HC Deb 15 August 1843 vol 71 cc792-808
Mr. Cochrane

, in rising to bring forward the motion of which he had given notice, said, that he was quite alive to the disadvantage under which he rose to address the House at the present period of the Session. Questions of foreign policy were generally considered uninteresting, but he could assure the House that on the present question he would confine himself within the narrowest limits. With this assurance he might perhaps he allowed to avail himself of the indulgence of the House whilst he showed the grounds and reasons on which he called upon them to adopt the motion with which he intended to conclude. The question was really a more important one than many people might be inclined to consider. He need not renal to the memory of hon. Gentlemen the circumstances which led to the present condition of the affairs of Greece. They would all be well aware that Greece had failed to pay her portion of the loan entered into with the three powers. He would read an extract from Count Nessolrode's despatch to M. Catacany;— In a communication made by the Greek government to the three powers, the Greek government stated—1. That they were unable to pay the interest of the loan due March 1. 2. It proposed, by means of another loan, to be contracted under the guarantee of the three powers, to pay the interest and sinking fund of the old loans. Count Nesselrode, in the first place, quoted the twelfth article of the treaty of London, May 7, 1832, which declares that the interest of the money due to the three powers was to precede all other payments whatever. As to the present amount due, the Russian government have determined on paying the interest, and have authorised the advance to be made, and M. Catacany is desired positively to inform the Greek government that the emperor will require the advance to be repaid on or before the 1st of June next. As for the future, he continued, the most grave consideration belongs to the official avowal which the Athenian Cabinet makes of its inviolability, and this avowal will compel the three powers to concert the adoption of some efficacious means to avert the ruin and total bankruptcy of a nation, which declares it can no longer fulfil the terms of the first article of the treaty of London. The Greek government should not deceive itself as to the importance of this declaration. I have already observed that it comprehends the future interests of the new state; it refers, therefore, not alone to pecuniary interests, but to far greater political interests, of which the three powers partake the responsibility, and they are most anxious not to abandon to chance a creation which they have bound themselves to protect. The question was one which had long been considered by the Emperor. It had also been discussed in the French Chambers in 1841, and M. Guizot had expressed a very decided opinion with regard to it. M. Guizot said that— The state of Greece demanded the most serious consideration of his Majesty's government; it appeared to us essentially bad; the interior condition of the country was endangered, alike by the weakness of the public administration and the conflict of national prejudices. At home, vices of a different description occasioned great alarm; the administration appeared powerless—destitute of energy—incapable not only of ameliorating the social condition of the people, but even of exercising power. And in consequence of this, M. Piscatory was sent to Greece on a special mission.

He had quoted these extracts to show the House that the subject had been brought to the attention of the other Governments, and as an excuse for himself for now calling to it the attention of the British Government. The House was aware under what circumstances King Otho had taken the Crown of Greece. The sovereignty of that country had been offered to the present King of the Bel- gians—then Prince Leopold; but for certain reasons it had been declined by him. He had heard it stated, that many doubts existed with regard to those reasons, but he found the reasons distinctly set forth in a despatch to the representatives of the allied Courts. It was to the effect that, with a due regard to his own honour, he could never consent to become merely the delegate of other powers, to hold Greece in subjection, and that as he saw, with the deepest regret, all chance of independent power annihilated, he must, at the last moment, decline the sovereignty of a country so situated. With the circumstances under which King Otho had gone to Greece, certain privileges had been granted to her people—the right of a representative Government, and the control of her finances. Not only in 1830 had that privilege been confirmed, but in 1828 at the first meeting of the representatives. the same privileges had been provided for, The article 4, of project of Convention in 1832, referred to the protest of February 3, 1830. In the first article it was declared— That Greece shall form an independent state, and enjoy all the rights, political, administrative, and commercial, which attach to complete independence. The despatch of the representatives of Poros, December 1828, was as follows:— In proposing the establishment of an hereditary monarchy, they are far from pretending that we Greeks ought not to participate in the legislative power, for even while under the Turkish rule they elected their own municipal magistrates; for eight years the representative principle has predominated amongst them, in their different organizations, and in a manner associated with their new existence. The representatives think it would be both unjust and dangerous to deprive them of it, but it may be expected that by combining this principle with that of hereditary succession to the supreme power the desires of the Greeks would be amply fulfilled. He would now quote the opinions of the noble Lord, the late Secretary for Foreign Affairs on this point. In 1830, Lord John Russell said, putting a question to the right hon. Baronet:— Some points require explanation; the first regards the form of Government which is intended to be established in Greece, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will have no objection to renew his declaration, that his Majesty's Government has no intention to prevent the Greeks governing themselves according to their wishes, wants, and views: no course is likely to be effectual in establishing a permanent government except by consulting the feelings of the people who are to be ruled by it. The right hon. Baronet stated in answer:— I can assure the noble Lord that in the arrangements, the basis of which has been laid by the allies, no attempt has been made to dictate despotic monarchy to Greece; I can also venture to disclaim, certainly on the part of my own Government, and I believe on the part of France and Russia, any wish to interfere with the formation of such institutions as are best calculated to secure the liberty, and promote the happiness of Greece. I join with the noble Lord heartily in the wish which he expresses that the Greeks of the present day may recover from the torpor of long slavery and be enabled to emulate the glory of their predecessors, while at the same time they enjoy all the advantages to be derived from the establishment of those institutions which are calculated to ensure the possession of civil and religious liberty. The noble Viscount opposite had, in 1836, expressed similar opinions. Lord Palmerston said,— I can assure the committee that nothing can be more contrary to the truth than that the Government of Greece is arbitrary and tyrannical, [here the noble Lord was mistaken], conducted on tyrannous and barbarous principles, and supported by barbarian troops. It is true, that no national assembly has yet been convoked, but a man must be blind to the natural character of the Greeks, as well as to the geographical distribution of that country, if he thinks that Greece can be governed without a representative assembly—it is an indispensable addition to the kingly government. It is a great mistake to suppose that Greece is not in possession of the basis of freedom; the only thing wanting to place it in the same situation as England herself, is to put the finishing stroke to the work which has been already done, to add to the institutions which have been already formed a general representation of the state; but this is a thing which must follow, and not precede, other arrangements. I am convinced, however, Greece will at length have one; it is as much the wish of his Majesty's Government, as it is of Greece itself. The hon. Member who was now entering the House (Dr. Bowring), had said also,— He could not consent to any loan for the support of the present Government, a more unpopular than which it never entered into the human imagination to conceive, and which he had been assured by hundreds of Greeks was utterly unsuited to the character and habits of the people. King Otho had himself, also, in rather pompous and inflated language, promised to maintain the privileges which had been held out by the contracting powers to her people. He said in his address on assuming the sovereignty— Called amongst you by the confidence of the high contracting powers, to whose protection you owe the termination of this disastrous war—called amongst you by your free suffrages, I mount the throne of Greece to fulfil the engagements which I contracted in accepting the Crown, Let the ægis of the law protect your persons and properties against licence and arbitrary Government. May you, by firmly-rooted institutions, adapted alike to the state and the wishes of the nation, prove the benefit of true liberty, which can only exist under the empire of laws. Such is the glorious but difficult task which is imposed upon me. In mounting the throne of Greece, I give you the assurance to maintain your religion faithfully,—to protect your laws—to administer justice impartially—to preserve by the aid of God your rights and liberties intact. The King of Bavaria had said that it was impossible for his son to enter into Greece without the consent of her people; and yet the right hon. Baronet, and every one must agree with him, that King Otho had not entered with the consent of the Greek people. The money of the country was sent to Bavaria, and the people were obliged to pay stamp duty, even on a petition to be presented to the king. The national domains were offered for sale and alienation, and the Grand Crosses were disposed of thus:—Seventy-two Grand Crosses—fourteen Bavarians, three Greeks, and the rest among the three Powers. Fifty-five Grand Commanders—eight Bavarians, seven Greeks, and the rest among the three Powers. Seventy-five Commanders—of which, twenty Greeks. Two hundred and twenty-three Gold Crosses—sixty-one Greeks. In that the Greeks were treated with no fairness, and the whole country was in an utterly miserable state, particularly the interior, to a much greater extent than under the Turks. He admitted that the noble Viscount opposite had done all he could for Greece, but the Government of this country was bound to see the guarantee from Bavaria fulfilled. Certain conditions had been entered into, and those ought to have been strictly adhered to, and that fine country saved the misery under which its people were now suffering. Sir, (the hon. Member concluded) throughout I have most carefully alluded any allusion to classical enormities, although they might not have been out ef place, and, although the right hon. Baronet and the noble Viscount are the last who would disregard them; but still, considering this question in its most matter-of-fact point of view, something must be conceded to the spirit of the Government. Why, the right hon. Baronet will remember, that it was with the view of preserving Delphi and Thermopylæ to Greece that the boundaries the Morea and Cyclades to the gulphs of Voto and Arta. Sir, I say that these considerations form no motive for political action." For when we are called upon to legislate," to quote the language of the greatest orator of antiquity, in speaking of Greece," when we are called upon to legislate for a country which not only possesses refinement itself but has communicated it to others, certes we ought to render the humanity we have received." Nor does it shame me to declare, when I speak of those subjects, which we cannot be accused of neglecting and despising, that all we have acquired has been transmitted to us by those arts and sciences which are the monuments and memorials of Greece. Wherefore, besides that common faith which is due to all men, we are especially appealed to by every consideration of feeling to bestow it in this country. But, Sir, I would appeal to this House by higher considerations than classical associations and political interests—by arguments which would be unanswerable when opposed to these considerations, and which even these cannot enforce. I appeal to you by your national faith and national honour; by pure principles of right and wrong, which are immutable. Do not tell me that Greece interest you not—that her fate can little affect you. She did interest you in 1827, when you signed the treaty of London—she did interest you in 1832, when you sent a Bavarian prince to sway her destinies—she did interest you when you sent your fleets to Navarino, and your protocols to Constantinople. And, although it be admitted that her happiness and welfare cannot affect your power, yet will you, by permitting a continued violation of these treaties, suffer the greatest of all injuries—a loss of your character for con- sistency and integrity among nations? The hon. Member moved An Address for certain papers which relate to our diplomatic intercourse with the kingdom of Greece; among others, for copies of those protocols which are supposed to have been signed since 1833, when the last was communicated to Parliament; also, copies of any instructions transmitted to our minister at Athens, in consequence of those meetings of the representatives of the three Powers, at which, from any particular cause, no protocol was signed; also, copies of those communications from Sir Edmund Lyons which convey any information relating to the financial state of Greece.

Dr. Bowring

seconded the motion. He condemned the policy which had been pursued towards Greece, and said that every Greek he had communicated with during his travels was of opinion that our interference in the concerns of that country had been productive of nothing but evil; and that was his opinion also. The Greeks ought to have been allowed to choose a king from amongst themselves, and instead of which the three Powers had sent them a sovereign whose sole object seemed to be the degradation of the people he was appointed to rule over?

Mr. Milnes

thought it was unwise to employ harsh language towards a sovereign who had been placed and was retained on his throne by the three great Powers of Europe. If some of the censures which had been directed against King Otho had been applied to the Regency which governed Greece, before he assumed the unlimited sovereignty of the country, it would have been more justifiable; for that body, after governing Greece for years, left it without having done any of the things which they ought to have done.

Viscount Palmerston

Having had so great a share, officially, in the transactions Greece, it would be impossible for me to remain altogether silent during this discussion. I wish to state, in the first place, that as respects all transactions in which the late Government were concerned, I have not the least objection to the productions of any papers which may throw light upon them; subject, of course, to the discretion which the present advisers of the Crown may exercise with regard to documents in their possession, with the details of which they must be cognizant. Speaking generally, I am of opinion that no public inconvenience could arise from the production of papers in continuation of those which have already been presented to Parliament on the subject of Greece, that is to say, of protocols and other correspondence. The hon. Member for Bolton (Dr. Bowring) has stated very broadly that he thinks himself, and that all the Greeks with whom he has conversed, also think, that the interposition of England and the other allied powers, however benevolent their intentions, has, as regards Greece, been attended with nothing but evil. I venture to suggest to the hon. Member, that when a people begin to complain openly of the inconvenience which they suffer from the measures of a Government, it is a proof that they have made some progress in political and civil liberty. The Greeks would not have ventured to make such complaints when they were the inhabitants of a Turkish province. If the hon. Member recollects anything of the course of events in the history of the country of which we are speaking, it is impossible that he can seriously entertain the opinion to which he has given utterance. What was the state of things in Greece when England, France, and Russia interfered? Civil war had been raging in Greece from the year 1820 to 1826, a war which desolated and devastated the whole face of the Morea, a war which was assuming the character of actual extermination, for it is well known to every body, that the Turkish commander and Ibrahim Pacha had conceived and were about to execute the plan of utterly depopulating the whole of the Morea, of carrying off that portion of the population which might not be put to death, and transporting them as slaves to Africa, and of repeopling the country by a colony brought from Egypt. In that state of things, when all Europe was shocked at the transactions which for so many years had been going on, England, France, Russia, interposed—first, with their good offices, in order to obtain a pacification between the Sultan and the Greeks: and secondly, when friendly interposition proved unavailing, they resorted to stronger measures in order to put an end to so devastating a war. If the three powers had done nothing else than this, so far from any one being entitled to assert that their interference had been productive of evil, every impartial man must admit that they effected a good work, which had been attended with great benefit. But not content with that, England, France, and Russia, ultimately obtained from the Porte the separation of Greece from the dominions of the Sultan, and erected it into an independent state. By this measure the three powers obtained for the Greeks not only all the privileges which they could have enjoyed as loyal and favoured subjects of Turkey (and which some few of them did enjoy before the revolution): but all the advantages which belong to subjects of an independent power. It is, then, quite a misrepresentation of history, to assert that nothing has been gained for Greece by the interposition to which this country was a party. I am quite ready to admit that the result has not, in all respects, justified the sanguine expectations which this country formed. I however, am not at all inclined to speak despairingly of the future prospects of Greece. Nothing is more remarkable in the history of the human race than this fact, that the inhabitants of particular portions of the earth appear to retain for long periods of time their peculiar character, varying only according to the circumstances under which they happen to be placed. The Greeks of the present day retain many of the high intellectual qualities which led the former inhabitants of their country to the pitch of civilization which they attained. The character of the old Greeks varied according to the circumstances in which they were placed, and the same nations which rose to the highest eminence of renown and glory at a period when it was in the free enjoyment of political and civil liberty liberty, under the sway of the Romans assumed so degraded a character as to make it difficult to recognize in it the state which had formerly excited the admiration of the world. I think, therefore, that the hon. Member for Bolton ought not despair because the Greeks do not at the present moment exhibit all the qualities which they are capable of developing under a more ample enjoyment of political and civil liberty. It is said that the three powers made a bad choice of a king for Greece, and the hon. Member who has brought forward this question contends that, in this matter, the powers acted without sufficient authority from the Greek nation. I can only say that the three powers believed that the delegation which they received from the Greek government, authorizing them to choose a sovereign for Greece, was a sufficient expression of the national will on that point. We might, as has been urged, have chosen for the king of Greece some distinguished member of a German royal family—some man eminent for his military capacity. I can assure the hon. Member that those points did not escape the observations of those who had to make the choice; but we wanted to find a sovereign for a people who, it was intended, should have a free constitution; and we did think, whether right or wrong—I think rightly—that we were likely to find a Sovereign who would live in harmony with the people he was to rule over, by selecting, not a member of any royal family connected with the arbitrary governments of the continent, but prince connected with a popular representative Government; and we also thought that a person young in years would be more likely to identify himself with the habits and inclinations of the people, than a person of formed habits and character. We thought that the son of the king of Bavaria combined, in his own person, all the necessary qualifications for the office and accordingly he was chosen king of Greece. With respect to regency, also, I think it did not deserve censure cast upon it by the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Milnes). So far from having done nothing for Greece, the regency left the country in possession of many useful institutions, and if they had added to them a system of national representation, I think they would have done all that any body of men, possessing the government of that country could have accomplished. What was the condition of Greece when the regency surrendered up their authority? The hon. Member wishes the House to believe that the regency did nothing for the Greeks, and that under their sway the country was almost in the same condition as it was whilst under the dominion of Turkey. He forgets that under the regency Greece had a free press. [Mr. Hume:"It has been put down."] I have not risen for the purpose of defending what has recently been done. I am speaking in answer to the hon. Member's charge against the regency. I say that the regency gave Greece a free press, known laws, pendent tribunals of justice, municipal corporations, provincial assemblies, every thing, in short, which forms the foundation of civil liberty, except—and I allow that the exception is important—a national assembly. Did the three powers overlook the importance of a national assembly for Greece? There was a pledge on the part of the three powers that a constitution should be given to Greece. and that pledge was repeated by the minister of the King of Bavaria, Baron Gisè, acting as guardian of the monarch's minor son, when appointed King of Greece. The letter of Baron Gisè, containing the pledge, is in the Foreign Office, and I hope it will be amongst the papers which the Government will produce. As regards the three powers, their intention on the subject of a constitution is evidenced by this passage in a proclamation which they addressed to the Greeks:— Hellènes! Livrez vous à ces sentiments avec confiance, entourez votre nouveau Souverain de votre reconnaissance et de votre affection. Sujets fidèles! Rallies vous autour de son trône; aidez le avec un juste dévouement dans la tâche de donner â Petat une constitution definitive, et de lui assurer le double bienfait de la paix au dehors, de la tranquilité, du règne de loix, et de l'ordre au dedans. Greeks, abandon yourselves confidently to these feelings: encompass your Sovereign with your gratitude and affection. Faithful subjects rally around his throne; aid him with true devotion in giving to the state a definitive constitution, and ensure him the double benefit of peace abroad, and tranquility and the reign of law and order at home: If no constitution has been given to the Greeks, it is not because no expectation of that kind was held out by the three powers; but it is, I must say, in violation of promises to which this country and the King of Bavaria, on the part of his son, were parties. As far as this country was concerned the late Government was not wanting in endeavours to induce the Sovereign of Greece to fulfil that promise. We certainly did not receive in our endeavours that support from the other two powers who were parties to the conference and to the proclamation to which I have referred which we had a right to expect; and it must be obvious that when only one power out of three was urging the King of Greece to do that which he himself or his advisers were not disposed to do, our efforts were not likely to be attended with great success. The hon. Member for Bridport read a passage from a speech which I delivered on a former occasion, and in which I denied that the government of Greece was in any way tyrannical. I must say that, whatever I may have thought at the time when I made that speech, the information which came officially under my observation, when I was in office, respecting the conduct of persons acting under the authority of the Greek government, satisfied me that they had been guilty of a great abuse of power and had committed acts of great cruelty. We urged upon the Greek government the necessity of making inquiry into the circumstances to which I have alluded, with the view of preventing the recurrence of such conduct, and I believe that our representations were attended with success; but of course I cannot speak with any degree of authority respecting what has occurred during the last two years. I can only repeat, that representative constitution is what the Greeks were entitled to expect; and I hope that, not withstanding the delays which have hitherto taken place, it is a consummation we shall soon have the happiness of witnessing. I am firmly convinced that, if a system of Government were established which would allow of the free discussion of events, of the free expression of opinion, and of free inquiry into grievances, it would redound infinitely to the comfort of the King of Greece, and to the happiness, contentment, and welfare of his kingdom. A matter was touched upon in this House on a former occasion, which is intimately connected with the want of a representation in Greece, and in which this country is directly interested, I mean the payment of the interest on that part of the loan to Greece which England guaranteed. When the late Government consented to make good to King Otho the same engagement into which their predecessors had entered towards King Leopold, and which, I believe, was essentially necessary for the launching of the Greek state, we took security which appeared to us to be sufficient to prevent any burthen falling on this country. We made a stipulation, which is contained in the 6th article of the treaty, which I will now read to the House:— The Sovereign of Greece and the Greek state shall be bound to appropriate to the payment of the interest and sinking fund, of such intalments of the loan as may have been raised under the guarantee of the three courts; the first, revenues of the state, in such manner that the actual receipts of the Greek treasury shall be devoted, first of all to the payment of the said interest and sinking fund, and shall not be employed for any other purpose, until those payments on account of the instalments of the loan raised under the guarantee of the three courts shall have been completely secured for the current year. The diplomatic representatives of the three courts in Greece shall be specially charged to watch over the fulfilment of the last-mentioned stipulations. That stipulation, I am sorry to say, has not been fulfilled. Up to the period when the late Government left office that portion of the loan which we guaranteed had not been raised; neither, I believe, had the other two portions. The Greek government was at that time oppressed with expenses of a temporary nature; and it always held out the expectation, that those would, in a short time, be diminished; whilst, on the other hand, the income of the country would be increased so as to furnish the means of paying the interest of the loan out of the annual revenues. Budgets were proposed, but we doubted them. They were not prospective, but retrospective, having reference only to the year that had elapsed. We were always assured, that these budgets had been reviewed by the council of state, and, that reliance might be placed on their accuracy. Now, if there had existed in Greece a popular representative assembly, this kind of proceeding could not have gone on, for such an assembly would have minutely examined the budgets, and detected the errors which are now admitted to exist in some of them. In an answer which the Greek government gave the other day to a representation of the Russian government, it is stated, that during the last few years, the revenues of Greece have much increased, whilst her expenses have diminished, and certainly, if there was an approximation to truth in the budgets which the Greek government gave us, there ought now to be a surplus applicable to the payment of the interest of the loan. I have no doubt, that the present Administration has continued, as we did, to urge the Greek government to fulfil the conditions of the loan, as regards the payment of interest. There is no disguising the fact, that there has been an undue expenditure of money in Greece. This may be owing to the want of that control which a more perfect constitution would have afforded to the king, maintaining a greater number of Bavarian officers and civil servants than appears to be necessary, to keeping up too large an army, or too great a number of ships; but whatever the cause may be, there is no disguising the fact, that the Greek revenue has been improvidently squandered, and but for that, that it would have been sufficient to pay the interest of the loan. In ordinary circumstances, the English Government would have no right to ask a single question respecting these matters; but as we are guarantees for a loan for which we have taken security, we have a right to insist that greater thrift shall be observed by the Greek government. No doubt her Majesty's Ministers are employing the means at their disposal, in conjunction with France and Russia, to induce the king of Greece to fulfil his engagements; and I trust, that the advisers of that sovereign will counsel him to comply with the just representations of the three powers. I also hope, that her Majesty's Ministers will urge strongly upon the king of Greece the necessity of his giving a constitution to his people, in redemption of the pledge given by the three powers in 1832, and repeated by Baron Gise, his father's counsellor; and then I am sure the hon. Member for Bolton, in all his future travels, will be unable to find any Greeks who would not say that the condition in which we have placed them is not happiness itself, compared with that in which we found them when we first interfered in their behalf.

Sir R. Peel

I think it is impossible for any inhabitant of a country in which civilization has made progress to profess indifference for the fate of Greece—a country to which we owe all civilization and attainments which are not connected with the Christian dispensation. Independently, however, of those considerations, Greece must always be an object of interest. From her geographical position, the internal tranquillity of Greece must necessarily exercise an important influence on the general tranquillity of Europe. The English Government has, moreover, contracted special pecuniary engagements with Greece by becoming responsible for her debts. My hon. Friend the Member for Ponte fract has stated, that the opinions expressed in this House, will not fail to exercise a peculiar effect in Greece; that the proceedings of the British Parliament are looked up to by the Greek people with anxiety; and that the Greek Government, as well as the Greek people, are peculiarly sensible to the judgments expressed respecting them by those nations to whom they are accustomed to look up with respect. As far as the Government is concerned, I hope that they will not manifest an undue sensitiveness; and if they are so strongly alive, as my hon. Friend says, to the opinions expressed respecting them by the other politicians of Europe, I hope that the opinions expressed in the British House of Commons—dictated, certainly, by no unfriendly feeling—will not fail to produce upon the Greek Government that effect which—we wish that Greece should honourably fulfil her enagements. I must say, that, if English exhortations had been apt to produce that effect, art ample opportunity has been given; for I am bound to say, that the excellent English representative now in Greece, a man animated by the most sincere wish to promote the welfare and the prosperity of the country in which he resides, has not failed of late years, repeatedly to warn the Greek Government of the consequences to which an unthrifty expenditure must ultimately and infallibly lead. As to the motion before the House, there is one part to which I have no objection, namely, that part which relates to the production of the protocols agreed to since 1833, when the last that has been submitted to Parliament, was signed. There are six or seven which have been signed since then, and I can have no objection to their production. With respect to the negotiations now pending as to the obligations of Greece, the noble Lord expressed a hope that some progress had been made in impressing on the Greek Government the necessity of fulfilling their engagements, entered into by the three powers. I believe I am in the position to satisfy the expectations of the noble Lord, by assuring him that efforts have been made by all the three powers with that view, The noble Lord justly says, that, by the treaty concluded by the Greek Government with the three powers, Greece bound herself to appropriate a part of the available revenue of the country to the payment of the interest on the loan guaranteed by the three powers; but the noble Lord admitted, at the same time, that that part of the treaty had never been practically put into force, and the noble Lord even stated that the interest on the first part of the loan was paid by the Greek government out of a subsequent instalment of that loan. The result of such a course was easy to foresee. The Greek government soon found itself unable to fulfil its engagements, and the creditors of Greece applied to the three powers that had become guarantees that those engagements should be fulfilled. England, France, and Russia, have in consequence been obliged to satisfy those creditors. The three powers recently met in conference, and informed the Greek government that it was impossible for them to concur in the continuance of a state of things that transferred to the three powers the task of making good engagements, which it was the duty of Greece herself to discharge. I have every reason to believe that a convention accepted by Greece has been signed, renewing the obligations into which Greece originally entered, and requiring the application of specific branches of the revenue, first to repay to us what we have already paid, and secondly, to afford us security for a more regular payment in future of the interest on the loan. These transactions have not yet been brought to a close. The latest documents referring to them are of so recent a date as the 11th of August, but the papers referring to the present negotiations, it is not at present in my power to produce. When, however, the negotiations have been concluded, the whole of the particulars shall be as freely communicated as those papers to the production of which I have already given my consent. The three powers, in the mean time, have not been unmindful of other engagements, besides those of a pecuniary character, into which the Greek government had entered. Russia, France, and this country, acting in concert, have remonstrated with the Greek government on the necessity of introducing effectual reforms into the administration of Greece. They have made strong representations, like wise, on other matters connected with the necessity of giving satisfaction to the just wishes of the people. I must abstain at present from any more direct allusion to this subject, but I can assure the House that many points alluded to by the noble Lord, and by the hon. Gentleman who originated this motion, have not been overlooked in the recent negotiations that have taken place between the three powers and Greece. The production of the other papers moved for by the hon. Gentleman would be likely to interfere with the negotiations now going on, and under these circumstances, I hope the hon. Gentleman will be satisfied with the papers which I have ex- pressed myself ready to produce. I concur in the sentiment expressed that we ought now less to revert to the past, than to consider what may best secure the future progress and prosperity of a people, of whose ultimate fortunes we certainly ought not to despair. We must recollect the despotism of centuries to which they had been subjected; and if on being rescued from that despotism, they should not at once manifest those capacities for the arts of Government which are familiar to the inhabitants of more favoured countries, we ought to consider the circumstances from which that incapacity for the arts of Government may be supposed to have arisen. Some personal remarks have been made respecting the King of Greece. That King, it must not be forgotten, is the sovereign of the country, and I should much regret it, if any harsh language were to be employed respecting him in this House. He came to the throne when he was extremely young, and when he had had no experience of the duties of Government. A more intimate knowledge of the feelings of the Greek people, of their jealousy of foreign rule and interference, aided by the friendly suggestions of the powers who have every right to consider themselves the protectors of Greece, will, I trust, induce him to listen to those suggestions, and by so doing promote the welfare and happiness of his people, and of his own dynasty.

Mr. B Cochrane

said, there was one point of the noble Lord's speech to which he could not accede. He denied, that the Greek people had ever been consulted as to the choice of their sovereign, for he could not admit that the miserable assembly at Argos could be looked on as representing the Greek nation. The truth was, they had never been consulted at all on a point of such vital interest to them. With respect to the terms of the motion, he was quite ready to concur with the proposal of the right hon. Baronet; and with respect to the King of Greece, should he persist in his present course, he hoped that the three powers would feel it to be their duty to interfere, and to use stronger language than any that had yet been addressed to him.

Motion agreed to.

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