§ LORD BEAUMONT
, in rising "to call the attention of the House to the Correspondence laid on the table respecting Foreign Refugees, and to move for Correspondence respecting the detention of the Rev. Mr. Wingate," said, that he should not have troubled the House upon the present occasion had it not been that the papers that had been laid on their Lordships' table were calculated to lead to an impression that Her Majesty's present Government intended to make a change in the policy which this country had invariably, heretofore, pursued with regard to those persons, who, in consequence of troubles in their own country, were obliged to seek a refuge here. He trusted that this impression was a false one, and that the Government of this country did not intend to abandon the principles so ably laid down in the despatch of his noble Friend (Earl Granville) near him, of the 13th of January last, and so invariably acted on by this country. He trusted that Her Majesty's Government did not intend to act the spy, to play the eaves-dropper, to dog the heels of every person of political character who arrived here from a foreign country, to render the asylum this country had heretofore afforded a mockery, and to make a residence here at least as painful and as restrictive upon the liberties of foreign refugees as that of their own country would have been. Yet this, and more than this, had been demanded by Foreign Powers; and though they had little hope of having those demands complied with by the late 660 Government, some steps in that direction had been expected by them, at least in a modified sense, from the present Government, as it appeared to him from the correspondence that had passed. However original might be the ideas of Her Majesty's Government with regard to the elective franchise, and various other matters of domestic policy, he trusted they were not going to abandon that line of conduct or those principles which had invariably signalised this country as different from all other countries in Europe, and made it the country of those who had lost their own. He would attempt to prove that the liberty we afforded to these refugees, while it was an honour to this country, was also beneficial to the Governments from which those refugees fled, and was conducive to the general tranquillity of Europe. Suppose that this country and America did not afford an asylum to political characters in adversity, but delivered them up to their own Governments, or made their sojourn here so oppressive that they preferred to remain at home, those Governments would then be obliged, when the tide of emigration now setting in on our shores was turned back to them, to fill their prisons, and to increase both their armies and their police establishments. What would be the effect of such steps with regard to those Governments? They would bring increased discredit on them—they would raise strong feelings against them, and spread discontent in the land—they would increase the passions they were intended to repress, and the very thrones of those countries would be in imminent danger from the odium such conduct would excite. Under our present policy, what was the position of the refugees in this country? They who, in their own country were listened to with great respect, in our multitudinous society were immediately lost, and became an injury to no one. When a refugee landed on our shores, he was entitled to the protection of our laws, but he was also bound to obey our laws. When he arrived on our shores he had the same liberty as one of our own subjects: he was allowed to advance, as loudly as he liked, his opinions on the conduct of those Governments from whose persecutions he bad fled—he was allowed openly to lecture on the defects of the Government under which he had previously lived—to discuss all political maters in the public press—the pages of the newspapers were open to him to disseminate his opinions; he bad, in fact, every 661 advantage and liberty which our own subjects enjoyed. Yet it was to take away this liberty that foreign countries had applied to this country. What was the effect of this liberty? Why, that these persons arrived here with every opportunity to make known their feelings; but they found that their voices, with all these advantages, were lost in political discussions that were going on here, and that, however able they were to interest their hearers in their own country, they found that in this country there were more important subjects under discussion, which sometimes even obliterated the memory of their own political grievances. The effect of their agitation was absolutely neutralised. Here men found their level more easily than in any other country, and nothing could be better for any Government in which there had been a revolution, in which one party had become predominant, than that the party which was for the moment overcome should be allowed to come to this country and become, as it were, lost in our society. Yet it was asked that we should watch over these persons, that we should establish a system of espionage to ascertain what opinions they were advocating, and what associations they formed. Such a practice was contrary to our habits, and was totally unnecessary. We have here something much more efficacious than any police: we have a press which searches out all that is passing of importance in every quarter of the country and amongst all classes of men; and if we only attend to what is announced in the press, we might be pretty well aware of what all classes of men were doing. Every memorandum contained in those papers before their Lordships, which was supposed to be information with regard to what was going on here, merely contained what had appeared twenty times over in the public journals: not a single event was in the memorandum which could be new to any person who read the newspapers. Many of these statements were copies of advertisements that had been paid for and inserted in more than one journal. By means of the press you had sometimes even announcements of where some noble Lords had dined. When the press even peered down into these matters, it was evident that no person who read the papers could long remain in ignorance of what was going on. Foreign Governments, therefore, showed their ignorance of the habits and customs of this country, in asking that we should establish a police system 662 of espionage or surveillance, and try to prevent that free expression of opinion which, as he had already shown, was so advantageous to them. He believed that our line of policy was correctly laid down in the despatch of his noble Friend (Earl Granville), and if the present Government adhered to the principles contained in that despatch, he believed they would be acting for the best interests of this country, and in accordance with those principles which this country ought to maintain. He would refer to one passage in that despatch, which pointed out the line of policy that he wished to see adhered to by the present Government, and then show the reasons why he believed—although he hoped his impression was not correct—that it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government not strictly to adhere to that policy. Before doing so, he wished, in order to narrow the subject, to state that his observations applied only to some of those Powers from whom had been received the despatches contained in these papers. In the first place, he altogether excepted Prussia from the remarks he was about to make. He wished to see the closest communication between that country and England, and he regretted to see that Prussia had joined in the note of the other Powers; but the speed with which that Power had withdrawn from joint action with the other Courts, and the conduct of that Government, satisfied him that there was not the slightest ground for any complaint in regard to the Government of Prussia. He also thought France might be excepted from the remarks he was about to make. Not only had France refused to be coupled with Austria and Russia, but an explanation had taken place on the subject between the most distinguished person who represented France at this Court and the Foreign Office, in which the nature of the memorandum and the purport of the note which accompanied it were professed to be such as to remove any suspicion of a wish on the part of that Power to interfere or dictate on the subject. He might also say that the last despatch from France left an impression on his mind that now there was very little to complain of in. the present position of France in regard to the question. Excepting those two Powers altogether from the remarks he was about to make, he would now read to their Lordships the exact words of the despatch of his noble Friend (Earl Granville), which he thought, laid down accurately the line 663 of conduct this country ought to adopt. His noble Friend said—By the existing law of Great Britain all foreigners have the unrestricted right of entrance and residence in this country; and while they remain in it are, equally with British subjects, under the protection of the law; nor can they be punished except for an offence against the law, and under the sentence of the ordinary tribunals of justice, after a public trial, and on a conviction founded on evidence given in open court. No foreigners, as such, can be sent out of this country by the Executive Government, except persons removed by virtue of treaties with other States; confirmed by Act of Parliament, for the mutual surrender of criminal offenders. British subjects, however, or the subjects of any other State residing in this country, and therefore owing obedience to its laws, may, on conviction of being concerned in levying war against the Government of any State at amity with Great Britain, be punished by fine and imprisonment. Offenders in this respect are equally open to prosecution by individuals or by the Government.These extracts contained the real state of the case, and pointed out the line to be taken. Of course, if any parties here were taking any active measures of hostility, and were guilty of any overt act against the Government of a foreign country, our Government was bound to interfere in the matter. But this was not what was demanded. In one of the despatches from Russia, it was stated that it was not a question of levying war that was complained of. The complaint was that parties conspired here. Of course parties conspired here. Not one but many conspiracies now existed throughout Europe, and had long existed, and their ramification extended to this country. Ever since 1830 there had existed in France a conspiracy against the existing order of things, and there were persons in this country connected with it. The French Legitimists here talked over their grievances, and the means by which they could restore an order of affairs better for them. The same sort of conspiracy existed with the object of overthrowing others of the existing Governments on the Continent. It existed in Italy in particular. Wherever there were Italians there existed a conspiracy to overthrow the Austrian power in Italy. Wherever there were Hungarians there existed a conspiracy against the new system of government which the Emperor of Austria had established. But he was confident that the least dangerous portion of these conspiracies was the portion of it which was conducted in this country; because here all their proceedings were known, whereas in foreign countries the 664 proceedings were secret, and the Governments might be taken by surprise. He remembered of his own knowledge, that, in 1831, in Central Italy there was a conspiracy on a large scale brought to maturity throughout the Roman States, which was unknown to the Papal Government, and which, it was well known, was for a time successful. Such a conspiracy could not have taken place in this country without its proceedings being made public through the press. He should have hoped that this despatch would have been the conclusion of the correspondence on the subject of foreign refugees, and that the matter would have gone no further. An answer had been given, and any further attempt to induce the English Government to alter our laws and habits, was an interference with our internal affairs. Russia closed the correspondence by a note of great moderation. But he was surprised at the despatch frond the Austrian Government, dated from Vienna, on the 4th February, which must have created some regret on the part of those friendly to the Austrian Government. This despatch actually stated that the Austrian Government was about to take severe measures against innocent English travellers who chanced to be travelling within its dominions. He could give no other interpretation to the despatch when he coupled the words of it with the measures that had taken place. Let no one imagine that he disputed the right of Austria to establish a severe system with regard to the internal police of her own territories, provided it were fairly and generously carried out. She had a perfect right to establish any general law with regard to travellers that she might think calculated to produce tranquillity in that country. Such general rules had not, however, been made; but on the contrary, individual cases had been singled out. Certain stray Englishmen had been persecuted. Austria vented her spite against this country, annoying private persons. It appeared, however, that very shortly after a sudden change came over the dream of the Austrian Ministry; for he found Soon after two despatches of a very different character to those to which he had referred with so much pain, but at the same time equally extraordinary. The first was the despatch from Prince Schwarzenberg, dated from Vienna; March 15, 1852, expressing the great satisfaction with which the Austrian Government had 665 received the news of the formation of the Earl of Derby's Cabinet; and, proceeding to analyse the speech of the noble Earl on his installation into office, built upon it a conviction that a change was about to take place in the policy of England; and that, being discontented with the despatch of the noble Earl, late the Foreign Secretary (Earl Granville), the Austrian Cabinet hoped they would soon see the line of policy there marked out abandoned by Her Majesty's present Government. He was aware that the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby) laboured under the great disadvantage of not being always properly and clearly understood in the statements which he made in their Lordships' House; and he must bear witness also to the fact, that when the noble Earl undertook to explain his former speech, unfortunately his explanation very often made the speech still less intelligible than before; and this perhaps might have been the case with regard to what fell from the noble Earl on a former occasion in regard to political refugees. Certainly, the noble Earl's speech appeared to him (Lord Beaumont), when he heard of it, to contain all that was desirable on the subject; he could not at the moment differ from him as to a single point. The remarks in question appeared to him to satisfy the demands of justice and of hospitality; they appeared to set forth what had been before stated by the noble Earl (Earl Granville), that nothing but the law should be his guide, and that he would not strain the law at the request of any foreign Government. [The Earl of DERBY: Hear! hear!] If that were the intention of the Government, he could only say that he applauded it; if that were their policy, he could but approve of it. It seemed, however, that the Government of Austria put an entirely different interpretation on this exposition of the policy of Her Majesty's Administration, and they imagined that the noble Earl intended to abandon the policy of his predecessors, and pursue an entirely different one. On the whole, this despatch left an impression either that the Austrian Cabinet entirely misinterpreted the speech of the noble Earl, or that something had been held out to them by Her Majesty's Government which was not reconcileable with these papers. The reply of the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary, in answer to that of the Austrian Minister, was no less remarkable. It stated—Her Majesty's Government have received with 666 the liveliest pleasure the despatch to you from Prince Schwarzenberg of the 5th inst., which you have been authorised to communicate to me upon the part of the Cabinet of Vienna.This, it would be remembered, was the despatch which announced the "genuine satisfaction" of the Imperial Cabinet at the change of Government in England. It went on:—In proportion to the value which Her Majesty's Government place upon a maintenance of a cordial friendship with Austria, the oldest ally of England, cemented, not only by the tie of mutual interest, but by the recollection of past efforts in a common cause, was the regret with which Her Majesty's present Government, on succeeding to office, found that the result of the events of the last few years had been to substitute for those friendly relations a tone of mutual suspicion, if not of actual alienation, and to give to their diplomatic correspondence a character quite at variance with the dispositions which ought to subsist between them. The despatch which you have recently placed in my hands affords the greater satisfaction to Her Majesty's Government, because, without reference to the past, it lays the foundation of a renewed good understanding between the two countries.Now, he did think that a reference to the past ought to have been insisted on, especially as there still remained at the Foreign Office that extremely offensive despatch of the 4th February to which he had referred, and which ought either to have been withdrawn, or, at any rate, explained, whatever might be the Government in power. At that time every foreign Government had either withdrawn or modified at least its first demand on the question. The Prussian Government had withdrawn their note altogether; France had made the most satisfactory explanations; and Russia had considerably modified the language which she had first held. Austria alone, when the noble Earl came into power, remained without having taken steps to remove that which was insulting and derogatory to this country, while it was totally unworthy of the Government of Austria. It was clear that the perusal of these papers left an impression either that some deviation from the former line of policy had been promised to Austria, or that the noble Earl's speech and despatches had been totally misunderstood by the Austrian Cabinet. There was another part of the subject to which he was now about to refer, and that was, the treatment which Austria had exhibited towards certain English subjects who happened to be in the Austrian dominions. If there had been no threat uttered on this subject, it would have been sufficient to have left these matters, with- 667 out farther investigation of them, to Her Majesty's Government, fully convinced they would have demanded and obtained full satisfaction; but since the famous despatch of Prince Schwarzenberg, he thought they were bound to ask what steps had been taken by the Government, and what had passed between them and the Austrian Government on the subject; because it was now evident that those acts had become a part of the general policy of Austria, and it was upon that account that he asked an explanation of the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Malmesbury) with regard to what had passed between him and the Austrian Government in respect of the various cases of hardship inflicted on individuals in Austria. One of these cases he could not help alluding to in particular, because, if it had been correctly stated to him, it was really of a monstrous character. It was that of Mr. Wingate, a clergyman of the Scotch Church, a harmless, inoffensive gentleman, established at Pesth, since the year 1841, with the sanction of the Viceroy and the Government, as a clergyman to the English residents there, and as a missionary to the Jews. He had become resident there with the sanction of the Viceroy of Hungary, and at no period of his residence there had anything in the shape of an accusation been brought against him—a fact that was fully admitted by the Government authorities; he had a pastport from the Foreign Office, and a permission de sejour from the local authorities. During the Hungarian war, the Hungarians had tried to press him for a soldier, but he had positively refused to serve, and was ultimately allowed to retain his character of a civilian. On the 3rd of January, all forms of law were abolished in Hungary, and on the 5th of the same month, this gentleman, with another gentleman, were ordered, without any reason being assigned, to quit Pesth. According to the account which he (Lord Beaumont) had received, it was then in the depth of winter—the Danube was frozen over, the ground was covered with snow; some of the members of his family were under medical treatment, some of them were bedridden, and, though a medical certificate that their lives would be endangered by exposure to the cold was sent to the authorities, it had no weight whatever with him. Mr. Wingate was summoned to appear before the head of the police, and was ordered to depart immediately. The unfortunate persons then begged to be allowed to appeal to Vienna; 668 and this permission was granted by the authorities at Pesth, who, he was bound to say, had behaved with a great deal of feeling, and did all they could to mitigate the sufferings of those whom they were ordered to expel. The appeal, when made, was, however, unsuccessful, and the answer returned from Vienna was an order for their immediate removal—the sooner the better. They then asked to be allowed to go by Vienna, but this also was refused. A member of their congregation then went to Vienna, but he too was unsuccessful, and a more imperative order was then issued, giving only two or three days to prepare for their departure. Almost the whole of this time was occupied in getting passports; there were, as he was informed, no less than six bureaus to pass through, and, last of all, they had to obtain the sanction of the military commandant. Great difficulties, too, were raised about a nurse going with them who happened to be a Hungarian woman, and all her brothers and cousins had to be produced to depose to her intention of leaving the country. In fact, the whole of this part of the transaction was well worth any of their Lordships' attention, as showing the great evil and inconvenience of the passport system. After going through these ceremonies, and after experiencing other difficulties, they were turned out of Pesth, and obliged to travel some hundreds of miles in the depth of winter, suffering seriously in health, and some of them still felt the ill effects of that journey. A similar cruelty was inflicted on Mr. Edwards in a part of Gallicia. He, also, without any cause of complaint being stated against him, was ordered to leave the Austrian dominions, along with his wife, who was then in such a state of suffering that she was taken ill on the road. He was willing to make great allowances for Austria. He did not doubt but that great severity was necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in her dominions; and he was convinced that if her army were diminished, or the regulations of her police reduced, the existence of the present Government would be in considerable danger, especially in Hungary, where strong measures were absolutely necessary. Severity and strictness were essential to the maintenance of a Government which was loathed in Hungary, hated in Italy, disliked in Bohemia, detested in Croatia, and not much loved even in Vienna; but the treatment which had been 669 inflicted on these unfortunate persons could do no sort of good whatever, and could answer no great political end; and, therefore, coupling it with the previous despatch, he looked upon it as an instance of a little revenge on the part of the Austrian Government for not having received the answer which it had expected. He, therefore, had thought it his duty to ask the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Malmesbury) whether he was prepared to produce any papers explanatory of the steps which he had taken to obtain redress for these individuals; and he did entreat noble Lords opposite to declare whether it was their intention to abide by what had been the usual course of policy of all Governments of this country with regard to those unfortunate individuals who sought a refuge on our shores. If they did intend to abandon these unfortunate refugees, and no longer to extend towards them the hospitality which they had ever found in England, then they would be doing that which, in his opinion, was both derogatory to this country and dangerous to the peace of Europe. If, on the contrary, they intended to persist in giving the fullest shelter and hospitality to all who sought our shores—be they monarchs fleeing from a republic, or republicans from a monarchy—if they resolved to keep the shores of England open to all, without inquiring into their political opinions, but offering them all the advantages which our enlightened laws offered to our own subjects, if the noble Lords opposite were prepared to state this, he was certain that no one there would refuse to give every means, and afford all possible allowances, for conducting this correspondence with foreign Governments on amicable and moderate terms. He begged to move, in accordance with the notice that stood in his name on the paper, for the production of correspondence respecting the detention of the Rev. Mr. Wingate.
That there be laid before this House, Correspondence respecting the Detention of the Reverend Mr. Wingate.
§ The EARL of MALMESBURY
My Lords, I shall try to profit as much as I possibly can by the lecture of the noble Lord on the lucidity of the statement made on a former occasion by my noble Friend (the Earl of Derby). But I beg to remind the noble Lord that it does not quite follow that, when a statement has been made and not understood, the implication 670 of unsatisfactoriness in such statement should rest exclusively upon Her Majesty's Ministers. My noble Friend began this subject in this House by putting a string of questions the other night; to which, however, he said, he did not think I ought to reply at the moment, and which, therefore, I did not then answer. I shall now, however, take the liberty of replying to them, and, in so doing, to invert the arrangement of the topics in my noble Friend's speech, and reply, in the first place, to the particular cases, before I proceed to make any remarks upon the general subject. The noble Lord began by asking about the arrest of a courier of Sir Stratford Canning. The history of that transaction is simply this:—Sir Stratford Canning had employed an English workman of some sort (I think an ironmonger) of the name of Scott, in doing some work for him, at the Embassy at Constantinople; and when this was finished, and nothing more remained to do, he gave the man an English passport for his return home; and either because he really wished for his services, or in order merely to expedite him on the way, Sir Stratford confided to this person an official bag containing despatches. The man was dressed not in the usual uniform of a courier, but as an artisan, and he did not travel in the carriage which couriers ordinarily use, and there was nothing to indicate him as such to the Austrian authorities. He was arrested by the Austrian police on suspicion of being identical with a man who had robbed somebody at Manchester of 1,600l. in bank notes, and whose description had been forwarded to Vienna. The mistake in the identity was certainly most unfortunate; the man was unacquainted with German, and was detained throughout a whole night; but as soon as the matter was explained by a person who understood the English language, he was at once liberated. This happened not in our time, but in that of my noble Friend opposite (Earl Granville) in the Foreign Office. My noble Friend remonstrated most properly, as I should have done if I had been in his place with the Austrian Government; and the Austrian Government made an apology for the error into which they had been led, explained the circumstances under which it had occurred, and sent an order for the punishment of the policeman, who had not sent, when he took the workman into custody, for somebody who knew English to investigate the circumstances. My Lords, 671 I regret as much as my noble Friend, or any man living, that any such misfortune should befall an Englishman travelling through a foreign country, with the language of which he may be unacquainted; but accidents of this nature are not confined to foreign countries; neither, my Lords, is this particular occurrence imputable, in any sense, to a feeling of revenge—supposing such had ever existed in the mind of the Austrian Government—for it happened, two months before the despatch adverted to in such strong terms by my noble Friend was written; and, in the second place, it was perfectly accidental, for I can bring the authority of Mr. Grey, now an attaché of the Embassy at Vienna, to show that instructions had been given to the Austrian police for the detention of a man of the name of Adler, who had committed the robbery at Manchester. I have said, my Lords, that such a mistake is not confined to foreign countries, and will go further and say, not only that it might, but I will tell you what did, happen in this country, and to a domestic in my own establishment no later than last year. The individual to whom I allude is one who, although not personally or directly known, may nevertheless, be agreeably and indirectly known to some of your Lordships. Having sent my servants home from the Highlands of Scotland, my French cook, in the free town of Glasgow, though one of the most quiet, inoffensive creatures I ever knew in my life, was forcibly seized by two policemen, and found himself in the same position as the English workman, for he could speak no English; and the policeman and he of course could not understand one another. He was dragged through the streets of the town; he experienced the desagremens of being taken to the station-house, followed by a crowd of boys, who hissed and hooted him; he was detained two hours. The magistrate before whom he was taken very civilly let him go; stating that he was mistaken for a man who had committed a crime in Ireland; but all the satisfaction he got from the policeman was, "Sarve you right; you are such a queer-looking fellow." The result was that he lost his passage by the railway, and was put to considerable, and for him serious, inconvenience. If he had been a susceptible man, instead of a French philosophe, he would no doubt have applied to the French Minister in London to demand redress, and in all probability a long correspondence 672 between M. Drouin de I'Huys and the Foreign Office would have been the consequence, a great deal of trouble would have been caused to both countries, and we don't know how the matter might have ended. But he did not do that; he took things as they were intended; he made no more stir in the matter; and so your Lordships were saved from this correspondence. I mention this, my Lords, not to justify the proceedings in the other instance, but simply to show that such an accident as happened in that case might also happen in this country, where there is no police law, and where freedom lives as much among the people as is possible. I now come to the case of Mr. Wingate, and I must say that I think that a very aggravated case. I believe him to have been a harmless, conscientious, religious man, who went to convert the Jews in Hungary, without any other object or intention; and I think the Austrian Government, therefore, who must. have known this, too, cannot be too much blamed, after having suffered him and his colleagues to remain quietly in that country for so long a period, and who consequently led them to suppose that they should be permitted to live there as long they chose—I say, I think that Government is very much to be blamed for not having given those gentlemen and their families sufficient time to collect their goods, to settle their affairs, and to leave the country. But while I confess this with sorrow, I must at the same time say I think the statement from which my noble Friend opposite quoted his account of the details of the transaction is not one which so good and so religious a person as Mr. Wingate ought to have given. He ought to have been more exact in his details of what took place; and, lest your Lordships should be led away by the statement which has been made, and that you may know Her Majesty's Government and our Ambassador at Vienna have done all they could in reference to this case, I wish to read to you the account which has been drawn up in writing by Mr. Grey, attaché to Lord Westmorland, regarding the whole affair, and your Lordships will see that there is great variance between the statements. Your Lordships would suppose from what you have heard that the rev. gentleman had been hurried on through the Austrian dominions in the worst of weather, and that his family had not been allowed to rest on their journey. I think the noble Lord said that Mr. Wingate 673 complained he was refused permission to go to Vienna. If he were, he certainly cared very little for the permission, for he went to Vienna without it. [The noble Lord then read the document by Mr. Grey, which stated that a gentleman had called at the Embassy to state that two missionaries were in trouble, and, though the unfavourable answer of the Austrian Government to representations which had been made respecting a third missionary, Mr. Edwards, did not give good reason to suppose that interference in their case would be successful, the advice was given that Messrs. Wingate and Smith should send in a statement of their case from Pesth. No such statement had been sent in, and very soon afterwards Mr. Grey saw Mr. Wingate, who said his object was to obtain permission to travel by easy stages, without unnecessary interference on the part of the police. Mr. Grey obtained that permission for him, and saw orders to that effect sent off to the police. He took the passport, properly viséed, to Mr. Wingate's residence, and was told it was "all right." It was, therefore, perfectly clear, that though the manner in which the Austrians had acted was deserving of reprobation, it was not of the character described; the case required no exaggeration to make it one of cruelty, but, unfortunately, exaggeration had been employed in stating it. I am sorry to say I have seen accounts of large meetings in Scotland, where a clergyman named M'Leod has used very much the same language as my noble Friend, and has stated that Lord Westmorland behaved with the greatest remissness and negligence. [Lord BEAUMONT: I never said anything of the kind.] No; not my noble Friend, but the gentleman in question; and I have seen it with sorrow, because no person, and especially not a clergyman, ought to make such a statement with respect to the conduct of Lord Westmorland, who stands deservedly high in the estimation of your Lordships and of the country, for the manner in which he discharges his duties, before he had all the facts well substantiated. But, my Lords, having disposed of these points, I will now refer to the observation of my noble Friend on the general question involved in the correspondence. My noble Friend has made some general remarks on the correspondence respecting foreign refugees, which I had lately the honour to lay on your Lordships' table, on which I wish to make a few observations; and if I pre- 674 cede them with a few words in reference to myself personally, I am sure I shall meet with that indulgence your Lordships have always shown me whenever I have ventured to address you. I cannot blame my noble Friend, nor any man, for entertaining apprehension—nay, I would say even suspicion—respecting the security of our foreign policy, when he sees it placed so recently in the hands of a man so little experienced as myself. I am well aware, my Lords, that such a circumstance might excite those feelings; and I assure you that when I was called by Her Gracious Majesty to the place I now hold, I knew well it was not to any merit of my own I owed the appointment, but that it was to the partiality of my old and valued Friend now at the head of the Government, and to the confidence placed by Her Majesty in his recommendations. I knew I should be wanting—totally wanting, my Lords—in experience in the mode of carrying on the political affairs of this great country. I never had held office—I never had asked for office—I was perfectly inexperienced in the routine of public business. I had but one recollection which inspired me with some degree of encouragement, and that was that I had received the education of an English gentleman, and that one of the first principles in that education had been, as I trust it ever will be—I know that in my case it was one of the first feelings inculcated on my mind—that the dignity of the Crown and the honour of the country are, to every other consideration on earth, paramount; and, if I required another encouragement, allow me to say, though my noble Friend is present, that I found it in recollecting that he (Earl Granville), my junior in years, and almost as inexperienced as myself in official life—certainly with as little experience in that office in which I succeeded him—had, during the short time he had remained there, inspired the utmost confidence in all those who met him in the discharge of public business, and had left behind him at the Foreign Office a reputation which, when it shall be my turn to retire, I shall greatly envy. But, my Lords, if personal malice or party spirit should endeavour to invent the worst calumny against me that could be framed, it would be to put forward the supposition that, on a question affecting the safety and security of foreign refugees in this country, I do not hold, absolutely and entirely, the opinions I find expressed in the despatch of my noble 675 Friend opposite. I can well conceive the pleasure and happiness of a refugee, hunted from his native land, on approaching the shores of England, and the joy with which he first catches sight of them; but they are not greater than the pleasure and happiness every Englishman feels in knowing that his country affords the refugee a home and safety. My Lords, you know what our laws are on this subject; they have been over and over again explained in both Houses of Parliament on recent occasions, and so long as I have the happiness to be one of Her Majesty's Government, and of managing the Foreign Affairs of the country, I declare to you that from no Power in Europe, or in any other part of the globe, shall I consent to receive a demand that would change those laws. I would not answer such a demand by any epigrammatic despatch; because I think the province of diplomacy is negotiation and conciliation; but I would tell those who made such a demand, in a firm but conciliatory manner, that it could not be complied with, and I would answer them as the first Barons answered, Nolumus leges Angliœ mutari. Having said this much, my Lords, with reference to my own feelings and sentiments, and being convinced that every Member of Her Majesty's Government believes it impossible to change the laws of England upon this subject, even if a Minister could he found willing to do so, and that, so long as the foreign refugees respect and obey the law, that law will protect them against all comers, I will add, in the sense and in the principle of the policy of this country, that the same law which inexorably protects will as inexorably punish them if they bring their conspiracies into a practical shape which clearly breaks it. With respect to' the accusations on the part of the noble Lord opposite, I would ask, is there anything in the papers on your Lordships' table to give him a right to assert I will sacrifice foreign refugees in the manner he says? But the noble Lord has gone further than this, and has made a charge very grave in its nature against Her Majesty's Government; because he has more than insinuated that a secret understanding has been carried on between the Austrian Government and the Government of Her Majesty, which induced Prince Schwarzenberg to write the despatch of the 5th of March. My Lords, I positively deny such accusations or suspicions—they are totally and entirely 676 without foundation; and not only has no such communication ever taken place, but I do not believe it even entered the imagination of any of Her Majesty's Government. Why, if the noble Lord had taken the trouble to look to the dates—and I wish he had before he made his speech—he would have seen it was physically impossible for me who entered office on the 28th February, to write such a despatch as would enable Prince Schwarzenberg to write his in reply on the 5th of March, containing observations on the speech of my noble Friend. As to the despatch in question, I do not expect my noble Friend opposite (Lord Beaumont) to agree with the first paragraph. It states—The intelligence of the formation of the new Government under the auspices of the Earl of Derby has been received by the Imperial Cabinet with a feeling of genuine satisfaction.Having referred to the statement made by my noble Friend, the despatch went on:—As far as that statement refers to foreign affairs we are happy to be able to adhere without reserve to the principles and intentions which the Earl of Derby has explained with so much candour and lucidity.When my noble Friend made that statement, not a Peer in the House rose to make the slightest objection to it. Several of your Lordships made long speeches on our financial policy, but to the foreign policy of the Government no one made any allusion. Why did not the noble Lord rise on that occasion? Was he quite satisfied with my noble Friend's statement? If so, he is just in the same way of thinking as Prince Schwarzenberg; there was anly this difference between them, that the Prince expressed his satisfaction, but the noble Lord was so satisfied he said nothing. Well, if the Prince expressed himself satisfied, so did I. I said to him, "I'm glad you liked the speech;" the Prince gave me an opportunity of saying so. He said the intelligence of the formation of the new Government was received with "feelings of genuine satisfaction;" and I replied that Her Majesty's Government had received his despatch with "the liveliest pleasure." How I could have answered in any other way, I find it impossible to say. The noble Lord might have used more civil phrases, but I cannot see how he could have taken no notice of such expressions on the part of the Prince. Could I say it gave me no pleasure and no satisfaction that on a question of good feeling 677 between Austria and Great Britain, we had received the expression of a hope that the relations of old allies should be renewed? And while on this point I may observe, that I have seen the proposition supported in another place, that Austria is not the oldest ally of England. I express no jealousy of the historical acquirements which the gentleman who put it forward possesses, but in point of fact Austria is our oldest ally. The first treaty with Austria dates 1202, whereas our first treaty with Portugal was not made until 1386. In the despatch I wrote in reply, I went on to say—It is with the most unfeigned pleasure, though with no surprise, that Her Majesty's Government receive the assurance that the Court of Vienna subscribes without reserve to the principles and intentions developed by the First Minister of the Crown.That again is very true. The noble Lord did not quote out of these despatches certain phrases or sentiments he might have approved of—he only quoted "unfeigned pleasure," and "liveliest pleasure." Is there anything so strong in those expressions, my Lords, that I am to be supposed to have bound myself to betray the honour of my country, and to hand over those unfortunate refugees to the Austrian Government? Why, the whole notion is perfectly unfounded; it exists only in the imagination of the noble Lord, and I do not believe there is a Peer in this House, with the exception of my noble Friend, who sees in these phrases more than a civil answer to a civil despatch, and the expression of the pleasure of Government that a useful and ancient ally of England was again placed on a footing of amity. My Lords, I have now told you what are my feelings in reference to that liberty which every refugee in this country enjoys, and what are the feelings of Her Majesty's Government, and I should be only doing injustice to the great statement made by my noble Friend (the Earl of Derby) on a former occasion were I to expatiate on this subject any further, or were I to say more than this—that while I have the honour to be a Minister of the Crown, and to hold the office I now fill, I will attempt to carry out the policy which has secured to these men a refuge in this country, so long as they prove themselves worthy of it, and do not by their acts violate the law which protects them.
was understood to say, that the desire he felt to offer a few 678 observations on the subject under discussion had been much increased by his anxiety to acknowledge the very friendly compliment be had received from the noble Earl, who, though opposed to him in politics, had alluded to him in such kind terms. As it appeared that the correspondence relating to foreign refugees was now drawing to an end, it was hardly necessary for him to go into it; but he was happy to find that there had been expressed a very general concurrence in the principles laid down by Her Majesty's late Government in the despatch which he (Earl Granville) bad written in January last with respect to foreign refugees in this country. He was confirmed by the speeches of his noble Friend and of the noble Lord in the opinion he had expressed, that while we should concur in refusing to diminish in the slightest degree the hospitality now offered to political exiles of all climes and of all shades of political sentiment, and while we should refuse to depart from our municipal law and the practice of our courts, in respect of the definition of what constituted a political offence, and of the evidence to prove it, and to refuse to accept any foreign definitions, yet it should be the duty of the Executive Government to discourage all insurrectionary attempts against the Governments of other countries, and to prevent by all legal means all overt acts directed against countries with which we were in alliance. He very much regretted he ever had had occasion to write the despatch to Count Buol which had been referred to. The answer, though directed to him (Earl Granville), was received by his noble Friend opposite; and in reference to this subject he wished to remark there were two points on which some questions had been addressed to him out of their Lordships' House that he wished to make some observation upon. The noble Lord was then understood to say that he bad been asked why he had allowed so long a time to elapse before he had returned any reply to the note of Count Buol of the 7th of January, stating that the Holy See, through the Austrian Minister, joined in the representations of other foreign Powers respecting foreign refugees in England. He had previously received a note from Count Buol stating that the Duke of Modena concurred in the same representations; and it appeared to him of so unusual a character that he caused inquiries to be made in the proper department of the Foreign Office to know if it was customary to 679 receive an official communication from a foreign Court through a diplomatist not accredited by that Court to Her Majesty, and found that it was unprecedented. Believing that the Austrian Government was desirous of maintaining relations with us in a friendly spirit, he thought it well to avoid any fresh subject of discussion, and confined himself to telling Count Buol, when next they met, that he could not take any notice of his communication, for reasons he would understand. As to the fact that six weeks had elapsed between the time of his receiving the first despatch and his reply to it, all he (Earl Granville) could say was, that he would not have noticed it at all had he not received a subsequent communication from Count Buol with reference to the note addressed by the Holy See to the Austrian Minister at Rome. As to the moment which he had taken for sending that despatch, it had been asked why he had written it after the noble Lord then at the head of Her Majesty's Government (Lord John Russell) had announced that the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) opposite had undertaken to form a Government, and after it was known that a new Ministry had accepted office? Whether this was a mere coincidence, or whether Count Buol, for whom he (Earl Granville) had the highest personal esteem, thought—very judiciously and very naturally thought—that it would be better to get rid of that point before he began business or to treat with his (Earl Granville's) successor, it still put him (Earl Granville) in a difficult position with regard to that despatch. The despatch was sent to him, and directed to him (Earl Granville), although at that moment the noble Earl (the Earl of Malmesbury) was bonâ fide the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. He thought he should have neglected his duty if he had sent the despatch back without making any remarks upon it; but after he had made his remarks upon it, he added that it should be resubmitted to the noble Earl for his consideration, and for the exercise of his discretion thereon. Had he not done so, he should not only have acted an unfriendly part towards the noble Earl, but also have placed both himself and the noble Earl in a false position; for if the noble Earl had remonstrated, he would have been met by the precedent which he (Earl Granville) had set six weeks before in the case of the Court of Rome. When he read the despatch, he certainly felt great regret that 680 the last act of his official correspondence with the Austrian Government should be one not actually of a courteous character; yet as he certainly did consider that that communication was not an offer of a friendly Power, to obtain some practical result with respect to a country with which the English Government had no other means of communicating, but that it was an official communication, and one, as it were, that was making Austria the official mouthpiece of Central Italy; it was therefore one which could not be entertained, and he was satisfied he could not take any other part consistent with his duty than to return that despatch. He might, indeed, have returned it without writing any remarks upon it; at the same time, he owned that if he had not put upon record the reasons which he thought to be sufficient for the conduct he had adopted, he should not have discharged his duty. He had now stated all that he had to observe with respect to that despatch. With regard to the correspondence that had taken place between the Austrian Government and the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Malmesbury), he might be allowed to say this, that, although he thought it was undesirable that foreign Governments should indicate a preference of one political party in this country over another political party; and although he should greatly deplore seeing any British Foreign Secretary bind up British foreign affairs with any political party in any foreign country, yet he was not disposed to censure the Austrian Government for what it had done in this instance; for he did not think it at all unnatural that that Government, feeling the inconvenience which had arisen from the unfriendly state of the relations between Austria and England, in consequence of the previous correspondence which had taken place between the two Governments, should have received with pleasure the intelligence that the party in England which, right or wrong, had for the last four years generally adopted the complaints of Austria against the actual Government of this country, had succeeded to power. No doubt, if the noble Earl had rejected these overtures on the part of Austria in a discourteous manner, he would have deprived himself of the power of bringing the many matters in discussion to a friendly issue. During his (Earl Granville's) short tenure of office, in the different communications which he had had with almost all the 681 nations of the world, he could not but feel grateful for the singularly candid and open manner in which he had been received, and certainly not less than by others had he been so treated by the great nations of Europe, though differing from him in toto on the abstract principles of internal government. He certainly regretted that he was not able to put the relations of this country with Austria on the same footing of amity as that in which we stood with other Courts; but this had not in the slightest degree changed his opinion as to the necessity of a good understanding existing between two such countries as Great Britain and Austria, or as to the fact that the state of the relations which had recently existed between those countries was most undesirable. Without going into the question whether Austria was the oldest, or comparatively the oldest, ally of Great Britain, there could be no doubt it was most desirable that the two countries should be on friendly terms with each other. He believed indeed that there were States with which an alliance was of more paramount importance; but he thought there was no nation in Europe with which it was more desirable that England should be on the most courteous footing, particularly when it was considered that the two countries had acted together in the most perilous times. Therefore, so far from feeling jealous that the noble Earl should have accomplished, without effort, that which he (Earl Granville) had failed to do, he should be most sincerely glad to learn that, with perfect self-respect and dignity, and with due regard to the interests of this country, combined with a conciliatory demeanour, the noble Earl had been able to put an end to the annoying and vexatious questions which had in recent days existed between the two countries. With respect to the case of the engineer, he recollected and entirely coincided with what the noble Earl had stated as to the nature of that case; but he did not quite agree with the noble Earl in thinking that the explanation which had been given by Austria, in reference to that case, was entirely satisfactory. He could not see any analogy between the noble Earl's French cook and that of the engineer; yet, since Prince Schwarzenberg had expressed his regret at what had occurred, and had informed Her Majesty's Government that the Austrian officer would be punished, he was quite satisfied with that 682 assurance. With respect to the case of the Rev. Mr. Wingate and his fellow-sufferers, although he (Earl Granville) wrote the despatch embodying the case of those gentlemen, yet as he was not aware of the answer which had been received from the Austrian Government, he could not add anything to that which the noble Earl had stated.
§ The MARQUESS of BREADALBANE
thought that their Lordships had not sufficiently adverted to the fact that the Rev. Mr. Wingate and the Rev. Mr. Smith were not only endeavouring to spread the truths of the Gospel to the Jews at Pesth, but that they were also the Christian ministers to an English congregation at Pesth. A great number of British workmen were at present employed there in the construction of a railway, and those two missionaries were employed to perform the services of Christian worship to them. The Austrian Government, therefore, by having sent those men away in so summary a manner, had deprived many British subjects of the benefit of Christian worship. This was a very important fact, and he trusted Her Majesty's Government would not suffer themselves to be trifled with in conducting the negotiation for redress from the Austrian Government.
After a few words from Lord BEAUMONT and the Earl of DERBY in explanation, the Motion was withdrawn.