§ The EARL of ABERDEEN
rose to move for papers respecting the renewal of the war in the north of Italy. The noble Earl said: I think your Lordships will acknowledge that the present state of affairs in the north of Italy may reasonably call for the most serious attention of this House. My Lords, I have for some time viewed 1087 with apprehension the probability of that result in the affairs of the north of Italy which has now occurred. The whole conduct and language of the Sardinian Government, for some time past, only made it too likely that such a result should be brought about. I have, however, abstained hitherto from bringing this subject under your Lordships' notice, and I should have been content to have abstained so long as there was any hope that the conference at Brussels, which was proposed to take place, would give any practical effect to the mediation by this country and Prance, for the restoration of peace in Italy. I should have done so, my Lords, as long as any the slightest chance existed of success, however inconceivable it might have appeared to me that this conference and mediation could ever have led to any practical result. But those arrangements being at an end, I am now about to move for such correspondence as has taken place between this country and the representatives of Foreign Powers, in order to afford your Lordships information of the steps which Her Majesty's Government have taken with a view to prevent the renewal of this war; for, although we have not heard that the first blow has been struck, we know that the armistice is at an end—that a proclamation of war has been signed—and that theho stile troops are advancing, or are otherwise in motion. I feel it incumbent upon me to make this Motion, because, in my opinion, the course pursued by Her Majesty's Government, both in the north of Italy and in the south, has been deficient in all which sound policy should have dictated, and has been wanting in justice and good faith. Still further am I disposed to make this Motion at this moment, because I think that, a year ago, when the war was first commenced, that war might have been stopped altogether, if proper means had been taken by Her Majesty's Government; or, at all events, I think Her Majesty's Government might have made other efforts to maintain peace. My Lords, it is now just a year to a day since the King of Sardinia, by an act of perfidy almost unparalleled, invaded the territories of his neighbour, his ally, his kinsman, and his benefactor. My Lords, I say "perfidy almost unparalleled," because, for several months, in answer to inquiries and remonstrances from the Austrian Government, the Court of Turin repeatedly declared its earnest desire to cultivate relations of friendship 1088 and peace with the Austrian Government; and even on the 21st of March, in answer to the application of the Austrian Ambassador, the Sardinian Government again declared that they had no other object at heart than to live on terms of friendship and good will and neighbourhood with Austria. Yet, on the following day, without any, the slightest, provocation—without a declaration of war—without the slightest allegation of any grievance suffered or injury done, the Sardinian array was ordered to advance into the Austrian territories. But before I touch upon the progress of the war which was thus commenced, I wish to advert to the position occupied by Her Majesty's Government between the two contending parties at that time; and to this part of the case I am extremely anxious to call the serious attention of your Lordships. Your Lordships may recollect that early in the last Session of Parliament, the noble Marquess opposite laid on the table of the House certain papers connected with the territorial arrangements in Italy. Those papers were laid on the table by command of Her Majesty, without any address from this House on the subject, and they were produced by the noble Marquess without any explanation of the object for which they were produced. I confess that, at the time, I was not able to comprehend with what view those papers were produced; at present the motive is not so unintelligible. My Lords, those papers consisted of two despatches from Prince Metternich, dated the 2nd of August, 1847, on the affairs of Italy at that time, in which he declares that the Emperor of Austria, his imperial master, had no other object in view than to defend his own territories from attack, and to rest on the guarantee of those great principles on which the security of the peace of Europe had for so many years depended; and he called upon the British Government to state whether she still acquiesced in those principles as secured by treaty. The answer of Lord Palmerston, Her Majesty's Principal Secretary for Foreign Affairs, given on the 12th of August, was, that—Her Majesty's Government are of opinion that the stipulations and engagements of the Treaty of Vienna ought to be adhered to in Italy, as well as in all other parts of Europe to which they apply, and that no change can properly be made in the territorial arrangements which were established by that treaty without the consent and concurrence of all the Powers who were parties to it.1089 He further added, that—With reference to the posture of things in Italy, Her Majesty's Government would wish to observe that there is another right besides that of self-defence and self-maintenance, which is inherent in independent sovereignty, and that is, the right which belongs to the Sovereign Power in every State to make such reforms and internal improvements as may be judged by such Sovereign Power proper to be made, and conducive to the well-being of the people whom it governs.The noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs made very light, however, of the condition of Italy, and stated that Her Majesty's Government had received no information as to the existence of any such scheme as that which Prince Metternich mentioned as being planned for the purpose of uniting the then separated States of that country into a great federal republic. Subsequent events will have shown whose information was the most correct; but that was a very satisfactory answer, so far as it went, to Prince Metternich. But Her Majesty's Government, moved, I suppose, by information privately received from Italy, or influenced by the violence of Italian journals, took it into their heads to imagine that the Austrian Government entertained projects of ambition and aggression in that country; and had the Austrian Government entertained such projects, undoubtedly it would have been the duty of the British Government to oppose them. I presume that such must have been the case; for in a month after his despatch of the 12th of August, Lord Palmerstonad dressed another despatch, dated the 11th of September, to the English Ambassador at Vienna, in which these representations of Austrian aggression were alluded to—a despatch which concluded with expressing a conviction on the part of the British Government that—Neither with regard to the King of Sardinia nor with regard to the Pope, could the Austrian Government have any intention of converting any measures of internal legislation or administrative reform which those Sovereigns might think fit to adopt in their respective dominions, into an occasion for any aggression whatever upon their territories or rights. Her Majesty's Government, indeed, would deeply regret the occurrence of events which it would be impossible for Great Britain to view with indifference. The Crowns of Great Britain and of Sardinia have long been bound together by the ties of faithful and intimate alliance; and Great Britain can never forget or repudiate claims founded upon such honourable grounds. The integrity of the Roman State may be considered as an essential element of the political independence of the Italian peninsula; and no invasion of the territory of that State could take 1090 place without leading to consequences of great gravity and importance.That, my Lords, is the effect of the papers laid on your Lordships' table by the noble Marquess. Now, the language used takes very much the shape of a threat, in respect to the supposed intentions of the Austrian Government; because when such a country as this says that it will not view with indifference the proceedings of a foreign Power, it is using expressions which, in diplomatic language, are well understood to mean more than the mere words said. Here, then. Her Majesty's Government received great credit for having checked the course of Austrian ambition, and for having put a stop to those encroachments and to that invasion which had been reported as imminent by writers in Italy and other countries, who seem to have influenced the proceedings of Her Majesty's Government. Your Lordships will remember, however, that six months afterwards, after these papers had been laid on the table of the House, my noble and learned Friend near me (Lord Brougham) moved for additional papers on this subject, which might have been received by Her Majesty's Government. It then turned out that an answer had been given by the Austrian Government to the despatch of Lord Palmerston of the 11th September, but of which, up to that time, your Lordships had heard nothing. Now, the answer to that despatch is dated the 27th of September. In that despatch the Austrian Government laid down these principles—that every independent Sovereign had a right to make, within his own dominions, such reforms and improvements as he might judge conducive to the welfare of the people whom he governed, and that no other Government could be entitled to forbid or to restrain such an exercise of one of the proper attributes of independent sovereignty. That was the proposition of our Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and the Austrian Government thus made known its assent to it, declaring, at the same time, that it was a principle which it had been the first to proclaim, and which it had held and established at every period of its history. The despatch proceeded to state that explanations had repeatedly taken place on the subject of the alleged aggression between the Courts of Vienna and Turin, and that the Austrian Government had received repeated assurances that no apprehensions of such aggression were either entertained or ought to be entertained by 1091 Sardinia. Reckoning the King of Sardinia among its allies, the Imperial Government expressed its readiness, if required, to place itself by the side of Great Britain to defend that Sovereign from aggression from any quarter. I anticipate, my Lords, that your Lordships will think that this was a very satisfactory reply to the last despatch of the British Government. Now, why had it been kept back? The British Government had been in possession of that despatch for four months before it thought proper to lay the accusation against the supposed intentions of Austria upon the table. Now, my Lords, I am quite certain that the noble Marquess was not aware of the existence of this answer at the time when he laid these despatches from Prince Metternich and the other papers upon your Lordships' table—I say it is not possible for the noble Marquess voluntarily to have produced papers which were calculated to make the impression on your Lordships that we had been the means of stopping an act of aggression and of encroachment on the part of Austria, when, at the same moment, we were actually in possession of a most satisfactory answer—a most decided answer—from that Power to any such imputation. What, then, was there to warrant the course which Her Majesty's Government on that occasion pursued? They must have seen in what position the parties in Italy were placed by the only papers which were produced; they must have known they were in possession of an important document, which contained an effectual answer to imputations made at the time against one of these parties; and yet, knowing that they possessed such an answer, it was, nevertheless, studiously withheld. Can we, my Lords—can the Austrian Government—regard such a proceeding as this without feelings of indignation, and without having that indignation painfully increased by the remembrance of the friendly alliance that had long subsisted between England and Austria? But what was the position of the noble Marquess opposite in this matter? The course which has been taken is such as to convey to all an erroneous impression of what was the truth, and he was made a party to the suppression of the truth, which, in its practical effect on the minds of your Lordships, amounted to a palpable falsehood. But, at the same time, I am quite certain that the noble Marquess could not have been 1092 aware of the state of these papers when he laid them upon the table of the House—that he was ignorant of the contents of the answer to Lord Palmerston's despatch when he presented the other despatches to the House. The noble Marquess merely laid upon the table papers placed in his hands for that purpose. Every one knows the high character which the noble Marquess has always maintained in this House and elsewhere; and I appeal, my Lords, to your feelings as gentlemen, whether you can for a moment suppose that he is capable of voluntarily conveying an impression which, as I have pointed out, is manifestly false? But at the time when these papers were laid upon the table, I was unable to understand how Austria should acquiesce in such an imputation as the papers then conveyed. Shortly after the war commenced, however, I did ask the noble Marquess whether similar representations had been made to Sardinia, inasmuch as, although it had been given out that war had been avoided by our interference in checking Austrian aggression, and as, on the contrary, the King of Sardinia had entered the Austrian territories, I did ask whether similar representations had been made at the Court of Turin. The noble Marquess on that occasion did say that such a representation had been made at Turin, and gave the House to believe, that although these representations had failed in preventing the war, yet they had been the means of retarding the aggression subsequently made by the King of Sardinia. I am of opinion that the noble Marquess then fully believed what he stated to be the true facts of the case, as my noble and learned Friend near me did also. But my noble and learned Friend (Lord Brougham) afterwards moved for the other papers connected with these transactions; and I must say, from having read these documents, that so far from representations being made which could by any means have prevented the steps taken by the King of Sardinia, there was the greatest possible remissness in doing anything at all; and the little which was done was quite incapable of producing any such effect as the noble Marquess had imagined. Now, the intimation to Austria to which I am referring was dated in the month of August—namely, the 12th of August, 1847—according to the first papers laid on the table of the House; and by the papers presented, in answer to the Motion of my noble and learned Friend, I find that the first intimation 1093 of any interference on our part with the proceedings of the Court of Turin, was made on the 13th of March, 1848; so that not one word could have been said during the whole of the autumn and the winter previous to the war, and indeed not a word previous to the French revolution. The first thing which I find does not at all answer the description given of it by the noble Marquess; it is a letter from the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, dated the 13th of March, 1848, and addressed to the Hon. Mr. Abercromby, our Minister at Turin, and contains the following paragraph:—Her Majesty's Government have felt great pleasure in learning that the Sardinian Government have determined to pursue that which is the best and wisest course in the present state of things; that they have resolved to give no cause of offence either to France or to Austria, to abstain from any interference in the internal affairs of either, and to maintain a strict and rigid neutrality.Neutrality in any war between Austria and her revolted subjects in Lombardy. Such was the satisfaction they expressed with the state of things as they then were, and they no doubt believed in this view of them on the 13th of March. But Mr. Abercromby becomes uneasy, and his words betray a lurking suspicion of hostile intentions on both sides. He writes on the 20th of March, 1848, to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs in London, and concludes his despatch by stating—Nobody under the present aspect of politics can reasonably take umbrage at this country for protecting her frontiers from whatever side an attack may be possible; and the armaments she has made are only those which a wise and provident Government are called upon to make by the exigencies of the moment; but to employ them for acts of hostile aggression would be to endanger not only the interests of the House of Savoy, but those of the whole country, and of Italy in general. Such being ray view of the present crisis in the politics of this country, I shall conform my language to it on all occasions when talking with the Members of the Sardinian Government; and it will be a great satisfaction to me to learn from yeur Lordships that I have taken ground of which you approve.I conceive that from this despatch of Mr. Abercromby it is quite clear that at the time of writing it he had received no instructions from the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs as to the line of policy which he should pursue; for he expresses a hope that the language which he had held, or rather intended to hold, to the Sardinian Government would be deemed worthy of approbation—language, I beg your Lordships to remark, used only two 1094 days before the declaration of war against Austria was issued by the King of Sardinia. In answer to that despatch the Secretary of State writes on the 27th of March, 1848, to Mr. Abercromby in the following terms:—You will have seen by my despatch of the 13th inst., forwarded by Count Revel's courier, and which you must have received soon after the date of your despatch of the 20th inst., that in the advice which in that despatch you state it to be your intention to give to the Sardinian Government you were correctly anticipating the instructions which were on their road to you. I have therefore now only to instruct you to hold the same language and to give the same advice to the Sardinian Government, and to impress upon the minds of the Ministers of the King of Sardinia the great risks and dangers of many kinds which they would bring upon their country by involving it in unnecessary and aggressive hostilities with Austria.That is advice which might have been given to the King of Sardinia if he had been going to engage in unnecessary and aggressive hostilities with any other Power—for all hostilities are accompanied with great risks and dangers—but there is nothing particularly applicable as a warning against the hostilities in which he was needlessly about to engage with a Government with which Great Britain and himself were both in alliance. In the next extract which I shall read from Mr. Abercromby's despatch, dated Turin, the 27th of March, 1848, when the war was actually in progress, I find this statement:—I this morning had a conversation with Marquess Pareto upon the intentions of the Sardinian Government, now that the determination has been taken to advance the Piedmontese army across the frontiers of the Austrian provinces in Italy. The Marquess Pareto stated that this declaration of war against Austria had a twofold object—first, to drive the Austrians for ever out of Italy—secondly, to assist the Provisional Government formed at Milan.In reply to that despatch Lord Palmerston, on the 11th of April, 1848, wrote as follows:—With reference to your despatch of the 27th ult., reporting on the supposed intentions of the Sardinian Government with regard to Lombardy, I have to inform you that Her Majesty's Government approve the language which you held to the Marquis Pareto on this subject; and I have to instruct you to say to the Sardinian Minister that the conflict into which Sardinia has entered must be admitted to be one of doubtful result, and that the principle on which it has been commenced is one full of danger.Now, I think, that the noble Marquess will not contend upon these premises that any great effort was made by our Government to prevent the war before it 1095 broke out, seeing that everything which was done, however insufficient, actually took place after the war had commenced. Such is the state of the case on the papers which have been laid before Parliament. Well, then, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs gives them the advice not to engage in unnecessary hostility. Of the two latest papers which are included among those laid upon the table, one is an extract from a letter by Mr. Abercromby, dated the 27th of March, when the war was already in progress, in which he states that, at a conference with one of the Ministers of Sardinia, the Minister stated that they were determined to advance the army across the Sardinian frontier, and to drive the Austrians out of Italy. Well, the answer to that is contained in the last of these two papers; it stated that Her Majesty's Government approved of the language held by Mr. Abercromby on that occasion; but what the language was which is thus approved of, it does not state. It adds, however, that "the conflict which they have entered into is one of doubtful result." These are the intimations made to Sardinia, and included in the representation made to us by the noble Marquess, which intimations were made after the war was actually commenced, and also when, only two days preceding the declaration of war, Mr. Abercromby states his intention to hold certain language to the Sardinian Government, as if apprehensive of some distant possibility. Now, the noble Marquess must admit that neither any great effort had been made to prevent the war, still less can be imagine that anything was done after the war had commenced which could have retarded it. Yet such are the facts of the case, and so it stands. I will say that Her Majesty's Government have been guilty of most unjustifiable neglect in all the documents which they have transmitted into Sardinia. I maintain, that the attack of the King of Sardinia upon the territories of his ally the Emperor of Austria was most unjustifiable; and yet the advice which our Minister gave him while meditating this aggression, was such only as he might have given him had his cause been the best which ever existed. I find in the documents nothing about the infraction of treaties, nothing about the violation of engagements on the part of the Government of Sardinia; and, above all, I see nothing in the shape of a protest or remonstrance on the part of the British Government against 1096 any part of its proceedings. Now, my Lords, you will recollect that the King of Sardinia was not only a party, an acceding party, to the Treaty of Vienna, but that he actually came under specific engagements to this country, as well as to all Europe, to maintain the observance of that treaty; and therefore the violation of it required, on the part of this country, not only the use of much stronger language than had been employed in the papers now on the table; but at the very least it demanded to be met with a formal protest. The terms in which the Sardinian monarch contracted with this country were definite and specific, and also rendered him amenable for all the provisions of the Treaty of Vienna. The Act of Accession of the King of Sardinia to the final Act of the Congress of Vienna, on the 9th of June, 1816, was couched in these words:—His Plenipotentiary declares that His Majesty the King of Sardinia accedes by the present Act to the said treaties, conventions, declarations, regulations, and other Acts mentioned in the 118th Article, which Acts shall all be considered as if inserted here word for word; engaging himself formally and solemnly, not only towards His Majesty the King of Great Britain, but also towards all the other Powers and States, which, either as signing, or acceding, have taken part in the engagements of the Act of the Congress, to concur on his side in the fulfilment of the obligations contained in the said treaty which may concern His Majesty the King of Sardinia.Therefore, in addition to that violation of public law, and that scandalous violation of peace, without any assignable cause or pretext, there is a violation of the guarantee entered into specially with this country; and the least that Her Majesty's Government could have done, upon such an occasion as that, was to have entered their formal protest. Why, they had a modern example before them of a case somewhat similar, by which they might have framed their remonstrance. Your Lordships will recollect that some time ago the three northern Powers, Austria, Russia, and Prussia, had taken measures by which they deprived the republic of Cracow of certain of its privileges and of its independence. Though those measures unquestionably constituted a violation of the Treaty of Vienna in the opinion of two other of the great Powers, France and England, yet it was a violation trifling and insignificant when compared with that which has been perpetrated in the north of Italy. It was even a matter open to discussion and doubt, for three of the five great Powers of Europe, who have 1097 hitherto assumed the control of such matters into their hands, declared that it was no violation of the Treaty of Vienna. These three Powers maintained—and I admit that they had had great provocation on the part of that State, and it was not to be denied that this provocation might have been made a justification for their interfering with Cracow, and in obtaining satisfaction and security for the future; but yet this country protested that it would be a violation of the Treaty of Vienna. France was of the same opinion; and we lost not a moment in entering our protest, our strong protest, against it. That was a precedent which I have every reason for thinking ought to have been followed in this case, which is tenfold stronger than the case in which the three Powers were involved. Now, as much has been said of the Treaty of Vienna, and there appears to be a good deal of uncertainty and difference about the obligations of that treaty, this may be a proper moment for me to state what, in my opinion, these obligations are. I think, then, in the first place, that the Powers, whether contracting or acceding to the treaty, are precisely on the same footing, and are all bound precisely by the same obligations. There is a moral guarantee given by every Power who signed or acceded, to observe, and to cause to be observed, the provisions of that treaty. I think, strictly speaking, that any violation of the provisions of that treaty may be a casus belli; but it must be determined by the view which the injured party takes of his own injuries, whether or not the violation should be followed by war; but that some notice ought to be taken of the infraction of the treaty there can be no doubt, either by remonstrance, or by formal protest, or by the withdrawal of the Minister, or by such other modes as may best express the opinion entertained by the respective Governments. I fully admit that neither we nor any other party to the treaty are bound by that moral obligation to make common cause with any party who may feel himself injured; that must depend upon the degree in which our own interests may be endangered, and upon the relations in which we may stand. There is another kind of guarantee contained in the Treaty of Vienna which rests on a different footing. The moral guarantee of which I have just been speaking does not bind us to make common cause with all that are injured; but there is also a special guarantee applicable 1098 to the neutrality of Switzerland, and to the possession of certain provinces by Prussia, by which, if the conditions be violated, we should be bound to redress the wrong by war, if necessary. Fortunately, this country has always had a great reluctance to enter into guarantees of this nature, and I hope will always cultivate such a reluctance; for if we enter into treaties thus specially guaranteed, we are obliged in every particular to fulfil them; but there is no prospect that the special guarantees contained in the Treaty of Vienna should lead to any such result. Returning more immediately to the subject before the House, I must remind your Lordships that the remonstrances which Her Majesty's Government made, being of the futile and insignificant description which I have described, could not have any possible effect on the progress of the war. That war, iniquitously as it was commenced, continued at first to obtain greater success than it deserved. The Piedmontese army advanced, took the Austrian army by surprise, and, unprepared for treachery of this description, drove it first hack to the Mincio, and afterwards to the Adige, and succeeded in depriving the Austrians for a time of the whole of Lombardy. In these difficulties, and distracted by a revolution in the capital, without resources, without a Government, without instructions, without orders, the Austrian army was for the time completely paralysed. In this emergency, the Cabinet of Vienna, notwithstanding the state of opinion in this country, still relying upon the old friendship and alliance which had so long existed between Austria and this country, sent a special mission over to this country to make overtures and concessions. I see that statements are made in a despatch, published in the newspapers, purporting to be from Prince Schwartzenburg, in reference to that mission; whether the despatch is authentic I know not; I do not know what the particulars are; but I know that the proposals made on that occasion by the Austrian Government were not received as sufficient to meet the exigencies of Her Majesty's Government; Her Majesty's Ministers required still greater concessions, although Austria offered to surrender the whole of Lombardy, and to acknowledge its independence. It, however, did not satisfy the demands of the British Government. Now, that Austria offered to concede the whole of Lombardy is quite clear, because at that time it appears, by a 1099 document before the public, that Baron Wessenberg, on the 13th of June, sent a commission to Milan to treat with the Milan Government, on the basis of the independence of Lombardy. The answer made to the Austrian Government, by the Provisional Government of Milan, however, was, that they must have the whole of Italy, and that they had already committed themselves to that, and nothing less. Happily the Austrian offers of concession made to Her Majesty's Government were declared insufficient for England taking up her cause by mediation. I say "happily," for shortly after this, the Austrian army having been reinforced, and a better spirit prevailing in the Austrian councils—although I should not wish to stigmatise the conditions which were offered to the Milan Government by the Cabinet of Vienna, considering the enormous difficulties and the anarchy and danger into which they were plunged at home—I say the Austrians, soon after, taking courage assumed the offensive, and from victory to victory pursued their enemy to his own frontier, and by a series of brilliant operations the campaign was brought by Marshal Radetzki to a successful termination. I think the whole conduct of that veteran commander was such as to entitle him to the highest credit, for it was as much distinguished by his ability in the field as by his moderation after victory. The veteran marshal exhibited as much vigour and activity throughout that remarkable crisis as when I saw him myself at the head of his victorious hussars five-and-thirty years ago. On arriving at the frontier, in the exercise of prudence, or generosity, or both, he abstained from following his feeble enemy into his own territory; on the application of the King of Sardinia he granted an armistice, with a view to the establishment of a real peace—a peace which, in all probability, would have been easily effected, requiring but little time for its accomplishment. But, in a few days, the Government of England and of Prance offered their mediation. That, of course, was gladly accepted by the King of Sardinia; and after a short time, though not so very naturally, it was accepted by Austria, with the understanding that the basis of the mediation was to be the subject of consideration between the two Powers. This mediation was most ill-timed, and most unequal in its operation, and offered no prospect of a satisfactory issue. When two Powers are engaged in 1100 war, very naturally and very laudably a third Power, allied to both, offers to mediate, with a view to facilitating their return to peace. The mediating Power may possibly be swayed by interested motives, and justice and impartiality may be sacrificed; but, at least, the action is simple, and the result speedy. When, however, two Powers offer their mediation, it is of the greatest importance that their interests should be identical. It is quite clear that England and France were both sincerely desirous of the return of peace; but it is not quite clear that the interests of England and the interests of France were identical, or that they agreed in anything else. On the contrary, the interest of England has always been to see North Italy reared into a barrier as strong as possible. This was the effect of the Treaty of Vienna in bringing the great military power of Austria in contact with the keeper of the passes of the Alps. Sardinia was greatly strengthened by the addition of Genoa, and the Imperial Fiefs, and the barrier was compacted along the frontier of the Alps. It was the interest of France, however, to weaken that barrier, and that never could be so effectually done as by weakening the power of Austria. I therefore think the prospect was unpromising of a satisfactory issue to the mediation, even if it had been undertaken on the most practical grounds. But when one comes to look at the mode in which these conferences and negotiations were intended to be carried on, it became evident that no permanent successful result could arise from them. It is easy to see a reason why Austria, from the first, was not disposed to concede a single inch of that territory which she had maintained by such efforts of courage, and at such sacrifices to herself. Indeed, I do not see why we might not have held the same language as we did in the late civil war in Switzerland, when, according to all appearance, with rather more ingenuity than good faith, we contrived that that war should be over before the mediators met, and then we said, there is no more need of mediation, for the war is at an end. Here, too, it might be said that the war was at an end; and the King of Sardinia, without any further pretext, might consider himself fortunate to have escaped as he had. Well, then, the war, after a cessation now of some months, has been renewed; and I sincerely hope, and fully believe, that this repose will not be found to have impaired the vigour and 1101 energy of Marshal Radetzky. I cannot possibly doubt that on this occasion Her Majesty's Government have made somewhat more strenuous efforts to prevent that renewal, than they made at the first breaking out of the war. What, then, is it which Her Majesty's Government propose to do under the present circumstances? I maintain that such is the character your double policy has obtained for you in Italy, that it is impossible for you to expect any one of the other Powers to believe your sincerity in objecting to the war undertaken by Sardinia, seeing the special engagements entered into with this country, as well as the gross violation of the Treaty of Vienna; and, in addition to this, seeing the contempt in which the King of Sardinia holds the mediating Powers, and that mediation itself—I say I know no one who would believe you sincere, unless you recall Her Majesty's Minister from the Court of Turin. Of the unprincipled conduct of the King of Sardinia the world are satisfied. I have read the voluminous manifesto in which the Sardinian Ministers have attempted a justification of the course they have pursued; and I will say nothing further of it than that it is a Jesuitical compound of facts misstated and audacity unparalleled. It is full of fine words—it speaks of good faith, justice, and honour. One would think that these words should have paralysed the fingers which wrote them. In it the King of Sardinia rejects all treaties, ancient and modern—quite forgetting apparently that it is by treaty he holds possession of Genoa, and of those fiefs which had been so long the object of his house; and that but for the Treaty of Vienna—that treaty he has now so grossly violated—he would at this moment see his dominions circumscribed to his island of Sardinia, and would never have been allowed to obtain those possessions which had been acquired for him by Austrian arms. The document shows the desperation and madness of his government. The justification pleaded for the war in this document is the violation of the armistice on the part of the Austrians, when it is notorious that the very first violation of it was committed on the part of Sardinia, in a most flagrant instance, when the Sardinian fleet continued in the Adriatic, contrary to the express stipulations of the armistice. This production will, no doubt, be speedily answered by the Government at Vienna in the manner which it deserves. There was one passage in 1102 the manifesto, however, which contained the whole pith of the document. "Having," they say, "weighed all the chances, examined the remote and immediate causes of the last events, the Sardinian Government has come to the conviction that it is not less necessary for Upper Italy than for the whole of the Peninsula, to be delivered from the present state, in which, otherwise, the most important conditions of political and social existence would be placed in jeopardy." Now, my Lords, this, divested of the verbiage in which it is involved, to use a homely but expressive English saying, is neither more nor less than "needs must when the devil drives." This unhappy Sovereign is impelled by a force greater than himself. He is made an instrument in the hands of others, who are as hostile to him as they are to Austria; and if he were to succeed in driving the Austrian army out of Italy to-morrow, his difficulties would only then begin. Now, my Lords, there is one matter worthy of observation in this manifesto. With all that the manifesto contains, we have hoard nothing about the slavery of the Italian subjects of Austria. We used to hear a good deal about the "leaden sceptre" and about the "iron rule" of Austria, and such like phrases. But I believe the Austrian provinces have long been the best governed of all the provinces in Italy. They had no constitutions or constitutional liberty; but property was secure in them, and justice was administered between man and man with as much fairness and impartiality as in any country in Europe. The police was excellent, and the prosperity of the country was great and increasing. But moreover, my Lords, the subjects of Austria in Italy will shortly have a constitution as free as heart can desire; and I only hope and trust they may be as happy and as prosperous with their constitution as they have been hitherto without one. However, that constitution they will have; and I cannot help taking this opportunity of expressing the joy I feel, that the Austrian empire possesses statesmen who have the boldness and the ability to frame such a constitution at this time. Some, indeed, there may be who may think the Austrians need not have gone so far as they have to procure a foundation for a free constitution—that they need not have crossed the Atlantic for a model. Nevertheless, my Lords, I honour their courage, and I give them credit for knowing what is best adapted to the wants 1103 of their own country, and what is most likely to be successful. I rejoice to see that this noble work—for noble work it is—is likely to be promulgated in Italy as well as in other parts of the Austrian empire; and I hope, for the sake of Europe, and especially for the sake of this country, that Austria will, under this new constitution, enter upon a long career of happiness and glory. If the noble Marquess shall tell me that the correspondence for which I move cannot be produced at this moment with convenience, I am perfectly ready not to press for its production. Some time or other, I presume, it will be thought fitting by Her Majesty's Government to produce it, as well as other matters explanatory of the whole of the proceedings connected with the war. But I thought that, considering what has taken place, and considering the great deficiency of information before the occurrence of the war in the first instance, it was incumbent upon me to move for this correspondence now. I am, however, perfectly willing not to press for its production at present, if the noble Marquess should think it would not be beneficial for the public interest to lay it upon the table.
§ The MARQUESS of LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I heard with great satisfaction the declaration with which the noble Earl concluded his speech, namely, that he would not press for the production of the correspondence, if assured by Her Majesty's Government that it would be an inconvenient step. That declaration has relieved me from the necessity, under which I should otherwise have lain, of troubling your Lordships at some length upon the particular points relating to the production of the papers for which the noble Earl has moved, and of showing to your Lordships—that which indeed it would not have been difficult to show, if the noble Earl had not himself, in some degree, anticipated me—that this is precisely the moment at which the production of those papers would be attended with the greatest inconvenience. In fact, it is not till all negotiations are at an end, until actual recourse has been had to arms—it is not until the consequences of all that has passed are fully developed, and that all the efforts that have been made to suspend the horrors of war have proved unavailing—that the British Government would be justified in making that explanation, which, if made at all, should be a most ample and complete justification of 1104 their conduct and proceedings. But, my Lords, I feel it necessary to offer a few remarks, which shall be as short as possible, upon some of the observations made by the noble Earl. The noble Earl commenced his speech by adverting, not to any recent negotiations—not to any papers which he is now desirous of having laid upon the table—but to papers produced at a former time; papers which were last year laid upon the table of the House, and this for the purpose of deducing a sort of accusation against Her Majesty's Government, that at an early stage of these proceedings a disposition existed upon their part unfavourable to the Austrian Government. Now, I do not admit that any such inference can be fairly deduced from those papers. The noble Earl will remember that upon the former occasion the statement he made was entirely different. And here I must say that I have some reason to complain of the noble Earl throughout the entire of his speech professing to connect these papers, which have been already laid upon the table of the House, with certain future papers about to be so laid, but which have nothing in common but that they all relate to Italy. The noble Earl seemed totally to forget, or, at all events, he suppressed, so far as avoidance of the subject could suppress it, that, in the interval between those negotiations about which he now requires to be informed, there had occurred one small event, namely, the revolution in Paris. And I am sure I need only appeal to the sound judgment of the noble Earl, and, perhaps, to the statesmanship which I admit he is at all times able to display, whether there was any possible event more likely than that revolution to cause the line of conduct existing between one country and another to be altered and modified, or, at least, to undergo a careful review? But, my Lords, the noble Earl has expressed his surprise that a despatch which he says he has seen, had not been laid upon the table with the other papers.
§ The EARL of ABERDEEN
I said that I saw it when it was laid upon the table, but that I never saw it before.
§ The MARQUESS of LANSDOWNE
I understood the noble Earl to refer to a paper which was not presented or laid upon the table.
§ The EARL of ABERDEEN
No, no; I feel that if I could make this matter intelligible to your Lordships, I have only to appeal to you as gentlemen. The noble 1105 Marquess produced, in the first instance, those despatches which ended with a despatch to the Court of Austria, containing a threat against Austria for her supposed interference in the internal affairs of the Italian States. That was a threat which might have been deserved; I don't believe it was deserved; but I say I admit it might have been. Well, six months after the impression had been made that we by our zealous interference had protected Sardinia from Austria, it appeared that Austria had sent an answer at once to that despatch, in which she not only denied entertaining any such intentions as had been attributed to her, but declared she was ready to act in conjunction with Great Britain. Now I call it a suppressio veri, when the Government had not produced that despatch, while they had produced the other.
§ The MARQUESS of LANSDOWNE
But that suppressio veri, as the noble Earl calls it, was actually laid upon the table the moment it was called for.
The MARQUESS of LANSDOWNE'S
rejoinder to this observation was inaudible. He proceeded: At the time referred to, could any one say that there was not ground for apprehension that Austria would interfere in the peninsula of Italy, for the purpose of preventing the extension of constitutions to the various States—constitutions of less freedom than that which Austria has since given to her own subjects, and which the noble Earl himself seems now to think an inestimable boon. My Lords, it is fortunate for the world that Austria has discovered that it is a boon; and I am happy to find that the noble Earl has discovered that it is a boon likewise. But, my Lords, I say there were numbers of people then in Italy who believed themselves justified in thinking that Austria would not permit free constitutions in the Italian States bordering on her Italian possessions; and I am therefore justified in saying that the apprehension existed in Italy, and that Her Majesty's Government acted properly in removing that apprehension. In so doing, there was nothing in 1106 their conduct hostile to Austria. The despatches stated fully and explicitly what the views of this Government were with regard to independent States; and on looking back to the despatches, and contemplating the condition of things which then existed, contrasted with the great change of circumstances which has since taken place, I must say I see nothing in our conduct by which I am not prepared to stand, and by which I am not ready to abide. But, as I stated a few moments ago, a change came over the world which entirely reversed the order of things throughout Europe. The danger that was apprehended in Italy before that time was from the interference of Governments with the independence of States; but after that which took place at Paris, which impressed the whole world with alarm, and imposed upon this country new duties, and a new mode of executing those duties—I mean the revolution, with all its consequences—the danger which arose was, that a democracy without a throne would overturn all the crowns of Europe, spreading from France, establishing an influence and a power which it would be afterwards difficult to guide or regulate. My Lords, I say that under such circumstances it was wise, for the purpose of securing the world from the sudden irruption of revolutionary doctrines—and no more safe, and salutary, and certain expedient could be devised—that such an understanding should be established between the Governments of France and England as would make it impossible for Prance to act alone. By not compelling France to act alone, we have avoided those dangers to which I have alluded, and in the apprehension of which I am satisfied the noble Earl concurs. But the noble Earl's reason for not coming to an understanding with France, or not assisting in any plan of joint co-operation with Prance, is really singular. For he says, "I admit that Prance and you had, at the moment, the same interest in preserving peace in Italy, and that you had a right to believe that the French Government was quite ready to do everything to assist you in good faith." But the noble Earl then says that the motives of each were somewhat different. Because, "had there been war in Italy, France would have been obliged to take a different course from you." Why, surely, my Lords, that is the very best reason we could have for endeavouring to preserve peace, and for preventing war. But, up to the point of preserv- 1107 ing peace as long as it could be preserved, France was prepared to act with us; and yet the noble Earl thinks it was bad policy for France to be joined with us. My Lords, I, for my part, rejoice in the co-operation of France, and I am not willing to part with that co-operation. I am not prepared to think it of so little value as to be carelessly thrown away. There never was a period at which I thought the co-operation of France more important than at present. There never was a time when it was more desirable—when it was more desirable that there should be a co-operation, not of the Government merely, but of the people of France and England. It is to that cooperation, which I hope will continue uninterrupted, that we must owe the peace of Europe. The noble Earl has a right to comment upon that which he has heard. But commenting upon papers before they have been produced in this House, is surely an inconvenient course to pursue; and the noble Earl has adopted a proposition with regard to the proposed mediation upon which I shall have a few words to say. He has stated that the terms that were proposed by Austria as the foundation of the mediation, were not such as to satisfy the exigencies of this country. Why, where does the noble Earl find that we had any exigencies to be satisfied? I defy the noble Earl to point out anything which could justify his assertion. I defy him to produce his proofs. I say that throughout these transactions this country tried to act as a fair and impartial mediator. And what the noble Earl calls—invidiously, I must say—the exigencies of this country, were merely communications from this country, and the terms upon which England thought the mediation might prove satisfactory. Would the noble Earl, who has had so much to do with mediation, and who may have so much to do with mediations hereafter, enter upon one between any two parties upon any other ground than the ascertaining what each party was likely to agree to. For if you undertake a mediation with the knowledge that no concession would be made on either side, there is an end to all utility in the negotiations. Two parties have got into a dispute, and are desirous to make peace; and the intervention of a third party is wanted for the purpose of arranging those concessions which otherwise cannot be proposed by either, as neither can brook to yield a point to the other. If ever such a case was perfectly 1108 exemplified, it was that of the dispute between Austria and the house of Savoy. The conflict which had existed between them was characterised by the fiercest, the most sanguinary animosity, not only between the Governments, but between the nations themselves. And it was at that very moment, when the honour of each Cabinet was supposed to be compromised in the issue of the contest, that it was imagined that the interference of the two Powers, France and England, might enable the parties, with greater credit to themselves and greater satisfaction to their subjects, to come to a mutual understanding. Well, then, the noble Earl seems to think that we gave an undue preference to Sardinia, and to suppose that we did so in the belief that Austria was far weaker than she really was. It might be imagined, from the noble Earl's observations, that it was not Austria herself who, previously to the commencement of the mediation, had proposed to separate Lombardy from her empire. The noble Earl has alluded to a document which has been circulated relating to the communications which then took place, which document states that the proposition of Austria to abandon Lombardy was never made, and was never acquiesced in by Austria. I shall put the seal upon that despatch, by saying that instead of its having never entered into the thoughts of Austria to detach Lombardy from her empire, that was one of the concessions which M. Hummelauer agreed to. And when M. Hummelauer broke off the negotiations, it was not upon the question as to the separation of Lombardy that there was any difference. I am stating that which it is very important that the public should know. In order that there may be no further repetition of the allegations as to the propositions contained in that spurious despatch, that Austria was ready to detach Lombardy, the very best proof is to be found in the very despatch to which the noble Earl has alluded, that from Baron Wessenberg; and we have in our possession now a despatch which proves that when Baron Wessenberg was sent by Austria to open the negotiations at Milan, the basis of those negotiations was the detachment of Lombardy from the Austrian empire. [Lord STANLEY: Hear, hear!] The noble Lord opposite cries "Hear, hear!" as if all this was never brought in question.
That statement—["Order, order!"] I have been distinctly referred to by the noble Marquess, and I 1109 have a right to explain. I say that that statement has been expressly made by the noble Earl in his speech. [Lord ABERDEEN: Hear, hear!]
§ The MARQUESS of LANSDOWNE
And I as expressly state that the noble Earl has said that he knew not whether the despatch bearing the supposed signature of Prince Schwartzenberg was a spurious document or not. One would think, from the manner in which the noble Lord talked, that it would be charged against this country that we had proposed the separation of Lombardy from Austria. Not a day passes in which this charge is not made; and if it be not contradicted it will pass current for truth; but if properly and completely denied and disproved, we shall hear no more of such despatches going through Europe as if authentic and real. It may do very well to prepare adulterated papers and adulterated despatches that may be fit to supply the columns of newspapers, and may even answer for the whispers of drawing-rooms, but they are not fit for your Lordships' ears. We have had no wish to separate Austria and Lombardy, but the contrary. Nor have we wished to give over Lombardy to the Government of Sardinia. I say it could hardly have been foreseen that any such attempt would have been made; and it never would have been made but for the French revolution. No one could have foreseen the occurrence of the French revolution, which diverted into new channels all the political ideas of Europe. But from the moment that Mr. Abercromby, our Minister at Turin, took upon himself to express his entire disapprobation of the occurrences that took place, to the present time, no attempt has been omitted by Her Majesty's Government to induce the Sardinian Government to pause in the course of what I must now call injustice as well as great impolicy which had led her to covet the possession of Lombardy. When the papers are produced, your Lordships will see that warning was given of these events. You will find more than this—that among the different communications which took place between the two Governments of France and England and Sardinia, not only was warning administered on the part of England, but as often and as especially by the Government of France was warning given, in, if possible, still more emphatic terms; and, my Lords, if there is any chance, I may almost say if there is the continuance of a chance—because it is 1110 still possible, though barely possible, that hostilities may even yet be averted—if the continuance of such a chance still remains, it is through the exertions and the efforts of the French Ministry, specially employed in exhorting the Sardinian Government to consider the course which they are about to adopt, and assuring them that in that course they will receive from France, as from England, no support, no countenance, and no assistance whatever. My Lords, the papers for which the noble Earl has moved will shortly be laid before the House—they certainly will not be delayed many days—and then the questions put by the noble Earl shall have an answer. I cannot sit down without stating that I am ready to admit that in much of what the noble Earl has stated with respect to the conduct which the Government of Sardinia is now pursuing, I am ready to agree with him, as it is a course which we have endeavoured, as far as it was in our power, to induce the Government of Sardinia not to pursue. At the same time I am not prepared to make use of the strong language which the noble Earl has applied to the course taken by that Government, because I cannot but recollect that the state of Europe has been such as to afford, I will not say a justification, I need hardly say an excuse, but I may say something like a palliation for the course and for the systems of action adopted by that Government, which, under ordinary circumstances, would have been altogether unjustifiable. It is easy for us in this country to blame the Sardinian Government; it is easy for the noble Earl to indulge in speculations as to what was the course they ought to have adopted; it is easy for those who are so disposed, to sit down and apply to all the events of the last year the strict rules and habits of diplomatic intercourse and international relations. But I submit to your Lordships what may be a defence, not of the Sardinian Government only, but of almost every other Government in Europe—I submit to your Lordships that during the time when those Governments felt the ground to be upheaved beneath them, and saw the clouds of the sky to be lowering above them—when they were threatened, some with immediate, others with more remote subversion and destruction, we must not too severely scrutinise, or in too nice a spirit of criticism review, the course which they have taken under such circumstances. I do not know what Government that was so 1111 affected by late events could stand such a test. Even that Government to which we are now particuliarly adverting, and which I respect and esteem as one of our oldest friends, and which in very difficult times has been the warm and close ally of England—the house of Austria—for I have already had occasion to state to this House my opinion of the natural connexion that exists between the interests of that empire and this country—I do not know that that country, acted upon as it has been by the events of last year, has exhibited to the world a course of conduct consistent either with the tranquillity of Europe or of Germany. But I do not condemn them on that account. I know that an empire so situated is bound to respect the feelings and even the prejudices of a great mass of its subjects. But if such Governments, under the pressure of these events, have been driven out of their habitual, and proper, and ordinary course, some allowance ought to be made for the smaller Governments, and for the heads of those Governments, when they were driven by late events into positions where they could not restrain the ardour and impatience of their own subjects, though, I admit, that on strict principle it cannot be defended. I say this, not because I feel that it is any justification for the conduct of the King of Sardinia, in renewing the war at this moment, but because I think some allowance ought to be made, under the circumstances of the case. I lament that there is now a stop put to the progress of that mediation to which they have been taught to look. I lament especially that the Government of Austria, which was the first that assented, as it did most clearly, to mediation, and which has given the strongest proof of its assent, in the despatches now read, should now—though for the last six months it has assented to that mediation—when the mediation is about to take place, and when the Plenipotentiaries appointed by other Powers have assembled to join in it, that Austria should, up to a short time ago, have withheld that nomination of its Plenipotentiary, which is necessary and proper to give effect to the mediation, and has thus given, I will not say a sufficient excuse, but at all events a pretext to that Sovereign, who has no power to control his own subjects, for renewing this unnecessary and most unfortunate war. I wish much that that pretext had not been given. But if war should take place, I can only say that we have done everything which 1112 our power and our exertions enabled us to do in order to avert it; and, looking to the future, I hold it to be of the greatest importance, and the most admirable security for the future restoration of peace, that we have now the evidence that two countries—countries I will not say the greatest in the world, but which are admitted to be among the greatest in the world, have exhibited and felt an interest in the continuance of universal peace; and, persuaded as I am, from what I have seen, that not only the Government but the people of France are deeply impressed with the conviction that their honour and prosperity will be more consulted by the preservation of peace and the improvement of their own internal condition than by any disturbance in Europe, I look forward with confidence to the time when, by the united exertions of these two countries, by their maintenance of the same policy, and having peace for their sole and ultimate object, the general peace of Europe will be restored and preserved. In conclusion, I have no difficulty in assuring the noble Earl that the papers for which he has called will be furnished, perhaps immediately, and, at all events, that they will be laid on your Lordships' table at no distant period.
said, he would not trespass long upon their Lordships' attention, after the full and clear statement which his noble Friend near him (the Earl of Aberdeen) had made of the whole case in his very luminous speech. He only rose to set right, in one respect, his noble Friend who last spoke (the Marquess of Lansdowne), and who did not appear to be in possession of all the facts of the case. But first he would say, that he heartily agreed with the two great propositions laid down by his noble Friend opposite: first, in respect to the infinite importance for the peace of Europe, as well as the best interests of this country, that they should preserve unbroken a good understanding with France; and he gave his noble Friends opposite all credit now, as he had done on the first night of the Session, for their well-meant though unsuccessful junction with France, even on that otherwise doubtful ground—the Sardinian mediation, of which he never could entertain any sanguine hopes. He, next, entirely agreed with the noble Marquess in his proposition, in which, however, his noble Friend near him went as far as he did, as to the infinite importance of retaining their old-established alliance with the House of Austria—an alliance not only in accordance 1113 with the ancient policy of this country, but also in accordance with the tenor of treaties from which honour and good faith required that we should never swerve. He was entirely satisfied with the doctrines laid down by his noble Friend opposite on this cardinal point; but he certainly wished that the Government of which his noble Friend was the representative in that House had attended a little more to those sound English as well as European principles of policy and good faith towards Austria in the month of September, 1847, and been then guided by the principles they now avowed, when he really did think that the negotiations, as given in the distinct and lucid narrative of his noble Friend near him, which took place at that period, did indicate anything rather than a spirit of kindness towards Austria—any thing rather than great tenderness towards either our own honour, or the interests, or the feelings of our old ally—anything, he might even say, rather than a wish to hold the balance even between the two parties of Sardinia and Austria; because he thought it was perfectly manifest that they had dealt out a very large measure of justice towards the one, and a very scanty measure towards the other. Only compare the language of the two despatches of the 11th of September, 1847—the two despatches, one to Sardinia, the other to Austria. To Austria they said—" At your peril interfere in Italy"—for it amounted to that. In ordinary language that would be the expression—diplomatic courtesy expressed itself usually in gentler terms, but quite as significant. It was just this—" If we, England, see that you, Austria, presume"—no, he begged pardon, that was too strong a word for diplomacy; it was—" if we, England, see that you, Austria, assume"—that was the diplomatic language—" if we see that you assume to act in Italy in such a way as to offend the popular party—if you interfere between the Governments of Italy and the peoples of Italy—if you make a cause of war to arise out of the fact of liberal institutions being granted to the peoples of Italy by their sovereigns—take you notice from us, that we, England, will not view this with indifference." It was neither more nor less than this:—" If you, Austria, interfere in Italy, we, England, will use force to prevent you. We give you notice, in plain language, we threaten you if you interfere in Italy." But what did we say to Sardinia? Did we say, "If you choose to break the peace which you have sworn 1114 to keep—if you commit an infraction of the Treaty of Vienna, which gave you Genoa, and Novara, and indeed Chamberry, and in fact Piedmont, because, but for that treaty, you would have been thrown back upon a barren island, and a savage people, and a pestilential climate, instead of possessing, as you do now, a fertile country, peaceful and civilised subjects, and the most salubrious climate on the face of the earth, if not the most delightful—if you choose to break that treaty to which you owe such inestimable advantages—to which you owe, in fact, your Continental existence among the Powers of Europe, and, instead of being relegated to Lilliput, are a Power in Europe"—if you do this, what would happen? Did England threaten—did she hold out any menace—did she tell Sardinia that she would not remain indifferent? No, nothing of the kind. She barely told Sardinia, as her confidential adviser—"We think you are pursuing a dangerous career—you are reckoning without your host—you are likely to have the worst of the bargain." But there was not a word of threatening. Now, this was not the language they held to Austria. They did not say to her—"If you interfere in Italy between the people and their sovereigns, and attempt to intercept the liberal institutions which the princes are disposed to confer on their subjects, we think you are unwise, and that you are pursuing a course which you will afterwards have reason to repent." No such thing; but they said, "If you interfere in Italy, we shall look upon it as an infraction of the peace, and we shall probably go to war with you in consequence." Therefore, he said again, he wished that the same friendly feelings towards Austria, their old and best ally, had prevailed in September, 1847, as on the 22nd of March, 1849. Now, with regard to the despatch from Austria, in reply to the one from the English Government, he was quite willing to acquit his noble Friend opposite of all intention of wilfully suppressing any such document, because he was perfectly assured that his noble Friend was altogether incapable of lending himself to such a proceeding. But the very justification of the proceeding which his noble Friend had offered, showed that he was not acquainted with the circumstances—that the particulars were not within his knowledge. Therefore, he (Lord Brougham) would explain it to him. The case was shortly this. The Government was said to be at the time in pursuit of Continental popularity— 1115 such was the charge; but possibly they might be actuated by a sincere desire to maintain the independence of Italy; but, being at the time in full quest of liberal popularity in Paris, and Milan, and Florence, and Rome, and Naples, the Government produced a despatch which held them up to the admiration of all liberal parties on the Continent—which exhibited them as deserving the gratitude of all liberal parties—which held them up to the well-merited approbation of the Milanese coffeehouse politicians—which held them up as the champions of the Mazzinis, and Sterbinis, and Mammianis, and Garribaldis, and Guerrarris, et id genus omne, down to the very gueux, to whom some of them were reported to have waved flags from balconies, and shouted "Live Italian Independence!"—they were held up as threatening Austria with England's imperial displeasure if she presumed to intercept the liberal institutions granted by the Italian sovereigns to their peoples. Liberal institutions granted by sovereigns at a moment when Europe generally was in a state of revolution! They took credit to themselves for that. They were in the mouths of all the men in Italy—of all the red party in France—as the most liberal Government in the world—as the only one that would interfere with the iron or the leaden rule of Austria over Italy. But after they had obtained all this honour and glory, what happened? It turned out that all the while they were in possession of a despatch, dated the 27th of September, which was the identical answer to the identical despatch dated the 11th of September. What did that answer say? He supposed it said something justifying the despatch to which it was an answer; that it said, "We are very sorry you have written this letter; we did intend to interfere all the world over against liberty; we had resolved to take all measures to prevent the sovereigns of Italy from conferring constitutions upon their subjects; we had resolved to march the Austrian columns throughout the Italian peninsula, to put down free constitutions, and to set up the cause of absolutism; we had resolved to attack your Sardinian favourite; but now that you have interfered, we see the whole thing is up, and you have the credit of being the saviours of the world, and the defenders of Sardinia." But it turned out to be unhappily the very reverse of all this. It turned out that the despatch of 27th September, in answer to the glorious liberty- 1116 mongering despatch of the 11th September, stated, in substance, "You are labouring under some hallucination of the brain; some one has been deceiving you; they have been making some game of you; we have not the shadow of a thought of the kind you impute to us. Far from interfering with the liberties of Italy, we wish them joy of them; and, as regards Sardinia, we are as friendly to Sardinia and to the independence of that kingdom as you are; and we are resolved to side with you, and to stand or fall with you, in maintaining the independence of Sardinia and the integrity of the sacred Treaty of Vienna." The first despatch was widely published, to the honour and glory of those who made it public, and who made and wrote it. But the second despatch, which made the first a fraud—an absolute delusion and a fraud—was carefully concealed—for how long? Oh, said the noble Marquess, it was produced as soon as it was moved for. Yes; but it was not forthcoming till he (Lord Brougham) made a Motion for it in August last; and then, no doubt, it was quickly produced; but that was because he told them he did not care a straw whether they produced it or not, for he had at the moment a copy of it in his pocket, and should read it—and then it was produced, no doubt. Now, how did the case stand? He should, to explain the matter, put it as between private persons. Suppose that he wished to win the favour of a particular individual, and, to do so, told him "There is another party who is determined to commence a lawsuit against you; I have done everything I can to prevent him, to save your estate from seizure and your person from imprisonment. I have written to him to say. Sir, if you presume to bring an action against my good friend, Mr. So-and-so—if you attempt to seize his estate, or to secure his person, I give you notice he is my friend and ally, and, therefore, I warn you to give over all thought of commencing this lawsuit; for if you persevere, you will find that you will have to contend against me and my purse as well as my friend and his small means." Suppose that he showed this letter to the individual; why, he would go down on his knees to him, and exclaim, "My dear Sir, you are the most delightful person in the world; you are a friend indeed, as you have proved a friend in need. I should have been a ruined and undone man but for you, I and all my family—but for you we were surely undone. How can I express my gratitude? 1117 Do with me whatever you please. My interest is yours—at all elections I am your servant." But suppose that some seven or eight months afterwards it should turn out that this true friend had a letter in his pocket from the individual who was said to be about to commence the lawsuit, saying, "What is the matter with you? You are labouring under some hallucination. I never meant to commence any lawsuit—it was farthest from my intention; on the contrary, I had determined to give whatever your friend the defendant wishes for—in fact, he is my friend as well as yours, and I would stand up with my life and fortune to see him righted, were he from any quarter threatened with wrong." Now, if that letter was produced, would it not place him (Lord Brougham) in a very awkward position? Would not the gentleman be apt to say, "Dear me! this must be a very odd sort of man, to alarm me with a lawsuit which never existed even in intention? He must be a very knavish person to cheat me out of my thanks—a very malicious person to charge my other friend with a design to work my ruin." He must be under the guidance of the eminent individual named by the noble Earl to-night—and who is said to be the father of misrepresentations. But it was very much the same course that had been pursued by the Government. There were some men who never could let well alone, and there were others who never could let ill alone. As the one party generally ended by making well bad, so the others seldom left off without making ill worse. Such was the case, he was sorry to say, with the noble Marquess, who was not satisfied with the case as it stood; for he went on to say, that a very awkward impression had gone abroad all over Italy—an impression that the Austrians were opposed to all free institutions—that they were against the people and for the princes; and that they were determined to prevent the people getting the benefit of the free institutions granted by their sovereigns. Well, then, was not that, of all reasons, the most convincing reason for producing, and not for suppressing the second despatch, in order to do away with this false impression? Yet the despatch was not produced, God only knew why; and it was possible that other being, who was said to be the author of all mischief, did know; but still no reason had been given why this despatch was not produced. On the subject of the Sardinian war, he partook of the 1118 anxiety of his noble Friend opposite, for though he did not doubt what the result would be to Charles Albert, he thought this collision a very bad thing for the peace of Europe, because at a moment like the present, when one stone fell out of the arch, no man could tell how much would crumble down, or how soon we should be involved in a general war. He felt anxious on this subject—at the same time he felt that the King of Sardinia was now more to be pitied than to be blamed. With regard, indeed, to the extenuation which the noble Marquess had offered on behalf of that King, he must say, he would have listened to it with more deference if it had not been for that monarch's past conduct. If his noble Friend (the Marquess of Lansdowne) did not know, it was well known to the noble Viscount at the head of the Foreign Department, that King Charles Albert's designs were not of so recent a date as the noble Marquess had represented them—that his designs upon Italy were neither of so recent a date, nor very moderate, nor framed on anything like justifiable grounds. His ambition was known. To that ambition he had sacrificed himself in 1820 and 1821, and had led to the destruction of many of his adherents. He had conspired against his kinsman and lawful prince, and that being discovered, his accomplices in the conspiracy paid the penalty of his crime with their lives, though he himself escaped. His ambition after that was not gratified by his becoming the successor of that prince, which he was in virtue of the Treaty of Vienna. He was not satisfied with that arrangement, and he commenced a series of intrigues, of which the records of our Foreign Office contain the history. His purpose was by little and little to undermine the arrangements of 1815, and to unsettle the law of Europe, which, ever since that period, like the Treaty of Westphalia, and the preceding Treaty of Olwa, had been the statute law of Europe. He then ventured to break the peace which had existed ever since the Treaty of Vienna; he went to war with Austria, and that for the sole purpose of extending his own dominions. It was impossible, therefore, to make the same excuse for him now as if he had not been guilty of these previous aggressions. Nevertheless, Charles Albert was now comparatively in a state which made him an object of commiseration, for he was not the author of the present proceedings in Austrian Italy. Their Lordships might depend upon it that 1119 he had no more will in those matters than they had, and that he was as much opposed to them in his heart as their Lordships were. Indeed, he ought to be more against them, for his interests were far more deeply concerned than any stake their Lordships could have in them. His troubles had only now begun, for he was in the hands of a set of the most reckless and implacable tyrants—the rebellious parties in his States—the allies of the profligate, the bloody-minded Red faction in Paris, and aided, as had been the case everywhere of late years, by exiled Poles. He grieved to say it, for no man had ever more earnestly supported the Poles than he had done, according to the small measure of his ability; no man had ever more zealously made head against the cruelties and oppressions practised against that unhappy country, and of which those men were the victims. But, in common justice, he must say that of late years, wheresoever agitation had been going on, or rebellion had been at work—wherever any conspiracy was bursting forth against any established Government—be it carried on by had means or by means somewhat less bad—they were sure to find Polish agitators, if not at the head, at least concerned in the movement—and accordingly at the head of Charles Albert's army, which hoisted a standard of what was now claimed as the national colour, whose motto was the unity of Italy, and whose war-cry was the expulsion of the Austrians as foreigners—at the head of that liberal army whose object was to raise a national colour, to unite the long separated nations of Italy, and to expel the Austrians from Italy—at the head of that army was a foreign Pole, whose name was not at present known, probably seeking the fame of defeat; but who was about to peril his reputation—his small reputation—against the brilliant renown of the veteran Radetzky; and who, in all human probability, was not destined to lead the Sardinian troops to any splendid triumph. With respect to mediation, he had heartily desired that something might come of it; and he believed that one reason why Austria had hesitated so long was because she did not believe it could lead to any good result. How indeed could it after the battle had been lost and won? He (Lord Brougham) had often heard in his professional life at the bar and on the bench of arbitration before verdict—but never of one after verdict, and when proceedings 1120 had been entered up. In that case the beaten party would always be ready to refer—but never could a reference be effectual. So here, how expect a reference to succeed after Austrian victories on all points had declared she never would cede one inch of territory. It was perfectly hopeless. One word before he sat down about the proclamation of the King of Sardinia—a document almost unexampled in the history of human folly and human fraud—a compound of audacious misrepresentations with facts too well known—shuffling at obscure conclusions—made up of pompous assertion of truisms, which no man doubted, with a courageous propounding of falsehoods which no man could believe—a Jesuitical document, now arguing here, now tricking there, and then gaining a little when you were off your guard—full of ambiguities and a wrapping up of what might be anything with a constant attempt, under a multitude of vague words and false pretences, to keep the real objects and the real truth out of sight. But that real truth was this—"That I Charles Albert cannot resist the republican faction in Paris, and its representatives in Turin, and, above all, in Genoa—I cannot stand against the bad feeling that unhappily has got possession of a part of the Sardinian army, and therefore I am compelled, whether I will or not, to break the peace, though it is an infraction of the treaty, and just as much contrary to good faith to do so this year as it was last year; and I will, therefore, take the desperate chance of that desperate game, war, and try to extend my dominions, as I vainly tried last year."
§ Motion withdrawn.
§ House adjourned till To-morrow.