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FOREIGN AFFAIRS :-Diplomatic Relations with Rome-Negotiations opened at Rome by the Earl of Minto for this object-Bill brought in by the Marquis of Lansdowne to legalise such relations-Debate on the Second Reading-Objections raised by the Duke of Newcastle, the Bishop of Winchester, the Bishop of Exeter, and the Earl of Eldon— The Bishop of St. David's, Earl St. Germans, Earl Grey, and Lord Stanley support the Second Reading, which is carried-Amendments are made in the Bill in Committee-The Second Reading is moved by Lord Palmerston in the House of Commons, on the 17th of August— Mr. C. Anstey, Mr. Urquhart, Sir Robert Inglis, Mr. Law, Mr. R. Palmer, Mr. Napier, and Mr. Newdegate oppose the Second Reading, which is supported by Lord John Russell, Mr. W. E. Gladstone, Mr. M. J. O'Connell, the Earl of Arundel, Mr. Moore, and other Members-The Bill is read a Second Time, a majority of 79 voting in its favour-Further opposition in Committee, and on the Third Reading -The Bill is passed. AFFAIRS OF ITALY AND SICILY:-Lord Stanley brings forward a Motion in the House of Lords respecting the intervention of the British Government in the Sicilian Insurrection—The Marquis of Lansdowne answers the charge on the part of the Government-Observations of the Earl of Minto, the Duke of Argyle, Earl of Malmesbury, and other Peers-Proceedings on the same subject in the House of Commons-Declaration of Lord Palmerston respecting the Intervention of England-Mr. Disraeli, on the 16th August, enters into a full review of the whole field of Italian Politics and British Intervention-Remarks upon Lord Minto's Mission and the real objects of Lord Palmerston's Mediations-Lord Palmerston vindicates his own conduct and policy at great length. AFFAIRS OF SPAIN:-Abrupt dismissal of Sir H. Bulwer, the British Ambassador-Circumstances which led to this event-The subject is brought before the House of Lords by Lord Stanley-His Speech-Answer of the Marquis of Lansdowne-Remarks of Lord Brougham, the Earl of Aberdeen, and other Peers-Mr. Bankes brings the matter before the House of Commons by a Resolution disapproving of the Policy of our GovernmentSpeeches of Mr. Shiel, Lord Mahon, Mr. Disraeli, Lord John Russell, Sir R. Peel, and Lord Palmerston-The Motion is ultimately withdrawn-Close of the Session:-Mr. Disraeli, on the 30th August, reviews the events of the expiring Session in an animated and humorous
Speech, satirising the failures and disappointments of the Government -Lord John Russell parries the attack with much dexterity-Remarks of Mr. B. Osborne and Mr. Hume-Prorogation of Parliament by the Queen in person, on the 5th of September-Address of the Speaker to the Throne-Her Majesty's Speech-Close of the Session.
NE of the most important measures that has been introduced of late years affecting our foreign relations, was a Bill emanating from the Government, to enable Her Majesty to open and carry on diplomatic relations with the Court of Rome. Negotiations with that Court had been commenced in the preceding autumn by the Earl of Minto, whose special mission to Italy we shall presently have occasion to advert to. The feeling of the Papal Court being ascertained to be favourable to an arrangement, the convenience of which appeared to our own Government much to outweigh any possible danger that could result from it, the Marquis of Lansdowne, very early in the present Session, presented a Bill for legalising a diplomatic intercourse with Rome. Some indications were given, on the first reading of the Bill, of a modified opposition on the part of several Peers, but Lord Lansdowne undertook to prove that the proposition to which he asked their consent would involve no possible danger to the Protestant religion in this country. On the 17th of February, the same noble Lord moved the second reading of the Bill. He began by explaining the reasons for its introduction, and the circumstances out of which the doubt which it was proposed to remove had arisen. It had been supposed that the Bill of Rights (1 William and Mary, s. 2, c. 2), and the Act for the further limitation of the rown (12 and 13 William III.,
c. 2,) contained words which prohibited diplomatic intercourse between this country and Rome. He considered those Acts to be some of the safeguards and defences of the Constitution. The true spirit of those laws he would be the last man to desire to impair; and he trusted that their true object would continue to be maintained. But his opinion was, that neither of those Acts prohibited such relations; their real object being to prevent the holding spiritual communion with the Church of Rome, not to debar the Protestant Sovereign of this country from establishing those relations with the Court of Rome which were found so necessary and beneficial with other states. After referring to the case of the Earl of Castlemaine, and the opinions of Bishop Burnett and Sir James Mackintosh upon that case, his Lordship took an historical view of our intercourse with Rome. Sir Robert Walpole was in repeated communication with the Pope; he employed his brother Horace for that purpose, and the Pope omitted no opportunity of testifying his regard for the British Minister. When Hanover became connected with this kingdom, it was a part of our policy to keep up a good understanding with the Court of Rome. During the French Revolution, and at the commencement of the French war, Sir John Cox Hippesley, Lord Hood, when he commanded in the Mediterranean, and, more recently, the late Duke of Portland, had opened an intercourse with the
Pope. Having shown the necessity of establishing diplomatic relations with the Court of Rome, his Lordship proceeded to reply to the questions why, for the first time, the Pope was to be acknowledged by us, and whether the Pope had ever recognised the sovereign of this country? He should be surprised if these questions, though agitated out of doors, were asked in that House. Recognise the Pope! Why, what was the Treaty of Vienna ? Great Britain was a contracting party to that treaty, which not only secured to the Pope the possessions he enjoyed at that time, but additional territories in other parts of Italy. And who put the Great Seal to that treaty? Lord Chancellor Eldon, who of all public men of the time was the most averse to Romish ascendancy. Besides other acknowledgments, King George IV. received a letter from the Pope congratulating him upon his accession; and His Majesty wrote a reply to the Pontiff; but it being suggested to him, after it was sent off, that he might thereby have forfeited his crown, a messenger was despatched to Italy to recall the letter, but it was too late; and, quoad that letter, King George ÍV., according to the hypothesis, had forfeited his crown. But we had, in fact, on numerous occasions, acknowledged the Pope, who had, over and over again, acknowledged the Sovereign of this country.
The Duke of Newcastle opposed the Bill as unnecessary, and therefore a superfluous act of legislation; or, if necessary on account of an actual subsisting prohibition, it was objectionable as removing a constitutional safeguard.
grace moved that the Bill be read a second time that day six months,
The Bishop of Winchester questioned the reasons upon which the noble Marquis had founded the Bill.
The chief reason was the inconvenience attending an indirect communication with the Court of Rome. But, whenever such communication was called for, means were readily found to effect it. He found that by this Bill Her Majesty was authorized to receive a diplomatic agent "accredited by the Sovereign Pontiff." This was the first time since the Reformation that this expression had been admitted into any Act of Parliament. The head of the Romish Church had hitherto been termed "Bishop of Rome," or " Bishop of Rome, otherwise called the Pope;" and the right rev. prelate read an opinion of the law officers of the Crown, which bore the signature of Mr. Serjeant Copley, which showed that the Legislature had advisedly avoided the title of "Sovereign Pontiff."
The Bishop of St. David's supported the Bill, which he considered to be no innovation or substantial interference with the existing law. The measure was justifiable on political grounds, and, although it had a religious aspect, he was at a loss to understand how the interests of religion or of Protestantism could be affected by the Bill. The right rev. prelate, whilst he did not concur in the objections of the Bishop of Winchester, thought that due respect should be paid to the opinions of a large class of persons in this country who appeared to view this measure with much jealousy. Upon the whole, he expressed his conviction that it was a measure essential to the political interests of the country, and one which might be adopted without any
the Roman state, and recommended their Lordships to consent to the second reading of the Bill.
Lord Stanley said, if he thought the Bill was at variance with the spirit and principle of the Bill of Rights and Act of Settlement, or even that it in the slightest degree recognised, or strengthened, or supported any claim or pretence to spiritual power on the part of the Sovereign of the Roman State in this country, he should vote for the amendment. But he could not take such a view of it. At the same time he looked upon it as a measure of grave and weighty policy, and one which ought to be approached with the respect due to a deep religious feeling in this country adverse to the Bill, which was contrary to the interpretation put upon the law for the last 160 years. He was quite sensible that there might be conveniences and advantages attending a direct intercourse with the Court of Rome; but he concurred with those who thought that it was the duty of the Government and Parliament to consider whether there were not collateral disadvantages. He was not of opinion that this measure would tend to uphold the spiritual power and authority of the Pope, which could not be enforced in this country, for our own courts of law would set at nought the authority of the Pope. The noble Lord adverted to the character of the present Pope, and to the effect which the representations of a Protestant Minister from this country might have at the Court of Rome, and warned their Lordships of the evils which might spring from the antagonism of the two religious principles thus brought into contact. In conclusion, the noble Lord declared his intention, in voting for
danger to the established religion
The Bishop of Exeter considered that the noble Marquis had failed to make out a case of necessity for this measure, and the doubt arising from the word "communion," in the Act 12 and 13 William III., -which obviously meant communicare in sacris-was no reason for introducing so important a change as this, fraught with danger, and which would spread alarm in every part of the country. Why were not the judges of the land called upon to say whether there was any doubt? If they declared that no law forbade Her Majesty from carrying on diplomatic relations with Rome, then let Her Majesty's Ministers, on their own responsibility, advise her to open those relations, and not come to Parliament to give them authority. The right rev. prelate supported the amendment.
The Duke of Wellington confessed that, when he first heard of this measure, he considered it with some degree of anxiety. It had been the policy of our laws since the Reformation that there should be no communication, political or otherwise, between this country and the Sovereign of the Roman States. A great alteration had, however, been made in the law by the Act introduced by Lord Lyndhurst; he (the Duke of Wellington) had considered the effect which this Bill would have upon that Act, and he intended to move a provision in the committee, declaratory of the title of the Sovereign of this country to be supreme head and governor in all matters ecclesiastical and civil. Upon the whole, he considered that it was convenient and advantageous to have regular and direct diplomatic relations with
the second reading, to reserve his final opinion upon the whole Bill until it should have passed the Committee. With regard to the presence of an accredited agent at Rome, the conveniences and inconveniences might be nicely balanced; but the residence of a Papal envoy here, without restriction, especially if he combined a spiritual with a diplomatic character, might be mischievous.
Earl Grey drew an inference favourable to the measure from the very mitigated opposition of Lord Stanley. The Marquis of Lansdowne had laid the case fully and fairly before the House, establishing the policy and necessity of the Bill; and the minute criticism of Lord Stanley upon its form and the manner in which it had been introduced, left the merits of the measure untouched. The noble Earl vindicated the consistency of the Government with reference to the mission of Lord Minto, who had no formal letters of credence to the Court of Rome, and it was an evil, which this Bill went to remedy, that he had no regular authority to act as our Minister there. He agreed with Lord Stanley that the amendment proposed by the Duke of Wellington was a decided improvement in the Bill, which would make assurance doubly sure, and would tranquillize alarm; and he was glad to know that Lord Lansdowne had consented to the noble Duke's amendment.
The Duke of Richmond would not vote against the second reading of the Bill, but he urged, as Lord Stanley had done, that a sufficient interval should be allowed for the expression of the opinion of the country upon the measure.
The Earl of Eldon declared that,
if the Duke of Newcastle pressed his amendment to a division, he should vote with him against the Bill.
The Earl of St. Germans supported the Bill, and showed that the apprehensions entertained by the Bishops of Winchester and Exeter were chimerical or exaggerated. This Bill did not compel Her Majesty to appoint a Minister at Rome; and, if there should be a Pope disposed to abuse its provisions, our Government might refuse to keep relations with him, and we should be in the same position towards Rome as at present. He did not participate in Lord Stanley's repugnance to the reception of an ecclesiastic as a papal envoy from Rome.
Lord Redesdale gave notice of a clause he should propose in the Committee, providing that it should not be lawful for Her Majesty to receive any ambassador from the Court of Rome until the Pope had disclaimed all temporal and civil authority in this realm.
The Marquis of Lansdowne, in his reply, declared that no instructions had been given to Lord Minto, and no act had been done by that nobleman, at Rome or elsewhere, which he (Lord Lansdowne) was not prepared to defend as for the advantage and interest of this country. The noble Earl had been accredited to Switzerland, and he was now accredited to Naples, and his not being accredited to Rome, where consequently he could not appear in an official capacity, afforded the best illustration of the state of the law and the necessity of this measure.
Their Lordships were about to divide, when the Duke of Newcastle withdrew his amendment, and the bill was read a second time.