HC Deb 17 March 1864 vol 174 cc250-86

In introducing the motion which I have placed upon the paper for to-day, I do it as an individual Member, and because I feel that the dignity of this House has been assailed in consequence of information having been withheld by her Majesty's Government upon a serious question, which affects not only the Government but also the country at large, and certainly concerns the dignity of the House. I wish the House distinctly to understand that the task I have undertaken is to me by no means an agreeable or a pleasant one, and I do it purely as a matter of duty. I am surprised, however, on looking along the front bench opposite, not to see that Member of the Administration who is chiefly concerned in this question. It is far from my disposition to take any advantage of any Member of the Government, or to take him by surprise; but is it not singular that the Government itself should not have taken care that that Member was present? I think that to the House and the country it will be surprising indeed that that Member should not himself have taken care to be here. Nevertheless, I repeat I am influenced by no animus whatever against him. I have not the honour of his personal acquaintance, and I cannot therefore have any feeling or wish but to support in my humble capacity the dignity of the House, in which, though unworthy, I have a right to feel as much interest as any other person. It will be in the recollection of the House that the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Cox), put a question to the hon. Member for Halifax (Mr. Stansfeld), well worded, temperate, and well judged, but the question was not answered in that satisfactory way which I am sure the House required to be answered. [Mr. Stansfeld here entered the House.] But that answer introduced that which, at any rate so far as the question was concerned, appeared to be perfectly superfluous, and which I saw very clearly astonished the hon. Member who put the question. It introduced a considerable eulogy and a great panegyric of M. Mazzini. This surely was uncalled for, but if it be in accordance with the views and opinions of the hon. Member he felt that he was called upon to make this defence of Mazzini, to make this kind of eulogy and panegyric upon him—if he entertains those Mazzinian opinions honestly and fairly, all I can say is that, however erroneous I know them to be, and however wrong as fatal to good order and government I believe them to be, I nevertheless respect a man who feels honestly and sincerely the opinions he professes. But the hon. Gentleman the Member for Halifax, when this question was put to him by the hon. Member for Finsbury, said he felt great astonishment, mingled with indignation, that his name should be mentioned in association with that of an assassin. Well, now, why should this extraordinary indignation and astonishment have occurred to the hon. Member? I allude merely to reports and what I have also read, for which those who publish it are answerable. But the House is bound to receive those statements if they are not contradicted. All I can say is, I beg to ask the hon. Member whether he forgets—and I am sure he will not deny it if he remembers it—that his name was mixed up with certain conspirators in the year 1857? Does he forget that in a certain conspiracy, called the "Orsini conspiracy," in 1858, his name was also mixed up? These periods are only a few years antecedent to the present, and so one does not see under these circumstances why he should be so affected with extraordinary astonishment and indignation. Now, Sir, in the year 1857 there was in the courts an acte d'accusation, and in it I find the following words:—"Two other names are still to be cited: that of the Sieur James Stansfeld, brewer, of London, who was also made the banker of Mazzini," &c. In fact the term is made use of—I say no more—"Two other assassins," for the acte d'accusation went on to say that two "other" assassins were proposed by Massarenta at Genoa, where he was; and Campanella and Massarenta were invited to call for money at the brewer's Stamfield (Stansfeld). It finished by saying that, at the same time, the authorities seized in the portfolio of Tibaldi the address of the "brasseur Stansfeld." Now, I only mention this as having read it, and I put a question to the hon. Gentleman, has he forgotten those trials of Tibaldi and Orsini in 1857 and 1858, because if he has not forgotten them, why should he be so wonderfully surprised, and feel such indignation as he showed the other day? Still, as I said before, if the hon. Member honestly avows and participates in those opinions, I can only find fault with him for an error in judgment. Now the hon. Member said upon that occasion, in reply to the hon. Member for Finsbury, that he believed his friend of eighteen years' standing to be incapable of assassination. Upon my word I do not mean to say that he is capable of assassination, and I think it very possible on that point the hon. Member may be right. But that is not the question. Does he not instigate to assassination? That is the question. Does the hon. Member for Halifax remember the name of Gallenga alias Mariotti. If the name does not remain in his memory I will take the liberty to call his attention to an account given in the Révue des Deux Mondes—an unsuspected Liberal authority—of December, 1856, wherein it was said— As to the home politics of Piedmont, they are summed up in an incident merely personal to all appearance, and yet of some significance. A man mixed up in political life, a writer and a deputy, a whilom friend of M. Mazzini, and subsequently an adherent of the Monarchy of Savoy and of the existing Government, M. Antonio Gallenga, wrote some time ago a history of Piedmont. M. Gallenga does not show himself altogether favourable to the sect of Young Italy; more particularly he relates a fact which dates more than twenty years back. At that time a young man named Mariotti, furnished with a dagger received from the hands of the Chief of Young Italy, is said to have arrived one day at Turin, with the fixed design of slaying the King, Charles Albert. The regicide was overtaken by weakness, or did not find in his friends the support which he expected, and the enterprize failed. M. Mazzini, no doubt, was far from content with his old pupil's method of writing history, and published a letter, not, of course, to blame the idea of the crime, but to relate that the narrative was all the more exact, inasmuch as Mariotti and M. Gallenga were only one and the same person. M. Gallenga has himself confirmed this identity. The revelation has produced an extraordinary sensation. The result has been that M. Gallenga has been obliged to resign his place as deputy, to replace in the King's hands the Cross of SS. Maurice and Lazarus, which he had received, and to retire from political life. I will now read a letter, which is really very interesting, from Mazzini, but which having been published, may have been met with by some hon. Members— Not long" says Mazzini, "before the expedition to Savoy, after the shooting down of our friends in Genoa, Alessandria, and Chambery, towards the end of 1833, there came to me one evening at the Hotel de la Navigation at Geneva, a young man whom I did not know. He brought mo a note from L. A. Melegari, now a professor and ministerial Deputy at Turin (then one of us) [some committee], who recommended his friend to me with words more than warm, as one who was bent upon doing a lofty deed, and wished to come to an understanding with me about it. The young man was Antonio Gallenga. He came from Corsica. He was affiliated to the "Giovane Italia." He told me that from the moment the proscription commenced, he had resolved to avenge the blood of his brethren, and to teach tyrants, once for all, that guilt was followed by expiation; that he felt himself called to strike down, in the person of Charles Albert, the traitor of 1821, and the butcher of his brethren; that he had brooded over the idea in the solitude of Corsica, until it had grown gigantic and too strong for him. And more besides. I raised objections, as I have always done in similar cases, discussed the matter, and put everything before him that might change his purpose. I said that I thought Charles Albert deserving of death, but that his death would not save Italy; that in order to assume the ministry of expiation one should be free from every low feeling of revenge, and from everything unworthy of that mission; that one should feel himself capable, after accomplishing the act, of folding his hands on his breast and giving himself up as a victim; that in any case he would die in the attempt; that he would die branded by men as an assassin; and so on, for a good while. Well, now, why did Mazzini do this? I think I shall show that he had his object in so doing, as he said he had done on similar occasions. It was for nothing else than to try the steadfastness of these young men, and see whether they had courage and nerve enough for what they proposed to take in hand. The letter continued— He replied to all, and his eyes sparkled while he spoke,—Life was nothing to him, he would not retreat a step; the act being accomplished, he would cry Vive l'Italia! Tyrants were too audacious, because secure through other men's cowardice; that barrier should be broken through. He felt himself destined for the work. He had kept a picture of Charles Albert in his room, and by constantly looking at it had given more and more predominance to his idea. He ended by convincing me that he was one of those beings whose purposes are a matter between their own consciences and God, and whom Providence from time to time lets loose upon earth (like Harmodius of yore) to teach despots that the limit of their power rests in the hand of one single man. And I asked him what he required of me? 'A passport and a little money.' Well, what did M. Mazzini give him? He said— I gave him a thousand francs, and said he would get a passport in Ticino. While passing the St. Gothard he wrote me a few words full of enthusiasm; he had prostrated himself on the side of the Alps, and had turned towards Italy, swearing to do the deed. He got a passport in Ticino, in the name of Mariotti. Arrived in Turin, he had an interview with a member of the committee of the association, whose name I had given him. The offer was accepted. Projects were decided upon. The deed was to done in a long passage at the court, through which the King passed every Sunday when going to the Royal Chapel. Some persons who got a special ticket, were allowed there to see the King. The committee was able to procure a ticket. Gallenga went with this, without arms, to study the ground; he saw the King, and was more determined than ever—at least he said so. It was decided that the act should be accomplished on the following Sunday. Then came a passage which the House will do well to bear in mind— Then being afraid in those moments of organized terror to look out for a weapon in Turin, they sent a member of the committee, Sciandra, a merchant now dead, through Chambery to Geneva to ask me for arms and notify the day to me. The House ought to understand that M. Mazzini, according to the hon. Member for Halifax, is incapable of assassination. But the hon. Gentleman did not also add that he is incapable of instigating to assassination; for what I have already read proves, that the hon. Gentleman's friend is not incapable of instigating to that deed. But let the House be good enough to mark the next passage— A poniard with a lapis lazuli handle, a gift which I cherished much, was on the table; I pointed to that. Sciandra took it and went away. With reference to the work on "The Dagger," which was alluded to the other evening by my hon. Friend the Member for the King's County, I understand that M. Mazzini has written a letter to The Times, in which he spoke of something being intended to be the moral dagger. The House will however, I think, agree with me, that that poniard with the lapis lazuli handle was certainly not meant to be the "moral dagger." The letter went on— But the committee, learning that the Carabineers were posted two doors from that of the regicide, and knowing nothing of Angelini, concluded that the Government had been warned of the plot and were in search of Gallenga. They therefore made him leave the city, and sent him to a country house outside Turin, telling him that the attempt could not be made on that Sunday, but that if things got quiet, they would call him in for one of the Sundays following. One or two Sundays afterwards they sent for him; he was not to be found; he had gone off, and I saw him again in Switzerland.… He put his name to circulars printed in Turin, intended to magnify the Piedmontese Monarchy. He was selected by the Government for some petty embassy in Germany; later he was, and is, a deputy. I really think that if confirmation he wanted of the disposition of M. Mazzini to instigate to assassination, none could be supplied of a stronger kind than that which I have just quoted. If further confirmation, however, be needed, it is only necessary to refer to the correspondence to which my hon. Friend the Member for King's County had also alluded, between Daniel Manin, the ex-dictator of Venice, and M. Mazzini, in which M. Mazzini defends and glorifies on principle the acts which, in the case of Gallenga and King Charles Albert, he had sanctioned in practice. There was another point which I shall be obliged to the hon. Member for Halifax if, in his reply to me, he will be good enough to answer. M. Mazzini, in his letter to The Times of the 16th, states that a speech which was delivered in this House on this subject was unsupported by legal evidence. Now, Sir, the Members of this House are men of honour in every respect, and do not require legal evidence on all occasions. Moral evidence, and strong probability, will in general be enough for us. I think I may state in this House composed of Gentlemen of honour, that we do not want legal evidence upon all occasions, but that moral evidence is enough for us. I will take the liberty of putting another question to the hon. Gentleman. The leading journal mentions a bank note which was issued in the name of the Italian Liberation Society, and at the foot of that note there is given a London agent, and that agent is James Stansfeld; and there is also given a direction to 2, Sydney Place, Brompton. Now it will be satisfactory if the hon. Gentleman will tell us whether he ever lived at 2, Sydney Place, Brompton, or if he ever had any connection with that address. It is not an old matter, and perhaps the hon. Gentleman may have had an opportunity of referring to it; because, according to The Times, not only this note, but others emanating from the same source, can be produced. Under these circumstances, I am not wrong in feeling that the Motion which I now submit is not altogether superfluous. In those remarks of the Procureur Général which were mentioned by the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Cox) the other night, the name of Mr. Flower was given. Now we have never had a straightforward or direct answer. The only direct answer which has been vouchsafed has come from him who is the reputed instigator of plots to assassination—M. Mazzini; but from the hon. Gentleman, one of the Ministers of the Government opposite, I do not think there has come any explanation in answer to the question of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Finsbury. But the explanation which we received from the instigator of conspiracies himself, M. Mazzini, is that certain letters were sent for him to the hon. Gentleman's house, and that they were sent with various others by his (Mazzini's) friends. A question was put by my hon. Friend the Member for King's County (Mr. Hennessy), who wished to know whether Mr. Flower was in truth M. Mazzini, and the hon. Member for Halifax answered, "I can have no knowledge of that. I know nothing of it." Afterwards the noble Lord the Member for Tyrone (Lord Claude Hamilton) put the following question, to which no reply was given. The noble Lord said, "I should like to know from the hon. Member for Halifax whether M. Fuori is not an intimate acquaintance of the hon. Gentleman, whether he has not visited at his house, and whether he is not in fact the secretary of Mazzini." I have further to ask whether M. Fuori is that Mr. Flower mentioned by Greco, and to whom the letters were to be addressed, and I have no doubt when the hon. Gentleman gets up he will give us an answer to these particular questions, and further to say whether "Mr. Flower," to whom letters were to be addressed, was the "Mr. Flower, of 35, Thurloe Square." But, in the absence of explanation, the strange silence observed with respect to such direct questions as have been put, creates the impression either that the hon. Gentleman has not the power or the means to clear up the mystery, or else his lips are sealed by friendly feeling for this instigator of conspiracies. The hon. Gentleman indeed said that he "had not been the medium which some gentlemen seemed to imagine." Well; that is a very easy way of answering, but it is not an answer as direct as the House has a right to expect. It is not by showing indignation that Members of this House are to be satisfied. I may take the liberty of saying that generally when a man is afraid to answer a particular charge—that nine cases out of ten, when the matter will not bear probing—that man will put himself into a rage. That is a general feeling. This much is clear, I think, that with respect to Greco—who was, doubtless, an enthusiastic patriot in Mazzini's estimation, but of whom latterly he was rather ashamed, and, perhaps, when his diabolical designs were promulgated to the world he endeavoured to shake off—that when questions connected with so serious a plot were addressed to the hon. Member for Halifax and the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, instead of "repelling such remarks with contempt," or declaring it "unworthy of the Government to notice such insinuations," they would have acted more worthily in speaking out plainly like honourable men. Members were sent to Parliament by their constituents to sift and inquire into public matters of every kind, to investigate everything concerning the welfare of the country, and it was unbecoming in gentlemen filling high official positions to return evasive or other than straightforward answers. I cannot help thinking it would have been more becoming on the part of the hon. Member for Halifax if he had expressed his regret to this House, instead of putting himself into a defiant attitude and adopting an irritable manner, and, if I may make use of the term, a swaggering tone. Allow me to say, sir, that the Emperor of the French having shown so friendly a feeling and exhibited so generous a disposition towards this country, Englishmen generally felt he ought to have been treated with greater courtesy than has been manifested in the silence and indifference with which the remarks of the Procureur Général were received. Surely it was incumbent upon Her Majesty's Government, for the sake of their own dignity, to ask for explanations as to the right of the Procureur Général to make these remarks, and rather to compel him to substantiate his charges, or at once openly and straightforwardly to refute his statements. But who has given any information at all? Certainly not the Government as represented by the hon. Member for Halifax, nor by the hon. Gentle man the Tinder Secretary for Foreign affairs. I beg to say that, so far as my opinion is concerned—and I have consulted others upon the subject — I believe that the conduct of the Government will be looked upon neither as English-like nor straightforward, nor will it add to the respect in which we are held abroad. On the contrary, I fear it will add to the load of humiliation which we are suffering in foreign estimation. Now, sir, were there any just grounds for the remark of the Procureur Général? Let us think for a moment. A letter is found which belongs to a man convicted of a conspiracy to murder—there is a letter found amongst his papers that directed him to apply for money at the house of an English gentleman, now a Member of this House, and now one of Her Majesty's ministers. That gentleman has himself acknowledged that he is the intimate friend of Mazzini—that he is a friend of eighteen years' standing. Surely, sir, with such a chain of evidence was not the Procureur Général justified in making these remarks? I was sorry to hear the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs deny that he had had any correspondence with France upon the subject, and I only trust that such correspondence may be thought to be more necessary in the future than in the past; and I also trust that the hon. Member for Halifax will in point of candour take a lesson out of the book even of this instigator to murder. I prefaced my remarks with those with which I desire to conclude, and I hope I have not trespassed a moment longer than necessary, but I beg to assure the hon. Gentleman that these remarks are not made with any kind of animus on my part. It is, I assure you, a painful duty to me to make them, because they reflect upon a man whom I may call young, and who has shown considerable talent in this House, and who is, at any rate, ascending the ladder of advancement, and has reached a certain distinction—and I cannot but feel that I may by this Motion—for a time at least—imperil that advancement. [Laughter.] It may be a laughing matter to some gentlemen of unfeeling principles, but I do not treat it as a laughing matter, nor do I think it is so felt by the hon. Gentleman himself. I introduced this question because the replies which have been made have been most unsatisfactory. I think the dignity of the House has been compromised, and in consequence the dignity of the country. I will state nothing further, but will only beg leave to move, That the statement of the Procureur Général on the trial of Greco, implicating a Member of this House and of Her Majesty's Government in the plot for the assassination of our ally the Emperor of the French, deserves the serious consideration of this House.


seconded the Motion.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "the statement of the Procureur Général on the trial of Greco, implicating a Member of this House and of Her Majesty's Government in the plot for the assassination of our Ally the Emperor of the French, deserves the serious consideration of this House,"—(Sir Henry Stracey.) —instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


Sir, it is not my intention to say one word in reply to the strictures of the hon. Baronet upon the character of Signer Mazzini. I have already fulfilled that which I believe to be a duty in bearing my testimony to the character of a man whom I have known for many years. As far as I am concerned, I do not think it fitting that that discussion should be continued, and as far as I am concerned it is now at an end. I will now address myself to the Motion of the hon. Baronet so far as it concerns myself and my character. The very terms of that Motion appear to me to justify the course which I pursued when this question was first introduced to the notice of the House. The hon. Baronet taking up this statement of the Procureur Général, moves that "that statement, implicating a Member of this House and a Member of Her Majesty's Government, in a plot for the assassination of the Emperor of the French, deserves the serious consideration of the House." Now, Sir, right or wrong, I put the same construction upon the statement of the Procureur Général which has been put upon it by the hon. Baronet. I hold in my hand a copy of The Times of the 1st of March, and in it I find the statement of the Procureur Général given in these words— I searched in the London Commercial Almanack and in the Post Office Directory to ascertain who could be the person placed in correspondence with Greco. At page 670 I found the answer, and it is not without sorrow that I recognize the name of a Member of the English Parliament, who already in 1857 had been constituted by Mazzini treasurer to the Tibaldi plot which was directed against the Emperor's life. I must say, Sir, that it appeared to me then, and it still appears to me, that an imputation so odious, and, as I shall presently show, so utterly unsupported by the evidence adduced upon this trial, was one which I could only fittingly meet by a denial which, although general, I believe to have been complete, and which I do not think the House will consider it unnatural should be accompanied by some expression of indignation and contempt. What, Sir, was the evidence adduced upon this trial? The hon. Baronet has supposed—I cannot believe that he has read the evidence—but he has supposed that it was to this effect,—that Greco was directed to apply to some person at my address for money for the purpose of this plot. Why, Sir, even supposing the letter which was found upon Greco's person to have been Signer Mazzini's production, that letter did not refer him to my address, but to another address, for money. Upon him was stated to have been found a slip of paper on which was written — it does not appear in whose handwriting—"Mr. Flower, 35, Thurloe square." Now, that is the whole extent of the evidence from which the Procureur Général chose to draw these extraordinary inferences. The Procureur Général also refers to Tibaldi's plot in 1857, and states that I had been constituted by Mazzini treasurer of that plot. What was the evidence with respect to that, not brought forward in this trial, but quoted by the Procureur General? It was two supposed excerpts from notes of Signer Mazzini, referring persons in vague terms to my address for money if they required it, That was the whole extent of the evidence as far as the Tibaldi plot was concerned. Now I am perfectly free to admit that with that evidence before the Procureur Général, he or his Government would have been perfectly justified in asking for explanations upon a question of that kind; but I cannot admit for a moment that any wan accustomed to consider evidence and inclined to fair play would have been led to the conclusion which the Procureur Général was induced to express upon that occasion, [Cries of "Deny, deny!" and "Order, Order!"] I am about to deny. I am about to say that I did not think it fitting that I should give any other but a general denial to a statement of that kind. But the circumstances are now entirely changed. The whole subject is before the House by virtue of the Motion of the hon. Baronet. I have, therefore, no longer any hesitation or any difficulty. I feel it, of course, no indignity to offer to the House any explanations which the House may think requisite or fitting, or to answer any questions which the House may think it desirable that I should answer. Let me take the statement of the Procureur Général. He states that I was a person placed in correspondence with Greco. Now, Sir, neither directly nor indirectly, neither by letter nor personally, have I ever had any communication with that person. I never even heard his name, nor knew of his existence, until I saw in the papers the report of his arrest with his accomplices I for the late conspiracy. [An hon. MEMBER: That is not the question.] [Cries of "Question!" and "Order! "] To go back to the case of Tibaldi. Signor Mazzini has already voluntarily written to the press, stating that no such supposed fund or plot ever existed, and that, of course, he never asked me to act as treasurer to any such fund. It is hardly necessary, I hope, for me to say that which I now do say very distinctly, that I have never held any funds, that I have never advanced any money, for any such purpose or for any purpose whatever, to the persons who were named in connection with that conspiracy. It is one thing to have had a long personal intimacy with a man, and another thing to be implicated in his undertakings, whether of a character which will bear investigation or of a character; such as those which have been attributed to M. Mazzini. The hon. Baronet has referred to the trial of Orsini, and has suggested that my name was connected with that trial. I do not know how to reply to that assertion, because it is the first time that I have heard that my name I was ever connected with it. If the hon. Baronet, or any other Member of this House will adduce any evidence or make any statement in corroboration of that assertion, I shall be ready to answer it. Then the hon. Baronet has referred to certain notes—and here he approached the region of something like facts. In the year 1850, immediately after the fall of the Roman Republic, I was requested to allow my name to be placed on the back of these notes as a reference in case persons might apply to take them, their object being to aid in the accomplishment of Italian unity and independence. I am perfectly ready to admit that I assented to my name being so used, but very shortly after giving my consent—I believe within a very few weeks—I saw reason to question the propriety, and even the legality, of that step. I thought I was justified in taking the counsel and opinion of a very old friend of mine, a very eminent member of the legal profession, Mr. Serjeant Manning. I took his opinion, and, acting upon his opinion and advice, I requested, and my request was, of course, immediately complied with—that my name should be withdrawn from those notes. These are the simple facts—I have nothing to state to-night but simple facts—these are the simple facts, as far as I know them, in which the House can be interested in this matter. I have no objection if any other question occurs to the mind of any hon. Member to answer it. [Cries of "Flower, Flower."] I can have no hesitation in answering any questions which may be put by the House. I therefore now leave the subject. ["Flower, Flower."] I should add this if the House will allow me. I have omitted to notice one important part of the matter — the use to which my house has been put. Well, of course the natural consequences of the intimate personal relationship with M. Mazzini, which I have never for a moment hesitated to acknowledge, accounts for that. M. Mazzini's letters, as the House will easily understand, have not for many years been able to reach him through the foreign post if addressed in his own name. He has, therefore, very naturally asked his various English friends—of whom I am one—to allow letters to be addressed to their houses. Letters for him have in that way been addressed to my house among others. Those letters to him have been addressed to my house under a name which has been mentioned here. They have been addressed to my house under the name, among others, of "Signor Fiore." I need not say, that of the contents of those letters I have always been entirely ignorant. The name Flower is, as the House of course understands, the translation of the word Fiore; but I do not believe that any letter was ever ad- dressed to my house for M. Mazzini in the name of Flower. I entirely admit, at the same time, that it is not advisable, that it is not fitting, whatever may be the nature of M. Mazzini's correspondence, that it should be addressed to the residence of a person occupying the position which I have the honour to hold. It has not been necessary for me to make any suggestion of that kind to M. Mazzini—he has himself volunteered to state that he has taken measures to prevent his letters being addressed to my residence. I have contented myself with a simple statement of facts. I repeat that I have no knowledge of any of those transactions to which the hon. Baronet refers, and I now leave this question without any further remark in the hands of the House.


Sir, I am one of those who have heard with regret some of the explanations which have been just offered by the hon. Gentleman. I certainly think the House will admit that the explanations which the hon. Gentleman has given us to-night is of a more satisfactory character than that which we heard the other night. What he stated the other night was no explanation at all. It was simply a defence of the character of M. Mazzini. Now, we have nothing to do here with the character of Mazzini. Certainly, it is not our duty to defend it. We have no right to go against the whole moral sense of Europe. We are not called upon, and we ought not to set ourselves against the opinions of united Europe. I say, without fear of contradiction, that in every part of Europe—among all classes—among all ranks—among all men of honourable feeling, there is but one feeling, but one sentiment, with respect to the general conduct, feelings, principles, and actions of M. Mazzini. It is a mistake to suppose that that opinion with respect to him is confined alone to the Imperialist party in France. I speak from personal knowledge, and from a large acquaintance with the people of France. I have discussed this subject elsewhere. I know that of men of all sides, of all principles, of all colours, except, perhaps, the remnant of the party of 1793, including even the republicans, who were supporters of General Cavaignac, all condemn the principles of M. Mazzini. There is no one whose ideas and whose name are now held in such abhorrence throughout Europe. No one ever suspected that the hon. Gentleman himself has been guilty of participation in the horrible plot which has been referred to. But no one can deny that the hon. Gentleman has been guilty of great imprudence in allowing, according to his own admission, letters to be addressed to his house in order that correspondence might be carried on from the Continent with M. Mazzini. The hon. Gentleman not having had cognizance of the exact nature of the correspondence, how was he to answer for the consequences? I say that the French Government, the French people, and the French Chamber, have a perfect right to complain of the conduct on the part of an Englishman, who having the honour of a seat in this House should, by his feelings for Italian liberty, have been betrayed into such an act of imprudence—and I do not impute any more serious fault to the hon. Gentleman. But nothing could produce a more unfortunate effect on the Continent than the statement he formerly made; but I am happy to think he has now altogether admitted that he has broken off all connection with M. Mazzini. The hon. Gentleman may remain the permanent friend of Mazzini—may even sympathize with him in his opinions, but he has no right to found upon these opinions acts that tend to compromise this House—or to compromise, as I think he has compromised, the Government with which he is connected—and even, in my opinion, the English people. When a man in a situation like that the hon. Gentleman occupies acts as he has done, opinions are naturally imputed to him which he does not entertain. Certainly, he has unwarily made himself the agent of doctrines and opinions which he should be the first to repudiate. I am happy he has given us his explanation. Knowing the effect elsewhere, I think the matter is in many respects to be deplored. I hope, however, the hon. Gentleman has had a lesson for the future, and that he will show more prudence than he has hitherto exhibited.


No one is more averse than I am to enter into any controversy in this House which can be considered of a personal nature. But there are some questions which, though immediately personal in appearance, are of great and paramount interest to the country, and I venture to say that the question now before the House is of that kind. The hon. Gentleman has stated that, on the first occasion, he expressed his feeling of indignation and astonishment at the speech of the Procureur Général. His in- dignation can well be felt and sympathized with; but I own the astonishment of the hon. Gentleman astonishes me. Until I heard the speech of the hon. Gentleman to-night, I was not aware that this was the first time he had learnt that his name had ever been implicated in any of the attempts of M. Mazzini. ["Mr. STANSFELD: I said Orsini.] But I hold in my hand a statement, which I copied from a newspaper of the day, in which the facts are narrated — the acte d'accusation, which translated into English, may be called the bill of indictment against Orsini in August, 1857, and in which the name of Mr. Stansfeld occurs. It is an extract—I translate it from the MoniteurTwo other names more ought to be cited—that of Mr. James Stansfeld, brewer, of London, who has made himself banker of Mazzini. Enfin, two new assassins were to be proposed by Massarenti at Genoa, where he was. Mazzini charged Campanella to judge in his place if they ought to be admitted to assist in their detestable design, and in case Campanella accepted them, he invited him, as well as Massarenti, to get money from the brewer Stansfeld. At the same time, the address of the brewer Stansfeld of London was seized in the portfolio of Tibaldi. The prisoner, according to the French law, is examined and allowed to criminate himself. Tibaldi was asked— In your portmanteau was found the address of a brewer (le Sieur James Stansfeld) known as being the banker of Mazzini? The answer was of a very peculiar nature. It was this— Yes, but because he was to introduce me to some English opticians for the sale of my goods. That was the answer given in that solemn inquiry. I have no further knowledge than I have derived from the public journal of the day; but I agree in the general principles touched on by the noble Lord. There can be no doubt these events have produced a most painful effect on the mind of Europe. I am one of those who think that it is a great disgrace to this country, that when any trial occurs for some detestable crime upon the person of a foreign Sovereign, it is always said to be in England, in London, that the plot is hatched and the money obtained. The Motion, therefore, of the hon. Baronet I think well timed. We should recollect that, on a previous occasion, the great cry was — This House can do nothing, because there has been a pressure put on it by a foreign Government. We are now told, "Oh, you are discussing a question here which has been forgotten in France," but I beg to assure the House that such is not the case. I have had letters from countrymen of our own residing in Paris, who inform me that the feeling there is most deep on the subject, and that nothing but the strong hand of the Emperor has been able to suppress such public ebullitions of feeling as would greatly endanger the peace and good understanding which it is so desirable should continue to exist between the two countries. I can assure the House that I have it from Englishmen, and not from Frenchmen, or from men whose sympathies are Imperialist, that the feeling in France is deep set, and that nothing, as I said before, but the power of the Emperor could keep it in check, ready as it is to burst forth under this renewed proof that plots and assassinations have their nest and original hiding place in this—I am happy to think—abode of freedom for the people of all nations.


said, he thought the House would scarcely be likely to receive any increase of dignity from the fact of its becoming the sounding board for the scandalous tittle-tattle of the police courts of Paris. For his own part, he had no hesitation in stating that he had, for many years, been the intimate friend of Signer Mazzini. He stood, therefore, in some respects, in the same relation to that gentleman as his hon. Friend the Member for Halifax, and wished to explain to any further extent which might be necessary, in order that the House might thoroughly understand the matter, the question of the way in which letters to M. Mazzini, while in this country, happened to be addressed. It would be easily comprehended by all those who were acquainted with the relations which subsisted between the Post Office and the Governments of Europe, that any one engaged, as M. Mazzini had been, in politics and political conspiracy against tyranny, might as well have any letters posted to him from Italy burnt as expect that they would be delivered to him in London, if addressed in his own name. He, therefore, was ready to acknowledge that, in common with other friends of Signer Mazzini, he had for years past placed his address at that gentleman's disposal. Hon. Members would, however, he had no doubt, have the candour at once to perceive and to admit that that circumstance not only did not imply the slightest possibility of conspiracy for assassination on the part of those who thus granted the privilege which he mentioned, but not even the slightest knowledge of what the letters so addressed might contain. For his own part, he had had letters for M. Mazzini addressed to his house under a variety of names, and had sometimes smiled at the simple means used to avoid suspicion, means which would be of little avail if the writers had the English Post Office to deceive. If anybody asked him whether any of the letters which came to his house for M. Mazzini were addressed M. Flower, he could not undertake to say whether such was or was not the case. He had letters addressed to himself which contained certain indications inside to show that they were meant for M. Mazzini. Some were addressed in Italian, which, he was sorry to say, he did not understand, and those he had forwarded to M. Mazzini, stating that being written in Italian, they were probably intended for him, adding, "If not, you will return them to me and tell me what is in them." He was not at all astonished to find that surprize was expressed that English gentlemen and Members of Parliament should have such confidence in a person such as hon. Members opposite believed M. Mazzini to be; while he regretted extremely to hear the observations which had been made by the noble Lord who had spoken, and to find the House of Commons made the vehicle for the miserable calumnies of the reactionary party in Europe. He might add that to those who knew M. Mazzini only from the calumnious reports of the press for the last twenty years, the respect, esteem, and affection which those who had the honour of his aquaintance entertained for him were, no doubt, matter of astonishment, but for that it was easy to account.


I will detain the House but a very few moments. I should be very glad if I could avoid intruding on its attention at all, for during my not very short experience in this Assembly, the present is one of the most painful occasions which I can recollect. I cannot agree with the noble Lord the Member for Hastings (Lord Harry Vane) in the opinion he has expressed, that the explanations which we have heard tonight from the hon. Member for Halifax may be regarded as satisfactory, while I do concur with the noble Lord in thinking that the language and explanation which we first heard from the hon. Gentleman were both unsatisfactory and ill judged. That being so, I cannot see how what has fallen from him this evening has very much altered the position of affairs. I speak, I am sure, with no prejudice against the hon. Gentleman. I recognize the ability which he has displayed in this House, and I quite agree with the noble Lord, that there is not a man among us who would for a single moment think of imputing to the hon. Gentleman any intentional complicity with assassins. But what are the facts of the case as they stand? Signor Mazzini is the avowed associate and adviser of the assassin Greco. He is the avowed associate of the assassin Gallenga, and for years the hon. Gentleman opposite has been the intimate friend and associate of this friend and adviser of assassins. These are the plain facts of the case, and I cannot help thinking that something is due to the dignity of this House and to the feelings of our French allies, who are naturally irritated and angry at finding these foul plots one after another brought to maturity in this country. It is painful to us, and must be painful to our neighbours, to learn that a person holding the high position of a Member of Parliament and a situation in Her Majesty's Government has now lived for years as the intimate associate of Mazzini. On this subject, however, I do not wish to dwell at greater length than simply to address an inquiry to the noble Lord at the head of the Government. I think the statement made by the Procureur Général at the trial of Greco, implicating, as it did—whether rightly or wrongly I do not now stop to inquire—a Member of Her Majesty's Government, required that some communication should be made and some explanation offered by the head of the Government of England to the Government of France with respect to a circumstance of a character so singular and unsatisfactory. I wish, therefore, to ask the noble Lord the First Minister whether, on the part of the English Government, he has taken any notice in communicating with the French Government of the statement in question; and, if not, whether it is his intention to do so? It must, in my opinion, depend on the answer of the noble Lord to that inquiry what part this House ought now to take; and if the noble Lord's reply is not satisfactory, I am sorry to say that, in my opinion, it will be the duty of my hon. Friend to press his Motion to a division.


Nothing, no doubt, can in general be more painful than personal discussions in this House. I cannot at the same time express any regret that the hon. Baronet opposite has brought this subject to-night under our consideration, because it has drawn from my hon. Friend beside me an explanation which, differing from the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, I think perfectly satisfactory, conveying as it did an absolute and total denial of the only charge which has been insinuated against him—that of having any cognizance whatsoever of the plot against the Emperor of the French which had recently been the subject of investigation in France. The right hon. Baronet asks me whether Her Majesty's Government have deemed it right to make any communication to the Government of France with respect to a passage in the speech of an advocate at the trial. Well, Sir, my answer is "No." We have no right to take cognizance of what takes place in a court of justice in France. If there was an opinion that anything which passed upon that occasion amounted to a charge against my hon. Friend, that he had any connection, direct or indirect, with that assassin, an answer to the imputation, to the insinuation, was given by my hon. Friend to this House, and publicly to the world—a complete refutation even to suspicion. But I will fairly own that I should have felt humiliated if I had been a party to a communication to the French Government to tell them that an English gentleman, a Member of Parliament holding office under the Government, was not connected with an infamous plot against the Emperor's life. I congratulate hon. Gentlemen opposite upon the feelings and sentiments which seem to actuate them: upon the present occasion. We have been; told that the imputations—false as they were—of the Procureur Général have excited the indignation of the French nation, and that something is due to the feelings of France to remove the impression which they entertain, that something or other has taken place in this country which is equal to—if not an acquiescence—at least to an absence of disclaimer of any participation in the attempt that was to have been made. We have been reminded of the Orsini conspiracy in the year 1858. Then there was an attempt upon the life of the Emperor, not suspected, not intercepted, but actually made. What did the Government of that time do? We spontaneously proposed to the House a measure which was intended to prevent a recurrence of similar attempts. Hon. Gentlemen oppo- site formally, publicly expressed their approval of the step and promised their support. But when they found that, by a combination of circumstances, a dereliction of their promises and the absolute abandonment of their own opinions might lead to a change of Government, they threw over their promises, they cast their indignation to the winds, and joined in condemning that of which before they had expressed their approval. In point of fact, they refused to grant the satisfaction which they now say is due to the French people. I say then, Sir, that the language they hold on the present occasion, directed against a Member of the Government, needs no explanation, except by referring to the events of that time. With regard to my hon. Friend, I say that if I thought for a moment that my hon. Friend could have had the slightest participation in the transaction to which this discussion refers, I should have represented to him that it would be more becoming that he should cease to be a Member of the Government. I have not done so; and I have not done so because I know my hon. Friend to be incapable of participation in any such abominable and atrocious a transaction. Therefore, I say I do not regret the Motion of the hon. Baronet, because it has afforded to my hon. Friend an opportunity of repeating the disclaimer which, I think, he sufficiently made upon the former occasion; but as that is not considered to have been sufficient, then I think what he has said this evening ought to be conclusive reason to the House and to the country why the Motion of the hon. Baronet should not be deemed acceptable.


Sir, I confess I am disappointed at the tone which has been adopted by the noble Lord. I think the noble Lord to-night had an opportunity—a golden opportunity—of extricating the House from a painful position, and to place it in relation to an ally of this country in one which would have become him, and in which he might have done justice not only to his colleagues but to the character of the House in which he has sat so long, and in which he must take a deep interest. The noble Lord, instead of taking the line which my right hon. Friend (Sir John Pakington), animated by the most proper spirit, indicated as one he believed the House expected the noble Lord to follow, unfortunately seems to have taken refuge in that vein to which he is too accustomed to resort. He said they had not applied to the French Government because they could not submit to the humiliation. The noble Lord, however, forgets that he is the head of a Government who when, they have felt it to be their duty have not permitted the word "humiliation" to induce them to refrain from a course which they deemed to be expedient. I thought it was very unfortunate that the noble Lord, after telling the House that he would submit to no humiliation—the act of humiliation being a friendly representation to a friendly foreign Government—I thought it very unfortunate that the noble Lord should immediately recal to the recollection of the House the circumstances of 1858. I think some regard to the feelings of the President of the Board of Trade should have restrained him. I think he should have shown some regard to the feelings of one "absent" Member, Earl Russell. The noble Lord should be ashamed of attacking by innuendo an absent man. But, says the noble Lord, with heedless rhetoric, What had we to complain of? Are we to apply to a foreign Government, because one of my colleagues has been accused by some foreign official of that which he did not perpetrate, and which he has openly denied? Why, Sir, this leads us, after all the noise of the noble Lord, to recur to the real question before us. The statement of the noble Lord proved that he did not understand the very point upon which of all others he should have directed the judgment of the House. Let us see, in the first place, what occurred. The Procureur Général, the Attorney General of a foreign country, makes a public statement in a court of the highest consideration in France, and what is the statement? He says that a Member of the British Parliament—and what, perhaps, he was not aware of at the time, a Member of the Administration—had been, he was sorry to say, the medium by which Mazzini communicated with the conspirators against the life of his Sovereign. Did the hon. Member for Halifax deny the statement? Why he admitted it, and he explained it. He told us the letters came to his house—he, sitting by the side of the noble Lord who has misstated his whole case, does not deny that letters did come, and that his house in Thurloe Square was the medium for communication between Mazzini and his correspondents. Does he deny that? [Mr. STANSFELD: What correspondents?] What correspondents? You know them better than I do, I suppose. "What cor- respondents?" asks the Member for Halifax. Why, the assassins of Europe. "What correspondents?" asks the Member for Halifax. Why, the advocates of anarchy throughout the Continent. "What correspondents?" asks the Member for Halifax. Why, the men who point their poniards at the breast of our allies. Why, Sir, this is the most unfortunate movement on the part of the noble Lord I have ever witnessed. Still smarting under the successful combination of his present Colleague the President of the Board of Trade in 1858, labouring under a confused idea that the course he then pursued towards a foreign Power was a great blunder, he is now positively inert, and will not perform the first duty which civilization, if no other reason, demands. Why, the charge made by the highest legal authority in France against the hon. Member for Halifax is one which the hon. Member has himself admitted. It is that his house was the medium of communication between Mazzini and his correspondents, and yet the noble Lord says the hon. Member for Halifax has denied the charge, and Under Secretaries of State and others have treated with contempt this charge which is now admitted. I am willing to give to the hon. Member for Halifax, or to any Gentleman who sits in this House, the most favourable interpretation of their conduct. I say that, even to those who have listened with scandalous levity to charges of so grave a character. But nobody denies that sufficient has occurred to require on the part of the Government a friendly, temperate, dignified, and, if necessary, confidential communication to the foreign Government. Take our own case, Supposing the Attorney General here had made a statement, after an important State trial in this country, that he regretted to find that one of the most eminent members of the Chamber of Deputies in France had made his house the machinery of communication between foreigners and conspirators against our Sovereign, would you be surprized if the representative of the French Emperor were to ask for some explanation of such statement, and if proof had been given of the accuracy of such statement, as has been so lavishly admitted by the noble Lord, would it not have been his duty to have expressed his deep regret that such circumstances should have occurred — that such incidents should have happened? Judge by your own feelings what you would have expected the representatives of your Sovereign to do. But what is the course which the Government now wishes us to follow? It is the universal feeling of this country that the dignity of this House is compromised, and I am sorry to say, after the speech of the noble Lord, that the dignity of the Government is also compromised. What my right hon. Friend suggested in no spirit of unfriendliness would have avoided division, and would have afforded the noble Lord an opportunity, while vindicating the dignity of this House, to come forward and take those steps, so easy for a person of his great position, which would have removed the extreme apprehension and disquietude which this affair has occasioned. After the speech of the hon. Member for Halifax he had only to come forward and say that, from this evening, he should feel it his duty to make communications by which regret should be expressed, that even unconsciously the house of one who is considered to be a Minister of the Crown should be made the medium and machinery of the communications of conspirators and assassins. The offer has been refused—the noble Lord will not assert the dignity of the House of Commons, and I think the House of Commons ought to assert its own. The noble Lord has rejected the proposition of my right hon. Friend, made in a becoming spirit, and it is for the House of Commons to conduct itself in a spirit equally becoming. After the rejection of our proposal by the noble Lord, I see no course to take sufficient to maintain the dignity of this House, and to place it in its proper position before Europe, but to support the Motion of my hon. Friend.


Sir, I wish I could persuade myself that the excitement manifested by hon. Gentlemen opposite to-night had so good a foundation as might be built upon a strong anxiety to preserve friendly relations with France, and to maintain the honour and dignity of this House. But I think I discern in the temper which they have manifested very different motives, which make me believe that they are not in a condition to take a very impartial and just view of this case. What is that which we are now called upon to consider? I do not say that the circumstances which have arisen are not such as to excite some surprise and some dissatisfaction. But let us in considering them not be unjust or ungenerous to a Member of this House. We all sit here by equal right, I confess—and I do so with much pleasure—that during the twenty years I have had a seat in this House, although there has been temporary passion, yet in the end, and sometimes after only a few minutes' consideration, the House has been willing to do justice to every one of its Members. Let us not, then, treat this question, in which the hon. Member for Halifax is so deeply involved, and in which his feelings, no doubt, have been greatly excited—let us not discuss it in a spirit which is unfair and ungenerous to him. What are the facts? We know that in this country and for many years past, there has been a great enthusiasm amongst certain persons, sometimes amongst considerable classes of the people, in favour of political refugees—refugees here sometimes from the oppression and from the wrongs of the Governments from which they fled—refugees sometimes, it may be, for offences against those Governments that could not easily be defended. We have had the questions of Poland, of Hungary, and of Italy. Who is there in this House who was here ten years ago that does not recollect the late Lord Dudley Stuart? He was a man of the most amiable character, but he had a burning, an unquenchable enthusiasm with regard to the Poles. Take the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the King's County, who during the last twelve months has made himself distinguished by his advocacy of the claims of Poland. We have had a very eminent man in this country who for several years was connected with the politics of Hungary. He had zealous friends amongst us—and we have had also refugees, and not a few, from Italy. Who is there who will say he never felt any sentiment of sympathy with some at least of the Italian refugees? Now, I am one of those who on the whole rather discouraged the course which has been taken by some English enthusiasts in this House with regard to those exiles from abroad. I thought that their conduct was likely on some occasion to embarrass the Government, to embarrass Parliament, and to embarrass our diplomacy abroad; and therefore I have given generally very little favour to the enthusiasm I have seen. But still, if I did not feel sympathy for the refugees that have been driven here I would despise myself; and if there be any man in this House who will stand up and say he never felt a particle of sympathy for the refugees that have been driven to our country, I say I despise him. Take the precise case of the hon. Member for Halifax and Mazzini. I believe there is no man acquainted with Mazzini who will not acknowledge that, so far as can be known of his character from personal association with him, he is a man of the most profound devotion. [An hon. MEMBEII: "To the dagger!"] That devotion may not be to the principles of some hon. Gentlemen opposite, but he has a profound devotion to the principle of the unity and independence of Italy. Every one who has been associated with him will admit that he is a man of a character powerful and fascinating, and that he obtains over those with whom he associates a singular influence. There are few persons that ever were acquainted with him who, apart from this special question we are now discussing, would not express for him the highest admiration. One of the statements that the hon. Baronet opposite read refers, I believe, to thirty years ago. I don't know Mazzini's age, but I believe that he might be at that time five and twenty. Consider what his compatriots in Italy have suffered. I think I have read that the right hon. Gentleman who just sat down, in one of his early writings, expressed opinions—it may be merely to excite a sensation amongst his readers—but still opinions very much like those to which the hon. Baronet has alluded to-night.


There is not the slightest foundation for that statement. I give it the most unequivocal contradiction.


Doubtless, then, those who quoted writings said to be the right hon. Gentleman's were in error. I accept the right hon. Gentleman's statement freely, but I was not about to blame him. It is that kind of writing that comes often in youth from great enthusiasm and from an acquaintance with what at school we are taught to regard as the heroic deeds of ancient days. I did not rise for the purpose of saying a single syllable in defence of Mazzini. The observations I have made in regard to him are for this purpose—to explain, and if it be necessary, in some degree to justify the friendship that has existed between the hon. Member for Halifax and Mazzini, and many other eminent foreigners, for many years past. But, Sir, there is not a man in this House who believes now that the hon. Gentleman on any occasion has ever had the slightest intimation that any plot of this nature was being concocted, or about to be carried into effect. I undertake to say that if Mazzini were connected with any of those plots he would himself feel it was utterly impossible that he could discuss them with the hon. Member for Halifax, or with any person of his intelligence, or occupying his position in this country. ["Oh, oh!"] Hon. Gentlemen opposite may feel differently, I am willing to show to the hon. Member for Halifax that fairness and justice which if I were in his place I would ask for myself. I am not defending—understand me—the enthusiasm under which any Englishman allows himself to be so intimately and personally connected with a gentleman who is the soul of conspiracy throughout the various countries of Europe. I always discouraged it—I condemn it now—I think it full of embarrassment; and my hon. Friend at this moment feels the embarrassment. The embarrassment is not confined solely to himself, but affects, of course, to a certain extent the Government of which he is a Member. But making all these allowances—granting everything that has been said on the other side—I do not mean about Mazzini, because I admit nothing on his account, and say nothing in his defence—but admitting everything that has been said in regard to the hon. Member for Halifax, and everything that he has said—considering that his friendship began with Mazzini when he was a very young man, and through the enthusiasm to which young men are liable—and I should be ashamed of myself if I had never felt it—I ask the hon. Gentlemen opposite whether the course they are taking is one worthy of a great party. Do you believe that your leader, now practising upon the House with simulated horror, really tells what he felt in regard to this transaction in Paris? I do not believe that you wish to become the helpers of the police of Paris. Do not suppose that I differ from any of you who have expressed disgust and horror at the attempt on the life of the Emperor of France. I believe there has never been a ruler on the throne of France who has been so friendly to this country, or more anxious to preserve peace with this country. I have said it when some of you said the very opposite. I look with indignation and horror at attempts coming from any quarter, and under any provocation whatever, to plunge that great nation into the anarchy from which it is possible his life only saves it; but, at the same time, it is not necessary to make yourselves in this House the instruments of adding fuel to whatever fire may exist, thus exasperating the state of things that now prevails in France. Have you another object hardly less worthy—that of worrying the existing Government? I need not tell you that I am no partisan of that Government—that I never have been—that I have never, since a short time after its formation, looked forward with dismay to its dissolution; but if I were as hungry as the hungriest person to place myself on that Bench, I would be ashamed to make my way to it over the character, the reputation, the happiness, and the future of the last appointed and youngest Member of that Government.


The hon. Member who has just resumed his seat accused this side of the House of a number of unworthy motives. Among others, he has charged us with showing excited feelings, directed apparently by motives which we will not avow in supporting the Motion of the hon. Baronet. I will venture to say, for hon. Members on this side of the House, that there would have been no excitement, no vehement prosecution of the charge, if it had not been for the speech of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who tried by topics totally irrelevant, and by the repetition of the merest claptrap, to draw away the attention of the House of Commons from the real gravity of the charge brought against his Colleague the hon. Member for Halifax. We have travelled over a great variety of subjects, we have been brought back to the Conspiracy Bill, we have had allusions to the French Treaty—there have been a great number of insinuations of all kinds, but very little from the opposite side has been said with respect to the actual Motion before the House. The point is this:—If the documents read this evening by the hon. Baronet are true, and if the documents quoted by my hon. Friend the Member for the King's County the other night are true, Mazzini is, in intention, a murderer. These publications were before the world, and the hon. Member for Halifax trusted Mazzini as few would trust another. He allowed him, knowing he was an agent for sowing discord in every country—knowing he was the prime instrument of every revolution that was being organized in every nation in Europe—he allowed him to make his house an instrument for the prosecution of his schemes. He has a right to any sympathies he may think fit to indulge in, but it was his duty, when trusting M. Mazzini to such an extent, to make him- self acquainted with his views and with the schemes which he was likely to pursue. He ought to have known as well as any hon. Member in this House, that Mazzini was the advocate of political assassination; but knowing the force of extracts quoted by my hon. Friend the Member for King's County — knowing the doctrines of M. Mazzini — he allowed him to make his house the instrument of schemes which he did not know—allowed him, for aught he knew, to make his house an instrument for promoting a scheme of political assassination. Unless he was certain of the schemes in which M. Mazzini was engaged, he ought not to have permitted him to have his letters directed to his house. The question now is, whether he can undo what he has done. No one accuses him of complicity in the crime, what we accuse him of is imprudence which is deeply culpable, and which may seriously compromise this country. An imputation has been made abroad that schemes of this kind are encouraged in this country, and for that imputation the imprudence of the hon. Member for Halifax has given ground. It is open to the Government to refute the charge; it is open to them to disavow in a particular manner any connection or sympathy with schemes of this kind. They have refused to do so; they have gone back on subjects totally irrelevant; they have endeavoured to blind the House of Commons and the people; and the duty of the House of Commons is to declare by its Vote to-night that it has no complicity in such schemes as those with which the conspirators have been charged, and that it deeply deplores the culpable conduct of the hon. Member for Halifax.


Sir, I apprehend that the duty which we are now performing—whatever way it turns—is of a judicial character, and therefore at the risk of being exceedingly dull, I shall endeavour to confine myself, as far, at all events, as good intention goes when beginning a speech— which I know is not always carried out in the course of it—to a treatment of the question in that spirit. With regard to M. Mazzini, I am not in the position of the hon. Gentleman who has been acquainted with him for many years. I never saw M. Mazzini. I do not partake in his opinions with regard to Italy, and those whom I have been accustomed to look upon as authorities on Italian politics have differed vitally from M. Mazzini as regards his views and measures. But I am bound, at the same time, to say that I never knew one of those men who did not accord to M. Mazzini on the one hand great talents and force of character, and on the other hand the most perfect truth and integrity. That is an important point in the present discussion; and therefore, until the contrary is shown to be the case, I shall assume that M. Mazzini is to be believed on his word. How does that apply to the case which the noble Lord who has just addressed the House stated with considerable fairness? He threw overboard very fairly the idea that it is our duty to inquire very minutely as to who has intercourse with every one that comes from a foreign country. My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham has pointed out the difficulties that arise from such an intercourse. The noble Lord stands up for perfect freedom of action. He does not complain of the Member for Halifax, because he was in friendship with M. Mazzini; but he says, if my hon. Friend allowed M. Mazzini to make use of his house, it was his duty to make himself acquainted with M. Mazzini's views, and to ascertain that he was not applying his command over the hon. Member's house for the purpose of concocting schemes of assassination. If M. Mazzini is a man to be believed, it is not necessary for me to say that my hon. Friend is to be implicitly believed; and that being so, I say that my hon. Friend has done precisely what the noble Lord says he ought to have done. My hon. Friend has told the House that he believes in the truth of M. Mazzini's declaration in the newspapers, and knows this to have been the feeling of M. Mazzini during all the years in which he has had a friendship for him. Therefore, he has brought himself to as high a certainty as a man can possess, according to his own conscientious conviction, that M. Mazzini never has made, and never could make, use of his house for the purposes which the noble Lord has justly denounced, because he thinks he knows that M. Mazzini is incapable of entertaining these views. That is with respect to the general ground stated by the noble Lord. It is not enough for us in a case of this kind to have a general impression that my hon. Friend has acted indiscreetly, and therefore to adopt the Motion which is proposed without examining its terms. For what are its terms? We are invited to vote a Resolution that the statement of the Procureur Général on the trial of Greco, implicating a Member of this House, and of Her Majesty's Government in a plot for the assassination of our ally the Emperor of the French, deserves the serious consideration of this House. Now, I put it to this House that a statement by the Procureur Général does not deserve, and cannot fitly become, the basis of consideration by this House. What is the Procureur Général? He is the distinguished advocate who pleads the cause of the Crown in the court where Greco was tried. What is his duty? His duty is to raise the case to the very highest against Greco, against Mazzini, and against every one he can touch. It is not the obligation of the Procureur Général to take a calm, unbiassed, and dispassionate view of the merits of every individual with whom he may deal. His duty is to state the case at the highest point; without any disrespect to him or imputation on the French Government, his statement is essentially an ex parte statement, which ought to be subjected to the full and searching scrutiny of a judicial procedure before it can, with propriety, become the subject of consideration here. If the hon. Member is content to wait until the finding of the Court of Justice in France shall establish any such charge as the hon. Baronet thinks the Procureur Général has established, then, I grant you, is the time when the state of things described by my noble Friend behind me would altogether have passed away; because it is one thing to take notice of the statement of counsel, whose duty it is to bring out one particular side of the question, and it is another thing to take notice of the solemn judicial finding of a court in which I think we, as a friendly Government, irrespectively of the high character of French Courts of Justice, should be bound to place the utmost confidence. Upon that ground, therefore, it is not fitting that the statement of the Procureur Général should become the subject of consideration by this House. But that is not all. I am not now entering into the question whether the statement of my hon. Friend was perfectly sufficient or not. The feelings of gentlemen differ so much with regard to parties on the Continent, that there is room for much difference of opinion on this point. Let us look, however, at what the Procureur Général has said, and how it has been met. And now I come to what I think is the issue placed before the House—stated in the most positive manner that I can possibly state it. Here are the words—I think they are correctly given—of the Procureur Général:—I searched in the London Commercial Almanac, and in the pages of the Post Office Directory, to ascertain" —what? "to ascertain who could be the person thus placed in communication with Greco." What is the charge of the Procureur Général? Not that my hon. Friend's house was used for the reception of M. Mazzini's letters. Upon that subject my hon. Friend has told you he is convinced that M. Mazzini was incapable of writing such letters or of entering into such plots. But that is not the matter in issue. That is not the charge made by the Procureur Général. His charge is, that a certain person was placed by M. Mazzini in communication with Greco. By looking into the London Directory he finds, as he thinks, that that certain person is my hon. Friend. Well, is this true? I am sure that my noble Friend on the back bench will not say that my hon. Friend's explanation was unsatisfactory. Was it possible for my hon. Friend to have given a more distinct and uncompromising denial to this charge. I unhesitatingly appeal to the candour of a body of English Gentlemen to say whether my hon. Friend is not entitled to the benefit of this denial? [An hon. MEMBER: No!] The interruption of the hon. Member is far less creditable to himself than to my hon. Friend, and is a somewhat unmannerly proceeding. I say that my hon. Friend has met the specific declaration of the Procureur Général with a denial as specific as a man can give; and, under these circumstances—the House having received this direct denial from one of its own Members — a man of unimpeached honour and integrity—you are invited to vote that the declaration of the Procureur Général deserves our serious consideration. Those are the circumstances under which you have to vote. God knows that if I thus speak it is not because I am indifferent to the feelings of irritation which subsist, if they do subsist, in France. On that subject, I confess I have great doubts. I believe that there is a growing intimacy and cordiality, and increasing relations of friendship between these two countries. I believe that every day of extended communications and friendly intercourse is laying deeper, and widening more and more, that strong basis of reciprocal confidence between the two peoples which, in my opinion, forms the only effectual security for the peace of Europe and the world. I say, that if I thus speak, it is not on account of any indifference in that respect; it is not on account of insensibility to the many claims which the Emperor of the French possesses not only upon the forbearance, but upon the respect and cordial goodwill of this House. I have not forgotten his many good offices, and at no period have I been slow to recognize them. I will not enter into the question whether all parties and persons have been equally forward to pursue a similar course, but this I will say, that I am very glad to see this feeling towards the French Government prevail in this House; and it is not because we do not share this feeling that we decline to adopt the Motion. It is because, called upon to take a course essentially judicial in its character, we find the allegations upon which the Motion rests entirely fail, inasmuch as a full denial has been given to the statement of the Procureur Général by the speech of my hon. Friend.


said, he could not rest silent under the unjustifiable imputations of the hon. Member for Birmingham, who had deliberately charged the Opposition with being actuated by most improper motives and by party objects in bringing forward this Motion. What right had the hon. Member to interfere in a proceeding which, as the right hon. Gentleman had said, was of somewhat a judicial character, by casting such unworthy and wholesale imputations? He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman in the chair, whether such imputations were not forbidden by the usages of the House. For himself, he disclaimed any such motives; but he had a painful feeling that it was the duty of the House to purge itself from the unfortunate position in which the hon. Member's indiscretion had placed it. The hon. Member had had more than one opportunity of making a full explanation of his conduct. Instead of doing so he had risen and delivered a bombastic declaration against assassination, but he had denied nothing. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of candour, but he could see nothing candid in the conduct of the hon. Gentleman. He himself had asked the hon. Member a distinct question, which he hoped might have elicited a satisfactory explanation, but in vain. Two days afterwards Mazzini, through The Times, published to all Europe the real facts of the case, and that evening, the hon. Member had confirmed the statement. The hon. Gentleman had admitted an acquaintance of eighteen years with the notorious Mazzini, and had openly expressed an admiration for that person. He therefore stood before the country and before Europe as either the dupe or the accomplice of Mazzini. The House knew he did not stand well abroad. There was a time when the name of England was a tower of strength, but since she had left Denmark in her present position all that was changed. He believed the hon. Member to have been the ignorant dupe of Mazzini. He should at some future time feel it his duty to put some questions to the hon. Gentleman which he hoped would be explicitly answered.


said, he had only two or three words to say. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated that the hon. Member for Halifax had denied the charge of the Procureur Général. To his (Mr. Cox's) mind, he admitted every word of it. These were the words:— He, Greco, if he were in want of money, was to apply to an address in London. That address was 35, Thurloe Square, Brompton. I turned to the London Directory, and at page 670, I am sorry to say, I found the name of a Member of Parliament. Seeing that statement, he (Mr. Cox) thought it his duty to put a question to the hon. Member, and he was by no means satisfied with the answer. He therefore once more, in seconding the Motion of the hon. Member for the King's County, put a question as to letters addressed to Mr. Flower, and the hon. Gentleman replied, "I had no knowledge of them." And when he wished to know whether this Mr. Flower was not the true Mazzini, the hon. Member replied, "I have no knowledge of that. I don't know anything about it." He should like the hon. Member to explain which was the true answer—was it the answer he gave the other evening, or the admission which he made that night.


What I said was this—that M. Mazzini had letters addressed to him under the name of Fiore, and I said that Flower was the translation of that name; but I added that to my knowledge no letters had been received at my house in that name.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 171; Noes 161: Majority 10.

Adam, W. P. Hardcastle, J. A.
Agar-Ellis, hon. L. G.F. Hartington, Marquess of
Angerstein, W. Headlam rt. hon. T. E.
Antrobus, E. Henderson J.
Aytoun, R. S. Henley, Lord
Baines, E. Herbert, rt. hon. H. A.
Baring, H. B. Hibbert, J. T.
Baring, T. G. Hodgkinson, G.
Barnes, T. Hodgson, K. D
Bass, M. T. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Beale, S. Hutt, rt. hon. W.
Beaumont, S. A. Ingham, R.
Berkeley, hon. C. P. F. Jackson, W.
Blencowe, J. G. Kershaw, J.
Bonham-Carter, J. King, hon. P. J. L.
Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P. Kinglake, A. W.
Bright, J. Kinglake, J. A.
Bruce, H. A. Kinnaird hon. A. F.
Buchanan, W. Layard, A. H.
Buller, J. W. Leatham, E. A.
Buller, Sir A. W. Lefevre, G. J. S.
Bury, Viscount Lee, W.
Butler, C. S. Lewis, H.
Butt, I. Lindsay, W. S.
Buxton, C. Lloyd, T.
Caird, J. Lowe, rt. hon. R.
Cardwell, rt. hon. E. Lysley, W. J.
Castlerosse, Viscount Mackinnon, W. A.
Childers, H. C. E. Marjoribanks, D. C.
Clay, J. Massey, W. N.
Clifford, C. C. Merry, J.
Clive, G. Mildmay, H. F.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Miller, W.
Collier, Sir R. P. Mills, J. R.
Cowper, rt. hon. W. F. Moffatt, G.
Craufurd, E. H. J. Montagu, Lord R.
Crawford, R. W. Morrison, W.
Crossley, Sir F. Norris, J. T.
Davey, R. Ogilvy, Sir J.
Denman, hon. G. Osborne, R. B.
Doulton, F. Packe, Colonel
Duff, M. E. G. Padmore, R.
Dunbar, Sir W. Paget, Lord C.
Dundas, F. Paget, Lord A.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. Paget C.
Enfield, Viscount Palmer, Sir R.
Evans, T. W. Palmerston, Viscount
Ewart, W. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Ewart, J. C. Peel, rt. hon. F.
Fenwick, H. Fender, J.
Fermoy, Lord Peto, Sir S. M.
Forster, C. Pilkington, J.
Forster, W. E. Pinney, Colonel
Fortescue, hon. F. D. Ponsonby, hon. A.
Fortescue, C. S. Potter, E.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Pritehard, J.
Gilpin, C. Pugh, D.
Gladstone, rt. hon. W. Robartes, T. J. A.
Glynn, G. C. Robertson, D.
Glynn, G. G. Robertson, H.
Goldsmid, Sir F. H. Roebuck, J. A.
Goschen, G. J. Russell, A.
Gower, hon. F. L. Russell, Sir W.
Gower, G. W. G. L. St. Aubyn, J.
Gregson, S. Salomons, Mr. Ald
Grenfell, H. R. Scholefield, W.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Scott, Sir W.
Gurdon, B. Seely, C.
Hanbury, R. Seymour, H. D.
Hankey, T. Seymour, A.
Sheridan, R. B. Warner, E.
Sheridan, H. B. Watking, Colonel L.
Smith, J. B. Weguelin, T. M.
Smith, M. T. Western, S.
Smith, A. Westhead, J. P. B.
Smith, J. A. Whitbread, S.
Stacpoole, W. White, J.
Stansfeld, J. White, J.
Steel, J. Williams, W.
Sykes, Colonel W. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Taylor, P. A. Woods, H.
Thornhill, W. P. Wyld, J.
Tite, W.
Tollemache, hon. F. J. TELLERS.
Tracy, hn. C. R. D. H. Brand, hon. H. B. W.
Turner, J. A. Knatchbull-Hugessen, E.
Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Vivian, H. H.
Acton, Sir J. D. Fraser, Sir W. A.
Adderley, rt. hon. C. B. Gallwey, Sir W. P.
Addington, hon. W. W. George, J.
Archdall, Captain M. Greaves, E.
Astell, J. H. Greenall, G.
Bailey, C. Greene, J.
Baillie, H. J. Greville, Colonel F.
Barttelot, Colonel Griffith, C. D.
Bathurst, A. A. Grogan, Sir E.
Bathurst, Colonel H. Haliburton, T. C.
Beach, W. W. B. Hamilton, Lord C.
Bective, Earl of Hamilton, Viscount
Beecroft, G. S. Hamilton, I. T.
Bentinck, G. W. P. Hardy, G.
Bernard, T. T. Hartopp, E. B.
Bond, J. W. M'G. Harvey, R. B.
Bovill, W. Hassard, M.
Bowyer, Sir G. Hay, Sir J. C. D.
Bramley-Moore, J. Henley, rt. hon. J. W
Bramston, T. W. Hennessy, J. P.
Bridges, Sir B. W. Heygate, Sir F. W.
Bruce, Major C. Heygate, W. U.
Bruce, Sir H. H. Holford, R. S.
Burghley, Lord Holmesdale, Viscount
Cairns, Sir H. M'C. Horsfall, T. B.
Cargill, W. W. Hotham, Lord
Cave, S. Humberston, P. S.
Cecil, Lord R. Hume, W. W. F.
Chapman, J. Humphery, W. H.
Clifton, Sir R. J. Hunt, G. W.
Codrington, Sir W. Jervis, Captain
Cole, hon. H. Jolliffe, rt. hon. Sir W. G. H.
Collins, T.
Cox, W. Kerrison, Sir E. C.
Cubitt, G. King, J. K.
Dalkeith, Earl of Knight, F. W.
Damer, S. D. Knox, Colonel
Dickson, Colonel Knox, hon. Major S.
Disraeli, rt. hon. B. Laird, J.
Buncombe, hon. W. E. Leader, N. P.
Edwards, Colonel Legh, Major C.
Egerton, hon. A. F. Legh, W. J.
Egerton, E. C. Lennox, Lord G. G.
Elcho, Lord Lennox, C. S. B. H. K.
Elphinstone, Sir J. D. Lovaine, Lord
Estcourt, rt. hn. T.H.S. Lygon, hon. F.
Fane, Colonel J. W. Lytton, rt. hon. Sir G. E. L. B.
Farquhar, Sir M.
Fergusson, Sir J. M'Cann, J.
Ferrand, W. Malcolm, J. W.
FitzGerald, W. R. S. Malins, R.
Fleming, T. W. Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.
Floyer, J. Miles, Sir W.
Miller, T. J. Somes, J.
Mitford, W. T. Stanhope, J. B.
Montgomery, Sir G. Stanley, Lord
Moor, H. Stuart, Lieut. -Col. W.
Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R. Surtees, H. E.
Naas, Lord Taylor, Colonel
Nicol, W. Tempest, Lord A. V.
Noel, hon. G. J. Thynne, Lord E.
Northcote, Sir S. H. Tollemache, J.
O'Reilly, M. W. Tomline, G.
Packe, C. W. Torrens, R.
Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J. Trefusis, hon. C. H. R.
Parker, Major W. Turner, C.
Patten, Colonel W. Vance, J.
Paull, H. Vandeleur, Colonel
Peacocke, M. G. W. Vansittart, W.
Peel, rt. hon. General Vyse, Colonel H.
Pennant, hon. Colonel Walcott, Admiral
Pevensey, Viscount Walker, J. R.
Powell, F. S. Walsh, Sir J.
Repton, G. W. J. Waterhouse, S.
Ridley, Sir M. W. Whitmore, H.
Rowley, hon. R. T. Wyndham, hon. P.
Salt, T. Wynn, C. W. W.
Sclater-Booth, G. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Scott, Lord H. Yorke, J. R.
Selwyn, C. J.
Smith, Abel TELLERS.
Smith, S. G. Lennox, Lord H. G. C. G.
Smollett, P. B.
Somerset, Colonel Stracey, Sir H. J.
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