Now, these are very remarkable words, as showing the intentions which were entertained on the part of Her Majesty's Government. They were followed by opinions given by other representatives. Count Buol, on the part of Austria, said something with regard to maritime law, and expressed a very earnest wish to curb the licence of the press in every country where the press is free; but with regard to Italy, and the occupation of certain of the Italian States by Austrian troops, he declined to say a word, declaring that he had no instructions to express any opinion upon the point. Count Cavour afterwards expressed very strongly the wish of his Government that the Austrian troops should be removed from the Legations, and he stated especially that the occupation of Parma and the city of Placentia by Austrian troops was menacing to the independence of Sardinia. He made also a distinction between the occupation by Austria of those countries and the occupation by France of Rome, stating that a separate and small corps occupying Rome at a distance from its own country was an object of much less apprehension and fear, and caused much less anxiety to the King of Sardinia, than the very large army which was maintained by Austria for the purpose of occupying a great portion of Italy and of overawing the whole territory. That there is that distinction between the occupation by Austria and the occupation by France I think cannot be denied. There are, however, other differences which may likewise be remarked on. The occupation of Rome by a small body of French soldiers may be represented as similar to an occupation which the British Government has frequently sanctioned—namely, an occupation solely for the protection of the 745 person of the Sovereign. It must likewise be admitted that there was some truth in what was stated in a former debate by the hon. Member for Dundalk (Mr. Bowyer)—that Rome was a place to which adventurers from all parts of Italy would be apt to resort, and that the Government of the Pope might be endangered, therefore, not by the spontaneous efforts of the people of Rome, but by the intrigues and conspiracies of strangers who might resort in any numbers to that city. But, Sir, whatever those distinctions may be, it is, I think, a matter of very great importance to consider whether this occupation by foreign troops of a part of Italy is to continue. In the first place, I imagine that there is no instance resembling it in the recent history of Europe. The occupation of a State by foreign troops for the purpose of restoring order is a very modern practice, and in every case it has been stated to be temporary—it has been represented as being instituted for the purpose of re-establishing the usual relations between the Sovereign and his subjects, and when that object has been accomplished the foreign troops have been withdrawn. I can recollect no instance of an occupation which has been prolonged for the length of time that the occupation of Rome and of the Legations has been continued. After the war of 1815—a war which raised all Europe to arms—when a million of troops were put in Motion in order to depose Napoleon from the throne of France, and when £150,000,000 was spent by this country alone in one year, it was considered sufficient, in the first place, that an occupation of France of five years should be stipulated for, and that term was afterwards reduced to three years, when France was governed by her own King, and it was found that he could rely upon the support of his own subjects. The occupation of Spain by France, when the Due d'Angoulême marched there, was, I think, continued for barely three years. That occupation, however, provoked comment in this House. The very year after it took place, in 1824, I myself called the attention of the House to the subject, and Mr. Canning declared that he was convinced that no permanent occupation was intended. In the following year, at the end of the Session, Mr. Canning's attention was called to the subject by Lord Brougham, and Mr. Canning again declared that the occupation would not be long prolonged. But in this case we have an occupation which began in the year 746 1849, which has continued to the present moment; and yet we do not hear on any part that the troops could be withdrawn without as much danger and discontent now as, it is said, existed at the very commencement of that occupation. I am not going to argue to-night—because my question will chiefly be confined to the point of foreign occupation—whether the Government of Rome be a good Government or a bad one; but this I say, that if it be a good one there can be no need of foreign troops. If, on the contrary, it be a bad Government, and that bad Government have been continued for seven years without amendment, then, I ask, what prospect is there that in seven or fourteen years hence that Government will be improved? Sir, it is necessary in treating this subject to look at the declarations which were made by the two Powers who sent their troops to Rome and to the Legations in the year 1849. The House will then see how different were the declarations made at that time from those which are now made, and how little they justify the present occupation. Beginning with the French, I take, first, part of a despatch to M. De la Cour, who was then the French Minister at Vienna, and I find that M. Drouyn de Lhuys the Minister of Foreign Affairs, writing on the 17th of April, 1849, says—The Government of the Republic has resolved to send to Civita Vecchia a body of troops, commanded by General Oudinot. Our intention in deciding on this measure has been neither to impose on the Roman people a system of administration which their free will would have rejected, nor to constrain the Pope to adopt, when he shall be recalled to the exercise of his power, this or that system of government. We thought—we more than ever think—that by the force of events—by the effect of the natural disposition of men's minds—the system of administration which the revolution of last November has established at Rome is destined soon to fall, and that the Roman people will place themselves again under the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff, provided they are secured against the dangers of a reaction; but we, nevertheless, think, and in this respect, especially, our language has never varied, that that authority will not take deep root, and can only strengthen itself against fresh storms by the help of institutions which may prevent the return of old abuses, the reform of which Pius IX. had with such generous zeal begun.Then, the Declaration to the Pope, dated April 18th, says—The Pope must hasten to publish a manifesto, which, by guaranteeing to the people liberal institutions, in conformity with their wishes, as well as with the necessities of the times, shall cause the overthrow of all resistance..… 747 What we desire is, that the Pope, on returning to Rome, shall find himself in a position which, at once satisfactory for himself and for his people, shall secure Italy and Europe from new commotions, and shall not prejudice either the balance of power or the independence of the Italian States.In transmitting those documents to the Court of St. James's, the French Minister says, under date the 19th of April—We doubt not that the British Government will duly appreciate a determination, the object of which is at once to maintain, as far as shall depend on us, the balance of power, to guarantee the independence of the Italian States, to secure to the Roman people a liberal and regular system of administration, and to preserve them from the dangers of a blind reaction, as well as from the frenzy of anarchy.This took place on the 18th and 19th of April. On the 29th of April, Prince Schwarzenberg writes to Count Colloredo, in the following terms:—The Government of the Emperor has sent orders to Marshal Count Radetzky to send troops as well into Tuscany as into the Legations. In deciding upon this measure we have only complied with the demand which has been addressed to us to this effect on the part of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, as well as on the part of the Holy Father, the latter having at the same time applied for the armed intervention of France, Spain, and Naples. The object of our intervention is no other than the re-establishment of legitimate Governments and social order. Whenever this object shall have been attained—and thanks to the co-operation of the sound portion of the population we hope it will soon be so—our troops will retire.That, be it observed, was seven years ago. Now, it is impossible, I think, to allow that the re-establishment of social order and the restoration of the Sovereign to his power can have occupied the whole of those seven years, unless there were something so vicious in the system of administration—something so much requiring the reforms which Lord Clarendon has pointed out—that the Sovereigns thought it necessary to maintain the troops in the foreign territory which they occupy. And here there is one observation which I cannot help making, because I think it tends to show that even that occupation for a time was hardly necessary. Among the other States which were led by the great convulsions of 1848 to dispute the authority of their Sovereign and to proclaim a different form of Government was Tuscany; but in Tuscany the new form of Government lasted only two months—during February and March. In April the people of Florence, mindful of a long course of mild government, 748 and recollecting the wise maxims and beneficent rule of Leopold, the grandfather of the present Grand Duke of Tuscany, rose against their republican rulers, and restored the monarchical Government of the Grand Duke. Every great town in Tuscany, except Leghorn, acted upon that example; men of the most liberal character—the men most trusted in Florence—were placed at the head of affairs, and the Grand Duke came back. If he had governed according to the constitution to which he himself had agreed, there seems to be no reason to believe that there would have been any outbreak or any disturbance of his Government. Unfortunately, however, no sooner had the commissaries of the Grand Duke taken possession of the helm of affairs at Florence than an Austrian general announced that his corps was ordered into Tuscany. That corps remained there until the beginning of last year; and since it marched out there has been no disturbance. I cannot but believe that if the rulers of Italy, not giving in at all to democratic ideas, nor going beyond the most moderate constitutional government, had governed their States with equity and justice, all pretence for this foreign occupation would have ceased, even if it had ever arisen. Be it observed that the excuse of its being necessary in order to support the Government, because the Government causes discontent and disaffection, gains strength from every instance of exercise of unjust and unlawful powers. Take the case of Bologna. The city of Bologna has been in a state of siege for the last eight years. If the Papal Government were to demand that the heads of 100 families in that city should be arrested and sent to a dungeon; there would beyond doubt arise great discontent and disaffection; and then, because there was discontent and disaffection, the foreign Government and the Papal Government would say that it was impossible to relieve this city from the presence of foreign troops, and that the occupation must be continued. It is an evil, therefore, which propagates itself. It is an evil which gains strength from the very indulgence of it. But are there no reasons even stronger than these general considerations of this state of things being abnormal, of there being no precedent for such an occupation, and of the discontent which it creates being so great—are there no other considerations which may have induced Her Majesty's Government, at the Conferences 749 of Paris, to pronounce themselves in so decided a manner, which should still lead them to carry into effect the views which they there expressed? This House will well remember that at the time when we were carrying on the struggle in the Crimea—when the troops of Great Britain and Prance were besieging Sebastopol and were suffering every sort of privation, the Powers of Europe generally stood aloof from that struggle, which we had proclaimed—and I believe justly proclaimed—to be a struggle for European interests. At that time there was one State—a small State, but with an heroic people and an heroic Sovereign—which came forward to join us—to add its troops to ours, and to send to the Crimea a part of its small army in order to share in the dangers and glories of our armies—to stand side by side on the banks of the Tehernaya and before the walls of Sebastopol with those gallant men whose reception in this metropolis a few days ago roused every heart and filled every breast with emotions of gratitude and pride. That noble army, by the command of their Sovereign, with the full assent of their Chambers, became most willing associates of our hardships, and partook of our glory and of our honour. It would be too much to say, too much to say, too much to suppose, that the Government of Sardinia would have added their forces to ours in that struggle from no other motive but regard to the general interests of Europe. Sardinia had suffered much in its contest with Austria, whose strength had overpowered her in a war of very recent date,—its finances had been greatly burdened, and its taxes had been enormously increased. A Sardinian Minister standing before the Parliament to ask them to enter into this war with Russia—a distant Power, whose advances against Turkey, however menacing to Europe in general, did not bear on the face of them any immediate peril to Sardinia—would have had great difficulty in obtaining an assent to his proposal had the Chambers thought of nothing but the dangers of Europe. There appeared, however, to be a general impression on the part of the Sardinian Government—and from all that I can hear a very justifiable impression—that if they joined us in that war their position in Italy—one of continual sacrifice and of very considerable danger—would be very much ameliorated by the acquisition of the friendship of two great Powers like France and England. I shall not be told, I hope—at 750 least, not by Her Majesty's Government—that there are no words in the treaty, no specific article, binding us to take into consideration the state of Italy. The Piedmontese believe, and I hope they believe rightly, that, although we may not be bound by the letter of the treaty, yet that its whole spirit would give them as much right to expect this consideration at our hands and at the hands of France as if the determination to consider the state of Italy had been specifically inserted in the treaty. It is, therefore, I think, so far as Sardinia is concerned, a question of honour with this country and with France, not to abandon the affairs of Italy. I believe such an abandonment would be fatal, if not in name, yet in reality, to the independence of Piedmont. The course of affairs would be probably this. The Austrian Government, if they were aware that this country and France did not mean to interfere—that we were content with the barren aid of protocols and notes—would increase their troops from one end of the frontier of Piedmont to the other, and would on every side have legions pressing on the independence of that country. Piedmont would be obliged—she is even now obliged—to keep up an army larger than her size and resources would naturally justify. Discontents would arise there upon. There would be in the Piedmontese Parliament—perhaps in the very next Session—complaints of the Government which had imposed such burdens upon the country, and had sent its army to such a distance without bringing back anything but hostility on the part of Austria and indifference and disregard on the part of the Allies with whom they had fought. It would be said—and very likely successfully said—that, if this was to be the result, it would be better for Sardinia to diminish her army, to yield to any demands which Austria might make for the suppression of a free press and the limitation of the right of free speaking in the tribune; thus, to regain the good-will of Austria, and to sink to that wholly dependent condition which existed for some twenty-five years after the peace of 1815. If such were the arguments used, and if that wise statesman and sincere patriot, Count Cavour, should be compelled to yield to the storm, and be driven from power because England and France had failed in their implied engagements—if he were to be driven from office amid the despair of Italy and the reproaches of those who 751 looked to us and to France for assistance—should we not feel humiliated by the reflection that we had asked for the assistance of Sardinia in the late struggle, that we had ever appeared at the Conferences of Paris to say a word on behalf of the Italians? There are other considerations besides this which immediately affect our honour and our justice. I cannot but think that if France and England, holding the position they do in Europe, should go to a Conference of European Powers, and declare that the Roman States are misgoverned, and point out a way in which that misgovernment can be remedied—that if they should denounce the King of the Two Sicilies as a monarch whose rule was so intolerable that even that general international law which forbids others to interfere in the internal affairs of foreign nations, must be suspended against him—that we should do these things, and yet in the end should allow the Austrian Government to treat us with haughty disdain, the Pope with positive denial, and the King of Naples with taunts and defiance—I say two such great Powers would be humbled to the dust by receiving such answers as these. I am now putting the case that it was wise and right to go to the Conference of Paris with these statements—that it was wise to make this treaty with the King of Sardinia—I was myself an earnest advocate for that treaty. Say, if the House chooses to say, that the whole of this policy has been wrong—that Her Majesty's Government, and those who support such a policy, have advised a rash and undue interference in the affairs of Italy—that I can well understand. Go back, then, in your policy, and assume a totally different attitude. But what I cannot understand is, that you should maintain the same opinions, that you should retain the same sentiments, and yet that you should not proceed to execute that which you said it was necessary to do for the security of Europe and the well-being of Italy. Sir, these are questions, and questions of great difficulty, which would arise in the pursuit of the policy upon which we have set out; but recollect that the Government of this country but a short time ago—a Government to which I had the honour to belong—the very pacific Government of Lord Aberdeen—sent a fleet to Constantinople, and ordered it to take the command of the Black Sea—a sea at that time very much unknown to us—and also despatched an expedition to attack a 752 fortress upon its shores. Is any such effort necessary to accomplish our present object? Nothing of the sort. I cannot for a moment think that if Great Britain and France declared that they could no longer permit the Austrian occupation of the Italian States, that occupation would be continued. I do not believe that such a declaration would lead to the slightest danger of war. Italy is accessible at all points. Great Britain and France, with the goodwill and hearty concurrence of the whole Italian people, would surely be more than a match for any force that the Emperor of Austria could bring against them. Well, then, you may depend upon it that the Austrian Government would yield at once to such a determination. And, be it observed, that what I am now speaking of is not an interference in the internal concerns of foreign nations. I will say a few words upon that question hereafter. What I am now speaking of is a declaration to Austria that she shall no longer interfere. I do not propose that there should, with regard to the Roman States, be any authoritative interference for the secularisation of the Government, or for effecting any of those improvements of which Lord Clarendon spoke. I am quite satisfied to leave that question to the Roman people. Let the people of the Roman States be freed from this incubus of foreign occupation, and let them settle with their rulers what shall in future be the form of Government. If they, as Milton says that "nations grown corrupt" are apt to do, prefer "bondage with ease to strenuous liberty," let them have their preference. Far be it from us to order them to be free, or to command them to enjoy any of the liberties of which we are ourselves so proud. But do not let a foreign force interfere. Let not a man who prefers not to be sent to a dungeon because he wears a particular sort of hat, or has been suspected by some worthless and villanous spy, who gains his livelihood by the betrayal of the upright and good—let not a man who has such a preference, and feels that his fellow-countrymen likewise entertain it, be met by foreign troops, and forced to submit to the misgovernment which he detests. With regard to Naples the case is different. Lord Clarendon has stated that there the circumstances are so grave that even internal interference may be justified. What may be the intentions of the Government I know not, nor is it for me to say whether the case is really so 753 strong as to justify this interference. If it is, I should much doubt the efficiency of any new laws or the permanency of any constitution granted under such pressure. If it merely means that those virtuous and good men who have been pining in dungeons for years, because they had the audacity to devise for their country something better than its former misgovernment, should be released, I can well understand that some interference may be justified. What I want to lay stress upon now is, that we ought not to allow this foreign occupation to be continued. There is, however, one part of this subject of which we must not lose sight, because it somewhat concerns the character of this country. In the year 1812, we were the patrons of every people in Europe who rose against what was then the foreign occupation of the French army. That army, extending from Florence to Hamburg, excited everywhere a strong feeling of repugnance to foreign domination and a strong wish for independence. We favoured that wish. In Sicily especially—Sicily, which it was the last object and concern of the public life of Mr. Fox to preserve for the House of Bourbon—in Sicily we aided to establish a free constitution, and, by means of that constitution, as Lord William Bentinck stated in this House, everything gained a new aspect; the country which had been miserably weak became strong, troops and militia were forthcoming, and the commander in chief in Sicily was enabled to send 6,000 British troops to Spain, to aid in the contest there. The people enjoyed an unwonted degree of prosperity and liberty—liberty unwonted in modern times, but not discordant with their ancient constitution. In 1814, the British troops left Sicily; and in that or the following year it was stated, on the part of the British Government, that although we did not pretend to say that there should be no changes in the constitution, yet that the Prince Regent would think himself justified in interfering if either those persons who had appealed to British protection during our stay in the island should be molested, or the prosperity and liberty of Sicily should be materially altered for the worse. The Sicilian Minister, in vaguer terms, leaving out especially the word "liberty," accepted that declaration, and engaged the honour of his Government to its performance. In 1815, the General Treaty of Peace was concluded at Vienna; but on the 12th or 18th of June, in the same 754 year, the King of the Two Sicilies signed a treaty with the Emperor of Austria, by which he engaged that no government should be permitted in Naples or Sicily which was not in conformity with that of the Austrian empire. The Sicilians were of course treated with bad faith. They complained that England had deserted them; and, without entering into the policy of those days, it is sufficient to say that Lord Castlereagh was disposed, as was declared by some one to be the policy of the time, to trust rather to sovereigns with large armies at their command than to popular efforts or popular sympathies. A few years ago another effort was made by Sicily. At the request of the King, Lord Minto went over from Naples with terms which, after long discussion, it was thought might at once assure the privileges of the Sicilians and maintain the union between Naples and Sicily. But, before he could make his communication to the leaders of the Sicilian Parliament, the Neapolitan Government, under the direction of the King, had circulated through the island intelligence of these terms, and had provoked so much opposition and resistance that it was found impossible to obtain assent to them. Another effort was made, having for its object to raise the Duke of Genoa to the throne of Sicily. We, for our parts, should have been happy if that effort had succeeded; but we did not think ourselves entitled to interfere between the King of Naples and his Sicilian subjects, and, in a manner, to divide the kingdom of Sicily from that of Naples. It must be admitted that in that instance, and likewise in another part of Italy, our conduct has to a certain degree excited the suspicion and the anger of the Italians. Lord William Bentinck—than whom no juster or more sincere man ever stood forth, either in command of an army or as a Member of this House—when he went to the coast of Italy, promised aid to the people of Lombardy. That promise likewise was not carried into effect. Some of these are certainly old reminiscences—some of them are connected with the period when, the whole of Europe being convulsed, it was desirable to obtain, if possible, the blessings of order and tranquillity even at a great sacrifice. But at the present time, after standing forward at the Conferences of Paris—after making large professions and exciting great expectations—after inducing the Italians to think that a great effort was about to be made in their favour, if we 755 confine ourselves to notes and paper protestations, I am afraid that we shall altogether lose the confidence of the inhabitants of that peninsula; that 25,000,000 of people, who well deserve good government, will have occasion to rue the day when Great Britain ever interfered in their affairs. Seeing, then, that, while Austria is taking fresh precautions and sending an increased military force into Italy, the Roman Government is more severe than ever in its system of repression and suspicion, I think it incumbent upon us, in concert with the Emperor of the French, to consider what further we can do to remove these evils. Upon that which does not properly belong to me, but devolves more legitimately on the Executive, I wish to offer a few words. I may be asked, "How is it possible to carry your views into effect? True, we have made these declarations, but how can we act in accordance with them?" I say, in the first place, that you are bound at whatever risk to support the King of Sardinia. I do not think you can possibly allow his independence to be assailed or his means of free government to be taken away from him without declaring that we are ready at any sacrifice to uphold the cause of one who has so nobly stood by us. In the next place, there is something more that we can do. Among some of the Sovereigns of Italy, there is a growing feeling that dependence on foreign bayonets is not a proper position for a ruler—that a King who enjoys the love of his people stands higher, is more respected in the world, and more respects himself, than one who sends for foreign generals and has his subjects brought before a court-martial and shot for disobedience of the orders of those foreign generals. Wherever we find this feeling springing up we ought, I think, to encourage it. There is another point on which I dare say my hon. Friend the Member for Perth (Mr. Kinnaird) is better informed than I am. It is stated that that spirit of persecution which revolted the people of England in the case of the Madiai, and also prompted the King of Prussia, out of regard to the reformed faith, to interfere with the Grand Duke of Tuscany, has lately received a check; and that, in the last instance in which an attempt was made to convict a person for endeavouring to proselytize from the Roman Catholic religion to the Protestant the prosecution has failed, and the verdict of the tribunal before which it was brought will not be 756 interfered with by the Government. If this be so, it is a very welcome symptom not only of approbation of liberty of conscience, but of a rising spirit of independence. We are further told that the haughty and insolent manner in which the Austrian troops have treated the independent Sovereign of Parma has excited resistance and disgust in that State. I trust that this may be the case; and wherever it is so, I think the influence of the British Government should be exercised to confirm those growing feelings and to nourish this rising spirit of independence. I remember, Sir—it is now very long ago—having the honour of an interview in the Isle of Elba with the first Napoleon. The Emperor talked much of the States of Italy, and agreed in the observation which I had made that there was no union among them, and no likelihood of any effectual resistance by them to their oppressors; but when I asked him why Austria was so unpopular in Italy he replied that it was because she governed, not with the sword (that was a reflection which that great man was not likely to make), but that she had no other means of governing except by the "stick." I believe, Sir, that that is the secret of the whole disfavour with which Austria is viewed in Italy. Taking this to be the fact, I say that you have a means ready to your hands for rousing the feelings of the Italian people, and that if we and the Emperor of the French once declare that we shall not allow the States of the Pope to be occupied by Austria beyond a certain fixed date—if we fix a certain date, beyond which we will not allow that occupation to be continued—the attainment of their evacuation will be a matter of comparative ease. One thing, indeed, I have heard, and it is a mere whisper—a surmise—namely, that the Government of the Emperor of the French, which agreed with us so much at Paris that its Minister for Foreign Affairs took the initiative, is not prepared at present to protest any further against the foreign occupation of Italy. I, for one, Sir, cannot believe—I think it is impossible to believe—that a Sovereign who was so faithful an ally to this country—who during the late war proved himself so ready to aid us, and to act in every way as became a Monarch true to his engagements, would ever lead the King of Sardinia to rely on his support, and then allow that hope to be disappointed. The matter to which I allude may be one of some time—it may require the adaptation 757 of various means to the end in view. It is for Her Majesty's Government to carry on communications for the attainment of this end. They have the time before them in which to do so; but this I will say—I cannot but think that, if having done and having proclaimed so much we are contented with the refusal of all that we propose—if we sit down quietly without obtaining any improvement in the condition of Italy, it will be to us a ground of everlasting reproach. I trust, therefore, that in the course of the autumn, or at least before the next meeting of Parliament, the object which Lord Clarendon had in view at Paris will be effected. I know that no greater object can be aimed at by a statesman. When Lord Byron was in Italy in 1821, and had become enthusiastic in her cause, he said that the cause of Italian freedom was "the very poetry of politics." I believe it is "the poetry of politics;" but I believe, at the same time, that it is also a practical question. I am sure it is one on which our character and credit depend. I express no want of confidence in Her Majesty's Ministers, but I do think that, before Parliament separates, this House ought to have from the Government some declaration of the one kind or the other—either that they are not prepared to carry any further their interference in the affairs of Italy, or that, using whatever means they deem best, adopting whatever measures they think most adequate to the occasion—they do mean to attain this end —the independence of the Italian States.
Motion made, and Question—
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, that She will be graciously pleased to give directions that there be laid before this House, Copies or Extracts of any recent Communications which have taken place between Her Majesty's Government and the Governments of Austria, Rome, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, relating to the affairs of Italy.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
Sir, I think the House will not be surprised that my noble Friend, who has taken so great an interest in so many important transactions of history, should have deemed it his duty, before the present Session closes, to draw the attention of this House, and, through this House, the attention of the country to the interesting matters which he has just brought under our consideration. It is impossible to overstate the importance of these subjects in the present condition of the world. We have just seen the termination of perhaps one of the greatest, although certainly one of the shortest, wars 758 in which this country was ever engaged—a war which involved interests of the highest magnitude, and which, if had continued, might, under certain circumstances, have extended itself over a large portion of the surface of Europe. That contest has I happily been concluded, and the questions which provoked it and threatened in their consequences to bring great calamities upon the world have been settled in a manner, which, I trust, will ward off for a long time to come those dangers which Europe recently had cause to apprehend. When the representatives of the great Powers assembled in Conference at Paris to discuss and determine the conditions of peace, it was natural they should not separate without directing their attention to other matters of European interests besides those which were the immediate objects of consideration. My noble Friend has, I think, assigned ample reasons why that course ought to have been pursued. It would indeed have been a reproach to the Plenipotentiaries of the great Powers if, when they had met to accomplish the great purpose of a European pacification, they had shut their eyes to circumstances which might bring about further complications as menacing, perhaps, to the tranquillity of Europe as those to which it had been their gratifying duty to put an end. Well, Sir, the affairs of Italy naturally attracted attention. My noble Friend has well remarked that the occupation of independent States by foreign troops is a departure from the ordinary and proper condition of things, only to be justified by immediate and pressing necessity, which ought not to be continued beyond the existence of that necessity, and for the unnecessary continuance of which, without sufficient reason, those under whose authority such occupation takes place incur serious responsibility. The occupation, therefore, of the Roman States by foreign troops naturally attracted the attention of the representatives at the Congress, and no member of that Congress was better fitted to draw the attention of his colleagues, and, through them, the attention of the Governments of Europe, to the subject than the representative of the Emperor of the French, who was partly concerned in the continuance of that occupation. Most honourable it was, I think, to the Emperor of the French, that he should have taken that opportunity, through his representative in the Congress, of expressing a desire that the occupation should 759 cease, providing that the assent of Austria should be obtained to the cessation of such a state of things. My noble Friend has stated that this discussion did not lead to a satisfactory result. The representative of Austria could hold out no expectation that his Government would take any step in that direction; he professed himself to be without instructions on the subject. My noble Friend wishes to know, with regard to that matter, as well as to others, what are the intentions of Her Majesty's Government?—whether we mean to let the subject drop altogether, or, if we think it our duty to continue to urge it, what steps it is our intention to take? I think that my noble Friend and the House must feel that when Her Majesty's Government, in conjunction with the Government of the Emperor of the French, have made themselves parties to a public and official representation, with a view of inducing the cessation of that abnormal occupation, it is not a momentary repulse, and it is not the casual disappointment of an expectation that reason would prevail over prejudice, that will induce the Governments of two great countries to desist from endeavouring to accomplish a result which they think right in principle, sound in policy, and conducive to the interests of Europe. I am sure my noble Friend, above all men, must feel that it would be unbecoming for me to state what steps Her Majesty's Government may deem it right to take, but I have no hesitation in saying that we think the object one of great and general importance, and that we do not abandon the hope that that object may ultimately be accomplished. It is said, on the one hand, that if the occupation were to cease, revolts, revolutions, and scenes of the most disastrous descriptions would occur in the Roman States. It is, of course, impossible, as it would be unbecoming, for those who are mere spectators at a distance to pronounce an opinion on the value of such assertions; but, reasoning upon general principles, I think it is impossible to believe that these anticipations of evil are not exaggerated. One cannot bring one's self to think that a Government like that of the Pope—at the head of which is a man of whose benevolent intentions and enlightened ideas the past has given us sufficient proof—will not be able so to conduct the administration of affairs as to remove the causes of violent discontent which alone produce convulsions in nations. 760 I will not go back to the advice which was given to the Pope in 1831 by the representatives unanimously speaking on be-half of the five great Powers of Europe; jut I will observe that no later than 1849, when the Pope returned to his dominions, issused what is technically called a motu proprio, in which he announced his intention of establishing institutions—not indeed on the system of representative government—but still, institutions based upon popular election; and I believe if that scheme had been carried into full effect it would have afforded such contentment to his subjects that the interference of foreign troops would have been rendered wholly unnecessary. That motu proprio professed to establish municipal councils founded upon election, with a franchise of the most extended description. These municipal councils were to elect members to form provincial councils; and those provincial councils again were to elect members to form what was called a Council of State in Rome. There was also to be a Council of Finance in the capital, to regulate and advise upon the financial arrangements of the State. I cannot help thinking that if the Pope were advised by those whose counsels he follows to put in force even the limited arrangements of that motu proprio such security would be afforded for the tranquillity of his dominions that the continuance of any foreign force in his dominions would no longer be necessary; but upon that point I can only say what I have already stated to my noble Friend, that Her Majesty's Government think that the cessation of that foreign occupation, and the prevention of any future foreign occupation in Italy by troops of other States are objects of great European interest, and which it becomes the Government of this country and of France, if possible, to accomplish. With regard to the affairs of Naples, I am sorry to say that the friendly representations which have been made by the Government of France and of this country to the King of Naples, as to the condition of his kingdom, have not hitherto been attended with any successful result. My noble Friend has expressed an opinion that, although it is a departure from general principles for foreign Governments to interfere, even by tendering advice, with respect to the internal affairs of other States, there are in the condition of the kingdom of Naples sufficient grounds for a departure from the 761 general rule. The grounds upon which that exception rests must be evident, I think, to the mind of any one who casts a glance over the map of Europe, and who views retrospectively the affairs of Europe. Why, Sir, if the severity and the injustice of the administration of the kingdom of Naples led to such outbreaks and resistances as have occurred elsewhere under similar circumstances, and if the King of Naples found himself unable by means of his own troops to restore his authority, it is obvious that he would apply to Austria for assistance. Would the rest of Europe stand passive spectators of such additional interference on the part of Austria? If they were not to do so, would not the peace of Europe be endangered by the complications and difficulties which such a state of things must create, and which must seriously affect the interests of other continental countries? Is not that consideration, therefore, a justification of friendly endeavours on the part of the English and French Governments to induce the King of Naples to prevent, by his own means, the occurrence of events which would to so great a degree complicate and embarrass the interests of other European Powers? I have said, that hitherto no success has attended the friendly representations which have been made to the King of Naples. The King of Naples, probably, or those who advise him—the Government of Naples—may have looked with jealousy and suspicion upon advice tendered by England and France alone; but we do not despair that advice of the same kind may reach the Neapolitan Government from other quarters, whence they will receive it, perhaps, with more confidence. There is, I think, no reason to despair, that if such additional representations were to reach the Neapolitan Government, they might produce an effect which the counsels of England and of France have hitherto failed in accomplishing. One of the misfortunes arising from the language of calumny and vituperation which has been applied to England and France—and particularly to England, which has been denounced as the protector of revolutionists, as the fermenter of disorder, as a Power which desires to overturn and subvert institutions wherever its influence extends—I say it has been one of the misfortunes arising out of these calumnies that they have tended to prevent the good, sound, and useful advice which the British Government may, from time to time, think 762 itself authorised to tender to foreign Governments from producing the fruit which might otherwise have been anticipated. I say, therefore, that I do not despair that the evils which still exist in the kingdom of the Two Sicilies may, by the interference of those in whom the King of Naples and his councillors repose more confidence than they place in the Governments of England and France, produce better results than we have hitherto been able to accomplish. With regard to Naples, then, as with regard to Rome, we do not despair. We see a state of things existing which we think threatening to the interests of Europe, but I do not mean to say that the British Government have given up all hopes that it may succeed in producing an improvement in that condition; but, with regard to that point, as to others, my noble Friend must excuse me if I do not follow him into details. On one point I have no hesitation in giving a full assent to the views of my noble Friend. He has said that the fact of the King or Sardinia having so nobly and gallantly associated himself with France and England in the war which has just been brought to a close has given him a right, a moral right, to the support and protection of those countries should any danger assail him, not brought about by provocation on his own part. I think he is too well advised to give such provocation; and, therefore, if ever he should be in circumstances of danger, I agree with my noble Friend, that the Governments of England and France would be bound by every tie of honour, as representing these two great nations, to assist him to the utmost of their power. I am satisfied, however, that the knowledge of such ties existing between Sardinia and England and France will of itself be sufficient to prevent Sardinia, if not from being threatened—and I believe it will never be more than threatened—at least from being assailed with such dangers as will render it necessary for us to interpose in order to repel them. My noble Friend has said, that it would be desirable to encourage those Sovereigns of Italy whose territories are either free, like those of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, or occupied, like those of Parma, and who wish either to retain or regain their independence; and that it would be the duty of settled Governments, like those of England and France, who object in general to these occupations—to encourage those Sovereigns in maintaining their independence. It is true, Italy 763 is removed by distance from this country; but it is also true—and the history of Europe is full of examples of the fact—that it is not possible for great commotions to take place in Italy, and opposing armies to meet there without the evil spreading far beyond the limits of that peninsula and embroiling other nations in the conflict. Therefore, I agree with my noble Friend in thinking that every wise and enlightened Government of this country would think that the affairs of Italy required its constant and urgent attention, and that the interests of England, as connected with the general interests of Europe, must be best consulted by securing to the several States that independence within their own limits, which is the best security for the good understanding of their respective Governments and the people, and for establishing that state of things which is best calculated to make those fertile countries prosperous as they ought to be, and to prevent them becoming the source of danger and calamity to Europe. My noble Friend has moved for the production of papers, but he has stated that he was willing to accept the assurance of the Government, that in the present state of things the production of those papers would not be conducive to the interests of the public service. I am bound in duty, then, to tell him that their production in the present state of the correspondence would not be conducive to the interests he has so much at heart, and that I cannot therefore assent to his Motion. The papers he asks for relate to a correspondence still going on, and their publication at the present moment might prevent the attainment of the end for which it has been commenced. I can only say that, concurring with my noble Friend in the general views he has so well developed, but reserving to the Government the discretion of pursuing their functions in the manner which they think best calculated to accomplish the purpose he aims at, without any unnecessary departure from those general principles that ought to regulate the intercourse of nations, I hope my noble Friend will be satisfied with the statement I have made, and not press for the production of these papers. And let my noble Friend rest assured that Her Majesty's Government are occupied steadily in promoting the objects he has in view, and that we concur with him in the propriety of making every effort to secure to the Governments of Italy that free action in their internal affairs which is 764 best calculated to promote the prosperity of Italy, and which alone can secure that country from becoming a source of danger to the rest of Europe.
§ MR. DISRAELI
The noble Lord the Member for London has this evening called our attention to a subject of the greatest interest and importance. Of Italy it may be said that it must either be considered in a theoretical or practical point of view. No doubt there is no Gentleman in this House who does not feel the greatest sympathy with Italy and the fortunes of the Italians. When we remember how much we owe to that country, that in ancient times it gave us our laws, and in modern times our arts, it is totally impossible that its condition can ever be brought before us without exciting a lively interest in the House of Commons. But that is "the poetry of politics," as the noble Lord has reminded us, and I cannot think, notwithstanding the high authority he quoted on the subject of poetry, that the House to-night will feel, on a discussion that may involve immediate consequences of the utmost importance to the people of this country, that we should indulge merely in "the poetry of politics" on the one hand, or on the other be satisfied with those vague expressions which we have just heard from the lips of the First Minister. The noble Lord the Member for the City of London compensated us for dwelling on the poetry of the question, when he, in a very business-like manner, becoming the importance of the subject, reminded us of what occurred at the recent Conference at Paris, and of the important State papers to which, at that Conference, the Plenipotentiary of England had affixed his signature. The noble Lord introduced the question to us with details which the House clearly understood, and made us feel that, by the conduct of the English Minister at Paris, this country had entered into engagements which, not only according to the version and interpretation of the noble Lord, but according to the feeling of every Gentleman present, have placed this country in a position of grave responsibility. I cannot understand from the observations of the Minister who has just sat down, that Her Majesty's Ministers have done, or intend to do, anything which could have justified those protocols or the tone which the Plenipotentiary of this country assumed on the occasion when the affairs of Italy were discussed at the Congress of Paris. If all that Her Majesty's Ministers 765 have done or intend to do are merely these routine representations to which the noble Lord has just referred, and which he has promised, it does not appear to me that, at a Conference called to settle questions of a very different character, it was necessary, or expedient, or politic, to introduce the question of Italy as it was introduced at the Congress of Paris—to have drawn up and signed these protocols—if all that has been done, or is to be done, is, in fact, merely that diplomatic action which, as I humbly conceive, might have taken place without so much ceremony, and without having, as the noble Lord the Member for London said, roused the passions of the population of Italy. I want to know what is the deduction we are to draw from the inquiries of one Member of this House, who has been First Minister of the Crown, and from the answer of another Member of this House who is the First Minister now, on a question that is indeed truly described as one interesting and important from its peculiar and essential character, but one in the treatment of which, let me tell the House, are involved urgent, perhaps immediate, consequences to the people of this country—to the state of their industry and the state of their commerce, the questions of peace and war, and all the most vital subjects that can engage the attention of this House or the consideration of statesmen. When I listened to the first observations of the noble Lord, I thought he was about to counsel action of the most decisive and energetic character. The noble Lord said it was the duty of this country not to abandon the cause of Italy. He laid down that position with the utmost precision. Now, I could hardly suppose that the noble Lord, in declaring that it was the duty of this country not to abandon the cause of Italy, could, after all that has occurred on the subject, have confined his meaning merely to the communication of a note from a Minister to the Court of Naples or of Turin. The noble Lord, indeed, stated there were circumstances which might demand the most decided conduct on the part of this country. He said, if Austria, for example, required the suppression of the liberty of the press on the part of Piedmont, then there is no step which he should not be prepared to take on such an occasion. But, strange to say, the only formal proposition that I find in the papers upon which the noble Lord founded all his observations—the only formal proposition 766 for repressing the liberty of the press does not emanate from the Austrian plenipotentiary, but from the representative of our great Ally the Emperor of the French, by whose aid, and whose aid alone, these magnificent visions of Italian regeneration are to be realised. Now, Sir, if I look to the papers to which the noble Lord has referred, I find language of a very precise character upon the subject of interference. The House will recollect that when the protocols of the Conferences at Paris were first laid on the table, it appeared that upon the 8th of April it was Count Walewski, the French Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who, when the treaty had been signed for the settlement of the Eastern question, and when all those points were arranged which had given rise to the Conferences, introduced in a formal manner to the consideration of the Plenipotentiaries questions which had no immediate reference to the principal cause of their assembling. The House will recollect that, so far as the protocols would show us when they were laid on our table, the responsibility of that introduction, which many thought not very adroit, rested with the French Minister. But there were subsequent papers placed on the table of the House which threw considerable light upon this point, and proved that it was not Count Walewski who really was the cause of the subject being brought forward. It was upon the 8th of April that Count Walewski, after the settlement of the main question, said—It was desirable that the Plenipotentiaries, before they separated, should interchange their ideas on different subjects which required to be settled"—I beg the House will mark the words—they are important— "and which it might be advantageous to take up in order to prevent fresh complications.Then Count Walewski went on with that remarkable exposition—fresh, I am sure, in the memory of every Gentleman who hears me—in which he showed that Greece was in what is called an "abnormal state," that the Roman Legations were also in an "abnormal" condition, and that the affairs of Naples were, not in an "abnormal," but in an "exceptional" state. Now, when those papers were laid on the table, many Gentlemen, while wondering at the indiscretion committed by Count Walewski, must have felt that a Minister of experience and high character could never have introduced at a Conference for the settlement of terms of peace with Russia questions 767 of this vast importance, without having previously communicated with his Colleagues, and felt the pulse of the representatives of the different Courts. That was the conclusion which everybody must have drawn from the protocols of the Conferences; but a short time afterwards papers were laid on our table, which completely explained the cause of this conduct on the part of the French Minister, and the means by which the attention of the Congress was directed to these extraneous and extraordinary subjects. It then appeared that on the 27th of March, ten days before the exposition of Count Walewski, the Plenipotentiaries of Sardinia placed in the hands of Lord Clarendon a memorandum which, if it be anything, is an act of impeachment against Austria and Austrian rule in Italy, which proposes for the Roman States a Secular Government, the Code Napoleon, and other remedies, and which in spirit was the basis of the observations that Lord Clarendon made on the 8th of April. Therefore it is quite clear that there was an understanding among the Plenipotentiaries in Paris that at their meeting on the 8th of April all these extraneous questions, including that of Italy, were to be brought forward; that the movement came from Piedmont; and in the memorandum of the 27th of March may be found the motive spring of all that has occurred. Now, to proceed a step further—to follow this up—what are the engagements, as the noble Lord the Member for the City interprets them, what are the representations—which with the laxest interpretation of the words we might call them—of Lord Clarendon? Our Foreign Secretary agrees that the state of Greece is "abnormal;" he agrees that the condition of the Roman States also is "abnormal;" but, as regards the Neapolitan Government,He is of opinion that it must doubtless be admitted in principle that no Government has the right to interfere in the internal affairs of other States, but he considers there are cases in which the exception to this rule becomes equally a right and a duty. The Neapolitan Government seems to him to have conferred this right and to have imposed this duty upon Europe.Now, I ask the House whether that is language that could have been used, or ought to have been used, without having some foregone conclusion as to the policy of which it was to be the indication. Though I may not agree with the noble Lord the Member for the City that the language of a protocol of this character is an engagement 768 which may bind us with the formality of a treaty, still it is impossible to read it without feeling that we have a right to expect from the First Minister of the Crown, without revealing the secrets of Cabinets or the mysteries of States, some explanation of the declarations of the English Plenipotentiary more satisfactory than those phrases with which the noble Lord has favoured us to-night, and to which I confess I am at a loss to annex any other meaning than that which I had the misfortune, years ago, to attach to the statements of the noble Lord with respect to the affairs of Italy, The noble Lord has explained to the House what is the meaning he attaches to the exceptional character of the Neapolitan Government, and why there should be a departure, in the case of Naples, from that golden rule of non interference, to which I trust the House will adhere, or which it will never quit without the most urgent necessity. The noble Lord said the position of Naples was remarkable, because, if the Government were to conduct itself so as to give rise to any revolutionary movement in the country, the armed forces of a great military Power—Austria—were at hand, "and you may depend upon it," added the noble Lord, "Austria would occupy Naples, thus producing a state of things that would not only endanger the peace of Europe, but might bring about calamities which it is difficult to measure or foresee." But when the noble Lord defends himself from the charge of doing nothing to mitigate the evils which, according to him, render the state of Naples so exceptional, and which require our interference, he intimates that, though England and France may not succeed—have not succeeded—in any way in obtaining that mitigation of Neapolitan rule which he thinks so necessary, yet some other influence, not less powerful, and which will be received in a far more friendly spirit by the Neapolitan Government, may be brought into requisition with more success. The House clearly understood the noble Lord to mean the mediation of Austria. It was the action of Austria upon Naples that, according to the noble Lord, was to induce the Neapolitan Government to cease from its ill doing and to adopt that remedial course which seemed so expedient. But how extremely inconsistent is it to hold Austria up to us as the Power which, by its beneficent interference with Naples, is to put an end to the iniquitous rule which you deplore, and 769 at the same time to say that, in the event of any revolutionary movement in Naples, Austria will occupy the kingdom in order to uphold the very misrule to mitigate which Austrian mediation, according to your own account, is now the only means to which you can resort! Sir, I cannot have much hope that the influence of Austria will be of the nature which the noble Lord supposes, if, as we are assured at the same time by the noble Lord, we have reason to anticipate and fear Austrian invasion in order to support the misgovernment which Austrian mediation is to mitigate and remove. But, Sir, in what way, viewing this question practically, are we to put an end to the occupation of Italian States by foreign Powers? The noble Lord who began the debate, confined the whole of his observations to the Austrian occupation of part of the Roman States. The noble Lord must have felt the extreme awkwardness of his position, because when he assured the House of his confidence that, with the aid of our great Ally, Austrian occupation might be terminated in the Roman States, he must have remembered that another part of the same States is occupied by the troops of that very august Ally by whose co-operation we were to put an end to the occupation of the Legations by Austria. The noble Lord touched very lightly—or, rather, did not touch at all—upon the fact, that the capital of the Roman States is occupied by French troops; though he must be aware that nothing can be more irrational than to address violent representations to Austria, in order to terminate the occupation of the Legations by Austrian troops, unless, at the same time, our Ally is prepared to take steps by which the occupation of the Roman metropolis itself by French troops shall cease. I know that this question has been settled by Count Cavour in a very ingenious manner; he insists upon it as a first condition, that Austria should quit the Legations, and that the French army should quit Rome, but should remain in the Legations until everything is settled. Now, I ask, what is the use of doing what the noble Lord has done to-night—what is the use—to employ his own language—of "rousing the passions" of the Italians, unless we have a practical object before us, and unless the opinion of Parliament can support the policy of the Minister? Never is this House justified in entering into discussions upon external policy unless we are prepared to impugn the conduct pursued 770 by the Minister as injurious to the country; or, unless we can, by the expression of our opinion, support the Minister in a policy which will be beneficial to the country and to Europe. So far as the theoretical part of the question goes, so far as sympathy for Italy goes, so far as "the poetry of politics" is concerned—there being but one feeling in this House—I want to know, when we turn to the practical question, what the Motion of the noble Lord will do, or what anything we can say will do, to support the policy of the Ministry? Why, Sir, what is the policy of the Ministry? It is the very point which, throughout this whole discussion, has been mysteriously withheld from us. I do not expect the noble Lord to tell us the means by which the Cabinet is prepared to carry out his policy; but we ought to know from the noble Lord what are their general opinions on the subject of the occupation of Italy by foreign troops, and whether they are prepared to take steps to put an end to that occupation or not? Now, Sir, there are two modes in which we can deal with this question, and as they are both practical modes, I will, with the permission of the House, and with as much brevity as I can command, slightly advert to them. We can go to war with Austria, no doubt; we can send a fleet to the Bay of Naples or to the Bay of Genoa; in co-operation with our great Ally, we can transport a French army to some part of Italy; as we moved another French army to the Turkish dominions: we may embark in a great struggle, the object of which will be entirely to change the face of Italian life and the spirit of its Government; to emancipate—according to our views—its people, and to effect a great revolution, which may, perhaps, be accomplished after one of those long wars like the Punic war, or the thirty-years' war, or the war of the French Revolution—after one of those struggles which always occur when such immense consequences are aimed at and attained. On that policy, Sir, I will not presume to give an opinion; because I feel that it is a subject which would require a discussion worthy of its importance in this House before we embarked on it. I will make only one remark with regard to it, and I say, if that be the policy of the Government of this country, they are bound frankly to announce it. They are bound to submit such a policy to the consideration of Parliament, and, if sanctioned and ratified by Parliament, the people of this 771 country will, at least, have the satisfaction of knowing that they have not been drawn into a great struggle, without being aware of it, and their minds will be prepared—as the mind of a nation ought to be prepared—for so vast a stake, by those discussions in the House of their representatives which will direct their attention to the great issue before them. By this means they will be enabled to brace their energies to the occasion, and they will have no grounds for accusing the Queen's Ministers or their own representatives of having embarked in a conflict of such difficulty and duration without fair advice and warning. I think all hon. Gentlemen will agree that if that be the policy of the Ministry—that if they are prepared to go to war to emancipate Italy from Austrian rule, they are at least bound frankly to explain their policy, to appeal to Parliament, and to take the verdict of the country upon its expediency. There is another practical mode by which you may proceed to attain your object. I remember that, some years ago, in 1848, at the end of the Session, later even than the present, because, I believe, it was at the end of August, it was my fate, as it has been the fate of the noble Lord to-night, to bring before the consideration of Parliament the question of interference in Italy. I have in my mind a fresh recollection of the events which took place in 1847 and 1848, and although the noble Lord may not condescend to profit by the experience of that period, I confess myself, that, when I look back to what followed, the consequences were so sad, and have been so opposed, in my opinion, to the progress of Italy, and to the amelioration of the condition of Italian society, that I tremble lest we should embark in a like enterprise again, and lest we should reap from that conduct the same bitter and desolating fruits. It is for this reason, Sir, that I have taken the liberty of entering thus early into this debate. This leads me to the second practical means by which you may attempt to emancipate—as it is termed—Italy. Sir, we may do this by rousing the passions of the Italian people. Without declaring war you may have diplomatic communications—you may have what you had in 1847—first, friendly advice, and afterwards, what are called "admonitions" to the ruling Powers; and I have not the slightest doubt, that without declaring war, and without the active co-operation of fleets and armies, 772 you may thus set a great portion of Italy in flames, and may reap consequences which we may all have deeply to deplore. I will try for a moment to trace what would be your diplomatic action under that second system upon Naples. But before I do that, there is one observation which I cannot help impressing on the House. The state of Naples is declared by Lord Clarendon to be so exceptional as even to justify the violation of the golden rule of foreign policy—namely, non-intervention. Now, it would be very desirable to have before us, on authority, some description by the Government of what the state of Naples is. I will, for the moment, assume that all those tales which have reached us of ruthless and savage imprisonment are perfectly authentic; but, if authentic, in all probability they are in a great degree the consequence of the panic-stricken councils of a small Sovereign surrounded by conspirators, encouraged by the menace of foreign interference. I will admit all we hear to be perfectly authentic—the ruthless imprisonments, and the cruel and even sanguinary punishments. Well, but I remember that a few years ago, there were alleged against Austria the same horrible stories of the imprisonment of citizens—the flower of the North of Italy—in distant fortresses. Who has not heard of the names of men in the highest walks of literature and science who have been the inmates of Austrian dungeons? I care not now to inquire what were the particular causes which induced those imprisonments. But was it not then felt that if we entered into that question we should be entering into the internal affairs of another country, and that the principle of non-interference in foreign countries would be much endangered? But I want to know what there is in the state of Naples, at the present moment, that did not apply to the condition of Austria at the time of which we are speaking? If the cruel imprisonment of citizens by a Sovereign is considered so exceptional a thing as to permit the violation of the cardinal principle of the policy we have adopted, why did we not violate it in the instance of Austria? Why, when we hear of those dreadful banishments to Siberia with which hon. Gentlemen are so familiar, do we not consider that an exceptional case? And what other difference is there between Naples, and Austria, and Russia than this—that Naples is 773 a weak Power, and that Austria and Russia are very strong Powers? I would impress upon the House, therefore, that it should be very cautious upon this head. Now, let us see what will be the action of the second practical course in the case of Naples if we pursue it. We determine not to go to open war to emancipate Italy; but still the condition of Naples is so intolerable as to be an exception to the principle of our policy—so intolerable as to warrant interference, though not in a military form. Then, Sir, we have an admonition—England and Prance publish an admonitory note to the King of Naples, and, perhaps, an English fleet rides in the Bay of Naples. Everybody knows what the consequence of that would be. The instant that the discontented portion of the population of that kingdom find that Naples has lost the good offices of the great Western Powers, that process takes place which the noble Lord has referred to—the passions of the Italian population are roused. They will reason thus. They know well, when their own Sovereign is lectured by England and France, and an English fleet is in the offing, that if they rise, and rise successfully against their Sovereign, Austria dare not interfere. I deny the proposition of the noble Lord, that an insurrection in Naples is necessarily a prelude to an Austrian occupation. If England and France arouse the passions of the Italian population by proclamations and by lecturing the King of Naples, and if an English fleet is in the bay, Austria will not occupy Naples. The noble Lord who introduced this question seems to think that the revolutionary spirit in Italy is obsolete and worn out—that there is no contest going on in Italy but between worn-out dynasties and some intelligent and well-educated persons of the superior classes, who desire his great specific for all evils—constitutional government. I do not think that that this is a true judgment of the Italian people or of Italy, There is in Italy a power which we seldom mention in this House, but without considering and understanding which we shall never rightly comprehend the position of Italy—I mean the secret societies. The secret societies do not care for constitutional government. They do not want existing society ameliorated, they want it changed; and they seek objects from such changes such as can never be obtained or secured by those enlightened institutions to 774 which the noble Lord refers. We know something more of these societies than we did. Since the outbreak of 1848 we have had means—not sufficient, but still we have had means of obtaining a knowledge of their numbers, organisation, principles, and objects; and without some consideration of these it would be absolutely impossible for us to form a conception of what would be the consequence of our interference in the affairs of Italy. It is useless to deny, because it is impossible to conceal, that a great part of Europe—the whole of Italy and France and a great portion of Germany, to say nothing of other countries—are covered with a network of these secret societies, just as the superficies of the earth is now being covered with railroads. And what are their objects? They do not attempt to conceal them. They do not want constitutional government; they do not want ameliorated institutions; they do nut want provincial councils nor the recording of votes;—they want to change the tenure of land, to drive out the present owners of the soil, and to put an end to ecclesiastical establishments. Some of them may go further. These are men of energy and determination; and do you think that, with their complete organisation, when Austria cannot interfere to occupy the kingdom of Naples, when the King is lectured on his throne by the Western Powers, and when, as the noble Lord says, the passions of the Italian people are roused, those societies will be quiet? We know what they did before. They rose, and their energy and their organisation carried everything before them. I am told that a British Minister has boasted—and a very unwise boast it was—that he had only to hold up his hand and he could raise a revolution in Italy to-morrow. It was an indiscreet boast, but I believe it not impossible, with the means at his disposal, that be might succeed. What would happen? You would have a republic formed on extreme principles, and there may be many intelligent and well-meaning persons—I do not say in this House—who would say, "And what then?" "Nothing can be worse," they would say, "than the present state of Italy; let us try a Red Republic, or even a republic of a still more fiery colour." But the question of Italian politics is not of that simple character. Rome is not far distant from Naples. The passage from Naples to the States of the Church is not difficult. You may have triumvirs again established in Rome; the Pope may again be forced to 775 flee;—and my hon. Friend behind me (Mr. Spooner) may say, "So much the better"—and not a cardinal may be left in Rome. What will be the consequences of that? You forget that the two great Catholic Powers of Europe—France, whose Emperor boasts in these very protocols of being the eldest son of the Church—that Ally with whose beneficent co-operation Italy is to be emancipated—if such a catastrophe should occur, France and Austria will pour their legions over the whole surface of the Peninsula. You will have to withdraw the British fleet; your admonitions will be thrown into the mud (as they deserve), and your efforts to free Italy from the occupation of foreign troops will terminate—as it terminated before—by rendering the thraldom a thousand times more severe, and by aggravating the miseries of the unfortunate people whose passions you have fired, and whose feelings you have this night commenced to rouse. But is that all the evil? If the movement which commenced at the Conference of Paris is to be followed up; if the protocols are to be succeeded by speeches of the noble Lord the Member for London while Parliament is sitting, and by admonition and written lectures by our foreign Minister and by our representatives abroad during the autumn, in all probability you will again have Italy in flames, you will again crush that progress which has been always going on in time of peace; and when we meet again we may find the position of the Peninsula infinitely worse than before. But do not suppose that the danger terminates here. What I have said I consider—so far as the future can be certain—to be the certain consequences of the policy which you are pursuing. What I am now going to refer to are merely possible results, but they are results of so terrible a character that it is my duty to refer to them, though I do so with reserve and some feeling of awe. The secret societies are not confined to Italy, as I have ventured to remind the House. They are at this moment more numerous, more active, and in a higher state of organisation in France than in any other State of Europe. If Italy be in flames, and if the Italian secret societies be successful, do you think that it will have no effect on the secret societies of France? They are always in a state of organisation and ready to act upon every occasion. Parliament and the country have confidence, and have justly confidence, in the character of the great prince 776 who now rules France. He is a man of rare sagacity, he has been schooled in adversity, and he is at this moment at the head of a numerous and triumphant army devoted to him. You may therefore allow Parliament to be prorogued with little fear as to the consequences to France of the system in which you are now about to engage in Italy. But you will allow me to remind you that we all remember another great prince who sat upon the French throne, whose sagacity during his reign was also a proverb, who was never mentioned in this House but in terms of panegyric on both sides, who also had been schooled in adversity, and who was also seconded by an army which he and the princes of his House had themselves formed, which was fresh and flushed with victory, and which was led by able generals devoted to him and eager to prove their devotion by the assertion of his rights and the maintenance of his throne. But that great prince fell suddenly, and he fell solely and entirely by the action of the secret societies. That I apprehend is a fact which no man acquainted with the events of 1848 will deny. No doubt that terrible catastrophe was assisted by a great misfortune which then occurred to France. In 1847, when a Member of the British Cabinet (whoso career I have commemorated in this House already) was sent to give advice and counsel to the Italian princes, there happened to be a season of unexampled want in Europe, and especially in France. At no time within the following year were the means of sustenance and of employing labour so deficient. What is the condition of France at this moment? A terrible visitation has fallen upon that country. The charity of more than one nation and the admirable measures adopted by the ruler of France to mitigate the consequences of that visitation may enable the next season to be passed without that misery which fell upon the country in 1848. But the prospect of that country, in a material point of view, is very grave, and if you commence another campaign of Liberalism—the expression of vague opinions and sympathies without being prepared to support them by acts—a policy convenient for a Minister or a public man who wishes to make a political demonstration, or to an ambitious monarch who wishes to increase his territories, but one which a wise Parliament will hesitate to sanction with its ratification—if you once embark in this scheme 777 of raising the passions of the Italian population, as the best means of ameliorating their condition and mitigating the political evils of their country; and if the consequences of that policy should unhappily be concurrent with a period of great agricultural distress in France, it will require all the sagacity of the prince—even though he may be most sagacious—and all the resources of his army, however numerous and however victorious, to guard against the danger; and fortunate will it be for France and for Europe if they escape the most fatal results. I have touched upon these points because I feel that this is no holiday question. We are now in the very lees of the Session, and this may probably be the last day on which there will be assembled so large a number of Members as were present when the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) rose to address the House, and commenced a course which, if not watched with vigilance and care, may involve the country in proceedings the consequences of which it is difficult to foresee. Sir, I certainly find some encouragement in the language of the First Minister. I infer from it that, notwithstanding the proud protocols of the Conferences of Paris—notwithstanding this despatch of the 27th of March from M. Cavour, which must have been delivered behind the scenes, and which in the papers appears as a speech of Lord Clarendon; notwithstanding all the pomp of the Conference and all the pride of the protocols, it appears to me that the noble Viscount has not attempted to deceive us, and that it is the calm, the well considered, and the solid determination of Her Majesty's Ministers, as regards Italian affairs, to do nothing. I believe that the noble Viscount, profitting by the past, remembering the experience of the years 1847 and 1848, has made up his mind not again to be seduced into a position so difficult and so dangerous as that which he then encountered. This also I will say, that I have such confidence in the wisdom of the Emperor of the French that I feel persuaded that, as regards the affairs of Italy, he is of the same opinion and determination as the noble Lord the First Minister. I hope I am not wrong in this anticipation, but it cannot be unadvisable when such a subject as this is brought before the House to meet it fairly in discussion. Let us not, when questions of this kind are brought before us, be led away by the "poetry of politics." I can feel for the condition of Italy as 778 keenly as any Gentleman in this House, whether he be a First Minister or an ex-First Minister. I hope and believe that the time will come when in Italy there will be neither secret societies nor crowned despots. But these are questions for the closet, not for a practical and popular assembly. We have to deal with the facts before us, and if we raise up an agitation against Austrian rule without having a distinct conception in our minds of the objects at which we aim and the line of conduct which we intend to pursue, we shall be arresting the progress of Italy and aggravating every misfortune which has been brought under our notice. It is impossible to deny the fact that the great power of Italy is Austria. Both the noble Lords have admitted that, unless we are prepared to enter into an internecine struggle with Austria, our object ought to be to render the Austrian rule as mild and beneficent as we can. At least we ought not to encourage those who are prepared to con spire against that rule, but who are prepared to do nothing else. Sir, I was in Italy long before the affairs of 1848; and although unquestionably the Government of Austria was not that Italian Government which poets would picture in their dreams, though it was not a system of government under which Petrarchs were crowned with laurels in the capitol, yet it was distinguished from the other Governments of Italy by a vast expenditure of Imperial—not Italian—treasure upon public works, by the light taxation of the people, and by the progressive material improvement of the country. That is something. It is good to have a country with roads unrivalled, with means of communication yearly increasing. That is not, it is true, the only object of life; but I need not impress upon hon. Gentlemen that material prosperity is a basis on which yon may, and in time probably will, establish civil and political rights; that the richer a people become the more anxious they are to guard that wealth; and that, whatever we may say of the Austrian rule, it was, so far as Lombardy was concerned, a rule under which at least the material character of the country was greatly improved. I have not been in Lombardy since that unfortunate year, 1848, but I have heard that the picture of society is now of a very different character. I hear, that in consequence of the affairs of 1848, taxes have greatly increased, public works have 779 been arrested in their progress, and the material development of the country has much diminished. Therefore by the course we took in 1848 we have not improved the condition of Lombardy. That leads me to my last point, our relations to Sardinia. The noble Lord the Member for London, (Lord John Russell) laid it down as a principle that, although there may be in the treaty with Sardinia no formal stipulation that we will support that country against other Powers, yet, after its adhesion to the great alliance and all that has occurred since, we are bound in honour to give it that support if it should be attacked. The noble Lord the First Minister seemed not to question that position, but rather urged upon the attention of the House that there was no fear that Sardinia would attack Austria. Now, I think it undesirable that men of the great character and influence of these noble Lords should in this House volunteer engagements to other countries which the litera scripta of a treaty does not authorise; but I certainly agree with the noble Lord the Member for the City that any attack upon Sardinia by any Power in consequence of the internal policy which she pursues would constitute one of those grave conjunctures which would demand the most serious consideration of the British Government, and could certainly not be encountered by a despatch or an admonition. Let me, however, remind the noble Lord, who says that there is no danger of Sardinia attacking Austria, of what occurred in 1848. It was Sardinia that then attacked Austria. It was when Austria was supposed to be in distress and in despair, even while negotiations of a not unfriendly character were going on between the two Courts, that the King of Sardinia made, as it were, a nocturnal attack upon his Austrian neighbour, and commenced the war which ended in his signal discomfiture. I hope, Sir, that the present King will profit by that experience, and will not repeat that move. I hope he will feel confident that if he, within his own dominions, pursues the policy which he believes to be for the advantage of the great body of his people, he will retain the respect of Europe, and will be safe from unjust attack. I should deeply lament that any occupation of Sardinia by Austria should take place. That would, indeed, be a conjuncture which would require the consideration of this House. To judge from the 780 past, I cannot bring myself to believe that any danger of that kind exists; I cannot but believe that the King of Sardinia is safe so long as he remains within the limits of his own dominions, and pursues that policy in the management of his kingdom which he has a right to follow. If anything can give him power to develope his whole political system, it is the maintenance of peace in Italy. But I am persuaded that, if the policy recommended by the noble Lord the Member for London is followed, you will have the position of Sardinia endangered—not by Austria, but by the revolutionary element existing in Italy, exercising its sympathetic influence upon the secret societies of Piedmont; and that throne will fall, not by the hand of Austria, not by the interference of foreign occupation, but by the efforts of men and bodies of men, who have in view far other objects than the constitutional improvements which wisely engage the attention of the King of Sardinia, and the subversive career of which will be accelerated by such attempts as the Motion made by the noble Lord to-night, to arouse the passions of the Italian people. Sir, the noble Lord the First Minister tells us that he cannot consent to the production of the papers now asked for. I am not surprised at it. I can hardly suppose that the noble Lord the Member for London expected them to be granted; but he has had an opportunity of placing before the House and the country the policy with respect to Italy which he advocates. I entirely dissent from the views of that noble Lord. I say, if you will interfere with Italy, you must interfere with fleets and armies, and be prepared to meet the consequences. If you interfere in Italy, you must make up your minds for a war of prolonged duration—a war that will tax your resources to the uttermost, and which, once it is commenced, you must continue until you have fully accomplished the objects for which you embarked in it, and which, in fact, cannot end until the map of Europe is reconstituted. That is the only mode in which you can interfere in Italy. If you are not prepared to do that, for the sake of the Italians, then, for the sake even of liberty and civilisation, you will avoid stirring up the passions of the population of that peninsula. I am confident this view is right, although you may smile at the association of the words "liberty and civilisation" with Austrian rule. We 781 are told that we can expect nothing from Austria. Let me impress on the House this point—that among Austrian statesmen are some of the most enlightened of public men. Among these are the present Prime Minister of Austria and the Minister of that country at the Court of Rome. They are pupils of Prince Metternich, and like their illustrious master, distinguished for their freedom from prejudice and passion. Such men have an interest in the well government of the Italian States. They must feel that, if Italy were tranquil and undisturbed, Austria, being a powerful nation, could afford to be clement, to trust, and confide. It is the Kings of Naples—the little Sovereigns teased with constant conspiracies (fomented often by foreign Governments) who, rather from a feeling of panic than any natural cruelty or arbitrary disposition, are driven to those excesses which we all equally deplore and desire to see terminated. No monarch can wish to fill dungeons with his own subjects, if he can avoid it. I remember perfectly well that when Lord Minto went to Italy in 1847, and at the request of several of the northern Courts, tendered his advice on the part of the British Government, the same King of Naples, who is now depicted to us as quite a Caligula, was so anxious to establish some form of constitutional government in his dominions that he applied to our Government for their good offices towards that end; and Lord Minto, at the King's express desire, repaired to Naples, and for a considerable period, I believe, entertained sanguine expectations of success. It was the sudden outbreak of the French revolution which put a stop to the arrangements then in progress in Naples. For these reasons, although there can be no division to-night on this question, I hope the House will refuse to sanction the course recommended by the noble Lord—I hope it will arrive at this conclusion:—if we agree to interfere in Italy, let it be a real interference; or, on the other hand, if we are not prepared to act, if we are not prepared to give effect to our policy by force, then the best thing for us will be to remain silent; not to seek to rouse the passions of the population; not to upset thrones—a policy which can only end in aggravating the thraldom of Italy, and may lead to consequences still more fraught with disaster—not to Italy only—but to Europe.
§ MR. BOWYER
believed it was in his power to adduce a few facts tending to elucidate the debate. He had recently heard from persons in Italy, on whom he could rely, that the Roman States would soon be evacuated by foreign troops. He was told that Cardinal Antonelli, the Pope's Minister had declared to the Austrian and French Governments that he should very shortly be prepared to manage the internal affairs of the country without the assistance of foreign armies. He was further informed that measures had been taken, and were now in a forward state, for enabling the Roman Government to dispense with external aid of that description. When that result was attained, it was to be hoped there would be an end to these incessant attacks upon the Papal Government. At the same time, nothing could tend more to retard and thwart the progress of internal improvement in those States, and consequently to retard the evacuation of the country by the foreign troops, than addresses such as those delivered by the noble Lord the Member for London. That noble Lord, although possessed of great knowledge of the literature and the customs of Italy, allowed himself to be carried away by his political predilections, and sought to import into a country for which they were wholly unsuited those Whig notions which could only flourish in an English meridian. The views of the noble Lord could not he carried out unless we were prepared to convulse the whole Italian Peninsula with revolution. Being at present relieved from the responsibilities of office, that noble Lord was able to indulge in what had been called "the poetry of politics;" but if he had occupied a place on the Treasury benches, no doubt his wisdom and statesmanship would have led him to favour the cooler and more temperate counsels that night promulgated from that quarter. The noble Lord argued that, in return for the assistance rendered us by Sardinia in the late war, we were bound to help her in effecting her objects in relation to the Governments of other States. Nothing could be more unjustifiable than the course pursued by Count Cavour at the Paris Conferences. He had laid before the Conference a most minute scheme for remodelling the internal administration of the Roman States and of Naples—both independent Governments, and neither of them represented in the Congress—and called upon the Conference to pledge themselves to assist by force in carrying that 783 scheme into operation. A more monstrous project could not be discovered if they ransacked the annals of diplomacy. It proposed to place the provinces of the Roman States in a position of quasi independence, differing from the position of the capital, thus subjecting the Government to a process of decapitation by separating the head from the trunk. Such a ridiculous measure as that Count Cavour seriously suggested to the Conference as a decided improvement. There could be no doubt one of the real and chief causes of the insecurity of Italy was the policy pursued by the Sardinian Government within its own territory. That policy engendered constant agitation against the aristocracy and the Church, and allowed the press to carry on the most calumnious attacks upon the clergy and the nobility with perfect impunity; while, on the other hand, newspapers venturing to advocate the other side of public questions were carried on under constant fear of prosecution by the Attorney General of the Government. The newspapers which advocated what were in this country called Conservative opinions were constantly subjected to prosecution, while their opponents were allowed to indulge in the most virulent language. The right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) had referred to the secret societies which were rife in Sardinia, and which were countenanced by the Government, and which sought, through the influence of those societies, to maintain its own power. He must also complain of the violation of the laws of property which had recently occurred in that country. The property of the cathedrals and religious orders had been seized by the Government, and the pensions which had been promised to those whose incomes were derived from that property had, in many instances, remained unpaid; and he was informed a few days ago, by a letter he had received from a distinguished Sardinian statesman, that some of these persons were now subsisting on charity. Considering the state of things which Count Cavour had brought about, he thought it ill became him to say that the Government of the Pope was a source of danger. That statement reminded him of the old fable of the wolf and the lamb, for Connt Cavour had done all the mischief himself, and he now laid the blame upon the lamb. He thought it was most gratifying to see the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition concur in taking a statesmanlike, steady, and reasonable 784 view of Italian affairs. He, for one, would see with great pleasure a good and firm constitutional Government established in Piedmont; but the exciting language which was sometimes used in this country, and such language as they had heard from the noble Member for the City of London to-night was calculated to cause confusion and difficulty in the kingdom of Sardinia. When so reasonable and moderate a view of the subject was taken by two of the most distinguished statesmen in that House, he hoped that for the future the affairs of Italy would be allowed to pursue their natural course, and that advantage would not be taken of the weakness of the smaller Governments to address to them language which would not be used in the case of more powerful States. Those who looked back to what took place in 1848 could not wish to see a repetition of events which then issued in such disastrous results.
§ MR. M. MILNES
said, the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government had spoken on this subject with the reserve which his position rendered necessary, and had not given that encouragement to the noble Lord the Member for London which some hon. Members might have desired; but, on the other hand, he thought the noble Lord gave the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) no right to assume that he had come to the same conclusions as he had himself done; namely, that neither at the present nor at any future time could it be the duty of this country to interfere, either directly or indirectly, in the affairs of Italy. Her Majesty's Government had said nothing to justify the belief that they had abnegated that great principle which the liberal party in that House had always more or less supported—namely, that it was the duty of this country always by moral means, and if necessary and possible by physical means, to support the progress of liberty and the independence of nations. He trusted that England would never abandon that principle, and least of all at the present moment, when she had just sacrificed the blood of her bravest men to maintain the independence of a nation, which could exercise little influence on the interests or economy of the country. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bucks had sought to place the noble Lord the Member for London in a dilemma, and said, "If yon interfere at all, you must do one of two things—you must declare war 785 against Austria, or you must drive Italy into revolution." He (Mr. M. Milnes) thought this argument hardly consistent with the dignity of a Parliamentary debate; but he would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he, for his part, was willing to permit the occupation, by Austria, of the whole Italian peninsula? The Austrian possession of the Lombardo-Venetian territory appeared even theoretically a most extravagant intervention in the rights of Italy. What had the German race to do on the soil of Italy? If the Austrian possession of those territories was secured to her by treaty, at least we had the right to say, that those treaties limited her to those parts of Italy only, and gave no warrant to interfere in the affairs of other States. He did not presume to say that it was our duty, or the duty of any foreign State, to interfere with the Italian people; but we had a right to say, that Austria ought to limit her powers of interference to that portion of Italy which she occupies by treaty. If upon some such pretence as the demand of the reigning Sovereign she could occupy Tuscany, Romagna, and Parma, what was to prevent her occupying other States in the same way, and so spreading the strength of her military power over the whole of Italy. We had no right to assume that Austria was at present animated by such ambitious projects; but, nevertheless, the spirit of aggression which had already shown itself in Austria, made it the duty of the Powers of Europe, who respected the independence of States, to view her operations with some jealousy. Austria, for instance, had declared her willingness to place her army at the disposal of such princes as might be disposed to use it, and if such a principle as that could be introduced with impunity into the public law of Europe, the disasters it must lead to would be most lamentable. If the public law of Europe could be made to compel every Sovereign to rely upon his own subjects for protection, all the evils attendant upon foreign occupations would be avoided; but that could not be, and the aim of constitutional Powers should be to see, that when an occupation did take place, it should not continue year after year until it assumed an influence equal to that of the Government itself; otherwise there would be an end to the balance of power in Europe—for if upon no other pretence but that of assisting the reigning Sovereign, we were to allow to Austria the right to occupy States in this way, she 786 would gradually get possession of the whole of Italy; and then came the question, who was to turn her soldiers out? The right hon. Gentleman opposite must admit the possibility of some danger, and admitting that, surely he would say it was not unbecoming in us to guard against it. On the other hand, the right hon. Gentleman had waved in their eyes the torch of revolution, and had almost frightened them out of their propriety with stories of secret societies. Now, that was the worn-out line of argument adopted by tyranny throughout the whole of Europe. When a Government or a Sovereign wished to break faith with the people, they had hitherto had nothing to do but to get up a panic about secret societies. But let them look philosophically into the matter, and see whether it were possible or probable that societies of this extremely dangerous character could grow up in a well-governed country. If secret societies existed at all, they generally exercised great influence, and their very existence was a proof that the social wants of the country were not recognised—that there were social desires not accomplished. They showed that the Government, for all purposes of government, was not what it ought to be; and hence he was fortified in the opinion that secret societies were alone dangerous in countries which had feeble Governments. Secret societies failed altogether and became powerless when the Government regained its strength and equilibrium, as was shown by the events of 1848 in France. The people returned to their peaceful avocations as if no revolution had taken place, and when the influence of the secret societies reached its culminating point, the power of true order and discipline asserted its majesty in the streets of Paris. That there were secret societies in Italy no one could doubt. How could it be otherwise in a country whore espionage was the rule of government, where the sanctity of family life was destroyed—where freedom of thought was abolished from the minds of men who had received the education of intelligent persons, and who by their communications and intercourse with other countries had learned to think and hope for themselves? Of course, amongst men so situated and oppressed there must be secret societies, and God forbid that there should not. But were we to fold our arms, because under such circumstances scenes of disorder might occur in Italy? Where we not only to do nothing, but to proclaim 787 to the world that we would do nothing? If such were the policy advocated by the right hon. Gentleman, he was thankful the Government of this country was not in the hands of a Minister who would counsel such a course—not that he believed that Parliamentary government in Sardinia was in peril, but he believed that if England were to show an unwillingness to protect Sardinia, the consequences might he otherwise than favourable to that institution—because it was quite impossible that Sardinia could be looked at by the absolutist Powers of Europe with any other than a jealous eye. Her very constitution made her an object of suspicion, and she was to Italy what Belgium had been to Western Europe. He remembered a great continental statesman once observed to him, "We on the Continent do not in the least mind what you do in England with your constitutional Government, because you are a strange isolated people; but your establishing the kingdom of Belgium, and showing thereby that constitutional government can flourish on the Continent in evil as well as good times, is one of the most dangerous examples that has ever been propounded." And so, he had no doubt, the absolutist Powers of Europe regarded the kingdom of Sardinia; which rendered it the more necessary that we should throw around her the great protection of the shield of England. He believed that just as we did so openly and chivalrously, there would be less reason to suppose that we should be obliged to make any sacrifices for her. He regretted that the right hon. Gentleman should have revived the calumnies circulated some time ago, with regard to the mission of Lord Minto. He, like a certain foreign journal of influence, attributed the revolutionary spirit in Italy to that noble Lord's mission; but the right hon. Gentleman altogether forgot that if the revolution of 1848 had not taken place things might have been very different in Italy. The counsels of Lord Minto had been marked by wisdom and moderation, and had they been followed there was no reason to disbelieve that by this time the mission of Lord Minto would have been remembered by princes and people with feelings of gratitude. With regard to the Roman States, the Comte de Montalembert had laid it down that none but Catholics could sympathise with or understand them, and therefore we had no right to interfere with the Pope's dominions; but if the machinery of the Papal 788 Government could only be kept in motion with the assistance of foreign armies, we had a right to say that in a temporal point of view foreign intervention could not be avoided. To talk of the independence of the sovereign head of the Catholic Church, when the Pope was manifestly kept upon his throne by some one of the Catholic Powers, seemed rather contradictory; but it was the religious clement that was here referred to, and if that were so, he must say he saw no reason whatever why the question of Italian independence should be mixed up with the sublimer question of religion. Let the Pope remain in Italy if you would, but only upon the basis that his temporal power was regulated by a sensible and good form of government. This brought him to a point to which he begged the especial attention of the House, and that was the little attention the Italian population had at any period shown to any particular form of government. The Italians, however, had always been remarkably conspicuous for their moderation, and even during the occupation of Rome by the republican troops, property and life was quite as secure as they were in the time of the Roman Government. The difficulties of this question of Italian independence must therefore be greatly exaggerated. The process of establishing good government in Italy was, to his mind, so exceedingly simple that nothing but its extreme simplicity prevented its adoption. It would involve the sovereign princes in no risk whatever, and that fact made him fancy there was something at work upon their minds quite as injurious as any secret societies. It seemed to him that they were suffering under foreign influence, which prevented their doing what was right, as well for themselves as for their subjects; and, therefore, he thought it would be wise that there should be, on the part of liberal Governments, some interference to counteract or balance that of the absolutist Powers. He believed that Italy had a great future before her. Napoleon, in one of his conversations with Count Montholon, said that he always had before him the scheme of establishing the integrity and independence of Italy. The difference between the various Italian States was no greater than that between the north and south of France, or even between Scotland and Cornwall. The progress of events would gradually mould them together, and the time might come when it would scorn as strange to look 789 back upon the disorders of Italy as to those of France, and when one homogeneous nation might stand between the Alps and the sea—a proof of the wisdom and sagacious foresight of those who laboured in its behalf.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
said, he thought that the House was indebted to the noble Lord the Member for London for having introduced to their attention a subject of such deep and painful interest. The speech of the noble Lord was eminently; logical, and, having established his premises, he had drawn a conclusion that was irresistible; but if his object had been to induce the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton to declare a policy from that conclusion on the Italian difficulty, he had been signally unsuccessful. It was, no doubt, a great accomplishment to be able to speak well and gracefully, and yet to say nothing; and that the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton had done to admiration. The noble Lord had had a plain and practical question submitted to him that evening; he had spoken well and gracefully, as he always did; and yet he (Mr. Whiteside) ventured to say that there was not a man in the House who thoroughly understood what the noble Lord had intended to convey. The argument of the noble Lord the Member for London was irresistible. Leaving all abstract principles, and throwing aside all the poetry of the question, and applying himself to a matter of business, the noble Lord said, "I take up your protocols, I read your formal State papers, and I ask you, consistently with the doctrines which you have propounded, are you to remain contented with barren protocols, or do you intend to act up to them as sincere and honest men?" The noble Lord was the advocate of a manly and decisive policy. He said, "You have pointed out the evils under which Italy groans; you have drawn the attention of the Plenipotentiaries at Paris to the miseries of that country; do you intend to pursue your advice to a practical conclusion?" That question had been answered by the noble Lord the first Minister of the Crown by saying nothing; and if the noble Lord the Member for London were satisfied, or thought that he had obtained an exposition of a policy, he was easily contented. What was the House to say to those papers which had been presented, and to the modest revolutionary theories which Lord Clarendon had laid down at the Conferences? Lord Clarendon 790 said that they must deal with a strong hand with Naples, and that they must secularise the Papacy—in other words, that they must overturn the Government of Rome; because any man who told him (Mr. Whiteside) that they were to secularise the Papacy, and at the same time to continue the present Government of Rome, had a design upon his understanding. While the noble Lord the Member for London was logical, however, in reasoning upon the speeches of Lord Clarendon, he would have been exceedingly illogical if he reasoned upon his conclusions; because what had Lord Clarendon, who had spoken so well, really done? He could imagine Lord Clarendon saying at the Congress— "We have disposed of Circassia; we have settled Greece; we have have put down the independence- of the press of Belgium; and now we must do something for Italy." Well, but what had the noble Lord done? The practical question before the Congress being how to terminate the armed occupation of the Legations and other portions of Italy, this was the conclusion which had been arrived at as between the Plenipotentiaries of Austria and France—The Plenipotentiaries of Austria have acceded to the wish expressed by the Plenipotentiaries of France for the evacuation of the Pontifical States by the French and Austrian troops." When?— let the House mark what follows! "As soon as it can be effected without prejudice to the tranquillity of the country and to the consolidation of the authority of the Holy See.Then, and not till then, the armed intervention was to cease. It was no wonder, then, that the noble Lord the Member for London had addressed his pertinent question to the Government; because it appeared that the armed occupation of Italy would continue till the Greek kalends, for if it were to continue till there was a good Government in Rome and the authority of the Pope was consolidated it would continue for ever. Justice had not been done to the argument of the noble Lord the Member for London; because his doctrine, rightly viewed, was not that of intervention, but of non-intervention. The noble Lord maintained that if it were a true doctrine that no one had a right to interfere between a Sovereign and his subjects when they disputed upon matters of internal policy, the Government, in order to carry out the doctrine, ought to have stipulated that the armies of Austria and France should at once withdraw from Italy; and he asked whether any assurance had been obtained 791 that their occupation would shortly cease? What was the answer of the noble Lord at the head of the Government to that argument? Had it satisfied the Liberal party? If it had, they were as easily pleased as they were when they ratified the conduct of the Ambassador at Constantinople, He had been assured the other day by a friend who knew Italy well, and on whom he could perfectly rely, that our Minister at Florence, the Marquess of Normanby, had actually sanctioned the intervention of the Austrian army. There was a policy ! The Ambassador at Florence advocated one doctrine, and the Ambassador at Paris another. The noble Lord the Member for London, with the protocols in his hand, asked the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton what he intended to do in accordance with the opinions he had expressed; and the noble Lord the first Minister said he intended to do nothing. If the hon. and learned Member for Dundalk (Mr. Bowyer) understood the noble Lord's meaning, he must be the only Gentleman in the House able to understand it. But something practical might have been done. When the subject was discussed at the Paris Conferences, they might have asked the occupying Powers what good they had done for Italy during their occupation? An instructive and interesting history had been written of the Government of Rome under the first Napoleon, describing how the troubles of Rome had been composed and the people satisfied by an honest administration of the law, and by the introduction of the criminal code of France. But the present occupation of the French was a contrast to the last. Since it had commenced, had France attempted, or even recommended, any improvement? None that he had heard of. The noble Lord might well ask, therefore, what they were going to do for Italy. With regard to Naples they might have done one of two things. The noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government might have said, if Naples does not behave itself we will blow it to pieces—that would have been a distinct policy—or he should have held his tongue if there was no intention of following up words by actions. But an indecisive, shuffling policy, which excited the feelings of the people without remedying their grievances, was a policy which all must condemn, and he agreed with the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire that it would be wiser to renounce 792 interference altogether than to answer the question of the noble Lord the Member for London, as the noble Viscount had done. He did not believe in the doctrine that there was no hope for Italy. Far from it. In some parts of Italy just laws and good codes were in existence when the laws of this country were written in blood; there were good institutions and materials for good government; but, unfortunately, in this boasted nineteenth century, the cause of constitutional government seemed everywhere to retrograde, and if at one moment they might entertain some hopes for it, the next moment they were plunged in despair. There was no reason for revolutionizing Tuscany. If the laws enacted by wise men for that State had been maintained, this discussion on the situation of Italy would have been unnecessary. Nor did he think that it would be impossible to modify the system of government even in Naples. Lord Colchester, a predecessor of the right hon. Gentleman in the chair, after being present at the discussions of the Parliament, when, they had a Parliament in Naples, recorded his opinion that he had hopes of the Government from the temper and moderation with which the debates were conducted. Naples did not require to be revolutionized; but if it did, would the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton revolutionize it? What was the principle of his policy? His principle was interference by protocols—protocols barren of good fruits, though not always barren of evil fruits. If two nations were continually firing protocols at each other, they would end by firing something else. The debate by which this protocol was preceded was very entertaining, though he feared it would lead to a permanent occupation of Italy. The French Minister said to the Austrian Minister, "Why don't you withdraw from Italy?" The Austrian Minister turned and said, "Why don't you withdraw?" He was afraid there was some quiet sarcasm in the noble Lord the Member for London's observation that when the foreign troops were withdrawn the Pope would be left to settle affairs with his own subjects. Was the noble Lord sure that the Pope's subjects would not settle him? If the Government of Rome represented Christianity upon earth, why not leave it to practise Christianity towards its subjects? But the noble Lord the first Minister of the Crown said he could 793 not adopt that policy, because "our august, Ally" had an army there and did not intend to take it away. He did not know whether it was ever to be taken away, because the Emperor, as the eldest child of the Church, had declared his determination to support the Church. If, however, the foreign troops should be withdrawn, he was afraid that the cardinals would have to move as speedily as they had done on a former occasion, and that Rome would be cleared of some of its most respectable inhabitants. To talk of the law of nations in reference to the present system was all nonsense. What law could justify the army of one country in entering another country to settle a dispute between the riders and the people? How should they have liked to see an armed occupation of Ireland by a foreign Power when a revolution there was talked about? They might at Paris have asked Austria to withdraw, but they signed a protocol which bound them to consent to the stay of the Austrians until the happy day came when Austria, France, and England could say, "Now our good work is accomplished, the Papal power is consolidated, and the States of Italy may again be as they once were—the light and glory of the world." The difficulty of extracting an answer from the noble Lord the first Minister, which would bind him to a policy, was proved by the persuasive eloquence of the noble Lord the Member for London having failed in the attempt, He agreed with the noble Lord the Member for London that the Government ought to do one thing or the other, and to pursue a course that would be satisfactory and intelligible; but he ventured to say that they would do neither one thing nor the other—that they would exasperate the feelings of the Italians, and having stimulated them into insurrection, would leave them to their miserable fate. That was a policy of which no humane or just man could approve, and he therefore regretted that the noble Lord the Member for London had failed in obtaining any satisfactory answer from the noble Lord at the head of the Government—which confirmed him in the opinion he had long held, that the great quality of the noble Viscount our First Minister was that of speaking eloquently and gracefully without saying anything whatever on the subject under consideration.
MR. J. G. PHILLMORE
said, he thought very few Englishmen would be found to coincide in the opinions of the 794 hon. Member for Dundalk (Mr. Bowyer) which seemed to him to be less Roman Catholic than ultramontane—opinions which had been condemned in all ages and by every writer of English views. [Mr. BOWYER: No, no!] Had the hon. Member read Dante or Machiavelli?—the latter of whom described the secular government of the Papal Court as the scourge of Italy. The truth was, as all history showed, that of all bad Governments the Government of Priests was the worst, and of all sacerdotal Governments that of the Pope was most to be reprobated. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli) said, "You would not interfere with Austria—why should you with Naples?" But this was a question not of right but of policy. Austria was landlocked, and was almost inaccessible to a British force; whereas the very appearance of a British fleet in the Bay of Naples would be enough to put an end to oppression. He was astonished to hear a gentleman like the right hon. Gentleman alleging the material well-being of a refined and high-spirited people like the Italians under the Austrian rule, as a reason why they should remain quiet under it. Surely the right hon. Gentleman, who knew right well the gratitude which the civilised world owed to Italy, did not wish the high-spirited Italians to be insensible to the degradation of their country. It was the policy of Austria to provide her people with sensual enjoyments, for the express purpose of keeping them in slavery; but the people of Italy could not be expected to acquiesce in a treatment which placed them on a level with the boors of Germany and Hungary. He (Mr. Phillimore) quite agreed that we had no right to encourage hopes which we could not realise; but if the lovers of despotism had countries to which they knew they could look for comfort and aid, it was right that the lovers of freedom should also know that there was one nation from whom their struggle would always command sympathy, and from whom they might, if possible, look for co-operation. It was true that nations were to be guided, not by excited feelings but by sound policy; but if there were any cause that should be dear to a man who loved freedom for its own sake it was the cause of the Italian people.
§ SIR JOHN WALSH
said, that a convenient word had been coined in the French language which it would be desirable should be adopted as soon as possible into our own, namely, the word spécialité, the meaning of 795 which was an aptness for some particular thing or pursuit. Those who had watched the career of the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) had come to the conclusion that foreign diplomacy was not the spécialité of the noble Lord. But the noble Lord himself seemed to be of a different opinion, and, after a short retirement from public life, in which he had of late taken a less prominent part than usual, he had selected a foreign question upon which to make his reappearance in the public eye. The noble Lord had in one respect shown that he had attained no inconsiderable proficiency in the art of diplomacy, for he had listened carefully to the whole of his speech, and had totally failed to gather the policy that the noble Lord really wished this country to adopt, or the measures which the noble Lord called upon the House to pursue. But the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) gave his noble Friend the quid pro quo, for his reply was a chef d'œuvre of diplomacy. The noble Lord, in a succession of sentiments, in which they all concurred—clothed in well chosen language—gave the House no information whatever as to the course which the Government intended to adopt. As Danton took for his motto, "l'audace, et toujours l'audace," so the noble Lord, so far as he (Sir J. Walsh) could make anything out of his vague declarations, had taken for his motto, "interference somehow or other," and would plunge the country into a sea of interference upon Italian politics. This was surely a departure from the old Whig principles, which the noble Lord used to enunciate when he (Sir J. Walsh) had first the honour of a seat in that House. He remembered the time when the Whigs talked of nothing but non-interference in foreign politics, and when almost nothing was held to justify interference. Their motto in those days used to be, "toto divisos orbe Britannos." Now, we were called upon to take a part in the internal differences of a nation divided from us by a great distance, while not one of the Italian Governments wished to seek a quarrel with us, or to cultivate any other than amicable relations with us. The noble Lord said that if Sardinia were attacked we were bound to defend her; but who was going to attack Sardinia? Not Austria or the Italian Powers, for it was the very plain interest of Austria not to attack Sardinia. It was said we ought to force Austria to withdraw her troops from Italy. But, then, there was this difficulty—that 796 France occupied another portion of Italy, and that Rome, the seat of Papal government, was in the possession of the French; and there was a general feeling that they could not be withdrawn from Rome without occasioning a revolution. They had yet to learn what the noble Lord assumed—that France was prepared to be our tool; for the Emperor Napoleon seemed to him to be the last man likely to be the cat's-paw of Liberalism either in that House or elsewhere. The Emperor Napoleon was, indeed, the person least likely to become an instrument in the hands of the revolutionary party. It would be madness and folly to plunge into a course of interference, reckoning upon the support of the Emperor Napoleon, which would be entirely antagonistic to his principles and interests. The hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. M. Milnes) thought the presence of these troops unnecessary, and that, if they left the Italians to themselves, they would display admirable fitness for the exercise of constitutional liberty. With every wish to see foreign troops removed from the Italian Peninsula, he could not blind his eyes to the fact that political parties in Italy were not of the very innocuous character described by the hon. Gentleman. He could not forget that the movement in 1848, which appeared to hold forth to Europe a promise of considerable amelioration in the social state of Italy, was marred and defeated by the folly and madness of the ultra-revolutionist party. He could not forget the atrocities attending the murder of Rossi, and the scenes of violence and rapine which were witnessed in the Legations. And he could not forget that a political chief had recently had the baseness, the madness, and the folly, to advocate assassinations as a means of accomplishing reforms. He did not mean to libel the whole of that intelligent nation, whose great qualities he admired, but he meant to say that there were Italians who carried their political principles to Red Republicanism, which was identical with the Jacobinism of former times. As recently as 1848 and 1849 they had been strong enough to overpower the wise and moderate party, in whose hands every enlightened friend of liberty would wish to see the movement rest. While he was desirous, therefore, of seeing the state of Italy ameliorated, he could not deny that a revolutionary clement of a very dangerous character did exist in that country, which required to be guarded by some precautions. Under these circumstances, 797 he could not conceive a more negative proceeding than that of the noble Lord. He was quite sure the noble Lord would withdraw his Motion. Probably the noble Lord never intended to carry it to a vote. The noble Lord at the head of the Government, considering that he was responsible for the peace of Europe, and the relations between England and the great nations of the Continent, had wisely, in speaking a great deal, said nothing; and that would be the result as far as the Government was concerned. As far as the noble Lord and his followers were concerned, the only possible result would be to raise in the minds of the people of Italy some vague hopes, which might be disappointed—hopes which it was utterly unworthy of this country to raise unless it meant to realise them, and which he was quite convinced in the present state of the affairs of Europe the Government neither meant to realise nor could realise. For these reasons he deprecated this discussion as being mischievous in its effects, injurious to the people of Italy, and not creditable to ourselves.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
It is necessary for me to say a few words in consequence of the entire misconstruction which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire has put upon my speech. I thought I had made the matter sufficiently clear by stating that my object entirely referred to the occupation of territories belonging to one State by the troops of another. I asked whether that system was right. I said that in my opinion an occupation of seven years was too long. I said I did not propose to interfere with any Government which its Sovereign and its people might think fit to establish. If a despotic Government suits them best, let them have a despotic Government. If they wish free institutions, let them and their Sovereigns arrange what institutions they will have. I proposed no interference on that subject, but I said, I cannot admire that form of Government which encourages abuses, which protects those abuses by foreign troops, and which makes the discontent arising from those abuses a pretest for retaining and continuing the presence of foreign troops. And, the subject having been brought before the Conferences at Paris, and a great deal was said upon it by Lord Clarendon, I asked the Government if they intended to proceed with the policy which Lord Clarendon stated on their behalf, or to withdraw from it. And I said, 798 I thought it desirable that either one course or the other should be adopted. I thought that was plain enough. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) does not allude to that question of foreign occupation. He hardly mentions it. He says there are two courses, one of which we must take—either to go to war with Austria, or to rouse the passions of the people of Italy; and he says I have roused the passions of the people of Italy. Now, the whole of my case was this—I said the discussion in the Conferences had naturally created great excitement in Italy, and therefore it was desirable to know, for the sake of preventing the Italians being deceived or led to premature action, what was the policy of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman's charge is therefore quite inapplicable, and leads one to believe that, having framed it previously, he had not time to alter his speech after hearing me. The right hon. Gentleman has, in fact, declaimed upon two propositions, neither of which is mine; though I certainly did say, and I do say again, I think a term ought to be put to this foreign occupation of Italy. The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken (Sir John Walsh) has also misunderstood me; but I am not so much surpised at his as I am at the right hon. Gentleman's not understanding me. I wish to ask Her Majesty's Government what are their views with respect to foreign occupation. Should it be permitted for seven, fourteen or twenty-one years, or would they give a ninety-nine years' lease? Are the troops always to remain in possession of the territories which they occupy? If they are to remain ninety-nine years, is not that an actual transfer of the sovereignty? By the Treaty of Vienna certain countries are called the territory of Parma and the duchy of Modena. Does that mean that they are to belong to Austria, or that they are to be independent States? If independent States, is the protracted occupation of their territory consistent with that provision? That is the question which I put to the House, and of which hon. Gentlemen on the other side take no notice. Again, on the general question of interfering with foreign Powers, I say it is not my proposal to interfere. Those who go into a State and tell the Sovereign he cannot govern the people, and tell the people they are rebellious and disobedient, and every person who offends shall be brought before a court-martial of foreign officers, and punished at the dictate of those officers—those are the people who 799 interfere, and not I, who wish to put an end to their interference. With regard to the speech of my noble Friend the First Minister of the Crown, it has given great satisfaction to the hon. Member for Dundalk (Mr. Bowyer), and it may, therefore, seem rather strange that it should also have given satisfaction to me. But certainly it did, because I understood from it that the Government do not intend to abandon that policy which was stated by Lord Clarendon at Paris. With regard to the particular measures which they intend to take, I am the last person to be so unreasonable as to ask the Government to declare what those particular measures will be. But my noble Friend has said that it is still the wish of the Government that the foreign troops shall leave the Italian States, and that, in conjunction with the Emperor of the French he will, from time to time, take measures with that object. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of secret societies. He said the whole Continent was undermined by secret societies. But I am not sure, that a Government extremely despotic and supported by foreign troops is the Government most likely to put down secret societies. It is in that rank soil these weeds are most likely to grow. These things act upon one another. There are secret societies; therefore there is foreign occupation. There is foreign occupation; therefore there are secret societies. You have always the Government defended by foreign troops, because there are secret societies, and the people resorting to secret societies because they see no other means of stating their grievances. The best intelligence I have heard is not from an official but from a semi-official quarter—the hon. Member for Dundalk, who speaks as it were on behalf of the Holy See in this House—and he tells us that the troops of Austria and France will in a short time leave the territory of the Holy See. [Mr. BOWYER: I said from private information.] Private information. Yes. It is not an official despatch which the hon. and learned Gentleman has received; but his statement gives me great satisfaction, as I think it very likely that the person who wrote to the hon. and learned Gentleman that private information may have heard it from very good authority. If it prove true it will be very satisfactory. If the people of the Roman States entertain that opinion of the Pope that they are willing to live at perfect peace with him without free institutions, 800 or if, on the other hand—as I would be more glad to see—if Pius IX., being an Italian Sovereign, as undoubtedly he is, should return to the better thoughts and better measures of his earlier years of government, and without establishing constitutional government, which I rather think is premature, if he establish good councils, and have justice and mercy in his code, then I shall be quite satisfied that those institutions shall be such as the Roman Government shall think fit to establish, without any interference except such as the public opinion of the Roman States may happen to offer. I have one other thing to say. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli) said that Lord Minto went to Naples at the request of the King, to assist him, in respect of some constitutional reforms, and to establish representative government. The fact is that the King proclaimed a constitution at Naples, when Lord Minto was at Rome, and in the opinion of Lord Minto, as well as of Pope Pius IX., that measure was premature. Lord Minto thought it would not hasten, but, on the contrary, would involve a risk of overturning the progress of reform and good measures in Italy; as actually proved to be the case, for we know that those who assisted in the formation of that constitution were afterwards brought to trial for assisting the King in that endeavour. What the King really desired Lord Minto to go to Naples for was, to intervene between himself and the Sicilians. There had been an insurrection in Sicily; the terms upon which that island should be governed were in question, and the King thought that the opinion of Lord Minto might be of weight in inducing the Sicilians to submit; and it was at the request of the King, and with the approbation of the Government of which his noble Friend the First Lord of the Treasury was then a Member, that Lord Minto went to Naples. The right hon. Gentleman seemed inclined to renew those insinuations against Lord Minto, that he had fomented revolution in Italy. Those charges are purely imaginary. Lord Minto recommended at Turin and at Florence the establishment of good government, but not the introduction of representative constitutions. If the English Government and its representative in Italy were busy in fomenting insurrection at Naples, Rome, and Milan, I would like to know whether the British representatives at Berlin, Vienna, and Paris were equally busy. It 801 was the course of public opinion, and in some of those countries the mismanagement of public affairs, which created the great revolution of 1848 throughout Europe, and power fell into hands which were incapable of properly employing it—into the hands of democratic factions which have been entirely put aside—for I believe not a vestige remains of the Governments of 1848—but I trust that future years will witness the confirmation of those liberties which it is most desirable should be established.
§ MR. DISRAELI
observed, that the noble Lord had stated that he (Mr. Disraeli) had not noticed the occupation of the Legations. He had understood the noble Lord to say his object was to inquire whether the Government intended to pursue the policy indicated by Lord Clarendon at Paris. If the noble Lord referred to the protocols he would see that the conditions upon which the Legation should be evacuated were laid down.
§ Question put; and negatived.