HL Deb 06 June 1853 vol 127 cc1195-6

said, a rumour had reached this country that the Maltese criminal code, which had been recently revised, contained terms derogatory to the dignity of the Church of England, and of all other denominations which were not in communion with the Chinch of Rome. He wished to ask whether the revised code, or any documents on the subject, had yet reached this country; and, if so, whether the noble Duke opposite would consent to lay them on the table? He also wished to know whether any opportunity would be afforded to Parliament of expressing an opinion upon the matter before the revised code received the final sanction of the Government?


replied, that the Governor of Malta had not yet transmitted to Her Majesty's Government a copy of the revised criminal code; but he had informed the Government that he had delayed doing so until the code, which was in the Italian language, had been translated and printed. He (the Duke of Newcastle) was not at present prepared to say whether he could lay upon the fable the whole criminal code of Malta; but full opportunity would be afforded the noble Earl for ascertaining the bearings of the alterations which had been made before any conclusion was come to on the subject. He might, however, without entering into the merits of the case, take this opportunity of earnestly pressing the noble Earl not to allow his feelings to carry him away in this matter, or to take any rash steps with regard to the proposed criminal code until he was fully acquainted with the bearing of the case on both sides, as there were strong religious feelings engaged in the question.

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