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intention, upon the present occasion, to direct their Lordships' attention to the political aspect of the Italian question; but he could not refrain from pointing out that events were occurring in Italy which seemed to confirm the opinion which he had always expressed, that the result of the present confusion could never be that Italy should remain both independent and united, and he was very much afraid that it could not even remain independent. From what had within the last few days appeared in papers of every shade of opinion, he was induced to think that it was not unlikely that the Government at Turin were at this moment maturing alliances, and taking a course which, in order to maintain the grumbling unity of the country, would sacrifice its independence, and, perhaps, compromise the peace of Europe. It was not, however, his intention that evening to discuss either territorial arrangements or forms of government, but to bring under their Lordships' notice a case of practical injustice. His object was to call attention to the state of the political prisoners who were now confined at Naples. Since he gave notice of his intention to take this course, he had received, from a source to him most unexpected, strong confirmation as to the grievous nature of the evils of which these prisoners had to complain, and as to the extraordinary number of persons who were at this moment suffering within the limits of the Neapolitan kingdom under the ty ranny and oppression of those whom they regarded as invaders. Within the last few days, Signor Ricciardi, a Neapolitan deputy, of strong democratic opi nions, stated in strong terms in the Par
"4. That Robert Sole Lingwood and Charles William Maisey his Clerk ought to have been more careful in the Instructions given to William Isaacs and John Preston, when they employed them to obtain Signatures to the said Petition:
"5. That Robert Sole Lingwood, as a Solicitor, would have acted more prudently if he had paid
attention to the Rumours communicated to him in reference to the said Petition:
"6. That the Committee see no Reason to im-liament at Turin that he thought it his pute any Blame whatever to Mr. Boodle;
duty to call attention to the unfortunate condition of the Southern Italian Provinces. That gentleman made the startling assertion that at the present moment the prisons of Naples contained no fewer than 16,000 persons, who were confined in overcrowded cells, and suffered every kind of misery. When this statement was made in the Italian Parliament by Signor Ricciardi, it was not denied by Signor Ratazzi; but, on the following day, the Minister of Justice returned to the subject to express his conviction that the number of prisoners must have been exaggerated. Signor Ricciardi would not, however, abandon a single iota of his allegation, but repeated it in the most positive manner, adding that he derived his information from official docu
EAST GLOUCESTERSHIRE RAILWAY
REPORT OF SELECT COMMITTEE.
LORD PORTMAN reported from the Select Committee appointed to inquire into the Circumstances attending the Conduct of William Isaacs, Clerk to Mr. Boodle, Solicitor at Cheltenham, John Preston, Town Crier at Cheltenham, Robert Sole Lingwood, Solicitor at Cheltenham, Charles William Maisey, Clerk to the said Robert Sole Lingwood, and William Boodle, Solicitor at Cheltenham, with regard to the mode of obtaining signatures to the petition of Barbara Robinson, and others, of Cheltenham, presented on the 22nd of May last.
"That the Committee had met, and considered the Subject Matter referred to them, and had examined the said William Isaacs, John Preston, Robert Sole Lingwood, Charles William Maisey, and William Boodle, and report as follows:
"1. That the Conduct of the said William Isaacs, John Preston, Robert Sole Lingwood, Charles William Maisey, and William Boodle, in obtaining Signatures to the said Petition, does not indicate that they have been guilty of wilful
Misrepresentation in respect thereof:
"2. That William Isaacs was not sufficiently careful in the Explanations given by him, when obtaining Signatures, of the Nature and Objects of the said Petition:
"3. That John Preston appears to have acted under the Belief that the Representations made by him in respect of the said Petition were
"And the Committee had directed the Minutes of Evidence taken before them to be laid before their Lordships."
Which Report being read by the Clerk; Ordered, That the said Report and Minutes of Evidence do lie on the table, and be printed [No. 161].
POLITICAL PRISONERS (NAPLES).
MOTION FOR PAPERS.
THE MARQUESS OF NORMANBY rose to call attention to the treatment of political prisoners at present in confinement in Naples, and to move for any information in the possession of Her Majesty's Government on the subject. It was not his
ments. As the Minister of Justice no inanimate on the floor. By whatever name longer ventured to contradict it, they his noble Friend might choose to call these had a right to infer that it was true. soi-disant official visitors, it was important If so, what a wretched state of things to know whether this information had been did those figures disclose, and how un- forwarded to him. Such was probably the answerable was their pathetic eloquence. case, as he had heard no denial of the fact It was impossible to reconcile them with of torture in prison; but an attempt to the existence of any system which re- excuse it on the supposition that perhaps spected the rights of the people and the some of the old employés of the Bourbon liberty of the subject. And what was the Government remained! When the whole popular element that could be adduced on of the magistracy, 1,600 in number, had the other side? His noble Friend the been changed, notwithstanding Sir James Secretary for Foreign Affairs said, on a Hudson's statement that the magistracy former occasion, that the popular will, were irremovable, it was not very likely which had now found expression under a that the gaolers would remain the same, constitutional Government, was sufficient or that their presence could account for to preserve popular rights from invasion. a practice of which they had no previous But it was a very startling and signifi- experience. It might, perhaps, be said cant fact, that out of the population of that we had no business to meddle with 8,000,000 which was contained on the the internal affairs of another country; terra firma of the kingdom of Naples, but that remark could scarcely proceed only 25,000 persons could be induced to from the noble Lord the present Prime vote at the parliamentary elections, only Minister of England, who was renowned one person in 320 of the population. So for his aggravating interference with the that while 16,000 persons were thrown domestic arrangements of other States, into prison for resisting what was supposed nor from the present Chancellor of the to be the will of the people, that will was Exchequer, whose interference with tho expressed by only 25,000 persons. It ap- prisons of Naples under the former state peared also that the prisoners were now of things had been severely condemned subjected to torture, in order to extract by the editor of a Neapolitan journal confessions from them. Much had been who was now a deputy. He would said about the prisons under the late read to the House the very words lately régime, and, no doubt, great cruelties published by M. Petrocello della Gattina, were then perpetrated by some of the in which that sincere revolutionist spoke subordinate officers under the pretence of rather disparagingly of the nature of the enforcing prison discipline; but at least assistance he and his party had derived they were free from the charge of tortur- from Mr. Gladstoneing prisoners for the purpose of extorting confession. He had upon a former occasion cited a statement, which had been published in France, made by these prisoners, asserting that the practice of torture had been proved by one of its victims in the presence of Commissioners sent by the British Government to examine into these cases. His noble Friend opposite had objected to the term "Commissionand denied that any Commission had been sent for such a purpose. Subsequent information which he (the Marquess of Normanby) had received, had reiterated that persons saying they visited the prison with the authority of the English Ministry had heard from a Captain de Blasio the details of the cruel flagellation to which he had been subjected with scourges of nerfs de bœuf, for the sake of extracting from him the names of the Bourbonist He did not believe that Signor Poerio was Committee. These executioners never better or worse than his companions. He ceased to strike till he was extended had, as had they all, the grievances of a
"It is time to have done with these fétiches. Poerio is a conventional invention of the AngloFrench press. When we were agitating Europe, and exciting it against the Bourbons of Naples, we wanted to personify the negation of that horrible dynasty; we wanted to present every morn ing to the readers of Liberal Europe a living, palpitating, visible victim, whom that ogre Ferdinand used to devour raw at every meal. For this purpose we invented Poerio. The English and French press excited the appetite of that great philanthropist, Gladstone, who repaired to Naples to see with his own eyes this new sort of man in an iron mask. He saw him. He was moved, and like us he set to work to magnify the victim, in order to render the oppressor more odious. He exaggerated the punishment, in order the more to irritate public opinion, and Poerio was created from top to toe. The real Poerio has taken seriously the Poerio whom we had been halfpence a line. Those also have taken him se fabricating for twelve years in articles at threeriously, who, without knowing anything about him, had read what we related about him."
count of the transactions to which he refers. Indeed, my noble Friend himself does not seem to have any great store of information about them, or he would not have entertained us with a reference to affairs so long past as the treatment of Baron Poerio, and the other persons whose oppression by the late Government has been so vividly described by Mr. Gladstone. He referred to Baron Poerio's imprisonment, which certainly does not seem to
would give a careful and explicit answer; but he could not refrain from reminding the House that they had had two striking instances in the present Session of the want of information by the noble Earl in matters pertaining to Italy. He had asked a question about a particular proclamation, and the noble Earl replied that he was sure such a document could not be in existence, because Sir James Hudson had never communicated the fact to him. It turned out that such a proclamation had been issued, and a Motion for papers for other proclamations of a similar nature led to the avowal on the part of Sir James Hudson that of all these proclamations in force last year he had never said one word to the Secretary of State. These proceedings, of which the noble Earl remained in contented ignorance, had caused the telegraph from the Emperor of the French, that if the Sardinian Government went on in that way, the sympathies of Europe would be alienated from their cause. The second instance was in the matter of the press prosecutions, when the noble Earl was equally wrong in giving a denial, and founding it upon a statement of Count Cavour some time before, that the Opposition press might publish whatever they pleased, when it had since been proved that accumulated prosecutions, leading to sentences of unequalled severity, had been instituted by the Government of Count Cavour and his successors against all jour nals that attempted to assert the liberty of the press in that free country. The noble Marquess concluded by moving an Address for
long imprisonment. But he the (Marquess of Normanby) had an opportunity on the spot of collecting indisputable evidence that one of the instances of cruel treatment given to the public on official authority, was the corrupt invention of a worthless informant of the British Legation. Whatever had formerly been the abuses in these prisons, it was impossible to deny that they had all been aggravated under the present system. He hoped the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary have much or anything to do with the treatment of political prisoners under the present Government. My noble Friend says that Baron Poerio is entirely a mythical personage-an invention of ours; all I can say to that is, that I have seen Baron Poerio as a living personage. I believe he has at all times been considered a person of great truth and respectability, and I certainly heard from him that he was ten years in prison-not, perhaps, in a dungeon underground, as some persons have stated with considerable exaggeration, but still strictly confined-so strictly that no news of what was passing externally ever reached him with the permission of the Neapolitan Government. I have also conversed with several other gentlemen, and one of them, to whom I expressed my regret that he should have been ten years confined in prison, said to me, "It is true that I have been harshly confined for ten years, but I would rather have been confined for ten years longer than that the detestable Government under which I suffered should be restored." That shows at least the sense which that gentleman entertained of the nature of the former Government. With regard to the other stories into which the noble Marquess entered, it is scarcely necessary for me to refer to them at length. If he will read Mr. Gladstone's letters again, he will find there statements to show that the former Government of Naples was as detestable a Government as ever existed on the face of the globe. For my own part, I must say, as I have said before. that I heartily rejoice in its overthrow; and I should much regret if ou the face of the globe, especially in Europe, there should exist a Government so cruel and so corrupt, which introduced among its subjects such habits of falsehood and subornation, and at the same time committed against them such atrocious acts of injustice. These are my opinions. I know my noble Friend differs from them; but I do not feel, as he es, any sort of doubt that Italy will make great progress as a
"Copies or Extracts of any Letters, Reports, or Information of any shape, received by the Secretary of State, as to the Treatment of Political Prisoners at present in Confinement at Naples."
EARL RUSSELL: I am sorry that the information which I have to give to the noble Marquess is of the most meagre kind, because I really have not received any acThe Marquess of Normanby
nation. I have just heard that two great | Mr. Bonham on the 26th or 27th May, and Powers of Europe, Russia and Prussia, I have not yet received any answer. are disposed to recongnise the new king- certainly could not undertake to say that dom of Italy. That new kingdom, of the Neapolitan gaolers may not have rewhich my noble Friend seems to have so sorted to some of the means to which they poor an opinion, is therefore making its have been formerly accustomed. I cerway to its recognition by all the Powers of tainly will not undertake to say that those Europe. With regard to the particular persons, who have been educated under cases which my noble Friend pointed out the former Government of Naples, and to me, I have not that knowledge which who have been participators in all the he supposes me to have. I did not appoint methods of injustice practised by that Goany Commission, or agent, or any person to vernment, may not have resorted to some make any inquiries about them; but Mr. species of torture. We know perfectly Bonham, our Consul General, informed me well what kind of persons were employed that he had sent a gentleman, in whom he by the late Government, and it would be had confidence, Mr. Douglas, in conse- preposterous to think that these persons quence of some complaints which Mr. would all at once become pure administraBishop had made as to his treatment in tors of justice and would not, on behalf of prison. Mr. Bishop complained that his their present masters, resort to some of person had been searched, and that he had those practices for which they were comnot yet been brought to trial. Mr. Dou- mended and rewarded by their former emglas was told that Mr. Bishop was treated ployers. Those who were employed in with great consideration and lenity, not to these prisons by the late Government of say favour; that he had an apartment to Naples knew very well what the "cap of himself, and a very convenient one. Mr. silence" meant, and all the other instruBonham said that the only cause of com- ments of torture described by Mr. Gladplaint which Mr. Bishop had was, that he stone. I cannot, therefore, undertake to had not been brought to trial earlier. I answer on this point. Moral improvement agree that that was a very fair ground of is always of slow growth, I believe; but complaint, and I have more than once told I believe some improvement is taking place. Sir James Hudson to complain officially that Even the material improvement of the conHer Majesty's Government considered it a struction of railroads in the southern porhardship that Mr. Bishop, being accused tion of Italy will tend to create a better of treasonable practices, should not have system and to dispel the dark ignorance been brought to trial. I have heard within that the priestly party have encouraged the last few days that the lists of the with so much perseverance and success in jury have been completed, or at least will those provinces. Mr. Bonham says, as I have been completed, on this very day- have already stated, that Mr. Bishop's the 7th of July-that an assassination trial will immediately take place, and therecase would be first taken, that the case of fore we shall soon learn the result. I Count Christen would immediately follow, certainly do not think that we can officially and that Mr. Bishop's trial would then call upon the Italian Government in respect commence. I will not enter into the ques- of the mode in which they conduct these tion of the evidence which may be brought trials. I do believe that if ever a revoluforward against this gentleman. I shall be tion was justified by the misgovernment glad if it turns out that there is no evidence of former rulers, it was the revolution to show that he was cognizant of the which has resulted in the establishment of treasonable practices with which he was the present Government. With regard to charged. I shall be very glad, too, if Count Tuscany, there was not so much ground of Christen cannot be found guilty of the complaint against the old Government; but charges brought against him. That is a still, even there, there is great improvematter, however, for trial, and I think it is ment; and I certainly have heard, not only a very wrong thing to enter into questions from official sources, but from persons who of evidence which may be brought against have travelled in the country, that enterany person who may be brought to trial. prise and activity, information, education, With respect to certain prisoners having and I may say content, are making such been tortured in prison, Mr. Bonham has not progress that it is something wonderful to given me any information on the subject up witness. The South has not, indeed, imto the present time. I sent the informa- proved so much, nor could it be expected tion which the noble Marquess gave me to that could happen in a day; but still im
provement is making progress even there. I have no objection to produce any papers which relate to the matter.
THE EARL OF ELLENBOROUGH: I do not share the regret expressed by the noble Earl (Eari Russell) on account of the meagre information he is able to furnish to the noble Marquess, because I think we are not entitled to inquire into the treatment of persons who are not British subjects. Diplomatic transactions are carried on according to the law of nations; they must rest on some one uniform law; and, no doubt, it is our interest and our duty to uphold that law, which was established for the protection of all States, the strong and the weak alike. But I think it is most desirable that we should not consider Italy in a condition of pupilage; and if she were, we are not her censors and tutors. IIow ever desirous we all are, from one end of the country to the other, or with very few exceptions, that Italy should become a great, happy, well-governed, and powerful nation, the best thing we can do is to leave to her altogether the management of her own affairs. There will be no feeling of independence, no good Government, no free or independent line of policy in Italy till she feels she is treated as one of the great States of Europe, respected by all, and permitted to manage her affairs by herself and by the use of her own means.
LORD BROUGHAM ventured to hope that nothing would happen in Italy to throw any obstacle in the way of an event so desirable as the acknowledgment of the independence of Italy by the Powers of Europe.
THE EARL OF HARROWBY expressed his hearty concurrence in what had fallen from the noble Earl (the Earl of Ellenborough). If the English Government attempted to exercise a continual control over Italian affairs, we should soon have telegrams from Paris apprising us that the same course was being taken by the French Government with much more injurious effect. The noble Marquess had spoken of Baron Poerio as a myth; but he was now alive and in as good health as could be expected, and there was no doubt that he had gone through the trials which had been referred to; and he himself had seen the excavation in the rock of Palermo where the Baron was confined for eight or ten months before his trial without light. It was wonderful for a person who, like himself, had just come from Italy to hear the language of the noble Marquess in reference to that country. Everybody recognised the existence of the Italian Kingdom except the noble Marquess; and he would soon be the single person left who spoke of it in such language. No one could have gone through Italy without remarking the very different spirit that now existed there compared with that which once prevailed. There was now a sense of freedom, a sense of development and progress, a looking upward, that contrasted strongly with the former despondency and downheartedness. Instead of conspiracy there was now free discussion in Parliament and the press. There was improvement moral and material in every direction. There had been a realization of the idea of Italian unity, on which no one could have calculated. He had met with persons who said, "We were the last to give up the idea of the autonomy of our own country; but when we looked around and saw the battle-fields of France and Italy, and when we considered that we were small States in the midst of improvement; that if we remained so, there would be no encouragement for development by improved communication, there then flashed over the land the wish to be free." No doubt some of the consequences of the former maladministration still remained. It was in the nature of despotism to corrupt; if it were not so, it would not be the odious thing it was; and
LORD BROUGHAM entirely concurred with his noble Friend who had just addressed their Lordships; he therefore wished to ask whether it was true, as he was rather led to expect from what had fallen from the noble Earl (Earl Russell), that Russia had acknowledged the kingdom of Italy. If so, he (Lord Brougham) heartily rejoiced in the event, which he considered to be of no small importance.
EARL RUSSELL: I believe it is perfectly true that Russia has declared its intention to recognise the kingdom of Italy. The Government of Russia has made a communication-though it may not yet have reached Turin-that, on certain assurances being given by the Government of Italy-which I have no doubt the Government of the King of Italy will readily give the formal recognition of its independence will follow. I believe that Russia requires assurances to this effect that the intentions of Italy towards its neighbours are pacific, and that the Confederation of Germany, and particularly Austria, shall not be an object of aggression on the part of Italy. Earl Russell