§ Sir R. Peel
brought up and laid upon the Table, by command of his Majesty, Papers relating to Greece. In moving (he said) that they do lie upon the Table, I feel it my duty, as the House has bad no opportunity of becoming 1003 acquainted with the contents of the Papers, not only to abstain from any discussion upon them, but from all reference to them. It may be convenient, however, to state shortly what are the transactions to which they refer. They may be divided under three heads: First, Protocols from the date of the signature of the Treaty between this country, France, and Russia, on the 6th July, 1827, to the 14th of the present month: Second, Protocols of Conferences which took place at Constantinople, between the Ministers of the Allied Powers and the Porte, from the period of the signature of the Treaty to that of the departure of the Ministers of the Allied Powers from the Turkish capital: and Third, documents relating to three transactions, not immediately connected with the execution of the Treaty, but still growing out of it, and which Parliament expressed a desire to have an opportunity of inspecting. Those three transactions are—The Convention concluded at Alexandria by Sir E. Codrington, for the evacuation of the Morea; Papers relating to the blockade of the Dardanelles by Russia, and to the circumstances connected with it; and documents regarding the raising of the Greek blockade at Patras and other places. I feel it my duty also to state, that the expectations entertained by his Majesty's Government, that his Royal Highness Prince Leopold would become the Sovereign of Greece, have been disappointed, and that he has signified to his Majesty's Government his determination to relinquish the trust he had undertaken. All the papers connected with the acceptance of the trust, and with its resignation, will be presented to the House in the course of a few days, and until the House is in possession of the requisite information, it will be much better for me to abstain from making any observations.
said, that he had heard without the least surprise what had just fallen from the right hon. Gentleman, for, from certain tokens that he had observed, and certain documents he had seen, he was prepared to expect it. He would, for the present, abstain from further observations, as the papers were not in the hands of hon. Members. The documents laid on the Table, as the House would see, were very voluminous; but if the short account which he had read was to be relied on, the documents were much more voluminous 1004 than the questions settled by them were either important or numerous. It was his opinion, that those questions would be found within a narrow compass; narrow, however, as it might be, he thought perhaps that the most advantageous course was, not to raise any discussion, until the House had time to consider the information laid before it.
Lord John Russell
wished also to ask a question, relative to the difference between Prince Leopold and the Allied Powers—it was said that there were some points of difference between them on the subject of a loan—some bartering about money. Rumours of that nature were injurious to the honour and character of the illustrious personage in question, and, therefore. it was material that the matter should be set right with the world. It was also said, that the proposed territorial limits of Greece formed matter of dispute. Now, he wished to know which of these, or whether it was on both, that the difference arose, that brought about the unfortunate termination of those negotiations?
§ Sir Robert Peel
said, he laid the documents on the Table of the House, and in doing so he conceived it was proper to state what they were, but strictly to avoid any comments upon them until they should be in the hands of hon. Members. He thought he was bound to observe that course in fairness to the House, and to the parties interested, he being now acquainted with their contents, and other hon. Members not having that advantage. As to the questions which had been asked, he should willingly reply to them, but in doing so he wished to avoid all discussion. In answer to the question of the hon. member for Aberdeen, he had to state, that full information would be found in those Papers respecting the pecuniary engagements of this country, arising out of the negotiations to which the papers he had just laid upon the Table of the House referred. The noble Lord opposite inquired whether differences respecting loans, or a disagreement relative to the proposed territorial limits of Greece, formed the grounds on which the negotiations were broken off. On a former 1005 occasion he stated, that all the great points had been settled, which, up to that time, had been raised between the Allies and Prince Leopold. He understood since, however, that points of difference arose which were of a pecuniary nature. The Prince's resignation, however, was also connected with other questions. The House, he repeated, would be in possession of the Papers before four-and-twenty hours, and then, but not until then, he should consider that they were in a condition to discuss the question.
§ Mr. Agar Ellis
was desirous of knowing whether it was information recently received from Greece that decided Prince. Leopold in breaking off those negotiations?
§ Sir Robert Peel
said, that in the communications between Prince Leopold and his Majesty's Government, his Royal Highness stated, that in despatches received from Greece, he certainly had received information which had decided his conduct on the matter of his resignation.
, adverting to what fell from his noble friend behind him, in which the resignation of Prince Leopold was spoken of as 'unfortunate,' confessed that he considered it as anything but unfortunate. He should rejoice in any- thing calculated to promote the honour and glory of that illustrious personage, but he could not help considering it an excellent thing that his resignation enabled this country to avoid the entanglement which the acceptance of that Sovereignty might eventually have brought about.
§ Sir Robert Peel
again recommended the postponement of any further discussion until hon. Members were in possession of the papers.
Lord John Russell
explained—he used the term 'unfortunate' in the usual way in which that term was applied to ne otiations terminating unsuccessfully.