HL Deb 19 February 1863 vol 169 cc474-5

said, he wished to call attention to a statement made on Tuesday evening by his noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in answering some observations of his (the Marquess of Normanby's) in reference to the Roman Question. His noble Friend then quoted a despatch of his (the Marquess of Normanby's) written in 1849, for the purpose of showing that all the policy of interference which had characterized the career of himself and his present chief was conformable to a policy laid down in that despatch. On looking at the original draught, he found that the noble Earl had arrived at that conclusion by omitting the sentence immediately before and the sentence immediately after what he quoted. It was a long despatch written to Lord Palmerston on the subject of a proposal to the French Government that it should join with Austria in recommending the Pope to grant reforms, and the omissions would be apparent when their Lordships heard the complete quotation— France has, therefore, to consider her own peculiar position from the very outset. If England gives advice consistent will her disinterested desire for the progress of rational liberty—then, it her advice is taken, she has the credit and the satisfaction of having acted up to her principles; and if it is disregarded, it is consistent with her known habits of non-intervention that she retires from the offer without discredit. But France has 30,000 men at Rome. The first and the last of these sentences had been omitted by his noble Friend in quoting the despatch. The reference to England was incidental, and had no relation whatever to the general policy of the Government.


said, the noble Marquess had proved by the quotation that he (Earl Russell) was completely accurate in what he stated the other day. He stated what had been written by the noble Marquess for the purpose of showing his noble Friend's opinion that England might give advice in favour of rational liberty, which if it were taken would reflect much credit, and if not taken would reflect, no discredit on England. He quoted the general axiom for that purpose, and the exact question then in agitation had nothing to do with his argument. He had promised his noble Friend to produce one or two despatches which had not been presented to Parliament, or extracts from them, as he had referred to those despatches, and he should be prepared to act upon that promise.


denied that there was anything in the despatch which laid down a general axiom.


said, he understood the general rule to be this —that no public officer who had left office was at liberty to make use publicly of any document which had come into his possession while in office, except it had been published; and no Minister was at liberty to read anything from a public document, without at once laying it on the table.


said, as he had explained the other night to his noble Friend on the cross benches (Earl Grey), it was impossible for him to read from any document which was not published, for he had none in his possession. Like every other public officer, he had left all documents which came to him while in office in the archives of the place where he resided.