HL Deb 29 February 1864 vol 173 c1242

said, he wished to ask the noble Earl at the head of the Foreign Office a Question, of which he had not given him notice. The public were perfectly well acquainted with the evidence which had been given in the recent trial of the conspirators against the life of the Emperor of the French in Paris, and there could be but one feeling, that if Signor Mazzini or any else in this country had, either by the receipt or despatch of letters, or in any other way aided or encouraged the conspiracy, they had been guilty of a most detestable action. There was, probably, no legal evidence of any such participation; but if there was moral evidence of it, and if a moral conviction was produced upon the mind of the Government, that either Mazzini or any one else in this country had been so engaged, he hoped that they would take up the matter by anticipation, and without waiting for any representations upon the subject, either by means of the powers which were given to them under the Alien Act, or by any others which they might possess, show to the world that such things would not be allowed to continue or to be repeated in this country. The Question he wished to ask was, Whether the Government, in the event of the powers of the Alien Act not being sufficient to enable them to deal effectually with the matter, would take it into their mature consideration, with the view of warding off from this country the suspicion of being mixed up in acts which must be repudiated by all honourable and honest men?


I quite agree with the noble Marquess that any persons conspiring for the purposes of assassination are guilty of a detestable crime; but I have no right to say that Signor Mazzini, or any other person living in this country, is guilty of that crime. I have no such evidence, and no such powers are invested in the Executive under the Alien Act as the noble Marquess supposes. I can only answer that I am not going to take any steps in the matter.


was aware that there was no legal evidence which could be acted upon, but had hoped that the Government, acting on the moral evidence to which he had alluded, might have been able to take up the matter by anticipation.