HL Deb 06 June 1861 vol 163 cc623-5

My Lords, I wish to call attention to a subject of very great interest. I wish to ask, Whether the Foreign Office has received any intelligence from Italy, confirming the melancholy report of the death of Count Cavour? If that melancholy event has really occurred, it is a calamity not to Italy alone, but to all Europe. Count Cavour was a statesman who, whatever opinions may be entertained of his political views, occupied too important a place in the politics of Europe for his death not to be regarded as a great calamity; and those who had the honour and advantage of his personal acquaintance must feel most deeply and painfully on this event. My Lords, if this loss has fallen on Italy and the world, it is one that at the present moment is irreparable. But I am sure he has left behind him a renown for patriotism, for personal disinterestedness, and for an ambition honourably directed, that will survive till the last period in the annals of his country.


I am grieved to say, my Lords, that the report referred to by the noble Marquess of the death of Count Cavour is too true. The Foreign Office has received a despatch from Her Majesty's Minister at Turin, stating that Count Cavour died this morning at seven o'clock. My Lords, it is not for me to pass an eulogium on the character of such a statesman as Count Cavour; I have no doubt that history will do full justice to him as a statesman and a patriot. But I entirely concur with the noble Marquess in the feeling that, whatever differences of opinion there may be among your Lordships—whatever differences of opinion there may be either in or out of this House—as to the policy he pursued, there can be but one opinion that at the present moment, and at the present crisis of Italian affairs, his death must be regarded as a great calamity.


My Lords, I also entirely agree with the feeling that has been expressed that, whatever differences of opinion there may be among your Lordships on certain parts of the policy and conduct of Count Cavour, yet no one can doubt he was a man of great talents, of great skill, and that he rendered great services to his own country and the Kingdom of Italy in general. "We must all join in deploring his death as a most calamitous blow to that great cause to which every one wishes well.


My Lords, having at two distinct periods, in consequence of changes in the Government of this country, had to carry an official correspondence and enter into offi- cial relations with Count Cavour, I should be sorry if I omitted to refer to the death of one who must be considered a very great man. I entirely agree with my noble Friend opposite that no differences of opinion as to his policy can make any difference in the feelings with which we have heard of the death of Count Cavour. I do not think those differences of opinion have been so great—they were rather differences on points of detail than on principle—as to render such a distinction of feeling on this occasion possible. Whatever they may have been, and whatever they may be hereafter, we must see, from the importance of the events pending in Italy, that the influence of the great minister and statesman who has just departed was of the most essential character. I do not look forward with such apprehension as the noble Marquess has expressed to what may be the results of the death of Count Cavour. We must hope that the Italians, having attained the point at which they have arrived, will continue to show the same resolution and the same prudence in their general conduct that they have hitherto displayed under the guidance of Count Cavour. His memory will be a beacon and an example to them which it is most important they should follow, not only for the sake of their own country, but for that of every country of Europe.


My Lords, while we must all regret the fact of any man being removed so suddenly and unexpectedly from this life, and while all your Lordships must deplore the death of Count Cavour as opening Italy again to fresh intrigues and fresh invasions, I am bound to say that, looking at his past history, whatever may have been the objects he had in view, the means by which he strove to obtain those objects, and their results, were certainly such as many of your Lordships cannot approve. He violated every law, human and divine.

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