§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, that the hon. and learned Baronet (Sir G. Bowyer) had an important notice on the Paper for the next evening, to call attention to the affairs of Southern Italy, and to move for Papers. Now, his (Sir G. Grey's) noble Friend, Viscount Palmerston, was not able to be present in his place that night, and it was doubtful whether he would be able to be present the next night. The House would feel that it was most desirable that the noble Lord should be present when the subject was brought on; and therefore, in order that the House might have some certainty as to the course of procedure, he wished to ask the hon. and learned Baronet to name another day for the discussion. It was impossible to give a day for it next week before Friday. He would, therefore, ask the hon. and learned Baronet to postpone his Motion till that day.
§ SIR GEORGE BOWYER
said, he had no difficulty in acceding to the request made to him on the part of the Government. But he wished to take the opportunity of asking a question of the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, which he thought would convince the House that no unnecessary delay ought 135 to take place in bringing the affairs of Southern Italy before the House. The question was as to another Proclamation of the celebrated Major Fumel. The Proclamation was dated the 1st of this month. He had translated it carefully, and it was as follows:NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC.The undersigned, charged with the destruction of brigandage, promises a sum of 100f. for every brigand who may be brought to him,—dead or alive. The same reward will be given to any brigand who shall kill one of his companions, and his life shall, moreover, be spared. The undersigned declares that any one who shall give shelter to the brigands, provide for their subsistence, or give them the slighest relief, or who shall see them, or even shall simply know their place of refuge, without immediately giving notice to the civil and military authorities, shall be immediately shot. For the protection of flocks the shepherds are invited to form several centres with a sufficient armed force, because in case of attack they will not be permitted to plead the excuse that the cattle were taken by force. In three days all the cottages must be burnt, and the towers and uninhabited country houses must be unroofed and the windows walled up. After the lapse of the said time they will be burnt, and all cattle and sheep not guarded with a sufficient force will be killed. It is explicitly forbidden to carry bread or other food out of the commune. Every one transgressing this order will be considered as an accomplice of the brigands. Provisionally and for the present circumstance the Syndics are authorized to give to the peasants permission to carry arms, on the responsibility of the proprietors who may ask for this to be done. Each member of the National Guard is responsible for the territory of his commune. The undersigned can see none hut two parties—the brigands and the opponents of the brigands (contrebrigands). All who stand indifferent will be classed with the brigands, and the most energetic measures will be taken against them; because when the common interest requires their assistance, it is a crime to refuse to give it. All disbanded soldiers who do not present themselves within four days will be considered as brigands.That document was dated from a place called Celico. There was also another circumstance with respect to which he wished to ask the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs a question. He had read an article in an Italian newspaper, the Stella del Sud, making the following statement:—The Captain of the guarda mobile was traversing the district of Salice, in the commune of Bernalda, and having met some of the shepherds of the country, asked them if they had seen an armed band. They answered in the negative. After some time it appeared that a sanguinary contest took place between the guard and an armed body. The captain, believing that he had, been deceived by the country people and shepherds, returned, after a period of three days, to the locality where he had met them, and there captured thirteen unfortunate countrymen, and 136 drove them into a cabin. Then, by firing on them, he set fire to the place, and by that means thirteen innocent men were burned to death.Now, what he wanted to know from the Government was, whether they had been, more fortunate in reference to the ease to which he had just drawn their attention than they had been on a former occasion, and whether they had received any information with respect to events so important? He also wished to know whether the Government, in the event of their not having received the information, would immediately endeavour to ascertain the truth or falsehood of the statements which he had laid before the House—of their truth he himself had little doubt—and would, in the event of their turning out true, address some remonstrance to the Piedmontese Government with regard to the atrocious means taken by them to keep down the people of the Two Sicilies?
§ MR. LAYARD
said, the hon. and learned Baronet had given him no notice that he was about to ask the questions which he had just put to him, and he was not, until that moment, aware that he was about to put them. He might, however, in reply to the hon. and learned Gentleman, state that Her Majesty's Government could not hold themselves responsible for articles which might appear in the Italian newspapers, or for all the Proclamations which might, or might not, be issued in that country. As regarded the particular Proclamation to which the hon. and learned Baronet had called attention, the Government had received information from Naples that a copy of that Proclamation had been brought under the notice of Her Majesty's Consul. By him the circumstance had been mentioned to the Governor of Naples, who had no information on the subject, but who sent to the remote place called Celico—a place which did not seem to be known to the Members of that House—and, after some time, learned from the syndic of the district that Major Fumel—an officer, he believed, not now in the military service of the Government—had prepared a draught of some such Proclamation, but that it had not even been printed. How the hon. and learned Baronet had procured a copy of it he was unable to say. He must, however, observe that he thought the questions which the hon. and learned Gentleman was in the habit of asking might be more appropriately put in the free Parliament which was now sitting at Turin.