HC Deb 20 June 1856 vol 142 cc1733-5

, pursuant to notice, rose to ask a question respecting the non-apprehension of the Italian Foschini, who had recently attempted to assassinate three men in a house in Panton Street, all of whom were severely wounded, one so dangerously that it was feared he would not survive. A reward of £100 had been offered by the Government for the apprehension of Foschini. Placards had appeared all over London describing his appearance, and every exertion was apparently made to effect his apprehension. All the endeavours of the police had, however, been found of no avail, and he was informed, on authority upon which he could rely, that this man was safe in America. He was further informed that so certain was Foschini of his escape that he had actually returned to the house where he lodged after the commission of the crime; that he slept there that night, and breakfasted there on the following morning, and that he then went off. From the premeditation of the crime and the craft of the individual, there was enough to show that there was some agency employed in it that was capable of baffling the efforts of the police. He was also informed that the Italian refugees in England, as well as elsewhere, were divided into two factions or sects. The one was composed of the more moderate men, who looked forward to an amnesty with the hope of being able to return to their native country. The other comprised what was called the "Reds," who were men of a more desperate character, and who wished to keep up an agitation in different parts of Europe, and thereby to prevent any amnesty being granted. Of this latter class Foschini was a member, and was the intimate friend and associate of Pianori, who had attempted the life of the Emperor of the French. This party was on intimate terms with Mazzini, whose government—["Question, question!"] Those men were closely connected with Mazzini—["Question!"] It was necessary for him to mention those facts, in order to explain the reasons for his question. Those attempted assassinations were committed by persons who did those acts for their own purposes, and to prevent the more moderate refugees from getting back to their own country. Although the offer of £100 reward for Foschini would be very likely to tempt persons to give such information as would lead to his apprehension, yet the members of that party were deterred from doing so from the fear that they would fall victims to the knife of the assassin. Such being the facts which he had received from an authority upon which he could rely, he submitted that something ought to be done to put down the evil of such an organisation, which evidently existed in this country, and with which the police were unable to deal. The fact of this man Foschini being a foreigner rendered him a more marked character, and more likely to be apprehended. It was, therefore, the more extraordinary that the police had been unable to effect his capture. This was a matter upon which Her Majesty's subjects should receive the fullest information from the Home Office. He would, therefore, ask the right hon. Baronet whether there is at the Home Office, or with the Commissioners of Police, any Report or other papers regarding the escape of Foschini, for whose apprehension a reward was lately offered; and if so, whether Her Majesty's Government will lay such Report or other papers on the table of the House?


I know nothing of the facts which have been alleged by the hon. and learned Gentleman, and I am not without hope that the crime to which he has alluded may yet be made the subject of a judicial investigation. Every means were taken by the police, immediately they received information of the crime, for the discovery and apprehension of Foschini, the person charged with its commission. Not only was a search made for him in London, but a description of him was sent by telegraph to all the ports by which it was thought possible that he would attempt to escape, and measures have been taken for his identification and apprehension if he should have reached any of those countries with which we have treaties of extradition for offences of this kind. The hon. and learned Gentleman must not therefore assume that if he has left the country he is beyond the reach of justice; but I have no positive information as to whether or not he has left it. No doubt there is reason to believe that the crime was premeditated, and that immediate means were taken for the concealment and escape of the person by whom it was committed, which have been the cause of his not yet having been discovered.

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