HL Deb 17 February 1860 vol 156 cc1206-7

I wish to put a question to my noble Friend (Earl Granville) in consequence of a communication which I understand was made in "another place" last night with reference to the proposed annexation of Savoy and Nice to France. What I wish to ask my noble Friend is, whether in the existing state of the negotiations between this country and France on this subject—if negotiations be still pending—he thinks it desirable, for the promotion of the objects we all have in view, that another opportunity should be given to this House to pronounce an opinion on this question, and especially that we may hear some explanation from the Government as to the share they are alleged in some quarters to have had in producing the present state of things? I allude to what was stated in the course of the discussion the other night —though the Government did not appear to have any official record on the subject— that in the course of last autumn Count Walewski told Lord Cowley that the revival of this question of the annexation of Savoy was a consequence of the active intervention of England in the affairs of Central Italy, with a view to what she considered a solution of the difficulties that existed. I merely refer to that as a ground why I think it is right we should have an opportunity of again considering the subject. If I understand from my noble Friend that in the present state of the negotiations he thinks it is better that we should not renew the discussion, I will give no notice for any future day, only expressing the hope that the Government will not enter into any engagements that may bind this country in future with reference to this question without first taking the opinion of Parliament.


The question, of which my noble Friend gave me private notice, was that it was his intention to ask whether Her Majesty's Government had received any further intelligence with respect to the proposed annexation of Savoy to Franco. I have to inform him that the Government have received information from the Government of France that, in the case of the annexation of Central Italy to Sardinia, the French Government is of opinion that it will be necessary to have some increase of territory on the side of Savoy; but this was accompanied with a declaration that the annexation would not be made without the consent of the people of Savoy, nor without consulting the great Powers. With regard to the question which my noble Friend has put, I have had no opportunity of consulting my colleagues as to whether it would be desirable that such a discussion as he point3 out should take place at present, or whether, as the negotiations are still going on, it should be deferred. It appears to me, however, that the opinion of this House has already been so strongly expressed on the subject that I see no advantage whatever in renewing the discussion.


said, he believed that there was no doubt whatever that a new discussion of the subject could not by any possibility leave the matter in a more satisfactory state than that in which it at present stood, or show more clearly to foreign countries how unanimous and how strong was the opinion of that House against the proposed annexation.


said, that after the statement of his noble Friend he would not give notice for any discussion on a future day; but his understanding was, that no new line would he adopted by the Government without its being brought under the consideration of Parliament.