HC Deb 11 August 1890 vol 348 cc508-9
MR. SUMMERS (Huddersfield)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the following statement of Sir Lintorn Simmons:— His Holiness expressed his desire that all Her Majesty's subjects should perform their duties to their Sovereign loyally, seeing that the Church in the Queen's dominions was free, and mentioned that during the Duke of Norfolk's Mission he had publicly spoken in this sense. And whether any records of these observations exist; and, if so, whether they can be produced?


In the Duke of Norfolk's Report of his reception by the Pope, on the 17th December, 1887, he says— I handed to the Pope my letter of credence. His Holiness then rose and delivered, without any notes, in French, the speech, copy of which I have the honour to transmit herewith. In his Report of that speech, which extends only over 15 lines of print, occurs this passage, after expressing his appreciation of Her Majesty's letter and his thanks for her choice of an envoy— We wish the more on this particularly propitious day to attest publicly our great satisfaction for the liberty which the Catholic Religion enjoys in all the vast dominions of the British Empire and which permits it to prosper more and more. The other words quoted by the hon. Member do not appear in the Report. But I must point out that the Despatch of Sir L. Simmons in no way bears out the hon. Member's allegation that they were used on the occasion of the Duke of Norfolk's reception, and I think that his having so represented it requires explanation. He has, in fact, not correctly quoted the published correspondence. Sir L. Simmons says, on December 10th, 1889 (No. 3)— His Holiness at a public audience at which I was received, replied in a speech which lasted more than 10 minutes, in which he expressed his desire that all Her Majesty's subjects should perform their duties loyally and faithfully and should respect the law seeing that the Church in the Queen's vast dominions was free and unfettered, and that liberty prevailed throughout in an admirable manner. In regard to this liberty he maintained during the Duke of Norfolk's Mission he had publicly spoken in this sense, and he desired to repeat what he had then said upon the subject.


Perhaps I may be allowed to explain that I put down, verbatim et literatim, the words used by Sir Lintorn Simmons, but the question was mutilated by the clerks at the Table.


I find that a summary given in French of Sir Lintorn Simmons's speech to the Cardinal does not at all bear out the Despatch sent by Sir Lintorn Simmons to the Marquess of Salisbury.


That is not a matter with which I am at present concerned. The passage which the hon. Member quotes is in Sir Lintorn Simmons's Despatch.


The hon. Member will remember that there were words omitted by arrangement with him.


I submitted my question with the words of Sir L. Simmons set out verbatim, but the clerk, with a view to brevity, thought certain words should be omitted, and I assented, preferring to have the question put in a mutilated shape to not being put at all.