chapter  8
The New Era, 1858–1860
Pages 27

For the exile community the year 1858 began-literally-with a bang. On 14 January 1858, Felice Orsini hurled two bombs which only just missed the French emperor, loathed equally by French, Italian and German refugees as the person most directly culpable for the continuing political repression on the Continent.1 As soon as it transpired that Orsini’s bombs had been manufactured in his English exile, both the British government and the émigré community were implicated, with the French government directly blaming the attentat on Britain’s lax policy towards continental refugees. To mollify the French, Palmerston and Lord Clarendon, the Foreign Secretary, considered introducing a new Aliens Bill, and a Conspiracy to Murder Bill was drawn up.