§ LORD BEAUMONT
, in rising to ask the questions on this subject, of which he had given notice, respecting the interference of Prance, Austria, and Naples, in the affairs of Rome, said, he must throw himself upon 368 the indulgence of the House, and ask a favour which he would not have asked under ordinary circumstances. It was, that their Lordships would keep sufficient silence to hear him; for it would be impossible for him, suffering as he did under severe hoarseness, to make himself intelligible if the conversation which was so often carried on within the walls of the House, were either continued by their Lordships, or were maintained by those in other parts of the building not reckoned within the House. To that appeal to their Lordships' indulgence, he would also add another—that they would allow him to recapitulate, as briefly as possible, before putting the question he was about to ask, all the events which had led to and produced the present strange and alarming state of things in Central Italy, which rendered it absolutely necessary that these questions should be put to, and that some statement in reply should be given by. Her Majesty's Ministers. As far back as the very hour in which the present Supreme Pontiff ascended his throne, circumstances took place which, in the opinion of all men acquainted with the condition of the country, were sure to lead inevitably to the results which they had recently witnessed in the Roman territory. It was known to all who had studied the recent history of Italy, that the misgovernment of the Roman territory, under the pontificate of successive Popes, had brought that country to such a condition that nothing but the strong hand of a stronger power than that of the Papacy, could prevent it from rising in insurrection. That stronger power was Austria, who, al though she had shown by her remonstrance in 1832 little admiration of the system on which the Papal Government was conducted, exerted herself to check the frequent attempts on the part of the people to throw off the yoke of an ecclesiastical thraldom, and thus enabled Rome to persist in its abuses. During the pontificate of Gregory XVI. the prisons were so crowded that they could scarcely admit additional inmates, and the result of all this misgovernment was, that the whole feeling of the country was alienated from the Pontifical Government. The moment the present Pontiff mounted the throne, the question arose in his council whether they should continue to pursue the line of policy followed by his predecessors, or should grant some modification of the system for the purpose of preventing an outbreak. The latter advice was adopted; but the 369 difficulty of carrying out that advice in the Papal States was so great, as well as so different from that which would have attended the carrying it out under any other absolute Power, that the wisest persons in Rome saw, that if the least concession were once made, it would undoubtedly lead to the final separation of the temporal from the spiritual dominion of the Pope. An attempt was, however, made to adopt a more liberal policy, but in a manner of all others the most impracticable. There were to be secular councillors and a sacerdotal Government, a consulta of laymen, but a cabinet of priests. The consequence was inevitable; the priests would not consent to be guided by the laymen, and the laymen demanded to have a voice in the Legislature. The Pope, however, adhered to his original resolution, that no concession should be made which in the slightest degree touched upon his temporal power, and that no change should be attempted which created anything like a lay secular jurisdiction. He made, however, this concession, that a secular council should assemble and debate upon the measures of the Papal Government; but, at the same time, every thing like an initiatory power was taken from them; and any attempt to exercise such an initiatory power was looked upon as a violation of the rules of the spiritual Government, and of the leading principles of the Roman policy. No sooner had this phantom of a constitution been granted to the Roman people, than in all the surrounding States of Italy a revolution took place. In this state of things, the Roman people came forward and claimed the privileges conceded, voluntarily, in some instances to their neighbours, but extorted by force in others from the weakness of their rulers. They asked for the same liberty which had been granted to the Neapolitans; but to such a concession the whole body of the Cardinals was opposed, for they believed that no concession could be made to the people without a concession tantamount to the destruction of the ecclesiastical character of the Government. [The noble Lord was now indistinctly heard. His Lordship was understood to refer to the now constitution granted by the Pope to his subjects in March, 1848, and the formation of a liberal Ministry in May.] His Lordship proceeded to say, that all the circumstances showed that anything deserving the name of a constitution which Pius IX. had granted to the people, was given against his will, and against the ad- 370 vice of the Cardinals, and with a certainty and conviction on his part and theirs that it would lead to the consequences which had happened, and which many of them foresaw; and also with the reservation (he was not speaking of any merely mental reservation), but the apparent, if not avowed intention, that whenever a fitting opportunity occurred, every step which they had taken in advance should be retraced—that the supremacy of the clergy in the Roman State should be maintained in all its original vigour—and that the laity should be deprived of and remain without any of the privileges which had been conceded to them. The hour, however, was not ripe for such a complete retrograde movement. Conformably to the advice which he had received from foreign Courts, the present Pope called to the head of his councils, not the man who deserved his confidence as well as that of the country, by his integrity, his previous services, and his knowledge of the constitutional course recommended by civil liberty well understood, but a man who possessed many high qualities, but who was considered as a foreigner by the Romans, and as a tool of the monarchical party in Prance by the rest of Italy. Nor were his antecedents such as were likely to gain him much influence with the priesthood, for he was one who, on account of his religious and political opinions, had been exiled from Rome—who had been branded as a rebel—who had been excommunicated as a heretic—who had abandoned the Catholic religion, and professed another—who had forsaken his own country, and had become the inhabitant and citizen of another country—and who had been employed as the ambassador of that country to the Court of Rome, which it considered a foreign State. That person, with such qualifications, had been recommended to the Pope as his Minister by a foreign State; but his advice soon appeared to be as unwelcome to the Pope, and as adverse to his views, as it was unwelcome to the Cardinals, and adverse to their views. His first attempt was to retrieve the finances of his country, and he saw no other mode of accomplishing that object than by mortgaging the estates of the Church; and with that view, he was proceeding to enter the Capitol, when he fell by the hands of an assassin, and thus brought unmerited disgrace on those who were opposed to him as Minister. He deplored the death of M. Rossi, and deplored it deeply. It was an event which 371 stood by itself—it was completely isolated; and, though he must admit that some joy was expressed in Rome at this monstrous crime—and he admitted that all who expressed that joy must he considered as participators in that monstrous crime—yet he had evidence sufficient to convince the most incredulous of their Lordships that not one of the men who afterwards succeeded to power evinced any joy at that atrocity; on the contrary, they lamented it deeply, not only for the sake of M. Rossi himself, with whom they were in the habits of intimacy, but also because they saw that it was an event which would delay the success of that cause in which they were embarked. The moment that M. Rossi fell, the Cardinals endeavoured to avail themselves of that opportunity to retrace their steps and to regain the privileges which they had been obliged to abandon; a plan was drawn up and agreed upon which had no other object, but fortunately it was discovered in time. The people rose in indignation. They did not wish to drive the Pope from his throne—they went to the steps of the Vatican, and implored him to stay in Rome, asserting that if he would, they would sacrifice their lives rather than a hair of his head should be injured; but they asked him at the same time to send away the foreign forces on which he relied; they insisted that he should disband the Swiss regiments, and that he should renew the oath to stand by the constitutional form of government which then existed. The Supreme Pontiff declined to do this; for that form of government allowed laymen to take the initiative and to propose measures, and he could not answer for the results that might follow the establishment of such a principle. He therefore refused, rightly, no doubt, in his own conscience. He was then advised by some of the parties by whom he was surrounded to quit Rome. His flight, if he had given notice of his intention, in all probability would not have been prevented. No attempt beyond entreaties would have been made to arrest it. But, instead of ascertaining the wishes of his countrymen, he adopted other advice, and fled from Rome in disguise, which showed a strange want of confidence in his subjects, and strangely inconsistent with his dignity.
§ LORD BEAUMONT
had heard the observation of his noble and learned Friend. 372 Though generally he respected what fell from the noble and learned Lord, he regretted to tell him that on this subject, as indeed on many others, it was impossible for any man to fathom his ignorance. His assertions, one after another, were inconsistent with themselves, and contrary to fact; and it would not be long before he heard from those whom he had slandered, that his assertions were falsehoods, and before he would be called upon to contradict or retract them. ["Order, order!"]
I have allowed the noble Baron to go on without interruption in one of the most irregular speeches which I ever heard delivered in this House.
There is irregugularity, and the gross irregularity is this—the noble Baron puts a question, and prefaces it by a long speech, which is perfectly irregular.
The only office of a speech is to introduce a question, and to make it intelligible to the Government, which has to answer it. But to make a long speech, and to refer to former debates, and to say that any noble Lord's assertions are falsehoods, is a course so irregular that I never saw it taken in this House before; and I receive the statement just made, from whomsoever it comes, with the most absolute contempt.
§ LORD BEAUMONT
I am now doing what the noble and learned Lord admits that I am strictly entitled to do. I am making a statement to render my question intelligible; and if my speech be longer than it otherwise would have been, it arises from erroneous statements of the noble and learned Lord.
My Lords, I ask whether it is either regular or orderly, even according to the laxest rule of order, for any noble Lord, on the information of an Italian, I know not whom, to accuse another Peer of Parliament of having delivered falsehoods to the House. I will pin the noble Lord to that expression of falsehood. He may either explain it, or retract it, or apologise for it; not, indeed, to me, because I despise it, but to the House, whose orders he has violated.
§ LORD BEAUMONT
Certainly, I did use the word "falsehoods," but I never meant to insinuate, and I never thought, that they were falsehoods of the noble and learned Lord. The noble and learned Lord's informants had induced him to believe slanders against the leading men of Rome, which were totally devoid of truth. Whatever be the violence of his language, I have too much respect for the noble and learned Lord, even in moments like these, to assert that he would state anything like falsehood wilfully, knowing it to be so. "Falsehood" was too strong an expression to use. But, if I had used a milder form of words, it would only have meant the same thing. I might have said that, in making such an assertion, the noble and learned Lord was misinformed, but, after all, my meaning would have been the same. I think that the word "falsehood" ought not to have been used, and if it did escape my lips I willingly apologise to the noble and learned Lord, if he imagines for a moment that I applied it any way to him. What I meant to say was this, "that many statements had gone forth on these subjects not in accordance with truth," and that the noble and learned Lord had, for want of better information, adopted these statements. I was going, before I was interrupted, to say that the Government of the Pope took no steps to arrest the assassin of M. Rossi, but that the first step taken by Mamiani, who succeeded to his power, was to endeavour to arrest the assassin, and to bring him to trial before the ordinary tribunals. Immediately afterwards every attempt was made by the Provisional Government to establish a reconciliation between the Sovereign Pontiff and his people, and to prevent the interference of foreign Powers in the affairs of Rome. Those attempts were met by the Pope in the harshest manner imaginable; and in the Court of Gaeta intrigues were carried on by the Cardinals to insure that which all sensible men deprecated—foreign interference. He had understood that a scheme had been devised by Austria whereby Spain and Naples were alone to interfere, while Austria and France stood by and merely looked on. Each Power in this interference was looking to its own interest, and its own interest alone, and whilst they were undecided the Roman Republic was proclaimed. It was proclaimed by the universal suffrage of the people, and thus the wishes, intentions, and voice of the 374 people were distinctly made known. Though it might be doubtful whether the number of real republicans was very great at Rome, yet there was no doubt that the number of persons was very large who wished the secular power to be taken out of the hands of the clergy, and to have a lay Government established. Whilst things were in this situation, whilst the whole country was in profound tranquillity, whilst all the provinces within the Roman territory were anxiously expecting that peace and reform should take place, at that moment the French suddenly sent an expedition from Toulon, landed at Civita Vecchia, and there issued a proclamation which completely deceived the Roman people, and led them to consent to the unresisted occupation of that port. In their first proclamation they said that they came not to impose any form of government, but merely to resist the interference of Austria. As this was in accordance with one of the ruling principles of the constitution established in France, of course, the Roman people believed it; and thus they received the French as friends rather than as enemies. But, on the advance of the French to the city of Rome, they issued a proclamation of a very different character. A spirit of resistance sprang up and speedily organised itself. Notwithstanding that there was a strong party at Rome, which would have supported the Pope as a constitutional Prince, yet, as soon as it was known that the French came to restore the Papal power in full ecclesiastical ascendancy, all Rome was against them. He said that it was impossible to restore the pure Papal Government at Rome without destroying liberty, and establishing a pure absolutism in its stead. In making that statement he was speaking the sentiments of millions of Roman Catholics, who held that the temporal and spiritual power of the Pope ought to be separated, and that the Government of Rome should not be conducted entirely by the priesthood. Having made some further allusion to the two proclamations issued by the French general, the noble Lord said he would now ask his noble Friend the President of the Council, whether any communication had been made to our Government by that of France of its objects and intentions in occupying the Roman States, for he could not for his life discover what those objects and intentions were? What their object was, whether it was the general good of Europe, as connected with the preservation 375 of general peace, or the natural ambition of that great State to play the leading part in the restoration of the Pope, or the consequence of an agreement with the other Catholic Powers of Europe, he could not tell. His next question would relate to the proceedings of Austria. He did not know that Austria had yet violated the Roman territory. He knew that she had entered the States of Tuscany; but in that case there were certain arrangements which gave Austria the right in certain contingencies to interfere in the affairs of Tuscany. He did not know, he repeated, whether Austria had yet violated the Roman territory; but she was the last Power from which, after all her recent protestations against interference, he could have expected any interference in a struggle between a foreign sovereign and his people. Another Power also had interfered, the King of Naples—he who had over and over again protested against any interference between him and his sacrificed subjects in Sicily. Whatever might be his motives, he had unquestionably violated the privileges of an independent State, and by marching against Rome had committed a grave offence against the law of nations. Therefore it was that he wanted to know whether any communication had been received by our Government from the King of Naples as to his object in joining in this expedition? And, further, he wanted to know whether our Government had taken any measure in concert with foreign Governments on this subject; or whether it preserved a strict neutrality throughout the whole proceeding? Again, whether it had demanded information, or whether it remained ignorant—whether it had protested against, or whether it had approved of, what had taken place?
§ The MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
said, he had been extremely unwilling to interrupt the resumé of past events with which his noble Friend had prefaced his questions, and which, in his opinion, were necessary to render them intelligible—the only view in which his remarks could be considered regular. But, after what had fallen from his noble Friend that evening, he must say that this was not a fit time, nor the present a suitable occasion, to enter into a retrospect of the events which had recently occurred in Rome—events which had agitated, more or less, the public mind in that country, and which were connected with the deplorable tragedy which had been perpetrated in the Capitol. He 376 would not enter upon such a discussion, as it was not necessary at present for their Lordships to come to any decision upon them. He should therefore neither confirm nor impugn the accuracy of the statements of his noble Friend. But as to his questions, which were perfectly legitimate questions, he would endeavour to give a short and distinct answer. His noble Friend had asked whether Her Majesty's Government had received any communication from the French Government as to its intentions in occupying portions of the Roman territory. To that he answered that an intimation to that effect had been communicated to Her Majesty's Government on the 21st of April last. Through the medium of the French Ambassador, an intimation was conveyed to our Government that it intended to send a French force to Civita Vecchia, and it was accompanied by a declaratien, which there was no reason to doubt at the time, that the object of France in sending that force was to promote the general peace of Italy, and the re-establishment of a constitutional and regular Government at Rome. That communication had been made to our Government, and no disapprobation had been expressed of it, because there was, in his opinion, no reason to disapprove of it. The expedition was not suggested by the English Government, nor was any concurrence in it communicated to the French Government. That communication, he ought to state, was limited to the occupation of Civita Vecchia by a French force. Nothing was said about the march to Rome; and he was led to believe that it was a suggestion of the commander of the French forces, and did not proceed from any instruction which he had in the first instance received from his Government at Paris. That was the answer to the first question of his noble Friend. With regard to the questions respecting the assumed invasion of the Roman territory by Austria and Naples—for he was not aware of any actual invasion made by the forces of those Powers—he had to state that no communication whatever had been made on the subject to Her Majesty's Government by the Governments of Austria and Naples. Of course their Lordships might anticipate, after what he had already stated, what answer he had to give to the last question of the noble Lord, as to whether Her Majesty's Government had taken any part in promoting this tripartite invasion; and he had distinctly to answer that Her 377 Majesty's Government had taken no part in promoting or in sanctioning it. In reference to a question put by the noble and learned Lord opposite on a former occasion, with respect to the disposal of objects of art in Rome, for the purpose of promoting the service of the existing Government there, something had been misunderstood in his reply: he would take the opportunity of repeating what he then stated, which was to the effect, that he had no information whatever of objects of art being so disposed of; that he thought it improbable that larger works could be removed without the fact being well known; and, with respect to the smaller works of art, he was not aware that any had been removed, yet it was more probable that some of them might have been taken away without the fact being known.
§ The EARL of ABERDEEN
thought that, considering the interest and importance of the events which had been brought under their Lordships' notice, their Lordships had a right to expect a rather more distinct and precise statement than the noble Marquess opposite had favoured them with. The noble Marquess said, that a communication had been made by the French Government, and that they had intimated that the object of the expedition to Civita Vecchia was to preserve the peace of Italy, and to effect other general objects of beneficence. But surely the noble Marquess, before he could have approved of a step which brought 20,000 French troops into the centre of Italy, must have received some more explicit explanation than such a vague and general intimation as he had that evening communicated to their Lordships. He had no wish to criticise hostilely the conduct of the French Government; but in looking at the explanation which had been given of this proceeding, and referring to other means of information proceeding from official quarters, which conveyed explanations which it appeared were not given to Her Majesty's Government, he found the Prime Minister of France saying that the object of this expedition was to maintain the legitimate influence of France in Italy, and to contribute to establish good government for the Roman people. Surely objects such as these would require the presence of a French force in Italy for ten years just as probably as for a single year. How were they to know when the "legitimate" influence of France would be satisfied, or when a Government would be formed in Italy which 378 in the opinion of the French nation would be considered a good Government? Then he found that the French general in command stated in his order of the day, that the object of the expedition was to establish good government, and also to prevent the Romans from being subject to a foreign force. Why, one would have thought that a French force was as foreign in Italy as an Austrian force; indeed, rather more so, as the connexion between Austria and Rome, as Italian States, had been more intimate of late than that between France and Rome. If this were so, surely an expedition of this kind could not be a matter of indifference to Her Majesty's Government or to their Lordships; and when the noble Marquess said that the Government neither approved nor disapproved of it, something more decided might have been expected than such a negative expression. With reference to a question of such vast importance, and likely to have such important effects, it was the duty of the Government either to protest against it, or to sanction it by direct approbation, if they thought the object of the expedition useful. Looking at the public declarations of French official characters, the best thing to be hoped was that they did not speak truth, because, otherwise, if those declarations must be accepted as correct, the matter would be very serious indeed. It was generally understood, that some time ago the Papal Government at Gaeta addressed the four principal Catholic Powers, imploring their assistance with the view of restoring the Pope to his dominions. How far that negotiation had advanced, and what had been the result, he, of course, was uninformed; but it was understood that some conference had taken place between the representatives of those Powers. Had the French, then, gone into the Papal dominions at the desire of the Pope or not? If they had gone at the Pope's desire, then they went there for the same reasons and on the same grounds as those which, it was said, were influencing the Austrians and the Neapolitans to go there. If the French expedition were, however, a hostile invasion, such a proceeding must excite great alarm for the consequences. But, notwithstanding the declarations of the French Minister, he assumed that the expedition was undertaken with a view more or less friendly to the Papal Government; and, supposing Austria also to respond to the desire of the Pope, then they would see the Austrians marching to Rome at the time 379 when the French were advancing to that city from Civita Vecchia, and declaring that their object was to prevent foreign troops going to Rome. Such an occurrence would put one in mind of the declaration of the bastard Faulconbridge in King John, when Austria and France advanced to the siege of Angers:—O, prudent discipline! from north to southAustri and France shoot in each other's mouth.It really was a most extraordinary affair that the end of all the mischievous interference on the part of Her Majesty's Government—of all their negotiations and extraordinary missions, should be to bring 20,000 French troops—for to that number, he understood, they were augmented—into the centre of Italy. The Government sent out the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Minto) to counteract foreign influence at Rome, when exercised through the French Ambassador, Count Rossi, the same person who was shortly afterwards butchered on the steps of the Capitol, when endeavouring to serve his country by the establishment of a patriotic Ministry. However, the noble Earl perfectly succeeded; but, in doing so, he had done much, in his (Lord Aberdeen's) opinion, to destroy the liberties of Italy. Whatever had been the conduct of the noble Earl himself, it was quite impossible for such a mission, at such a time, and taking into consideration the persons by whom the noble Earl was surrounded, not to have produced inevitably the result which followed—namely, that every person who went to the noble Earl with acclamations and rejoicing, retired from his presence perfectly convinced that he was prepared to join in driving the Austrians out of Italy, and in establishing those wild notions the entire failure of which had since been witnessed. Therefore, he thought that the noble Earl's mission had practically been more fatal than anything else could have been to the real freedom of Italy. With respect to the answer given by the noble Marquess to the question put to him, he thought that nothing could be more unsatisfactory than a mere declaration that the French Government had some good object in view, without explanation as to what that object was—whether to restore the Pope, or confirm Mazzini in power. Upon that point their Lordships had been left in perfect doubt; and, considering the immense importance of the consequences which might arise out of the French expedition, he thought it was incumbent on the Government to have much 380 more clear and explicit declarations, and to know more precisely what the real object of the expedition was.
said, he was not going to enter into a general vindication of his own conduct, or to follow the noble Earl who had just sat down through the whole of his remarks; but the noble Earl had made one implication which it was necessary for him to deny, namely, that it was impossible from the nature of his (the Earl of Minto's) mission there, or the language which held, that any person could doubt that he was preparing to encourage, on the part of Her Majesty's Government, the expulsion of the Austrians from Italy. He denied that anything of that kind could be collected from anything that he had said or done. On the contrary, he had omitted no opportunity of stating that desirous as the Government were of seeing a wholesome reform in Italy, there was one point on which their opinion and determination remained fixed—that they would be no party to, and would not encourage, tolerate, or approve any change of the territorial arrangements settled by the Treaty of Vienna. And upon the occasion of Charles Albert's invasion of Lombardy, there was no person in that House who spoke more strongly, or condemned more distinctly that proceeding, than did he (the Earl of Minto). He had risen merely to correct the misapprehension which the noble Earl had fallen into. There were, certainly, dangers in Italy when he was there; those dangers he was anxious to avert, as far as he could; but nothing had ever fallen from him which could be construed by the most eager advocates of Italian unity, or any of that nonsense, into a sanction of any attempt whatever to expel the Austrians from Italy.
said, he could bear testimony to the conduct of the noble Earl in that House upon the occasion referred to; but as to what had passed in Italy, he could say nothing. He must observe, that if the mission of his noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Minto) was to keep Italy free from French intervention, he could not congratulate him upon his success on the result, as, by this time, he supposed 25,000 French troops were in the centre of Italy, in the Roman capital itself. He well recollected how much the Government of which he was a Member were blamed for permitting the occupation of Ancona by the French; but they were probably now in the occupation of Rome, which was a somewhat more 381 grave matter. The subject was so important that he could not allow himself to be drawn into any incidental discussion of it. It was very natural for his noble Friend to discuss it; but he begged to be understood as not expressing any opinion whatever upon the subject of the French invasion of Italy. He must, however, express his surprise that the noble Marquess opposite and his Colleagues should be satisfied with such meagre information as the French Ambassador here appeared to have given. If the Government did not expect the French to march to Rome, how could they expect that the mere landing of a French force at Civita Vecchia could possibly alter the state of Italy, and give a wholesome government to the Roman people? Still his opinion was, that if anybody were to ask the French Government what their intentions were on the subject, his noble Friend opposite could tell just as well as they could. His noble Friend could not tell, and the French Government would not tell. He believed, however, that he (Lord Brougham) knew what the real motive was, for he was in Paris at the time, and men of all parties approved of the project. They approved of an expedition. They wanted an expedition for the purpose of acquiring some military glory—they did not care how little, but some they must have. Algiers would not serve their turn any longer, and they wanted an expedition into some part of Europe for the purpose of gratifying the craving after military glory, not of the French people, but of the Paris mob. He hoped that the matter would be gravely considered by Her Majesty's Government, for the principles which had been propounded would in former times have made statesmen stand aghast. Her Majesty's Ministers must have asked for further information from the French Government, and he hoped they would obtain it. With regard to another subject, he begged to say that he had not understood the noble Marquess to say, upon the occasion referred to, that the smaller works of art were taken away, but only that the difficulty of carrying away the bulkier works of art would make their sale more difficult than that of the smaller articles. Since he had first called the attention of the noble Marquess to the subject, he had received a letter from Mr. Manzoni, who was no longer in Rome, but in London, complaining of the observations which he (Lord Brougham) had made; and 382 Mr. Manzoni said, that it was hard that he (Lord Brougham) should believe what he had been told upon the subject, because there had been a contradiction to the statement in the paragraph of a newspaper. Now, he did not believe a statement merely because he saw it in a paragraph of a newspaper, nor did he disbelieve it on account of a contradiction in a paragraph. However, he (Lord Brougham) said, that he was very sorry if he had been misled; but that if Mr. Manzoni would present a petition, positively denying his having brought away from Rome any of the smaller or more precious works of art, he should have great pleasure in reading it to their Lordships. He then thought it but candid to tell Mr. Manzoni that the knowledge of the proceedings of the soi-disant Government of Rome did not rest on letters or paragraphs, but on facts that were perfectly well known to all of their Lordships. This correspondence took place a week ago; and not having received any communication from Mr. Manzoni since, he of course had no petition to present from him. If he thought proper to make a public declaration that he had not brought any of these works of art from Rome, of course it would tend very much to impede the operations of the market.
The MARQUESS of LONDONDERRY
said, his opinion was that the French Government, and the individual who was at the head of it, were very anxious to preserve peace; and he thought that great allowance should be made for them in their present difficult circumstances. He regretted that this question had been brought forward by the noble Lord (Lord Beaumont), as it was, in his opinion, very impolitic to discuss this subject at so early a stage. He thought that this discussion had been very premature and very indiscreet. All of us in this country had of course our partiality for monarchy; but the people of France had a right to choose what sort of Government they pleased; that Government at present was of a republican form, and he would ask their Lordships whether they ought not to endeavour to assist, if possible, in keeping France quiet under the republic? He thought that the individual at the head of the present Government of France had displayed great firmness and sagacity in the performance of his difficult task; and it was only fair that he should be allowed 383 sufficient time for the accomplishment of his objects. They ought not to press the French Government to a decision at a moment when he (the Marquess of Londonderry) believed that it was impossible for that body to come to any resolution upon these important questions. The position of the individual at the head of the French Government appeared to him to be most difficult and extraordinary; and yet it was universally admitted that up to the present moment he had not committed a single fault. It was not true, as had been so generally asserted in this country, that the army in Paris was demoralised; the fact being that not more than 300 or 400 of the soldiers were allied with Socialism. He was glad to hear that, during the recent holidays, the noble and learned Lord (Lord Brougham) had taken the opportunity, in company with many of his fellow-countrymen, of fraternising with the people of France.
could offer the most peremptory contradiction to the assertion that he had accompanied any set of men to Paris on a recent occasion. There was not the slightest particle of truth in the assertion. He did go to Paris during the holidays, but he did not accompany any one of the individuals who went to fraternise with the French; in fact, he went by a different steamer from that which conveyed the visitors from this country. He had had nothing whatever to do with that most absurd delusion in which they took part at Paris. He entertained a very strong and decided opinion against such visits; he deprecated them as fatal to the peace of the country. By the constitutions of England and of France, no communication whatever was allowed to be held between the two countries, except through the two Governments. That was a rule which must be kept inviolate; because, if the expedition of those people who went to Paris to amuse themselves, were to be taken as a national expedition and a national deputation, though in the first or in the second instance no harm might result—as was fortunately the case in the last instance, owing to the good humour of the people of Paris, and the people who went there as a deputation from this country, but who were in fact no deputation at all, for they were deputed by nobody—yet upon some future occasion great harm might take place. A collision might take place between the people of Paris and the visitors, if they went there in large bodies, 384 and such a collision might lead to bad blood between the two countries, and in the end the results might be of the most mischievous character. It was therefore well that the rule and the constitution of England, as it was of France, was that the only communication which could take place between the two countries must be on the part, not of individuals, not of deputations, not of bodies, but of the Governments of the two countries.