HC Deb 04 May 1860 vol 158 cc682-4

said, that before putting the question of which he had given notice, he wished to say one word with reference to the question that had been put by the hon. Baronet (Sir J. Acton). He hoped the Government would consent to lay on the table all the despatches, not only which had been received from the diplomatic agents at Rome, but those which had been sent out to Mr. Russell. His reason was that the noble Lord and other distinguished Members of the House had, on more than one occasion, intimated their opinion that the Grand Dukes and the Pope ought to have fought for their dominions if they really claimed a right to them. Now he was informed that the noble Lord, in one of his despatches directed Mr. Russell, in the name of the English Government, to advise the Court of Rome not to take any hostile course with reference to Sardinia. If that were so, the noble Lord was undoubtedly to blame; for that very course had led to the annexation of Central Italy to Sardinia. He had also been informed that the noble Lord had written a despatch in which he instructed Lord Augustus Loftus, at Vienna, to recommend the Government of Austria to dissuade the Court of Rome from taking any hostile course: and that, in reply, Mr. Russell wrote to the effect that a pacific course was approved of, and that the Roman Government was prepared to offer no opposition to the King of Sardinia. The fact was that the Pope was ready with his army to defend his territory, and attack the troops of the King of Sardinia if they entered it. So also was the Grand Duke of Tuscany and the Duke of Modena. The English Government, however, dissuaded them from defending their territories. Furthermore, the diplomatic agents of this country prevailed upon the Grand Duchess of Parma not to take the course which would have been ordinary and natural under the circumstances. He (Mr. Hennessy) would take the liberty of reading a few lines from one of the published despatches. When Lord Augustus Loftus made that extraordinary recommendation to the Court of Vienna the Austrian Minister replied that, "the Pope was an independent sovereign, and no one could contest his undisputed right to defend from aggression a province which was part of his own dominions." Now he (Mr. Hennessy), ventured to think that the noble Lord had not acted in conformity with a strict policy of non-intervention in dictating either directly or indirectly to the Court of Rome upon such a subject. The Duke of Modena was anxious to take hostile steps when the Sardinian army entered Italy, and he too was dissuaded by the English Government from taking the most ordinary precautions. And yet the noble Lord a few nights since had spoken of these rulers as having run away, and abandoned their dominions and subjects. He was also anxious to call attention to despatches of the noble Lord, in which he had gone beyond the usual limits of diplomacy, and used language fortunately not often seen in the despatches of European statesmen. The Earl of Malmesbury in his despatches had always referred with great delicacy to the temporal rule of the Pope. That noble Earl appeared to be of opinion that it was highly improper that England, being a Protestant country, should dictate to the Pope, or intermeddle in the affairs of the Holy See; and he never made the least allusion to the ecclesiastical rule of the Sovereign Pontiff. The noble Lord opposite (Lord John Russell), however, in one of his despatches declared that the tem- poral rule of the Pope ought to be confined to Rome and a certain circuit outside the walls of the city. That might be the noble Lord's opinion; but it was a question whether he should have announced it to one of his diplomatic agents, and thus recorded it in a public despatch. But he went much further. The noble Lord described the ecclesiastical rule of the Pope as ignorant, tyrannical, and corrupt—he had spoken of it in terms quite as strong as those of his celebrated Durham letter, and quite as insulting to his Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. He was very sorry that the noble Lord had so far digressed from the policy of his predecessor. Of course the noble Lord, as a member of the Church of England, might naturally suppose that the rule of the Church of Rome was ignorant and corrupt; but the House would not sanction that language as a description of the religion of some millions of Her Majesty's subjects. He would now beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether Mr. Ogilvie, of the London Customs, who has been selected to assist in the revision of the French Tariff, as stipulated under the Treaty, is the officer of that name, who, a few years ago, was engaged, under the direction of the present Chairman and Board of Customs, in getting up the prosecutions for alleged frauds against the various Dock Companies of the Port of London; whether Mr. Ogilvie was employed in revising the British Tariff which has just been abolished, and which was based upon the principle of levying Duties by specific rates: and, further, whether there is any objection to the Reports or Statements made, on a former occasion, by Mr. Ogilvie to the Board of Customs, or any member of it, or to any person connected with the Government, in opposition to the abolition or reduction of the Wine Duties, being presented to this House?