HC Deb 15 May 1863 vol 170 cc1770-2

I rise, Sir, to ask the noble Viscount at the head of the Government the Question of which I have given him notice. I am informed: that the noble Viscount, in the most public, manner, lately made a statement very much affecting the honour of the French Government. I will read to the House that statement. The noble Lord said— In Rome there is a French garrison. The French garrison protects the ex-Royal family of Naples. Under the shelter of that foreign garrison [that is the French garrison] there exists a Committee of, I believe, no less than 200 people, whose constant employment is to organize bands of murderers, the scum and refuse of every nation, and to send them forth into the Neapolitan territory to commit every sort of atrocity. The Question I have to ask the First Lord of the Treasury is, What are the proofs of a statement that there exists at Home a Committee of no less than 200 persons, by whom bands of murderers are organized and sent forth into the Neapolitan territory to commit every sort of atrocity; and whether he will lay upon the table any Official Correspondence or other Documents in support of that statement?


Sir, if the hon. and learned Baronet had read fully what I stated, he would see that I said I spoke from belief—that I had no positive proof of that which I stated, but that to the best of my belief it was the fact. I have no documents to lay upon the table. The truth is, that I am in the habit of receiving from time to time very interesting information with regard to men and things in many parts of the world; and if I were to state to this House the names of the persons from whom that information is derived, I should very soon know as little about things as the hon. and learned Baronet himself seems to know. But, Sir, I think I can refer the hon. and learned Baronet to an authority which, probably, he will admit to be a good one; and from that authority, I have no doubt, he will be able to obtain the most accurate information with regard to this, not secret Committee, but this Committee of Bourbonists sitting at Rome. I happen to have seen to-day a statement which I apprehend is correct, that on Sunday, the 3rd of this month, a certain Jesuit Father Curci, in the Church of Santo Spirito dei Napolitani, preached, by selection of the Cardinal Sforza, Archbishop of Naples, a sermon to the ex-King of Naples, the whole of his Court, and a large Bourbonist congregation; and in that sermon he told them that— He was sorry to find that they could not submit to the decrees of Providence, and make their minds up to that state of things which for them unfortunately existed, and he reproached them and said that by promises of money and inflammatory writings they kept stirring up the ignorant masses in Southern Italy, and kept hounding them on to pillage and slaughter; and while they were ready to pay for the outfit of brigands, they would not give a single bajocco to their suffering fellow-countrymen in Rome, who, but for the charity of the Romans, would die of starvation. If the hon. and learned Baronet would only communicate with Father Curci, I have no doubt he will obtain most accurate information of the numbers of which this Bourbon-Neapolitan Committee in Rome consists.