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Chapter LVI, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 8 page 2

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Mr. Disraeli assailed the policy of the Government, and argued against going into the congress. He was answered by Lord Palmerston; and several other gentlemen having taken part in the discussion, particularly Mr. Whiteside, Mr. Maguire, Lord C. Hamilton, Mr. Gladstone, and Mr. Kinglake, the subject was allowed to drop. It was taken up again on the 8th of August, by the Marquis of Normanby, who complained of the mystery observed about the treaty of Villafranca. He feared that Lord Palmerston took a one-sided view of the question, misled by enthusiasts, and overborne by the Mazzini party. On the same evening, in the Commons, Lord Elcho moved for an address to the Queen on Italian affairs, which gave rise to a debate, in the course of which Mr. Gladstone gave a true description of Austrian rule. During a period of forty-five years, whenever liberty raised its head in Italy, it was crushed by the iron hand of Austria, and abuses were re-established in all their rigour. The position of Sardinia, with her improved institutions, became of necessity a standing danger to that power. But might not Austria be stronger out of Italy than in it? He could not understand why we should refuse to assist the Emperor of the French, but leave him to struggle alone with the difficulty of the question. On the other hand, it was contended that England was asked merely to lend her sanction to arrangements made without consulting her, and to settle the details of a new state of things which she had nothing to do in bringing about, and in which she had no direct concern. The motion of Lord Elcho was ultimately withdrawn, and Parliament was prorogued by commission on the 13th of August. In the Royal speech the following allusion was made to the Italian question: " The war which has broken out in Northern Italy having been brought to a close by the peace of Villafranca, various overtures have been made to Her Majesty, with a view to ascertain whether, if conferences should be held by the great powers of Europe for the purpose of settling arrangements connected with the present and future condition of Italy, a plenipotentiary would be sent by Her Majesty to assist at such conferences; but Her Majesty has not yet received the information necessary to enable Her Majesty to decide whether she may think fit to take part in any such negotiation."

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