HL Deb 15 June 1863 vol 171 cc872-3

asked the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary, Whether he had any objection to the production of the Despatch from Sir James Hudson, of the 28th of May, which his noble Friend had quoted as confirming the assurance on the part of the Piedmontese Cabinet that they would advise their Sovereign to pardon Mr. James Bishop on the first fitting occasion? He believed there would be no objection to the production of the despatch, and, as a matter of form, he would move that it be laid on the table. There was a very general impression that a recent anniversary festival would have been marked by the liberation of such political prisoners as had claims upon the Royal clemency; but that expectation had, as far as he could learn, been disappointed, and he should rejoice to hear that the Government of Victor Emmanuel had determined, at all events, to liberate Mr. Bishop, who by the last accounts was suffering from great prostration.


said, he was about to present, by command of Her Majesty, an extract from the despatch to which his noble Friend referred. It was true that the Italian Minister had stated it to be his intention to advise the Sovereign on the first favourable occasion to grant the release of Mr. Bishop; but the noble Marquess put his own interpretation on that phrase. What he (Earl Russell) thought the Italian Minister meant by the first favourable occasion was, when the country was generally pacified, and when there was no longer any irritation in consequence of the acts of brigandage committed in the Neapolitan provinces. What they felt was, that while the brigandage was going on, any favour shown to Mr. Bishop might be misinterpreted into a feeling of lenity to- wards the party with which Mr. Bishop was unfortunately identified. Bat he saw by the newspapers that the ex-King of Naples was about to leave Rome; and he should imagine, that if that occurrence took place, it would tend very much to the suppression of the brigands and the tranquillity of the country. With regard to the imprisonment of Mr. Bishop, he had not impugned the justice of the decisions in the Italian courts, but he had represented to the Italian Government that in this country, when imprisonment was likely to be injurious to the health of a prisoner, and to be therefore equivalent to the punishment of death, it was the usual practice to commute or remit that imprisonment; and he recommended the same course should be taken in regard to Mr. Bishop, if there were circumstances to justify it. He had, however; been informed that General Marmora had sent some persons to visit Mr. Bishop, and they had reported that Mr. Bishop's health was not likely to suffer if he were not subjected to hard labour. That report had been forwarded to Turin, and the Italian Government had acted upon it.

Earl RUSSELL then presented, by command "Extract of Despatch from Sir James Hudson respecting Mr. Bishop." (Parl. Paper [1654])