HL Deb 27 May 1852 vol 121 cc1172-3

begged to recal the attention of the noble Earl the Secre- tary for Foreign Affairs to a question he had addressed to him a fortnight ago with respect to the case of a person who had experienced some degree of ill treatment from some soldiers of the Austrian Government. If the noble Earl would furnish any information to their Lordships on the subject, it would obviate the necessity of again adverting to it.


My Lords, I presume the noble Earl alludes to the case of Mr. Mather, who was cut down by an Austrian officer at Florence some three or four months ago. I am glad to have to inform the noble Earl and your Lordships that a negotiation, which was the subject of considerable anxiety on the part of Mr. Scarlett, our Chargé d' Affaires at Florence, has been going on between that gentleman and the Austrian authorities, and that he has brought it to a conclusion. With respect to this offence committed on Mr. Mather, as it affects our national pride and honour, I may state that long ago the Austrian Government assured the Government of this country that no anti-national feeling actuated the officer who behaved so cruelly towards Mr. Mather—that no anti-English feeling whatever animated that person, and that the Austrian Government greatly regretted what had occurred. They stated, moreover, that this outrage was the result of fortuitous circumstances, and arose from the accident of the moment. Your Lordships may be aware that no official communication with the Austrian Government has taken place from the beginning. The communication has been with the Tuscan, and not the Austrian Government; and the noble Earl who preceded me in office was of opinion that reparation ought to be insisted on from that Government. Negotiations ensued, and they have resulted in the Tuscan Government giving to Mr. Mather pecuniary compensation for the injury sustained; and the sum awarded is, as far as Mr. Scarlett could judge, equivalent to the amount Mr. Mather would have received as damages in compensation, had he, under similar circumstances, applied to an English court of justice.

Back to