HC Deb 12 July 1859 vol 154 cc1051-2

Sir. I have no wish to trespass on Her Majesty's Government for information which it may be inconvenient for them to give at the present moment; but I am sure they will allow for the deep interest which the country must feel in the present state of public affairs. Under these circumstances I would be glad to know from the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether he has received any communication respecting the interview which was anticipated to take place yesterday between the Emperor of the French and the Emperor of Austria, and whether he can inform the House what has been the general consequence of that meeting?


—Sir, Her Majesty's Government have received intelligence on the subject referred to by the right hon. Gentleman. At two o'clock this day I was informed by the Ambassador of the Emperor of the French that he had received a telegram, informing him that peace between the two Emperors was signed yesterday. Since my interview with the French Ambassador I have received a telegram from Lord Cowley, and I think I cannot better satisfy the anxiety of the House than by reading the statement contained in that document:— Paris, Tuesday, 2 p. m. The following telegram has been received:— 'Valleggio, Juillet 11, 1859. The Emperor to the Empress. 'PEACE is signed between the Emperor of Austria and me. The bases of the Peace are:— 'Italian Confederation under the honorary Presidency of the Pope. 'The Emperor of Austria cedes his rights to Lombardy to the Emperor of the French, who transfers them to the King of Sardinia. 'The Emperor of Austria preserves Venice, but she will form an integral part of the Italian Confederation. 'General amnesty.' That is the whole that is stated in the telegram. I may state further, because there has been a rumour for some weeks past that whenever peace came to be signed and Lombardy should be ceded to Sardinia, France would ask as compensation for her expenses in the war to have Savoy ceded to her, that I am happy to be able to inform the House that the Emperor of the French has made no demand of that kind, and that there is every reason to suppose that he does not intend to make any addition whatever to the territory of France. This is most gratifying, because any addition to the territory of France, however insignificant, following on the war, could not fail to arouse the suspicions and jealousies of Europe. I hope, that under the present circumstances, the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) will not persevere in the notice of Motion which he has put on the paper, and that he will give the House to understand that it is not his intention to persevere in it.


In reply to the appeal made to me by my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, I wish to state that though I cannot admit as a general proposition that the Members of this House, or this House itself, is to be debarred from expressing an opinion on matters of this nature, I shall not press the Motion that stands in my name for Thursday next. I shall, therefore, on that day, ask for leave to withdraw it. But I reserve to myself the right, if it appears to me desirable to exercise it, of explaining in a few words what the motive was which induced me to place that notice on the paper.