HL Deb 19 April 1849 vol 104 cc454-6

begged to put a question to the noble Marquess below him (the Marquess of Lansdowne) with respect to the expedition sent by the French Government to the coast of Italy. It was not his intention to say one word as to the policy or impolicy of that measure; further than this, that if that expedition were undertaken to put down the republic now established in Rome, and to restore the Pope, it was a curious coincidence that the first step in public affairs of the democratic republic in France should be to destroy another republic that was imitating its own example. It was strange that the first step of a Government established on the ruins of a monarchy should be to restore a monarch who was perhaps the most absolute in all Europe. However strange such a thing might appear, it would be still more strange if it were done with the approbation or concurrence of this country. It would certainly appear to be rather strange if the Pope should owe the restoration of his temporal power to this Protestant Government. He was particularly anxious to ask, after what the noble Marquess had stated that evening with regard to Sicily, whether the Government of this country had taken any part in the way of instigation to the French Government, or in the way of concurring with the French Government in the step they had taken with regard to Rome? After what had fallen from the noble Marquess that evening, and his professions of neutrality with regard to Sicily and Naples—bearing also in mind the bloody scenes and atrocious enormities that had taken place during the struggle between those countries, and that this country having interfered, and having been pledged in honour to continue that interference, had abandoned it—he must say it would be strange if this country did not hesitate to interfere in the internal affairs of another country where no such bloody scenes had occurred, and where there seemed to be unanimity amongst the population. Under these circumstances he put the question to the noble Marquess, whether this country had either instigated or concurred in the step taken by the French Government? It might depend upon the answer of the noble Marquess whether, on a future occasion, he should not feel it to be his duty to bring the whole conduct of the Government with respect to Italian and Sicilian affairs before the House on a substantive Motion, with a view of eliciting from the House an opinion of approbation or disapprobation of its rectitude and policy.


had no hesitation in telling the noble Lord that the information which he had received with respect to the occurrence to which he had referred—namely, the intervention of the French Government in the affairs of Rome, and the departure of a French expedition for Italy—was perfectly correct. That expedition, however, had not been instigated or suggested by this country, nor had it been the subject of any private negotiation or communication between this Government or that of France, save that an intimation of that expedition had been received. He was not prepared to say that the objects of that expedition were of a nature that the Government of this country would disapprove of. After those observations, he hoped his noble Friend would not consider him as in the slightest degree acquiescing in the statement he had made respecting another country unfortunately engaged in war, but under circumstances between which and the French expedition to Italy, there was no connexion whatever. With respect to the unfortunate contest going on in Sicily, their conduct with respect to that country would, he trusted, he found to be satisfactory, and he denied that, with regard to it, Her Majesty's Government had broken any pledge whatever. House adjourned till To-morrow.