HL Deb 14 May 1860 vol 158 cc1178-9

said, he had privately given notice to his noble Friend the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs of his intention to put a Question with respect to the unopposed departure from the port of Genoa of a certain armed expedition, which was notoriously of an offensive character, and was supposed to be destined for the Neapolitan shores. It was not his intention at present to say a word as to the policy of Her Majesty's Government; he merely wished to ask whether his noble Friend would lay upon the table of the House any despatches, cither from Sir James Hudson or from our Consul at Genoa, giving an account of the manner in which the expedition was permitted to sail. He was quite ready to accept as conclusive what was stated by the Foreign Secretary in the other House of Parliament—namely, that Her Majesty's Government had distinctly remonstrated with the Government of Sardinia on this subject, declaring that any interference by way of support, or any complicity on the part of the Sardinian Government, would naturally lay them open to the suspicion of having acted in direct violation of international obligations. He merely asked the question for the sake of the information it might elicit, because if the intelligence re- ceived this morning was confirmed it was notorious that the expedition had failed of exciting insurrection in the Neapolitan territories. Unfortunately, everything connected with Sicily exposed us to a most unjust prejudice in many parts of the Continent, and direct attacks had been made in foreign newspapers against Her Majesty's Consul at Genoa for assisting in the departure of the expedition. He (the Marquess of Normanby) knew the English Consul at the port, and felt sure that the rumour was unfounded; but it would conduce to the public convenience if the Government would lay upon the table any papers which had been received on this subject. His object was to take the surest and most complete mode of disproving the accusations which had been made against Her Majesty's diplomatic agents in that part of the world for acts of which he believed them to be perfectly incapable.


said, that if his noble Friend would move for copies of or extracts from the despatches from our Consul at Genoa there would be no objection to produce them; but that no despatches had been received from Sir James Hudson on the subject. He need hardly say that there was no foundation for the rumour alluded to by his noble Friend. But his noble Friend seemed to think, from the statement of the Foreign Secretary the other evening, that a remonstrance had been addressed to the Sardinian Government respecting this very expedition. What had really taken place, however, and what the Foreign Secretary had stated, was that some months ago, when there was a rumour of a similar expedition, Her Majesty's Government had remonstrated with the Government of Sardinia on the subject.


said, he would at once move for the production of the papers. The noble Marquess then moved an Address for Copies of or Extracts from any Despatches of Her Majesty's Consul at Genoa relating to the Departure of a Military and Naval Expedition from the Port of Genoa for the Dominions of the King of the Two Sicilies.

Motion agreed to.