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of the French, it was stated by the Procureur-Imperial in his speech, that a paper had been found in the possession of one of the accused persons, directing him to write for money to Mr. Flowers, at 35, Thurloe Square, Brompton, 'where,' the Procureur added, “a member of the English Parliament resided, who, in 1855, had been appointed banker to the Tibaldi conspirators. The matter was first referred to by Mr. Cox, the member for Finsbury, when Mr. Stansfeld warmly repudiated the statement made by the Procureur-Imperial. He said it was quite true that he lived at the address indicated, but he knew nothing whatever of the prisoner Greco. He had permitted M. Mazzini, under the name of Mr. Flowers, to have letters addressed to him at his house. He had been on intimate terms with M. Mazzini for the past eighteen years, and he was persuaded that no man had ever been more cruelly or wrongfully maligned than he was.
Mr. P. A. Taylor pointed out that it would have been absurd to expect that letters addressed to Mazzini in his own name would be delivered to him in London. Although Mr. Stansfeld, however, expressly affirmed that he had no knowledge of the nature of the correspondence which passed between Mazzini and his friends, Mr. Disraeli strongly attacked both the member for Halifax and the eminent Italian patriot.
On the 17th of March, when the House proposed to go into Committee of Supply, Sir Henry Stracey moved as an amendment, “That the speech of the Procureur-Imperial on the trial of Greco, implicating a member of this House and of Her Majesty's Government in the plot for the assassination of our ally the Emperor of the French, deserves the serious consideration of this House.'
Mr. Starsfeld now repeated his denials, though he admitted having, in common with other English friends, allowed M. Mazzini to receive letters addressed to him at his house under the designation of M. Fiori, Anglicé Flowers. In the course of the debate which followed, Lord Palmerston said he regarded the explanation of Mr. Stansfeld as perfectly satisfactory.
Mr. Bright called upon the House, which had usually been fair in its judgments, not to discuss this matter in a spirit which was unfair and ungenerous to Mr. Stansfeld. He referred to members of the House who in the past had distinguished themselves as the friends of Polish, Hungarian, and Italian refugees; and if there was any man who would stand up and
say he never felt a particle of sympathy for the refugees who had been driven to this country, he (Mr. Bright) said he despised him. M. Mazzini had a profound devotion to the principle of the unity and independence of Italy. He was a man of a powerful and fascinating character, and obtained over those with whom he associated a singular influence.
Mr. Bright then observed that Mr. Disraeli, in his early writings, had expressed opinions—it might be
merely to excite a sensation amongst his readersvery much like those attributed to M. Mazzini.
Mr. Disraeli hereupon sprang up and said, 'There is not the slightest foundation for that statement. I give it the most unequivocal contradiction.'
Resuming, Mr. Bright said, then doubtless those who quoted writings said to be the right hon. gentleman's were in error. He accepted Mr. Disraeli's statement freely, but he was not about to blame him. That kind of writing often came in youth from great enthusiasm and from an acquaintance with what at school they were taught to regard as the heroic deeds of ancient days. He (Mr. Bright) did not rise for the purpose of saying a single syllable in defence of Mazzini. His observations were intended to explain, and in some degree to justify, the friendship that had existed between him and other eminent foreigners and the member for Halifax. After all that had been said, however,-remembering the official position of the member for Halifax, and admitting all that had been urged against him,—he would ask hon. gentlemen opposite whether the course they were taking was one worthy of a great party. He did not differ from them in their disgust and horror at the attempt on the life of the Emperor of France; but if he were as hungry as the hungriest person to place himself on the Treasury Bench, he would be ashamed to make his way to it over the character, the reputation, the happiness, and the future of the lastappointed and youngest member of the Government.
* The opinions referred to by Mr. Bright were expressed in one of Lord Beaconsfield's early works, The Revolutionary Epick, in which occurred this passage :
Blest be the hand that dares to wave
A nation's sorrow with a tyrant's blood !' In the edition of 1864, the author revised this passage so as to read as follows :
Dark Pharaoh's doom
A nation's woe.' Other revolutionary passages were also toned down in meaning. It was claimed on behalf of Lord Beaconsfield that he could not be held responsible for the opinions put into the mouth of his characters ; but this only makes his radical alteration of the important passages in question he more inexplicable. The noble lord said that his alterations were purely literary ones, but a comparison of the respective texts of 1834 and 1864 will show that this was not the case, and that there was really some ground for Mr. Bright's reference to The Revolutionary Epick.
Sir H. Stracey's amendment was negatived by 171 to 161, but the subject was revived on the following evening by Lord Elcho; and as it appeared that a series of premeditated attacks was designed against the member for Halifax, in order to avoid embarrassing the Government, Mr. Stansfeld resigned his office. Lord Palmerston accepted the resignation, but not without considerable reluctance.
These various addresses by Mr. Bright on foreign questions demonstrate that while he
was preeminently a statesman watchful and solicitous as regards purely British home interests, he had yet that breadth of view which truly grasps 'and assesses the important relations sustained by the British Empire towards continental nations.
THE PAPER DUTIES.-REFORM.-CHURCH RATES, ETC.
Opposition to the Repeal of the Paper Duty.—The Bill rejected by the Lords.-A
Constitutional Question.—Mr. Bright on the House of Lords.—Debate in the Commons on the question of Privilege.—Lengthy Speech by Mr. Bright. – Defence of Mr. Gladstone and his Policy.—The Government meet the Paper Duty difficulty.-Mr. Bright on Lord Palmerston.-Lord John Russell's Reform Bill of 1860.—Mr. Bright's examination of the Measure.--Meeting at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester.- Mr. Bright on Strikes.-Further Debate on the Reform Bill.—The measure is withdrawn.—Mr. Bright on the Session of 1860.--Addresses at Wakefield, Leeds, and Birmingham.-Parliamentary Debates on Church Rates.-Speeches by Mr. Bright.-— Reasons for Abolition.Ultimate Settlement of the Question.—The Session of 1861.—The Reform Question.—Mr. Gladstone's Budget.— The Paper Duty again.-Mr. Bright defends the Budget.—Protest against the Navy Estimates.
NE of the main features of Mr. Gladstone's
important budget of 1860 was the proposition for the repeal of the paper duty. This proposal was strenuously resisted by the Conservatives, and it ultimately led to a conflict between the two Houses of the Legislature. On the second reading of the bill embodying the provision, Sir W. Miles moved an amendment that, as the repeal of the paper duty would necessitate the addition of a penny in the pound to the property and income tax, it was the opinion of the House that such repeal was, under such circumstances, at the present moment, inexpedient. A long debate ensued, in the course of which Mr. Milner